Rob Gilley

SURFER Contributor



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.



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.



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.



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.



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?



Photo Blog

Remembering Max

Paying tribute to one of the unsung surf legends of the '70s

Gerry Lopez, Wayne Lynch, Barry Kanaiaupuni, Rabbit Bartholomew, Buttons Kaluhiokalani, Shaun Tomson, Larry Bertleman, Mark Richards…there’s definitely not a shortage of '70s surf legends. If you ask me, however, one name from that era is too often overlooked: Max. As in Max the surf dog.



Photo Blog

He Wood Go

A Vanuatu local and his unconventional craft

Vanuatu is a small nation that sits in the Pacific triangulated by Fiji, the Solomons, and New Caledonia. It’s most famous for an unusual ritual: Men diving head-first from rickety 90-foot towers with only vines attached to their legs. Which made it less surprising when this Vanuatu local emerged from a beachfront construction site with just a wood slat under his arm.



Photo Blog

Man Zen

One photograph sheds light on gender differences

This reaction reminded me how demonstrative an image can be. That I could relate the differences between the sexes without having to write a book. That, in fact, I could reveal the whole Men-are-from-Mars thing with a simple image. That when it comes to showing what one gender considers as discord and estrangement and another recognizes as complete peace and harmony, I could do it in one shot.



Photo Blog

The Smell of Liberty

An inspiring photograph of an unknown surfing soldier

Although it’s something you can see in person on most mornings at Oceanside Harbor, it’s something you wouldn’t normally see in print. It’s not a radical air shot of some pro—it’s a surf image I find infinitely more inspiring: An image of self-sufficiency and hardcore dedication. A visual testament to a surfer who, despite a significant handicap, goes out and rips without help. Who surfs and then, without fanfare, an entourage, or a tailing media crew, shimmies himself back up to his gear, and hobbles back to his car. A photograph of an unknown soldier without a leg who, day after day, leaves his crutches—and his earthbound limitations—at the water’s edge.




People Who Surf

One surfer's return to the lineup after years spent battling drug addiction

One surfer's return to the lineup after years spent battling drug addiction.


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