12.8.16

EOS

Backdoor: What’s In A Name?

Can't surf it, but I can parse the meaning

Backdoor. Gotta be wrong on this one, but at the moment, I can’t think of another break where the right off the peak has a different name than the left. Pipeline, Backdoor. Sometimes Backdoor Pipe, but usually just Backdoor. Same break, two names, and it occurs to me that this is odd, possibly unique. Two

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11.29.16

EOS

Sandy Beach: The Paralyzer

On the joys and debilitating fears of bodysurfing

It still happens, on occasion, that I find myself on a beach somewhere, board in hand, trunks or wetsuit put on front-side facing front, looking out to some shapely not-too-crowded waves. My focus at this point goes full laser. I will perhaps respond to questions, but otherwise not talk. Wife and child are G6-ed off

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11.23.16

Features

From The Archive: Peter Troy, 1968

If you want tales of surfing perfect, empty waves, Troy’s your man

The founding fathers of surf adventure travel are a mixed bunch. Mellow to manic, decent to debauched, an icon for every taste. Bruce Brown traveled clean, maybe a booze-up here and there, but law-abiding even in lawless places. Kevin Naughton and Craig Peterson were mostly PG-13, although it’s not hard to imagine them ducking into

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11.2.16

EOS

Losing My (Tube) Virginity

Becoming a man at Kaisers, 1973

Jay Adams and his mom Philainie spent the summer of 1973 in a funky one-bedroom Waikiki apartment a block or so behind International Marketplace, just off Ala Wai Boulevard. Might have been his present for graduating Anchorage Elementary School. My parents separated earlier that year, and possibly in an effort to divert my attention from

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10.27.16

EOS

The Father of Computerized Shaping

Michel Barland: creator of our Skynet overlord

Today’s surfboards are built with levels of precision and consistency unheard of when shapers were still kicking chickens out of their shaping bays and ashing joints into the resin tints. Love ’em or hate ’em, computerized shaping machines took a whole bunch of the guesswork out of building the magic board. And thank holy lord

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10.19.16

EOS

Zapped!

Your memory of the no-nose board is very different from Geoff McCoy's

Geoff McCoy’s Lazor Zap surfboard design—generically called the “no-nose”—looked incredibly sexy and futuristic, but was skittish and high-floating and drive-free and more or less impossible to ride unless you were Cheyne Horan. Harder to surf than a twin-fin? Difficult to say. Pick your poison. The twin-fin was like riding a bar of soap; the Lazor

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10.5.16

EOS

Frozen Too: I Can’t Feel My Face

The necessary evil of the wetsuit

A couple years ago, I copied down this quote from writer and surf-intellectual Ted Endo: “Wetsuits are the airplanes of the surfing world. They allow us to do something miraculous (survive cold water for hours on end) and yet they are completely taken for granted.” I don’t know what article the quote came from, or

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9.20.16

EOS

Does This Donut Smell Funny?

Best surf pranks ever

I’m going to get some of the details wrong, but runner-up best prank, surf industry division, goes like this. Surfboard magnate Dewey Weber had a beloved dog, a German Shepherd mix, all white, named “Whitey.” Dewey would call Whitey into the Weber Surfboards team van and take him to Hermosa Pier, Malibu, Rincon. Back at

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9.12.16

EOS

The Soul of Tandem

What do soul singers and tandem surfers have in common?

Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a single Golden Age R&B heavyweight who didn’t get their start in the church. Little Richard, James Brown, Sam Cook, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Isaac Hayes—all raised their sweet young unchanged voices to God, most went on to gospel groups, and then they

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8.31.16

EOS

Eve Does Five Summer Stories

Eve Babitz, nude chess enthusiast, surf writer

Eve Babitz is the 20-year-old Los Angeles ingénue you see above, playing state-of-nature chess in 1963 with French artist Marcel Duchamp. Babitz was many things in the ’60s and ’70s. Goddaughter to composer Igor Stravinsky. Laughing sexual adventuress. An artist who made gorgeous album covers for Buffalo Springfield and The Byrds. Most famously, Babitz was

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