A multi-million dollar deal for a teenage South African, a marriage between two good Christian kids gone awry and Flipper being pooned by the Jap are just some of the exceptional events inspiring this year’s awards. And the prize? A limited-edition River Wilkes hand-crafted bracelet with the words:
I’d Rather Be Eating Pussy. Who wouldn’t! Awesome!
You know what fucken sucks sometimes? When lots of people come running at you with loads of money and try and give it to you because you surf like a fucken little bat out of hell. How do you choose which sweaty wad of cash to take? It’s, like, the other day I was out surfing and this old man in a raggedy trench coat was watching me and after I got out of the water said, “Wow, bro, you really rip! Would you like to look at my dick?” And I was like, “No, dude. I’m waiting for something better to come along.” But it was super tough to turn down cuz what if that old man’s dick ruled and I threw away my only opportunity to look at it? How do you fucken ever pull the trigger on something like that?
Well, Jordy Smith surfs even better than me. He surfs better than you too. Fuck, some surf pundits say he surfs better than anyone on the planet. As luck would have it, his contract expired this past year right when he was about to jump on the ASP World Tour of Champions brought to you by Fosters Beer and Girls Gone Wild Entertainment LLC.
Pulling the trigger on that fuster cluck takes what Stab calls, “The Best Nerve in the Heat of Contract Negotiation.”
It started quietly enough, with his sponsor at the time, Billabong, claiming they had a verbal agreement in place. Verbal agreement? Is this the fucken Gay Olympics, man? Jordy’s fabulous manager (at the time), Andrew Long, blew that out of the water quicker than it takes Taj Burrow to never win a world title. That opened the doors for every motherfucker in the surf retail biz to come knocking over his Durban shack. Big, fat, double-chinned Hurley, Rip Curl, Quiksilver execs drooling cigar spittle onto their expensive (yet outdated) Armani suits. “Heeey Jordy! Jusht shign here!”
How do you fucken choose? Which swollen digits do you shake? Jordy admitted, “It was hard because I never knew much about it, so I just stuck to what I believed.” His expert team of advisors guided him through, and one by one, potential playas fell by the wayside. Fucken has-beens and never-weres in The Jordy Smith Million Dollar Lottery.
Near the end, Jordy found himself on a private luxury jet flying to Nike HQ. Nike, the billion-dollar behemoth, was making a serious foray into the world of surfing. Jordy would be their superstaaaar and there was talk of legally changing his name to “Michael Jordy.” No doubt that he would be the most dominant surfer ever. The design guys were there, and the corpo cats were there with the wine and the dine and the push push push but it wasn’t comfortable for Jord, and that takes nerve.
Jordy wound up with O’Neill, and I was curious how a central California mom and pop shop swooped on all other surf companies PLUS the biggest clothier in the world. Did they offer Pamela Anderson in their deal (she was included in Tommy Lee’s latest Crue contract)? Jordy laughs. “I wish. It was just a nice old fashioned sign-on bonus.”
Mysterious kid. Whatever O’Neill offered it was enough for Jordy to pull that fucken trigger and ride off into a bearded, eye-patched sunset. He is in the bushes right now staring straight at O’Neill’s wrinkly pecker and he’ll be there for the next few years. — Charlie Smith.
I hate hippies. I hate veganism, hemp and the color green. When I heard that Dave Rastovich, world famous bohemian surfer, was actually involved in saving the whales, my brain almost popped. I called him up to scream obscenities at his voicemail.
Rasta has been embroiled in the whale issue for a quite some time. And while I thought he was only hawking a ganja drenched cliché, dude puts his time and money where is non-violent mouth is. He just attended the International Whaling Commission’s conference in lame freezing Anchorage Alaska. He also regularly goes to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands to protest cetacean injustice. “Whatever the season or time of year is for migration and fishin’ he’s there. His opinions on the issue are wide reaching and well informed, but don’t worry, I was sniggering on the inside.
Recently he has become a champion of the dolphin as well. Japanese, being the perverts they are, eat lots of dolphin meat. They kill by shepherding Flipper into a particular cove near Taiji (which is also near Osaka) then go to fuckeng town, slaughtering thousands of the docile mammals. The water fills with foamy flowery blood and it’s difficult for the Jappos to wash it off their high-tech laptops and mini robots.
This past October, Rasta led a group of who’s who in a protest paddle out. They circled up in honour of the freshly departed dolphin souls. The uber-cute Hayden Panitierre and Isabel Lucas were among the group and I hope they were wearing fab Agent Provocateur ‘kinis and I hope that Rasta was really ogling both of them. I’m sure he wasn’t, though. I’m sure he was focusing on his dead pals and radiating a powerful benevolence. He even talked to the dolphin fishermen, who usually hate all over free spirited “life artisans.” He explained to them that dolphin meat is high in mercury and that can lead to birth defects.
Truly, the fishermens should have figured out something was fucked up with their Japanese race years ago, what with the slanted eyes and lack of nasal bridges etc etc.
At this point, I was about to pounce on the fact that he eats fish and what a hypocritical stance he is taking… and he doesn’t eat fish. Principled motherfucker. In fact, he takes on the gamut of aquatic vertebrate related issues, protesting commercial fishing methods of everything from albacore to zingel.
“It’s unsustainable, mate. In our lifetime we’ll see the complete desolation of many species…” Sharks? Thems too. He’s all over the shark net controversy and destruction of natural habitat. Dolphins and whales just take primary spot in his activity because they’re cute. “It’s lots easier to get people motivated about whales, dolphins, turtles and seals because of the emotional outlook.” He even knows human nature. Then he started talking about drift nets, bottom trolling, long lining, poaching and I was out of my depth.
When he was done I had a tear in my eye. I need to go to the beach and throw rocks at those creepy bastard dolphins, or at least kick my dog.
You should read your Bible more. All too human champions lurk between them gilded pages, but you’ll have to dig into the backlogs. While the New Testament features the unsoiled, immaculate Son of God, the Old Testament is full of imperfect heroes. Men whose feats of strength are matched only by their disastrous shortcomings. Like King David, the man after God’s own heart, who had seven wives but killed his most loyal general so he could bag his wife too. Or Abraham, the Lord’s chosen, who knocked up his wife’s servant and created Arabs. Adam, one of God’s first creations, fucked all of mankind by accepting an ugly gift from his female companion, then lived a tortured 930 years with crazy murderous children.
I count Clifford Jessup Hobgood among this motley crue. The boy is a gifted surfer, world title-holder, central Florida pin-up millionaire, blessed-by-God twin. He’s also, presently, homeless and driving a rental car.
CJ’s undoing has been the woman he loves. Things aren’t too hot on the marital front and our boy is out on his ear, but no cross words part his lips.
“Dude, I just don’t like drama, you know? It’s good, it’s just, you know, life.” He sounds depressed.
Now that Ceej is sort of free from matrimony he could be painting the town red like a boozy Chris Ward, (allegedly) beating up multiple ladies with one swing of a, “deadly weapon other than a firearm.” Or jumping on top of every second tier actress who has ever been under Leonardo DiCaprio And, to be fair, rumour has it that Ceej is both boozin’ and philanderin’. He’s a star in hometown Satellite Beach and southern girls are universally known for their loose lifestyles, but his extracurricular business doesn’t come with the carefree peace of the aforementioned (Wardo and Slats). It comes with the weight of the Holy slathered onto his slumping shoulders. “No matter what I do I have the biggest heart for God,”
Old Testament heroes are forced to spoon down delicious dalliances with shame and painful anguish. It’s a hefty, literary price to pay, but it’s also how mankind is redeemed. You should write young Hobgood a “thank you” note.
CJ has been spending his morally tainted days doing things he won’t talk about, surfing and working out.
“Getting in tune with my body.” I told him I would feature that quote and he laughed.
“Look, I’m just going through life like the next guy, trying not to get sucked in. I don’t want to walk around thinking that my poop don’t stink. I just want to be as real as the next dude.” Sweet humble conflicted spiritual man.
Another sweet humble conflicted spiritual Old Testament man was named Sampson. After having a falling out with his girl Delilah, Sampson committed suicide by knocking down a temple and killing everyone inside. I recommend that you keep your eye on CJ. — Charlie Smith
For a while there, Wilson teetered on the brink of ridicule. This gorgeous, sun-kissed, caramelcoated teen with a wide stance from the Sunny Coast got around comps looking nothing less than, dare we say it, beautiful.
The kisses his doting mother, Nola, would plant on Julian’s cheek before his heats for luck would be the stuff of derision for most, but in young Prince Wilson’s case, the tenderness was received and reciprocated warmly.
The handmade shell necklaces she placed around his neck for him to wear in the surf kept him ‘safe’. They
still do. He’d never paddle out without one.
And as mummy Nola clapped and cheered lovingly from the beach, young ‘Joycey’ progressed not only through the crotchety world of the shortboard scene, but he also enjoyed the cross-stepping sophistication of the longboard set. He possessed a mental and physical deftness, some sort of otherworldly Alex Kopps cool that belied his years. He was good enough on the nine-foot-plus tankers to claim two Aussie titles prior to turning 17.And for a while, despite a few Queensland titles and forgettable quarter-final finishes in pro juniors, things could have gone either way. Wilson could have been the surfing paedophile’s wet dream who promised so much, yet was inevitably spat out of the competitive system prior to his mid 20s with not much more to fall back on than his beautiful appearance and a competitive plateau as disappointing as, say, Luke Munro. But then cue: THUNDER! CRACKLE! LIGHTENING! HEAVY DRUMS! he got good. Real damn good. And fast.At the completion of filming for Young Guns II, he still wasn’t there. This, straight from the mouth of the film’s producers. But then a 10-point ride at Burleigh during a Billabong Junior comp. The call came through: ‘This kid’s got it!’ Yada yada yada. (Yawn, roll of the eyes) Still too early to tell.
More surfing, more travelling. Wilson holds his own in the Stab swimming pool alongside the established Dane Reynolds and Ry Craike, pulling one of the airs of the meet before 30,000 screaming Malaysian fans at the Quiksilver Revolution. Getting warmer.
Then the call up for YG3. Wilson’s on. Munro’s out. Dane’s in. Jeremy’s in. Craike’s in (of course) and some new kid from Maui called Clay Marzo.
Filming begins. Bali. Maui. North Shore. Sydney. Yamba. Reports come flooding back. Director Jason Muir and the gang are not prone to exaggeration, yet they are raving.
‘Julian’s surfing better than Dane.’
‘I reckon we got better stuff of Julian.’
‘We went to Maui, but we still need more stuff of Craikey and Dane ñ shoulda seen this air that Julian did.’
Reality is sinking in. People are talking.
But how could he be out-surfing Dane?
Quiksilver Pro, Snapper Rocks. Wilson has signed on for five more years with Quiksilver. The deal sees him rolling ‘round Maroochy with his hands wrapped around the wheel of a pimped-out Toyota Hi-lux and there’s a wildcard spot somewhere in the fine print too. Lowest seed draws highest seed. Wilson paddles Slater, the eight-time world champ up the point, and beats him.
YG3 is released. That song – INXS. People hated it in the rushes. Old cunts loved it. Fans and people with opinions that don’t matter are placated when told ‘Julian picked it’. There’s slow mo. The track’s old. But Wilson’s surfing is fresh!
The film wins, Wilson wins (Breakthrough Performer of the Year at the Surfer Poll – youngest ever, by the way). More 10-point rides, more wins. Perfect Keramas, Perfect Bells. A-grade breaks, men’s waves. Julian Wilson is becoming a man. He is becoming impossible to ignore.
He has power, he has rotation, he has tricks, he has flair, style and grace. He gets completely ripped off, coming second to Mitch Coleborn in ASL’s Hot 100 list, but pundits know the egg is on the face of the magazine’s staff and the magazine’s reputation. Not on Mr Wilson.
And the cute kid that stirred the loins of those people that fear jail the most, is now firing sperm, like tracerfire, into the cunts and mouths of more willing females than 100 men could handle.
There is nothing worthy of ridicule about Mr Wilson now. Life is good, fantastic. Yes, Julian is our country’s best answer to the new surfing threats from South Africa (Jordy), the USA (Dane), egads, France! (Jeremy and co) and boring old Brazil.
Will you cheer?
Here is a man who appears to suffer no internal struggle or compounding self-loathing. At a peachy 22 years, age and its vexing insecurities are light years away, held at bay by the wonderments attributed to youth.
See, Dane Reynolds has been born with a gift – the ability to surf well. And his fortitude is such that an entire industry exists that can support that gift. And it does. Quiksilver pays Reynolds around half-a-mill a year, US. His other sponsors nudge the sal up to around $750k. Probably more.
And in return for their coin, what must Dane do? Whatever he likes, baby! Just remember to rip the tags off your free clothes and new wetsuits!
A fleeting snapshot of Dane’s career is thus: Californian prodigy attempts junior competitions, yet aside from some wonderful moments, generally fails. An attempt at the comp considered the apex for surfers in his age bracket, the ASP Billabong World Juniors at our own North Narrabeen, sees him bundled out in the third round, probably by a Brazilian. Indifferent, Dane chooses the path of the freesurfer cum filmer guy (who needs dumb con’ests anyway!), with two years, give or take, set aside to capture and accumulate footage for a bio-pic. Mission: Check the weather, follow the sun, rip the bags out of it!
Dane does, and mid-way during the tedious editing process for what we now know as First Chapter, proclaims to the media that he’s never been sure about competing, but maybe the inkling is creeping in. Ho! First Chapter is released, Dane dutifully attends three East-Coast (Oz) premieres and gets respectively drunk at each of them. Could he really be an Aussie, trapped in a Yank’s body? He understands sarcasm too and in various interview situations reveals, at the very least, tepid genius.
Within six months, he’s somehow scraped through a shocking 25-minute encounter in the first prime-rated 6-star WQS of the year, at Margaret River. Six rounds later, he’s still going, eventually eliminated in the semis, but loaded up on valuable ratings points he charges into the year and easily qualifies for the bigleagues, first-go on the merry-go-round. Easy. In another era, Dane may have found himself parked sideways, blocking three lanes of traffic on that bridge that joins H1 to Brisbane, hands clamped to the wheel, high on acid. He might have been Michael Peterson.
In this era, spinning opportunity and uncharted optimism are the domain of Stab’s award-winning freesurfin’,
ASP dream-livin’ deity.
And at the core of Reynolds’s dazzling composite?
In measurable terms, probably not much when compared to a even a bawdy surfer like you or me. If you graphed a Reynolds wave, and got all mathematical n’ shit, on the chalkboard we’d probably see tighter arcs and some creative, extrapolated trajectories. But here’s the rub. Reynolds has the ability to reproduce this delicate fusion, time and time again. That’s tha mindset that makes Reynolds what he is. Different. And his wave wizardry to the naked eye is mesmerising.
For him, it’s just instinctive. For the rest of us, damn near impossible to mimic! You’d just have to borrow one of his boards and try, to know.
It’s also a talent that makes him completely admired and marketable.
Dane, Stab hearts-you and your enviable act.
Do whatever you want to do. And at least for a while, the industry, your sponsors… Stab… will laud you for it!
When Mick Fanning cruised to the world title with only a whimper of protest from Burrow and Slater, his old buddy Joel Parkinson was stoked. Real stoked. So stoked he felt like cutting his heart out. Wasn’t he supposed to be the first one out of the famous trio to conquer the world? Didn’t Stab predict it two years ago? Yes and yes. And yet it was the insanely focused Fanning who inscribed his name in the book of records. Sam McIntosh called Joel.
Looking at those photos of you carrying Mick up the beach in Brazil you’re wearing quite the smile but it doesn’t really look like you were genuinely smiling.
And then I saw it again during that speech you made at Mick’s world title celebrations back on the Gold Coast.
You see through it that easy?
Well, I’ve thought a lot about it.
Are you gonna do anything about it in 2008?
I know my plan but I just haven’t got it absolutely cemented away yet.
Do you think it took Mick to make you and Taj realise you could steal the title from Andy or Kelly.
If I think too much about it, I get the shits. I mean, I’m going to work on everything now and have all the focus in one year.
I think you should do what you did in Brazil. Up until you lost, I heard it was the best you surfed all year. I recommend not sleeping before the final or event.
It was all bullshit. I went to bed at 10 o’clock. One of the boys asked what’d you do last night and I said, “I went mad all night, I haven’t slept yet.” Before the semi Kai Otton came up to me and went, “You’re a bad man”, and I had to run with it. They still don’t know. Occ and Bruce, I was staying with and they know and they were laughing about it.
What’s your technique at beating the big names? You’ve got an awesome win-loss record against the names; shithouse against the rest
That’s fucken competition. You never know. It’s 30 minutes. That’s what I told Kerrsy at the start of the year. I said don’t think it’s gonna be someone like Dane Reynolds you have to look out for. It might be Greg Emslie or someone you don’t really hear of. Those guys on that tour are there for a reason. You’ll paddle out and the next thing you know they’ve got two nines on ya and you’re sitting there, like, “How the hell did I get in this position?” You’re in a heat. It’s not the Surfer Poll.
As a desk jockey who watches most events via a pixelated six-inch cube, up until round four is far from compelling viewing. Say, if there was a 12 or 16-man superleague whereby your lower rated peers weren’t eligible, you may just be world champ.
Yeah, with that rationale, I probably would but it’s not.
What’s the most frustrating loss you had in 2007?
Phil Macca at Bakio last year. It was small and he absolutely surfed at the best of his potential. He should’ve struggled in small waves. He had been struggling and then he got me and did the best surfing I’d seen him do all year. I had a good heat but he just smoked me.
Do you think Andy and Kelly’s world title period is done?
I think that’ll depend on Kelly doing the tour but I reckon we’ll see another good innings outta Andy. He’s got the bad year outta his system. Whoever is gonna win the title has to win it before Hawaii. If Andy is in the race in Hawaii, then there is no race.
Who are the five people in the world title race? And you can include yourself.
Andy, Mick, Taj, Kelly if he does a full year. They’re my four.
Every year, one or two red herrings who win an event. This year?
It’ll definitely be a rookie. Jordy or Dane. Just has to be in the right waves for those guys. It won’t be at a Teahupoo or a Pipeline.
How hard is it for you to watch someone like Jordy? Do you feel like he’s biting your style?
(Deadpan) Well, I’m kinda pissed he stole all those rodeos clowns and kerrupt things from me. He’s pretty much ripped everything from me (bursts out laughing). He’s his own surfer. He surfs totally different to me. He’s only got the same lanky casual stuff like that. He’s got that but with more spark.
A few things I learned about Andy Irons in 2007. He leaves the doors of his truck unlocked and the keys in the ignition whenever he’s at home on Kauai. Clay Marzo is his favourite frontside surfer. Dane Reynolds his favourite all rounder. He believes Dane and Jordy Smith are gonna elevate quickly and crush old man dreams on the CT. He rides twinnies and retro boards but only when nobody’s around. He hates it when his steak is under cooked. He’s thinking about growing a beard.
And then there were other things…
Over the year I had three mostly off the record conversations with Andy that canvassed a lot of different shit. Life’s transitions, ups and downs, now, the future and the power of his legacy. Listening to him talk is as entertaining as it is refreshing. He rolls with emotion and is honest to a fault. He has no reason to pour his heart out but he can’t help it. His willingness to share his thoughts and feelings is engaging. I don’t know how it came to be that I found myself whining to the three-time World Champ about what a cunt of year 2007 had been – for me. That I’d broken up with the mother of my children, that I was unsatisfied with work and that I was sinking into the quicksand of a mid life crisis at the ripe ol age of 30, but it didn’t take long before the he’d heard enough.
“You’re rattled?” he spat. “You think you are? Come on now. I’m as rattled as a five-year-old with his jack in the box broken in half.”
There was no need ask why. For the second year running, Andy was out of the world title race before the European leg had ended. As we talked on the phone, Australia to Kauai, guys were still surfing round three heats of the Billabong Pro at Mundaka. “Mundaka,” he said. “I don’t even know where that is. I mean, I’ve been to the town but I’ve never seen the wave. It’s completely foreign to me.” After losing his second round heat to a wildcard in three-foot Bakio beachies AI hightailed and arrived home before his hair was dry.
Mick and Teebs went on to give the patriots their long awaited Aussie Title battle and Kelly kept things intriguing by providing a minor threat from the shadows. But where were the relentless talk-ups, the classic calls, the mind games, the awkward encounters and the man tears that made the Irons era so damn invigorating? Where were the pump-action shotgun blasts to the head of an opponent after being spat out of the day’s best barrel? The only trace of anything like it was after AI’s win in Chile when he threw down his claim on the crown in classic style. “I didn’t go anywhere. I was always right there in the world title race. I can’t wait. Game on.” But the year fizzled, Andy’s ruthless competitive nature took a hit, and a little less flavour went into the final meltdown. Admit it. You missed him. It’s ok. We all did.
Andy eventually finished sixth without really turning up for the back half of the tour. Throughout the year he got engaged and married and bought himself a princely cabana on his home island. He fit in holiday surf trips to Bali, Fiji and Mexico and of course he starred in Taylor Steele’s Trilogy. When I suggested 07 might have been a bit of a dud by his own lofty standards he was suddenly and very
rightfully pissed? “Hey, competitively I’ve accomplished everything I’ve ever wanted to do. If anyone tries to hang shit on me I’ll tell them straight up, you go try and win a contest. Try and win 12 of the fucken things. My position is I’m having the best time of my life. I’m not worried about nothing. I’m gonna keep on competing and when that’s over I’m gonna surf till I’m 130. Laird says he hit his peak at 50. I’m only 29.
I got 21 fucken years to look like a Greek god.”
Rattled but not worried. Shaken but not stirred. We may as well place the order for another 21 AI Stab Awards right now. — Vaughan Blakey.