Style: Are surfers ugly freaks?

The elements! They smite us! They smite us bad!

I was surfing swampy high tide lulls in southern California this morning. The water was a bit chilly but not too bad. The sun was dancing in and out of clouds. A man paddled out with a neoprene swim cap covering his head. Since it was so swampy and high tide lully I had much time to ponder and my first thought was, “Wussy.” But my second thought was, “I wonder if his wussy swim cap is going to protect him from surfer’s ear?”

And my third thought was, “Pterygium (surfer’s eye) is so unattractive.”

And my final thought was, “Are surfers ugly freaks?”

Are we?

Do we maybe think, after watching lots of surf movies and reading lots of surf magazines, that we look something like this?


Or fantastically rugged dispositions, jaws cut from granite, clear eyes gazing into a brave future like this?


But with surfer’s ear and surfer’s eye and sun damaged skin and paranoia born of fighting over swampy high tide lulls with a bunch of wusses do we really look something like this?


Look at yourself honestly in the mirror.

Well. At least we have each other.

Jordy Smith Sunset
Jordy Smith's vicious, malicious and, on a good day, delicious! Wins Vans World Cup! | Photo: WSL

Just in: Jordy Smith Wins Vans World Cup!

Sunset Beach electrified by the world number two!

Crazy weather in our delightful archipelago this week. Rain rain rain. Post storm glass-offs are firing. I had my first surfing shark encounter of my life yesterday. Cracked wise to the wife before paddling out. “Yep, sunset session at a river mouth after heavy rain. Super smart idea.”

Decent-sized black tip, somewhere between six and eight feet long, surfaced and thrashed a few feet away. Spooky! Line up cleared immediately. I nearly booked for shore myself, but one courageous soul reminded me that’d be stupid. They’re always there. I see them when I dive. It’s a little scarier when there’s zero feet viz, but no reason to panic.

We got the line up to ourselves for half an hour. It was very fun. I’m glad he was there to lend me some balls.

Today wasn’t nearly as good, but still very fun. Got in a good session, came home to see that Sunset looking pretty good too.

Sunset’s an odd wave, in the contest of competitive surfing. It makes for killer still photos, often disappoints on video. It’s impossible to appreciate how difficult it is to surf from behind a computer screen. Usually looks like a semi-mushy closeout. Provides mostly low scores. Doesn’t really present a lip to hit, only occasionally offers a makeable barrel.

But it’s another story from the lineup. Grinding power, massive amounts of water moving around. The pros may paddle out on six sixes, but there’s a reason the guys who love the wave appreciate a lot of foam. Deep water scary spot. Easy to imagine under-the-lip takeoffs, but a normal human needs a plank that’ll get them in early.

I tuned in in time to catch Zeke Lau sneak though the first quarter final heat with a buzzer beater 5 point something. Good for the local kid. Replay shows that Frederico Morais was ripping.

Slater’s still in it? Crazy stuff. Billy Kemper’s gonna do well. He’s got the solid wave comp scene dialed these days. Might be because six foot Sunset ain’t shit compared to Jaws. More than enough to intimidate us normal folks, just a small fun day to a true charger.

Quarterfinal two was all about Kemper and T. Gudauskas. Super committed turns. Kemper hammered that rail into the face, put every ounce of strength into some delightful gouges. Unfortunately for Kemper, while he dropped some beauts he couldn’t link them for the score. Jack Robinson, on the other hand, could. Kemper may be the better surfer at Sunset, but Jack’s the better competitor.

Meister and Slater slid into the semis during the next heat. I was distracted by Meister’s OAM sticker. I always forget that’s still a company.

Meister threw a frontside finner that came as a shock. You can’t do those at Sunset.

Who was it that did the reverse a few years back? I’m drawing a blank.

A wicked storm blew through during lunch, but it’s gone dead calm again here on Kauai. I’m having a hard time justifying watching surfing rather than going surfing.

Parko and Jordy spent most of the fourth quarterfinal putting on a rail clinic. Surfing so smooth, so pretty. But Ewing and Andre both found solid scores in the final five minutes. Ewing unleashed on a right, but with a 2 something back up he was done. But Andre got lucky. 8.17 for an out of control backhand off the top to carve to reo. I don’t know, I thought the score was a bit high. But I’ll give it to him. Andre needs the points to stay on tour, I think. Parko got knocked to third, Andre scraped into the semis.

Too bad that John John got knocked out in an early round. But he’s still got a shot at wrapping up the Eddie, the Title, and the Triple Crown in the same year. That’d be pretty sweet. Damn hard to repeat.

Though, as far as the Triple Crown goes, and I know I’m not the first to point this out, the fact that the final event is a ‘CT number does hand an unfair advantage to guys on Tour. Morais is on fire in Hawaii. Second at Haleiwa, looking like a win at Sunset is likely. But he’s gotta battle through the trials to get into Pipe. Just like Rick Kane!

I think that’s how it works. I’m never sure with the Pipe wildcards. Changes too often to be certain. I’ve got Eddie Rothman’s phone number written down somewhere. Maybe I should call him and ask.

I go back and forth with my feelings about Sunset. On one hand, it’s such a waterman wave that it would be great to see it on tour. It’d play spoiler every year, be a near guaranteed loss for all the beach break specialists. But there’s only so many comp days you can run, and it’s great that the less famous heads get multiple chances to shine. I guess I can take it either way. Change is good, but the current system works well enough.

Oowee! Gudauskas is playing tactics in the final minutes. Chasing Zeke Lau across the lineup, trying to keep him off a wave. I think there’s a lot of drama going on I don’t understand. Qualification points or something. Maybe one of our lovely readers can enlighten me in the comments.

It worked for Gardaflopulous. He and Morais are in the final.

Semi two is kind of dragging. Jordy got a smoker, not much else going on.

But Ross and Kaipo shared some knowledge that sheds light on the Triple Crown scenario. Apparently Morais gets a spot at Pipe because he’s leading the Triple Crown rankings. That’s good.

Kaipo’s good too. WSL needs to put him on desk duty more often.

I got stung by a bee a few nights ago. Inside my home, at around midnight. It was the second most unexpected sting I’ve ever got. The first was when I went hiking in Ojai and a wasp flew up out of a pit toilet and stung my ass while I was taking a shit.

I blame it on my landlady’s son. The bee, not the wasp. He keeps hives on the property, always leaves wax strewn around after he harvests. It’s kind of annoying. Not a huge deal, bees don’t bug me. The biggest problem is accidentally stepping on the gobs of wax and then having to scrape it off your shoe.

He always gives us free honey. Pretty nice of him. They sell the shit for ridiculous amounts of money. People claim the organic Wailua honey has all sorts of healing powers or something. I don’t really care for honey, honestly. But I like the idea of it so I’ve always got a few jars in the cabinet.

Fucking Slater. Never enters Sunset, gives it a shot and almost makes the final. Of course.

I thought he had it locked up, but Meister’s little snap to layback off the top combo was enough to sneak into second.

Slater almost got it back with an inside barrel, but no dice. Still…all hail the king.

I just noticed, Kaipo looks taller than Ross at the desk. Very interesting. Kaipo is a good guy, but not a particularly tall one. Is he sitting on a couple phone books of something?

Final’s in the water. Mel says Gudasuskaks needs a first or second to qualify for next year. Pretty slow start. Jordy got a good one. Plenty of sitting.

Morais waited it out, found a good one, surfed it well. 8.23 put him in the lead.

Mel set the wildcard situation straight. Morais only gets a spot in the Pipe trials. Still gotta battle his way into the main event.

Seventeen minutes left. Wind at my house is still dead. I’d much rather be surfing. Hopefully Morais will grab a ten in the next minute, I can call it for him, then bounce the fuck out.

No such luck. Meister and Jordy both found gems. Jordy’s layback was fucking nuts. Jordy in the lead with 15.06. Morais now sitting second.

Walkie talkies in the lineup! Shades of Bradshaw and Beachley.

Morais got a good one, but didn’t get the score. Jordy held the lead for the rest of the heat.

Jordy Smith wins the Vans Sunset Pro. Cool, great, hooray.

I’m out of here. Couple hours of sun left, I’m gonna go slide some waves.

Rumor: Gabi daddy banned from WSL!

For allegedly making threats to judges! Death threats!

Gabriel Medina and his step-father Charlie’s relationship is as storied as any modern romance. Where would the younger Brazilian be without a steadying hand? Where would the older Brazilian be without access to riches and fame? Oh how the love between them is so thick you couldn’t cut it with even a brand new Gillette! So strong that you couldn’t explode it with a Samsung Galaxy 7!

But our world is dark and evil forces, tougher than Gillette stronger than Samsung may be conspiring to keep the two apart.

I was informed today that Charlie has allegedly been BANISHED from the shoreline during World Surf League events for one calendar year. Purportedly EXPELLED into outer darkness. And have you seen him on the beach thus far? The camera always pans to him but no. You haven’t. And why?

For supposedly maybe possibly threatening to OFF a surf judge whilst in Portugal. Perhaps murderous threats. Feasibly death threats.

Aye but love. True love.

And do recall when Gabi daddy, after stepson was defeated in the Hurley Pro, turned to the cameras and said:

I feel sad because they are clearly locking Gabriel. Just imagine if athletics would lock Usain Bolt. Or if swimming would lock Michael Phelps. It’s not cool. The kid born for the sport. He goes there and win, but sadly, five people here define what is good and what is bad. Its like a dictatorship.

A dictatorship!

So really, let’s be sincere here and study the facts. If Charlie did indeed make threats to surf judges whilst in Portugal and if surf judging is indeed a dictatorship then isn’t Gabi daddy a freedom fighter? Part of La Résistance?

Also, if he is doing it for love also doesn’t this quite basically make him Romeo to Gabi’s sweet Juliet?


Is Gabi daddy a mix of Che Guevara and Lothario?

Such poetry!

great white

Sharks: “A Town in Anguish!”

How did a 70-click stretch of coast become ground zero for Great White shark attacks?

You hardly need me to remind you that the little stretch of coast from Evans Head to Byron has become ground zero for Great White attacks, an honour Cape Town and Margaret River were thrilled to relinquish. A potentially lucrative upshot if you’ve got a dive biz for thrill seekers or if you’re a surgeon specialising in combat wounds; not so great if you surf or if you’ve got little kids who like to catch a couple of reforms on their foamies.

In the past couple of years there’s been eleven attacks, two fatal, and innumerable near-misses on the seventy-click stretch. Nightmarish attacks. A swimmer killed in knee-deep water near the Pass by a Great White. A surfer killed by a Great White after it ripped off both his legs. 

Here’s a timeline of recent hits. 

Anyway, the government is about to drop nets and, good god, the you should see the weeping from the snowflakes who view it as the extermination of an entire species. You’d think kittens were being throttled in front of their mothers.

The reporter and surfer Fred Pawle has taken an active interest in the events and the public’s response. And, this week in The Australian, he presents a six-part series, with video, that provides the most comprehensive reporting yet on the saga.

In today’s episode, The Families, moms talk about spending every day shivering with fear that a husband or a kid’s going to end up in a box. And, as summed up by the shaper Phil Myers.

I’m just worried about my kids and my friends’ kids,” he says.”The mood in the water is a lot different. You don’t just paddle out and look for the waves and sit around and chat and everything. Everyone’s sort of looking this way, that way and up and down the beach, or you know, waiting for the helicopter to come over.”

Myers knew the region had changed when he went surfing at Shelly Beach one day in late 2014. “I was just out on my board, talking to some of my son’s mates, and I turned around and this thing came around behind me,” he says. “I was only 50 yards off the beach. And it laid beside me and I sort of sat on my board and looked at the tail, and then looked right along it. It was like a front of a jet, with these huge pectoral fins sticking out and this great big pointed nose.

“I just turned around the guys and said, ‘There’s a fucking white pointer down here, sitting right beside me’.”

A few months later, Tadashi Nakahara, a father and local surfer, was attacked and killed at the same beach. “It was like they arrived overnight,” Myers says. “It’s just not normal, mate. It’s not normal.”

Upcoming episodes include: The Conservationists, The Surfers, The Politics and Science, The Business Owners and Solutions. A new ep every day from today until Saturday.

Watch: A scandalous dance!

No! Not Gabriel Medina in his bathroom again! Something good!

There is something about cold not good waves that turns me on, visually. Maybe because I grew up in cold not good waves and know the struggle, intimately. Maybe because cold not good is often striking and picturesque. Maybe because… I don’t know. Maybe it’s just a personal kink.

Whatever the case, I very much like this short film starring Zakary Grey by Howard Groves is just the thing. A little funny acting, a little fun voice over, a lot cold not good waves.

The best!