surf dog
Do you take surfing for granted?

Perspective: Surf Dog Thrills Dying Sisters!

Maybe think about this next time you're weeping about crummy waves or a snapped board…

Do you take your surfing for granted? Do you grumble most days in the water?

Oh be very honest.

It is rarely steep enough, hollow enough, fast enough, good enough, uncrowded enough, etc. to keep our feeble hearts sated. And so we surf but always find fault.

Two teenage girls dying of Friedreich’s ataxia, a rare and terminal degenerative muscular disorder, flew to San Diego and surfed Del Mar with a SURFice dog named Ricochet on Wednesday.

It is rarely steep enough, hollow enough, fast enough, good enough, uncrowded enough, etc. to keep our feeble hearts sated. And so we surf but always find fault.

SURFice dogs, for those who don’t know, surf with people who cannot move properly. They counterbalance the board and allow the disabled to surf.

Those who witnessed the event said the girls’ joy was uncontainable. They surfed many waves each and one remarked afterward, “I’ve always wanted to surf and then I found out about Ricochet and it made it more special. It just felt so good, like I was free.”

The surf though out San Diego County was crap on Wednesday but I will never complain again.

John John Florence
He falls? | Photo: Chris Bryan

Movie: A Compendium of John John Fails!

Who doesn't want to watch a two-minute reel of the BSITW wiping out?

It really does depend on the crowd you swing with but, mostly, you could say that John John Florence is the best surfer in the world or BSITW.

Do you remember one year ago, almost to the day, when he danced all over six-to-eight-foot Hossegor as if it were a two-foot Rio beachbreak? And his sangfroid at 10-foot Teahupoo, at 15-foot Pipe, at 20-foot Jaws?

But to get to the highest rung, y’gotta fall down a few. To get a 10-foot tube you gotta eat it in the worst ways imaginable.

The following two-minute clip of John John Fails was compiled by the excellent Hawaiian mag Freesurf. Pick one up next time you’re in Town!

…when he’s not falling, JJ is going…backwards, inverted…

How to: make your kid a surf star!

Who doesn't want their own little John John?

I turned thirty five this year, an interesting development in what’s been a pretty damn interesting life. Not to try and sound all cool, “I didn’t think I’d live this long.”

I’m fairly certain I’ll survive to be a lonely old asshole screaming at the neighbor kids for riding their hover boards in front of my house. At least until one of them gets all hopped up on space meth, dresses up like an interstellar kabuki whore, kicks down my front door, and indulges in a little bit of the ol’ ultraviolence.

Probably nothing that awesome, but I’ll definitely hang onto life long past the point when my antics cease to be amusing.

Everyone I know is popping out kids, playing daddy, settling down and doing all the shit I’ve tried my damnedest to avoid. Sure, sure, being a father is amazing. Your body releases all these chemicals to make sure you don’t kill it, you can bash it into fulfilling all those dreams you deferred to keep the thing fed. Such a blessing!

If you say so.

I’ve been very successful, to the best of my knowledge, at ensuring none of the cell divisions I’ve accidentally helped kick-start over the years survived past the first trimester. I like my independence, I love my free time, I adore my disposable income.

 Sure, sure, being a father is amazing. Your body releases all these chemicals to make sure you don’t kill it, you can bash it into fulfilling all those dreams you deferred to keep the thing fed.  Such a blessing!

But, you know, people are gonna breed, and I guess that’s an okay thing. Gotta keep the species alive.  And since we, the Millennials, the extreme generation, were raised on alternative sports, energy drinks, and a total lack of job security, there’s little as forward thinking as pushing your offspring into a career in which they will perpetually be treated as a disposable commodity by an industry built around catering to teenage fashion tends.

Addiction Dad 

What better way to teach your child the true meanings of maturity, responsibility, and self-reliance than by making sure they know they’ll always play second banana to whatever substance you love to smoke, snort, imbibe, or blast into your veins?

By far the easiest path, it only requires that you occasionally make a half-assed effort of doing right by your progeny. Show up unexpected on a birthday or Christmas, swear that your problems are in the past, then run for the hills the moment things get real. Do it right and the kid will always crave your approval, and when you’re a broken-down old piece of shit they’ll have enough pity to make sure you’re comfortable while you slip toward the abyss.

Beware, though, gone too long and there’s no going back. Then your only recourse is writing a pathetic tell all blaming everyone else for your woes.

(Click here!) or maybe (Click here!)

Addiction is a disease! Of course, spending your life on the wrong end of a truck stop glory hole ends in disease as well.

Domineering Dad

Blow that whistle, run that camera, suck out every bit of joy. This is sport, this is work, this is serious!

Build yourself a shallow home school retard, so focused on a single pursuit that there’s no going back.

Call yourself their “manager,” negotiate lucrative contracts, be sure to wet your beak. Why put the earnings aside, building interest and a secure future should things go pear shaped and they only achieve workhorse pro status? Your kids are your property, what’s theirs is yours.

Absent Dad

A subspecies of Addiction Dad, all you need do is make a quick run to the corner store for smokes one day. Maybe get sidetracked for thirty years or so.

Relatively simple, though least likely to pay off for yourself, there’s something to be said for the motivation created by the absence of fatherly love. Maybe you’ll come home if they can do a better cutback. Maybe you’ll see they won their NSSA division and show up on their doorstep with all those missed gifts, full of advice and approval, ready to be that role model they so desperately craved.

Of course, it ain’t gonna happen. But kids are dumb, they don’t know that.

Loving Dad

The kindest path, the one we all crave, but let’s be honest, no one’s ever achieved greatness by liking what they see staring back from the mirror each day.

Greatness is built by self loathing, by the sense that one’s best will never be good enough.

So, yeah, love and cherish and coddle and dote on your young ones. If you want them to turn out to be well balanced and happy losers.

Foam Eating worms
Can worms save surfing from its unsustainable and destructive manufacturing processes? Let's ask Chemical and Engineering news! "Polystyrene—most familiarly produced as foams, including Styrofoam—has given the world cheap, lightweight insulation and containers for taking food to go. But the material biodegrades so slowly that it can sit in a landfill for hundreds of years. A new finding points to a potential solution: Mealworms will dine on polystyrene foam when they can’t get a better meal, converting up to 48% of what they eat into carbon dioxide." Which is a long and roundabout way of saying… yes!

Can Killer Worms Save Surfing?

Foam-eating microbes the missing link in surf environmentalism… 

File it under kind-of-interesting-and-tangentially-related-to-surfing, researchers at Beihang University in Beijing have found that meal worms will eat polystyrene, microbes within their guts converting the foam in carbon dioxide.

(Click here)

Good news for those of us who enjoy sliding waves on hunks of poison. Sure, the people who sold you that EPS import will insist it’s recyclable, but I don’t see anyone rounding up old boards and ripping the glass off of them. That’s shit’s really just a marketing ploy, whatever you’re riding now is destined to languish in a landfill.

So it’d be pretty neat if we could just toss our broken or unloved boards in a pile and let bugs eat them.

But don’t get too excited, like every other cool science story you’ve ever read online, this one is only telling you part of the truth. Yeah, the bugs will eat a bit, but not enough to really make a difference.

“Ramani Narayan, an expert in plastic biodegradation at Michigan State University, says the researchers have made an interesting discovery, but that it is not yet ready for practical application. He notes that about half of the polystyrene the mealworms eat is excreted back into the environment in fragments that may not be biodegradable and could carry toxins up the food chain.”

Mason Ho Bells

How to: buy the perfect summer surfboard!

Because it ain't just as simple as short, wide, fat… 

Who doesn’t love summer? Y’gotta be a schmuck not to fall apart at the long days spent under sailboat skies, in vivid blue water, nailing deadly air after deadly air.

(Yeah, I know it’s a memory in the northern hem, but it’s lighting up south of the zero-degree border…)

But if there’s anything that might ruin these salad days, it’s a surfboard that just doesn’t… work. Maybe it’s too long, too narrow or, maybe it’s built a little thicker to handle you in a thick wetsuit.

How do you choose a summer board? And what’s the difference to the board you’ve been jamming all winter, autumn and spring? Let’s examine the five fundamental differences.

1. Thickness isn’t necessarily your pal in small waves

This is a misconception driven by the whole literage concept. Now that we order boards according to volume rather than specific dimensions, you lose control over the variables of length, width and thickness. For instance, a thicker board is harder to get moving in the lil wind-waves we surf in summer. And you’re either in trunks or a light wetsuit so you don’t need the float. If you’re a 28-litre kinda guy, dump the thickness and go width. Because…

2. Width is almost everything 

Wide boards plane over weak dead sections. Who doesn’t love a narrow board when it’s a jamming reef somewhere in Indonesia and all y’gotta do is grab a rail and watch the lip curl over your head? We all do! But, in summer, in those onshore two-footers, you want a board that has an inbuilt engine. Wide boards have got it. But you’ll also need…

3. A flat rocker

This is the other half of the summer board power-train. Curved boards fit into curvy waves. Into tubes. Maybe you get ’em in summer, maybe you don’t. I’m guessing you’re taking off, racing down the line trying to find some kinda section to hit and throw yourself into the sky. Curves? Forget ’em. Straighten that rocker.

4. Slim down

A heavy board generates momentum. And this is a good thing, a very good thing, in waves with push. In summer, you want a board that is so light you gotta tie the damn thing down so it doesn’t float away. One layer, four ounce, all over. It won’t last a lifetime, but what does?

5. Colour

Winter is a palette of greys and whites, at least in the game of surf. But summer! A white board isn’t going to cut it. I drew my inspiration from a Christian Hosoi eighties skateboard re-issue on my lil Lost Puddle Jumper. It’s psychological, sure, but colours give a summer board a personality. And summer boards are all about personality.