Stingers. Loved 'em. Here's why.
Stingers. I loved ’em. And yes, I know Ben Aipa called it a “sting,” and we’ve been saying it wrong for 40 years now, but that’s the wonderful thing about the English language—if it’s wrong for long enough, it’s right. I had five or six stingers, beginning around 1976, all shaped by Pat Ryan of
A look at the enduring impact of surfing's first World Champion, the late Midget Farrelly
Midget Farrelly, world-champion, boardmaker, and iconoclast, died yesterday at age 71 from stomach cancer. He was a beautiful wave-rider, controlled and polished but with a dynamic be-bopping flair. After making a close study of California power surfer Phil Edwards in the late ’50s and early ’60s, Farrelly trimmed away most of the Edwardian style flourishes
Nothing wrong with a quick surfy pick-me-up
Perhaps where you live, it isn’t literally the coldest place in America today (Seriously, 58 degrees in San Francisco, lowest temp in continental U.S. for what seems like the sixty-millionth day in a row). Maybe it’s sunny and warm and the waves are plentiful and life is softly singing sweet nothings in your ear. It’s
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