Which is Surfer and which The Inertia?

Candid: “I’m a jerk!”

Who wants to be calm and focused all the time?

Justin Cote, formerly of Transworld Surf, currently Marketing Director of SUPERbrand, sent Derek that clip of Marzo this morning and asked if we’d post it. Why not? It’s good stuff, maybe it’ll convince them to give us some money. Probably not, but whatever.

I like Justin Cote. He spearfishes, and is one of the few people in the surf industry who’s actually met me. Because I’m a weird hermit who enjoys his solitude and I’m self aware enough to realize that I can be very difficult to deal with. Which is why I’ve never so much as spoken to Derek or Chas on the phone. All contact via email, and I like it that way. I never know what will come out of my mouth once I’ve opened it.

Sure, Derek is half a world away, but I’m in California often enough that I could easily pick up the phone and spend some time with Chas. But I won’t, because I don’t like doing the awkward little social dance that comes with meeting new people. It’s not so much that I’m worried people won’t like me. Plenty of people can’t stand my stupid face, doesn’t bother me at all. If it did I’d act a hell of a lot differently. Or try to, I may be too old for true personal growth.

The trouble comes when I don’t like someone, I’ve never learned how to pretend. Never had to, my wife fills that role and we’ve been together since we were kids. It’s called enabling.

So Derek asked me to pump out a few paragraphs, and I was more than happy to comply because that type of thing is easy. Watch the video, come up with an idea, run with it.

Though asking me to write something about your brand is like handing a twelve year old a bottle of tequila and bag full of M-80s. Something cool might happen, but it’ll probably end in tears.

And all I could think about was the autism. Which is a touchy subject, and not something I’m comfortable mocking. What little compassion I have pops up in the strangest of places. I feel the same way about Down’s Syndrome. Not to conflate the two, I just don’t usually give a shit about other people, but for some reason, in those cases, I kind of do.

I’m thirty five years old, born in 1980. Not old, not young, slowly creeping toward middle age. Or not so slowly. God damn all those old fuckers who told me I’d blink one day and find my twenties long gone. What a shitty thing to be right about.

Looking back, the late 80’s and 90’s, the earliest my memories go, were a weird time. Concussions weren’t a big deal, good thing because I knocked myself out a solid half dozen times before I turned eighteen. Which might explain a few things. Helmets were for fags, which was totally acceptable to say back then.

Looking back, the late 80’s and 90’s, the earliest my memories go, were a weird time. Concussions weren’t a big deal, good thing because I knocked myself out a solid half dozen times before I turned eighteen. Which might explain a few things. Helmets were for fags, which was totally acceptable to say back then.

Kind of still is, if the dude I parked next to while checking the surf a few days ago is any indication. “If my son was a faggot I’d fucking kill myself.” Who says that in public? It’s enough to make me wish there were a god, and that she had a sense of humor.

Autism wasn’t really around yet either, other than the Hollywood notion of counting dropped toothpicks. ADD reared its head, but I was well into my teens at that point and was spared medication. Fuck adderall, who wants to be calm and focused all the time?

Anyway, I skirted through the system as a problem kid. Bad attitude, total lack of respect for authority figures. Acting out in class, the occasional violent explosion. Good grades though, at least until I realized they didn’t matter. I developed the ability to lie with conviction, which has served me well.

Note to parents: “Tell the truth and you won’t get in trouble,” is a better object lesson than interrogation tactic.

I’m very lucky autism wasn’t on educators’ radars back then, because I’m sure I’d’ve been tested, and I’d probably have landed somewhere on the spectrum. Which would have sucked. Not because autism is bad, but because they’d have labeled me and treated me accordingly, and would have given me an easy cop out for my behavior. I might not have learned important lessons like, you know, you shouldn’t viciously attack someone just because they hurt your feelings. No matter how much you want to, and no matter how good it would feel.

And all the weird shit I still pull, it’s not because of my how my brain is wired, it’s because I’m a jerk with a persecution complex who lives life on an emotional roller coaster.

Clay Marzo
…you like Clay's carefully chiselled, meticulously polished surfing? Do you think he'd be a wonderful wildcard for the Fiji event?

Watch: Clay Marzo’s Dazzling Colours!

Three and a half minutes of Clay Marzo's meticulously polished jams…

Surfing’s great curio, the Hawaiian-born Clay Marzo, rides for the surfboard company SUPERbrand. This promotional video, released just now, shows Clay, still only 26, surfing in Western Australia on his new surfboard model, the Mad Cat, a surfboard designed perhaps, for ultra-tall surfers with uncanny abilities.

Clay never really cut it in major competition ’cause he’s an Asperger’s kid and ain’t into crowds (you’ll never see him at Pipe or Honolua Bay on Maui, where he lives) though there is a little groundswell of heat for Clay to grab a wildcard at Fiji this year.

A good idea? Is Clay still relevant?

Want to buy his book? Click here.


Clay Marzo In West Oz Perfection from SUPERbrand on Vimeo.

The Eddie is Go!
This Wednesday, February 10, Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time (HST), The Eddie will likely run for the first time since Greg Long won it in 2009.

Hallelujah: The Eddie is a go!

I love the Eddie so much. But does it still matter?

Oh happiest of days. Surfing’s most wonderfully historic, yet rarely executed, event has been given the green light! Yes ladies and gentlemen, the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau is set to run this Wednesday at the famous Waimea Bay.

I’ve already written everything I can about the wonderful event so let’s turn to Matt Warshaw’s masterwork, The Encyclopedia of Surfing, for a history lesson:

The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau was conceived and developed by Quiksilver marketing chiefs Danny Kwock and Jeff Hakman, along with CEO Bob McKnight and Aikau family friend Eddie Rothman. “The Eddie,” as it’s usually called, wasn’t initially planned as a big-wave contest, and the mostly-forgotten inaugural was held in 1984 in six to eight-foot surf at Sunset Beach, with Hawaiian surfer Denton Miyamura taking the $5,000 first-place check.

The contest was retooled the following year into a Waimea speciality event. Thirty surfers were invited, and the minimum wave-height requirement was set at 20 feet, as determined by newly hired event director and Hawaiian big-wave pioneer George Downing. Waimea, at that point the world’s most famous big-wave break, had been Eddie Aikau’s favorite spot, and he was the best rider there from the mid-’60s until his death. Surf contests had previously been held at Waimea—including the 1974 Smirnoff, the 1980 Duke Classic, and the 1985 Billabong Pro—but in each case the decision to run at Waimea had been made spontaneously.

Big-wave riding was coming back into vogue in the mid-’80s after a 15-year low period, and the 1986 Quiksilver contest encouraged the trend. The Waimea surf was 25 feet, give or take, rough and windblown. Surfers were divided into three groups, and each 10-man heat rode for an hour; the process was repeated, but with 45-minute heats, and each contestant’s first- and second-round scores were combined for a final tally. The contest ended in a draw between Mark Foo (who coined the phrase “Eddie Would Go” during the event) and 36-year-old Clyde Aikau, Eddie’s younger brother, with Aikau winning on a tiebreaker. Ken Bradshaw finished third. Clyde rode a 10-year-old board that had belonged to Eddie.

For three years, the surf at Waimea didn’t meet the minimum Quiksilver-Eddie requirement. The 1990 version of the event, however, was magnificent—”A monumental day in surfing history,” as described by Australia’s Surfing Lifemagazine—with smooth-faced waves up to 30 feet. Hawaiian surfer Brock Little rode inside the tube on one wave, not long after taking a spectacular wipeout on the day’s biggest wave, but Keone Downing—George Downing’s son—was the most consistent performer and took the $55,000 winner’s check, the richest prize in surfing history up to that point. Little was second; Richard Schmidt of Santa Cruz finished third.

In years to come, new developments in big-wave surfing—the discovery of breaks like Maverick’s, Jaws, and Cortes Bank; the introduction of other big-wave contests—reduced the impact of the Quiksilver-Eddie. In the early ’00s, in fact, the event was relegated to back-page status in the surf magazines. With the resurgence of paddle-in big-wave surfing in the mid-’00s, however, the Quiksilver-Eddie also made a comeback, and Greg Long’s come-from-behind win in the 2009 contest was one of the year’s greatest competitive moments.

This last paragraph is very interesting to me and especially pertinent due to the recent, and wild, surfing happening at Maui’s Jaws. Let’s ask Matt Warshaw if the Eddie still matters! (I’ll update story with his opinion when he stops gazing, lovingly, at the Space Needle and responds.)


(And here is surfing’s poet laureate right here, Space Needle be damned!)

Mr. Warshaw:

The Eddie still matters, but it’s conditional. Because of what’s been going on a Jaws all winter, and because of what just happened at Mavs last week, the bullseye for a great Eddie event is getting smaller for sure. I’ve been watching clips from some of the past Eddies, and really only a couple of years were amazing. 1990, the year Brock got those two bombs—that day would hold our interest in 2016. The year Greg Long won, I think 2009, same thing. The other Eddies, not so much. 
The other thing Quik should be doing, and I’m guessing they won’t because of bankruptcy and all, is take all that glorious Waimea history and make a real show out of the contest. Something for us to watch. There’s 60 years of Waimea triumph and tragedy to play up. There’s endless film and video, going back to 1957. The first day ever surfed at Waimea is on film. James Jones’ tuberides there on film. People have died there. Ace Cool died there just a few months back. Bring Peter Cole into the booth. Get Bradshaw. Make a tribute to Brock that leaves us in tears. If Quik had the budget, they could turn the Eddie into the best big-wave presentation ever, even if the surf is only 25 foot.
Quiksilver are you listening? Daz? Are you there?

Francis “Alekai” Kinimaka
Francis “Alekai” Kinimaka, brother of Titus Kinimaka, was arrested by DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources (DOCARE) officers when he beached a jet-ski on Kalalau Beach, a closed area, without a permit.

Opinion: “I detest haole mooch sacks!”

But arresting a native Hawaiian surfer for wanting to live off the land?

Former professional surfer, Alekai Kinimaka, brother of Kauai legend Titus Kinimaka, was arrested by Hawaii DLNR this past Thursday for illegally landing his jetski at Kalalau Beach, on Kauai’s Napali Coast.

In addition to Kinimaka’s arrest, DLNR cited nearly seventy people for illegal camping in one of the periodic sweeps which seeks to rid of the area of its homeless hippy scourge.

Kinimaka is, reportedly, a longtime illegal resident of the area, and faces potentially severe consequences due to state’s ability to pursue both criminal charges and the DLNR’s ability to pursue civil administrative proceedings. Essentially, the state puts him in jail, the DLNR takes his money.

Morally, it’s a complicated matter. While I absolutely detest the scumbag haole mooch sacks who fly out and endeavor to spend their days raping aloha, Kinimaka is full on Hawaiian. If he wants to live in the bushes on the land stolen from his ancestors, hell, who am I to throw stones?

Morally, it’s a complicated matter. While I absolutely detest the scumbag haole mooch sacks who fly out and endeavor to spend their days raping aloha, Kinimaka is full on Hawaiian. If he wants to live in the bushes on the land stolen from his ancestors, hell, who am I to throw stones?

Though, speaking of throwing stones, I sure wish I’d had a handful to wing at the pack of dread locked crackers who set up at Kealia a few days ago. The shit heads had strung hammocks through the trees like the trash birds they are, and set a bonfire burning mid-day in the center of a path to the beach, the smoldering remains of which were still there the following day.

If I had my way I’d make possession of bongo drums illegal, the penalty for which would be a public caning followed by forced return to whichever mainland suburb from which they sprang.

Kalalau Ops Media Clips 2-5-16 from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

In his account of driving to Lemoore, in Central Valley California, 110 miles from the coast, Keith Plocek writes: "We’re going to drive up to King’s County. We’re going to attach a GoPro camera to a kite. We’re going to come back with aerial footage of a man-made lake. Why? Because it’s Saturday. Also, that lake has the potential to change the essence of surfing forever." | Photo: Keith Plocek

Just in: Drone photos of Slater’s wavepool!

Want to see what Slater's mythical pool looks like when you attach a GoPro to a kite?

When Kelly Slater loosed his 10-years-in-the-making-pool to the world in December, it threw more questions than it answered.

Was it really the greatest leap in the history of surfing in tanks? Was this a precursor to the mythical level playing field that would make surfing an Olympic sport?

Where was it?

And, if you were a bird, what did the setup look like? I could guess at the first two, Reddit filled in the blanks on the third, but… the setup?

A month ago, I organised a pilot to fly BeachGrit’s LA bureau (Chas Smith, actually more Cardiff-by-the-Sea than Los Angeles) to Lemoore and to film and photograph. Those damn El Niño temperatures, hovering around freezing for most of Jan, meant he couldn’t fly. And we couldn’t film.

But, this morning, LA surfer Keith Plocek filled in the blanks on his blog with the beautifully perfect title:

I Flew a Kite Near Kelly Slater’s Artificial Wave and Scored Aerial Photos of Surfing’s Future

Because it was Saturday

A few weeks ago, Mr Plocek had rigged the kite he’d bought from New Zealand with a GoPro and a Picavet stablisation system he’d 3-D printed, and loosed it above the pool.

Let’s examine his story.

The typical surf-trip story begins with getting there, so let’s start with Tim and me, three weeks ago, bouncing down the 5 in my beat-up Jeep.

We’re heading up to Lemoore, California, 110 miles from the coast — not exactly the place you’d expect to find good waves. The Jeep is many things, and one of them is loud, so I’m yelling our mission to Tim:

We’re going to drive up to King’s County. We’re going to attach a GoPro camera to a kite. We’re going to come back with aerial footage of a man-made lake.

Why? Because it’s Saturday. Also, that lake has the potential to change the essence of surfing forever.

Last month professional surfer Kelly Slater released a video of the perfect artificial wave, created by his wave company, and the surfing community went nuts. Online sleuths tracked down the wave pool’s possible location in a matter of days. Surfers started posting accounts of driving up to the Central Valley and hanging around the outside of the compound. They all brought boards, hopeful Slater would emerge like Willy Wonka and invite them inside.

Mostly they just got stuck in the mud.

Slater’s people remained silent when asked about the lake’s location. They were mum on the science too. Everyone assumed the lake in Lemoore was the spot, but outdated pics from Google Maps were the only aerial proof.

That’s where Tim and I came in. Tim’s from New Zealand, so he’s born to fly kites, and I like to find new ways to tell stories. We could’ve brought a drone, but that seemed much less fun.

It’s kind of hard to hate on a kite.

On the way up the 5, we kept monitoring wind speeds on our smartphones— just like we’d check a surf report when heading towards the coast. The forecast was good. We talked about surfing. We stared at the road.

After bouncing on the highway for three hours, we took a right and soon rolled past a security guard standing outside a compound with a high fence. We’d made it. But there was no wind at all.

It was flat.

We’d driven all the way out there, and it was flat.

We weren’t going near that fence. We didn’t even want to get close enough to cause trouble. We just wanted an aerial shot from afar. But we had no wind.

Before they’d even tracked down the possible location of Slater’s perfect artificial wave, surfers were already arguing about what it meant for the sport. Would kooks in Utah never even learn how to duck-dive? Where was the magic, the sense of discovery? Without nature’s whims, was surfing even surfing?
I don’t have answers to those questions, but I can say we were inspired that day. If the world’s greatest surfer can invent his own wave, we’d have to invent our own wind.


We took a couple left turns and wound up on a muddy road behind the compound. Tim and I went to work putting down the Jeep’s top and prepping the kite, as if we’d done it a thousand times before.
I shifted the Jeep into gear, and Tim let the kite go. Mud flew in the air. So did the kite.
We were airborne, shooting video, barreling towards an unlikely place for surfing’s future. I’m not sure when I started giggling, but it was hard to stop. We made two passes at the compound, yanked in the kite and drove away. Fifteen minutes later we watched the footage from a parking lot in town. We’d done it.

We’d nabbed the first aerial photo of the lake. No one was there — the lake was placid — but that didn’t matter. Our goal was to contribute just a little to the surfing community’s knowledge, and we had succeeded.

To my eyes there is no question Lemoore is the spot— all the landmarks from the video are there. But I’ll leave the final conclusions to the online detectives.

I had a great Saturday.

(Visit Keith Plocek’s site here…)