Dane Reynolds' turns play havoc with my nerves!

How to: Surf Like An Animal!

Juice up your turns!

It’s the most visceral of surfing experiences. You feel it as much as you see it or hear it. Those rail-buried-to-the-nose cutback and hacks that hypnotise, and even scare just a little, as you paddle over a wave.

Airs are thrilling and easy to like, easy to understand. There’s a speed and there’s a push and a pull and maybe a huck.

But a cutback with fire, a hack that seeks to readjust the molecular formation of a moving piece of ocean?

Well, that’s something for the purists.

Here’s how you can get some…

1. Get the right board

Surfboard design is game of adding and subtracting. If you want extreme power, you’re going to have to lose some of that pop in the tail and the ability to squeeze into the most radical of curves. There’s only a few surfers in the world who’ve got a power-air game, John John, Jordy Smith and Dane Reynolds, if you want to know, but I’m presuming you aren’t in that same league. Talk to a shaper. Tell him you want to explode out of your turns. You’ll need more rail length, more thickness, a straighter rocker.

2. You need to be close to the pocket

I once asked a famous surfer, known for his iconic cutbacks, what the secret to his photogenic success was. He leant over, smiled, and said, “You have to be deep, deep in the pocket”.

Well, sure.

“But can you do that?” he asked.

I went out that afternoon, turned up the face of the wave but instead of hitting the lip, I straightened the front leg and flew into the best cutback of my life.

Who knew there was room for a cutback in such tight a spot? I’d never felt a turn so perfect and so vicious. And then it flew back and pierced my cheek, just missing my eyes.

3. Straighten your front leg

Kolohe’s dad, Dino, once a top pro himself, told me the secret to those beautiful frontside wraps that pleases top-level judges so much is  to “straighten the front leg.” Try it. Sounds easy. It ain’t.

4. Aggression

It takes a certain mindset to jam an entire rail into the face of a wave, and in the most critical part of that wave. Airs are a skateboard-esque dance of weighting and unweighting. Power requires violence.

5. Put on weight

Skinny kids aren’t going to shower the lineup with spray. If you want drama in your turns, put on weight, fat, muscle, it doesn’t matter. It’s a physics thing. Kolohe is one surfer whose spray arcs have doubled in the last five years.

Of course, ain’t no one like Dane.


Fabulous drawing of Matt Warshaw from a profile in the New Yorker. | Photo: Tom Bachtell/The New Yorker

Warshaw: “Poorest fuckers in surf most generous!”

Raises $60k to keep surf history archive online!

On New Year’s Day, the surf historian Matt Warshaw made a welcome announcement

“Out with a bang! BeachGrit just dropped 6K into the EOS fundraiser, and I’m shutting it down at $60,000. Spraying corks tonight!”

Three weeks ago, of course, it was a different story. The online history of surfing hung by a thread after Warshaw threatened to to pull his entire archive (The Encyclopedia of Surfing , History of Surfing, Above the Roar) unless thirty thousand dollars was donated immediately.

“It’s just kind of humiliating, to be 57 and making what I make,” Warshaw, who is capable of infinite melancholy but also a voluptuous flame, said. 

And now? Warshaw is waltzing around with sixty gee.

Let’s rap.

BeachGrit: Prior to launching the fundraiser were you shitting yourself? Were you like the lonely boy who throws a party catered with fine wines and meats and wonders if anyone will come?

Warshaw: It changed hour to hour. In the morning I’d be sure it was going to work, I’d save the site, all would be fine. But any little thing would trip me up. An anonymous comment on a thread somewhere, “Nobody subscribes to websites!” and I’d be fucked for the day.

Did you make a binding promise to your wife that if the money didn’t come in you’d really seek alternative employment?

I made that promise in 2011, with a 2012 deadline. Time was up. And yes, I was gonna go back to print. New versions of the books, magazine writing. I would have steered clear of the web, just out of bitterness.

If print publishing didn’t pan out, was there a plan C? What other talents do you have?

Early retirement. PTA dad.

And you romped it in! Can you describe the shape of your face when you told your wife that you made the required thirty k, that you doubled it? Did you resist an I-told-you-so smirk? Or no?

Two days into the drive I had $12,000 in donations. Jodi came home and I said “Look! Twelve thousand! We’re gonna make it!” Went downstairs, had a glass of wine, sat down to dinner, and while we’re eating I get a call from the EOS dev guy. Not the dev guy, but the head of the actual company that I hired last year. This swinging dick blue-chip company in Venice, charging me $110 an hour to code —everybody told me to hire the best dev guy possible, you end up saving money, and I did. So I answer the call, and the head of the company says, “Matt, I’ve got some really bad news,” and all I could think of was that my coder must have died, because what else could it be? “I’m so sorry, but your donation page has been set on ‘Test Mode’ the last two days.” Which meant that none of the 12K had processed. Back to zero. That was the closest I came to actually crying during this whole thing.

So what did you do?

Got in touch with all the people who’d donated, explained what happened, kinda played it for a laugh, and got the money back. Not all, but almost all. It took a few days, though.

And the dev company?

Fired. But only after the money was in the bag, and I had another guy lined up.

Did anyone in the surf industry apart from the surf media toss a few bones? The clothing brands? Any of the big board guys? The WSL?

Shaun Tomson donated. Tom Carroll donated. Randy Rarick donated big — he’s always been a great supporter of EOS. Sam McIntosh, Felipe Pomar, Sam George, Steve Hawk, Zach Weisberg, Brendon Thomas, Marcus Sanders, Phil Jarratt, Scott Hulet, Sean Doherty, they all gave. Amazing, the poorest fuckers in surf, the media people, were the most generous. Nothing from the brands. Zero. Nothing from the brands themselves, or maybe just two or three donations from people who work for the brands. That’s okay. It’s easy to say in hindsight, but EOS I think works better when it’s independent. The site doesn’t belong to the surf industry, in any way, shape or form. No donations, no ads, no brand presence at all. It looks and feels better that way, I think.

What’s the final tally? Sixty gees? How will this be distributed? Are you a put-in-the-bank drip-feed sorta guy or oowee-baby-gonna-be-a-helluva-Friday-night party pants?

Just over $60,000. Thirty to me for this year’s salary, 10 for site maintenance, and who knows how much into some bigger improvements. I just bought www.eos.surf, and all three sites are going to be collapsed into that domain. And a whole new paywall will go up before summer, where subscribers can name their own price to get on the site. Whatever’s left stays in the bank so I don’t panic this time next year.

Warshaw: “My favorite donor, good for one gee — my sweet mom.”

And do you have to do it all over again next year?

Probably, yeah, but not another life-or-death thing. More like an NPR annual fundraiser. Tote bags and coffee mugs and shit for new donors. It’ll be a pleasure after what I just went through.

"I want to eat your brains."
"I want to eat your brains."

Revenge: Stingrays go bananas!

The shark's cousin goes on a wild spree in Surf City, USA!

Yesterday found me in Jackson Hole, Wyoming’s local Boot Barn surrounded by hundreds, possibly thousands, of cowboy boots and have you ever owned a pair? I lusted heavily as an Oregonian child but my parents never folded and I was stuck in off-brand KangaROOS. I sometimes wonder how my trajectory would have been altered had I been gifted the cowboy boots I so longed for. Would I be an almost famous rodeo journalist? A serial philanderer?

I suppose I will never know and it is too late to change either career or fashion but there was a pair of boots in Boot Barn that caught my eye. They were made by El Dorado and featured a silver toe cap and rich gray, strangely bumpy leather.

I looked and it said they were made from the hide of a stingray.

This morning, maybe coincidentally maybe not, I read that over the New Year’s holiday weekend there were a record number of stingray stings in Huntington Beach, California. A whopping 73 if you can even believe it. The Los Angeles Times reports:

Officials say a new stingray injury record at Huntington Beach was reached when 73 people reported injuries in a single day.

Marine Safety Lt. Claude Panis tells the Orange County Register that in his 40 years of working as a lifeguard at the beach, he never saw so many stingray injuries reported to the level it reached on Friday.

Panis says the spike in stingray injuries is in part due to extreme low tides, small surf and warmish water in the low 60s along with holiday crowds in town and people off work and school.

On Thursday, 45 stingray injuries were reported to Huntington Beach lifeguards, a number also higher than usual.

Lifeguards plan to educate people on techniques to avoid being stung by rays.

We know, of course, to shuffle our feet when walking through the shallows but sometimes, especially when it is very good, I forget and run like an injured gazelle. Still, I have never been stung and would not like to be. Have you? Have you tasted the venomous dart?

I hear it really hurst.

Lovely Indonesian boy enjoys a relaxing cigarette after a day on the coalface of the Third World's bustling manufacturing industry. | Photo: Stories

Revealed! Made-in-Asia Surfboards cost $120!

A swinging little profit margin!

Do you remember the thunder five days ago when the Newport Beach shaper and artist Peter Schroff did yellow face on Instagram in protest at made-in-Asia surfboards?

“Ask our foundin fathers wud day think of chinese junk?” wrote Schroff.

I made a counter-riposte about a lovely Cambodian (or was it Vietnamese? I put a tailpad over the little label) board I’d received in lieu of cash from an advertiser.

Did it make any difference to me if the skilled hands were pink and freckled or smooth and polished brown? Of course not. Are we not all brothers, hewn from the same ancient tree, after all.

But I did wonder, what is the difference in raw cost between a surfboard made in Australia or the USA and one made in Thailand, Bali, Vietnam or China? I asked a friend, who is a world-renowned shaper, to break down the costs, and which you can examine here.

(All American dollars.)

Bali: PU/Polyester, $160.
China/Taiwan/Vietnam/Thailand: EPS/Epoxies, $150, probably less if you have the bulk buying power of someone like CobraA PU board costs $120.
USA: PU/Polyester, $275. EPS/Epoxy, $350-$375.
AustraliaPU/Polyester, $300. EPS/Epoxy, $450. 
The shaper did make several caveats: In Asia, you have to buy container minimums to get boards at a hundred or so apiece and you have too source ’em a year in advance.
Conversely, he says, the EPS foam used used in the USA/Australia is much better than the Asian version.

"So in love with Pat Tenore," says Lyndie Irons. "I'm the happiest and healthiest I've been in a long time."

Gorgeous: Lyndie Irons Finds Love!

With RVCA co-founder Pat Tenore!

Yesterday, Lyndie Irons, the widow of Andy Irons, announced she’d climbed back into the love game with RVCA founder Pat Tenore.

Lyndie, who is thirty five years old, rang in the new year on Instagram, writing:

“So lucky/so in love with you @pmtenore#dreamguy ❤️ 2017 has been such a good year. I’m the happiest and healthiest I have been in a really long time and I owe it to this guy ! thank you for loving me for me and making me feel like the luckiest girl ever.”

And ain’t it time!

It’s been seven years since the Great Love, the man who pushed her against a tree on his twenty-fifth birthday in Encinitas and kissed her breath away, a week later telling her he loved her, died in a Texas hotel room.

“From that first kiss I knew he was the one. In that first second. I knew we’d always be together,” Lyndie told me. “My life with him was like a movie. It was unbelievable. I don’t think, I know the guys on tour, they all travel and do their thing, Andy was just…  he had so many demons, I guess, that set him back a little bit in life, but I never felt that way. That’s who he was. He got dealt these cards and he was just trying to figure out life the best he could. He had a lot of ups and downs but it came along with who he was. He was up high and on top of the world and then he’d falter a little bit and then every day was like a movie. I think back now and wonder how I had the energy to keep up with him. I don’t even have the energy to keep up with baby Ax and Andy was on a whole other level. He lived every minute to its fullness. He was the only person so far that I’ve met who actually lived that quote. He really squeezed everything he could out of every day and it was game on the second he woke up. It was crazy, but I loved every minute of it and I wish I could…  still have it.”

Lyndie’s new boy, Pat Tenore, co-founded RVCA in 2001 with the pro surfer Conan Hayes, sold it to Billabong in 2010 for an undisclosed amount and is its current president (Conan’s trajectory has been very different).

Pat, who is forty-four, is very good at jiujitsu, has a gold tooth, owns some very expensive and rare luxury cars, has three kids and, is as fine a man as there is to refloat Lyndie’s broken heart.

It’s a gorgeous day! Happy new year!