I’ve been in LA less than twenty-four hours and my brain’s about to pop.
This is where I’m from, I’m a product of my environment. I can handle whatever phoniness the Caulfields love to claim, and status conscious bullshit don’t bother me a bit.
Why would it? Just empty nonsense. You want to live through your purchases that’s fine, don’t effect me one bit.
I miss Hawaii, that simmering violence lurking just beneath the surface. The fact that if you honk your horn at someone the moment the light turns green there’s a far better than zero chance the driver will throw it in park, drag you out the window, and bash you into the groun
But the rudeness… the million petty self-centered atrocities I’ve witnessed since I arrived late last night. I knew they were coming, that I’d need to stay calm. Let it flow off my back like water off a duck, or just pay it no never mind, move on and forget.
But I can’t.
I miss Hawaii, that simmering violence lurking just beneath the surface. The fact that if you honk your horn at someone the moment the light turns green there’s a far better than zero chance the driver will throw it in park, drag you out the window, and bash you into the ground.
Small island, tiny population. Cross some motherfucker once, you’ll run into him again and again. There’s no escape from consequence, and that suits me just fine.
I understand LA’s not so bad. Not really. Not compared to the vast majority of the world.
But I got out, moved on, found someplace better to call home.
Thank my non existent lord and savior that I’ve only got two days left in my sentence.
It has been a busy year for the possible 2015 world champ...but not too busy for love!
Professional surfing, on the World Tour, is a grind. Oh sure, the life is not nearly as taxing as, say, working a coal mine or teaching English to native Chinese speakers but still. It is a twelve month per year gig with precious little time off, which makes Mick Fanning’s latest splash such a heartwarming one.
There is a sixteen-year-old boy named Ben Beasley from Adelaide, Australia, who was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor and has been undergoing chemotherapy, a total drag by all accounts. His family told him they were going on a little trip to the Gold Coast and Ben thought it was “random” until out popped Mick Fanning, Ben’s favorite surfer!
Mick is an ambassador of the Starlight Children’s Foundation, a charity that makes sick kids’ dreams come true and Ben, of course, dreamed of meeting with the three, maybe four time world champ.
“Even to just get a photo with [Fanning] has been a dream of mine for a long time…” the young man told the Brisbane Times.
Better yet, though, Mick paddled Ben and his twin brother out and the three surfed for hours.
If you needed a little pick me up, which professional surfer would you want to spend time with?
Michael Crawley is a marketing guy and handler for Dane Reynolds who was cut loose by his employer Quicksilver after 10 beautiful, mutually beneficent years.
Crawley has dark brilliant eyes and aura of other-worldness about him (he’s an excellent photographer, also) but even his famous charisma couldn’t stay his execution during one of those periodic rounds of blood-letting that have come to characterise the brand.
With his and gal Tenielle’s redundancy cash (she was tapped from Roxy during the purge), the pair used $54,000 to start a sunglasses label called Valley.
And, now, well, you can just look!
Katie Holmes, Chris Hemsworth, Johnny Depp, Maz Manson, Kat Von D, Margot Robbie all wear ‘em. It was also reported that the famous Kardashian family will soon stock Valley in their chain of clothing boutiques called DASH.
How did Crawley get Valley onto so many famous eyes and beaks? I had to ask!
(Note to reader: this is an unpaid endorsement. Hyperbole aside just for the moment, I think it’s amazing to rise from the ashes of unemployment and the despair of poverty to just… nailing it.)
BeachGrit: You’ve become such a celeb whore? Who y’been screwing to get ‘em to wear your specs?
Crawley: Mate, come on. I’m not really sure why the celebs have been so into Valley. Maybe it’s the silhouettes and they want to be noticed. A lot of the musicians and celeb types talk among each other and they know I’m cool to make custom frames or get them into their own tinted lenses or custom variations so it has kinda become a bespoke eyewear thing for a lot of them. Marilyn Manson has about thirty pairs of custom aviators with all kinds of wild tints. Johnny Depp got some yellow tints. Debra Messing got a bunch of opticals. I just did some custom tinted aviators for Chris Hemsworth. I also made some custom coloured frames in Slayer red and black for Kerry King’s wife Ayesha with inverted crosses on the face. Sure is fun to make them one-off pieces.
BeachGrit: Got some advice on how to get a celeb using your gear?
Crawley: Talk to them. We don’t use a PR company. If they want to talk to us they talk to me directly. I feel like that connection with us directly makes a huge difference/ All the celebs are friends of friends or connected by associates so it’s an organic connection which goes a long way. Plus I’m a nice guy. Ha!
BeachGrit: Are you really in the Kardashian stores? How’d you swing that?
Crawley: Yeah, the DASH stores have picked us up for all their stores across the USA and our line drops in there next week. They have a crazy following so let’s see how that goes…
BeachGrit: Who’s your fav Dash? Something about Khloe kicks me good. And Kendall? What a transformation! If you weren’t tied down like an anchor who would you squat down on one of your chubby knees to marry?
Crawley: Ha! You’ve lost it. Chubby knees, are you high? Kylie is the best one for sure…
BeachGrit: What does it take to get a biz where you are? You’re a driven sonofabitch, I know that much. Do you ever take no for an answer?
Crawley: Nope, if you take no then it means you give up easily. Mate, it’s all about being unique and creating a seriously good quality product. If you make a dope product people will come back for more or tell 10 friends, “Fuck, those Valley frames are insane, the quality is out of hand.” The power of the people is the key. You can’t fool consumers these days. Making a successful business takes a long list of points but also you have to give it 110% at all times …
BeachGrit: Were there naysayers when you were starting, saying it couldn’t be done, crowded market etc?
Crawley: For sure. People said we were crazy blah blah blah and that’s cool and I could see their point but we have a unique product that’s been accepted well by the market we have hit… I know that what we do isn’t for every one which is cool and I can appreciate that… but… we also have a strong following of people that do love what we are doing and are dedicated valley fans or followers that wait for every new product we do which is really insane…
BeachGrit: Was it about the Quik talent pool? You and Tenz doing Valley, Blackwood doing his XMax thing, Ryan and Need Essentials, Strider owning the commentator sphere. Was it a wonderful place to work?
Crawley: Yeah, it’s crazy the talent pool that came out of there. Casey Egan does this denim line too called Deconstructed Indigo Garments and I reckon these black tapered jeans are the best jeans on the planet. They’re fuckin mind blowing. And, yeah, Scanno’s NEED stuff is dope as well. Quiksilver was a cool place for a little bit. I feel like they knew how to spot talented people to put into their business but they never knew how to utilise it to its full potential. Or maybe there were too many old dogs in there that would get their noses outta joint if a young guy wanted to do something wild which was out of their comfort zone.
It was a great learning tool for us. It showed me to encourage people to look outside the box and when you’re uncomfortable with something maybe that’s a good thing.
I work closely with an artist in LA named Jesse Draxler and he does a bunch of artwork for us and I never give him a brief. He knows my brand look and feel and I let him just go wild with my imagery or whatever and create these pieces and we don’t fuck with it and it is so raw but so fucking insane it fits right in perfectly and creates a unique side of what we do.
If the old guys at Quiksilver embraced their employees and encouraged them they’d have NEED basic wetsuits which have sold like wildfire, Casey’s insane jeans and product, Valleys eyewear collection and optics and much more from past employees.
With their dollars and distribution could you imagine the revenue that could have generated on those three products just there alone? Jesus! Someone fucked up didn’t they.
BeachGrit: You getting bites to buy the company? I hear stories that include the world “million.” Tell me!
Crawley: Right now, I’m just focussing on working on our next collection and 2016. But, yeah, we have had interest. Rumours, mate! I have no complaints right now that’s for sure!
If you can make Hawaii work, and I think the wife and I have, it spoils you quite a bit. Hard to drum up the motivation to get the hell out of Dodge, the best places are more of a lateral move than improvement on current circumstances.
I know a lot of guys bail to Bali during the Summer months, but since I’ve gone full retard on the freediving and spearo kick flat spells don’t bother me much. It’s actually been a problem this Summer, haven’t been able to hit my favorite holes ‘cuz the surf’s been too good.
I’m in the process of preparing for my first surf trip in ages. I leave the islands fairly frequently, but never for surf.
Why bother? If I want warm water barrels I can drive to ’em, no need to board a plane.
But I got offered a free trip to Nicaragua, and there’s no way I’m turning that down. It’s really the only thing I miss about living in California, quick and easy jaunts to Central America. Also, In & Out.
First, a few days in LA, to break up the trip. The quickest “direct” jaunt from Kauai to Managua would have taken me 26 hours. Fuck that noise, I’ll do three days at my parents’ house before flying South.
Just a few things left to do before I leave.
Finish cleaning the house: Since I’m forsaking my wifely duties for a bit I need to get the homestead in a state nearing clean. I can’t stand returning to a filthy home, and I know the missus won’t lift a finger while I’m gone. No doubt she’ll be too busy struggling to stay afloat in a sea of dicks.
Find my passport: It’s around here, somewhere, I’m sure. It had better be.
To bring a board or not? Such a hassle, way too expensive. Hitting two different airlines on the way there and back, it’ll run me around $500, round trip, to bring a single board. Highway fucking robbery is what that is.
But I’ve got my boards dialed, and I’d hate to get a solid run of waves without something under me that works. Decisions, decisions. Probably just head down with a pair of flippers and hope there’s something for sale that works for my fat ass.
Buy condoms: Rubbers fucking suck, no way I’m wearing them with my wife. But I used to keep a stash around. You never know when you’re gonna trip and fall dick first into some warm pussy.
Which is exactly what happened on our last trip to Nica. We spent a month there in 2004, got utterly skunked for surf. No big deal, it’s a cool country. Instead traveled inland, saw a bunch of sights we’d have missed had it been going off.
We met an attractive Australian couple about our age. Linked up and hung together, always nice to have another pair along for the ride, if for no reason than to cut down on arguments. Which happen on couples trips. Stress and exhaustion in a new place, one of you is gonna blow up at the other.
A few days in the woman I’d later marry said, “I think they want to have sex with us.”
She was right.
A night on Ometepe, a ton of very cheap rum, and a women’s softball team from the great white North, turned a late night skinny dip into a very fond memory. Trying to push my semi-flaccid member into an overweight French Canadian girl’s asshole was fun.
Waking up with a crippling hangover, awash in the stench of a handful of different pussy, was not.
Although he might deny it, Cyrus Sutton, at thirty-three, is one of the few real geniuses of surfing. Everything he touches turns to gold, a fact of life which has earned for him the mantle of The Midas of Surfing.
His resume is extensive. Let’s examine.
“Cyrus Sutton is a filmer, director and rad surfer who lives in a van, even when he’s at home (he parks it in a shed in the yard). Cyrus’ movies Compassing, Riding Waves, Stoked and Broke and the website Korduroy.tv all feed into the modern need to back off from all our electronic devices and conveniences. But don’t go thinking Emmy-award winning Cyrus is a dull boy. Ask him about his travel philosophy and he says, ‘Drive fast, take chances.’”
If you have a simplistic view of the world, like I do, you tend to divide people into good and bad. I equate Cyrus with the very special pleasures of life.
Two weeks ago, Cyrus sent me an email asking that I report on his and biz partner Reis Paluso’s Kickstarter project for a sun cream called Manda. The pair learned to make sunscreen for an episode of Korduroy TV, which you can watch here.
Cyrus wrote: “I wanted to alert you to the sunscreen findings and give you content for a potential article about it. You may have seen in the news the discovery by The journal of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology,and reported inTime magazine, The Washington Post,Gizmodo, etc. that there is ground breaking evidence of the extreme impact chemical sunscreens have on coral reefs. It’s been shown that one drop of sunscreen in six swimming pools of water can kill corals and 1,400 tons of sunscreen is estimated to wash onto reefs annually from beach goers. The chemical is Oxybenzone and it is found in over 3500 sunscreens on the market today has been directly linked to the destruction of reefs… We are less than a week from ending our Kickstarter for our organic edible high performance sunblock. We were fully funded within a few days of launch but want to pass on this issue. Whether or not you include us, we feel it’s important to get this message out there.”
The sun cream uses a paste called Thankaka made from the ground bark of a tree indigenous to Burma (BeachGrit refuses to recognise the military junta which changed the name in 1989). Cyrus says Thankaka has been used “by the Burmese people for thousands of years to protect their skin from the sun.”
Such an important message! What is more fundamental than the environment?
But, amid Dane leaving Quiksilver and John John’s blood feud with JetBlue, I forgot to post. It didn’t seem to dent the Kickstarter jam, which raised around 40k, more than twice their original goal.
Anyway, it’s never too late, I believe, to spread the message of cleaning up our dirty old planet. This interview took place between Sydney, Australia, and the Californian desert.
But, wait. Midway through, a meteor shower or an ICBM launch, lit up the sky above Cyrus. Look below!
Anyway, the interview commences.
BeachGrit: Some pal I turned out to be. Y’tell me all about your organic creamies on Kickstarter, I promise the world, and I don’t write shit about it. Do you hate me?
Cyrus: Haha, I still love you. Kickstarters are so 2010 I don’t blame you, I was just doing my job.
BeachGrit: Tell me, real quick, and not in PR speak, what your creamies are like? Why they spesh?
Cyrus: I’ve had trouble getting my hands on a natural sunblock that doesn’t rub off in California. So my friends and I decided to make one. It smells like chai and stays on all day. It doesn’t mess up the coral reefs too which is a big plus.
BeachGrit: Who wants that white coral, huh! I like the colours! Where’s the most beautiful reef y’ever seen?
Cyrus: The east side of the big island has some crazy spots
BeachGrit: But, anyway, you got the cash for launch, yeah? How much y’get and where does it go now?
BeachGrit: While we’re rapping, what happened to your old but iconic surf van? How much y’get, who bought it and tell me about the new one?
Cyrus: I sold it to the owner of 2 mile surf shop near San Francisco. He’s known for his cosmic surf forecasts. They are really worth check out just for their literary value. The guy’s a scribe and pretty hilarious. I got about 10k which is a fair price considering the work that went into it so we’re both stoked. I got a new sprinter van which gets double the gas mileage and is twice as roomy inside so I’m loving life.