Rumor: Surf Ranch available to rent!

How much would you pay for the experience of a lifetime?

A hot new rumor is circling the surf industry mill and it directly involves you. I have had three recent chats with people in the know and semi-know who have let it leak, strategically I assume, that Surf Ranch, Kelly Slater’s dreamy central California artificial wave, is going to be available to rent in the very near future.


And you’ve rented bouncy houses, Chuck E. Cheese party rooms, karaoke studios and the local Shriner’s Hall for your various birthdays and graduations but just imagine how popular you’ll be when you rent Surf Ranch?

Now, details are slim as to when Surf Ranch will actually become available but my sources tell me that it is most certainly in the cards though a price has not been settled upon yet. We can help here. How much would you pay, honestly, for you and a crew of your best pals for one whole day? $30,000? $90,000?

It really is a conundrum. Of course there are the hard costs of operating which, between salaries, energy, food/drink would run thousands of dollars a day but above and beyond what is a good price point? Of course capitalism declares that it is worth whatever anyone is willing to pay but that can’t go on the brochure, can it. There has to be a starting point. But what?

While you’re both thinking and examining your bank accounts let me give you some advice. If your idea is to get your fifty best friends together and have them cough up $1000 each then throw it in the trash unless forty-two of your best friends don’t surf and are paying for the ambiance. The absolute maximum amount of surfers that can have fun-ish over the course of a day is ten and that’s assuming one of them gets hurt.

Also, you should consider the relative skill of your friends, depending how proud you are and you should tell all of your friends not to safety surf because the best part about Surf Ranch is picking off other’s scraps.

But there you have it. A brave new potential wedding venue.

Just in: Energy drinks save surfing!

Without energy drinks professional surfing would be a memory!

I preach often, like a sweaty fire and brimstone theologian, on the surf industry apocalypse and what precipitated it. “Conservatism!” I shout, a tendril of wet blonde dancing in front of my nose. “Conservatism and fear!” I continue jabbing one crooked finger toward the sky. The brands, our brands, in their hunger to gobble up larger and larger profits watered themselves down, went public, brought in Disney executives and then distressed asset managers to run them all while tanking.

“A ten year fall from GRACE!” I wail as the newly laid off shout “Amen!”

Everyone knows that our major brands, our Volcoms and Quiksilvers and Billabongs, are in deep trouble. These beacons of the surf/skate/snow lifestyle used to throw lavish parties to celebrate films, line releases, competitive victories. They used to sponsor professional surfers for millions of dollars even the worst professional surfers for hundreds of thousands of dollars but no more.

The apocalypse has rendered future Bede Durbidges moot.

I do say, without Red Bull, Monster and even Rockstar it would be nigh impossible for any professional surfer, save John John Florence and Gabriel Medina, to make a living from surfing professionally.

Could this possibly be true? Oh it most certainly is. Red Bull pays good money to Kolohe Andino, Kanoa Igarashi, Jamie O’Brien, Ian Walsh and Carissa Moore but to name a few. Monster allows Conner Coffin, Maud Le Car, Griffin Colapinto, Owen + Tyler Wright to slide the waves. Rockstar fattens the wallets of Albee Layer, Zeke Lau, Nat Young, Clay Marzo, Mitch Crews, etc.

Now, do you think that Nat Young could survive in professional surfing without Rockstar’s stipend? There is no way. Absolutely no way. Without energy drinks professional surfers would be but a memory and professional surfing but a thing Luke Munro once did.

I do think we should show these benevolent giants a little love today. Go now and drink a Red Bull + vodka and smile, knowing that you are keeping dreams alive.

Science: Wavepool and nature the same!

Earth's great secrets are but one Kelly Slater and one Adam Fincham away from being cracked.

Can you recall that day before you were aware of Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch? When, in your mind’s eye a “wave pool” meant surge-y pushy whitewash-y nonsense? Mostly meant for children and the Chinese?

I can’t.

Like genetically modified food, wavepools now feel eternal and we can debate debate debate their moral value but it is a pointless exercise because they are the future and since they are the future they are also the past.


But oh the debates are interesting enough. The quality of wavepool versus natural waves. The essence etc. I’ll tell you what, I’ve surfed Surf Ranch and had all my thoughts and listened to the thoughts of others and interesting but nothing has definitively swayed me on the “which is better” discussion until yesterday evening when I was shown definitive proof that there is really no difference between the two.

That’s right. In our human arrogance we think our ”feelings” or “experience” matter. Of course they do not. The only thing that matters is empirical proofs and yesterday I was shown empirical proof that wavepools and nature are exactly the same.

And there you have it. Science took us to the moon. Science is allowing us to mock the earth.

Hahaha stupid earth. Your great secrets are but one Kelly Slater and one Adam Fincham away from being cracked.

Next stop, the human breast.

Take that, Stab magazine!
Take that, Stab magazine!

Gabriel Medina
A squishy Gabriel Medina sandwich at Lemoore, CA.

Dear Surfing: Who are you?

Are you the WSL or The Surf Ranch? Are you Indonesia or are you Hawaii? Lemoore?

I used to love you but now I am unhappy.

I am confused. I am very, deeply confused. I don’t know what to believe!

There are sharks and wave pools and Olympics and there is of course the World Surf League. I miss the way you used to be. I miss when I could go surfing and just go surfing. I don’t like thinking about the state you’re in because it makes me sad.

But have you changed or I?

I always knew there were sharks. But why do I now spend as much time gazing at my dangling feet as I do on the horizon? I am waiting for a set or I am waiting to die and neither come fast enough. I want ultimate pleasure or I want it all to end. I won’t live in a paradigm of waves and shadows. Fuck anxiety.

I was once utterly desperate for a wave pool in my hometown.  I craved one in a similar way that I imagine Barton Lynch craving anything, with froth dripping from every pore of my being. I was sick of getting skunked. I needed infinite perfection.

I just don’t know you anymore, surfing. You’re in a bad place but I think everyone is confused about where that place that is. Fuck the Olympics, right? Fuck corporate competition. In fact, fuck competing all together.

But then I started reading things and in a series of articles Chas Smith reminded me that nothing in this world can ever be perfect.  The thing that I had been wishing for may very well be the source of all evil.

But ultimately he just confused me because I would very much like to surf a wave pool but I would also very much like Kim Jong-Un to point his missiles towards Lemoore.

I just don’t know you anymore, surfing. You’re in a bad place but I think everyone is confused about where that place that is. Fuck the Olympics, right? Fuck corporate competition. In fact, fuck competing all together.

But surfing, you are the greatest competition! You’re Kelly vs. Andy. You’re Occy vs. Curren. You’re Hawaiians vs. Haoles.

Well, At least you were.

From where I’m sitting, you have never been less competitive. You are dull. The tour is boring. Contrary to the suggestions of the commentary team, claiming a chop-hop on a 2ft wave does not count as passion. There are no rivalries. There is only gracious losing and gracious winning and nothing more. Aside from John, there is more talent off tour. And the fact that the waves are shit throughout every contest period is no factor of chance. No, it is a sign from god that something is very very wrong.

So, surfing, who are you?

Are you the WSL or The Surf Ranch?

Are you Indonesia or are you Hawaii? Australia?

Lemoore? God, I hope you aren’t Lemoore.

Are you competitive or are you free?

Are you the Olympics or are you the Volcom Pipe Pro?

Stab or BeachGrit?

Are you all or none of the above?

Do you actually exist?

Or have we, the people, taken you places you were never meant to go?

Have we created a monster out of something so pure?

Filipe toledo
The sort of turn that could fill a chapter in a book.

Watch: Filipe Toledo in “Salvador”!

A branch of lightning comes to El Salvador's famous righthand point, Punta Roca…

Dirty, tortured, gorgeous El Salvador. Set afire for a dozen years through the eighties and nineties with a left vs right civil war that spawned such fiendish crimes as “death squads” and the interference of the Reagan government for whom communism was worse than any sort of human rights indecency.

Of course, now…now… the smallest country in Central America lives in… well, it ain’t what you’d call peace. Its capital, San Salvador, has the third-highest murder rate in the world, a hundred people killed in every one hundred thousand.

LA? Six. Sydney? One. Those tattooed boys like to gang bang in El Sal. 

On the upside, the joint is a shortish flight from the US and they use US dollars. And in the not-so-little town of La Libertad there is the righthand, sandbottom point Punta Roca, popular with mostly American surfers since the seventies (a ton of the surf scenes in John Milius’ Big Wednesday were shot there). Earthquakes, shitty water, malaria and so forth complete the picture.

For a kinetic hot-rod like Filipe Toledo, who is twenty two and who owned Jeffreys Bay last year, the soft point is a wave where he can charge to and fro, upturning his surfboard and surfing as fast as a dog racing through a cathedral.

I would suggest, as a primer for how to rip a point wave, you might like to watch this latest edit by Filipe’s filmer Bruno Baroni…