Do You Surf When The Waves Are Worse Than Terrible?
Or as we like to call them, "interesting".
I have nothing to do with Surf 100 (watch on-demand here!).
Nothing. At all. Which is to say that I viewed the first one through the eyes of a consumer, not of a Stab employee. If you choose to read the following, please keep that perspective in mind.
I accidentally watched it on the same night as the WSL’s Rumble At The Ranch. I intended to watch the Rumble in its entirety, but the connection kept dropping out and after 40 or so minutes of shouting profane insults at Hydro Flask advertisements, I felt I had an unscratched itch and decided it was time for Surf 100.
It was a different world.
The best way I can put it: Surf 100 felt like it was made for surfers.
That may sound simple, even obvious, but I think it is becoming increasingly rare and therefore increasingly valuable.
Note: I said surfers, not people who surf on occasion and don’t pay much mind to the extracurriculars.
Surfers, whose bodies exhibit a physiological response when the colors on a swell map seem to glow, who immediately text their friends about a new edit, who write off heinous social media posts from pro surfers, who see through the majority of sales pitches, who are always just one impulse away from quitting their job and going to Sumatra, who think too much about the surfboards they own, who think too much about the surfboards they want, who only have only fin key or seven, never in between, who have an immeasurable intelligence when it comes to discerning the oceanic and societal mechanics of almost any lineup.
If you want them to listen, you can’t spout any bullshit.
In the surf industry, it is not uncommon to sacrifice respect from the core in the hopes of gaining interest from the mainstream. To be honest, there’s nothing wrong with that — but there’s something very right about Surf100.
Where a normal heat begs for conservative surfing, Surf 100 allows competitors to go big. Where the WSL might force a generic storyline, Surf 100 gives you mic’d up shit talk. Where an everyday commentator might describe a windshield wiper turn as critical, Dane Reynolds will express how underwhelmed he is by an Instagram-worthy air reverse — and not just to be critical. In the Lowers installment, he backed that statement up with rational and interesting thoughts that you simply would not hear elsewhere.
Surf100 was raw and real. Everything about it catered perfectly to our little surf-obsessed niche, but it was so well-produced that I might dare say it’d hold the attention of a non-surfer. Imagine that.
I’d call it one the best things I’ve seen in a while, but it would be more accurate to say it felt like something totally new. Something I want more of.
As you know, the Western Australia Surf 100 ran last night. If you like surfing, I highly recommend you watch it. If you can’t afford it, no worries. Text this number, tell us your story, and maybe you’ll get a free code: 760-309-7221.
Ok now scroll down for the irreverence.
One of the best moments of 2020 was when the internet bullied a ghostly corporation into re-signing Eli Hanneman after they bought Hurley and tried to drop (almost) everyone. People love to say they don’t care about the surf industry, but our analytics say otherwise. The harsh but loving relationship is real.
How funny would it be if they sign Julian?
Can a hip kid go hi-fi? Can a Luddite logger take flight? Can a person who grew up successfully competing in Pro Juniors on a shortboard still do an air reverse? Sorry. Had to. But, real talk, Harrison seems like a great guy and he fucking rips. It was awesome to see his style and approach — and, most interestingly, hear his thoughts — on three fins. Excellent viewing.
That’d be nice. But, I think we should focus on getting racism out of society first. Tyler Wright took a stand — well, a knee — for Black Lives at Tweed Heads Tango or whatever they called it. The internet seemed baffled by the idea that someone that has a big voice might say something other than, “Board felt good.” Respect to Tyler for being the first in surfing to do it.
In breaking news, Stab is pleased to report that people still land big tricks outside of wave pools. For proof, please consult this edit of Albee Layer, Matt Meola, and Nathan and John John Florence. Spoiler alert: Albee lands a double alley-oop (twice) and fails at convincing John John to try one. No worries, though. Italo’s got his back.
If you’re comfortable with that, and you're American, we did the research for you and listed five places that will (probably) open their arms to you right now. Bonus: If you put in the work, I’m pretty sure you can bamboozle most government authorities into letting you into their countries right now. Just get somebody in the country to say you’re an unpaid apprentice at a business. You might get denied or go to jail or something, but hey Dora lives right? Oh and also don’t give people COVID.
How is it out there?
Last week, I asked you for obscure surf check lingo. One Fwd reader, Ryan, shared this and it made me happy.
Since you asked, I wanted to point you to one of my favorites from this secret lingo, from the very first paragraph of Part I of William Finnegan's "Playing Doc's Games":
Bob Wise, the shop’s proprietor, was talking to a small group of local surfers one winter afternoon when I stopped in. “So Doc, who can see the surf from his window, calls me up and says, ‘Come on, let’s go out,’ ” Wise said. “So I keep asking him, ‘But how is it?’ And he goes, ‘It’s interesting.’ So I go over there and we go out and it’s just totally terrible. So Doc says, ‘What did you expect?’ Turns out that when Doc says it’s interesting, that means it’s worse than terrible.”
Here’s to surfing interesting waves.
One last thing:
I could never trust a person who has a stockpile of leash strings.
-Brendan Buckley, Surf 100 Fan Boy