Top F*cking 5 Surfing Storylines of 2009

18 12 2009
Greg Long plays with perfection in a imperfect year.

Greg Long plays with perfection in an imperfect year.

5. The Recession
Budgets were cut. Surfers were dropped. Employees were sent packing. Stock prices tanked. Brands went out of business. No one was safe from the 2009 Velcro Valley Chainsaw Massacre. In 2010 surf company executives won’t be counting barrels in Tavarua. They’ll be counting their fingers hoping whoever they borrowed from to keep afloat doesn’t come looking to collect. Some say the worst is over. If the fat lady is singing, she’s a little off key at the moment. 

4. The Modern Collective and the Emergence of the New Guard
I’m still no buying the whole “fuck perfect surf for onshore breakbreak blowouts,” credo but you have to hand it to Kai Neville and cast for producing the most talked about surf film in years. It lived up to the hype. Jordy Smith amazed and Dane breezed into the top 10 of the ratings. With the addition of Dusty Payne, half of the MC crew is on the WCT tour and ready to Rock the Casbah. Conversely, Owen Wright might just expose What is Really Going Wrong. 

3. The Rebel Tour
It’s on. It’s off. It’s on. It’s off. It’s ON? Rumors and speculation ran rampant. Nobody is talking about it yet everyone is talking about it. The ASP surfers, with agreements in place to not comment on the situation, are like Skull and Bonesmen at this point. Talk about the Slater/Rebel Tour and ASP brass will don gothic cloaks and give it to you “Thank you sir may I have another” style. If nothing else, Slater forced the ASP to take a hard look in the mirror. Adjustments to structure have already been made and we’ll be watching as the evolution of pro surfing takes a new-fangled shape in 2010. 

2. Mick Fanning Wins Number 2
Say the following sentence out loud. Mick Fanning is a two-time world champion. Repeat. Mick Fanning is a two-time world champion. Now wash your mouth out with soap. Are we Inglorious Basterds for wanting more from an ASP champ? Hardcore surf fans want drunken debauchery and surfing with reckless abandon, not protein shakes, core training and tactical two-to-the-beach jerk off sessions. You have to hand it to Mick regardless. It was a hard-fought duel with best mate Joel Parkinson and Mick came out on top of the bromance. Somewhere in Australia Damien Hardman is doing a Jersey Shore fist pump but secretly hoping Mick (like the rest of us) doesn’t win a third. 

1. Eddie Does Go
The most prestigious event in surfing was held for the first time in four years and only the seventh time in its 25-year history. It was worth the wait. When Clyde Aikau, 60, brother to legendary Hawaiian patriarch Eddie Aikau, dropped into a 20-foot Waimea beast last week all felt right in the world. San Clemente big-wave specialist Greg Long rode into surfing history by beating Kelly Slater. Arguably the best big-wave surfer in the world is from San Clemente. The best surfer of all time hails from wave-starved Florida. At this point I would not be surprised if an Asian driver named Long Duk Dong wins the Indy 500. As we say aloha to 2009, Eddie Aikau is looking down from the heavens and smiling.


The Roundup: Sand on the Deriere Edition

21 11 2009


The Roundup is a compilation of recommended clicks this week in the world of surfing. If you have any suggestions, links, tips or just want to send me a birthday gift, email me at

Alana Blanchard won the first event of the Vans Triple Crown. Suck on that Anna Kournikova. (Vans Triple Crown)

Andy Irons knows a little something about world title showdowns in Hawaii. He lays down the scoop to Derek Rielly. (Stab)

Perhaps you’ve been hiding under a rock or have been on a week-long drinking binge? Here’s the trailer to Who is Job. Now in HD. (JOBtube)

Jimmy Wilson is in Puerto Rico shooting Surfing Magazine’s Swimsuit Edition. Lucky bastard. (Super Spectacular Adventures)

According to this map Ludacris’ ho’s to area codes ratio isn’t all that impressive. (Major League Jerk)

Is that a coffee bean in your afro? Buttons Kalauhikalani has launched a coffee line. (Sean Davey)

Here’s the invitees to the 25 anniversary of the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau. Let’s hope there’s a swell to run it this year. (ASL)

Joel Parkinson talks about the pressure and pleasure of fighting for that ever-elusive title. (Joel Parkinson’s Blog)

In the interest of equal time, you can buy Tim Baker’s book about Mick Fanning here. (Mick’s Blog)

Westside Santa Cruz surfer Ken “Skindog” Collins has a new web site. (Skindog)

A Sanuk store at Downtown Disney? What the…Hey, when Skechers basically rips off your shoe that’s really a sandal, you know things are good. (Boardistan)

Former longboard champ Joey Hawkins looks for redemption after an arrest for allegedly possessing methamphetamines and carrying a loaded 9 mm. (OC Register)

Surfing Baja with David Nuuhiwa

10 08 2009
Nuuhiwa in Oceanside circa 1972. Photo: Drew Kampion

Nuuhiwa in Oceanside circa 1972. Photo: Drew Kampion

The first time I had an assault rifle aimed at my head I was just 14 years old. Each summer my father would take me to Mexico to camp and surf and on this particular summer afternoon we were headed for K55 to catch the remnants of a massive swell. The Federales stopped our van at a checkpoint just south of Puerto Nuevo. “¿Tiene usted cualquier fusil o las drogas?” (Do you have any guns or drugs?) I shook my head no, still in the crosshairs of the young Federale’s gun.

I was scared shitless. I had just gotten through puberty for chrissakes and I sure as hell thought I was going to get laid long before I had a rifle two inches from my face. After a quick search of the van they determined we were no threat, and more importantly, we didn’t have any guns or drugs (that I was aware of). An older Federale dressed in green, army fatigues came over, sweat dripping from his brow. “Justo surfistas,” he said casually, motioning us to move along with his rifle like he was directing a 747 on an airport tarmac with an orange light.

Fast forward seven years later. I’m relaxing on the porch of David Nuuhiwa’s trailer overlooking the point at San Miguel. The sun is setting over the big, blue Pacific. The island of Todos Santos in the distance. I’m down south with my father again, who had became friends with Nuuhiwa years ago. Myself, my Dad, my buddy Jason, who was on summer break from UC Santa Barbara, along with David’s friend/hairdresser (whose name I can’t recall) are talking surf, tipping back Pacificos and sharing a joint. Earlier that day we scored perfect 6-foot San Miguel. And I mean PERFECT.

David was relatively quiet that evening. His hairdresser/friend brought his trumpet and was playing old Mexican standards and a little Miles Davis. When he did speak I listened like he was the E.F. Hutton of surfing. “You got some good ones today kid,” he said brushing his silver pompadour-mullet with his hand. “I’ve been surfing here for years and I’ve never caught it this good. You’re one lucky sonofbitch.”

Recently, I was thumbing through SURFER magazine’s big issue and sure enough Nuuhiwa was named one of the 50 greatest surfers of all time, at number 31. To put this into perspective, Eddie Aikau was number 30. Looking at the accompanying photo, David hanging five in a soul arch in Huntington, I was reminded of the four days we spent together at San Miguel.

I haven’t been back to San Miguel since, not because I’m scared of the drug wars, swine flu or even banditos, but because I don’t want to taint perfection. It just wouldn’t feel right.