Anonymous dirty hands! Many secrets!

Confessions of a Ghost Shaper!

It's dirty and life-shortening and filled with so many wonderful secrets!

Recently, I got talking to a ghost shaper, that surfboard craftsman of either fading or soaring ambition, depending on age.

This was a man in his twenties who is young enough to want to do something with the skills he’s cultivated finishing off boards for two of the world’s biggest surfboard companies. But still happy, for the time being, to make a thousand bucks a week refining the plugs spat out of an AKU machine.

And the secrets he revealed!

Did you know that when a new board model from a competitor comes out, brands will send a junior to buy it, measure it up and create a CAD file? The shaper will make a few adjustments and, wow, new board model. Hence why so many brands have comparable boards coming out around the same time.

Instead of finishing their boards in their own factories, the glassing and sanding is outsourced. In Australia boards go to TC Glasshouse, Onboard or Glasslab. Check the tail of your board for the Glasshouse logo. You’ll see TC on brands such as Lost & Pyzel, Glasslab on CI, Sharp Eye & Stacey, Onboard on CI and Simon Anderson. Pureglass in California finish Lost, Pyzel, HS and CI etc. These glasshouses can handle a part of the manufacturing process or the whole thing. From blanks to cutting & shaping to glassing and finishing to storage and distribution.

It ain’t your imagination that some boards are better than others, at least in quality. Jason Stevenson (JS) is notorious for hardcore quality-control checks and will happily bin a board if it doesn’t reach his standards. It’s why he makes all his boards (300 to 500 a week) on the Gold Coast instead of licensing his name to factories in Europe, the USA and Brazil. JS builds ’em, sticks ’em in a container and ships ’em where they need to go.

Surfboard making at any level is a labour intensive and time consuming gig. So if you get a dud board (finish wise) most likely the guy who had to make eight-to-ten boards that day cut a couple of corners on yours because he wanted to get to the beach, bar, whorehouse. I have a board from a big-name San Clemente factory that still has markings from the shaping machine on the rails. Doesn’t mean the company doesn’t know to shape and finish boards properly. It just means that the guy who shaped my board couldn’t be bothered doing a proper job on this particular board for whatever reason.

Things most surfers don’t even consider make a big difference. For example, the blanks ad resins used. Blanks are a big deal. The USA still make the best chemicals so the big guys in Australia import ’em. A lot of the smaller factories use cheaper chemicals from Australia or elsewhere and the boards can be heavier, more fragile and don’t look as clean when finished.


Ghost shaping surfboards is a… killer…job. My ghost shaper pal has smoked two cigs in his life. His doctor says his lungs, at twenty-two, are the same as someone who has smoked a pack a day for twenty years.

Revealed: Machado’s famous friend!

Do you have any famous friends?

The holiday season is the most wonderful time to share family love. From Thanksgiving (in America) all the way to New Year’s Day, well wishes pour through the mail and over the internet as people connect in the spirt of peace, harmony, etc. Did you send Christmas cards this year or did you do the ecologically-minded alternative and post your greetings on Instagram?

The Rob Machado family posted its on Instagram with the simple, heartfelt message “Happy holidays from the Machado’s.” While Machado’s what/who remains unclear, many people responded with great cheer in the comments.

“You’re an inspiration…”

“So cozy!”


“Happy holidays!”

One in particular caught my eye. It included three emoji shakas and one emoji bicep flex before “Happy Holidays to what seems like an incredible family” and was written by none other than Josh Brolin.

You, of course, are aware of Josh’s magnificent work in Oliver Stone’s W., the Coen brothers’ No Country for Old Men, Ridley Scott’s American Gangster among many others. He is a national treasure and apparently Rob Machado’s friend.

Do you wish he was your friend? Do you have any famous friends at all?

I count The Ravonettes‘ Sune Rose Wagner and Boston Celtics co-owner James Pallotta amongst mine. My wife is friends with Pink and my brother was friends with a girl in high school who babysat Josh Brolin’s kids. But who do you have? Who is your most famous friend?

Ravneet Singh
The swimmer, an Indian national, Ravneet Singh Gill, who was twenty-two and a biz student at Southern Cross Uni, was brought to the beach but was unable to be revived.  | Photo: News Limited

Hazza Twins: “Fuck you for watching a man drown!”

Mad Huey principals help in mass rescue; furious at lack of help from other surfers.

Yesterday, the famous, infamous, whatever you wanna call ’em, Harrington Twins, were all over Australian newspapers after helping to save seven of eight drowning swimmers at D-bah on Christmas Day – and then lighting up Instagram in disgust at other surfers.

A couple of headlines:

“Twins fire up at surfers for not helping drowning man!”

“Surfers ‘watched man drown'”

Shaun and Dean Harrington, who are thirty years old, and whom you might know from the Mad Hueys, wrote:

To all those surfers yesterday at D’bah who watched two lifeguards me and my family save 6 people and one drowned FUCK YOU if you see someone in trouble you HELP THEM and that kite boarder who nearly ran me over twice when I had an unconscious man in my arms you can get fucked, some poor family has lost a life because people were standing around watching and doing fuck all, it’s fucking bullshit!!

The swimmer, an Indian national, Ravneet Singh Gill, who was twenty-two and a biz student at Southern Cross Uni, was brought to the beach but was unable to be revived.

Pertinent comments on the post:

  • conorh78 Too many cunts waiting on the mag spread from invisible photographers! Surf the sea to know nature otherwise enjoy your life after 25/30 when the sponsors dry up!
  • picca00 Fucking bullshit @hazza_twins that people just stand around and watch shit happen, same shit happens here in NY, but worse, they got to try and film it all… after I’m healed up Ill head your way and fuck some guys up if ya need.. good job on getting out there and doing what you could..
  • billiams85 Dealt with the same situation years ago on the Sunshine Coast, girl drowning underwater, paddled past several other surfers just sitting there watching. Pulled her out and not one other surfer helped me get her to shore. She left the beach all good no thanks to them. Couldn’t believe the level of care factor!

And, as one wise follower wrote: “The world is full of cunts the trick is to not be one yourself.”

Happy Christmas, New Year etc.

Gimme: Surf booties for the streets!

2018 is officially declared The Year of the Surfer!

Oh Merry Christmas everyone and I hope your last few days have been filled with joy, family, friends, laughter and wonderful gifts. What did you give? What did you get? Were you delighted? I received the most perfect cardigan made from finely spun wool and alpaca and won’t take it off until summer. I did not receive the Maison Margiela re-imagined Tabi boot though may go and buy for myself.

And have you seen?

It is, quite basically, a surf bootie for the streets. I was sent an image of the boot by the wonderful Kreepy Kyle and thought to myself, “Yes. This is exactly what I need for 2018 for 2018 shall be the Year of the Surfer.”

Don’t you think it is time for a Year of the Surfer? I’ve spent the last few (2015, 2016, 2017) being quietly jealous of trannies, the gender fluid, even old fashioned lesbians. We live in the era of identity politics, you are well aware, and however people categorize themselves, minutely, defines everything about how/where/why they live. Everyone making a big deal about who they are and what they want. Everyone but surfers.

We are a self-loathing lot, hiding our neckline tans underneath generic blank t-shirts, refusing to wear our surf branded hats, and so while everyone is having fun, marching on Washington D.C. we are stuck at home. Sad and lonely.

But shouldn’t we get in on the game? Shouldn’t “surfing” define every single thing about us this year? Shouldn’t we wear surf booties on the streets?

I think yes.

I am surfer hear me roar!

Or wait… what should our slogan be?

"I don't think I could explain unless we sat for a long time and you kinda understood what it is."

Kelly Slater: “I just had the most profound experience of my life!”

"Otherworldly!" says 11-timer… 

Earlier today, the sinuous trail of surf tourism was exposed in a lovely piece that you can read here. 

Of course, the upside of this sort of velvet colonisation is the fabulous places you can go and visit and surf and yoga and eat delicious non-meaty dinners and maybe even have an audience with God.

One month ago, Kelly Slater was a guest of the Rythmia resort, “the ultimate spiritual vacation located in Costa Rica, in an all-inclusive luxury resort” where “93.26% of our guests report a life-changing miracle during their stay.”

(Have a read of the testimonials on Trip Advisor.)

The resort offers to “awaken you to your highest potential through the Rythmia way program, ayahuasca ceremonies, yoga, metphysics classes, hydrocolonic cleanses, transformational breath work, massage and farm-to-table organic food.”

I got a miracle of information. The challenge and the goal now is to refresh to that knowledge and to use the what I experienced and got to understand from it to change my life and my world. I think it opened up some sort of doorway in my future.”

Shortly after his visit in November,  Kelly appeared on a to-camera testimonial looking beatific and dressed in guru-chic beige. In an almost whisper he says, “I just had the most profound experience of my life. I literally decided to come here twelve hours before I came. It was something that was nagging at me for a few weeks beforehand, that this was something that could potentially change my life. I’ve had a lot of experience in my life. I’ve been all around the world… I’ve lived all around the world…and I’ve got to experience most worldly things. But…”

What miracle did occur?

“I don’t think I could explain unless we sat for a long time and you kinda understood what it is. It’s really bizarre. I would say I got a miracle of information and what you do with that is your own thing. So that’s the challenge and the goal now is to refresh to that knowledge and to use the what I experienced and got to understand from it to change my life and my world. I think it opened up some sort of doorway in my future.”

Watch here!

(And what do you think the miraculous information is? Something like the three secrets of Fatima where, in 1917, three Portuguese school girls were entrusted with apocalyptic secrets delivered in person by the Virgin Mary?)

Or even better?)