Surfads, on Bonza, Newcastle, Australia. | Photo: @tatt777

An average surfer reviews fleet of secondhand boards: “Anti consumerist. DIY punk ethos. A true waterman can ride anything etc.”

Seven boards in eight months, total cost $1240… 

(Editor’s Note: Your correspondent is six feet tall (183cm) and weighs 200 pounds (90kg). He is of average skill, though prone to bouts of unprompted fall-down syndrome.)

All boards purchased within last eight months, except the Bonzer.

Sam Egan 7’4 x 19 ½ x 2 ½

Maybe ten years old, but in beautiful condition. Hidden in the bottom of a pile at a second hand board store. Six-ounce glass all over, thick stringer. Mid ‘90s blade meets middle age. Heavy in all the right places. Excellent price.

Surfed from four-to-eight-foot in strong, wintry conditions. Groundswell, stiff offshore etc. You already know this story.

What more is there to say?

Maybe: why does your correspondent waste so much time pilfering through secondhand refuse when he could just go and order something to his exact dimensions?

For moments like this. For the rare boards. The hidden gems

Plus, it’s anti consumerist. DIY punk ethos. A true waterman can ride anything.

Etc etc etc.

Yeah right, kook.

5’9 x 21 x 2 ½ Modern Highline

Anyway, faced with the existential quandaries proffered by one’s own existence, the question of what board to ride should sit weak legged in comparison. Like meeting Buddha and asking how the weather’s been.

Exposing the triviality of aquatic poncing v life n death. Mere guff.

But maybe it’s also a microcosm of those quandaries. A symptom of them. Ignorance isn’t bliss, but enlightenment comes with baggage too. The grass is always greener.

Or, in this case, shorter. After a winter of riding big boi boards, your correspondent had sudden spring-time urge to do as many throw away, un-landed airs as possible.

This five-fin biscuit presented itself on Gumtree. A machine pop-out but purchased secondhand so less guilt attached. Still glassed well. Ostensibly a learner’s board, but ridden as a twin it had an almost mini-Simmons thing going on .

All the usuals. Paddled crazy, turned on a dime.

But ultimately the vibe of riding a pop-out VAL machine began to singe this correspondent’s few measly stands of core credibility. Felt like some sort of crime was being committed.

Also, correspondent does not like shorter boards. Your back foot’s gotta go somewhere.

Footnote: Sold to a kindly English backpacker. Arranged for pick up out the front of work. As correspondent was taking board from boot, managed to crack rail on internal wheel mount. Fifty dollars knocked off agreed sale price. Penance for sins committed. Immediately took 7’4 out in two-foot onshore slop, like John the Savage with his whip. A struggle, but that’s the point.

Salvation still awaits.

6’5 x 19 x 2 ⅜ Psillakis

Magic. Absolute magic. Picked up at garage sale. Still in great condition under layer of grime (no, I didn’t try to fuck it).

Standard shorty, but also not. Foiled, sharp rails. Wide point slightly forward. SDV – the holy trinity shorty bottom shape. A severely angular square tail. Neck beard-esque, but with slightly less width. Looked like it had been cut with a set square.

The everything-in-one board (does that mean your correspondent is one with everything?). Tight, controlled surfing. Would go anywhere it was told. The hold and release on back hand reos in particular offered a full twenty percent more range than comparable shorties. However a slight shift of weight into the wider point would allow it to press over flat spots, maintain drive etc.

Possible highlight telling people in the surf how much the board cost.

“See this one? Forty bucks. Can you believe it? Forty. I can’t. Forty bucks.”

Buckled on a backhand floater over a small draining section after a dozen or so surfs. Crease above the fins. Terminal. Genuine disappointment.

Toyed with idea of getting Psillakis to reshape but as with all things in life, correspondent was too indecisive to organise.

Is this really where I want to be?

8’4 x ?? X ??

The dreadnought. Has the ascetic lines of an Imperial Star Destroyer. Less a surfing experience than a forty-minute workout, with random wave cameos. Swapped for a custom twin-pin mid-length which was evoking similar vibes to the Modern. As featured in a couple previous stories on here already.

Quad but has lost both side fins, so surfing it as what can best described as a mini-duo.

Beautiful entry into swooping bottom turns… but that’s it.

Turns like a dog.

Have somehow managed to crease despite thickness. Near terminal, can feel board flexing through turns. Will ride until death then maybe get a more functional version shaped. Still like idea of something straight and pure for big, windy, unruly days.

Footnote: Recently popped out second to last fin on a bottom turn, rendering it almost unrideable. Prepared to consign to scrapheap but upon coming in from a later session at the same spot, somebody had found fin and left it at showers, like a Chucky doll.

Reminded when riding this board that you’re always somebody’s reason to smile. It’s just that you are the joke.

5’11 quad fish

A recent fight with correspondent’s wife (asinine, probably own fault, standard bullshit, with a chorus as familiar as your favourite song) led to a hate-browse on Gumtree. Came across this fish. A good replacement for the Highline.

Agreed to swap for an unridden mal. Excellent condition. Resin tint. Unknown cenny coast shaper. Deep swallow, full through nose, swooping curves. Radio edit of a Mackie sidecut fish.

Still haven’t properly inspected bottom shape, suffice to say a quick run of the hand says there’s a lot going on.

Mainly ridden as a twin but had one fantastic surf with quads in. Back foot planted deep over the swallow. Incredible hold and drive.

Minor sticking point is the phallic shape of board, noted in a recent surf paparazzo photo. Looks like Fisher’s famous dick board.

Is this enough to stop your correspondent riding it, despite superior performance? Probably.

Footnote: Shooting fish in a barrel might be easy, but riding them in one sucks

Simon Anderson 6’4 x 18 ¾ x 2 ⅜
$50 on FB Marketplace

It’s December. Your correspondent started watching Xmas movies most nights. But the criteria this year has significantly loosened. Now includes movies with actors who have at one stage or another have been in a Hollywood Xmas film. Dylan McDermott, hunky star of the remake of Miracle on 34th Street, is also the lead in ‘80s Vietnam war classic Hamburger Hill.

A quote:

“This is Mr Nathaniel Victor, and gets his rocks off watching you die. Some of you think you have problems because you’re against the war. You demonstrated in school. You wear peace symbols on your steel. You have attitudes. ‘I’m orphaned, my brother’s queer, the city of Chicago gave the clap to my sister. Mum drinks, Dad coughs blood, I have ringworm, the draft ruined my chances of being a brain surgeon.’ People. You are in Vietnam. You have no problems, except me. And him.”


Anyway, latent masochism left your correspondent wanting to ride something more brutal. Powerful. Plus, still trying to replace the Psillakis. Picked up this $50 SA special. Excellent condition for price, with fins. Refined shape. Full rockered. Needle nosed. (Just had to remove GoPro mount – ew).

Realised this is close to the dimensions correspondent rode in his early twenties: 6’3 x 18 1/2 x 2 ¼

Those were the days.

Only one surf so far. A couple of eviscerating turns conceived. But when sitting out back, waterline comes up to your correspondent’s chin. Is this board the equivalent of a mid-life earring and leather jacket?

“I’m sick and tired of filling body bags with your dumb fucking mistakes,” said ol’ Dyl McDermott to the rag tag collective of FNGs at the beginning of H-Hill.

So it goes with your correspondent’s board purchases..

6’6 Campbell Brothers Alpha Omega
$450 with board bag

The twinzer. Honorary mention. Mint condition. Rare rounded pin (usually shaped as a swallow). Surely worth twice this much. Purchased two years ago and has since been ridden almost to death. Excelled in everything from grim one-inch slop to eight-foot heaving Lances. As close to a one-board quiver as one can get.

Simple enough design but intricate powers dwell beneath. Rich tapestries of channelled energy. Plus it gets heaps of waves.

Sometimes we search through life while the answer lies rift in front of is, with set fins and a partially delaminated deck

But even at the point of enlightenment, more questions present themselves.

Like, does it come in a 6’4?

5’11 dick quad
6’4 Simon
6’5 Psillakis
6’6 Bonzer
7’4 Sam Egan
8’4 Imperial Star Destroyer

Open Thread: Comment Live, Day One of the Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons presented by Hydro Flask!

A deluge of professional surfing!

But did you watch the Pipe Trials yesterday, here, with your best friends all naturally socially distanced and appropriate? Doing the right thing, flattening the curve, not putting undo stress on emergency rooms.

What fun.

I remember the halcyon days when sixteen, or such, Hawaiian wildcards were entered into the main event. Somehow, some way, the World Surf League convinced them all to fight each other, for our pleasure, for just two wildcard slots.

Very “Gather the Native Americans up and march them to a reservation.” Extremely “Trail of Tears” and we shall, henceforth, call the Pipe Trials the “Trials of Tears.”

How will Josh Moniz and Miguel Tudela fare after surfing many, many, many heats?

Let’s watch together.

And discuss below.

“Best day ever” Mavericks has normally stoic big wave surfers writing gorgeous sonnets: “Let those who are in favour with their stars of public honour and proud titles boast, whilst I, whom fortune of such triumph bars caught a full Mavs bomb and it was super sick!”


But can you believe the feast of surfing we’re in the very middle of being served? The women’s event kicking off in Honolua Bay, Maui, with stirring performances from young upstarts and vintage pros alike with a sprinkling of wonderful identity politics. There very next day, yesterday, the Pipeline trials ran in full while the women’s event was postponed due shark attack while, across the Pacific, Mavericks put on an absolute show with typically stoic locals writing sonnets to its magnificence.

“Today is probably the best and the biggest day in recent memory,” Surfline’s local reporter sang, dispensing with typical chill.

Kai Lenny was there in the lineup and so were Jamie Mitchell and Ian Walsh not to mention Grant Washburn and Taylor Paul.

Surf height ranged from the low 30s to the upper 50s, groomed by gentle offshore winds.

“The best day I can remember,” crooned Grant Washburn.

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer’s lease hath all too short a date; Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimm’d; And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d; But thy eternal summer shall not fade, Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st; Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st: So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee,” Taylor Paul whispered, tears coating cheeks, watching the sun sink into the gorgeous brownish-grey.

You can watch for yourself here. A little appetizer before we climb back into the Banzai Pipeline.

Very exciting.

WSL CEO Erik Logan.

Shark attack at Honolua Bay Forces “indefinite” Postponement of Maui Pro Finals, possible cancellation of event: “Our thoughts and prayers are with this victim”

No heats today nor tomoz maybe.

The finals of the women’s Maui Pro have been put on hold and the event may be cancelled after a recreational surfer was hit by a shark twenty yards offshore at Honolua Bay this morning.

The man, who was quickly reached by The Maui Pro’s water safety crews, suffered injuries to his left side lower extremities.

The water safety crews performed CPR on the man on the beach.

In a piece to camera from Oahu, the WSL’s CEO Erik Logan called the attack an “incident” adding the WSL’s “thoughts and prayers” are with the “victim” and that the event may be cancelled, which would make it the third WSL event to be called off because of shark attack, following Jeffrey’s Bay in 2015 and Margaret River in 2018.

There have been four fatal attacks in Maui in the last twenty years, 2004, 2013, 2015 and 2019. All hits by Tigers.

A week-and-a-half ago, a Californian woman suffered severe trauma injuries to her front torso after a hit while swimming in front of the Mahina Surf condos on Maui’s Lahaina coast.

Hawaii’s most famous shark attack was in 2003 when teenage surfer Bethany Hamilton was rolled by a fourteen-foot Tiger shark at Tunnels in Kauai, severing her left arm just below the shoulder.


Open Thread: Comment Live as the Pipe Invitational in the water on Oahu’s North Shore!

Pro surfing!

The best Hawaiian surfers are back in the water as the Pipeline Invitational gets underway. The top two, I think, get to enter the Pipeline in Memory of Andy Irons likely getting underway tomorrow.

But, anyway, fun and Pipe. What could possibly be wrong with that?

Come for the tubes, stay for the buttery smooth voice of Joseph Turpel.

Watch here.

Comment below.