Founder of brand featured in professional surfing’s most iconic moment in spotlight again with meteoric success of docu-series “The Curse of Von Dutch: A Brand to Die For!”


Any person wandering this earth during the 2000s will certainly remember Von Dutch. Celebrities from Paris Hilton to Ashton Kutcher wouldn’t be caught dead, outside, without a trucker hat with a “Von Dutch” patch front and center perched upon coiffed hairs. Later, that same “Von Dutch” was plastered to everything from dog sweaters to blowdryers.

The logo was everywhere and then, overnight, it disappeared.

What happened? A new docs-series pokes into the rise and fall of the brand and its three Ed Boswell, Mike Cassel and Bobby Vaughn.

A wild story of betrayal, death, threats from Pablo Escobar’s family and, reading about it suddenly remembered that I spent an afternoon with Bobby Vaughn many years ago right after he founded the brand FTW and sponsored Santa Barbara’s Bobby Martinez.

You will certainly recall the FTW cap riding high during the most iconic moment in professional surfing’s history. FTW sicker on surfboard nose.

Anyhow, Vaughn was a fantastic man, a surfer from Santa Cruz who moved to Venice Beach, got in some trouble, helped Von Dutch rocket to the moon then was brutally cut out of the business. He was living in New York when we chatted, having started a surf shop there, helping at-risk youth and maybe we even chatted in New York, but I don’t know what he’s doing now.

Thankfully there is a new docu-series. I’ll paw through my old paper Stab‘s and find the story while you watch the teaser.

You could be a keg with legs!
You could be a keg with legs!

Win one-in-one-hundred-ish chance to surf in this January’s famed Pipeline Masters for the low, low price of $125!

Great odds!

But have you ever sat at home, in December, chatting with your very best online surf friends whilst the Pipeline Masters plays, typing less-than-charitable things about Filipe Toledo and his decided lack of brazen?

“Look at that wave. It’s perfect. I would have gone.”

Well guess what? Starting a few days ago you can pay the low, low price of $125 to win a 1 in 126 chance to prove yourself bold.

The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, you see, will have a video component and the winner will be slotted right in to that Pipeline Masters but let Dane Gudauskas explain the rules.

You’ve totally got this.

"Been surfing three months and I will call you off any goddamn wave I please."

At what point of the adult learner surfer journey are VALS legally entitled to call shredders off waves?

Have you been cucked by a vulnerable adult learner surfer lately?

A bright morning, the swell pulsing a little from the south, enough for a chip shot to foam climb to weak wrap and a little milk left on the teat to spray a learner on the shoulder. 

A left swings in, take off, hear wild shrieks of “Hey! Hey! Hey!”

Look back over my right shoulder and a man in his forties is still prone at the trough of the wave, both hands on the deck while dragging his legs beneath him like some wretched polio-infected beggar. 

“Hey! Hey! Hey!” 

Obvs, I continue but my equilibrium is upset by the event. 

At what point in the adult surfer learner journey can a VAL start calling other surfers off waves? 

At what juncture does a new surfer feel they’ve earned the right to the ownership of a wave? 

I live by a pretty simple rule. If someone surfs better than me, yeah, I know, most, unless its too wilful to ignore I ain’t gonna say a damn thing. 

I’ll take the cuckolding, watch the stud stroking the  wave’s womb-gate as he flies down the line, and get out of there. 

I still consider it a terrific honour to surf behind a surfer of CT level, some of my happiest moments watching Joel Parkinson soar down the line, turning where I’d crouch for the tube; Andy Irons taking off like a Navy plane out of its slingshot.

I found it real odd, a few months back, when a Lowers shredder lost his mind at title contender Filipe Toledo shoulder hopping his ride. What greater thrill could there be than being gifted a front-row seat to the best two-foot-and-under surfer in the world? 

Let’s get into the VALS mindset. 

They come into the game as more enlightened souls than anyone who learned to surf before COVID and the VALpocalypse. 

The VAL believes in equality of outcome whatever the rider’s skill level; the pre-VAL era surfer still lives in an outdated world of meritocracies, the better you get, the more waves you ride. 

The VAL, unable to identify the difference between a wave that misses the bank or hits it a wrong angle, believes waves are an infinite resource and that all waves are the same. 

Pre-VAL knows there are diamonds amid the rocks and he ain’t gonna holler and scratch for the duds. But that…one…that hits just right, he’s gonna scratch for it. 

The VAL, therefore, yells and hollers and barks years before he is legally entitled to do so. 

Or am I wrong and this is the new way? 

Ergo, what would Jonah do? 

Environmentally conscious surf brand Patagonia abandons New York storefront once home to The Cramps, Misfits, Ramones, Agnostic Front!

Last wave.

Any surfer even vaguely aware of music has, at the very least, heard of the New York venue CBGB. The bar, which opened in the Bowery district in 1973 and named “Country Bluegrass Blues and Other Music For Uplifting Gormandizers,” or CBGB & OMFUG for short, quickly became the place for the hot New Wave and punk sounds of the time.

A veritable who’s who played on its cramped, darkened stage from Elvis Costello to Patti Smith, The Ramones to The Misfits, Reagan Youth to Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.

CBGB became an iconic Mecca but closed in 2006, becoming occupied by designer John Varvatos and environmentally conscious surf brand Patagonia.

An odd fit?

Maybe as Patagonia feels more… I don’t know… not Phish but maybe something like Phish to me. Journey?

Allman Brothers?

In any case, according to the local Bowery Boogie newsletter, Patagonia is no more. Per the report:

The Patagonia Surf shop on the Bowery rode its last wave.

Corporate pulled the plug on the Lower East Side outpost at the end of October, leaving a retail vacancy in an area that has been upscaled in a big way over the last decade. Store signage was pried from the facade, and the interior scraped bare.

Ready for the next occupant.

Patagonia signed a ten-year lease on 313 Bowery back in 2012, but Hurricane Sandy postponed the launch by a year. In its prior life, this address housed the CBGB Record Canteen, the annex which later morphed into CB’s Gallery in the late-1980s, hosting shows of various genres.

And there we have it.


Dave Matthews Band?

I’m really struggling to musically cast Patagonia.

Can you help?

Not peak.
Not peak.

Surf journalist blatantly ignores personalized digital fitness and health coach leading to a series of unfortunate decision making!

Not cool.

Last evening, at roughly 8:30, my personalized digital fitness and health coach instructed me that if I hoped to achieve peak performance the following day, I should consider going to bed.

My life partner, Derek Rielly, maybe sensing shakiness in the quality of my life after an ill-conceived suggestion regarding a three-time surfing champion, also advised that I “focus on sleep” and calm my humors.

Not ever liking to be told what to do, I blatantly ignored the both of them, went out for a late night Korean barbecue feast, came home and watched a World War II drama featuring a small Dutch town getting brutalized by Nazis into the wee hours.

A mistake.

WHOOP knows me better than I know myself, knew I needed that shut eye as “sleep is one of the most important things a person can do to improve recovery, boost the immune system, and make fitness gains.”

The stylish black strap “recommends hours of sleep needed for optimal recovery and tracks sleep stages, disturbances, respiratory rate, and more.”

It takes nightly measurement of when light sleep is engaged, when REM, or “the mentally restorative sleep stage where a body consolidates memory and learning,” is entered, when slow wave sleep, or “the physically restorative sleep stage where a body restores muscular, cellular, and skeletal systems,” is embraced.

A modern miracle but did I listen?

Did I heed?


And I barely woke up for a pre-sunrise surf, drank too much coffee and gave myself a good case of the jitters, forgot my wax, chose the wrong board for very small Great White shark infested Cardiff-by-the-Sea, went left on a right, dropped in on a SUP pilot without care, told a kindly Brazilian to buzz off then felt bad when he sweetly apologized, calling himself a “newb” in the process, came home, wrote this story then rushed off to bark at children for not employing the break-apart strategy in mathematics.

A series of unfortunate decision makings and the day has still just begun.

Performance not peak and tonight I will listen to my personal sleep coach, whose feelings are hopefully unhurt by this poor showing due intransigence.

I will be a better me tomorrow.