Albee Layer demonstrates a judo air. Let's examine the ingredients: front leg kicked out topside, board grabbed the nose. But does he land?

Movie: Albee Layer’s slob grab judo!

And more! Episode five, The Habitat…

I’ve never understood “air wind.” I get the concept, it’s pretty obvious how well a side shore gust can loft you up and out, but knowing and doing are two vastly different things.

As far as I can remember, the last time I tried to take advantage of it was a few years back, surfing the rights that swing wide between Rocky Rights and Turkeys. Overhead whitewater section mowing slowly towards me, nice steep wall got me flying, mid face turn, bend those knees, wind kicked the board from under my feet straight into my face, turning my awesome boost into a flailing fat lip cartwheel into the flats.

These days I’m a power surfer, meaning I’m too old and too fat and have given up trying to surf above the lip. No great loss. My goal was always to surf as well as the guys did in Momentum, an ability level I reached, kind of, sometime around 2010. But, hey, I had those floater to 360 things on lock for a minute.

Albee Layer gets the air wind though. 540 ‘oops, giant sailing airborne section skippers, this ridiculous slob grab judo that put the final nail in Christian Fletcher’s relevancy. Huck and spin and twist and, for the love of god, take care of those joints!

And he paddles Jaws! A charger without a wack small wave steez, I thought that was impossible. For decades it’s been the stink bug or nothin’.

Kai Barger’s killing it too, but I’m not really a fan. He paddled out once when I was in the middle of a magic session, everything coming together perfectly. Just dialed, in the zone, whatever you want to call it. I was feeling godlike, such a ripper, so fucking cool. I should quit my job and join the ‘QS, take the tour by storm, blow everyone’s minds. Who’s this dude in his thirties who came out of of nowhere to win the title his first year on tour? It’s me!

Then Kai caught a wave, tore it to shreds, and made me feel like the biggest kook on Earth. No fair, doesn’t he know how fragile my ego is? Couldn’t he have just let me ride that manic swing while it lasted? It’s only a matter of time until I come crashing back to the ground.


Man gets attacked by shark. Films his wound as he's being loaded into an ambulance. Posts on Instagram. Such social media savvy!

Graphic: Man Films Own Shark Attack Wounds!

…and then posts it on Instagram! Such social media savvy!

You want a demonstration of manhood? How about this cat, the 27-year-old diver John Braxton who took a hit from a tiger shark a few hours ago.

Instead of weeping and maybe praying to Jesus for salvation, he hit the play button on his phone, took a little footage of his mangled leg, and posted it on Instagram (currently at 2037 likes, 1969 comments).

“Hooo! I just got a attacked by a tiger shark! Hoooo!,” he says, breathlessly, as he’s loaded into the ambulance.

The camera pans down to a leg split apart by the shark.

“I love you my brother,” says a pal helping jam his stretcher into the truck.

“Love you too!”

Most of his other 585 other posts are either inspirational quotes, what he’s about to eat, or his kid. Usual likes count, around thirty five.

The backstory on the attack, as reported by hawaii247.com is,

“At 3:52 p.m. Sunday (Sept 20) fire/rescue crews responded to a Upolu Point in Kohala for a man injured in a shark attack. The 27-year-old man was attacked by a Tiger Shark which bit him on the thigh and calf. The man was taken via pick-up truck to Akoni Pule Highway where they met medics who treated him and took him to Kamehameha Park in Kapaau where he was airlifted to North Hawaii Community Hospital in serious condition.”

Watch here!

Pray for me love you guys

A video posted by @_braxton_john_ on


Is a one-board Hawaiian quiver possible?

It ain't a fanciful notion. But what board?

Just recently, I started to plan my Hawaiian quiver. You gotta take boards for Pipe, Sunset, Haleiwa, big Lanis, Jockos, maybe the Bay if there’s a modicum of bravado in that heart of yours.

And then reality hit. What do I ride normally? Dirty little five-eights, a five-ten if it’s six foot. Anything over eight foot and I’m either not interested or I’m searching for a refracted hunk of swell half the size and mowing down the flank of some headland.

So why take a five-board quiver with the required six-twos, seven-os, and eight-footers? Why not take my regular short board and just… go.

Back in the eighties, Cheyne Horan rode 15-foot Waimea on a five-seven. It wasn’t the prettiest thing on earth but he showed what was possible. A decade later, Tom Curren re-awakened the short-board-in-giant-waves concept when he rode his Tom Peterson-shaped Fireball Fish in remote 12-foot reef waves in Indonesia.

And Craig Anderson, whose surfing isn’t hampered by size or volume, rides his little 5’4″ Hayden Cox-shaped Hypto-Krypto in everything from one-foot beachbreak mush to eight-foot top-to-bottom barrels in Namibia to maxi-sized Kanduis in Indonesia.

“There’s no other board I’d have under my feet. Those boards make serious drops if you commit to them,” says Craig.

The Australian shaper Hayden Cox says the HK’s work in all conditions because of the pulled-in tail (hold!) and wide forward point (speed!). For the average guy, a little under six feet and maybe 75 kilos, a five-eight’ll take you through a Hawaiian season, as long as you surf the Rocky Point down to Log Cabins stretch and take off to Honolulu for shopping when it’s a Sunset-only day. (Even the greatest shaper in the world can’t make a weeny board work in the world’s thickest, but mostly fat, wave.)

“The tail as always the dirty little secret,” says Biolos. “It’s the same width as a normal high-performance board was at the time. And it was this lack of a big, wide tail that allowed the boys to surf them in such radical waves.”

The Lost shaper Matt “Mayhem” Biolos proved the worth of his round nose fish concept in the Hawaiian winter of 1997 when Cory Lopez and Chris Ward rode their 5’5″s… everywhere. The movie made from those sessions, 5’5″ x 19 1/4″ (1998), has remained such a classic surfers like Mason Ho still keep the little fishes in their quivers.

“The tail as always the dirty little secret,” says Biolos. “It’s the same width as a normal high-performance board was at the time. And it was this lack of a big, wide tail that allowed the boys to surf them in such radical waves.”

A one-board Hawaiian quiver? Possible? Of course!

Will it cramp your style just a little? Only a little.

Tip: if Sunset gets big, crawl under a house and grab an eight-o. The Volcom house has a ton.

 

 


Deaf, Jewish, big-wave stud Ido Dar-el chasing trinkets at Cloudbreak, Fiji. Ido says he'll "never forget the only time I actually heard a tube at Zicatela (Puerto Escondido) riding at full speed on a thick seven-six, a brown, dark, sand-sucking cave and the… kaboom… in my ears just before being spat out into the light. I had tears of joy. It was so emotional." | Photo: Scott Winer

Unique: A Deaf, Jewish Big-Wave Stud!

You'll fall in love with this ulitmate minority surfer… 

Let’s do a little catalogue of minorities, here. Ido Dar-el is a Jew (almost wiped off the map seventy years ago), he’s deaf (hello! Hello!) and lives for big waves (rare-ish)!

If y’read my stuff, you’ll know I’ve got a thing for Jews. But not the Hasidic-Hasidim with their end-of-world-divine-right jams, and their obstruction of the Palestinian question even though it was the secular men and women, and not the black hats, who fought the wars and got ’em the Holy Land in the first place.

Anyway, Ido came onto my radar and he’s a man with a perspective unlike anyone I’ve interviewed, at least in surfing.

When I asked him, who the hell he was, he came back with, “I love tubes, the bigger the better. When I go outside Israel and its crappy windswells I start climbing the food chain again, from channel to peak, adjusting to seven-sixes and swell periods counted in two digits, not one.”

Ido went deaf when he was a baby, his hearing wiped out either by a virus or a one-night high fever.

Anyway, what’s your first thought when you meet someone who’s blind or deaf? What’s it… like?

The energy of the wave engulfs you. The senses are heightened to smell and taste and being aware of the surrounding. It sounds real corny but you hear the ocean from the heart. It’s similar to hearing people who dive in the silence of the depths.
Imagine hearing the thundering set waves, the foamball inside the tube, though your eyes, through the body.”

“Ever seen a black-and-white TV? Try switching from HD color to that. But it can be a gift, too, no distractions to your imagination, no need to pursue nirvana and mediation sessions, it’s built in. You don’t hear other people’s crap talk. It helps in work too, 100 per cent production. Not hearing crowds in the water cannot ruin your concentration or take away from the beauty of being at sea. And hearing music is incredible but, for me, it’s intuitive. You feel the vibe. And I do sleep good on stormy nights.”

And surfing?

“It’s the best thing to being one with the wave. The energy of the wave engulfs you. The senses are heightened to smell and taste and being aware of the surrounding. It sounds real corny but you hear the ocean from the heart. It’s similar to hearing people who dive in the silence of the depths.
Imagine hearing the thundering set waves, the foamball inside the tube, though your eyes, through the body.”

Ido says he’ll “never forget the only time I actually heard a tube at Zicatela (Puerto Escondido) riding at full speed on a thick seven-six, a brown, dark, sand-sucking cave and the… kaboom… in my ears just before being spat out into the light. I had tears of joy. It was so emotional.”

One thing Ido wants surfers with functioning eardrums to know is how much the deaf miss being tapped into surfing culture.

“There’s so many interesting debates or interviews on the web that don’t have subititles. I’d love to hear Greg Long talk! It’s actually opening up a big niche to the deaf that want to indulge in the surf culture and stay updated. It’s not enough just reading short summaries of the interview.”

Being deaf and out among 15-foot waves isn’t without its challenges. Partly, because it’s not as if someone can let you in on all the currents and entry and exit points (who knows sign language!) and partly, because he can’t hear a fucking thing, he can be a bit of a menance.

“Being deaf is a great responsiblity. There’s a need to look around all the time, analazying the crowds, the right spot to take off and to not to get in anyone’s way, pulling out of waves when in doubt that others will take off. It adds a lot of nerves and stress to surfing big waves with other people. Pipeline and Teahupoo are my dream spots but the crowds and small take-off area makes it off limits for me because I don’t want to endanger anyone. And surfing is about respect.”

When Ido’s not chasing swells to Hawaii or Fiji, he’s prez of the Deaf Surfers Israeli Association. What, the world’s tiniest club? I hooted.

Two hundred surfers in it, he says. You live and learn.

 


The future of surf competition! Come on, those dudes are flogging sizzle sans steak, the whole thing came off like a Virginia Beach 'QS one star. Or whatever they call them now. WQS1000, I think. B level comp surfers, the odd A level freesurfer, battling to out top turn each other, the occasional reverse thrown in.

Wavepool contest like bad one-star QS!

Red Bull Unleashed the future of surfing? It came off like a Virginia Beach one-star, says Rory Parker.

The nice thing about being a cynical prick, you’re right far more often than wrong. It’s really the easiest path, everything sucks, everyone sucks, there’s always something wrong with something.

And then you get to say, “See, SEE!  I told you it would suck. Goddamn, everything in this world is terrible but me.”

If you’re my wife you reply with a line stolen from The Big Lebowski.

“Yeah, Rory, you’re right, but you’re still an asshole.”

Whatever, I’ve heard it all before.

Right is right, sorry if it hurts your feelings. Let’s just pretend everything is fine and dandy. Yay, look how much I love everything that’s awful!

I like some things though. I generally enjoy the spectacles Red Bull bankrolls. Dudes jumping out of spaceships, lunatics riding bicycles off mountainsides. The cliff-diving stuff is pretty neat too.

And that thing, whatever they call it, where a bunch of guys on ice skates fly down a giant Hot Wheels track and fight each other. Crashed Ice. I just looked it up, that’s what it’s called.

But they just can’t seem to wrap their collective corpo addiction peddler mind around surfing. It’s understandable, surf is a bitch to package, too dependent on swell and weather and groups of fringe dwelling weirdos who view the coastal area as some magic-bitch-goddess-earth mother. Much easier to cart a hundred people up a mountain and trample it flat.

The Jaws event never went, the Cape Fear deal was boring as hell.

And this new attempt, the Wave Garden?  The future of surf competition!

Come on, those dudes are flogging sizzle sans steak, the whole thing came off like a Virginia Beach ‘QS one star. Or whatever they call them now. WQS1000, I think. B-level comp surfers, the odd A level freesurfer, battling to out top turn each other, the occasional reverse thrown in.

But I adore JOB’s vids, and I believe Red Bull’s tossing money into that.

Which is what I want to see. Freak show fun, damned-be-the-consequences recklessness, a total lack of attempted play by play commentary seriousness.

To that end, here’s a few ideas Red Bull is free to employ the next time they want to dip a toe in the ocean. These are only a mere taste of my brilliant ideas, though.

For more and better I encourage who ever is in charge of this stuff to contact me via BeachGrit. I know that Chas and Derek have been able to suckle at the caffeine teat, I would also like a taste.

Surf Joust: One wave, two surfers, no mercy!

Combining the only elements non surfers really want to see, wipeouts and injury, Surf Joust would feature a number of tow teams whipping riders at each other at full speed on a lined-up shit wave somewhere it’s legal to ride PWCs in the surf, last man standing wins.

Basically the Bronson Canyon scene from Thrashin‘ but at 40 miles an hour, and riding pointy glass stab planks.

SUP Brah’l: Up shit creek without a paddle!

This one isn’t really surfing, but stand-up paddling down a river is close enough to sell it that way.  SUP Brah’l would see thirty dudes on sweeper planks unleashed down a class five rapids, the only rule being whoever gets to the bottom first wins it all. Punching, shoving, Kai Lenny taking a carbon paddle blade upside his head, that’s the kind of violence I’d tune in to see.

The Whomptown Classic: Shorebreak yo’ neck!

Why no novelty waves? If I want to see a bunch of high-level surfers try to rip a good wave to the beach I’ll just watch a WSL event. Where Red Bull has always shone is in finding that next-level, neck-breaking danger and convincing a bunch of adrenaline junkie wack jobs into risking their lives for what amounts to relatively paltry sums of money.

Ke’iki, Wedge, Lover’s Beach, wherever. Just watch a bunch of skim board videos until you find a hellish shore pound where you can bribe your way into closing the beach and running an event on the biggest swell of the year. I, honestly, think the Wedge would be do-able. For as much as it’s closed off to surfing most of the time it is located in Orange County, California, a hellishly backwards conservative dystopia populated by greedy white assholes. And those people are nothing if not easily corrupted.

Yeah, the bodysurfers will bitch and moan, but does anyone really care what a bunch of middle-aged guys who frequent a break in an area they can’t afford to live think?