Category Archives: Personal

More Media Fuckery

Surfline.com just put up their "Power Rankings."

What a fucking joke!!!!

picture-12

Who the fuck writes this piece of shit article every month?  I don't have much time to write because unlike some people I actually have a real job, I don't just spend my time watching surf contests on the computer and then acting like it makes me an authority on surfing.  But I just wanted to put up a quick post saying "suck it, monkey" to the moron who writes this shit.

Kelly at 17?  That's so disrespectful.  The guy who wrote that isn't any pro surfer that I've ever heard of.  So he has no right to express opinions like that.  Plus sometimes I feel like he's saying one thing even when he means another thing, which I don't like.  I don't like flip-floping and I sure don't like double-talk.

We're men of action, not words.  I just wanted to speak towards that point.

Here's some comments that people who agree with me left on Surfline.

Phil Ayshio 03/19/2009 05:47 AM

I hope the cpmments on Kelly were done purely out of jest. Otherwise they're disrepectful and a very fickle opinion. I think they were a joke though becuase anyone can have a bad day and sacrifices are always made by those trying to pioneers.

Andre (BRASIL) 03/19/2009 05:47 AM

I´m still stoked of how could you guys of such a good surf channel (the best one) can still have prejudgement with the brazilian surfers, first of all you compared Jihad Khodr to a special olympics athlete, and then you are asking yourself if the world is changing because of the best brazilian performances, why did you guys from the best former opinion channel of the surf still judging the brazilian CT´s ? please take it easy guys! wait for more brazilian actions on the next event!!!!

andrew 03/19/2009 05:03 AM

This" power ranking" is so American... dane,hobgoods, jordy, slater aways at the top and the rest "who cares " , right ??? Who would know how it is on tour exept the surfers ? nobody....especialy not Lewis Samuel...who's that ? by the way.... Who knows how the surfer is feeling in some events (personal family problems,injurys,money problems )....I think it sucks talking bad about a guy without knowing nothing about him ! Its sad....you guys should be a shame

Shards Still Falling: Part 3

I thought I'd close the loop with the final chapter of my revisit of Shards Still Falling, an article I wrote back in '03. (Part One Here and Part Two Here.)  It would be nice if I could spend my time researching in-depth, introspective pieces with gargantuan word-counts, like this one clumsily attempts to be.  But for the most part, editors at the majors pass on anything over 800 words, especially if it doesn't have a feel-good vibe.  Often, if an article doesn't sell trunks, it doesn't sell.

G-Land. Photo: Dave Collyer/Sickshots.com

G-Land. Photo: Dave Collyer/Sickshots.com

The Aftermath of the Bali Bombings

As the one year anniversary of the Bali Bombings approached, Kuta Beach seemed to be trying to heal itself.  Most prominently, Kuta Karnival, "A Celebration of Life; A Remembrance of Love," was scheduled to run from September 11 to October 12.  Organized by local Balinese, expatriates, local businesses, and international sponsors, the Kuta Karnival aimed to bring visitors back to Kuta and act as a remembrance of the Bali Bombing.  As the promotional posters stated, "It's surf, skate, sounds, and sun... a fair, a festival, a fanfare of food, a fantasy of fun, and a free-for-all, for you - for the world..."  One morning in early October, after another night of liver abuse, I decided to walk my hangover down the sandy expanse of Kuta Beach. In the distance stood scaffolding and sponsor's tents; the tell-tale signs of a major surf contest.  I sat myself down in the sand, directly next to the judges tower, along with a handful of other quiet spectators.  Out in the water, six competitors half-heartedly slogged it out in boring two foot surf.  They all seemed to be on ancient equipment.  I sat there, perplexed for a moment, until the contest announcer cleared things up over the loudspeaker.  I was watching the Retro Division, in which Bali surfing pioneers squared off against present day local pros, with all competitors riding vintage boards from the 70's and 80's.  It looked like fun - a lighthearted event, bridging the gap between generations.  When surfing first came to Bali, the local people were terrified of it.  They lined the cliffs at Uluwatu, praying for the lives of the crazy foreigners, sure that the evil spirits of the sea would drag them to their deaths.  It took a number of years for the younger, more open-minded Balinese children to get over their cultural fear of the sea.  But it happened, and now Balinese surfers are some of the finest in the world.

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Starting a Magazine!!!

Hey Friends,

I've been doing a lot of soul searching lately.  I don't think it's right for me to be so snarky and ironic and cynical all the time.  Too much negative energy.  I want to be earnest and heartfelt and optimistic again.  I'm returning to my first, innocent love.

I'm offering fellow devotees a reader-supported labor of love:

THE BOOGER'S JOURNAL

boogersjournal1

That's right.  Enough of this corporate, rip-and-tear bullshit.  Remember back when surfing actually meant something?

I'll take you back to that time.

Remeber how good life was before you got married and had kids?  Spend 10 minutes in the bathroom pretending your life was like that again.

Ever wonder if someone out there has a treasure-trove of unpublished blurry photos of people sitting around Sandy Beach in '77, or Laguna in '82?  I'm gonna find those pictures and run 30 page articles with every one of them.

glorydays

Remember when fashion used to be cool?  Remember throwing peace signs while bottom-turning?

Remember when surf brands were so core that you wanted to personally allign yourself with them?

Remember those random pro boogie boarders for the 80s?  I'm going to spend two weeks living with each one, and then publish in-depth profile pieces.  Some of these old-timers might be really cool mellow family men now, and some might be misogynistic racists who beat their trailer trash wives and embezzle funds from the local Elk's Lodge.

Either way, you're gonna read 30 pages about each of these living legends who might as well be dead.  They were born before you kid, so their life experiences are inherently meaningful.

boogie

But wait!  There's more!

This isn't just some nostalgia trip.  I'm going to bring you action-packed surf trips articles, where old heroes team up with young rippers who got teased in high school because they sucked at shortboarding, so now they're soulful and artistic and have a deeper connection with nature than you because they hang out with living legends and surf shitty equipment on their bellies.

boog3

I know there's people out there like me who care about the soul of surfing.  So please subsrcibe!  Send $150 dollars to PostSurf headquarters, and I'll send you your first issue in about a year and a half.

I stand corrected

OK Kids...

I’ve been informed the mystery man below is Alek Parker, a Pro Surfer from Florida.

What has the surf world come to when Pro Surfers are being misidentified as writers?

…Actually, come to think of it, Pro Surfers being misidentified as writers is exactly how we end up with all those shithouse articles in the mags each month.

“I’m Spartacus!”

File this under "Really?"

STAB mag ran a gallery of party pics from some recent premiere, and misidentified the guy next to Dane as Lewis Samuels.

Dane and the impostor Lewis Samuels.  Photo: Nick Chalmers

Dane and the impostor Lewis Samuels. Photo: Nick Chalmers

Has someone really been doing the rounds of Gold Coast parties pretending to be me?  Why anyone would emulate my plight, I have no idea.  It seems like it would be much safer to pull the impostor routine with some faceless groovy surf photog.

Perhaps STAB is just really, really bad at that whole journalism thing - that guy probably is a famous surf photog.  Or maybe the angry gent next to Dane is doing the old "I"m Spartacus!" routine (see video below).  Either way, I'd like to thank Stab and/or the fake Lewis Samuels for creating at least a momentary sliver of doubt concerning who I am.

Doppelganger bro - did you get punched by the end of the night?  I've found it's best to slip out before the angry mob of the offended surpasses an average personal consumption of 3 drinks.  Are you OK, Fake-Me?  Please mail.  I'm worried you're face down in a cane field.  Now I know how my friends feel.

Shards Still Falling: Part 2

Here's the second part of the reprint of Shards Still Falling, an article I wrote back in 2003 when I was young and relatively idealistic.  (Read part one here.) My life was in shambles when I did this piece.  I had just spent 9 months writing a novel while muddling through the disintegration of various aspects of my personal and professional life - deaths, business failures, break-ups, rejections, etc.  Then I spent 3 months surfing G-land and Desert Point and decided my life was pretty great after all, especially compared to lives more effected by still recent tragedies such as the Bali Bombings, War in Afghanistan, and 9/11.

G-Land.  Photo: Dave Collyer/ Sickshots.com

G-Land. Photo: Dave Collyer/ Sickshots.com

The Aftermath of the Bali Bombings: Part 2 (Read part one here.)

The return trip from Grajagan to Kuta Beach takes about nine hours.  There isn’t much to do, once you become used to the beautiful and monotonous rice paddies and Balinese temples that stream by outside the car window.  You can listen to music.  You can talk to your companions.  And you can drink.  When I traveled back to Kuta in late September, the trip was particularly long.  By the time we reached the main street of Jalan Legian, the sun was setting beyond all the cells of commerce, and my Australian companions had been drinking long-neck Bintang beers for 11 hours.  They had started shortly before breakfast.  It’s always a strange feeling; returning to Kuta after weeks spent in the wilderness, surfing with monastic focus.  Nearly everything looks out of place in Kuta — garish, oversimplified, culturally insensitive.  But Kuta isn’t about style.  It’s about supply and demand, convenience and availability.  Driving down the main drag, one is mostly struck by how plentiful everything is — just how many stores there are, how many people, t-shirts, tattoos, restaurants, taxis, how many places where one might sit and drink with girls.  The girls, of course, are just as plentiful as anything else — Australian girls, Balinese girls, European girls, Japanese girls.  Shy tourist girls, wild party girls, two-week vacation girls and working girls.  As we drove into the heart of Kuta, already well and truly demolished from 11 hours of drinking, the consensus seemed to be that we should check into a hotel, and then regroup and proceed directly to more drinking, and the company of women.  I had a dim feeling at that point that any night so drenched in alcohol would eventually end poorly.
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SHARDS STILL FALLING

This article is a reprint from 2003. I had more time on my hands then.  Time enough to spend a few months a year in Indo, time enough to write long, sprawling, vaguely earnest articles about things I cared about.  I had more time than money - especially since no one wanted to pay me for articles like this.  In life, as a rule of thumb, I've learned that the more you care about what you do, the less likely you are to be well-compensated for it.  Aid work?  Art?  Expect to live month to month.  A unexplainable position in finance making faceless old white men rich?  Expect to get rich yourself and forget what you even care about by the time you get there.

6 years ago, after writing "Shards Still Falling" I had coffee with Matt Warshaw and asked for advice concerning becoming a successful surf journalist.  Matt had just finished the Encyclopedia of Surfing, and I considered him to be at the top of the game.  "Is there anything else you can do to make money?" Warshaw asked me.  I told him there was - I had walked away from a career in usability consulting to travel and surf.  "Do that then.  Do anything but this.  Writing about surfing is no way to make a living.  If you want to write about surfing, do it because you enjoy it."

I more or less took Matt's advice to heart.  2009, and it's time for me to head to the 19th floor of an office building in my nice pants, to bill hours and invest time into something I don't care about.  I consider myself lucky to still be employed.  And this site?  It's something I do to entertain myself.  I do it the way most people watch TV.  An hour a day or so, a distraction from real life.  Lately I haven't even had that much time to spare.  Hence this flashback.

2002 bombing victims.  Photo: Lewis Samuels

2002 bombing victims. Photo: Lewis Samuels

The Aftermath of the Bali Bombings

I met Blaine Pecaut late in September of 2003, when he walked into a clearing in the dense foliage of the Plengkung Jungle in the Banyuwangi province of Eastern Java.  Blaine has wide child eyes, simple, honest eyes, and although there were hints of gray in the stubble on his face, there was something very young and new about him.  We both were there for the same reason, as were the other hundred or so travelers who slept there by the Indian Ocean.  A congregation of international travelers, all there to surf.  The name of the place was Grajagan, the name of the surf spot G-land - a shallow mile long stretch of reef that is widely regarded as one of the best waves in the world.  I had already been there for two weeks when Blaine walked into the Jungle Camp, fresh off a speed boat, the final leg in an eight hour trek from Bali's Kuta Beach.  Blaine showed all the signs of a G-land rookie.  He was a bit nervous, hesitant, seemingly unfamiliar with the camp set-up.  I introduced myself, and offered to walk down to the beach with him; explain a bit about the surf spot.  It was my eighth trip to Indonesia, my sixth trip to G-land.  We went through the usual introductions; Blaine told me he was from San Clemente, California.  One of only a handful of "yanks" that I had come across in Indonesia that season.  Blaine is an electrician, and a dedicated, skilled surfer.  He has a quiet voice and mellow, spacey demeanor.  We sat on a bamboo bench facing the surf.  The waves were good that day, as they often are at Grajagan.  Blaine and I discussed the surf - where to paddle out, which waves to avoid, how to read the barrel sections.  During our conversation, I got the impression that this was Blaine's first trip to Indonesia.  He didn't say directly whether he had been to Indonesia or not - yet something about Blaine's voice, the Southern California surfer patois, something about his openness, trepidation...  I just got the feeling that Blaine was seeing it all through new eyes.  I told him that I thought it was pretty cool, that he had decided to come to Bali, alone, with the negative press and all.  The travel advisories.  The newspaper articles.  The aftermath of the Bali Bombing, which destroyed two prominent Kuta clubs on October 12, 2002.  Blaine told me that he was "a little scared to travel to Bali, but that it was important to face his fears."  I nodded, and we walked back towards the camp, ready to go surfing.

It would be another week before I discovered that Blaine had been to Indonesia before, after all - five times in all.  In fact, he had been there last fall.  Blaine Pecaut had spent the night of October 12 pulling injured survivors and burnt bodies out of the wreckage of the Sari Club, searching for the friends that he was supposed to meet there that night.

Speed Reef during our stay.  Photo: Dave Collyer/Sickshots.com

Speed Reef during our stay. Photo: Dave Collyer/Sickshots.com

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Are Comedians TERRORISTS?

Now that I'm an "authority on surfing" I get letters from groms who are trying to decipher what surfing is all about.  Here's another letter from little Charlie D, an inquisitive Grom from the OC who's just trying to figure out "how 2b COOL."

Hay,

R comedians TERRORISTS?  My Dad has been drinkin alot an watchin his MATLOCK dvds, hes such a douche he dont even now what NETFLIX is let alone WATCH INSTANLY.  Anyway, Dad is all chapped because hes sez the 8os were better when we had a STRONG leader Ronald Reggaen.  Dad sez now everythings ruined cause the economies soooo bad and that bitch mom keeps askin him for Ali Moni  - who I've never even met by the way - I don't know who she is.  After I'm at dads, mom always asks me about that SLUT Nikki who sleeps with dad instead of asking about Ali Moni. HUH?!?!?

But what Im writing about is this comedians thing.  I like people who R funny like U.  But Dad hates comediens, he sez that old woman Tina Fay ruined our great nation cause she made Sara Palin look dumb and stuff and now we have a TERRORIST as R PREZ.  So Tina is worse than Sadamn dad says.

H8 U TIna

Does that mean U R a terrorist?  I hope not cause I like the POWER RANKING its funny but it got me thinkin,  U R pretty harsh on TAJ and TAJ is cool so maybe U R a TERRORiST?

Please B nicer 2 TAJ.

-CHaRLlie D

HELP! I want to SELL OUT!

Hey Yall.  With the economy being so bad, I think I better SELL OUT any way I can.

What can I do to make everyone like this website?

Maybe I should post photos of me BROing out with super awesome, relevant pro surfers and then all you surf fans will be like, "Wow, you're so cool, I wish I could be YOU!"  And then clothing companies will give me money cause I heard being cool sells clothes somehow, like, magically.

ls_kelly_photo_gio2

OR.... maybe I just just post lots of photos of really cute stuff.  Like pictures of kittens and unicorns and titties and cupcakes.  I heard websites with an overload of CUTE get a TON of hits and then I'll get all this money from ads for diet pills.

cute_pics

OR... maybe I'll become a celebrity gossip blog and just start posting maybe-nsfw photos of maybe nipslip upskirt lindsay lohan dried-up lessie cokey coochie and maybe tell you which pro surfer is fucking which other pro surfer.  Reality TV shows will buy ad space.

linds

OR... maybe I should devolve into a straight-up mentally ill unabomber type, and get a cabin in the wilderness, far far away from the surf industry.  I'll use a dial-up connection and write zany zingers about pro surfers I've never met before.  The dial-up will make me SO ANGRY that I'll be really mean and sarcastic.  All you readers who're angry too will worship me like I'm Che Guevara. Maybe you'll will donate money, like you do for SurfAid.

unabomber-me

Retro? Primo.

No, I'm not on the Gold Coast - I'm sitting out this particular bro-down.  Why?  A) The economy. B) I'm mostly hated and I mostly hate bro-ing down.  C) There's more to life than the tour. D)  All of the above.

Brad Gerlach Photo: Lewis Samuels

Brad Gerlach Photo: Lewis Samuels

Bizarrely, the bro-down came to me yesterday, in the form of Brad Gerlach's Primo Beer Tour.  I guess Primo stopped bottling back in '86, around the time Gerr won the Stubbies Pro.  But retro is so hot right now, so Primo is back, and Gerlach is back with it, touring the coast in a motor home, sleeping with a stuffed monkey, giving away cases of beer to the unsung heroes of surfing - Glassers, sanders, ding-repairers... the under-appreciated.

Most of the glassing up here happens in Santa Cruz, so Brad gave me call  and asked where they should go.  Never one to turn down free beer, I took Brad on a tangential side-tour of our local Norcal Retro scene.  We brought a case of Primo to the laconic crew at Mollusk, allowing me to make karmic amends for writing The 40-year-old Barrel Virgin.  Then we stopped by Danny Hess's shaping room.  Danny makes 5 beautiful airplane-wing, chambered wood boards a week. He's dedicated his life to hand-crafting gems for discerning surfers.  I keep telling Danny that as soon as he has kids and the bills start piling up, he'll sell-out out and move operations to China. Malnourished children will hand-craft thousands of "his" magic boards, maximizing profit.  This concept does not amuse Danny.

After a lifetime spent around surfing, it was fascinating to see how genuinely stoked Brad remains to talk story in a shaping room, beer in hand.

All photos: Lewis Samuels

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.

MAKING FRIENDS

I have a tendency to anger people.

Case in point:  The 40-Year-Old Barrel Virgin, a piece I wrote for Surfline last summer.

Illustration: Sandow Birk

Illustration: Sandow Birk

The ensuing shitstorm included the following email exchange with an owner of Mollusk in NYC.

----- Original Message -----
From: Mollusk NYC
To: Lewis Samuels
Sent: Monday, August 25, 2008 2:16 PM
Subject: blame it on??

Should they blame it on "Mullosk" or Mollusk?
If we're going to be accused of something the least you could do is spell the second largest animal phylum correctly.  Thanks for stirring the turd. Always gets the kids excited to have their slim slacks poked fun of...then again I've never seen a pair a jeans fit as tight as a wetsuit.

For what ever its worth,

C.

My Response:

--- Original Message -----
From: Lewis Samuels
To: Mollusk NYC
Sent: Monday, August 25, 2008 5:57 PM
Subject: Re: blame it on??

Thanks for the email.
In regards to the misspelling of Mollusk in The 40-Year-Old Barrel Virgin, I'd refer you to the concept of an unreliable narrator.  Think Nabokov's Pale Fire, Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury, or Twain's Huck Finn.  The term unreliable narrator can be defined as "a narrating character who provides inaccurate, misleading, conflicting, or otherwise questionable information to the reader."

By using the incorrectly spelled "Mullosk" I both alert the reader to the presence of an unreliable narrator and avoid any ill-will that might result from slandering the good name of an existing business (such as Mollusk Surf Shop.)  Killing two birds with one stone, if you will. Get the whole story »

AFTER THE APOCOLYPSE

A RetroBro

A RetroBro

With the collective surf world teetering on the brink of economic ruin, it's important to look on the bright side.

With a weekday at our disposal, premier surf historian Matt Warshaw and I spent a day driving around in circles, for surf.

One of my favorite comments from Mr. Warshaw, who likes writing about surf history instead of re-living it:

"If this bad economy finally throttles the retro movement, it will have been worth the US going trillions into debt."

Should I Father a Surf Army?

Lots of my surf bros have knocked up their betties.

They tell me I'm still being "selfish," while they've "matured" into leadership roles, bringing up the next generation of groms.

So should I father a Surf Army?  It would be kind of cool to have a bunch of twisted groms who'd do my bidding.

Paskowitz Family Photo

Paskowitz Family Photo

I've been trying to start a cult for years now, but it seems like adults are kinda hard to brainwash.

Is it time to think longterm, like Michelle "Clowncar" Duggar, mother of 18?

clowncar

Or maybe we should "blind them with science" and pop out 8 lil' soldiers at once?

Octuplet Mommy

Octuplet Mommy

If I start all 8 mini-groms on a training program, I bet at least one will become a successful professional surfer.  Maybe I'll have half do CHEK training like Mick, while the other half train with the a Bra Boy like Taj.

Thoughts?