Lakey Peterson air
Girl goes into orbit! It ain't a make, but watching a girl huck warms the blood. | Photo: Bruno Baroni

Project: Can a girl nail a full-roter?

Lakey Peterson, coached by Filipe Toledo, wants a game change…  

Women’s surfing fascinates me. When it’s good it draws blood. Carissa Moore’s slices, Lakey Peterson’s grab-rail tail throws, the impeccable style of Stephanie Gilmore. It’s damn rich.

But does it strike you as odd, as it does me, that there ain’t a gal on tour who has an air-reverse on tap? Silvana Lima showed promise and disappeared (back this year on tour). Even half-way good twelve-year-old boys can throw ‘em as an afterthought on a weak end section.

So why not the girls?

It isn’t a strength or flexibility thing. Yeah, there’s the numbers. Ain’t as many players, ain’t as much progression. But that doesn’t account for nearly every single kid girl surfer I see is usually one of the best in their age group.

I blame a contest culture that shovels girls into their own divisions by the time they exit the micros. All these promising girls who used to haunt the boys’ finals suddenly plateau. If three turns is going to win a contest, no one’s going to toss the fins. By the time they’re competing at the highest level, they’re missing a fundamental element of the game.

How can a surfer be so good and yet so inept at the same time? My posit is that going into orbit is the last great barrier for women’s surfing. Big waves are getting done. Jaws (sorta) and Mavs and Teahupoo showed that.

And when I’m talking about airs, I don’t mean straight airs. And not one-eighty lippers into reverse. I want real, tail-high, vigorously hucked full-roter airs.

Can you imagine the response to a full spin, hucked a few feet above the lip? Meltdown, right?

A few weeks ago, BeachGrit kicked a proposal at the Hurley Surf Club and GoPro to take Carissa Moore to some wedge for a week and coach her into a full-spin.

Carissa tapped out. Didn’t want to break a leg. Wants another world title.

I asked Lakey Peterson. She was thrilled at the challenge.

Who nails the best full-roters in the world? Filipe Toledo.

“How about you coach Lakey?”

Of course! “

Two days ago, Filipe and Lakey, along with another coach, HB’s Brett Simpson, landed in mainland Mexico for four days of intensive tutelage. Down there, behind electric fences and barbed wire (gorgeous part of the coastline is mired in a war between the Jalisco and Sinaloa cartels) and in the middle of the Virgin Guadalupe festival where firecrackers pop like guns and bombs from before dawn and into the night, chasing something that’ll send a girl into orbit.

Intensive video coaching in full-roters via the best in the game Filipe Toledo, with a dazzling cameo by HB’s Brett Simpson, who ain’t afraid to launch either.

We hired three skis so she could step-off into a hundred waves a day in the rampy, if slightly too powerful and big, beachbreaks.

The pack’s got the Hurley Surf Club program that runs split-screen footage, Lakey’s throwaway hucks alongside Filipe’s oily landings, and a dashboard of tools for drawing arrows, highlighting sections and drawing lines she should take into the lip. GoPro records an intimate account of proceedings.

I believe that women are only good technique away from the same airs as men. And that Lakey Peterson is going to be the first woman in history to ride out of a full-roter air?

Am I right?

Or am I right… 

Mike "Snips" Parsons pictured here coming for Kanoa Igarashi.
Mike "Snips" Parsons pictured here coming for Kanoa Igarashi.

Huntington claims best surfers in USA!

But Mike "Snips" Parsons is ready to steal the crown for Laguna!

I have always enjoyed civic rivalries very much. People should be proud of their cities. They should think other cities are not as good and use vulgar language when describing. “Fucking San Clemente.” “Shitty San Clemente.” Like that. And so it was with much pleasure that I read about surf clubs springing up along California’s southern coast. Let’s read briefly in the Orange County Register (Orange County sucks).

There’s no prize money at stake, on Saturday, or points to advance a pro career in surfing. This new surf series is all about bragging rights.

Some of the area’s best surfers from four Orange County cities will be battling it out in big surf on the south side of the Huntington Beach Pier as part of the West Coast Board Riders Cup Series, an event aimed at proving which city can stake claim to having the best surfers.

The event is the brainchild of three Orange County surfers – Casey Wheat, Ziggy Williams and Chris Moreno – who took inspiration from Australian surf culture, where world-class pros such as Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson regularly compete for their board clubs to prove which region is best.

The three local surfers created Huntington’s Board Rider club in 2016, then started asking other surfers from nearby cities if they wanted to create something similar.

“Basically, what we did was spark the movement and started calling out other cities. Anytime you call someone out, it’s going to tap into their ego,” Wheat said. “It was easy to start, it was all about us getting the Board Rider clubs together and going from there.”

Saturday’s competition will be stacked, with World Tour surfer Kanoa Igarashi, and his brother Keanu surfing in a younger division.

But don’t count out Laguna’s team, which will have guys such as big-wave rider Mike Parsons and former pro James Pribram.

“This is heavy, heavy bragging rights,” Wheat said. “There’s going to be a lot of heckling. We all grew up surfing together. It’s cool we get to come back together and have some fun.”

And this all seems very fun and wonderful. I would like to start Cardiff by the Sea’s club alongside the great Rob Machado and together we could dominate and win etc. But wait. Are surf clubs, or boardriders clubs or whatever they are called in Australia considered lame? I did not live in the Lucky Country long enough to get a sense.

Is it silly to be part of one?

Is it like being part of a wine of the month club wherein four different varietals get sent to your house every month and you can sample and learn and improve your palate all while having lots of fun with your best friends?

If it is like being part of a wine of the month club then I want nothing to do with it and Rob Machado will have to dominate all by himself.

Albee: “Scariest paddle of my life!”

The wave of your dreams? No!

It pains me to think how many perfect setups exist around the world, only to be plagued by incessantly poor winds or extremely rare swell windows. Surfing‘s Jimmy Wilson sought one out this summer during Hurricane Matthew, and I recall Taj Burrow found another in West Oz a few years back.

Well, this thing that Albee Layer and Billy Kemper just tried to surf is the same… but different.

Maui is known for it’s wild wind and massive swells, but this slab is in another stratosphere. With just the right swell, wind, and tide conditions, it became “surfable”.

“Scariest paddle of my life,” says Albee. “Jaws included.”

The wave looks more Australian than Hawaiian. Akin to something Mark Matthews or Russell Bierke or Kerby Brown would tow into.  That Albee, Billy, and friend somewhat successfully paddled into this mutant is beyond logic. Like nominating a climate change denier to lead the EPA. Choosing Filipe for your Teahupo’o Fantasy team.

In short, I have no problem knowing that waves like this are breaking, or not, without me. For the sake of Albee and Billy’s health, I hope it never breaks it again. Albee’s wave was fucked up though.

Opinion: Death to the selfish surfer!

Are you a selfish surfer? Of course you are!

Selfishness and surfing go together like wine and cheese. How many instances of doing something petty or selfish to ensure yourself a better session can you recount? Everything surfers do can fall under the selfish umbrella. I’ve slunk out of the quarters of a beautiful woman in the predawn light just to score some waves instead of hanging around for a morning glory.

The collective egotism of avid surfers welcomes scrutiny. We’re selfish dicks that only want waves untarnished by crowds, peeping eyes and less “qualified” participants. Stay away from the localized spots because they are more entitled to the waves than any would be traveler. Kooks on wave storms don’t deserve spitting barrels at any spot typically dominated by core chargers.

We’re all self-centered, neoprene-covered assholes that spend hours and hours of our lives for a few seconds on a wave. Surfer’s entitlement and self-fulfillment is absolutely ridiculous. We’re not special, we’re not as cool as we’d like to think, and no one outside surfing really gives two shits about what we do. What does one do when a bit of introspection uncovers this painful reality? Do something selfless. Selflessness can set you free from the self-fulfilling lifestyle.

Instagram is the social media epicenter of selfishness. Every selfie, like count, tag and post adds to a person’s ego. I’ve had moments of pride when going over 50 likes on a post. The immediate access to events, information, or world news does up the value of the app.

Two weeks ago, I was flicking through my feed full of bikini clad women, spitting barrels, and Joe Biden meme’s when a post from Scott Bass (@boardroomshow) invited any and all San Diego locals to participate/volunteer for the One Wave One Cause Challenge in La Jolla.

The event was for the local Boys to Men Mentoring Foundation, organized by local legend Bird from Birds Surf Shed, as a fundraising event as well as world record attempt of the most people surfing one wave at one time. The current standing record being 110 people, set in South Africa.

I immediately contacted Scott to partake as a steward/recorder of the attempt. The pre-event meeting was unsurprisingly short staffed but the excitement levels were high. Bird and Scott both emphasized that since the event had already raised $55,000 for Boys to Men, the event was already a success. Achieving the world record would be a cherry on top of the sundae.

Broke up into teams with different colors, my team, Team Pink, consisted of a few locals, a few father-son duos, and some passers by that signed up last minute. I was in charge of organizing and counting each member’s attempt along with the help from two Navy SEALs who aided in keeping our eighteen member strong team together. These humble warriors were some of the nicest people I’d ever worked with. After twelve attempts, the vibes were high, 120+ surfers were in the water, and the smiles were endless.

Everyone involved, including the local legends, pro surfers, groms and weekend wave warriors, took part in something that wasn’t about them. A selfless event that helped people, made history as a group, and was merely for the fun of trying. I spent the event bouncing around from person to person, absorbing everyone’s excitement and experience. I didn’t surf before or after the event.

There was no need to. I felt happiness that was insurmountably better than any session I’d ever had in recent months. The record wasn’t achieved either, narrowly missing the goal of over 110 people.

Having now participated in the One Wave One Cause Challenge, as well as the Surfers Healing event the previous summer, which takes kids with autism surfing, these events will give any surfer a much needed reality check. I’m not here to gloat and boost my own ego by saying that I’m a better person because I selflessly volunteered in these events. I’m still a selfish, 24 year old, average surfer that bitches if the crowd’s a bit too large or if someone in the lineup ruins MY surfing experience. If life truly is about changing, learning and growing, anyone willing to take their head out of their ass and do something for someone else will facilitate that growth.

I’ve found more gratification within our trivial surfing bubble assisting in events that don’t directly benefit myself at all, as opposed to only looking to placate my egocentric needs. Ultimately I encourage everyone to find something selfless to partake in. Teach a relative how to surf, volunteer at an NSSA contest, hand out water at a cancer walk, and pack food for impoverished kids; anything where you work hard for no money or immediate self-satisfaction.

Just give it a try. How’s that for an “anti-depressive” piece for you selfish savages?

Cocaine + Surfing: a love story!

Like Romeo + Juliet except super chatty!

Yesterday, if you had happened to be perusing the Publishers’ Marketplace alongside your morning coffee you would have seen this happy announcement.

And can you even believe? The follow-up to 2014’s eighth best surf book about Oahu’s North Shore gets a sequel!


In truth, this damned thing is why I’ve been such a disaster in every part of my life lately. Books are strange vampires. They suck the very life out. They stay awake at night. They demand, they fuss, they change their minds. They obstinately get in the way of things that really matter and turn invisible in the mirror and die when staked and decapitated. But there’s almost nothing I’d rather be doing than writing one. Oh, I know I know I know publishing is dead and who reads long-form anything anymore and what a waste of time and energy but the heart wants what the heart wants.

I don’t sleep any more, I lose everything, I write garbage here, I can’t focus.

Like a teenager in love!

And what’ll it be about? Duh! But also….. stay tuned!