Watch: A jazzy behind-the-scenes look at Julian Wilson’s title showdown in “Close to a Dream !

How's it feel to to go splat at the final hurdle?

It takes a hell of a man, or gal, to survive the final lunge for a world title. A round one loss at boardriders and after convulsing with sadness I take my surfboard and go home to curl around my pillow.

This eleven-minute documentary, which was made by Julian’s best pal and filmer Jimmy Lees, is instructive in the simplicity of Julian’s world title campaign. Julian, who has just turned thirty, hangs out with wife, kid, changes nappies, goes for walks, surfs out the front at Pipe on days when others are too panicky to paddle out, and, eventually, makes the final of the Pipe Masters.

The title equation wasn’t difficult to understand.

If Gabriel made the final, didn’t matter what Julian did.

And Gabriel, who tormented his fellow competitors like a mosquito buzzing violently in your ear, did make the final, did win the title.

“Close to a dream,” said Julian.


From the mysterious orient: Come see China’s First Wavepool!

Oh she's a peach!

There ain’t a lot the Chinese can’t do, those clever and beautiful bastards with the Oliver Cromwell hair helmets and ability to mimic anything that comes out of Europe or the US.

And, here, revealed for the very first time, is China’s first wavepool, which you’ll find in the ancient city of Anyang (population five million) in Henan province.

You might come for the emperor’s mausoleums, the Wenfeng Pagoda and the Tomb of Fu Hao, but you’ll definitely stay for the country’s interpretation of the modern, foil-driven surf tank.

Although the film reveals little of the pool’s finer details, would you say it’s closer to Wavegarden or KSWaveCo?

And on a side note: did you know that the Chinese have a word for their cheap imitations?

They call it the shanzhai.

My immediate impression of the pool is that it lacks a little, cough, cough, finesse.




Watch: Mason Ho and Yago Dora in “I sit on his face, jerk him off and I got me 25 dollars!”

Lost team, Waco pool, pretty after-dark lights!

A little while ago, I took a call from, or maybe it was to, the San Clemente shaper Matt Biolos. He’d told me about his recent trip to Waco, pre-brain gobbling amoeba drama, and said that he’d employed the photographer Mike Muller to do something a little different at the pool.

Can’t remember how much each private session was, maybe $US2500, but Matt threw 5k or 7500 at his team’s sessions.

He told me he wasn’t sure what was going to happen to the footage. A little movie in a few months, maybe.

Here it is.

Muller, according to a recent interview in Surfer magazine (Hello Peter, Todd etc.), “had always wanted to apply his lighting techniques to be able to illuminate waves (and surfers) in the dark of night, but he needed a controlled environment to test out the equipment. So when shaper and Muller’s good friend Matt Biolos invited him to tag along for a …Lost team trip (comprised of the high–flying crew Mason Ho, Yago Dora and Michael Rodrigues) to the Waco wave pool, Muller jumped at the chance and packed his one-of-a-kind underwater strobe lights.”

It was also Mason Ho’s thirtieth birthday. Thirty, can you believe!

No one is little forever. Ain’t that sad.

Yago Dora and no-punch M-Rod were there, too.

A fine cassette to throw in the ol Walkman.

Absurdist cinema: Watch Dylan Graves surf a ten-mile long one-foot wave!

A surprising treat!

If you were asked if you’d like to watch a dozen minutes of English adult learners, each in such a state of concentration they lick the beads of sweat above their lips, staggering along a one-foot wave, you would reply with a stern no.

But, here, in episode five of Vans’ Weird Waves series, which has evolved into a tour of river surfing destinations around the world, and which stars the Puerto Rican surfer Dylan Graves (whom you must never ask about old interviews where he said he liked to swish his long hair around women’s breasts, sometimes head-butts his friends when he’s boozed, and likes it “when girls aren’t afraid to let some dirty shit come out. I just like it when they say fuck”), the cynicism quickly seeps away.

What adventure it is to chase a damn river bore from section to section, in a car, sliding down muddy embankments until your ass skin is raw and cracked, and doing it all with your best new pals.

Even better, I would suggest, than an excellent milkshake served by a happy fat waitress.

Meet: A Man Who Bought Himself a Precious Slice of the Mentawais!

This surfer was raised on a boat in the Caribbean and the Mentawais. Now he owns a piece!

Most of us’ll end up, in some form, working under the whip of an overseer whom we despise and secretly wish we could kidnap, sacrifice and eat.

How much office bullshit will you stomach before you stick the truck in gear and take off into the sunset?

I did a dozen years.

Got out. Poor but free, even if I gotta live on sugary strawberry jam and Cheerios.

Teiki Ballian, who was raised on his parents boat in the Caribbean, first, and, later, in the Mentawais, was never going to wind out his days in the ol office cube.

In this short film by Gabriel Novis, we meet Teiki, who is now thirty three, and the new owner of  the $US200 a night Hollow Trees Resort, in front of the iconic righthander that was first discovered by Yamba surfer Lance Night in the 1991.

(Note to readers: call it Lance’s Right.)

“Teiki Ballian has enjoyed perhaps the greatest surf life imaginable. He spent his childhood diving off the side of charter yachts captained by his French father and Martiniquais mother and into lineups the world over. Now, as the new owner of Hollow Tree’s Resort in Sumatra, he enjoys unfettered access to one of the world’s premier right-handers, Lance’s,” writes Novis.

Surfs good, too, he don’t leave any lip undone.