This week the Billabong Pro gets underway at J-Bay. The contest has turned in many a memorable performance over the years, Occy, Curren, Kelly to name names. A few of the boys have even been scared back to the beach thanks to the efforts of a few local great whites. And while that's all well and good, when the tour's passed through, and the point returns to a slightly more pastoral scape, thankfully the wave remains the same. Rusty Long found that out while on a recent surfari, and like all those before him that have experienced a good day at Supertubes, he left a believer. Photo: Rusty Long
By the mid-1960s surfing had emerged from the La Brea tar pits and was being saddled and ridden as a sexy new wave of youthful escapism. Tricky Dick was preparing for office, Hollywood had gone deep into Bingo films, the music industry was twanging “Walk Don’t Run” and American industry was thinking up hip, cool, and groovy ways to be “with it.” When an advertsing/marketing type thought surf, the name Hobie would come to mind. An accomplished surfer and paddler, Hobie became the defacto stuntman as well, able to handle any bizzar demand quite gracefully, as long as it plugged his brand too. “The photo of me on a surfboard with a motor was a promotional stunt for Johnson Outboard Co.," tells Hobie. "At the time, I believe jet skis were just coming on. The company asked me to put a Johnson motor on a Hobie surfboard. I think the photo was shot in San Francisco Bay but I don't remember the year (probably mid-1960s). I think it was the same year I surfed to Catalina. Bill Prentis was the guy from Johnson who set it up.”
Sherry Novack was attending Long Beach State in the mid 1960s and, feeling an attraction to surfers, as did many of the coeds from that campus, she began hanging out a tad at Jack Haley Surfboards in Seal Beach, which was the closest surf shop to the campus. During that period Sherry also demonstrated a proclivity for entering surf event beauty pageants, usually finishing first (Ms. Surf-O-Rama 1964) with foxy brunet Marsha Bainer (The “We’ve got the Shapes” girl in the Jacob’s ads) coming in second. The judge’s vote depended on their preference for breast size and hair color. Of course, the Haley shop boys totally enjoyed her presence and there was quite a bit of posturing until she met Jack’s younger brother Mike and they became an item. Mike and I were lifeguarding nights together and he would ask me drop him off at her apartment on 9:00pm "lunch breaks" to chase Rich Chew or Mark Martinsen away. Later, she became Sherry Haley, at Sunset point, barefoot, at sunset. What a pair! This was The Beatles-era and Mike was a surfer version of George. Hair and everything. Like movie stars they drove matching black Shelby Mustang Coups, attended surf movies, contests, and parties as the ultimate surfer power couple, and made deals by overwhelming the opposition with slight of hand humor and clever repartee. Together they founded a bikini business called Leopard Spots, headquartered in a fashionable Balboa Island storefront. Their Surfer Magazine ads featured most of Sherry’s internationally renowned bosom spilling out of a Leopard Spots top. This is one of the photos from that period. –S.P. Photo: Stoner/Surfer Magazine
"What you don't really think about is that the photographer's holding the camera like six inches away from the nose of that guy's board," tells Jeff Divine. It's easy to forget the precarious positions water photographers sometimes put themselves in for the sake of capturing intimate portraits like this. Of course, he may have missed getting run over by the surfer, but the lip surely took its toll. Photo: Stuart Gibson
Existing in a parallel dimension, Stephanie Gilmore goes weightless in the Marshall Islands. Photo: Dave Sparkes
Inspired by our post on the life and death of Killer Dana, here's a then-and-now look at J-Bay. Jeff Divine snapped this first lineup in 1979, prior to any breach-front foundations being poured. Then in 2003 Rusty Long was passing through South Africa, and fired off this altered landscape. The property values may change, but thankfully the wave remains the same. Photo One: Jeff Divine. Photo Two: Rusty Long.
It's no Ron Jon, but our bet is that what this surf shop shack down in Southern Baja lacks in stellar merchandise and bitchin window displays it more than makes up for in quality ding repair. Ding repair and taco stands are a lot alike in that way: the more suspect they appear from the outside the better they usually are once your order comes up. Photo: William Sharp
Forget the ancient Polynesians, we may be able to point the finger at the Venetians for pioneering the flat-water SUP movement. Proving that Italy influences more than just fashion and fast cars, Venice's gondoliers have been stroking it upright for centuries. And now, in a moment harkening back to a more classical period, Maui pioneer Robby Naish picks up the paddle and susses out the famed canal system. Not a bad way to see the city, and certainly beats being a tourist. Photo: Damiano Levati
How many bros is too many? Depends on how big your boat is, I guess. But one way to know for sure is to ask someone aboard if they can name all the hands on deck. If they can't, it's probably too many. When it came to identifying the crew members on this luxurious Volcom charter, we tapped Troy Eckert, who was onboard. He was able to pinpoint Mike Morrissey (standing up), himself (far right), Dave Post (just to his left), and Pat Towersey (to the left of Post). He also guessed that Magnum Martinez and a kid named "Carrick" were onboard, but couldn't be sure. Five out of nine's not bad. It's probably safe to say this little rubber ducky's a tad overloaded, but then considering Divine snapped this one in 2001, we'll forgive Eckert for his lapse in memory. Now, the next question: what ran out first, gas or Bintang? Photo: Jeff Divine
It goes like this: The final horn of the Pipe Masters blows, Taj Burrow wins, occupants of the Billabong house bang on pots and pans and revel in the moment. Meanwhile, up Ke Nui a couple clicks, Ozzie Wright and the Goons of Doom plug in and unload. In the backyard of the Volcom house the invite list is distinguished—or infamous, depending on your perspective. Crown Royal is passed out by the case, a heavy vibe settles over the yard, and amidst the chaos the band keeps playing on. Chalk it up to just another winter on the North Shore. Photo: S. Whisper
I think it was 1966 when they built a coffer-dam around the harbor area-to-be at Dana Point and pumped the sea water out leaving fish flopping and abalone and lobster high and dry. The sea birds were dive-bombing the dying sea life, and surfers were crying. Next they used bull-dozers to scrape the natural sea bottom and rock reefs into a smooth basin, then let the sea water back in and built a break wall around it. Every point break in Southern California, including Malibu, has been the target of just such a travesty. Area-waterman legend Ron Drummond had waged a passionate single-handed campaign to stop the death of Killer Dana but those were different times and he was largely ignored. Decades later Craig Lockwood would write a short story to form the basis of surfing musical, “Surf Story”, that wove a parody of surf culture around the destruction of Killer Dana and the end of an era. –S.P. Top Photo: Ron Stoner/Surfer Bottom Photo: Dave Dash.
Some like 'em flat, some like 'em round, some like 'em big, some like 'em small. And like that we're starting to sound a whole like like Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back"... which is not a good thing. Anyway, here's to whatever rear you prefer to ride. Photo: Moonwalker
Shot with Bond's bow-tie camera, top secret scribbles from inside the bay at Harbour. Now all you have to do is mow foam for the next 50 years and you'll know what to do with them. Photo: S. Whisper
"So wait, what you're telling me is that you put a third fin back here on the tail? I don't know Simon, that seems kinda crazy." Crazy like a fox. Simon Anderson dropping his Thruster on the Trestles audience circa 1981. Photo: Jeff Divine
There are so many cliches about photos like this. "It's like G-land for Lilliputians." You know, that kind of thing. But given how crowded and hectic our lives get, and how little perfect surf some of us are privy too, there's solace in flawless ankle-snappers like this...especially when it's six inches and roping without a drop of water out of place...as the cliche goes. Photo: Scott Carter