Revival: Surf style becoming “nostalgic!”

"Because if there’s one thing millennials have proven they love, it’s a throwback to a trend of their childhood!"

I am finally out of Big Sur and back to wifi and back to life! The Olympics have started, I see, and Dane and his love Courtney tied the knot!

It is a very good thing to get married, in my opinion, as opposed to living as boyfriend and girlfriend for multiple years. It shows that a man and a woman are not chicken. That they are not afraid to attach ancient structures to their soaring love. Good for Dane! Good for Courtney! And may they be happy forever!

Speaking of happy forever, have you seen those smiling faces in Rio? Remember, just yesterday, when everyone in the world said the Games were going to be a horrible failure? That pollution and Zika and armed robbery and Brazilians? Well everyone in the world is eating crow off a giant churrasco spit right now!


And surfing will be dancing in the glow of Tokyo success in just four years. Certainly there will be fears of nuclear contamination, the rising spectre of Japanese nationalism, corruption, etc. etc. beforehand but that’s cuz people are haterz, dog.

In any case, the Hollywood Reporter wrote that surfing’s inclusion in the Olympics might create a revival among the youth for vintage surf fashions. Let’s read!

Nowadays — in the era of Brandy Melville obsession and athleisure empires — many surf brands have fallen off the style radar. Both PacSun and Quiksilver filed for bankruptcy in the past year, signaling a decline in interest among Gen Z shoppers.

But several world-ranked surfers are still sponsored by companies of yore, including VonZipper, Volcom, Oakley, Hurley, Lost and Etnies, leading us to wonder if their moment in the spotlight could translate into a nostalgic resurrection of that early aughts style. Because if there’s one thing millennials have proven they love, it’s a throwback to a trend of their childhood. (See: the Gilmore Girls revival, chokers, Pokemon Go.)

If the Instagram accounts of athletes like Matt Wilkinson (ranked No.1 by the World Surf League, men’s) and Tyler Wright (ranked No.1 by the World Surf League, women’s) are any indication, surf wear is surviving, thanks in no small part to free apparel from sponsors like Roxy and Rip Curl.

Do you think the brands love being referred to as “companies of yore?” Do you think they think of themselves as purveyors of an “early aughts style?”

I think maybe yes!

Or if no they should!

A massive financial windfall just around the corner for those who can hold on by the fingernails! For those that can recapture the magic of millennial childhoods!

Also, can you help real quick? What on earth does that last sentence mean? Surf wear is surviving thanks to free apparel from sponsors? Does it mean that without giving clothing away the brands would all be dead?


I get it.


Maybe accurate.

Midget Farrelly
Individualism doesn't always mean a drunk kink, tattoos and prison stints. Midget played it clean and departs this beautiful earth a… great.

Dead: Surf Icon Midget Farrelly!

Matt Warshaw on the squarest man in surfing… 

Australia’s first world surf champ, Bernard “Midget” Farrelly has died, aged seventy-one. Big deal? Yeah, maybe it is.

I threw a few questions at surf historian Matt Warshaw, currently on a mountaineering retreat, to show why Midget still matters. 

BeachGrit: Midget was Australia’s first world surfing champ. Which made him big in Australia. But is there anything that attaches him to surfing, now? Performance? Boards?
Warshaw: Midget’s timing, for those first big years, was perfect. He was the surfing gentleman, the boy next door, perfect manners, well-dressed, posh accent — at a time when surfers in general were just a step above pickpockets. He wore that mantle so well. When surfing went hippy, and Midget refused to go along, he got hammered for being a square. I think it’s greatly to his credit that he stayed true to who he was — an articulate, highly-focused, no-bullshit person. He actually did his best surfing during the years where he was uncool. Damien Hardman is the surfer who I think came closest to late-period Midget in terms of being hugely accomplished but not especially loved. I can’t seem to make a connection between Midget and any 2016 surfers. Sad to say, but I think he’d be as unpopular now as he was in the late ‘60s, in that he wouldn’t sing and dance and mug for our pleasure. He was better than that.

BeachGrit: The most interesting thing, it seemed, was his blood feud with the slightly younger Nat Young, who superseded Midge as Australia’s best surfer. Midget really hated Nat; and Nat was contemptuous of Midget. Any theories on its origin? Was it something to do with Midget’s anti-drug stance at a time when the world was turning on?
Warshaw: It’s complicated. Here’s what I wrote a couple years back:
The epigraph for Midget Farrelly’s 1965 autobiography This Surfing Life is brief. “When you’re comfortable, you’re dead.” The man was 21 years old, reigning world champ, and the toast of the Australian sporting set — yet he chose to introduce his book with that little nugget of gloom. Here’s what I’m getting at. The bitterness that would come to at least partly define Midget Farrelly in years to come — that was inborn. Some of it, anyway.

And some of it was forced down his throat. For almost 50 years now, Midget has been surfing’s most ill-treated figure. Surf media tastemakers lost interest in Farrelly not long after This Surfing Life was published because, A) he didn’t get stoned, and B) he was roughly 85% less charismatic than his protege-turned-rival Nat Young.

Fifty years ago, Bob McTavish, Nat, and John Witzig did an issue of Surfing World, cheering the arrival of the “New Era” (self-titled), which basically meant Nat and Bob and George Greenough. Midget was saluted, the article was in fact very much respectful of Midget, but clearly he wasn’t really included in their New Era club. So that was the beginning of the feud. It should have lasted a few months, maybe a few years, outside. But it never, ever died. Or rather, it died when Midget died. In the end, I think it was Midget holding onto the anger, more so than Nat. Then again, Midget was the one who had to eat the injustice.

Midget and Nat, in slightly breezier times…

BeachGrit: Wasn’t a big fan of the surf media, either. Because of its beatification of Nat? Of drugs?
Yeah, in a nutshell. Midget was hardcore anti-drug. Belittling, even. It wasn’t a nice side of him. He was so good at what he did, everything he did — his surfboards were as sleek and perfect as his surfing style — that I think he was blinded to the idea that other people could do things differently.

As far as I know, Midget never acknowledged that Nat and all the other red-eyed shortboard longhairs, dippy as they often were, had nonetheless moved the whole program along. Their was a stiffness to Midget, the person, even though as a surfer he laid down some of surfing’s most fluid, graceful tracks. He was uncompromising. It made him great and it cost him dearly.

Dane Reynolds married
Here, we see, at left, Dane Reynolds, the almost thirty one year old surfer known for his 'go-for-broke' surfing and, at right, the sassy creative Courtney Jaedtke, officially coupled today. | Photo: @miniblanchard

Dane and Courtney just got married!

And, now, advice from Rory Parker on the happy union… 

Dane and Courtney got married! Can you believe it?

Did she take his name? I don’t know. My wife didn’t take mine. No big deal. I’ve never really understood why women change their names. I’d never change mine. Rory Parker is my identity, flipping it into something different would feel really uncomfortable. She’s got a cool last name too. Slang for an awesome drug combination. Misspelled French because her cajun swamp trash ancestors were illiterate.

Dane and Courtney waited a long time before tying the knot. Pumped out a baby first. Built a life together. Really the right way of going about things. People change over the years, gotta spend enough time together to know you can change together. In such a way as to keep from absolutely loathing each other.

Marriage is, really, just a business deal. Like merging two separate companies. You both bring your strengths and weaknesses, build a whole better than its parts. Life’s better with a teammate. Definite benefits come tax time, or when you need health insurance.

Dane and Courtney
Family means theme parks!

Which is why you’ve gotta let the homos marry. God isn’t real, imaginary sky man’s opinion on unions shouldn’t count for shit in a modern society. The point of marriage is building a life as a team. Damn difficult without a government recognized status.

Before my five-minute ceremony on the beach at Mokuleia I had all sorts of heads giving me advice about marriage.

“Everything changes,” they said.

Except it doesn’t. We’d been living together for over a decade. At that point you’ve seen pretty much everything. I’ve shit my pants in front of my wife on multiple occasions. Once while walking down the road in Dahab, Egypt.

It was a bad gamble on a fart. Hot semi-solids flowing down my legs.

“Oh man, I just shit my pants.”

“Really? That’s fucking gross.”

“Whatever. I’m gonna hop in the water and rinse off.”

We were near a section of the Red Sea that was ankle deep reef for a hundred yards out. But no one around so I just did the squat and splash. Trying to clean myself enough to walk to deeper water. Wife watching and laughing and mocking.

Here comes the tour bus. Faces pressed to the window. Wife waving and smiling. Good memories.

She tried to tease me for it. I reminded her of the time were in Argentina and she ate nothing but bread and cheese for two weeks and eventually broke our hotel toilet with a log the size of my forearm. Sounded like she was giving birth. Very amusing.

Basically all that is wedded bliss. Pooping with the bathroom door open. Knowing someone has your back. Screaming matches over inconsequential problems. Badgering your wife into sexual role play.

“I’m your seventy year old uncle. You’re my twelve year old Mormon spirit wife.”

“I don’t want to do that.”

“Perfect! Keep it going.”

“No, seriously. Stop. I don’t like this.”

“It’s what god wants, little girl. Don’t you want to be closer to god?”

“No. Cut it out.”

“Listen, missy. You swore to love, honor, and obey. Now get on all fours. Don’t make eye contact.”

“Come on. You’re making me uncomfortable. This isn’t fun.”

“I’m gonna keep filling you full of babies until you die in childbirth. I don’t believe in modern medicine. I’ll just pray at your bedside as you bleed out.”

“Fuck you, Rory. I’m so over this.”

“Just a minute more. I’m almost there.”

Congratulations, Dane and Courtney!

Good call on waiting. Popping the question at the beginning of a relationship is for fools. The type of shit you see in movies. How children think love works.

There ain’t nothing romantic about signing a contract.

Laird Hamilton: A Hipster Hero!

Macho? Sexist? Mainstream? A hero to the hip?

I’ve decided to take a different approach. After speaking with Maui’s Laird Hamilton, who is fifty two years old, for an hour (or more accurately, after being spoken at by Laird for an hour), I came to the conclusion that he is an offshoot cousin of the now rampant surfing hipster.

While hipsterdom has sold out and hooked its vintage-clad extremities into every hole of mainstream society, the door has opened for the emergence of a pure DGAF (don’t-give-a-fuck) character such as Laird to take the title of avant-garde surf hero.

Since hipsters are generally defined by what they are not, I have compiled a short list of three things Laird is not, which if taken together should cement his new status.

Laird Hamilton is not… 

MACHO: While surf hipsters the world over counter macho masculinity via gender-bending floppy sun hats and rogue kindergarten-grade flower drawings at the end of video clips, Laird has the balls to admit safety is his top priority.

This commitment to safety is the fuel behind his taboo preference of towing over paddling. Laird says: “As long as I’ve been trying to ride big waves and as long as I want to continue riding giant waves, I’m trying to reduce the risk, not increase the risk, in order to have more shots at it and also not create the opportunity to have an experience or a wipeout that may affect the outcome of my love of big wave riding.” In the macho realm of big wave surfing, Laird is committed to putting safety first. The courage to admit to fear, the individuality to embrace it.

SEXIST: A (true) hipster would never be sexist. A while back, Laird’s now infamous comments regarding Maya Gabeira being neither skilled nor experienced enough to be out in maxing Nazaré were widely slapped with the tag of sexism.

Let’s say, for example, I entered into a life-threatening twerk battle with Anastasia Ashley, barely made it out alive, and then was later labeled as not skilled enough to be there in the first place. Sexist? No. Other men can twerk (I’ve heard) and other women, according to Laird, can handle any waves (citing goddaughter Keala Kennelly).

People tend to forget that Laird has shared multiple tow sessions with Maya and rescued her on several occasions. While you could argue that he wouldn’t necessarily be an authority in judging prone paddling capabilities due to his lack of involvement, to say that he is sexist for calling out a fellow tow surfer (of which he is, by default, the most experienced ever) with whom he has extensive experience is silly. It is in fact sexist to assume that he made those comments because Maya has girl parts.

“My mother was an incredible woman. I think women are more than capable of doing many of the things that men do, and quit a few things that we are not capable of doing.” Loves his mommy and admits women can do things men can’t? Hipster. Quintessential surf-hipster-guru Kai Neville including Dusty Payne’s blatant and non-ironic sexists comments in Lost Atlas? Poser.

MAINSTREAM: Alaias, retro twin fins, neck beards, asymmetrical whatevers, all had their birth (or rebirth) in modern surfing at the hands of a few individuals (hipsters) trying to break the monotonous mold of the standard potato chip.

Now,  there are hoards of bearded bros from Malibu to the Maldives hand-jiving down the line on their Mini Simmons. What does this mean? It has evolved from a splinter group to the mainstream.

From hydrofoiling to stand-up paddling to windsurfing and kitesurfing, Laird is one of a very exclusive group of guys shredding alternative equipment in XXL waves. And, according to him, they get no love.

“You know it’s interesting. I saw Kai Lenny paddle that morning (last big swell at Jaws) for probably six hours, then he went on his stand-up board and got a couple of the better waves of the day and then a bunch of guys gave him a hard time, and I was kinda like, ‘I don’t understand that’, like, ‘Don’t be so narrow minded that you can’t appreciate that.’”

Need more proof of Laird as the master of… everything? Inhale here.

Terror: A new threat in beautiful Big Sur!

Sharks, elephant seals and mean locals used to scare but now there is something worse!

I am in Big Sur and it is fantastically beautiful but danger bristles around every majestic corner. Wildlife, from the great White Shark to the bulbous elephant seal guard the ocean. A terrible wildfire burns in the north, befouling the air, and crusty locals patrol the most secret of surf spots.

Oh it is such an adventure!

Big Sur, and the rest of California’s northern coast, used to be a regular stop in my life but I haven’t been back in ages. The unbreakable vistas. The cliffs that careen into oblivion. And I have discovered a new, most terrifying new menace.

Chinese drivers.

Oh son of a bitch, have you ever driven here? The roads are perched at the very edge of those cliffs that careen into oblivion, straight into the mighty Pacific hundreds of yards below, the great White Shark and the bulbous elephant seal ready to tear meaty bones from mangled auto wreckage. Giant boulders teeter above the roads begging, pleading, to be loosened so they can mash and smash and bash unsuspecting motorists.

The bends and winds, switchbacks and S-turns are severe. Maybe more so than any other stretch of road on earth. And now each is filled with Chinese white-knuckle gripping the steering wheels of rented Fords and Dodges.

Terror would be in their eyes if their eyes were visible. Their eyes are not visible, though, because they are hidden behind Police, Armani Exchange, Costa and other off-brand sunglasses.

Oh son of a bitch, have you ever driven here? The roads are perched at the very edge of those cliffs that careen into oblivion, straight into the mighty Pacific hundreds of yards below, the great White Shark and the bulbous elephant seal ready to tear meaty bones from mangled auto wreckage.

These are not American born Chinese but Chinese from China. 參觀大蘇爾 (Visit Big Sur!) must be a best-seller at this very moment in the People’s Republic because they are literally everywhere driving like folk who have never even seen a car much less know how to operate one. They creep along at a snail’s pace, weave erratically, sit in the middle of traffic and try to cross an opposing lane. They brake wickedly and without warning. They have no idea what a passing lane is and what a turn out is and what a speed limit is and that it is not, in fact, a “limit” but a meek suggestion for the lowest probable rate of motion.

You can keep your ISISes, your terrorists and your bombs. Big Sur is the scariest place on earth. I dare you to visit.