And it is like Las Vegas as the 1990-2016 surf industry built upon a foundation of hyper-sensitivity, paranoia, self-importance, bald-faced conservatism and red-faced hypocrisy implodes.
I am not one to say, “I told you…” but, dear surf industry, “I told you!” Nobody wants a surfing packaged for fucking Christians. Not even me and I’m a fucking Christian!
Those suckling on surf’s ripe teat were so damned afraid of letting one peep of naughty whisper escape that the thing, the brands, stopped carrying any meaning.
I know but I know trends are fickle. They come and go and come and go but let’s look at Thrasher magazine for one minute. By unabashedly embracing bad/rough/untethered behavior for decades it has become the hottest thing around. It is so intent on dying on that cross that when Justin Bieber or Rihanna get caught wearing it founder Jake Phelps calls them “Fucking clowns.” and says, …”The pavement is where the real shit is. Blood and scabs. Does it get any realer than that?”
Of course surfing is not skateboarding. It is not hardcore and bloody and scabby and street ratty. But it does have its own sun-soaked rebellion that has been buried, absolutely buried, for the better part of two decades.
Unnecessary cover-ups, denials, tsk-tsking and humorlessness were, instead, left to flourish. Oh if I had all the advertisement money that various surf brands pulled over my nudge here or poke there I’d have a small vacation home somewhere near greater Orlando and a Toyota Tacoma (without any frills) to boot!
The World Surf League is now the last bastion of bland. A very funny friend pointed out yesterday they likely make $400.00 on their mid-event commercials. $400.00 as they appeal to some boring, artificial, sporting core. The same boring, artificial, sporting core that stopped buying Volcom.
What does the surf industry apocalypse mean for you? For me? We have the chance to rebuild. A majestic Bellagio atop the creaky Dunes! We have the chance to keep the fucking Christians out. Besides me!
I was going to write about the day’s wonderful professional surfing action. Did you watch? Did you see John John take his rightful place as the King of Caledonia and vanquish the dreaded comboland/Frenchman?
Well. I decided not to write about it because I like reading Rory’s recaps better. The man is really at the top of his game and no one is doing better wrap-ups than he. I’m so biased! But I also speak so truth!
In any case, I shall tell you a tale about fishing and why I hate it.
It all began eight or such years ago and I was on Oahu’s famous North Shore living in Jamie O’Brien’s house, for some reason, though Jamie wasn’t there.
Mick O’Brien was though. Mick O. And we would drink lots of vodka together under the pale moonlight.
Mick is quite the character. He is an Australian but came to Hawaii on family vacation at some point and swore he’d never leave. He hasn’t and worked as a lifeguard around the island, I think, before retiring?
He fishes now and loves it. After drinking lots of vodka under the pale moonlight he would wake me very very very early in the morning, before the sun came up, and we would drive to his boat in the Haleiwa harbor. Do pre-fishing activity stuff then head out to sea.
He would drive and look at his underwater fish finding sonar whatnot. I would sit in the back and hate vodka. The sun would come us and bake the boat like it baked Lawrence of Arabia on its anvil.
My eyes would burn.
Mick would toss me a warm Coors Light.
He would drive and look.
I would sit in the back and hate Coors Light.
Then a fish would get snagged. It would all be sort of exciting-ish for a moment until the wobbly carcass got gaffed and pulled aboard and thrown into the ice thing underneath.
Hours later another fish would get snagged and the process repeated.
Lots of Coors Light.
The sun would go down finally and my eyes would curse me and threaten to jump out of my skull.
Mick would toss me one of the last warm Coors Lights.
We would clean the boat, the blood, the gaff hook, the whatnots but the day was not done because then we would throw the two or three fish into his truck and drive from Haleiwa to Honolulu and the giant stinky warehouse managed by a Chinaman.
Mick would sell his fish.
On the way home he would stop at a gas station and I would buy some vodka.
It was the best of times and by best of time I mean worst of times.
More companies to follow with mass sackings! It's the surf industry apocalypse!
Who knew that October 2016 would be the end of the surf industry? The reaping? The inquisition? The end?
It’s a total apocalypse, baby!
Rumors are flowing fast and furious about brands taking the guillotine to their entire rosters! Surfers on 220,000 a year waking up and being on 000,000 a year.
It started, apparently, with Volcom chop chop chopping and then spread like a Reign of Terror across the industry. Three separate sources tell me every brand you know and love is included in the whispers (except Salty Crew).
Voices frayed. Hearts fluttering.
And oh! The horror! The end! The end of a nearly two decade run where young boys with just enough skill could earn six figure salaries and buy homes and lease Lexi.
But it’s over.
An official(ly rumored) wrap.
But are you sad? Will you go to bed broken-hearted for the local legend who lost his paying surf gig or do you say good riddance?
This being BeachGrit, home of the anti-depressive, I say ummmmm hoorah! Smart money men all say the time to jump into a market is when it flounders. Are you a young surfer with big sponsorship dreams? Keep them alive! Don’t fear the bear! Guess what Uncle Warren Buffett is investing in?
Do you think the shaka is overused? Is it foolhardy to attempt?
Is the ‘Shaka’ overused? It really seems that every photo of every kook, pro, board shaper, artist, musician, 5 year old or 50 year old has a Shaka in it. Whether they are in Hawaii, San Clemente, Mt Hood, NYC, Maine or Florida, there is a Shaka. Fuck I am sick of them, never had a use for them and felt odd if I ever used one. Not from Hawaii, not a Hawaiian. What is the history of the Shaka anyways?
Shaka Hatin’ Haole Boy
Dear Rory says: Yep, the shaka can be pretty goony. Especially when you’re posing for a photo. It’s like Japanese people always throwing out the split finger “peace” sign. What’s up with that? Looks so awkward and lame.
A few years ago, when the in-laws came to visit, they got hammered on vodka and asked me to teach them how to throw a proper shaka. If I were a kind man I’d’ve said, “You just don’t. It looks stupid. Like a transplant trying to talk pidgin you just end up demonstrating how clueless you are.”
“Ho, brah! We go dakine holo holo! Shootz!”
But I’m not a kind man, so I explained how there are many different types of shakas. Like the myriad bows within various Asian cultures.
Of course, certain Asian cultures discourage Westerners trying to bow. In Thailand I was told I shouldn’t even attempt it. It was more likely I’d come across as disrespectful than friendly.
I explained to the family that the proper pronunciation of shaka is in fact, shuh- CAW. Like a crow. Your hand should be displayed palm forward, and lifted above your head. The further you extend your hand above your head, the more respect you are showing.
I find myself throwing shakas when someone lets me merge into traffic, or if I see a friend driving past. Just something I unintentionally picked up. Like saying manini and shootz. Probably doesn’t make me look super rad, but I don’t really do it on purpose.
It was an amusing week. A lucid crew would’ve figured out fairly quickly I was fucking with them. But they were hammering down two handles of the aforemention booze every single day for the duration of their stay. I was relatively impressed they were able to remain upright and ambulatory, but their critical thinking skills were sorely lacking.
“Shuh- CAW, guys!”
Like any mannerism, it only works if it’s a unconscious thing. I find myself throwing shakas when someone lets me merge into traffic, or if I see a friend driving past. Just something I unintentionally picked up. Like saying manini and shootz. Probably doesn’t make me look super rad, but I don’t really do it on purpose.
As far as the history of the shaka… I have no fucking clue. The story they tell tourists is that it means “hand your net loosely.” Supposedly has something to do with laying nets for crabs.
But I don’t think that’s really true. Hawaiian cultural immersion attempts typically fall pretty flat. Like going to the Polynesian Cultural Center and realizing the majority of its staff are Mormon transplant college students whose religion tried damn hard to destroy the very culture they now exploit for profit.
But as to its origins, the prevailing local lore is that it originated with Hamana Kalili of Laie, who lost the middle three fingers on his right hand during an accident at the old Kahuku Sugar Mill.
Kalili’s grandnephew Vonn Logan, who works for Brigham Young University-Hawaii’s Department of Continuing Education, explained that Kalili’s job was to feed sugar cane into the rollers, which would squeeze out the juice. He lost his fingers when his hand got caught in the rollers, Logan said. Because he could no longer work in the mill, he became a security guard on the sugar train that used to travel between Sunset Beach and Kaaawa.
“One of his jobs was to keep all the kids off the train,” Logan said. “All the kids would try to jump the train to ride from town to town. So they started signaling each other. Since (Kalili) lost his fingers, the perfect signal was what we have now as the ‘shaka sign.’ That’s how you signaled the way was clear.”
I think the problem with the shaka comes down to the fact that, while it’s cool to appreciate a foreign culture, it’s downright foolhardy to attempt to emulate it. We are who we are, and you don’t make it into adulthood without being served a hefty pile of indoctrination. Damn hard to break those habits. Takes a hell of a lot longer than a typical vacation to go native.
And, like the internet’s weeaboo population has demonstrated time and again, being infatuated with a culture does not make you a part of it.
Caught in a jam? Stuck in a pickle? Send your life questions to [email protected]. Due to volume Rory cannot respond to every letter.
And it was written for you by an Emmy winning composer!
Theme songs are essential to any truly glorious person, place or thing. What would Rocky be without his “Rocky Balboa” brilliantly composed by Bill Conti? Could Indiana Jones ride a horse or fight Nazi’s with such aplomb sans the eternal John Williams?
Who’s the black private dick that’s a sex machine to all the chicks? Shaft! But you certainly wouldn’t know it without Isaac Hayes’ seminal work.
And now your very own BeachGrit has a theme song too composed especially for us, for you, by an Emmy-award winning artist named Ric Markmann.
Ric is a prolific and much sought after film and television composer, having written songs for Wedding Crashers, The Cove, Hot Pursuit, Sound City, The Art of Getting By, The Blindside, Conspiracy among many others. Read his IMDB here!
Yet he is also a surfer. Like you! Like me!
Oh when we were first introduced my mind raced at the possibilities. Soared even. All other surf websites could all wallow in their various pointlessness.
The Inertia writers could, for example, keep listening to Kenny Loggins while tickling each other and giggling in zipped together sleeping bags high on some hillock and I don’t mean “high” like drugs. I mean “high” like far away from the ocean.
Stab’s team could play Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines on repeat, jamming away to a work exactly as original as their own.
We, on the other hand, would mean something because we, we alone, would have HAND-CRAFTED THEMATIC MUSIC! Like The Pink Panther! Like Dora the Explorer!
Would you like to listen?
It is called Arms for Battle and Ric says, “It feels hopeful and gloomy at the same time.”
Just like our mascot Cryin’ Jordy!
Stare into his eyes, listen to the music and feel your spirit soar/crash!
Oh…and don’t worry! This ain’t the end! Ric is the official BeachGrit Composer and he will set some wonderful moments in surf history to song. Wouldn’t Bobby Martinez’s “Fucking Tennis Tour” rant sound better against an operatic score?
What about Kolohe Andino flipping off the judges at the Hurley Pro backdropped by a subtle mournful violin solo?
Which moments would you like to hear? Let us and our wonderful composer know!