Mason Ho, pro-formance. No gloomy stench of the hybrid here. | Photo: Pete Frieden

Unseen clips: Yago. Taj. Mason. Griff!

The best advertorial you'll swallow all day! 

Earlier today, I had cause to enjoy a conversation with the San Clemente-based surfboard shaper, Matt Biolos. I’d been asked to edit a paper surfing magazine (brazenly retro!) and wanted to create an out-of-the-box surfboard by getting Jon Pyzel and Matt Biolos to collaborate on a single design.

We’ll back and forth on email, set parameters, create a CAD file, send it to a machine and… pop!

Any time I get the ear of a shaper, of course, I point it at my own surfing. I told Biolos I hated being beholden to the decrepit rockers of Hybrids, the functional modern surfboard.

I said I wanted to lift my game a little. I want to transcend surfboard design.

Biolos said, “You saw the clip, right? All those unseen waves of Taj, Yago? The Pro-Formance one?”

I remembered receiving it, but didn’t watch. Who needs advertorial when there are so many flamboyant shorts out there. Pressed to examine and the short is revealed to be a wonderful two minutes of Yago Dora, Taj Burrow, Brother, Griff Colapinto, Ian Crane and so forth riding Biolos’ new Pro-Formance series.

“You ride a Pro-Formance board for one reason,” said Biolos. “Because you believe it will allow you to surf at a higher level and you’ll be able to do things that you can’t on a hybrid or fish.”

Sounds like me.

Pro-Formance ain’t for someone who’s forgotten how to generate speed, howevs.

“You better be able to pump and feel that the boards you’re riding are holding you back from doing the things you want to do on wave,” says Biolos.

Ah, my fatal flaw.

Maybe it suits you?

The Pro-Formance thing. Why?

“Honestly, the bulk of my day-to-day work life is building boards for competitive surfers,” says Biolos. “I spend 75 per cent of my work time focused on making the best possible  performance-minded boards, but the retail sales, and the boards going through our factory, are 75% hybrids and grovelers. It’s, like, exactly the opposite. I felt I could do a better job of presenting the boards we are working so hard on and reminding people that we make high-performance boards as well and you don’t just have to ride a Rocket-type board, RNF or a Puddle Jumper-type board from Lost.”

What is it you dig about Taj, Yago, Mason, Kolohe, Ian?

“They’re all individuals. Taj is a living legend. He’s so important in the the history of how al these young surfers promote and portray themselves. He is held in high-esteem from all camps and facets of surf culture. He went out on his terms and is the one guy who no one ever says a negative thing about. Lifestyle, surfing, you name it. Yago brings a laid-back casual to the competition scene. His surfing is perfect post-modern laissez-faire. The least polarising of the South Americans and the easiest for us arrogant Anglos to be attracted to. Kolohe is my muse. My MVP. He is the biggest reason I am so motivated still to do this. He’s the captain of the football team, Mr. America, The California Kid. No bullshit, athlete and performer. Ian Crane and Griffin Cola are classic examples of the easy-on-the-eyes California style. Ian will ride anything I toss at him and love it. He reminds me a bit of Mason. Mason is the living epitome of what we all want to be. He is Jeff Spicoli. He is the Beach Boys. He is The Endless Summer. From one-foot closeouts to twenty-five foot closeouts at Waimea Bay, he’s going to standout, and remind us what its all about.”

Watch! The best advertorial you’ll swallow all day!


…Lost Pro-Formance Series from Lost Video Productions on Vimeo.

Listen: “The Chinese ruined rash guards!”

Come and feast on a new episode of Surf Splendor's Grit!

I am not a podcast man and, like you, generally believe they linger far too long. “Couldn’t everything said be boiled down to a relatively concise fifteen minutes?” I wonder before not listening. “Isn’t this all… ridiculously loquacious?”

As you may or may not know, I am a regular guest alongside the perfect host David Lee Scales on the podcast Grit! which is part of the Surf Splendor universe. We have done five shows now, I believe, and I enjoy talking to David but I also get so tired of hearing myself drone on and on. And when I read your comments like, “Fuck, Chas is boring…” and “…that was painful shoe-gazing.” I slowly nod my head.

Anyhow, I met up with David once again over the weekend at an architectural masterpiece between Del Mar and Rancho Santa Fe. It was midcentury modern, wonderfully appointed, with stunning views. Before we began I asked David, “Why do these damn things have to be so long?” He responded, “My regular listeners don’t think they are long enough. People on commutes, mowing their lawns, cleaning pools, etc. enjoy that topics can be fully and completely mined. That it’s not just quick sound bites.”

“Hmmmm…” I thought. “David Lee Scales has a point.”

We sat outside and chatted for two hours about surf media, asymmetrical surfboards, Chris Coté being wrong, etc. while I polished off half a bottle of vodka.

You can hear me get progressively drunk and then slander 1.35 billion people near the end.

This one goes out to you Mr. Commuter, Mrs. Lawn Mower, Mr. Pool Cleaner, China.


P.S. It will totally go better if you drink booze too.

Hamburger manufacturer Carl's Jr. has written the book on objectifying women in advertising. Unknown if the above model appears in a Billabong bikini.
Hamburger manufacturer Carl's Jr. has written the book on objectifying women in advertising. Unknown if the above model appears in a Billabong bikini.

Overt: Billabong caught being sexist!

Surfwear giant gets nailed!

Yesterday, I was sent the story F*ck You Billabong. No Seriously F*ck You. multiple times. It appeared on a web aggregator called Medium and written by Karen Knowlton, who was enraged by the surfwear manufacturer’s overt sexism on its website’s landing page.

Ms. Knowlton wrote:

Forgive me my outrage, but this sh*t really burns me up. How is this the best you can do? How is this the first impression you choose to deliver to visitors of your site? Are you even aware of what you are doing?

I sincerely hope not, so let me break it down for you:

Man as subject, shredding waves. Woman as object, back arched and head dropped back for ultimate titillating effect on the viewer. This doesn’t even pretend to be an image of a woman having fun on the beach, actually enjoying her beautiful body in the perfect swimsuit. It’s just straight objectification.

You are ostensibly an athletic apparel company, yes? And you presumably have a fleet of badass female surfers you could photograph and display actually surfing? Or even just frolicking on the beach in their perfect bodies and pretending to have fun? You know, images of women as actual people who have experiences in their bodies, rather than the female body as simply an object to be viewed and consumed by others.

You could even pick out just the right action shots to make sure you don’t lose the sex appeal. You know, wet hair sexy and tousled, models looking extra focused and a bit pouty, perfect bums on display as they wait for a wave. But at least get one of these girls on an actual surfboard, would you please?

Of course she is right in every way.

And Billabong appears to have gotten the message, though the company didn’t respond by releasing a statement or apologizing. That would not be the Billabong Way™. Adjusting but pretending like nothing happened is the Billabong Way™ and today its website’s landing page looks like this.

Which, in turn, enraged me.

Now we have a beautiful surfer girl being pouty and cruisey but I can also see her entire bikini. The damned man? Like, I can’t even see any boardshort at all because his giant throw away air is in the way. Would it have been so hard to objectify him for once?

Would it?

I give you the the following images as an example of what I’m talking about Billabong.

Obviously don’t apologize when you swap something similar in tomorrow on the man’s side. Life is Better When You Bury Your Head in the Sand™.

Don’t Weep: Bede Durbidge retires!

Stave depression off and remember the good times!

Fiji’s greatest ever World Championship Tour surfer, Bede Durbidge, announced his retirement over the weekend in order to pursue his other great love, coaching. His hometown Gold Coast Bulletin reports:

Today, Bede is embarking upon another battle — that for Olympic glory — after being appointed as Surfing Australia’s elite program manager for the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games.

He will take up the role in early 2018, when he officially retires from competitive surfing at the end of the Australian leg of the World Surf League tour at Margaret River.

Announcing his retirement at Snapper Rocks today, Durbidge said he was stoked to take on the new role with Surfing Australia, albeit earlier than he had initially planned.

“I thought I would stay on tour for a few more years but this opportunity arose and I had to go for it,” Durbidge told reporters.

“It is a perfect transition for me to retire and move into that role.”

And while it is easy to fall into a massive depression with this news let’s not think about how much we will miss Bede on tour. Let’s think of all the good times we had together

And now, in honor of Bede, let’s also read a passage from the award-nominated book Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell (buy a second copy here please). This scene takes place as the author is approaching the Turtle Bay resort compound on Oahu’s famed North Shore.

And I continued walking while my heart beat harder. Faster. Had I manifested a riot? And it was so cold that I lit another Camel Red. I saw Bede Durbidge standing just inside the entrance talking on a cell phone bouncing his adorable new baby. Bede is a rangy, tall, blonde Australian with a smile as big as the moon. He is friendly and well liked and I once wrote that he is so bland that when he paddles out for competitive surfs everyone leaves the beach and goes for champagne brunches instead. Or at least I do. He looked at me and grimaced. His baby was beautiful and I felt bad for what I wrote and for smoking near her and for smoking in general and my soul was dark. Fox, Bede’s main sponsor, pulled all their ads from Stab because of the story.

Let’s remember Bede like that. Ok? Can we promise each other we’ll read this passage at this same time every year?

Watch: Mikey Wright’s Root!

Australia's favorite surfer goes and gets it done in Western Australia!

Ain’t life a wonderful surprise? Some mornings you wake and are dealt very much bad things. Like… mid-2000s dubstep and lady folk. But then other mornings you wake and are dealt very much beautiful things like… Turbonegro and Motörhead.

Like today!

Mikey Wright just dropped a wild n wooly masterpiece from the western half of Australia where it is said he filmed for two-ish weeks.

Do you love the way Mikey surfs? Does it inspire you to go out and surf the same? Do you think some day he will tone it down, slightly, and join the tour? Do you think his frontside air is better than Dane Reynolds’ frontside air? Be serious. Do you?

The clip is called ROOT and when I first moved to Australia, many years ago, I would ask people which Aussie Rules team they rooted for and they would look at me strangely while responding, “You mean barrack?”

Root in America means “to cheer for.” Barrack in Australia means “to cheer for.” Root in Australia means “to have sex with.” Barrack in America is the first name of our ex-President Obama.

And without further ado…