South African surfer Mikey February delivers stunning riposte to The New Yorker’s claim that his style is “as self-conscious as the duck-face selfie!”

A dish best served cold etc.

(Editor’s note: Two years ago, The New Yorker ran a very good story by Jamie Brisick called, “Surfing in the Age of the Omnipresent Camera”, which described Mikey February’s surfing thus, “His hand jive, soul arches, and toreador-like flourishes play to the camera in a way that breaks the spell of the itinerant surfer in far-flung solitude. His style is as self-conscious as the duck-face selfie.”)

Damn if Mikey February doesn’t have one of the most carefree, effortless styles of any surfer anywhere. More serenity and nonchalance on a short board than most longboarders could ever dream of.

Minimum adjustments to maximum effect. Speed generated from nowhere. That weird little flick forward of the back foot he does like he’s tapping a reverb pedal. 

Lovely stuff.

Mikey fronts Sonic Souvenirs, a series by Vans described in the blurb as “portraits that take us on an exploration of art, music and surfing.”

Fair play if that’s a put off. Sounds a bit Venice Beach gallery exhibition. 

But no. 

In this first episode Mikey is accompanied on his travels by Durban veteran and musical sage Madala Kunene. The combination of the two talents is sublime, possibly the best marriage of music and surfing ever. Magnificent shots of East and West coast South Africa combined with delicate acoustic licks and raw drum recordings. 

Watch it while your stuck in traffic or crammed into a subway train. Hood up. Headphones in. Transcendent viewing. Roll on future episodes. 


Australia’s Olympic Surf Team doubles down on wickedly clever self-given nickname “The Irukandjis,” adds additional tagline: “Our name and identity are powerful forces!”

"Deadly in the Water."

Australia’s Olympic surf team electrified the world, weeks ago, when it was revealed they had selected the nickname “The Irukandjis” ahead of this summer’s Tokyo Games.

At the time, Layne Beachley, chair of Surfing Australia and seven-time world champion, said, “Our name and identity are powerful forces. As surfing enters the Olympics for the first time and enjoys incredible popularity worldwide, it was time to give our Australian team an identity that we can all rally behind. The Irukandji’s sting in the water is ferocious and that is how our Australian surfers approach competition.”

The Irukandji, a very ouchy, very small, jellyfish that makes its home in the country’s tropical waters, was self-chosen as nickname but then gifted by indigenous Australians. Senior Ranger of the Yirrganydji Land and Sea Programme Brian Singleton said, “The Irukandji jellyfish was named after the Yirrganydji people who were believed to be extinct but we aren’t! The Yirrganydji supports ‘The Irukandjis’ Australian surf team as they take on the world.”

Very cool but things took an even niftier turn, days ago, when it was revealed an official tagline had been added.

“Deadly in the Water™.”

Stephanie Gilmore, seven-time world champ, explained, “Irukandji perfectly suits our team as we try our best to be ‘deadly in the water’ against our rivals in the Tokyo Olympics.”

At time of publishing, it is unclear if the United States, South Africa, France or Brazil have selected nicknames and taglines but it will be very difficult to beat “Deadly in the Water™.”

Maybe impossible.

Do you have any helpful suggestions?


"I mean, why even have a Sprinter if you’re not going to head out into the unknown once in a while?"

Surfline Man and the Search for the Secret Spot: “Why even have a Sprinter if you’re not going to head out into the unknown once in a while?”

Tomorrow, he’s totally going to score.

You were thinking that maybe Surfline Man had disappeared forever. Perhaps you imagined that he had left surfing behind and taken up something else entirely, like say trail running or roller blading.

After all, Surfine Man had already bought an ebike, so surely roller blades were next.

And in fact, his best friend did score a sweet new mountain bike, and Surfline Man was super tempted.

But the truth is, Surfline Man has never enjoyed sweating.

So gross. So clammy.

Really, he should have known from the start that his lululemon clothes would never see the inside of a yoga studio, because not only would he have to sweat, he would have to sweat in front of a cute girl.

That was never going to happen, like ever.

In the meantime, Surfline Man has discovered that lululemon’s fancy technical fabrics are pretty great for lounging on the couch. Just wearing the clothes must count for something, he figures, and he has spent many hours balancing his chakras and stuff, without even getting sweaty.

He’s lying on the couch right now, in fact, with his laptop open on his belly. Surfline Man heard about a secret spot up north, and he’s scouring Google Maps, carefully charting every nook and cranny.

Surfline Man has big plans.

Why even have a Sprinter if you’re not going to head out into the unknown once in a while? Tracing the curve of the coastline and following the roads until they end, Surfline Man believes he has it all figured out. Switching over to Surfline, he double-checks the forecast.

It looks so good.

Tomorrow, Surfline Man is going to find the secret spot.

Tomorrow, he’s totally going to score.

Confident in his plan, Surfline Man shuts the lid of his computer and heads out to his garage. He hops on his ebike, the orange Rad Power Bike exactly like Kelly Slater has, and zips down to Swamis, just in time to catch the sunset.

Sitting on a bench on the bluffs, he sips a beer out of his Yeti tumbler. The forerunners of the new swell are just starting to show and spray flies toward the sky, glowing orange in the setting sun.

It’s all so perfect California, totally like a dream.

Surfline Man watches as a surfer cruises down the line, drawing lazy loops. In his mind, he’s right there too, sliding along on his new surfboard that’s going to be a fish, the one that shaper Mike is making for him. Surfline Man wonders when his new surfboard will be ready. But he knows better than to rush a genius, especially a genius who’s been entrusted with making the perfect surfboard.

A friend wanders up, also carrying a beer in a tumbler.

— you surfing tomorrow, bro?
— gona go up north. got a spot i want to check out. you?
— gona keep it local. should be good
— yah i’ve just been wantin’ to do a little road trip
— right on, good luck man

Back at home, Surfline Man meticulously packs the Sprinter for his big day out. He restocks the drawer of ramen, instant mac n cheese, and oatmeal packets and carefully slides fresh avocados and a loaf of bread into the mesh pouch mounted on the wall. Avocado toast on the road is his favorite and it’s good to be prepared for anything when setting out for the big unknown.

What boards to take, he is totally not even sure what to do. Surfline Man stands in front of his board rack, each board neatly in its place, and stares at them. His newly mended turquoise midlength is there and you can’t even tell that he broke the tail. He’s still not sure he likes that board, though.

Maybe he should stick to shortboards for this trip?

The pressure, it’s getting to him. What if he gets to the secret spot and the waves are so good and he has the wrong board? How super disappointing would that be? Omg, the worst. Standing there in his garage, imagining this disaster, he cringes, like with his whole body.

Okay fuck it, he thinks. Surfline Man grabs his 6’0” thruster, a 6’3” step-up, and his 6’0” fish — which is his old fish, not the new red fish that Mike is still making. And just in case Surfline happens to be wrong and the waves are small, he adds his turquoise midlength to the stack, too, but not before giving it a suspicious look, like what am I even doing with this board.

He’s still not sure that thing isn’t totally cursed.

Before he can change his mind again, Surfline Man slams the van doors shut. He’s committed now. One of those boards is totally going to work.

He can feel it.

The next morning, before dawn, so really before it’s morning at all, Surfline Man jumps out of bed and fires up the Sprinter. He punches up his Garmin and points it north. He’s going to the secret spot! He just needs his gas station coffee and he’s so ready now.

Surfline Man is so stoked, bopping along the freeway singing along to The Offspring. He’s really into old punk now. It’s so intense! It gets him so psyched! Surfline Man is going to find the best waves ever at the secret spot where he’s never been before.

No one else will think of going there! He’s going to get so many waves!

Three hours later, he’s exhausted The Offspring’s catalogue, even the old stuff that no one’s even heard of, and moved on to Pennywise. So rocking! According to his Garmin, he’s getting close to the secret spot now.

Exiting the freeway, Surfline Man begins his quest in earnest. He follows a series of ever-smaller roads, first right, then left, then right again. By now, Surfline Man is all turned around, and he’s not even sure he’s heading in the right direction. All he can do is put his trust in the Garmin and the Google, and hope they don’t lead him astray.

Looking ahead, he sees a winding creek dropping down through the hills, and it looks exactly like the one he saw leading to his secret spot.

Rolling down his window, he believes he can hear the sound of surf.

This has to be it, he thinks.

Surfline Man pulls the Sprinter off the road, and parks on the dirt shoulder. Hungry, he slices an avocado and jams it between two slices of bread. He can’t even be bothered to toast the bread. He has a secret spot to find!

Surfline Man grabs his thruster and his fish, and without giving himself time for second thoughts, he pulls his backpack over his shoulders, and locks the Sprinter.

Only then does he notice the other cars parked in the same area. Must be hikers, he thinks. Shrugging, he heads toward the creek. The directions he found on a long-lost internet forum said to follow the creekbed under the road to reach the secret spot.

So that’s exactly what Surfline Man does.

Clutching his precious surfboards, Surfline Man scrambles down the steep mud bank of the creek. He almost trips on a rock, but saves it just in time. Then he scrambles through the culvert that passes under the road.

Fortunately, he came prepared, and Surfline Man switches on his headlamp. He’s not that into bugs and stuff like that, so he tries not to look too closely at what might be living in the dark damp of the tunnel. He can see sunlight up ahead, and he heads unerringly toward it. The secret spot, it’s so close now.

And just like that, Surfline Man comes out into the light.

He standing on a beach and there’s waves.

He forgets all about this headlamp, which is still on his head. He’s transfixed. He’s actually found the secret spot. He can’t even believe it.

And, even better, Surfline was right! There’s waves! He can ride his thruster or he can ride his fish, that isn’t his new red fish, but a pretty alright fish, all the same.

I mean, he’s not stupid.

Surfline Man knows that the best surfboard is the surfboard he has right there with him. This is so perfect right now.

Then realizes something. In the excitement of finding the secret spot and seeing the waves so firing, he had missed one small, but crucial detail.

He is not alone.

Surfline Man had been so certain. He had thought for sure that no one else would even be here. He would be alone at the secret spot with all the waves to himself.

John Severson promised! He promised a surfer could find space all to himself in the world. Surfline Man is a surfer damn it! What a big fat lie. All those cars on the road, they weren’t hikers, but surfers! What fresh hell is this, how could he have been so betrayed!

Surfline Man sets down his boards and sits down on the beach. This is a setback.

He had traveled so far and tried so hard. He had braved the dark culvert and whatever lived in there. All for nothing. Surfing, it’s so pointless, he thinks, as he sits there. Why does anyone even do it?

Surfline Man figures he might as well surf. After all, he had driven all the way here, and listened to all of The Offspring’s catalogue. It would be stupid to go home empy-handed.

Surfline Man scrambles into his suit, and waxes up his fish, and paddles out. It’s more crowded than he’d hoped, and the waves turn out to be less perfect than they looked.

But it’s surfing and it’s something. Surfline Man figures there are defnitely worse ways to spend a day. Maybe this surfing thing, even with all these other people, and even with the waves that aren’t totally perfect, maybe it isn’t so bad.

Surfing is pointless, for sure, but not in a bad way, and maybe even in a good way.

Exhausted from all the surfing and all the thinking about surfing, Surfline Man climbs in his Sprinter and points it toward home.

His phone buzzes.

hey bro how was the road trip 
get any good ones?

yah! so epic! totally scored!

yah brah! stoked for ya!
such good waves here today
crowded af tho

felt so good to escape the crowds
so worth the drive
best day ever!


BeachGrit tourists revolt at depiction of surfing as ghost white, country superstar Luke Bryan as modern face: “I wonder how all the beautiful Hawaii, Brazilian, Fijian and the rest of the non white surfing world feel about your stupid article!”

"Your part of the problem, pushing a narrative that furthers the divide and is not inclusive."

Yesterday it was revealed, here, that surfing and surf culture had, against all odds, reached a heretofore unimaginable level of whiteness with the release of country superstar Luke Bryan’s music video “Waves.”

Per the piece:

Social science has long held, as fact, that surfing and surf culture reached peak whiteness in the early 1980s with no possible, or probable, way to grow any whiter as it shifted from “snow” to “baby powder.” Shot on location in Malibu, (the video) features two young surfers who fall in love after an extreme wipeout. They proceed to play games on the pier, canoodle under the fireworks and eat many tasty treats (all while country superstar Luke Bryan croons a stevia-sweetened tune).

BeachGrit tourists, who swing by now and again, were not pleased.

Michael J. Blue countered, “Geez your just a little racist, get a life.”

Clawdad piled on, “Idiotic article! I wonder how all the beautiful Hawaii, Brazilian, Fijian and the rest of the non white surfing world feel about your stupid article. Your part of the problem, pushing a narrative that furthers the divide and is not inclusive.”

Entirely understandable but…. Luke Bryan is an undeniable magnetic force, his song of love without loss inspirational.

Is it just a little racist to think beautiful Hawaii, Brazilian, Fijian surfers would not agree?

More as the story develops.


"Pour some hot sauce on me, oooh in the name of love..."

Cape Cod sees explosion in shark deterrent sales as surfers paddle back out after consecutive Summers of Blood: “It’s like dumping hot sauce on the prey, so it makes the shark think twice about biting it!”

Cholula.

Cape Cod surf shops cannot keep shark deterrents in stock after a massive spike in shark attacks over the past two Summers of Blood. Or maybe it was two summers ago and last summer was ok because Covid-19 restrictions kept everyone out of the water.

In any case, shark deterrents are a hotter game than ever because if there’s one thing VALs love, it is summer surfing.

Olaf Valli, owner of Wellfleet’s Sickday surf shop, told The Boston Herald, “People want to get back in the water. And people living on the Cape and visiting the Cape have decided that spending $500 on a system to decrease the risk of an interaction with a shark is well worth it.”

Local Orleans resident, and SUP pilot, Marc Angelillo added, “Much more people have been wearing these over the last few years. It’s been growing exponentially. Whether it’s 40% or 60% or 80% effective at reducing the chances of being bitten, it’s better than no percent.”

The spike in sales rides a recent study from Australia’s Flinders University that electronic deterrents could save 1,063 people from getting bitten by sharks across that by 2066 and could avert more than 3,000 “incidents” across Australia over the next four-plus decades.

That seems extremely arbitrary but the lead author of the study, Professor Corey Bradshaw, doubled down saying, “We found that thousands of people would potentially not get bitten, and several hundred people would not die. None of these devices will prevent a shark from biting you, but it reduces the probability. It’s like dumping hot sauce on the prey, so it makes the shark think twice about biting it.”

Do sharks not like hot sauce?

I think that is a leap Professor Bradshaw should not be comfortable in making.

I like hot sauce and imagine hot sauce would compliment the soft, quivering VAL flesh very nicely.

Yum.

The only real question is which sort of hot sauce? Some peppery Cajun fire? A flavorful Mexican dash? Vietnamese bang bang boogie?

Discuss below.