Retrospective: Taj vs. Parko!

Both have been called bridesmaids but which would you want standing next to you on your wedding day?

An era of professional surfing is coming to a close and we, the spectators, have a crystalline moment of hindsight at our disposal. We know the past. But, standing at this minute, how will that past be transcribed into the future?

Freddy Patacchia Jr., CJ Hobgood, Kelly Slater, Taj Burrow and Joel Parkinson have either/maybe should/or are thinking about hanging up the singlet. Fred and CJ will drop into the warm sands of time and be remembered fondly alongside the likes of Ross Williams and Saxon Boucher. Kelly, of course, is King Kelly. His place in history is assured. But what about Taj Burrow and Joel Parkinson?

The two have defined the epoch as much as anyone, without a doubt, but how will their accomplishments, personal style, skills be remembered?

Taj was electric. A prodigy even. And after turning down the tour in 1997 (the first and only to ever do!) he stormed the barn in 1998 winning rookie of the year. What promise he held, competitively, and yet seventeen years on all the boy mustered was two runners-up. Tuck into the rest of story here on Matt Warshaw’s masterwork and then let us get down to brass tacks. Does Taj never winning a world title matter? He is many, many children’s favorite surfer even still because he both is and was very exceptional. But does that exceptional talent taint his epitaph seeing as he never hoisted the trophy?

Joel was graceful. Smooth is what the people say. And during his first year on tour (2001) also won rookie of the year honors but the decade plus that followed were filled with ouch. He lived at the top of the leaderboard but there was always something that kept him from the grand prize. In 2012 he finally hoisted the trophy. The number one surfer in the world! But only once. And, after you brush up on your Parko here on Matt Warshaw’s masterwork let us get down to brass tacks once again. Does Joel’s one title matter? He is loved, his style emulated because he is both is and was a fine surfer. But does that fine surfing yielding only one title dirty his historical relevance?

Both have been called bridesmaids but which would you want standing next to you on your wedding day? Which is the greatest bridesmaid in surfing’s history?


"Are we done with your crap?" asks Pauline Ado in her little lampoon. "Can I go surf now?"

Is it so wrong to sex surfer girls?

And, another thing, does it sell women’s sports?

I have mixed feelings when it comes to photographing surfer girls in a sexually subservient manner. I’ve been responsible for orchestrating some (the luminous Rosy Hodge, the fantasy of Anastasia Ashley) and was pleased with the results, that is if the net result is to balance the arousal of the reader with the dignity of the subject.

If were to examine the photos (and why not, they’re relatively suitable for work – RSFW – click on the names above) you’d find they were built on a single premise: the scientific examination of a beautiful girl at the apex of her beauty.

This is another shoot I enjoyed very much, created during my tenure at Stab although I had nothing to do with its creation, only the story that surrounds the photos.

Other shoots, I ain’t so thrilled by.

The cupped hands over the tits (might we become rapists if a nipple is shown?) or with asses elevated and pressed into the camera. Turn ’em around and their faces are like cold piss, their teenage broth barely warm. The viewer reduced to a crippled masturbator. Gratuitous and insulting to girl and viewer.

Two years ago, there was a predictable storm over using Stephanie Gilmore’s sex to promote the Roxy Pro in France. It was hardly genius but nor was it daring or revolutionary. I was numb to it. Arousing from the point of view of the masculine culture? If only women knew the perversity of man.

And that was the point. The Roxy ad was aimed at young girls and not men.

The modern feminist who sees sex as something to be parcelled out to a man, sparingly, and only on her terms, forgets there’s a generation of female digital native out there who grew up on youporn and its variations; girls who don’t believe a blow-job joyfully given or the use of men as studs mark the end of civilisation, girls who’ve been imprinted with an overt joy of mutually consensual and sensational sex.

And for that, the ad was…perfect.

It’s very easy to get haughty about such things, though. The condemnation of male onanism is divinely simple. It’s the ultimate vice.

A few days ago, the French professional surfer Pauline Ado dropped her lampoon of a surfer using her sex. It’s cool. It’s pretty funny. I like it.

But the irony!

At the hook, liberated Ms Ado says,  “Are we done with your crap? Can I go surf now?”

You have to…ask?  The exquisite possibilities of a power play!

Pauline à la plage 01 from PLANETBLOW on Vimeo.


Exclusive: John John Florence’s new film!

It shines brighter than 1000 candles!

A new trailer for Blake Kueny’s new film, starring none other than John John Florence, has just been released on Hurley.com and if I could figure out how to rip it and put it up I would (someone in comments please help!) but since I can’t go here.

Wait! I find!

And wow. Have you ever seen anything more amazing? The venerable Time magazine has called it the most anticipated film since The Endless Summer and, usually, hyperbole annoys but in this case there is no superlative that does justice. Mr. Kueny’s vision? John John’s surfing? BrainFarm’s technology? It is a perfect stew.

I’ll admit that I have seen a little bit of the uncut business and it shines so brightly that my jaded eyeballs scream for more. It is perfect. Can a surf film be perfect?

Watch and tell me.

(And by “exclusive” I meant exclusive on Hurley’s video player which is HORRIBLE because it plays HORRIBLY because they insist keeping a MASSIVE BANNER at the top)


Fun: A WSL Drinking Game!

Is the Rip Curl Pro too painful for you to watch without booze?

Peniche is painful, and though I’ve temporarily sworn off the sauce while I try to regain a bit of fitness, I’m making an exception for finals day.  If I’m staying up late to watch, I may as well as be hammered. Best case scenario, I forget it ever happened.

RULES:

Every time a surfer tries to manufacture a score via claim, everyone drinks for three seconds. Last person to drink finishes their beer. If the surfer is not a Brazilian, they must also take a shot.

If the claim is warranted, everyone shotguns a beer.

Each time a commentator uses the word “jam” or “wrap” rather than the proper name for the maneuver everyone drinks for two seconds. Multiple times per wave are cumulative, “A frontside jam into a layback wrap” equals four seconds.

Drink for three seconds whenever Strider’s haircut appears on screen.

Each time a commentator uses the word “jam” or “wrap” rather than the proper name for the maneuver everyone drinks for two seconds. Multiple times per wave are cumulative, “A frontside jam into a layback wrap” equals four seconds.

Each time Chelsea Cannell asks an inane yes or no question during an interview everyone takes a shot. Ex.   “Do you know before going out for your heat whether you’ll do an aerial maneuver or what?”

Anytime a talking head blatantly spews bullshit about the quality of the surf everyone finishes their beer.

When a surfer finishes with a single digit heat score every one takes a shot. If the winning surfer also has a single digit combined score everyone must finish their beer as well.

Each time the “yellow jersey” is mentioned everyone must pound a beer. Last person to finish must shotgun another beer while pretending to ride a bicycle around the room.

Everyone drinks for the duration of dead air broadcast in place of advertisements.

One maneuver scores of 8+ means everyone pounds their beer. Last person to finish must attempt a standing front flip.

When the spectacular Rosy Hodge appears on screen everyone takes a shot to numb the pain of knowing you’ll never, ever, EVER, get a chance to hit that.

If a Brazilian does a frontside reverse, everyone takes a shot.

Penalties:

PUKING

Anyone who vomits must write “ADS is my savior” on their forehead in permanent marker, and take a shot.

PASSING OUT

The Sarge Penalty, ie. Anyone can do whatever they want to you, as long as they take a picture of it.

While I typically don’t enjoy when writers ask their audience to chime in, this time I’d appreciate suggestions.  I figure the aforementioned rules will get me hammered, but I worry they won’t get me hammered enough.

Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson from Doped Youth from BeachGrit on Vimeo.


Surfline team after a hectic day.

Capitulation: Surfline changes tune!

After falling on face, wave forecasting website issues mea culpa.

Yesterday, as first reported here, Surfline badly and embarrassingly messed up its world title prediction. Surfing magazine’s guru Jimmy Wilson did the rocket science, days earlier, and had shown that the race is extremely wide open and yet Surfline had insisted on calling it a two man hustle.

Today, though, a new headline hangs from Surfline’s banner. It reads:

FANNING, ADRIANO OUT; TITLE RACE NOW WIDE OPEN

“We apologize to the thousands of people who count on us for both accurate news and surf forecasting. To be very honest, most of the time our nerds sit in their cubicles and throw magnetic Nerf darts at wave height numbers. The results have no bearing upon reality. Yesterday we also threw magnetic Nerf darts at the World Surf League brochure. A story emerged that also had no bearing on reality. Again, we apologize. No one in the office surfs. Four of our forecasters have never even seen the ocean. Do you want to hire our photographers for your next party? Do you like watching snuff film? Again, we apologize. The computers we use in the office are Commodore 64s. Our motto ‘Know Before You Go’ was actually lifted from the Christian Mingle dating website. Again, we apologize. Up until yesterday we thought Julian Wilson was one-third of 1990s super group Wilson Phillips and we thought ADS was an acronym for the Church of Latter-Day Saints and we though Owen Wright was Owen Wilson and we thought Filipe Toledo was a university in Ohio and we thought Wiggolly Dantas was the airline people flew when going to Australia. Again, we apologize.”

Their accompanying press release should have read.

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