Remember when people got angry about this move? So beautiful through the lens of hindsight.
Remember when people got angry about this move? So beautiful through the lens of hindsight.

Snap: The greatest floater ever!

Some say Gab Medina just made history. Well, they don't know Shea Lopez.

The surf community has been very giddy about Gab Medina’s exceptionally nice floater during the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach. The event was, of course, later won by Mick Fanning, his first ever win in Hawaii, but that floater seems like it stole a touch of the thunder. Watch again here:

Now. Some have gone so far to call it the best floater in competitive surfing’s history but they are wrong because Gab’s leg did not dislocate and then hit him in the back of the head while a big wave drilled down upon his back. That, my friends, happened to Shea Lopez in 2005 and that is the greatest floater in competitive surfing’s history.

Am I wrong? Matt Warshaw, am I wrong? Oh. I think I’m wrong. I forgot about Adriano de Souza’s 8.2. It was, to quote Dave Stanfield, “Watery ballet.”

Buy: Duke Kahanamoku’s house!

What's a few mil for a piece of surf history?

Would you like to own a piece of surf history that also has an infinity pool, 3,935 square feet of unobstructed ocean view and the perfect place to host sunset Mai Tai parties? Well then come on over to Honolulu’s Kahala neighborhood and take hold of Duke Kahanamoku’s lovely home!

Currently owned by Gordon Thompson III, a Nike exec, the home is ready for fun in the sun! Duke bought the property in 1927 and built his home ten years later. Gordon Thompson III added the pizzazz!

Let’s read about it:

Soon after purchasing the property, Thompson worked with a local architect to renovate the home using designs that he had drawn up.

Although he kept the original foundation intact and restored the fir staircase and handrail in the home, Thompson lifted the structure to create a higher first floor and added makai-facing glass windows and doors. The home’s front yard was also extended with a retaining wall that were made with lava stones on the property that were moved to make room for an infinity pool.

“About 20 percent of the original house is still there,” realtor Beth Chang said. “He (Thompson) changed some things, but his understanding was that Duke and his wife loved to entertain — they liked to have people over — so he wanted to continue that. He also knew that the view is what trumped everything.”

Sound perfect? A mere $8.875 mil and it’s yours!

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Wow: Tom Curren surfs a skimboard!

Has a more progressive surfer ever been?

Three-ish days ago two very fine gentlemen paddled out to Seaside Reef in bucolic Cardiff-by-the-Sea. Their names were Steve Sherman and Derek Rielly. Well-respected, each. They surfed together and had fun. I was not with them because my baby had the stomach flu and I had to clean up. It was not very fun but kind of satisfying.

Derek came home early and said it was the grandest surf he’d had in months and then we got to work on your beloved BeachGrit.

We saw Sherm later, for dinner, and he said, “Guess who showed up at Seaside after you left, Dekor?”

Derek said, “who?”

Sherm said, “Tom Curren. And he was surfing on a skimboard! He paddled out on a bigger board and was doing organic step-offs.”

I wouldn’t have believed it had Sherm not taken a picture. Look at Tom standing with his skim, fins wedged on, weirdly smirking. It is an amazing thing that he continues to be so wildly progressive. Sometimes I like to think I’m progressive, like Tom Curren, but then Maurice Cole corrects me and tells me I’m not.

Do you remember when Tom Curren rode a boogie board in Mexico? You can re-read HERE. Do you remember Ashton Goggans who wrote the story? He works for Surfer now and is sad every day but still very handsome.

One champion to unite us all!

Carissa Moore's champion run gets all surfers to embrace in harmony!

Yesterday right around noon Derek Rielly and I stumbled into the Lost surfboard factory just in time to see Coco Ho take down Courtney Conlogue and hand the world title to a very excited Carissa Moore. Matt Biolos, the world’s best surfboard shaper/Republican presidential candidate was as proud as a parent and the rest of the factory too. Mike Reola was smiling.

And why not? Her surfing is so spectacular, so fully formed that it would be a gift to watch her compete, regularly, against the men. She is smooth, powerful, imaginative and graceful. I have never heard one bad thing, in fact, about her abilities. Surfing magazine’s famed Jimmy “Jimmicane” Wilson wrote, later in the day, “Carissa Moore is my favorite surfer.”

Which got me to thinking. Over on the men’s side it is a minefield of potential frustrations for the fan. I’ve heard grumbles that if Adriano de Souza wins then professional competitive surfing, as we know it, will be forced to destroy itself. Bull roar, I say. I love the little man and his tireless work ethic and his blue collar approach but many many don’t. If Mick wins, some say, it will only be proof of the World Surf League’s ridiculously conservative approach to judging. If Filipe wins without getting very barreled in very big Pipe then many will put an asterisk behind his name reading *is afraid of big waves.

Etc. The only non-polarizing champs could be, maybe, late runs by Julian Wilson or Owen Wright but even then Brazil would, probably, be rightly angered. Such a mess!

But Carissa, oh Carissa. She is a champ, a pure champ, embraced by all. Hawaii, the United States, Australia and Brazil can each appreciate her mastery. So can Lost co-founder Mike Reola who was in the surfboard factory too. He has a beatific smile and it shown when Ms. Moore ran down Honolua’s path to hug her parents.

John C Reilly John John Florence Blake Kueny
“You know what gets my dick hard? Helping out my friends.” John C Reilly, narrator of View from a Blue Moon, with the relentlessly fantastic surfer-filmed duo John John Florence and Mr Blake Vincent Kueny.

JJF and the power of self-loathing

The most insightful review of everyone's favorite surf movie!

Before I go into my review of View from a Blue Moon, I think it’s only fair to disclose the biases I bring with me.

I’m so fucking over shots of beautiful scenery. Been there, done that. I understand that the vast majority of the world is stuck in lives of quiet desperation, city-bound, struggling to scrimp and save so they can one day visit a humid warm land where the trades leave salt crystals in your lashes and everyone is baked a latte brown by a friendly sun. But that’s my day to day.

I’ve seen the sky explode in a riot of color over the ocean more times than I can possibly count, enjoyed every shade of vivid green you can possibly imagine. Crystal clear reefs or cold water kelp paddies, waves crashing on jagged lava rock, mossy boulders, lapping gently against the shores of white sand beaches that stretch as far as the eye can see. People talk of being high on life, I’ve been privileged enough to build quite the tolerance. It’s the main reason I enjoy playing tour guide when people hit the island, it often takes a fresh pair of eyes to kick me out of my own jaded torpor.

So a lot of the film doesn’t resonate with me. Artfully composed, perfectly framed, wonderfully colored, it doesn’t really matter. I’m not the best audience for that kind of thing.

While Kelly Slater is the greatest surfer who’s ever lived, it’s become apparent that John John Florence is the best. Never before has a single surfer dominated every possible ocean condition with the style and aplomb that Florence does. Due to his amazing skill, and apparent total lack of regard for his own safety, View from a Blue Moon contains what may be the highest volume of mind blowing surfing ever stuffed into a single video. Every single aspect of JJ’s game is so high it may as well be a totally different sport than whatever the hell it is the rest of us do in the water. It holds some pretty heavy ramifications for the future. Thousands upon thousands of little sun burned groms are watching his every move, and he’s the level to which they’ll aspire.

I went into the film with the misconception that it would be about John John, rather than star him. I thought it would give some sort of insight into his life, show a little about what makes him tick. Introduce some humanity to leaven his super human ability. It does not, or, at least, I don’t believe it does.

No one’s life is perfect. We all struggle, mourn, crave something always out of reach. To be sure, JJ got pretty lucky. Loving mother, caring brothers, an unbelievable home in one of the best places on Earth. But he’s not alone in his possession of those things, plenty before him have been blessed with the same and still crashed and burned into lives of addiction or failure or just plain old mediocrity.

It’s easy to write off his ability at a young age to natural talent, but that belies the fact he’s spent his entire life in waves of consequence, and no one gets this good without caring so much that failure could crush their soul.

Slater’s spent the last few decades living a similar trip. Everything real kept private, a public persona that shows a driven man, but not a haunted one. And I find it hard to believe that anyone with the insane drive that Kelly has is truly happy with himself, all of the time. Or even most. Self-loathing is a powerful motivator, the absence of a father figure has a profound effect on a worldview. Cracks in that facade seem to be finally showing, as though, after all these years, the mask doesn’t fit so well anymore.

I wonder about John John Florence. I wonder what drives him to try so damn hard. I wonder about the times he hates his own reflection. I wonder about Alex Florence, whether she worries for her sons’ safety, in the water when they play, or in the world as they travel. I wonder about Nathan and Ivan, growing up in the shadow of an older brother who’s fame seems doomed to eclipse anything they ever accomplish. I was really hoping View from a Blue Moon would shed some light on those topics. But it does not.

In the end, View from a Blue Moon is probably the best surf movie of all time, but it just isn’t my favorite.