Watch: Son of slab-hunting maniac quits WQS tour grind for Balinese Dream!

Meet Reef Doig, Australian kid who grew up in the loving arms of Mother Bali…

In much the same manner as Beau Cram, the son of eighties pro Richard Cram, this month’s star of O’Neill’s O’riginals series is about the kid of a noted surfer who ditches tour dreams for a sublime life of waves and meaningful work.

Reef Doig, who is twenty-two, is the son of Geoff Doig, a hard-charging cat who co-owned Cronulla Point and Shark Island in the seventies, alongside names like Jim Banks and Gary Hughes.

Back when magazine covers meant something, Geoff nailed two with the one shot at Cronulla Point.

And when Geoff fathered twin boys, and named one of ’em Reef, and then split with the mother and moved the gang to Bali four years later, you know the kid was going to live in the ocean.

Reef says his childhood cruising Bali with his pals was of the sort that would give helicopter parents heart tremors.

“It was pretty wild,” he says. “We’d sneak out of the house, borrow motorbikes, scooters, get our boards and drive to where the waves were pumping, chill there all day and go mad at night.”

Reef was part of the Padma Boys, local Balo kids that hung out at the beach in Seminyak, surfing all day, pulling the yoke of clueless tourists and so on. Classic kid stuff.

He even has a Moroccan half-brother, whom he’s never met.

“Dad fell in love with a Moroccan. He’s probably thirty-something,” says Reef in his softly nuanced, accented English, his third language besides Balinese and Bahasa Indonesian.

Reef was never religious but he follows all the usual Hindu ceremonies and observes Nyepi, the six-day Balinese celebration where, on day three, and just after the dark moon of the spring equinox when the day and night are of equal length, the joint comes to a complete halt.

Lights out. Streets empty. Shops closed.

“It’s to kick all the bad spirits off the island,” he says.

Reef says he feels more Balinese than Australian which ain’t surprising. It was only when he decided to do his final two years of high school at Palm Beach Currumbin High, a joint famed for its surf program, that he spent a chunk of time in Australia.

“I’ve got more of the culture inside me as a Balinese person than an Australian,” he says. “When I went back to Australia people considered me a white Indo even though I had super blond hair. And I had this twisted American accent everyone was tripping on.”

The culture shock of returning to Australia, he lived with the family of a kid he met in the surf at Burleigh Heads, was “insane. Going from somewhere where you have complete freedom to adapting to all the rules was hard. You can’t even do half the shit you can in Bali.”

School in Australia wasn’t easy, either. But he put his head down and went from failing in year one to straight A’s in his graduation year.

Reef’s pro surfing dream was slowly coming true, too. He’d won a major Pro Junior and, on Hurley’s budget, was chasing the WQS.


“I wasn’t getting the results and the pressure kept building on me,” he says. “I’d always make it to the quarters, maybe the semi’s, but I never had win. I lost my love for surfing and I ended up getting dropped. Slowly, I’ve found my love for surfing again.”

For cash, Reef works at his buddy’s beach clubs and is pretty thrilled with the hospitality game. One day, he figures one of the beach clubs could be his.

He gets an airfare here and there from O’Neill to chase waves, a bunch of clothes and says “that’s all I need, mate.”

Daddy Doig, now sixty-three, is still surfing and would’ve been available to talk about his kid but had disappeared into the Mentawai Islands.


Watch Taj Burrow in Namibia: “It was the most fucked-up sensation I’ve ever had!”

A dazzling, if cruelly brief, cameo from former world number two in vlog from Koa and Alex Smith…

Yeah, I know, Namibia tube-vision is starting to get a little old. 

But what don’t is when a man who commands your affection and who carries the baton of excellence long after it should’ve evaporated makes a lively, if brief, cameo.

Taj Burrow? Can you believe he’s forty-one and long retired? Time waits for no man and modern pro surfing life, though entertaining enough, will never seem so full again.

In this vlog from Koa and Alex Smith, brothers who come across like a pleasant hybrid of silken tofu and sweetbread, Taj comes and goes while the brothers and Benji Brand monopolies the flavour with their pungent gaminess.

Watch John John Florence, MomJohn and Jon Pyzel in: “Mama’s New Pants!”

John John's entourage, including his mammy but minus middle-bro Nathan, filmed in Bali around the Corona Bali Protected Pro…

I doubt there’s been a surfer in the last thirty years who epitomises the good of surfing more than John John Florence.

Grows up dirt poor, materially, but rich in experience. Conquers Pipe.

Dominates the world tour. Maintains dignified silence to media.

Gets injured. Sails the Pacific.

Mystery continues.

In this episode of John John’s vlog, we follow his entourage from session to session, and which includes a mammy day shred with Mom John aka Alex, the woman who made the fateful decision in 1986 to flee her New Jersey home with a backpack, a purse with two c-notes and fly to Honolulu to chase a tropical surf dream.

Alex first took her three boys to Bali in 1995, John, five, Nathan, three, Ivan a baby at one-and-a-half, and lived on ten bucks a day at Bingin. She stretched the twelve hundred bucks she’d saved up for four months.

Almost quarter-of-a-century later, the Bali rental is a little higher end, and the food doesn’t come from the street carts.

But the waves are still blue and glassy and the monkeys still crafty sons-of-bitches.

A fine edit, the contest footage beautifully filmed, the jazz track real easy on the ears.


Watch: Bobby Martinez’ killer brute force in “I’m gonna run you back up your mammy’s pussy!”

Come ogle Bobbys crotch-revving turns…

And, here, in a film shot last winter, we see Bobby Martinez, a surfer who committed career suicide when he lit up on on the webcast at the 2011 Quiksilver Pro in New York.

“Every surfer was complaining and no-one was happy,” Bobby told me the year after when I went to examine the wreckage a year later in Santa Babs. “But, they wouldn’t say shit. It fucken got to me because I love surfing so much. I only did this and stuck with it because I loved it. And, I started forgetting about the love I had because so much shit was going on with it that it made me hate it. And, I knew then, that it was my time to hang it up and to quit because the one thing that I love was slowly being sucked out of me.”

Come on a little tour of Santa Babs with me.

The joint is split into three parts: Westside, Eastside and the Mesa. Bobby ain’t one to work the horn or call poor drivers asshole, and, driving real slow, he gave me the whole tour: the boy’s club where he grew up playing with his cuz’s and where now there’s a wall mural featuring Bobby in a tube underscored by a Mexican flag.

His showed me his second house, the duplex where his parent’s live. Bobby had bought it in the late nineties for a song but it was “fucked up. All this shit is brand new.” He rents out the back unit to another family.

Bobby is third-generation American, even his grandparents were born in the USA, which kinda feels weird don’t it, the whole Mex thing when you don’t speak the language and haven’t had any real Mex blood for a hundred years.

But, spend time here, or even in southern California, and the Mexican identify is powerful, an ethnic grouping that defines how they live, speak and work.

Over to the Eastside, where his abuelita (grandma) still lives and where his papa was born. Across the road is the Pennywise market, the joint that used to be a big hangout for the gangs.

I asked what life was like post-tour.

“I missed having a goal to work towards. Freesurfing is just, I’ve never been a part of freesurfing. There’s no goal, it feels like you just go out there and someone takes a photo. I miss having something in life to chase. And, it doesn’t need to be surfing. It needs to be something. I’m, like, what do I do with myself now? Like, where is that chasing something to get a fulfilment? What do I do now? I surf to have fun now, but it’s kinda aimless…”

He thought about it, his time on tour and said,

“I know I wasn’t the best but I could beat the best. But, I mean, fuck, was I the most exciting surfer? No. Was I kinda boring at times? Yeah. I was just trying my best and trying to fit into the standards, to make it through another heat. I’m happy where I came in, I came in good, and I feel like I went out with a bang because I spoke from my heart. And, I’m happy with my time there.”

Now thirty-seven, Bobby ain’t hating life, as evidenced in this very good short.

Watch: Jack Robinson in “My twelve-hour barrel bender! The wave is an animal! It’s wild!”

"I get scared out there, even if it’s not that high," Jackie says.

Somewhere on the edge of the desert on the Western Australian coast is a lefthander that makes every other wave you’ve surfed taste like a turkey cocktail (Vermouth and Angostura Bitters. Shake.)

In this video, which comprises two six-hour sessions cut together, Jack Robinson, a Western Australian whose business it seems is to humiliate higher-rated surfers at dangerous reef ledges, rides a wave that, he says, “just tries to kill you.”

“I get scared out there, even if it’s not that high,” says Jack in an interview with Alexei Obolensky, from Wasted Talent, a magazine and surf shop in our favourite corner of France. “That town before the spot is pretty wild. It’s a fisherman town. My dad used to work there as a fisherman so every time we’d stop there when I was a kid it’d be pretty full on. I’d be waiting for him in the car at the gas station because I was petrified by the old locals living there. I was this little scared kid that was waiting in the car with a bowl haircut and a baseball bat at the time.”

Read that interview here.

And watch!