Watch: Craig Anderson in “He’s a nice man who only wants to diddle you!”

Come stroll through the gardens of Craig Anderson's (and pals') beachfront palais… 

In this compelling short made by the magazine, Monster Children, we bounce on the knee of Craig Anderson, the South African who has made Australia, and specifically Newcastle, his home.

Craig is one of the the most alluring and memorable characters in surf of the last twenty-five years. I once watched a Jew supplicate himself before Craig at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem; the day before at the Jaffa Gate, American girls had swooned as Craig roared past on a Segway, your reporter in the hottest pursuit!

Craig lives in a multi-level beachfront-ish home with his three friends Lewie Dunne, Teale Vanner and Madeline Rae. Lewie and Teale are pro-level surfers, although not on the million-dollars-a-year tier Craig used to occupy when he applied stickers of mountains to his boards, while Madeleine is a pedagogue for little children.

Lewie has a dungeon decorated with plastic palm trees, Craig has the penthouse and the remaining couple nest in the middle somewhere.

At one point, Lewis goes through Craig’s clothes, thrilled as he catches a glimpse of himself in Craig’s shiny black leather outfit.

Board Review, 7S Double Down: “More high-performance than a Hypto, but way more friendly than a Ghost.”

Watch the video! See how many waves our test rider catches in one hour on crowded Gold Coast!

(Editor’s note: The surfboard tested, the 7s Double Down, was designed by the former tour surfer Richie Lovett who spruiks its ability to catch waves. Flat. Wide. Fast. A ton of volume. Our anonymous test rider was given a board that was five feet four inches long and twenty inches wide, and one hour. How many waves could he catch? Hit big play button and watch. Meanwhile, from our writer…)

I’m a terrible cynic, which offers the chief consolation of being usually right in my judgements.

The one object I do cleave to without prejudice is the surfboard.

I elevate the surfboard above nation state, blood and soil, free market, religion etc and I hold this to be a fundamentally rational stance. Over a millenia the way recombinant design elements have been blended into a functional whole to create a surfboard is a creative achievement up there with the evolution of DNA. 

If shaper/designers/board-builders worldwide get an extra piece of the action from Dirk Ziff’s famous rising tide then I think a concession to his vision would be appropriate. 

Today we discuss the 7S Double Down, the design brain-child of former CT surfer Richie Lovett. The pitch was to take the Double Down into the maw of summer crowds as an equaliser. My board, at 5’6” lacked the volume for that so I deputised my first born and only son and sent him into battle at the Pass. 

He’s eight, flame haired. Like all Aussie Rangas he’s scrappy, emotional and likes to punch above his weight. All things considered, life has dealt him a pretty fair hand. He paddled the forward-weighted outline easily to the top of the Point and swung on a set wave, putting a hustle on a Latvian blonde giant who straight-legged the takeoff.

My boyo snapped at his heels until Dolph Lundgren slipped off the back, then claimed it. Oh, he knows etiquette, but what do you tell your kids when they paddle out to the Pass, maybe the most crowded and chaotic surf spot on Earth? I tell them to keep eyes in the back of their head, fend off a foamie and dive for a leashless log. He got heaps. 

Australia lost its egalitarian flavour long ago. I blame soccer mums and their micro-sensitivity to status difference for that. Anxiety about status has become the default Australian psychological position.

The surfboard has not been exempt in contributing to the malaise. By that reading, a mid-range Asian board like the 7S sits well below higher status equipment like Volan hipster single-fins and custom shortboards, but still above more basic Asian-made boards.

It lacks the cultural cache of a Hypto Krypto or the Formula One connotation of a Cymatic. Functionally, they are well designed and manufactured. More high performance than a Hypto, but way more friendly than a Ghost. The Innegra Matrix build is light and would suit those advancing from foam equipment and into a shorter board.

If that were the case, volume it up. I suggest more volume than is recommended. One extra litre for you, one for Jesus. As purely utilitarian vehicles they do the job perfectly well for anyone else too. Although small for me, I was easily able to murder some closeout reos during a spate of head-high onshore surf.

I could see boards like these helping so many people. We hosted a German teenager as a method to bank a few shekels during the process. Shekels he easily ate week after week. He wanted to surf. I helped him buy a rotund mini-mal. Weeks later it wasn’t cool enough and he raided my quiver so he could put a shortboard under his arm. Progress halted. 

A French au pair followed the German. Corinne was from Alsace, with a teutonic steeliness and a white-hot hatred of the Australian male. She considered us boorish and uncouth, which is true I suppose. The Australian tradesman. a species I venerate, she held to be the devil incarnate.

She tolerated me because I said my favourite author was Stendahl (a lie, it’s Doestoevsky). Everyday she regaled us with tales of her surfing proficiency. She lectured my wife on the rights and wrongs of surfing style.

Finally, I thought, I have to see this French ingenue in action with my own eyes. Enquiring where she surfed I hid under a pandanus palm and watched the session unfold. A baroque warm-up followed by a paddle out then…nothing. She could not catch a wave on her tiny shortboard. Not one. She paddled in.

Corinne had a passion for the New Zealand Pakeha male which was the equal of her hatred for the Australian man and decamped soon after for Aeteoroa, hoping to find love. In another time, I could have slipped a 7S under her arm. She would have been better for it.

Tim Baker once gave a surf writing workshop modelled on American mythologist Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey. He would have been thrilled by noted commentor, now writer ChannelBottom’s journey into middle-aged purgatory followed by a raging against the dying of the light. The detail in the story that stood out to me was the 6’10” under the arm during the comeback. Not some narrow-nosed, thin Indo-style gun from the 90’s by chance?

He also spoke about the atrophied back foot. To which I say: get some width into you. Some area up front. Forget about the back foot. That’s fucking gone. Like the hair. 

If you’ve really let go of the surfboard as status symbol – no judgement if you have – then something like a 7S is as purely functional as anything else out there. It feels good.

Surprisingly so.

Watch: Seventy-year-old Gerry Lopez and dirty ol hair-pullin’ Dylan Graves river surf Oregon!

Ol man Lopez is bewitching!

Did you know the Queen of Pipe Gerry Lopez has a river-surfing, snow-riding son called Alex?

In this episode of Weird Waves, which features the surfer Dylan Graves, who became terribly upset two weeks ago when I referenced an old interview where he spoke lightheartedly about sex games, we meet Gerry’s son in the city of Bend, Oregon, where Gerry moved in 1992.

What’s interesting about this episode is the culture that’s grown up around surfing these little stationary waves, how difficult it is and how even a natural shredder like Dylan struggles and that the flow of water in the river is controlled by human beings.

And when Alex takes Dylan home to see ol Gerry, hoo-ee, it’s bewitching.

Watch: Ozzie Wright and the Goons of Doom’s latest gothsploitation classic!

A little antidote to the weekend's yacht rock…

Earlie today, the co-lead of the Goons of Doom, Vaughan Blakey, sent a message to my telephone that read, “World exclusive! Ozzie’s just finished Goth Moth video! Single two from the new albs. You likey?”

I wrote back, “I do, and very much, tattooed pussy gets me every time.”

I then asked for a why, where, how and for its inspiration well, at which point I was directed to its writer, Ozzie Wright, the 42-year-old father of the modern air and art movement.

“I’m always trying to invent new super heroes,” says Oz. “They usually end up super villains. Goth Moth has no moral compass. She’s just out there in the dark flying around doing whatever the fuck she likes. She has four arms and is amazing at multi-tasking. She can spray-paint a penis on a wall and cut a man’s head off with a chainsaw at the same time. The only time I get to write songs is driving my piece of shit Subaru around town with my knees while I play ukulele with my hands. Maybe that’s why I came up with her having four arms.”

There’s a break in transmission.

“No, wait, it’s ’cause of the inset DNA. Don’t know how she came to exist yet but I better come with some backstory ’cause the fans are gonna wanna know.”

The first art, of course, is to assume it’s serious.

Which this ain’t.

Lyrics below.

Watch Jamie O’Brien in “I can’t help it if I’ve got a heavy flow and a wide-set vagina!”

Jamie O and YouTube prankster Roman Atwood freedive with sharks and ride an 18-foot inflatable surfboard at Sunset…

The great Hawaiian surfer Jamie O’Brien, who is 190 pounds of rock hard muscle with  40 pounds of sturdy protective fat, says, “A big gut helps you breathe bigger and better.”

In this episode of his weekly vlog, thirty-five-year-old Jamie puts his gut, which measures one-metre from hip to hip, to excellent use. We begin with a shark dive, along with his friend and Giovanni Ribisi-lookalike Roman Atwood, who owns the fiftieth most popular channel on YouTube, which screens his practical jokes.

(One includes “Killing My Own Kid PRANK!!” where Atwood pretends to kick his kid from the top floor of his house and down the stair void and which has been watched fifty-six million times, and “Anniversary Prank Backfires!” where he confesses he’s cheated on his girl only to be hit with the cruellest twist, viewed ninety-one million times.)

After the sharks, Jamie takes Atwood to six-to-ten-foot Sunset and gives the non-surfer a taste of that deep-water wave on his eighteen-foot inflatable Supsquatch.

“It was one of the greatest things ever,” says Atwood. “Ever. It’s so thrilling. There’s no way to explain it on camera.”

It is pretty good.