Danny Fuller: “I was a human turtle!”

Is there a more interesting personality, currently, in all of surf?

What Youth, the wonderful magazine/website/production house from Costa Mesa, California has been around now for five-ish years and how fantastic for the surf world. Their blend of introspection, high performance, quality and skill make for such a pleasant experience. Bravo, I say.

One of their latest pieces on Danny Fuller is consistent with the brand in that it is very well done. And is there a more interesting surfer, right now than he? From Kauai to New York the man moves effortlessly between worlds. Or seemingly so. I saw him at Disneyland not too long ago and his life appears very full. Take a break, this Black Friday, and snuggle down with some good story-telling on a fascinating personality. Oh and don’t thank me for this present, thank What Youth.

Fairlynormal_Dannyfuller_final_master web from What Youth on Vimeo.

Sigh: The most romantic proposal!

So sweet it'll melt your ears!

Because I’m the healthiest sick person on earth I had the pleasure of spending my entire morning on the phone, using my sweetest fake nice phone voice to try and weasel my way into the last minute physical and hearing test I need before I go under for my latest god damn ear surgery.

For those keeping count, this will be the fourth time I’ve had an ear cut mostly off, then sewn back on. Third time for the left, ol’ Rightie’s had an easy go of it.

Thanks to our blessed Obama’s elimination of pre-existing conditions I have killer insurance. A lifelong series of head hole difficulties, coupled with my apparent prediliction for post-slam ER trips, would have made me un-insurable in the not so recent past. But, fuck, if I was expected to pay for all this shit out of pocket?

Going over hospital bills blows my mind. The sheer amount of debt you’d run up if you got seriously hurt and weren’t covered? It’s just so far beyond reason, I don’t know why people even bother paying a cent. Sure, it’d ruin your credit, but when you’re saddled with $500k+ ruination you’ll never be able to afford anything anyway.

Even when you’re safely covered, you’ve gotta stay on top of everyone when it comes time to pay up. Constant overcharges, bullshit “errors”- never in your favor. The people who supplied me with my IV stuff “accidentally” racked up over $1000, didn’t refund me until I noticed and called a few months later.

“Oh, we noticed that, I was just about to process your refund.”
How convenient.

Health insurance is really the only reason I’m married. After my wife finished law school she was uninsured for a few months. And, wouldn’t you know it? Here’s this weird lump in her tit!

Scary stuff, though in the end it was nothing. But the affair led to the most romantic proposal in the history of mankind.

“So, you know, if we were married you could just get on my plan.”

“Yeah, oof, I know.”

“And we’ll probably get a better tax rate when you find a law job.”


“So, like, you think we should just do it? It’s been twelve years, it’s not like either of us is going anywhere.”

“That’s true. Fuck it. Do we have to have a wedding?”

“Our families will probably get pissed if we don’t. Let’s just only give them a few weeks notice and not offer to pay for anything. No one will come that way.”

“Will you sign a pre-nup?”

“Hell no. I get half.”

I’m not sure how it works in countries with socialized medicine. I know we have a few readers from NZ and Aus, you all got that deal going, right? American propaganda tells us that your medical care sucks and that you’re taxed out the asses for it. Which doesn’t seem ideal. I’m sure I could find out the truth with a few hours spent online, but I’m not gonna bother.

Our deal works out pretty well. The majority of the premium is covered by the wife’s employer. Our share, while not small, isn’t particularly onerous. So I guess I can see the appeal of this system. If we were expected to pay a percentage it’d be more than just paying our little employer subsidized portion. Other people are out of luck, they can go get fucked. USA!

Even so, we’ve paid out enough this year to buy a boat. And I really want a little zodiac to run about. And I don’t want to feel lucky to have access to quality medical care. And I really wish I didn’t have to leave Kauai to get this shit done. And I really, really, really hope that none of the nursing staff decides molest my sexily unconscious body.

We’re back!

Just like a 1971 MG Midget!

Ain’t the Internet just a damn thing? So future! So modern! But as fickle as a 1971 MG Midget. I had one once and it was glorious but it would break down maybe every other day. Thankfully, it was a midget and so I could push it to the nearest garage and they would call the nearest British motors specialty shop and then. $1000.00 later I would be on the road for a whole ‘nother day!

Well, I hope you missed us. I hope your day was a bit less bright, a bit less fulfilled. Hopefully Graham Stapelberg will never hack us again.

Bruce Irons, Pipeline
Do you like the aesthetics of Bruce Irons at Pipe? Oh, we do, we do! | Photo: Brian Bielmann

Opinion: Wildcards ain’t candy!

The louder the child, the greater the reward?

My wife’s law firm hosted a fancy pants wine and dine schmooze party the other night, and I got wrangled along in order to fulfill my role as dutiful spouse. The requirements of said role are mostly minorL don’t wear boardshorts, iron your aloha shirt, smile and nod and, for god’s sake, don’t offer up any of your crazy fucking opinions about class structure, the legal system, or small town political dynamics.

Not too much of a chore.

I’m nearly deaf in my left ear, with a decent amount of hearing loss in my right. Between the background chatter of the crowd and the guy playing guitar in the corner I couldn’t understand most of what was being said.

So smile and nod and try to read facial cues. Was that a joke? I think it was. Chuckle politely.

As the night wound down and people trickled home, until only employees and close friends of the firm remained. The volume dropped to a point where I could actually understand and interact with the people around me.

All of them are very nice, though if I felt differently there’s no way I’d say so here. Despite my urging the wife tells all and sundry about BeachGrit, and at least a few of her colleagues actually read it.

And thank you very much, guys. I swear that anything unflattering is not aimed at you.

The thing about lawyers, at least the successful ones, each was, without exception, the smartest kid in school. Highly intelligent, very competitive, skilled at testing and writing and putting their opinions into words.

They love to talk shop, and after a few bottles of wine every lawyer gathering devolves into a contest to see who can shout their opinions loudest. Which I find exhausting. It’s not that I don’t understand what they’re taking about, I’ve been front row center to the missuses legal trajectory, you can’t help but pick some stuff up. I just don’t care.

I’ll run my mouth for hours, given the chance. Yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yapI love attention, I just hate competing for it. Look at the shit I write for BG. Ninety percent of it is just me talking about me.  Which has become my answer when people ask the awful question, “So what do you write?”

It gives off a strong silent type vibe, which is kind of cool, but couldn’t be further from the truth.

I’ll run my mouth for hours, given the chance. Yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yapI love attention, I just hate competing for it. Look at the shit I write for BG. Ninety percent of it is just me talking about me.  Which has become my answer when people ask the awful question, “So what do you write?”

Self involved essays, mostly. Such a weird answer. Definitely don’t say that to someone you just met.

Which brings us around to the point, beyond just writing about myself. Something, again, I obviously love to do.

Sometimes you just don’t belong.

It’s got nothing to do with ability, the skill to play the game.It’s rooted in desire, or anxiety, or some deep-seated personal flaw that says, “This far, no further.”

Just because you could, doesn’t mean you should, and being driven by the expectations of others can only lead to failure.

Win or lose, you’re gonna lose.

Bruce Irons has no business being granted a wildcard to Pipe.

Yes, he’s a legend, brother to another whose tale has only grown larger in the telling. But he’s never been able to succeed in the contest world. Like Dane, it’s not ability holding him back, just desire.  Sure, he may be able to make a few heats, mix things up, crush a dream or two. But that’s all.

There’s an entire generation of young Pipe chargers just dying for a chance, and that spot is rightfully theirs. Bruce had his time, but blew it and chose to walk away. I’ve no idea what he’s done with his life in the following years, but he’s stayed out of jail, out of the news, so whatever’s going on it can’t be all that bad.

He should’ve turned down his shot, looked magnanimous, become an elder statesman.

But it’s too late now. Whatever it is about competition that tears him apart, he’s gotta face it again.

In the public sphere, after a huge to-do, all eyes on him.

Kelly Slater and the six-six CI Semi-Pro he rode to victory against John John Florence at the 2013 Pipeline Masters.

Update: SurfStitch buys FCS!

For, uh, $23.7 million… 

Update: Less than a day ago, I wrote the story below in which I suggested Surf Hardware International (which includes Gorilla Grip, FCS etc) was just about to be sold for bullish $160 million.

Boy, was I off. The online clothing retailer SurfStitch, which also owns Stab and Magic Seaweed, just bought it. For the very bearish $23.7 million.

Read about it the acquisition here and what SurfStitch plans to do with the company. 

You can read my other failed prophecy below…

You can react two ways to the merciless and aggressive greed of the biz world. Either crave, pointlessly, for less rapacity or you can marvel at the ability of those who can grab a co with potential, polish it a little, and offload it at fantastic profit.

Vulture Investors” Oaktree Capital Management, which owns 19 per cent of Billabong and now controls Quiksilver Inc after its recent bankruptcy, is one company very good at this kind of biz.

Pals in the share game tell me the new, leaner, debt-free Billabong has never been a better buy, thanks to Oaktree.

Last month, it was reported that the plan was to combine to the two surf co’s. 

Surf Hardware, aka FCS, meanwhile, is in the process of being sold, at least according to a recent phone call I received. Now, if y’aint au fait with the biz and its importance to our surf game, maybe y’should.

In the early 1980s, Bill McCausland and two partners founded the company Fin Control Systems. It grew. We all started buying boards with plugs in ‘em. Along came a raft of removable-fin imitators.

It all went pear-shaped when the new company’s CEO and McCausland didn’t, uh, get along. The company sacked McCausland but, wait, he had thirty per cent of the company. A receipt for harmony, yes? But, no.

Shit went downhill. I glaze over at this kinda stuff. But read it all here. 

Ten years of court battles followed. Read about the case here. 

Anyway, looks like McCausland came out of it with a few mill. Enough to keep the wolves at bay, but maybe tough to swallow when y’hear the biz is rumoured to be sold for $160 million, and your share would’ve peeled you off $50 million.

I called FCS for a comment, got a nice enough accounts guy who refused to comment either way but obfuscated enough to make me think, yeah, the sale is under way.

And we’ll find out if it’s true soon enough.