Oh Nazaré!

Good old fashioned big-wave schmaltz!

Opening day at a big wave is always a thrill. The jetskis are wheeled out of garages in the very early morning, ropes are checked, tanks are fuelled, cameras of every flavour are readied, those little inflatable vests, each with fresh air cartridges, are strapped on to the surfer, surfboards are carefully waxed (one slip!) and

just wow.

A few days ago, the wave Nazaré opened its gate. As the best surfers in the world drifted home after surfing four-foot beachbreaks in Peniche, the not-best-surfers in the world headed out to ride the world’s most photogenic, if dubious, big wave.


As the UK’s Daily Telegraph reported, “It’s the world’s most powerful and monstrous wave – yet it didn’t put daredevil surfers off showcasing their skills.

“And as huge tide crashed into shore from a stormy sea, the wave-riding heroics saw it as an opportunity to show just what they’re capable of.

“Their spine-tiggling displays were guaranteed to leave stunned spectators with hairs standing up on the back of their necks.

“Photos captured the remarkable attempts to surf the monster waves whipped up by powerful storms in the North Atlantic at Praia do Norte in Portugal today.

“Amazing images show the tide as it comes roaring towards surfers who risk it all to ride them.

“The beach has become famous for huge waves since Hawaiian surfer Garrett McNamara received a world record for the largest wave surfed in 2011.”

I can hear you laugh! Me too!

But not so quick. It’s easy to rip into somewhere like Naz when you’re safe tapping the keys at home.

I asked Shane Dorian about the joint once and he recalled being tossed like a salad at the joint.

“The place is a logistical nightmare,” said Shane. “We lost a couple of skis. And, it’s really hard to do rescues there, really really hard. Each surfer needs his own water rescue guy on a ski. At all times. It’s really super dangerous. There’s a cliff there. All that shit. Once, I caught a wave and we lost one of the skis in the shore break. I finally got back out there an hour later. I got a couple more waves and then we had to ditch another ski on the sand. It is just chaotic. I had one of those feelings that I should be happy with the two waves I caught. It’s a full on beach break. It’s like these big wedges down the beach so every time you catch a wave there’s no way to paddle back out. You need a jet ski to come and get you right away and there’s a rip sucking you straight into a big cliff. It’s a lot like the north shore when the waves are big. The water’s really angry.”

Watch the opening day video here

Listen: Jack Johnson’s song for JJF film!

Surfer troubadour writes quirky uke track for View from a Blue Moon…

I can guess how you feel about the faceless, characterless, middle-aged jams of Jack Johnson. Cutting-edge it ain’t.

You’d need to be thirty-plus to climb back into 2001 and remember how revolutionary his new folk sounded amid the schmaltz of Faith Hill, Matchbox 20 and Celine Dion and the flatulence of Creed and Everclear.

If the black man of 1988 had Straight Outta Compton, the surfer of 2001 had Rodeo Clowns, the song that first appeared on a G Love and Special Sauce LP and, later, on the album Brushfire Fairytales.

Johnson’s cred was further established with the brilliant surf films Thicker than Water in 2000 and The September Sessions the following year that he filmed, scored and starred in.

Today we learn, via Rolling Stone, that Johnson has written a song for the John John Florence and Blake Kueny film View From a Blue Moon.

Let’s examine the quotes.

“Florence is a big music fan; Led Zeppelin, the Talking Heads and Black Sabbath are a few of his favorites. When he was thinking of music for the film, he decided to call in a favor from an old family friend friend: Jack Johnson. ‘We both grew up in the same place,’ says Florence. ‘Our family is really close to his family. He’s kind of like an uncle to me and my brothers. He’s always given me really good tips on life and how to do things.’

“Florence initially asked Johnson if he could use one of his songs in the film, but Johnson topped the idea: ‘He was like, ‘Love the idea of making one for the movie.’ So I was blown away that he really wanted to do it,” says Florence. Johnson sent back Seasick Dream a ukulele-steeped ode to the surfing lifestyle. ‘The song plays with a bunch of clips of when I was really young surfing with my brothers, so it worked out insane,’ says Florence.

“I’ve known John John since he was a baby,” Johnson told Rolling Stone in a statement. “The amount of soul that he is able to put into such high performance surfing is mind blowing … I’m always trying to give him uncle advice about everything besides surfing but he seems to have it pretty figured out.”

Listen to the song here. 

Watch Jack, John and Kelly rip Haleiwa together!

And, again, the trailer for View from a Blue Moon

“View From A Blue Moon” Trailer from John John Florence on Vimeo.

Ian Walsh turns big.
Ian Walsh turns big. | Photo: WSL

Victory: Ian Walsh wins Sunset!

After winning it 10 years ago! Mr. Sunset Jr.!

The North Shore season is officially underway and is it not the most wonderful time of the surfing year? Such drama! Such beauty! Even for the most die-hard “I-hate-surf-competition” minded, the contests that take place on the North Shore from November through January feel necessary and the arenas feel built for the spectacle.

The first event, the Hawaiian Island Creation Sunset Pro, has just wrapped and won by Maui stand out Ian Walsh. He also won it ten years ago and told Maui Now News, “For this win, it’s hard to explain. It feels so good. You have a goal you’re working for, and to finally be there and stand on the podium and hold a check above your head, it’s hard to put into words. Originally when I won this event 10 years ago, I wanted that feeling back again. You get a little taste and then every event you want to do it again. With surfing there’s so many ups and downs with what the waves do, and the psychology, and how the whole heat plays out.”

His victory slots him in to the the Vans Triple Crown and Haleiwa in ten short days.

Australian Jack Robinson was also in the final. That boy has a very bright future. Will he knock John John off his perch too soon?

Watch the final day highlights here!

Blind surfer
Aitor ‘Gallo’ Francesena, here, is blind. Absurd, no?

Spark: Blind surfer rips Wave Pool!

How the hell?

You can’t put fight in a man’s guts if there’s no fight in him. You got it or you don’t.

In this two-minute short we see the Basque surfer Aitor “Gallo” Francesena, whose eyeballs got wiped three years ago from one of those genetic disease you hear about and pray to god never happens to you, surfing the Wavegarden in Spain.

Gallo starts slow, someone has to paddle him into a wave, but soon, human intervention is gone and he’s working the waves like a billy goat, surfing with passion and a timing that suggests it was imprinted on his brain; a habit that never deserts a man.

If you’re a sentimental kinda guy or gal, you’ll lose control of the tear ducts.

“If you could open up my head thousands of love hearts would fly away,” says Gallo.

2015 Video Test Series Nº 3: Blind Surfer Rides Wavegarden from wavegarden on Vimeo.

Which one of these two is most popular? Wrong! (Unless you said Dane.) | Photo: Quiksilver

Unexpected: Dane smashes Ando!

An unplanned popularity contest yields startling results!

Last night, semi-drunk and bored, I posted Official: Dane Reynolds Leaves Quik! onto our little website and it almost broke due to a flood of traffic. It surprised me because I posted it as “rumor” three weeks ago and thought, “Get it? Rumor?” And also “Who even fucking cares anyway?”

Apparently everyone.

And I had an even juicier rumor in my pocket. Craig Anderson, the Craig Anderson, wanted to follow him out the door and maybe hustle his own line somewhere. Oh we would hit Kim Kardashian levels of online fame! Oh we would proverbially break the proverbial Internet!

But do you want to know what happened? A virtual shrug. And this surprised me even more. I thought, in my perpetually semi-drunk and also semi-retired from surf reporting (thanks Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell! Purchase here!) state, that Craig Anderson was the boy that everyone wanted. The Rob Machado that would live forever. The style emulated across seven seas. The man who put the hypto in krypto. The Craig Anderson.

Apparently I was wrong.

Does this surprise you? Dane Reynolds ain’t exactly in his prime. Craig Anderson, it could be argued, is. And so why the extra love on something completely unsurprising? Is Dane a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon? Is Craig not?

Help me! Help me, help you!