Category Archives: Personal

EPILOUGE

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This is not real life.

Go towards the light.  The exit is up ahead.

Finish reading this post, close the window behind you, and emerge into the brightness of a new day.  There's nothing here for you anymore.  The PostSurf project is complete.

I am not Lewis Samuels.

That ended long ago, amidst the pixels and fuckery, clammy clickthroughs, custard pudding bastards, vitriolic comments, tags, tapioca fuckwits and strewn code.  A writer does not write the truth about themselves.  They leverage words to obscure things.  They write the truth about other people, and leave themselves out of it.

The surf industry is not surfing.  My brief forays into the dark, sickly heart of the matter have reminded me of that.  Over the course of the last nine months on PostSurf, I've simply tried to remind others of this fact.  The PostSurf story has proven my point.

Now I'm choosing to be born again, from the ashes of this enterprise.  We learn inevitably, and with regret, that there are powers out there greater than ourselves.  So now I'm free to wander squalid foreign shores; free to use words to obscure new truths in different ways.

If it seems like there's more to this decision than what I've revealed... well, remember what I told you about writers.

Photo Dispatch: Shaping Memories

In my youth, I was a surf travel ascetic. No technology. No cameras. I was there to experience the moment – not document it. I wanted to see holistically – instead of deal in the outright lies and half-truths that kodachrome froze in 1/1000th of a second. It was an era before laptops and cellphones. I left my walkman at home – I wanted to strip all the insulation away; I yearned to hear and see the true foreign world around me.

photo: lewis samuels

The result? I don’t have any photos from those first few teenage surf trips. My laughable idealism may have resulted in slightly purer moments, but as I get older, and the trips pile up, I find it harder and harder to remember those lost victories.

Memory becomes dependent upon the images. Our modern lives are fueled by distributed cognition: gigabytes keep track of memories that long-term memory used to safeguard. As a child, I knew the phone numbers of friends and family by heart. Now my iPhone remembers them for me. The actual digits have become irrelevant.

In a more perverse way, my memories of surf trips are partly stored in the photos I take. My recollections and the images begin to cling to each other in a sticky, drunken dance as the years pass on.

I remember the lies the photos tell me, instead of the truth of the trip itself. A good crop and edit remove so many undesirables: One frozen peeler replaces one hundred closeouts. Weeks of rain are washed away by the ten bright clear minutes I put eye to lens.

My lesson? Learn how to take better photos. In hindsight, all my surf trips will improve.

Here’s a first attempt at pruning the last two weeks of my life.

photo: lewis samuels photo: lewis samuels photo: lewis samuels

photo: lewis samuels photo: lewis samuels photo: lewis samuels

photo: lewis samuels photo: lewis samuels photo: lewis samuels

THE WAITING GAME

It's back to reality for me starting next week.  Off the road, behind the monitor, staring at "real work" instead of "PostSurf," billing hours instead of being billed.

As a consultant, my professional life has the binge and crash rhythms of Amy Winehouse's personal life.  I stay up late doing everything infront of me, become increasingly crazed, and eventually wrap up my commitments and get paid in a lump sum.  Then I'll get on a plane and burn through my earnings loitering on some foreign shore.  From the literal zone to the littoral zone.

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Meanwhile, PostSurf keeps humming along in the background.  Almost daily, I'm accused of "selling out" and "profiteering" via the bashing of poor, innocent pro surfers.  If there is a revenue stream that I've failed to identify, and the money is piling up somewhere, unbeknownst to me, well... someone please 'beknowst me where the fuck that living wage is hiding.

If the present is any indication of future trends, I'm hoping that my compensation for PostSurf fuckery will come 20 years in the future, when Retro Surf Blogging is the next big trend.

All I need to do is put this fucker in the wine cellar and wait for my shitty writing to become "epic!" as viewed through the smudged telephoto of nostalgia.

The great thing about banking on Retro success is that it matters not whether your work is acclaimed in the present moment.  Remember those totally lamo neon boardies Quik made back in the day?  The ones you'd flip though on the rack and think "who would buy THESE?"

Well, now those boardshorts are hip and profitable.

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Ditto for shitty old surfboards, and shitty old surfing.

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I can only hope that the questionable effort put into PostSurf will one day result in a self-congratulatory documentary a la Echo Beach.

All-Timer's disease will save me in the end.

Until then, I suppose I need to just keep hanging on, waiting for the Retro cache to kick in.

Photo Dispatch: Oz Family Slides

Amateur hour.  Awkward family slideshows, proudly led by hobbyist photographers, in which the host just keeps clicking through vacation photos, ignoring the signals of guests who grew bored after a dozen shots of lobster red bellied youths.

Even worse: picture after picture of the scenery.  Mountains, mammals, marsupials, monuments.  Images that tell you nothing.  At best, they're appropriations of the same pictures you'd find in any guidebook.  At worst, they're garish, blurry documents, whose sole purpose is to lay claim, like a shaky Zapruder film.  "I was there," the photos say.  "I saw that."

Photo: Lewis Samuels

Photo: Lewis Samuels Photo: Lewis Samuels Photo: Lewis Samuels

Photo: Lewis Samuels Photo: Lewis Samuels Photo: Lewis Samuels

Photo: Lewis Samuels Photo: Lewis Samuels Photo: Lewis Samuels

As you shoot them, photos of the scenery seem beyond reproach - clinical yet full of the emotion of being there.  Eternal, as the scenery is timeless.  People, on the other hand, are so tragically moored in the present tense.  A week after the trip: "We look so tired," you think.  "I wish I'd used sunscreen." Photos of people make everyone cringe.

But go back and look at those vacation photos a decade later, or five decades.  The scenery is meaningless - a collection of detritus - meaningless mountains, mammals, marsupials, monuments.  They look just the same as they always will.

But the pictures of people - surrounded by cars, clothes, lovers and dreams long lost - the people will someday mean something.

My first trip to Australia, 1980.

My first trip to Australia, 1980.

Magical Realism with Ben Button

Drew was doing tow-ats in 2' rights.

Australia is a big, lucky country.  25,670 kms of coastline, chock full of bays, points, pubs, and pro surfers that I've disparaged.  There are some places in the surfworld that it may prove unwise for me to visit - Brazil, Basque Country, the North Shore... places where I've stirred the pot enough to expect to deal with consequences.

In all honesty, I did not think Australia was one of those places.  Usually, Aussies are more likely to "get" my sense of humor.  They've been raised with piss-taking, and most Aussies aren't egotistical, sensitive divas who suffer from insecurity issues.

So when I scheduled an Australian stopover last week, I figured, "no worries, mate."  As mentioned, it's a big fucking country, and I didn't plan on visiting the Gold Coast or Maroubra or other areas where Aussies-who-hate-me happen to live.  Then Jed Smith published his little Stab piece, in which ASP Top 45er Drew Courtney was interviewed concerning my writings.

"I’d love to meet him face to face. It wouldn’t go real good." Drew told Stab.

Flash-forward to the present.  I'm standing in a parking lot in rural New South Wales, off the beaten track, looking for a little solitude, hours away from any city.  I've barely seen any other surfers.  So it struck me as a bit strange when Drew "Benjamin Button" Courtney pulled up and parked next to me.

PWC enhanced Ben Button blast...

What are the fuckin' odds?  Of course, I was compelled to introduce myself to Mr. Courtney.  If nothing else, the result would be post-worthy.  Naturally, the conversation was a wee-bit awkward, as I'm sure both of us felt the coincidence to be a bit too unlikely to chalk up to chance.  There was part of me that wondered if Ben Button was stalking me, so I can only assume that Ben Button, faced with the unfathomable improbability of encountering "that seppo" in the middle of nowhere, must have assumed I was stalking him.

the above blast set up this kneeler.

No punches were thrown.  I gave Drew my usual spiel about why I write what I write, and he mostly just stood there and nodded pleasantly.  "Well, nice to meet you, anyway," Mr. Courtney finished with.  He was true to his word, I'll give him that: I met him face to face, and It didn't go real good.  Ben Button didn't say or do one goddamn thing that was interesting enough to post about.

Damn you, Drew Courtney!  Well played sir.  Well played.

Scene of my high-noon showdown with Ben Button. Take that, Dane Reynolds! local talent

3 Shot Saturday: Lefts

I'd like to start featuring photos instead of words on Saturdays.  The concept is simple: you, the reader, submit 3 shots on one topic.

For now I'll get the ball rolling with Lefts.  Please send photos you'd like me to post in coming weeks.

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Photo: Lewis Samuels

Photo: Lewis Samuels

Photo: Lewis Samuels

Photo: Lewis Samuels

Photo: Lewis Samuels

The Art of Elimination

I've been pondering subtraction.  It's an appropriate subject for foreign shores - as Americans, we're raised to focus on what we can add to our life, instead of what we can take away.  We're a culture that's been adding objects and responsibilities and new lines of communication for years.  Now that the crises (as everyone calls it abroad) has reshaped our expectations, it seems like the right time to start considering what you really need in life to be happy, and what you could do without.

So I've been doing research - a little trial and error.  So has the ASP.

Will the ASP eliminate hot tubs next?  Photo: ASPworldtour.com

Will the ASP eliminate hot tubs next? Photo: ASPworldtour.com

Initial Findings:
Bells started up yesterday - the first event to utilize the new format.  Sudden death round 1 heats, instead of double-elimination.  This amounts to a quick and painful mercy killing of surfers like Nathaniel Curran, who was executed about 30 minutes into the 12-day waiting period.  Back at the last contest, Nathaniel suffered through over a week of slow decline before officially being handed his 33rd place death certificate.  So perhaps this new format is more humane.

It's also most likely cheaper for the sponsor.  Bells started up on the first day of the waiting period, in suspect conditions, even though there will be one less day of surfing in the new format.  It makes me wonder if the ASP and sponsors are grappling with what they can eliminate, while still presenting a good contest.

Will we turn back the clock?  Like the 80s, could we see cheap and efficient 3-day waiting periods?

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The jury's still out on whether the ASP's subtraction exercise will work.  As for my own experiment, I've rediscovered that I can be happy with just the basics: A surfboard, a pointbreak, and some clean groundswell.  And a firm mattress, and some fresh organic food prepared by an experienced American-trained cook.  And of course my iPhone, MacBook, iPod, and wireless (could anyone anywhere on earth really be happy if they had dial-up?) and good wine, and a nice car, and of course I need a cleaning lady cause I'm surfing all day and don't have time for the little things.

After subtracted needless luxuries from my life, I've learned to be happy with just the basics.  I challenge you to do the same.

Ironic Justice

The Surfline forecast for today called for 1-2' and onshore winds on the particular foreign shore I am now haunting.

If there is a god, perhaps she believes in ironic justice.

The swell built to double-overhead plus by sunset, and the crowd was light... as most punters had checked the forecast, and therefore believed it was going to be flat.

I looked at the ocean instead, and reaped the benefits.

The moral of this story? The farther away you get from Orange County, the less useful Surfline and their forecasts are to you.

Although this is an ironic post, this is actually a photo I shot today after surfing. Scout's honor.
foreign1

And yes, I counted my barrels and claimed all of them - closeouts included.

Fleeing the Country.

Greener Pastures.  Photo: Lewis Samuels

Greener Pastures. Photo: Lewis Samuels

I am off to greener pastures on something called a "surfing trip."

I can't wait to get to Brazil and start counting my barrels!

I'm not entirely sure if they have the world wide web there, or if we only have that here in America. So posts may become sporadic.

In the meantime - let's hear some stories from the trenches. What's your most memorable surf trip moment?

Reading Comprehension Quiz

It's time for another PostSurf Reader Challenge!!!

Lately, I've become concerned that some readers don't really "get" what PostSurf is all about.

So this week, we have a reading comprehension quiz. This will be especially useful for any kids prepping for the SAT, or pro surfers trying to pretend their home-schooling equates to a high-school- level education.

Please answer the following multiple choice questions concerning recent posts.  The first reader to answer all questions correctly will win a PostSurf prize pack: Billabong's new "Corporate Raider" boardshort, Mollusk's "Death to Locals" T-Shirt, and a premium subscription to Surfline.  Thanks to our contest sponsors for supporting PostSurf!

Is it possible that LS cares more about this than PostSurf?

Is it possible that LS cares more about this than PostSurf? Photo: LS

Questions:

1. In the "Deuce Whitlock" post, the author implies that this 'man-whore' should be ashamed because

A. He slept with 3 women he was not married to, at once, then stole their money, then bragged about it in a magazine.  Jesus would not do that.

B. He was paid only $100 to sleep with three women.  He's under-cutting other hard-working Gigolos.

C. He bought drinks for the tricks with his profit, instead of letting them supply the drinks and then also getting paid $100.

D. Lewis doesn't give a fuck about Ricky Whitlock and his sexual conquests.  This is a post about the sad state of surf media - the whole thing about Ricky being a male prostitute is something called a "joke" and is supposed to be "funny."

E. All of the above.

2. The author’s attitude in the "Do you like KOOKS?" post is best described as

A. ambivalent

B. neutral

C. supportive

D. satirical

E. contemptuous

3. If the author were to actually speak to one of the people whose businesses he's mocked, he would most likely

A. Rant and rave angrily about the topics he wrote about.

B. Beg for mercy and insist that they shouldn't hit a man with glasses.

C. Try to explain irony to them, while they were punching him.

D. Explain that all publicity is good publicity, and note that he's driven lots of traffic to their websites, and rallied people to their defense.

4. All of the following can be inferred after reviewing the posts, comments, and events surrounding PostSurf

A. There are some really fucking stupid people out there.  Although they have learned how to read and type, they would surely fail a reading comprehension quiz.  Some of these people own or work for surf companies.

B. There are some really, really angry people out there who take themselves way too seriously and apparently have no sense of humor.  PostSurf is not run by one of these individuals.

C. Lewis Samuels is a self-destructive, bitter, delusional personality of no importance, who is most likely either an alcoholic, mentally-ill, or both.

D. All of the above.

Do you like KOOKS?

I have fled the scene.  I am currently in the mountains, meditating on my sins against surfing.  I am running through the snow holding a large boulder while simultaneously drinking vodka from a sheep's bladder, training to achieve the standard of journalism that readers of surfing websites demand.

apline

It is slow going. These boulders are heavy, and I haven't had much time to consider what to write.  The mountains are not my home.  I did not grow up snowboarding - like most Jews with a medical degree, my father was terrified of the snow.  When I first began to snowboard, out of a sense of duty (because it is what bros do) I felt like a total kook.  Each time I fell or did something kooky, and got in the way of a more experienced snowboarding bro, I expected quick and justified retribution - epithets like:

"Beat it Kook!"

"Fuck you transplant!  Where did you go to high school? Not here, I know that much already fuckwit!"

"Let's take this to the mid-mountain chalet, I'll kick your maggot ass!"

But shockingly, even the raddest bros on the mountain didn't say stuff like that to me.  Usually they'd apologize if I got in their way and we almost collided.  The most bad-ass of them would sneer very slightly as they sprayed me with snow.

What's wrong with you, snow-bros? Don't you know how to keep kooks in line?

Back at the beach, things are a bit different.  Transplant artists are NOT tolerated.  Take the Mollusk crew, for instance.  These transplants moved to my city, started some kind of creative crafty surf shop that I don't quite understand, and then started breeding retro-kooks like they had a factory in their store.

Many of the old time locals do not appreciate the Mollusk crew AT ALL.  They are not amused that kooks who ride retro-hulls and can barely stand up are now giving 40-year-to-life locals stinkeye because of their thrusters and relaxed-fit jeans.  There is some friction.

Which makes it kind of ironic that the transplant Mollusk crew is now selling ironic tight-fitting $28 T-Shirts that read "Death to Locals."

I wonder if the locals will get the irony when one of these kooks takes their parking spot at the beach while giving the "cooler-than-thou" stare, and then emerges from their Toyota Prius wearing the "Death to Locals" T-shirt?

Personally, I've found it's hard to explain irony to paroled convicts on meth while they are busy punching you.

Mollusk's possibly ironic new T-Shirt.

Mollusk's possibly ironic T-Shirt from Warriors of Radness.

Where will the MONEY come from?

Since I got fired I'm trying to figure out how I can get paid for this fuckery.

Me and the staff here at PostSurf (meaning me and my dog) have been throwing around a few ideas:

1) Sell ad space on PostSurf via pyramid scheme

I'm offering you, my reader, an amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make over $100,000 a year, without having to work almost at all.  It's simple!  For a one-time-only recurring fee of $1000 dollars, you can become a certified PostSurf ad salesman.  You also become certified to train others in selling PostSurf ad space.  So really, you'll earn that $1000 right back as soon as you sign up 1000 of your friends to become PostSurf ad salesman (PostSurf will receive a nominal 99% processing fee for all the salesmen you certify, leaving you with a hefty 1% commission!)  Here's the best part: each time one of your army of PostSurf salesmen trains a friend, you'll get half their commission!!!

Get in early and watch the money pour in while you watch daytime television!

quik9postsurf

2) Deliver "Novelty Power Rankings" at Weddings and Bar Mitzvahs

This idea sounds like soooo much fun.  I could create customized, super-personal Power Rankings of your loved ones, which I could then deliver at special occasions - birthdays, anniverseries, weddings, bar mitzvahs...

I often hear from readers that they're "totally into the power rankings."  So surely, their significant other or 13-year-old daughter is just as big a fan too, right? What better way to show your love than to commision me to write a very special Power Ranking, just for them?

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Wedding Sample:

"After reviewing Jenny's round 1 performance in bed with Mark on Saturday night, all I can say is, "That's some Benjamin Button shit, right there."  Although her age is listed as 31, Jenny looks like Mark's ex-fiance Meredith, if you left Meredith on a desert island for 10 years with an all-you-can-eat buffet, but no moisturizer or shade. According to industry insiders, Jenny spent the first year of her relationship with Mark fucking like she was in the Special Olympics.  But now she's minding the stepchildren and swallowing loads like she's Lindsay Lohan hoovering her dealer for an 8 ball.  Even more inspiring was the fact that Jenny seemingly spent the entire event with one of her wonky implants dislocated - her right nipple looked like it was trying to flee the scene, out of sense of common decency.  But a comeback is a comeback - so we're placing Jenny at 23 in the Power Rankings of girls Mark has slept with."

Who wouldn't pay to have me deliver a touching speech like that, in-person at their wedding?

Note: Because these personalized Power Rankings are works of art, they won't be cheap.  But we're talking about your loved ones - some things are worth spending money on, even in a recession.

FIRED.

You didn't have to be Nostradamus to see this coming.

For those of you had bets going as to when this would happen:

Surfline fired me on Friday due to last week's "Corporate Rage" post.

If any of you want a refresher course on "How the Surf Industry Works," this incident should serve as a convenient example.  Nothing we didn't already know... but a nice succinct study nonetheless.

firingsquad500

For those of you who haven't read the post, please go back and take a look.  It's pretty mild, innocuous stuff compared to many of the things Surfline has paid me to write about pro surfers over the last few years.  Difference is, this time I expressed an opinion about Surfline and the CEO of Billabong, instead of an under-sponsored Brazilian.

So the word came down from the higher-ups at Surfline that my signed contract for 2009 was no longer being honored.  They specifically cited two incidents that led to my termination.

1) My Transworld post, in which I mocked one of their competitors for catering to advertisers, but in fairness noted "I get paid to write for Surfline, a website that also licks advertisers’ balls, part of the machine."

2) The "Corporate Rage" post, in which I mused that in light of recent incidents like the AIG scandal, "perhaps this is the wrong time for any CEO to publicize 100 Tavarua tubes."

I'm posting news of my termination simply to let readers know that they should not expect to find my writing (or my Power Rankings) on Surfline anymore.

I also want to clear up one point:  Many people will falsely surmise that Billabong and/or their CEO put pressure on Surfline, and this led to me being fired.  Surfline made it clear to me that this is not the case.  In fact, they claimed that no advertisers have contacted them with anything except positive feedback about PostSurf.

So... As to any lingering questions concerning whether Surfline licks advertisers' balls or not -- I think we've pretty much cleared that one up.

OUTSIDER ART

I do not come from surfers; I am the only person in my family who surfs.

I am a first generation surfer, as my grandfather is a first-generation American.

My grandfather took these photos while walking on a beach in Barbados, before I was born, sometime in the early seventies.

He captured lines and experiences that meant little to him, but now mean something to me.

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bbdos_surfer_smile

bbdos_surfer_70s

I have plenty to say, but I'll save that for another day.

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