Nat Young in 1968, "the most influential surfer in the second half of the 20th century," says historian Matt Warshaw.

Longtom vs Nat Young: Can “Surfer-Consciousness” save the world? The case for and against!

It's hectic. Coral reefs getting bleached, societal collapse within a generation, Wozzle selling the message that planetary salvation can be achieved via surf comps in pools and air travel.

How do you like your eco-anxiety? Seriously.

No factor or are you starting to feel a little hot under the collar with the predictions of imminent collapse?

It’s hectic. Coral reefs getting bleached, societal collapse within a generation, Wozzle selling the message that planetary salvation can be achieved via surf comps in pools and air travel. If the Pixies were correct, which they may well be, we’re all gonna get buried by ten million pounds of sludge from New York and New Jersey.

I have no solution. My fabulous murfer pal from Byron Bay is fond of saying: eat pussy, not animals. That sounds as good as anything, with science behind it.

It’s hectic. Coral reefs getting bleached, societal collapse within a generation, Wozzle selling the message that planetary salvation can be achieved via surf comps in pools and air travel. If the Pixies were correct, which they may well be, we’re all gonna get buried by ten million pounds of sludge from New York and New Jersey.

Whatever your views on Nat Young, he can’t be dismissed as a puppet, part of a global green conspiracy or be indicted for child abuse. His thoughts are his own and he reckons that this thing he calls “surfer-consciousness” can help save the planet, or it’s human inhabitants at least, from environmental catastrophe.

I disagree.

I called Nat at his Angourie home to find out how surfer-consciousness could save the World. Me, parked up in front of Lennox skate park while boyo and his pal had a shred. Nat, 74 and daily surfer, fielded my line of slightly combative questioning with good grace, revealing, I think, flaws in both of our thinking.

A little firewood at the end to throw onto the Miki Dora bonfire.

LT: You’ve consistently said more surfers in the world will make the world a better place. Do you really believe that?

NY: Yes. I do. The essence of it is the older you get the less you need. It’s a matter of what you need to keep yourself sane and surfing. Soon as I came to terms with the fact that I’m older I really don’t feel any animosity or aggression towards people to surf with them. It’s my problem if I get over-excited and get too over the top with people. It’s 2019, not 1964.

LT:Sure, but what about this issue of over-crowding and aggression, isn’t that just a pure function of numbers in the water?

NY: For sure, but I’d rather do it that way and give away a wave. If someone is padding beside me I just say “go!”, they obviously really need it. I’d like it, but I’ve had so many waves in my life, it’s not critical. It feels really good to give away a wave. I prefer to think of surfing as a tribe, which means as a tribe we have to look out for each other. I mean I’d rather have people doing this than being bikies (laughs)…

LT: Well….What about the kiddies, how do they find enough waves to learn on, if spots are all packed out?

NY: I don’t have the answer to that. The problem is we were all lucky enough to have it before everyone else did. That doesn’t mean we should keep the cards close to our chest and go “My wave” or you can just go “Hey man, go!” and I bet if you do that, you’ll get one pretty soon. The alternative is really ugly. So, in the future does this mean maybe one day Lennox will have its own wave pool and Byron will have two or three and Ballina will have one?

LT: I hope not.

NY: It’s the same as skate ramps. We need more good quality skate ramps.

LT: I don’t agree. I think that analogy is flawed. Once the council builds it and the build cost is accounted for that facility is then free for anyone to use, whenever they want, whoever you are. Whereas a wavepool you’ve got a huge running cost with water and electricity which are the two scarcest environmental commodities and then you have to pay. You have to pay, per wave, or per hour, whatever.

NY: I know, one would think that at some stage if it’s our taxpayer dollars actually creating the pool, then possibly it would be more similar to a swimming pool. You have x amount of people in and you pay a nominal charge just to keep the pumps going.

LT: That’s a best case scenario. But anyway, tell me about this thing called surfer-consciousness.

NY: Well my wife doesn’t surf as such, but she’s certainly surfing conscious. What I’m talking about are all the associated people that are not surfers but they understand and think like a surfer and they understand exactly what we’re going through. You don’t need to surf . You understand all the very basics, like this climate change we are going through and I don’t believe there’s ever been a surfer of conviction who’s put plastic in the ocean. What the fuck, we’d never do that. In places like Indonesia and India, they don’t have surfer-consciousness.

LT: OK, but when you say this surfer-consciousness leads to a lighter footprint on the Earth. We’re flying overseas to chase waves, we’ve got twenty boards, we’re driving cars to the beach. Aren’t we some of the worst?

NY: Well, no. I don’t think so. I was just talking about plastics and I know surfboards aren’t biodegradeable, but I don’t think there is any way you can get around it. There’s gotta be some slack. We’re not conscious polluters. We don’t shit in our own nest. We do indirectly pollute.

The worst thing about Kelly’s pool was this guy called Raimana who’s on the jetski and he’s yelling at ya, “Get down Nat, get down!” and I’m just standing there going what the fuck for?, why would I get down? I can’t even see the tube. Usually the tube is ahead of you. So I didn’t get down and just got hit by a brick in the back of the neck. The wave comes from behind. I went back and got ten or fifteen more waves and everytime Raimana said get down, I got down I tell ya.

LT: Don’t we have a very heavy footprint though, we tread heavily on the Earth.

NY: I don’t think as heavily as a lot of other sectors of society. I mean there’s so much compromise involved in living in this day and age. It’s tricky, but at least surfers are conscious of it. They try not to pollute, they do their best. They still have to fly overseas to try and find their perfect wave.

LT: On that note, if the wavepools do take off, guzzling electricity and water, we’ve lost all claim to be any kind of environmental stewards then, surely?

NY: It doesn’t necessarily have to be like that, I think those are details. What about if it could be run on saltwater, using solar power to create the energy that creates the waves. I think all of these details will be worked out down the track. I had a really interesting experience at Kelly Slater’s wavepool in Lemoore. I don’t think it was anything like a real wave, but it sure was a nice thing to do. The worst thing about it was this guy called Raimana who’s on the jetski and he’s yelling at ya, “Get down Nat, get down!” and I’m just standing there going what the fuck for?, why would I get down? I can’t even see the tube. Usually the tube is ahead of you. So I didn’t get down and just got hit by a brick in the back of the neck. The wave comes from behind. I went back and got ten or fifteen more waves and everytime Raimana said get down, I got down I tell ya.

LT: After you’d ridden ten to fifteen waves did you get that full body stoke like you get from a good days surfing in the ocean?

NY: Oh no. No, no. Firstly, it’s icy cold water. I could have stayed out there for another one or two but they just turned everything off and said “That’s it, you guys have had your go.” It’s a really good experience, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. It’s nothing like going to Indonesia and the Mentawais. It’s just different. It’s a pool!

I don’t really watch any of the surfing contests at all. I find it repetitious and boring. I wrote a big letter to the lady who runs the whole act and just told her there were a lot of things they’ve got totally wrong and I gave her my suggestions. I’m sure they just threw it in the bin, but we’ll see what happens.

LT: Did you watch any of the pool comp?

NY: I don’t really watch any of the surfing contests at all. I find it repetitious and boring. I wrote a big letter to the lady who runs the whole act and just told her there were a lot of things they’ve got totally wrong and I gave her my suggestions. I’m sure they just threw it in the bin, but we’ll see what happens.

LT: Relating to the wavepool or generally speaking?

NY: I think they’ve created a bit of a monster that’s really not a very good reflection of where surfing is. Everyone’s got a mild interest in watching a wave being ridden by quality surfers but do we care about who wins the contest thing in the wavepool? I found the Teahupoo comp really good to watch mostly because I’ve been there and it’s a terrifying wave. If you have a fear factor that’s good. It’s good for everybody to be terrified of that. To watch people conquering fear is essentially seeing one of of the elements of surfing. That’s what we do. I think they sell it really short. You watch what a joke it’s going to be at this next Olympics.

LT: It seems bizarre they can’t craft this sport into something that all surfers can take ownership of and love even if they don’t compete themselves; they don’t seem to be able to figure that out.

NY: I don’t think they’ll ever do that because competition is a complete contradiction. What we talking about is self expression in a liquid medium that has these animals that are trying to attack you. There are so many things that make it not a sport. You’re never going to be able to judge one surfer against another. It’s a shitty sport.

LT: You have a chapter about Miki Dora in the new book. Enduring reaction to Miki seems equal parts fascination and repulsion. In a New York Times story he was painted as an out and out racist. What’s your take on that?

NY: Well, he was racist. Especially when he was living in South Africa. He was always a bit like that.

LT: You don’t think it was just him pushing buttons?

NY:I know he wasn’t. And he may have said racist things but he was a long way from white supremacy. He was a master player. To me, he was a really good friend.

LT: You think we shouldn’t judge him by todays standards?

NY: He was a man of his time. I think he was someone that really suffered at the hands of living and growing up in LA, in Brentwood. He hated Hollywood, he really did. And he did everything he could to fuck it up. But he also loved it. Loved the hell out of it.

LT:Do you see a time in the future when environmental considerations become more stringent and surfers might be only allowed to own two boards and take one overseas trip per year?

NY: There’ll be a lot of other things happen before that.

LT: Yeah, hopefully it won’t be in my lifetime.

NY: I do spend a lot of time thinking about my grandchildren and my grandchildren’s grandchildren. They’re being bred into this tribe of surfers, are they still going to be able to be surfers in a hundred years time?

LT: What do you think?

NY: I don’t know. If I think about it enough I can get pretty depressed. Because of the state of the world. But then Tom Blake believed that we (surfers) were the chosen race so if we get pushed to the point where we have to really unite as a surfing tribe then maybe we can have our own space where we can really make some changes for us.

LT: Optimistic.

Buy Nat Young’s new book Church of the Open Sky here.


Ex-ASP Judge to Dirk Ziff: “How long can your WSL survive a constant barrage of criticism from the surfing world that you set out to conquer?

Thank you sir, may I have another etc.

The World Surf League remains under fire. Well-aimed salvos shot daily from all angles at the Santa Monica bunker.

A loyal army of entrenched BeachGrit snipers and artillerymen are among those leading the bombardment of dissatisfaction. Encouraged by Rielly and Smith, with stirrings from well-versed Longtom and his WWII Russian expertise, the Resistance grows stronger to the WSL’s ignore-the-core brand of pro surfing.

Some questions for you Commander Ziff, if I may be so bold.

How long can your WSL survive a constant barrage of criticism from all corners of the surfing world that you set out to conquer?

Are you growing concerned that your huge war chest is becoming noticeably more depleted? As El Supremo will you be waving a white flag soon?

Or do you expect the tide of fortune to turn when your elite guard is called to action on France’s historic shores of battle this week?

Meanwhile, the touring grunts on your Qualifying Series have been engaged in serious fighting on other European fronts. Credit to you Dirk and the WSL where it is due. The QS events this autumn have been a refreshing distraction to listen to and watch while the cannonade of your Championship Tour continues.

Decent swells, drama-filled heats, plenty of new faces and excellent surfing have made QS viewing a more attractive theater of surf war.

So, also, has a relaxed international commentary team. Brit wit Paul Evans and South African anchor Gigs Cilliers have called the shots in a more refrained style, kind of like Test cricket commentators do.

Please take note Dirk.

They let the live action largely do the talking, then add well-phrased observations when analyzing the replays, while all the time keeping us informed with changing sea conditions, useful stats and situations as they develop on the scoreboard. Compared to your more censored and monotonously repetitive over-cooked CT commentary, the presentation of these QS events makes for easier and better tuned-in listening.

This more laid-back style is also bringing out the best of hardened stalwarts like Peter Mel. The liberated Santa Cruz charger has found a good niche on the 10,000 series, sharing his knowledge of equipment while drawing on past experiences from years competing on the QS grind.

Australians Ben Mondy and Chris Binns are both reliable hacks. The two Aussie freelancers have proven themselves adept at roaming outdoors with a mic for background color, even climbing steep stairs and cliffs to get decent interviews.

Meanwhile Dirk, your CT continues to cop a pounding for its bland presentation and wearisome format. We love and appreciate that your webcasts are free of charge, thank you.

But, why persist in trying to entertain us with world title contests that take too long to complete with a surplus of competitors wasting time in meaningless rounds?  Was the format designed by some of the CT surfers with strong positions on the Board who wanted to prolong their careers and chances of winning each comp?

Perhaps you and your WSL decision makers could look more closely at your QS events and see how well they are being presented. Maybe you might surprise us next year (if you haven’t surrendered by then) by doing something really radical, like ditching the entire WCT!

This would save you money while also making the world title race more meaningful and captivating. As a suggestion, all you’d have to do is simply merge the WCT with the QT’s existing 10,000 series.

Think about it Dirk, in the first week of competition we’d see 112 QS surfers competing in four-man heats, until whittled down to a field of 24, like proven Trials events from previous years. The second week, another swell, you bring on the WCT’s top 20, plus your four injury and wild card surfers. So now you have 24 of the world’s best taking on the 24 QS surfers. A dozen four-man heats with first and second progressing leaves us with 24. Four-man heats are more exciting to watch, if you haven’t noticed already. There is double the action and very little goes to waste. These remaining 24 combatants then contest eight three man heats, with first and second still progressing, until 16 surfers remain, same as the current QS format.

Then, man-on-man competition until the winner is proclaimed. That’s two weeks to run an entire comp.

Do that at ten of the best locations and there’s your new world champion from a more interesting field.

Not only would this merged format mean less of your money being spent, it would also revitalize the world title race. Fans would get to see more passionate young surfers taking on the world’s top 20. Emerging young guns we have just witnessed this campaign in Europe, like Brazil’s Sam Pupo, South Africa’s Matthew McGillivray and Adin Masencamp, Aussies Chris Zaffis, Morgan Cibilic, Jacob Willcox, USA’s Jake Marshall and Hawaii’s Josh Moniz, to name a few, all deserve a faster route to earn more money and pit themselves against the elite.

As for the women’s tour, cast them adrift I say, but in a nice way.

Hand that tour over to your wife. Let Natasha, Sophie and their friends take control of the women’s tour and see what they can really do with it. Let the women compete at different locations in waves that suit them better, with equal pay, new sponsors and all.

(Editor’s note: Wayne Murphy is a former ASP judge from Western Australia. He is the co-author of Ian Cairns’ epic 340,000 word, two-volume biography, Kanga: The Trial and Triumphs of Ian Cairns. Wayne now lives in Ireland. “That fierce southern sun with its baking heat would have killed me if I stayed living in West Oz any longer,” he told Tracks magazine in 2014.)


Rhode Islander (pictured) fighting off "man-eating" Great White.

Unprecedented: For first time in recorded history “man-eating” Great White sharks head to Rhode Island!

Hell is on the move.

Oh and you thought it was over. I thought it was over too, quite frankly, but the current Great White shark apocalypse appears to just be getting underway. Terror everywhere. Terror in my once agrestic North County, San Diego. Terror in Cape Cod. Terror in Florida, New Zealand, Antartica and for the first time in recorded history terror in Rhode Island.

Did you even know that Rhode Island was part of the United States of America? Were you even aware of its existence?

You should have been.

Sid “The Package” Abruzzi hails from Rhode Island and founded the world’s most core surf shop/brand Water Brothers there so many years ago and if you unaware of Sid then shame on you. He looks and talks exactly like Robert DeNiro yet surfs.

But now he has to worry about Great Whites. Man-eating Great Whites but don’t take my alarmist word for it. Let us turn to Rhode Island’s NBC affiliate 10 at 10 for more.

The Atlantic Shark Institute confirmed the first detection of great white sharks in Rhode Island waters on Tuesday.

The institute used acoustic receivers to record pings from two sharks that swam in Ocean State waters in July.

An 11-foot male shark was confirmed to have swum near the Block Island Wind Farm this July, according to the Atlantic Shark Institute. A second 12-foot female shark visited the Southwest Ledge off Block Island the institute reported.

The sharks had been tagged in the water off Cape Cod said the release.

The institute says they employ about a dozen receivers that could pick up the shark’s coded pings from several thousand feet away.

The Atlantic Shark Institute teamed up with the RI Department of Environmental Management to use this method of recording.

“This is the first confirmation of white sharks in RI using this technology and we couldn’t be happier,” said Jon Dodd, the Chairman of the Atlantic Shark Institute. “We expect that this will be the first of many critical shark findings in the partnership between the Atlantic Shark Institute and the DEM.”

Are you kidding me, Jon Dodd? You Could’t be happier?

Well hell hath come to your doorstep and seeing that Rhode Island’s entire population numbers 59 souls, hell can eat the entire male* portion. The entire male portion save Sid Abruzzi who eats Great Whites for breakfast after he gets done terrorizing Juliette Lewis and Nick Nolte.

Re. Juliette Lewis, very quickly, I once knew a man who was married to her. They got divorced without any children but I don’t think it was contentious and that’s all I have to say about that.

But where will “man-eating” Great Whites turn up next? Which unsullied burgh will they pollute?

More as the story develops.

*Male population only because it has been scientifically proven that “man-eating” Great Whites hate the taste of women.


NFL broadcaster attempts to erect Wall of Positive Noise; Livid fans explode in violent protest!

Not everyone as gifted as Joe Turpel.

So there I was having just run a quick lunch errand, nibbling on a piece of bbq chicken pizza, drinking a cold pinot gris and scouting the news when I stumbled across a Sports Illustrated headline declaring that National Football League broadcaster Anthony “Booger” McFarland  had a “rough night in the booth” yesterday and that the ensuing extreme fan outcry was completely deserved because his offense was “very egregious.’

“Oooooh….” I thought between sips, visions of Miki Dora dancing in my head, “……racist. An NFL broadcaster uttered something racist or maybe sexist.” And I licked the bbq sauce off my lips ready for extreme moral outrage.

The story did not disappoint. Fans were apoplectic, furious, filled with rage and delivering violent, toxic barbs in comment boards, through Twitter, in text to each other but there was nothing racist, sexist, ageist or even handicappist at all.

It was worse.

Booger McFarland attempted to erect the World Surf League’s Wall of Positive Noise and let’s go straight to the source for more.

It’s usually not fair to pick out one thing a broadcaster says during a three-hour plus game and criticize him for it, unless it’s very egregious.

Booger McFarland got egregious last night. For some reason, McFarland thought it was a good time to heap praise on the Bengals were they were getting blown out by the Steelers in a loss that would move them to 0-4.

The Monday Night Football analyst had nothing but positive thoughts about Cincinnati head coach, Zac Taylor. McFarland also kept comparing the Bengals to the Rams since Taylor was their quarterbacks coach last season.

While sports fans can be overly critical of broadcasters, it really doesn’t sit well with them when you’re spin is just bizarre and non-sensical. Naturally, Twitter noticed and had a lot to say about McFarland.

On and on it went showcasing those lots of things to say and it was harsh.

Very harsh.

Every other sport outlet picked the story up too and now dump trucks filled with rage are being backed up and emptied on Booger McFarland.

Imagine if these fans, the same that ex-WSL CEO Herr Paul Speaker and current WSL CEO Obergruppenführer Sophie Goldschmidt are hoping to bring into professional surfing, listened to Joe Turpel while watching Willian Cardoso? Imagine if they knew the singular glories of the ’89 World Champ Martin Potter.

Peter Mel.

Just imagine.

And does it frustrate you that professional surf fans are more compliant, more listless, less discerning than American football fans?

It does me.

Also, I know that we are technically in a ceasefire with the World Surf League but…

…Derek is an Israeli at heart and I’m a li’l Arab.

Ceasefires are metaphorical.


Revealed: The meaning behind Kelly Slater’s mysteriously named OuterKnown!

Hint: Hawaiians use it for measurement.

Kelly Slater’s OuterKnown was unveiled to much fanfare nearly five years when the World’s Most Recognized Surfer ditched Quiksilver in its time of need in order to realize his fashion dream. Quiksilver, as you recall, was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, struggling with high overhead in the rapidly changing market etc. The brand had sponsored Kelly for two decades and I’m sure employee morale soared when the 11 time World Champ slammed the door on the way out.

So long, old friends and wish me luck!

OuterKnown. It was sleek, grown up, offered at a higher price point and best of all sustainable.

Sustainable.

Oh the word has lost a bit of its sheen through bald-faced marketing grabs and unabashed hypocrisy but back then it meant something. The mysterious name was “OuterKnown.”

What did it signify? What did it refer to? The furthest known point on the horizon? A seismic event?

I wondered until this very moment when I stumbled upon a story about OuterKnown’s collaboration with Swiss luxury watch maker Breitling. The watch, which comes with a sustainable band, was tested recently at Kelly Slater’s sustainable Surf Ranch. A wonderland where human ingenuity figured out how to recreate the ocean’s waves using a large machine. And let us turn to the luxury magazine Robb Report for more:

Breitling unveiled a new Superocean Automatic 44 Outerknown dive watch last week in its natural habitat. The watch was tested at the Wave Company Surf Ranch owned by surf champ Kelly Slater, a member of Breitling’s “surfer squad” of ambassadors. The ranch, located near Lemoor, California, just south of Fresno, offers perfect surfing conditions… 100 miles inland.

Outerknown is surfer slang for the other, unseen side of a wave. It is also the name a company owned by Slater that makes sustainable clothing—over 90 percent of Outerknown’s products are made from organic, recycled or regenerated materials.

And did you catch that? Outerknown is surfer slang for the other, unseen side of the wave. I honestly had no idea and that’s one of the true glorious about this surfing life. We’re all students, constantly learning.