9.24.14

EOS

James Jones, Man of Mystery

Just don't call him "Booby"

James Jones is a mystery. To me, to you, to the rest of surfing. Always has been. Fantastic surfer, incredibly solid on his feet, courage and style to burn, two-time Duke winner, switchfoot ace, so at home in the tube he could redecorate the place, and of course the first great Waimea tuberider. Handsome, too. […]

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9.12.14

EOS

Midget Farrelly: You Deserved Better

An overdue apology from surf media's past

The epigraph for Midget Farrelly’s 1965 autobiography This Surfing Life is brief. “When you’re comfortable, you’re dead.” The man was 21 years old, reigning world champ, and the toast of Australian sporting—yet he chose to introduce his book with that little nugget of gloom. Here’s what I’m getting at: The bitterness that would come to at least partly define Midget Farrelly in years to come—that was inborn. […]

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9.10.14

EOS

The Ginja Ninja

Mick Campbell, the happiest runner-up in World Title history

Mick Campbell wouldn’t agree, but I think fate did the right thing by yanking a world title out from beneath his freckled feet. Remember? Pipe Masters, 98. Big surf. Showdown in the last event of the year: Campbell in first going into the contest, fellow Aussie and good mate Danny Wills in second, Kelly Slater third. Tightly bunched, all […]

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9.5.14

EOS

Beauty from the Fire

Remembering Warren Bolster, one of surfing's most talented photographers

I caught Warren Bolster at a good time in his life. Maybe the best time. It was 1985, and he was halfway into a comeback that would make even the most dedicated Mark Occhilupo fan pause and say, “That is a damn fine comeback.” Warren was closing in on 40, detoxed, groomed, a bit leathery […]

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8.27.14

EOS

Billy Hamilton: Stylemaster

Happy Birthday to Laird's dad and '60s surf god

A lot of rules don’t apply to people as cool as Billy Hamilton. Ain’t fair, but there you go. Self-contradiction, for example. Hamilton was so cool that he could lay down a fist-pounding-on-table anti-contest rap (“contests should not fit into surfing, and surfing should not fit into contests”), while at the same time cashing checks from big North Shore events—dude […]

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8.21.14

EOS

The Kong Abides

A look back at the ultimate power-broker, Gary Elkerton

Gary Elkerton took 5th place in the 1984 World Amateur Championships, held in mostly crap surf at Huntington and Oceanside. The result didn’t matter. He was the star. By comparison, everyone else was small, pale, boring. Every time Gary set foot on the beach, the whole event simply tilted in his direction. It was the heyday of Kong, and while his best […]

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8.21.14

EOS

Before It Was ‘Chopes

A romp through Teahupoo contest history

The 1997 Black Pearl Horue Pro, a four-star WQS event, was the first surf contest held at Teahupoo. It came so far out of left field the surf media didn’t even know what to call the break. Surfing hit on “Waterworld,” in what I think was a non-ironic tribute to an that insanely expensive nuclear bomb of a Kevin Costner movie of the […]

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8.11.14

EOS

Long Live Dora

Hard to believe, Da Cat would be 80

Mickey Dora was always a little slippery about his age. “Approximately one year older than the world renowned aquanaut and international surfing master of ceremony Rick Grigg,” Dora replied, when asked how old he was in a 1969 SURFER interview. “And nine years older than Bunker Spreckels, the genetic space child.” I’m guessing that what […]

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7.31.14

EOS

Jack McCoy: Auteur

Filmmaker; Tom Selleck impersonator; Occy savior

Jack McCoy’s face fills my computer screen (God love Skype), and once again I’m reminded that the man is imposing. Heading toward imperious. Yes, he has the easy, summery drawl that is the birthright of any postwar American-born surfer, but don’t be fooled. He is Patton with just the lightest glaze of Rob Machado. I […]

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7.23.14

EOS

David Nuuhiwa, Surf-Artist

The highest grade of smooth

“Riding waves is an art, not a sport.” God help us. You could float a battalion of zeppelins with the hot air generated by surfers waxing poetic about “the art.” Open any surf magazine from 1970, and the surfing-as-art fatuousness actually wafts off the pages in small clouds. Then again, David Nuuhiwa. We all enjoy […]

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