Bill Cleary, the original Huntington surf contest critic
The US Open is again upon us. We’re talking almost 60 years of tradition here, as the megaton surf competition, in one form or another, has been on the Huntington Pier summer calendar since Eisenhower threw his neck out looking for Sputnik 1. You have three choices. Ignore it. Embrace it. Bitch about it. You
Surf tripping before that was really a thing
It’s been just over 40 years now since the surf world got its first look at Kevin Naughton and Craig Peterson, the lovable dirt-bag explorers who doubled-down on the Endless Summer notion of the “Search for the Perfect Wave”. Like Bruce Brown before them, the two Orange County boys went global, literally and figuratively. The
In '84 the Tour sucked but Occy flared
The much-discussed but little-seen 1984 Country Feeling Surf Classic was an oasis in the longest, weirdest, most grueling World Tour season on record. Twenty-four events over 11 months. A small-wave beachbreak opener in Japan, then, I kid you not, four straight comps in Florida, then up to Ocean City, Maryland, then off to Cape Town.
An ode to a Supertubes pioneer
Gavin Rudolph of Port Elizabeth had a good long run as a competitive surfer, starting in late 1968, when he jetted off to the World Championships in Puerto Rico as the stoked-out 15-year-old grom on South Africa’s Springbok team. Made the quarters and had himself a fine time in the tropics hanging out with Wayne
At the World Inland Surfing Championships in Allentown, Pennsylvania
Finals day of the World Inland Surfing Championships, a fully rated World Tour event held at Wildwater Kingdom amusement park, Allentown, Pennsylvania. Think of the strangest moment of your surfing life. Don’t be shy. UFOs, talking sea turtles, double inverted rainbows—everything’s welcome. Now multiply that by 10, stay awake 48 hours, drop a hit of
"A high point in terms of individuality"
Forty-five years ago, Rolf Aurness flew to Australia and absolutely ran the field to win the 1970 World Championships. Rolf was 18, and barely out of the Juniors division. Not only did he win convincingly, at a time when the Aussies were at their first and maybe greatest peak of high-performance domination (see: Evolution), but
Return of the "Big, Damn, Terrorizing Swell"
The Swell of 1983 was the John Bonham flaming gong-blast that finally woke up our slumbering interest in big waves. It wasn’t one swell, actually, but a whole zombie battalion of swells, lurching out of an El Niño-juiced North Pacific, one after the other, week after week, without letup—my knees were knocking from early February
Cintra Wilson's one-off blew our doors off back in '99
Cory Lopez’ EOS page went up last week. When Lopez famously vanished into that spinning black grindhouse of a tube at Teahupoo in 1999—wipeout of the year, easy—I was deep into the final draft of Mavericks and out of touch with surf-world events as they existed beyond Taraval Street, San Francisco. Nonetheless, I still had
The mysterious exit of Mickey Dora's stepfather
Gard Chapin of Hollywood was California’s best surfer in the late 1930s and early ’40s, which meant he was the best surfer in the world, not counting Hawaii. Chapin took off deeper than anybody, angled harder, and probably invented the cutback. “He was fantastic,” Windansea regular Woody Ekstrom told writer David Rensin a few years back. “He’d drop his knee to
The Wedge, Newport Beach
Marie vs. The Monster. Hurricane Marie, 2014. The Monster from New Zealand, 1975. The two greatest West Coast–hitting south swells of all time. There was another big one back there in 1938, or 1838, or whenever, but they couldn’t even be bothered to name storms back then, so let’s put that one aside. Plenty of