rob gilley

Thank a Malloy

| posted on May 12, 2011

The brothers Malloy, saving America from the softcocks one session at a time. Photo: Gilley

Rob Gilley

As the sting of his recent SURFER firing begins to fade, Rob Gilley now turns his blog attention towards memories and stories garnered from his long lackluster career.

Ever wonder where the word “softcock” went?

Or “wanker?”

Or “seppo,” for that matter?

You don’t really hear those terms much anymore, and I’ve got a theory why: The Malloys killed them. Snuffed them out. Speared those words with a trident and ate them for breakfast.

If you know your history, you’ll know that a prominent Australian surfer once very publicly called out American surfers as “a bunch of softcocks” for not charging harder in big surf, and another referred to our competitive surfers as “seppo wankers.”

Subsequently, Tom Curren cemented three world titles, Brad Gerlach and Mike Parsons charged bigger surf than anyone, and Richard Schmidt went completely medieval on the North Shore.

Then a kid from Florida named Kelly Slater joined the Tour.

But thanks in large part to an Australian surf photographer, anti-American sentiment and derisive terminology remained alive. Flag waving and unrequited, in-your-face jingoistic trash-talk still existed. Aussie pundits predicted that Shane Herring, Mick Campbell, and Danny Wills would soon crush the American wankers.

Then a side story developed: The Malloys hit the road.

Sponsored by an American branch of an Australia-founded company, the Malloys began to haunt the North Shore in winter and travel the world for the balance of the year.

Some of these trips included visits to Australia, and sessions surfing with Australians on the North Shore. Word started to get out: these seppos were definitely not softcocks.

In fact these seppos were f–king nuts, mate.

Equipped with traditional American West values, the Malloys would come to your town, make friends, respectfully rip the shit out of your surf, were polite, chivalrous, and non-condescending with women (“Howdy, M’am”), and could hold their liquor. They absorbed and basked in local culture, never backed down from a fight, never bragged, smiled a lot, and always stayed humble.

And on the poker table known as the North Shore, the Malloys said, “I’ll see your Waimea and raise you one Outer Reef.”

Strangely, at home, the Malloy phenomenon was initially met by some petty jealousy, behind-the-back grumbling, and bizarre physical challenges, but over time, the critics, one by one, realized that the Malloy act was, well…not an act. They were the real deal. They ripped and they were good guys and they were thankful and happy and unapologetic about being “photo pros.”

In my view, this is just about the time when it became too much for the psyche of the good ol’ Aussie bloke. The Malloys were blue collar, change-the-tire-with-you, risk-their-life-to-save-yours kind of mates, and that’s just too appealing to a beer-swilling, tall-Poppy-hating country.

Softcocks, wankers, and seppos got tossed into the bin.

So the next time you see a Malloy brother, go up to him, shake his hand, and thank him for representing American surfers in such a positive, hard-charging way.

Especially if you’re a softcock.

  • G

    They damn well better hold their own and treat women with respect… Where was that photo taken? Possibly Ireland?

  • VTA

    Surfing skills aside, no argument there, but these guys have obviously played the surf media. Are they: cowboys, Irishmen, eco-hippies, pro surf dudes, film-makers, tough guys or???!! Choose your flavor of the week.

    Maybe I’m just one of those petty, miscreants you refer to, but I prefer something more real and less contrived.

    Then again, they’re laughing all the way to the bank.

  • http://n/a zeno malan

    What a life!
    There’s a rumor that one of the Malloys caught a good wave once.

  • jARK

    I bet this post maybe, possibly, had some decent writing in it…

  • boomba

    Although Dan didn’t do the ASP, he could have been top 8 easily with his repertoire and contest savvy. I remember watching him take apart the US Open juniors in HB.

    Keith had some of the best style/flow/above the lip mayhem.
    His sections in the Taylor Steele movies were something to try to bring your surfing up to. The guy was ahead of his time.

    Chris was a solid surfer in heavy conditions. I remember all the photos…heavy drops and barrels.

    All the angles of how they were marketed to us aside—> they rip.
    They represent a different side to surfing.They seem to be a part of the ocean in many ways which needs no title, its defined in their actions.

  • adam

    Is this article timed for their next polypropylene surf trunk campaign?

  • Mik

    Can’t get more real than real…

    And having watched their rise, their evolving reputation, and contributions to environmental awareness, there is no argument that they are real.

    Admiration is real too.

    Thnx for the reminder Rob.

  • http://n/a zeno malan

    Yeah environmental awareness – like the platform that Chris had to dismantle a P-Pass?
    Patagonia can’t be real happy about that faux-pas!

  • Bud Tour

    Disclosure must point out that the Malloy’s are employed by Patagonia and Rob Gilley also has a connection to the Patagonia store in the Cardiff area. With that being said his “blogs” are losing their luster. The “softcock” reference was spoken by Gary Elkerton and was a pointed barb at American surfers on the World Tour and their lack of testicular fortitude. The Malloy’s were never a part of the World Tours most elite competitors. Sure Chris charged like a mad man but his wave selection bordered on brain less at times. Keith was a Bob Hurley favorite for many years and a one-time “photo slut of the year”. Dan is the most talented Malloy in the competitive arena but went the free-surf route as he was directed by oldest brother, Chris. Quite possibly the coolest brothers and family of famous surfers but they really were not involved in the crew that took down the “softcock” reputation on Tour. Simple Fact. Gilley get your history right.

  • to bud tour

    Thank you for pointing out the collusion between Rob Gilley and the Malloy clan, I guess this is just another example of the surf industry patting its own back. One of these days I suppose we would like to see an independent surf press, but maybe we’re just dreaming!

  • Not VTA

    wow gilley, another insightful and unbiased perspective from a magazine photo journalist. the malloys are nothing more than chameleons. each character they play is carefully manufactured, packaged, distributed by the surf media. i know the malloys, they are arrogant sycophants, always have been. there is a reason they are not liked in ventura, and no rob, it’s not due to petty jealousy.
    surf journalism is and always has been an incestuous machine, acting as nothing more than a glorified public relation firm. in this case it looks like gilley has a vested interest in their image.
    so you’ll forgive me rob, but i won’t be thanking the next malloy i see.

  • Victor

    Don’t forget Keith Malloy stunt doubled in Hollywood’s cliche laden ‘Surfer Dude’!

  • b

    These are good men, through and through. Anyone that tries to discredit the heart and soul of these brothers clearly hasn’t met them. They don’t try to be perfect, they are just themselves…and for an industry where being real is a rarity, the Malloy’s are always refreshing.

  • Nor Cal locc

    learn how to write. kook

  • http://n/a zeno malan

    Surfer should abolish staff – recruit new blood from blog posters- like me.

  • http://n/a zeno malan

    What say you Brendon, Alex, Joel, Janna?

  • Morco

    I don’t know anythng about the Malloy’s but about the platform on the reef in Pohnpei (Zeno) it was erected by the Govenors construction company and by by the guy who runs marine conservation and law enforcement on the same area. No one here ever complained about it, cares or knows who the Malloys or Patagonia are. It was nothing but trashing then on line without anyone here to check on the facts.

  • mickmc

    thats mullaghmore ,co sligo…. think they might have been the first to surf it