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


Really Billabong? Really?

16 11 2009


After four hours of surfing on a cold, gray November morning nothing satisfies those chilly bones like warm flannel. Nothing.

It’s a little-known fact Kurt Cobain did not kill himself over depression or drugs. It was flannel. You see, he was out drinking one night with Dave Grohl. Over whiskey they complained of the flannel phenomenon they launched. Kurt told Dave that night “if I see one more asshole wearing a flannel, I’m going to kill myself.” Dave thought Kurt was joking. The rest is history.

When did Old Navy start designing Billabong ads? Leave it to Billabong to make their franchise surfers look like gay lumberjacks.  Really Billabong? You are so much better than this.

The Top Fucking 5 Hollywood Surf Films

14 08 2009


Editors Note: This is the first installment of the Top Fucking 5. I’m sure there will be more. Last week I touched on the subject in the post Nobody Listens to Turtle. Today I tackle the genre of the Hollywood surf film in greater depth.

5. In God’s Hands
Written by Matt George and Zalman King, who is better known for his soft-core porn series Red Shoe Diaries, the inclusion of this abortion of a film is charity at best. Frankly, it just made the list for the simple fact it must have been excruciatingly painful for Matt George to shave his head for the role. Favorite line: “Did you know that salt water is most closely related to human blood, and you know what that reminds me of? Our own essence gentlemen.” Now THAT’S writing.

4. Point Break
I once saw Keanu Reeves at a Fugazi show in Hollywood. He looked like a homeless guy. My buddy didn’t recognize him and told him “you look that shitty actor from the Matrix.” He laughed and bought him a drink. It’s a little known fact Matt Archbold did the stunt surfing for Patrick Swayze’s character. Favorite Line: “Listen you snot-nose little shit, I was takin’ shrapnel in Khe Sanh when you were crappin’ in your hands and rubbin’ it on your face.” Oh that Gary Busey.

3. Blue Crush
This film put female surfing on the map, so to speak. Big wave rider Noah Johnson wore a bikini and blond wig to stunt-surf for Kate Bosworth’s role. The film was horrible. That is all I have to say. Favorite line from surf photographer Todd Messick: “Does she know she just lost?”

2. North Shore
The film was Occy’s comedic coming out party. Along with Turtle and Robbie Page, his scenes are the most memorable. Who could forget Page dancing in a tutu at the Halloween party or Turtle’s almost genuine haloe pigeon? Favorite line: “Don’t even touch Barno. That rhyno-chaser don’t need no big haole hand print messin’ up its whole trip.”

1. Big Wednesday
The Apocalypse Now of the genre. The film is loosely based on director John Milius’ youth in Malibu. The narration, done by Robert Englund of Freddy Krueger fame, always gave me a warm, tingling sensation…like an old friend talking surf by a campfire. Favorite Line: “He aint no hodad squidlips! That’s Matt Johnson.” Enjoy the opening credits below. Ah, memories.

Curren vs. Occy Video Tribute

13 08 2009

Santa Cruz surf filmmaker Josh Pomer has spent nearly 20 years documenting the sport around the globe. He put together this tribute to Tom Curren and Mark Occhilupo to help promote the final installment of The Kill Series, “TK8 Last Ride.”

At stops in Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Newport and La Jolla, Curren will be playing a live score to the film.

For more info you can visit

From the Vault: Tom Curren Speaks

6 08 2009
The cutback that inspired a generion of surfer. Pic: Servais

The cutback that influenced a generation of surfers. Pic: Servais

*Note: The following interview took place just more than 10 years ago and was originally published in a now-defunct magazine I edited. At the time Tom Curren had dropped out of the completive scene for several years and was in the midst of a semi-comeback. I thought I would reproduce it here because of the recent Clash of the Icons event held at JBay. By all indications it was major success and there are rumors of another clash with Occy in the near future.

Tom Curren saunters unnoticed along the sand just south the Huntington Beach Pier. A surfboard rests under each of his arms while his toddler son, Francis, rests on his shoulders. Tom’s hair is cut into a short buzz. His eyes, covered by blue sunglasses, focus on the large surf generated by a hurricane southwest of Baja. He gently places his two-year-old son on the sand. Francis pulls at his shorts like a playful cat. Tom smiles and plays along.

Can you talk a little bit about your impending comeback or whatever you want to call it?
My impending doom?

What are you hoping to accomplish?
Just to do my best, you know. I’m not thinking about where I’m going to finish or anything like that.

You’ve had a little taste of how the tour is now. How would you say it differs from, say, the mid ’80s?
There’s a lot more people surfing in the contests. The equipment has changed a lot. The contest formats are pretty much the same. It’s just a little bit harder I guess.

What about the venues nowadays? There seems to push to have the contest in better waves. Does that excite you?
Yeah. It’d be great to have the opportunity to surf in better contests with better venues. That’s one of the goals I have…to be able to surf good waves with no one out. I didn’t really have that opportunity before.

Is it a goal of yours to qualify for the WCT again?
I’m going to surf some contests coming up. I’m going to Europe and surf the contests over there. I just enjoy competing and want to do as good as I can. Who knows what will happen? I don’t know. I’m working on my boards and I’m just going to try to surf as well as I can.

You mentioned your boards. You’re known for riding some un-conventional stuff. The boards you’ve been riding in these contests seem pretty normal.
Yeah, they’re pretty conventional. Pretty normal. Some are a little different. They have different outline curves, but the actual width and lengths are pretty conventional. There’s a lot that can be done with the normal dimensions…different bottom curves, outlines and stuff like that. But, I’m not riding a 5’7’’ or a four fin or anything like that now.

What do you think about Occy’s comeback? (*This was just before Occy cleaned himself up and won the world title)
I’m happy for him, I guess. I think he’s still surfing really well. He’s still pretty young you know. He’s about 30. If he wants to do the tour now he has plenty of years left to do it. I’ve always been impressed by his surfing. It’s good to see him. If I had him in a heat I would definitely take him very seriously.

Does he inspire you? Does he make you think “if he can do it so can I?”
I haven’t really looked at it that way. I think he has a lot of energy and skill. It takes that and it takes endurance. I think he’s more stable now, you know, and it looks like he’s going to do as good as he can. As far as inspiring me…I don’t know. I can’t really plan what I’m going to be doing as far as results in contests. All I can do is work on my boards, surf and practice. I can’t predict anything. I’m not going to let it get me down if I don’t re-qualify.

You have influenced a whole generation of surfers. How does that make you feel?
(long pause) It’s an honor I guess. There are a lot of other surfers out there and there’s a lot of emphasis on contest surfing. That’s all favorable to me. I just recognize there’s a lot more to surfing than contest surfing. I respect other surfers and what they are doing. And there are a lot of goods surfers out there.

You sound like you don’t want the attention on you. Is that the case?
Yeah, it is in a way, but you know I went through a bit of time doing other things, not really practicing, not really working on my surfing. But I think I feel better surfing everyday. I feel more at peace surfing than not surfing.