POV: Examine the machinations of the heaviest lineup on earth with Koa Smith in “Mic’d up surfing Brutal Pipeline!”

A very good behind-the-scenes account of epic Christmas Eve Pipe swell… 

Pipeline is a wave that will stomp a mud hole in your ass, if you’ll excuse the street patois.

Very few of us will smash through the wall of muscle that surrounds the lineup to even attempt to ride a wave that’s like an elevator with the down button punched.

Koa Smith, the almost twenty-five-year-old three-time National Scholastic Surfing Association National Champion, knows the wave and its people well.

In this twelve-minute film, Koa brings his GoPro and microphone into the lineup during the North Shore’s epic Christmas Eve swell.

We see John John Florence, Mason Ho, Benji Brand, Kalani Chapman, all the big guns, even Koa Rothman who famously announced prior to the winter season that he would be taking any wave at Pipeline he wanted.

“No hard feelings. I’m not trying to be a dick,” Rothman said in October. “I’m just letting you know now that is what is going to be happening. So have a great day and watch out.”

What transpires?

Essential viewing.

Masterclass: World’s oldest pro surfer Kelly Slater reveals new secret weapon, “You get to a certain terminal velocity where the fin will lift too much and lift the tail!”

A juggernaut.

I have a dim memory of a nice man coming to visit me at a surfing magazine with an invention that allowed the manipulation of fin angles.

Toe ’em in for looseness, straighten ’em out for speed.

It was a very good invention, I suppose, although most of us rarely even change fins and I never heard of it again.

Until today, when in a short day-in-the-life piece for Brazilian TV subscriber channel Canal OFF, we find Kelly Slater extolling, at some length, the virtues of the devices before gifting the viewer several minutes of polished surfing on a variety of fin configurations.

Kelly Slater, cleverly manipulating dials.

We also find Kelly killing spiders with a vacuum cleaner.


Dane Reynolds grooms baby into high-level pro surfer; watch progression here: “This episode is comprised mostly of Micky wrecking waves and occasionally himself around town!”

Total flabbergast.

(Editor’s note: Dane Reynolds and Mini Blanchard’s website Chapter 11 TV is an irregular collection of short surfing films shot around Ventura that will stoke any crotch fire. Here, Reynolds’ profiles his little buddy, Micky Clarke, who surfs with all the heady drama of a rain storm. Reynolds’ heart-felt paeans to his subjects are equally irresistible.)

Rain or shine my brother would always walk from his van to the water’s edge with his wetsuit halfway down. I never knew if it was vanity or just to catch some extra rays, but when the session was over he’d rip his wetsuit back down in knee deep water and expose his upper half for the return trip.

Last year I was surfing with Micky (Clarke) and (Super Jew) Eithan (Osborne) at our local break when we saw the familiar sight of Brek walking out on the jetty with his top down. Wave count’s about to go down! We scramble to catch a couple extra waves before he gets that wetsuit all the way up and his leash on.

He jumps off the rocks and paddles up in a blue and green Quiksilver suit.

“How’s that thing fit?” asks a nearly 21-year-old Micky

“Good!” says Brek.

After he takes the first wave that comes in I ask Micky, “You hooked up Brek with a suit?”

“Yeah he showed up at my house with an 18 Pack of Modelo’s and asked if I wanted to trade for a wetsuit!”

Brek was the ultimate at recognizing opportunities to swoop free equipment.

An example situation-

I’d be changing out of my wetsuit and he’d walk up… “how were the waves?” “Kinda fun!” “Shit I wanna surf but I don’t really have a board I like… What did you ride?” “This one, it’s kinda sick, I bet you’d like it” “Really?” “Shit… ya you should try it!”

I’d never see that board again.

I asked Micky if he was tripping that Brek showed up at his house and wanted to trade an 18 pack of beer for a wetsuit… “I was kinda trippin… but I was kinda stoked!”

This episode is comprised mostly of Micky wrecking waves and occasionally himself around town the past few months.

Let’s meet Micky Clarke…

CH | 11 | TV | 006 from CHAPTER 11 TV on Vimeo.

Outrageous: Watch Mason Ho in “You know my reputation. Ninety inches of tough load, I don’t treat you gently!”

Sensitive but resilient, equally available during the day or night with a minimum of coaxing…

In this short from the studio of Riordan Pringle, we see his master, the thirty-two-year-old Mason Ho, riding a ninety-inch surfboard, a full twenty-four inches longer than his usual runabout.

You keep rubbing that stick, as they say, and you’re gonna get a lot more than a spark.

Essential viewing.

Watch: Kelly Slater give hell to east Sunset on Mason Ho’s tiny Matt Biolos-shaped Rad Ripper and a Greg Webber 5’8”!

Swing with Mason and Kelly!

In this twelve-minute short from the studio of Riordan Pringle, the viewer is gifted a balcony view of Kelly Slater, and Mason Ho, exchanging surfboards and manipulating waves, one after the other, at a chip-shot reef east of Sunset Beach.

Mason, we can never get enough of, brave, charming, witty, exciting to look at and a really good surfer.

Kelly, of course, sometimes appears as empty as the emptiest bottle, and as lonely as a radio tube when the batteries are dead and there’s no current to plug into. Such is fame etc.

An easy watch.