Your favorite elderly gentleman’s leisure lifestyle publication is, allegedly, going to have a radical make-over! That’s right, the surfermag.com come that you know and love is on its way to becoming……drumroll…..just surfer.com! And that bit of cosmetic surgery cost, maybe, a mere $40,000.00!
Where Surfer came up with $40,000.00 is one very good question but why they did not own surfer.com to begin with in the first place is maybe a better one. The magazine is our grand dame, in existence since 1960, long before the Internet was a twinkle in Al Gore’s eye. Did maybe Steve Hawk or Sam George, editors in the 1990s and early 2000s think that the World Wide Web was a silly fad or did they like the trendy sounding mag tail that was trendy in the mid-2000s but now clearly dated?
Who can ever say, but what is more, how will the new surfer.com look? Will it feature an online store selling comfort boardshorts and Old Guys Rule t-shirts? Will it host a forum where grumpy octogenarians can complain about never being respected/listened to/cared about? Oh wait! That’s already there! forum.surfermag.com!
Will the print magazine disappear entirely? And is the squatter who owned surfer.com going to use his $40,000.00 to build a real life Star Wars Speeder Bike and visit Comic-Con for the first time? So many questions! Hopefully answers coming soon and, as always, we’ll keep you up to date.
…and ignore that pussy little voice inside your head…
I spend a good portion of my life afraid. It’s a part of me I try to ignore, that little pussy voice that says, “Be careful, you could get hurt, maybe die.”
But it’s always there in the background, whispering, chipping away at my self confidence, trying to turn me into a play-it-safe loser who lives forever.
But, you know, there’s fear, then there’s Fear. The real deal, capital letter and all. That one’s not so typical. The last time that old friend visited was during the triple hurricane heaven/hell swell we got hammered by this past summer. I’d been cleared to surf two weeks prior, after two years of an almost totally sedentary life.
I spent the first day of the swell watching triple-overhead perfection fire while hating myself for being a coward. Couldn’t handle it two days in a row. Woke up the next morning, waxed up, rolled the dice, and got very lucky paddling out. Timed it right, threaded the needle into the lineup.
Ruined a shoulder at Pipe (not on a huge day), thought of waving for help, put my head down and swam in one armed. Which was the right decision, since I’m obviously not dead. I think. Let’s not go down that rabbit hole.
For the majority of my life I’ve felt confident that there was almost no situation in the ocean when I couldn’t self-rescue. I’ve never had a lifeguard drag my ass up the beach, which is a point of personal pride.
And I could swim for forever. Broken leash, broken board, no big deal. Just ride the current, take your beatings, let it push you to the beach. Ruined a shoulder at Pipe (not on a huge day), thought of waving for help, put my head down and swam in one armed. Which was the right decision, since I’m obviously not dead. I think. Let’s not go down that rabbit hole.
That day, though, as I felt the water each set pushed in get sucked back up the point and out the sea I realized I was being an idiot. Wave-riding skill aside, if I found myself in trouble, I was gonna really be in Trouble. Again, capital letter stuff.
I caught three waves over about five hours, drug my exhausted ass up the beach, made it home before the adrenaline dump, and proceeded to get very, very, drunk.
It’s supposed to get big today. Very Big. Paddling out into a rising swell is one of the things that gives me the capital “F.”
How big? How fast? Surf reports are more or less non-existent for Kauai, which is a good thing. But I haven’t lived here nearly long enough to intuit what certain swell angles will do, how each little hunk of reef is going to react to the Pacific Ocean heaving massive amounts of energy at our shores.
It can go from two feet to twenty in the course of an hour out here, so my palms are sweating and my heart is racing and the wind is starting to blow and I secretly hope it turns on so hard I have an excuse to stay dry.
I’ve been putting in the hours, trying to hammer my body back into shape. I’m not there yet, but I think I’m close enough.
It just sucks that you can’t be sure ’til you’ve been tested.
The most to lose by winning? A queer concept that seems to have acquired a certain orthodox authority amongst a large portion of the fan base. The thinking is that due to the scoreless heat at small Chopes in round five, Filipe has abandoned any claim to a credible Title.
What to with that fact. Riot in the streets if he wins? Appreciate the greatest small-wave surfer alive or dead if he does manage to huck the ledge at Pipe? It’s galling for grizzled Gen X’ers and decaying baby boomers (Hi Carroll, Warshaw!) to have Dad (a far more virile one at that) on the beach whistling at Filipe like he was starring in the U12’s soccer match. It’s a reminder of their own bitter disappointments and failures, an imposition of their own toxic aura. Such is life.
13. Miggy Pupo
When the critic stabs his subject he stabs himself. But behind the blackest heart of the eternal cynic lurks a latent desire to affirm, to praise, to offer the eternal Yes.
I come to praise Miggy Pupo. Best goofyfoot stylist on tour. Smoother than silk. Could body double for Lopez or some other slim hipped matador, such as Antonio Ordonez, described so memorably by Hemingway in The Dangerous Summer.
What would Hemingway say about Poops? That he surfs purely, with respect and grace, that his surfing tightens the throat and makes the eyes dim? Why is Miggy Poops stranded in the back half of the ratings like a refugee? Someone maybe able to enlighten us all in the comments.
Fixed his grill, can surf Pipe.
Despite the laggardly ratings performance this year Wilko would/should be one of the first picked for a Top 16 Tour. When he’s on, his backhand is best on Tour, relying on an ascending series of rhythmical high hooks that produce an emotional response like listening to the best music.
With Tom Curren, he was the best in the lineup at J-Bay last year. Hamstrung by format, when his rhythm breaks down he falls. A lot. Evolution is not a straight line of progression. It has its backwaters, cul de sacs and reversals.
Wilko has been stranded in one of those murky swamps. Like the test pilot Chuck Yeager in Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff he needs to find a Plan B, C, D, whatever it takes to find something that works when the plane is in a flat spin, when the rhythm breaks down. Something that puts him back into pushing the envelope of performance surfing.
He’s too good to be a backmarker. A final placing at Sunset is a step in the right direction.
15. Nat Young
Where to place this man in historical context? It’s a challenge. I think of California I think of stylists, products of an extended continental shelf; slow predictable waves, products of far off storms, counter-culture, Nixon, American post-war affluence,Vietnam, Steinbeck.
I think of Ryan Burch, Tom Curren, Joni Mitchell, whom Nat Young’s Mum is a doppelganger for.
Maybe we need to go as far back as Jim Hogan to parse a similar anti-stylist from the California milieu. What he lacks in style he makes up for in tow-headed apple pie grit. When the Box gave him a bloody nose he could’ve indulged in a Gabby Medina sulk but he paddled out and went deeper and harder.
Christ-almighty, though, couldn’t a coach, Gerlach maybe?, do something about the stink from that style? It crosses Oceans, transcends webcasts.
Joseph Conrad from Lord Jim, where the narrator meets a French Naval Lieutenant:
“The honour, the honour, monsieur! The honour.… that is real, that is! And what life may be worth when the honour is gone. I can offer no opinion. I can offer no opinion because, monsieur, I know nothing of it.”
Isn’t that French Lieutenant just Jez to a tee? It’s totally, completely him, a hundred years ago! The little Frenchman surfing for honour. The crazy attempt at a Teahupoo bomb on the Code Red year, the victory in the helmet this year. The sense of honour is real.
Jeremy looks horrifically dated with his club sandwich trick but when it’s heaving he’s the man. And Pipe will be heaving.
17. Wiggoly Dantas
Came on Tour like a fully formed Minotaur emerging from the labyrinth of the QS and has savaged a few reputations and hastened retirement plans, hopefully. Gnarly backhand, forehand charger. Five-nin, 165lbs is the ultimate height and weight for a pro surfer.
18. Kolohe Andino
Do androids dream of electric sheep? Does Kolohe Andino dream in beige? Does he dream at all? Or is his inner world so suffocated by the psychic refuse of Snips and Big Daddy Andino that there ain’t no room to dream.
Would his life, his ranking be improved by an inner life, by reading a book? Probably, possibly, maybe. We recommend the Art of War by Sun Tzu, or Target Practise: Why success on the QS doesn’t predict results on CT , by Rory Parker (as yet unwritten).
Is Kolohe the ultimate product of technological capital, a “dispersed, decentred network of libinidal attachments”, with every move predictable, over choreographed, lacking in emotional and aesthetic impact.
What’s that? An objection from the back of the room? Say it then: “Kolohe is flesh and blood, just like you and me.”
To which I say, prove it.
Kolohe won’t disgrace himself at Pipe, defeat will be honourable, as befitting the stature of his entourage. But it will be early.
19. Josh Kerr
Everyone has their kink. Mine is philosophy, particularly the dark vision of John Gray, although I’m partial to the German perspectivists. I’m a bum, and it does no harm, so I indulge whenever I get the chance. Which isn’t that often seeing as I’m already holding down a surfing and fishing habit and trying to raise a family. Make an honest living. Just like Josh Kerr.
For some reason, I find Josh’s heats as boring as batshit and a great time to read up on some John Gray doom and gloom. Last time Josh surfed I indulged in this pithy Gray-ism: “What we are witnessing is the rediscovery of an essential truth: our freedoms are not free-standing absolutes but fragile constructions that remain intact only under state power.”
Just like our freedom to enjoy public spaces and the ocean can be taken away under the aegis of WSL edict and hired muscle. And we love it! All your waves now belong to us!
How can it be that such a harmless and nice man, a man whose air game is now a bit decrepit, whose rail game has always been a sandwich short of a picnic, whose tube-riding remains state of the art, can inspire such passion-less realism?
Reading my notes for Josh I found scribbled on the back of a parking ticket: Stephen Hawking…rise of the robots…..AI, state support , future shock. Alvin Toffler. Leisure.
Nup, makes no sense to me either.
20. Ricardo Christie
I’m a dreadful aesthetic and linguistic snob for a bum who struggles to keep the bills paid. S’why New Zealand offends me on two levels: that milky green water ( I prefer Pacific Blue) and the ridiculous accent that makes people sound dumber than pig farmers from Dorset.
Still, I have to admit NZ is a bastion of some kinds of progressive thought and it makes a nice backdrop for Hollywood film with a favourable exchange rate against the greenback.
As far as being a breeding ground for pro surfers, yeah, but nah. You’ve got to feel sorry for Christie though. One long, lonely unlamented year. He barely got to the dance floor let alone got the boogie on.
Pro surfing hates an unsponsored journeyman, it offends their sense of righteousness at a cellular level. There’s the backdoor cuzzy bro, don’t let it hit you on the way out.
For the sake of justice, I hope Christie picks it up and belts them over the head with it at Pipeline. For the sake of future Kiwi hopefuls, get thee to Australia early and make whoopee with Australian money.
Or colonise Hollywood. They love the accent there.
The Titans of Mavericks organizers in danger of losing their permit!
First, catty infighting came to light, then a day of perfect, heart-stopping Jaws that became an instant classic and now charges of discrimination. Boy howdy, the Titans of Mavericks has had one hell of a go lately!
The California Coastal Commission recently demanded that the contest organizers must have a plan for including women next year or their permit will be revoked. “If they are going to use that public resource, then there ought to be some sort of consideration for equal opportunity or at least transparency for their selection process to ensure there is no discrimination…” commissioner Mark Vargas said.
The news cheered a group of hard-charging women.
“Women have been progressing at big wave surfing for many years, but they always lacked the recognition and trust from the man-dominated sport,” Brazilian Andrea Möller told the San Jose Mercury News. “The organizers not really being inclusive…” added Sarah Gerhardt, the first woman to ever surf Mavs. “They are gesturing but (women surfers) don’t actually make it to the top 24 and (will) never be able to compete with the men. If there are going to be women in the event, they should have their own heat.”
Contest organizers do not have a plan in place though, apparently, have nice intentions. “Our intent is not to put aside a special class just for women but have the women go head to head with the men,” Cassandra Clark, Jeff Clark’s wife, said. “We have women we are starting to see now, and I can’t wait to see them surf at that level.” Jeff Clark added, “At this point we haven’t seen that kind of performance.”
They point to the difficulty of slotting in a women’s heat when they only have one day of competition with shifting tides, winds etc. and 24 men fighting the fight. Maybe, though, everything will work itself out. Catty infighting has already banished legends Pete Mel and Grant “Twiggy” Baker. Maybe by the time the contest actually runs, hurt feelings will have relegated another 15, or so, men to outer darkness. Then there will be no problems aside from Jeff Clark’s bad attitude!
Once upon a time there was a surfer named Mick Fanning. He was from Australia’s Gold Coast and he acted like it. Good times were a high calling and good times were, of course, synonymous with drink. Mick was so good at good times that an alter ego would appear and his name was Eugene. Surfers would laugh and say, “Ahhhhh Eugene was out last night. It was crazy!” There are many, many Eugene stories but, in reality, Mick and Eugene were just the same good times Coolie Kid.
He grew up, maybe drank less, took surfing more seriously. Worked out, trained, won world titles. A nice career enshrined on a fine mantle.
And then 2015 happened. First he fought off a great white shark, then he humbly talked about it on 60 Minutes with a lovable “shucks, who me?” attitude, then he gave all the money for humbly talking about it on 60 Minutes to an unfortunate kid who actually got chomped by a great white then he made a kid with cancer’s dream come true and now he saved Evan Gieslman’s life.
Of course he did not save Evan Gieslman’s life. That was South African Andre Botha bodyboarder and hero but Mick came in and, generously lent a hand, which is no small thing. Rushing into the fray is wonderful but Mick rushed in well after Mr. Botha had done the miraculous. Still, Mick’s assistance is the headline that led Australia’s press. MICK FANNING HELPS RESCUE DROWNING SURFER! And Eugene has officially become St. Mick.
I wonder how it feels to carry the weight of people’s expectations? St. Mick has entered the stratosphere where few mortals dwell. He lives alongside heroes who the public counts on for its own sense of morality like Pope Francis or Superman. He carries the hopes and dreams of a world touched by terror and grief. One slip would devastate the kids with his poster on their walls. One stumble would crush the human spirit. I don’t think a surfer has ever flown so near the sun. I wonder how that feels?