Brave new world: All female crew storms Uppers, disjointing the toxic male patriarchy!

I just witnessed the surfing version of Lysistrata and it was amazing!

2019 (ish) has been a good year for women’s surfing. The WSL standardized prize money for equality. Keala Kennelly got a good case of Athletes Mouth and then mobilized a team of minions to go after any naysayers who called her on her mistake in the name of social justice. Caroline Marks became the youngest surfer to ever qualify for the world tour. Bethany Hamilton did better air reverses in a single session BSR as a thirty-something mother of two with one arm than most of our male readership have done in their life, myself included.

Women’s surfing is amazing.

I was able to witness this level of empowerment with my own two eyes last Sunday evening at Uppers. A crowd of women, ages ranging from 20ish-40ish, descended onto the already crowded golden-hour uppers with mid-lengths and longboards and proceeded to trample the ego and bravado of about thirty puffy-chested men who, until that point, had thought they ruled the peak.

Like a majestic pride of hunting lionesses, I watched these women overtake the point. They blocked for one another, sat deeper, faded more gracefully, and did more critical maneuvers than the men on their long and alternate craft. The level of surfing by these ladies on atypical Uppers equipment in the chest high/onshore conditions far surpassed what I had seen while in the lineup from my like-gendered brethren. The crowd of men did not know how to respond or counteract the female dominance in the line-up and eventually, one-by-one men began to paddle in.

I just witnessed the surfing version of Lysistrata and it was amazing.

Even so, I see a lot of vitriol in the comment sections on many a surf Instagram page throwing shade on women’s surfing. I wonder, however, if those men throwing the proverbial shade are doing so from a metaphorical umbrella of their own. Why are you mad at women’s surfing? Because they surf better than you? You can’t back paddle a girl? They didn’t throw three thousand boring ass air-reverses in a single heat? Probably and you should probably shut up about it.

No matter how many times we call a hack a “man turn” it will always be an inherently feminine dance we do on the water. I will argue that for the perpetual intermediate male- surfings everyman, that the Women’s CT is FAR more relatable and aspirational from a day-to-day surfing perspective than the Men’s CT. I can learn far more that I can apply to my own surfing by watching Steph do a steezy wrap than by watching John do an explosive ally-oop (especially considering that despite my best efforts, at most, I have never been more than a foot above the lip intentionally and unassisted by a Grinch).

Hate on women’s surfing all you want, it still won’t discount the fact that: Steph’s Keramas 10 could have won a Men’s final, Caroline Marks at 17 will surf circles around you if given the opportunity, Alana Blanchard earns more than her baby-daddy Jack Freestone, the Women’s tour is dramatic with last-minute lead changes and friendly rivalries than the Men’s CT, and Maya Gabiera and Paige Alms have more metaphorical balls in big waves than you do actual balls in your shorts.

People say the future is female but it’s pretty evident that women’s surfing is at its historical peak right today and we should all stop and enjoy the show.

Also, as a side note, I would like to formally apologize to my wife who has been on the receiving end of far too many “you go girls” and “Yassss Queens” than was necessary since I witnessed the female storming of Uppers.

Breaking: Famous actor Liam Hemsworth “strips out of wetsuit after a surf session!”

Drop everything.

There are many wonderful parts of the surfing experience but none the world’s paparazzi loves more than the famous actor or actress de-wetsuiting in public. Yesterday it was Australian Liam Hemsworth who stars in the Hunger Games franchise and is married to Miley Cyrus and let’s not waste anymore time here. Let’s turn straight to celebrity gossip website Just Jared for up to the second information.

Liam Hemsworth puts his hot body on display while stripping out of his wetsuit following a surf session on Thursday (June 6) in Malibu, Calif.

The 29-year-old actor parked his car on the Pacific Coast Highway while riding the waves and he stripped out of his wetsuit on the road.

Mmmmmmmm. Very nice. Good form etc.

And how do you take your wetsuit off in public? Do you stand in a large Tupperware box that ensures your wetsuit stays dirt and gravel free? Do you sometimes hurt your neck wedging the batwing feature over your head? Does a hand or foot every get stuck? Do you strip halfway then drive home and get in the shower or strip all the way and get dressed into your work clothes?

Towel or poncho?

I believe I’ve shared this story before but when I first met Derek Rielly in Australia, very many years ago, he and then partner at Stab Sam McIntosh picked me up at the airport and took me surfing. It was a fine early fall day and we wore 3/2s in order to cut the slight chill. Afterward Derek stripped out of his wetsuit using no towel and stood naked in the car park (what Australians call parking lots). I thought, “That’s how they must do it here.” Over the ensuing week I realized Derek was the only one who did it that way but it did make great sense.

Why should we be ashamed of our pieces?

If you were a famous actor or actress would you give the paparazzi a worthy show or cower like an ultra-orthodox rabbi?

Ask Doctor Jen: The advice column that we don’t deserve but get anyway because our Jen loves creeps!

Your life made better!

Advice columns are the beating heart of print media or at least used to be. The place where the experts crashed into the people, giving their very fine opinions on all manner of whatnot. And where would we be without Dr. Ruth, Dear Abby, Ann Flanders? I’ll tell you where. In a world of hurt. Leaving the toilet seat up (or down… I can never recall proper toilet seat etiquette). Burying our cremated parents in pet cemeteries for inappropriate laughs.

Doing lame things.

Well, times change and The People™ now rule or alt least rule here but you don’t think we still need advice from experts? We do and desperately. Oh not me, Derek or Longtom. We’re all dipshits (sorry Longtom) but can I tell you a little something that is probably a secret and maybe was supposed to be kept that way?

Jen See, the byline you see above some our best stories, is an honest to goodness doctor. She has a PhD in….. history I think but is honestly, truly, really Doctor Jen See. She’s smart, proper smart, and willing to help you navigate your life.

What help do you need?

What therapy do you crave?

What are you curious about?

Nothing is off limits. Dr. Jen is here to help and and all you need to do is ask. Toss a question into the comments, she will pluck the best (worst) and use her mighty brain to solve.

You’re welcome.

Who does this wave belong to? Which is paddling first?

Epidemic: “I was paddling first” disease spreading like wildfire through VAL population!

Are there any doctors out there? Help! 

There is much talk of disease, epidemics and pandemics in the United States of America with almost vanquished measles, mumps, etc. making a comeback. The rabidly fearful blame an anti-vaccination movement but since when did getting sick become such a horrible thing? Aren’t our immune systems there to beat away the naughties? I mean, I understand being all freaked out about polio but measles? Chickenpox?

Well, let’s not turn this into a vax vs. anti-vax debate because there’s an even more deadly plague raging through the VAL population. One that if we don’t stamp out today will destroy us all.

“I was paddling first” disease.

I’ve seen the symptoms in the wild more in the last week than I have in my three decades in the water. A few days ago, for example, I was out enjoying a little run of swell. The lineup was uncrowded, featuring only a woman riding a Lost Puddle Jumper and three college-aged VALs on softtops. A wave came, breaking left. The woman was inside but all three VALs paddled anyway. One of them caught it and was hollered off. As he made his way back out I heard him loudly remark to his friends, “I don’t know why she yelled at me. I was paddling first.”

It was more than I could take and growled, “She was inside you damn kook.” He tried to argue his point, that he paddled first and I told him to shut his mouth, which he did, but that wasn’t the proper response. I fear I rammed the disease further down his throat and now he’ll begin paddling even earlier in order to avoid being in the wrong.

Is there a cure? A vaccine? A proper way to address or is the only solution a mass culling?

Are there any doctors out there? Help!

The lady and the tramp! As the century-old saying goes, "use a picture, it's worth a thousand words." | Photo: Justin Jay

Crowdfund: Justin Jay’s Magnificent Decade-in-the-making North Shore Tome!

Help breathe life into a piece of surf history…

Always a good to help a brother out, wouldn’t y’say?

Of all the cameras and phones floating around the North Shore each season, it’s only the photographic reportage of Steve Sherman and Justin Jay that, well, how do you say it…sing.

Justin is photographer from New York city’s Lower East Side, a master portraitist who works with a Nikon film camera, an ancient manual-focus 35mm prime affixed to the beak.

Jay takes his work extremely seriously. Every year when he flies to the North Shore to independently cover the contest season, he carries a box of prints in his backpack to give to surfers he’s previously shot.

“I think it’s the right thing to do,” says Jay, who has previously shot Jay Z, Outkast and P Diddy. “A picture does take a little bit of your soul in a sense, it’s why famous people wear sunglasses all the time. So if you take someone’s photo, you need to give something back, you have to make sure they get a print. Everyone has a fucking iPhone and no one has any physical prints any more. When you give someone a print from a year ago, they feel amazing.”

Justin’s approach is simple enough.

“Whether I’m shooting Diddy or Jay-Z or Kelly or Joel I put myself in the eyes of a 13-year-old fan,” he says. “What would they like to see? There’s plenty of photos of Dane and Kelly ripping, but that’s not my game. I want to see the surfers before and after they surf, getting in fist fights, partying, eating breakfast.”

He calls himself the Switzerland of photographers because he has no allegiance to a magazine or company.

My favourite shot of Jay’s, maybe of all time, is this image of Dane Reynolds, excluded from a Bruce Irons make-out session at a North Shore party.

Justin says his game works ’cause he’s an outsider, because hasn’t been in the industry for so long that his eyes cloud over the minutiae of this awesome multi-generational gathering of the world’s best surfers.

After ten years, Jay is finally going to sling it all into a fine hard-cover book.

As he says, “my style of stuff lends itself to ageing. These are historical shots, rather than standard portraits. Plus, going back each year is like going to summer camp or winter camp, in this case, all the same faces, this great fraternity.”

Like a lot of hot shots, he ain’t doing it through the usual publishing route. Hence the Kickstart he’s chasing.

Jay needs 22k (Australian dollars) to make it happen.

There’s some good incentives to kick in.

Eighty five bucks and you get a book and a signed print.

Five gees US and you’ll “Receive a signed copy of HI 1K, a signed 16X20 print of their choice from the book, and a round trip plane ticket to the North Shore during the Pipe Masters event in Dec 2019. Spend an afternoon on a private tour of the North Shore as Justin Jay goes behind the scenes to visit team houses and deliver gift copies of HI 1K to some of the athletes featured in the book. Afterward, enjoy a complimentary meal at the legendary Breakers Restaurant.”

Buy in here.