Video Time Machine: Searching for Tom Curren

28 01 2010

The following video is from the Sonny Miller’s classic Searching for Tom Curren. In this particular section, shot in Bawa, Sumatra, Curren ditches the gun for a 5’7″. As far as I know this video is not available on DVD. If you own a VHS copy consider yourself lucky. Enjoy.


What Really Went Wrong

28 12 2009

“My parents didn’t like me watching that shit.”
—Dane Reynolds referring to the …Lost videos

…Lost is a surf company that, quite frankly, gets “it.” They get the fact surfers are not always squeaky clean role models. They get that surfers like to have fun, party and cause chaos on occasion. They get the seedy element of surfing. The do not hide from it. Rather than attempt to conceal it, …Lost celebrates the dark side of the sport. This is the final trailer for their most recent video—What Really Went Wong. Enjoy.

Is God a Surfer?

9 12 2009

Stained glass tributes to Curren should be the norm.

Wish I was ocean size
They cannot move you
No one tries

—Perry Farrell from Ocean Size

Years ago Australian surf legend Nat Young reportedly tried to register surfing as an official religion. He did not succeed. It’s a ludicrous concept you might say. Blasphemous even. Well, not so fast. For centuries the religious have honored and respected the ocean. But for surfers, the ocean has always been sacred. The art of riding its waves is often compared to a spiritual experience. The ancient Polynesians were the first humans to view surfing as a spiritual endeavor. Religious even.

Well, let’s imagine for a moment Nat Young was successful. What might surfing be like today? And more importantly—is God a surfer?

Would churches have enormous stained glass windows embossed with images of the Duke, Dora or even Curren? Would the holy water be salt-water based? Would the Sabbath or a swell take precedence? Would the pastor often be a no show because of it? “Sure fellas. I’d love to preach the Good Book today but Blacks is six foot and firing. See ya.”

Holy days would depend on swell too. Employers would grant these days as holidays. The human resources department would make sure of it. Sit back and think about that. This is the world I want to live in. Not one where Christians fight Muslims. A world where a confessional means atoning for all those poor souls you snaked at Rincon during the swell of the year. Nothing else. I want to live in a world where we are separated not by our beliefs, but brought together because of our love of the sea. Wouldn’t mankind be better off coming together as one and ridding the Earth of the real dregs of humanity—the stand-up paddleboarder and the bodyboarder?

It is no coincidence the Earth is more than 70 percent water. And they say Jesus walked on water. So he must have been a surfer. Maybe even the first. Right? He was also a carpenter and a craftsman. Not unlike a shaper really. You think Merrick makes a good board. Every “Jesus” board would be magic. And you can bet your ass he would need a machine to do it. Young punters beware. He might have a preference towards the alaia though.

Religious institutions pride themselves on giving and helping the needy. They pray for them. Surfers pray for surf. We even sacrifice surfboards for the greater good. Now if that’s not giving I don’t know what is. I want to live in a world where we are not judged by the color of our skin but by our punts and nose-riding skills. I want to live in a world where a black bodysurfer from Hawai’i can become President, yet a bodyboarder is still a second class citizen. That is my world. That is Nirvana.

The “Soul Surfer” by default nomenclature alone may be the most holy of the lot. You know the type. They usually look like Jesus anyway. Long hair. Flip flops. He speaks in a language few understand. His own linguistic cocktail of surfer, pigeon and some extinct dialect that fizzed out in the Middle Ages.

I have no doubt in my mind God was a surfer. Tell me divine influence didn’t create Jeffery’s Bay or Pipeline or Teahupoo. If the Earth was God’s canvas, its waves were the brushstrokes. On the seventh day God wasn’t resting. He was surfing perfect Indo. Still think I’m full of shit? For further proof one only needs to refer to Genesis.

And the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.

Or if the Bhagavad-Gita is your thing. Khrisna said: “I am the ocean.”

Yep, I’m certain. God is a surfer.

The Top Fucking 5 ASP Partiers of the Last 20 Years

1 12 2009

Now that's a party. Pee-wee, Rodney Dangerfield and Diamond Dave.

Professional surfers can be rockstars at times. Perhaps that’s why so many think they are or try to be musicians. Musicians get a free pass. They can get arrested, do every drug in the book, drink massive amounts of booze and the end result is they sell more records. They make more money.

It’s not so simple for the professional athlete. Image is everything. Keeping sponsors happy and avoiding negative press is of utmost importance. Unless you ride for …Lost. Then partying is in the contract. There’s a reason they don’t hold the NBA All-Star Game and an ASP event in the same city at the same time. Every weed dealer in town would run dry. It’s a supply and demand thing.

But surfers and pro basketball players aren’t the only dysfunctional athletes. Stars in literally every sport enjoy the booze, the drugs and the women.

Recently, tennis player Andre Agassi wrote a book in which he admitted to doing meth at the peak of his pro career. Plus, he wore a hairpiece. He was more ashamed of the rug on his head. In 1970 Pittsburgh Pirate pitcher Dock Ellis no-hit the San Diego Padres. An impressive feat. Shockingly, he did it while on LSD. Reminds me of a certain Santa Cruz surfer we know and love. Doesn’t it?

There are so many classic and not-so-classic stories of surfers falling off the deep end or pushing the limits. There was the high-profile surfer who smuggled coke back from the world champs in Peru to Hawaii glassed into his boards. Or the eclectic Australian who once paddled out at Waimea on a 5’9″ after eating mushrooms.

Then there’s the time Rod Kerr showed up at Zarautz absolutely shitfaced after an all-nighter, paddled out against Richie Collins, threw up in the shorebreak and smoked the god-fearing Christian. Richie was so rattled he went to Rod’s place that night with a bottle of bourbon and insisted they demolish it together.

And who could forget the antics and excess of Bunker Spreckles?

Frankly, this list could be a top 100. But, I had to narrow it to five. In my criteria partying expertise alone did not win you a spot. Competitive success along with media exposure was part of the equation. And I narrowed the scope to include just the last 20 years. If you feel I missed someone, or you do not agree, be sure and voice your thoughts in the comments.

5. Eugene Fanning
He has a world title and who could forget the time he crashed Slater’s acceptance speech at the Surfer Poll drunk off his ass. When Kelly put his arm around Fanning on stage and asked what would happen if he showed up in Australia and acted that way, his response was “You’d get laid.” I miss Eugene.

4. Christian Fletcher
I first saw Christian surf in person at Churches one summer afternoon. I think it was around 1986. I was just a little tyke. I was amazed when I saw him pull off two airs on one wave. I couldn’t believe such a thing was possible. His rise and demise has been well documented. It’s even rumored Jeff Booth is no longer jealous.

3. Darryl “Flea” Virostko
Anyone who surfs Mavericks for the first time on a half a hit of acid deserves to be on this list. Flea’s struggles with meth have been widely reported and he has recently cleaned up his act and started a program called FleaHab to give back.

2. Andy Irons
The three-time world champ had a long and tumultuous 2008. He even dropped out of the WCT. Rumors of addiction and an ensuing rehab swirled wildly. He hasn’t officially told “his” story yet and I’d be surprised if he didn’t already have a book deal in place. One thing is for certain. The WCT will be better in 2010 with Andy on board.

1. Mark Occhilupo
Occy is a legend for sure. We love him. After prematurely quitting the tour at 22, Occy went into hermit mode. He story is perhaps the best and that is why he tops the list. In the late ’80s Occy drove a Harley Davidson into the back of a car and did a full somersault over the handle bars, over the car, and landed on his feet. Hard to imagine but witnesses on hand swear it’s a true story. You have to admire Billabong for not giving up on him. The fact he battled back and won the world title in 1999 was an extraordinary achievement. Don’t believe me? Nine-time champ Kelly Slater called it “one of the great sports stories of all time.” And who can argue with that?—Nug

The Internet is Making Me Stupid

17 11 2009

Admitting you have a problem is the first step. The Internet is making us stupid. Everyone has a friend who constantly sends them useless emails. You know the guy who CC’s everyone he knows two to three times a day with bogus information aimed at people who think the liberal media is destroying the fabric of America? Ironically, these same people will believe anything that shows up in their email inbox. Retards.

Then there’s spam. I hate that too. And Twitter. And Facebook. Really, I could care less if you are putting the kids to bed or plotting to kill your neighbor’s dog. I really don’t need the update. Thanks. The Internet is a gigantic waste of time (except this site of course). It’s useless. I’ll bet 90 percent of the people who just read that last sentence are at work. Wasting precious work hours. The Internet is good for two things—porn and wasting work hours. No wonder the Japanese make better cars. They aren’t on Redtube and checking swell charts all fucking day.

Screw the Internet. I’m dusting off my Encyclopedia Britannica collection and getting rid of my high-speed connection. I might even subscribe to a newspaper. It’s probably considered a charitable contribution now and a tax write off. Additionally, I am going to kill the next person over the age of 13 who uses the phrase LOL. Spell that shit out motherfucker.

Let’s take a look at what we’ve “learned” recently on the Internet. Shall we?

-We found water on the moon and locals are pissed because Surfer Magazine already exposed three perfect pointbreaks.

-Barack Obama is a Muslim who wants to turn us into socialists. He wrote the forward to Mein Kampf and had a three-way with A-Rod and Kate Hudson last night.

-Now underground surf writer Lewis Samuels is in Tavarua counting barrels with Billabong executives. And he’s winning.

-If I boycott Exxon and Mobil, gas will drop back to 1988 prices, and Notre Dame will win the BCS Championship.

-The world title race between Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson has become so fierce their dogs aren’t even hanging out anymore.

-The People of Walmart have outstanding fashion sense. Billabong flannels are on sale now.

-I can gain six inches and roll my cock down the stairs like a Slinky in two easy steps.

-I met this super-hot girl online. She’s from Farmville, wherever that is.

-We finally found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Saddam Hussein is alive and well and is the favorite to play Magnum P.I. in a new film being distributed by the Weinstein Company. Carmine “The Big Ragu” Ragusa is pissed because he didn’t get the part.

-Osama bin Laden works at a 7-Eleven in Los Angeles and can’t make coffee for shit.

-Illegal immigrants are going to kidnap your children and make them gang-banging strawberry farmers and/or customer service representatives in India.

-Tommorow will be the swell of the decade. Magicseaweed, Surfline, Wave Watch and the guy down the street who doesn’t have to work is telling you so.

-French fries are laced with a genetically engineered drug that makes you gay and speak with a Massachusetts accent.

-The disposed prince of Nigeria has great investment ideas.

-It was recently announced Sarah Palin can not only read and write, but she also wrote a book.

Modern Collective will win an Oscar, a Palme d’Or and a Sundance award. The trailer for Billabong’s Still Filthy will win the Surfer Poll.

-I qualified for a great new mortgage today. I don’t have any idea what that means, but the payment on a 500K loan is just $13 a month. I can afford that.

-I can buy Xanex and Vicodin online. (Ok, I’m looking into this anyway.)—Nug

Fantasy Surfer: Smiles Everyone…Smiles

5 11 2009
Fantasy Island Surfer

Joel "Mr. Roarke" Parkinson with sidekick Adriano "Tattoo" de Souza

Was there anyone cooler than Mr. Roarke? Of course Hemingway in his prime. In front of a typewriter…sipping wine. Writing about bullfighting. Maybe. Maybe Dali. Or Sinatra. Or Coltrane.

Mr. Roarke’s savory-smooth voice rolled its R’s like a powdered doughnut slowly spinning down a perfect ass. The back of the knee acting as a speed bump. Mr. Roarke made dreams come true on Fantasy Island. Anything your heart desires. Fleurdelis as the French say. Ricardo Montalban was a drug. Like ecstasy on your wedding day. He wore a white Tuxedo. The only straight men able to pull off the white tuxedo were Mr. Roarke and Sean Connery. If you’re wondering, Tattoo was gayer than a ship in a bottle.

…and then there’s Fantasy Surfer.

I’m not sure why I play Fantasy Surfer. I’ve never owned a set of 12-sided die. I’m not much of a video gamer. I got laid in high school. I have perfect vision in these blue water eyes. And if my vision did require glasses, I would opt for shades. The world is more bearable through polarized lenses. My favorite trilogy was Godfather not Star Wars, and I just became the last person on Earth to join Facebook.

The world can now blow up into a thousand atomic fireballs. We can now sit on lawn chairs and watch it all.

What is the reason for this update? Right now I sit at 182nd place (out of more than 17,000) in Fantasy Surfer. I am told that is pretty good. But I’m not sure. The guy who told me this wears glasses and rides a Firewire. I ride polyurethane. He quotes the Lord of the Rings. I quote Apocalypse Now. And Big Wednesday.—Nug

Who in the Hell is Travis Ferre?

29 10 2009
Travis Ferre

Travis Ferre logs some tube time in Mexico. Photo: DJ Struntz

You might not know the name now, but you will. Trust me. Travis Ferre is the new editor-in-chief for Surfing Magazine. Right now Surfing is documenting “what is now” in the surf world better than any other American surf mag. He was gracious enough to answer my questions about his background, the state of surf media and his enormous woody for the Modern Collective.–Nug

In April you took over the editorial duties at Surfing. Has it been a challenge to fill Evan Slater’s shoes?
No one will ever fill Evan Slater’s shoes. Evan would be disappointed if I only tried to fill his shoes. I’m trying to make my own.

What is your background? How did you find yourself as the editor-in-chief of one of the largest surf mags in the world?
I grew up in Huntington Beach. I started surfing when I was nine. Mostly because wax smelled good and my dad got me a cool little board shaped by Jeff Widener. I remember walking through HSS when it was on 16th street with my dad, wandering through, hugging all the rubber wetsuits and smelling the wax. I liked the lifestyle. It smelled good. I didn’t go to Huntington High School. I only dated their girls. I went to Marina High School. We were the Vikings. We almost beat Huntington’s surf team once when I was the captain.

My dad is an artist and a car painter. I couldn’t paint, but I liked to write. As I got older, I found out my dad’s best friend in high school was Chris Carter. He wrote the X-Files, but he started out as associate editor at Surfing Magazine. My dad always told me stories about their surfing adventures and getting in trouble and then how he went on to work at the magazine. I thought that would be a cool gig if emulating Kalani Robb ever failed — which it did.

I went to OCC (Orange Coast College) out of high school and traveled a bit with my friends, surfing and getting reckless. I decided I wanted to study English literature because you could drink while doing homework. I then set the goal of becoming an editor while sitting in my truck listening to an Interpol record. I transferred to San Diego State and that was really the turning point. I was sitting in a Shakespeare class, doing everything I could to relate that class to my future in surf writing when I sat next to Kimball Taylor. He recognized me from surfing Mission Beach and we got to talking. He told me he was a writer for Surfer magazine, I told him that I wanted to be an editor at a surf magazine. He tried to get me an internship at Surfer but they never called back. He then passed me on to Evan at Surfing and a couple days later I was in their office, writing stories for the website. Nathan Myers and Evan took me under their wing and I never left. Kimball still calls me Hamlet.

Print has fallen on hard times. Surfing and Surfer’s parent company (Source Interlink) filed for bankruptcy. The magazine even has a furlough tracker. Additionally, the recession has hit a lot the advertiser’s bottom lines, decreasing ad budgets. Is it difficult to produce a quality magazine that relies so heavily on advertising under these conditions?
Have you ever taken a furlough? It’s amazing. You take it on a Friday. Turn the phone off. Go surfing. Drink beer at lunch. Go surf again. You make happy hour. It’s the most inspiring thing our company has ever implemented. I’m so proud of them. As for making magazines right now: sure, it’s a bit tougher. The beauty of our crew though is we’re all young. We know no other condition. We’ll make you a 100-page magazine or we’ll make you a 300-page magazine. We don’t care. It’s going to be a good representation of what we’re into that month and it will matter. It will represent modern surfing. We’ll stay late. Work our ass off. Put everything we have into making it. We’re creative, we like the challenge.

Well there is the whole pay issue with the furloughs. But then again I think it was Nick Carroll who told me no one gets rich from writing about surfing (Except the aforementioned Chris Carter).
We’re not here to make money. We’re here because we love it. Sounds corny, cliché and predictable, but it’s true. We like doing this. A day off to go surfing so the corpos can get back on track is fine by us.

I preferred it when Surfing and Surfer were bitter rivals. They have been under the same corporate umbrella for a while now. Has this diluted the product?
Look at the December issues of Surfing and Surfer. They don’t even look like they were made on the same planet. The products are going their own directions and I’m fine with that. So is Joel Patterson. Joel and I make different products and for the first time in five to ten years, Surfer and Surfing have their own identity. We’re doing what we’re into. They’re doing what they’re into. And while we’re probably not going to send them donuts we shoved in our ass, our editorial staffs are pretty damn competitive. The fact that we’re under the same umbrella doesn’t dilute the rivalry much. We’ll get into a cocktail argument anytime but we’ll take furlough together the next day and it’ll be all good. They’ll ride Alaias and we’ll ride Protons.

Looking at the masthead I don’t recognize many of the names on the editorial staff, but I like what I’ve seen recently out of the mag. And I’m a fairly harsh critic. Is Surfing Mag like the 1972 Dolphins “No Name Defense?”
Sure. And Jimmy Wilson would be very happy to hear you make a football reference out of us. We’re all pretty unknown I guess, but we’ve had our share of Don Shulas on the sidelines to influence us though. Nathan Myers taught Stuart Cornuelle and I everything we know about making magazines, late night drinking and how to get shit done in this environment. He lives in Bali now but we still call on him daily.

Evan Slater passed down the formula of how to get a magazine of this caliber out on time each month. We’re just putting our spin on it now. We’re young. I’m 26. Stuart is 21. Our art directors are young. Photo team is young. We make a magazine for us and the people who are us happen to be our median age, so that works out. We do pride ourselves on that youthful energy, but we don’t intend on sacrificing the quality of the product.

We want to maintain a sense of sophistication, even if it is hidden beneath a bad word or Mitch Coleborn’s mustache. We don’t want to lose the legitimacy of the brand. We’re just here to make it relevant again. Lord knows anyone with a computer can be a critic, a journalist or a voice now. And we’re aware of that. Which is why we’re not afraid to make bold decisions or to run with a new idea. We’ve also begun to enlist new writers to the mag like Chas Smith and Jed Smith: young guys with guts who can write a good page. We like that. Guys who have a bone to pick with tradition. That’s why surf media has a tendency to get stale. It’s stuck on tradition.

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