Flecky and Danny Kwock with Allan Sarlo and his Benz soaking up the background, 54th St, Newport, circa eighties. | Photo: Gomery

Californian surf pioneer and founder of wild sunglass start-up famous for “lurid marketing campaigns, including parties of Caligula-like decadence”, dead, aged sixty-nine

"A life lived well by any measure."

Early reports have it that the Southern California surfer and businessman, Dan Flecky, has passed. A stroke was listed as the cause of death.

Dan Flecky hadn’t surfed much of late, like many of us, and had actually moved to the landlocked state of Missouri a few years ago. His social accounts were mostly full of the country life on the Lake of the Ozarks.

He actually appeared to be very happy.

Let’s talk about some earlier days.

Straight up, when Dan paddled out, during his prime, he fucking ripped.

But, he also kept up a very appropriate underground vibe during those creepy early days of the mid 70’s. He eventually became one of So Cal’s established ‘pros’ and was featured in considerable advertising as well as editorial coverage in the surf rags of the time. His unique 50/50 board color scheme becoming his trademark.

Solid in Hawaii, good sponsors, seamless jump back and forth from HB to Newps (Which he did often and what was not an easy task), he was an early inspiration to many of us groms. In retrospect, Dan almost single-handedly filled the weird gap in Southern California surfing that almost went silent once the Mike Purpus show faded, and then reemerged almost a decade later with the Echo Beach scene and other pockets of progression up and down the coast.

Dan not only made the jump, but was right amongst it with the slightly younger Newport crew that had begun re-imagining surfing during that period.

As one of Peter Schroff’s early muses, Dan helped push Pete’s experimental equipment and should be noted as a key player who bridged surfing from the soul of the early 70’s to something more futuristic well into the 80’s.

As the pro surfer thing began to fade, Dan opened a low-key but important silkscreen business located right at ground zero of the nascent surf industry in Costa Mesa. He was, literally and figuratively, very well positioned as many of his customers were some of the same small start-ups that eventually turned into surfing’s biggest brands. Quik, Billabong, Maui and Sons, and many, many more, all used Dan as an important supply chain partner during this time.

Shortly after, he and his partner Jack Martinez launched the notorious but very successful Black Flys eyewear line. If there was a company having more fun during the early 90’s, I must have missed something.

From Warshaw’s Encyclopaedia of Surfing, 

“(It) soon earned a reputation for its lurid marketing campaigns, including parties of Caligula-like decadence, a promo video called Rat F@#ed, and an ad blitz featuring large-breasted strippers wearing nothing but strategically placed Black Flys stickers. In 1996, the company did $10 million in sales.”

However, as priorities changed, Dan check out to Missouri but was still the same dry, sarcastic, smart-ass we knew him for on his socials. He loved him some Facebook.

We’ll miss you brother, but congrats on a life well lived, by any measure.

Safe travels Dan.

Slater (pictured) born ready.
Slater (pictured) born ready.

“Sexless marriage” cited as reason for Tom Brady, Gisele Bündchen split driving surf fans into obscene frenzy over possible reunion between Brazilian supermodel and one-time flame Kelly Slater!

Surf stud.

A bombshell exploded, this morning, in the scintillating though sad story of Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen and the greatest football player of all-time Tom Brady each hiring divorce lawyers. Radar magazine is reporting the reason for the split is that the “marriage has gone cold as ice,” according to an NFL insider close to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ starting quarterback. “Gisele is a Brazilian supermodel with a super sex drive and she’s told her friends she needs more from her all-American husband.”

Brady, you see, appears to be one of those sorts of sportsmen who believes that love making, before partaking in an athletic feat, diminishes… virility when pushing against other men, I suppose.

The actor Dax Shepard asked Brady directly about sex before sport on a podcast, once, Brady demurring before offering, “That wouldn’t be my pregame warm-up.”

The news sent surf fans, already sitting by lit candles, into an obscene frenzy.

Bündchen and the greatest surfer of all-time, one Kelly Slater, you see, were involved with each other, romantically, in 2005 and 2006. Two years when Slater, maybe not coincidentally, won world titles. As everyone but World Surf League CEO Erik Logan knows, surfing is not, in fact, a sport so unaffected by a little night music.

Now, Slater is currently in a committed relationship but Ben Affleck was in one with Ana de Armas and Jennifer Lopez was in one with Alex Rodriguez before they reunited in a flurry of marriages.

Mt. Power Couple.

Action movie superstar Gerard Butler shocks in trailer for latest Netflix thriller “Last Seen Alive” with chilling detail in fight scene only visible to surfers!

Can you spot it?

Has it really been four years since the WSL’s Chief Commercial Officer, Beth Greve, once listed on Adweek’s Top 50 for 2014, for her success as “purveyor of cool” in the teen space, was lionised on BeachGrit’s Surf Ranch billboard?

As the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the New Yorker Bill Finnegan wrote at the time, 

“Slater saw it. He is a tireless online poster, with a rare degree of patience. On his Instagram feed, a magnet for cranks of all kinds, he has spent years debating flat-Earthers, laying out innumerable scientific proofs that the planet is round. He’s a well-informed environmentalist; right-wing flamethrowers rain hellfire on him for that, and he often takes the trouble to reply to them individually. When the Backward Fins Beth billboard went viral, Slater showed a tiny bit of pique. On the BeachGrit Instagram feed, he wrote, “Funny. Cheap. Character Revealing.” The BeachGrit crew was ecstatic. They had successfully trolled the king.”

Charlie in Lemoore, California.

As we know, Backward Fins Beth left the WSL shortly thereafter, greener pastures etc, and apart from a brief reprise two years ago when we did a little clothing capsule with Vissla, the world’s fins have remained staunchly pointed in the correct direction.

Until the Netflix thriller, starring Chasing Mavericks star Gerard Butler, was loosed a few months back. 

Watch the trailer.

Do you see? 

Do you see? 

Butler, fifty-three, from Scotland, don’t surf, but he did learn enough to paddle out at Half Moon Bay for the Chasing Mavericks surf sequences and get caught inside on a biggish sorta day.

In his harrowing account told to Men’s Journal, 

All of a sudden, a huge set came in. And I knew it was always a risk doing this, there was always the chance I was going to get caught inside. So the four of us are out there, and Greg Long turns around and starts screaming, “Paddle, Gerry, paddle!” I saw this wave coming from, Jesus, half a mile away, and I was paddling, paddling, paddling. By the time it got to me, I was exhausted. I had already been out for six hours, in the freezing cold water of Mavericks—doing shot after shot, paddling over waves. And like I said, I’m not a surfer, and I’m definitely not a big-wave surfer. And then it got me, and it took me down. Immediately I thought, “This is weird,” because I wasn’t being pulled in any particular direction. I was just tumbling. And then, I felt for my leg and realized I lost my board. My leash had snapped.

I was just spinning. I wasn’t going anywhere, and I was taking in water. The water just kept going into my mouth and I was thinking, “Why is that happening? I don’t quite understand.” I already had no breath, and I knew I needed to get up. I needed to get up fast, but I wasn’t going anywhere. It was starting to get really uncomfortable, and then I heard this loud smash as another wave went over me and the tumbling started again.

And then I thought, “Oh my God.” I had just done a scene earlier where I was talking about a two-wave hold-down and about how fear and panic are the difference between life and death. When you panic out there you die. Our second unit director kept saying, “Buddy, this is Mavericks. You panic, you die!” The next minute I’m underwater and I’m thinking that if I panic in any way, I’m gone. All I could think was, “Shit, there’s a whole film crew up there going, ‘I think Gerry’s in some serious trouble.’” I could feel things going from the moment where they would think, “Okay, this is pretty intense,” to the moment where they’d start going, “Oh shit, this might be it. Gerry might not be coming up.”

And then finally, when I did come up, I was only up for a few seconds before being sent back down again. The next wave came, and Grant Washburn was trying to get to me on a Jet Ski, but he just couldn’t. I was about five feet away from him, but the next wave came and he had to turn and go. And I knew what was going on, the wave would have got him, but when he turned I could see the fear in his face. I had already been in a couple of hairy situations filming, and Grant had been so cool, he had been right there for me. This time, it’s not that he wasn’t cool, he was amazing, but to see him that freaked out…he wasn’t freaked out for himself, he was freaked out for me. So I’m going back down thinking, “If he’s looking like that, this is not a good situation.”

And then I finally came back up, and Peter Mel was over to the side, trying to tell me, “It’s okay, don’t worry! Be cool, it’s okay!” But then yet another wave came and that took me down and into the Boneyard, and just as it was about to go from very bad to even worse, Grant grabbed me and took me in.

And you know, I feel like I used every bit of wisdom and courage that I’ve picked up in life on this movie. If I hadn’t known the importance of staying absolutely calm, I would have been screwed. Because even as the water was going in and I wasn’t going anywhere, and as it became so painful, I told myself, “Remember what this movie is about. Fear is healthy, panic is deadly.” And because of that thinking I survived a two-wave hold-down, and it sounds cool just to say that.

Afterwards, Zach Wormhoudt sent me a note. He came in the ambulance with me, and he was amazing. All the surfers were amazing, they were all really cool. But Zach came in the ambulance with me, and he was just like, “Hey man, it’s all good, no worries.” And then he sent me an e-mail the next day saying, “You know what? Very few people can ever know what it feels like to be down for that long and to be so powerless. They can think they do, but they don’t, and now you do.” It was very poetic. He said it’s like asking a dancer in a dance what she felt. And she can’t necessarily put the feeling into words; she just dances, just feels it. And nobody can know until they’ve done that dance. When he said that, it really made sense to me, it was really beautiful. And that was what I was constantly surprised about—how eloquent and poetic a lot of these surfers are—the way they view life and the way they view the sea, surfing, and their craft. I was really taken aback by them. I could listen for days.


Sun Cube surf poncho! "The ultimate personal changing room made from 100 percent microfiber polyester. You can also transform it into a regular towel and dry it off anywhere."

Lifelong surfer smashes Gizmodo surfer’s gear guide in wild spray, “If you want to wear a hoody towel and dress like a big baby you may as well wear a diaper to go with it!”  

Nothing screams VAL like rocking up to the beach with board in travel cover on the roof of your car. What are you, a pro?

Inspired by recent buyer’s guide in Gizmodo, here is the surfads grumpy local’s buyer’s guide for Summer

Surfing’s always been fuelled by consumerism. Materialistic. From Gidget to Kong to Torryn Martin, everyone’s selling something. The pursuit itself is capitalist at its core. Couldn’t be any more selfish if it tried.

I’m not gonna deny it. If I tallied up all the money I’ve spent on surfing over the years, I could probably order a custom Christensen.

But that recent gizmodo buyer’s guide was something else.

Did you catch it?

The outdoor sports enthusiast’s surfing apparel handbook.

Recommendations for the best new quiver (~$3k). Wetsuits (~$1k). Fins (~$300). Surf sandals (~$140). Surf backpack (~$95). Surf skateboard (~$240). ‘Changing robe’ ($215). 3000 + words and $5000 later, you can be a surfer too.

It’s that easy.

The modern day VAL is predisposed to decking out head-to-toe surf merch in a way we haven’t seen in recent times. Yeah, it might have been a phase you went through in your early teens. Surf decals scrawled on your school books. Stickers taking up every inch of real estate on your fridge.

But these guys and gals are adults. Cashed up. New boards on the roof of the Tesla. Pop-up notifications on their smartphone for r/surfing reddit updates. Rip Curl tidemaster synched to Surfline cams so they never miss a wave. Dressed like 11 year olds going on their first school camp.

It’s wild.

With that in mind, here’s my grumpy local buyer’s guide for 2023.

Caveat emptor.

10-12 second hand boards in your shed which you never ride
Stacked upon each other haphazardly. Ready to collapse in a heap at any moment.

The boards in your quiver should each have design elements and functionalities specific to one type of conditions, so as to provide a never ending cycle of excuses for why you fucked up that last wave.

“Ah fuck it, this edge spoon fish has too much volume through the tail. I should have ridden the five fin bat tail bonzer with the beak nose. Idiot.”

No all-rounders. That would be too easy. You’re not doing this to have fun.

A notable exception will be made here for the low-key hustler who gets regular boards off his local shaper and always orders the same spray so as to confuse any snooping spouses who may be concerned by the amount of new boards being purchased.

A rare example where wanton consumerism is actively condoned.

A powerful move.

Two wetsuits.
Black. Nondescript. Interchangeable based on which one is most wet. Remember: you never want to take care of these properly. Hanging out after every couple of surfs is ok. But anything beyond that is just gluttonous.

What are you, a fucken pro or something? Settle down, cunt.

Boardshorts. Also black.
In fact the only acceptable combination of surf gear is a full-length steamer, vest, and/or boardshorts. Any other combination is way too lairy.

What are you, a fucken pro or something? Settle down, cunt.

Wetsuit wet bag
This is not for putting your wetsuit in. No, no, no. Your wetsuit bag is for storing random fins, fin keys, empty zinc and sunscreen containers, wax, coins, soy sauce container lids etc. Much like the mental health of a middle-aged surfer it should be filled with the detritus of everyday life and left to ferment.

At some point it will form a slick residue of sea water, melted wax, disintegrated cardboard and abandoned childhood dreams. Only to spill out every so often into a stream of toxic filth, damaging to anybody unlucky enough to be close to it .

At which point you can empty it out and start the process again.

Happy days. Until they’re not.

Sun protection
You should actually spend a bit of money here, to be fair. As one enters middle age and observes the effects of ol’ father time first hand, vanity comes to the fore. I started stealing my wife’s Loreal tan zinc. Dunno how much it costs, but. tan zinc is also good because you can leave it on after the surf and it acts like foundation. Wrinkles be gone!

Block of Sex Wax which only exists in two states: still in the box or less than 1/8th remaining.
There’s no in-between.

Sedan or SUV that can fit your entire quiver inside it
Roof racks are for losers. Boards should only go on the roof if you’re travelling long distances in some form of family holiday/rental car on a surf trip configuration. Buck up and buy a car that fits your boards in the interior for everyday use.

Nothing screams VAL like rocking up to the beach with board in travel cover on the roof of your car.

Where did you travel from? Your house? Five minutes drive away?

What are you, a pro? Settle down, cunt.

Also, if your wife/husband/child/significant other doesn’t spend every day trip to and from the beach with their face jammed into the passenger side window by the three boards you’ve expertly positioned betwixt folded down seats, you’re obviously not committed to this life of ours.

Old towels
Exist in two states: sopping wet or as dry and stiff as a cardboard box. As I mentioned in the comments on the original Gizmodo article, if you want to wear a hoody towel and dress like a big baby you may as well wear a diaper to go with it.

For leaving angry comments about covid lockdowns, WSL commentators and trans athletes in sports on various online surfing forums. But not a fancy new iphone. Probably one of those basic HTC bricks.

Or, as I like to sometimes imagine, a Blackberry with a stylus. Furiously tapping away below the fold. As if your demented ramblings matter one iota as we descend into WW3.

What else?

In unprecedented sporting history move, World Surf League crowns second asterisk champion in under a month!

Stalin would go, if he could!

The international sporting community was gobsmacked, minutes ago, when the hottest property in town, our World Surf League, accomplished the only-whispered-about in crowning a second asterisks-laden champion in less than a month. Covid-era National Basketball Association, strike-riddled Major League Baseball, the National Football League has only ever been able to anoint one but, here, the fastest growing franchise ever has nabbed two in some twenty-odd days.


Surf fans marveled, just over a fortnight ago, at Filipe Toledo’s Lower Trestles season ending victory after he failed to paddle for a wave at perfect, though extremely scary, Teahupo’o. That gorgeous asterisks hanging boldly around his neck. It was enough for a year of celebration but now, here, minutes ago, we have longboarding phenom, and all-around-great-guy Harrison Roach undo Hawaii’s Kaniela Stewart for the win.

Absolutely nothing against Roach, I’m sure he walked that nose brilliantly, but the World Surf League made the very thrilling decision, early last year, to suspend sitting champion Joel Tudor and not allow him to compete over some arguably hurtful Instagram posts.

Announcers also refused to speak the winningest-longboarder-of-all-time’s name.

An erasure Stalin could only dream of.

Congratulations are certainly in order for the WSL.