Conner Coffin expresses his passion at the Rip Curl Pro! | Photo: WSL

Day One: Flat-Section-Bog-Rail Pro!

Brought to you by slavery!

It’s the first day of the Flat Section Bog Rail Pro brought to you by Slavery! Behold and wonder! Who will hop across the most sections? Will foamy end bonks take home the gold?

Is there anything more interesting one can do with their time?

You could go for a surf. I had a blast this AM, finally healthy, frothing everyday. Feels good, Oahu turned me into a jaded spoiled ass who’d turn his nose up at anything that wasn’t glassy and reeling. Nothing gets the motor going like a years long forced convalescence followed by relearning how to surf.

Let me tell you, sitting on the shoulder with the rest of the kooks because your shoulders are totally gone is fucking humiliating. Thank god it’s done.

Yesterday, I spent a solid hour watching a pair of teeny tiny boys on sub five-foot shortboards dismantle a little sandbar. Crazy how good little kids surf these days. Kind of makes me angry. How dare they? I rode huge battered hand me downs at that age, so did everyone else. Grom specific micro boards weren’t really a thing. I can’t believe they are now, who’s got the money to drop on a custom stick the kid’s just gonna outgrow in a few months?

Rich white people, that’s who.

What struck me as odd. While they ripped, no doubt, they surfed boring. Linking cutbacks, safety floaters, no risk. The sandbar they had to themselves was head high (by their standards), and kept presenting these little racetrack to air sections that they totally ignored.

Then I noticed Dad on the beach. They were running heats, practising. How lame, way to suck out all the fun. It breaks my heart to see someone so young turning surfing into a sport, rather than the selfish aquatic dance it’s meant to be.

Then I noticed Dad on the beach. They were running heats, practising. How lame, way to suck out all the fun. It breaks my heart to see someone so young turning surfing into a sport, rather than the selfish aquatic dance it’s meant to be.

Surfing has always had its share of the jock mentality, dudes who want to win, fun be damned. And I get that, it’s a job, gotta bring home the bacon while you can.

But now… fucking jerseys with numbers, off season training, everyone’s got a coach. So lame, so boring. This truly is the Dead Ball Era of surfing, people have cracked the code, turned each wave into low risk/medium reward.

You could hardly accuse JJ or Sparkle Eyes Ho of boring freesurfs. But the rest of the kids? They’re not doing anything new. Same shit as all the old men, but each new generation should be pushing the limits.

Scary for the future. All the old men are falling apart, falling off. The last generation that tones it down for heats is dying, the new kids surf this way all the time.

There are outliers, of course. You could hardly accuse JJ or Sparkle Eyes Ho of boring freesurfs. But the rest of the kids? They’re not doing anything new. Same shit as all the old men, but each new generation should be pushing the limits.

Remember the early 90’s? When airs and fins out bashes weren’t “real surfing”? How hard those old men kicked and screamed to prolong their notion of what surfing should be? No point now. Same old same old, frontside revs we’ve seen a million times. Great for the guys who hung around, the ones who pioneered that shit. Stale as fuck on a baby faced rookie.

I’ve seen today before, I’m not engaged. I’m going back down to the beach. Maybe I’ll swing by the Green Pig and pick up a Porkaholic sandwich. I really shouldn’t though. Anything called the Porkaholic needs to stay a sometimes treat.


Nixon: “No blacks! No hippies!”

A public relations nightmare?

You know Nixon, of course, as a wonderful action sport watch company. Jack Freestone, Rob Machado, JJF, Josh Kerr, etc. etc. etc. The Player, Ultratide, etc. etc etc. They are watches that fit your surf lifestyle!

You may not know Nixon as the 37th President of the United States of America. You maybe should because he lived near Trestles but there are no reports of him actually surfing it. In any case, his presidency was marked by turmoil. Many found him an evil man. Hunter S. Thompson wrote, after his death:

Richard Nixon is gone now, and I am poorer for it. He was the real thing — a political monster straight out of Grendel and a very dangerous enemy. He could shake your hand and stab you in the back at the same time. He lied to his friends and betrayed the trust of his family. Not even Gerald Ford, the unhappy ex-president who pardoned Nixon and kept him out of prison, was immune to the evil fallout. Ford, who believes strongly in Heaven and Hell, has told more than one of his celebrity golf partners that “I know I will go to hell, because I pardoned Richard Nixon.

But the watch company. Fresh! Fun!

But the ex-president. Naughty! Rude!

And yesterday, it was revealed that Nixon was even naughtier and ruder than previously thought. He specifically started the War on Drugs to smash African-Americans and gentle leftists. In a just published interview that sat hidden in notebooks since 1999 Nixon’s domestic policy chief John Ehrlichman told writer Dan Baum:

The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.
Uh oh! That doesn’t sound very fresh, fun or action sporty. It does not sound like a program that either Rob Machado or John John Florence would approve. When you Google the name Nixon both the watch and the man are front and center. Do you think that hurts sales or do you think anti-commie racists have started their Christmas shopping early?
Should we start a watch company ourselves and name it Radovan?
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Cottons, I think. Or one of those damned waves. No blacks. No hippies.
Cottons, I think. Or one of those damned waves. No blacks. No hippies.

Rumour: Depactus takes a dive!

Surf label aimed at Men of Extraordinary Pursuits may be no more!

Do you remember the “adventure-inspired” brand Depactus? It was launched almost two years ago by the former pro surfer Luke Egan, Electric founder Bruce Beach and Volcom’s Tony Ruiz, and was marked by a well-chosen team including the “greatest athlete you’ve never heard of” and Maui jibber Matt Meola.

Depactus branded their team MEPs or Men of Extraordinary Pursuits. Catchy, yeah it was.

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If you read the about section of the Depactus website, you’d discover it was “a technical outfitter for surfing’s modern youth.”

In an excellent interview with Stab magazine at launch, Luke Egan described Depactus as the “yin to Patagonia’s yang… After I left Billabong, throughout 2013 all I wanted was another challenge. I was going to stay at home in Australia and start making boardshorts and give them to the boys, just to see where it went. I spoke to Bruce, who’d left Electric, and he just wanted to go surfing with his son for six months. By the time it got to the end of year he’d done that and taken this brand to another level. Fuck, alright, let’s go then, I thought.”

Anyway, word on the street is Depactus is done. The MEPs are actively seeking alternative sponsorships and the reason for its failure?

We’re told the brand was marked by three major flaws.

  1. Big salaries right out of the gate.
  2. Branding that was tone deaf to the consumer. Depactus came in high-end and expensive where Salty Crew, who is killing it, came in low, came in blue-collar. Same waterman-fisherman-surfer vibe but more authentic and value oriented.
  3. Bold spending. Big ad agency employed, designers, staff and the most delicious trade show fit-outs seen in a while.

Did you get to see, feel, maybe buy Depactus? Did you like? Why do you think, if rumours are true, that it failed?

Below, you can watch a What Youth-produced video made at launch. A short that is marked by an optimism that was beautiful to watch the time, perhaps a little sad now.


The League of Exceptional Sexists!

What to men do after uttering reprehensibly sexist things?

Sexism in surf is an ongoing and multifaceted issue. Of course it weaves through so many aspects of our fair game, from objectification to second class status conferred upon women pros. The Sydney Morning Herald tackled the subject over the weekend as have many publications over the years. Surfing’s men typically bring the scorn upon themselves. Do you remember when Coco Ho was interviewed by Transworld (RIP) a few years ago and asked, “Is it hard to surf with boobs?” and “Are you scared to surf when it’s your time of the month?” Not very thoughtful questions. Dumb, in fact.

As bad as we are, though, at least we are not that fucking tennis tour. Did you read what CEO of the just wrapped PNB Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California said before Serena Williams played Victoria Azarenka in the final? I will quote!

I think the WTA [Women’s Tennis Association] … you know, in my next life, when I come back, I want to be someone in the WTA because they ride on the coattails of the men. They don’t make any decisions, and they are lucky. They are very, very lucky. If I was a lady player, I’d go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born because they have carried this sport. They really have.

Oops! I don’t know that I have ever read anything as explicitly sexist as that in sport and it makes me wonder, what does an extraordinary sexist do once he has been pilloried in the press? This particular one had to obviously quit his job straight away but then what does he do? Does he shrug his shoulders and become celibate? Does he change his name and pretend those words never crossed his lips? Or is there a League of Extraordinary Sexists which opens its arms and takes him in?

Imagine it, a clubhouse tucked in the hills where elderly gentlemen can wander in smoking robes and be served by twinks, since its a bit difficult to find women with pre-1930s ideals anymore. They say what is truly on their hearts without fear of reprisal. They smile crusty smiles and read pre-2015 Playboys. Nobody cooks, nobody cleans, nobody scolds. There are many back slaps and knowing winks.

Very seriously, how does a man operate after slagging off 50% of the world’s population?


In Memoriam: Venice Beach 1905 – 2016

It will be missed. I think.

For over a century, Venice was home to gangsters, weirdo’s, and Z-boys. Now all that’s left is trustifarians, Hollywood trash, and wealthy geeks. It will be missed.

Venice Beach, CA – Venice Beach – a once poor, open-minded town – died last week. It was 111.

Its final deathblow was made public with the revelation that the Rooster Fish – a gay bar – would be forced shut after 37-years. It not only gave gays a place to boogie, but became a home for natives to grab a decent glass of alcohol away from the hoards taking over the community.

The neighborhood was best known for gang activity and the saying, “Keep Venice Weird.” At some point – when artists could afford to live here – this actually meant something. Now it’s the office mantra at Snapchat. Surfers came to adore the overly “localized” shitty breaks because they could claim local status after only 3-months… while riding a Wavestorm.

Locals will miss the overpriced cocktails, Gjelina pizza, and the fake meat that’s pricier than real meat. They mourn La Fiesta Bravo’s cheap burritos as they nail the coffin shut with $20 juices from Erewhon. It’s done from afar though as the already exorbitant rental market disappeared in favor of more revenue generating Airbnb’s. Longtime resident Dennis Hopper once said, “Venice was the only place in LA I could remember enjoying because all my painter and poet friends lived here.” He bought his first parcel of property in 1985 for $21 000, but passed away in 2010 before seeing his compounds worth balloon to over $6-million.

Venice was founded by tobacco millionaire Abbot Kinney as a beach resort town and destroyed by tech billionaire’s Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Evan Spiegel as ‘Silicon Beach.’ During it’s glory days this slum was the hangout of Beat generation poets, Jim Morrison, muscle heads like Arnie, Charles + Ray Eames, Jane’s Addiction, Hank Moody, and many other miscreants.

The death announcement was released in an eight episode series on NetFlix entitled Flaked. It made residents realize they were walking clichés and included the line, “I like this place. It’s like an on-line community, but in real life… ya know.”

The funeral service will include a memorial paddle-out lead by Rick Massie in tribute to the original art ghetto by the beach. It is survived by General Admission and www.BoardRap.com.

Our favorite Fantasy Surfer 2nd place finisher, Andrew Sayer, curates the completely delicious BoardRap. It is a wonderful collection of what is happening in the surfs and on the streets and should become a regular destination for the person who wishes to be in the know. Go! Go now!