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SUNDAY JOINT, 4-26-2020: OWL CHAPMAN, SPINAL TAP, JAMIE BRISICK

Hey All, It happens all the time. You toss off a pop-culture reference, all casual, hoping to ride the zephyr of cool, and it turns around like a Boeing-designed paper plane and jabs you in the eye. Maybe you’re a beat late (Yeah Baby! worked in ’98, not ’99). Or maybe, sadly, the reference itself...

SUNDAY JOINT, 4-19-2020: HIGH TIMES AT THE SURF MOVIES, COVID-19, NICKY WOOD

Hey All, My brother asked yesterday how much more I’m drinking since quarantine began, and when I said, “Same as before,” he was skeptical. But it’s true. One plus-sized Manhattan, shaken at 5:58 while the missus sets up the Scrabble board, then raised in a toast at 6:00. My drink has not grown in size...

SUNDAY JOINT, 4-12-2020: SURFER POLL, THREE DOG NIGHT, DAVID NUUHIWA

Hey All, SURFER POLL ’63 is the opposite of COVID-19. Scientists are too busy at the moment to lab-test this idea and move it from hypothesis to fact, but I mean come on. Look at the pictures here. Look at all that sweaty social contact. Look at those worry-free faces. Imagine the number of hands...

SUNDAY JOINT, 4-5-2020: MITCH THORSON, COVID-19, “MICKEY DORA’S 50K CHALLENGE”

Hey All, If you are uninfected and still employed and more or less getting on with it as if you were a 59-year-old man grounded until further notice by your 91-year-old father (my Dad is home reading The Godfather and Proust and day-drinking Bombay Sapphire), your thoughts are likely rocketing with great fury and no real purpose in...

SUNDAY JOINT, 3-29-2020: COVID-19, DUKE CONTEST, MARK RICHARDS

Hey All, Because I came to fatherhood late, and because the decades prior had been so incredibly full and fortunate, and because I lean optimist but can veer hard pessimist, I often thought during my wife’s pregnancy that the birth of our child would be the last huge good thing in my life. In other...

THE 1968 WORLD SURFING CHAMPIONSHIPS: AN ORAL HISTORY COMPILED BY BEN MARCUS

This article ran in the February 2012 issue of The Surfer’s Journal. The 1968 World Surfing Championships were held Puerto Rico, in mid-November. Fred Hemmings won the men’s division, and Margo Godfrey, at age 15, took the women’s.   *  *  *  CORKY CARROLL (California, competitor) It was the first World Contest held during the shortboard...

GARD CHAPIN, THE LIVING END: AN ORAL HISTORY

Back in 2014, I posted a short piece on how Miki Dora was influenced by his two fathers. “My own father taught me a gracious way of living,” Dora said, “while my stepfather showed me how to survive. One showed me how to atone for indiscretions and the other demonstrated how to commit them.” The...

NEW: RANDY RARICK REMEMBERS ’72 WORLD CHAMP JIMMY BLEARS

Sam George once wrote that Jimmy Blears is surfing’s “least-known world champion,” and while I’ll always wave the flag for disappeared two-time champ Sharron Weber, Sam ain’t wrong. Blears won his title in ’72, in San Diego, and all anybody remembers about that shitshow of a contest is that a board belonging to crowd favorite...

MOTEL HELL: SURFERS SACK LOCAL TRAVELODGE DURING THE ’72 CHAMPIONSHIPS

I sort of hate myself for the enjoyment I took in putting together this little showcase of bad behavior, all of which took place during the 1972 World Surfing Championships in San Diego, either at the Harbor Island Travelodge or nearby. Bunch of punk-ass surfers being dumb and destructive, is what it comes down to....

“A NINE-DAY ACID TRIP!” DREW KAMPION REPORTS FROM THE ’72 WORLD TITLES

This is a slightly edited and condensed version of “Winning and Losing in Fat City,” which ran in the February 1973 issue of Surfing magazine *  *  * Official headquarters for the 1972 World Surfing Championships was the Travelodge on Harbor Island, San Diego. The events there, and at the contest site, have been succinctly...

READ: DARRICK DOERNER PROFILE BY BRUCE JENKINS. “I NEVER FEEL CLOSER TO MYSELF THAN WHEN IT’S 30-FOOT”

“Waterman: Darrick Doerner Seeks Perfection in the Danger Zone,” by San Francisco sportswriter Bruce Jenkins, ran in the September 1990 issue of SURFER.   *  *  *  Pops Aikau passed away in late October 1989. He had withstood the pain of untold tragedy—the death of one son, then another, and the passing of his beloved wife....

LONG READ: “THE DIVIDED RULERS OF WAIMEA BAY”

This article on Mark Foo and Ken Bradshaw first ran in the May 1988 issue of Outside magazine. In the front of the mag, they did a little “behind the scenes” column, which I hadn’t looked at since the piece came out. Part of it reads: “Warshaw says the 20-foot monsters that Foo and Bradshaw...

READ: MARK FOO’S 1985 “OCCURRENCE AT WAIMEA BAY”

January 18, 1985, was a springboard for Mark Foo’s big-wave career. That afternoon he bailed his way through what might still be the biggest Waimea Bay closeout set to ever roll through an occupied lineup, and afterward he paddled into, and was annihilated by, another closeout wave. More importantly for his career, Mark wasted no...

CHRIS BROWN: 1970-2019

Chris Brown of Santa Barbara died yesterday, at age 48. Details of his death are still unknown. This afternoon I had this email exchange with Derek Rielly of BeachGrit.  *  *  *  BeachGrit: I got vague memories of a kid with stiff white hair slinging it to Kelly in the late eighties, early nineties. Warshaw:...

PHIL JARRATT ON BRUCE RAYMOND: “HE WOULD HAVE MADE A GOOD CON MAN, OR GIGOLO. HE’S CHOSEN SURFING.”

After his stint as a self-described “total drug fiend,” but before he became a surf industry titan, Bruce Raymond was one of those hard-charging Free Ride-era Aussies who were busy reinventing the surf world in their own charismatic image. Bruce spent two years in the Top 16, then made a hard pivot away from pro...

GREG NOLL’S 1969 MAKAHA WAVE HAS THRASHED US ALL

Greg Noll’s monster drop-to-annihilation wave at Makaha on December 4, 1969, was the defining wave of surfing’s defining big-wave swell. World champ Fred Hemmings watched from the beach and said it was the biggest wave ever ridden. Noll himself said it was five or ten feet over his previous best, and not long afterward he...

READ: MARGO GODFREY AND THE WORLD’S SADDEST SURF MAGAZINE ARTICLE

This 1968 Surfing magazine article by Margo Godfrey might be the saddest piece of surf writing ever published. Godfrey, 16, was the newly-crowned world champ. She didn’t yet have the big-wave chops that would define her career as a professional in years to come, but was already a mile ahead of her contemporaries nonetheless, and...

WATCH: CONFESSIONS OF A KOOKSLAMS REJECT!

Two weeks ago I introduced my eight-year-old son to Kookslams. Together we laughed as kooks of every description were slammed in various and sundry ways. Teddy noticed that Kookslams has 1.1 million Instagram followers, and his enjoyment shot up. (My enjoyment dipped as I felt Teddy’s unspoken judgment against Encyclopedia of Surfing’s paltry 15.3K followers. Click...

MOTORSKILL TRIPPING WITH ART BREWER: “STRAIGHT IN THE MORNING, HIGH IN THE AFTERNOON.”

Art Brewer was the hottest teenage surf photographer in the world in 1970—or forget the “teenage” bit, Art was the best photog in the game, full stop—when he piled into a battered camouflage-green bus for a SURFER-directed trip to the Ranch. A few days earlier, in a vacant lot in San Juan Capistrano, Brewer photographed...

MOTORSKILL TRIPPING WITH DREW KAMPION: “DON’T ORDER THE MEXICAN OMELET. IT’S FATAL.”

Drew Kampion’s “Almondeyes No. 2” originally ran in the September 1970 issue of SURFER. This version is slightly edited and shortened.  *  *  * The Ranch is a thing that happens to your mind. It covers you and moves into you and changes you. The Ranch is California at its best. It is clean and...

MOTORSKILL TRIPPING WITH BRAD BARRETT: “GRIFFIN GAVE US AN EVIL-EYE FLEEGLE, AND IT SCARED THE SHIT OUT OF ME!”

Brad Barrett was the unsung hero of SURFER Magazine’s High Renaissance (I like my double-entendres the way I like my Twitter victims: easy and weak), from 1968 to 1972. Most of Brad’s contribution was photo-related. He and Ron Stoner were the only two masthead-listed staff photographers in 1968 and ’69, and a year or so...

WATCH: THE RANCH TRIP FROM JOHN SEVERSON’S “PACIFIC VIBRATIONS”

This art-project-slash-surf-trip took place in January 1970, lasted three days, and was filled with good vibes, small waves, and soft drugs. You can read more about it here and here, and see some fantastic Art Brewer pix of the trip here. John Severson and Spyder Wills filmed the sequence above for Pacific Vibrations, Severson’s last surf movie,...

WATCH: BOW DOWN TO THE HEAD DIP

I believe it is Genesis 4:20 in which John Severson damns the head dip as a “completely useless” maneuver whose only point is to demonstrate a surfer’s “complete domination of the curl.” And yea, John spaketh the truth. The head dip is completely useless. That “complete domination” bit, though . . . . Is it...

NOSERIDES AND PAYCHECKS: THE 1966 US PRO SURFING CHAMPIONSHIPS

The Tom Morey Invitational, held on 4th of July weekend, 1965, in Ventura, was the first surfing contest to offer prizemoney. The total purse was $1,500, and Mickey Munoz banked $750 for the win. In 1966, the contest was renamed the United States Professional Surfing Championships, and was again held in Ventura, with the pot...

WATCH: THE OVERWHELMING LIKABILITY OF RUSTY MILLER

The ivory tower of surf academia has long been filled with soft-voiced argument as to who exactly is the 1965 American men’s division champ. Mark Martinson won the United States Surfing Championships that September at Huntington Pier. But Rusty Miller was the United States Surfing Association rating’s leader, meaning he out-pointed the field over a...