Redemption: Team USA’s new coach calls Steamer Lane “one of the most high-performance waves in the world!”

Is Santa Cruz back? Is that too much to hope for?

Santa Cruz lost the title Surf City, USA to Huntington Beach in 2004 and seemed to lose its mojo along with it. Meth descended upon the once proud town, eroding locals’ features and pride. Sadness reigned. The surf world turned its back.

And really how rude. Santa Cruz is the place where Peruvians first taught mainlanders their wave dancing. What a history. What a gift to cherish but meth etc. and it seemed as if it was just easier to forget. To pretend those brave Peruvians went to Huntington Beach instead.

Not even native son Nat Young’s exciting World Surf League campaigns (2013) were enough to break the spell and hope was all but lost.

Until Jan 1. 2019 and is Santa Cruz’s frown finally turning upside down?

If Surfline is any indication of anything (and it usually isn’t) then yes! Let’s turn there now and read about the just finished Prime Series at the very famous Steamer Lane.

Santa Cruz native and USA Surfing’s 2020 Olympic coach Chris Gallagher Stone — Gally — called Steamer Lane “one of the most high-performance waves in the world.”

“It is so rare for a powerful reef wave to be that close to shore,” he said. “The gnarly conditions require surfers to decipher the lineup and harness the waves’ power and rawness. The winning waves have a very specific look and can be hard to find without experience. Victors at the Lane need a combination of skill, guts, fitness, knowledge, great equipment and some luck to put it all together. Congrats to all the winners and finalists. You earned it.”

I haven’t read Steamer Lane described so effusively since 2004.

Is Santa Cruz back? Is that too much to hope for? I’m tired of Huntington Beach.

Longevity: World’s most famous surfer-songwriter declares, “I want to surf into my eighties!”

"Surfing is my first love!"

The world’s most famous surfer-songwriter is Jack Johnson and we all know this. Oh sure there are many songwriters who surf and many surfers who write songs but only one has risen to the very heights in both and that is Jack Johnson. He grew up on the North Shore, was basically part of the Momentum Generation, and I think could have competed and/or did compete. His dreams of pro surfing fame to maybe the level of Ross Williams were brought down, though, by his skills with an acoustic guitar but…

Yes? I see your hand waving there in the back. Do you have something you’d like to say?

DJ Paul Fisher is the current most famous surfer-songerwriter around?

Well, that’s a bold claim and I think maybe a touch enthusiastic. Let’s give him a couple decades before re-visiting. Ok?

And back to Jack Johnson. He was recently interviewed by the once great Rolling Stone and let slip that he loves surfing more than his chosen career. Here, I’ll show you:

Willie released two albums in 2018, in his eighties. Do you hope to be doing the same 40 years down the road?

Yes and no. It is inspiring, but whether or not I’ll still be doing it, I kind of look at my dad who was the same thing as Willie, but with surfing. Surfing is my first love and I hope to still be surfing at that point and maybe not touring. But I love that Willie does it. And maybe still be making records. That would be nice.

So there we are and I have a few further questions for you.

When you see an extremely old man or woman in the lineup is your immediate reaction, “Good for you!” or “Get the hell lost. You’ve had yours. Now it’s time for mine.”

Is there a particular age you have in mind when plan on hanging it up?

Do you sometimes think, “I should have become a pro surfer instead of becoming a _________ (fill in the blank with your profession).”

Tokyo 2020: U.S. Surfing facing “a bleaker situation” hires new head coach!

"The United States Olympic Committee is concerned. They want medals and preferably gold."

2020 will be here before we all know it, bringing with it the Olympic Games and surfing’s first ever appearance. Australia is turning its proud eyes toward Bede “The White Fijian” Durbidge to train up their Julian Wilsons and Noa Deanes for silver. Brazil has some fabulous head surf coach, for certain, but won’t need him or her as Gabriel Medina, Filipe Toledo and Italo Ferrari will be prohibitive favorites to split the gold. China has one of the greatest Australians to ever get elbowed in the face (Pete Townend) and South Africa has Michael February.

But what about the United States of America?

Well, U.S. Surfing did have Joey Buran up until basically yesterday but swapped him for a new coach in the face of “a bleaker situation” and let’s turn to the Santa Cruz Sentinel for more:

USA Surfing on Jan. 1 named Chris Gallagher Stone its head coach and the man in charge of ensuring U.S. surfers bring home some medals from Tsurigasaki Beach, the surf venue for the 2020 Games. In addition to his new duties, Gallagher Stone will continue to work as the organization’s elite technical coach.

Gallagher Stone, who grew up in Santa Cruz, will replace Joey Buran at the position. Buran, a former Pipeline Masters champion, had been with USA Surfing since it formed in June 2017 and was named head coach in May 2018. He resigned in December to commit more time to his family and his job as senior pastor of Orange County’s Worship Generation church, according to an email he sent to Team USA members last month.

Gallagher Stone has plenty of work ahead of him, however. The U.S. Olympic Committee has made it clear it expects medals in the fledgling sport. Yet, while the women are in good position to finish on the podium — Lakey Peterson of Santa Barbara and Carissa Moore of Hawaii are currently ranked Nos. 2 and 3, respectively — the U.S. men are facing a bleaker situation. As of Monday, the top two Americans on the tour are No. 7 Conner Coffin of Santa Barbara and No. 11 Kolohe Andino of San Clemente.

“The USOC is concerned about that,” Cruse said. “They want medals, and preferably gold.”

Ummmmm yeah, maybe the USOC (United States Olympic Committee) should lower its sights to 5th – 7th place.

Or give Filipe Toledo a green card.

Scholar reveals: “Focussing on experience of vulnerable surfers, quality waves are not evenly distributed.”

Adult learners don't get sets! Who knew?

What a bunch of savages surfers are. Sold to the world as an eco-system of fully realised souls dancing atop mysterious bands of ocean energy, a PHD candidate at The University of Auckland in New Zealand has revealed surfers to be nothing more than dirty animals, each using their “cultural capital” to steal waves off the other.

Shinya Uekusa, who is big on the French anthropologist Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of cultural capital where your colour, your cash and your clothes elevate or demote you in the power structure, writes that if you’re white, male and a good surfer you have your jackboot on the head of all the “vulnerable surfers”.

You’re also guilty of the nauseating crime of cultural appropriation.

“Focusing on the experiences of vulnerable surfers, quality waves are not evenly distributed. However, this pilot study revealed that surfers’ social status in the cultural spaces do not necessarily reflect their ability to catch quality waves, and vulnerable surfers negotiate and resist the power structure. Furthermore, some forms of capital are contextual, and advantages became disadvantages as the context changes, demonstrating the fluid nature of the power dynamics in the water. In using Bourdieu’s theories, this article will suggest a fruitful theory for future surfing research.”

Some excerpts (highlighted passages courtesy of  Real Peer Review).

And so on.

Distilled into a sentence: Kooks don’t get sets.

Where’s my goddamned PHD?

Live from Surf Ranch: Formula One champ Lewis Hamilton shares wave with Kelly Slater!

"I'm coming for you Gabriel Medina!"

British race car driver Lewis Hamilton is one of the world’s most compelling stars. He is handsome, wealthy, popular and just won the second of back to back Formula One championships. So what do you get for the boy who has everything?

But a freezing cold, murkily grey day at Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch in Lemoore, California of course!

The GP Fan website GPFans writes:

Hamilton regularly seeks out other ways to raise his adrenaline when F1 shuts down, having previously shared clips of himself racing motorbikes and other machinery.

However, it spears the Brit might have a new passion after trying out surfing seemingly for the first time recently.

With record-breaking 11-time world surfing champion Kelly Slater as his teacher, Hamilton had a head start on most beginners, and images and a clip shared on the F1 star’s social media would suggest that Hamilton got to grips with it quickly enough.

Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun added:

Donning a wet suit and taking to his board, Hamilton was taught a number of tricks by the American legend, before gliding at ease on his own.

The five-time F1 world champ uploaded a video of himself surfing on a glum and gloomy day in California, showing himself perfectly executing tube riding.

Kelly Slater is teaching the entire world to surf and teaching them to surf in the most unpleasant surroundings ever dreamed. Do you think their personal training will stick or do you think surfing will forever be associated with cow and industrial fog in their minds?

Either way, it’s a win.