creed noa
Do you miss the sexiness of middle fingers pointing north? Here, Creed McTaggart, left, and Noa Deane, brilliant, ever so brilliant, but where did they go? | Photo: @whatyouth/nate lawrence

Who Killed Craig, Creed, Noa and Dane?

Do you miss their romance? Their sexy?

I’m torn. Because there are definitely two (and probably more) ways to look at this depending on your level of fandom for these dudes. But I feel like we haven’t seen them in a while and that is significant.

And I know, I know, buncha fuckin’ hipster surfers etc, but, seriously, where’d they go? 

Let’s begin by looking at what they were doing last we checked: 

Dane Reynolds: Started Former, put out Premium Violence, and added twins to the family. OK, Dane’s busy — and it’s usually when you start to really miss him that he drops an “excerpt”-level vid out of nowhere and we remember him all over again and beg him to compete or something. Please let that be the case, minus the compete.    

Noa Deane: Last time I saw Noa he was on the deck at the Volcom Pipe house, soaking wet and fresh out of surfing third or fourth or fifth reef Pipe (it was huge) with the core of the core on the North Shore. He was right there, trading stories with “The Boys” over a Stella — showing the world in his nonchalant manner that he’s more than just a punk kid with a middle finger. There was no media there to document this, but I saw. He was earning it. Oh, and that deck hangout came after he beat John John that morning in maxing and hectic second reef Pipe at the Volcom Pipe Pro where he went on to make the semis in what was very good Pipeline the whole way through. Is Volcom holding? Hopefully…  

Mitch ColebornSince most his sponsors stopped paying photo incentives for magazines, Mitch continues trying to qualify. He gets a great spot at the Volcom House in Hawaii and when it’s good there, that’s good and he’s good. Otherwise, you can still find him doing some of the best straight airs to the side of most WQS contest areas and living in California. And should he get on tour, the waves there will allow him to thrive. Oh, and should the right filmmaker come along: Mitch absolutely has another hammer of a section in him.

Dion Agius: Dion is officially a Tasmanian Devil after buying some beautiful land on his home island state of Tassie. He still has his hands in several brands (Epokhe and a sig line at Globe etc) and and he’s always around the prettiest of girls. I’ve also heard whispers of him producing a new Nti Sheeto film if the resources can be found (I hope they are!). But until then, I picture him on his Tasmanian porch, drinking coffee and talking to Joe G in the morning, and drinking wine and talking to Kai Neville in the evening. Something will come of those chats, right? Of course they will. 

Brendon Gibbens: In recent times, like Dill and Beeg era times, Brendon would hang out for long periods of time in the British Airways Lounge at London Heathrow, using it as a hub for dismount to Portugal, or Mexico, or Indo, or back home to SA to bag clips. And when he wasn’t doing that, he was dancing. Like authentically dancing. I have to assume that hasn’t changed. Please tell me that hasn’t changed. Dill and Beeg II, coming any second, right? 

Craig Anderson: Last I heard Craig was camping in a van somewhere in Ireland with a bunch of boogie-boarders, hunting slabs like the humble mad hipster he is. Proof he’s more than a knee-knock highline and may have been, in fact, born too late.   

Creed McTaggart: Well, Creed is in a rock band, partner in an Australian grip brand (RAGE) and I think he shows up to Billabong shoots if they bring Iggy Pop. So that’s pretty cool. 

My takeaway from this short update: These dudes are actually doing stuff (rad stuff even), but ever since the surf industry decided to police itself, then acquire itself, and then sell itself for likes and views and basically go upside down and over the falls like that shark in the barrel on Instagram, these dudes don’t have a whole lot of outlets to be seen on.

And with every brand acting as its own media company, when we do see them, we only get commercials, not parts, or films, or interesting interviews or stories. 

Now, keep in mind: I am a hard-core surf romantic. I am emotional with my surfing and surf videos and surf photos. And I have long been a loyal industry pawn because of this.

But in return I expect vids and romance back. With anticipation. Characters. Emotion. Style. Zest. Moxie. Fun. And it should be set to a good fucking song. But most of these elements have become extinct and diluted from the once intoxicating surf world.

And those were the places where we usually put guys like Dane, Craig, Noa and Creed. They were the polarizing romantics and they made surfing sexy and strange and unique. Now, the most “exciting” places we can go in surf are the comment sections. And I’ve never gotten jazzed on much of anything in there. And I’ve definitely never gotten buzzed up enough to go surf from them. 

Perhaps I’m getting older and realizing Santa Claus just aint real and I should just go get insurance or something, but I can’t. I actually love(d) the surf industry.

I have boxes of VHS’ and DVD’s and magazines that contain the stoke of my adolescence and beyond. Every good (and shitty) surf I’ve ever had was sparked and made better by the contents of those boxes. And I still get supercharged when I hear a song come on from a favorite surf vid. And this is why I used to shell out much more than I earned on surf shit. Boards. Vids ($29.99 a pop!). Wetties. Grip. Wax. And every flavor of t-shirt and trunks there was. All because it made me fucking psyched, and if I’m going to support it, I need to be fucking psyched. And currently, I rarely know where to turn to get those feelings. 

Which proves to me that something is wrong and it might start here with these missing characters. But maybe that’s selfish of me. Maybe those dudes are doing what I supported all along and are now some of the best in the world at being actual freesurfers. And that’s punk in its own way.

But I can’t believe that entirely, because I need them and the romance and stoke they bring. I need a boned-out slob by any of those four above. I need the yin to the WSL yang, so we can get T&C Surf Designs out of Tilly’s and Pac Sun and back where it belongs: as a sticker placed unironically on our walls that makes us stoked enough when we see it to want a T&C tee to go with our new Glenn Pang shape. 

And for all that we need Dane, Creed, Craig and Noa all over our phones and computers and TVs…set to a damn good song getting us psyched.

Otherwise, we don’t deserve them and we should set them free. 

Olympics: Jordy Smith left out in the cold!

And other fascinating Olympic surf scenarios!

Okay, we’re not going to the Olympics, but some surfers are going! Forty, to be exact. It’s going to be so exciting. I am the kind of person who reads Olympic qualification rules. This is my confession.

The US Olympic Trials event is widely considered the fastest swim meet in the world. Held ahead of the summer games, the trials meet decides the US Olympic team. The top two finishers in each event go to the Olympics. Everyone else goes home. There are tears of elation and crushing disappointments. It’s all very high drama.

If you were hoping for a similarly tear-filled dénouement for surfing, you will be disappointed. Sorry! But the selection process does guarantee some excellent subplots for the 2019 CT events. Spicy!

Here’s your handy guide to surfing’s Olympic selection, so you can impress your friends with your arcane knowledge. You can actually like a pro in the parking lot next weekend. Friends always enjoy that kind of thing.


First, some details. Twenty women and twenty men comprise the Olympic field in Tokyo. Each national committee may send a maximum of two men and two women. That’s a team of four total, if you’re trying to keep track at home. Thankfully, there is no complicated math by which countries receive different allocations based on their standings in the world rankings. (Hi, cycling) Four. You get four.

If you want to surf the Olympics, you must also surf the 2019 and 2020 World Surfing Games. Qualifying standards for the World Games appear to be still under construction. I did not see them, in any case. Maybe I did not look hard enough.

World Tour Spice!

The selection process begins with the 2019 CT standings. Fuck yeah! Now, we’re getting somewhere.

The first ten men — and the first eight women — in the CT rankings in December 2019 go to the Olympics. That sounds simple, but remember the part where each country may only send two surfers? If you’re from the US, Australia, or Brazil, you’ll need to be among the top two ranked surfers from your country on the CT. This is where the fun begins.

Let’s pretend that the women’s Olympic selection were right now, today. Steph Gilmore and Nikki Van Dijk would represent Australia. Two-time world champion Tyler Wright would be left out in the cold. Tati West snags one of Brazil’s two slots, while Silvana needs to keep an eye on her overall ranking to stay inside the selection window. I’m sure Silvana was stoked to welcome her new… teammate.

For the US team, meanwhile, Lakey Peterson and Carissa Moore would take the honors, but Caroline Marks is oh-so-close to overtaking Moore. The joint marketing from Red Bull of Moore and Marks gets a little extra zesty in this context.

The plot thickens significantly for the US team if Courtney Conlogue reclimbs the rankings after her recent injury. Or if Malia Manuel were to make a sudden run up the rankings. At the moment, the judges look to love what Lakey’s selling, but if that changed, the door might just swing open.

On the men’s side of the draw, the three-way battle among the Brazilians Filipe Toledo, Italo Ferreira, and Gabriel Medina is going to be lit as fuck. If it were up to me, I’d say send all three. But I don’t make the rules around here.

The US selection, based on current rankings, would be Zeke Lau and Griffin Colapinto, with Kolohe Andino breathing down Colapinto’s neck. Florence is ranked fourth among the Americans at the moment, which isn’t exactly where he’s going to want to be next December. Surely, there’s an Olympics bonus in his contract.

Now pretend you’re Jordy Smith. You’re psyched, because you don’t have to worry about beating out three other guys from South Africa. But you still have some work to do. Because only ten men receive selection from the CT, Jordy Smith would miss qualifying based on current rankings. The ten slots available from the CT are exhausted before we’d reach his ranking, which is currently tied for 25th. Bummer, dude.

But Smith is not out of luck! He could still qualify without climbing the pesky CT rankings. Read on, for how!

Second chances!

Four slots for men — and six for women — are on offer to the top finishers in the 2020 ISA World Surfing Games. So if Jordy were to finish in the top four at the World Games, he could still qualify, even if he were outside the CT selection window. This is also a potential qualifying route for women such as Silvana, Pauline Ado, or Bianca Buitendang.

If your country has already exhausted its allocation on the CT — like say, the US or Australia — you can’t qualify by way of the World Games. Basically, this is the route for QS and lower-ranked CT surfers whose countries have not yet qualified two athletes.


Continents, we have them. They number five.

One surfer from each of the five continents will be eligible for Olympic selection. Who will it be? The highest finisher from each continent at the 2019 ISA World Surfing Games will qualify. For the Americas, the 2019 Pan-American Games serve as the selection event.

There’s a catch — they must finish with the top 30 overall at the World Games. So, no Jamaican bobsled action, basically.

Here again, the two-surfer quota per country comes into play. The qualifying standards form a hierarchy with the CT at the top. If a country qualifies two surfers through the CT rankings, that’s it! There are no other opportunities.

These additional qualifying routes offer a route for countries with fewer top level pro surfers to send athletes to the Olympics. Maybe there’ll be an upset! That could be fun times.

Locals Only!

Two surfers from Japan will be included in the event, if they do not qualify by any other route. If Kanoa Igarashi failed to qualify via the CT rankings, a high finish at the ISA Surfing World Games, or as a continental qualifier, he could still pick up the local ticket.

If Igarashi does qualify through the standard routes, the extra slot gets thrown to the ISA Surfing World Games and an additional athlete from the Games can qualify. So if you’re from a country without CT athletes, you’re definitely hoping Igarashi finishes high in the CT rankings.

There. You are all smarter now! You can impress your friends with all your knowledge. I confess that I love few things more than Olympic selection drama, so I will totally enjoy next year’s CT even more than usual. Maybe you will too!

The Argument for Diversity in Surf!

Maybe it's time to give others a chance to fuck it up too?

The surf industry has been in a dizzying fall for the past… what… ten years? At least ten years. An utter collapse. We’ve seen giant Quiksilver declare bankruptcy only to come out, shepherded by distressed asset management firm Oaktree Capital, and buy Billabong for pennies on the dollar. Rip Curl has floated the idea of a sale for years now with nothing materializing. Brands rolling over. Brands disappearing forever. Shrinking bottom lines. Vanishing jobs

It is bleak with no real end in sight and as I have pondered the whys and wherefores have come to the conclusion that the surf industry is dying because it has lost its center. I have, in fact, written a whole book on the subject called Cocaine + Surfing: A Love Story!

But maybe the failure to embrace the love story with cocaine is not the problem. Bobby Kim, co-founder of streetwear’s very successful The Hundreds gave a speech at the recent Surf Industry Manufacturers Association titled Can Surf Learn From Streetwear? The entire thing is worth a read but let’s read a passage together.

I had breakfast with Bob McKnight, founder of Quiksilver, a few years ago, and he told me to exit the industry because the kids didn’t care about clothing anymore. “They just want to buy apps.”
But Bob, with all due respect, was wrong. Since our breakfast together, my sector of men’s fashion-STREETWEAR-exploded. There’s Supreme, of course. The New York skate brand’s valuation topped a billion dollars, thanks to global line-ups for limited items and high-profile celebrity endorsements. Kanye’s adidas Yeezies are this generation’s Air Jordan. Off-White’s Virgil Abloh and his sneaker collaborations arguably put Nike back on the map. It’s not unusual for me to look down at one of our customer’s receipts and see that he’s spent hundreds of dollars on T-shirts and pants. Kids aren’t spending hundreds of dollars in an afternoon on apps, but they are tossing that kind of money on streetwear brands like Anti Social Social Club, Pleasures, and Vetements.
I can also give 10 speeches to outline why and how streetwear has gotten so popular.

– It’s the limited edition thing.
– It’s the collaborations and the high fashion crossover.
– It’s the meticulous attention to brand integrity.

Yet, today, I’m going to zero in on just one theory as to streetwear’s resounding success in 2018. And, this hypothesis also intersects with an obvious void that I see and feel in surf.
It’s the presence and power of racial diversity.

The case that Mr. Kim goes on to make is compelling because it is about the bottom line more than moral integrity though I think he should also speak to gender diversity. White men get blamed for lots and lots but they deserve every ounce of blame for fucking the surf industry up so badly. Maybe it’s time to give others a chance to fuck it up too?

What do you think about that?

Anthony Walsh Tevita Gukilau
Here, Walsh points his nose-mounted GoPro at the Fijian boatman Tevita Gukilau inside a twenty-foot tube as a bailed ten-footer goes over the falls. | Photo: Anthony Walsh/@anthony_walsh_

Watch: Cloudbreak swell from paddle perspective!

Come into the meat locker with Anthony Walsh's POV angle…

Did that big Cloudbreak swell three days ago make you almost grateful to be alive? All those men (systemic sexism! Intersectionality!) in three layers of impact vests and inflatable vests towing and paddling a Cloudbreak swell so rare there hadn’t been anything like it for six years?

Even watching gave me a vampirish panic.

The Australian-born, Hawaii-living surfer Anthony Walsh, a man with a gorilla chest and unwashed straw hair who will ride the tube behind Laird at Teahupoo for a clip, was there with an eight-eight Gunther Rohn and his usual arsenal of GoPro cameras.

In the short below, we see Walsh, who is thirty-four, pointing his nose-mounted camera at Fijian boatman Tevita Gukilau riding a twenty-foot barrel as a ten-foot gun from a bailed surfer goes over the falls.

Walsh paddled for three hours, looking for fifteen-footers amid the twenty-five foot tow-waves that hit every hour or so. The number of tow teams was small – there were three jetskis and he’d spend the morning and late afternoon towing Maui’s Kai Lenny into sets – and he says there were seventy paddle surfers jockeying, hassling, for sets which would arrive every twenty minutes or so.

“It was the most hyped up, biggest paddle swell ever and everyone and anyone was there. But… it was slow,” he says.

The second wave in the short is Walsh on a wide set.

“It kept going, going, going and…growing,” he says. “I could see it heading for shish kebobs. I knew I had to get off this thing. I couldn’t pull off so I had to jump over the lip and I got over it and didn’t get clipped. I was lucky the Hawaiian lifeguard Ryan Hargrave was there to pick me up. There was another wave behind and it would’ve got me.”

Other notable moments according to Walsh:

It looked like Teahupoo except longer.

Swells like this at Cloudbreak are rare because there’s not a lot of ocean distance between where the swell’s form (between Australia and New Zealand) and where they hit. Gotta intensify quickly. Can’t get too close to land. The winds have to be good. Unlike Hawaii or Chile where the swells have room to form and push across. “Everything has to start in the right place and end in the right place,” says Walsh.

A Brazilian surfer wiped out on the wave before Ramon Navarro’s bomb and busted his leg. For added kicks, he got Ramon’s wave on the head, too. “We saw the wipeout, we were close to him when he took off,” says Walsh. “Then we saw him nose-dive and then Ramon’s wave came and we forgot about it. It’s hard to know what’s happening on the inside. Abe Lerner, Ryan Hargrave and Kaiborg were doing pickups for everyone, keeping everyone safe.”

Kelly paddled for maybe an hour-and-a-half and caught two waves, one a twelve-foot insider

Most surfers wore three layers of flotation: impact vest (padded), inflation vest (with canisters of air) and another impact vest. Walsh just wore the impact vest.

“Too restricting,” he says.

Enter the meat locker here!



Amendment: Surfing’s best brother combination!

Thank you for your understanding.

Shit. Hell. Damn it. What did I do? I mean what did the Committee on Choosing the Best Brother Combinations in Surfing do? Clearly they failed by announcing that Justin and Chris Cote were winners. Clearly they fucked up.

I mean, I personally know that Justin and Chris Cote are deserving but how could the Committee forget Nick and Tom Carroll?

Like, how?

All they had to do was read the first paragraph of each of their entries in the Encyclopedia of Surfing and let us do that together now.

Nick Carroll

High-output Australian surf journalist and editor from Newport, New South Wales; Surfing magazine editor from 1993 to 1996; Deep magazine editor from 1997 to 2000; regarded by many since the mid-’80s as the sport’s most popular and knowledgeable writer.

Tom Carroll

Dynamic and durable power surfer from Sydney, Australia; world champion in 1983 and 1984, and one of the sport’s premier tuberiders. Carroll was born (1961) in Sydney, the son of a newspaper editor, raised in the beachfront suburb of Newport, and began surfing at age eight, a few months after his mother died of pancreatic cancer. Hawaiian style master Gerry Lopez was an early influence on Carroll, as was hard-turning local surfer Col Smith.

I’ve been around the Encyclopedia of Surfing long enough to know that Matt Warshaw writes the best first paragraph, first few words even, in not only surf but history. He boils everything down to its purest essence.

Nick Carroll is a high-output Australian surf journalist. Tom Carroll is a dynamic and durable power surfer from Sydney. Derek Rielly is a bright and mischievous surf journalist, originally from Perth, Western Australia. I am a bright, hyper-ironic surf journalist, author, and bon vivant from Coos Bay, Oregon.

Justin and Chris Cote don’t even have entries.

Maybe it is just ego speaking but Warshaw’s catalog is worth subscribing to, if you haven’t already, for the first word of each entry alone.

Do it today asshole!

What was I writing about again?

Subscribe to the Encyclopedia of Surfing here!