Italo Ferreira (pictured) feeling it.
Italo Ferreira (pictured) feeling it.

Ordained John John Florence title in sudden jeopardy as raging Italo Ferreira lurches into World Surf League top five

Bonsoir, John John?

Last week, a third John John Florence professional surfing title seemed all but ordained. After two years of Filipe Toledo dominance, surf fans thrilled at the thought of a champion who is not terrified by bigger lefts. Some had even begun making commemorative plates in order to celebrate the day.

Conventional wisdom, and loud rumor, has Florence, 31, retiring at year’s end. A hat trick of trophies the storybook ending that surf fans need what with Kelly Slater refusing decorum and forcing everyone to watch him grow ancient on the world stage a la Joe Biden.

Sitting high atop the leaderboard, with only two events to go, the North Shore local would have only had to beat either Ethan Ewing, Jordy Smith, Jack Robinson or Griffin Colapinto one time in two tries at Lower Trestles and that would be that.

But then came the Rio Pro.

Italo Ferreira had gotten off to a clunky start at the season’s opening Pro Pipeline, bowing out in the first round. Poor results in Portugal, Bells and Maggie River had him counted out. He seemed off. Wacky. Then came wins in Tahiti and Brazil and boom.


A good performance in Cloudbreak, the final regular event of the season, could push Ferreira into the third, 0r even second, slot and surf fans now must assume that the title is very much in his grasp. Of all the surfers on tour, the 31-year-olds Red Bull fueled kinetic energy could easily bulldoze Florence’s more laconic stylings in San Clemente.

Attention will momentarily turn to the Olympics, of course, and whether Filipe Toledo will refuse to paddle in front of Colin Jost, bringing shame to an entire nation. Not being on the Brazilian team must irk Ferreira greatly, which could be put into the rage shaker and poured out upon Florence’s blonde head.

Wild times.

Wild times indeed.

Celebrate surf god Tom Curren’s sixtieth birthday with his goofy all-time classic film Free Scrubber

In an era where everybody has a desire for the superficial, Tom Curren reminds us of individualism, variety and dissent. 

Three years ago, Tom Roland Curren, the three-time world surfing champion, who was unbeatable for most of his carer and who popularised the modern Fish, released an unlikely surf movie hit called Free Scrubber. 

The film, a one-of-a-kind ride filmed by Andy Potts and whipped into a masterpiece by comic creators Vaughan Blakey and Nick Pollet, was built around Tom Curren’s three-month Mexican vacay in 2020, the three-time world champ trapped across the border as COVID hit and the US shut its doors to the world.

Curren, then fifty-seven, came equipped with a portable electric piano that could be played on the beach, fishing equipment and a flotilla of surfboards.

Empty waves and the maestro of minimalism who influenced a generation of American surfers including the noted Kelly Slater, himself world champion surfer of renown. 

What could go right? Everything! 

The film is frank, revealing, intimate. Tom Curren’s speech is sometimes incomprehensible as his words are slurred by his extravagant diction, but his surfing is patient, aggressive and with enough magic to still amaze people.

“On a wave he’s ageless,” said Vaughan. “The fact that he’s not looking for big sections to hit is easy on the eye. It’s not all about the hammers. You’re not waiting for him to do something. He’s just riding waves.”

Well, this July 3, which is a couple of days away, Tom Curren turns sixty years old, proof that time waits for no man except maybe Tom Curren.

In an era where everybody has a desire for the superficial, Curren reminds us of of individualism, variety and dissent. 

Happy birthday old man!

Courtney Conlogue doing her thang.
Courtney Conlogue doing her thang.

Orange County surfers fume after famous first daughter Courtney Conlogue claims hated Los Angeles a “surfers’ paradise”

"El Porto is often crowded with local surfers due to its consistent waves with above-average quality and height."

I am currently in Paris, France where the country’s further right continues to stun pundits with victory after victory. Round one of Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron’s snap elections were carried out today with more bummer news for progressives and televisions everywhere are flashing much talking heads discussing Marine Le Pen, Greg LeMond and other Pepe Le Pews. None, though, are as furious as Orange County, California surfers who, also today, were forced to read first daughter Courtney Conlogue’s utter betrayal.

Those who live behind the curtain woke up to an extremely rude shock. Conlouge’s Santa Ana bonafides need no burnishing. The longtime professional surfer an orange flavored icon. But how did she repay her people?

This way, according to the august BBC:

“LA is a surfer’s paradise,” says Conlogue, who grew up in nearby Orange County and learned the fundamentals of surfing from her father when she was just four years old. “The county has every type of wave you might be looking for, whether it’s a soft beginner’s beach break, point breaks with their long peelers or powerful reef breaks that churn out circular barrel waves. With the Pacific Coast Highway running adjacent to the beaches, part of the fun of surfing here is hunting down the perfect place to spontaneously pull up and dive in.”

Later adding the best beginner spot around is Erik Logan’s Mannhattan Beach.


Part of northernmost Manhattan Beach, El Porto is one of LA’s most-surfed waves for good reason. “The ocean here forms a beach break so it’s better for beginners who can find their feet in smaller and less-intimidating waves,” says Conlogue.
A stone’s throw from Los Angeles International Airport, El Porto is often crowded with local surfers due to its consistent waves with above-average quality and height.

Above-average quality and height?


Giant sads spreading from Downey to San Clemente.

Jet lag just hit hard.

So more as this story develops.

Sublime redux. Ready to set it off.
Sublime redux. Ready to set it off.

World Surf League gagging for another riot as Sublime set to reggae rock US Open of Surfing

"What's that I see in Huntington Beach??!!"

Chain wallet wearers and those who iron the brims of their baseball caps rejoiced, yesterday, thrusting broken knuckled fists into the heated valley air as it was announced that Sublime will headline the US Open of Surfing’s musical offering on August 3rd.

The World Surf League, which sanctions the yearly bacchanal wherein professional surfers bounce up and down upon their boards, explained the formerly popular band features, “original members Eric Wilson and Bud Gaugh, with Jakob Nowell, son of the late Bradley Nowell, as front man.” The Global Home of Surfing added, “special guest Makua Rothman is also set to perform. The intimate, one-night show will be hosted on the sand at the south side of the Huntington Beach Pier.”

Whilst Rothman’s musical stylings will certainly be enjoyed, the intimacy might be lightly overshadowed by the riot that will almost certainly be taking place.

Rioting and the US Open have become synonymous over the years, bashing windows, flipping portable potties, wearing bandanas and fighting all as much a part of the show as foam climbs. Usually, the riot needs some music in order to kick it off though. Modest Mouse got the last one going in 2014.

Ten years on, riot aficionados are hoping that Sublime’s ska punk slash reggae rock stylings will be more conducive to a longer and larger brawl.

A run on Dickies heavy weight shorts expected.

Tickets for the show will be available for pre-sale beginning Friday, June 28, at 8:00 a.m. PDT using the password: feellikethat.

The general on-sale will open on Sunday, June 30, at 8:00 a.m. PDT.

“What’s that I see in Huntington Beach??!! Sun, Surf, and Sublime at the US Open! Come claim your spot and be a part of history,” Sublime drummer Bud Gaugh declared, leaving out “shivaree” though heavily implying it.


CH11 surf shop Ventura
Former professional surfers own beer brands and real estate ventures. Instead, he’s selling t-shirts and making videos. And standing there in his shop, he looks damn happy doing it. | Photo: Jen See

Iconic Ventura surf shop owned by Dane Reynolds set to be bulldozed

“IN THE NAME OF PROGRESS…the CH11 store is getting torn down…”

The former world number four surfer, daddy to seven, neighbour to jack-in-the-box drummer boy Travis Barker and reality star Kourtney Kardashian, Dane Reynolds, has shocked lovers of authentic surf culture with news, today, that his iconic Ventura surf shop is set to be bulldozed. 

The green shack at 365 East Santa Clara Street in Ventura, called CH11, a place where its famous owner will greet customers and offer screen-printed t-shirts, still warm from the freshly applied inks, opened a couple of years back and quickly became the hub around which that surf community revolved. 

Still, progress is progress, as they say, and to hell with the human cost. 

(Read the Development Approval here.)

“IN THE NAME OF PROGRESS the Ch11 store is getting torn down, but not without a final blowout sale,” writes Dane Reynolds. “Today through Sunday everything in store is 40-70% off.”


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Two years back, Jen See wrote movingly of CH11 and its place in surfing culture.

Let’s go inside.

A round glass table readily at home in your grandparents’ living room stands in the center of the room. It’s an obvious thrift shop find. Piles of stickers sit on the table’s two shelves. As a grom at heart, I took the free stickers, yes.

Surf films run on the video screens, which should not surprise you at all.

A poster hangs on the wall from the premier of “Glad You Scored” at the nearby Majestic Ventura Theater, a battered single-screen movie house. There’s a framed photograph of Reynolds surfing, and a framed movie flyer from Australia. Nothing fancy.

Clothing from Former runs along one wall. The line has subdued colors, which is to say, there’s a lot of black. Reynolds pulls design elements from eclectic sources, and the current collection brings a punk-mod vibe.

Reynolds is also producing clothing under his Chapter 11 TV label, and it occupies the store’s opposite wall. Bright, playful, and mostly hand-drawn, it feels entirely different from Former. The groms seem to like it — smaller sizes were scarce.

In an Instagram story, Reynolds explains one of the designs. While sending a text to filmer Hunter Martinez during the Haleiwa comp, Reynolds told him to “Capture the moment.” At the same time, Reynolds was drawing a shooting star for one of his daughters. It’s now a cute as fuck t-shirt and hoody. I regret not buying one.

One corner holds hats and t-shirts from Trashboy, a creation from Courtney Jaedtke, Reynolds’s wife. It derives from son Sammy’s early obsession with the garbage truck, if I remember correctly. Between them, Jaedtke and Reynolds produce an almost dizzying array of clothing and art. It’s hard to keep up.

Boards and suits remain on the sparser side. A few boards hang from the ceiling with space for more. A stack of cards at the front desk stands ready for custom orders to Channel Islands. The extremely analogue approach fits. A rack holds a dozen or so wetsuits.

An opening in the back wall shows a small workspace with a four-color t-shirt printing press. It’s Saturday afternoon, and Reynolds is back there screening shirts. He looks relaxed and happy, like there are few places he would rather be. He waves a cheerful hello.

Surf today?

Nah, it was flat all the way down the coast. Looked like a swimming pool.

Did you check the harbor? He sounds like he’s trying to help us, like he really wants us to find surf today.

I admit that we did not check the harbor. It was so flat, you could have seen a whale fart.

We rehearse the call and response. Maybe tomorrow, maybe next week. It’s the slowest winter anyone has seen in years.

We buy a t-shirt and Reynolds thanks us for stopping by and for supporting the project. It feels genuine. He wants to succeed at this thing.

Former professional surfers own beer brands and real estate ventures. They fix and they flip. If Reynolds has a real estate empire, he’s kept it a secret. Instead, he’s selling t-shirts and making videos. And standing there in his shop, he looks damn happy doing it.

There’s a quality of giving back about Reynolds’ current chapter that’s hard to resist. He created Chapter 11 TV to serve as a video platform for the local rippers. He’s one of the many partial owners of Channel Islands surfboards. (The brand passed the hat among team riders, employees, and local friends to come up with Burton’s asking price.)

At a recent film night at CI, one of his daughters held her hands over ears. She felt the music was too loud. Ten minutes later, all three kids were asleep in their parents’ laps.

Outside 365 E. Santa Clara, traffic rushes by, and around the small building, time shifts the city. Walk two blocks, and find a bargain-rate Motel 6 and a liquor store.

It’s easy to feel like surfing’s soul has drowned in a sea of soft tops and Sprinter vans. The latest private equity firm to come along buys and sells the empty shell that’s left. Pull the shrinkwrap off another one.

Did it ever exist at all? Did surfing ever have a soul? Seduced by magic images and exuberant story-telling, did we imagine the whole thing?

I’m pretty sure our battered soul still exists, stuck to us like the last chunk of wax at the bottom of the box.

It might be the guy screening t-shirts in the back of his shop and making cheerful small talk about the waves and the forecast. It might be the next generation of groms falling asleep on movie night. It might be the women hanging out in the parking lot, talking about board designs.

Vale CH11 etc.

And, in some good news, a new joint is planned for the Fall.