rob gilley

Are you a Souther?

| posted on April 10, 2011

The life of a souther can be very difficult at times. Photo: Van Swae

Rob Gilley

Recently cut from the Surfer photography staff, Rob Gilley is now applying a surprising new talent for embittered, sardonic prose to the

It’s not often that one word can change your life.
But I have to admit that’s the case with the term, “Souther.” I was introduced to the word over 10 years ago, and I can safely say that it has had a profound effect on my behavior ever since.

Loosely defined, a Souther is an extremely shallow-minded surfer that usually lives south of Ventura, California. I say “usually” because a Souther can live anywhere. In fact, I know plenty of Southers that happen to live in Santa Cruz.

In turn, there are plenty of surfers that live below Ventura that are not Southers. For example, Skip Frye from San Diego is the polar opposite of a Souther.

So what exactly is a Souther? It’s a good question, but I’ll bet you know what I’m talking about. That buddy of yours with a great quiver but never really surfs. The friend that has a rad four-wheel drive truck but never goes to Baja. The guy who doesn’t like to camp at the beach for fear of getting sandy. The acquaintance with the whitened teeth that loves trade shows and calls everybody, “bro.”

You get the picture.

So why is it important to know what a Souther is? Aha! Because it is my contention that everybody has a little bit of Souther in them. Modern society and its trappings encourage Souther-ness to surface. Even if you live in a cave in the Pacific Northwest, I bet you have had a Souther episode.

So unless you like to be shallow and soulless, the important thing is to fight off Souther tendencies like the plague. Recognize potential Souther situations and avoid Souther behavior before it takes hold of you.

I implore you: DO NOT embrace your inner Souther.

So how do you recognize if you’ve slipped over to the dark side? Take the test below and find out.

The Great Souther Test

1. Do you have trouble sleeping before trade shows?
2. Do you hate camping?
3. Do you have shiny, white teeth?
4. Have you ever dyed your hair or frosted your tips?
5. Do you think that the ultimate two-vehicle quiver would be a Beemer and a Hummer?
6. Do you get tummy aches?
7. Have you used any of the following terms in the last week: Tavi, Cali, or Newps?
8. Do you wish to God that somebody would start a World Wave Pool Tour?
9. Do you have a rad 4WD truck or SUV, but have never really put it into 4WD?
10. Do you think that Grinch-ing is the raddest thing since tow-ats?
11. In the last year have you said to a friend, “Dude, have you seen my new clips?”
12. Have you referred to shooting with a surf photographer as, “getting some work done”?
13. Do you have trouble seeing why people get mad when you drive right behind them in the fast lane and flash your brights?
14. Is “sick” the only thing you say more than “bro”?

Answered 12 or more “yes”: Full Souther
Answered more than four “yes”: Part-time Souther
Answered more than two “yes”: Souther tendencies
Answered zero “yes”: You Live in Oregon

  • Chris Grant

    Hahahahahaha!!! Number 12 is my favorite!!!

  • http://n/a zeno malan

    I live in the Pac NW near perfect lefthand pt. w/ a cave, recently riggeg my Pathfinder for a repeat land excursion to Panama,(rack,2 spares,rocket box,rear seat out-bed in w/moz net and curtain) got freaked at the narcotrafficantes all over Mex.; postponed my trip indefinitely, don’t do trade shows, have nicotine stained teeth, was champ camper in Costa Rica in the ’70’s, don’t mind sand, made clips surfing Playa Negra by myself, (planted VCR under tree/changed batt. as nec.)used them as Xmas presents, never say bro , dude or sick.
    Something has to be done about overpopulation of surfers and narcotrafficantes!

  • benjamin

    Ha, I live in oregon. no really, I live in oregon

  • Jersey Boy

    Do you complain that “it’s suuuuuuper cold” as soon as the water hits 58 degrees? Is wearing a 3/2 and booties way too much neoprene for you? Are you currently “working on” a chop hop air reverse? Do you think Andrew Doheny and his merry band of hipsters are cool? Do you ever get “suuuuuper eggy”? Are you just an overall soft cock, wanker? You may be a Souther.

  • surfdog

    I’d like to know why smoking doesn’t make you a Souther?

    Why in the hell do I still see young guys that surf smoke cigarettes?

    Do you do it to keep your weight down or what?


  • TY

    But the real question is? Rob, what was your score?
    P.S Bryan your ruling with the Coors chicks.

  • Whamo

    Gilley started out like a promising writer, but he’s turned into a turd.

  • Nor Cal locc

    sounds like mr robert gilley has some inner demons that have been messing with his mind a little bit.

    you always hate what you are. its a psychological truth.

    how bout this robert- just surf, quit worrying about other surfers, and quit writing stupid articles that help you sleep better at night.

  • kill yr idols

    and here I thought you were talking about being Southern…

  • savvvysoul

    #15 (worth 100 pts and a crash/burn) You advertise proactiv, Teva, and lame other ads….my one time reading a article on because I got enticed with cool vids of dirty Indo & hot chicks only to be diss-appointed by someone claiming to talk about how he is some : SoUTHeR : just rename to your new self appointed made up word then we’ll atleast know what your claiming before we ever visit >> > outta here

  • Nor Cal locc

    oh dang, my comment got deleted. too ironic for you Rob? i was really hoping you would let some other people see that one. you know, see the “embittered, sardonic prose” that ive been begging to show people? kinda like you, riding the “writing job” coattails of the magazine you’ve sold out to.

    and i still love cigarettes….

  • julie

    can stand up paddleboarders also be considered southers?

  • Gary

    Rob is in good company with Jeff Flindt beng released as well…

  • NTownend

    “Nor Cal locc” – since when is a writing job selling out? You’re reading these articles aren’t cha bud? Seems like a position you would die for if given the chance. Don’t throw sell out if you live in a bitter house.

    Hilarious piece- coming from a non-surfing female- and it was still laugh-out-loud funny.

    Do you have trouble sleeping before a trade show? aaahahaha

  • NT

    “Nor Cal locc” – since when is a writing job selling out? You’re reading these articles aren’t cha bud? Seems like a position you would die for if given the chance. Don’t throw sell out if you live in a bitter house.
    Hilarious piece- coming from a non-surfing female- and it was still laugh-out-loud funny.
    Do you have trouble sleeping before a trade show? aaahahaha

  • Duc

    I’m from San Diego and I never even heard of the whole “No. Cal” vs. “So. Cal” thing until some Northern California surfers brought it to my attention when I was about 30. They seemed pretty keen on it. I just wanted to surf.

  • Chuck


  • Chris Cote

    Watch out Lewis Samuels, there’s a new muckracker in town … hide yo wife, hide yo kids, there’s gonna be some “gnarly” articles calling peeps out coming at you! Go easy on us Souther’s, we’re fragile.

  • Chris Cote

    Why did you take Checkwood’s comment down? He wrote “GilleyCane”, It’s funny.

  • http://n/a zeno malan

    Chris Cote? Maybe this is a harbinger of things to come? All MAGS need to have a post your gripes section.

    I have a few!



    I hope you are not doing this for the money. If you are, please donate all profits earned to the March of Dimes. Call me a cynic, but I don’t like it when a world renown, world class, A+ surfing photographer and explorer not only gets let go from what is supposed to be the bible of the sport, but also now has an open commentary so that he can gripe about the social and cultural fabric of our sport and industry. Really, is this what happens to our legend photographers? This really pisses me off.

    Shame on Surfer for not taking care of one its legends.

  • Nor Cal locc

    the sell out reference is my take on a photographer being fired, only to take up writing blog posts for the magazine who fired him. sounds like a sell out to me when you stop following your passion, just for cash. yup
    And if you havent read my previous comment its becasue mister “webmaster” here thougght it was too harsh. I thought it hit the nail on the head.
    It went something along these lines:
    “Rob gilley, you are not very smart are you. Skip Frye is worshipped like a diety at the sacred craft festivals, yet the very picture you use as a heading for this article, is from where else but, the sacred craft fest!!!!!! There is some serious irony in that.”
    Gilley- come up with some better material than this, for the sake of your paycheck. anyone can hate on a socal jock beasts all day.

  • Nor Cal locc

    THANK YOU STU BOYD. I dont like the thought of that either. stick to your passion Gilley, you were way better at that. dont “sell out” out for a fucking gripe commentary section. its beneath you

  • Myles McGuinness

    Gilleycane or Lewis Gilley, either way keep it coming.

  • http://n/a zeno malan

    what does it pay to be a staff photog?

    What amount for the 7 Ghosts trailer Curren did in Indo. Helicopter, boats, jetskis, must be a profitable endeavor.

    These people don’t disclose secret surf spots for chump change – or do they?

  • Joam

    That was fucking retarded. I hate you surf industry homos.

  • ard

    bro, newps is sick, and so is camping and brushing your teeth. but yeah, i got “hella” friends with big trucks that have never seen the dirt…lol….and they look like kooks to some, cool to others. regardless, its environmentally ignorant, and i’d kill to see all these wannabe industry pussies im surrounded by drop off, let alone ever drop in. now go hug a tree and quit tryin to make up gay words.

  • Rizzle

    Hey Rob, thanks for summing up OC for all of us. Just maybe next time, don’t lump SD in with that bullshit. We live close to Mexico for a reason.

  • ryguy

    some of you are taking this way too seriously

    This article made me laugh, even though I answered 6 out of 14

  • Graham

    Yeah, Gilley. I was n’t impressed either, nor was it very funny. Surfing’s “core score” and “rules” already do the get a chuckle list thing much better. The fact is you cannot categorize or pigeon-hole surfers , especially those of us in So. Cal. We are diverse and cover such a huge spectrum of styles, experience, abilities and levels of committment, it is impossible. Compare the scene at Windansea to El Porto.Thalia to Malibu. Go take photos. You are good at that. Leave the writing to the pro’s.

  • Loli

    ..what has happened to your Mag..??…this isn’t cute or funny…looks like a playboy ad to me…what a shame..guess it’s a “guy thing” & you don’t really want women to read your mag. anymore?..truley dissapointed in this photo & article…so sad…. no aloha here boyz……. 🙁

  • michael

    i live in NY and we have the same kinda person as a “souther” but with different terminology…we call these people spoiled little bitches….just sayin….

  • Joam

    How to determine if you are a surf industry homo poser (in no particular order):

    1. You try air reverses on every wave but no one sees you land them, ever.

    2. You let yourself talk like a fucking 13 year old thats going through puberty combined with a hawaiian and a gang banger accent. ex. “I all cruised up at the spot bro and the boys were all checking it. It was sooo sick out there bro, just suuupppperrr clean and rampy and shit.”

    3. You call pro surfers by their nicknames. ex- “yea, Parko and Barney were out at lowers just killing it bro”

    4. When you run down to the beach you have your board tucked up tight under you armpit and you swing your left arm around like its a fucking cougar tail, or like you are rolling down the window in your car.

    5. You talk, and talk and talk and talk and talk out in the lineup the entire time you are there.

    6. You check the waves, pull out your phone, call your friend, and tell him that the waves are good…EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU GO FOR A SURF.

    7. You sit at home/work and listen to Peter Mel tallk bullshit while watching contests online. Then when some one asks you about the heat you say, “Oh, Damo just got a bomb out the back and did like 12 sick schwacks. Jordy’s gotta combo big time to beat him”

    8. You wear volcom.

    9. You have a mix tape in your car that has all the songs from the newest surf movies.

    10. You think Machado is better than Knoxy, and Dane is better than Jordy. But if Damo had to surf against Mick after he surfed against Dane then Jordy would beat Knoxy who would then probably lose to Machado.

    Okay that made no sense, im done. Fuck you guys.

  • Cali Bud

    Awesome! Another Surfer who has not done his research. Its called winching not Grinching you Souther! Ha ha ha. Your hits are going up & yes I am amazed that even you as a photographer have not found out about its contributions to your artistic money making angles especially now that you can be creative out of the umbrella. I love that you mentioned it though. Most, photog & brohog pro surf stars don’t even talk about the device & how it makes them look really good at surfing small waves or how it helps them train on maneuvers on our shitty small days down south. I dont really give a shit any more… It’s just pure fun with my friends & family to enjoy unless a souther or northern boy or any one comes across its fun factor capabilities. And its not like I even sell any.. Even though I built a site thinking I could have made my own business & income a reality. Truth, economy sucks balls & better to slow life down, love, enjoy family & friends. And dont forget about a good pint of beer after a surf when we do get waves 🙂

  • SD

    Don’t forget #15. Have you ever worn leather pants to the Surfer Poll Awards.

  • Brad Western

    sick article bro

  • Logan

    don’t worry Gilley, I feel your pain. The dumbing down of America has already taken place. Not your fault.