Category Archives: Cutting Room

Powers that Be

I'll be honest here.  My limited wit is otherwise engaged today, trying to finish up the Power Rankings.  Writing for PostSurf doesn't pay the Vodka bills -  therefore it's rather low on my list of priorities.  So I'm posting an interview I did with Roy Powers way back during the Mundaka contest.  This is the rough equivalent of rifling through your kitchen cabinets instead of going grocery shopping, and then settling for a meal of  canned artichoke hearts and Matzoh that's past its expiration date.  Enjoy!

Roy Powers. Photo: Hodgson

Roy Powers. Photo: Hodgson

Lewis: How does it feel to watch the same guy win over and over again?
Roy Powers: Kelly? He's a Fag!  No, I'm joking, I'm joking.  Ultimately he deserves it.  Every heat he goes out there and he blows doors.  Crappy waves, good waves.  Fact of the matter is that guy's the best surfer in the world, and he's definitely proved it, and that's why he's getting another world title.

Seems like some of the guys are not taking it too seriously at this point in the season.  What's your take on that?
If you're not doing the events, it's a disrespect to the people who are doing them, taking them seriously.  And then there's the fans - they want to see their favorite surfer, and he's probably not here.  But everyone has their own reason they don't want to be here.  I'm enjoying myself, still learning, I'm still trying to learn this whole game.  I'll be at every event, just try to get up in that top league.

Do you see Mundaka as an event that shouldn't be on tour?
Bottom line, what we're surfing right now, this is not a CT event.  It's ridiculous. I was definitely a person who voted not (to have this event) just because there are other good waves in the world.  What are we doing here?  200km away, France is probably a lot better than this.  Why aren't there other CT events there, or Portugal?  It's like having the Pipemasters in August, but knowing you're gonna end up at Sandy Beach.  No disrespect to the wave, it's an incredible wave, but it's too inconsistent.  We don't have time for that.

What would you say to Spanish fans who would perceive the pros as being spoiled?
That's what we qualified for - to surf perfect waves.  Do you think race car drivers want to drive on a bumpy road?  Do pro basketball players want to play in preschools?  We qualified to surf in the best waves - that's what we signed up for, that's what we put our hearts, souls into. No disrespect to them in any way, I'm totally grateful we're here, being able to surf their premier wave, but if it's not breaking what are we doing?  Just sitting around taking up their parking stalls.  If anyone says we don't deserve to surf the best waves in the world, tell 'em to call me up, I'll meet you anywhere.  That's bullshit.  What I did, to qualify, to get to this level.  It took a lot, not only for myself, but for my family, everybody.  I take it really personal when people say we're spoiled.  Fuck you.  It's bullshit.  We work too hard for people to criticize us so much with that.  They think this job is a lot easier than it is - it's not that easy.

Some fans think everyone is making millions in surfing.

We're not all millionaires.  There's probably 5 millionaires, maybe 7.  The reality is I'm not struggling, But I still think about every month, making heats.  We have families - I don't come from a wealthy family - my main focus is supporting my family, put food on the table, to be able eventually to help my parents retire.  That's my main goal.  It might be different for other guys but that's my main focus and I won't stop till I accomplish that."

Roy Powers at Mundaka.  Photo: Kristin CI/ ASP

Roy Powers at Mundaka. Photo: Kristin CI/ ASP

Bobby Revisited

I interviewed Bobby Martinez last fall in Mundaka, at one of the least-attended events in ASP history (not counting every Brazilian event, of course.)  I already posted the first part of this unused interview - here's the second part of our discussion, which centered on the apathy that swept through the ranks  as Kelly dominated 2008.

Bobby somewhere in Mex. Photo: ASP/ Sean Rowland

Bobby somewhere in Mex. Photo: ASP/ Sean Rowland

Lewis Samuels: Seems like a lot of top guys are pretty over it right now.

Bobby Martinez: Almost all the guys in the Top 10 have been here for years.  I don’t know if they’re over it or not, I just hear that from you guys.  For me, no way.  I’m not gonna quit, not gonna give up, I’ve worked too long and too hard to give up.  I’ve struggled for years while these guys were up on top, so I’m never gonna quit.

A lot of guys follow the Dane/ Kelly “I don’t care” attitude whereas you’re pretty focused on every event.  Is it hard to see the top guys have that attitude? Do you think it’s disrespectful to the sport?
I think they’re lying to everybody… I honestly think, deep down inside, if you didn’t care, why would you be here?  The QS is the worst tour, why would you go through that if you get here and don’t care.  I think it’s all bullshit.  Personally from what I’ve experienced I think you go through the hard yards to get here for a reason.  If Dane didn’t care, he wouldn’t surf a wave and try a backflip twist every wave.  He cares.  I don’t care what he says. I look at him, when he needs an 8, he’ll surf a wave.  When Kelly needs a score, he’ll surf a wave.  That’s bullshit to me.  I honestly feel like why would you be here… I do look at it as kinda disrespectful, because people work so hard for this.  You know, people in these other countries, Brazil and stuff, where it’s third world and they don’t have anything, this is their life.  Same with me, I don’t have nothing, this is my life.  To hear people come and say they don’t care, for some of us who maybe have a different mentality, I kinda look at it as a let down.  For people who have struggled for a positive way of life, come out of bad neighborhoods and shit… I could never say I don’t care, cause I do care.

Bobby in Chile.  Photo: ASP / Sean Rowland

Bobby in Chile. Photo: ASP / Sean Rowland

Do you ever feel like you’re coming at it from a perspective similar to the guys from Brazil?
Yeah, I do, I feel like I have more of a connection to those guys as far as where I come from, it’s different - the school I went to, the neighborhood I grew up in, there wasn’t one kid who surfed.  Brazil, you go there, there’s so much poverty, the people are struggling, that’s how it was where I’m from.  There would be like 15 people, families, in a 2 bedroom house, struggling, just trying to make a better life.  I’ve seen that, and they don’t quit, so I don’t understand how people can go through this tour and act like “I don’t care.”

Fans kinda feel cheated when those really good guys don’t give it their all.
I think heart succeeds sometimes more than talent.  If you grow up in a neighborhood where shit happens, and you want to leave where you’re from, you give it your all when you have that opportunity. People are striving for a better way of life.  That’s why people who come from nothing, and strive to succeed, sometimes that heart is worth more than talent and an “I don’t give a fuck” attitude.  If you live where everything is all good, why would you care?  If you’re striving to get more for your family, which a lot of guys on this tour are, it means more for you, it’s deeper, more meaningful.  This tour is our life – it’s how we make money, how we survive.  I’m not writing Kelly or those guys off if they don’t care.  I mean, Kelly, he’s done his job.  He’s in a position not to care.  It would be great to be there but it’s not where I’m at.  Cause he’s the freak of our sport, it’s understandable if he doesn’t care.  And Andy, he got 3 titles.  They’ve got their titles, accomplished their goals, where a lot of us haven’t got there yet, and we might never get there, but at least we’ll know we tried.  But the people who haven’t got there, and already don’t care… it trips me out.  How is that possible?  It trips me out, it’s weird to me.

A Word from our Contenders

The ASP season kicks off Saturday, so I thought I'd turn the hype-volume up a bit further by sharing a few words from our top contenders: Slater and Fanning.  The following quotes didn't make the QuikPro Peview I did for Surfline last week.

Kelly at Duranbah, 2006. Photo: ASP/Tostee

Kelly at Duranbah, 2006. Photo: ASP/Tostee

Lewis: One could argue that you haven't been challenged for the #1 spot since winning Bells last year.  Do you have any sense of looking forward to a challenge with the start of the new season?

Kelly Slater: Well, if you ever get a chance to have a little breathing room like I was able to get last year for a while you would always rather have that position.  But everyone loves a good race and a close battle and after everyone saying I was done years ago, I'm probably lucky to even be in sight of those other guys.  It'd be nice to get a good result on the Gold Coast for sure.

Lewis: Has your perspective on equipment changed much since this time last year?
Kelly: Not changed but has gone in the same direction as it was starting to.

Mick Fanning, Snapper, 07.  Photo: ASP/Robbo

Mick Fanning, Snapper, 07. Photo: ASP/Robbo

Lewis: Where does the motivation come from for 2009?
Mick Fanning: Well, it’s probably like climbing Everest: If you get to the top once and go back to climb it the next year and don’t quite make it to the summit again you’re gonna be bummed. Once you’ve been to the top nothing matches it. My motivation is to get back up there.

Lewis: Any changes to your approach for this season (boards, training, strategy, etc)?
Mick: Yeah, 2008 was my worst year on tour to date but I think I learned more last year than I have in any previous years. The big change for me has been learning how to switch on and switch off as a competitor. I’ve had better preparation for 2009 than any other year. I feel relaxed, I’ve minimized distractions, I got the right equipment, I know exactly how often I should train without burning myself out before events and I’m feeling more comfortable. I'm ready to go.

Contending is all about fitness.  Word on the street is that Taj has been training with these two.

Contending is all about fitness.  Word on the street is that Taj has been training with this fierce  couple.

Tonight on Dateline’s “To Catch a Predator”

When I first started writing about surfing, I received this earnest advice from an editor: "Dumb down your prose - remember your readers are mostly 15-year-old boys, or they're as stupid as 15-year-old boys."

Take a look at Transworld's new "10 Hottest Girls in Pro Surfing" feature.  The crew at TW are masters when it comes to knowing their audience.

Transworld's "10 Hottest Girls in Pro Surfing"

Transworld's "10 Hottest Girls in Pro Surfing"

The 30-something edit team at TW based their picks on the following: "Does she rip? And does she look good doing so? While some are more on the rip side and others on the sexy side, we feel both sides of the spectrum are represented and did our best to not come off as total sexist pigs—not the easiest thing in the world to do for this bunch."

The 30-something TW editors picked 5 girls who were minors this time last year.  The girl in the photo above just barely missed the Top 10 cut with the following caveat: "Yeah, we’re creeps for putting a 16-year old on this list but it’s not our fault the Maui girl made the US Surf Team and has looks that could kill."

At 21, one of the oldest girls in the Top 10 is Anastasia Ashely, who apparently wears heels and makeup to the beach:

Anastasia Ashley. Photo: Damea Dorsey

Anastasia Ashley. Photo: Damea Dorsey

Transworld explains that "Anastasia has been spending a lot of time with Hulk Hogan’s son, Nick, whom she calls her best friend and her biggest fan... Selfishly, we want Anastasia to make the World Championship Tour just to see who wears a smaller bikini—her or Alana Blanchard."

Considering that Ashley had a WQS rating of 52 last year and hangs out with Hogans, it seems more likely she'll go on tour with the "Rock of Love" bus than the ASP.

In the meantime you can thank the "creeps" at Transworld for getting your IP address added to that sexual predator watchlist.

DO JEWS CONTROL SURFING?

It's a widely-acknowledged fact that Jews control the media. (Hey, don't worry, I can acknowledge this because I am half-Jewish. (Perhaps this is why I am only half-way to having control in the surf media. (And I hope I didn't just alienate my Meshugina Skinhead fan base by confirming my Jewish heritage.)))

I'm often asked what article I'd write about surfing if I could write absolutely anything. Currently I'm leaning towards a round-table discussion, SurfingMag style, focusing on Jews' control of surfing. Our panel would consist of prominent surfing Jews Makua Rothman, Eddie Rothman, Dorian Paskowitz, and Shaun Tomson. The discussion would be moderated by Larry David, uber-Jew of Curb Your Enthusiasm and Seinfeld fame.

I can just picture it now:

Dream Team: Makua, Shaun, Dorian, Eddie, and LD.

Dream Team: Makua, Shaun, Dorian, Eddie, and LD.

Larry David: So, Fast Eddie... Can I call you Fast Eddie by the way? Please explain to me how a Jewish kid from the mainland can show up on the North Shore and all of a sudden be running Da Hui? Isn't that the story? Are you like a Mossad agent or something? Did you use sarcasm or violence? It seems like Israeli Jews excel at violence, while American Jews are more dangerous in terms of sarcasm.  What worked for you?  Tell me your secret, Jew to Jew... I can't even get my agent to respect me, let alone intimidate anyone.

Fast Eddie: Wot you say Brah? You like Beef?

Larry David: Only if it's cooked rare. I can't stand it when someone overcooks a steak. Have you ever yelled at someone for overcooking steak? I'm not proud to admit that I have. That's probably the most gangster type thing I've ever done. I yelled at a 5' tall waitress. She wasn't intimidated... Who's your personal trainer? You look really fit. What's with the centipede on your chest? Is it a pet, or is that an incidental centipede crawling across your chest? Are centipedes kosher? They have a shell, but they're not a fish... so that's a tough one.

And so on.

TAJ has a PLAN

Just finished a preview for Surfline of the QuikPro.  As usual, plenty of quotes don't make it into the final text.

Taj Burrow, Uluwatu.  Photo: Chris Burkard /BurkardPhoto.com

Taj Burrow, Uluwatu. Photo: Chris Burkard /BurkardPhoto.com

More than a couple guys in the 45 told me that Taj will be the one to challenge Kelly this year.  "He's the only one in my book who did it last year," CJ Hobgood said.  "Plus everyone's kinda been on the band wagon of writing him off. So I think he'll come out blazing and everyone will say 'I told you how good he is, etc.'"

I suspect the "everyone" CJ alludes to is me.  Fair enough.  I've definitely been hard on Taj in the past.  Despite this, Burrow answered a couple questions about the kickoff for me, including the one below:

Lewis:Any changes to your approach for 2009?

Taj : Yeah, I'm aiming for runner up this year, that way I may win..

BOBBY on KELLY

A few days before Kelly won his 9th title, I interviewed Bobby Martinez.  I was hoping to put together an article on "Is Kelly's Dominance Good For Surfing?"  The article never came together - partly because most guys dodged the question.  But Bobby is his own man; he did not dodge the question.

Lewis: Do you feel like Slater’s dominance in ‘08 is bad for the sport?

Bobby: For him it’s cool, for us it’s boring.  Same old guy, and he’s so much older than us.  I honestly don’t think he’s surfing the best out of the previous years he’s been on tour.  He’s surfing the best, but he surfed the best for him personally years ago.  But now he’s winning more than ever.  I don’t understand it, especially when there’s all these guys like Andy, Mick, and Joel, who I think personally are just as good as Kelly.  But somehow he’s just been able to win every event.  It blows my mind, with so many people right at the level he’s at, for him to dominate like that is weird, and for me, it’s boring to see Kelly win again… I know Kelly is loving it, but for just fans, I think it’s boring.

Bobby Martinez, Spain.  Photo: Gio

Bobby Martinez, Spain. Photo: Gio

Is it good for the ASP to have Kelly be so dominant? Do you ever feel like the ASP is pushing him towards that dominance?

Yeah, I do.  Sometimes I do.  I mean, sometimes I really do and sometimes I really don’t.  I feel like people want him around because he’s a big attraction for our sport, but he’s good enough, he’s gonna stay around.  He always does this thing, like, “Oh, I may not do it…”  We all know he’s gonna do it.  He ain’t got nothing else to do.  But he’s just saying that because I feel like he wants people to lure him in. I don’t know if that’s true, I just feel that way.  And I think he knows that there are so many good guys like Mick and Joel, that if he doesn’t win, he wants an excuse to say “Oh, I don’t know, I wasn’t all there anyway.”  Because I honestly think he can’t commit and then lose like he did against Mick…
Or like he lost to Andy in 2003…
Exactly.  It breaks him.  It breaks him.  That’s what I think.  But shit, there’s so many good surfers, his time has to end eventually.  He’s gonna be exiting from this sport sooner or later.  So I think it’s kinda weird.  We’ll see what happens next year because everyone knows he wants to go for 10 and now he’s admitting it.  So now there’s this pressure.  I think it will be a whole different ball game.

Bobby in Chile. Photo: Pierre Tostee

Bobby in Chile. Photo: Pierre Tostee

I might put the rest of this interview up later.  Meanwhile check Surfline for a new interview with Bobby concerning 2009.

SLATER on STYLE

Every now and then I'll try to post something vaguely journalistic from the cutting room floor.

In 2008 I interviewed Kelly Slater for Water Magazine. Suffice to say, the year proved to be more successful for Slater than Water.

The following conversation didn't make the final edit.

Lewis Samuels: Style is one of the few things where one can look at your career and say “What Slater brought to the table with style, compared to past champions, wasn’t as noteworthy.”

Kelly Slater: Style, like… what do you mean in terms of style? Surfing style, personal style, clothes? (laughs)

Kelly Slater. Photo: Karen/CoveredImages

Kelly Slater. Photo: Karen/CoveredImages

Surfing style...  I think when you can look at the way you approach waves, it’s a distillation of correct body positioning, to achieve a high level of performance.  Are you concerned with how that looks to the viewer, or are you primarily concerned with what you’re achieving on the wave?

I don’t know… I guess for me, I’m more Dane Reynolds than Tom Curren. Or I should say more Martin Potter.  I think style is kind of… I could take a lot of heat for saying something… but someone who has a very deliberate style, it’s almost pretentious.  If you look a certain way just for the sake of looking that way, I think that’s false.  I think that style for me has always been a sort of secondary thing to function.  Is it functional? But they’re equally important really, because if you have the right form the function will happen naturally, and vice versa…  If you put the weight in the right place, the style is going to look good.  It can almost be a moot point… Get the whole story »