Burning Man could not figure out how the shortboard had magically caught up to him. I could tell that this new experience troubled him. His theory could not account for it. Burning Man could not figure out how the shortboard had magically caught up to him. I could tell that this new experience troubled him. His theory could not account for it. His board must be longer! he said. That shortboarder must have a special board.

Adult learner surfers rewrite surf code with groundbreaking new theory, “I have a longer board and it goes faster…I can drop in on everyone!”

He did it with an aura of innocence, as though nothing about this choice could possibly wrong. He was just surfing, man.

The other day, I went surfing. This should not come as a surprise to any of you at this point.

As usual, I encountered a strange new species of surfer. This also should not come as a surprise to any of you.

But that is getting ahead of the story.

Sloppy windswell topped with devil wind sloshed its way around the lineup. It was the kind of day when you go, try to get a few, then go home. In the normal way of things, you wouldn’t expect to see many other people out there. But that was then.

These days, there’s always a crowd even on the worst days. The new kids don’t seem to know good waves from bad. They check Surfline, see some numbers and colors, and go surf.

It’s a little bumpy out here today, they might say. Or, they might not notice at all.

I don’t mind bad surf, necessarily. It’s an entertaining game to Tetris the sections together and try to make it work. I don’t want to do it every day, but it’s not the worst way to waste an hour or two.

Surf bad waves, eat ice cream: There are worse ways to spend a day.

There I was, getting some waves, making it work, going over the falls, getting smashed by errant sections. You know, surfing.

After a while, a man drifted into my field of vision. He was riding a fun shape, somewhere in the 8-foot range. It was not a proper longboard, necessarily. It looked like a large, mostly shapeless chunk of foam with a thruster setup.

The man looked to be about two years into his surfing journey. He paddled with his Vans booties splayed outward, dangling over the board’s bulbous rails. He had a sidekick riding a Wavestorm. They always have a sidekick riding a Wavestorm.

Eventually, I noticed that he was burning everyone. He did it with an aura of innocence, as though nothing about this choice could possibly wrong. Burning Man would never sin.

He was just surfing, man.

After every wave, he would return to his sidekick and give a full accounting of his ride. The waves were short. His commentary was not. I could never quite hear the details, but it was clear that he was having an awesome day.

I almost didn’t come out here today, he said. So glad I did!

I watched intrigued to see what would happen next. I couldn’t help it. The drama! Would anyone call him off? Would he be allowed to happily burn everyone forever?

No one called him off. Wave after wave, there he went, piloting his ginormous surfboard down the face, arms in the air, somehow defying gravity’s pull. He did not fall! I do not know how he did not fall.

Riding a few waves, I was temporarily separated from the adventures of Burning Man. Presumably, he kept burning. I kept trying to surf. It was the kind of day where I felt like I did more duck-diving than surfing. This is not the ideal kind of day.

Paddling back out, I saw one of the better shortboarders in the lineup get a wave. He was determined. Going fast. Definitely going to make the section. He was definitely spending less time duck-diving than I was.

But there was Burning Man. Would he go?

Sure enough, Burning Man needed to surf more waves. He was having the best time! Arms in the air, he dropped straight in, and pointed his large craft roughly to the right. This felt like a miracle, actually.

Then to his complete surprise, the shortboarder caught him! Burning Man looked so confused, as though this had never happened to him in his whole damn life. Maybe it hadn’t.

With easy skill, the shortboarder turned under Burning Man, and continued on his way. It was all so smooth. No drama, no shouting. Just surfing right on by.

It turned out that Burning Man had a theory about surfing, and maybe more than one. I learned this fact when he returned to the lineup and began to explain the whole thing to his sidekick. It has to do with how long his board is, and how it’s just so fast. He seemed so convinced of the truth of his ideas.

I have a longer board and it goes faster, he said. I can drop in on everyone!

I do not know where these people come from, or how they end up right next to me in the lineup every time.

I promise you, I did not invent this man. He was right there, on a giant board, legs splayed. He was impossible to miss.

And he had so many words. I get paid to make words about surfing, but I’ve got nothing on this guy. Someone should probably hire him.

Still, Burning Man could not figure out how the shortboard had magically caught up to him. I could tell that this new experience troubled him. His theory could not account for it.

His board must be longer! he said. That shortboarder must have a special board.

Burning Man continued to talk at some length. I did not stick around to hear more. The whole thing had begun to melt my brain. Surfing is only as complicated as you make it, and I prefer not to make it too complicated.

Later in the parking lot, I saw Burning Man and his sidekick getting ready to leave. Rinse kits at the ready, they pulled off their suits. Burning Man was still talking. I can’t imagine what else he could possibly have to say. I was not about to linger and find out.

A girl should never get between a man and his theories.

England’s National Health Services to prescribe surfing, rollerskating for depressed, anxious and generally sullen teenagers!


But who could have ever imagined this sudden turn, this instant flip from surfing being the bastion of bastards to it being the spring of well-being? Just yesterday, we learned that a noted mental health expert declared surfing as “good for self-esteem.” And today?

Today, England’s National Health Services are rolling out a “social prescribing” program wherein surfing, rollerskating and gardening will be officially recommended by doctors for teens and preteens suffering from anxiety, depression or a general sullenness.

“Young people’s mental health is one of the greatest challenges facing the NHS,” Dr Daisy Fancourt, the UCL mental health expert running the trial, told The Guardian. “Currently many young people referred to child and adolescent mental health services face long waits, during which time more than three-quarters experience a deterioration in their mental health.

“Social prescribing has the potential to support young people while they wait, by providing access to a range of creative and social activities that could enhance their confidence, self-esteem and social support networks.”

And there it is again.


Do you worry that the well-meaning mental health experts and National Health Services departments might suffer a backlash when it is revealed that surfing actively erodes self-esteem?

Teenagers already feeling anxious forced to paddle into a simmering pack of grouchy locals?

Or, worse, an ultra-positive Erik Logan?


As OnlyFans superstar Amouranth comes under fire for “domestic abuse cosplay,” surf aficionados worry about wellbeing of platform’s Nathan Florence!

Danger bay.

Oh but how good is the ultra-shift away from a monolithic surf culture wherein magazines Surfer, Surfing, Australia’s Surfing Life dominated all and any discourse? Transworld Surf and Tracks too? Websites, of course, replaced the magazines, the Surflines and Magic Seaweeds etc., but best of all was surfers taking power into their own hands. Creating YouTube monoliths like the great Jamie O’Brien, or OnlyFans accounts like the equally great Ellie-Jean Coffey and Nathan Florence.

Telling only fans the way it is.

Earthly paradises of total creative control.


In a disturbing new revelation, a number one OnlyFans and Twitch streamer has been accused of “domestic abuse cosplay” across the empowering platforms.

Per Dexerto:

On October 16, Kaitlyn ‘Amouranth’ Siragusa opened up on stream about the details of her multi-year relationship and how she has been allegedly threatened and insulted by her partner for much of her streaming career.

This situation has dominated headlines across the internet, and one Instagram/Patreon model wanted to capitalize on the moment by cosplaying as the iconic streamer. The message attached to that cosplay has fans absolutely fuming.

The original tweets from model Ellie Rae are now deleted, but another Twitter user captured screenshots of them that showcased the photos and the caption attached to them before they were removed.

“If I stop streaming for the simps he teaches me a lesson,” the caption read, accompanied by a few pictures of herself in a clear imitation of Amouranth’s style. One of the photos also showcased her legs wrapped in rope, and another showcased her hiding her face the way one might if they were being shamed for something.

Critics were quick to pounce on the potentially performative nature of the situation, that “Amouranth” may be “domestic abuse cosplaying,” but suddenly these empowering platforms seem…


Is there some nasty dominator behind Florence forcing big wave clips?

Making cosplay?


Don’t light candles yet, as they are questionable.

"Whats so special about surfing? Surfing is to... be with that mystery. To ride that mystery for as long as you can. And then when it's over that's cool because you know what? You were there, in line and on time."

Celebrity historian feted by The New Yorker attempts to answer perennial question, “When did surfing stop being hip?”

The ride is all that matters. The ride and the ocean setting. Right? It should be, but no.

Surfing is no longer hip, but lack of hipness doesn’t matter. 

When it stopped being hip is open to debate—somewhere between Gidget and the recent announcement of Seaworld Orlando’s admittedly freaking awesome Pipeline Surf Coaster, although my strong belief is that, hipness-wise, we voluntarily tore off our own epaulets in the late 1970s, when we leaned hard into stickers and logos. 

The more interesting question is: So what? 

Surfing is no longer hip or cool; who cares? We’re still out there riding, surrounded by ocean—we are leaving wavepools out of the discussion; I’m barely juggling the topic as is—and in that moment surfing at its core is the same half-magic ultimate-pleasure activity it was 50 or 100 or 500 years ago.

At the end of History of Surfing, which is by and large a 500-page overview of change and transition, and how such developments can be both thrilling and discouraging, I talk about our “appreciation for what can’t be changed.”

No violation against any accounting of surf history is committed by pointing out that eras, movements, innovators, and champions are all secondary ways in which surfing defines and distinguishes itself. What counts the most—the only thing that counts, in the final tally—is the ocean setting. The sport is attached to the hem of a natural force so vast it can drain the power from a howling continent-sized storm, refine it, and deliver it ten days and 3,000 miles later in a smooth and elegant ocean-going processional. For a few seconds at a time we get to ride that current. Surf history is so many banners and streamers waving from this single, incredible natural fact.

Hipness, you would think, is one of those streamers flapping around back there, beaver-tail-like.

The ride is all that matters. The ride and the ocean setting. Right?

It should be, but no. 

Not for me, anyway, not in my heart. 

I want hip. I miss it. 

In 1977, publisher Steve Pezman approved a three-word SURFER cover blurb, just above a back-lit photo of a non-celeb riding an unnamed Hawaiian break, that read “The Secret Thrill.” 

I bring this up because doing something as arcane (“secret”) as it is attractive and compelling (“thrill”) is itself a not-bad definition of hip. 

Surfing at that point was still off to the side, culturally, and valued as such. A long time ago I asked Barton Lynch what his greatest achievement was as a surfer, and without pause he said, “Driving to the beach when everyone else is driving the other way.”

Lack of hipness is not a deal-breaker, obviously. 

Hip doesn’t last. 

But still—the cake is nicely sugar-dusted and cherry-topped when everyone else is driving the other way.

(This story is an abridged version of Matt Warshaw’s Sunday Joint, a compelling and finely put-together essay that is sent to Encyclopedia of Surfing subscribers every Sunday. Three bucks a month to open the archive and to get Warshaw’s weekly essays. Join the gang here.)

Rumors boil and bubble that Gisele Bündchen has hexed Tom Brady amidst quarterback’s uncharacteristic troubles though are surf fans’ mass candle lightings for reunion with Kelly Slater accidentally to blame?

Uh oh.

The power of surf fans, and their mass candle lightings, has suddenly taken on new intrigue. Rumors are currently breaking across TikTok that Tom Brady’s uncharacteristic performance struggles are directly related to his estranged wife, Gisele Bündchen and her various sagings plus visits to spiritual healers.

A hexing?

Brady, the greatest football player of all-time, has fallen hard of late, an embarrassing 21 – 3 loss to the lowly Carolina Panthers the most recent in a season-long string of bummer.

No touchdowns.

Much sad.

One-time coach and respected analyst Rex Ryan declared afterward, “This team is searching like crazy. At least they’re trying, they’re searching, but Tom Brady looks like a shell of himself. You look at him even physically. His personal life, obviously, is having an effect too. I get it. I don’t want to minimize this. It’s a factor. Obviously it’s something. This looks like there’s no answer because there’s no speed on the field.”

While Bündchen is taking most of the heat, surf fans are turning inward, wondering if the mass candle lightings undergone in a hoped-for reunion between the Brazilian supermodel and her beau from 2005 through 2006, Kelly Slater, are, in fact, to blame.

As you know, the two formed up the most powerful surf couple during those years, Bündchen at the height of her model powers, powers that have made her vastly richer than her current husband. Slater bagging two of eleven world titles.

As you may not know, candle lighting is essential to occultic practices.

Oh, I’ve never wanted you, us, to travel that dangerous path. I have encouraged purchasing various pumpkin spice offerings from Yankee Candle, but maybe you got lazy?

Maybe you accidentally bought candles from the witch down the street?

It’s one thing for us to hope for a grand romantic reunion. Quite another for us to curse a generational talent.

Driftwood, jasmine, raw coconut.


Maybe check your stock?