Courage, style, and bull wranglin' bravado
Hit “play,” and freeze at 1:13. If you’re a wave rider of a certain age (old), you should experience a small thrill of horror. That’s Billy Hamilton, surfing’s own Jesus of Cool, feet up and auguring into the dusty French pavers during the 1968 Fetes De Bayonne bull run. I’m no spinal surgeon, but looks
A cathartic ode to Bay Standard's terrible "Aloha" racks
There are objects from surf culture’s collective deep past that I hold near and dear. The Evolution handbill. The first O’Neill logo. Mike Doyle’s beard, the Duke Invitational trophy, Jackie Dunn’s white-on-red Lightning Bolt pintail. Every issue of SURFER from March ’69 to February ’72 (also known as the High Kampion era, and yes, there
Airshows brought the punk to the 'CT
I defend the WCT just as quickly as I prick its haunches with my tiny arrows of Twitter fire. Why? Because I’ve been around long enough to witness just about every alternative surf competition format, and compared to what the ‘CT is now serving up, they all sucked. The venerable Expression Session, for example. Great
Surfing and the sublime misfit
Occasionally, I will pass my soft, lavender-scented hands across the near and far tracts of surf history, eyes closed, senses open, from Pele to the Swell of ’39 to Cape Fear, checking the sport’s auras and chakras and whatnot. All part of the job. And without fail, while performing this survey, things go dark as
Kelly and Cloudbreak from "Kelly Slater in Black and White"
Kelly Slater should have rested his flawlessly shaved and oiled head on a pillow last night, musing over his perfect 20-point heat in Round Four of the Fiji Pro. The double barrel on his third wave? That was a don’t-think-twice, punch-in-the-10-and-carry-on score. Easy as gravity. But for my money, the 9.77 on his opener was
Tour could use a little more "crazed bumblebee" today
Percy “Neco” Padaratz was already a star in Brazil in 1990, at age 13. Even the American mags were paying attention, which was surprising in that casually racist pre-Brazilian-Storm era. Derek Hynd was obsessed with young Percy, and nicknamed him “Kid with Man Head.” Aaron Chang shot his portrait. Surfing named him one of the
The ultimate "Would You Rather"
Does the hubris of man know no bounds? Are we never satisfied with great waves? We surfed flawless, low-tide Rincon, and mid-hop during the rock dance up the beach we looked back toward the lineup and asked: “We can do better than that, right? Wave-wise?” We got tubed and tubed and tubed at Kirra, and
Artificial waves are 75% less interesting
Surfing is interesting only because of waves. You’re a poetry-hating, anti-New Age atheist with a penchant for hardcore rationalism? Me too. But at some level, we know — we feel — that we’re riding ocean-transported sunbeams, and it is magical. It is what elevates surfing, and surfing alone, to the gold medal position on the
Ranking the coming-of-age tale on the 38th anniversary of its release
Big Wednesday came out 38 years ago this week. Which makes it old enough to contemplate scheduling its first colonoscopy, gnash its teeth in worry over its roller-coastering 401k, and finally put the last of its sub-6’0″ shortboards out to the Craigslist pasture. It’s also a nice, easy, jumping-off point for a post about Big
Who would you invite to Kelly's Wave?
What, a prodigious entourage flocking to Lemoore and crushing the internet yesterday, and you thought a list wasn’t on its way? Here’s my rapid-fire classic roster for Kelly’s Wave, based on who might plumb the pool’s best attributes. Simon Anderson This is a two-for-one. Simon is a late middle-aged surfer (62) who still has chops,