Category Archives: Surf Culture

Modern Complaints

There are other worlds beyond this one.

Maybe we've asked too much of surfing. Maybe we're asking the wrong questions.

Surfing in 2009.  Photo: Will Adler

Surfing in 2009. Photo: Will Adler

The cool kids are focusing on the past.  Groping at our velvia roots, trying to reconstruct surfing's age of innocence.  Groms on retro boards, re-imagining the romantic moments that preceded their conception.  Viewing life through celluloid instead of pixels.

It's a process akin to re-virginizing whores.

They're looking back because something about "surfing" today just doesn't feel right.  The magic has been drained out, leaving a pale corpse. As the body decomposes, and the stench sinks in, it becomes harder and harder to ignore.  Whether you're a bitter walrus in the lineup, a cynical PostSurf bastard on a laptop, or a Luddite surf hipster on an alaia.

As a rule, I prescribe to the belief that it's not healthy to live in the past.  A pretty girl told me once that nostalgia can be a fatal disease.  I've rarely received better advice.

But lately the present bores me.  I've been clicking through the dank pages of online surf culture and I've been feeling... nothing.

So I've looked back.  I've been wading through old archives of "the bible of our sport."  Searching for that innocence we once knew.

This is what I found:

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Before PostSurf, there was Surf Post.  Before the internet gave forums to faceless complainers, iconoclasts wrote letters.  They put pen to paper, stamp to envelope, spelled out their grievances, and sent them off to a higher power - the editor of Surfer Magazine.

A handful of letters were published each month.  The rest were discarded.  Sometimes I wonder about all those abandoned letters, and the altered version of surf history that might emerge if you could somehow assemble all those forsaken pedestrian words.

Of those that were published, this letter resonated.

"The current rage in your magazine appear to be nostalgia, the good old days, the lives of those great watermen of yesteryear, and how surfing has changed from a genuine thrill to a continuum of phases and fads on a commercial battleground... I feel it's time for SURFER to take its share of the blame.  Your influence in the surfing world and in the changes it has undergone are fantastic.  You were and are now completely free to make the rules, set the styles, elevate whoever you want to the limelight, and to advertise the most voluminous pile of faddy crap I've ever seen...  How many people really 'go surfin' anymore?  Isn't it really something else now?"

The author of the letter was Will Batemen, and the year was 1977.

Modern complaints.

GUEST POST: CLOWNS EVERYWHERE

Editors Note: PostSurf is proud to again feature the work of Gra Murdoch via his blog Inside the Goldmine.  Although Mr. Murdoch is an Australian national, the following entry should resonate for any American surfer who recently "surfered" through the hype of Hurricane Bill or The Great South Swell of July.

clowny

Global Clown Congress Descends on Local Break.

TOONALOOK POINT, EAST COAST AUSTRALIA: Circus lovers of all ages were treated to an unexpected day of delights as winter's last decent swell coincided with the arrival of a contingent of clowns from the world over.

First to arrive on the scene was renowned circus tramp Otto Griebling, who cut a lonely figure, waxing his clown-board under a solitary street light in the pre-dawn darkness.

Otto, who paddled out off the beach, rode several waves on the end section in a mournful manner, suggesting that his was a lonely existence indeed. Early rising onlookers were said to be close to tears.

Witnesses report this melodramatic opening act was shortlived, however, as a several tiny cars swerved comically into the carpark and began disgorging implausibly large numbers of occupants. As many as twelve representatives of the famed Brazillian clowning and tumbling fraternity were seen falling out of a single early model Suzuki Swift.

Read on at INSIDE THE GOLDMINE...

COMMENT of the WEEK: Yes, More TurtleGate.

Comment of the Week goes to L'Estranger, who has fit another piece of the TurtleGate puzzle snugly into place.

L'Etranger says: August 24, 2009 at 3:19 pm

“Mother always likes to wear turtle pins, for instance.” - Reverend Sun Myung Moon

Hmmm . . . This may be the best find yet:

1) Reverend Moon’s mother fancies wearing turtle pins.
2) Followers of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon are referred to as “Moonies.”
3) Andrew Mooney is hardly a variation on “Moonies”

mooney. photo: gibson

If the Moonies are indeed behind TurtleGate, I may be in very great danger indeed.  Oh, the irony: readers worry about Da Hui, Da Wolfpak, or Da Brazillians snuffing out my meaningless existence.

In reality, these cabals are but children at play compared to the Moonies.

For those of you who don't know, Reverend Sun Myung Moon is a cult leader of terrifying power and influence, notorious for performing mass weddings and founding and bankrolling the conservative-leaning Washington Times. Reverend Moon is what Sean Collins may one day become if we are not ever vigilant.

How does Andrew Mooney, hard-charging Aussie turtle molester, fit in to all this?

Frankly, I fear he may be the White Heung-Jin Moon - continuous channel of Reverend Moon's deceased second son.  This is a terrifying prospect indeed, considering the reign of terror attributed to the last continuous channel of Heung-Jin Moon - a Zimbabwaen known as the Black Heung-Jin Moon.

The Wiki explains:

The second son of Hak Ja Han and Moon, Heung-Jin Moon, died  from injuries suffered in a car crash in December 1983. Moon ascribed great importance to his son's death, and Heung-Jin Moon is officially regarded to be the "king of the spirits" in heaven, and is now said to be conducting seminars in heaven for departed souls.

For several years church members "channeled" his spirit, and in 1987-8 a Zimbabwean member who became known as "the Black Heung Jin Nim" was accepted by Moon and his family as Heung Jin Moon's continuous channel, and toured the world giving speeches, getting confessions, and subjecting some members to beatings.

Long-time member Damian Anderson reports seeing him "knock people's heads together, hit them viciously with a baseball bat, smack them around the head, punch them, and handcuff them with golden handcuffs"

Nansook Hong recounts: "No one outside the True Family was immune from the beatings. Soon the mistresses he acquired were so numerous and the beatings he administered so severe that members began to complain. He beat Bo Hi Pak—a man in his sixties—so badly that he was hospitalized for a week in Georgetown Hospital."

Pray for me, PostSurf readers.  These forces of darkness are not far behind, seeking to silence my voice before I uncover the true nefarious secrets of TurtleGate.

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.

My Role Model: Layne Beachley

Spoiler Alert!

Layne Beachley, cocky yet penis-free multi-world champion, has been eliminated from Australia's Dancing with the Stars.

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After the crushing loss, Layne commented "Being eliminated from last weeks episode of Dancing With The Stars - or robbed depending on how you look at it - came as a shock and a much deeper disappointment than I would have ever imagined."

No, this is not a satire.  Layne actually said this - on her Syndey Morning Herald Blog, "Layne's World."  That last part incidentally is also not a joke - Ms. Beachley actually writes an inspirational blog for the Sydney Morning Herald - an otherwise moderately reputable grown-up's newspaper.

Layne noted that her loss was a "very unpleasant and unwelcome surprise" as she felt  "we saved our best dance and performance until last...We danced a beautiful routine to one of my favourite songs, Billy Joel's The Piano Man and my dress transformed me into a princess."

Again, these are actual quotes.  I wish I was making this shit up, but I ain't.

For those who watched the promo clip above - I'm not sure if Layne lost out before or after the blind guy with the frickin' seeing-eye dog.  What I do know: in Australia Ms. Beachley is sort of a big deal.  In another post from "Layne's World," she writes about the "The Price of Success":

"When I realised my ability to influence and inspire others, I acknowledged my position as a role model and accepted it with the knowledge that I would have to answer to those who look up to me. I have always prided myself on being a positive role model.

But what about the Paris Hiltons and Lindsay Lohans of the world?"

OK then, Snobby McCunterton.  Does Ms. Beachley think her fame-whoring shit don't stink, while that of Paris and Lindsay does?  Paris dates Benji Madden, Layne dates that guy from INXS, Lindsay dates coke and Samantha Ronson.  Everybody gets some press.  I don't know about you, but I'm sooooo sick of moralistic hypocrites discriminating against alcoholic fame-hungry sluts like Paris and Lindsay.

princess-layne

Other "Layne 's World" blog topics include dieting, chronic fatigue syndrome, the agony of adoption, and body image.  Seriously? Ladyfingers beats out Pauline Menczer for a few world titles and she's suddenly the new White Oprah?

On the body image thing: turns out low self esteem might have contributed to Layne's unjust Dancing with the Stars loss.  "My 37 year old hips and rotated pelvis were feeling far from sensual," Layne notes on her blog.  Turns out Layne struggled with similar body image issues in her surf career.  In fact, Ms. Beachley had liposuction at 24 in order to surf better.  I shit you not.

"Back in 1997, after years of intense training and strict dieting as a result of chronic fatigue syndrome, I was convinced that the only way I was going to achieve my perfect body shape was through cosmetic surgery.

"I underwent this dramatic and intrusive procedure because I saw my body image and performance in the water as inextricably linked.  If I felt more confident about the way I looked then I was more likely to perform well in the waves."

Turns out she was right - the year after getting liposuction on her thighs, Layne went on to win her first of 7 world titles!  Certainly this inspiring story sends the right message to little girls out there.

Thank you for being a role model, Layne.

You are the wind beneath my wings.

Stay Classy, Surfrider Foundation

Leave it to Transworld Surf to start a news article with a sentence like this:

"The Surfrider Charity Event on August 16, 2009 was packed with ocean conscience, party animal OC residents!"

If you're wondering why Transworld was bothering to cover a charity event at all, well, it's because there was "a very sexy bikini contest" that went along with it.

bikini-contest-butt-pic900

According to Transworld,  "The girls had to also compete in a hula-hoop contest in their bikinis and in high heels—what a combination."

Yes, what a combination: Keeping our OC beaches clean via the gross objectification of women!  BOOYAH!  All we're missing is some self-serving environmental-product marketing... oh, wait.  Did I mention that they raffled off an electric bicycle?

As a commenter on the TW article noted, "only in southern california can a two-wheeled self propelled device (known as a fuckin bicycle) become “green” by installing an electric motor…"

If the Surfrider Foundation is keen to step up and be taken seriously as a vital, mature, responsible non-profit, this is surely a step in the right direction.

bikini-girls900

Who can forget the dignified and moving National Fibromyalgia Association Wet T-Shirt Contest, or the smashing good time that was the 2009 Center for Domestic Violence Prevention Pole Dancing Strip-Off?

If you're wondering how in the custard-fuck Surfrider got involved with this loonery, look no further than event planner Raquel Figlo, of Raquel Entertainment Media. Take a gander at her website: this public relations firm may appear to be a MySpace page for Tila Tequilla's trailer-trash cousin, but don't judge a company by its website.  As the Raquel Media site explains:

rfiglo

"Based out of Los Angeles we are the innovator of what we like to call, progressive thinking. The provided value we bring to our clients is demonstrated through brand awareness with celebrity hosted fashion shows and events..."

Progressive thinking...Wow.

Kudos to you, Raquel Figlo.  Looks like Dave Rastovich has some competition for the SIMA 2010 Environmentalist of the Year award.


Comment of the Week: TurtleGate!

Comment of the Week goes to Browny's Reacharound (who probably could have won simply by virtue of his screen name alone... at least if you get the allusion to a Chris Brown Wraparound.)

browny's reacharound says: August 18, 2009 at 2:25 pm

I used to wake up, take a piss and pull up Surfline. I never read the editorial- i just checked out the cams to see if their hyped swell forecast was holding true. Lately, it’s PostSurf that gets the first look. My theory is that Lewis is still on Sean Collins’ payroll, because everyday his rants lead me back to Surfline- except now i actually read the stupid fucking editorial content! Lewis- are you part of a bigger conspiracy?

Well - am I part of a bigger conspiracy?  I wish I could answer that question directly.  But I fear that you can't handle the truth, and even if you could, speaking the truth would prove far too dangerous for both of us.

The best I can do is reveal some clues.  Make of them what you will.

turtle_boy_love_statue

August 17th, 9:01 PM: Steve Hawk, former editor of Surfer Magazine, sends me an email that reads "In case you haven't seen this..."

Attached to his email is the photo above.  The plot thickens.

August  20th: Courtney Love, trying desperately not to grow old, releases the following photo on her Twitter account.  The Sun publishes a story titled "Courtney's Turtle Lovin."  Andrew Mooney nods in approval.

courtney-love-turtle

August 21st, midnight: After consulting the Google, I discover that the Turtle Boy Love Statue revealed by Surf Illuminati Steve Hawk is located in Worcester, Massachusetts.  I board a red-eye flight headed for the East Coast.

The pieces of the TurtleGate puzzle swirl around in my alcohol-drenched brain:  Andrew Mooney, Mexico, turtle rape.  Mooney is from the NSW central coast, like Drew Courtney.  Drew is Ben Button,  Ben Button grows ever younger, Drew Courtney leads to Courtney Love, both desperate for youth...Courtney Love + Turtle = Turtle Love Statue...Steve Hawk leads me to the East Coast Turtle statue, Hurricane Bill hits the east coast as I arrive... Steve Hawk + Hurricane Bill = Hawksbill Sea Turtle... dear God, how far does this conspiracy go?

August 23rd, 7am.  As Hurricane Bill slams the eastern seaboard with significant-class surf, I find myself at the base of the Turtle Boy Love statue in Worcester.  As I stand there and and look upwards, I can almost hear the poor turtle's desperate screams, frozen forever in Bronze.  Then I look to the face of the Turtle Rapist of Antiquity, and another piece of the puzzle falls into place:

The Worcester Turtle Boy features the face of... Gary Propper, former East Coast Surfing Champion... Gary Propper, manager of Gallagher and the ever-young Carrot Top, and the producer of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

propper

Shock and awe.  The Worcester Turtle Boy statue was commissioned in 1904... which means Floridian Gary Propper is well over 100 years old.

DEAR GOD!  HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?

Ponce de Leon "discovered" Florida in 1513 while searching for the Fountain of Youth... could it be that Ponce De Leon discovered the key to ever-lasting youth, after all, in the turtle-rich waters of the Florida Coast?

Does raping sea turtles grant you IMMORTALITY?

FILM DISPATCH: POMER/CURREN

Checked out Josh Pomer's TK8 Last Ride Film and Music Show the other night, accompanied by a performance from Tom Curren.

It was an endearingly low-fi affair, in stark contrast to the over-produced, over-hyped sponsor flicks that do the rounds these days.

Prior to the film, Curren played live music, as advertised.  Unfortunately this live music consisted of Curren lightly tapping a tambourine, while a mysterious older gentleman sang original compositions.  One of these songs was entitled "Westsiders" in honor of Mr. Pomer's next project - a Bra Boys inspired account of Flea, Ratboy, Barney and Vince Collier.  The impromptu promo song included lyrics such as "The Westsiders are our hope for the future, The Westsiders can save the world."

Wow.

As the film began, Curren mercifully switched roles with his optimistic bandmate, relegating him to percussion as Curren played guitar and sang.  A more cynical man might speculate that the duo had ingeniously set the bar so low that Curren was sure to shine in comparison, like a vain aging woman who brings a fat friend to a party.

It worked.  Curren played live in lieu of a soundtrack, and his music sounded better than Daize Shayne, Donovan Frankenreiter, Tim Curran, and even Jack Johnson.    And I'm not just saying that.

Go check it out for yourself, if you don't believe me - TK8 shows on Wednesday in La Jolla and Thursday in Newport.  Making independent surf films is a losing game, so buy your tickets here.

TK8 - Bobby Martinez.  Photo: Pomer TK8.  Photo: Pomer TK8 - Dane Reynolds.  Photo: Pomer

Mothers of Invention

We're living in a golden age of technological surf innovation.  From Alaias to Diamond Dobby boardshorts, it seems each new day brings an equipment breakthrough that pushes performance surfing boldly into the future.

Today I'd like to spotlight a few products that are sure to change the way we surf:

1) Starr Surf Skis

Have you ever wished you could be a rollerblader of the ocean?  Do you dream of becoming a mythical creature that is part SUPer, part GoatBoater, part Skier, and all douche?  Well then Starr's Surf Skis are for you!

skis

I'll let Vermont Sports explain:

Jason Starr received a U.S. patent this past February for a new sport he invented called surf skiing, which uses waves as a force for skiing. At the core of the invention is Starr’s belief that surfing and skiing share a bond as originals in the world of action sports, both rooted in rich cultures and ancient histories, and both fueled by timeless sources of peace and power—the ocean and the mountains. They co-exist harmoniously on the snow, and the relationship now extends to the surf.

Since Mr. Starr literally has a patent on this sport, you'll have to visit him in Lake Champlain to learn, where he offers lessons.  Wifebeater, waders, and visor not included in lesson price.

2) Denno Pop

I think the best way to sum up this product is with a testimonial from their website:

I want to thank you for inventing the DPop. Yesterday I used my DPop at Surfrider beach. What I found is that the support under my chest actually allowed me to catch twice the amount of waves as I usually do. Normally when paddling into a wave I have to rely on my hips to balance the board but with the DPop the balance control was improved. Also my girlfriend has used the DPop for 3 days now and has caught more waves than she ever has...

Sincerely, Kevin Rosenbloom

dpop

The DPop site goes on to note that "The DPop can help anyone who'd like to improve their paddle; from the very beginner to the very advanced.  Just remember, you'll be so easily catching waves, let your fellow surfer enjoy the break too..."

Not convinced yet?  Then check out this video of the DPop in action.

3) Surf the Ring

ringsurf

I've seen this wavepool concept before, and if Matthew McConaughey got Bill Gates stoned and convinced him to build one, it might be pretty fuckin' cool. Dude.

Until then, we're left with the pitch-video of inventor Kevin Roberts.

This might just be one of the finest promotional videos I've seen in a quite some time.  Please take a moment to enjoy it in its entirety - it's quite relaxing.   As Mr. Roberts notes, "The way that you lose this race is by wiping out... and the wipe outs will be spectacular!”

Thanks to PostSurf readers for the product suggestions.

Comment of the Weak: Team America, Fuck Yeah!

Comment of the Week comes from R.I.P.per, who is quite justifiably looking forward to the end of PostSurf because I haven't yet mentioned Team USA's ISA gold medal.

R.I.P.per says: August 15, 2009 at 9:08 pm

Lewis,

Not that you don’t already know, but you’re just shit. No mention of a Gold Medal in Costa?

Thing is, you can’t give props. You just spread hate.

Looking forward to the end of PostSurf.

america1

OK then.  R.I.P.per's insightful comment sparked some healthy debate amongst other regular commenters concerning whether we should or should not be celebrating Team USA's triumphant victory.

Some highlights from that thoughtful discussion:

"Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it."  ~George Bernard Shaw

"Nationalism is an infantile disease.  It is the measles of mankind."  ~Albert Einstein

"They say that patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings.

Steal a little and they throw you in jail, steal a lot and they make you king." ~Bob Dylan

"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons."  ~Bertrand Russell

"It is lamentable, that to be a good patriot one must become the enemy of the rest of mankind."  ~Voltaire

"The ISA World Games?  Really?  Has there ever been a team-based surfing event that ANYONE cared about EVER?  In a world defined by suffering, matters this trivial are of import only to patriotic retards, and the contestants that emerge victorious." - His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama

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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198640232

200810615

The Handicapper General

"THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General." -- Kurt Vonnegut, from "Harrison Bergeron," 1961.

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First off: Yes, I owe a great deal to Derek Hynd, whose Top 30 reviews in Surfer Magazine fueled my pre-teen obsession with professional surfing and greatly influenced my creation of the Power Rankings.  Derek has a great gift for making the mundane seem interesting - he successfully romanticized the relevance of shithouse beachbreak contests 20 years ago, and that's impressive.  Now he's taking a shot at proving the validity of finless surfboards.

In a recent article on Surfline, Mr Hynd's shown surfing finless boards with youngsters Cyrus Sutton and Ryan Birch.  After looking at the photos, it struck me that if the surfer wasn't using a finless board, not one of the images in the article would be considered even vaguely interesting.

Yes, they do 360s.  But minus the 360s, the surfing depicted in stills and video looks roughly equivalent to that of any first-year surfer.  And the 360s? It's pretty easy to spin around when you have no fins. Even with fins, it's pretty easy to do a sliding 360 - they were perfected and then shunned by everyone except boogie-boarders back in the early 80s, and again in the mid 90s.  (Carving 360s are a different matter - compare Slater's recent Huntington Power Circle to a finless 360 and you'll get the idea.)

picture-1

So what the hell's going on here, other than the continued marketing of homogenized individualism?

What we're left with, once you remove the novelty, is the obvious: good surfers handicapping themselves via the use of dysfunctional equipment.  It's Harrison Bergeron come to life - except instead of legislated mediocrity, we're witnessing self-induced handicapping.  In Vonnegut's story, the strong are made to carry enormous weights so they will no longer be stronger than anybody else.

In 2009, skilled surfers ride finless, volumeless boards, allowing them to surf Cardiff reef just as badly as a newbie kook or decrepit longboarder.  Everyone's equal.  And I suppose there's some beauty in that.

Even better, perhaps the finless surfboard trend will spread to the unskilled masses, like the plague of SUPs and retrofish.  If finless surfboards are our future, then they will certainly be Mr. Hynd's greatest contribution to surfing.

I anticipate with glee a Utopian future in which I paddle out on the best day of the year to a lineup crowded with Alaia riders and kooks on finless Derek Hynd models.  They'll snicker at my oh-so-uncool stock-standard thruster.  But in this case there's a price to be paid for fashion -- while SUPs help the unskilled catch more waves, Alaias will help them catch far less.  And the vast majority will fall flat on their face once they catch a decent wave - like athletes trying to run sprints in $300 Parisian couture high heels. The barrels will go to the unhip, stuck on their out-of-style thrusters.

So, upon consideration, I have slightly revised my position on finless surfboards.  Don't knock them till you've tried them.  (Personally, I don't plan to purchase one - I've already done my time, skimboarding in my pre-teen years.)  But I highy suggest that everyone else out there sell their SUPs or longboards and purchase Alaias immediately.  If you care about surfing, and care about being cool, it's the right thing to do.

Blasphemy Rottmouth’s Very Special Night with Alex Knost

Editor's Note: Prolific PostSurf commenter Blashphemy Rottmouth has started his own show over at blasphemyrottmouth.wordpress.com. Mr. Rottmouth describes himself as "a humble fucker of pygmie tortoise husks."  I know very little else about him.  This is Mr. Rottmoth's first official contribution to PostSurf.com.

knost041

Single Fins and Safety Pins?

“Now, why in our precious Laird’s name, would a tedious song from a shoddy ‘THE STROKES cover band be ringing in my ears at this ungodly hour?”

This single thought permeated my exhausted mind. A shiver navigated the course my spine as I pulled the badger-skin trench coat closer to my moistening neck. I was cold. I was too cold to speak coherently without risking a chipped tooth from my chattering jaw. So cold, my joints refused to move without protesting vehemently. Rain continued its steady barrage on the asphalt all around. I warily eyed a feral beagle as it sifted through some curbside garbage across the street from the Circle K parking lot beneath my boot shod feet. Somewhere behind the convenience store, came the sound of a metal lid, slamming shut on a dumpster full of discarded Jack Daniels and Coors Lite boxes.

I glanced about nervously, looking for my wheels. “An ’84 Japanese import shouldn’t be hard to spot,” I surmised. But the jalopy was nowhere to be found through the sheets of rain on this dimly lit night.

Then a maddening thought occurred to me. “Where was I?” And more importantly, “how did I get here? Was the full flavored Newport dangling from my mouth lit by a stranger’s hand, or was it of my own volition?” I reached into my pocket and pulled out a wadded up piece of Kleenex with two words scrawled above a barely legible phone number. The word’s read: Alex Knost. “Hmmm, this is bizarre,” I contemplated quietly...

READ ON...

Synergist of the Year Award!

PostSurf Synergist of the Year award goes to Paul Naude, President of Billabong USA!

In his other role as SIMA Environmental Fund President, Mr. Naude presided over the Waterman's Ball this past weekend, which raised over $400,000 for various environmental non-profit organizations.

The Waterman's Ball also honored Dave Rastovich with an award for Environmentalist of the Year.

Mr. Rastovich's award was based in part on his role as the "face of some of the surf industry’s prominent environmentally friendly product campaigns," according to the SIMA website.

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Not all those in attendance were equally impressed by Mr. Rastovich's Environmentalist of the Year award.

"I don’t understand what he’s really accomplished other than getting his name in the papers," a career environmentalist who asked to remain anonymous told PostSurf. "His cause is an easy thing to get behind - who doesn’t want to save a fuckin’ whale?  I think Rasta’s intentions are pure, but Billabong has taken his beliefs and turned them into an eco-marketing campaign for their recycled boardshorts and wetsuits."

To some environmentalists, who despite years of post-graduate education have chosen to work for a pittance at non-profits, Rasta's award is irresponsible at best.

Recently, Rastovich raised a few eyebrows when he attended The Climate Project Australia Asia Pacific Summit, hosted by Al Gore.  Prior to the summit, Mr. Rastovich explained “Part of attending this summit is to become an advocate for climate change and to pass on the messages through my own activities.”

Even casual environmentalists noted that climate change brought on by global warming is something that Mr. Rastovich has dedicated himself to preventing... not becoming an advocate for, as he remarked in a Billabong press release.

"Rasta's not educated," noted a prominent environmentalist after the Waterman's Ball. "I do shitloads of research and prepare myself, and Rasta is just cruisin', goin' surfing for the cameras -  he doesn’t know the details, doesn’t know what’s going on, he’s misinformed in terms of what’s happening with the causes he represents. "

Because of this, some figures in the environmental community have expressed concern that awarding Dave Rastovich as the Environmentalist of the Year sends the wrong message.

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"There’s tons of people that are not individual egos, but they do the real work for environmental organizations - they're the ones who make a real difference yet don't get any credit."

As we go to press, the great minds of surf culture are trying to figure out whether Dave "The Face of Billabong's Eco Campaign" Rastovich's Environmentalist of the Year award is in any way related to Paul Naude's dual presidency of both the SIMA Environmental Fund and Billabong USA.

Synergy or pure coincidence?

PostSurf has decided to give Mr. Naude the benefit of the doubt, and celebrate his accomplishment with a PostSurf Synergist of the Year award.

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