Category surfing

Thomas Adler’s ongoing deft curation

Some people have exceptional skills when it comes to understanding an era, sifting out the best representational moments, and presenting them in a minimal and beautiful way. Thomas Adler does all of these things quite well. His new site offers a few gems from the past as well as recent days.


Above: Joe Quigg photo with what looks to be an 18′-20′ paddleboard.

Below: Some Dane Peterson captured Malibu magic.




Above: Duke, a.k.a. Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku, by an unknown photographer.

Below: Morgan Maasen photo of some bodysurf blur.


And one more gem by Bev Morgan, Kaena Point.



Why we love winter in California

Devon Howard on a recent swell at Swamis.

While the rest of the country fends off snow drifts Devon draws simple, clean, classic lines. Love this video.

1975 on the North Shore of Oahu

Style for miles.


Rob Machado and the singlefin

I’m into singlefin surfboards. They are designed to ride a wave and not try and overpower it.

Rob Machado has always had grace and style and it’s great to see him surfing some singlefins that he has shaped and is putting out under his own brand.

Machado’s Self Shapes from Mollusk Surf Shop on Vimeo.

Xanadu 12 hours south of US border

Scorpion Bay, Mexico is a somewhat of a primitive yet singular surfing destination 650 to 890 miles south of Tijuana… depending on the route you take.

That statement describes half of what this destination is about.

It’s 12 hours south of the border but you might not get there the most direct way so don’t expect to arrive on schedule. It embodies all things that are “deep Baja” and draws those seeking nearshore bathymetry (wave formation) excellence that isn’t found elsewhere on the planet.

The waves are so long you walk back to the peak instead of paddling.

Scorpion Bay is on the west coast of Baja California Sur, north of Magdalena Bay, south of San Ignacio Lagoon. If you surf, it’s a top-ten wave to be sampled at least a few times.

The statement that sums up the other half of Scorpion Bay is this 5 minute film.

Mute the soundtrack, watch these peelers. Name a right point break with a longer wave… you can not.

First Point Noosa via drone

If there is a wave more fun than First Point Noosa I haven’t found it… and I’m looking. Ok, Scorpion Bay in Baja comes close.

The following video offers a gorgeous aerial view of what may be my favorite wave on the planet.  Noosa is not easy to get to. It’s an hour+ north of Brisbane, Australia. But if you hit it right (… ahem, I have… twice) it is something magical. Years later I still remember my sessions.

Noosa borders a pristine National Park so the view from the line-up is a near perfect mix of land nature and ocean nature. The wave is a machine-like wonder that fits heavy, singlefin logs as it it was hand-tailored for them.

Ladies and gentleman, Noosa Shire.


Complete anarchy in surfboard design

BurVery little has changed with surfboard design and construction in recent decades.

70 years ago Tom Blake added the fin and the first foam board was seen on waves.

40 years ago, in the 1970s, the Campbell brothers and Simon Anderson added more fins to the mix and board lengths shrank to the 6′ range.

Very little has happened since.

There has arguably been more advancement with fin design and construction than in any other area of the sport… and that brings me to the photo above.

Ryan Burch riding a raw block of foam. No fins. No leash. No brand. No glassing… almost no shaping. I love the reckless abandon, approaching anarchic concept of this whole thing. Take a block of raw foam, shave a bit off one edge and hammer a bunch of divots into the bottom and go surfing.

Have fun.

Experiments like this inform design.

Surfboard design needs some nudging, it needs to push itself. It needs more punk rock, what-if-we-did-this-instead-of-that innovation.

Once you’ve gone as far as Ryan did above you can dial things back and end up in some very interesting places.

Sometimes you have to push past a line to figure out where the line really is.



The rise of drone-powered surf-cam videos

drone1We have seen the future of surfing video and it’s drone-enabled.

Let’s face it, drones have a bad reputation due to their association with wars but there has been a quietly rising interest in hobby drones. Chris Anderson, previous head of WIRED Mag, started the site DIY Drones a bit ago… and things are starting to move into the mainstream.

I love when a military app pivots into the mainstream. One of the largest such shifts happened when Netscape took the DARPA-created internet (pdf) and popped a consumer-oriented browser on the early, nascent web.

Something similar is happening right now with drones.

If you’re a surfer you’ve seen a plethora of surfing photography and surf films… we engage with those because we want to get closer to the wave… back to the experience of surfing a wave. The simple truth is that photos are static and films are usually anchored to a specific location… and riding a wave is much more fluid.

Enter the drones… below are two, worthy, videos of among the best waves in the world. The “drone-selfie” will not be far behind.

Pipeline, Oahu… as gorgeous as you’ve ever seen it.

Rincon, California. Mother of all right point breaks.

Family time – Cycle Zombies

I love this film.

This crew, this family… has it’s own soundtrack and vibe.

Motorcycles, skateboarding, surfing and family… all embracing the DIY ethic.



Surfing has taken some twists and turns over the years and if one looks closely and follows styles, moves and designs they end up with a few people who truly transformed the sport.

Buttons Kaluhiokalani was an innovator in the sport of surfing.

Small boards, low center of gravity, creation of a personal brand and… style for miles. Buttons stood on the shoulders of Dora, Fain, Webber and all the other hot-doggers that predated him and paved the way for modern day skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing.

This video crisply packages the Buttons brand. Aside from the short shorts it’s as fresh as ever.

Thanks for shifting the sport Buttons, rest in peace.

Goodbye Buttons from ENCYCLOPEDIA of SURFING videos on Vimeo.