Ashton Goggans (pictured) showing a senior editor hopeful the door.
Ashton Goggans (pictured) showing a senior editor hopeful the door.

Found: The lucky man who gets to suckle at the robust teat of surfing’s most influential voice as Stab magazine’s new senior editor!

Sent a one-page cover letter and single page resume to: [email protected]

The world was thrown into a tizzy, days ago, when surfing’s most influential voice, Stab Editor-in-Chief Ashton Goggans was on the lookout for a new senior editor to be his right hand. Resumes flew fast and furious but one stood out and if longtime underground star Nugable is not on his way to Venice-adjacent right now it will be a bigger sham than the Iowa caucus…

The Nike/Hurley sale is perhaps the biggest surf industry story of the last decade. How would you cover it, what stories would you want to read?

Andy Irons was the biggest story in the last decade. Hurley being sold to (*stolen by) a venture capitalist isn’t even close.

You can interview one current A-List surfer. Who do you call and what questions do you ask?

I’d interview Gabe Medina and ask him if Gerry Lopez appeared in a commercial spot with Richard Nixon and Pol Pot instead of appearing in Big Wednesday, would we still love him?

Pick two products from brands that you think would be good fits for Stab’s audience, and give us 150-300 words about each.

I don’t write advertising copy. Sorry.

Grab your two favorite short surf clips from the last year from YouTube or Vimeo, and give us a 300-word write up for a post on our site.

I stopped watching surf clips when Marine Layer Productions died. Instead, I’d make a Tik Tok story about how much I miss Vine and Marine Layer.

Send a one-page cover letter and single page resume to: [email protected]

I sent the last copy of my resume to Big Brother Skateboard Magazine. They haven’t called back yet, but my fingers are crossed.

The look on Ashton Goggan's face (pictured) after reading his new senior editor's work.
The look on Ashton Goggan’s face (pictured) after reading his new senior editor’s work.

Breaking: Alleged ISIS-affiliated extremists go on stabbing spree on island best known for its five-star luxury surf accommodations!

Paradise gone wild.

I have always been very opposed to any “bucket list” but mostly on linguistic and aesthetic grounds as opposed to moral or ethical ones. The word “bucket” both looks and sounds… bad. Also the film starring aging Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman was an unfortunate choice for all involved which, speaking of, the entire genre of aged actor films is rotten. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel etc. Back to bucket lists, though, if I was to have one, the Maldives would be the very top of that list.

Impossibly crystalline water, virginal white sand, a Four Seasons that has a gorgeous wave and hosts a surf contest regularly won by Josh Kerr.

I would very much like to go to the Maldives and with a recent alleged ISIS attack my desire just tripled. Quadrupled even and let’s quickly turn to The Daily Mail for details.

Maldives police have arrested three suspected Islamic extremists over the stabbing of three foreigners in the upmarket tourist destination.

Two Chinese men and an Australian were in a stable condition after being stabbed Tuesday, just two months after security officials warned of the presence of violent radicals inspired by ISIS.

Authorities said they were investigating a video released on social media claiming the attack had been carried out by a local group sympathetic to the terror group.

‘The Maldives police service has arrested three suspects under a court warrant in relation to the stabbing of three foreign nationals,’ police said in a statement.

They were not identified.

Late last year the Maldives arrested a local man described by the United States as a recruiter for ISIS in Syria and Afghanistan.

Thankfully everyone is ok and not to make light of scary situation but imagine winning the “ISIS recruiter: Maldives” gig. There you are in Eastern Syria, not pleasant, or Afghanistan, freezing. Maybe Iraq but not Euphrates-adjacent. Things are bleak. The caliphate’s territory has shrunk to almost nothing, hope is thin but then your boss comes in and says, “Hey, pal. Pack your Kalashnikov and a pair of trunks. You’re headed to the Maldives.”

It would make a fine movie, I think. ISIS recruiter in paradise.

Better than The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Sexy Pottz, foreground, and the late, great, beautiful Brock Little, on roof of car, in early Gotcha ad.

The surf industry paradox: “Surfing, by its very nature, contradicts basic capitalism!”

"Capitalism, on the other hand, absolutely wants to sell you more stuff, is searching for more consumers to sell to and just loves attention." Oh it's a real tug-o-war!

Despite the ruckus in the surf industry, surfing is very much alive and chugging along nicely, thank you, oblivious to most of the drama that surrounds the long-running mismanagement of surfing as an industry.

So why all the bad news?

The Hurley debacle is getting most of the press these days but really it’s been a long slow burn going all the way back to the late-eighties when Quiksilver first took their company public.

Let us try to explain.

Surfing, by its very nature, inherently contradicts basic capitalism.

Surfers, for the most part, don’t need more stuff, don’t want more surfers, don’t care about grabbing attention, etc.

Capitalism, on the other hand, absolutely wants to sell you more stuff, is searching for more consumers to sell to and just loves attention.

Juxtaposed, you might say.

So, when Quik put the company up for public trading they inadvertently entered into a different way of doing business of which the company, and in turn, much of the surf industry, has never really overcome.

Ya see, publicly traded companies, or even those propped up with significant amounts of venture capital funding, are expected to produce a profit.

Full stop.

The CEO will quickly be shown the door if they are unable to create those profits. Those gains usually come through increases in top-line revenue, but can also be helped through improved operational efficiencies.

Since revenue is often seen as the easier of the two it gets a lot of attention. Open up more wholesale accounts, expand global distribution, and create new product categories, are some of the ways a company might do that.

Quik was on it back then and through most of the late-eighties and early nineties, they did all of those things, and more, to quickly blow past 100 million dollars in annual sales. That was a huge number back then and at the time that growth was readily available simply because there was so little competition and the emerging wholesale channels were also beginning to flourish.

“Surf” was hot and Quik was right there with everything one might have needed to complete the look.

You could pretty much go head to toe in Quik gear.

And many did.

As was predictable, the surf trend waned and that double-digit growth that the surf brands were achieving suddenly became more challenging.

Over these early years, many of the major surf brands had begun gearing up to produce the massive amounts of product the trend required.

But with the core surf market being fickle, creating new categories was quickly recognised as needed to maintain that investor mandated growth.

Wetsuits, snow gear, women’s lines, kid’s products, middle-aged guy stuff, accessories like watches, sunnies, and sandals, were all quickly included in almost every surf brand’s offerings. “Stay in your lane” be damned.

Believe it or not, there was once a day when Quik just made great boardshorts, O’Neill made great wetsuits, Oakley made the sunnies, etc.

Soon, however, it seemed like all brands were in literally every category, unfortunately, not always doing that with much quality.

This corresponded with an almost across the broad removal of much of that vital, creative, entrepreneurial spirit as brands rotated the founders out and rotated in a revolving door of CEOs trying to catch lightning in a bottle one more time.

Without any semblance of connection to their customer base, this led to an almost industry-wide lack of a fundamental understanding of who their most important customer really is.

Which fed into the very destructive miscalculation that a core fifteen-to-twenty-five-year-old surf consumer doesn’t mind wearing the same brand as his kid brother, sister or even his dad.

They didn’t understand that filling off-price, big-box retailers with crappy products might actually damage the commodity.

They simply didn’t realise that actual surfers don’t really need a bunch of stuff.

Surfing is just a thing we do. Period.

Surf clothing, and much of the other gear being peddled today, isn’t really required to actually surf so to achieve the growth big brands require much of the consumer base needs to be non-surfers.

It’s a pretty simple concept really: A brand employs various marketing tactics to use surfing as a way to appear cool to a non-surfing consumer.

But what happened, instead, was that the truly influential young crew on virtually every beach were no longer connecting to that message and they began to walk away from most surf brands.

Gotcha is long gone.

Volcom has changed hands numerous times.

Quik and Bong were both bought for pennies on the dollar and are now owned by the same VC firm.

O’Neill is owned by a European investor that has licenses for the clothing and wetsuits.

Rip Curl, the last of the privately held “big brands” was recently sold to a large conglomerate.

Reef, Vans, Oakley, BodyGlove, etc, have had significant ownership changes over the years.

And, of course, we all know about Hurley by now.

Which brings us to today.

We don’t know what will come of many of these brands when it all settles out but the early indications appear that there may be some more pain to come.

Then again, maybe this is exactly where we need to be?

Refocusing on brands that communicate to us authentically.

Backing surfers who represent our sensibilities, and living a lifestyle as a surfer of which we define, not some ad agency from Chicago.

Sadly, there are a lot of good people without a job and/or sponsorship today in part because of situations they didn’t create.

They worked hard, drank the company “Kool-Aid,” so to speak, and then when those at the executive level mismanaged the brand, these same good folks got unceremoniously shown the door.

Hopefully, all of them will quickly find gainful employment in less volatile situations.

The unfortunate reality being that this needed to happen.

So no, surfing isn’t dead. It just doesn’t want anything to do with the box the industry keeps trying to put it in.

Longtom reviews Italo Ferreira’s IF15: “Best board of 2019? Has to be, don’t it?”

"I fell in love with the board. Clearly."

Many, many great surfboard shapers, designers, builders ply their trade in my area. More than a lifetime’s worth, if you really buckled down and got on a custom program with all them.

Despite the awe I feel about that I nurture a secret kink for Californian surfboards.

Most likely some blood memory of early Byron Bay when surfboard factories festooned either end of town and Californian cats were everywhere, running the factories by legit and not so legit means.

The smell of fresh set polyester resin wafted through shops filled with incense and weed smoke.

It was heady stuff for Bribie kids.

Californian shaper Timmy Patterson is connected to this area, primarily via a second wave of surf immigrants from South Africa who set up board building enterprises, like Gunter Rohn.

All of which is a long winded preamble to say I’d coveted a board from Timmy Patterson for many years.

And when the opportunity arose, via a BG commenter who gets his hands dirty building boards in the TP factory, it sounded almost too good to be true.

It was a semi-customised process based on Italo’s Title winning IF-15 design.

Hassle free Trans-pacific process.

Sat in the cargo hold of a 747  across the ditch under the ticket name of BG’s Jazzy P, then Surf Cargo up to Gunthers factory in Ballina, where I picked it up.

Under the arm the IF-15 is exactly what it looks like on broadcast: a very smooth, super balanced feeling shortboard with a moderate, even flowing rocker curve, foil slightly on the generous side and a tad extra nose width.

]“Who’s that for, your kid?” asked the glasser there looking over the top of foam covered spectacles.

“No Toddy, for me,” I replied, confidence unshaken.

I did not feel scared of this board, which can be a legitimate emotion when you’ve got something vastly too advanced under the arm.

If there is a modern dichotomy in the high performance space it’s between the super twitchy, EPS/Epoxy, foiled-out sleds in the Slater Designs stable (with undeniable sky-high, high-performance ceilings) and the more neutral, easy to ride designs being ridden by the top two Brazilians (also with unreachably high, high-performance ceilings).

(Read Longtom’s review of Gabriel Medina’s Johnny Cabianca-shaped DFK here.)

The IF-15, as indicated, sits squarely in the latter camp.

First surf.

No one around, no-one out.

Usually means a White shark has cleared the line-up, which was in fact what happened.

Text my pal: Fun, no-one out.

He responds: Guitar lessons for kid. No go out. Head-high, crumbly point surf, with any wave I wanted, until shark paranoia took over or someone else showed up.

First wave made my soul soar.

Felt so clean. Rocker feels very sure-footed, very evenly weighted fore and aft. This could be romanticising but there seems something very ubiquitous in these Californian curves.

It worked going right on points, on chunky lefts, scrappy beachbreak, wedgey peaks. Cyclone swells, windswells. A totally dependable design.

I started out with AM-1’s, the blue fin that Italo uses and that felt totally fine.

Switched up to a set of medium Blackstix with an inside foil and much more flex.

That felt insane in clean two-foot lefts. Super spicy and responsive.

Unfortunately, that experience didn’t hold in chunky, onshore beachbreak.

The fins felt overly spongey, would wash out and lack drive in unclean water flow. For small, clean waves in say, the Maldives or wet season Indo, a definite pick.

For chunk and gurgle, not so much. I went back to the AM-1’s for reliable handling.

That comforting rocker curve bought ample joy into my life at a time when mental health is at it’s seasonal nadir (summer). The increased nose width provides a stable platform for aerialists, as evidenced by Italo’s winning record in that area, but also adds a little surface area under the chest for paddle power and front foot planing speed.

No recreational surfer could hope to emulate much (if any) of Italo’s surfing. That would be an insane delusion. There is one familiar backside line Italo takes that is drastically enhanced by the design of the Patterson IF-15 and which feels achievable to the non-pro. I mean the high backside hook S-turn he does at Bells/J-Bay etc etc, sometimes, with devastating effect on the close-out end section.


That turn feels so slippery and natural on the IF-15, which I put down to the combination of elliptical thumb-tail outline curve and aft rocker curve. It’s a dreamy turn for a working stiff to pull off. Very, very hard not to claim.

I fell in love with the board. Clearly.

It’s a rocker curve and outline you could build a quiver on, as Italo has done so successfully. Duly noted, he was one of the few pro surfers in the Pipe Masters who did not cuckold their regular shaper with an Hawaiian dalliance.

And the boards looked sensational at Pipe.

My IF-15 ran to 6’0”, just under 30 litres. I hate the phrase Daily Driver, but in this case, I think an effective descriptor for a user-friendly, high-performance sled that has been proven to get the job done at surf spots around the globe.

After six months of solid use my PU/PE constructed version was still in A-grade shape.

Best board of 2019? Has to be, don’t it?

Timmy Patterson shapes are being built under licence in Australia by ultra-experienced shaper Gunter Rohn.

In the US or elsewhere, get ’em here. 

Donald Trump Jr. (left) Eric Trump and a sleeping kitty.
Donald Trump Jr. (left) Eric Trump and a sleeping kitty.

Outrage: Surfing’s most iconic music group ripped apart as band performs at world’s largest trophy hunting convention feat. Donald Trump Jr.!

Pet Sounds!

When I was a young boy with oversized surf dreams on Oregon’s rural coast there was nobody to guide me in the proper way to live that surfing life. No plugged in older kid to emulate. Thus what I imagined surfing to be grew weird. Bizarre. I thought, for example, that Pirate Surf was the world’s coolest brand, that Flojos were meant to be worn with socks, that The Beach Boys were core and listened to, regularly, by southern California, Australia, Hawaii-based surfers before they paddled out to ride the curl.

Well, I had a very harsh awakening when finally landing in southern California and learned that nobody listened to The Beach Boys and that even with all that singing about the Pastime of Kings, The Beach Boys didn’t even surf.

Even still, they are our world’s most iconic group but getting violently ripped apart by the seams as one-time visionary lead singer Brian Wilson is demanding that people boycott the band over its decision to headline a very large trophy hunting convention featuring a keynote address by Donald Trump Jr., President Donald Trump’s eldest son.

And let’s have our hearts thoroughly broken by digging into the sordid details.

Brian Wilson, who co-founded The Beach Boys, is now urging fans to boycott the legendary band. In a tweet on Monday, Wilson shared that the band, which he is no longer a part of, would be performing at The Safari Club International convention – a trophy hunting event where Donald Trump Jr. will be the keynote speaker.

“This organization supports trophy hunting, which Both Al and I are emphatically opposed to,” Wilson tweeted, referring to bandmate Al Jardine. “There’s nothing we can do personally to stop the show, so please join us in signing the petition.” He linked to a petition titled: Tell the Beach Boys to Say No to Trophy Hunting.

The letter states those who sign the petition pledge to stop buying or downloading the band’s music, going to their concerts and purchasing merchandise until they withdraw from the convention “and publicly state their opposition to this sick ‘sport’ of killing animals for ‘fun.'”

“We will call on the Beach Boys’ record label, agent and publicists to disown the Beach Boys, and on members of the public to protest at forthcoming Beach Boys concerts, unless they do so,” the letter continues. The Beach Boys are currently fronted by original band member Mike Love.

What is the most precious thing you have ever killed?

Are you #TeamSafari or #TeamPetSounds?