The best videos of the week, all in one place
CLIP OF THE WEEK: Diamond of the Desert It doesn’t matter how many times you watch this webclip, that first barrel is straight mind-numbing. If you’re watching it on a laptop, flip it upside down and watch the footage that way. Whole new world. Flames and Frost Just crazy, macking Shipstern’s Bluff, this time […]
Legendary skater and Zephyr Surf Team member suffers heart attack
Jay Adams, star of the Z-Boys skate and surf teams in 1970s Venice Beach, has passed away after suffering a heart attack on vacation in Mexico. Stacy Peralta, fellow Z-Boy, passed along the news through his Instagram and Facebook pages, saying: “I just received the terribly sad news that Jay Adams passed away last night […]
An interview with the skimboard enthusiast and certified hellman
Brad Domke, 25 years old, from Wabasso, Florida, is a pro skimboarder who spent most of his summer on your computer screen, doing insane things on huge waves in Mexico. He’s a YouTube jewel. Domke used to compete on the pro skimboard tour, then took a break to chase huge surf. A couple weeks back, […]
The best videos of the week, all in one place
CLIP OF THE WEEK: Teale Vanner, South Oz Teale Vanner’s name is probably the source of a great deal of his surf power. Teale. Vanner. How could he not be a ripper? Waves this good and this empty can’t hurt either. Ryan Moore, Single Fin at Rincon Ryan Moore’s dad, Matt Moore, is a […]
The Rubberman, Larry Bertlemann turns 59
“In the future, surfing might be going into aerials; I call them Larryials,” said Larry Bertlemann in a 1982 interview. Larry, you were absolutely correct. Bertlemann, one of surfing’s greats throughout the ’70s, was a flamboyant pioneer of today’s high-performance shortboard style. “Rubberman” blended tuberiding, top-to-bottom vertical surfing, and early-stage airs in a package that […]
Five much-needed reality TV shows for the surf world
Originally published in our July Issue. Unwatchable reality shows litter the cable and Internet TV landscape. Surf-themed shows are never good, but that’s only because they’ve lacked the right premise and the right stars. With that in mind, here are five pitches for surf-specific reality pilots, drenched in enough intrigue, sex, violence, booze, and drugs […]
Nørway's got all kinda wåves
If you skip ahead to about the 2:00 mark, you will see some Scandinavian dudes, including famous snowboarder Terje Håkonsen, bounce around on a fun-looking standing wave at a river in Norway with a name that is probably impossible to spell. River surfing looks hard.
The U.S. Open, a successful contest with unsuccessful waves
Behind me, pure energy radiated from the skate arena, pulsing in rhythm with the clicks, clacks, and grinds of skateboard trucks on metal coping. Hundreds of fans sat shoulder-to-shoulder in the hot aluminum bleachers, hooting the skaters rocketing around the big concrete bowl. It sounded riotous. It sounded fun. But I wasn’t sitting in the […]
Seal pup hangs with the boys in England
Usually when a seal jumps out of the water and up onto a surfboard, it’s been chased up there by ten feet of hungry shark and it’s clinging onto anything for dear life. This little guy though, he’s just looking for some bro time. Doesn’t even care that these guys are on longboard pop outs. […]
Danny Hess builds sustainably-minded surfboards from reclaimed wood and recycled foam in an impossibly hip workshop in the Outer Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco. The space is called “The Woodshop,” for reasons that were immediately obvious when I peered through the windows looking for Hess: wooden surfboards, thick redwood tables, and stacks of timber were artfully arranged in a small showroom at the front of the shop. At the back of the showroom, just visible through the sawdust-caked porthole windows of two swinging doors, were bandsaws and jigsaws and dozens of planers hanging from racks.
I walked inside and, after a quick round of predictably firm, carpenter-y handshakes with Hess and his shop mates, proceeded directly to a snub-nosed 5’6” that had caught my eye through the window. Hess’ boards are sold in the local alternative-craft surf shop Mollusk and are relatively common in San Francisco lineups, but I’d yet to actually hold one. It was surprisingly light, with a deck and rails made of different colors of wood and a bottom of bright-white foam. Hess’ high-performance shortboards are recycled EPS cores wrapped in a wood shell, usually poplar. But he also makes guns, hybrids, and the occasional log. They’re not cheap, running nearly $1,300 per board, but in theory you could surf the more durable wooden designs for a decade or more.
There are enough people who consider the boards a worthy investment to keep Hess Surfboards backlogged with a six- to eight-month waitlist. “When Clark Foam shut down in 2005, it really sparked a better dialogue among surfers and shapers about what a surfboard could be,” says Hess. “People started thinking about a surfboard as a lifetime investment again.” Hess, with a background in sustainable home remodeling, was more than happy to oblige. He’d built his first foam board at 16, moved on to wood boards in 2000, and hung up his hammer for a planer in 2005 to make a career out of building these lifetime surfboard investments.
“I want to make sustainably-built boards as an option for people who care about where their products come from,” says Hess. “But a surfboard isn’t going to change the world.” Hess thinks of more eco-friendly boards as just one piece of a holistic approach to sustainable living. Boards built with reclaimed, sustainably harvested wood, recycled foam, and bio-resins are a start, but he wants to take it even further. Hess is working on a lightweight, lip-cracking shortboard made entirely out of wood and sealed with plant oils. No foam, no fiberglass, no resin. I grabbed one of his early prototypes and it felt unlike any other surfboard I’ve ever touched—strong, solid, and alive. Like an equal parts blend of surfing’s past and future.