Heritage surf brand Hurley releases must-have stocking stuffer ahead of much anticipated Christmas morning!

One per son recommended.

Christmas is but nine little advent calendar candies away. Directly around the corner and are you one of those families that opens presents on Christmas Eve night or Christmas day morn? In my house, as a child, it was one present on Christmas Eve, at night, stocking first thing Christmas Day morning followed by the rest of the presents and have carried that same tradition, roughly, as a father.

In any case, whenever stockings are un-stuffed, children will be absolutely over the moon to discover heritage surf brand Hurley’s men’s 6 piece grooming set featuring flat-edged and slanted clippers, nail file, tweezer, grooming scissors and cuticle nipper at the toe.

Each piece, except the grooming scissors and cuticle nipper, is adorned with Hurley’s iconic swooping )( logo.

There is certain to be fighting amongst the boys if only one men’s 6 piece grooming set is gifted so I highly recommend one for each son. Daughters will be extremely jealous but will have to wait until next year’s women’s 6 piece grooming set.

A clear lack of equality and cry for feminist surf hero Lucy Small to intervene.

Surf Journalist “capitalizes on a week when body was ready for strain” by maintaining “healthy recovery” even during most stressful time of year!

Science-based encouragement.

This is, without a doubt, the most stressful time of the year. Oh, it has nothing to do with increased traffic, rushing about trying to buy thoughtful gifts, cramming through packed airports onto packed planes on the way to grouchy in-laws no, no, no.

This is, you see, Nutcracker season wherein stages from Sacramento to Sydney, St. Pete to St. Petersburg, become graced with sugar plum fairies and snow queens, soldiers and rats, a kindly uncles showing maybe too much interest in young nieces and tall men in drag.

The Nutcracker. Joyful, beautiful but the stress, oh the stress. The hair and makeup, costume fittings, rehearsal shuttling, matinee-evening show doubleheaders and that is just for parents with young children involved in the corps. I have one of those, dancing four roles. I, as previously shared, am dancing too as “Party Dad” and “Mother Ginger.”

Stress to the heavens in trying to remember choreography, quick changes, where to be on stage, when to clap above my head for all the little Bon Bons to scamper back under my dress, how to apply lipstick over a mustache.

Stress, amen.

Thankfully my personal digital fitness and health coach has kept me from having a full blown aneurysm. My strain is redlining, due the added stress, but dear WHOOP lets me know, minute to minute, that I’m still ok. That while my strain is “high,” my recovery is still “healthy.”

Without access to this science-based encouragement, I might actually believe the way my head feels and keel over. But no, no, no I’m making fitness gains. I am living my very best life.

The surf has been awful for the past few weeks but when it decides to turn back on, I will dance upon waves like I have never danced before.

Curtains rise this Friday.

Come witness glory for yourself, if you happen to be Southern California-adjacent.

"I surfed once, yeah, I surfed. And I was damn good at it!"

Quit-lit, “This past weekend I put a bullet in another surf dream and in some ways I couldn’t be happier about it!”

Why pursue something with such fervour if it doesn’t consistently bring you joy?

All my life I’ve clung onto things: dreams and ideals; too small leather jackets imbued with memories of flashing lights and freedom; Clipper lighters; knackered (definitely not clean) Vans; obscure cables; a misplaced sense of self-importance; dog eared adolescent poetry…

But it’s worthless, really. All of it.

Nothing matters except what you’re doing right now.

And so you must cut things loose, the relics and the wraiths.

Some things should be allowed to drift away. You must slip the noose from the cleat and turn your back. Keep moving, don’t turn around. You’ll feel better for it.

This past weekend I put a bullet in another surf dream, and in some ways I couldn’t be happier about it.

It’s like shedding a skin, piece by piece.

This time last week I could never have predicted the end. I wasn’t even thinking about surfing. Then a friend alerted me to a rare swell. After I’d seen it I couldn’t think about anything else.

There were a million places I could go. A host of safe bets. But for my money, there’s only one approach to a rare swell: gamble.

I’m in the west of Scotland, towards the north. If it wasn’t for swell shadows created by islands (and the predominant SW winds) it would be pumping here all the time. But it isn’t, and so I drive north and east or get ferries to islands when I can.

My dreams are likely much the same as yours. They’re dreams of waves in unlikely places. Waves that might, might break once every few years, maybe a decade, perhaps a lifetime. Or never. But I keep a list of spots in my head. A blueprint of potential burned into my mind, just waiting for the right swell.

Then it arrives: 20ft, 18-20s, the ideal angle, and light SE winds through daylight.

It seemed like impossible perfection. I might have waited 10 years or more for it. There have been others, but few so ideal, and none I remember without accompanying onshore winds of 40mph+.

If any swell was going to work, it was this one.

When I moved here it was with the understanding that it would be a stopover. I’d sworn that when I finally Settled Down it would be somewhere that made surfing a fulcrum for all else. As I write that now I realise how pedestrian it seems, nevermind dull and embarrassingly naive.

At any rate, it didn’t happen. I arrived, got job, met girl, bought house, had kids, never left.

More pedestrianism, it seems. Except it’s not, because I feel more actualised now than at any point in my life, just not in ways I could have predicted, and nothing to do with surfing.

I surf here, of course. It involves a lot of travel, a lot of uncertainty, a lot of disappointment, some difficult decisions, and unquestionably a lot of good days missed. I don’t feel connected to it in a meaningful or consistent way.

When I first moved I was surfing a lot. Raging against the dying of the light, maybe. But it was untenable, and ultimately unrewarding. Often I’d come back angry, frustrated, and that would seep into other aspects of my life. I started to question if it was worth it.

Why pursue something with such fervour if it doesn’t consistently bring you joy? Life’s too short, and there are a shit load of other good things in it.

It can be hard to shake off a bad surf. Not so much when you can get back in tomorrow, or a few hours later. But imagine you’ve spent a whole week planning and agonising over it, and you still need to drive for hours after failing in what you set out to do. Try shaking off the feeling of inadequacy and failure then.

It became a value judgement for me. It’s not that I don’t think surfing is glorious, of course I do, I just need more control in my life, more certainty. Obsessions keep me going. But if they cause more stress than pleasure they should be cut loose. I’ve never been short of other things to do.

It’s not about hating surfing, it’s about self-preservation. It’s about evolution. It’s about growing up. Surfing’s not my identity anymore, it’s just another thing I do.

But of course I still get excited about surf potential, maybe even more than ever, and I can’t remember the last time I was as hyped as last weekend. The van was loaded the night before, maps and forecasts were checked then re-checked. Every conversation at work and home happened somewhere in the periphery of my consciousness. I was already gone.

I had to go alone, but that was fine. Some friends were off chasing sure things closer to their own homes, others were committed elsewhere. It would be remote, there would be no-one else in the water, and perhaps just a few scattered croft houses in the vicinity. But again, all fine. I left instructions to call the coastguard if I hadn’t contacted home by 1800. It would be dark a couple of hours by then. If I was in trouble, I understood that would probably be too late anyway.

It’s a flaw in my nature to always take a swing, and I understood again this weekend the elements of surfing that hooked me so deep in the first place. I still wanted to chase the unknown. The potential for moments of chance could still have me rapt.

Years ago, in south-west France, living a sandy life of warm baguettes and warmer wine, I lamented the cold of home to a ding repair guy as he worked on a damaged fin box. He listened politely as he worked, nodding sagely. A more enlightened self would have cleared out and just given the man space, understanding that surfers don’t really want to talk about surfing, but I was young and smitten.

At some point, as I was expressing my joie de vivre for France vs Scotland, he paused, then looked up at me, spreading arms and eyes wide.

“But”, he said, incredulously, “you are lucky! This is only beachbreak. You have reefs, points, everything…”

He was right, and I’ve never forgotten that.

It was a lesson not just about surfing, but about place and context. Make the best of what you have, see what’s in front of your face.

And so this weekend I drove west with a head full of dreams, feeling, knowing it would be better than ever.

I won’t bore you with the details.

It didn’t work out, like almost always.

I saw ripples in places I’d expected more. I watched huge waves break on offshore reefs and thought of boats. The swell wasn’t getting through. I caught a few mediocre ones at a reef I’d surfed long ago but didn’t remember being so shallow. I was dumped onto dry rock twice before calling it a day. I argued at length with a farmer about parking on his land. Aggression surfaced that was nothing to do with him and everything to do with my own frustrations. It reminded me of why I’d quit this shit. It was nothing like I’d hoped.

But there was good in it, too. There was an unequivocal outcome that I can’t ignore: I now know that several of the spots I’d been clinging to are worthless. There was nothing wrong with the swell this time. And so now I can finally forget them, move on.

I can slip the noose and let those dreams drift.

Piece by piece it falls away, and perhaps I am no poorer for it.

“I never realized how much we push ourselves surfing, especially when we’re free surfing and having fun. My brother Nathan and I have 20 strains all the time." | Photo: WSL

How “rough boy” John John Florence used data-driven recovery to prevail over catastrophic, potentially career-ending injuries

“I never realized how much we push ourselves surfing. My brother Nathan and I have 20 strains all the time."

There’s a hint of wildness and pathos in John John Florence’s rough boy persona, this almost thirty-year-old two-time world champion with the impervious reputation.

He is the last custodian of the old way, talk softly, carry a big stick, surf with power and brilliance.

But, still, even a two-time world champion like John John is prey to the fragility of the human body.

After back-to-back world titles in 2016 and 2017, John John tore his ACL the following year, missed the back end of the tour and finished thirty-fifth.

In 2019, John John hit four events and three in 2021.

Ankles, back, knees, he’s been belted.

Still, as he told AAP recently, the injuries have “made me a better surfer in a weird way, I think a smarter surfer. I feel like I’m more patient on the wave, and I feel like I’m stronger because I’m training more… Before (the injuries) all I could think about was, ‘I just want to win’. Now it’s more about, ‘Ok, how do I relax enough to surf how I really want to surf these waves’. It seems so simple, but it’s such a hard mindset to get into allowing yourself to surf how you would surf normally, without all that extra anxiety of it being in a contest and having people watching and judging you.”

And John John’s WHOOP strap, which has been affixed to his wrist for the past four years, has been pivotal in his response to injury.

“I never realized how much we push ourselves surfing, especially when we’re free surfing and having fun. My brother Nathan and I have 20 strains all the time. Regularly having 20.6, 20.7 strain. I didn’t realize how much of a toll surfing takes [before I wore WHOOP],” he says.

The biggest benefit of using WHOOP for me is to be able to keep an eye on how much training and how much activity I’m doing, because I tend to overdo things. And so for me to be able to see it and be able to see the recoveries is very helpful for me, because if I’m not doing that, I’ll just keep going and going and going until something breaks. I have a good idea of what my recoveries will be and what I need to do to recover. I know that if I strain from 18 to 20 one day, two days in a row, then I know that I’m in need for a big recovery day.”

“It definitely makes me more mindful of what I’m doing,” he says.

Angry local jerks rock above his head multiple times to slay foil-board.

Foilboarder whose expensive craft was destroyed by wild rock-wielding surfer in shadow of Golden Gate Bridge one month ago makes triumphant return to Fort Point, “I came out to this session wanting Redemption. And I got it!”

Who doesn't love happy endings?

In case y’weren’t au fait with the scene at Fort Point, a junky dirty water left beneath San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, it has a cadre of locals former Surfer editor Steve Hawk describes simply as “dicks.”

And, one month ago, local kitesurfing instructor and foil-boarding aficionado, John von Tesmar, was reminded of this fact when he lost his leashless board, watched as it washed to the shore and then attacked by an angry local who jerks a rock above his head multiple times to slay the damn thing.

The footage, famously, was captured by Jon Solaga, a member of the Bay Area Kiteboarding page. 

Now, in one of the feel-good stories of the year, Tesmar, has returned to Fort Point, with his jet boat and foil board, a new one presumably, and ridden several waves to glory, even referencing the Mattew Wilder song Break My Stride as he braves the torrid Fort Worth surf scene. 

Tesmar sings, 

“Ain’t nothin’ gonna to break my stride 

Nobody gonna slow me down, oh no 

I got to keep on moving.”

In a moving post, he writes,

“After my last session here where I lost and had my board broken by some angry locals, I came out to this session wanting Redemption. And I got it!”



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