Volcom Pro: Aussie smashes Hawaiians!

John and Kelly forfeit the crown!

Today marks the end of the 2017 Volcom Pro, a contest held in four very different shades of Pipeline. Let’s recap:

Day one: Northeasterly sand-bottomed double-ups, most of them unmakeable, but the type of waves that’d look incredible through photos. There were a few nice rides, but it was unworthy of wading through the pinches and close-outs to see something interesting.

Day two: Slightly less sand, somewhat better swell direction and size. This resulted in cleaner Backdoor tubes with Makua Rothman nailing the comp’s only perfect ten. A good day of competition, probably a C+ for Pipeline.

Day three: Death, taxes and Pipeline. Wait long enough, and you’ll meet all three of ‘em in tremendous fashion. With Volcom’s ten-day waiting period in mid-February, it was almost guaranteed that we’d get to see at least one day of epic surf. This was that day.

Six-to-ten foot silky smooth peaks were on tap for (some of) the world’s best, granting fantastic rides to John, Seth, Bruce, Makua, Miguel and more. Interestingly Slater, my passion pick for this event, crumbled in his first round. He was dealt a tough heat (Seth, Bruce, and Imaikalani Devault) and fell victim to a poor start followed by poor wave selection. A fistful of valiant efforts, but Slater’s magic dust was nowhere to be found. He’s probably gotta re-up on his deal with the devil.

Finals day: There was a lot of potential. Wonky in the morning like Pipe usually is, but a few rogue bombs gave me hope. Perhaps the sun and wind would help the waves congeal into uniform lines, pushing gaseous vessels in both directions. Instead the wind went onshore and the swell dropped and Adriano made the finals in similar conditions to his Pipe Masters victory. Go figure.

John lost in the semis despite looking significantly better than any ten guys in the field combined. His absolute control of the surfboard and willingness to lay it on rail through vertical, heaving walls is unparalleled.  I think he might be the most talented surfer ever, but then I wasn’t around to see Jake Patterson in his prime. He also sutured his own ankle after a fin-collision on finals morning, which is pretty alpha.

The final was delicious medley of international talent. A multi-cultural buffet. A Hawaiian-Australian-Brazilian-American salad dressed with a rare offshore flow. Bruce was the fan-favorite, Adriano the statistical shoe-in, Griffin my pick and Soli Bailey the classic Aussie underdog. None of the commentators picked him to win, but sure enough Soli found every decent wave in the final, pushing him to victory over an impressive field. Cue the beers!


Conner Coffin
The men's world tour can be roughy divided into two camps: the Twunks, hairless muscle boys (Think: Gabriel Medina) and Cubs like Conner Coffin, so young, but richly hirsute, large and in charge! (And that pretty hijab? It's from Conner's new towel company, Leus.)

Pro surf gangs: Twunks vs. Cubs!

Conner Coffin seeks to restore balance to the universe!

And where do you fall? Which team are you on? Are you a twunk or a cub? Have you never heard of these categories before? Is your brow furrowed in confusion?

Let me explain!

A twunk is a hairless yet strong young man. A beau who goes into the shower thrice a week, turns on the hot water, lets it run over his body, softening skin and follicle and then runs a razor over that hair, over that water, with one of Gillette’s foaming creams preferably and removes the hair altogether.


Muscles rippling, reflecting the sun’s light with nothing to obstruct not even the tiniest strand.

A cub is a young man with fuzz covering his chesty bits. A swain who chuckles at the very idea of shaving anything but the hair from his strong, set jaw. Oh he is not a bear, or not yet. His fur isn’t bushy and wild. He doesn’t maybe agree with the idea of a back forest, of an impenetrable stomach jungle.

No, he is a cub and masculine and proud.

The twunks have been ruling for surfing’s last decade. Last two decades even. Kelly Slater used to be their benevolent champion but Gabriel Medina has stolen his scepter and rules with a preening hairless strut. No challenger even close. No challenger able to…

…except lo. Who is that riding a Channel Islands on the horizon? Is it… could it be… a cub? Is it possibly… Conner Coffin?


That is Conner Coffin with testosterone pumping through his veins sprouting a jacket that he will not shear because he is MAN hear him ROAR!

Conner Coffin is looking to vanquish the twunks’ hairless grasp on power and God bless him for it. It is high time that masculinity returned to professional surfing. High time that God’s own will was allowed to germinate.

Or are you a twunk?

FCS releases Astrodeck tailpad!

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

Just months ago surf fin manufacturer FCS had it all. Victory after victory after victory on the World Surf League tour, money jangling in pockets from a 23 million dollar sale to StabStitch, the respect of the entire industry!

But oh how the Wheel of Fortuna turns! Oh how she spins from the happiest times to the darkest depressions!

John John Florence, riding a steed of Futures, lanced every FCS riding knight around, StabStitch unloaded FCS for pennies on the dollar as its stock crashed and the industry, the fickle industry, turned its nose up at the stink.

But how to stop the bleeding? How to climb back on top?

Maybe by releasing a tailpad that looks exactly exactly exactly like an Astrodeck tailpad?

Astrodeck is, after all, the most core company in all of surf. Founded and owned by the Fletchers, inventors of surf traction etc. So good that professional surfers purchase for full retail price and affix to their boards even if their sponsors make their own traction. Etc.

So how could it go wrong to release a tailpad that looks exactly exactly exactly like one of those? Like, exactly same color, shape, cut-outs, size… so exactly that no one, not the bastards on the World Surf League tour, not the bastards from StabStitch, none of the bastards in the industry will know that it is not an Astrodeck pad.

Sunny days are gonna be here again!

Gabriel Medina praying
Gabriel Medina vibrates with morality! | Photo: Steve Sherman/@tsherms

Five Moral Lessons Surf Teaches You!

Surf isn't just another pleasant and pointless way to live your life. It might be your moral coach!

Are you a moral vacuum? Do you happily swipe past a photo of a drowned Syrian child for the latest Insta gal mocking you with her ass?

Of course you do. We all do. Just empty vessels awaiting salvation.

But let me go out on a limb here, out on a limb with a chainsaw in my hand, and announce something. In the irreligious west, where feelings of pointlessness and futile are endemic, and where school teachers peddle liberal cliches and a new wave of politicians sling right-wing ruthlessness, mindless activities like surf might actually be our moral coaches.

What does surf teach us?

1. There’s no substitute for hard work

Surfing at a low-level is fun, for a time. But, soon, your lack of technical ability to navigate tubes or wrangle a beachbreak takeoff or get close to staying over your board in the air, becomes tiring. How do you get better? You can read all the how-to’s you want, but it’s time in the water, waves caught, that reveals secrets. Work like a son of a bitch and the oyster opens.

2. Breath is the essence of life.

All those damn things like a lack of money, a job that inspires, a woman that doesn’t shriek at dick, don’t mean a thing if the one thing you need above everything isn’t present. And being pushed underwater until all the oxygen is squeezed out of your body is a regular-ish reminder of life’s hierarchy. (Air, water, sleep, food, sex.)

3. Sometimes your enemies are your friends

You know the play. Paddle out, get talking, set comes, pal paddles around you and takes off. Being open to trust is good, mindlessly giving it to whomever is naive and destructive.

4. Be present

As Niccolo Machivalli posited: “… if one is on the spot, disorders are seen as they spring up, and one can quickly remedy them; but if one is not at hand, they are heard of only when they are great, and then one can no longer remedy them.”

In other words, surf teaches you to keep your eyes open, ready to…act. You know, I know, languid surfs where you float around, drifting from one conversation the next, are the least satisfying. Take that into your life.

5. Avoid flatterers. 

Being told you rip is a lovely thing. All that dopamine sloshing around in your brain like a chemical bean bag. But it’s the pal, or observer, who’ll deliver a clear and, likely, hurtful message that will make you grow. In the water, and in the cubicle.

Beer barn: Surfer’s bold new strategy!

Tough times call for tough measures!

I am still wearing black, in mourning over our dearly departed Surfing magazine. My black t-shirt that reads BeachGrit! More fun than coke, Acapulco and Fleetwood Mac! (buy here)

In all honesty, though, I continue to be confused by its sudden demise and ponder it often. There were over a million Facebook fans, near a million Instagram followers, a nice archive, etc. That has actual value in our modern Internet age. Why not keep it alive online only? And how is Surfer, a magazine that has absolutely zero point-of-view, a stack of glossy pages that dreams of one day growing into The Surfer’s Journal but never will because it is gutless and has red hair, how is Surfer still alive?

And then it hits me like a meaty false crack. There is no such thing in this world as Surfing the Bar but now there are two Surfer the Bars. One on Oahu’s North Shore at The Turtle Bay. The other, just opened, in Jacksonville, Florida.

The concept is described thusly:

Each Surfer The Bar is unique to its locale, much like the wide range of surf trips you plan all year. Our brick and mortar destinations allow you to experience first hand what you have loved for over 50 years from SURFER Magazine: award-winning photography, provocative interviews with living legends, film screenings, live music, oh yeah, and the perfect drink and bite to soak it all in. Drop in some time. We won’t disappoint.

I think the one in Jacksonville serves “a Polynesian infused food menu” from an indoor airstream trailer and maybe Alligator Sperm (a cocktail made from melon liquor, lime juice and heavy cream) and I’m sure doesn’t disappoint its clientele. As point-of-viewless as today’s Surfer is it still possesses an even richer archive and the name, in that chunky font, evokes wonderful pangs of nostalgia.

Quite frankly, I would image that Surfer the Bars could kill it all the way across the midwest or any place that hungers for surf kitsch. It really is a wonderful idea, and I’m not being ironic, because it is not aimed at surfers. It is aimed at people who want to dip in to surf culture for a minute while eating and drinking and then dip back out. Like ex-WSL CEO Paul Speaker!

Of course the two existing Surfer the Bars are not owned by The Enthusiast Network, Surfer’s parent company. The name is licensed but still. If there were ten, twenty, thirty Surfer the Bars peppered throughout Omaha, Des Moines, Kansas City, Lubbock, etc. etc. it would be an actual going concern.

Real money!

And the bar necessitates that the magazine and website stay alive. Without it existing still some of the charm would fall away.

Surfer is now a loss leader pushing booze and chicken satay.