Play the race card and you answer to Duke Kahanamoku
Ala Moana parking lot, summer of 1984. Back when Buttons could pull off anything, including this mid-afternoon photo, shot by Warren Bolster, which head-fakes toward the worst kind of racism, but is really just another riff in the nonstop improv comedy that was Buttons’ life at the time. Yes? Am I more or less on
The smartest kind of crazy
I love Brock Little’s quote about ’90s Pipe charger Shawn Briley. “Crazy people in general are stupid. Briley is relatively intelligent and yet he knows what he’s getting into, which in a way is even crazier.” I love it for that knife-flicking use of “relatively.” And I love it because it is the perfect description
Pro surfing comes into its own
I am optimistic about professional surfing. Yes, my wobbly Twitter feed often says otherwise. When a tight world title race gets routed through feckless European beachbreaks, for instance. Or when Joe Turpel’s adenoidal phrasemaking worms into my prescription-fortified pyramid of calm. But the new men’s world champion is under 30 and Brazilian and polarizing and
When good karma goes bad
The Expression Session, first held on the North Shore in 1970, then again in ’71 and ’73, seemed like a great idea. Perfect name, for starters, filled with soulful iambic bounce and zing. “Expression Session.” Breath those syllables in. Mmmmmm. Thai bud and purple Waxmate, am I right? This was a non-contest contest. An anti-contest.
How does it feel?
Rolling Stone‘s first issue came out 48 years ago this week. SURFER cartoonist Rick Griffin didn’t do the logo for that particular issue, but a year later he produced the classic RS logo you see above. (Tina Turner at her nasty-howling best. Mmm, yes. Sweat, sex, and bourbon.) Rolling Stone in turn, along with 10,000
The lie is handmaiden to the truth
The Cape St. Francis sequence in Endless Summer is surf moviemaking’s perfect sphere. Our Pythagorean ideal. Nothing to be added. Nothing subtracted. I knew this right down to my not-yet-descended testes when I watched Endless Summer in a Santa Monica movie theater in 1967. I know it today, having run the footage through Final Cut
That's Spanish for "20-foot shorebreak"
If my nerve would just double or triple in size, like the Grinch’s heart when “Welcome Christmas” chimes up from Whoville, I would so love Puerto Escondido. I devoted 20 years to what we call the “shorebreak” at Ocean Beach, San Francisco (as distinct from the much better known outside sandbars), and Puerto is the
The Oldies are the Goodies
I came across a list of the five best interviews in surf last week, then reacted on the E.O.S. blog. I salute the choices. But a second perspective might not go amiss. Another viewpoint. And while this isn’t a competition…except, you know what, fuck that, of course it’s a competition. Presenting the real Five Best
Gabriel Medina had limbic-melting Norwegian black metal pumping through those headphones as he walked down the beach at Pipe to take that shiny world title crown. Nah, not really. Maybe. Who knows? Could’ve been Leonard Cohen. Could’ve been Sun Tzu’s Art of War on Audible. Medina’s pre-heat sound of choice, like Medina himself, is a
The ecstasy and the depravity
In the mid 1960s, Chuck Hasley and Thor Svenson fought a titanic battle for the soul of Windansea Surf Club, and Svenson came out on top. That’s my take. Who knows, I could be way out on a limb. Impossible to know for sure, at any rate. Hasley’s been dead 10 years, and Svenson—who knows.