Watch Russell Bierke and Darcy Piper in “Before the Great Australian Bushfire Inferno!”

A thrilling adventure to surf empty cold-water reef ledges, and filmed before the country was burned to a cinder.

Russell Bierke is one of those breathtakingly rare surfers who aren’t quite WCT level and yet in some way are far more magical.

Russell is twenty-two years old, diminutive and old world. A bantamweight, small, muscular and wiry. He was born in Hawaii and is the son of the Californian-born shaper Kirk Bierke whose boards are sold under the label KB Surf and made in Ulladulla, three hours south of Sydney. Russell’s earliest memories are of watching his dad run out the door whenever the surf was big, going to the beach and seeing him ride these big, blue-water reef waves, and wanting to be part of the game.

He has nearly been ushered into heaven several times (read about the time he was “blue as a Smurf and all fours spewing” after a wipeout in Victoria) and Russell was the protagonist in the highly cited film Flow State, which was released in October.

This film, in which he co-stars with his Ulladulla neighbour and pal Darcy Piper, features these two little bees drawing their nectar and existing in a state of perpetual euphoria from a series of empty ledges along the coastline of…oh we really don’t need that detail do we?

All of this was filmed before the inferno that engulfed Australia and had, at one point, flames licking at the border gates of Bondi Beach.

RIGHT AS RAIN – RUSS AND DARCY from O’Neill Australia on Vimeo.

Watch: Maurice Cole in “I was always timid, I always felt different; I never felt comfortable until I started surfing.”

A tender cinematic portrait of the great Australian surfer-shaper…

I doubt it’s an exaggeration to say that the Victorian surfboard shaper Maurice Cole is one of surfing’s last living links to its dirty, pre-woke WSL culture.

Maurice was a black kid adopted by white parents and who was twelve years old before Australia acknowledged its indigenous people were human and could be counted in the country’s census and allowed to vote.

Surfing, which Moz became very good at, two Victorian titles, sixth at the worlds, was his escape, a relationship he articulates in this tender film by Peter Baker, brother of noted surf writer Tim Baker.

“I was always timid. I always felt a bit different. I never felt comfortable until I started surfing,” says Moz.

Peter made this film in 2017, winning Best Short at the London Surf Film Festival, but has only just made it available for public release.

Moz, whom you may know as Brutus in various comment forums, also talks about prison and the resulting PTSD and depression.

“I asked my wife and my family not to visit me. I was in a hard place. It was for survival that I cut myself off from the world. I came out vulnerable, but very angry, very aggressive. I’d back it up big-time. When I came out of jail I was pretty crazy. I was always carrying this dark side with me.”

The last time I spent significant time with Moz on the phone I asked him what had happened to all the money he’d earned.

I reminded him of his lucrative shaping deals in Japan and Europe, of his palace in Margaret River with the nightclub, the fleet of jet skis and so on.

“I have nothing (but) I’ve got a pretty good surfboard collection,” he laughed. “My wife’s over me. I made so much, lost so much. That’s why I’m here in France. I pick up five grand here, ten grand there, pay a few debts. I have a twelve-year-old car worth five hundred bucks. I think I’ve got my integrity. Can you tell that to my wife? That it means something? She’s over the drama of making surfboards. She wants to live a simple, peaceful life. She’s been with me since I was eighteen, poor thing. She’s just burnt out. I was telling Ross and he said, ‘You can’t fucking retire. You’ve got too much fucking shit to do!’”


Watch: Mason Ho and pals ride a one-day sandbar in “Lambs in the claws of the tiger!”

Believe in the magic of sand…

In this film from the prolific Rory Pringle, which features his master Mason Ho and a network of fellow North Shorians, we are gifted the miracle of a one-day sandbar.

“Few days ago a big swell hit the Hawaiian Islands and pushed sand all over the place,” writes Mr Pringle. “When this happens it makes special waves in places that usually don’t have waves. Surf spots like this only last a little while. This specific sandbar lasted only about 12 hours till it was gone and the boys were on it!”

Oh yes they were.

Like a bomb whose slow fuse has finally reached the dynamite, the sandbar explodes into life.

This little film, short enough to keep your attention but long enough to gift a complete examination of the surfing, is a whirlwind, a dazzling frenzied whirlwind that will tear you up by the roots and carry you high into the heavens, to places you did not know existed.

Watch: Ben Gravy and Mason Ho in “Then a queer thing happened!”

Of all the thousands of surf films I've seen in my life, none has transported me to greater extremes of ecstasy than this five-minute ditty…

This five-minute short, which stars film-grad-turned surf vlogger Ben Gravy and Hawaiian Mason Ho, consists of a series of fin tricks all performed on a brilliant winter’s day at Shark Cove, just north of Waimea Bay and a short walk from the local supermarket called Foodland.

Gravy is thirty-one years old and crowned with a hairline that looks grafted from brave Russell Bierke. He gets on famously with Mason, also thirty-one, and one can imagine that if somewhere between midnight and one am there came a time when the the light was switched off both would be able to do what comes naturally without too many regrets.

At every turn in the film, both are ready with some new and intricate manoeuvre. True genius is a gift of birth, of course. It has very little to do with age.

“That was the best surf session of my life,” says Gravy, a supreme connoisseur of surf sessions having recorded several thousand of his own.


See-it-to-believe-it: Mason Ho jabs his midget weenie at Pipe’s crotch!

Pick a teepee and just…poke it, says Mason of the Pipeline takeoff that stopped the world.

Every evening, one imagines Mason Ho rubbing lineament on his aching knees before he puts on his favourite lounge ensemble of lavender pyjamas, robe and bedroom slippers.

He puts a chair near the front window so he can look out for pretty girls with the dusky sloe-eyed loveliness so common in Hawaii.

Mason is thirty-one years old, is the son of Mike, sixty-two, nephew of Derek, fifty-five, and brother to Coco, twenty-eight.

Like Daddy, like Unc, Mason sits enshrined at the top of the Pipeline pecking order.

Mason says his Pipe and Backdoor strategy is simple.

Pick a teepee and just…poke it.

“When it gets really steep, I just poke it down, poke the nose down, just like you’re going to poke…something else. You just aim it, and get as deep as you can.”

Here, from three day ago, an animated portrait of laid-back élan.