Watch: Mason, Kolohe, Caroline, Crane, Griffin, And The ...Lost Team's Texas Outing
"It took a global plandemic [sic] and full lock down from worldly travel to get these guys to finally go to Waco!"
Back in Late May, we did a friends and family trip to Waco for Memorial day weekend.
Rallied six San Clemente families and booked a few days of waves. It was literally the first week BSR re-opened, after the first wave of Wuhan.
(A year before, we actually brought our entire company out for the same weekend—surfboard builders, management and retail crew. Like 60 people! That was also an incredible time. Reola and I covered everything, trying to give back to those who work hard for us, and you can’t go wrong with this place.
So after a couple months of lockdown, it was a much-needed release to get out and do something. Dads, moms, teens, groms, all having a private little beach party. A few families drove (including my wife and girls) and hauled out coolers and BBQs, we brought all our own food and drinks (to stay socially distanced), cranked up the grills, mixed cocktails, and everyone surfed their brains out.
It really felt good to blow off some steam. One of the dads bought a grip of legit fireworks and when the sun went down it was on!
But I couldn't help thinking how fun it would be to do this with the team. Something loose and fun, with no pressure.
Two years ago, we brought Mason, Yago, and Mike Rodriguez. Did a big night time photoshoot, masterminded and executed by Hollywood photog, Mike Muller. This was before they had lights there, so we set up all our own lighting, bought a bunch of crazy colored smoke flares and Muller had this custom-developed, underwater flash rig that he created for Great White shark diving
The shoot was a success, but we couldn’t get Kolohe or Griff to commit and had been trying to get them out to Waco since. It’s sooo hard with these elite WCT guys to ever do a “cheap trip” with their board builder.
I’m the only guy who's not paying them, so it’s not like we can tell them…we have to ask them.
It’s always “Red Bull is doing this, Billabong is doing that”….etc etc. Stressing over the next comp or rushing to do some big dollar strike mission to faraway lands. And in 2020, there’s not much of that going on…like zero.
Believe it or not, Kolohe and Griff had never been to Waco, so we figured this was our chance (and it was still not easy).
Surfing-wise, every time I go, I just think, wow, how cool would it be to see our A team rip the “Trestles”, 3 wave set. The wave is sooo shred-able. It makes old men surf better. It makes little kids surf better.
I gotta believe the hotshots would unveil its true potential.
In addition, having nine people in the water, sharing sets, one after another, with three surfers up at once (while the other surfers paddle along the wall, right in your face, screaming and hooting and hollering), it really brings people together. It's such a stoker. I wanted to do that on with the highest level surfers.
Strip down the competitiveness and do some team building.
The original plan was to bring the WCT acts of Brother, Griff, Carissa, and Caroline (the more stressed out comp crew). Do something special and fun just with them, disarm them.
But then Waco just isn't Waco without Mason, so I reached out to him, and he wanted in, but said “If I’m leaving Hawaii, it would be best to hinge this trip together with the Snapt-4 trip that’s happening. I’m grabbing Sheldon and going for that and so is Ian Crane.”
We aligned our dates to be the two days before The Snapt crew showed up. Now we got Mase (and Doggy) as well Crane, with Griff and Brother. Caroline is in, but Riss’ wasn't ready to travel from Hawaii yet (which was fully understandable, under the circumstances).
It worked out perfectly, though, because Coco calls and says “Mark (McMorris) and I booked a few privates. We are flying out and will be there around the same time.” Riss’ takes the pass, but Coco's in!
Like I said, Griff and Kolohe had both never been. They actually didn't even seem too excited to go. Like it’s Kiddie-land or something. I kept telling them how fun it would be, that it’s not just about that damned air wave, that the standard “Trestles” wave is really fun, a perfect little rip-bowl.
It took a global plandemic [sic] and full lockdown from worldly travel to get these guys to finally go to Waco!
And they were pumped! Kolohe’s like “I gotta grab all my buddies and come right back”.
It's not just the wave, but the inclusive and fun nature of the whole experience. The wave of, course, is better than it looks on Instagram, and to tell you the truth, no one really ever sees good surfers on the “Trestles” wave. It’s always the air wave…pump, pump, POP…over and over and over. It’s all anyone ever sees on IG, etc.
But to see the best surfers tear apart that three-wave set would be really interesting and entertaining—to see what these razor sharp athletes can dissect out of those little rip bowls.
Our vision was to get these guys and girls (a solid selection of best surfers in the country) and have them rip the bag of that 3 wave set.
Line them up and let them rip.
Honestly, we put them in more public sessions than private air wave sessions. They were in the pool, surfing with regular surfers, locals and little kids, lighting up that three wave set and having a blast.
We brought Dino along, with Mike Parsons and our sons. The old guys and the groms. Unfortunately, I tore my hamstring on my second session. Nothing too major, though. Reola was getting out there and sharing waves with the team.
When the Pros go tired, we'd toss the film crew out to rip for a couple hours. The place is really impressive as far as how communal it is. So inviting. Such a stark contrast to the rigid structure of Surf Ranch, where it's all fenced off, nothing but concrete and steel and you can’t even touch the water, unless you've paid to be in a specific session. BSR is so inclusive.
Our crew were all surfing the beginner sessions, with 8’ soft tops and 30 entry-level surfers in the water. Having a blast, interacting, lounging in the lagoon, sipping a few drinks, eating junk food, and forgetting about the fucking chaos in the world.
It was like group therapy.
The majority of the boards ridden were RnD samples of our new “LIGHTSPEED” construction. You see a lot of these boards in the edit. Stringer-less eps with carbon, and custom fiberglass composites.
I don't think there’s a better venue for weight to strength ratio testing than this pool. Slam Bam Crash Smash. Some of them held up exceptionally and some broke…..pretty typical. Mason and Ian rode the same LIGHTSPEEDS almost the entire time. Both held up. Coco, Caroline and Sheldon as well.
Griff broke his, then grabbed Kolohes and broke his….But like I said, Griff is gonna be Griff. He was repeatedly flying into the flats, full force, like no one else I’ve seen…and I’ve been to Stab High.
Everyone seemed to dig the LightSpeeds. They all asked for more of them.
We also solidified a deal with BSR to provide them with a demo fleet of LIB x …LOST, LIb-Technologies-built boards. Strong and built for abuse, but lithe and supple enough to still rip on. These are really the best boards I've seen for taking the relentless, daily abuse of wave pools. We have an entire demo fleet there now.
The crew all jumped on them for a few sessions. Ian actually chose to ride The Rocket Redux, a lot, in both the air and the turn sessions. He nailed some great clips on it.
Mason was actually pretty chill. He fully understood what we were looking to do, and he had the Snapt-4 days directly following our days and knew he wanted to leave some in the tank for that. I mean, he was launching (and pulled some crazy stuff) but I feel like he, as well as Kolohe, kept it in third gear. Then, Griff is Griff. He's pretty 100% always, but no one wanted to get hurt trying to nail NBDs. That’s not these athletes' jobs…although Mason did pull something special that we agreed he's keeping under wraps for another project.
Trying to make a 20-minute wave pool edit engaging was difficult. You always want to make things look interesting. We went the extra mile to go outside the box of standing on the beach shooting 10 falls of the air wave for every make.
Trying to make an over-exposed, over-saturated venue look fresh, we brought in a crew of young of amped video kids. Stacked deep on angles and options, with interesting perspectives that draw you in.
Cameron Vurbeff was swimming the entire time, shooting pulled back (non-fisheye) water shots. Aaron Jessee manning the drone, trying to get sweeping views of multi-wave sets, Jason Crane was a workhorse, running all around the pool, getting various angles.
Coco brought photo/media veteran Jimmy Wilson, who nailed some really creative follow cam stuff and backed up the other angles.
Jacob Vanderwork was an anchor. He has the big daddy RED cam and never misses a shot.
Gian Bernini, our team and marketing guy, herded all the cats. He’s our rock.
The music in this is different. I put some thought into it. Both tongue in cheek tunes and also some pretty dramatic, slow-mo soundtrack stuff.
Reola came up with the opening sequence, which for the older viewers is pretty classic. Joe Alani (Alani Media) was handed the editing controls. He's worked under us for the better part of a decade and did the bulk of the work on "Here today/Gone to Cabo” and "WARd Stories” and Mason’s award-winning web series “License to Chill” a few years back.
Joe also ran our digital marketing during that era. He's a storyteller and has a nice touch.
We always try to tell a story, and feel details like music, narrative, and flow add greatly, and when done correctly, can pull in even the shortest of attention spans.
The surfers themselves make it unique though. The fact that no one has really put in the effort to document world-class surfers on the three wave sets. Little things like Kolohe grabbing my sons 4’9" and ripping a few waves on it.
Unfortunately, I would have liked to feature more funny, behind the scenes, candid stuff. The things Rory (Mason's film partner) is so good at getting, but in the end, we agreed to do a two part project and let Mason run with that.
With or without the pandemic, now, Waco ain't no Austin. I can tell you that. Austin has world class nightlife. "Live music capitol of the world!”. Incredible food and restaurants and a few awesome hotels. We used to stay at The Van Zandt. The quirky shopping scene for the wives is also legit. We’ve even caught a soccer game at University of Texas.
Waco, on the other hand, is much more low-key and you have to search a bit. There’s one really fun place, “Twisted Root”. Loud and fun with a great vibe, good food and bar. We always try to swing by there. There’s a few edgy/hip fine dining places you can find with a quick search and reservations. There’s BBQ places that you can actually cater or deliver to BSR. The big hit is always In-N-Out, of course…Especially after staying late for night time private sessions. I dunno. I like loading the car with groceries and doing our own big BBQ and Booze right there on the sand, while watching crew rip.