From the shear-that-goddamn-shit-off-me dept: Firewire releases surfboard made from sheep hair!

You’re all filthy, gnawing rats killing the planet. Now buy this surfboard.

The story goes that New Zealand shaper Paul Barron was pouring resin over a board and spilt some on his wool sweater. It’s a story of ruined outerwear, to be sure, but there’s more.

The moment gave Barron a spark.

Three years on, Barron Surfboards is working with Mark Price of Firewire to use wool cloth instead of traditional fiberglass wrap.

The “Woolight” boards should be available this new year.

But why bring shepherds in? ‘Cause fiberglass ain’t too eco-anything and wool-based resin is much friendlier to the planet, much more “sustainable”, as they say.

According to Barron and Price, it’s also going to help a troubled wool industry in NZ.

Watch two drips introduce Price and Barron as they explain what they are up to here.

Price says, “The closer we can bring our surfing equipment to the natural world and reduce its toxicity it’s a win.”

Ahh, the surfboard as message, metaphor and theory!

The past few years have shown us boards made from a mishmash of materials: discarded cardboard, tossed aluminum cans, cigarette butts (mine), vinyl records, Styrofoam coffee cups and any other piece of roadside trash coloring the highway.

The now-drying Tom Wolfe shared that any successful piece of modern art needs a theory – a message – and these art boards certainly come ready: you’re all filthy, gnawing rats killing the planet.

Now, buy my art board.

These things are more installation than vehicle, though, yes?

The unusual greyish wool decks on the Barron/Firewire look equal parts tool and art, but maybe not the kinds we see hung over a fireplace.

woolite surfboard Firewire
The now-drying Tom Wolfe shared that any successful piece of modern art needs a theory – a message – and these art boards certainly come ready: You’re all filthy, gnawing rats killing the planet. Now, buy my art board.

These Woolight boards might say something about sustainability, sure, but also gliding on seriously fine equipment. Testers say that they’ve got the same feel as a normal glassed board. When he’s not prattling on with Chas in aisle six, Machado’s even had them underfoot, not a bad endorsement.

(Or should we wait for an official Longtom review before throwing out our cash for the shepherd’s delight?)

Either way, most of us would be numb to the subtleties.

And question marks pop up, too, about widespread use of eco-boards by the everyman. South African outfit Hurricane Surfboards plays with bio-materials like flax and hemp. Word is that Twiggy Baker will be riding them exclusively next season and that’s great, but they say the boards have much longer curing times than resin and eco-materials costs up to 300% more to use. That’s gotta pass down to you and me somehow.

So, let’s get some perspective in here by Surf Prescriptions deity Jeff Doc Lausch.

Doc’s been planer-in-hand for over thirty years and knows a bit about glass.

“I’m all for new materials that out-perform and are better for the environment. However, if they fail in being as strong, easy to work with, and cosmetically beautiful then it doesn’t make much sense to me,” he says.

But has Doc ever played with alt-materials?

“The first surfboard I ever made, in 1969, was a stripped-down log that I glassed in my friend’s carport with a bedsheet and polyester resin. Board lasted about 15 minutes!”

Always interested in alternate materials, though, he never abandoned the idea and a couple of years ago built some boards with cardboard core.

“One was wrapped in paper that was soaked in some poly-latex paint stuff. Board lasted about one hour. The other was wrapped in fiberglass soaked in polyester resin and the board was strong and durable. It’s still rideable today.”

Doc offers a reasonable balance.

He says that he believes all of us surfers care deeply about the environment, but we also care about surfing at the highest level of our abilities. If there is an alternative that proves to be equal or better in all areas of performance and durability it will be accepted.

“Fiberglass has proven to be all things needed to manufacture and state of the art performance surf craft.

Cleanly stated, “fibreglass rules,” says the good doctor.

Firewire keeps a hard eye on the future, and there’s talk about expanding the wool technology to boats and other craft.

A good investment here?

Is there a market for this?

Or do we simply care first about steamrolling waves on trusted fiberglass?

Kohn Christensen defrosts a delectable treasure two nights ago at Pipe. | Photo: Photo by Daniel Russo

Kelly Slater: “Is this the best Pipeline shot of all time?”

"This picture sums up why we surf," says Champ.

In case you haven’t been strolling the golden sands of the North Shore this past week, here’s some news.

The waves have been real good.

The sorta surf that makes you caw like a sat-on cat. Or, if you’re the timid kind, makes your eyes fill up with tears.

Two nights ago, Kohl Christensen, a tradesman who also trades in bigger-than-usual waves, got himself dosed at Pipe, with master craftsman Daniel Russo there on a ski (“Believe me, there were 25 swimming photogs,” says Kelly) to steal the moment.

The angle, and the longer lens, gives this very heavy day a rare distant softness.

“Is this the best Pipeline shot of all time? On his last wave of the day, on the best day of the year, on his final ride before the birth of his second daughter…a roll-in from Second Reef on an 8’6” Brewer,” Kelly Slater announced to his two million Instagram followers. “This picture sums up why we surf. And nobody seems to be more in tune with the ocean than Kohl.”

Russo, for his part, tell me, “I’m biased but I’m putting it as my best image ever at Pipeline. I feel like this winter has seen a record amount of good days at Pipeline. Plenty of magical waves, goals achieved by surfers and so on. But the illusion to capture that one moment hadn’t showed up until this wave. The time of day that created classic backlit Pipeline. The time of year allowing the sun, the tide and winds to align just right; the energy that travelled thousands of miles under the ocean surface starting in Japan. Then for it to spike up on the Second Reef of Pipeline. Kohl manifested this wave as left Haleiwa on my jetski. As we made our way past Shark’s Cove we could see the spray coming off the backs of the waves at Pipeline. We knew we were headed in the right direction. And we were in the right place at the right time.”

And here’s how it went down, says Russo.

“After about an hour a set stood up near Third Reef. It didn’t break, it just stood up. The Pipeline reef locked in the swell and started to cross it up to form a multi-wave set. The first two were a little wide, drawing the water off the reef. Then the third wave of the set came and Kohl paddled into it. Perception of one’s experience can vary from person to person. But this image is exactly what happened. To me, this is the exclamation mark of the winter at Pipeline. Oh, how good it’s been.”

Now, to Kelly’s charge: The best shot at Pipe? Ever?

Who wants to play?

Breaking: Australians drowning at record levels while Surf Life Saving CEO vacations!

“Thousands of volunteers having been turning up all summer long pulling people out of the water, trying their best to keep our beaches safe and this bloke’s on holiday, you’re kidding, it’s embarrassing."

I don’t really have a horse in this race nor do I even understand surf life saving associations in Australia BUT I love a screaming headline and also any loose narrative tie to Nero fiddling while Rome burned.

Is any image more profound?

Historians dispute the accuracy, pointing to the facts that the fiddle didn’t exist until the 11th century and Nero was likely at his country home when the great fire destroyed, though they also say he may have sung songs about a different fire in another town.

In any case, complicated and I think we can switch the saying to “Australians drown while CEO….” something. What do you think he’s doing on his vacation? Let’s read the exclusive on 9 News who titled their piece EXCLUSIVE: Australians drowning at near-record levels while Surf Life Saving Australia CEO unavailable for comment.

Seventy-three people have drowned around the country in the 53 days since December 1.

That’s more than a drowning a day, almost a third of the 2017/18 death toll and 26 more fatalities than at this point last year and still with a month left of summer – according to data provided to by Royal Life Saving Australia.

Despite those alarming figures, the CEO of Australia’s peak coastal water safety, drowning prevention and rescue authority – Surf Life Saving Australia – is currently on holiday and has not been contactable by for the past two weeks.

A spokesperson for SLSA has told Adam Weir – the SLSA’s chief representative positioned to respond to spikes in costal water safety incidents – has taken leave during the summer until at least January 25 but says he is in touch daily with key staff.

Around the country, the summer period has been disastrous when it comes to drownings on Australia’s beaches, rivers, lakes and pools, which have risen to a near-record level. does not suggest the CEO’s absence is related to the increased number of drownings.

One volunteer surf life saver who patrols that beach told he thought the situation was “embarrassing”.

“Thousands of volunteers having been turning up all summer long pulling people out of the water, trying their best to keep our beaches safe and this bloke’s on holiday, you’re kidding, it’s embarrassing,” he told

So what should the new saying be? Australians drown while CEO hoedowns? Australians drowns while CEO enjoys delicious cocktails in town?

I feel we can do better.

Rumor: “Cost-cutting and belt-tightening at the World Surf League as Dirk Ziff runs out of patience!”

Workers nervously rub hands together!

Oh it has been so quite up Santa Monica way since Dear General Secretary Sophie Goldschmidt, released a stirring propaganda video and I suppose that I assumed it was business as usual, preparing for the upcoming season, sending detractors to re-education camps, morning hymns to the Father of Modern Professional Surfing Comrade Dirk Ziff etc.

BUT a hot new rumor straight from a highly placed source in the High Tower suggests there is turmoil behind the beaming facade. That the Father of Modern Professional Surfing Comrade Dirk Ziff is running out of patience. That owning professional surfing was maybe not as fun and/or profitable as suggested by wife and/or friends.

First, it has been alleged that Terry Hardy, one of the architects of the Association of Surfing Professionals re-brand into the World Surf League and Kelly Slater’s longtime manager is leaving the organization. Whether jump or push is unclear. Mr. Hardy had a very hands-on role for many years, apparently, and would certainly have been one of the more, if not most, knowledgable people in any WSL room. Did he leave for another opportunity or another “opportunity” (in Siberia)?

We shall see.

Second, there has been cost-cutting and belt-tightening across the board. Freezes etc. The Father of Modern Professional Surfing Comrade Dirk Ziff has never made himself available for interviews with the surf media so any guess as to what he is thinking is simply that. It has been assumed that he has enough money to dump down professional surfing’s gaping maw forever but exceedingly rich people don’t become exceedingly rich via unsound financial moves.

Will Surf Ranches be hustled out posthaste? Will tour events be trimmed and/or professional surfers? Will the non-surfing masses finally turn on and tune in, creating a cornucopia of opportunity?

We shall see.

Dreams come true: Become a very famous and glamorous surf journalist today!

Leave everything behind. It's worth it.

I know what you’re thinking. “I could never be a surf journalist. Like extremely famous actors and musicians, quality surf journalists possess a skill set that has been gifted directly from the heavens. They are handsome and beautiful, wildly talented, fundamentally important to our cultural depth. Surf journalists are artists, maybe even the greatest artists of our time, sought after, righteous and good. Surf journalists not only speak truth to power but speak gibberish to the void and thereby course-correct the universe.”

All of that is true BUT I still believe in you. I believe that if you really commit yourself, you could enter the august ranks, standing shoulder to top of head with Nick Carroll, and forever slough off a meaningless existence.

But how?

Oh. Carve magazine, out of England, is hosting a 25th anniversary writing competition and let’s read about it!

Stories are at the heart of surfing whether from your last wave, latest trip or the myths and legends from years gone by. We want to encourage writers, young, old, or those that would like their work published but are either not sure where to start or are not sure if their work is good enough. Everyone has to start somewhere! So this year we are running Carve surf journalist competition.

Anyone can enter, and each month we will pick one story to publish in the magazine and a couple to publish on our website. It could be an interview, opinion, a feature or travel story. Humorous, informative, adventurous, technical, if you feel inspired to write we want to hear from you! At the end of the year we will announce our Carve 25th Anniversary Writer of the Year.

There will be a prize, although we have to sort that out at time of writing!

Send entries to [email protected]

You’ve got this!