By Dr. Tony Butt
You are out surfing on your own. Someone else paddles out, comes up to you and says, “How long have you been out here?”
You think as hard as you can. In the end you take a stab at it and tell him about an hour. But the truth is you really don’t know – on one hand it seems like a couple of minutes, but on the other hand it feels like you’ve been out there forever.
If you really have been deep in concentration, your world will have been reduced right down to what you see and feel in your immediate surroundings. Nothing exists apart from you and the waves and maybe the wind or the odd seagull. All that stuff you were doing earlier this morning seems like something in the distant past, almost from another life. Your mother-in-law, the traffic, the bank manager and the shopping have simply ceased to be.
Your surfing is effortless, almost as if the surfing itself is doing it for you. You feel like a passenger just along to enjoy the ride. You’ll be paddling back to the line-up after each wave without the slightest effort, feeling like you could go on catching waves forever. You are living in the moment, enjoying surfing for its own sake.
[Tony, definitely not thinking about his mother-in-law or the bank manager. Photo: Jakue Andikoetxea]
Continue reading "Flow" »
By Patagonia Surf Europe
The Usual magazine teamed up with Patagonia’s NYC surf crew to put together this unique edition. Check it out.
“On the following pages, we start on the Bowery, where
our favorite company Patagonia will take over the old CBGB gallery to
open their first East Coast surf store in early 2013. Just like CBGB’s
nurtured New York’s alternative music culture, Patagonia’s shop will be a
hub for surfers — the misfits of the global brand.”
Hit the jump to read the full digital edition of the magazine.
Continue reading "The Usual x Patagonia" »
By Dominico Zapata, introduction by Chris Malloy
It’s my first six hours in Raglan and I’m already on my third round trip at Manu Bay – jump off the rocky point, stroke into an impossibly long left, surf until your quads are on fire, prone out, then scramble up the cobblestone point for another. At the edge of the rocks I see a familiar face and slow down. It’s one of my biggest heroes, Peggy Oki!
Peggy stands around 5'4'' but exudes the strength and energy of a giant. She’s an all-time classic: original Dogtown Zephyr team rider, great surfer, amazing artist, bad-ass climber, and environmental activist. I stopped, gave her a big hug and asked, “Hey Peggy, what are you up to?” With a glint in her eye she casually replied, "Ah, just savin’ dolphins."
We shot the breeze for a minute or two but I could tell she had something bigger to share with me, and like any good grassroots activist does, she quickly dove deep into the topic of proposed seabed mining in the region and how it could affect New Zealand. I was blown away to hear about the hubris of corporations thinking they could dredge hundreds of millions of tons of sand from the ocean floor and not have a major effect on the ocean. I wanted to know more. We exchanged numbers and I went for another few rounds at Manu Bay before the sun set.
[Above: Raglan has been a Mecca for the world's surf community, since Bruce Brown's epic film The Endless Summer. Tourists come from all over the world in pursuit of perfect, long peeling lefts but these waves are dependent to some extent on the movement of sand. Photo courtesy of Kiwis Against Seabed Mining]
Continue reading "The Final Countdown – Kiwis Organizing Against Seabed Mining in New Zealand" »
By Liz Clark
Editor's note: We're happy to follow up on Dallas Hyland's moving tribute to Patagonia ambassdor Liz Clark -- after she broke her neck bodysurfing -- with good news. Liz's neck has healed up
well and she's back in Tahiti living on an organic vanilla farm near the
boatyard where she's splitting her time between book writing and boat projects. This story is from Liz's circle of French Polynesia in early 2012, before her injury, and first appeared on her blog. Glad you're back Liz!
March 2012: And so the time had arrived. Cyclone season over, it was safe to head southwest say a final goodbye to the Marquesas. I poured over the chart, locating the tiny, isolated atoll of Puka Puka, 250 miles straight south. Raiarii’s grandfather was the first to colonize this desolate atoll in the late 1930s.
Tehani Henere Papa and his wife, Elizabeth, had 22 children there!! Two sets of twins!?! Tehani delivered each one of the babies in a tub behind their little house. They raised the kids on fish and coconuts and the fresh Pacific air. Tehani worked copra from dawn to dusk year round, and when the copra boats came to collect the dried coconut meat that he split, dried, and collected in the large burlap sacs, he could purchase sacs of flour, sugar, and rice with his earnings.
[Above: A load of bananas for Raiarii’s family on Puka Puka. All photos courtesy of Liz Clark and the Voyage of Swell]
Raiarii’s father, Victor, was number 15 of the 22, and left the atoll at age 17 to find work in Tahiti and had never gone back. Interisland travel is expensive and difficult for locals, with few spots on the cargo ships and high prices for airfare. So Raiarii had never visited Puka Puka, nor met many of the cousins, aunts, and uncles from his father’s side who are still living there. Upon learning this story, I decided we must try to sail to Puka Puka!
Continue reading "Special Delivery" »
By Patch Wilson
Roughly 10 years ago the Madeiran government gave the go-ahead to seawall project that was built to protect the village of Jardim do Mar. This seawall put an end to the best big-wave right point in Europe. The wave that breaks there now is a shadow of its former self. The huge concrete boulders they installed as part of the seawall means the wave is just full of backwash, and according to local surfers is pretty dangerous to surf. Many of the people who supported the seawall originally are now complaining about its size and lack of asethetic. Jardim do Mar, once considered one of the most beautiful villages on the island of Madeira, has been vandalised by a government wanting to line its own pockets with EU money, and a wave that was once considered one of the best in Europe is now lost.
[Above: Patch Wilson dropping into a glassy morning wall. Photo: Mickey Smith]
Continue reading "Death of Another Wave – Paul Do Mar, Madeira" »
By John R.K. Clark
I always notice the sea birds when I’m out in the lineup, waiting for waves. On the south shore of Oahu, where I bodysurf most, I see manu o ku, or white terns, doing their aerial acrobatics. I see iwa, or great frigates, hovering almost motionless high above. But the birds that I really like to see are the kaupu — the brown boobies who fly fearlessly through crowds of surfers. Kaupu love to ride waves, and they get everyone’s attention as they skim through the lineup, wings spread wide, surfing the air currents along the face of a breaking wave. Native Hawaiians called their flight kaha, or gliding, and this is the word they used for bodysurfing: kaha nalu, wave gliding. To me this is the essence of bodysurfing: gliding across the face of a wave. Bodysurfers are wave gliders whether they’re making a death-defying drop at the Wedge, powering through a perfect barrel at Pipeline, or just cruising with their kids in the shorebreak at Makapuu.
[Above: Keith Malloy in Tahiti, from page 52. Photo: Chris Burkard]
Continue reading "Excerpt from "The Plight of the Torpedo People" a New Bodysurfing Book from Keith Malloy" »
by Trevor Gordon, photos by Jeremy Koreski
This was my fourth time up to Vancouver Island to surf and camp along its coastline. I’ve sort of made a pact with myself to visit this place at least once a year after first falling in love with it three years ago. The beauty and power of Canada captures you, and it keeps me coming back. Each time I’ve been up there, I say, “It’s so close! Next time, I’m going to drive up!”
I have a maroon 1988 VW Vanagon that would likely meet its death if I attempted the trip aboard it. My vagabond buddy Foster Huntington has been living in his van for more than 16 months. His is the mature, accomplished, big-brother version of my van – a 1987 4WD Vanagon with an Audi motor.
I had a window of 12 days to make my trip to BC happen before I had to be back. After that, I couldn’t make it work until spring and by then conditions for surf are even less favorable. I asked Foster if he was around to take a road trip up to Vancouver Island and before I could finish he insisted we take his van. “I’ll get a tune-up tomorrow!” he said.
[Above: The van charging north through patchy fog in Humboldt County, California.]
Continue reading "B.C. or Bust – A Road Trip from Santa Barbara to Tofino" »
life balances the search for the biggest waves with building and farming at home in Hawaii. Deep Water
, a new short video series, follows Kohl and his friends as they chase huge surf around the world.
Hit the jump to watch episodes two and three.
Continue reading "Deep Water Video Series – Ocean Adventures with Kohl Christensen" »
by Dr. Tony Butt
We are constantly reminded that our oil-based consumer society, with our excessive use of plastics, obsession with air travel and inefficient ways of heating and lighting our homes, will eventually lead to environmental suicide in the form of global warming and resource depletion. But for many people, including surfers, global warming and resource depletion are a little hard to grasp; because they are difficult to actually see happening. However, our addiction to oil is one of the ultimate causes of another, much more tangible effect: when oil that is being transported spills into the sea and arrives on the coastline.
Almost exactly ten years ago, the Prestige oil spill occurred off the coast of Galicia, in Spain, very close to where I live at the moment. It was the worst environmental catastrophe in the history of Spain and Europe, and I don’t think it should be forgotten. So I apologize in advance if you find this article a little gloomy.
[Photo: Stéphane M. Grueso]
Continue reading "Black Tide" »