The boardmaking cowboy would have been 88 today
Dale Velzy died of lung cancer, at 77, a little over ten years ago, and you have to marvel that he actually made it that far. Look at the last bit of footage in the clip above. The man’s got a Marlboro lit up in his surfboard factory; smoke dancing in and out of the
North Shore pioneer passes away at 86
Fred Van Dyke, who died this week at age 86, will rightly be remembered as a pioneering big-wave surfer. I’ll remember him for that as well, but more so for the way he set out to become a more evolved version of himself—a decades-long process that, among other things, saw him make a deliberate break
Was Patacchia's exit the Tour's best ever?
Kelly Slater was down on the rocks at Lowers this morning, photo-bombing Fred P’s big moment as the Hawaiian tagged out with a perfect 10 during his Round One heat. I watched and wondered—was Slater maybe just a tiny bit jealous? Was there perhaps a slightly mocking voice, somewhere in the back of that flawless chestnut-brown dome (Kelly’s, not Freddy’s), whispering “You should
The sweetness before the darkness
Ron Stoner was the world’s best surf photographer in 1966, and had some money in his pocket, and was good-looking in the bargain. But he was a wash-out with the ladies. Took his sister to SURFER Poll. Blew an easy chance to lose his virginity to the local party girl. That summer Stoner had his eyes on a
And you can too!
Barton Lynch and I met in early 1984. We were both staying at Mark Foo’s Home for Incurables, across from Waimea Bay. Barton, as I recall, was chaperoning a prepubescent Nicky Wood, who was already charging and shredding and acting mysterious, but went face-first into the reef at some point and flew home with his
The real action at Teahupoo is underwater and behind the mic
Martin Potter’s jaw-grinding voice sounds as if its been filtered through six espresso shots and a migraine headache. Ross Williams’ has me considering preemptive adenoidal surgery for my son. Todd Kline? Car salesman. Rosy Hodge? Who can hear her above the angel choir and softly strumming lutes? And then Joe Turpel. During a trifling Round
A throwback to his quickness
Reno was my favorite surfer in 1970. Or rather, I guess he was in my Top Three, along with Jock and Jeff. Shit what I am saying, BK was up there too. With Lopez moving fast on the outside. But Reno always looked best in photos, with those turns that were half ballet, half Formula
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.