Parker: 5 surf tips to enhance your life!

Involving booze, fins, leashes, drowning and non-edible wax… 

Got my shit done late today. Went for a surf, ate shit onto the deck of my board like a goon. Thought I broke a few ribs. Headed to urgent care to get checked out. Three hours of waiting room hell. Not their fault, place was jammed. Pretty good service, really. All things considered.

One family full of screaming kids. Not angry, crying. Screams of laughter. The absolute worst. Running laps around the adults, singing, having a great time.

People will take a crying child outside. But not a happy one. Because I’m supposed to love the joy of children? I definitely do not. Better seen and not heard.

People will take a crying child outside. But not a happy one. Because I’m supposed to love the joy of children? I definitely do not. Better seen and not heard.

Best never seen at all.

Got my x-rays, nothing broken. Just bad bruising. Sweet! Looking forward to my upcoming Nica trip, don’t wanna deal with an injury while I’m there. Doc says I probably bruised my spleen too. Which I guess isn’t a big deal, unless it turns into internal bleeding. Which I assume it will not. But I’ve got a week of the wife watching me like a hawk in store.

I also got a small bottle of percocet. Which is a silver lining, for sure. Perks to being injury prone. Kinda. Only because I can handle my shit.

Derek says to surprise you all and write about some surf knowledge. That which I have. Which is a bit, I’ve been playing in the ocean for a longish time. But I don’t know if I can drop any true knowledge bombs. We’re not the Inertia, I don’t know if many of our readers have less than a year under their belt. Fairly certain I can’t hand out anything that isn’t straight “yeah, duh!” stuff.

So maybe I’ll just share some surf knowledge it took me far too long to learn.

Cut your leash rope short: No one ever told me your leash rope can pull through the rail of your board if it’s too long. Found that out in my late twenties. After it happened on a small day at Log Cabins.

You can’t drown from a hold-down: Not if you’re a normal human. Toss your hat into the lunatic ring, try paddling into a skyscraper. Then maybe. But stay calm and just deal with the carbon dioxide build up and you’ll be fine. Learn who long you can hold your breath with just a little practice and you’ll be laughing at life.

I do enjoy Wassel’s take on apnea. “I can hold my breath for one minute.”

Because it only matters if you’re being flogged halfway to death. Five minutes in a pool ain’t shit.

(By the way, listen to the podcast if you haven’t. It’s good shit. Recording episode two tomorrow.)

Alcohol is terrible for your surfing: I wish it weren’t true. Could crawl in a bottle every day without my body slowing turning into mush. But the facts be the facts. With every day that passes my body bounces back with a bit less vigor. Just can’t go big one day and expect to surf worth a damn for the next couple.

Fins don’t make that big of a difference: A good set (Techflex Merricks!) is heaven. But you don’t need a fin quiver. That shit’s just marketing.

Marketing that got me to buy way too many slivers of glass that gather dust before I came to my senses.

I could be wrong, though. Maybe constant swapping would invigorate my jams!

I would happily admit so, publicly, were Futures to kick a few bucks our way. Wouldn’t do it for FCStitch. As far as I’m concerned one set’s too many. Especially with the shenanigans they’re trying to pull these days. Which I don’t know if I’m allowed to talk about. Innocents caught in the crossfire.

You shouldn’t eat Bubblegum surf wax: I probably ate a few bars worth as a kid. Someone older told me you could and I didn’t even question it.


This is the sort of wave that makes you want to stand on the top of the newly refurbished seats and clap like thunder!

Surf Resort voted “Best Hotel in World!”

Dazzling Sumba resort Nihiwatu best hotel in the world say readers of Travel + Leisure magazine… 

The times are a-changing. Or they’ve changed. And it ain’t necessarily bad, at least if your credit card glows.

A few days ago, Travel + Leisure magazine announced that its readers had voted the Nihiwatu resort on Sumba, where clifftop villas overlook a sizzling lefthander which the resort claims exclusive rights to, the best hotel in the world.

It ain’t cheap, of course, but what price the sublime? The five-bedroom estate is $US12,000 a night in peak season while a starter villa is $US1500, inclusive of all food, yoga, wifi, but not, uh, surfing, which is limited to ten surfers.

Let’s examine the rate sheet.

“All surf slots are charged at USD100.00++ per day. A maximum of 1 surf slot per villa applies. If our guests are surfers we need to know how many will be surfing at the time of paying the deposit. Adjustments will be made to invoices for additional surfers according to your response. The above rate is subject to 11% government tax & 10% service charge and is non-commissionable. Please note that only registered surfers will be allowed to surf. These will have received a confirmation from the Boathouse time prior to their arrival, confirming their paid surf slot.”

How’s that Mastercard feeling? A little warm in your hands?

Study the wave, here.

Claude and Petra Graves set up Nihiwatu in 2000 before selling to American entrepreneur Chris Burch and South African hotelier James McBride in 2012. After renovations last spring, Nihiwatu was visited by Travel + Leisure magazine‘s Peter Jon Lindberg, who wrote:

I spent my week in Sumba in a state of suspended bliss, orbiting among infinity pools, natural mud baths, waterfall-fed swimming holes, glowing valleys full of rice paddies, misty mountaintop villages straight out of Tolkien, and a beach that looked as if it were airbrushed on the side of a van.

That beach is spectacular, with or without the left-hand break, and one can easily see why the Graveses pitched their tent here. It can’t have changed much in the 27 years since: every morning I’d walk the mile and a half to the end, and every morning mine were the only footprints.

Nihiwatu’s redesign—by the Bali firm Habitat 5—finds a winning balance between refined and raw. Guest villas allude to traditional Sumbanese homes, with steeply pitched thatched roofs and massive kasambi tree trunks for support columns. Sumbanese ikat tapestries and black-and-white photos of local villagers hang on ocher stone walls. Wide-angle windows overlook lush gardens and the sea beyond.

Local touches show up everywhere: bathroom sinks are hewn from slabs of roughly carved stone; wardrobes are fashioned from coconut wood. The space is natural where you want it to be, sleek where you need it—as in the seamless glide of sliding glass doors; the light switches that glow in the unfamiliar dark; or the straw paddle fan that swirls inside, not outside, your monumental canopy bed. Most striking of the new villas: the Kanatar Sumba Houses, where an outdoor shower is magically cantilevered off the second floor. All the other outdoor showers went home and cried.

Ninety-eight percent of the staff are from Sumba. Like most guests, I was assigned a butler, a jovial Sumbanese man named Simson, who arrived at 7 a.m. every morning bearing breakfast—papaya, rambutan, watermelon juice, house-made yogurt, Sumba coffee. (The foodhere is terrific, highlighting the bright, fresh flavors you crave in the tropics.) One morning Simson was limping because a scorpion had bitten him on the toe back home. “I didn’t check before putting on my sandals!” he said, as if it were his fault, not the scorpion’s. He quickly added that one seldom encounters them at Nihiwatu.

Scorpions or no, I can’t remember a resort on any island that I’ve liked more than Nihiwatu. And while it is clearly not for everyone—there are no golf carts to whisk guests around— I can’t imagine what sort of crank wouldn’t fall for the place.

As they reach out to a broader clientele, Burch and McBride are determined to honor Nihiwatu’s commitment to the island. To this day, all profits from the resort go to the Sumba Foundation. They’ve even added an on-site “Guru Village,” where doctors stay for free in exchange for volunteer work. During my visit, a team of Australian eye specialists was in residence; they spent their mornings surfing and afternoons performing cataract surgeries in local clinics.

Of course there’s an inevitable dissonance between Sumba’s privation and Nihiwatu’s privilege, between a subsistence-level economy and a butler-staffed resort. Perhaps that’s why so many guests are compelled to support the foundation and, not least, to visit Sumbanese villages. To do so is to realize how unique— and symbiotic—the relationship is between Nihiwatu and the island it calls home.”

Did you, like me, laugh a little at the reference to the butler? “…a jovial Sumbanese man named Simson… one morning Simson was limping because a scorpion had bitten him on the toe back home.”

Oh, poor Simson, the damn native, paid to be jovial, even when he’s seized with poison!

Watch the promo video here.


Radio: Scott Caan plays Chas Smith!

Kooks of Komedy is a very funny podcast. Come listen and learn who will play Mick Fanning in the film version of Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell!

I am well aware that I have a face made for radio and a voice made for the Muppet Show which leaves really only one viable career path. Surf Journalist. Nick Carroll knows what I’m talking about. But this past Saturday found me sitting across from two men who each possess a constellation of talents.

Lachlan Patterson and Joe Praino are both very funny working comedians, very handsome and enjoy the surfing. I had heard about their side project podcast Kooks of Komedy for some time and even heard snippets before on other websites and liked but now I love because I was the guest on Saturday.

Not that I love what I have to say. Oh no no no. I am exhausted to death of own story, the damned Hezbollah capture, Mick Fanning incident etc. I feel like a fraud talking about any of it, not that those things aren’t true, but the moments that have become signposts of my career happened a lifetime ago. I don’t like looking back, generally, and especially not back a decade.

What made being on the show so great, what made me love it, were the hosts. Surfing is such a comical thing and it works best in the hands of comedians. We sat and laughed. I drank Titos and Vitamin Water and delighted in what we all have in common.

Damned surfing.

You can listen here. And visit the website for video, pictures etc.

Damned surfing!


After 25 years of orbiting the tour, y'think Slater has plane travel down? Says it took him 28 hours to get to J-Bay, "as fast as you can get here from California without flying in a private plane. I was…flying…man!" Biz or coach? "That would be painful in economy. This is one y'gotta figure out how to get yourself into business to get here." | Photo: Peter King

#TourNotes: How to Get to J-Bay!

Who flies biz class? Who don't? Who saves a few shekels flying via London?

It’s easy to paint the professional surfer’s life as a hyper-sexed club interspersed by the glamour of international travel.

But is it, really?

Hyper-sex, yes. Buttocks crushed, necks bitten, the hot ecstasy of convulsing into the hot deep sweetness of ports previously unknown. Multiples. Multiples of multiples. And it never gets old.

The travel part really sucks, however, and acts as a counterbalance to everything else.

This short, by Peter King, who let’s be generous, is the king of this sort of iPhone-shot pop art, reveals the circuitous route our fav surfers take to get to J-Bay. It’s a typical Peter King short: fast, well-edited, disposable. I once asked him the secret to his success to which he replied:

“I’m not some 26 year old shucking and jiving my way up the marketing chain. I’m not trying to be anyone’s agent, I’m not trying to be a host of the webcast, I’m not trying to make 15 dollars on a Surfline photo. There’s no jealousy. It’s just me.”

Interestingly, Ross Williams has the worst route to J-Bay: a four-day journey via Los Angeles and London; Filipe Toledo the best, LA-NYC-JNB.

Watch here.


Dear Rory: “Surfing’s lost its magic!”

What does a man do when his great passion deserts him?

Dear Rory,

I am 42 years old with 30 odd years of surfing behind me and feel like I have reached a cross roads and would like some advice to move forward or backward or whatever.

Since I got my first surfboard I had been surf mad, it was all I cared about, kind of built an identity around it as embarrassing as that sounds.  I got to a reasonable level of competence, not pro level but I could surf alright, even now I still have my moments mixed in with a bit of middle aged fumbling.

At the moment I feel stale, I’m disinterested for the first time in my life.  I always said I would surf until I died but will I really?  I’ve ridden pretty standard equipment most of my life but have always dabbled with shorter fatter sort of boards even before they were accepted and actually surfed them alright, anyway peer pressure or something always kept me close to whatever everyone else was riding, even today my boards wouldn’t be too out of place at a contest at Trestles.

So I feel like I need something new, I like the idea of alternative boards but it sounds so lame, will people think I’m trying to be a hipster especially because I have a bit of a beard going on?  What style of board will relight the fire?  Any advice is appreciated.

Thanks

Seaman Staines

Dear Rory says: I had another few really shit sessions recently. Bad ones. Where you’re constantly out of position, and your timing is slightly off and it’s like your body just completely forgot what it’s supposed to do.

Soul crushing shit. Like, come on already!

I deal with it by bodysurfing. That’s always fun. Great exercise. Damn hard to have a bad bodysurf.

I was out essentially swimming laps and pretending I’m a dolphin when this little kid paddles out and starts working on his shuv-its.

Little fucker had them close to wired. Over and over and over. Pop and catch, then fall. Stuck two or three, came close a million times.

Which is what high performance surfing is for normal high talent humans. Failing ten millions times in exchange for one moment of brilliance. I don’t have that patience anymore.

But there’s a big problem with moving onto alternative stuff. It’s damn hard to go back. Being used to a design that holds your hand means unforgiving boards will seem hellish. And at a certain point you’ve become that old guy who surfs really well, considering the fact that he’s all old and gross and rides a weird fun shape thing.

The whole scene reinforced an ugly creeping notion I’ve been playing with for a while. What’s the point of riding cutting edge equipment if your surfing isn’t cutting edge? You’re just making things more difficult.

So why not just hop onto something that’s enjoyable and, god forbid, easy to ride? The best surfer is not the one having the most fun, but there’s a nice side to getting old. Who the fuck cares about being the best surfer? Leave that to the amped and agile boiling cauldrons of testosterone with decades of crushing defeats in front of them.

But there’s a big problem with moving onto alternative stuff. It’s damn hard to go back. Being used to a design that holds your hand means unforgiving boards will seem hellish. And at a certain point you’ve become that old guy who surfs really well, considering the fact that he’s all old and gross and rides a weird fun shape thing.

But, again, who really cares?

I say do it. Doesn’t really matter what you go for. Mini simmons, hiperf log, retro plank, modern fish… whatever. In the end it’s all the same. You’ll have a blast and feel like you’re ripping and not look anywhere near as good as you feel.