Volcom’s best surf trunk designer quits, starts soon-to-be-iconic wavepool clothing brand parodying Surf Ranch’s ultra-exclusivity: “Wildly visionary playfulness!”

A surf brand inspired by WSL's Future Surf Classic.

If you knew Joey Frizzelle like I know Joey Frizzelle, why, you’d love him to pieces, too. 

Joe was at Volcom for fourteen years, all through the good ones, through the great float, and before getting the joint got bought out by the French luxe group Kering, owners of Gucci, Saint Laurent and Bottega Veneta and finally, Authentic Group, makers of Juicy Couture’s outstanding velvet tracksuits (a personal fav.)

“It changed a lot for over that time,” says Joe, who was Volcom’s surf trunk designer of note. 

His little light bulb moment for a brand centred around pools came when he was watching the Future Classic at Surf Ranch in 2017, the world’s second-ever major wave pool event, a contest where spectators were excluded. 

“No one could see what was going on, it was so exclusive, so elitist and all of a sudden everyone had a comment about it, the death of surfing and so on. Everyone had an opinion on it.” 

Joe said to a pal, “You know what’s so funny, somebody is going to have a wavepool brand and it’s going to be called Country Club Surf Club or something.” 

Bing. 

Joe went out and got the Instagram handle, bought the domain, he yelled from his Volcom cubicle, “Can somebody make a logo?” 

By the time the afternoon had spilled into evening, he had a logo, a website, had posted photos on Instagram and had mocked up a full range of hats and tees. 

“It was epic,” he says. “We tagged BeachGrit and Chas came back and said how much he loved it.” 

Joe Frizz at pool in CC tee.

He had to keep it under wraps, howevs, at least the part where he was in low-level cahoots with BeachGrit. 

“The management were not too keen on BeachGrit and here I am sending stuff to Chas.” 

The brand started as parody but Joe is anything but anti-tub. He hits the Waco pool when he can and even blew his money on the old Austin tank before it got bought out by KSWaveCo, demolished, and abandoned. 

“The Austin pool was tough, that was horrible. It was like bad San Onofre,” says Joe. 

Still, even at Austin “we had a really fun day. Wavepools are so dope, they’re sick, that’s what we dreamed about when we were kids. You have Travis Ferré saying they’re the worst thing ever, never do it, everyone splitting has on it, flip-flopping back and forth. But when you go, everyone’s rotating, no one’s hassling, everyone’s stoked. It’s better than sitting at 56th Street and battling all the groms all day for shitty waves. At BSR, it’s a pretty good three-footer. You’re with your friends hooting and hollering and you’re not out there thinking, aw, the wind just came up, the tide’s not right.”

Instead of a Pro Team, Joe has a Bro Team, which includes the aforementioned Chas Smith. There isn’t a huge barrier to entry.

Bro Team uniform.

“Everyone is on the Bro Team,” he says. “If you want to apply go for it. When you show up at a pool rocking a Country Club shirt, you’re in the know, part of the club.” 

Country Club Surf Club ain’t even close to being self-sustaining, Joe’s got himself another gig to pay the bills, but the dream is to get enough of a buzz around it, to build relationships with the guys at the pools and get a discount on sessions so he can take his twin five-year-old shredders on his choline adventures without melting his card.

In the meantime, “It’s a fun spin on what’s happening in core surf,” says Joe. “It keeps me self-entertained.” 


Dariel, not a man to reflect on life's what-ifs… | Photo: @dariel_melendezd/@quekasurfer_ma

Surfers raise $26,000 to buy freakishly talented Caribbean amputee a custom titanium prosthetic leg!

"Team work truly is the dream work!"

Ten years ago, eleven-year-old Costa Rican Dariel Meléndez Davila was hit by a train while trying to escape a thief, his leg so mangled it had to be amputated in hospital, the kid conscious the whole time. 

The train shortly after running over Dariel.

Seven years later, Dariel got hit by a different train, this time the desire to surf.

He’d seen all the surfers around his home town of Puerto Viejo, but it wasn’t until he spoke to a pal who’d been to an Adaptive Surfing Camp that he realised there was a network out there of surfers dealing with disabilities and who could help him get into the game. 

Little by little, Dariel worked out how to balance on his one stilt, where to weight, where to unweight, until he got to a point where he surfs rings around plenty of us with two legs, hitting even Costa Rica’s heavier waves. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/CPY2vsWBkMI/

Now, thanks to the intervention of noted filmmaker Logan Dulien (Snapt series) who created a gofundme to raise cash for a prosthetic limb and travel to the US to get the appendage fitted, Dariel is gonna get a custom titanium prothesis from Russ Molina, owner of Advanced Kinematics and one of the best in the biz. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/CQcFrihhy2h/

Four hundred and twenty five donors hit the 25k goal in less than three days, the pot currently spilling over at $26,042. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/CQjDBAFHbZP/

“He will come out start of September compete in the adaptive surf competition in Oceanside first week of September then after the comp he will spend 10 days in Palm Springs with Russel Molina getting a custom mold fit for the titanium leg,” Dulien told BeachGrit. “Then after that attend the Snapt4 world premiere in HB September 25th and then fly back to Costa Rica a few days later.” 

It ain’t gonna all be plain sailing, howevs. Dariel has never used a prosthesis. 

“He will first have to learn to walk and eventually surf. Will be work in progress,” says Dulien. 


World peace through surfing!
World peace through surfing!

Many-time World Champion Kelly Slater floats hosting surfing in 2028 Los Angeles Olympics at his Lemoore Surf Ranch: “It’s something that could be done. You’ve got my brain thinking over it!”

Explosive!

In an explosive new development, many-time World Champion and artificial wave technology pioneer Kelly Slater has floated hosting surfing in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics at his Central Valley Surf Ranch.

The question was floated to him during the junior national championships at Lowers earlier in the week by a Los Angeles Times’ reporter. His response, “Hmm. I didn’t think about that,” led to an introspective spitball about what might work best.

“I think by then we’ll have other designs. Maybe something a little shorter, maybe a 20-second ride would be optimum because you could push as hard as you want and have enough variety in the maneuvers,” before ending with “It’s something that could be done. You’ve got my brain thinking it over.”

But can you imagine surfers from around the world coming to Los Angeles in seven short years, driving up to the Tachi Palace, taking a few practice runs each, maybe, then going for gold?

The world’s best surf journalist recently opened up about his feelings on Kelly Slater’s eponymous wave technology, writing, “The only thing I felt like killing after (watching) Surf Ranch was myself. It made me realise though, that I really and truly wanted no part of Kelly’s power-hungry, water-wasting machine wave. In fact, you’d have to pay me to go there and surf it.”

What would an Olympics at the tub do to surfing?

What would it do to Longtom?

More as the story develops.


Founder of Queer Surf Club discusses pretending to be straight while learning to surf: “I was worrying about whether I was cheering camply or coming across as effeminate when I was falling off the board.”

A serious discussion.

Can I be truly open and honest with you? I am a sarcastic, snarky man, there I said it. I am sarcastic and snarky and think I’m funny and think being too serious is such a bore.

And it was in this normal state of being that I stumbled across the BBC piece Pride Month: ‘I pretended to be straight to learn how to surf’

“Huh?” I thought, probably sarcastically and snarky. “Pretended to be straight to learn to surf?”

I immediately clicked and read the story of British man, and founder of the Queer Surf Club, Frazer Riely learning to surf in Morocco where not surfing, but state laws, prohibited homosexuality.

Continuing, I learned how the experience was not enjoyable how he “was worrying about whether I was cheering camply or coming across as effeminate when I was falling off the board. My experience of learning to surf was of hiding my true identity, and I never wanted another queer person to feel like that.”

“Huh,” I thought, toned down and introspective, then reached his impression of the broader surf community.

“There are incredible individuals out there who are welcoming and inclusive. But the issue with surf culture is that there’s a very singular, homogenous story on what it is to be a surfer, from how you surf to riding shortboards to what you wear. That image is generally cis-gendered, straight white men who are athletic and able-bodied – and that narrative has perpetuated surf culture since conception, almost. Now, I truly believe we’re on the cusp of changing. Surfers are waking up and looking around them and seeing who is present and who isn’t.”

I’ll continue to be truly and openly honest. I was moved.

A question for you, now.

Is surfing, or the public perception of surfing, an outdated cultural relic that should be dashed on the same rocks that brought low “whites-only” country clubs or is identity, as primary lens with which to view everything, not always the most useful?

Here’s one more.

What if we, altogether, learned how to stop worrying and love the bomb?


Listen: Surf journalist wonders which of world’s top 20 surfers, man or woman, has the greatest capacity to become axe murderer; receives confirmation almost immediately!

Assassino do machado.

Fate is a funny thing. This very morning I drove, per the usual, to Album Surf in sunny San Clemente for my weekly chat with David Lee Scales. I wasn’t thinking about much, most of my interest soaked up by stumbling across Nic Harcourt hosting an obscure public radio morning program that somehow split headquarters between Northridge and Mission Viejo.

“Northridge and Mission Viejo?” I pondered over and over. “What strange bedfellows.”

Nic used to be host of Los Angeles’s KCRW’s famed Morning becomes Eclectic but was unceremoniously shown the door and I began wondering what he had done or what mad beef there had been in KCRW’s Venice-adjacent hallways some decade ago.

Interest soaked, in any case, until I pulled up at Album, waltzed in, sat across from David Lee and blathered on about Surf Ranch, Chris Cote, progression, regression, etc. until arriving at our segment closing “barrel or nah” where “barrel” means good or approved and “nah” means nah.

“Buying a home in which someone has been murdered,” David Lee asked.

“Barrel” I responded but the question did trigger another reflection about The Shining and its Overlook Hotel.

“Which of the world’s top 20 surfers, man or woman has the greatest capacity to become axe murderer?”

David Lee did not want to answer but I had sinking suspicion that it might be Gabriel Medina.

The current World number 1 has been electric all year with a personality that can only be considered a 180 turn from his previous self. He seems to be thoroughly enjoying his life, happy, easy-going, loving surfing etc. but also family struggles bubbling… somewhere.

Jack Torrance’s personality shifted drastically too. Family struggles bubbled.

After the podcast ended, I said my goodbyes, drove home and received a forwarded Instagram from the World Surf League’s account.

@swindler_ish, who sent, wrote, “Happy Gabi is gonna be pissed off Gabi when his 13000 point lead doesn’t secure the title coz he loses at trestles.”

Axe-murdering pissed.

See?

Listen here.