Mason Ho (left) and Burger. Shunned by the "Global Home of Surfing." Photo: Blak Bear Surf Club
Mason Ho (left) and Burger. Shunned by the "Global Home of Surfing." Photo: Blak Bear Surf Club

Hawaiian nobility Mason Ho discusses being told he “offended the audience” by World Surf League after Pipeline claim!

"To declare the World Surf League does not understand surfing is a profound understatement..."

To declare that the World Surf League does not understand surfing is a profound understatement. The “Global Home of Surfing” routinely steps the wrong way, its institutional ignorance too vast to even begin to catalog. “Backward Fins” Beth, Erik “ELo” Logan, Finals Day at Lower Trestles… I don’t have enough time for this, to be honest.

The latest? Mason Ho discussing how he received a strongly worded letter from the veterinarian offices about how he was “offending the audience” after a maybe botched Pipeline claim.

Ho, son of Michael, brother of Coco, nephew of Derek, sat next to the legendary Cheeseburger on the must-watch new series from Blak Bear Surf Club discussing a wave he caught during a Pipeline event and getting caught betwixt a finger snap and Andy Irons’ iconic shotgun claim which turned into something all its own.

Whilst surf fans celebrated, as they always do, Ho’s creativity, the World Surf League grew incensed and issued him a strongly worded letter telling him he was “offending fans,” or some such.

The conversation is priceless, Ho forgiving, kind, wonderful, does not cast stones (other than the ones he already cast).

Burger the best sidekick ever.

But my goodness.

World Surf League?

Do you even watch surfing?

David Lee Scales and I, anyhow, discussed the moment along with hot sake, mouth taping, faith healers and Carissa Moore’s perfection. It might be our best show yet and I think you should probably enjoy.

If not now then later.

RIP Party Pete.

Or did you come to the universal conclusion that listening now is better?

It’s the right call.


Lyon Herron. A true legend.
Lyon Herron. A true legend.

Beloved Malibu icon, pillar of the surf community, pens beautifully poignant goodbye to friends as he enters hospice after long battle with cancer

"I love you all from the bottom of my heart and will always be here as a guardian angel to my loved ones."

It is easy to get caught up in the frivolities in our surf world. The silliness of the World Surf League, for example, or the phrase “Chinese wax job” coming under fire for being racist, but it really is a tight knit space full of people who genuinely do care about each other. I am reminded of this usually during sadder days. Who, here, could forget Offrocker and the wonderful poignancy he brought to this group?

Well, a similar human heaviness but also so beautifully human is hovering up in Malibu. Surf icon, pillar of the local community, Lyon Herron announced, days ago, that he was leaving palliative care and heading into hospice after a long bout with cancer.

Taking to Instagram, the stylish man wrote:

So I’ve made the decision to move palliative care to hospice care, the suffering and pain has just gotten past the point of being able to handle. For those of you that know me, know that I have a very unique connection with death. I’ve been so close to it so many times and have literally been told that I wasn’t going to make it through the night more times that I can count. I’m so comfortable with the end of this life’s journey that I honestly am welcoming the end with open arms. I don’t want anyone to mourn me when I pass, but to celebrate the life that I lived. I am so blessed and so grateful for the life that I’ve had, I’ve been living on borrowed time for a very long time now and now it’s my souls time to move on. I’m doing it the natural way so who knows how long it will take but I want to thank each and everyone one of you for keeping me going through the toughest of times. Like I said, I am blessed. I love you all from the bottom of my heart and will always be here as a guardian angel to my loved ones. It’s not goodbye, it’s just see you soon. So excited to finally get to see my uncles who have passed before me. Adios friends.

A who’s who from Jamie Brisick to the Brothers Marshall, Jake Burghart to Pink herself jumped into the feed to provide memories and encouragement.

Dume local and exceptional filmmaker Paul Taublieb shared with me, “I remember him clearly on a day of small south in a brief window of remission, which was surrounded by years of surgeries and suffering from a cancer that grew weird globs inside him, and he laid the rail of the log into the face and stood, Dora-esque, Fain-esque, Herron-all, and I saw a smile creep across his face, a shard of joy penetrating past whatever he was enduring. Surfing could do that, actually the silly hobby do something good.”

Ain’t that the truth.

Godspeed, Lyon Herron.

Godspeed.


North Shore royalty Mahina Florence walks in Louis Vuitton fashion show!

Welcome to Paradise.

As every surf fan, and student of history, knows, Hawaii used to be a kingdom. Wonderful and benevolent kings and queens, princes and princess paraded around, enjoying the freshest Spam musubi and pristine turquoise waves in this earthly paradise. All was upended, though, when evil robber barons descended from the mainland. These bad men, who descended from the Haole tribe, stole and plundered and, eventually, toppled the monarchy altogether.

Still, though, remnants of the sovereignty remain, tucked in various corners here and there. The Florences, for example, from Oahu’s North Shore. And the Kai “Borg” Garcia’s from Kauai.

It was with much joy, a few years back, when the noble families united. Nathan Florence, middle son of Alexandra, and Mahina Florence, daughter of Garcia, tied the knot in holy matrimony.

They seem a perfect couple, shining a light on all, and Mahina, recently, shined it upon the French.

Joining Longboard champion and Waikiki’s own Kaniela Stewart plus Kauai’s Tahaki Papke, Mahina walked the most recent Louis Vuitton fashion show debuting the fall collection in Hong Kong. One “inspired by the idea of a businessman vacationing in Hawaii,” according to new head Pharrell.

Mahina, according to Hawaii News Now, “strutted with a surfboard wearing what looks like a rash guard topped with a business jacket.”

Stewart, “rocked a green aloha shirt-blazer combo with matching shorts.”

Watch, please. And enjoy.


Sean Doherty and SW magazine cover
Sean Doherty, right, alongside Surfing World's iconic Road Song issue from four decades previous.

World’s best surf reporter Sean Doherty rattles can in fight to save dying surf culture

“We’ve gotta do something or it might circle the drain and then one day disappear.”

Do you remember when the Australian reporter Sean Doherty would spike each day of surf competition with a very sharp onsite analysis for Surfer magazine?

Even at the time, nine years ago or thereabouts, boots on the ground at a contest seemed excessive and so I asked Sean Doherty, then, why he was the only person that actually reported from surf events.

“No one else seems stupid enough,” he said through gritted and slightly beige teeth. “The great conundrum in writing surf online for chicken feed is that when you’re being paid $150 for a story you fall into the trap of writing $150 worth of pure mediocrity. The problem then comes when the Internet keeps your horseshit contest report alive for eternity with your byline stuck to it in 40-point type. The trick is to write like your story is going to hang around and either help you or haunt you forever. It’s the same principle you should apply to all the menial jobs in your life… lavish the detail on the small things and the big things take care of themselves.”

Very wise words.

It was Sean Doherty’s commitment to his craft that led him and pal, the photographer Jon Frank, to scoop up the remains of Surfing World magazine in a fire sale three years ago and resurrect that old treasure, working for free to keep surfing culture not just alive but thriving.

An aside.

If you haven’t seen, met, or sighted a photograph of Sean Doherty, you must let me describe. He’s a little under the old six-foot measure (more than a little, but let’s be kind!), he has the strong torso of a lifelong surfer (which is surprising because he likes to drink), his crown is relieved of the burden of hair, and as for his surfing ability… yes. He surfs!

And he’s good enough to combo a wave from barbe au cul, as the French like to say, and enter and exit a tube. On his passport are enough stamps for Hawaii to guarantee his bone fides when it’s over four foot.

Anyway, Surfing World just had its sixtieth anniversary, making it the oldest still-running surfing magazine in the world.

And, Doherty, each year, rattles the can, as he calls it, to plump subscriber numbers to keep it all afloat.

You see, Doherty and Frank, who lives in Mallorca, off the coast of Spain there for reasons too complicated to examine here, don’t make a cent off the magazine.

All ad revenue, all subs, all newsstand sales go back into making a surfing magazine whose only rival is the magnificent Surfers Journal, which is made out of San Clemente, California.

On a recent warm Torquay afternoon, I find Doherty, now fifty two, and about to bring his fourth kid into the world, readying to move the entire squadron twelve hundred miles north to Yamba, and a stone’s throw from Angourie.

We talk for a while about print, the apparent death of pro surfing and why he keeps doing this thing.

Doherty, who works full-time for Patagonia, tells me that when he and Frankie got the mag, the sale and its subsequent handover consisted of two hard-drives with “scattered folders, bits of stuff everywhere…super incomplete but with a lot of interesting  stuff from the (Swellian lord Vaughan) Blakey era.”

Recently, they released their sixtieth anniversary issue and, if you want a sign that there’s still some life in surf culture, the magazine completely sold out.

“I’ve never sold out a magazine in my life, sold the whole print run,” says Doherty. “It was 260 pages, fucking just about killed us doing it.”

And, advertisers, he says, were lining up to be in it.

“Advertisers know that if someone is committed enough to pay twenty bucks for a magazine, they’re committed enough to look at what they’re selling. It breaks that online conditioning where everything is free.”

The revival of Surfing World among surfers, says Doherty, is due to what he calls “digital exhaustion. Surfing World is the opposite of everything on the internet. We don’t cover pro surfing. There’s a lot of long-form profile pieces, 20,000 words, 10,000, 12,000. I think it’s a correction back. People are more open to long-form stuff like that occasionally in a world where they’re bombarded by small stuff every minute of every day. It’s just a big grassroots, long-form celebration of surfing. There’s a lot of energy on that side of the idealogical divide.”

Still, it don’t come cheap.

So Doherty and Frank would be thrilled if you could find a way to subscribe or buy a copy here and there (Dave Scales of Surf Splendor distributes in the US). 

“Every year we rattle the can, get the violins out. We don’t pay ourselves anything and we need to remind people that it’s still there and needs a bit of love. The only thing stopping it from getting bigger is energy and money.”

Doherty knows nothing lasts forever, magazines or surf culture, but says, how about we keep it going as long as we can.

“We gotta do something with this,” says Doherty. “We gotta evolve or it might just gradually go into decline, circle the drain and then one day disappear.”


Plan A. Photo: WSL
Plan A. Photo: WSL

France’s Sports Minister declares Tahiti or bust for 2024 Paris Olympics!

"No, there's no Plan B."

Surfer Magazine and its dumb lying robots aside, the situation in Tahiti in relation to the upcoming 2024 Olympics is certainly something. Surf fans initially rejoiced when it was announced that the surfing portion of the Games would be held at Teahupo’o. The gem at “the end of the road” is as good as it gets, in terms of professional surf competition goes, and watching hopefuls go, or not (see: Filipe Toledo), will certainly thrill.

Except.

Olympic organizers started getting too clever, deciding to replace the old judging tower with a new one thus infuriating locals. In order to prove how great it would be, a barge was hired for a test run.

It proceeded to smash the reef to bits.

Calls immediately were raised to move the show back to France though, hours ago, France’s Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera has put her foot down, telling the country’s reporters, “No, there’s no Plan B. We’re on this path which is really the right one. We’re on the right path to have a new, resized judges’ tower that corresponds to requests made by locals. There was a test that was obviously not well prepared and could not be conducted properly,” she said. “And unfortunately it damaged bits of coral, which is obviously completely regrettable. The next test must be meticulously prepared.”

Do you think the locals will be relieved to hear about the meticulousness?

More importantly, are there currently tears in the Toledo household?

Finally, will Surfer Magazine jump back in or has the machine singed its little metal fingers?