10 Signs You’re A Filthy Kook!

Fulfil the criteria of just three and, yes, you are, officially, a filthy kook!

I’ve been a kook for so long I can’t imagine being anything else. There have been a few moments when I thought I’d finally shucked kookdom, when I was teased with the prospect of delirious and unlimited delights.

The three straight airs landed. A couple of odd-looking, out-on-the-face, ass-in-the-air reverses. A lucky tube.

They were illusions, of course.

I started too late. Didn’t obsess enough about it to permanently burn the movements into my muscles, the processes into my brain.

I got thinking about it yesterday when I flew to the mountains for a one-day hit of snow. Epic season. Don’t wanna miss it. Took my kid. He’s ten. I’ve ridden fifty-ish days over twenty years, he’s had a week over three. He flies down the blacks hitting everything and spinning. I’m kicking the tail out, panicking at speed, catching edges and groping the piste on toeside turns.

Kook forever. But I accept it. It’s my state.

Are you a lifelong kook? Do you recognise yourself in the behaviours below? Three or more and, it’s official, you’re a kook!

    1. You believe surfing is a democracy: As vibrant as our game is, it ain’t a tableau of fairness. Never was. It’s a meritocracy. The best surfers get the best waves, get any wave they want and if they want to drop in on your disorganised jabbing of the lip, if they want to paddle around you to takeoff on a wave from its most critical juncture, it’s their prerogative. If you sit out the back hissing at the unfairness of it all, then you are a kook.
    2. It’s your surfboard, not you: The kook is what keeps the surfboard industry alive. Your failures can’t be attributed to the misplacement of limbs, the panic as you hover in the lip, the razor-blade paddle technique. Gotta be the board. And so you buy and accumulate surfboards like a vain woman does shoes. Every night when surf shop employees go home they laugh at you and your stories of boards“not working” and your earnest selection of $200 carbon fins.
    3. You are a princess with a pea: You know the old fairy tale? About the gal so regal she could feel a pea in her bed even when it was buried under twenty mattresses? You actually believe you can feel that subtle concave washing between the fins.
    4. You think literage is everything: Once you get that magic number you’re obsessed by it. But what’s the literage? How many litres? Can you build it in a 27.5?
    5. You don’t get localism: The universal rights of man and so forth. You’re the guy who calls a Hawaiian off a wave at Rocky Point or an Indonesian at his home in Bali. You believe that whomever is on the inside, wherever it is, has the absolute right to that wave. It doesn’t if they’ve they’ve just arrived from Italy and piloting a Wavestorm or it’s a pro-level surfer who’s ridden the same hometown ledge, expertly, for the last ten years.
    6. You own at least one shark repellant: Leash, shield, band.
    7. You write screeds on Kelly Slater’s Instagram criticising his surfboards.
    8. You talk surf whenever you meet someone. Did I tell you about my last trip to Costa Rica? Nicaragua?
    9. Vacations are sought at surf camps: Games of pool, surf movies, other like-minded boys? It’s a YMCA with tan!
    10. You use a change poncho: What do you hide, little man?

Yago soars.
Yago soars.

Did we track wrong Brazilian Storm?

Look down to the WQS then batten down the hatches!

Have you been tracking these hurricanes, Harvey, Irma and Jose? Watching them form, bob, weave, dissipate and grow? It’s fascinating and what’s most fascinating is they way they defy prediction. The experts, weathermen, etc. can all postulate all they want but the storm decides what its going to do and only decides at the very last second.

Much like the Brazilian Storm!

Do you remember the predictions of Brazilian dominance from five or such years ago? They were going to win, win, win, win, win, win, win. There was going to be so much winning that the country of Brazil would be sick of winning.

Gabby won and it seemed on. Adriano won and it seemed go-ish time but then… stall. John John took the wind and it seems as if all the winning was overstated. I mean, I guess two out of three ain’t bad but it never seemed… dominant.

But maybe just maybe we were tracking the wrong Brazilian Storm? Maybe the Gabriel Medina led hurricane wasn’t the one?

For if you look down at the WQS all you see is Brazil.

Jesse Mendes

Yago Dora

Alain Delon

Michael Rodrigues

Willian Cardoso

Jean Reno

Tomas Hermes

Alejo Muniz

Jean-Luc Godard

Yves Montand

Bino Lopez

Crazy no? Most of these will be filling into the Championship Tour in the coming two years and then will a non-Brazilian ever win again?

Is this second Brazilian Storm an actual Category 5? Read about it here!

Shane Dorian and Matt George in Academy Award winning In God's Hands.
Shane Dorian and Matt George in Academy Award winning In God's Hands.

Revealed: “Easier to act than surf!”

Actor/Director Simon Baker says its true! Which of our surf stars should head to the silver screen?

I have never read a Tim Winton book but I think he is kind of a big deal in Australia and writes about surfing… or… surf. Or… you know, something. His novel Breath might be his biggest hit. Should we read its back?

When Loonie and Pikelet started to surf, they cycled from Angelus to the beach with their styrofoam boards, buffeted by the wind and, when they finally get to the sea, the waves. They couldn’t help it: they were terrified; they were addicted.

Among the local surfers, one guy stood out. He turned up alone, when the swell was highest, and left the rest of them for dead. Gradually Loonie and Pike got to know this loner, Sando, who took them under his wing. Half a lifetime later, Pike can’t free himself from where the ride took him.

Does it make you want to purchase? Does it sound erotic? Well, famous Australian actor Simon Baker has turned the book into a film also called Breath so you can watch instead. Let’s quickly read about that now.

“What was I thinking?” jokes Baker, recalling the decision to make his directorial debut with Breath, which premieres in Toronto. The film, which Embankment is selling worldwide, is an adaptation of the 2008 novel by Tim Winton, a coming-of-age tale about teen surfers in 1970s Australia. The movie stars two non-actors in the lead roles, and Baker shot the whole thing in six weeks, mainly on location on Australia’s west coast.

“Here I am, never having directed a film before, dealing with kids who’ve never been on a film set before, and we’ve got the ocean — which can’t be controlled and is such a key factor in the story — and we’ve got almost no time to do it,” he recalls. “I thought, ‘I’m probably going to fail miserably, but I’m going to have a great time trying.’ ”

But Baker did have one advantage: He knew the world described in Breath inside out. Because he lived it. Like Pikelet, the film’s narrator and main character, Baker grew-up amid the “crass machoism” of 1970s Australia with the twin loves of surfing and the arts.

“I’ve been surfing since I was 10,” he recalls. “When I read Tim’s novel I found myself weeping out of empathy for friends I grew up with. I was living in America at the time, and his words evoked the things I missed most (about home), the everyday sights and smells of the growing up in Australia at that time, for those of us who discovered the ocean and surfing played a big part in the formation of our identity.”

For the leads, teen surfers Pikelet and Loonie, Baker cast Samson Coulter and Ben Spence. While neither had ever acted before, both knew their way around a board.

“I needed kids who can handle themselves in the ocean,” says Baker. “It’s a lot easier to act than it is to surf.”

Wait… what? It’s a lot easier to act than it is to surf? That just can’t be true. Simon Baker must never have seen In God’s Hands.

But let’s pretend it is easier to act then to surf. Which of our WSL heroes would you most want to see in a feature film? Gabby? Jordy? Who?

Sherm: “The best photo I ever shot!”

Iconic surf photographer discusses the tragic death of Zander Venezia.

You have most certainly read about the very sad death of sixteen-year-old surfer Zander Venezia in Barbados by now. The young man was surfing the first bands of Hurricane Irma energy off the island country’s east coast with a handful of stars. According to Jimmy Wilson, who was there shooting, he caught a wave, made it out the back and then told people he was going in. His surfboard was later spotted tombstoning and he was pulled from the water unconscious. He was declared dead at the hospital from complications due to a broken neck.

Tragic and also part of this life we live. Shallow reef, slabs, giant monstrous waves, sharks, sandbars… our playground is littered with menace and it is a wonder more surfers are not brought low.

Steve Sherman, the iconic surf photographer, has been in the game for as long as anyone can remember and has seen much glory and much tragedy. He took the last portrait of Andy Irons and at the U.S. Open of Surfing he took the last portrait of Zander Venezia and I think he has a unique perspective worth sharing.

I met him two weeks ago doing assignment  for the WSL. Set up a studio down there to get portraits of all the WQS kids. Got portraits. I remember meeting him. Good looking kid. Real professional. I was shooting 128 portraits and he stuck out because he was wearing a Hurley shirt and because he photographed beautifully. Every shot was perfect. I didn’t put two and two together for a few days.

Jimmy shot his last. I had a conversation with him right after it happened. About a time we were surfing a slab in Bali and how crazy it was. I got caught inside and… its just crazy how close death is to surfing.

My emotion? Just… sadness. We’re a tribe and when a surfer dies everyone feels it. I’ve been around for too many of them. Shot all of them. Todd Chesser, Donny Solomon, AI…I’ve lost a lot of friends. There’s a lot more I worry about And it’s just this weird feeling of… fuck. To have photographic evidence, it becomes important all of a sudden. This photo of this kid shot becomes important. I got to celebrate his life by barely knowing him. and that makes it way better than anything I’ve shot.

In terms of dying, as a surfer, if you can go doing what you love then maybe that’s better than dying from a car wreck or cancer.

It’s death and glory.


Watch: Volcom’s Osmo Thrombo!

Visit the funhouse again!

I know this is a week old but sometimes it takes me a while to get around to things. You know? I get busy yelling at the neighborhood yard men for going on 45 minute leaf blower binges. Just sitting there with leaf blowers whining away. Just blowing stuff this way then that way then this way then that way.

You know?

So I miss things but late last night I finally got around to Osmo Thrombo, Volcom’s latest offering, and it is fun. It is fun in a classic Volcom kind of way. A kind of way that’s been missing for a while. It made me remember how much I like their team.

Do you like their team? Mitch, Ozzy, etc.? I think Noa Deane fits in real nice, say what you will cruel bastard.

Bruce should still be there.