Go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep little baaaby...
Go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep little baaaby... | Photo: What Youth

Industry: Is Volcom on the block?

One-time surfwear giant maybe for sale soon!

As just recently reported by Business of Fashion and Boardistan, the French luxury conglomerate Kering has contracted illuminati bank Rothschild to sell German footwear manufacturer Puma, seeking a reported 7 billion dollars in return. What a mouthful! And why should we care? Well, the reasoning behind the proposed sale is that Kering, which owns Gucci, St. Laurent, Al McQueen, et. al. desires to get out of the athletic/streetwear game so it can focus solely on being fancy.

And what does this mean for Volcom, which the group purchased in 2011 for 600 million dollars? Will it be floated back on the market as well?

Ooooh let’s wonder!

I think probably yes and I think Oaktree Capital may purchase. Oaktree, in case you forgot, owns Billabong’s debt and Quiksilver. There have been rumors this year that the asset management firm might want to buy Rip Curl. If if if it did and if it bought Volcom too then do you think the United States government would come in and bust up the monopoly because of its vast surf power or do you think the United States government would scratch its head and say, “Ummmmm why are you doing this to yourself?”

How much do you think Volcom is worth?

How much would you buy it for?

What if, as part of the sale, Noa Deane and Mitch Coleborn would come and play lullabies for you each and every night?

Jordy Smith, happy…elevated… in his back zip O'Neill suit.

Faux/Real: The Back-Zip Wetsuit!

Ancient technology triumphs in wetsuit design.

If you would examine your current wetsuit, you’d find it to be a chest-zip or zipper-less suit. Am I right?

To get into these suits is a melodrama. You must squeeze your heft into a little hole, push one arm into a smaller hole, shimmy it up around your chest, fix first arm, then second, throw the flap over your head and so on. Its removal requires yogi-like dexterity.

Some years ago, all wetsuits came with a long zip from ass to neck. Entry was via a hole as big as your waist, not your neck, and the transaction was completed in a minute or less. It’s post-session removal was almost instant.

But then, partly through marketing (pressure on designers from their sales departments to give something new to push), partly through the need to create so-called advancements in technology (testing showed back zips were slightly more permeable than a neck entry), the back zip faded into memory.

A few weeks ago, I saw that Need Essentials had thrown a few back-zip steamers into their range. And, yesterday, while surfing with a pal in Leucadia he loaned me a one-year-old O’Neill Psychofreak with a back zip or, as its called by O’Neill, a “Zen Zip”.

It’s been a decade or so since I’d experienced the thrill of easily throwing on a suit. It was elevating.

And after the session, all it took to loose my torso into the sun was a one-handed rip of the neck closure and a yank of the zip.

I find the back zip so superior to either zipperless or the chest-zip that this hardly qualifies as faux or real.

But maybe I’m wrong.

Matt Warshaw, the author of “The Encyclopedia of Surfing,” called the antagonism toward Wavestormers “just the latest misguided frustration for surfers, who are always pissed off,” and said that it resembled the scorn that surfers had in the eighties for bodyboarding, then experiencing a boom. “You saw prime breaks like Off the Wall, on the North Shore, become nearly overtaken by bodyboarders,” he said. “It was like the killer bees were coming. You’d think there was going to be a civil war.”

“The Cult of the Costco Surfboard!”

The world's biggest-selling surfboard in The New Yorker.

In your most uproarious fantasy, did you ever imagine the biggest-selling surfboard in the world would be an eight-foot long softie from a membership-only warehouse retailer?

The Wavestorm costs one hundred and forty-nine dollars and ninety-nine cents and comes in a choice of two graphics (classic stripes or in the colours of the Ethiopian flag, red, yellow and green).

Over the past few years, the Wavestorm has been championed by very good surfers, notably Jamie O’Brien, in the sort of ironic gesture that often morphs into a general acceptance.

Like those ironic shakas you throw at pals that quickly replaces a wave. Like calling everyone “bro” for laughs until it becomes standardised.

Recently, The New Yorker examined the phenomenon in a story called “The Cult of the Costco Surfboard”.

Read a little.

Though it has been nipped, tucked, and stiffened over the years, the Wavestorm eight-footer has existed in roughly the same form since 2006. That’s when Matt Zilinskas, a former manager of the Boogie Board brand, and the Taiwanese businessman John Yeh, of AGIT Global—Boogie Board’s manufacturer—tweaked AGIT’s sandwich of expanded polystyrene foam and plastic to create a board for a surfer’s “first standup experience.” The Wavestorm, a high-volume, low-profit-margin play, was priced at a third of what most starter surfboards cost. By 2015, Bloomberg Businessweek reported that over half a million Wavestorms had been sold, and Costco was on pace to sell a hundred thousand that year alone. (Zilinskas calls those numbers “outrageous” but declined to provide more accurate figures.) In peak summer, they can be bought at nearly two hundred coastal Costco locations.


The Web is where the Wavestorm phenomenon has been most thoroughly documented. The Instagram account the Kook of the Day, which has over half a million subscribers, compiles surreptitiously snapped photos and footage of neophytes committing various style errors and surfing sins. In one shot, a Wavestormer wears board shorts over his wetsuit; in another, a person riding a hoverboard drags the tail of his Wavestorm though an intersection. One Kook of the Day staple is a shot of Wavestorm boards hastily shoved through the sunroof of some sedan, splayed like pickup sticks. A number of videos show Wavestormers face-planting in foot-high surf.

But not all social-media fodder over the Wavestorm has been as barbed. The Instagram account Team Wavestorm Official—which, despite its name, is not affiliated with the brand in any way—has more than twenty-three thousand followers, and enthusiastically cheers on Wavestorm riders, whom the account’s creator, Nate Rohner, calls “the outcasts of surfing.” There are photos of locals riding the budget boards on the thunderous waves of Makaha, a surf break near an economically depressed town in Oahu, and there are surfboard selfies taken by Mike Coots, a shark-attack victim who surfs on a Wavestorm because his prosthetic leg would damage a fibreglass board.

Read the entire story here. 

Questions: do you enjoy the democratising effect of cheap, easy-to-ride surfboards?

Do you own a Wavestorm?

Or are you such an insubordinate cuss your mood grows dark at the mention of Wavestorm?


Alignment: BeachGrit is “Chaotic Evil!”

Surf media explained!

Do you love personality tests/character profiles/internet quizzes as much as I do? I clearly remember the first time I was made aware of Myers-Briggs and thought, “Whoa! A key to my inner potential!” Of course it wasn’t, I have no inner potential, but it is so fun to dream. And it is fun to dream with each new variation that pops up. Like Alignment! Have you heard of this one? It declares:

A creature’s general moral and personal attitudes are represented by its alignment: lawful good, neutral good, chaotic good, lawful neutral, neutral, chaotic neutral, lawful evil, neutral evil, or chaotic evil.

Alignment is a tool for developing your character’s identity. It is not a straitjacket for restricting your character. Each alignment represents a broad range of personality types or personal philosophies, so two characters of the same alignment can still be quite different from each other. In addition, few people are completely consistent.

So far so good. And where does the surf media fit here? Good thing we have friends. A wonderful one sent me this via Instagram yesterday and it has kept me pondering for hours.

And let’s disect!

WSL is Lawful Good:

A lawful good character acts as a good person is expected or required to act. He combines a commitment to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly. He tells the truth, keeps his word, helps those in need, and speaks out against injustice. A lawful good character hates to see the guilty go unpunished. Lawful good is the best alignment you can be because it combines honor and compassion. Lawful good can be a dangerous alignment when it restricts freedom and criminalizes self-interest.

Surfer is Neutral Good:

A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order. Neutral good can be a dangerous alignment when it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.

@kookslams is Chaotic Good:

A chaotic good character acts as his conscience directs him with little regard for what others expect of him. He makes his own way, but he’s kind and benevolent. He believes in goodness and right but has little use for laws and regulations. He hates it when people try to intimidate others and tell them what to do. He follows his own moral compass, which, although good, may not agree with that of society. Chaotic good is the best alignment you can be because it combines a good heart with a free spirit. Chaotic good can be a dangerous alignment when it disrupts the order of society and punishes those who do well for themselves.

The Inertia is Lawful Neutral:

A lawful neutral character acts as law, tradition, or a personal code directs her. Order and organization are paramount to her. She may believe in personal order and live by a code or standard, or she may believe in order for all and favor a strong, organized government. Lawful neutral is the best alignment you can be because it means you are reliable and honorable without being a zealot. Lawful neutral can be a dangerous alignment when it seeks to eliminate all freedom, choice, and diversity in society.

Surfline is True Neutral:

A neutral character does what seems to be a good idea. She doesn’t feel strongly one way or the other when it comes to good vs. evil or law vs. chaos. Most neutral characters exhibit a lack of conviction or bias rather than a commitment to neutrality. Such a character thinks of good as better than evil-after all, she would rather have good neighbors and rulers than evil ones. Still, she’s not personally committed to upholding good in any abstract or universal way. Some neutral characters, on the other hand, commit themselves philosophically to neutrality. They see good, evil, law, and chaos as prejudices and dangerous extremes. They advocate the middle way of neutrality as the best, most balanced road in the long run. Neutral is the best alignment you can be because it means you act naturally, without prejudice or compulsion. Neutral can be a dangerous alignment when it represents apathy, indifference, and a lack of conviction.

Surf Splendor is Chaotic Neutral:

A chaotic neutral character follows his whims. He is an individualist first and last. He values his own liberty but doesn’t strive to protect others’ freedom. He avoids authority, resents restrictions, and challenges traditions. A chaotic neutral character does not intentionally disrupt organizations as part of a campaign of anarchy. To do so, he would have to be motivated either by good (and a desire to liberate others) or evil (and a desire to make those different from himself suffer). A chaotic neutral character may be unpredictable, but his behavior is not totally random. He is not as likely to jump off a bridge as to cross it. Chaotic neutral is the best alignment you can be because it represents true freedom from both society’s restrictions and a do-gooder’s zeal. Chaotic neutral can be a dangerous alignment when it seeks to eliminate all authority, harmony, and order in society.

Stab is Lawful Evil:

A lawful evil villain methodically takes what he wants within the limits of his code of conduct without regard for whom it hurts. He cares about tradition, loyalty, and order but not about freedom, dignity, or life. He plays by the rules but without mercy or compassion. He is comfortable in a hierarchy and would like to rule, but is willing to serve. He condemns others not according to their actions but according to race, religion, homeland, or social rank. He is loath to break laws or promises. This reluctance comes partly from his nature and partly because he depends on order to protect himself from those who oppose him on moral grounds. Some lawful evil villains have particular taboos, such as not killing in cold blood (but having underlings do it) or not letting children come to harm (if it can be helped). They imagine that these compunctions put them above unprincipled villains. Some lawful evil people and creatures commit themselves to evil with a zeal like that of a crusader committed to good. Beyond being willing to hurt others for their own ends, they take pleasure in spreading evil as an end unto itself. They may also see doing evil as part of a duty to an evil deity or master. Lawful evil creatures consider their alignment to be the best because it combines honor with a dedicated self-interest. Lawful evil is the most dangerous alignment because it represents methodical, intentional, and frequently successful evil.

What Youth is Neutral Evil:

A neutral evil villain does whatever she can get away with. She is out for herself, pure and simple. She sheds no tears for those she kills, whether for profit, sport, or convenience. She has no love of order and holds no illusion that following laws, traditions, or codes would make her any better or more noble. On the other hand, she doesn’t have the restless nature or love of conflict that a chaotic evil villain has. Some neutral evil villains hold up evil as an ideal, committing evil for its own sake. Most often, such villains are devoted to evil deities or secret societies. Neutral evil beings consider their alignment to be the best because they can advance themselves without regard for others. Neutral evil is the most dangerous alignment because it represents pure evil without honor and without variation.

BeachGrit is Chaotic Evil:

A chaotic evil character does whatever his greed, hatred, and lust for destruction drive him to do. He is hot-tempered, vicious, arbitrarily violent, and unpredictable. If he is simply out for whatever he can get, he is ruthless and brutal. If he is committed to the spread of evil and chaos, he is even worse. Thankfully, his plans are haphazard, and any groups he joins or forms are poorly organized. Typically, chaotic evil people can be made to work together only by force, and their leader lasts only as long as he can thwart attempts to topple or assassinate him. Chaotic evil is sometimes called “demonic” because demons are the epitome of chaotic evil. Chaotic evil beings believe their alignment is the best because it combines self-interest and pure freedom. Chaotic evil is the most dangerous alignment because it represents the destruction not only of beauty and life but also of the order on which beauty and life depend.

And do you agree? Is this the best summation of surf media? The most accurate? Weigh in! And where do you fall personally? With which outlet do you naturally align?

Tailgate wisdom!

Quiz: Does your surfing reflect your personality?

Is it true? Is your surfing an accurate reflection of who you are?

Yesterday, on the Instagram account @reportsfromhell, which is operated by BeachGrit’s Chas Smith, there appeared the following post.

How u Surf Is who u r. 


It’s a good question.

An absorbing aphorism revealed on the tailgate of a pick-up, not a little unlike, say, the apparitions of the Virgin Mary sixty years ago in Garabandal.

Think: Does your surfing reflect your true personality?

If you’re a little tight in the ass, wound up like hell, does your surfing naturally suffer? Do your turns lack a smooth elegance?

If you’re beautiful and free and ain’t a care in the world, is your surfing looser? Does it make you a throwaway air kinda guy?

If you’re meticulous, do you eat up every single section before safely tagging the end closeout?

If you take a moral view of everything, do you make a mental account of who’s catching what and y’get all worked up if someone bucks the natural order?

Or is the whole concept too damn confronting?

I’m a superficially happy guy masking a lifetime of despair and hopelessness, more sad sack than showman.

And I think it shows.