Josh Moniz after Volcom Pipe Pro win.
Josh Moniz after Volcom Pipe Pro win.

Breaking: Portuguese news reporting that Hawaiian Josh Moniz of the famous Moniz family seriously injured surfing Supertubos in Portugal, temporarily paralyzed, airlifted to hospital.

"The surf was particularly heavy."

Portuguese surf news is reporting that Josh Moniz, brother of Seth and Kelia, wiped out while surfing Supertubos, near Peniche, Portugal, “hitting the sand with violence” and had to be transported to the hospital via ambulance.

Per the translation from Portuguese:

It was at the end of this Thursday morning, October 7th, that Joshua Moniz, after hitting a tubular wave on the beach of Supertubos in Peniche, fell helplessly having hit the sand with violence. His friends promptly brought him to the sand and called 112.

The Hawaiian is a Pipeline standout from the much-loved family was in town ahead of the Challenger series. A local informed me that Moniz had to be dragged out of the water by friends and was rushed to Lisbon by helicopter after his first stop at the local hospital.

Surf cams caught him being loaded into the ambulance.

Information just in, from a source close to the family, confirmed the accident.

“Yes, he got slammed on his back at Supertubos. He was temporarily paralyzed and airlifted to the hospital. (Seth’s coach) Rainos Hayes went to see him and said early indications were that it was, indeed, temporary and early tests are coming back good.”

Many prayers for Josh..

Smith v Goggans II
Smith v Goggans II

Surf Journalist makes uncomfortable realization that he has fallen into morass of mental, physical inertia and purposes to fight toward greatness once again!

It is time to practice Brazilian ballet.

A spectre is haunting modern mankind – the spectre of a full blown, lifelong acceptance, love even, of intermediacy. All the surf powers of old Europe and new Europe, of America and Australia, even South Africa and probably Costa Rica have entered into a holy alliance to enforce this spectre: The Inertia, Electric Surfboard Acid Tests, softops, Costco.

It’s now completely chill to be perpetually ok. To be ok with being perpetually ok.

“Best surfer in the water is the one having most fun” etc.

Ah, but the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of greatness.

Woman and man refusing average and striving for actual best. Pushing, pushing, pushing to be better every single day and eventually iconic.

Julius Cesar.

William Wallace.

Joan of Arc.

Kelly Slater.

What happened to us?

Maybe we all just need WHOOP straps.

For I was, myself, was until recently a full-blown acceptor of mediocrity, accidentally, having slipped into a non-aggressive routine. A laziness both mental and physical had taken hold. I’d paddle out, catch a few waves, wander home to poke Kelly Slater in the digital eye, wash the sunset down with a cocktail, rinse, repeat but a few precious months ago my life partner Derek Reilly told me to get on the program, to jiujitsu, and to strap a WHOOP around my wrist. He had fallen head over heels in love with chokes, arm bars, pretzeled limbs etc. and also fallen in love with measuring his physical progress, mastering his domain, learning how to better himself through high-tech insight and I became enraged.

First, I did not want to jiujitsu. I did not like the aesthetic, men sprawled on the ground and clammy. Men wearing pajamas. I did not like the word “rolling” or the phrase “hit the mats.”

Second, I did not want a WHOOP strap. I did not want to be told how hard to train or how to sleep by a sleek modern appliance nor did I feel the need for guidance due a natural genetic skinniness.

I was ok.

A funny thing happened on the way to ballet, though. My young daughter loves the French, Italian, Russian art with singular passion, is enrolled in a fine academy and attends hours a day five to six to seven days a week pirouetting, rond de jombe-ing, tendu-ing. One evening, as I watched her toil under the yoke of a powerful and uncompromising master, who regularly got in her face and ordered her to “be allergic to average,” my heart stirred within me. My young daughter had, in fact, become allergic to average, was striving to be the absolute best ballerina the world has ever seen, was putting the hard work in daily while I was what? Merely enjoying the journey of trying to be funny?

I looked at my wrist, already wrapped in stylish black, since Derek Rielly had sent and I didn’t want to hurt feelings, logged onto my phone’s WHOOP application, saw “Day Strain 5.2” and wept.

Day Strain 5.2 was David Lee Scales adjacent.

And it was at that very moment that I purposed, in my heart, to strive for greatness again. To be a good example to my daughter and all children everywhere, David Lee Scales’ children too. To do the Brazilian ballet, as Derek Rielly had instructed, but also learn to kick, to punch, to block, to throw.

To then challenge my erstwhile nemesis to the greatest trilogy in fight history.

Smith vs. Goggans III.

A physical and mental masterpiece for which to endeavor.

But first I must train and train smart.

Matt Warshaw, left, and shaping guru Jeff Ho. | Photo: Ken Seino

Surf historian Matt Warshaw on man-vs-machine board-building conundrum: “By leaning into the code and the hardware we have exterminated the wizards. The boards are better but the sport is duller!”

Thank you and goodbye, shaping guru.

I spent last Sunday at the Boardroom Show in Del Mar.

I haven’t been to a trade event in years, but it was the same as ever; I drag my feet walking in, spot a friendly face, then another, and next thing you know the day has passed and I’ve done nothing but talk and laugh and catch up with people I know and like, and then driving back to Manhattan Beach I had a magical classic rock run on Sirius XM’s ’70s on 7. Long live the well-exhumed deep cut. It was an excellent Sunday.

But I couldn’t wait to get back to Squid Game and Injury Reserve and dream-scrolling my grey-on-black Lucid Air with Dreamdrive Pro package, and the rest of what is best about 2021, because while my relationship to the past is grounding and warm and enduring, the new thing can still hit me like a razor tapping on glass, and everything else blurs as I rush toward it, ready to devour. 

Don’t get me wrong.

Both are necessary, past and present, and I keep my neck limber so that I can look smoothly behind and forward.

But the only reason I can run a surfing encyclopedia website and not bore the shit out of you guys—and ipso facto not bore the shit out of myself—is because I’ve made a cattle-prod of the present and figured out how and where and when to stick it into our shared history.

Leap with my now as I attempt to connect this notion to my love for both the guru shaper and the shaping machine.

First, the machine.

A thousand years ago, a freethinking kahuna found a piece of coral that worked better than the piece he already had for grinding koa trees into surfboards—and from there, to my mind, boardmaking tech has been one long happy march forward, delivering us to our present-day CAD-programmed spindle-driven five-axis foam-carving hot rod with mounted digital probe scanning function and dual cup holders. 

The boardmaking Holy Grail, people. All design variables finally under control. Our greatest hands-on shapers were great indeed, but none can eyeball or “feel” a shape job down to ± 0.01-inch tolerance. And why should they? You shouldn’t have to tune the piano and write the song at the same time. Just write the song.

On the other hand, the machine does not fit in with our shared belief—something I hold near and dear—that surfing is half sport and half infinite R&D adventure; and in fact by leaning into the code and the hardware we have exterminated the wizards.

The boards are better but the sport is duller.

My head is with the machines, in other words, but my heart is with Dick Brewer, who sat there ancient and stone-faced in his booth in Del Mar, by the looks of it already in silent conversation with his kami gods. I already miss him. Ten-thousand machines will give us 10-million perfect boards, but the sport will nonetheless be poorer for never again having an exchange like the one that took place in 1970, when Jeff Hakman stopped by Brewer’s factory to pick up a new gun. 

Jeff, the hottest North Shore surfer at the time, and probably the nicest as well, looked his gleaming new stick over and casually wondered if maybe the tail was a tiny bit too pulled in? Brewer didn’t say a thing, just picked up a saw, cut the back 12 inches off, and let the board drop to the floor. Turned to Hakman and asked, “How’s that? Is that better for you?” Nobody gurued like Brewer.

PS: It took 50 years, but I finally had a real conversation with Jeff Ho, my own original shaping guru. Jeff was the first person I saw at the Boardroom Show—he is a low-key underground dandy in his classic dark-blue Zephyr Team T-shirt and the flowing-white Gandolf hair-and-beard combo—and we chatted away for 20 minutes, which was 19.5 minutes more than my longest conversation with him back in the old days. 

Jeff is not as old as Dick Brewer, but getting up there nonetheless, and while we laughed and reminisced he nonetheless seemed a little vague on details. Then at the very end I asked about a board he made me in 1972. Jeff closed his eyes for a moment, then looked at me and said “6′ 6″ roundpin, clear, wider in the hips than the one I made you before that.” I shook his hand but should have dropped to my knees and kowtowed.

(You like this? Matt Warshaw delivers a surf history essay every Sunday, PST. All of ’em a pleasure to read. Maybe time to subscribe to Warshaw’s Encyclopedia of Surfing, yeah? Three bucks a month.)

Editor’s note: After reading this wonderful piece, I wanted to clarify with Warshaw if he was pro or anti-machines. “100% machines in terms of what is best for 2021 or any period since . . . what, 1995? The machines are the best and least-appreciated development in boardmaking, ever. That said, the sport was more interesting and more fun before the machines, when we all sat at the feet of the great shapers, even if it was just the local hot-shot… But my strike rate with those guys, even the best of ’em, was pretty low. Machine-made boards, it was (still is) bang, bang, bang, very good or magic, one after the other. So thank you and goodbye, shaping guru.”

Dirty Water: Surf feminist hero Lucy Small on her feud with pro surfing founder Ian Cairns, the fight for equal prizemoney and squashing the pale-skinned devil behind it all, “The apex predator of the patriarchy is white men!”

"The male is completely egocentric, trapped inside himself, incapable of empathizing or identifying with others, or love, friendship, affection of tenderness!"

Two weeks ago, Charlie and I enjoyed the company of Lucy Small, a Sydney-based longboarder and surf feminist, on the erratically published podcast Dirty Water.

Lucy rocketed to fame five months ago when she gave organisers of a longboard contest hell from the stage for paying the women half as much as the men.

The effect was seismic and mainstream media went into overdrive, for who, after all, doesn’t love a little patriarchy busting? Is there no crime greater or more deserving than a little public vengeance?

And, three weeks ago, Lucy went head to head with the founder of professional surfing, Mr Ian Cairns, via Instagram DMs after she posted a meme featuring the hanging scene from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. 

Kanga took it as a personal affront, white man being executed; our guest did it to highlight the hypocrisy of an amendment to Texan abortion laws. 

Over the course of an hour or thereabouts, we all agree white men are the worst (I’m of a brown-ish hue, Charlie is yellowed from the booze), we both recall, with gusto, the wonderful Valerie Solanas and her Society for Cutting Up Men (SCUM) and that it would be a very good thing if Lucy could get twenty-thousand signatures on her petition for equal prizemoney so it can be tabled in parliament.

(Lucy also builds up the tension of her on-stage equal pay moment very well.)

Sign here! 

Surf competition in Hawaii. Almost a forgotten memory.
Surf competition in Hawaii. Almost a forgotten memory.

Hawaii’s professional surfing class grows furious as competitions remain cancelled while football, soccer run unimpeded: “I’m taking it as a cultural insult!”

Time for respect.

Proper resentment is taking hold amongst Hawaii’s professional surfing class as competitions remain cancelled, due Covid-19 restrictions, while soccer, football and other team sports are in full swing.

According to a new report on the islands’ ABC affiliate, the World Surf League has cancelled yet another regional qualifier citing state mandates on the number of people allowed to gather together.

Former pro surfer Kahea Hart told the station, “I’m taking it more as a cultural insult you know, as a Hawaiian, and watching football, soccer, and those sports being able to be played and surfing, which is outdoors and there’s four guys in the water, that’s our ancestors did that. And it’s not right. Football players are on the line, going head to head coughing, spitting, grunting pushing each other, tackling each other. How much more safe is that than for surfers in the water not touching?”

Jen Tema, whose son Luke has dreams of making onto tour, is agitated as well declaring, “None of our Hawaii kids have trained, they’ve had one contest in two years. And the kids that want to go on tour and the kids that want to try to qualify, have no points. I’m asking (the government) to reclassify it or rename it if it’s considered a gathering, put it in the same you know, same boxes football and soccer whatever is allowed them to keep going, Reclassify it, rename it recategorize it whatever they need to do to give us the same respect that they give football, soccer, all the other sports.”

Honolulu’s mayor has assured his weary public that no other surf competitions will be cancelled but his optimism beggar’s belief as Governor David Ige has extended his emergency proclamation indefinitely.

A solution?

Governor BJ Penn?

One octagon to unite them all.