Do you know what is probably the worst part of being a pro surfer? It’s not the airports or the reef rash or the inability to maintain any semblance of a normal relationship, but rather the putting on and peeling off of stickers.
Have you considered the density of modern pro’s quiver? It’s close to a million surfboards. Do you know how many sponsors they possess? If you’re Adriano or Medina, it’s about three hundred-thousand. And what’s three hundred-thousand stickers by one million surfboards by two sides per board? A fucking death sentence.
I actually heard that Gab’s boards come pre-rigged with laminated cut-outs below the resin. This means less drag in the water but more importantly, he’s not spending hours every week adorning his foamy crafts.
But what happens if he loses a sponsor? Does he throw the boards out? Or does he give them to a little favela fella, in hopes of inspiring a life-altering dedication to a far-fetched dream? Chances are he throws them out. Can’t risk spawning the next Gabriel Medina. Could be his competition in fifteen years.
Well, Noa Deane recently faced this conundrum with his shift from R Dot to V Stone.
The video below shows Noa flexing, hard, on some Rusty-nosed foam. He surfs a well-known set of points in Mexico, performing a series of tubes, carves, and very much only straight airs. Literally not a rotation in sight. He must’ve taken Christian Fletcher’s air-rev shots without a hint of lime nor a grain of salt.
But back to the point.
When 2017 came a-knockin’, do you think Noz spent the time to de-Rusty his bevy of sleds, or did he simply place Stone directly atop R Dot? These are the questions that addle my brain!
Life is a wonderful win-win with the Surfboard Broker!
Two years ago on the walk to Lower Trestles, I came across a sticker on the tracks that read #surfboardbroker and was curious to know who was worthy of such a title. Flipped through Instagram and found out there was a guy in Carlsbad, California who was changing the way people buy, trade, and sell surfboards.
Like all great business enterprises in their infancy, Surfboard Broker began out of a garage selling surfboards they procures from trips to the team houses on the North Shore as well as buying pro trade-ins direct from shapers. They post their live stock to Instagram and delete the board’s post once it sells; offering shipping for reasonable prices.
Last year, a giant purple bitch was flinging its sexy self into the shores of San Diego- thrice the size of a normal winter swell. In the back of my car, I had two boards. A 5’10 thruster, and a 5’4 Hypto Krypto. Neither would please her. I needed girth! I needed more foam.
The Hypto Krytpo I knew was like buying a Toyota being that it had high re-sell value so I set up a meeting with the Surfboard Broker and pawned it off with a set of fins for $400 dollars credit.
I went through the racks of boards and found a 7’4 Minigun hand shaped by Rusty Preisendorfer that had never been ridden. It was made for one of his employees so it already was discounted but by God was it beautiful! Double stringer, six ounce glass, five fin option, tinted a deep purple and with an 80’s beak for getting one down the face when it mattered most. The guy that it was made for thought it was a tad too narrow, so for a trade and $250 out of pocket, I was able to secure a board in time for the swell.
The SurfBoard Broker offers a service that is far better than dealing with randoms off Craigslist when it comes to buying and selling used surfboards. No price haggling or dings hidden by stickers and wax, just a very efficient way of consolidating a quiver to get what you really want/need. The young biz is booming having expanded to Hawaii and Australia.
This convenience of being able to swap and trade gives one the ability to rotate out surfboards and try a variety of designs and shapes without ever having to shell out for custom.
And here is an idea. Order a new board, ride it and if you don’t like it, instead of continuing to surf a dud, trade it in for something different until you find that magic sled. Or you can always rotate around the forecast. Trade a groveler for a step up when the swell calls for it and trade back when it drops.
Doesn’t hurt shapers either as many deal with the Surfboard Broker as a way to off set the costs of their surf teams. You see, a guy like Tim Stamps will make a batch of boards with back ups ranging in size for his team riders to travel and use in competition. But let’s say they only feel comfortable surfing on two of twelve, those other ten that have nothing wrong with them other than being dismissed by a hard to please pro, are scooped up by the Surfboard Broker and sold for a fair price.
Shapers keep progressing designs while pros and average joes get to experiment and know what it likes to ride boards with foam white as snow.
The Parkinsons derive from an extraordinary gene pool!
Ain’t family genes a funny thing? Some of them are great, while others produce a lineage of obese, unintelligent curmudgeons, whose only purpose on Earth is to maintain the stock indices of Mountain Dew and Cheetos. The Parkinson family leans slightly towards the “great” side.
Mitch is in his early twenties and like Joel resides on Queensland’s Gold Coast. He’s taken up the family traditions of getting exceptionally tubed and snagging any wave he desires along the Superbank. Through this snakery he’s garnered a bit of a reputation in the lineup, but to his credit he surfs the wave better than most.
But is Mitch the next Joel? Not even close. While Mitch demonstrates a comparable affinity for the tube and an afternoon tinnie, the complete dearth of carves in this video tells me that he failed to inherit Joel’s most profitable trait. Instead of searing railwork, Mitch learned to toss a few decent airs. Certainly not an equal trade-off, but a typical millenial response to an ever-changing surfosphere.
I miss the old Parko though. According to Occy, this will be his last year on Tour. With any luck that means Billabong will send him to roping right-handers for promo material after his retirement. Then again, we haven’t seen much from Taj recently, so… shit.
We are the jury! We decide who does professional surfing best!
Today (I think) the Volcom Pipe Pro begins and the surf forecast is very promising. Big and tubes. I think. Etc. The event itself is a Qualifying Series 3000 meaning it is slightly better than Maroubra’s Carve Pro (a 1000) and slightly worse than Merewether’s Maitland and Port Steven’s Toyota Pro (a 6000) but you would not know of its middling placement if you only looked at the participating surfers. It’s a sparkling who’s who feat. Kelly Slater, Joel Parkinson (?), Taj Burrow (?) etc.
To watch this brilliance we shall all go here, to Red Bull TVnot the World Surf League, because this is a Red Bull production. Red Bull’s cameras, Red Bull’s announcer team, Red Bull’s roving reporters, Red Bull’s graphics packages, Red Bull’s dance. Of course Volcom, as presenting sponsor, had their say but, for the most part, what we will see over the next few days, is the first clearly distinct vision of professional surfing* since the ASP became the WSL and put everything under one roof.
Which will be fun for us, the viewer, don’t you think? Fun but also a great responsibility. Let us be an impartial jury, deliberate in our assessment. Let us watch soberly, jotting notes on what we like about Red Bull’s production, seeing if there are any nice surprises like call-in guests etc. Let us be open minded and fair and let us, at the end, declare a winner.
Who is better and producing professional surfing, Red Bull or the WSL?
*Red Bull’s production of the Cape Fear event does not count since it was a novelty.
Can Kelly Slater crush the burning ember of John John's youth? Let's tune in!
Do you remember Mr. Rielly’s story last week, wherein Justin Jay spilled the beans about la casa de Kelly? How Slater, a 45-year-old conspiracy theorist, felt the need to school young Jackson Dorian on proper chess theory? Not out of patronage, apparently, but for the sheer joy of being right. Of winning. Of publicly demonstrating his unwavering global-competence despite a slowly deteriorating mind and body.
Well it turns out there’s another game he’s unwilling to concede to persons of youth… the Banzai Pipeline!
Today marks the start of the Volcom Pipe Pro waiting period, an event that combines the good waves of the Backdoor Shootout and the production quality of the WSL.
Since it’s inception in 2011 (it was previously the Monster Energy Pro) the VPP has only had two victors — 4x champ John Florence and 2x champ Robert Slater. While Johnny’s got the upper hand in numerical terms, Kelly’s 2016 victory makes him the big swinging dick of the event.
So, what makes an old fart like Kelly so keen to slug it out in a QS 3,000?
Two things: Pipeline and pride
Kelly has long declared his mission to maintain strength and dexterity enough to surf Pipeline into his nineties. Seems far fetched, but Laird says he’ll live forever so I guess anything is possible. That said, Kelly has a deep-rooted passion for Pipe and becomes agitated when others play in the sandbox without him. That’s a feeling I can relate to but imagined would subside by my mid-30s. Kelly was not so lucky in that regard.
The main reason he refuses to miss the Volcom Pipe Pro is the same reason he won 11 world titles. He’s a ruthlessly competitive motherfucker who is driven by an insatiable need to be the best. It’s important to note that Kelly’s not Trumpish in his pursuit of victory. He’s not a win-at-all-costs, shut-down-negative-media-sources, piss-on-Andy’s-grave type. He wants his competitors to do their absolute best, force him to raise his level, and then defeat them straight up.
In that sense, I think a contest like this could be more important to him than another world title. Because of John John.
Kelly’s fascination with simultaneously uplifting and belittling the John is amazing to watch. JJF finally got his title but has also lost most major heats against the King. They had a final at the Pipe Masters and a semi at Chopes that will go down as one of the best evers, and Kelly got him both times. John snuck a win at the 2015 VPP, but the waves were small and tricky, so he likely didn’t feel that was a proper victory.
Kelly wants John in giant, pumping surf. Surely he’d prefer man-on-man, but the four-man Volcom system will have to suffice, as it’s one of only two chances they have throughout the year to share the water at Pipe.
As of now, the forecast looks tricky. North-turning northeast swell for the first part of the waiting period, followed by a solid West-northwest swell, which would typically be perfect for Pipe, were it not plagued by the currently forecasted Kona winds.
Either way, these guys want nothing more than to meet each other in the final. John seeks to take the throne once and for all, while Kelly strives to retain his alpha status into eternity. My mind says John, but my heart adores Kelly’s ageless defiance to no end. Also a Mason victory would be a nice trade off.
Comp’s off today but peep the video below for a proper hype-up!