Tomoz, or maybe the day after, Filipe, here, is going to swing his blade to a real impressive, if unsurprising, win at the Hurley Pro.

How to Win Trestles Without Trying!

Want to know why Trestles is a skate park one day, a burger drive-through the next?

I’m not even going to try and shit you. I wrote this a year ago.

But the knowledge contained herein is timeless and, I maintain, even now, useful. It features, as most things I do about Trestles or even vaguely mainland America, the quotes of Matt “Mayhem” Biolos, a shaper who stole my heart a sixteen years ago with a round-nose fish I scooped out of the racks at Pukas in Spain.

Matt, as you might know, has been living in San Clemente and surfing Lowers since the eighties. Half the tour grabs a Mayhem pre-Hurley event.

And, with the finals maybe tomoz, or the day after, I figured, how about a little stroll down memory lane? It’s not as if the physics of the wave have changed.

BeachGrit: Who owns the lineup outside the contest?  

Mayhem: As with any spot that is easy to surf, you have a crew of older, respected, average-ability guys that kinda rule the outside sets. Most the sets get ridden by average skilled surfers actually. Then there is the mid-pack and you have a revolving door of regular rippers there: Yeomans, the Gudangs, Ian Crane, Jer Carter, Jeff Lukasik. Theres an old guard of great surfers like Cordell Miller, Kenny Caldwell and Robo type guys. Kolohe is the best surfer every time he paddles out. He catches bombs, insiders and mid sets. He surfs it as good as anyone alive. Then on the inside you have the super groms. Griffin Colapinto is prob top dog right now. There’s too many of them to even list. It’s crazy how many good 11-to-15 year olds there are in town right now. After all that, you have Chris Ward. He is the one who really owns the line-up. He has special contact lenses that make everyone else in the line up disappear. I think he gave a set to his daughter as well.

BeachGrit: Describe the effect on the wave of the different swell and wind directions, this time of year? Sometimes it’s burger-y; sometimes it looks like the most appealing of skate parks. 

Mayhem: A pure solid, long-lined south swell is best. Super sharp hurricane-angled south-easters are sectiony and closed out. The more west it gets, the mushier the right gets and the left gets shorter. Broken-up swells are not good. Too peaky, makes the waves soft and broken up. The wind is pretty mellow. The only truly bad wind is a south wind. It’s like the Devil Wind at J-Bay. Unless you have full-on storm condition, of course, then west and northwest wind is bad too. We actually like a little onshore ripple, it holds you in the wave. Offshores look pretty but they limit the variety of moves the good surfers can do on the waves.

BeachGrit: Why does Kelly win nearly ever year?  

Mayhem: If he isn’t the best surfer at any given time, he makes up for it by being  the best competitor.

BeachGrit: Brother’s been surfing the joint for a doz years. Is he ever likely to win? 

Mayhem: Some day he will.

(And here are the quarter-finalists!)

Strong: Coco Ho Displaces Water!

Take a look at Coco blowing up Lowers during yesterday's lay day… 

Yesterday was about Mason, today let’s take a look at Coco blowing up Lowers during yesterday’s lay day. Waves look super fun, wonder why it didn’t run?

Oops, unintentional couplet.

Anyway, hot damn, does she rip. None of that backing-off-at-the-apex-of-your-turn girly-girl style, Coco manages to displace a fuck-ton of water considering the fact she’s all of five-feet tall and probably weighs in around 100 pounds. I don’t know how many kilograms that is. Like, 30?

I’ve mentioned the time she made eye contact out at Lanis, that was pretty great. I felt like I was surfing really well, so in my mind her gaze held a nod of approval. There was another day, at Ehukai, when I saw her paddling out and tried to lay every ounce of my fat ass into a backside gouge so I could show her how good I surf and…

I don’t know what my plan was. Leave her in awe of my ripperness, ditch my wife, and make a bunch of adorable babies?

What was supposed to be some super sick power hack instead turned into a full speed, no traction, shins slamming into my rail, belly flop. I heard someone laughing at me. I really hope it wasn’t her.

Whenever I watch women surf, two questions spring to mind.

Why isn’t there a female with a killer air game? It’s gotta happen eventually, the current crop has the skills. Very strange.

Why don’t they get horrible wax chaffing on their butts? It seems like you would. I’ve worn speedos surfing a number times and I always end up with a gnarly thigh rash. Which I assume is from sitting on my board. Unless it’s indicative of some sort of surf triggered STI.

How obvious is it that the guy on the longboard is just staring at her butt the entire wave?

Okay, I guess that’s three questions.

Give me a break, I’m a writer, not a mathmagician.

Dane Reynolds turn

5 Ways to Put More Power in Your Surfing!

Treat waves like submissive concubine!

It’s the most visceral of surfing experiences. You feel it as much as you see it or hear it. You know what I’m talking about. Those rail-buried-to-the-nose cutback and hacks that hypnotise, and even scare just a little, as you paddle over a wave.

Airs are thrilling and easy to like, easy to understand. There’s a speed and there’s a push and a pull and maybe a huck.

But a cutback with fire; a hack that seeks to readjust the molecular formation of a moving piece of ocean?

Well, that’s something for the purists.

Here’s how you can get some…

1. Get the right board

Surfboard design is game of adding and subtracting. If you want extreme power, you’re going to have to lose some of that pop in the tail and the ability to squeeze into the most radical of curves. There’s only a few surfers in the world who’ve got a power-air game, John John, Jordy Smith and Dane Reynolds, if you want to know, but I’m presuming you aren’t in that same league. Talk to a shaper. Tell him you want to explode out of your turns. You’ll need more rail length, more thickness, a straighter rocker.

2. You need to be close to the pocket

I once asked a famous surfer, known for his iconic cutbacks, what the secret to his photogenic success was. He leant over, smiled, and said, “You have to be deep, deep in the pocket”.

Well, sure.

“But can you do that?” he asked.

I went out that afternoon, turned up the face of the wave but instead of hitting the lip, I straightened the front leg and flew into the best cutback of my life.

Who knew there was room for a cutback in such tight a spot? I’d never felt a turn so perfect and so vicious. And then it flew back and pierced my cheek, just missing my eyes.

3. Straighten your front leg

Kolohe’s dad, Dino, once a top pro himself, told me the secret to those beautiful frontside wraps that pleases top-level judges so much is  to “straighten the front leg.” Try it. Sounds easy. It ain’t.

4. Aggression

It takes a certain mindset to jam an entire rail into the face of a wave, and in the most critical part of that wave. Airs are a skateboard-esque dance of weighting and unweighting. Power requires violence.

5. Put on weight

Skinny kids aren’t going to shower the lineup with spray. If you want drama in your turns, put on weight, fat, muscle, it doesn’t matter. It’s a physics thing. Kolohe is one surfer whose spray arcs have doubled in the last five years.


Miracle: Vic Secret model lives!

Yfke Sturm is headed home after horrible motorized surfboard accident.

The Victoria’s Secret model Yfke Sturm who was sent racing into a coma, due to electric surfboard incident, with a fractured skull and many broken vertebrae is back!

“E crociera intorno al logo!” Rome’s La Repubblica shouts.

I know because I am in Rome and what a city! Literally eternal.

But back to Ms. Sturm, it is very good news and Laird Hamilton should be pleased. He, of course, wrought this mess upon us what with his infernal fiddling. Hydrofoils one day, Golfborts the next. Murderous motorized surfboards somewhere in between.

When will it end? Thankfully not with Ms. Sturm.

“Che un succulent bella ragazza!” Rome’s La Repubblica gushes.

Being in Rome makes me think about the permanence of surf on this world and makes me realize how fleeting we are. Like Native Americans.

Our collective addition to mankind’s cultural wealth will disappear as quickly as we do. Is that a bummer?

Should we build a giant marble monument in front of Pipeline? Hmmmm. Whatever, I suppose, at least we (Laird) didn’t kill a gorgeous model.

“Succhia uno grasso!” Rome’s La Repubblica sneers.

Big Cloudbreak

How not to: Surf Cloudbreak Hungover!

What a strangely satisfying thing it is to hit the Cloudbreak reef!

“Fucking Mercury.”

That’s our boatman laughing, lifting the engine hatch on on the big black outboard, hot black oil spewing in every direction. Now we’re adrift in the Pacific Ocean, islands silhouetted against a darkening sky like medieval castles.

But we have beer. And rum. And a bit of scraggly bush weed that we just scored off a funky little ghetto house on the dry land side of Viti Levu.

Dunno about you but my favourite Hendrix line has always been “drifting on a sea of forgotten teardrops”. Nothing captures the feeling of being blown out to sea in a broken down boat by a twenty-knot tradewind,  so very, very far from a madding crowd than those words.

We drank the beer, then passed the rum around, then rolled up the bush weed, and pissed over the side and tried not to fall overboard. It was probably ten nautical miles to the nearest island. If the gods were smiling you might drift there on a sea of forgotten tears. Probably not though.

“On a lifeboat… sailing for your love.”

We drank the bottle of rum and opened a vodka bottle. For the hell of it. If there was needle and a dirty spoon I would have done that too. For the hell of it. The hell of it is an amazing place to be in the South Pacific. Whatever the hell you have Captain, we will take it. Sailing home.

Sometime before midnight we got towed into a small rock-walled harbour on an island. We knew the forecast was six-to-eight-foot at Cloudbreak tomorrow. The smart thing to do was keel over and pass out but we kept drinking, at the bar. Cocktails and Fiji bitters until we couldn’t walk. Until our eyeballs sweated.

Then the boat ride out to Cloudbreak. Those blue hues on the reef kill me. Jumping off the boat. Should I take a bigger board? Nah, nah, come back for it. It’s steamrolling down the reef. Heavy. Thudding head, weak as a new born foal. Slipped off the side of the board out the back, under the sea, drifting in a sea of forgotten teardrops. Your love. Home.

Nothing spells living the dream for the working stiff more than standing upright in an ice blue Cloudbreak cavern looking out to islands in the distance framed by falling lip.

I did that first wave. And second.

Somehow I made it three hours in before the inevitable. Threading a hollow one towards the inside. Pinched, then punched hard off the bottom. What a strangely satisfying thing to hit the reef like that. The deep bass note shuddering through your body. The shock. So visceral and raw in a world of mediated reality.

Legrope tangled around my neck. Trussed up like a christmas ham. Pushing off the bottom now with some desperation, and seeing what every trussed up rotting piece of ham wants to see: an eight-footer detonating right in front of you.

Paddling back out the reef drained by a thundering wall, milky blue against white tradewind cloud and sun. It caught me inside. Boom, bang, boof.

On the reef. Tumbling. Legrope tangled around my neck. Trussed up like a christmas ham. Pushing off the bottom now with some desperation, and seeing what every trussed up rotting piece of ham wants to see: an eight-footer detonating right in front of you.

It hit me like a car crash, like a king hit, like a nightmare you had as a kid. A mushroom cloud of whitewater picked me up and smote me on the reef. With biblical vengeance. Again and again and again. I think I blacked out a bit. I was hugging my board in a death grip. Drifting.

Banging coral. Stuck in crevices. I couldn’t see, I couldn’t breathe. All I could see was pure white with little stars floating here and there. A dull rushing roaring sound in the back of the ears.

The rational thing to do was float in and walk up the reef. Submit. But like the drunk guy in a streetfight, too stupid to lay down, I kept trying to stand up until the next whitewater knocked me down. Bang, bang. Bump.

For a long time I stood there on the reef. You want to know what it’s like? Sharp.

Lots of live coral. Big tables of live coral with crevices and trenches. Black and red fish darting out of caves. Clams with iridescent vaginal lips of blue and purple. Beautiful beyond description. I wanted to lie down and have a sleep.  A little sleep perchance to dream about surfing Cloudbreak, like I did so many times.

Eventually I started shuffling here and there like an old man with dementia even though I’m only one year older than Robert Slater and with more hair*. I got to the boat after an hour. Cut up, bruised. Nothing major though.Nothing structural. Ecstasy.

I thought I should drink less after that. But somehow one beer tasted great and then another. And the rum buzz was great. The old letting go. More Fijian bush weed. Before I knew it I was staggering back to a thatched hut with sweating drunken eyeballs. Drifting.

Here is the boat now and here is the boatman and it’s still pumping at Cloudbreak. And like my very good friend Ram Dass says: “The cosmic dance goes on. It’s not an easy task for the working man in this godawful year of our Lord 2015, but it can be done. Fuck you Ayn Rand and the white pony you rode in on.”

*Only a little more.