Surfing so complete your eyes will glaze and you'll sway on your legs as though you've been hit over the head with a mallet…
I doubt any middle-aged body could stand up to the incredibly violent gymnastics Jack-Jack Robinson performs in this three-minute clip which was filmed around Australia’s south-west coastline.
There are some performers, rare as blue butterflies, who carry around their own lightning. It has nothing to do with the sponsor stickers on their boards or how many contests they’ve won or how many times they’ve surfed Pipeline, although all that helps.
I can imagine Mason Ho as a tent-show preacher, talking on the glories and revelations of the tube. Mason, who will turn thirty-one in three weeks and who is part-Chinese, part-Hawaiian, part-Euro American, is filmed, here, in Bali, going this way and that at Keramas and Uluwatu.
Mason has a very special magic, one that even Kelly Slater, who makes a brief cameo at Keramas, cannot replicate.
As Kolohe Andino’s dad, Dino, once told me, “He’s hot-dogging as big as Pipe breaks. He’s dragging his ass on 12-footers, slamming his shoulder down on a bottom turn, and slaloming the whole side of his body into the wave as he takes off on Second Reef. He’s got an uncanny ability to ride the tube. He knows how to control his speed and the size of the wave doesn’t matter. He’s not intimidated. He’s slowing down when everyone else is running for the hills. He connects with the wave, controls the wave. It’s always been happening, but now he’s taken it to a whole other level. His tube-riding ability is out of control. It’s stupid. John John is really gnarly, but I don’t think he’s as fun looking as Mason’s shucking and jiving. He looks down, looks back, does all that shit. He’s paying tribute to his dad on every wave.”
In this five-minute film, which was made by his best friend Rory Pringle, Mason casts his magic like a fishing line. And it’s a spell no man or woman can resist.
If you want to ride tubes better, it’s essential.
Come for the backside jumps, stay for the fin-drifts.
Watch: Italo Ferreira in “He’s the roughest toughest goofyfooter in all of Jeffreys Bay!”
Come for the ball-cutting backside jumps, stay for Italo's missile-like fin-drifts…
Eights week ago, or thereabouts, I spent two days documenting the life of Italo Ferreira and, by extension, his girlfriend, the Disney Brazil host and singer, Mari Azevedo.
At one point in the proceedings, as we ate a traditional Brazilian dinner of various meats festooned with banana, Mari broke into song, abeautiful ode to her lover called Voce and which you can download on Spotify.
Translate the Portuguese lyrics and you get,
“Butterflies that were never there come with your scent”
“The heart of stone you melted”
“You took care of me in ways that I could never imagine.”
That profile is coming, soon, as well as an accompanying piece in The Surfer’s Journal.
In the meantime, please watch this recent two-minute hit from Italo at Jeffrey’s Bay.
Italo’s fin drifts and ball-cutting backside airs will make the silk of your kimono ripple.
Nathan Florence inside milky-green heaven.
Watch: Surfing’s own Jan Brady in “Let me stir my fingers in your vitals!”
See middle Florence bro tear hell at Rip Curl Cup Padang Padang…
I doubt if there’s a more attractive thing than fame that’s not only deserved but appreciated by its recipient. Nathan Florence, who is twenty five years old and occupies the middle cot in the three-level bunk at Log Cabins between John John and Ivan, has long cooled in the shadow of his world champion brother.
I once asked Nathan to describe the personalities of the three brothers and he replied, “Ivan is a serious little guy. Very serious little face. I’m more of the sarcastic one who’s making a joke out of everything and then John is just right in between. He can be super mature, just ’cause he has to deal with so many interviews and business-like stuff, but then at the same time he’s more immature than me and Ivan… especially when he gets drunk.”
I pressed Nathan to describe his older brother drunk,
“He looks like a little kid. He looks like a five year old.”
In this episode from his YouTube channel, fifteen thousand subscribers and climbing, we follow Nathan at the recent Rip Curl Cup Padang Padang. It is, I think, a love song to the world’s easiest chip-shot to stand-up tube, as well as to that magical island where happy locals can be found snoring in their hovels along the roadside even in the middle of the day.
Cameos from volume-hater Jon Pyzel, and Mahina Garcia, daughter of Kaiborg, whom Nathan has been dating since the third grade.
The Bierut-born, Reunion Island-raised surfer Mr Adrien Toyon chases a swell to the war-ravaged city.
Exotic watch: “Beirut is a city to be loved and hated a thousand times a day!”
The last forty years haven’t been real kind to Beirut, once the blossoming intellectual flower of the Middle East.
Even with a cursory knowledge of world events, you’ll know Lebanon, of which Beirut is the capital, was ripped apart by a five-year-long civil war beginning in 1975 (Jesus’ proxies v soldiers of Allah) followed by an invasion by IDF muscle in 1982 after the PLO had set up shop across the border from Israel in Lebanon.
Adrien was born under shelling in a hospital basement north of Beirut during the civil war which once ravaged the peaceful and prosperous Lebanon.
We had been talking about doing a Mediterranean strike mission for a while over a few glasses of Rioja in Biarritz and we floated the idea of the Lebanon. Adrien spoke of a mythical slab near where he was born that has never been surfed called ‘Yours’, and spoke of his yearning to return home to surf it.
So there we were, three weeks later having watched a developing swell chart. We disembarked Flight 566 to Beirut, and stood at Lebanese passport control being asked by men with handsome moustaches and heavily braided shoulders as to our intentions.
We left 5 days later wearing wry smiles, humbled by the overwhelming welcome we were met with. Humbled by the quality of waves and the surf culture in it’s infancy. A modern, progressive society reflected in its gentle people, keen to disparage the ghouls of the past and to show the rich cultural and social heritage of their beautiful nation. A beacon of liberty, tolerance and prosperity in the Middle East.
My expectations were, having frolicked in the sea nearby, very low but the righthander at the four-minute mark will make you clear your throat and lift your beer in salute.