Category Archives: Photos

PHOTO DISPATCH: TEEN CHOICE AWARD BOARDS

As the naughties grind towards their inevitable close, the time has come to take stock of the decade and consider the progression of surfing since 2000.

Surf Culture has blossomed and grown strong since the millennium.  What better way to chart this development than through the progression of Teen Choice Award board design?

2000

2000: The stock-standard thruster has been finely-tuned into a high performance machine via two decades of collaboration between Al Merrick and the world's best surfers: Tom Curren and Kelly Slater.  Hardcore surfers like Britney Spears are ordering their Teen Choice Award boards at 6'0" x 18.25" x 2.25".  Not visible: Britney's soon-to-develop cheeto-rich hips, and the vestigial Merrick hip present in the back third of this high- performance template.

Stefani, Gwen

2001: The Teen Choice Awards soldier on, despite the recent tragedies of Septemeber 11th.  Event promoters are rumored to remark, "The Teen Choice Awards are America: and like our great nation, they are worth dying for."  Driven by nostalgia, award board design alludes to the halcyon days of 1980s, when Curren was king and Ronald Reagen benevolently watched over us all.  Gwen Stefani invokes the flag of our great nation in her choice of bikini top and belt; her award board features a flatter rocker, fuller rail, and slight swallow tail.

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2002: Influenced by the recent dominance of blond Hawaiian powerhouse Andy Irons, Britney Spears' award board features a Hawaiian flower print, an Eric Arakawa inspired single-to-double concave and a slightly gunnier outline, with less volume present in the nose.  Still recovering from her devastating break-up with Justin Timberlake, Britney adds two inches to her standard award board to help with paddling and stability through backside bottom turns.

2003

2003: As Kelly Slater returns to form and challenges Andy Irons for the world title, Hollywood is once again smitten with low-volume rocker chips.  Dominant douche-riders like Ashton Kutcher go as small as 5'9" x 17" x 1.75" in an attempt to slipstream a little of Kelly's magic slipper mojo.  By all accounts, the lack of volume in award board equipment challenges most top Teen Choice Award recepients.

2004

2004: Thin is in.  Influenced by celebutards Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, thickness stays under 2 inches on most award boards, but length is increased by at least 4 inches on average.  Swallow tails make a comeback, as Ms. Hilton notes that the term "swallowtail" sounds "so hot," as opposed to the term "square tail."  Their lifelong friendship strained by working relations on The Simple Life, Ms. Ritchie is rumored to in fact call Ms. Hilton "a dirty swallowtail" in the wake of Ms. Hilton's sex tape.

2005

2005: In the wake of the shut-down of Clark Foam, many core celebrities begin experimenting with alternative epoxy construction in their award boards.  Rachel McAdams finds success via a stringerless, parabolic-railed epoxy composite with FCS fin system.  Due to security concerns, fins are not included in Teen Choice Award boards.

2006

2006: In a return to the elegance and restraint of old-Hollywood, key new performers such as Rihanna opt to leave swallowtails behind and embrace square tails.  Computer-shaping machines allow celebrities like Rihanna to duplicate magic boards, like the Tex-Mex 6'1" pictured above.  After a flood of complaints, fins are again included on award boards.  Little does Rihanna know... finless will be hip soon enough.

2007

2007: The green trend begins in earnest, spurring environmentally conscious young celebrities like Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron to change the design of their award boards.  Both Ms. Hudgens and Mr. Efron choose to ride highly toxic polyurethane-based equipment.  However, they note that inspired by "An Inconvenient Truth," they have opted to use green rails on their award boards.

2008

2008: As surf culture becomes ever-more environmentally conscious, core performers like The Jonas Brothers opt for wood-based award boards.  The Jonas Brothers, inspired by craftsman/shaper Danny Hess, rely on perimeter-framed cork and poplar with wood-skinned decks.  In a tip of the hat to Tom Curren and Tom Carroll, award boards feature the acronym TC instead of Teen Choice.

2009

2009: Green and Retro are in.  Despite their glamor and beauty, core "it" girls like Megan Fox choose down-to-earth user-friendly designs. Ms. Fox's award board features a traditional fish template inspired by the work of Skip Frye.  For the first time in Teen Choice history, twin fins push aside thrusters as the fin set-up of choice.  In order to preserve the environment for future generations, all award boards are painted green.

PHOTO DISPATCH: Time and Tide

Same shit, different year.

Nothing really changes. Views of a California Point: 2008, 1993, 1986, 1979, 1972.

Photos via the California Coastal Records Project, Kenneth and Gabrielle Adelman.

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PHOTO DISPATCH: LOCALS ONLY

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Today we have the photogravures of Edward Sheriff Curtis , a professional photographer from Seattle, who documented over 80 North American Indian tribes between 1907 and 1930.

The photo above depicts a Qagyuhl wedding party, Pacific Northwest coast.

Nearly 100 years later, not far from where this location, meth-addled white trash of Aryan descent now jealously guard a handful of quality points.  Tactics of intimidation include camouflaged pits lined with Punji sticks and broken glass, to keep non-local invaders from hiking into "their" spots.

But hey - when Meth-abuse makes your IQ decline in equilibrium with your number of remaining teeth... such xenophobia seems logical.

No matter - like the native tribes before them, the current locals will be swept away by the masses; outnumbered by aliens with better resources.  This new wave of pasty Caucasian invaders will rely on entitlement, enthusiasm, lawyers, and $100 Costco foamies.

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PHOTO DISPATCH: MAASSEN on SHAPING

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Let's pause for a moment from all our bilious ruminations to consider a holy trinity of thankless surf industry jobs:

Shaper, photographer, and writer.

Although all three roles are underpaid, shapers differ from photographers and writers in that they're actually necessary.

Trouble is, doing what you love is no way to make a living.  But I'll let the talented youths of today test out that maxim for themselves.

Today we have Morgan Maassen, photographing the work of 23-year-old Santa Barbara shaper Ryan Lovelace, of Point Concept and Timberline Surfboards.

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PHOTO DISPATCH: MYLES McGUINNESS

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We make all of this more complicated than it is.

The water holds no answers.  I don't hold any either.

Sometimes it's enough to bear witness.

Myles McGuinness, corroborating what we already know.

See 9mPhoto for more of Myles' work.

Firestorm 2007 Blacks Beach Big Wednesday Blacks Beach 12.05.2007

9mphoto_tres 9mphoto_nica Oceanside-Fall "Twin Peaks"

Morning Juice Oceanside Blacks Beach 9mphoto_rivermouth

Secrete Spot 9mphoto_lafamilia Lennox Head, Australia

PHOTO DISPATCH: REPO in INDO

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More waves.  Less words.

Just a stop-gap measure while I transition from hungover to drunk, and knock out the next batch of Power Rankings.

Jason Reposar.  Indonesia.  I'm trying to forget about where I'm not at.

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PHOTO DISPATCH: STU GIBSON

Photo: Stu Gibson/ theCollective.net.au

BREAKING NEWS: As TurtleGate enters its 20th day, our top story is the shocking confirmation that Michael Jackson is still dead.

In other TurtleGate news, PostSurf is proud to feature the photographs of Stuart Gibson, a Tasmanian photog who has recently been connected to the scandal.

In an exclusive interview, Mr. Gibson confessed to PostSurf, " I was actually on that Mexico trip with Mooney, but not on the turtle boat."

Perhaps in a foolish attempt to distract us from the truth, Mr. Gibson was kind enough to share some of his images with PostSurf.

Gibson's latest project is TheCollective.net.au - a new-fangled  interweb site that features fresh, daily images from a crew of top-shelf global shooters.

"Too often the work of many photographers is left on the cutting room floor, with the magazines handpicking only a small selection of images from what is often an amazing collection," notes Mr. Gibson. "TheCollective’s goal is to bring these unpublished images back for your enjoyment."

Suck on that, you corporate surfmag monkeys!  We web log sites may be less glossy than you, and we may not manifest ourselves in actual physical form, and we may not have the support of the surf industry, or any industry for that matter... but we're gonna take your ass down! Backwoods style!

This is guerilla warfare, you simple Billabong-ball-gargling bastards.  And like any good gorilla at war, I'm not afraid to shit in my own hand - cause now I gots somethin' to throw at ya! Ka-POW!

Photo: Stu Gibson/ theCollective.net.au Photo: Stu Gibson/ theCollective.net.au Photo: Stu Gibson/ theCollective.net.au

Photo: Stu Gibson/ theCollective.net.au Photo: Stu Gibson/ theCollective.net.au Photo: Stu Gibson/ theCollective.net.au

Photo: Stu Gibson/ theCollective.net.au Photo: Stu Gibson/ theCollective.net.au Photo: Stu Gibson/ theCollective.net.au

Photo: Stu Gibson/ theCollective.net.au Photo: Stu Gibson/ theCollective.net.au Photo: Stu Gibson/ theCollective.net.au

PHOTO DISPATCH: WILL ADLER

Photo: Will Adler

The Fourth of July.

Images of leisure.  The color's drained out. The consequences are slim.  Hours of daylight - all of it hazy.

Watch the water beads dry on the bottom of your board.  Watch the water beads form on the skin of your glass.  Clink the ice.  Smile at her.  Keep the shades on.  Keep it simple.  The more you say, the more likely you'll say the wrong thing.

So nothing starts today.  No slabs.  No tows.  No sponsors. No digital.

Just the images of Will Adler, groping into our American past.  Shooting film, re-imagining an era he never experienced.

Why look back?  Because America isn't what it once was.  Surfing ain't either.  It's just what it is.  It's what we make it.

Photo: Will Adler Photo: Will Adler Photo: Will Adler

Photo: Will Adler Photo: Will Adler Photo: Will Adler

Photo: Will Adler Photo: Will Adler Photo: Will Adler

PHOTO DISPATCH: John S. Callahan

Tom Curren.  Sunset.  Photo: JS CALLAHAN / TROPICALPIX.COM

Tom Curren. Sunset. Photo: JS CALLAHAN / TROPICALPIX.COM

JS Callahan was kind enough to share with PostSurf these iconic photographs from an era passed, along with his recollections:

"15 images of Olde School North Shore Power Surfing.

Men were men, waves were big and mean, and turns were done with the rail buried. Nary a little kid, an air nor a tailslide to be seen.

Lunatics like Marvin Foster went left at Waimea for attention and photos.

Promotional video was in its infancy, auteurs sweated and toiled with cumbersome 16mm film cameras, cursing sun-blocking overcast and clouds; blown tube rides that wasted precious film stock were roundly cursed."

Bragging rights go to the reader who first identifies all surfers below.

For more of Callahan's work, check out tropicalpix.com and jscfoto.com .

Speaking of eras passed: The ASP Brazil event kicked off this morning.  So far, it smells like a musty 80s grovel throwback.  Retro is in.  Live feed here.

Tom Carroll, Pipeline.  Photo: JS Callahan / Tropicalpix.com Dane Kealoha. Photo: JS Callahan / Tropicalpix.com Photo: JS Callahan / Tropicalpix.com

Photo: JS Callahan / Tropicalpix.com Photo: JS Callahan / Tropicalpix.com Photo: JS Callahan / Tropicalpix.com

Photo: JS Callahan / Tropicalpix.com Photo: JS Callahan / Tropicalpix.com Photo: JS Callahan / Tropicalpix.com

Photo: JS Callahan / Tropicalpix.com Photo: JS Callahan / Tropicalpix.com Photo: JS Callahan / Tropicalpix.com

Photo: JS Callahan / Tropicalpix.com http://www.tropicalpix.com/fotoshowpro/ Photo: JS Callahan / Tropicalpix.com

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

PHOTO DISPATCH: MORGAN MAASSEN

There’s nothing worse than child prodigies.
Unencumbered by cynicism and the harsh hand of reality, they go about wrestling their dreams into their arms in a straightforward, naïve fashion.  Meanwhile, the rest of us oldies, long ago hardened by the bitter pill of past failures, lead our lives amidst a grandiose, ramshackle framework of excuses.  We dodge our childhood goals by wisely identifying the many rational reasons we should not pursue them.

Photo: Morgan Maassen

This week’s Photo Dispatch comes from Morgan Maassen, an 18-year-old Santa Barbara surfer who’s been “shooting photos for almost a year, full-time for about 6 months.”  I stumbled across Morgan's site, Bogus, and sent him an email asking what he's going for with his photos.

"i don't set out to accomplish anything at all, except capture the slivers of beauty i hunt for and treasure so much. i shoot 99% water as i am a lifelong surfer, spearfisher, bodysurfer, etc. and cannot stand being stationery and distanced from action... shooting waterhousing, whether video or stills, is an artistically-gratifying extension of bodysurfing, which to me is the only athletic movement purer than surfing."

Oh, to be young and earnest. Check out bogus-media.com for more of Morgan's photos and films.

Photo: Morgan Maassen / Bogus-media.com Photo: Morgan Maassen / Bogus-Media.com Photo: Morgan Maassen / Bogus-Media.com

Photo: Morgan Maassen / Bogus-Media.com Photo: Morgan Maassen / Bogus-Media.com Photo: Morgan Maassen / Bogus-Media.com

Photo: Morgan Maassen / Bogus-Media.com Photo: Morgan Maassen / Bogus-Media.com Photo: Morgan Maassen / Bogus-Media.com

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.

Comment of the Week.

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Comment of the week goes to Dave Mailman, who seemed to develop a moderate-to-serious addiction to the PostSurf commenters arena this week.

Honestly, I'm on the road right now, and I didn't take the time to read through all of the comments.  But I'm certain that many readers hammered out insights that eclipsed those of Mr. Mailman.

However, the crown goes to Mr. Mailman simply because he chose to stand by his opinions by attaching his actual name to them.

(Dave Mailman is not an un-clever pseudonym - he's an actual person who does the webcast commentary for various ASP Europe and WCT events).

One of the common criticisms my work receives (usually from anonymous commenters) is something along the lines of this: "Whatever, dude, any coward can talk shit on the internet."

There is, of course, truth to this observation.  Which is why I think it's important to attach my real name to everything I write.  Just like Dave Mailman, I actually have to interact with the people I write about.  It raises the stakes.

Think about it the next time you leave an awesome, snarky comment on a website.  Knowing that you'd inevitably run into the person you're writing about, would you attach your real name to your comment?

Dave Mailman says: May 26, 2009 at 9:04 am

... Not as creative or emotionally disturbed as some of the characters inhabiting this virtual reality world that is PostSurf, but I do like to set the record straight for everyone when I can… This site is kind of like a drug, though. You know it’s not good for you, but with crew like BR around you know your going to have a good time!
PS: Definitely not condoning drug use… just a metaphor.

PHOTO DISPATCH: RAMBO ESTRADA

Twin Peaks.  Photo: Rambo Estrada

PostSurf is on the road for the next few weeks.  With any luck, I'll be spending time surfing instead of writing about surfing, meaning posts may be sporadic.

For now, let's drink deep of some chilled visions from photographer Rambo Estrada, a PostSurf reader from Middle Earth.

More of his work can be found on his blog.

Unlike his namesake, ol' Rambo is just getting started in the game of surf photography.  Part of the PostSurf project involves me sifting through the debris of surf culture.  I often emerge from each  dumpster-dive stinking of filth and sick about the world.  But every now and then I'll come across little frozen moments that get me excited about surfing.

Rambo's photos are one such find.

Matt Hall at the farm.  Photo: Rambo Estrada Matt White, sunrise launch.  Photo: Rambo Estrada Photo: Rambo Estrada

Photo: Rambo Estrada Tim O'Connor.  Photo: Rambo Estrada Photo: Rambo Estrada

Ex WCTer Maz Quinn. Photo: Rambo Estrada Photo: Rambo Estrada Photo: Rambo Estrada

Mr. Estrada is currently competing in Stab's Little Weeds.  Go to his page to vote for him, American Idol style.