The lady and the tramp… | Photo: Digital manipulation by Arn Anderson

Listen: Surfing’s most important scholar weighs in on “The Sock at Surf Expo!”

The entire arc from beginning to end in nauseatingly specific depth, featuring surfing's august historian Matt Warshaw!

Now that Stab magazine editor Ashton Goggans has brought honor back to a long line of Gogganses, rounding the circle as it were, from wilting cop-caller to bold haymaking thrower it is time to retire him forever, allowing him to slip back into the mists of obscurity from whence he came.

It has been a full year of fun having since I leapt across a reclaimed wood coffee table somewhere near his vicinity and haven’t we had fun? Oh sure the laugh lines became frayed and tired along the way but thankfully the narrative ends with a bang, or I guess more a… I don’t exactly know what the proper MMA terminology for Ashton’s punch was. A putsch?

Before we see it out, though, it is only right to have the most important scholar in surf, our award-winning Matt Warshaw discuss the entire arc, from beginning to end,  in nauseatingly specific depth.

Some may say it is beneath his position, that he dishonors the office of Surfing’s Official Historian and those people would be right but here it is anyway.

Listen and enjoy… And so long Ashton Goggans. It has been ridiculously fun.

This is, I think, the photo that represents Laird Hamilton best: the moto-riding alpha male with movie star (Brooke Shields, big in the eighties etc) clawing at his latissimus dorsi. | Photo: Bruce Weber

From the magic potion dept: Investors pour $32 million into Laird Superfood!

Who don't want a piece of real-life Aquaman?

Three years ago, a well-proportioned fifty-two-year-old man who once watched his hip get sawn off and replaced, a superhero some might call him, launched a pre-packaged food company called “Laird Superfoods.”

The first product line was a Superfood Creamer made from “MCT” fats and oils from coconuts along and with a magical ingredient called aquamin, which is made from ocean algae.

Today it was revealed that private investors have poured $US32 million into the biz with WeWork, the shared office biz, providing the bulk of funds.

A quickish detour through the presser.

In conjunction with the investment from WeWork, Arik Benzino, WeWork’s Chief We Officer for the U.S., Canada & Israel, will join the Laird Superfood board of directors. Laird Superfood and WeWork will also launch a partnership to make Laird’s offerings available to WeWork members and employees in select locations in the U.S.

“I thank WeWork for their investment in Laird Superfood’s expansion and pursuit of our mission to become the leading superfood company in the natural foods space. At Laird Superfood, we think of our clean-ingredient products as fuel. With the right fuel, you can accomplish anything, and it’s in this way that our offerings perfectly complement the ambitious and entrepreneurial spirit of the WeWork community,” said Laird Hamilton, co-founder of Laird Superfood.

Earlier this year, Jen See examined and tried the various magical potions.

When I ate the Superfood I did not immediately acquire the ability to fly or anything useful like that. Presumably it added calcium to my bones, but I felt nothing. Not even a tingle. This was slightly disappointing.

I mixed the Hydrate with bottled water in a 12-ounce container as the instructions demanded. Once mixed, it has a milky, white color. The flavor is nothing to write home about. Not terrible! Just not super exciting.

It needed something. I rummaged around the kitchen and found vodka of questionable vintage. I added the vodka to the Hydrate. Mmm, vodka. I added more. Even better. Then I was out of coconut water Superfood. More Vodka. What were we talking about again, I don’t know. Vodka, good. Next time, I skip straight to vodka. More vodka.

I approached the Instafuel with trepidation. Instant coffee. I once carried a French Press in my camera bag on a bike-packing trip in Oregon. This was a stupid decision, because packing out wet coffee grounds is stupid. But it does give you an idea of my feelings about instant coffee.

I again entered the kitchen to boil the required boiled water, which just about exhausts my kitchen repertoire. I added boiling water to the instant coffee and Superfood mixture. It dissolved! Magic! A thin layer tan bubbles, resembling crema, appeared on the surface. I know this game. I see you, Instafuel! I see you trying to fool me into thinking you are actually good coffee! You can’t fool me.

In graduate school, I did research at the French Foreign Ministry archives, which at the time were housed in the Foreign Ministry building. They took our passports and escorted us through the hallways. We were allowed at intervals to leave the reading room and down in a basement, there was a coffee machine. It dispensed espresso in tiny paper cups. I never figured out how to turn off the sugar, so I downed many tiny, heavily sugared espressos. It kept me awake long enough to read piles of diplomatic documents, but it was not a good coffee experience.

I recount this story, because the Laird Superfood Instafuel reminded me of the coffee dispensed from the machine in the Quai d’Orsay basement. There is a hint of coffee flavor and a creamy mouth feel. An intense coconut flavor, reminiscent of sunscreen, lingers on the palette. As I sipped, I tried to imagine Hawaii and wafting palm fronds and giant, photogenic waves. I failed.

If you like your coffee very sweet and you enjoy coconut-flavored things, Laird Superfood Instafuel is your dream morning libation. It is easy to make! And almost instant! But so is Starbucks Via, which more closely resembles coffee.

Find your nearest Laird Superfoods stockist here. 


Important scholarship: The “titillatingly transgressive sense of possibility” in surf movies!

Wildness and primitivism!

It has long been held by important scholars that those surf movies of the 1960s, the ones with Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon like Muscle Beach Party, Bikini Beach, Beach Blanket Bingo, Beach Party etc. are silly worthless pulp.

“Macadamia” Matt Warshaw, surfing’s only important scholar, describes them thusly in his award-winning Encyclopedia of Surfing (subscribe here and never be hungry again!):

“Silly-but-fun beach films were a hit with young audiences but  uniformly dismissed by the critics.”

Well, an important new academic study suggests that maybe they weren’t so silly and worthless. Maybe they even lead directly to the counter-culture that tilted the entire west off its axis and let’s adjust our bifocals and read together:

The surf movies and television shows of the late 1950s and early 1960s were filled with innocent, sun-soaked fun. But were their safe storylines and conventional morals the key to their appeal? Film and media scholar R.L. Rutsky thinks not. He finds undercurrents of nonconformity in seemingly squeaky-clean films like Gidget and Beach Blanket Bingo.

Rutsky sees the movies as a bridge to the countercultural explosion embodied in later films like Cool Hand Luke and The Graduate. Though their exteriors are laden with mainstream sexuality (Will Gidget and Moondoggie kiss? Can Frankie win back Dee Dee’s affection by winning a drag race?), the movies tempt audiences with the undercurrents of nonconformity embodied by surf culture.

The films embraced a sense of wildness and freedom. Rutsky documents the films’ obsession with cultural “others,” from the scandalous bikini to the appropriation of a vaguely “Polynesian” aesthetic. He writes:

However much these films appropriate and exoticize the pleasures of the “other,” however much they play on the stereotypes of wildness and primitivism, they still present us with the desire of white, middle-class American youth for something different from the status quo.

Those beach blankets hid a titillatingly transgressive sense of possibility for teens who were soon to burst into open rebellion as the counterculture subsumed the 1960s.

Want some more titillatingly transgressive possibility, exotic pleasures of the “other,” and stereotypes of wildness and primitivism just about ready to burst into open rebellion?

I’ve got you right here!

If you liked the book, you’ll love the movie: Watch Stab editor Ashton Goggans beat hell out of Chas Smith!

Orlando PD on full alert!

There were many more police officers at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida when I arrived this morning for day two of Surf Expo and my initial reaction was, “Shit. Ashton Goggans called the cops. Again.”

Twenty times as many police officers, in fact. They were everywhere standing around with utility belts packed with utility and bullet proof vests making already fit chests fitter. Thumbs hooked through belt buckles. Wide legged, eyes darting suspiciously.

I pushed my vintage Ray-Ban sunglasses higher up my crooked nose, trying to observe them fully without seeming creepy though, in retrospect, this probably had the opposite effect.

Did he call the cops again?

Did he call them to lodge yet another complaint after blocking me across all social medias, emails and phone numbers?

I hoped beyond hope not.

Funnily enough, I had a great conversation with the famous GT (best on-beach commentator in professional surfing history) directly before tasting the tang of pent-up Ashton rage. He was telling me that he had just begun working for Ride Snowboards back in the extreme sport glory days and at a tradeshow. A crazy commotion broke out in in front of him, some wild brawl, and after a few moments legendary Ride team rider Circe Wallace emerged, crazy eye’d, and said, “I just kicked the shit out of some bitch. I hope I’m not in trouble.”

“Trouble?” he responded. “No, no, no. That’s the way we like it.”

Circe Wallace went on to become my wife and the end-all-be-all love of my life.

Her era of all this crazy business was what I grew up dreaming as a detached therefore kooky Oregonian youth. A world where rushing down snowy mountains, where surfing with reckless abandon, where living a dream unfettered by laws and rules and the damned man was the only thing that mattered.

And I’ve tried my damndest to re-establish this vision in our modern tattle-tale era. Pushed it through Welcome to Paradise and Cocaine + Surfing and BeachGrit but my greatest work might still be Ashton Goggans.

Six months ago he was a wilting cop caller.

Yesterday he was master of the Surf Expo floor, stocking cap tipped jauntily, ringed fingers itching for a fight.

Have I single-handedly made surfing great again? The police officers are eyeing me suspiciously as I type this but I hope so or at least one small part of it.

I truly hope so.

New ruling: “Blanket bans on surfing are illegal!”

It's a new day in Florida!

You’ll be happy to know that, last night, Orlando’s finest did not descend upon the palatial estate I am lucky to be sharing with Matt Warshaw and David Lee Scales.

They did not rouse me from slumber and drag me down to the station, unkempt and red-eye’d, for questioning in regards to a charge of violent physical assault and/or emotional distress from one A. Goggans.

I’m not out of the woods yet, though. It took the Orange County (California) sheriff’s department a good three weeks to call and inform me that Ashton Goggans wanted to bring the full weight of the law down upon me after I leapt across a reclaimed wood coffee table in his general direction.

It’s delicious irony, I suppose, that Orlando is also in an Orange County.

Well, I’ll be ready for a stern knock on the door or phalanx of men in blue visiting the Orange County Convention Center for day two of Surf Expo where I will be giving an important talk on media alongside David Lee.

And speaking of the full weight of the law plus Florida, did you know there are beaches here where surfing is outlawed? It’s true but a recent ruling suggests that those bans are illegal and let’s turn to the South Florida Sun Sentinel for more.

Surfers who dare to catch waves off Hallandale Beach are breaking a town law that bans the sport.

But the ban itself may be illegal, experts say.

A landmark ruling handed down 48 years ago prohibits cities from outlawing surfing.

“That could be taken to court,” said Tom Warnke, executive director of the Surfing Florida Museum in West Palm Beach. “The [Florida] Supreme Court ruled you could regulate it, but you can’t ban it.”

Hallandale’s ban has been on the books for at least a decade.

Back in 1964, the town of Palm Beach banned surfing. Soon Riviera Beach and Palm Beach Shores outlawed the sport too.

The Florida Supreme Court struck down those bans in 1970, citing them as arbitrary and unreasonable.

Bob Jarvis, a law professor at Nova Southeastern University, says the legal precedent regarding a ban on surfing is clear.

“A city can ban surfing in an area where it might be dangerous because of rocks or ships coming out or where they might be colliding with swimmers,” Jarvis said. “But you can’t do a blanket ban.”

Jarvis said Hallandale is likely not the only city to run afoul of a landmark case.

“This happens all the time,” he said. “Think of how many ordinances a town has. And a lot of ordinances are on the books and never get enforced.”

Hallandale Beach has not cited anyone for violating its ban, city officials say. And if the lifeguard gives them a verbal warning, most people comply.

Let freedom ring.