The Five Best Interviews in Surf

The Oldies are the Goodies

I came across a list of the five best interviews in surf last week, then reacted on the E.O.S. blog. I salute the choices. But a second perspective might not go amiss. Another viewpoint. And while this isn’t a competition…except, you know what, fuck that, of course it’s a competition. Presenting the real Five Best




Medina and Techno-Samba

You're welcome

Gabriel Medina had limbic-melting Norwegian black metal pumping through those headphones as he walked down the beach at Pipe to take that shiny world title crown. Nah, not really. Maybe. Who knows? Could’ve been Leonard Cohen. Could’ve been Sun Tzu’s Art of War on Audible. Medina’s pre-heat sound of choice, like Medina himself, is a




Windansea Surf Club

The ecstasy and the depravity

In the mid 1960s, Chuck Hasley and Thor Svenson fought a titanic battle for the soul of Windansea Surf Club, and Svenson came out on top. That’s my take. Who knows, I could be way out on a limb. Impossible to know for sure, at any rate. Hasley’s been dead 10 years, and Svenson—who knows.



The Culture

R.I.P. Mike Tabeling: 1949-2014

An East Coast legend passes

Mike Tabeling told me last week that he was hoping to make it to Christmas. I didn’t know the man well, but my sense is that this is one of the very few instances in which he came up short. A rich life, full of waves, laughter, adventure, love. I’ll leave it to those who




Joey Buran: Pipeline Slayer

California's first Pipe Masters champ

Joey Buran’s World Tour career was bookended by two Pipeline Masters contests. The first was in 1978, and if you were a teenaged American surfer at the time—even better, if you had at least a passive acquaintance with Joey, as I did—it was a shocker. This raggedy-haired 17-year-old high school dropout stoner beat Rory Russell




Slater: Master of Masters

A King Kelly Pipeline retrospective

Kelly Slater was once the world’s best competitive surfer. That is no longer the case. Slater’s head isn’t in the game the way it used to be, even just a couple years ago. He gives heats away now. Not always, but too often; Portugal being the last and maybe best example. But who gives a




Mike Purpus: Surf Court Jester

Combatter of '70s surf world seriousness

Surfing’s Great Humor Drought began in 1968 and lasted about eight years. Blame drugs. Blame soul surfing. Blame shortboards. Blame Pipeline! First thing we did after getting a good long look inside the tube was decide that our fine sun-kissed little sport was “heavy.” Heavy enough, anyway, to crush the fun. Yes, there were funny




Mike Tabeling: Cool To The Last Drop

One of Cocoa Beach's favorite sons

  Death is in the hall waiting, but Mike Tabeling is as sharp, funny, honest and cool as ever. Despite advanced stage cancer. He casually interrupted our phone interview two days ago for a morphine break, called back half an hour later and picked up right where we’d left off. A month earlier, he posted




Maalaea: Faster Than Fast

Freight train to the scars

Maalaea is one of those “world’s best” surf breaks that doesn’t sing to me. Too much wind. Too little water on the reef. Nothing but relentless, brutalist speed. Sam Hawk—Sam Hawk—made one of four at Maalaea. Owl, Hakman, Owens, Ho—every Hawaii-based surf legend from the Age of Nixon to the Summer of Azalea who flies




JJ Moon: More Myth Than Man

The original surf media troll

JJ Moon was an inside joke that blew up into a national phenomenon. “Moon” was really Ned Eckert, a high school football coach and weekend surfer with a broad “What Me Worry?” face and an amazing Sean Connery-like carpet of hair across his chest and keg-shaped belly. Mickey Dora, Corky Carroll, Joey Cabell, and Mickey


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