Did you arrive at surfing late? Do you eat up ridicule?
How did I miss this film? Did you see it when it first appeared eight years ago?
Oh it cuts the meat right off the bone.
The Surfer was made by Dominic Coleman, funded by the British government, and was inspired by “a chance conversation I had with a really funny guy at a beach in South Devon in UK. He was a SUPer,” DC told Liquid Salt magazine.
The story is good.
“He and his wife were carrying his massive paddle board across the car park to his brand new VW T5 van with all the flash wheels, tinted windows, and body kit. I asked him if he’d had a good surf and he launched into a monologue about how his surf had been. His wife and daughter then attempted to carry his board to the van whilst he stood chatting to me. He also told his daughter who was about eight to mind that she didn’t damage the board which I thought was hilarious… He struck me as being one of the new breed of surfers in the UK where suddenly you get someone not traditionally associated with the activity really getting into it, spending thousands of pounds on it and becoming an expert on it. We’re all like it to an extent.”
DC adds, “I am painfully aware that the irony of this film is its really close to me. I live in London, I’m a middle-aged, middle-class bloke who’s got into surfing really late.”
As an aside, what does middle-class have to do with a man’s ability in the water? If you are poor, or very rich, can your idiocies be excused?
Do you think, if he was interviewed now, DC would’ve added the helpful epithets “white” and “straight”?
And, tell me, do you recognise anyone you know in The Surfer?
Do you have surfboards with holes but don't know how to fix? I know the feeling!
Five weeks ago, ish, a New Yorker turned Dana Point transplant, Brad Pierson, entered my mailbox with a proposal.
He asked, would I accept advertising from his little company Board Bandages? I examined his website and I discovered the company makes colourful band-aids for surfboards. This appealed to me very much.
Periodically, I’ll try to repair a hole in my surfboard, buy all the ingredients, pursue with gusto and so forth, only to ruin my pretty sleds with waterfalls of resin, destroy a patch of grass and be thirty bucks down.
As it happens, a photographer pal of minehad wanted to produce a BeachGrit-branded metallic ding tape, sourced from Japan where he had worked as a professional model. I thought it a fine idea and I don’t know why we didn’t pursue it.
Brad Pierson, who is thirty five years old “but my joints say sixty seven”, and who stands at a paltry five-foot-seven-inches, told me he liked BeachGrit very much (flattery always succeeds) and I asked if he could send his product to me for testing.
The board bandages come in a sheet, which you peel off and apply to your surfboard.
It’s so easy I only marginally screwed it up fixing a busted tail.
I like it. Yes! We take your money. I’ll even throw in an advertorial interview!
Which is here.
BeachGrit: Tell me everything!
Brad: I started developing Board Bandages almost a year ago but, only brought them to market two months ago. The idea came from using random stickers as ding repair and a pure hatred for Solarez. I kept replacing stickers on the same ding over and over again after they’d peel off, crack, etc. When I gave that up and went to use some Solarez I had bought a month or so prior, I found it exploded in my trunk all over a brand new set of Futures. My now business partner and life-long friend had told me of an amazing adhesive he had developed for some stickers and we just kind of started kicking around the idea. We then developed the textured top sheet for the bandages and voila! (For the Millennials in the room that means the idea was “lit” and we were “ ‘bout that lyf”)
Talk me through the specifics of ‘em. What are they made of, how big a hole can you fix?
When you pick them up you’d notice similar qualities to a thick sticker. What sets them apart is our proprietary textured top sheet and incredible adhesive. The top sheet’s texture allows for the Board Bandages to be waxed almost better than your actual board. However, it is also extremely hydrophobic so water beads right off, making it perfect for any ding, anywhere! Our adhesive goes on and stays on! (Do I sounds like Billy Mays yet? Well, before he died.) The original test bandage has literally been on one of my boards for a year. Hasn’t faded. Hasn’t peeled. Still cute (Derek’s words not mine). Plus, when you’re ready to take your board to your shaper they’ll come off without leaving a mess or residue.
But wait! There’s more!
We also offer the ability to brand Board Bandages however you’d like. So, if a shop wanted their logo on it, we could do it. If Chas wanted the Stab logo so he could channel anger before every wave, we could do it. If Derek wanted a photo of Chas being angry at Stab to channel joy before every wave, we could do it. Just use our little template and send it over. As far as size goes, we make them in two packs right now: Shortboard and Longboard. The Shortboard pack contains four unique shapes to accommodate dings on almost any part of your board while the Longboard pack contains the four Shortboard shapes as well as two much larger, longer shapes. We’re currently developing a SUP pack as well. Ya know, just in case some period blood gets on Laird while he’s shredding and a shark takes a nibble. We got you and your scientifically sound logic homie! On top of that we’re currently producing a custom Board Bandage to protect the entire hull of a ten-foot boat.
What was the process of turning your idea into an actual biz?
Once we had finalized the material, shapes and first round of packaging, we put together a few demo packs and started handing them out to friends and local shops for feedback. Once we felt set we basically did all the boring crap people do to set up businesses. Come to think of it, I’ve never gotten any completed forms back. So, who knows, maybe I’m not an actual business.
Is it all yours? Did you have to kick in much money? Is it a full-time gig?
It’s just me and my business partner and we both have other gigs for now. The goal is to make this my only gig, employ all my friends, buy 42 Album Surfboards and go on a twenty-three year bender.
Yesterday you were treated to a rare interview with Stab magazine’s co-founder Sam McIntosh pulled from new website The Business of Surf in which he became very publicly angry with BeachGrit for its general tone.
He felt it is a “shitty look” to talk about an ex in business, that Derek and his “little biz partner mate” get “giddy” poking holes in Stab, that we get more pleasure from veteran surf writer Nick Carroll rolling in and throwing punches than we do making money, that Derek is not saving the environment or following John John Florence’s each and every move but rather “fixated” on the business he sold a decade ago.
So super nuclear!
But there was a giant chunk right in the middle of the interview that I missed because it was a pull quote. I generally pass pull quotes over, assuming they are in the text somewhere, but this one was not and so Derek gets a bonus thumping in the question:
Are you and him (Derek Rielly) still mates? Theres often a few digs at STAB via Beachgrit but is it all fair in love and war?
The stories about Stab whirred back to life almost immediately, however, and it hasn’t really stopped since. So it’d be strange if I were close to someone whose biz was publishing so many stories about my business so, no, we’re definitely not friends. It’s pathetic, it really is.
Right in the gut!
Oh of course it goes without saying that Derek has never written a negative word about Stab on BeachGrit. Sure he covers the demise of Stab’s parent company SurfStitch but his work on that matter is cool and detached. He also regularly asks me to tone it down on the Stab matter but I don’t listen because, and again, I long for the yellow journalism days when Pulitzer fought Hearst and the world was entertained while whole wars were accidentally kick started.
But maybe I am wrong.
Maybe it is not fun at all. Maybe it is truly pathetic to joke about Stab, The Inertia, etc.
Is it pathetic?
Am I the only one having fun?
I’m actually asking seriously!
And Nick Carroll…. could you please stop rolling in and throwing punches and give me some money instead?
Yesterday, it was reported out of Western Australia that a well-known property developer from Perth, Luke Wyllie, fractured vertebrae, ribs and lacerations after smashing head first into the reef at Gnaraloo. The West Australian writes:
Prominent businessman and pilot Luke Wyllie could spend up to three months in a body brace after a serious surf accident that nearly claimed his life.
Mr Wyllie was knocked off his board at the notorious Gnaraloo break, roughly 120km north of Carnarvon, and smashed head first into a reef on Sunday.
The father-of-two now faces a long rehabilitation after suffering fractured vertebrae in his neck, cracked ribs and lacerations to his head.
“I’ve never really been too concerned about Lukie,” Mr Wyllie’s wife Samantha said. “He’s a bit of a cat, he’s got nine lives and he always bounces back.
“This is the first time it’s shocked us all and it’s really worried everyone.”
The father-of-two had to be evacuated out of the remote location after the freak accident before he was flown to Royal Perth Hospital for medical treatment.
He is set to make a full recovery which is wonderful news, but I must say, the story stopped me in my tracks. Doesn’t it seem miraculous that these sorts of incidents don’t appear multiple times a day in papers around the world? The best waves generally break onto shallow reef or rock, of course, and surfers of varying skill paddle out to try their hand from Fiji to Indonesia to west Australia to northern Chile.
I’ve witnessed spectacular rides over the falls. I’ve also taken some. Last month, for example, I was in southern Mexico surfing a very fun point. The takeoff spot was sucking out behind a large rock, all very normal etc. and fun and I got pummeled a good two times just inches away from that very large rock, completely mistiming the drop, without even a thought.
Aren’t you surprised that more surfers don’t break their necks, rip their faces off, etc?
Aren’t you surprised that you have never broken your neck?
The boiling rage behind a pained smile is something I’ve been addicted to as long as I can remember. It is part of why I stuck myself into the middle of Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade, Russian mafia parties as a slightly younger man.
Part of why I went to Mick Fanning’s North Shore Micktory party as a slightly older man.
I love conflict and don’t think it is a bad thing but rather something that lubes the spirit, challenges the staid narrative and creates dramas that everyone can enjoy.
Which is part of why I crashed Stab magazine’s booth at the Agenda trade show in Long Beach, California a few short weeks ago. It was a sad place with only one lonely boy sitting cross-legged on the floor but it thrilled me much. Not because of its social failure but because I got to reconnect with Sam McIntosh and his little biz partner mate Tom Bird and their most pained smiles that I have ever seen in my entire life. Pained, angry, frustrated. Hurt. Rigid.
Oh you know some of the history between us all. You know that BeachGrit founder Derek Rielly co-founded Stab. You know that he brought me on more than a decade ago to write for Stab. You know that I regularly poke fun of Stab. And you know that Stab mostly stays publicly silent.
What you maybe don’t know is, behind the scenes Stab‘s other co-founder 41 year-old Sam McIntosh purportedly calls surf companies and tells them they’ll be left out of SurfStitch’s glorious offering. Tells them that advertising on BeachGrit will be bad for their business. In legal terms that’s called tortious interference and very naughty, suable etc. But all’s fair in love and war and I’ve never written about…
Are you and him (Derek Rielly) still mates? Theres often a few digs at STAB via Beachgrit but is it all fair in love and war?
And Sam McIntosh responds:
I approached Derek when these stories started appearing and told him I thought it was more damaging to him than me. But the stories continued. So I called him. I said: “We talked about this. You know it’s a shitty look in business talking about your ex, yeah?”
We always had a rule not to trash talk competitors on Stab and it served us so well.” And we made a deal. I said you will never read a negative word about you or your business ever on Stab – you have my word. It’s far classier for us both.”
And I’ve stood by that.
This is a gifted writer, brilliant even, 50 years old, getting giddy with his little biz partner mate, poking holes in the business he used to own on a public forum. This is part of the foundation for his last big swing in business! And validation doesn’t come in commercial success but when other veteran surf writers like Nick Carroll roll in to throw punches! Think about that objectively for a second: a 30-year career writing about surfing and you’re fixated not on the world tour, or commerce, or the environment or John John but the business you sold a decade ago!
I have many stories. Many many many funny stories. And now the cold war has turned hot. Unfortunately for Sam he mistook “online surf publishing” for “business” and mistook his “word for truth” as truth.
Now it is on on.
Or as the great fighter William Tecumseh Sherman said:
I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation. War is hell.