Mason, Coco and Michael Ho (vintage!)

10 Things I’ll teach my kid about surf!

Shoot longboarders. Don’t ride a fish.

Sooner or later, you’ll breed. Throw a gallon of sperm into someone and it’ll stick eventually, often sooner.

And along will come a kid. And because you surf, he, she, will surf.

And they’ll be so into it you’ll watch hours of heats (answering every question about boards, waves, sponsors), every web clip, and they’ll ask you to read every vaguely surf-related story to ’em.

Before you realise it you’ll be the daddy sitting on the beach pointing his phone camera at the surf, hearing… Dad!… before the kid paddles into a wave.


You can’t miss a thing! Oh, and if you do, the tears, the gloom!

And this kid will progress, maybe he’ll do contests, get sponsors, maybe he’ll tap out and keep it in his pocket as an occasional recreation. But, you will be required, as his icon, as surf god to this kid, to create the foundation upon which is surfing experience will grow.

I’m laying the bricks with a kid, eight, and a kid, eleven. The more I tell ‘em the more I realise what a lying, hypocritical son-of-a-bitch I am…but I never did suggest perfection.

Gives the kid another lesson in a dozen years. (Daddy ain’t perfect.)

1. Longboarders should not be shot, despite all evidence to the contrary: A little two-foot swell, a peak, and it gets owned by a longboard enthusiast. Kid can’t buy a wave. Longboarder swings on the peak, fades right, kid pulls off, goes left. Fades left, goes right. Takes off on every set, goodish enough to get enough speed to render a drop-in a collision.

In the real world, you’d push it. Confront the guy. Make it uncomfortable. Paddle under him. Deliberately collide. Grab his leash. With a kid? Who’s never seen a fight? You cut the session short. Those are the breaks etc.

2. No wave is worth fighting for: Multiple drop-ins, collisions, everything that gets you and me fantasising about smearing a nose with one beautiful head-butt or forcing another man’s head underwater until the struggle stops, don’t mean a thing, kid. Laugh about it. There’s plenty of waves etc.

3. Don’t get caught riding fishes every day: Fun? Of course. But you really want to grow into a surfer whose back foot never touches the tail-pad? Who finds quads…stiff? Whose whole game is race to the shoulder, nurse cutback to the pocket, race, nurse, repeat? Give yourself a little rocker, always.

4. Anyone can be a pro surfer, but do you really want to? Become a good surfer, sure. Nothing, at least so I’m told, comes close to the feeling of owning a wave, of being so in control of your board and the moment, you’re able to do precisely what you want.

But who wants to turn their fun into a job? Who wants to travel the world, sitting in hotel rooms looking at Facebook or stabbing your phone with your finger all day building your “social” following, in between frantic, ultra-high pressure heats in front of judges who still have a crush on floaters and “full-rail wraps”?

5. Old boards go just as good as new boards: Kid, you don’t need a new CI. You don’t need a damn thing except a board that floats you. Ride it. Master it. Move on.

6. There’s only three things you need: A board, a leash and a wetsuit/trunks. All those accessories? Wax, yeah. The rest? Forget about ‘em. You don’t need to look or act like a “surfer”. You ride, you are. Don’t make “surfer” your identity.

7. Y’ain’t curing cancer. Surfing is as pointless as football, as basketball as everything. So don’t think of yourself as some kind of elevated species because you like catching waves. As surfing’s only Pulitzer winner, Bill Finnegan, put it: “You could argue that it teaches its devotees a few things about self-reliance and the grandeur of Nature – maybe even a little humility – and I guess I wouldn’t argue with that. But in the end surfing, in my opinion, does little or nothing to build or improve character. As we all know, a lot of assholes surf, and some of them surf well.”

8. There’s a lineage. Know Kelly. Appreciate his overwhelming influence on modern surfing. But also know Simon Anderson, Tom Curren, Tom Carroll, Shaun Tomson, Rabbit Bartholomew, Michael Peterson, Steve Lis, Miki Dora and everyone else all the way back to damn Rabbit Kekai, may god rest his beautiful soul.

9. Wear zinc on your face and a tee or wetsuit on your back. I ain’t real sure about rubbing chemicals into the skin of your body but who wants a piebald face when you’re forty? Who wants to look like your daddy?

10. Just…surf. Don’t say it’s shit and you want to wait for the tide, or you want to check somewhere else, or whatever. It is what it is, son. Ride it.

Film: An Icelandic adventure!

The Accord promises thrills, spills and a drunken North Wind!

I grew up, as everyone by now knows, surfing Oregon’s brutal central coast. Rain, wind, cold, etc. But don’t I feel like a sissy now because look at this gorgeous trailer for a new Icelandic adventure named The Accord.

And I know what you are thinking. Booooooooooooooooooring. Because, maybe coincidence maybe not, that is exactly what I was thinking. But I dare you to watch the trailer and then think the same thing. That North Wind? How fun is that? Gorgeous high def footage of one of the most beautiful places on earth? Yes please? And that barrel at the 1:05 minute mark (pictured)? If you don’t want to be locked into that thing then you are not a surfer but a turd. A floating turd.

The film’s synopsis reads:

The reality of growing up a surfer in Iceland is different from anywhere else in the world. It’s a harsh place. There are no surf shops, guidebooks or webcams. Icelandic surfers are seriously on their own both in and out of the water. But being so far removed from the hustle and bustle of the known surf world hardens Iceland’s surfers to confront the issue they all must face: the North Atlantic wind.

This wind is like a drunkard 10 minutes before closing time; you never know what the bastard’s up to. He can be in the throes of a calm alcohol stupor one minute, fly into a fit of rage the next, and then, in a moment of pure brilliance and drunken unpredictability, the North Atlantic wind can be the most magnificent man in the room.

Heiðar Logi Elíasson has dealt with the North Atlantic wind his entire life and although Iceland isn’t a “surfer’s paradise,” growing up on a tiny Island in the middle of the North Atlantic has taught Heidar a few tricks in dealing with adverse conditions. First amongst them, that dangerous dance with the North Atlantic wind.

Follow Heiðar Logi on his journey through Iceland searching for that rare, yet significant, compromise that brings both Icelandic surfers and that bastard wind to the table. Starring Gudmundur Thorain as the North Atlantic wind, The Accord’s world premiere will be at the Telluride Mountainfilm Festival May 28.

Do you live in Telluride? Go and watch! If not I’m sure it will be available exclusively here soon. Or not exclusively but you know what I’m getting at.

The Accord Trailer from 66°NORTH on Vimeo.

Are you a floating turd?

Dave Carson's Lunada Bay cover for Monster Children.
Dave Carson's Lunada Bay cover for Monster Children.

Just in: No Bleachers for Lunada Bay!

"I strongly object for the city to be overly welcoming…"

The latest installment of Lunada Bay: How to Lose a PR War takes us to a PV Estates council meeting dedicated to providing bluff top seating.

We don’t want to start going down a slippery slope — what I would strongly object to is for the city to be overly welcoming,said Lunada Bay’s Sara Wood while providing a delicious sound bite sure to be rehashed constantly by the media during the coming class action suit.

The powers that be agree.

“I don’t think we should be going anywhere near Lunada Bay right now,” said committee Chairman Charles Peterson. “The consequences of putting boulders and inviting people to enjoy the scene of Lunada Bay right now, I don’t know if it’s a good thing.”

This comes hot on the heels of last week’s LA Times article detailing the steps the city took to avoid the appearance of xenophobic privilege while continuing to benefit from it.

What will the future bring? Will the public ever be free to visit the splendor of their betters?

Only time will tell. In the meantime we’ll have to make do with the entertaining spectacle of rich peoples’ discomfort.

(Read designer Dave Carson’s illuminating account of living and surfing among “miserable, absurd, asshole localism” at Lunada Bay here.)

Julian Wilson Olympics

Julian Wilson says yes to Olympics!

But only if it's held in a wave pool… 

There are a lot of people out there who really ache at the idea of surfing becoming an Olympic sport.

Oh, the corruption, oh the drugs, oh the… pointlessness of men and women tossing balls and running hither and yon, faces red like pomegranates.

And what does the Olympiad do except feed a nationalism that rewards the country with the most money to spend?

Bangladesh, Nigeria, Vietnam, Ethiopia, they’ve all got massive populations. How’s their medal count compared to puny Great Britain, Australia or Germany?

I get it. 

But when those sixteen days in August swings around, we’ll cry with the winners and losers on the podium and cast darting eyes at the rippling bodies flexing beneath the orange-hot sunbeams of Rio De Janeiro.

And, so, if only to give yourself another reason to watch, wouldn’t you like it if there was a surfing event?

The world number seven, Julian Wilson, who left Rio yesterday with a last-place screwed up in his pocket, does.

“I think it would be great,” Julian told the Sunshine Coast Daily.

“I don’t know what type of format would work but I think any opportunity for surfers to participate in some sort of team sport would be great (because normally) it’s so individual.”

But…and here’s the thing… only if it’s held in a pool.

“If they can lock down a really good wave pool then we (would) have something solid and tangible but I think it would be pretty hard if you had to rely on the ocean,” he said.

Does that strike you, as it does to me, as an odd thing to say?

Isn’t the WSL world champion, the undisputed measure of surfing greatness, decided in whatever shit happens to swish onto second-rate beaches?

And, therefore, if fairness must be fed into the equation to determine a  Olympic winner, does that mean the 2020 Olympic Champion will be surfing’s legitimate champ?

Kelly Slater yoga
Photo: Belly? | Photo: Belly?

Rio: Kelly Slater passes out!

...falls on his face, wakes up and says, "Thank God I'm not in Brazil!"

Everyone is mad at Rio! I wrote this morning that it was nice to see the pros surf waves that I wouldn’t even but Rory Parker slammed so me hard I can’t get up!

He is very right!

Nobody wants to see Roger Federer play cracked cement’d net-less tennis!

But don’t you want to know what Kelly Slater has been doing while Kolohe Andino gets Zika?

Passing out!

He posted a video on his Instagram feed of himself doing a faceplant doing a yoga class but not just any yoga class. A Wim Hof yoga class! Do you not know who Wim Hof is? Vice says:

Wim Hof first caught the attention of scientists when he proved he was able to stay submerged in ice for one hour and 53 minutes without his core body temperature changing. Since then, he’s climbed Mount Everest in his shorts, resisted altitude sickness, completed a marathon in the Namibian Desert with no water, and proven—under a laboratory setting—that he’s able to influence his autonomic nervous system and immune system at will.

And Kelly says:

When you’re doing a breathing class with #WimHof on #FridayThe13th under a #NewMoon and Mercury is heavily in #Retrograde and you pass out and fall on your face, start dreaming and wake up wondering where tf you are and why does your face feel like you just got tackled on the football field and somebody was filming it all…but you think it’s funny. (Smiley)

Amazing. And there is Kelly getting his anti-age/weird/# on while the rest of his tour mates are in Brazil. Still. I am so fascinated by that country’s wild geo-political thing that I’d rather be there than on Mt. Everest naked. Have you seen the movie Everest? Brutal. And actually, I wouldn’t be on whatever beach the contest is at but in Brasilia trying to figure out what Dilma’s next play is.

You? Where would you rather be?

Kelly Slater passes out during yoga session! from BeachGrit on Vimeo.