The Church Of Divine Holiness
A real funny thing happened on the way to Vegas late last year. What I’d hoped would very soon degenerate into a vacuum of massages in the solarium and boisterous cock play, was hijacked by the devil on all our shoulders: work.
Unknown to me, my pal, Wheels, who’d arrived in Los Angeles a day earlier from Hawaii, had set up a shoot for this year’s Stab awards. As I drained the Bacardi Breezer three-pack I’d poured into my Big Gulp cup and rubbed the sugar off my gums, the expected vista of desert and empty highway turned into the hills of San Clemente, en route to the offices of Surfing, currently the equal best magazine in the world alongside Richardson and Transworld Surf.
It was one of those candy Californian winter afternoons where the wind donít blow and the sky rolls out its velvet blue poontang. With Vegas on hold, we set up shop in Surfing‘s basement photo studio.
Orange County, California, (and Oahu, Hawaii) y’see, are the two primary bases for the the kinkiest surfers in the world. Weíd already presented our custom golden scrotum (created by Nicholas X Morley) to Julian Wilson, Dusty Payne, Dean Morrison, Laurie Towner, Taj Burrow, Chris Davo and Jamie OíBrien while on the Shore, but we still needed Jordy Smith, Kolohe Andino, Matt Biolos and Dane Reynolds’ behind-the-scenes wizard-cum-slaveboy Jason “Mini” Blanchard.
Jordy arrived first and the gang gazed with warm eyes and teeth galore. This is Jordy’s time. Real hot gal on his arm, a world title in his pocket if he wants it. Physically he displayed a pug nose, slanted eyes, normal length head and a tan face. What is he? Twenty two? Just turned twenty three? I acted like a surprised little fetus in his presence. You can feel a champ’s aura and Jordy’s got it. He swung his nuts for the camera as the receiver of Best Naked Emotion, for bawling like an old man staring at the limp flesh between his thighs when he won the Billabong Pro at J-Bay. Kelly Slater, who’s never let an award pass him by no matter how menial, nearly snatched it when he exploded lacrimentally after winning in Puerto Rico. But, still, we go with the original, with the future, with Jordy.
Then came Kolohe, on crutches, and his pops Dino, the Andinos. We’re pals after the Canary Islands. Easy. I don’t tremble so much. Koloheís a tall blond stud with a natural hairdo and enormous eyes. Grooming these kids always feels like a hustle, knowing how big theyíll be to surfing in a few years and how, with our greasy compliments, weíll slip into their world, as pals. A good feel.
Peter Taras is the photo editor of Surfing and he chooses and tickles our photos. Genius is too big a word for anyone, even Pete. But he’s a hardworker and he has the talent. Pete shot the Californian leg of the Stab awards. Brian Bielmann, god love him (really), was our choice of shooter in Hawaii.
Biolos came next, best shaper in the world. Steve Sherman swung by, best pal of world champs (his award interview appears next issue, we ran out of pages after spilling so many on Julian and Jordy) and then arrived our favourite, Mini, Dane’s personal serf, who drove all the way from Ventura County, two hours north.
It was a celebration of the brilliant, a rainbow explosion of inspiration and positivity.
Four hours later, deep in Nevada, the night people were crawling the Vegas strip like a maggots on a corpse, leering their dirty smiles, promising orgies for two c-notes. Midnight poison.
A world away from a creamy little thing called surfing.