"...who is just antagonizing the FUCK out of everyone!"
We live in the golden age of surf journalism, and I certainly don’t need to remind you, but we live in the golden age of surf radio too. It is totally true and where would we be without the glorious podcast? We’d be sad is where. Especially Occy. He’d be sad and sitting alone in his closet with an unplugged microphone and list of anecdotes that no one would ever hear.
But we do have many podcasts and we know Occy’s stories and the world is right.
One of my favorites is Ain’t That Swell with Jed Smith and Vaughn Dead. The two have been at it as long as anyone and have a wonderfully light rapport, easy-listening yet still bawdy voices and a command over the subject matter.
In their latest episode, featuring guest Danny Johnson from Surfing World, there was a segment called Under or Over wherein the three discussed if certain topics were under performing or over performing.
Surf journos turning on each other was brought up and Vaughn declared it “under performing” saying, “Who fucking cares, mate? Arrrrgh!”
Jed added, “This is the thing. This is what makes it worth ripping into other surf journalist because at the same time who fucking cares?”
Then Vaughn said, “Let’s rattle off a few examples of what we’re talking about.”
Jed picked up the thread and declared, “Alright so we had Charlie Smith vs. The Inertia, Charlie Smith vs. Stab magazine…”
Vaughn interjected, “He’s on a fucking roll!”
While Jed continued, “Charlie Smith vs. Mick Fanning, who admittedly isn’t a journalist. Who else has Chas taken on?”
And then either Vaughn or guest Danny Johnson (forgive me… the lack of visuals is the downside of a podcast) yelled, “Everyone! Well he did an episode of Surf Splendor during the week but uh he just seems like he is that little creature who is just antagonizing the FUCK out of everyone just desperate for a response and when he gets it it’s a little victory to Chas but I think everyone else just seems to be terrified of him. That’s how it feels. People just have their fingers crossed, please don’t talk about me, please don’t have a go at me, I don’t want to get involved in this shit and… I don’t know. I don’t know whether people are intentionally flagging him because they can’t be fucked or whether they’re too scared or what’s going on but, yeah he’s going after everyone, man and… I guess he said it best himself. He’s lobbing grenades and he’s not getting any thrown back at him because either a) they’re scared or b) they don’t give one flying fuck but I have a feeling it’s a bit of both.”
Such a wonderful exchange but if I may add my two cents. The general tone of the discussion (listen below around the 28 minute mark) is that surf journalism is absurd and that throwing stones, or grenades as it were, is pointless and dumb. I whole-heartedly agree with one caveat. Having dabbled in war journalism, political journalism and fashion journalism enough I can say that those are utterly absurd too. No more and no less absurd than surf journalism.
Which is why I do what I do. Surf journalism, as absurd and pointless as it is, is also much more fun. The stories are fun, the the excesses are fun, the rumors are fun and the “fights” are fun.
We really do have differences of opinions. I think The Inertia is a giant piece of shit. I think Stab is embarrassingly derivative. And I write about these two, any anyone else in my way, because it’s fun. Why are they too chicken to respond? Vaughn/Danny thinks they’re either scared or don’t give a flying fuck.
I know they’re scared and that is why I’ll continue to lob my grenades.
We’re all yellow journalists, after all. I’m just Hearst looking for my Pulitzer.