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3/10/16

Finally got the tuberiding page posted. Not sure how or why that one got put off for two years, although it appears that I’ve somehow managed to hold off on a few juicy items—maybe so I’ll have something to pull out of my back pocket when things get a bit dull. A little pick-me-up after working on “stringer” or “leash […]

2/25/16

This clip of Michael Ho is from Billabong’s “Surf into Summer,” and I think it was filmed in 1985. I edited “Summer,” and didn’t know who the surfer was, and filmmaker Tim Bonython didn’t ID the shot. A couple years later Brock Little told me it was Ho, and that he (Brock) used to pop “Summer” […]

2/19/16

This is a shortened version of the first interview I did with Brock. It ran in SURFER in early 1987, and was titled “A Breed Apart” (my bad). I read it last night for the first time in years, maybe the first since it was published, and was amazed at how Brock, then just 19, […]

2/19/16

Brock Little died at home, with family, just a couple months after being diagnosed with cancer. Better that a long slow fade. Of course, you’d bet on Brock going out in exactly the kind of no-bullshit manner that he did. We talked last Friday night for the last time, just after the Mavs contest, and he his voice was weak, […]

2/17/16

Nobody had high expectations for Fast Times at Ridgemont High, least of all the Universal Pictures execs who nearly shelved the finished product before putting it into limited release in 1981—only to have Roger Ebert, America’s most famous critic, poleax it as a “scuz-pit of a movie.” (Gene Siskel probably loved Fast Times out of spite, cause he played bitter second fiddle to […]

1/28/16

The list of sublimely romantic songs that involve smoking is bigger than you might guess, and for my money Otis Redding’s Cigarettes and Coffee is holding down the #1 position. A man and woman, newly in love, sit at a kitchen table and talk late into the night, alone and content and glad to let this perfect moment roll just a bit longer. “I would […]

1/20/16

Cintra Wilson described two-time world champion Damien Hardman as “monstrously capable but cursed to be the Richard Nixon of the surfing world,” and if any other world tour pro has been carved up that neatly I’d like to hear about it. In surfing, as with every other sport, a world title does not always confer popularity. Mick […]

1/07/16

On the basis of tantalizing but less-than-conclusive evidence, Chas Smith wondered aloud recently if New York surfer Balaram Stack was perchance romantically linked with former supermodel Christie Brinkley, and declared that, if it were true, the Stack-Brinkley unit would be “the best surfer + model/actress/singer connection of all time.” Oh Charlie. Your wordplay is zing and intelligence and 90-proof funny. But […]

1/05/16

Greg Noll said he could not imagine a “shittier way to earn a living” than making surf movies, what with the handbill-hanging, booking the local Elks Club, selling tickings, and flogging up and down Coast Highway to do one-night stands for schoolers jacked on Miller High Life and Peach Schnapps. And unless your name was Bruce Brown or Greg MacGillivray, all […]

1/02/16

San Diego boardmaker and entrepreneur Larry Gordon, who died on January 1st from Parkinson’s-related illness at age 76, was one of those people you appreciate more and more with age. Quiet, steady, low-key, dependable. Never showed up at work with a flask snuggled in his back pocket. Never had the IRS breathing down his neck. Didn’t set […]

12/30/15

Ron DiMenna of New Jersey, a surf-world entrepreneur of Rushmore-esque standing, is a man of mystery. Grubby Clark, no slouch himself in the enigma department, is Kylie Jenner compared to DiMenna. Hell, after he blew up Clark Foam, Grubby went out there and started winning livestock awards! DiMenna? Do a Google image search, and you get just a single photo. […]

12/21/15

It’s confusing when something abruptly goes from funny to serious. Richard Pryor pulled this trick all the time in his standup act; you’re zinging along with some delirious gutter-mouthed riff on relationship hassles or the jerk neighbor next door, then Pryor changes direction and you’re dealing with something else entirely—divorce, say, or racial injustice—and basically feeling dizzy at how sudden […]

12/14/15

This post is mostly for myself, in hopes that I don’t get too excited over this week’s world title showdown, which in all likelihood will come up well short of expectations. I am of course thrilled there is a showdown of any kind in the offing. Way too often the deal is done days, weeks, even months before […]

12/08/15

Amateur competitive surfing may have gotten its shit together over the past ten or 12 years. This is something I probably ought to know, being an encyclopedia-brandishing surf authority and all. But the thought of sending even a simple email query into the vast international chamber of bickering that constitutes amateur surfing to check on the welfare of […]

12/02/15

In the Surf Journalism Hall of Fame of my imagination there is a special room, gilt-trimmed and hallowed, for Stab magazine’s 2007 “King of Queens” feature on Matt Branson. Pedestals for everybody involved with this amazing piece of work: Stab editor Derek Rielly for chasing and massaging the story (no other media outlet at the […]

11/23/15

New Year’s Resolution, 2016: Stop making lists. Like this one. Or this. And especially this! Silly little look-at-me clickbait trifles. But to give up listing will take grit and discipline and resolve. I know this because, for the past week, since making the the Roger Erickson clip you see above, I’ve felt compelled, nay, obligated to draw up a “10 Coolest Surfers” list […]

11/19/15

Eddie Aikau made his mark at Sunset Beach before Waimea, so maybe there’s a kind of poetic justice in that the first and totally unremembered Eddie Aikau Invitational, sponsored by Quiksilver, was held at Sunset. The waves were okay, not great. Northwest swell, dropping throughout the day, some funky tradewind bump in the afternoon. In the final, local boy Denton Miyamura took out […]

11/17/15

David Eggers died on Monday, at age 45, probably of a heart attack. In 1986, Eggers was a white-hot 16-year-old world tour rookie destined for a mantelpiece-full of world title trophies. Eighteen months later he was off the tour, living with his folks, cradling a freebase pipe and tearing up the streets of La Jolla. “Yesterday was gone,” Eggers later said, […]

11/10/15

Forty-something years ago, after dinner, sitting around waiting for Laugh In and puberty to begin, I paged through a back issue of SURFER and landed on Drew Kampion’s gimlet-eyed coverage of the 1968 World Surfing Championships. I didn’t know it was gimlet-eyed at the moment, of course. I was nine. I looked at the surf pix. And after […]

10/30/15

“Outraging the Code of Cool” is the well-chosen title of Warren Bolster’s 1992 Surfer’s Journal article on Alec Cooke—Warren, on principal, refuses to call him Ace Cool. Bolster and Cooke were partners in two of Cooke’s most memorable big-wave adventures. There was the 1984 “Kanea Point Challenge,” when Cooke, looking New Wave regal in a bright orange shorty and a […]

10/27/15

“War is not healthy for children and other living things.” All you retired hippies, remember that poster? Antiwar chic, circa 1970. Thick rough-hewn type and a napalmed-black flower, set against a bright yellow background. One-third cheerful, two-thirds Grim Reaper.  Half the kids I knew in Venice had that poster on their bedroom wall; mine was slotted between an Evolution handbill […]

10/17/15

Mick Lowe was a world tour surfer from the ’90s and ’00s. Smart and funny and always smiling beneath the clumsiest, most endearing do-it-yourself haircut ever seen outside a Dumb and Dumber movie. Loads of talent. Occy-level power. Beat Andy Irons in the finals at Snapper one year, and came within an ace of taking out a Pipe Masters. Mick was […]

10/06/15

Finally got around to watching “Beware of Mr. Baker,” a 2012 documentary of Cream drummer Ginger Baker. What an opening scene! Baker, the craziest motherfucker to ever pick up a pair of sticks—Keith Moon at his looniest was a church deacon by comparison—is offscreen ranting about who does and does not get to be in his movie, and ends […]

10/01/15

Mimi Munro, today, is sweet and soft-voiced, kind of mousey, but tougher than woodpecker lips. She’s tiny . . .  five-feet tall, give or take, but has arms like a bantomweight Golden Gloves contender poking out from her sundress. Her 60-something-year old face is as lined and sun-damaged as it is beautiful. There’s a thin layer of gravel at the […]

9/25/15

If you’re a California-born surfer of a certain age, it’s almost impossible to think of Malibu without drifting away on a sage-scented dream-cloud of nostalgia. It’s just a question of how long and how far you allow yourself to float. Case in point. The issue of SURFER that landed in your mailbox this week has a short piece […]

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