Watch: Nic Von Rupp’s Pursuit of Happiness!

Let's watch Nick squeal with glee!

Nic Von Rupp is living my dream.

He’s handsome, he’s a talented surfer and, as a result of those attributes, he’s paid to chase incredible waves across the globe.

Which makes me wonder, is Nic happy?

I’ve never met the guy, so this is more of a large scale sociological question than a psychological evaluation, but it’s interesting how people with “everything going for them” are often quite miserable. (See: Dane Reynolds in Chapter 11.)

I’ve spent this year doing a fair bit of globetrotting. Hitting bucket-list destinations with the general goal of achieving, I suppose, some sense of universal contentedness. And while my experiences have been amazing, far exceeding the alternatives of sitting behind a desk or hammering nails, I can’t say my overall happiness has increased.

Petty issues continue to bug me, my dog still incites daily stress, and the weight of an unclear occupational future constantly affects my mood. Try as I might to surf the negatives away, at the end of the day, I’m still me. Despite my incredibly charmed life, I’m not necessarily any happier than someone “less privileged” than myself.

Of course socioeconomic status makes a difference in this discussion, but maybe not to the extent you believe.

For some people, happiness seems an inherent aspect of their personality. They were born that way. For others, happiness is earned through commitment to an optimistic outlook, spiritual enlightenment, or any other number of self-help practices.

For others, happiness seems genuinely unattainable. It could be a genetic thing or a confluence of negative events that leads these folks to eternal pessimism, but in any case the result is a miserable existence.

The interesting thing is that, on either side of the draw, you’ll find humans ranging from piss-poor paraplegics to multi-billionaire playboys. Beauty queens to butterfaces. Geniuses to nitwits.

It’s not what job we have, where we’ve travelled, or how beautiful we are that makes us happy. It’s just… us.

I think, on a 1-10 scale, I fall around the six-point-five mark for general happiness (just above the anti-depressive threshold).

What about you, readers? Are you generally fulfilled?

And Nic? Do all those tubes have a lasting positive effect, or are you just as susceptible to bullshit as the rest of us?

Pool Toy Daredevils Taunt Whites at Dana Point!

Drone footage of thrillseekers being towed next to Great Whites… 

I used to love San Clemente. The people are warm, you can buy a world-class surfboard fresh out of the factory, the waves are often very good and, if you want to surf by yourself, why just stroll on down to Riviera and stalk yourself something empty.

Just as fabulous was the lack of any predatory sea life in this part of the Pacific Ocean.

Sharks? A faded memory.

As you know, that’s all changed with the recent migration to San Clemente and its surrounds of packs of Great White sharks.

Orange County junior lifeguards now practise their skills in eight-inches of water. 

Sightings are so common I know one prominent surfer who hasn’t surfed there in six months, partly through injury partly because he ain’t thrilled by big fish.

Last Sunday, Barry Curtis, a keen pilot of drones, captured this footage of a boat driver towing pals on inflatable toys next to what is presumed to be a couple of juvenile Great Whites (I mean, aren’t they all these days?).

As reported by CBS-LA,

Curtis says the lifeguard ran to alert a supervisor and showed him what he filmed.

“He saw that and that’s when he got on his radio and said I’m gonna call the shore boat and tell them to leave the area,” Curtis said.

But there wasn’t time. Seconds later he says another lifeguard ran into the water with his paddle board to warn them.

“They had just towed by both of the ones I had been filming and they had no idea there were sharks in the water,” Curtis said.

In his drone footage you can see the lifeguard reach the boat and everyone pile into the dingy. Curtis’ camera system has GPS coordinates and records date, time and exact location showing the sharks were 900 feet away from the swimmers.

“They’ve done tests where they’re dragging stuff behind boats and Great Whites like the element of surprise and they come out of the water and go for towed devices,” Curtis says. “These people were towing three people behind the boat, my hope and prayer was that I wasn’t going to witness a tragedy.”

Watch here!

Stephanie Gilmore
The full yet delicate lines of Stephanie Gilmore, less heroic muscle, more sculpture. (Flowery enough for you?)

Sex: End Segregation Now!

Surfing doesn't time rides. It don't dunk. So why split guys and gals?

Recently, the three-time Wimbledon champion John McEnroe said in an interview that Serena Williams was the “best female player ever – no question.”

When asked why he’d added the qualifier “female” McEnroe said, “If she played the men’s circuit she’d be, like, 700 in the world.

McEnroe, of course, was swiftly crucified on the various social forums as racist, sexist and so forth.

“He went out of his way to be demeaning – publicly – to a woman.”

“How would you like to be stuck in a plane on the tarmac for 3 hours with this American hero? gag, gag.”

And the outstanding, “Looks like John is still supid.”

McEnroe does have history on his side.

As Ms Williams told David Letterman in 2013: “Men’s tennis and women’s tennis are completely, almost, two separate sports. If I were to play Andy Murray, I would lose 6-0, 6-0 in five to six minutes, maybe 10 minutes. No, it’s true. It’s a completely different sport. The men are a lot faster and they serve harder, they hit harder, it’s just a different game. I love to play women’s tennis. I only want to play girls, because I don’t want to be embarrassed.”

You don’t need daddy to explain that the vast differences in strength (and hemoglobin levels) is why sport is segregated. In a fascinating study across sports from rowing to cycling, women’s world records were an almost uniform ten percent less than the men.

(Read here.)

Can we apply the same rule to surfing? Does strength count in a game where timing and finesse counts for everything and the judging is entirely subjective?

Surfing doesn’t put balls in holes or baskets. It doesn’t time rides. It don’t dunk.

It’s a sport where men with tiny feet (Martin Potter, 1989, size seven), short legs and robust guts (Occy, 1999), tiny everything, except heart (Adriano de Souza, 2015) have dominated.

Don’t you think all those little girls out there, Sierra Kerr, the Norris kids and so on, would be better served if they didn’t have to join the gal’s own version of the Special Olympics?

Yeah, the tour’d end up dominated by the studs (think NBA which is 74.4 percent black) but can you imagine the thrills when a girl, who’d risen to the top of the pack (surfing’s version of Kevin Love), paddled out for a heat in the brave new version of the tour?

Soaring online traffic, #tournotes doing cartwheels, breathless stories.

Tell me.

Who would you rather watch at J-Bay? Stephanie Gilmore or Kanoa Igarashi?

Breaking: Bells Beach is sexy too!

The Jewel of Torquay was left off National Geographic's list but huzzah! Vogue!

You have, of course, read National Geographic‘s list of the world’s top 20 surf towns and maybe you’ve read it twice. Those in Tel Aviv, Raglan, Queens New York, Cornwall and Tofino are cheering wildly. Throwing their arms in the air like they just don’t care. “We matter!” they chant in unison. “We really really really matter!”

Those in Encinitas, Santa Cruz, Bondi, Coolangatta and Torquay, on the other hand, are weeping. Weeping hot tears into lukewarm beers and mumbling, “What have we done? What have we done to be thrown from the light to outer darkness?”

Well Torquay, home to the famed Bells Beach, you can stop crying! Vogue magazine says you sexy too! Shall we read?

As the April sun rises on Bells Beach, Australia, barefoot locals descend on the renowned surf spot by the hundreds. City kids load up their parents’ Kombi vans with friends and boards and head for Great Ocean Road; residents of neighboring Torquay and Jan Juc push signs on their front yards pledging support to surfers Nikki Van Dijk, Tatiana Weston-Webb, and Courtney Conlogue; cafés turning out caffeine to bleary-eyed athletes set their televisions to the Rip Curl Pro Tour, the country’s version of the Super Bowl. One of two locations the World Surf League visits annually in Australia, this beach that sits on the Victoria coast is legendary for its early autumn point break and seemingly endless lineup of crisp and long hollow waves. As a reference, this is the site of the last scene in Point Break when Bodhi tells Johnny Utah that his “whole life has been about this moment.” Surfing here is not just a novelty or a sport, it’s a way of life.

The pictures that follow exhibit Torquay, and her Bells, in all glory. I’ve spent much time there and while the company was grand the sky was always grey. The breakfast was good though. And Neil Ridgway’s (Rip Curl’s marketing guru) benevolent charm can be felt everywhere. It infects the town like some beautiful virus. Like good AIDs.

Click here for more from Torquay!

Revealed: Best surf towns in the world!

National Geographic says "yes" to Cornwall but "no" to Bondi!

I think almost every surf magazine, both living and dead, has done a “top surf town” feature at least once. In 2009, for example, Surfer magazine included, Santa Cruz, Haleiwa, Montauk, New Smyrna, Encinitas and, San Clemente amongst a few others, in their list.

All fine and good but what does a real magazine consider the top surf towns in the world? Have you ever wondered?

Well today is your lucky day! The most revered National Geographic has definitively, and without fear of contradiction, laid down the top 20 in the world with a description as to why.

Is your surf town included? Let’s look!

Hossegor: Hossegor is the best of France, the U.S. East Coast, and California—all in one place.

Tel Aviv: In the summer, the sand is packed with pop-up bars, bronzed babes, and parties that don’t start until long after sunset.

Hainan Island, China: Hainan is like the Waikiki of China, with endless hotels. The bigger ones tend to have English-speaking staff.

Bali: Learning to ride a motorbike while holding a surfboard is a rite of passage.

Maresias, Brazil: Home of Adriano de Souza!

The Algarve, Portugal: Get ready for some of the best waves of your life, and the most fun finding them—that is, if you get out of bed before noon!

Waikiki: Despite the bad rap the “town” gets from surfing’s hard-core, the delight of Waikiki’s long, slow-breaking waves and abundant nightlife make it a must for any surfer, from the neophyte to the seasoned professional.

Cornwall, England: Along with having nearly every type of wave, Cornwall is home to almost every kind of cold-water surf hazard—rocks, rips, and currents. Make sure you surf at beaches with lifeguards.

Margaret River: Despite its dreamy aesthetic, surfing here is not for the faint of heart.

Muizenberg, South Africa: The attitude in the water is also super mellow, with a general acceptance of all watercrafts and abilities.

Las Salinas, Nicaragua: Without guidance, says Two Brothers’ Robert Gregory, “If you’re coming to surf, you might miss it.”

San Clemente: San Clemente can be crowded and full of professionals. Beginners should stay at San Onofre, where dozens of peaks provide plenty of room to play.

Queens, New York: “Look for ‘kook camouflage.’ You’ll think it’s really crowded, but then you get there and realize most don’t know how to surf.”

Raglan, New Zealand: Raglan has a throwback surf vibe and grassroots cultural scene, along with craft stores and a farm-to-table culinary ethos.

San Sebastian, Spain: Speaking a little Basque goes a long way: kaixo means “hello” and agur means “see you later.”

Narragansett, Rhode Island: If a sign says don’t park there, don’t do it.

Sayulita, Mexico: The beach’s lineup is a mix of first-timers at the sandbar, longboarders at the rock-bottom point, and the occasional local professionals when the waves are good.

Taghazout, Morocco: This ancient Berber encampment became an outpost for European adventurers trekking into Morocco in the 1960s.

Tofino: Surf travelers who want to trade the surfer dude vibe for something more earthy … and don’t mind wearing a bit of neoprene.

St. Barthelemy, Caribbean: If you aren’t distracted by the sugar-fine sand, topless beachgoers, or smell of money, two of the main surfing beaches are Toiny, at the southeast end, and Lorient, to the north.

Well? Did your town make it? Are you celebrating or weeping in your warm beer?


I’m booking my ticket to Cornwall!