Day 5: Stab keeps lips sealed!

Still nothing about the greatest story of the year!

And the great Stab magazine, which rumor tells me is no longer a “magazine”, from Lawndale, California continues its silence on the greatest matter of our year. The merger of Quiksilver and Billabong. We are rounding the bend toward a week, one whole week, since the news broke and yet Stab maintains its silence. Why? Is it because two of its writers are employed by Quiksilver? Is it because Billabong’s Iggy Pop appears on its homepage every single day?

I don’t know but like any good and true surf journalist I have come under fire for continuing to beat this drum. A great friend told me what I am doing is akin to masturbation. Here is a transcript of our conversation.

Friend: It looks to me like you are masturbating. Nobody is involved in this thing but you.

Chas: No. I’m involving Stab everyday and I think masturbation is bad.

Friend: In relation to heterosexual fulfillment?

Chas: In relation to everything — orgasm, heterosexuality, to style, to be able to fight the good fight. I think masturbation cripples people. It doesn’t cripple them altogether, but it turns them askew, it sets up a bad and often enduring tension.

Friend: Is it possible that you have a totalitarian attitude against it?

Chas: I wouldn’t say all people who masturbate are evil, probably I would say even some of the best people in the world masturbate. But I’m saying it’s a miserable activity.

Friend: Well now we’re getting into this notion of absolutes.

Chas: To what end? Who benefits? Masturbation is bombing. It’s bombing oneself.

Friend: I think you are assuming masturbation involves violence to oneself. Why is it not pleasure to oneself?

Chas: Well, if one masturbates, all that happens is, everything that’s beautiful and good in one, goes up the hand, goes into the air, is lost. Now what the hell is there to absorb? One hasn’t tested oneself. You see, in a way, the heterosexual act lays questions to rest and makes one able to build on a few answers. Whereas if one masturbates, the ability to contemplate one’s experience is disturbed.

Friend: So you are not masturbating on Stab?

Chas: No. It’s called bukkake and it is different altogether.

Gimme: The perfect surf car!

Forget that weird #vanlife!

My very first car was a three-on-the-tree 1960 Ford Falcon in Grabber blue. It was a fine car, though I had to learn the intricacies of clutch play while rolling backward down hills very quickly. My favorite car was either a 1972 MG Midget that would run out of gas lots because its gauges didn’t work but it was so little that I could easily push it OR a 1993 white Ford Bronco that may well have been O.J. Simpson’s. It caught fire in the Surfing magazine parking lot one blustery day and almost burned southern California to the ground.

But what about you? What is your favorite car? What car do you drive now? Do you dream of upgrading? What about to a custom surf wagon?

The car website Jalopnik posted this masterpiece a few days ago, which happens to be for sale in Hawaii, and made very much fun. Let’s read?

Wood paneled surf wagons from the late-40s and early-50s are undoubtedly cool. Mercury Sable station wagons are not cool. “But what if you combined them” you ask to the frightened man sitting next to you on the bus. He quickly looks away.

Some mastermind in Hawaii has an answer to that question on the form of an ill-advised $17,500 Craigslist purchase. That’s right, you can now buy your very own “50 TIN WOODIE SURF WOODY CUSTOM WAGON.” That’s two different spellings of “woody” for the price of one!

This… surf wagon(?) started life as a “NEWER MERC WAGON” and has been transformed into what looks to be a Ford from 1950 if you got hit in the head with a slow-pitch softball. The seller does not specify what wagon it came from but be assured that it “DRIVES SMOOTH AND CORRECT,,.” The 3.8-liter V6 appears to be out of a Mercury Sable wagon which ended production in 1995.

The owner of this nightmare version of a 1950s surf wagon states that it’s a great investment and that it won “LOT OF TROPHIES ON THE MAINLAND.” The ad also states that it has all the modern options. I don’t know what that means in this vehicle but I doubt it has lane-assist or radar-guided cruise control.

It might be a service to society to drive this wagon back into the ocean from whence it came.

Well? You in?

Day 4: Stab a verbally abused husband!

It's getting embarrassing.

It has been four entire days since Quiksilver and Billabong merged into one company and not one peep from Gardena, California, the town Stab magazine calls home. Nothing at all but The Best Travel Bags For The Minimalist Three-Board Traveler, Surprise: Matt Banting Is Back!, Watch: Gabriel Medina Gets Steamy In Hot Music Vid!, The Art of Losing Your Mind, What Does It Cost To Qualify For The CT?, and The Burleigh Single Fin Festival: Beers, Boobs and Bummer Waves.

No Quiksilver. No Billabong. No merger.

At first I thought there was something insidious behind the silence around the biggest story of the year. That Stab was angling to become the vehicle in which “synergies” and revamped “brand identities” were rolled out to their unsuspecting public.

Now I realize Stab‘s staff is just a dime-a-dozen verbally abused husband, pushed into the corner by a relentlessly petty yet vicious wife and fully neutered.

At this point if they publish something it will be seen as a spineless capitulation due my harangues.

But if they don’t publish anything it will also be seen as a spineless capitulation due my harangues.

The narrative, you see, has been set for them and like the verbally abused husband its always easier to lower a shamed head, take the name-calling and pretend she doesn’t mean it.

Well I mean it you lily-livered bunch of worthless twats!

Stab’s embarrassing head-in-the-sand routine is emblematic of what is generally wrong with today’s surf industry. A refusal to deal with, much less enjoy, confrontation/reality. The damn thing becomes more and more like The Inertia every day and I mourn its loss.

While continuing to berate.

Mark Healey
Where you goin' city boy?

Blood Feud: Mark Healey v Luke Egan!

"Still trying to slither into John John's camp, eh?"

Three years ago, amid the bark of money guns, the former world number two Luke Egan, and his former partner at Electric, Bruce Beach, introduced a clothing label called Depactus.

Depending on your source of Latin definitions, the term variously meant: fastened down, to make an agreement or deeply driven. But what sounded good in the brainstorming session came out awful when it met the people.

De-packed-ass and so on.

Depactus had a very good tagline (Where the Land meets Sea) and team riders were called Men of Extraordinary Pursuits. Millions of dollars was spent on the launch and marketing. Trade show booths were lavish; Mark Healey, Matt Meola and Ry Craike were all signed prior to takeoff; and generous editorial was sought or bought depending how you frame these things.

“Depactus is the surf industry’s not so odd future.” 

“Luke Egan Introduces Depactus”

And so on.

Until it crashed a year and a half ago

Read why here.  

Of course, a business rarely dives without wounds.

And, on Christmas Day, a sweet comment on the commentator-turned-surf-coach Ross Williams’ Instagram by Luke Egan was jumped on by his former Extraordinary Pursuit Man Mark Healey.

Luke wrote: Merry Christmas and congratulations on a Stella year coaching John John.

Healey retorted: @lukeegan still trying to slither into the John John camp eh? The way you burned me @mattmeola and @rycraike_fishoutofwater didn’t go unnoticed. Can’t outrun your deeds in this small world….

What happened?

Healey says he and Meola and Craike didn’t receive “hundreds of thousands of dollars in back pay” when Depactus folded.

“Got pennies on the dollar,” Healey told me. “Had to pursue legally… I had to get him served his papers at the Honolua women’s event last year.”


“Case is done. Had to notify them that it was time to step into court. Such a headache.”

Depactus settled before the case went to court and Healey says he’s unsure whether he can reveal the pay-out for legal reasons.

But the wounds still hurt, he says.

“This kinda shit happens in business but the way they handled it was… inexcusable. Can’t sweep that under the rug. Gotta be accountable.”

Regular readers will know the twist in the Depactus tale. Last month, online retailer SurfStitch, a company with a keen eye for a bargain, bought the defunct brand. 

Buy Depactus pants, anoraks and so forth here in all their moody colours here.  

(BeachGrit would like to point out that there is no implication that Luke Egan was involved in any wrongdoing in the wrapping up of the biz, ie. don’t sue the messenger, only that business can be a hell of a thing on friendships.)

Do you love skin cancer? Surf fights? Bogan accents? Schoolies? Well then Snapper would be your number one but it is my number three because I only like all those things. All of Coolangatta is worth the price of admission ($23.90) but Snapper is the crown jewel because it is fun to watch the tourists fall on the rocks and it is fun to catch a wave and end up in Papua New Guinea. | Photo: Andrew Shield

Definitive: Australia’s best beaches!

And what is the price of perfection?

Australia is the land of beaches and you’ve always wondered which was the best haven’t you. Oh I’m not talking waves here either, I’m talking beaches. Strips of sand fronted by the ocean and backed by surf life saving clubs. Beaches. And finally there is a definitive list from a trusted source. PEN nominated writer Chas Smith. And let’s get right to the meat.

Bondi: Bondi, from its northern stink stack to its southern Iceberg swimming pool, Bondi is the best beach in all of Australia and maybe the best beach in the entire world. Where else can you surf, kick a tourist practicing Capoeira, practice yoga, eat a cold gelato and quietly ogle the sexiest men and women on earth from behind tortoise shell Tommy Ford sunglasses? Bondi!

Mackenzies (Tamarama): I could, likely, continue south from Bondi listing each and every nuggety little cove all the way down to south Coogee because they are each magnificent. The way the small ancient cliffs bend, the way the trees and brush grow, the way the sand glistens and the way bodyboarders end their small lives on glistening stone slabs… it is like Lord Byron himself dreamed it all up. Mackenzies is the prototypical of these just a walk and a world away from Bondi.

Bells: I grew up on the brutal Oregon coast. People said it was beautiful but all I saw was oppression, mint Skoal and waves that neither felt nor broke like they did in Southern California. Still. I pretended they did and would surf every day and this made me a tough weird nut. I think Bells Beach is basically the same thing. I think tough weird Victorians look up to Sydney while shrugging and convincing themselves cold fog is good medicine. Maybe they are right.

Snapper: Do you love skin cancer? Surf fights? Bogan accents? Schoolies? Well then Snapper would be your number one but it is my number three because I only like all those things. All of Coolangatta is worth the price of admission ($23.90) but Snapper is the crown jewel because it is fun to watch the tourists fall on the rocks and it is fun to catch a wave and end up in Papua New Guinea.

Gas Bay: Western Australia is magnificent and I defy you to find someone who says otherwise. It has mining, kangaroos, wine and Gas Bay. This little gem of a beach lives just south of Margaret River and you won’t be sad here because a famous surfer’s father told me that the magnetic qualities of the rocks make his son surf very well. I’d imagine he is right and that you could become a famous surfer too or at least squire one. And what could be happier than that?

Ballina: Sometimes a beautiful pastoral scene, quiet pubs, white sand and blue waves are not enough. Sometimes almost certain death is required in order to get the heart pumping and Ballina couldn’t be better because there is a one in three chance you will get eaten by a shark if you wade in past your kneecaps. Ballina falls on the great road between the Gold Coast and Sydney and this is worth driving but best in an automatic in case you lose a leg.

Forster: They say Forster has the bluest water in all of the world or at least in all of Australia and I can attest to this. It is very blue and the waves are also fun and the sand is the perfect temperature but if you can pull yourself away from all the beauty you should get a meat pie from a mini mart in town. Very delicious.

Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island: I think this is considered the most beautiful of Australian beaches by most boring tour operators who don’t think getting eaten by a shark constitutes a thrill and while I’d like to leave it off the list it must be here. Because it really might be one of the most beautiful. It is worth sailing there, if possible, because the water sparkles and the winds gift the best hair you’ll ever have had.

Byron Bay (pre-2005): Time machines are certainly coming soon and the day they do you should cut to the front of the queue and punch Byron Bay 2005 into the computer before someone tries to visit Marie Antoinette or Michael Hutchence. In case the Michael Hutchence visitor beats you, though, hop in and then hang around for 10 years then go to Byron Bay because it might have been the best beach town ever, even better than Bondi, before the gypsies moved in.

Noosa: There’s something about a palm lined, white sand, warm watered, small waved beach, at the very end, that is just perfect. Noosa has everything just as it should and normal beachgoers will enjoy their time and some might think, “Let’s move to Noosa!” and they will but their children will develop low-grade drug habits and not amount to much. The price of perfection.