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Earlier this year, the filmmaker Toby Cregan released his sci-fi surf film Nix Nic Nooley. The 40-minute film conjures up a fantasy world in the year 2879. There is transmutation, flight, prophecy and wizardry.
“Due to pollution the ocean has dried up, the only way to surf is by time travel using a cybotactical head unit. Zilou and Bibilou are two of the only humans interested in surfing, this is their story back in time.”
Apart from illuminating the many genuine gifts of Creed McTaggart, who filmed for NNN in between trips for Cluster and Strange Rumblings, we see the very underrated surfing of Duncan McNicol and a roll call of cameos that include Noa Deane, Dion Agius, Beau Foster, Nate Tyler, Wade Goodall and Jay Davies.
A few minutes ago, I asked Toby, who is 24 years old and who is also principal in the band Skegss,why the movie was suddenly for free. He said he’d sold out his entire print run of DVDs (500, of which 50 were gifted to friends) so, “why the fuck not?”
“Literally, the next day, we had Beau Foster in a dress because we knew if we didn’t shoot straight away it wasn’t going happen. It was just going to be one of those things we talk about, like, ‘We should do that movie where we dress Beau Foster up in a dress.'”
The idea for the movie came when Creed, Toby and Duncan were driving from Byron Bay to nearby Cabarita for a surf. Duncan had just watched the Oscars and he announced that he would make a “fucking sick actor.”
They started shooting the next day.
“Literally, the next day, we had Beau Foster in a dress because we knew if we didn’t shoot straight away it wasn’t going to happen. It was just going to be one of those things we talk about, like, ‘We should do that movie where we dress Beau Foster up in a dress.'”
Why the dress?
“Because everyone on the internet, and in real life for that matter, says he looks like a chick. And because he does. He’s a hot dude.”
The name Nix Nic Nooley comes from the opening scene where Duncan and Creed speak a invented language called Zeekna. Listen carefully and you’ll hear.
It began with: “Immensely talented pro surfer from Santa Barbara, California; world-ranked #5 in 2006; the first Mexican-American to qualify for the pro tour; known as much for his colorful anti-surf industry rants as for his powerful, stylish turns.”
And, included, “Martinez seemed to take pro surfing’s often-shallow inner workings as a personal affront, to a degree that soon began to affect his competitive drive. He held onto a top 10 position, but 2009, the career complaints that he’d so far kept mostly among friends—about judging, contest formatting, venues—began showing up in public forums.”
Were you sad when Bobby jumped off the tour in 2011 just after being DQ’d from the Quiksilver Pro in New York? Oh, I was.
Warshaw’s post about Bobby re-fired my thoughts about Bob, still just 33 years old, four years younger than Taj and a decade behind Kelly. And yet retired for four years already. Ain’t that crazy?
Being a professional contest surfer, in that regard, makes so much more sense to me than just being a photo pro, or whatever they’re called these days. Maybe if you’re 21or 22. But as an adult? I don’t know. Craig Andersen, and Dane, and that whole aging Modern Collective crew — there’s gotta be some heavy-duty existential dread floating some of those guys’ heads.
Anyway, I wanted to ask Warshaw, what did Bobby Martinez leave behind? Anything? This interview took place between Sydney, Australia, and Seattle, Washington.
BeachGrit: I read with immense interest your post about Bobby Martinez. Seven NSAA titles, wins two events in his rookie year and finishes fifth. Quits tour at 28 because “every surfer was complaining and no one was happy… endless amount of shit… it fucken got to me.” As a historian, tell me how Bobby is remembered… or is he remembered…
Warshaw: When did Bobby pack it in, four years ago?
BeachGrit: 2011, yeah…
Warshaw: Sadly, to me anyway, I think he’s more remembered these days for being . . . take your pick, a giant crybaby, or the New Millennium Dora.
BeachGrit: Sadly? Why?
Warshaw: Sadly, because when I was making those two little vid clips for his page, I remembered what an amazingly good surfer he was. Or is, I mean! Better now then he ever was on tour! Smaller boards, a bit more flesh on his bones, and look at him go!
BeachGrit: You’ve written that you never really liked Bobby’s “surf-rebel rants.” I was thrilled every time he took the microphone. Why didn’t they excite you?
Warshaw: No, they did. They excited me in that he wasn’t boring. Chas just wrote a little love note about Joe Turpel’s handling of Mick’s shark episode, but for my money the standout world tour announcer response of all time was Todd Kline’s post-heat webcast interview with Bobby in NYC. The shock and joy dancing across Kline’s face! Surfing, for a few great moments, was vicious and funny and slightly out of control, and I still get a buzz watching it on YouTube.
BeachGrit: Oh, you do jumble things. You like ‘em or not?
Warshaw: What I liked about the New York blowup was just how slashing and sudden it was. But really . . . what’s behind it? What was Bobby so angry about? Not just in New York, but those two or three years before, and even after he quit. Why so mad? You’re a Top 10 professional surfer, making, I don’t know, a half-million a year? Living a block off the beach in Santa Barbara?
BeachGrit: Did I tell you of the timeI wrote a cartoon (with the artist Ben Brown) about Bobbyand, as a fan, I made what I thought was a lovely pictorial of his life, but he was… furious. And, I believe, ready to use fists. This wasn’t an initial worry ‘cause he little, five five max in his little Ed Hardy slip-ons, but then I later saw what a boxer he is. Ooowee, I sure was lucky he didn’t make me pay. Do you love this sort of passion?
Warshaw: No. I mean, yeah I love passion, but what you’re saying here, it just sounds to me like Bobby doesn’t have a sense of humor.
BeachGrit: Of a scale of one to ten, how dumb was Bobby’s decision to quit the tour?
Warshaw: For a lot of people, Bobby obviously included, being on tour is an awful way to live. If you love being home, if being around friends and family is important—all true for Bobby—then flogging around the world nine months out of the year or whatever, while at the same time turning your favorite thing into a cutthroat job, it’s like you’re fucking your life up four or five different ways. So good for him for stepping off. Same with Dane. Mick and Kelly and those guys can do it. Others can’t. So yeah, Bobby’s decision to leave was completely sound. But trying to play it off like it the ASP tripped him up somehow? That’s where my eyes start rolling.
BeachGrit: When I flew over to Santa Babs to write a story about Bob not long after he quit, it seemed like he’d hit hard times. He was thinking of getting into a little concreting like his Dad.
Warshaw: I read that story just last weekend. The part that really got to me, it was so honest and kind of raw, was when Bobby told you that surfing for him had become aimless. He needed to have a goal, he needed to have something to chase. It got to me for two reasons. Bobby obviously hadn’t yet got to a point with his surfing to where he couldn’t just do it for the sake of doing it, which is sad. But even sadder is, you DO need to have something to work on, a goal to aim at. Bobby, you, me, everybody. Being a professional contest surfer, in that regard, makes so much more sense to me than just being a photo pro, or whatever they’re called these days. Maybe if you’re 21or 22. But as an adult? I don’t know. Craig Andersen, and Dane, and that whole aging Modern Collective crew — there’s gotta be some heavy-duty existential dread floating some of those guys’ heads.
BeachGrit: When do you think a surfer should retire? Bobby told me, “I looked at guys who were there longer than me and go, how the fuck are they doing this? How are they still there?” Is it an age thing or when your rating hits a downward trajectory or do you wait until you fail to qualify?
Warshaw: None of those guys on tour today, and nobody going back to, I don’t know, Tom Carroll pounding out fender dents in a garage—none of them have any idea what it’s like to not be a surf star or a star in the making. Making a big change in your life is so hard. And so scary. A career change is terrifying. On the other hand, not making that kind of change is slow death. And that’s where Bobby was at there at the end, in New York. Maybe it wasn’t conscious thought, but he was smart enough or brave enough or both to cross the bridge. And blow it up behind him.
BeachGrit: When was the last time you saw Bob surf and tell me your impressions.
Warshaw: Mini Blanchard did a clip on Bobby for Channel Islands, it came out maybe six months ago. Shot mostly in Ventura, last winter. Bobby’s riding these little quads, like 5’6”, and all the joy is back, all the power, all the flow. His last couple years on tour, and for a long time after, he was so obviously just surfing by the numbers. But that the Channel Islands vid — Bobby is a man reborn.
Did he, a few short months ago, deliver the greatest call in sporting history?
Sporting history is littered with amazing calls by equally amazing broadcasters. Vin Scully describing the last batter of Sandy Koufax’s perfect game, “He is one out away from the promised land, and Harvey Kuenn is comin’ up. … So Harvey Kuenn is batting for Bob Hendley. The time on the scoreboard is 9:44. The date, September the ninth, 1965, and Koufax working on veteran Harvey Kuenn. Sandy into his windup and the pitch … a fastball for a strike. He has struck out, by the way, five consecutive batters, and that’s gone unnoticed…”
Bill King describing an Oakland Raider fumble, “The ball flipped forward is loose! A wild scramble, two seconds on the clock. … Casper grabbing the ball … it is ruled a fumble … Casper has recovered in the end zone! The Oakland Raiders have scored on the most zany, unbelievable, absolutely impossible dream of a play! Madden is on the field. He wants to know if it’s real. They said yes, get your big butt out of here! He does! There’s nothing real in the world anymore!”
Vin Scully, again, describing “The Catch,” “Montana … looking … looking … throwing in the end zone … Clark caught it! Dwight Clark! (Crowd noise for 29 full seconds)It’s a madhouse at Candlestick”
Chick Hearn drawling, “This one’s in the refrigerator, the door’s closed, the light’s are out, the butter’s getting hard and the jello is jiggling…” near the end of every Los Angeles Laker win.
I could go on all day! But do you want to know a call that gets finer and finer every time I hear it, and I’ve heard it many many times recently? Joe Turpel describing the Mick Fanning shark incident of ’15! The cool calm in his voice, his refusal to get rattled, and that initial priceless description, “As we look at Fanning on the rankings. Oooh we can see a little splash…”
I’ve written about his work that day once before, right after the incident, likening his use of “Mick gets back on the ski to reset” to Edward R. Murrow’s “Good night, and good luck.” But these things take time to enter the historical pantheon and, months later, I think it is very clear that Joe Turpel delivered the greatest call in sporting history. And it is the front half, the initial sentence, that soars. The “oooh” so delicate, air sucking slightly in, placing the word “little” before “splash.” I mean, seriously, does a call get any better than that? Does it? I have to say no. I have to say Joe’s calm juxtaposed against the very clear enormity of what was happening on screen makes it the greatest of all time.
The most popular surfer in the world takes a stand against sex trafficking!
Here’s a serious question…has Michael Eugene Fanning usurped Kelly Slater’s “most-popular-surfer-in-the-world” throne this year? First there was the shark play, then helping a young child overcome cancer and now? He is lending his voice to stop sex trafficking.
Mick is an ambassador for Project Sparta, a gym that pledges 100% of fees toward bashing the sex slave industry. “It’s a scary trade…” he says “…No one really talks about it and we’re losing girls, and young boys, into a world we never know about.”
The fact that he has become the go to for wonderful charities bodes well for the White Lightening brand. He moves the people! He thrills! And, of course, there will always be that shark incident. The news report, detailing his miraculous escape from the jaws of curiosity, began with it which prompted Mick to say that he listens to his stomach these days and gets out of the water when feeling uneasy. He also said he likes to surf with lots and lots and lots and lots of people.
“I’m not worried about the crowds, I tell ya. The more the merrier!”
Embracing all-comers will only continue to enhance Mick’s status and so again I ask, is Mick Fanning more popular, worldwide/across all-platforms, than Kelly Slater?
And other funny keyword searches that land you right here…
One of the fascinating parts of operating a website is watching the behaviour of your readers. Who are you? Where are you from? What are your personal kinks?
In the print game, no one knows, knew.
The closest I ever came to identifying who read the jams of whatever mag I was editing was via those surveys we stuck in the mags and from focus groups that’d cost 20 gees and yield nothing.
Readers in focus groups do this very human thing where they say what the think elevates ‘em in the eye of the other participants or sub-consciously say what they think you want to hear. And, besides, who knows what their true motivations and likes are?
The problem, as any student of human behaviour would explain, is that surveys are filled out by people who like filling out surveys or ‘cause they want to win whatever trinket you had as an incentive.
Readers in focus groups do this very human thing where they say what they think elevates ‘em in the eye of the other participants or sub-consciously say what they think you want to hear. And, besides, who knows what their true motivations and likes are?
Your electronic movements, however, are beautiful to watch.
For those unfamiliar with Google Analytics, it’s an application that tracks website traffic. More than that, it allows publishers to see how many readers are on the site, what country they’re from, the electronic device they’re accessing your site from, what story they’re reading, where they came from and where they go after you.
And, tellingly, what keyword searches got ‘em there.
It’s become a game between Chas Smith and me to send each other funny keyword searches as they come up, briefly, on the Google Analytics dashboard.
Like this. Is true? asked Chas. We laugh because it couldn’t be more absurd!
Who taps these words in? Man with Bear fetish?
Is that you Peter Taras?
Healthy young man with beach-y fantasies?
Angry South African man?
A Kolohe Andino fan! For life! (Maybe me!)
Reliable medical advice for advanced cancers?
Do the secret kinks of man make you laugh?
What keyword searches lurk in the recesses of your web history?