Surfer hair, a how-to!

The fleeting beauty and cruel impermanence of “Surfer Hair”

When you're 15 years old, losing those golden stripes will tip you into the deepest existential gloom…

I grew up, like every other kid, building a castle of unfulfilled moments, lost opportunities and slammed doors. An accumulation of regrets so painful – all those gals never kissed, all those set waves never ridden, all those heats lost cause of, what, nerves? – that if I ever let myself wade back into ’em I’d drive myself into the arms of crazy.

But, there was this one time. And, if I could backspin the planet 20 years or some, I’d play it diff.

I don’t remember her name, but I can’t forget her deep brown skin. She was just short of seventeen years, but lived alone, or so she said. The small house was one street back from the beach, an hour from my parent’s house, where I lived.

The situation was unusual, sure. But, when you’re 15-and-a-half and staring at a gal whose breasts speak of buttery milk and carnal abundance and she tells you there ain’t another soul in that house, in that house with the bedroom that faces east and so the morning sun pours onto the bed, onto her sweating body, you don’t argue the point.

I had met her outside a bar on a Friday night and she’d invited me to her house the following weekend. She was tall and had long limbs, a face too pretty, a gal built for modelling.

I was just coming out a summer of eight-hour beach days. My dark hair was balayaged with blond stripes, my body, although not the sort to thrill gym kinkos, was tight enough and brown, too. I was riding high. A surfer. And, surfers ruled my town.

In my pre-surf life, this gal wouldn’t have exercised her neck to check me out. Now, suddenly, I was going to her house, to the the empty house. I imagined her deep and fathomless submission to me. My expert groping hands leading her queer clumsiness. She would experience a seething electric female ecstasy while I controlled her like a master puppeteer.

I  imagined this many times in the week leading to our appointment. I spent so much time in my room, my mom thought I’d become clinically depressed.

Two days before we were to meet I decided to really light shit up by getting a killer haircut. At the big-city hairdresser, I showed ’em a photo of a CK model and paid fifty bucks for a cut and blow-dry. I watched handfuls of blond waft onto the floor, little golden parachutes whose contrasting beauty had secured me this erotic rendezvous. I watched as they were swept into the trapdoor at the corner of the salon. I might’ve whispered goodbye as the flap slammed shut.

That afternoon, I cried in the bathroom as I stared at the stupid boy with monotone  hair stiffened by gel on the sides and awash with mousse on the top panel. Then, I ran to the drug store and bought a bottle of “Honey Blonde”.

While my parents slept, I painted the peroxide in long stripes. It turned my dark hair red.

It looks okay, I said to myself.

On the day I was going to meet her I scooped up a handfuls of pomade, gel and mousse. I worked it in, I smooth it over. I shaped and sculpted.

It looks okay, I said to myself.

But, it didn’t.

And the gal’s face said it all when my bike came up her driveway and her vision was filled with an ordinary boy and not a surfing super hero.

What happened to your hair, she said, although the question rang rhetorically not quizzically.

If I was a painter, I could’ve made a masterpiece of that moment, a study of profound disappointment.

Then she said, Let’s go to the beach.

On the beach I showed her my right bicep that I had inflated by lifting my school bag 200 times a day in front of the mirror.

I invited her to run her hands over the bulge in my arm.

It feels pretty good, she said.

But she kept looking at my hair.

It’s red, she said at one point.

At her house, I asked if I might take a shower hoping she would follow. After thirty minutes she yelled, Are you alright in there?

I left at exactly three-thirty pm that afternoon.

I know because the radio news was on and there was something about the British surfer Martin Potter winning the world title, and I now hated Martin Potter because his hair was a bed of sun-burnt curls and I knew that if Martin Potter was here on this driveway, near this girl in the scoop leg shorts and the loose singlet that was cut low on the sides, he could take her, he could take her now, right in front of me, and they would bang and they would bang.

And, then they would laugh at my red hair while they smoked cigarettes and the sun coming through the bedroom window baked their skin even darker.

@marco_mignot How to Get Surfer Hair @Surf.Spray💦 ♬ Unholy – Sam Smith & Kim Petras



(Editor’s note: This story first appeared when BeachGrit opened its doors on a fine July morning in Chas Smith’s kitchen. Other first stories included Doll Lady Haunts Trestles Ahead of Hurley Pro, Focus Group Creates Brand: Names It Vissla, Ask Pam: Ohh Ya She Cool(Dane Reynolds and Courtney Jaedtke’s dog was our advice columnist for the first year), How To Make A Surf Film With Kai Neville (conventional!), Surfers Who Weep Like Gals, and an essay and photo gallery entitled Surfers With Beautiful Tits.)

Surf hero. Photo: New Jersey channel 12
Surf hero. Photo: New Jersey channel 12

New Jersey surfer saves baby deer from drowning thereby etching name alongside Eddie Aikau, Ryan Hargrave in the “Annals of Surf Heroics!”

Surf hero gonna surf hero.

Yes, surfers are often curmudgeonly, territorial, grumpy, grouchy, “the worst,” to quote the beloved radio personality Scott Bass, but we can be heroes, at least just for one day. But how many tales of “surfer saves life” have you read even only here on BeachGrit? Hundreds? Thousands? More?

More, I’d venture a guess.

Stories of surfers saving those suffering heart attack, in the water, or those lacerating themselves with fin or those bitten by shark or those who got swept away in a rip current or those who crashed boat… the list is endless but today we have a surfer going above and beyond in order to save a li’l baby deer from drowning.

But let us meet Thomas Buckley, a surf hero from New Jersey, and let us listen to his tale of derring-do.

“I didn’t even planning on going surfing. But as soon as I got up around 6:30 a.m. told myself, ‘Well, you’re going surfing today,’” the handsome younger man shared with New Jersey channel 12.

So there he was going surfing, when he heard a concerned bystander yell “Deer!”

Heroic blood pumping through a heroic heart, Buckley paddled into action.

He understood, instantly, that the adorable piece of sweet meat must have gotten washed off the jetty. He could see that it was struggling, blowing water out of its button nose, and so without a thought for himself, Buckley guided it to the sand where it pranced off to join its mother, probably.

Day saved.

His friends, when the saw the reports of unmitigated heroism, were not surprised, sharing that he is always on the scene and never afraid.

Surf hero gonna surf hero.

Logan gone wild. Photo: People™
Logan gone wild. Photo: People™

Disgraced former World Surf League CEO Erik Logan spotted at John John Florence meet & greet muttering cryptic obscenities!

"I don't need that _____."

The saga of Erik Logan has taken more twists, more turns in the past few months than even the most avid surf industry watcher could have imagined. The World Surf League CEO was, on June 23, 2023, riding a wave of success.* A regional Australian ladder company had re-signed for yet another year of sponsorship and bushes planted on the bluffs overlooking Bells Beach had saved the environment.

The momentum of professional surfing, real.

Then, like that, he was gone.

Logan had traveled to Brazil for the Vivo Rio Pro, sharing behind-the-scenes peeks on his much-loved Instagram. Rubbing shoulders with Joe Turpel and silly goosing it up, one moment, beheaded the next.

With zero warning, surf fans woke up to the most terse line in corporate history from the World Surf League.

“Erik Logan is no longer with the company.”

His replacement CEOs, the Chief of Legal and Chief of PR, gave the distinct impression that Logan had made a “boo boo,” which was, more or less, confirmed.

Logan himself, however, had vanished.

Until last night.

For last night, the great John John Florence rolled into Logan’s hometown of Manhattan Beach for a meet & greet wherein he would “hang & talk story.”

And Logan was there.

An eagle-eye’d People™ spotted the Oklahoman with a magical wetsuit of armor milling about, smile on face, mostly talking story with Florence’s wife, overhearing him mutter, “I don’t need that shit,” at one point.

Don’t need that shit?

What shit?

The plot very much thickens.

More as the story develops.

Surfing contest organiser slammed as “bigoted” and “transphobic’ after including only two divisions, “natural born women and natural men”

"Any company/individual that does not condemn this event is condoning the perpetuation of bigotry and hate."

A much-loved longboard contest in Mexico, which offers equal prize-money for men and women, has come under fire after including the rule, “There are only two divisions: natural born women and natural men.”

The Mexi Log Fest, which is held every year at La Saladita, Mexico, a pretty little joint on Guerrero’s Pacific coast, is “a celebration of culture, creative expression, connection, and some of the finest logging you’ll see anywhere in the world.”

But, hoo, y’just don’t say “natural women, natural women” in 2023.

A few years ago, y’might’ve gotten away with your gender binary bullshit, pretending there’s an arbitrary line that divides the species, almost as if you could determine sex just by looking at the human body, angle of pelvis, reproductive machinery, muscle density and so on, but no longer.

Those dark days are over.

And, so, after a post appeared with the rules, contest organiser Izzy Preciado was slammed, first, by Fringe Surfers New England, and quickly followed by Surf Equity, whom you’ve read about here, here, here, here and here. 

Both using the sweet patois of the militant left.

Sponsors were also encouraged to pull out of the event.

“Any company/individual that does not condemn this event is condoning the perpetuation of bigotry and hate.”

Shortly after the fusillade, the post was edited to remove the offensive language.

A victory for human rights, yes?

Great White shark stalks San Diego swimmer in latest shock drone video as Marin County shuts down following fatal hit by White!

“I can typically find a Great White within two minutes…”

Two days ago, a swimmer was disappeared by a Great White while swimming off the southern end of Port Reyes in Marin County, thirty miles from dirty ol San Francisco in Northern California.

The man, who was fifty-two, was swimming in group of three between twenty-five and fifty yards from the beach when the shark attacked and dragged him under.

First responders said the ocean was red with blood.

“It’s pretty unusual…when swimmer is attacked and just completely disappears,” Dave Elbert, the director of San Jose State’s Pacific Shark Research Center told CBS News. “From predator standpoint it’s a good hunting time. You have young, inexperienced elephant seals and sea lions going in the water.”

Attacks by Whites ain’t new or a rarity in northern California.

Shaper Ben Kelly’s death by White a few years back still hits hard. They don’t call Marin County to Monterey County the Red Triangle for nothing, although as the writer Lewis Samuels once told me, he believed Nor-Cal Whites were less prone to fatal hits than the Australian and South African versions.

Lew, y’see, has five pals who’ve been attacked by great white sharks. One, Royce Fraley, has been attacked… twice. Lew was there for one of ’em.

“We were really far out to sea, literally, about a kilometre out to sea. It took 45 minutes to paddle out,” says Lew. “Out of the corner of my eye there was this explosion. And as I turned around, I saw the shark breeching out of the water with him in its mouth. Then they fell down in an explosion of whitewater, like when a whale breaches. Fifteen feet is as big as a car and they’re a lot fatter in person than you’d think they would be. And he was in the fish’s mouth and there was this fucking impact in the water and then there was nothing there, gone, like a fucking whirlpool of displaced whitewater where he’d been. There was no one else near him, just another friend way up the line, and so when the attack happened, what are you fucking going to do? You’re not going to leave your friend out there.”

(And don’t miss the subsequent Blood Feud between Lew and Royce here.)

Meanwhile, a few hundred miles south, swimmers, paddle-boarders and surfers are co-existing with the renowned man-eaters, although in this part of the world they seem anything but, the 2008 hit on a triathlete in Solana Beach notwithstanding.

If you swing over to the remarkable account of Scott Fairchild, you’ll find a San Diego swimmer being followed by a smallish, a relative term of course, juvenile Great White who eventually tires of the game and shoots off.

It’s one of dozens of peaceful interactions with a fish that, in southern California, seems mostly docile.

“It’s important that people realise the truth and that we protect these amazing and vital animals,” Fairchild told Oceangraphic. “I’m very direct with saying that my images are not allowed to be used unless it’s a shark positive piece…I have literally filmed hundreds of hours of footage and watched an incalculable number of encounters with great white sharks swimming right next to swimmers, surfers, stand up paddlers, and so on. This is the truth, the norm, the day-to-day reality of what happens in the ocean. Yes, bites tragically do happen but they are incredibly rare considering the hundreds of thousands of interactions around the world and the millions of possibilities if sharks really wanted to hunt humans.”

He also said, “I can typically find a Great White within two minutes…”

Oddly enough, I find Fairchild’s account wildly reassuring, a reminder that only in the rarest instance would a Great White consider me a sweetmeat.

Others might feel the opposite.

Where doth you sit?


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