Would you risk radiation poisoning for a few empty waves? Why not!
We chat here so often about surfing and the increasing variety of obstacle one must hurdle in order to do. Sharks everywhere, SUPers riding guillotines, crowds, The Brazilian Storm, etc. etc. And we discuss because the only thing we have to fear is fear itself! If we look these various conflagrations, directly, then we’ll truly know their heat doesn’t even come close to matching the flames burning in our own hearts!
We love surfing! It’s anti-depressive and nothing but nothing will stand in our way!
Except maybe a massive nuclear meltdown spilling directly into the lineup!
Of course you remember 2011’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. The Japanese facility perched right the Pacific coast not three hours north of Tokyo melted straight down after the Tohoku earthquake.
A whole town decimated. Finished. Abandoned still and the scientists tell us poisoned for centuries to come.
Except surfers don’t care! The flames in our own hearts licks eats nuclear waste for breakfast before slapping its lip! NextShark, an online magazine focusing on Asian youth, has a fascinating piece of photojournalism on Japanese surfers who brave growing extra limbs.
The photographer, Eric Lafforgue, declares, “The surfers say their passion is bigger than the risks and the truth will not be known for 20 years.”
In 20 years who do you think will win, surfers or radiation?
Y'ever wondered what'd happen if a Great White really wanted to get inside a dive cage?
Clickbait, yeah we do. And this is as wonderful as clickbaitery gets.
A Great White, maybe a dozen feet long, bangs into one of those shark dive cages in Mex, the sorta thing you pay a thousand bucks to ride in down in South Australia.
I’d always had it in the back of my mind as a fun thing to do, maybe later in life, hand over the shekels, and get real close to a Great White. But I always had the fear: what if a White really had the shits and got into the damn thing?
Shark goes crazy. Gets stuck in cage.
There’s plenty of “oh my gods!” until someone asks:
Dazzling, inspiring read of Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard in The New Yorker.
I’ll admit. Patagonia, the brand, doesn’t do a hell of a lot for me. The ritual use of dull browns, the lingering smell of piety, the full silhouettes suited to the fashionably retarded.
I live in the city where the climate is temperate. I don’t climb, don’t fish, use a little of the ocean close to shore and what little nature I get is from the television. Fornication, perhaps, is the closest I get to God.
And, yet, I’ve always found Yvon Chouinard, the climber and surfer who founded Patagonia, deeply interesting. One of those men whom you would’ve loved as a childhood mentor. Teach me to make tools, teach me to scale mountains, teach me to live in the wild.
Recently, writer Nick Paumgartenprofiled Yvon for The New Yorker. If you didn’t know, or appreciate, Yvon before, read this and you’ll fall under his spell.
Here’s a taste.
He was first (and perhaps in his own mind remains foremost) a climber, a renowned pioneer of rock and ice routes around the world, and one of the luminaries of the great generation of American postwar outdoor adventurers. Then a blacksmith: he designed, and made by hand, a host of ingenious new climbing tools, and for a time was the leading manufacturer of climbing equipment in North America. Next, itinerant thrill-seeker: the relatively meagre proceeds from equipment sales allowed him to continue to pursue an intrepid life of risky recreation in the outdoors. (On a van trip from California to the tip of South America, in 1968, ostensibly to climb Mt. Fitz Roy, he and his mates carried a homemade flag that read “Viva Los Fun Hogs.” Chouinard told me, “People we met, hitchhikers we picked up, they asked us, ‘What does this mean, “Fun Hogs”?’ We said, ‘Puercos deportivos.’ Heh-heh. Sporting porks.”) Finally, eco-warrior: his travels and travails in supposedly wild places awakened him to their ongoing devastation, and he made it his mission, as a man selling consumer goods that he acknowledged people don’t need, to try to counteract humanity’s regrettable propensity to soil its own nest. In each of these guises, at least, he was authentically countercultural and anti-corporate, a credible advocate for a kind of lawless self-reliance and uncompromising common sense.
His childhood dream was to be a fur trapper, like his French-Canadian forebears. He was reared in Lisbon, Maine, the home town of his mother, Yvonne. School was all in French. His father, a third-grade dropout, was a journeyman laborer who at night repaired the looms at a wool mill there—a dur à cuire whom Chouinard remembers sitting at the kitchen table with a bottle of whiskey, using a pair of pliers to pull his own teeth, because he objected to the expense of dentures. “I was brought up surrounded by women,” Chouinard writes. “I have ever since preferred that accommodation.”
In January, 1946, Yvon’s older brother Gerald, stationed in San Diego, in the Navy, sent his family a box of oranges. Fresh fruit in winter: “That’s it,” Yvonne said. Citing her husband’s asthma, she insisted that the family move, that spring, to California: Burbank. Yvon, a shrimp with a girl’s name and no English, fled public school after a week and wound up at parochial school under the tutelage of nuns. He was, as he recalls, a loner and a geek, a D student who spent all his free time biking to city parks and private golf-course ponds to bait-fish and to hunt for frogs, crawdads, and rabbits. Before long, he was diving for lobster and abalone off the Malibu coast.
And this, about the company’s ethos. Not exactly anti-profit, but close.
Eventually, they went so far as to openly discourage their customers from buying their products, as in the notorious 2011 advertising campaign that read “Don’t Buy This Jacket.” It went on, “The environmental cost of everything we make is astonishing.” Manufacturing and shipping just one of the jackets in question required a hundred and thirty-five litres of water and generated nearly twenty pounds of carbon dioxide. “Don’t buy what you don’t need.” (Some people at Patagonia had been considering declaring Black Friday a “no-buy day,” to make their point about consumption.)
Guilt and high principle mutate into marketing: this was the Patagonia feedback loop, on high screech. To some, the slogan sounded an awful lot like “Buy this jacket, not that other one, from the North Face.” One plausible response was “Don’t worry, I won’t. I can’t afford it.” Chouinard may walk the walk, as far as not buying things—his own Patagonia gear tends to date back to the last century—but his customers are often the kinds of people who can afford as many jackets as they want. The credo “One Percent for the Planet” can misread. There are class implications, problems of privilege and access, the lingering taint of monikers like Fratagonia and Patagucci.
One catalogue, in the nineties, had a little chart of what Patagonia was versus what it was not: Fly fishing, not bass fishing. Long-haul trucking, not delivery-men. Surfing, not waterskiing. Upland bird hunting, not deer hunting. Gardeners, not survivalists. Patagonia’s people were the West’s recolonizers, the next wave of pioneers, the self-appointed protectors asserting a blue-state ethos in red-state territory—tree huggers pitching their tents in a logging camp. By now, this war for the West is a tired one, but it is in some ways a microcosm of the greater global battle between those who want to preserve lands and conserve resources and those who would prefer to exploit them.
The Patagonia catalogue can induce awe and envy. Authentic as its photographic subjects are—“We were the first to use real people, and captions saying who and where they were,” Chouinard said—it is a classic kind of aspirational branding. The life style, to a large swath, is unaffordable, if not in pure monetary terms (outdoor adventure is not in itself expensive, necessarily, although the clothing for sale certainly is), then at least in terms of time, talent, energy, and gumption. It isn’t really a lack of funds that prevents most of us from spending half the year sleeping in vans and dodging the park rangers to free-solo the big walls at Yosemite.
In its presentation of hale young adventure athletes, living righteously in Edenic locales, all of them with just the right amount of dishevelment and duct tape, the catalogue can emanate the passive-aggressive piety of a food-co-op scolding. It unwittingly celebrates a kind of countercultural conformity. This neo-Rockwellian idyll of desert-dawn yoga sessions, usefully toned arms and abs, spectacularly perilous bivouacs and bouldering slabs, hardy kids and sporty hounds can feel like a rebuke if you are on a sofa in the city.
I don’t need to remind anyone of Andy Irons’ molecular intensity. How ravenously he attacked life. There was no spectacle on earth like AI and Kelly’s gutter brawls.
Andy walked an edge.
But what drove Andy, what made Andy so compelling and so polemic, mostly loved, sometimes hated, eventually killed him.
Filmic? Yeah, it is.
And, coming early next year, a successful Kickstarter campaign willing I suppose, is the documentary Andy: The Untold Story of Andy Irons.
From the release:
This is the life story of three-time world champion surfer Andy Irons who died at age 32 from a heart attack with the secondary cause being an acute mixture of drugs. Andy and his brother, Bruce, came from humble beginnings on the small Hawaiian island of Kauai.
The film chronicles Andy’s struggles with dyslexia, bipolar disease, self-medication, addiction, fame, success, and failure. Andy was a blue collar people’s champ who dealt with the same issues millions of people around the world struggle with every day. He died on November 2, 2010. His wife was eight months pregnant with their son, Axel, at the time.
The Andy Irons Story is a documentary film that focuses on the true, untold story of one of the world’s most prolific surfers. The intent of the film is to show the unfiltered life of Andy Irons, one that was filled with energy, passion, success, and challenges. Challenges that pushed Andy to the brink and were both the best parts of Andy and the hardest to handle. The filmmakers, Steve and Todd Jones, wanted to create a film that captured the true essence of Andy Irons – his family, his friends, and those who later realized a friendship that at times was hard to understand.
The film features in-depth interviews with Andy’s brother Bruce Irons, his wife Lyndie Irons, Joel Parkinson, Nathan Fletcher, Sunny Garcia, and Kelly Slater. Andy’s friends, family, and competitors share their stories of intimacy and fire with Andy Irons throughout the film. The unabashedly honest testimonials compel the story and reveal the very real side of Andy. This is not a film about surfing; this is a film about a person that lived life to its fullest at the top of his industry, but did so facing insurmountable internal challenges. This story is about everything that made Andy Irons the man he was. The filmmakers invite you to be a part of this project and see it through to its fullest extent. The teaser presented here showcases the film’s intent. We’ve shot hundreds of hours of interviews and principal cinematography is wrapped. With your support we can make this film better. The additional support will go towards the finishing touches, including sound design, archival footage remastering, color enhancement, and the soundtrack.
And, god it’s a tearjerker. Still, if you get a little weepy, remind yourself of AI’s words from his last-ever interview. Andy…lived.
“Everything’s a learning curve. There’s a couple of things (laughs) I’d like to take back, but fuck, I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am today. You gotta go in the mud sometimes to figure out who you are. I’ve had my fair share of hills and valleys, but life’s been radical and exciting. Stuff that kings would die to do. Straight-up, fuckin A. The lifestyle we’ve got and the lifestyle I’ve led since I was 17, I couldn’t even tell my friends. I try and tell stories and they think I’m making it up or I saw it in a fucken movie. Straight up. It’s the life I wanted since I caught my first wave.”