Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange as Chas Smith is headed for jail. Help!
Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange as Chas Smith is headed for jail. Help!

Help: Tell me where to hide!

Rip Curl is coming after me! I need advice!

When I’m out on my veranda and the sun is setting, casting a luscious light that filters through palm and jacaranda, I feel like I’m Julian Assange. The founder of WikiLeaks with his luxurious head of blonde(?) hair and website that publishes the deepest darkest secrets of the political world is currently holed up in London’s Ecuadorian embassy and don’t you imagine they have palm and jacaranda there? Don’t you feel he is very pleased with himself?

I am very pleased with myself when I publish Focus Group Creates Surf Brand. Names it Vissla and Rebellion: Rip Curl is Boring and Dull and Surf Ethics: Outing Mick’s Wave! because I am publishing the deepest darkest secrets of the surf world and currently holed up in San Diego’s Cardiff-by-the-Sea.

Same same.

But word just came down that the United States of America is set to oust Assange from his Cardiff-by-the-Sea and arrest him.

Oh shit!

Do you think Rip Curl will try and do that to me?

If they do where should I go next?

a) Hurley’s Costa Mesa office complex

b) Nigeria

c) Dave Prodan’s World Surf League Santa Monica office

d) A shark’s mouth in Reunion Island

e) Negatron’s New Zealand love retreat

f) Jamie O’Brien’s house (again)

g) Under the World Surf League coffee table

h) Mexico

i) Between Morgan Williamson’s adjectives

j) Where Martin Potter stores his enthusiasm

k) Torquay

l) The Billabong boardshort aisle at Jack’s surfshop in Huntington

m) Surfer magazine’s “subscriber” numbers


Would you have the gumption to turn and burn?

Watch: Welcome to Barrel Heaven!

Aritz and friends find the Indian Ocean sphincter!

You know the type of waves I like — looney toobs with minimal chance of death or dismemberment. That’s why this video, a short film about Aritz Aranburu and friends at Lagundri Bay, stood out to me. Nias is barrel heaven, as it radiates the ideal amount of fear-inducing power and wave-of-your-life potential.

The clip starts by chronicling the small days in anticipation of a major swell. Aritz and Leo are ripping, snagging a few clean tubs, but it’s clearly just a crescendo for the impending storm. The video starts to peak around the halfway point when the waves hit six-to-eight feet, and it doesn’t look back from there.

But this made me think, wouldn’t it be nice if swells came up as slowly as they died off? It seems that in most corners of the world, swells fill in quickly, with the first day of waves being the strongest, and then slowly back off over the following 72 hours.

And how stressful is that? The waves go from 0-100 overnight, and it takes a certain type of person to be prepared for it.

Usually by the end of the big day you start to build a little confidence, but by that time the sun has nearly set and the biggest, best waves of the swell have come to pass. Then you spend the next few days surfing the dying end of the swell, just wishing you could have the big day back as your confidence has finally peaked.

In a perfect world, swells would come up slowly and steadily over a three day period. Then, when your balls are hanging at a sufficient depth, the waves would max-out and you’d capitalize on the peak of the swell instead of shitting yourself in the channel.

Anyways, enjoy the clip! It’s the best barrel-riding you’ll see this week.

Rebellion: “Rip Curl is boring and dull!”

Shop Rolling Death Maui and end the tyranny of surf industry conservatism!

I had the pleasure of chatting with one of the greatest surf journalists of all time the other day. Brad Melekian pulled apart the Andy Irons story in those early days, crafting the only two pieces on the subject that matter. I was the biggest dickhead in the world, in those early days, and repeatedly told him to go to hell and called him a kook from Santa Fe, New Mexico even though I knew he was not from Santa Fe, New Mexico.

In any case, he was kind enough, forgiving enough, to see me and we chatted about the surf industry, surf journalism, surf culture etc. and while I sipped a grape flavored coconut water vodka cocktail he said:

“Surfing is one of the most arch-conservative subcultures in the world. You talk about being risk averse, these guys are really conservative and they don’t know what’s going to happen to their careers if they say the wrong thing, so….”

Oh of course I agree at it kills me every day. How did the surf industry become what it became? So staid, so scared, so… conservative? It makes me angry and this morning I was shuffling around my house angry when a package came. I opened it and pulled the heavy ceramic boob shaka from a bed of styrofoam and was not angry.

I sometime forget that companies like Rolling Death Maui exist and flourish under the dull orthodoxy of Rip Curl. Look at that boob shaka! And if you could only feel it. I think it weighs five pounds. Rolling Death Maui also make Offensive Hawaiian Stereotype pins, Everything Cool Sucks patches, Gary Busey bottle openers etc. etc.

Not conservative. Funny, witty, good.

And then the sun comes out again and I am not angry anymore because there is hope.

Shop here!

“There was Slater, three or four other surfers and (Bierke) was just vomiting up water like flat out. He had really bloodshot eyes and he didn’t know where he was, who he was or what was happening. He was blue. He was like a smurf or an avatar." | Photo: Rob Gunstone/The Standard

Russ Bierke: “He was blue! Like a smurf!”

"I remember seeing a wave coming and then I was on the beach on all fours spewing!" 

You play, you pay, as they say. Eventually.

Big-wave teen Russell Bierke, who is nineteen and lives in Ulladulla in between dragon-slaying adventures around the world, survived a two-wave hold-down at Port Campbell, in Warrnambool, Victoria, yesterday.

The waves were fifteen-to-eighteen feet, clean as anything, the sun warm, and after a day tooling around with his pals Tom Carroll, Ross Clarke-Jones, Ryan Hipwood and Kelly Slater, Russ stole into a smaller insider.

Always the insider. Takes off, gets hit by his board, knocked unconscious. Hippo sees it. Gets the ski in. Ben Serrano throws him on the jet ski’s sled. Slater joins ’em.

“It’s super vague,” Russ told Warrnambool newspaper The Standard from his hospital bed. “I remember seeing a wave coming and then I was on the beach on all fours spewing (up water). I can’t remember the ski ride. It was a freak accident. I don’t really remember but the wave did something big like dropped out and my board must have hit me.”

From the story in The Standard.

Bierke was blue when he was brought to shore and said he had no recollection of what happened except for what he’d been told by witnesses.

“I know I’m pretty lucky from everyone I’ve talked to. It’s probably good I don’t remember much. (I woke up this morning) and I was trying my best to remember but can’t really. The way everything came together was pretty lucky for sure.

“Everyone out in the line up really helped, the paramedics and the crew and the hospital.”
A female paramedic who was walking past gave him oxygen from the nearby Port Campbell Surf Lilfesaving Club.

Moyne Shire councillor and Port Fairy surfer Jordan Lockett, who was attending a training day at the surf club, was one of the people who helped.

“Kevin Leddin one of our (Moyne Shire) directors said ‘I swear I just saw Kelly Slater carrying someone’ so I ran out onto the balcony,” Cr Lockett said.

“I yelled out and there was about four or five people standing around a body and I said ‘do you want me to call an ambulance?’

“Kelly said ‘call an ambulance’ then I was relaying down the phone what Kelly Slater was telling me – the vital signs. He’s got a pulse, he’s breathing but he’s not well. He was very disoriented. I grabbed the oxygen and ran outside.

“There was Slater, three or four other surfers and (Bierke) was just vomiting up water like flat out.

“He had really bloodshot eyes and he didn’t know where he was, who he was or what was happening. He was blue. He was like a smurf or an avatar.

“So we got the oxygen on as quick as we could. He had a really big cut (across his neck/jawline) which was swollen so they were applying pressure to that but that was obviously restricting his breathing so that was tricky.”

Bierke was bleeding from a cut on his neck near his jawline where the nine foot long board which weighs almost 10 kilograms struck him. The force dented the board.

“Kelly was talking to him and said ‘It’s alright brother, help’s on its way’,” Cr Lockett said. “I let him know the ambulance said they would be under 10 minutes. They arrived, they were really quick.”

Cr Lockett said the response made him proud to be a surfer.

“Everyone helped and thank God that paramedic was there,” Cr Lockett said.

“I was talking to Kelly (Slater) after it and he was saying how could not have done it if the jetski wasn’t there. It would have been, given he’s an 11 time world champion and he’s fit, a 20-minute paddle minimum.

“I personally don’t know if he would have survived if it wasn’t for the jet ski because the bloke was blue, and that was getting rushed in on the jetski.”

Cobden and Port Campbell police and ambulance attended the scene which was reported at 1.30pm on Wednesday.

Bierke was taken to the Warrnambool Base Hospital intensive care by ambulance and will remain in hospital until the weekend.

Read the rest here. 

Just in: Surf Media Is Guilty!

Almost an apology...

Yesterday I had a wonderful meeting with Sharp Eye’s Marcio Zouvi in which we discussed surfing’s past, present and future. You’ll be able to read that whole interview shortly, but for today I’d like to touch on one of Marcio’s biggest gripes.

“The Internet has really done a disservice to the world of surfboard design,” Marcio told me.

“Nowadays, nobody really knows who’s for real and who’s not. You’ll see guys with not a lot of talent, but who have a lot of ‘techniques’ online, taking off. So they become the next ‘guru’ even though they don’t know what they’re doing. You know, the boards aren’t really impressive. ”

Marcio continued, “This is where you guys, Surfline, and Surfer really need to put out the correct information. For a long time I’ve seen a lot of information and coverage being bought. So people are getting this misinformation — stuff that’s not real. And that’s sad.”

And damn it, he’s right! Surf media is majorly responsible for the lies that consume us all. I’ve never ridden a Channel Islands, Chilli, Sharp Eye, Slater Designs, or many other of the major board brands, yet I ponder incessantly about how hard I’d be shredding on all of them. This can only be due to all the positive coverage they get, and to Marcio’s point, a vast majority of that adulation is purchased.

This is, of course, the crux of what we do. Surf media exists only with the help of advertorial funding, and most of that funding comes from surf-endemic brands. In an effort to maintain our financial bond with said brands, the media caresses them with flattery, product placement and the odd reach-around.

That’s why Surfing did a wetsuit review with zero negative feedback. That’s why Stab no longer rates their In The Dark boards numerically.

Without ass-kissing and falsified endorsement, surf media can’t exist. With ass-kissing and falsified endorsement, surf media hurts certain businesses and consumers. It’s a double-edged sword and somebody’s gotta fall on it.

So unless you guys decide to stop clicking on BeachGrit, Surfline, Stab, and The Inertia, the media will continue to deceive until we are old and bald and still very poor.

We fall on the sword together like a shish kabob of surf misery!