What Your Wetsuit Says About You!

Are you Rip Curl, Patagonia or Billabong? Bear, otter or twink?

My first wetsuit was a long-sleeved spring-suit of dark brown with lighter tan panels. The suit created the optical illusion that I was a five-foot-three turd, moist though the middle and dry on the flanks. It cost seventy-seven dollars and was chosen, not because of the fit or the price, but because a soon-to-be world champion had modelled the item in a magazine advertisement.

But that’s what do when you’re twelve. Life is pure affectation.

Now that you’re all grown up, do you buy your wetsuits based on a rational examination of the facts or are are you still cuckolded by marketing?

Let’s analyse surfers and their choice of wetsuits.

Billabong: Years ago, a very generous pal was shocked to learn that the the four-thousand-dollar Dior dive watch he’d bought his father had fallen apart. It was a lesson in the essential nature of a company’s expertise, or if you prefer marketing-speak, its DNA. If you want the best of something you go to a specialist. In the case of watches, you don’t go to a fashion brand, you go to Rolex, Omega. This is a lesson you haven’t learned.

Quiksilver: If that suit is older than one year, you were, quite correctly, hypnotised by the voodoo of Craig Anderson and Dane Reynolds. If it’s a recent buy, the voodoo has metastasized into something far more powerful, something to make behave even more irrationally, given that you now wish to emulate Quiksilver’s number one teamer, Matt Banting.

Hurley: What price those two stripes on the right quadricep? When you’re not uploading footage of yourself surfing to the Hurley surf club you’re googling “John John’s Mom” or “Brett Simpson wildcard” and exciting your own nipples with thumb and forefinger.

Rip Curl/O’Neill: You’re a traditionalist who would buy one of their suits even if Mick Fanning and Jordy Smith weren’t being paid millions to inflate ’em. All you want is a suit that keeps you warm,  that ain’t a straitjacket (it grips the parabola of your stomach beautifully) and won’t peel apart after one good season. You’re immune to marketing. Inoculated from the whims of fashion. Which is also why you wear Birkenstocks and cargo pants.

Patagonia: You like your studs big, hairy, to take charge, and who like to maul otters like you, your skin raked by dirty fingernails. You like to camp. You like beer breath. You like to feel fur against your body. Brown is your favourite colour.

What does your surfboard say about you? Click here! 

As seen in 1/4 page color in today's Los Angeles Times!
As seen in 1/4 page color in today's Los Angeles Times!

The poo-stance seen ’round the world!

Today's Los Angeles Times celebrates an awkward pose. A suable offense? Let's discuss!

Do you think you look tres amazing when you surf? Knees bent just so? Torso in the ideal state between rigid and flexible? Eyes laser focused on the section you are about to decimate?

But have you ever seen how you really look?

Oh the initial shock can be disastrous! Rear end flying like a flag! Back rounded like a hillock!

Over ten years ago I went on a surf adventure to Yemen with two marvelous friends. It was grand in every single way until I returned home, the slides were developed and I saw myself drunkenly groping the waves.

The horror almost put me off surfing forever.

So let us take this unnamed surfer seen in today’s Los Angeles Times (pictured above). The story is about a surf resort in Nicaragua selling a surf package in honor of Bruce Brown’s Endless Summer. Let’s read a touch?

If you’re of a certain age, it seems like only yesterday that the iconic surf film “The Endless Summer” was released to rave reviews. But it’s been half a century since filmmaker Bruce Brown followed Robert August and Mike Hynson on their wave-chasing surfing trip around the globe. 

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the documentary’s nationwide release, Nicaragua’s Mukul Beach, Golf & Spa is working with travel outfitter Tropicsurfto offer special surf safaris in 4x4s, with each surfing tour tailored to fit the skill level and physical conditions of participants so they can catch that perfect wave. 

It all seems very fine but what if you were this unnamed surfer caught in an embarrassing pose used to illustrate?

He may be very skilled and the photographer snapped at just the wrong moment and did not have the wherewithal to know good from awkward surfing. Or the photographer may have had a vendetta against and wanted to shame him in 1/4 page color. Or the surfer might not have been as good as he thought he was.

Whatever the case, would you sue a publication for printing a poo-stance photo of you or would you celebrate your everyman appeal, shouting “Free Adriano de Souza!” to the heavens?

I cut your board kook!
I cut your board kook!

Just in: Chinese cops hate kooks!

We rage about Chinese-made boards but maybe, just maybe, the People's Republic really is an earthly paradise!

Chinese cops taking chops out of boards in wind slop? What the fuck is going on here?

Earlier today Alex Greenberg posted a video to his youtube channel of what appears to be a group of some sort of Chinese official, maybe cops (?), at Xi Chong Beach, in Shenzhen, China, hacking a vicious chunk out of a local surfer’s board.

Quality handsaw, right there. Cuts through the poor fucker’s ride like a hot knife through butter. Most effective surf deterrent I’ve ever seen.

There’s a running commentary from the cameraman, but I can’t understand a word of it. What language is he speaking? Is it Italian? Whatever it is, I don’t know what the fuck he’s saying.

I think I hear the word police in there toward the end.

I reached out to Alex to see if he could shed some light. Nice guy, he got right back to me.

As for back story: I did not take the video. I’m in a chat group with surfers from all over China, (I live in Shanghai) Someone posted this video among others of officers destroying boards. Over 100 people in the group chat writing in Chinese. my Chinese isn’t that great. Anyways what I can gather is that the local officials are sawing people’s boards they deem not experienced enough to surf. Or the officials are sawing anyone’s boards at this one beach break.

Another theory is that since there are some heavy typhoons approaching the China coast the police don’t want people in the water.

China is a strange place when it comes to enforcing laws. it’s hard to explain unless you have experienced it.

I am trying to get an answer about what legit happened. Then I can share that info.

More videos? Hacking up kooks’ sticks when they’re a problem? Delicious! Gimme more!

I’ve asked Alex for the other videos mentioned in his email. If I can get my grubby little mitts on them ya’ll will be the first to know.

Just in: Laird Hamilton had a bastard!

Tow surfing may have just been re-invented! Let's celebrate!

Tow surfing is super out. Right? Like, yuck. Like, frowny-face. Like, girlfriend please. Much of it, I would imagine, is Laird Hamilton’s fault. Right? Like, that guy. Like, lame. Like, OMG was totally last decade.

But man and ski carried so much promise! We were going to ride 100 ft waves! We were going to be super prog and shreddy even on mutants! We were going to force the earth to submit to our will!

And then it all disappeared. Or mostly disappeared.

It seems as if the craftiness, and steel backbone, of the big wave surfer is being respected very much more than simply letting go of a rope, whenever there is an option these days. Take for example Maui’s Jaws. Tow was the only show five years ago. Now it is paddle.

Also I think that having noisy, exhaust spewing beasts in our pristine environment roils even the hardest spirit. It’s not right. It’s not natural.

But now look at this new thing, out today. Look at this man being towed across an open bay (lake?) by a drone. Could this a re-imagining of the Strapped Generation? Could this help us to ride 100 ft waves without filling the air with smoke and noise?

Does Laird Hamilton watch this footage and think, “Oh. My. God.”

Even more, though, just picture taking your new tow drone out on a small day at your local. SUPs would cower in your wake and if they dared paddle on you might get decapitated.

The joy!

The sheer joy!

San Clemente's Brett Simpson, an unfancied surfer while on tour, played the part of the white unicorn at Trestles! Unbelievably magical. Fairy tales do come true! | Photo: Peter King

Watch: Simpo is the Lowers Unicorn!

Compelling final episode of #TourNotes from the Hurley Pro…

As I’ve posited before, is a tour event really over unless Peter King has dropped his climatic episode of #TourNotes?

Peter King, as you already know, is a former pro surfer who once acted as the dom in a three-way musical act with Kelly Slater and Rob MachadoHis three-minute shorts are filmed, mostly, on an iPhone and edited quickly, although presumably they must pass through the WSL filter thereby delaying their release by a day.

In this episode of #TourNotes, and which you can access via the WSL site at the bottom of the page, is a tribute to the Hurley Pro, an event that soared hither and yon, upwards and sideways and through a torrent of tears and hissed accusations. 

The hero, of course, was Brett Simpson, who with pigmentation consistent with rust and a WCT record of the sort even Wikipedia even recoils from it, was expected by nobody to utilise his wildcard in a dangerous manner. 

First, he swats Matt Wilkinson, the early leader for the world title in round two.

Second, he almost doubles John John Florence’s heat score to give the current number one a second-last place.

Third, Michel Bourez is similarly despatched in round five.

It takes eventual contest winner Jordy Smith to extinguish Simpo’s flame in the quarter finals.

“It took the Lowers Giant to get me. Sucked the air right out of me!” says Simpo.

This #TourNotes is not memorable for those things, but these: we see John John gamely shake the hand of Simpo after losing what he clearly thought was an unloseable heat; a not very gorgeous boy is set up to ask Kelly for John John’s autograph and, best of all, Miguel Pupo makes fun of Michel Bourez and his ghastly backside hop: “When I saw that Bourez air, I think it was…cute. (It made me)  remember when I was young and I pulled my first air”.

Filipe, meanwhile, is busy with baby showers and his Fantasy Surfer team.

Watch #TourNotes: Simpo The White Unicorn! here.