Q Shaman (center) and bros, not wearing Patagonia.
Q Shaman (center) and bros, not wearing Patagonia.

Outerwear, wetsuit manufacturer Patagonia roils fans with political turn: “We support leaders from around the country who are calling for the president and his enablers to be removed from office immediately.”

Not chill.

Last week, a mötley crüe of President Donald J. Trump supporters gathered in Washington D.C. ahead of congressional ratification of President-elect Joseph R. Biden’s November 3rd victory. They were angry, believing that much fraud had occurred, and whipped into a fine frenzy by impassioned speakers, including Trump himself.

Afterward, they marched on the Capitol and were semi-invited in to hold a wild n wooly bacchanal on the floor, in offices and throughout the halls.

“Shock and dismay” percolated around the nation as images of the Q Shaman etc. were released. Rage, disgust and hand-wringing.

Outerwear, wetsuit manufacturer Patagonia took to Instagram with the following message from its CEO Ryan Gellert:

Patagonia condemns the assault on the US Capitol and all recent attempts to disrupt a peaceful transition of presidential power. We are also appalled by the double standard between the response to last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests and Wednesday’s insurrection. We support leaders from around the country who are calling for the president and his enablers to be removed from office immediately. We are committed, as ever, to doing our part to support our democracy and to ensure that it is equitable and accessible for everyone.⁠

The Ventura, California-based company has long been known for its environmental stance but the political statement seemed to roil its many fans. Typical Patagonia posts garner 200 comments maximum. The above has topped the 13k mark. While many are supportive, many more seem to be frustrated. A sampling:

@alright_alright_alright_75: As always, showing genuine leadership and compassion for people and planet.

@joeklahoma_state: Thank God Patagonia condemned this. I was beginning to get worried.

@it_me_it_bruce: You’re right there is a double standard… the fact you didn’t post similar messages when small businesses were being set alight all over the country during protests!

@brittan_kuhlman: Oh good the company selling $600 jackets made in Vietnam is worries about accessibility and equality.

@skripontoast: Ooooo corporate moralizing, so 2020

@ourlife.unfiltered: Lost us as a customer, too. Ever read the Declaration of Independence? Believe it or not, there are millions of patriots who believe this election was fraudulent. Yet, who also have a heart for topics like racism- these are two totally different topics. YOU are creating a divide. This has nothing to do with black or white- It’s about the red, white and blue.

@kimble_farmer: @patagonia just sale your product and try out of politics. Just lost another customer for life. I have a ton of Patagonia vest and jackets that are going to make a great bonfire tonight.

@seapilot13: I follow Instagram accounts for awesome content. If I wanted politics, I would watch TV. A Patagonia consumer before it was “fratagonia.” Love your company and products. Stick to your environmental pursuits and making awesome gear. Unfollowed and will consider wearing Patagonia to be a political statement now.

@casenichols: Lol @ everyone who is shocked by Patagonia taking this stance. They’ve been one of the most progressive and politically outspoken outdoor retailers since their inception.

@dan_sandison: A lot of people, who only take photographs of their car and or motorbike, are upset.


More questions than answers, of course, but a few more. Do you like your clothing to share your ethos? Do you really think Patagonia vests and jackets make great bonfires? What, exactly, is wrong with taking photographs of cars and motorbikes?

The World Surf League, per the norm, remains silent.

Listen: Chas Smith and Steve “Longtom” Shearer on why the slow death of the WSL doesn’t mean the end of the great game, “Pro surfing is both an unflushable turd and a dream too beautiful to die!”

"It will always float to the top of the bowl."

In this episode of Dirty Water, number forty, we find Steve “Longtom” Shearer in terrific form.

Shearer, who wears out his brain thinking, takes the listener back onto the WSL tour, remembers an “epic” Pipe contest and the absurdity of a world title contender, suddenly fat, who didn’t want to be there.

As Shearer wrote at the time,

“It was hard to watch Filipe Toledo in the first heat of the round of 32, for example, without feeling a real sense of pity.

“Seven waves ridden in 40 minutes, nothing close to clean make. Pip got boofed in the head by the lip, Pip out ran the toob- once, twice, three times, Pip went straight to the beach. There was talk in the booth all day about spiritual connections and the mental health benefits of the ocean and here was a guy, clearly unprepared on every level, melting down in front of our eyes. It was actually a relief when it was done.

“Where too for Pip? Isn’t there some sort of God who can help him?”

Today, Shearer describes Pip’s surfing as “performative non-makes… he isn’t even making progress. He’s going backwards.”

Chas Smith, who shares with Shearer his guts and flexibility of thought, calls in briefly from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and casts a wicked eye over Mikey Wright’s front-page heroics during a recent Hawaiian rescue.

The episode concludes with a vivid account of goat castration and Shearer’s subsequent epiphany regarding testosterone.

Listen, or not.

Interview: WSL commentator and Santa Cruz legend Peter Mel on catching wave of the decade at Mavericks, “It’s the greatest feeling in the world to have your mind erased!”

"I’ve been visualising a line like that for thirty years but I’ve never really truly had the balls to do it."

By now, you would’ve seen Mel’s chip-shot into a thirty-footer monster tube at Mavericks, just north of Half Moon Bay there in Northern California. 

Wave of the decade it’s being called. 

“Everyone on earth should see this ride,” Kelly Slater said.

Mel, who is fifty-one, is the sort of man who loves his children with a passion, his parents with respect, his wife with generosity and his friends with loyalty.

He wears slightly too big flannel shirts and pants with stone washing applied at the factory.

A conservative, in the true sense of the word. 

Yesterday’s ride was anything but safe.

When I call Mel at home in Santa Cruz, the sun has set on the day after his beautiful and brave ride. 

He talks about the terrific comedown from such a powerful injection of adrenaline. 

“I wish I could sleep for a month,” he says. 

Is it really that draining?

“Emotionally, yeah. That was thirty years in the making. I’ve been visualising a line like that but I’ve never really truly had the balls to do it. Somehow, yesterday, it all came together.” 

Mel, who was riding a 70-litre nine-foot-ten CI with tiny tow fins in a quad setup, says the thrill of seeing his kid Jon out there on the channel, alongside old pals filmer Curt Myers from Powerline productions and fellow big-waver Jamie Mitchell, gave the ten-second ride an added gloss. 

“They were all fearing for my life one second and then, the next, it was the elation of me hugging my kid.”

So let’s ride this damn thing. 

It’s around midday. Mel and his kid Jon, who is twenty-one, have been out since around eight-thirts.

Jon gets the biggest left he’s ever had out there. 

Then a quick work meet and the pair are back out there. The buoy system is so good in this part of the world they know the swell is about to pulse. 

“A twelve-footer, then there’s a fifteen-footer, there’s a fucking eighteen-footer…”


Mel says there’s a shallow part of the reef out and over towards the left. If you want to get inside the biggest waves it’s the only avenue in. You can’t take off in the bowl, it’s too vertical and too thick, and shoulder-hopping ain’t an option. 

“It was always something you dream of but never get to execute,” says Mel. “We’ve towed a few and had that idea of coming in from behind but you usually outrun the tube or you’re not brave enough to kick-stall. With a nine-ten, you’re committed.”

The takeoff, says Mel, ain’t the hard part. 

“You get a really nice entry over there. You can chase it, get into it and it backs off a little bit. It let me in. I did know that it’s risky, it’s forty yards deeper than the main bowl and if you see an elbow towards the bowl you know it’s going to be tough to make. This wave had that look to it but, well… fuck… you’re not going to get that many chances out there. I overcommitted to it and went for it. Magically, all those elements came together. A little bit of a spiritual thing happened for me. I feel like it was a gift from the Mavericks gods to stay open. It’s really hard to fathom what’s happening in that moment,. You’re racing and adjusting. It’s the greatest feeling in the world to have your mind erased. It’s why we’re so tied to surfing. I got to a point where I was thinking, this is really heavy, then all of a sudden I realised I was making it no matter what and raised my hands. That’s a great, great feeling.” 

And then the other side of the adrenaline shot. 

“I was thinking, ah, okay, what now? What do I do now? I felt a little let down. I felt, truly, I can’t do that again.”

That afternoon, Mel went to see his wife Tara in the fam’s surfshop, Freeline, at Pleasure Point. Mel could see how worried his wife was by how clean the joint was, his and her desks cleaned, boxes neatly stowed, the shop spotless. 

“A distraction,” he says. “She tapped into my mood and was solemn and quiet with me. Today was a lot more chatty and fun but it wasn’t like we were throwing a party and a kegger yesterday, dude. Just a silent cuddle, unsaid words, connection. I wanted to crawl into a hole and shut everything out. I’ve come around now.”  

Mel laughs, sighs, then laughs again.

The buoys are up to forty feet. The biggest it’s been all season. 

Tomoz, out there.

“What an escape surfing is,” he says. “We’re so blessed.” 

Shhhhh: Facebook founder and chief Mark Zuckerberg’s wife celebrates husband banning Donald J. Trump from Facebook by surfing in Kauai!

All powerful.

How many life moments have you celebrated by paddling out for a surf? Thanksgivings, Christmases, New Yearses, etc. are a given, mostly because those usually bring time off but how many personal life moments? Did you paddle out on your wedding day? Birth of children? When hired for good job? Fired from good job?

Well, according to The Daily Mail, Facebook founder and chief Mark Zuckerberg’s wife Pricilla Chan celebrated her husband muzzling the President of the United States Donald J. Trump by ripping what were described by the British news outlet as “small breakers” in Kauai.

The regular foot appears to have been pushed in on her soft-top by a surf hatted helper.

Very chill.

Hours earlier, Zuckerberg wrote:

Over the last several years, we have allowed President Trump to use our platform consistent with our own rules, at times removing content or labeling his posts when they violate our policies.

We did this because we believe that the public has a right to the broadest possible access to political speech, even controversial speech.

But the current context is now fundamentally different, involving use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government.

We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great.

Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.

All powerful.

Are you going to paddle out to celebrate too or paddle out in protest?

#TeamZuckerberg or #TeamTrump?

dude are you surfing today nah brah ordering a new board! going to see the shaper what are you getting new fish! fuck sounds sick can’t wait to see it

Surfline Man orders a surfboard (part II): “He needs to find Mike the shaper and order his new board. He can’t really think straight. All his hopes rest on Mike!”

Surfline Man is so stoked right now. He is getting a new custom fish and Mike is going to make it right there with the tools Surfline Man saw hanging on the wall. It’s going to be the most perfect board ever!

The sun is not even up yet, and Surfline Man springs out of bed. Today’s the big day!

He is going to visit the surfboard shaper he found on Instagram to buy his new surfboard that’s going to be a fish.

Surfline Man has never talked to an actual shaper before now. This is so exciting! Surfline Man is going to learn all about where surfboards come from. He can’t even wait!

Surfline Man heads to the kitchen and fires up his espresso machine. He bought himself one of those killer all-in-one deals for Christmas and he’s pretty sure it’s the best thing ever. He pours a bowl of cereal before realizing that he’s almost totally out of milk. He used it all up practicing his latte art.

Surfline Man splashes the last few drops of milk in the carton over his cereal and eats it anyway. At least the espresso turns out alright.

His phone buzzes.

dude are you surfing today
nah brah ordering a new board! going to see the shaper
what are you getting
new fish!
fuck sounds sick can’t wait to see it

In the best mood, Surfline Man hops into his Sprinter. Singing along to Vampire Weekend, his new favorite band, he merges smoothly onto the freeway. Love that video they made, just cruising around Palm Springs. I should totally go there, Surfline Man thinks. I should go to Palm Springs and cruise around like Vampire Weekend.

But first, a new surfboard. Focus, dude.

Pulling into the driveway, Surfline Man gazes around the industrial park, dazed. A series of roll-up doors run down one wall. Otherwise, it’s beige cinderblock walls as far as he can see. Surfline Man wonders if he’s come to the right place, but his Garmin claims that he has. And in fact, once he looks more closely, he can see the address numbers on the side of the building.

The tang of resin hangs in the air. And as Surfline Man approaches, he sees a cluster of bearded dudes gathered around a surfboard, positioning a fin in the box. The sun bounces off the mirror shine of the board’s gloss coat.

Surfline Man is momentarily spellbound. The board is beautiful. He has definitely come to the right place.

“Is Mike here?” Surfline Man asks. He feels suddenly shy.

The nearest bearded man looks up from the surfboard and gestures toward the open roll-up.

“He’s in there.”

The interior of the shop is dark against the bright sun of the outdoors. Once his eyes adjust, Surfline Man takes it all in. Surfboards of every imaginable size and color lean against every available wall. A series of floor to ceiling shelves hold still more surfboards. He longs to riffle through the stacks.

Something confusing and vintage hangs high on the wall. Surfline Man has no idea what it is, but it looks important.

In the the back corner, Surfline Man catches a glimpse of a small room. Through the doorway, he can see a handsaw hanging on the wall and some other interesting tools that he can’t identify. The fluorescent tubes glare bright white against the dark blue walls. This is where the magic happens!

Surfline Man wishes he could look inside, but he’s not sure that’s allowed and he needs to find Mike the shaper and order his new board. He can’t really think straight. All his hopes rest on Mike.

Surfline Man finds his new surfboard’s shaper in a small, hallwaylike room. Shaped blanks march down one wall, carefully stacked, and a battered couch sits against the opposite wall. A cardboard box of odd fins lounges in the corner, and a thin layer of foam dust coats every exposed surface. Surfline Man feels super stupid for wearing a black t-shirt today.

“Hi, I’m Trent, I emailed about getting a board?”

“Oh yah, here, let’s sit outside and you can tell me what you have in mind.”

Surfline Man still feels nervous as fuck, but the shaper’s low-key, mellow vibe is amazingly reassuring. Surfline Man trusts this man with his surfboard already, and he hasn’t even started talking about dims are anything.

“So I want a fish? And I kinda want it to be super short? And like, fast.” Surfline Man stumbles through his explanation, flapping his hands around vaguely.

“What are you riding now?”

“Well, like, I have a midlength, but I don’t really like it. And I also dropped it, so I can’t ride it now.”

Surfline Man feels kinda stupid now, but there’s something about Mike that makes it impossible to lie to him.

“What don’t you like it about it?”

“It feels really big and I can’t really turn it. And also, I got caught inside and it sucked. It gives me nightmares, actually.”

Talking to a shaper is almost exactly like talking to his therapist. It’s so awesome and Surfline Man feels better already.

“Ever had a fish before?”

“Yah, bought like a 6’0” on sale. I don’t know, it was fine, I guess? But not like, fast or anything. Maybe kinda wide. Or too long. Maybe if it were like, 5’2” or something.”

“How tall are you?”

“Like, around six feet.”

“What if we went 5’6”? You’d get something a bit faster than the 6’0” you have, without things getting too crazy.”

“That’d be alright, I think? I just want it to be like, fast and turn really good. Like, I was watching that Ryan Burch segment in Psychic Migrations, and that fish, it’s so fast.”

Mike the shaper mentally rolls his eyes. You are not Ryan Burch. An experienced professional, Mike does not say this out loud.

“Oh yah, Burch is great in that film. I think you’d feel a big difference, stepping down to a 5’6”. Or we could go 5’5” if you like.”

“Okay, 5’5” sounds so good. Can you make it blue?”

“Yah, sure.”

Mike tosses some paint swatches on the table.

“Pick a color you like. What kind of fins are we doing?”

“Glass-on keels look so cool but I don’t know, maybe I should get boxes? Like, if I traveled or something. Or like, wanted to change my fins, I don’t know.”

“I recommend Futures.”

“Okay, that’s sounds super good! I’m sure I’ll like it.”

Surfline Man really wanted some sweet-looking wood keels. They look so handmade and craftsmenlike and stuff. But Mike inspires so much trust. He knows so much!

If Mike the shaper says Futures, Surfline Man is going to ride Futures.

Surfline Man hands over a pile of cash as a deposit.

“If I pay extra will it be done sooner?”

Mike laughs.

“Nah, bro, sorry. But I’ll get to you as soon as I can, promise!”

“Okay man, thanks so much! So stoked! Can’t wait!”

Surfline Man bounds over to his Sprinter. He cues up his favorite Imagine Dragons song and pulls out of the parking lot.

As he looks back, he sees the bearded dudes are clustered around a different board now. They’re clearly checking out the bottom contours or something important like that.

Surfline Man is so stoked right now. He is getting a new custom fish and Mike is going to make it right there with the tools Surfline Man saw hanging on the wall. It’s going to be the most perfect board ever!

Driving down the freeway, Surfline Man has second thoughts.

He pulls over and as the semi-trucks rush by, rocking his Sprinter, he pulls out his phone and sends a text to his new bestie, Mike, his surfboard shaper.

hey man good to meet you
i changed my mind
can you make it red instead?
thanks so stoked!!!