Want to try the Sport of Kings? Scottish hero says, "Don't!"
Surfing has a new mascot and his name is Rip Current Rory! The young hero from Scotland who was caught in a rip current and pulled all the way to Ireland is back in the news today with advice for any person thinking about trying out the Sport of Kings this summer.
He returned to Campbeltown, Scotland today, where his horror began, in order to retrieve his surfboard and thank the Coast Guard team that saved his life but he also shared his pointers for the best way to “enjoy” the surf. Shall we read?
Please, see my story not as a horror, but one that could learned from.
Despite having the correct equipment – a 5mm thickness wetsuit, with a 2mm thickness torso vest, along with gloves, hood and boots – there were other things I could have done to prevent this escalating to the point it did:
A) Do not go surfing alone. It was unnecessary risk. If I had been surfing with another person, or ideally a group, the coastguard would have been notified much earlier that I was in trouble.
B) Have an agreed time when you will be out of the water and that you will contact either a family or friend who is on dry land. This is a useful measure as it helps in case something is happening to your group.
C) Make sure the person you’re contacting knows where you are going surfing and expect to be back on dry land. If you want to go back in afterwards just message them saying so.
D) Purchase a personal GPS tracker. Although they can be pricey at first glance, when you consider the price of both a board and wetsuit, it isn’t that much more. And it’s worth it if you imagine two hours in the water before being rescued as opposed to two days. I know what I would choose. I would suggest this for non-surfers doing other water sports as well.
So a 7/5 wetsuit, gloves, hood, booties, GPS tracker, crew in the water, crew on the beach/at home. And that sounds like the worst time ever!
Between fear of shark attack, menstruation and Rip Current Rory’s advice I think zero new people will start surfing for the rest of the year and a few will even quit.
Do you consider yourself a “global citizen?” Did you cry this morning when you read that Donald J. Trump is planning on opting out of the Paris Accord? Is your monthly “donation” budget tied up between Greenpeace and the Surfrider Foundation?
Of course not! You are a BeachGrit-er!
But there is one thing you can do with your extra pennies that are not being sent to Greenpeace or the Surfrider Foundation. You can send them to your favorite Matt Warshaw in support of his epic Encyclopedia of Surfing and History of Surfing!
The Encyclopedia of Surfing and the History of Surfing are both true works of art. Matt Warshaw has taken it upon himself to actually commit the only thing we truly care about to eternity. He has read, sorted, logged it all from Bronzed Aussies to Zelda . Without him, without these two works, all of our memories would vanish. He has done a hard and thankless work and it matters. The entries are brilliant. The reading is gold. And here we are.
I don’t ask for much but I beg for this because it is good and unlike Greenpeace and Surfrider actually does something. It gives us our past and in a strange way it gives us our future. Without Matt Warshaw we are stuck in a perpetual now. A perpetual BeachGrit.
Can you imagine anything more horrifying? I can’t.
There’s something about persistence. That can-do attitude where no amount of insults or mockery can shake a man from his vision-quest.
Zoltan Torkos is one of those people. His story goes something like this…
On November 21, 2007, Volcom announced a $10,000 prize for the person who could complete the first-ever surfing kickflip. Their press release looked like this:
To date, no one has ever documented a cleanly landed kickflip on a surfboard. Volcom is giving away $10,000 to the first person that can land a “proper” kickflip while surfing! By proper we mean an “above the lip” kickflip where first you launch an air, use your front foot to flip the board, and then land on it and ride out cleanly. No backwash, no fingerflips, no grabs, no laybacks. Just a proper kickflip. We’re going to be strict on these following guidelines. The rules are all listed here, so get out there and put this trick in the history books. Good luck!
Rules: 1. Your entry must be on video from the start of the trick through the ride out. No photos allowed. 2. This contest is open to everyone. The contest begins today November 21st, 2007, and will run until there’s a winner. 3. The kickflip must be a real air “above the lip” – No backwash, No chop hops, or anything in the flats or below the lip of the wave. 4. All waves must be self caught – You must paddle into the wave. This means NO tow-ats, step-offs, jetskis, boats, dinghys, winches, canoes, oars, helicopters, dolphins or assistance of any kind. 5. No grabs of any kind. Not before, not after, not during. 6. You must completely “ride out” of the kickflip. That means if you land on the back of the wave and fail to continue surfing the wave – it’s not a make! 7. No heelflips. Or else we’d have called it the Heelflip-Off. 8. No shoes. Who surfs in shoes anyway? Regular “made for surfing” booties are acceptable. 9. You must be riding a surfboard with at least one fin. No boogie boards, wakeboards, wakeskates, skimboards, kiteboards, trays etc.
Zoltan Torkos, a magician/surfer from the Santa Cruz area, perked up like a chilly nipple when he heard the news. He quickly grabbed his board and tried, tried, tried, but it was just so damn hard!
With sore feet and a failing mojo, Zoltan was given words of encouragement by longtime friend Carl Reimer. “You can do it,” Carl told him.
Later that day, Carl was gunned down for unknown reasons. Killed.
“After that, I made it my goal to do the kickflip on a surfboard for my friend, and to influence kids worldwide to pull tricks not triggers,” Zoltan told Wakesurfer Magazine, which somehow crumbled in 2015.
Zoltan went on to land the world’s first surfing kickflip in March of 2011, but the completion was met with controversy. As Rule 3 in the competition guidelines clearly states: The kickflip must be a real air “above the lip” – No backwash, No chop hops, or anything in the flats or below the lip of the wave.
Let’s judge for ourselves.
Zoltan said yes, Volcom said no, chaos ensued. Long story short, Volcom conceded with a caveat. They’d give the man his ten gees, but they would offer another twenty thou for a “proper” kickflip, i.e. off a section/lip.
If you’ve paid attention to surfing over the past six years, you’ve seen many more of Zoltan’s chop-hop board-twirls. He’s quite good at them. The best, even.
But never do they breach the lip.
Just this morning BeachGrit received message from Mr. Torkos, stating: “Here is not often above the lip kickflip 20 Grandeur for sure.”
Once again let’s judge for ourselves!
Aaaaaand ok! I’ll give it to you Z, that was definitely off the lip. About the same height as my superman, if I’m being honest. But there is one small problem… me thinky you didn’t quite land it.
I’ve been around surfing for far too long, have tried to salvage waaaaay too many near-makes in my life, to believe that you rode away from this. At the last second of the clip, you lose your balance, if ever so slightly, and tip back to your heels. The fact that you cut the clip tells me you didn’t recover.
But this is just a cynic’s view. Maybe Volcom will be generous with their appraisal of your attempt. Then again, something tells me they aren’t exactly your biggest fan.
I’m inclined to believe that, when this competition came to life, Volcom had visions of John John or at least Ozzie Wright landing the first kickflip — not some magician from Santa Cruz. How does one market a magician from Santa Cruz?
Volcom hates your persistence, Zoltan. Keep fighting.
Did you know that Albee Layer and his band of Maui brethren are making a new film? It’s called Nervous Laughter and will be coming out soon, if not very soon.
The film succeeds their 2014 masterpiece, Attractive Distractions, which infamously did not receive a Surfer Poll Award. Albee did, however, win Best Performance for his role in the movie.
The Maui-based film lost to Joe G’s Strange Rumblings in Shangri La, which, whether or not you think deserved the Movie of the Year award, led to one of the most historic moments in the history of surf history.
Fuck the WSL
Still, Albee and filmmaker Dan Norkunas were not happy. AD was a wonderful film that maybe deserved to win the war against Noa Deane and his band of deplorables. But like our good friend Pottz oft reminds us: You can’t just beat the champ, you have to destroy him. If it’s close, the judges will always give it to the veteran.
Albee and Norkunas maybe fell victim to the legacy of Joe G.
But now they are no longer rookies. They’ve paid their dues, mended their wounds, and come back twice nay thrice as strong! Their new film, Nervous Laughter, will surely place them in the prestigious Surfer Poll victory circle.
How do I know? Well, the below section didn’t even make the cut. Seven minutes of pumping Fiji was deemed not quite good enough for this film.
Methinks Albee should start working on a divisive catch phrase for the acceptance speech.
Yesterday afternoon I spent a very enjoyable few hours watching the women’s Fiji Outerknown Pro. Oh sure, the waves weren’t spectacular but the surfing certainly was and it made me realize how much the women need their own tour. How the World Surf League is not only robbing them but robbing us of a better time.
When sandwiched between men’s heats, or men’s days, on the men’s tour the women automatically become an afterthought. It is all about the men no matter what the WSL tries to sell. No matter how much they tell Ron Blakey to amp his voice excitement. “Up next it’s the WOMEN.”
But when they are on their own program it is a thing of art. The women have as much skill, as much subtlety, as much nuance as the men. The way they approach the waves is a thing to behold. The storylines and built in rivalries sing.
The singing, though, gets lost in the noise of the men’s tour.
I think, if on their own program, the women’s tour viewership would grow exponentially. New sponsor opportunities, new markets, new everything. I would certainly watch much more. I would also bet on it, like real money through a bookie and stuff.
So come on WSL. Let the caged bird free! Let me win money!
And now lets watch Tati-Weston Webb demolish Steph Gilmore.