Love him or hate him, Luke Davis has made an indelible mark on surfing. His socials are on fire with younger girls professing endless admiration. His fan base is the sort that actually matters because they spend and are younger. His face is so handsome it almost hurts. And his surfing is very good. Quality barrel weaving, a serviceable air game.
You’d think he would be a company dream but many rumors have floated across BeachGrit‘s Bondi and Cardiff-by-the-Sea bureaus that say Reef ripped up his contract! Why? I reached out to Louie with no luck but an inside source tells me that “He did something to piss off someone at VF Corp and they shredded his contract on the spot.” VF Corporation is parent company of Vans, Nautica, Reef, amongst others.
Investigation into Reef’s company website shows his picture is no longer there. But that face! So handsome!
Where should Luke go next? Do you think BeachGrit could afford to put the Bitchy Crab on his nose?
Is it racist to suggest that we need more spice, more imagination?
I poked fun, very gently, of Gabriel Medina’s post-full rote 10 celebration on social media recently, comparing his pose to Justin Bieber, and a person got angry. He said, “If it was an Australian or Hawaiian would not do this ridiculous comparison!!!” Which made me think about our delicate surf epoch.
The claim, as it were, has become synonymous with Brazilian surfers, fairly or not. To criticize claims is to, then, criticize Brazil, or worse, to be racist. It has become akin to saying, “I have lots of black friends but…” before making some prejudicial statement.
Now, I do not fall into the “surfers should be good and subdued sportsmen” camp. I love a good claim but that is trouble. Most claims being tossed out today, and Gab’s very much in this category, are unimaginative and bad. The arms in the air to standard vanilla pop “I’m the man” is so dull! So tired! And there is so much material to chose from. Brazil’s soccer stars regularly put on glorious theatrical shows after scoring goals. I would have loved to see Gab yank his singlet over his head and run around the beach before paddling back out. So fun!
Andy Irons once pulled out a shotgun and blew Dingo Morrison to bits. That was good. Gabriel could have done that. Or he could have moonwalked off his board or he could have whip and nae nae’d. He could have done almost anything and I would have applauded.
What he did do, though, was uninspired. And it pulled focus from an inspired air.
At the time, it was revealed by Bloomberg Biz that “Quiksilver Inc. is preparing to file for bankruptcy as soon as Tuesday evening in a deal that would hand control of the beleaguered surfwear chain to investment firm Oaktree Capital Management, according to people with knowledge of the deliberations.”
Today it was reported (source: Dow Jones newswire) that Oaktree is going to have to slug it out with Brigade Capital Management for the right to, what, strip the guts out of the company, and sell it at a profit down the track? Yeah.
Here’s the deal according to Dow: In a filing in US Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware, lawyers for Quiksilver’s creditors revealed that Brigade Capital had made a “superior” offer to finance the company’s restructuring under chapter 11.
Brigade is offering Quiksilver a $US115 million ($A156m) bankruptcy loan that is “cheaper, longer in duration and provides the debtors with greater flexibility,” the creditors said, a part of a transaction that is better than Oaktree’s “with respect to virtually every substantive economic and non-economic term.”
Quiksilver filed for bankruptcy last month in a $US279m debt-for-equity swap with Howard Marks’s Oaktree Capital. The deal includes $US175m — but only $US115m of new money — in bankruptcy financing provided by Oaktree and Bank of America that has allowed the company to keep its doors open during its chapter 11 restructuring.
The deal also includes a hefty $US20m breakup fee owed to Oaktree if Quiksilver, which owns more than $US200m in Quiksilver debt, fails to execute the swap in bankruptcy.
The Oaktree-backed plan “does not represent a new offer from an outside investor who could just as easily walk away if the terms prove unsatisfactory, but a strategic manoeuvre by Oaktree to protect its substantial investment while simultaneously sweeping up significant value from unsecured creditors,” the creditors said in court papers.
Representatives of Quiksilver and Oaktree couldn’t be reached for comment.
Los Angeles-based Oaktree is a big player among so-called distressed-debt firms that look to acquire troubled companies at discount. It owns 73 per cent of Quiksilver’s debt and has pledged its support for the restructuring, which requires court approval. Oaktree also owns a stake in Australian surfwear company Billabong after participating in a 2013 restructuring.
A hearing on the Oaktree-backed deal is scheduled for Wednesday.
Quiksilver is one of the best-known and longest-operating surf and snowboard clothing brands, designing and distributing its products under the Quiksilver, Roxy and DC brands.
The company, which traces its roots to Victoria, began making boardshorts for surfers in the US in the 1970s and is now based in Huntington Beach, California. Its products are also sold internationally; the European and Asia-Pacific businesses aren’t part of this bankruptcy filing.
The cash-strapped company has in recent years been plagued by business issues that slowed the delivery of Quiksilver products to stores in North America. It has been working to turn around the business since 2013, executing the sale of assets including Mervin Manufacturing, a snowboard maker, and Hawk Designs, named for skateboarder Tony Hawk, and a stake in an online retailer called Surfdome Shop.
Although those deals raised funds, operational troubles and continued weak results were exacerbated earlier this year by the labour strife at the Port of Los Angeles.
Quiksilver’s revenue in its most recent quarter decreased to $US333m with margins at 47.1 per cent, resulting in a net loss of $US38m. During the same quarter in 2014, the company reported a loss of $US38m on revenue of $US397m and margins at 48.9 per cent. The company listed assets of $US337m and debts of $US826m when it filed for bankruptcy protection.
"Go out and give it your best because whatever's coming is coming," says his mama, Dibi
Dibi Fletcher may well be the most interesting person in all of surf. She is definitely the most fabulous. Daughter of an icon, wife of an icon, mother of two icons, grandmother to two potential icons (have you seen Greyson skate? And Lazer will certainly break some mold) she works at Astrodeck in San Clemente. A ball of energy. A haute blur.
I heard, recently, that Christian broke his femur surfing the Wedge on this glorious run of California swell and so I called because both Nathan and Herbie had broken their femurs before and that, in and of itself, is a story.
She answers and I ask her about broken femurs and how to handle and her voice is the sweetest bolt of lightening.
“Ahhhh Herbie has been hurt so many times it’s just…you know…I’m really shit with the little stuff but good with the big stuff. When things go really wrong you don’t have the luxury to lose your mind. You have to be calm. After a while you can feel what you want but not in the moment. Kids take their cues from you and so you have to be calm and in control for them.
Christian used to jump off picnic tables onto his head when he was young. To react would have been silly so I would just say, ‘No big deal…’ dust him off and send him back out. If you let them push the envelope then they learn to push the envelope for themselves.
(My) dad was an extreme sports guy. All his friends were. Herbie is. I guess I don’t know any other life and, back to Christian…I think he’s doing quite well. I saw a picture of the x-ray and it looked good. He might not even have to have surgery…just rest.
Nathan told me once, ‘You don’t know what life’s about until you’ve broken your femur.’ And I think there is some real truth to that. You have to lay there. You have to think about your life. These boys are active. They’re used to going out and doing stuff but when you are laid up, you have so sit and think. Those are the lessons that make you stronger. You are allowed to analyze what is really important and what you want to do.
And as far as getting injured? Herbie got hit by a car once in Hawaii. Guy crossed the yellow line and just hit him so I always so, ‘Go out and give it your best because whatever’s coming is coming.'”
I am in dire need of a new surf film. And by “new,” I’m not referring to the release date. The past couple evenings have seen me coddled on the couch by a thin blanket, fighting a looming cold. Over the course of those nights, my DVD player has been on more than usual. Steering clear of typical grandiose, Hollywood sponsored, cinematic adventures, I chose to spend time watching smaller budget surf films that focus on my love of wave sliding. I visited several movies that all sounded promising. Films like Sight Sound, ModernCollective, Missing, Gathering, and Slow Dance just to name a few. Each included surfers who’s style and persona interest me, so I went into them with high hopes. But at the end of each, I was left with a repetitive feeling of emptiness and a strong sense of dissatisfaction. In processing my emotional response, I have come to one simple conclusion: they’re boring.
I mean no disrespect to the respective directors. The movies are their artistic expressions and I dig that. As a fan of the creative mind, it’s hard for me to see anything but good in those willing to put together something imagination-based for all to see. My disillusion comes from wanting more. Since their inception, surf videos have followed the same general archetype. Waves, music, limited dialogue scattered through a brief interlude, waves, music, music, and waves. What I have found when studying this method, is that I don’t want more waves and music. I want more substance.
Firstly, at the time in which we are living, professional surfers have surpassed the minor celebrity and meager paychecks of their predecessors. We have seen the surfing world move beyond the realm of a beer slugging counterculture to a bonafide and legitimate billion dollar industry. With that came higher profile and higher paid athletes. Athletes. People with alarm clocks and trainers and nutritionists and coaches and corporate sponsors and a higher regard for their profession. They have become more evolved and subsequently more interesting. So why not let us see more of the people they are? Not more of them doing the same barrel stance or backside alley-oop or vanilla-flavored post-heat interview. But more of them navigating the other 99% of their existence that expands beyond the ocean. We’ve seen it before in Jack McCoy’s Blue Horizon, where he contrasted the likes of the late, great competitively charged Andy Irons to the tranquil, bare-footed, ocean activist Dave Rastovich. McCoy took viewers inside their worlds. We got to follow Andy and see what he was really thinking during one of the most intense periods of his competitive career. We also got to see the stark juxtaposition of Rasta’s free-spirited, wandering lifestyle on the coasts of New Zealand. We saw interviews with their families and gathered firsthand input of who they are as people. We got to know them on a deeper level.
We saw this even before with one of the most soft-spoken, but performance-loud individuals in our world, Mr. Timmy Curran. In the 1995 family-made biography Here and Now, we got to see Tim surfing his home breaks. We got to see Tim with his friends. We got to see what Tim did when the surf was flat. We got see how Tim ordered his boards. We got to see Tim. We got to satiate our curious desires of learning who the quiet and humble kid from Ventura was by going into the world we couldn’t see in standard surf videos. And how many of us wore that movie out as a result?
What I am trying to say is that I’m nosey. I want to know what time Kolohe wakes up in the morning. I want to know what Jordy eats for breakfast. I want to know how many times a week Julian trains and what kind of exercises he’s doing. I want to know what they do when I’m sitting at work wondering what they’re doing in between contests. I want to see their normal lives. Think Fuel TV’s Firsthand but like three times as long. If corporate companies want me to buy boardshorts and button-downs based off the gents who endorse them, I need to know more about those gents to really understand who I’m supporting. I need to know if their character is really worth my admiration, and not just because their sponsors make that decision for me.
Secondly, I want to see more culture. How many of these directors film in remote places that a vast majority of us have yet to visit? Places in the far corners of the globe that require three planes, a boat, two car rides, and a never ending walk to get to. Places with no internet. Places with a welcoming and loving group of natives who live a lifestyle far removed from the chaotic existence which engulfs most of the world. I want to see more of that. I don’t want to just see the waves that break in those places, I want to see the people who live there and pass by those waves every day. I want to see how life is lived beyond the limited perspective of work, work, work and the commuter infested 405. Sure, I can travel there. I can visit them with my own earthly body, but I have to save the vacation time first! In the meantime, I want to live vicariously through the surf media that is readily available on the short weeknights that follow the long workdays. I want to zone out and have a pseudo-vacation to those places while I’m saving for my next plane ticket to actually get there.
A couple of recent films I really feel got this right were Taylor Steele’s This Time Tomorrow and Jason Baffa’s Bella Vita. Steele’s This Time Tomorrow had some of the most amorous and persuasive cinematography I had yet to experience. The way he romanticized each of the four stops on their escapade really sucked me in. Think of how he captured the essence of the kind people of Tahiti. How he layered some indigenous music over the footage of streets in Mexico. The way he focused on ships, trains, and the environmentally hardened Alaska. I mean c’mon. He actively chose to break away from surfing in order to shoot footage that solely included the environment and inhabitants of the places they visited. And that really did those locations a beautiful justice. He showed us more than just Rasta and Ando painting on their aquatic canvases. He introduced us to their overall experience. By the end, it felt like I had taken that trip with them and when the credits showed, I was severely disappointed our journey was over.
This effect is mirrored in Baffa’s Bella Vita. Focused not just on Chris Del Moro or the act of surfing, Baffa expanded the moral of his film to revolve around the Italian culture. He showed us the way Italians live. How they focus on community. How surfing is a small pastime that further strengthens the collective bond that already unites them. We got to learn the history of surfing’s pervasive influence throughout the country. We met shapers, chefs, coffee growers, and wine makers. It was an adventure that introduced us to the myriad aspects of Italy that go way beyond just the sole perspective of waves. I can’t say definitively that my interest in traveling to Italy was as strong before seeing Bella Vita as it is now, but regardless, the film absolutely 150% influenced me to add it to my bucket list.
In the end, I just want more from our surf filmmakers. I want to see them take courageous steps beyond the safety nets of waves, music, waves, music, waves, credits. I want to see them utilize a broader perspective to provide us visibility of worlds that strongly interest us as surfers and movie watchers. Most use surf videos as a means to experience what surfing has to offer when we can’t physically surf. Therefore I feel our filmmakers have a responsibility to entertain us with more than just the same old buffet. And by all means, if there are any other current films that scratch the itch of exactly what I am discussing, please enlighten me. I am definitely open to suggestions.