Rob Gilley

SURFER Contributor

11.18.13

Photo Blog

Out of the Woodwork

On the right day, with the right conditions, an unknown surfer can become a legend

When you hear about someone totally killing it, someone surfing the guts out of it on the day of the year, it’s usually some famous pro. But every once in a while a story surfaces about some random dude—an underground ripper who comes out of the woodwork and dominates the conditions. Over the years I would occasionally hear such tales, and they included names like Jimmy Lucas, Zen del Rio, Mikey Meyer, Greg Russ, Ryan Moore, Randall Paulson, and David Scard.

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11.11.13

Features

How to Find a Secret Spot

Rob Gilley discovers the importance of local wind patterns in surf exploration

After a subsequent trip around the island, Mike and I realized that this Seychelles surf was produced by wind swell—a large and cumulative trade wind event that had been so strong that it wrapped around the bottom of the island and pushed itself into a protected cove on the leeward side. Slowly, these experiences brought illumination. It took a while to extrapolate the exact meaning of local wind patterns on a world scale.

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10.29.13

Features

Brave New Surf

Rob Gilley on how dystopian literature can help your surf life

With little exception, it was clear that there was a direct relationship between population and quality of life. The more people in a given area, the more problems there seemed to be. By contrast, in a sparsely populated place like South Island, New Zealand, for example, people seemed to lead an almost utopian existence.

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10.23.13

Photo Blog

It’s All a Blur

Rob Gilley offers a case study in speed blurs from Lower Trestles

There are basically two types of speed blurs: the ultra-slow blur which is often shot in the 1/15th to 1/60th range, and something I refer to as a ‘motion differential’ blur, which is typically shot in the 1/90th to 1/200th range. The former has a less-recognizable, abstract feel, and the latter is more of a visual study in speed disparities. Most of the time, though, they both look like crap.

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10.15.13

Photo Blog

Samson’s Victory

A moment of triumph for Todd Holland and the beards of the world

Behind his back, people were calling him 'The Colonel'. As in Colonel Sanders. As in Kentucky Fried Chicken. It’s hard to imagine now, but that’s how much abhorrence—how much hatred—was directed at Todd Holland’s beard. I even heard people say they wanted to rip it directly off his face, or cut it off while he was sleeping.

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9.30.13

Opinion

In Surfer Dude’s Hands

Delving into the dark depths of Hollywood's worst mainstream surf movie

I’m not sure why it’s not public knowledge, or what kind of cover-up has taken place since, but I’m here to report that Surfer, Dude might be the worst mainstream surf movie ever released. A true turd in the toilet bowl that is Hollywood surf cinema.

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9.18.13

Photo Blog

The Right Stuff

Jeff Clark ups the ante at Mavericks

Not long after Jeff Clark let the cat out of the bag, a beautiful Indian summer day came to Central California. The buoy heights had gone down, and no one was really thinking about Mavericks. The swell interval was still healthy and the tide was dropping though, so Jeff knew it was worth a look. So we grabbed the Zodiac, and motored out of the harbor and waited.

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9.10.13

Photo Blog

The Knucklehead

A look at Clark Little's penchant for shore break abuse

So please understand that when I refer to Clark Little as a complete knucklehead, I do so with high praise indeed. As many people know, shallow water and shore pound present the biggest threat to a surfer’s health, and no one on Earth puts their spinal column at more consistent risk than the daring Mr. Little. As this photo will attest, even before he was a celebrated shore break lens man, Clark was a knucklehead extraordinaire.

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9.5.13

Photo Blog

True Grit

A salute to the strength and courage of quadriplegic surfer Jesse Billauer

In a collective way, we’re used to seeing Jesse Billauer now. We’ve seen him ride many waves over the years, but before we take his surfing for granted, let’s all pause for a minute. Let’s close our eyes and really think about this. Try to imagine the leap of faith—the unbridled courage—it must take to not only drop into, but ride a solid wave as a paraplegic.

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8.28.13

Photo Blog

Illegal U-Turn

Peter Mendia runs from the law at a Taiwanese reefbreak

Apparently when a typhoon gets anywhere near the coast and the surf comes up, they “close” the ocean in Taiwan. Everybody has to get out. It’s against the law to be in the water. But that’s right where the boys wanted to be, and that’s where they were going to stay. They had just found a firing, untouched lefthand reefbreak and they weren’t about to leave a virgin lineup that was just starting to turn on. Plus, what was the guy going to do? Swim out and arrest them?

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