Any surfer, worth her salt, will certainly remember the importance place that punk, and punk-adjacent, music occupied in our glorious pastime during the 1990s into the 2000s. A surf movie was not a surf movie unless it featured Pennywise, Lagwagon, Unwritten Law etc. and what a wonderful epoch.
I always assumed that the music elevated the surfing but it has been revealed, in the recently-esque published Do What You Want: The Story of Bad Religion, that the world’s greatest surfer Kelly Slater is responsible for the very popular melodic hardcore band’s success.
Lead guitarist Brett Gurewitz recalls sitting in his office trying to figure out how to expand the fanbase when his phone rang, Slater on the other end of the line.
Slater: Hey, is this Brett?
Slater: My name is Kelly Slater and I’m a professional surfer.
Brett: I know who you are.
Slater: I’m putting out a surf video that I’m going to sell at skate and surf shops. How much would it cost to put your music in it?
Brett: It won’t cost you anything.
Brett: Put as much of my music in your video as you want for free. I would be stoked!
Slater did and the rest, as they say, is history with Bad Religion going on to stratospheric fame, headlining festivals, selling out auditoriums, etc. and all thanks to a little boy with big dreams from Cocoa Beach, Florida.
And Paul Roach.