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…)

Official: The Eddie on Stand By!

Quiksilver puts on the yellow light!

Two weeks ago, right here on your third favorite surf lifestyle website, I wrote “The Eddie Aikau set to run mid-week (fingers crossed)!” And when it didn’t run you laughed and said, “That Chas Smith doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He doesn’t even surf!”

Well look who’s laughing now! I didn’t say which mid-week, did I. And now the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau is on official stand by! And I do surf!

But do you know what would be the most amusing? If crazy swell also pulsed at Mavericks and the Titans of had to cancel their event again. I will say, I’m actively cheering against those organizers for keeping Pete Mel and Grant Twiggy on the sidelines.

So, I implore again, get thee to Oahu! It is the greatest show on surf!