Bill Cleary, the original Huntington surf contest critic
The US Open is again upon us. We’re talking almost 60 years of tradition here, as the megaton surf competition, in one form or another, has been on the Huntington Pier summer calendar since Eisenhower threw his neck out looking for Sputnik 1. You have three choices. Ignore it. Embrace it. Bitch about it. You
Surf tripping before that was really a thing
It’s been just over 40 years now since the surf world got its first look at Kevin Naughton and Craig Peterson, the lovable dirt-bag explorers who doubled-down on the Endless Summer notion of the “Search for the Perfect Wave”. Like Bruce Brown before them, the two Orange County boys went global, literally and figuratively. The
In '84 the Tour sucked but Occy flared
The much-discussed but little-seen 1984 Country Feeling Surf Classic was an oasis in the longest, weirdest, most grueling World Tour season on record. Twenty-four events over 11 months. A small-wave beachbreak opener in Japan, then, I kid you not, four straight comps in Florida, then up to Ocean City, Maryland, then off to Cape Town.
An ode to a Supertubes pioneer
Gavin Rudolph of Port Elizabeth had a good long run as a competitive surfer, starting in late 1968, when he jetted off to the World Championships in Puerto Rico as the stoked-out 15-year-old grom on South Africa’s Springbok team. Made the quarters and had himself a fine time in the tropics hanging out with Wayne
"A high point in terms of individuality"
Forty-five years ago, Rolf Aurness flew to Australia and absolutely ran the field to win the 1970 World Championships. Rolf was 18, and barely out of the Juniors division. Not only did he win convincingly, at a time when the Aussies were at their first and maybe greatest peak of high-performance domination (see: Evolution), but
Return of the "Big, Damn, Terrorizing Swell"
The Swell of 1983 was the John Bonham flaming gong-blast that finally woke up our slumbering interest in big waves. It wasn’t one swell, actually, but a whole zombie battalion of swells, lurching out of an El Niño-juiced North Pacific, one after the other, week after week, without letup—my knees were knocking from early February
Cintra Wilson's one-off blew our doors off back in '99
Cory Lopez’ EOS page went up last week. When Lopez famously vanished into that spinning black grindhouse of a tube at Teahupoo in 1999—wipeout of the year, easy—I was deep into the final draft of Mavericks and out of touch with surf-world events as they existed beyond Taraval Street, San Francisco. Nonetheless, I still had
The mysterious exit of Mickey Dora's stepfather
Gard Chapin of Hollywood was California’s best surfer in the late 1930s and early ’40s, which meant he was the best surfer in the world, not counting Hawaii. Chapin took off deeper than anybody, angled harder, and probably invented the cutback. “He was fantastic,” Windansea regular Woody Ekstrom told writer David Rensin a few years back. “He’d drop his knee to
Rest in peace, Dave Sweet, 1928-2015
I liked Dave Sweet before I admired him, for the simple reason that in 1969, about 10 minutes after we met, he tossed me a brand new short-john. I was nine years old. Jay Adams and I were standing in Sweet’s showroom, on Olympic Blvd. in Santa Monica, having been driven there by Kent Sherwood,
The rebel cartoonist Ed "Big Daddy" Roth revved up everybody, I tell you what.
There was a bright line down the middle of America in 1966, and everybody had to choose a side. You loved Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, or you hated him. Big Daddy was a lot of things. First and foremost, he was a car guy. Designed and built the coolest, craziest whips during the High Renaissance