The most famous surf shop owner in the world is seventy years old, skates vert and rides a six-one, “Part animal, part machine, part idiot!”

How many documentaries have been made about surf shop owners?  

I caught Sid Abruzziight, owner of Water Brothers Surf Shop, after a solid head-high morning session at Ruggles as Hurricane Ida ripped by Rhode Island. 

He is seventy and riding a 6’1”.  

We talked about the documentary in production about his life. Water Brother: The Sid Abbruzzi Story is set to release next year, a jaw punch of a flick.

Check out the sizzle reel here.

How many documentaries have been made about surf shop owners?  

Abbruzzi might be the most famous shop owner alive today. Maybe not famous-famous but surf-famous, at least. His grey ropes of hair and tattoed body are more Pagans Motorcycle Club than surf icon. A model of the underground hero, Abbruzzi don’t own no clean Vans. Scars run down both legs with mehanical hip replacements caused by over fifty years of proper vert skating. 

Part animal―Part Machine.

But this isn’t an advertisement for his Water Brothers shop, that brick-and-morter citadel in Newport, Rhode island. Even if it was, you’d be outta luck. Abbruzzi doesn’t keep a website.  

Part animal―Part machine―Part idiot.

Sid isn’t living for money, and he’s beautiful because of it. Abruzzi’s lost countless dollars from shunning major brands, preferring to stick with five-to-ten grand of inventory: Buell wetsuits and select custom boards. 

Moms come in. “Do you have Billabong t-shirts for my son?’  

“Sorry” Sid says.

But he’s not.

Like Andy Warhol at a Manhattan dinner party when asked why he wasn’t dining on the feast before him. 

“I only eat candy,” Worhol deadpanned. 

Abbruzzi only eats candy, too. A shop that exists to support his own skating and surfing. Everything else is broccoli and he says the hell with that.

Sid started selling surfboards in his basement in ’69 then opened up a little beachfront surf shack down the street, the first Water Brothers. And a shack it was.

“I dug a little trench between the shop and the bar next door. Dropped an extension cord in it to get juice. For years, that’s where we sucked our electricity from. Every time a car drove over it in the beach parking lot, though, we lost power. We had a pot belly stove. It was a blast. We had it for twenty years. From ‘71 – ‘93. Never had a lease. We paid three-hundred a year to the landlord.”

It was Sid’s way from the get-go.

He says, “If you ever want to do anything, don’t ask. No games. Just do it.” 

Case-in-point. Sid wants to build a full-sized halfpipe in the lot next to the shack. Does it―sans blessing. The landlord shows up. Sid explains that it’s part of a project for their Explorers Troop. (A division of the Boy Scouts: changing boys to men, one ascot at a time) They were not, of course, Explorers. To cement the tale, Sid had uniforms made complete with a made up troop number patch set on the shirt sleeves. 

―And part genius.  

Sid moved into a larger store front in the ‘90’s but still held onto that independent streak. 

Water Brothers have hosted countless surf and skate royals over the years: Curren. Fletchers. Even actor Bill Murray, who once dropped down on the shop couch for a week during the shoot of Moonrise Kingdom. 

Like many surf traveler, Murray knows the spot to go when in Newport. Skip the Cliffwalk mansions, hit Water Brothers.

For Sid, however, ignoring the mansions of Newport has never been an option. These Gilded Age estates sit in front some of the best waves in all of the North East, Ruggles in particular. But as more surfers started to dot the lineup, the police began plucking them out, clearing the oceanviews of the proletariat. 

“It was Millionaire’s Row. They didn’t want us there.”

Sid grew tired of the hassling. 

“One day, I stayed in the water. All of a sudden there’s one cop, two, cops, five cops. They yelled that they were going to tow my car. ‘Go Ahead!’ I yelled back.  I finally came in when I was done. There was no love.They arrested me. Went to court. Found guilty. Fined. I took it to appeals court. And while we were waiting for trial, I was still surfing there. The judge said that banning surfing at Ruggles was unconstitutional and that was that.”  

Abbruzzi admits the victory stings a bit now. He says the water’s infested. 

On a good day, there can be a hundred guys in the water but only a couple dozen from Newport.

“Ruggles is still our spot, though. We still give a little elbow to the ribs, you know what I mean?”

Sid wears his Newport pride like a hood ornament.

“In the seventies, there was a bouy that separated surfers. If you were knowledgable you’d surf on one side, and the other side was for full-blown kooks. I wouldn’t mind havin’ that back now.”

Sid is more hands-on in Newport than a priest in a Catholic Boys School. He was at the heart of a campaign to save the break by keeping a pair of wave-crushing jetties out of the water, recommended after Hurricane Sandy. He’s put his weight behind a proposed skatepark at Abbruzzi sports Complex (named after his father.) The skatepark has just been green-lighted.

When it’s flat, you can find Sid at Water Bros. But when it’s on, he’s in the lineup, all seasons.

“I’ve surfed 55 winters. I refuse to wear a 6/5. I’m out every time there’s waves.”

If you’re ever in the Newport area, I highly suggest a visit to Water Brothers so you can touch Sid.

World’s greatest waterman Kai Lenny conducts second most exciting surf-adjacent gender reveal of all-time out at big Jaws: “I’M GONNA BE A GIRL DAD!!”

Let's hear it for the GIRLS!

Kai Lenny can do no wrong and this is one thing VALs and grumpy locals can both agree on. The brave Maui local, whom Derek Rielly describes as “a daring twenty-seven-year-old multi-discipline surfer with sea-spray eyes shaped like pecans, skin the colour of buttered cocoa and lips as red as if he’d just applied a fresh coat of pomegranate lipstick” has, this week, helped drive Facebook stock to a five-year low and, yesterday, conducted the second most exciting gender reveal of all time at his home break Jaws.

Lenny, wearing iconic Hurley springer, was towed into a large wave holding a pyrotechnic device that, when activated, released a spray of red smoke indicating that he would soon be a father of a two daughters, having just announced days ago that twins were on the way.

“I’M GONNA BE A GIRL DAD!!” he captioned the post, tagging his partner Molly Payne.

Brilliant, inspirational, many congratulations and only bested by the couple who had a boy and almost burned the entire state of California to the ground.

A who’s who of surf glitterati, featuring Anastasia Ashley, Nathan Florence, Mark Healey, Brett Simpson, Lucas Chumbo etc. weighed in with many hearts and well-wishes.

All very well deserved and much love to the Lenny family.

As a father of two daughters, though not twins, I can say they are by far the best. Better than absolutely anything including, but not limited to, Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse.

Norwegian beach handball team defeats “antiquated Mad Man-esque chauvinism,” will no longer be forced to compete in revealing bikinis!

Times are a'changin.

We surfers, we lovers of the ocean and her waves, are an open-minded bunch when it comes to dress in the lineup. A man, or woman, is allowed to wear a wetsuit, a wetsuit top, a short-sleeved wetsuit, a long-sleeved short-legged wetsuit, a full swimsuit, a bikini, trunks or a tankini. The only item of clothing expressly forbidden is the baggy short sleeved turtle necked rash guard but, otherwise, a cornucopia of options.

Our beach brothers and sisters have not had it quite so well with beach handball players, for instance, forced to toil under the sun in bikinis.

Well, no longer. The sport’s governing body just ruled in favor of allowing women to now wear “short tight pants with a close fit” and a “body fit tank top” in lieu of bikinis when competing after the Norwegian team complained that it was sexist and was duly fined.

Norwegian Handball Federation (NHF) President Kare Geir Lio told NBC News that the new change is a “real and symbolic step” toward fighting gender inequality in the sport and also that “it’s good for the game, but first of all, it’s good for the women, and it’s good for how we treat each other in sports.”


Baggy short sleeved turtle necked rash guards are really the worst, though.

The pair unlock the floodgates of memory with a touching pas de deux.

World surfing champion Gabriel Medina makes estranged father Instagram official in wake of “nuclear” family feud with mom and step-dad, “Happy birthday dad! I love you!”

The step-daddy, Charlie Serrano, the ubiquitous, unsmiling, ever-supportive pillar behind his equally taciturn looking son for two of his world titles, must be feeling badly shortchanged…

The three-time world surfing champion, Brazil’s Gabriel Medina, has made his estranged father Claudinho Instagram official with an emotional post to his almost ten-million followers. 

Medina, who is twenty-seven, posted two photos of the pair embracing and with both holding three fingers aloft to indicate his three world titles and a short video where father and son dance a touching pas de deux. 


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by G. Medina (@gabrielmedina)

The step-daddy, Charlie Serrano, the ubiquitous, unsmiling, ever-supportive pillar behind his equally taciturn looking son for two of his world titles, must be feeling badly shortchanged by the post. 

Earlier this year, of course, Brazil media reported that Medina had split, in a professional as well as a private sense, from his mammy Simone and Charlie. 

The split was driven, it was said, by Medina’s surprise marriage to thirty-three-year-old actress and Swimsuit Illustrated model Yasmin Brunet, parental sadness over losing their lil man, the ol’ empty nest syndrome.

A month-ish ago, mammy and Charlie put the Gabriel Medina Institute which they got in the breakup deal onto the market, seeking two mill or so. As well, Gabriel slashed mammy’s allowance from five to three-and-a-half gees a month.

New allegations surfaced a few weeks ago when journalist Leo Dias from Metropóles reported that that Gabriel has blocked Simone on social media after she allegedly claimed to have a sex tape of a real young Yasmin.

Wasn’t real kind about Yasmin’s mum, either. 

“She was really crazy at a party at her condo in Rio. Drunk, in the parking lot, doing this to a guy and then throwing up,” Simone allegedly wrote to her son.

Dias reports Yasmin and Luiza are suing Simone for defamation.

According to our sources, as well as the Medina Institute, Charlie and Simone got a luxury condo and a small house they all lived in before Medina got his first title. Simone also got a little under a million US in cash as part of the deal.

Medina got to keep the six-unit luxury condo he developed with Charlie and a house in the middle of a forest where he lives with Yasmin and a dozen adopted dogs.

His real daddy, Claudinho, lives in one of Medina’s houses.

Surfline Man stuffs a wetsuit, towel, fresh changing poncho, and his lucky bar of surf wax, into his rad new Da Kine dry bag. With a carabiner, he clips his favorite marine blue Hydroflask to a handy external strap. He slides a Clif Bar in the pocket. It’s so good to be prepared.

Surfline Man goes to Hollister Ranch, “So many times he has dreamed of it. All those miles of empty coastline. All of it, forbidden fruit, hanging just out of reach!”

The Ranch. That magical surfing Shangri-La. Surfline Man has never been to the Ranch!

Surfline Man is feeling so bored.

It’s October already and so far, the winter swells just aren’t even happening. Every morning he opens his laptop and scans the forecasts. Maybe this time there will be a new swell. But no, not yet. And every evening he repeats the same ritual once again.

Still, no waves.

That big winter swell that got Surfline Man all flustered, like he had to get fit and he needed a new board, that thing disappeared on the very next model run. Here today, gone tomorrow. The surf forecasts, like life and the cute girl in the Swamis parking lot are so cruel.

On the bright side, Surfline Man now has way more time to get fit and figure out the whole step-up equation. More rocker, less rocker, Surfline Man is totally not sure what to do. Surfboards can be so confusing.

In the meantime, Surfline Man has been riding his red fish every day. But he feels like he needs better waves for his new board to shine. And he does want it to shine.

For one thing, he waited months and months for Mike the Shaper to make his new red fish for him. But also, why surf, if he’s not going to blow everyone’s minds?

If he’s honest, he knows he has a ways to go before he can hope to achieve this level of surfing excellence.

But Surfline Man is determined. He’s willing to do the work.

Surfline Man even went running in his old Vans and nearly passed out right there on the sidewalk in Cardiff. A rough moment, for sure, but he is way more fit now. Yesterday he made it a whole five blocks before almost passing out. Real fitness is so close now.

If only the waves would finally show up. Where are they hiding? Please come soon, waves!

Sitting outside the Pannikin, Surfline Man flips through the forecasts in a desultory kind of way. He is supposed to be building a website for a friend, but he’s just not feeling it. Even the coffee just isn’t doing it for him today. Life is just so boring.

Then his phone buzzes.

hey bro what up
just got a new zodiac
gona take it to the ranch this weekend
wanna join?

The Ranch. That magical surfing Shangri-La. Surfline Man has never been to the Ranch, but so many times he has dreamed of it. All those miles of empty coastline. So many set-ups, so many waves. All of it, forbidden fruit, hanging just out of reach.

But now, Surfline Man has a chance to go to the Ranch. Surfline Man sits up straighter in his chair. Suddenly, the coffee tastes so much better. Finally, he can find some waves worthy of his new fish. The whole world looks brighter. Day, made.

He picks up his phone and taps out a reply.

yah i’d be so stoked
what’s the plan

Coffee finished and texts exchanged, Surfline Man bounds to his Sprinter and heads home. That website he was maybe building? It can totally wait. Surfline Man has way more important things to do.

Surfline Man is going to the Ranch! It’s going to be such an adventure. First, he’s going to spend the night in his van in Ventura. Then he’s going to ride with his friends in the new Zodiac all the way to the Ranch. They’re going to score such good waves. It’s going to be the best trip ever!

Returning home, Surfline Man heads to the kitchen to check on his stock of avocados. He needs to make a Whole Foods run. More mac n cheese, defnitely.

Also, surf wax. Surfline Man is pretty sure he’s running short. He’s been meaning to change the fins on his fish, too. But there’s only so many hours in the day, you know? A man can only do so much.

Supplies assembled, Surfline Man meticulously packs the Sprinter for his big adventure. He stuffs a wetsuit, towel, fresh changing poncho, and his lucky bar of surf wax, into his rad new Da Kine dry bag. With a carabiner, he clips his favorite marine blue Hydroflask to a handy external strap. He slides a Clif Bar in the pocket. It’s so good to be prepared.

Surfline Man likes his comforts, and he lovingly spreads his Big Agnes 20-degree down sleeping bag in the back of the van. He grabbed some fresh expedition-weight long johns from Patagonia, and he’s going to be so cozy in his van. He can’t even wait.


Surfline Man almost forgot the most important part. He’s not sure how many boards he can really fit in the Zodiac, but he figures it’s good to be prepared. He slides his new fish and his precious turquoise midlength in the van. Just Surfline Man and his surfboards, spending the night together.

Spending the night turns out to be more complicated than Surfline Man expected. For one thing, he left town late. He kept forgetting things, important things like his new wax comb that he bought at the surf shop just yesterday.

Then there was some kind of situation on the 405. Surfline Man doesn’t even know what it was. Freeways, they make the surf forecasts look reliable.

When he made it to Ventura, there wasn’t any parking left. Surfline Man couldn’t even believe it. What in the world was he going to do now? He decided to keep driving.

Somewhere north of Santa Barbara, Surfline Man finds a dirt turn-out. It’s actually west of Santa Barbara, but really, Surfline Man can’t be bothered with directions at that point. He isn’t even sure it’s a legal place to camp, but he’s not about to be picky.

Surfline Man slurps down his mac n cheese, puts on his fresh long johns, and settles into his comfy down bag. The van sways when the big rigs swoosh by. Surfline Man convinces himself the whole situation is relaxing. It almost works.

Around two am, a freight train lumbers down the nearby tracks. Surfline Man sits bolt upright in his comfy down bed. He can’t even imagine what monster could be bearing down on him! He peaks cautiously out the window. A line of boxcars runs as far as he can see. There’s no sleeping now.

After dozing off, Surfline Man wakes up late. Shit! He’s going to be so late to meet his friends and the Zodiac at the Gaviota pier. He’s never going to make it to the Ranch now!

Hurriedly, Surfline Man makes coffee and heats a breakfast burrito. He pours the coffee into his favorite Yeti mug and inhales the burrito. The sun is already rising! Surfline Man has got to get on the road.

Somehow, he is parked on the south-bound side of the 101, and Surfline Man doesn’t even remember how this happened. Surfline Man has no choice but to drive south. His panic grows. He is driving so far! And there’s nowhere to turn around!

Finally, Surfline Man sees an offramp. Goleta! He is all the way back in Goleta. This is not the Gaviota pier where the Zodiac is waiting. Surfline Man knows he is not the smartest ever, but even he knows the difference between Goleta and Gaviota.

Resolutely, Surfline Man turns north or west or whatever direction it is, and gets back on the 101. He’s going to make it to Gaviota, and he’s going to surf the Ranch! Nothing more can go wrong with this, Surfline Man feels certain.

Singing along to the Beach Boys, Surfline Man pilots the Sprinter along the 101. Surfline Man has been in a total retro mood lately. Maybe he should learn to longboard. Cross-stepping. Toes on the nose. Yah, that might be cool.

Lost in his thoughts, Surfline Man completely misses the left turn to Gaviota State Beach. It’s not entirely his fault. No one expects to turn left on the freeway, after all.

The 101 serpentines through the Gaviota Pass, and Surfline Man follows it. So confident in his navigation abilities, Surfline Man turned off his Garmin back in Goleta. The road starts to climb, and blissful in his Beach Boys-induced haze, Surfline Man continues to drive.

Exit Highway 1. Sounds good. Surfline Man turns west. Everyone knows the ocean lies to the west. Surfline Man is totally on the right track now.

Singing happily along to Good Vibrations, Surfline Man cruises the winding road toward the coast. He’s so going to make it now! He is going to surf the Ranch on his new red fish that Mike the Shaper made just for him. It’s going to be the best day ever!

His phone buzzes.

dude where are you
we’re all here
ready to launch
you shoulda been here hours ago