Dale Velzy died of lung cancer, at 77, a little over ten years ago, and you have to marvel that he actually made it that far. Look at the last bit of footage in the clip above. The man’s got a Marlboro lit up in his surfboard factory; smoke dancing in and out of the benzoyl peroxide […]


Fred Van Dyke, who died this week at age 86, will rightly be remembered as a pioneering big-wave surfer. I’ll remember him for that as well, but more so for the way he set out to become a more evolved version of himself—a decades-long process that, among other things, saw him make a deliberate break from […]


Kelly Slater was down on the rocks at Lowers this morning, photo-bombing Fred P’s big moment as the Hawaiian tagged out with a perfect 10 during his Round One heat in the Hurley Pro. I watched and wondered—was Slater maybe just a tiny bit jealous? Was there perhaps a slightly mocking voice, somewhere in the back of that flawless chestnut-brown dome (Kelly’s, […]


Some myth-busting going on over at SURFER this week, as Ashtyn Douglas takes on the Miki Dora 1967 Malibu Invitational Flying Brown Eye episode. (Read here.) The legend, in short, is that everybody’s favorite anti-establishment hero entered the Malibu event “to shake things up,” as he liked to put it, and in this instance did so by […]


Barton Lynch and I met in early 1984. We were both staying at Mark Foo’s Home for Incurables, across from Waimea Bay. Barton, as I recall, was chaperoning a prepubescent Nicky Wood, who was already charging and shredding and acting mysterious, but went face-first into the reef at some point and flew home with his head […]


Martin Potter’s jaw-grinding voice sounds as if its been filtered through six espresso shots and a migraine headache. Ross Williams’ has me considering preemptive adenoidal surgery for my son. Todd Kline? Car saleman. Rosy Hodge? Who can hear her above the angel choir and softly strumming lutes? And then Joe Turpel. During a trifling Round Two heat at Teahupoo […]


It’s Larry Bertlemann’s birthday (60!), which gives me the opportunity for two huzzahs: to Bert himself, and to Phil Jarratt, the protean Aussie surf writer who, in his own field, was every bit as elastic and innovative as Larry. You will spend days looking through the near and far reaches of the SURFER catalog—hell, throw in Rolling Stone […]


Here are a few new, or relatively new EOS pages. NANCY NELSON. Three-time winner at Makaha, possibly the first woman to surf Pipe (first on film, anyway), and from what I can tell a sweet, fiery lil’ proto-feminist. For three years I’d been putting off Nancy’s page—didn’t have the photos, other pages to get to, etc etc. […]


The US Open is again upon us. We’re talking almost 60 years of tradition here, as the megaton surf competition, in one form or another, has been on the Huntington Pier summer calendar since Eisenhower threw his neck out looking for Sputnik 1. You have three choices. Ignore it. Embrace it. Bitch about it.  You chose to […]


It’s just over 40 years now since the surf world got its first look at Kevin Naughton and Craig Peterson, the lovable dirt-bag explorers who doubled-down on the Endless Summer notion of the Search for the Perfect Wave. Like Bruce Brown before them, the two Orange County boys went global. Literally and figuratively. The travel articles they produced for […]


The much-discussed but little-seen 1984 Country Feeling Surf Classic was an oasis in the longest, weirdest, most grueling world tour season on record. Twenty-four events over 11 months. A small-wave beachbreak opener in Japan, then, I kid you not, four straight comps in Florida, then up to Ocean City, Maryland, then off to Cape Town. […]


Wally Froiseth of Hawaii died last week, at home, at the fine old age of 95. He was one of the ax-wielding teenagers who hacked down the back end of their solid-wood planks in 1937, thus creating the big-wave surfboard. It was Wally, in fact, a day or two later, who shouted out that the new […]


Gavin Rudolf of Port Elizabeth had a good long run as a competitive surfer, starting in late 1968, when he jetted off to the World Championships in Puerto Rico as the stoked-out 15-year-old grom on South Africa’s Springbok team. Made the quarters and had himself a fine time in the tropics hanging out with Wayne and Nat and […]


The Swell of 1983 was the John Bonham flaming gong-blast that finally woke up our slumbering interest in big waves. It wasn’t one swell, actually, but a whole zombie battalion of swells, lurching out of an El Nino-juiced North Pacific, one after the other, week after week, without letup—my knees were knocking from early February to […]


Cory Lopez’ EOS page went up last week. When Lopez famously vanished into that spinning black grindhouse of a tube at Teahupoo in 1999—wipeout of the year, easy—I was deep into the final draft of Mavericks and out of touch with surf-world events as they existed beyond Taraval Street, San Francisco. Nonetheless, I still had a half-dozen surf mags clogging up my mailbox each […]


Gard Chapin of Hollywood was California’s best surfer in the late 1930s and early ’40s, which meant he was the best surfer in the world, not counting Hawaii. Chapin took off deeper than anybody, angled harder, and probably invented the cutback. “He was fantastic.” Windansea regular Woody Ekstrom told writer David Rensin a few years back. “He’d drop his knee to […]


I liked Dave Sweet before I admired him, for the simple reason that in 1969, about 10 minutes after we met, he tossed me a brand new short-john. I was nine years old. Jay Adams and I were standing in Sweet’s showroom, on Olympic Blvd. in Santa Monica, having been driven there by Kent Sherwood, Jay’s stepdad. […]


Come for the surfing. Stay for the comedy. Three out of four times, when I dial up the latest WSL webcast and begin loping off irreplaceable half-hour chunks of my life for the privilege of watching two surfers float on their boards artfully ignoring each other while two more surfers sit in a booth and warp my laptop speakers with torrents of fetid-mellow brospeak, I’m […]


George Greenough was first to bring an inside-out tube view to the big screen, in 1970’s Innermost Limits of Pure Fun, and he did so with hulking 25-pound shoulder-mounted camera rig that by all rights should have popped his head from his slender shoulders like a cork during the first wipeout. The tube, at that point, even to hardcore surfers, […]


“It’s just so raw!” The WSL announcing crew, and the surfers they love, have lofted this description so many times this past week while talking about Margaret River that you’d think the place is a still-wiggling chunk of yellowtail, rather than an upscale, vineyard-covered, carpaccio-scented engine of tourism. You like it raw? Tell you what. Take the leash off. Lose the fullsuit, […]


Surf photographer and filmmaker Alan Rich, who passed away peacefully last week at age 68, began surfing at Torrance Beach, in LA’s South Bay, in 1960. He was a little younger than—and very much in awe of—the Irons brothers, especially Ricky, who was on his way to becoming one of America’s best performance surfers. (Ricky’s tagalong little […]


Put it to a vote, and I’d raise my hand in favor of relocating the Rip Curl Pro to, I don’t know, any one of the 50 breaks in Australia that WCT surfers would actually travel to of their own free volition. That’s how I feel four out of five years, anyway. Every now and then Bells is […]


You think the 2015 Rip Curl Pro is a shaggy buffalo in terms of size and girth and lack of mobility? I ain’t arguing. But take it back 40 years. Bells ’75—now that thing was a beast. Opened with a 72-man trails event. Then the women’s comp. Then four separate rounds of the men’s main event. Six-man heats. Points-per-maneuver […]


For the duration of the the Rip Curl Pro (and we could go the the distance, just like at Snapper; the forecast is grim), I’ll be posting vids, photos and mag excerpts from past Bells events. First up, 1984. Not a great year for surf, but I can’t take my eyes off winner Cheyne Horan’s […]


I posted the “surf bunny” page last Friday, then tied myself in knots over the weekend with what you’re about to read. First off . . . I’m the killjoy who kept SURFER from doing bikini issues in the mid- and late ’80s. Surfing launched their “Swimsuit Preview” in ’83 (biting Sports Illustrated’s style), tickled the downy-haired groins of their young readership, and […]

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