North Narrabeen has been more reminiscent of an inner-city construction site than it has a world-class beachbreak since Local Government began work on its main sand dune during September. Several large earthmovers were contracted by Warringah Council to reshape the sand dune – now covered in dense shrubs and bushes – back to an angle of repose, 34 degrees, after consultation from the University of NSW Water Research Laboratory and consulting firm, Royal Haskoning. But a number of local community groups have been calling for similar action for the past five years and see these latest efforts as just a small chip in the iceberg of a much larger issue.
In fact, North Narrabeen Boardriders and Surfrider Foundation believe the actual break has changed significantly since the dune has grown more than 10 metres over the last 30 years. The planting of vegetation has essentially been too effective, creating sand cliffs and an imbalance of sediment. In windy conditions or large swells, sand washes up onto the vegetated dune, becomes trapped and can’t return to the ocean. The beach is left with a surplus of sand on the dune and a deficit offshore. So has the famed North Narrabeen break been playing injured all this time?
“My view on this whole thing is it’s farcical,” Narrabeen legend Terry Fitzgerald tells Surfing World.
“The sand that should be in the wave action zone isn’t there because it’s caught up in the dune vegetation.
“The whole problem is… man built what shouldn’t be there. It has changed the break from a wide, flat wave-action zone to a narrow, steep one and the dune reflects that.
“There is the rock off North Narrabeen, out at the point, which is the anchor for the left-hander. In days gone by it could be two-foot and you’d be surfing a left from in line with the point all the way to the carpark. That doesn’t happen anymore because there is a huge hole in the bank.
“This whole problem is over 30 years in the making and a plan needs to be developed to manage North Narrabeen as the National Surfing Reserve it is, to ensure the surf will be as good as it was.”
The problem TF is referring to originated in 1974 after arguably the worst storm to hit Sydney ravaged the coastline following a long season of damaging systems. Balmoral was all but swept out through the heads, Botany Bay was left in shambles and the famous Manly Baths and Wharf were kicked up the beach and into the streets. Flight Deck, the long-standing apartment block in between Narrabeen and Collaroy, flooded and the sea level rise crossed Pittwater road entirely. Brendan Donohoe from Surfrider Foundation clearly remembers the storm. “It was cyclonic,” he recalls. “I remember looking out across from Dee Why Point to the German Bank and the barrels there, you could fit a double-decker bus in. It was that massive.” And North Narrabeen wasn’t spared, with the tidal surge flooding Narrabeen lagoon and houses lining the banks. With Council licking its wounds after receiving the clean-up bill, it was decided the following year they needed a barrier dune to protect from future storms of such severity.
The North Narrabeen Birdwood Park, where if you’ve ever surfed Northy you’ve most likely checked it from, was artificially created using 100,000 cubic metres of sand from the lagoon mouth. On the ocean side, a three-metre sand dune was built – all well and good at the time – but nearly 40 years later, that same dune is now over 10 metres high, covered in dense bush and has locked up the sand like a shore-dumped set of sluggos. “The problem seems to have been when they planted Acacia Sophorae, colloquially known as Coastal Wattle, which has been used up and down the coast around the same time as this storm,” says Donohoe. “Within a couple of seasons, all the sand from the southern end of Narrabeen wrapped around the dune at the north. Sand is supposed to move. What people forget is North Narrabeen is a river-mouth break.”
Local lifesavers and North Narrabeen SLSC have also been active in the campaign to reduce dune height because their sightlines are heavily affected. Before the overgrowth, lifeguards sitting in their quarters at the club could see down to the lagoon, out over the line-up, the entire beach and up toward South Narrabeen. Now? Not even 10 metres in front and it forced Council to build lifeguard towers. It’s understandable why Council has been reluctant to take any large-scale changes with an estimated $300 million worth of beachfront property bordering the sands between Narrabeen and Collaroy and within the lagoon. The cost alone of reaching a viable solution would far outweigh the budgets of local government. But every four years since the dune was built, Council still forks out for clearing operations, moving 10,000 cubic metres of sand they’ve essentially put there themselves from the lagoon mouth.
TF says the changes to the landscape of the area are too significant to just forget and he, while supporting the latest maintenance, believes the motivation is not to preserve the break but to avoid any potential public liability claims.
“The flood plain at Narrabeen was wide enough that biplanes would land and complete testing on them during the 50s. That was its natural state,” he says.
“They’ve spent a $50,000 emergency plan to basically protect themselves from litigation which was just waiting to happen with the 30 foot drop created since the large storm in June.”
And Warringah Council didn’t shy away from this fact when contacted by Surfing World regarding the June storm and subsequent erosion. “Council had public safety concerns regarding the potential for a dune face collapse without notice on top of beach users,” says a spokesperson for the Council. “A certain dune volume and height needs to be maintained... since the recent dune work, Council does not consider the dunes to be too tall.” There are no plans to reduce the dune height any futher and Council believes the presence of the dune doesn’t change the process of sand movement between periods of small and large storm activity. “Even if some of the sand was moved, the ability of this dune to influence the oceanic forces at work at North Narrabeen is negligible.” But the locals see differently.
“There’s a three step fix,” says TF. “One, remove the man-planted vegetation and decrease the size of the dune. Two, replace it with natural sand dune grasses and three, put in a pump system at the Ocean St Bridge with pipes down to the beach heading south and release valves so the sand can be better managed.”
We’ve seen what’s possible with sand pumping systems, albeit reliability is an issue. The Superbank is a man-made creation with its management of sand in a fluid form and while banks certainly have their moments, every March there seems to be a well-timed bank for a heat or two.
But, as Donohue concedes, money and political will are two very big variables.
All photographs by Mark Onorati
We had this grom come into the office to do work experience. His name was Lliam Lette Mortenson. We went surfing with him and he had stickers on his board. “Phwoar!” we said. He took off on one wave and did a full rote air-reverse. “Phwoar!” we said. Then he interviewed Dion Agius about the difference between growing up to be a comp surfer and a freesurfer. PHWOOOOOOAAAAARRRR!” we yelled. Lette rips. This is their chat.
Lliam: What age did you know you wanted to be a professional surfer?
Dion: I kinda wanted to be a pro surfer since I was really young, probably since I started when I was 13 or 14. I thought it looked like the coolest thing ever but I didn’t take it seriously until I was probably about 16 or something and I started to get better and my mates were doing well and we were all competing against each other. That was fun and so after that I really wanted to see if I could make it happen.
Lliam: At what point did you realise that competition surfing wasn’t for you?
Dion: I remember one time I had a heat against Dan Ross in the Maldives and it was coming down to the end of the heat and he needed a score and I ended up keeping him off a wave and I caught the wave and whatever, it was a shitty wave and he was furious at me. And I remember catching a wave in and then I got to the beach and he was paddling in and screaming and I started to shit myself because I’m only a pretty small dude and he’s huge. So we get to the competitors area, I kinda went up there as quick as I could, and he came up in front of everyone and just started screaming at me. I thought he was gonna punch me out. It freaked me out and I just remember going back to my room and just being so rattled because I didn’t want to see him again after that. I just felt really ashamed that I’d done that. That’s competition, that’s what your supposed to do and at that point I just went “You know what? This fucken sucks. I shouldn’t be surfing against my friends like this and not enjoying it.” So that was kinda the icing on the cake. Luckily not long after that I started riding for Globe and they told me they didn’t want me to do contests so I was like, “Yep! That’s perfect!” I think I was about 20.
Lliam: And you sorted out everything out with Dan Ross?
Dion: Yep (laughs). I think I didn’t see him for like five or six months or so but the next time I saw him I was pretty hesitant to say hello. He probably wouldn’t even remember it but I think I’ll remember it till I die because he scared the s-s-s-s-shit out of me.
Lliam: Once you know you want to free surf what’s the best advice you can offer to make that path realistic?
Dion: The most important people you’re gonna be working with when you wanna be a free surfer is photographers and magazines and videographers and stuff. So I got lucky when I was pretty young because grew up with Kai Neville and so I got to film with him but I didn’t know any photographers. I remember going a couple of times with my mate Corey Ziems to Straddie and he was going to shoot with Andrew Shields and everytime I knew he was shooting I would be trying so hard to impress him. And I remember times he wouldn’t even take photos of me and I think it made me more hungry. And eventually he took a few photos and then I think they might have got run once in a magazine and from there I just kept trying to shoot with as many photographers as I could. Once you’ve got talent and stuff down you really just need to be working with those guys. It’s awesome now because you can work with your buddies. Shooting with your friends if its video or photos, and taking it in turns and stuff like that helps so much and you learn a lot about how to shoot surf for shooting photos because as a free surfer all you’re doing is going on trips and trying to get the best stuff footage, photos and story you can. So just try to get in front of as many photographers as you can in your area. If you know that there’s a guy that shoots for local magazines or whatever, try and meet him. Those guys can essentially make or break you and its fun getting to work with those dudes who are talented photographers.
Lliam: Did you do a lot of filming on Nti Sheeto?
Dion: I filmed a lot of the lifestyle stuff, just all the 16mm footage for the movie. I have a bolex (camera) that I’ve had for years and I recently just got back into shooting with it. I was trying to shoot some surfing of the guys but at the same time that’s hard when you want to be surfing in the clips too.
Lliam: Yeah, not sure how you’d be able to stand there filming instead of surfing.
Dion: (Laughs) Yeah, it’s pretty tough but its good when you get a couple of good clips, it kinda makes it worth while. I got some stuff of Ozzie out Lakeys, I went out and filmed him from the boat one day and we got some good stuff so that’s cool.
Lliam: What are some of the challenges you face as a career in free surfing?
Dion: When you’re young and you get paid a little bit of money and all you really have to do is surf you can wind up sitting at home and not doing anything at all but that will only last so long. Your sponsors are your bosses essentially so you’ve gotta make sure that they’re happy all the time. Working with them really closely helps to make sure you’re making the most of the opportunities you have. Taking initiative and planning and going on as many trips as you can is a good tip. And always be psyched. You could be digging holes.
Lliam: What advice would you give a 16-17 year old who is currently in between both comp surfing and shooting photos trying to get exposure?
Dion: If you don’t have the competitive fire in you then it can be really hard to surf contests. But once you win or get a good result it feels great and that might motivate you. I did it for as long as I could until I was absolutely certain that I didn’t want to. It is a great way to improve because you’re surfing against all the best guys your age and you’re getting to them and you meet a lot of sponsors. You definitely don’t want to give up on it too early, especially in Australia. Our junior series is one of the more competitive in the world so if you can keep up with the top 10 guys then you know you have a chance of having a career. Be sure that you’re certain about becoming a free surfer before you quit contests because they can be a really good way to help you progress your surfing.
Lliam: Thank you, yeah that makes a lot of sense. Well that’s all from me, it’s been sick talking to you.
Dion: Yeah no worries dude it was nice to meet you. See ya brother.
Opening Pic: A face that didn't get broken by Dan Ross, Dion Agius. (Maassen) Second Pic: Lette soaring and roaring his way through grommethood. (Bosko) Below: French delights. (Maassen)
Ellis Ericson, Chris and Jason Salisbury wandered into a Sri Lankan playground and slid around like kids on sugar highs. Their delight was contagious and can only be found in SW343. All photos by Tom Hawkins.
Conner and Parker Coffin are two brothers from California. This sweet, juicy, tender little clip you see below is from their latest adventure and the two bro-down with Tanner Gudauskas (who's already got enough brothers) and Taylor Knox while the South African pointbreaks pump. The surfing is classic, powerful and buckets be gettin' thrown everywhere. Above is a zebra from the trip. We're unsure of its name but man, who cares? It's a zebra... with stripes. Enjoy, Highline.
Owen Wright has been missing relatively all year. He didn’t show up for Rio, didn’t even book a ticket. A withdrawal from Fiji, then Bali and Tahiti, and no one beyond the inner circle really knew why or when he’d be back in competition. Let alone in the water. He has now said he won’t surf in a heat until 2014. There was speculation of a mysterious injury. But it was shot down like a lead balloon because there was no denial, no rebuttal, no real answers from the Wright camp. Nor were there magazine spreads, web clips or any signs of Owen. By all accounts he wasn’t even surfing and that’s where Surfing World found him. At home, high and dry. But like so many professionals who have gone before him, time out of competition has turned into time for realisation. For a Wright raised among many now living in his first home with girlfriend, Samantha McManus, and with plenty of spare time on his hands, Owen’s come to terms with a lot from his 23 years.
John Florence drops another clip that solidifies his original take on wave riding. & Again is the second instalment of JJF's dominance of the internet world after Again dropped just weeks ago and the lines, the inversions, the extensions are unlike anything else being done in the ocean. What a performance to have to follow... good luck world.
Hawaiian legend Buttons Kaluhiokalani has recently been diagnosed with lung cancer, and his extended ohana all around the world are rallying behind him. The official donations page for Buttons and his family can be found here. In better times two years ago Surfing World hung out with Uncle Buttons on the North Shore and discovered why modern surfing owes him a huge mahalo.
From the interview in Issue 324...
Buttons is afforded a deep respect here on the North Shore. And while he may have disappeared from magazines and movies long ago, he also maintains a cult following the world over, surfers who see him as an avatar for the sense of freedom and fun they believe is the beating heart of surfing. This surprises him when I bring it up. “Wow, that makes me feel good, man. I feel connected. Maybe it’s because I’m more of a free spirit kind of guy, real laidback, and I don’t let nothing get in my head. I’m no different from everybody else; I keep my feet on the ground. But I love meeting people; that’s the way I was brought up. That part was from my Mum, she taught me all that.” And while his surfing has made him an icon, it’s the humility and resilience he’s displayed in getting his life back that’s earned him respect as a human being. “People have seen me at my worst, and today they get to see me at my best.” - Sean Doherty.
Toby Cregan has been the go-to filmer for a number of projects of late and here's yet another unique edit called Mild Vase. Travelling with Chippa Wilson, Benny Godwin and Joel Ford to the Maldives, you'd expect the usual boat-trip perfection or frames from Pasta Point or anything else from a typical North Male trip to the Maldives. But Toby and the boys didn't take a typical trip. They visited a completely different side of the surfing Mecca. One that's no less fun by any means. Enjoy.
Al Knost and Ford Archbold danced around the La Casa Artist Residency lately and here's a neat little edit of the absolute ball they had surfing on the North Coast and playing music in their band, Tomorrow's Tulips.
These two innocent looking So-Cal cats abducted the SW Editor lately. They then returned him in tiny, little pieces; a broken, disheveled heap of debris wrapped in foil with a post-it stuck to the top that read, "Sorry". Thanks guys, great job!
Al and Ford were also around during SW's House Issue at La Casa Artist Residency and played loud, jaded and drunken music with everyone. Sean Doherty recalls, The People Under the Stairs...Beneath The House was the band room. In the band room was a damp lounge, people with great hair we didn’t know, a piano, a bass guitar, an assortment of axes and amps and a drum kit whose cymbals were covered in coral-green blooms of corrosion. The band room was the length of a guitar lead from the high tide line, so you basically jammed in the shorebreak and the salt air got into everything, including the music. But while the upstairs level of The House and it’s oceans and panoramas and lighthouses opened your mind beyond the horizon, this dark and dank little bunker under The House forced whoever crossed it’s threshold and picked up an instrument to look deeply into their own tortured soul.
FROM THE PAGES // SW Issue 337
Craig Anderson sits down with shaper, Hayden Cox, to discuss the boards that made Slow Dance possible. While the film, directed by Dane Reynolds, has been doing the rounds over the past month premiering in any city with a ripple on its beaches, there's been very little chatter about the Haydenshapes crafts Ando danced on... until now. Sit down and enjoy the sleek surfing and fresh perspective of Craig Anderson as he breaks down each vessel of his quiver that accompanied him in the filming of his biopic.
Nelson Mandela spent 27 years of his life in prison for opposing the racist separatist governments controlling South Africa. During that time his vision for a united South Africa never waned and he became an international symbol for equality and freedom. Long retired from public life, the man the nation respectfully calls Madiba (his Xhosa clan name) has been back in the spotlight of late due to very poor health. We spoke with Jordy Smith shortly after the ASP Prime event at Willard’s Beach, Ballito, to find out how the mood surrounding Mandela’s health was affecting the people of his home country. You can read it here.
This is the second video in the short documentary series, Through the Lens that I launched with Hurley last year.
Back in May, we were at the Greenroom Festival in Japan and I met a really amazing man named Takashi Kobayashi. Taka builds the most incredible treehouses and he went on to tell us about one he was building in Sendai – which is one of the places most affected by the Tsunami. This treehouse was made to create a safe place for the children survivors and help them reconnect with nature in a positive way. The work he's doing is pretty magical and we were just happy to be able to join along.
Japan is a special place to me and with all the uncertainty left in the wake of the Tsunami, I thought it would be cool to shed light on this uplifting story.
Hope you enjoy the piece… - Rob Machado
As it turns out it was an important moment in surfing history. The thruster could have had its moment up at the Stubbies prior to Bells but I got knocked in small surf in the first round. Then Bells had epic, 10 to 12 foot surf. It was the like we hadn’t seen for 20 years – probably haven’t seen it since. The way it panned out is really quite extraordinary.
Anonymity is a fabulous thing. But being recognised for something like the thruster is a good legacy to have. I am reminded of it on a regular basis and it keeps my profile up. I make boards for a living and I’ve got Facebook and a website and I’m actively promoting myself so I can’t then turn around and go, “Oh, it’s fucked.” Although, it’d be nice to go about your business without it sometimes. That configuration was always going to happen at some point, I was just the first so I get the fame. Would I prefer not to have it? No. It was what I was working on at the time to improve my boards and my surfing. I wouldn’t give it back.
The world’s an increasingly crowded place, the ocean’s no different. Narrabeen’s a premier wave on the Beaches, so it’s hard to keep that a secret. It’s still very similar as far as the surfing attitudes go. The locals are fairly protective of the break, which they need to be, otherwise it’ll be overrun. The characters fade, the Golden era – the Col Smith era – but by the same token, a lot of them are still around and I still have contact with them. I mean, I’m still here. I don’t worry about the place, it’s in good hands, the spirit of Narrabeen is still there. It’s a healthy environment that promotes competition and develops talent and nothing much has changed in that regard. Cooper Chapman, I guess, is the standout there at the moment. He’s a sensible kid, a really good athlete and he’s from a surfing family, he’s got every chance. The look of the beach has changed significantly with people trying to save and protect the Surf Club and artificially manufacturing sand dunes which then leads to erosion down the beach. Sand management is a big topic at Narrabeen.
I didn’t have to make a big decision and commit like the young guys have to today. I wanted to make boards, I wanted to improve the boards that I was surfing, and be successful as a competitive surfer. Because it was evolving you just turned up at whatever was on. That eventually led to the Pro Tour. I never considered it risky or thought I’d be better off with a trade. I knew it was there and I wanted to be part of it. We had some strong international events – Bells, Stubbies and the Coke in Sydney – there were a lot of opportunities to get your start. Today it’s a lot more difficult and you do have a lot of decisions to make. Most surfers who believe in themselves will be making those decisions pretty early. But it’s easier for surfers to slip through the cracks, it really is. You just have to leave no stone unturned so that when you’re leaning on the stop and go sign on the main road you can feel good about yourself because you gave it everything you had.
I think relationships are things you have to work on. When you get older, it’s like a Seinfeld episode, you’ve got all the friends you’re going to have, you don’t really make any new friends so you better keep hold of the old ones. Relationships, particularly marriage, is a hard one. I’ve been married for 24 years. Generally you don’t approach it strategically, weighing up the good and the bad in your respective partners. It just evolves and it happens. But, I would say, if you are in the market, which most people are, to find a partner, don’t make a mistake. There’s no formula for guaranteeing that the person you’re going to pick will work. There can be periods in people’s relationships where they’re not super compatible at that moment, it might even be for a decade, but over a lifetime, that may just be a hiccup. Sometimes it doesn’t survive that period. So there you go, there’s nothing that I can tell you that can help you in any way, shape or form – just be careful.
MEN AND THEIR HEALTH
Being unaware of your health and how you’re traveling is pretty silly and Australian men are known for their silliness, aren’t they. It’s our nature. We’re probably not going to change but then again, the good thing about being a surfer is you know where you stand physically, you know how much work you gotta do, and if you don’t put it in you’re going to go out the backdoor and end up on a mal sooner than you want. Or on the rocking chair before you know it.
For the complete Simon Anderson Sage, check out Issue 341 on shelves now. Anderson also wrote the guest introduction to Issue 342 on sale next month.
The Byron Bay dune rats at Afends have unveiled their first surf flick with Vortex Bandits. Shot by Toby Cregan, the film's full of rebellious vibes and stoked out times, loads of hair and it's shot entirely in the cultural explosion of the town they call home. Team riders include Duncan McNicol, Joel Ford, Josh Sleep, Torren Martyn and Luke Stickley plus a blow-in cameo from Creed McTaggart, but that's fine, Creed's got great hair too. The boys are all kinds of rad and Toby's one talented lensman.
By Nathan Myers
His speed tricks the eyes. Like fast and slow motion at the same time. Quickening off the bottom turn. Spiraling into a highline, head-dip, lightning streak across the slippery green. The lip arcs swiftly ahead, but Joel Fitzgerald is its match. He blazes through the wormhole, bursting out ahead of the spit. He hammers the blistering single-fin into a massive gut-check carve. The cliffs of Uluwatu crumble a little into the sea. It starts to rain.
Other surfers in the line-up just stare. Their thrusters don’t do that. Nothing does. Not like Joel. Not on a single fin. Not for a long time, at least. Waiting between waves, Joel Fitzgerald is in good spirits. He’s classicly Aussie handsome, square chin, broad shoulders, curly blonde hair, built like a brick shithouse and unfailingly optimistic. Blue sky and sunshine. And a damn fine surfer. He is calm, clear and open when he speaks. The words come quickly though not without thought. It’s a Fitz thing. Walk your talk or don’t bother standing up in the first place.
SW: You’ve done that trick before?
JF: My first memories of Indonesia are from right here. Dad first walked me through that cave when I was twelve years old. Shitting myself.
Were you aware your dad was ‘The Man’ back then?
Yeah, people were always telling us that. It was good to know he pushed the limits, designed incredible boards and was passionate about what he believed in. The mags loved his flamboyant style. He was as good as it gets at a time when surfing was just starting to get competitive.
What was Uluwatu like back then?
You had to wait up at the Temple and either get a ride on a motorbike or hike the 3.5 kilometres in. I remember hanging on to the back of the driver like a little monkey. The hills were crazy, withlittle bridges and potholes you had to navigate, and wild thorns and cactus on either side. You’d be flying past locals carrying ice, boards, and water. Then you’d wait 45 minutes for your board to get brought down, but it wasn’t a big deal. Things moved at a different pace back then.
Do you remember your first paddle out?
Dad still loves to tell the story. He’d been surfing out there since the early 70s, so he knew all the locals. Made Kasim and Ketut Menda. He had them line the cliff in case anything happened to me. My arms were quivering and the fear was in my stomach. You get through that cave and just feel the enormity of the place. I remember a set coming in and the energy of it exploding on the reef. I had tears in my eyes for those first duck dives, but I managed to make it out.
Did he take you other places in Indonesia?
Oh yeah, he took us all over the place. That was one of his things, to always bring us along on his trips, either me or my brother. Sometimes both. Not just Indo, but Fiji, Tahiti, Hawaii... He loved finding new waves, like Columbus trying to prove the world wasn’t flat. He pioneered places like Nusa Lembongan, Sumbawa, Panitan and parts of Java. He loved being the captain. And looking for rights.
What memory stands out from those early trips?
I remember going to One Palm in a little fishing boat. We dropped a motor on the way out there and got stranded for three days on Komodo Island, just waiting for another fishing boat to come by and pick us up. By then the surf was flat, so we sailed around the volcanic island of Krakatoa. We even slid down the side of it on an old wakeboard. Always a bit of fun with TF.
What’s your dad up to now?
You should ask TF.
Tahiti you beautiful thing. What an incredible event, another one done and dusted and the world's nicest guy won. Yay for Adrian 'Ace' Buchan. Yay for surfing. Everything in the world is right again except that Avoca businesses are now closed for the remainder of the week citing Ace's win as cause for week-long celebrations. Teahupoo turned on for the last day of competition producing flawless conditions with 5 to 8 feet of juice hitting the reef. While productivity sunk to an all-time low across the world, Ace was busy beating the king in the final. Here are five reasons why Mr Buchan won the Billabong Pro Tahiti according to SW senior writer Sean Doherty.
Chippa’s packing again. He’s only been home for 10 days, and in 10 hours time he’ll be spirited away again in a flying steel cigar, the southern atolls of the Maldives this time. In the past year these walls have hardly seen their owner – California, Bali, Iceland, Hawaii, Mexico, Sumatra, Peru. When I ask him how often he’s away he laughs and replies it might be easier to just work out how often he’s at home. He bought a calendar to mark off the dates he was away, just for perspective, only he wasn’t home enough to fill it out and it sits on the kitchen table, blank. It’s a long way from four years ago when Chris “Chippa” Wilson was labouring on building sites, unknown outside of his hometown of Cabarita, but he’s adjusted pretty well to his new life as the surfing world’s most inventive and confounding aerialist. We find him in his garage, madly jamming boards into a boardbag with a phone to his ear, closing a deal. “Can I pick it up today? Yeah? Sweeeeet.” Before he leaves for Brisbane airport later this afternoon he’s got one last errand to run. He’s going to buy a motorbike.
Stephanie Gilmore slides her way down a twisting Mexican point as stylish as ever. A sight to be celebrated and sure to be the happiest thing you'll see today. Filmed by Andrew Schoener, Morgan Maassen has cut this edit to a very fitting Sylvia Telles track. All in all this proves to be an awfully sleek piece of surfing and filmmaking.
Mick Fanning recalls the first time he and Joel Parkinson surfed the Teahupoo contest. “Frightened the shit out of us. The first morning Chopes was easy 10, 12 foot and we were shitting ourselves. I remember Joel had to surf against Poto who had no legropes, five boards in the channel, and a lifevest on. Joel’s carrying a little 6’4” thinking, ‘What the fuck?!’” To a couple of carefree punks from Coolangatta who went left annually, this seemed like a wave from another planet. In the decade since the World Title hopes of both have time and again run aground on the reef at Teahupoo, while Kelly has turned the wave into his personal plaything. This year it all changed. “The mad thing was,” recalls Mick, “that Joel and I were the first two guys in the lineup that morning. Joel actually said to me when we were sitting out there, 'How crazy would it be if we were sitting out here at the end of the day?'” They were. Both surfed out of their skin to make the final, the irony rich as they both rode quads – Kelly’s cause célébre – to do so. Joel had the final iced before leaving the door ajar the width of a cigarette paper. It was all Mick needed. “Yeah, Joel and I have had a few finals but this one was special,” said Mick later, basking in his last-minute heroics. “Who would have thought that two kids from the Goldy who don’t even have a left at home could make the final at Teahupoo? That’s something that will live with us forever.” It certainly lived with Joel for the next few days. Every 15 minutes or so he’d go stop whatever he was doing, and launch into a Tourette’s outburst, yelling, “F-f-f-fucken Miiiiick!”. – Sean Doherty
FROM THE PAGES // SW Issue 334 // THE WORLD TITLE ISSUE
It was a sad Thursday morning for members of both the Australian and Kiwi surfing fraternities when they awoke to the news that legendary surfer/shaper Allan Byrne had passed away.
“AB” had been involved in a motorcycle accident in Bali last Friday, and had lapsed into a coma from which he never awoke. The tributes have flowed all day.
Among those profoundly influenced by Byrne’s shaping and surfing prowess was Gary Elkerton, who first met AB when he was shaping at Hot Stuff surfboards. “I went down to the Gold Coast and was introduced to Bugs and AB and I still remember it clearly. I went to Hot Stuff channel bottoms and it took my surfing to another level and AB was a huge part of that.
“But I guess the real thing that connected AB and me was Hawaii. I’ve still got the board there in my garage that AB shaped and I won all those contests at Sunset on in the ‘80s. That’s my pride and joy. I rode that board between ’84 and ’88, it was the board that claimed the title Mr Sunset for me and back to back wins at Sunset. You know, they were experimental times for boards at Sunset and I was lucky to have a lot of guidance there from AB.
“He was an extraordinary surfer/shaper, and I still believe he’s the best surfer/shaper to have ever walked the planet. His approach to surfing Sunset backside and to surfing Pipeline was all time, and his channel boards changed my life. I’m still on channel bottoms today. They are the Formula Ones of the ocean. If it was smooth water or down the line or you had a solid style like myself they were amazing boards. He did something pretty unique in surfboard design and he stuck by it when a lot of other people changed with the wind… probably the stubborn Kiwi in him. But anyone who’s ridden one of his boards on a glassy day, especially waves like Pipe and anything in Indonesia, it’s amazing how much better they go than a flat bottom.
“He was just a phenomenal guy. He’s the best surfer shaper I’ve ever seen and a nice bloke as well. And he just seemed ageless. He was towing into 50-foot waves and still shaping great boards into his 50s and 60s. He was beaming last time I saw him a couple of weeks ago.
“You know, there aren’t too many people who come into your life who you can say changed the direction of your life, but for me he was one of them. AB’s boards bought my surfing to life and I’ve got a lot to be thankful to him for. There are a lot of people hurting today and I still can’t get my head around him not being here. But God bless him. Mate, he was a bloody great bloke and he’ll be dearly missed.”
AB is survived by wife Jayne, sons Michael, Jamie and Matt, and anyone else who’s ridden six channels. Our thoughts and best wishes are with all of them. – Sean Doherty
Issue 341 is all about high performance and the mentality of going next level. But what are the top 10 single moves that set new benchmarks for the Tour? We take a look.
10. OCCY’S FOOT SNAP, Huntington Beach, 1986
Seems funny, but when Curren and Occy faced off in three-foot, dumpy peaks at Huntington, this was the move that proved the difference. A snap to layback which saw Occy’s foot leave the deck only to ride out was viewed as a freakish miracle!
Footage of the classic turn is in short supply and impossible to find without Portuguese narration so instead here's Occy doing the cha-cha on Dancing With The Stars. Ha. Surfers are funny aren't they.
9. THE JOYCEY VARIAL, Trestles, 2011
Surfing against Joel Parkinson and Mick Fanning at Trestles, Julian Wilson throws down a varial to top score the heat. Parko says he thinks the move is crabby and doesn’t deserve the points. The judges agree and Joel moves through but online new schoolers are freakin’.
8. MEDINA AIRWAYS, Hossegor, 2011
Looking down the barrel of a major defeat at the hands of Julian Wilson in the final of the Quik Pro Gabe Medina takes to the sky for a one-man corkscrew airshow. Perfect 10s later, he takes the win.
The pair would then meet again famously next year at Super Tubos where Jules walked away with the trophy, funny hat and cold hard revenge.
7. THE KLERRB SANDWICH, Snapper Rocks, 2007
Flying towards an inside close-out, Kerrsy grabs the rail and pulls a very strange inverted under-the-lip fin blow-to-reverse. Called the 'Club Sandwich’ because it has a bit of everything, Slater calls the score – a mid-range 8 – an outrage.
6. THE ANDY IRONS HANGER, Mexico, 2006
The Rip Curl Pro Search Event in Mexico will forever be remembered for a week of thundering barrels, however it is Andy Irons’ orbit piercing hanger in the final against Taylor Knox that sets a new benchmark for going rocket ham in heats.
5. THE DANE HAMMOCK, Haleiwa, 2012
Dane Reynolds was so layed-back doing his Haleiwa end bowl hammock jam in last year’s Reef Hawaiian Pro that commentator Shane Dorian dropped “best move ever seen in competition” honours almost instantly.
4. THE RODEO CLOWN, Pipeline, 1999
A year into his first retirement from the World Tour Kelly Slater enters the 1999 Pipeline Masters as a wildcard and riding a 6’10” pin-tail performs the very first Rodeo Clown. The move is named after a song written by his buddy Jack Johnson and here's Kelly playing it.
3. THE JOHN JOHN OOP, Keramas, 2013
It’s hard to tell because his hair is the same colour, but when John John landed that sky-scraping oop in his round one heat at Keramas, his head was actually covered in snow.
2. THE KELLYCOPTER, Bells Beach, 2011
Halfway through the final against Mick Fanning in perfect 6 to 8 foot Bells, Kelly Slater finds himself needing a combination of scores. He takes an insider, throws down a full-rotation helicopter to the flats and scores a 10. Still loses.
1. TOM CARROLL SNAP, Pipeline, 1991
Ask anyone and they’ll tell you, the future of progression will be bigger turns on bigger waves, and they just don’t get bigger or more rad than Tom Carroll’s Snap at the Pipeline. Back to the future kids.
The first time Gerry Lopez, Jack McCoy and Wayne Lynch drove Victoria’s Great Ocean Road together was during the 1970 World Titles… and it was an incredibly pivotal point in the lives of all three young men. They were already on their way to greatness; it’s just that each would take a different road to get there. In 1970 Lopez had just helped usher in the shortboard era on Maui but had yet to win at Pipeline, the wave that would come to define him. Lynch, the local boy, was the most radical kid in the world but was about to be run out of his hometown by the Vietnam War draft and forced to take sanctuary for two years in remote corners of the Victorian coast. McCoy, who’d grown up with Lopez in Hawaii, had just started to master life behind the lens and would be so spellbound by his trip to Australia that he never got on the plane home. In the years ahead their lives would occasionally intersect, less occasionally intertwine, but the larger shifts over time were tectonic drifts apart. Today, with each holding a special place in surfing folklore – and Gerry in Australia for the first time in almost 35 years – they jumped in a car together and headed down south. We rolled tape and drove back in time with them.
I first met Kobi Clements during the summer just gone for a feature in Surfing World as the month’s NEXT. He’d just turned eight years old, was days away from the end of school holidays and was hopping around North Narrabeen carpark with all the excitement you’d expect. His dad, former QS competitor Steve Clements was trying to round him up and into his pint-sized wettie while Mark Onorati quizzed the bank at Carpark Rights. A lot was starting to be said about this kid. And for good reason, his roundhouse cutties are hilariously advanced, comical almost. But, man, call me a wet blanket if you want, a part of me was reluctant to stoke the flame of this kid’s rise. I mean, come on, he’s eight years old after all. He should be out stubbing his toes or being a pirate or tryin’ wheelies or breaking things. And that’s where my chat began with Clemo. Is he too young for all this? Is it work or play? Soccer dads? Sponsors? Contracts? The lot. Clemo said one thing to me that day that gave me reassurance and got me stoked. Speaking about the numerous sponsors on Kobi’s board, he said, “Mate, I just want him to love them because they’re stickers for as long as possible.” Here, here Clemo. With Kobi’s brother, Ethan, who’s in fact getting quite handy behind the lens, the boys recently went to the Maldives for a reef introduction. Here’s how they went. – LT
Wade Goodall's about to become a dad. Surfing World heard the good news when he and his awesome girl, Jane came and stayed at the La Casa Artist Residency during our recent House Issue. We also learned he’s showed his air game the backseat, the one that’s long pushed his career, opting for waves of serious consequence like Chopes and Shippies. Yep, life’s certainly changing for Mr Goodall and Sean Doherty chatted with the Sunny Coaster to find out what tomorrow’s got install. But did he foresee the snapped femur that forced him bedridden last week? You'll have to click through to find out.
At the end of 1992 Shane Herring was rated number four on the ASP WCT ratings. He’d beaten Kelly Slater in the first final of both men’s careers, had been world number one for more than half a year and, despite having faded from the Title race in the back half of the season, was still pegged by many as Australia’s best chance for a Championship as the New School era began to take hold. He was on six-figure contracts, enjoyed an international profile and was well loved as a cackling, good-natured kid with a bright surfing future.
This isn't the Jack & his girl that probably first comes to mind and that's a good thing because this is Jack Lynch and his girlfriend Roya slidin' along Crescent Head peelers. - thesealife.com.au
Peter Drouyn lay curled on the cold tile floor, thoroughly defeated, watching a documentary on albatrosses. Surfing had both raised him and ruined him, and after two decades of traveling the world to find his true self – a clue, a crumb, anything – he lay there alone, vanquished and penniless. Then, on the stroke of midnight, he got up, walked out the door, and simply became someone else. Now, ascertaining where Peter Drouyn ends and Westerly Windina begins, well, therein lies some intrigue, for she’s much more than the man she once was. She’s a girl with a dream, as we were about to discover.
Otis Carey is a man of infinitely varying proportions. At one point in Patrick Pearse’s new film Kill the Matador, Otis is clad in a rubber hood as he tries valiantly to squeeze himself into a tiny San Fran barrel. Yet in person, the man with the span is a nick under six foot – neither tall nor short. What’s creating the illusion is that he’s upright, perfectly postured, economical in his movements. Otis Carey is so co-ordinated, he can eat an oversize burger with the lot, talking freely throughout, and not drop a fleck of lettuce.
Kill the Matador is reckless abandon wrapped in high art. Along with Otis, there’s Ozzie Wrong, Chippa Wilson, Ben Godwin, Luke Stedman and an eclectic cast of others (including a cameo from Derek Hynd), throwing fibreglass like no-one’s watching. It’s shot across North and South America, Bali and Sumatra and the North and South Coasts of New South Wales. Filmmaker Patrick Pearse pitched the idea for the film to Misfit’s Chris Chong and Surfing World after hanging around the Sugarmill crew in September 2011. Despite being a lifelong surfer, this is his first foray in to surf filmmaking. Something about the unassuming Otis Carey made it seem like a golden opportunity. - Jock Serong
A couple of years ago Surfing World released the first House Issue. It was miles from nowhere up the side of a eucalypt-covered mountain and for four days it pissed down the most torrential rain most had ever seen. In all, 50 surfers came and shared the stoke of something so simple in theory: one house, a handful of surf options and the company of good characters.
A couple of big surfing events later, the House Issue is back with the second chapter in print. La Casa Artist Residency put us up in their house right on a nude beach, the waves pumped, we played horrible music and everyone surfed their brains out. Velvet Sea came along for the trip and produced the below clip featuring Wade Goodall, Nick Riley, Davey Cathels, Garrett Parkes, Cooper Chapman, Noa Deane and more. The rest is history. Come on in and enjoy the stoke.
FROM THE PAGES // SW Issue 337