We don’t want some of the world’s best non-WSL surfers to become Vloggers to save their hide. Our goal with Stab High is to provide a platform for these guys to showcase their skill in a controlled environment. It isn’t meant to be too serious; just the world’s best aerial surfers, raw, all laying it on the line on the same section, for a couple of hours on a Saturday night.
Oh I dream of saving the world from vloggers too. From the Kardashians and PewDiePie and Smosh and their millions and millions of dollars and millions and millions of followers for talking about makeup and anal sex.
Kalani Robb, who makes video logs for Catch Surf, felt the burn and responded with a call for Hawaiian jihad.
“Not the smartest move talking shit about Hawaiians before u go there this winter.”
CC’d on the fatwa were Eddie Rothman, Koa Rothman and Da Hui.
Oh but Kalani, oh but the world is yours.
It is yours and the Kardashians and PewDiePie and Smosh. You are the future with your millions and millions and millions and millions.
Can you please leave us blogs alone?
To toil in obscurity with our tens and tens until progress rolls us up into a Persian carpet and tosses us in a dusty closet.
Have you ever considered bloggers’ feelings, Kalani?
Well have you?
The luxe room at Snowball. What games of the flesh you might play here!
Dreams-come-true department: Surfer/snowboarder mortgages house, buys ski chalet, never has to work again!
It’s a hoary old line: find something you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.
Easier said than done, as we all know. I love cupping the pendulous bosoms of middle-aged Jewesses and eating hot bread rolls that have been buttered with a particular Scandinavian butter but I’m yet to make a dollar out of it.
One lifelong surfer, and snowboarder, who has cut himself a piece of the lifestyle pie is the Australian Dan Solo. This is a man who wanted to be the master of his own ship but, like most of us, got caught in the gotta-make-cash wheel. He had a pregnant girl and was trying to live and survive in one of the most expensive cities in the world, Sydney as if you had to ask.
Dan earned his bread as a web developer but says that every day, as he rode the ferry to work, “I felt sad. All these grey men in their grey suits with their grey frowns. My mantra is, you get one crack at life, so you better make it a bloody good one. And I wasn’t making my life a good one.”
For twenty years, Dan and his girl, Andy, worked hard and didn’t save a cent.
Dan and Andy had a talk.
“We can’t do this for the next twenty years. We’re miserable.”
When he’s not surfing around Sydney, Dan and Andy like to take off for Japan. Buckets of powder. Real nice people. Good electronics. Warm Saki.
Dan had always loved the Japanese vibe. When he was thirteen he told his best pal that when he had a kid he was going to call him after the protagonist in the Japanese post-apocalytic animated film Akira.
By the time they’d hit their thirties, Dan and Andy had ridden all over Japan. And so they figured, why don’t we open a little boutique chalet in the mountains? The pair had been pouring their lives into their Bondi apartment (Sydney is the second-most heated property market after Hong Kong), a place where a crummy two-bedder a click from the beach starts at a million bucks, and had enough equity to peel off a slice and invest in their dream.
(Their kid Akira wasn’t so little anymore either. He was sixteen, fluent in Japanese after a life in the International School system and loved to ride Japan’s powder.)
And the thing about Japan is, because of the big ski resort bust in the late-nineties and the subsequent reticence of banks to lend money to anyone buying property in the snow, it’s cheap, at least relative to Australia.
So, three years ago, they bought a dreamy nine-room chalet for a couple hundred thousand Australian at Madarao Mountain, two hours by bullet from Tokyo. They’d driven past it and, on a whim, had stopped and asked the seventy-two-year-old owner if she’d sell. Her eyes lit up. Property is hard to shift in these parts. When they went to sign the deal, it turned out they’d bought two blocks of land.
Dan and Andy renovated the existing chalet, turning a trad pension into a hip, but luxe, ski chalet. They stuck a yurt on the other and turned into a buzzy little bar called the Shaggy Yak. They’d banked on a twenty-five percent occupancy rate, something they thought might be a little bullish, but it wound up at fifty-five in that first year.
This year it’s shaping up to be over eighty percent.
The success of Snowball Chaletmeans Dan gets to split his time between snowboarding the northern hemisphere winter in Japan and surfing the rest of the year in Australia.
Sure he’s got a little work to do in the off season, dealing with the website, online bookings, improvements on the joint, and when he’s on the mountain his role is to host guests, riding with ’em on mountain, showing off the hot pools and snow monkeys that live nearby, dinners etc.
It sure ain’t digging ditches.
It’s a story, a lesson, I think, in learning think in a way that examines, first, what you love, how you gonna earn your bread and in what manner you plan on spending your pitifully short time here on earth.
I see Dan in the surf, around the beach and it’s like he’s seen, I dunno, the truth, I suppose. That killing yourself at work so you might retire with a little cash at seventy ain’t the only way to cut the pie.
More than that: you don’t need to be rich to live a rich life.
The day has finally arrived. Surf is officially too absurd to make fun of. Too off the rails weird where even The Onion, the pinnacle of American satirical expression, could not make surf satirical or absurd.
As you know, I consume surf news like no one earth. And by “consume” I mean that I Google “surf” first thing in the morning and then click “news” then Google “surfing” and then click “news.”
This morning I did that and read this story.
Standing firm in his commitment to the historic property amid mounting apprehension over the approach of Category 4 Hurricane Florence, Myrtle Beach resident Dennis Brock told reporters Monday he refused to evacuate from his family’s ancestral Ron Jon Surf Shop. “I don’t care what the government tries to tell me. This place is in my blood, and I’m not leaving no matter what,” said Brock of the beach apparel and souvenir shop where he and two of his cousins are currently employed as cashiers, where his uncle once worked as an assistant manager, and where his father once helped vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro pick out a pair of sunglasses. “I’m not some coward who’s just going to flee and abandon everything my family has worked so hard for. These flip-flop bottle opener keychains, these waterproof wallets, these boogie boards—they’re a part of who I am, and I’ll never abandon them. If I have to die, let me die in the place that I love, surrounded by collectable shot glasses and fridge magnets, wearing the Bob Marley T-shirt and board shorts of my people.” Brock reportedly prepared for the storm by stuffing several foam beer koozies and tie-dyed beach towels in the cracks beneath the store’s front doorway.
I thought, “What a legend. I’m doing a story.”
Then went on to try to find where this legend lived and realized he was a satirical The Onion creation.
And then I stepped away from my computer and danced to Abba because we’ve arrived. We’ve all officially arrived. So satirical that it can no longer be satirized.
God bless surfing. God bless it each and every day.
Joel Tudor, the "grumpy local" hero that surfing needs, weighs in on high-performance longboarding!
I called Joel Tudor today and he laughed when he answered the phone. Laughed a genuine laugh that increasingly rare in these horribly fractured times. Laughed when I said, “This is Chas Smith from BeachGrit.” Laughed when I repeated it because my connection was bad.
It made me so happy. So marvelously, wonderfully happy that he appears to practice what he preaches. Slinging outrageous barbs but them accepting them in equal measure because it’s all a funky dance, right? No one can ever take this surfing ultimately serious, right? We’re all walking disasters, right?
Or to quote Joel Tudor himself, “I make fun of shit ‘cuz I can.’
Amen Brother Joel.
Today I called him because high-performance longboarding is happening at Lowers. High-performance longboarding at Lowers as part of the Relik Longboarding Tour and I was already curious as to his take even before he posted the above photo to his Instagram account.
After he finished laughing I asked, “Is there a future in high-performance longboarding or is on the verge of going away forever?”
He responded, “Well, it’s geared to the region and there is one place in the world it works. Hawaii. It works in Hawaii because the waves are so fast so it becomes functional. The kids in Hawaii…. the kids in Hawaii are radical and they’re caught up in it but it doesn’t work or look good anywhere else.”
It made much sense, the “ride the appropriate board for the conditions” mantra and Joel continued to riff on the value of modern logging without training wheels (I was unsure if “training wheels” refers to side fins or a leash though assumed the former), how it’s not some leftover relic, as it were, but a living breathing expression that today’s youth are stretching, molding, changing. How much fun it is etc.
But back to high-performance longboarding, I suppose I’m happy that it can stick around in Hawaii and also happy that it doesn’t belong anywhere else.
We are doing the Lord’s work here and you are too. It’s our shared burden, our sacred duty, to examine every last angle on the Surf Ranch and eponymous Surf Ranch Pro before we move on. Oh it would have been easy, yesterday, to put Lemoore behind us and thrill over the next shiny thing but then we’d be no better than black crows. And we are better than black crows. Better than any and all solo projects associated with black crows too from Magpie Salute to Chris Robinson’s Brotherhood.
And so, brothers + sisters, let us peer into Jordy Smith’s Instagram where the current world number 6 asked for his friends and followers to weigh in on the Surf Ranch.
What was your thoughts on the @wsl #surfranch event? 👍🏼👎🏼 also thanks @slaterdesigns for the board. Had fun riding something different 🤙🏼 now back to the #ocean 🌊
A quick scroll through the feed reveals more thumbs downs than thumbs ups but it is certainly a mixed bag. Many people loved. Many more hated. And many many more fell somewhere in between extremes.
Jordy entered the fray himself midway though the feed in response to the great Shane Beschen.
jordysmith88@shanebeschen absolutely. I think size equals depth in the barrel and honest my dad can get a barrel in the pool. A barrel in the ocean is highly rewarded because it’s hard to predict and hard to come by. But the ranch is predictable and really not that exciting to the viewers after watching the 10th surfer go back into the barrel for another 10 seconds .. 😂😂😂 anyways my 2cents
A valuable 2 cents, don’t you think? And an accurate assessment. Funny enough, when Derek and I finished our day at Surf Ranch and were driving home, Derek newly invigorated from chasing a hangover away, me with busted wing, there was much discussion of the barrel and what a waste of the wave it is.
Oh it is fine and fine enough but in myopically focusing on it the rest of the ride is sacrificed. Sacrificed for a crouchy little thing that Jordy’s dad can also enjoy. Of course there is much difference between the top 32 and Jordy’s dad and Derek and me but I think the sentiment might be the same. That consequence-free barrels, when there is a glut, are not as fun to watch, or do, as airs or turns.
If ever invited back, I’m going to race ahead and right when that barrel starts to bend pull my Birdwells down and moon it from out on the shoulder.