Sutton makes no appearance in this film but... isn't he lovely nonetheless?

Film: Cyrus Sutton’s ‘Island Earth’!

Do you love Hawaii? Do you only eat organic?

Are you friend or foe of GMO? I’ve never formed a concrete opinion on account of my ignorance of the matter. I’d heard that they cause cancer, that they help feed more people, so it’s like a coin-toss, right?

Well I just watched Cyrus Sutton’s new film Island Earth, and it helped answer many of my questions. You’ll remember Cyrus from his van escapades and effortless flow at a certain Peruvian lefthander, but this time the San Diego native has branched out beyond the realm of surf and into health and politics.

The film focuses on the GMO industry that has embedded itself in the Hawaiian island chain. Many locals are upset that the companies have taken vast swaths of land, sickened the local people with pesticides, and above all else they’re mad because the food these companies produce isn’t even used for consumption. Hawaii is essentially a giant laboratory for novel GMO testing.

A main character in the film is Cliff Kapono, a Hawaiian native who, aside from being a phenomenal surfer, has spent the last few years working on a PhD at UC San Diego. Cliff’s goal has always been to return to Hawaii with enough knowledge to help local communities thrive independently from outside industries. He initially believed GMOs were a smart pathway to minimizing the amount of pesticides used for agricultural growth, but once he gained an insider’s perspective, Cliff realized that like most things, the agricultural industry is entirely corrupt.

The film also visits Dustin Barca, an ex-CTer who decided to fight the GMO companies by becoming mayor of Kauai, but ultimately fell short.

If nothing else, the documentary gives wonderful insight to the frustrations of Hawaiian communities. Regardless of your beliefs on GMOs, it’s inarguable that they’re getting the raw end of this deal.

For anyone who cares, I came out of this film conflicted. It seems as though GMOs could be exponentially useful to the human food crisis, but because of the greedy bastards running the whole thing, it’s destined to harm us in the long run. GMO companies function like the pharmaceutical industry — they have no interest in finding a forever-cure, they just want to keep treating the symptoms with a pill you take every day for the rest of your life. Assured profits are king.

If you live on the US or Canadian west coast and seek to see the film for yourself, click here for a full list of premiere dates and locations. If you don’t live in this highly specific geographical region, watch this bit of irony while you wait for it to come out online!

Perth wavegarden
Here, the new version of Wavegarden, a joint where even middle-aged men can swing into a wave every fifty-five seconds

Wavegarden gets lease for Perth pool!

Local council says yes! Build a tank!

A few days ago,Wavegarden released a photo of their rebooted tank called The Cove. The tightly cropped image features a man bent double and squished into a one-foot tube.

“This surfer is Spaniard Hodei Collazo – he’s six foot tall / 180cm just to put the barrel into context!” reads the press release.

wavegarden the cove
Let’s be honest. It ain’t about tubes. We’ll get into tanks to sharpen our air repertoire,

If the photo was meant to make us all drunk on visions of their new pool and gently threaten the superiority of the as yet critically unexamined Slater tank it failed.

An email-interview with Andrew Ross, the Australian investor who has a noble plan to seed his home country with ten Wavegardens was further comedy.

“I had 65 waves in about an hour with a few other guys – was hard to walk afterwards,” Ross told Surfing Life. “One of the wave types includes a true barrelling wave, with a trough and a concave shape, that means the wave wraps back at you like a point break. This is different to the current wave foil tech where the wave is somewhat convex shaped, in that it bends back away from you as it breaks. I surfed the new full-scale ‘Cove’ in December, and it is awesome!”

But what Wavegarden has got that the Slater and the as-yet-to-be-built Webber pools don’t (although expect a large-ish announcement in a fortnight, Webber tells me), is real-life testing. In Wales and in Texas.

Of course, the results haven’t been entirely pretty. Wales closed for a one-million-and-a-half dollar reboot and Texas has been shuttered for more than six months.

It’d be churlish to be too hard on the technology, I think. At least it’s out there. It’s happening. And who doesn’t want a pool to shred on?

And, now, it appears the Wavegarden in the Perth suburb of Melville is a step closer after the local council approved a ground lease for a slice of Tompkins Park.

Whatever you think of pools, this’ll add a little something to a park that butts up against a shallow slice of the Swan River and, right now, has a lawn bowls club and a couple of shitty houses on it.

The pool, if it gets built, and the ifs are plenty, you’ll be able to surf against the backdrop of a setting sun and the surprisingly muscular Perth skyline.

And Perth, which is in the shadow of offshore islands and never gets waves of any real value, needs a tank. If it barrels, nice, if it don’t, it doesn’t matter.

I grew up in the joint. I know.

The poor bastards are dying for this.

Oh how I wish I charged like this wahine!

The Pains of Chasing a Swell!

Physical pain is excruciating, but it's the emotional wounds that truly break a man!

Sometimes you track a swell quarter-way ‘round the world and everything goes right. The waves produce, the winds are light, the sun is out and you put on the performance of a lifetime. Then a filmer captures your best ride of the trip and you manage to seduce a local temptress, only to put on the second-best performance of your life. This is what we all dream of, no?

Well that’s never happened to me. Oftentimes one or two or maybe three of the criteria persist, but to expect a perfect sweep would be delusional. In reality, most of us are lucky to get one or two memorable waves on these ventures, as the terrifying and perplexing realities of foreign surf travel are enough to throw even some pros for a loop.

For two-and-a-half days the waves were absolutely flawless in Fiji. Long period, immaculately angled swell was met with soft offshores, the results of which were the most imacculate waves I’ve seen. The best of the bunch were trading their time between getting one exceptionally long barrel, or two-to-three medium length barrels per wave. The mediocre guys settled for a few stand-tall sections and fire-hose spits.

I was happy with my performance on day one. I got five waves that were better than anything I’d caught in California this season, and one of them was a proper bomb. I even have some (blurry) photographic evidence, which will be cool to show my grandkids someday. It’s amazing how, in a historical context, a photo can change someone’s legend from from pussy to pirate, just like that.

Like, what if Eddie Aikau only caught one big wave in his life? What if the Tiananmen protester just had to go back and pick up his wallet real quick? What if Trump didn’t have the most widely-attended inauguration of all time? Photographic folk-lore is powerful.

Day two was big — that in-between big where Cloudbreak isn’t quite on the outer reef, but it isn’t really on the first reef either. You can either sit way out the back and stroke into a rolly one, or sit on the ledge and hope to nab an insider before getting the sets on your head. Cat and mouse, as they say.

For the pros, especially the Hawaiians, this was no big deal. These guys handle poundings at Jaws, so a few second-reefers at Thundercloud probably doesn’t scare them much. As I watched from the boat, these boys (along with a few equally brave boatmen) consistently nabbed long, running, double-up tubes from takeoff to kickout. It was beautiful and terrifying.

Eventually I worked up the courage to paddle out. Upon entering the lineup, a medium one swung wide and came right to me. I was deep, and late, but I had chance. I swung around and started grinding toward the tower until I saw the line stretch out and felt my tail begin to lift. At this point I made the biggest mistake of my day — I pulled back.

Now, granted, according to people who were watching this from the shoulder, there’s almost no chance I would have made it. But had I gone, I have a feeling the rest of my session would have played out differently. Had I just taken that initial pounding, I would have been freed from the fear and able to enjoy myself from there on out.

The rest of my session was spent getting paddled around (another unfortunate result of pulling back), wearing wash-throughs on the head, and misreading the two very good waves I caught. I’ve learned that Cloudbreak is a difficult wave to understand for any newcomer, but on your backhand it’s another level. I returned to the boat three hours later exhausted and ashamed.

On the last day the swell had died considerably, though there were still a few gems to be had. I made a conscious decision to paddle to the top of the point, wait my turn, and get at least one screamer to wash away yesterday’s disappointment (classic Slater move).

On my best two waves, I was burnt to a crisp by a couple of the visiting pros. I guess some of them were on ‘shrooms and just fucking around in the relatively playful surf. Though playful for them can be world-class to the rest of us.

The swell is now gone, so I’ve decided to sit the day out and address my wounds — both physical and emotional. I’ve got New-Skin for the reef cuts and this article for my aching heart.

But please don’t mistake this tale as a general complaint. First of all, I understand I’m unjustifiably fortunate to even have this opportunity. Second, I’m actually glad I’ve yet to have the ‘perfect’ trip. Because where do you go from there? I never want to score so hard that I end up thinking, the forecast looks fun, but how could it live up to Pohnpei in 2015?

No, I’d rather continue on my path of half-successful ventures with maximum levels of froth, rather than having already hit my apex moment. Much like with food and sex, the anticipation of sterling surf is often, if not always, greater than reality. If you kill the possibility of improvement, you’re stripping yourself of the most exciting part.

Just in: Jordy insults entire generation!

South African star Jordy Smith declares war!

Did you love Jordy Smith’s new movie Just Now? Oh and you should! It is a feast for the eyes feat. Namibia, South Africa, Jordy’s banging car + prog surfing. It is a feast for the ears feat. Motley Crew’s Girls, Girls, Girls + Guns n’ Roses’ Knockin on Heaven’s Door + Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song + Nirvana’s Nothing Els Matters.

Wait just a second.

Who in hell is Motley Crew? A new cover band? A South African only act like The Sugarman? You don’t think Jordy means Mötley Crüe do you? He couldn’t possibly. It would be the rudest thing a man could do, spelling their carefully constructed name “Motley Crew.”

And Nirvana’s Nothing Els Matters? Nirvana’s? Hmmmmmmmm. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. I think the band Metallica once covered the Nirvana banger Smells Like Teen Spirit but…….. I don’t think Nirvana ever smashed out Nothing Els Matters. Or Nothing Else Matters either. And they DEFINITELY didn’t smash out the version Jordy used in his film CLEARLY starring James Hetfield’s soaring vibrato.

And this one is far worse than bastardizing Mötley Crüe. This one is basically unforgivable to my entire generation (X). I saw Nirvana play in a high school gym in Salem, Oregon and it changed my life. The football kids listened to Metallica. Future surf journalists and homeless people listened to Nirvana.

I’m going to mosh into Jordy next time I see him. I am going to mosh into him real good.

(Watch here!)

Speed, power, flow, innovation and degree of difficulty!

Watch: Your Daily Dose of Yago!

Name ten people who surf better... y'can't!

I almost posted this video of Brazilian charge-dog Diego Santos, as his tubular prowess is truly something to behold. But then I thought, no. Yago is better.

And so what if this video is an advert for a skateboard company, and half the clips are artsy sidewalk carves? The surfing clips are B-grade Yago, which is like, A-grade anyone else.

It’s true, I’m a Dora fanboy. His style, technique, and progressive flair are too hot to ignore. And it ain’t just me! I’ve heard that freesurf guys hate going on trips with him because he sticks absolutely everything, but also love going on trips with him because he’s a legend of a human.

Despite the fact he could easily thrive in the freesurfing realm, Yago has opted to pursue the QS in order to earn a spot on the top thirty-four. So far he’s doing alright for himself, with a win at a QS 6,000 that’s put him in the number two slot on the season. He’ll need much more come Sunset, though.

Yago’s one of those guys who I’d love to see on Tour, but I wouldn’t wanna lose his freesurfing talents in the process. The harsh reality is that if you want to succeed on the CT, you’ve gotta do everything in your power to make heats. That means avoiding injury and learning to surf consistently conservatively. And to lose Yago’s je ne sais quoi would be a damn shame.

Anyways, the clip!