A day in the life of the dazzling 13-year-old from Maui!
Watching a youth in his late teens bang off jump after jump is something which you might give or take. Seeing a couple of kids, only just turned twelve and thirteen, operate a surfboard with this sort of dexterity, however, is a… wonder.
The Maui surfer Eli Hanneman, who is thirteen, appears in this excellent, if simple, day-in-the-life short. Eli describes his day as blocks of two three-hour surfs, with a midday nap, or one five-hour session, where he practises the manoeuvres he wishes to have perfected by the time he hits the tour in four or five years.
Making a fine cameo is the half-Australian, half-Indonesian boy Bronson Meidy, who was born and raised in the surf ghetto of Lakey Peak only twelve years ago.
I grew up, as noted here often, in the Pacific Northwest. Though I look back now with misty-eyed appreciation, at the time I did not find the dreary, cold, rednecked, cold, cloudy, economically depressed, oppressively green, wet, backwoods, backwater, cold, wet thing charming.
And Portland, the jewel, the rose, did not exist in my youth. It was merely a dull city four hours away. It had not yet become “Portland.”
In any case, I read just yesterday that Portland is getting its first surf shop and its second soon after and since it is “Portland” they will also sell coffee and craft beer.
Cosube and Up North Surf Club are appropriately named, sell coffee/beer, feat. art and screen film and might actually be successful. There is one other place in town that has been open since 1983 and sells surfboards but also sells snowboards and SUPs (yuck on the SUPs!). It’s owner tells The Oregonian newspaper:
“I totally think we need more bars and coffee shops in Portland. It’s a cool idea, I guess. I think a lot of places already do things like that without actually saying they’re a surf shop. Maybe I should open up a margarita stand outside.”
Does that sound like he’s being facetious or serious? Maybe facetious. But I think he really should open up a margarita stand outside.
Which brings my around to my point. If surf shops in southern California made wonderful cocktails I would visit tons and probably accidentally make drunken purchases.
How in the hell have surf shop owners not thought of this already? Does “Portland” have to lead us all to the well and show us how to drink?
"It'll help you find God!" says its maker Ray "Runman" Klein…
You’ve never heard of Ray Kleiman. Long ago, he and his buddy Morgan Runyon made a series of hilarious Super 8 surf movies under the moniker, Runman. The series peaked in 1990 with the third of the series, Runman 69.
So, there was rapture, at least in my heart, when I discovered Runman’s own version of 2005’s The Bruce Movie in that film’s DVD extras. In the six-minute short, we go deep into Bruce’s off-tour life on Kauai. We see a wild pig killed for a wedding feast. We see a drunk getting decked for hassling Bruce. We watch Bruce eat it jumping a motorbike. We see Andy and Bruce drunk together, we see tourists getting smashed on rocks and a wild stationary wave. We see giant whip-in airs and loving closeups of Bruce’s (now ex-girl), Mia’s, ass and titties.
Surf movies don’t get any better, or shorter.
I gave Ray a call on Thanksgiving to give us the low down on his contribution to The Bruce Movie all those beautiful years ago…
BeachGrit: Hey, Runman! Happy Thanksgiving!
Oh fuck, anything to do with celebrating killing people we love…
Your movie is a masterpiece. How would you define your style?
I film reality as I see it. I don’t like to set anything up. I just like to film. And I get people as they usually are.
Talk me through the scene on the stationary wave where Bruce and Kamalei Alexander collide and then Bruce steals Kamalei’s board? Was Bruce serious?
That was pretty serious.
I would’ve thought that Kamalei would’ve squashed him like a bug given his awesome reputation.
You know how it is, when someone’s mad and the other person probably isn’t mad.
There’s many scenes of tourists being washed into rocks or into the ocean. Why?
That’s just… comedy.
It’s a common theme in your movies.
We do that a lot.
Do you live on Kauai?
I’m on earth.
I admit, I loved the juxtaposition of Bruce’s parents cheering when he crashed the bike.
Yeah, that’s a good one! They loved that!
Have your heard if Bruce liked the movie?
It looks like he likes it. I see him, I hang out with him. I don’t really to talk to him about it. We know each other real good.
Your lens ponders Mia at length.
Yeah! She’s hot!
Tell me about the guy getting slapped by Chava Greenlee (Bruce’s friend, noted surfer on the North Shore)?
He was kinda mouthing off and was drunk and getting in Bruce’s face. The best story I heard about that was a guy came up to me and said, Hey man, my friend is in your Bruce movie. I said, Really? And he said, Yeah, it’s the guy getting punched out. This guy went up to his friend and said, You’re in the new Bruce movie! And he said, What am I doing? And he said, You’re catching two feet of air!
The pig’s in a bad way in the opening scene.
That’s the real deal.
And it was classic, the stickers: Welcome to Hawaii – now go home and Aloha also means goodbye.
You gotta show how it really is…
What do you do for leaves when you’re not filming?
I work on the land.
Are you a farmer or a shephard?
I caretake big pieces of property.
Do you carry a shotgun and ride on a four-wheeler?
No, it’s all on foot.
Is movie making a hobby?
I film for love. And it makes money sometimes.
How much did you get for this sweet little extra?
I made the the Bruce movie for love. I don’t think I got directly paid for it.
Did you get a hat?
I got a pat on the back with and I love you and a sticker.
Will this movie help non-believers find God?
It’ll definitely save a lot of people.
And to conclude?
If you want to see the real deal, watch my movie. And thanks to Volcom for letting me put it out there.
And, guess what! He just met the cutest Belgian boy in his search for a vacay three-way!
Beer Festival in San Juan del Sur. Did not know. Not my scene. I take my lagers ice cold and in large quantities. Less flavor the better. Alcohol delivery mechanism.
Wife’s a fan of flavor. Very excited. Bought our way. Expected a tasting situation. Handed a huge pile of tickets. More than enough to find oblivion.
Expected a chance to explore a stranger’s sexuality. Was not to be that night. Infested with all-male surf tour groups. “You’re from Hawaii? Do you surf big waves?”
Stupid question asked repeatedly. Friendly. Frustrating. Second to “Oh, what do you write?”
Gay erotica, mostly.
Met a SoCal expat bartender at the microbrew bar. Kid was a prick. Too cool for school. Val transplant to Hermosa Beach. Parents financed relocation to Nica so he could “focus on surfing and brewing.” Flat brim cap. Very narrow shoulders.
Very drunk wife wanted to fight him. Settled for stiffing him on the tip. Pulled the helpful Nico bartender aside, big smile on his face when we told him not to share. Pocket the cash. Fuck that gringo.
Our friend owns a successful brewery in the South Bay. No reference for this bozo.
Pills! G strings! Throwing out huge tips because we’re rich. Some lady very upset at our chain-smoking bar side. Pointed glances and fake coughs. Been tossing tenners at staff. We can do what we want. They told her to move if she didn’t like it.
Beer fest three-way proved impossible. SJDS sausage fest. Competition too high. I don’t pay or compete for pussy. Looking forward to Playa Gigante. Solo tripper open minds ripe for plucking. lacking a protective circle of friends to chase us off.
Our hotel is very nice. Downstairs staff can definitely hear us fuck. Coy glances on our way in and out. Only awkward on their end.
Low-level codeine works wonders for a hangover. Chase it with a liter of water. I feel ten years younger.
Sunday Funday is stupid name. Pay for your wrist band, join in the anarchy. Half-naked drunken children letting loose. Too young to drink in their home country. Too naive to feel fear. Ripe and unwary.
Day drinking in the heat, stumbled onto a shuttle to the Naked Tiger Hostel. Couldn’t handle the place these days. Would have been heaven ten years ago. Now I want a clean room and ice cold a/c. Maid service. A television I won’t watch.
Shots are a bad idea. Watered down anyway. Or not tequila. Hard to tell. Definitely the wrong shade. Suck ’em down with kids half my age. Grab beers for the group. A buck a pop, I’m Mr Big Spender.
Got to creeping. Wife took the lead. Less threatening than me. Occasionally feel awkward when I’m the biggest guy in the room. Loom over hairless boys and well waxed girls. Come across as threatening. Which I am. In a different context.
Wife asked a lovely Irish lass to dinner. She’d love to. I need to make things clear. Slurring words with rounded edges.
“Okay, just so you know, it’d be a date.”
“What do you mean?”
“We want to date you.”
“Did that make it awkward?”
“Good. So what do you say? Will you date me and my wife?”
Wife chimes in with, “It’s not a sexual thing.”
“No, it totally is.”
She seemed overwhelmed, but intrigued. Said she’d think it over. Disappeared into the crowd.
Dancing with a plump Israeli girl. Grinding my hard-on against her thigh. Going well, until she started puking. Friends gathered around. Get her some water. Sit her in a corner. Look for another option. I’m a lot of things, not a rapist.
Very cute Belgian couple. Guy making eyes at me. That works. His head at my shoulder, not a hair on his shirtless torso. Adorable little girlfriend. Would fit in my pocket. The four of us could make a big sweaty stew. Group grope. No rules. Don’t be a sex coward.
As wonderful as Backdoor is, the crowning glory is a flow chart that helps, in Trace Marshall’s words, “Us dumb surfer types to understand the wonderful world of surf culture. This thing we hold so dear is really just controlled by a handful of rich white dudes. It’s pretty funny that most of the surf companies that are such rivals are actually owned by the same corporation. Is that bad? Is that good? I don’t know but we think its funny.
What else has BM got? I was compelled to ask.
BeachGrit: Whose idea was the flow chart?
Trace Marshall: We had it drawn on our wall with markers. We would occasionally do some research and fill in the blanks. My Filipino slave labor Steven V laid it out on his computer machine. We did cocaine for a few days and laid the mag out. It was inspiring. You can score it here.
What is surf culture to you?
“Surf Culture” to me is an idea created by some drug smugglers in the 70s. “Surf culture” is the best way to launder drug money. But the like most drug smugglers they got too greedy (like Pablo Escobar/Scarface/the Jamaican dude from Belly) and it all collapsed around them.
What is your current mindset re: surf culture?
Oh, it’s so beat down. It’s been raped so hard. Poor thing needs a little break. It’s been getting it from every angle for some time now. Nothing is sacred. The only real thing is surfing itself. You can’t take that away from us. That’s what it’s all about.
What is the best in surf culture?
Beer, drugs, chicks, hot dudes, Christ, butts, the turbo-tunnel fin, the calf leash, Astrodeck, Angie Reno, Brothers Marshall gear.
What is the worst?
High-speed RED cam surf shots to Super 8 cutaways. Pollution and the clothes at Brothers Marshall.
How did you become such iconoclasts?
What does that mean? We are dumb surfers. You can’t use big words like this. We are just trying to bring some fun back to this world we love so much. It’s scary times. Let’s party!