Meet Rob Falken, surfing's rad scientist
Rob Falken used an eggbeater, a wooden spoon, and his mother’s crockpot to create his first batch of surf wax. He was 17, and over the next eight years his business grew from mom’s crockpot to a five-gallon bucket to an 80-gallon drum to a fleet of industrial-sized tanks. It took some time to get the formula just right, but the scientific, trial-and-error approach he perfected in the process groomed him for where we find him now.
The best webclips of the week, all in one place
ust watch Jordy Smith in Mozambique. Watch it again. Mozambique. That name. That wave.
The man with the Phantom cam talks slo-mo in surf
The footage is mind-bending. There seems no better way to appreciate the full majesty of a wave, in all its beauty and danger and magnitude, than at 1,000 FPS. The same could be said for the surfers, Slater and Florence and Mathews and company, whose skill, technique, and style gets lost in the speed of waves at real-time. What you see in the above clip came from Australian cinematographer Chris Bryan, who swims in these lineups with a camera that costs the same as a house in the Midwest and weighs as much as many of the household appliances that'd go into it. He's distinguished himself as surfing's Phantom cam man.
And CNN dubs him "The King of Surfing"
The mainstream media's coverage of surfers always leaves a weird taste in your mouth, a discomfort akin to wearing shoes on the beach, or seeing a teacher in public. There's not technically anything wrong with it, I guess, but it sure feels like there is.
How Medina, Fanning, and Slater could each win the 2014 World Title at Pipeline
The hope for the first Brazilian world champ thins, and we head to Hawaii with three names in the hat. Medina still sits atop the rankings, with Fanning close behind and Slater now a long shot for the title. (A lethal long shot.)
Sunrise Surf Shop goes back-to-back at the OSSC National Championships in Nicaragua
The 2014 Oakley Surf Shop Challenge finished in perfect fashion at the National Championships in Nicaragua. Seven teams from seven corners of the country earned their expense-paid trip to Playa Colorado by winning their regional events, and were given the shot to compete for the 2014 trophy and bragging rights as the best surf shop in the land.
This is what it'll take to push the 2014 World Title race to Pipeline
These here are the scenarios that would see the 2014 World Title decided at Pipeline, and not Portugal. For some perspective, Medina's lowest finish in the 2014 season was a 13th, in Rio (twist!), so the odds favor him notching another great result in Peniche. Then it's up to the No. 2-5 surfers in the world to match and extend this drama to the North Shore come December. And if he wins the Rip Curl Pro? He wins the world title, and we meet the first Brazilian world champ.
Idaho is best known for producing potatoes, gemstones, and the lovely Christina Hendricks. Surf imagery, on the other hand, not so much. And yet, somehow, one of the best up-and-coming surf photographers in the world hails from the landlocked state.
“I was into landscape photography when I lived there,” explains 18-year-old Quinn Matthews. “But to be honest, every photo I took was average at best. The subjects just weren’t there.”
It wasn’t until 2010, when Matthews’ family packed up and relocated to Laguna Beach, Calif., that he found something that truly caught his eye and held his focus.
“Surf photography was a completely different world for me,” says Matthews. “There’s so much more force and action in the ocean and I was instantly drawn to it. I started planning photos out on paper, writing down exactly what I wanted in a composition, how I’d need to shoot it with apertures and shutter speeds, what swell it would take. I had folders and folders of recipes for surf photos, and I was just waiting for the chances to take them.”
Now four years removed from the potato patch, the transplant has been quick to seize those chances and make a mark in surf photography. At a time when the work of many trending surf photographers is nearly indistinguishable, Matthews is developing a style that is very much his own.
“I try to incorporate layers—the subject, the foreground, and background—to convey a feeling,” says Matthews. “I want someone to see my photos and be able to put themselves there.”
His technique, along with his portfolio, caught the attention of many brands and magazines over the last year, which allowed Matthews to explore the globe, living out of a suitcase and shooting perfect waves. The photos from his travels earned Matthews a semifinal finish in the 2013 Follow the Light competition, which speaks to the raw talent and lofty potential of the young photographer.
“I’ve just been fortunate to develop good friendships with a lot of amazing surfers,” says Matthews. “I spent a month in Europe last fall with Yadin Nicol, and he’d go out of his way to introduce me to everyone we came across. Having talented people to shoot with has been huge for me.”
Matthews is looking forward to chasing the world’s best waves with the world’s best surfers, but he won’t be satisfied until he wins Follow the Light, which he says would put him in the company of surf photographers like Morgan Maassen, Todd Glaser, and Chris Burkard. If everything goes according to plan, we’ll be seeing a lot of Matthews’ photos in the coming years. Who knows? Some might even make it back to Idaho.
Meet Ray Collins, the man who pulled the trigger for The Big Issue cover
"Waves are an endless blank canvas, you don't have to convince them to get up early for good light, they don't age, trend, or change sponsors." —Ray Collins
Kohl Christensen teams up with big-wave elite to advocate for safer lineups
“You want to be responsible,” said Christensen. “You want to have good equipment and wear your safety vest, not just for yourself, but for those out there that might be trying to help you. For your friends. There’s no reason not to. Big-wave surfing is an extreme sport. A lot of people have died. A lot of people have had friends die or come close to dying. How do we prevent it? We can’t totally, but we can do our part to manage the risks.”