Photo: City and County of Honolulu.
Photo: City and County of Honolulu.

Humble surf podcast sparks beautiful movement culminating in October 6th officially and forever being declared “Carissa Moore Day!”

An overwhelming sense of love.

David Lee Scales and I were chatting, as surfing’s grand Olympic debut culminated some few months ago, when I brought up the need for “Carissa Moore Day.” Or maybe David Lee Scales brought it up. In either case, the Hawaiian surfer has done it all, multiple Association of Surfing Professionals and World Surf League titles, first-ever Olympic gold, forcing a premium surf magazine to make an embarrassing apology, and deserves a day.

Well, the humble surf podcast episode somehow made it all the way across the ocean and somehow into the ears of Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi who somehow recognized the error of his ways and, forthwith, declared October 6 as “Carissa Moore Day.”

Moore, gracious as ever, declared, “I’m so honored to be here. I’ve felt this outpouring and overwhelming sense of love from my community, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without all those people, without all that love,” before adding, “It’s my hope that anyone that is young and chasing their dreams that they know that anything is possible if they work hard and they put their heart and mind to it.”

She did not mention The Grit! nor did she need to for we toil for the sake of toiling.

During yesterday’s toil with David Lee, anyhow, I also disparaged Gerry Lopez’s great legacy.

Win some, lose some.

Listen here.

Watch here: Kolohe Andino’s magnum opus “Reckless Isolation”, filmed during wild three-week Coke binge through Indonesia’s Mentawai Islands!

Very Sea of Darkness.

Released, just now, is the Kolohe Andino-funded film, Reckless Isolation, which was filmed during a three-week Coke binge through the Mentawai Islands.

Accompanying the release of the movie is a hard-cover book, which includes a story, written by me,  on one of the movie’s participants, the wanna-be Ultimate Surfer Luke Davis.

Below is one of the story’s duller passages but it does reveal a little about the trip.

Luke describes it as the best trip he’s ever been on, and says the waves were as good as you can get out on this ribbon of seventy islands stretching over a hundred miles just off the Sumatran coast. 

A planned twelve day-charter on the seventy-foot supercat Sibon Jaya turned into twenty three as one swell followed another. Luke surfed for the first sixteen of the twenty-three days, but was benched for the final week after a series of wipeouts. 

“Fuck, we got every wave you wanna get out there. Started out at Lances, firing, three days in a  row, then we had Maccas, we had Thunderbox, that right slab, then we got Rags, we got Greenbush psycho for one day and we ended at Bank Vaults. It was overhead to, like, fifteen-foot faces on the biggest day. Big, big Mentawais. As big as you can get, some of the spots.” 

Luke says Greenbush was a terrifying ride. 

“I hit the reef there so it was fucked. Fuck, it was worse than I’ve had in years. Both hands on the reef, the first time, then had to get a couple of stitches in my hand then I went back out and got a couple of waves then on my third wave I hit my side on the reef and my knees and the top of my feet. I hit my whole body and I was done. That was my last session on that trip. I was kinda fucked.”

As the wave didn’t improve after day sixteen, Luke healed in the air-conditioned saloon, “a solid week of chilling.”

Do you drink, Luke? 

“No, I don’t.” 

It would’ve been much more fun if you drank. 

“No one was drinking. Maybe Crane had a beer at some point. We were downing Coca-Colas and eating candy bars hard core. My teeth started hurting so much.” 

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.”