The High Line: June 2023

Guest edited by TSJ 32.3 profile subject Chad Kaimanu Jackson.

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Guest edited by Chad Kaimanu Jackson

I’m perched on a narrow ridge a few miles up from Lopez Canyon, just out of the marine layer’s reach. The oak woodland sprawls in all directions. Creeks are flowing into a topped-off lake where 25-year-old shrubs and trees are now underwater, thanks to the successful rain dance some hero performed last season. Raptors share drafts off of the ridge, and two eagles rule the airspace: one golden, one bald. The topography is dominated by wrinkled siltstones and sandstones of the Huasna, Monterey, and Santa Margarita. The fossils and rock shelters in these formations intrigue hikers today, as they did the Chumash, who, not far from here, revered a place they believed to be the “gateway to the upper world”—a portal to where sun and eagle competed against sky coyote and the morning star for influence on human affairs. A few nights ago, a black bear left my wetsuit in the dirt driveway along with a ravaged burrito wrapper.


The Green Iguana
by Jack McCoy

I would watch this film in high school, and the mystique of West Oz reminded me of some of our spots in Central California. The Dreamtime and Australian Aboriginal vibes got me so psyched. I loved watching Sunny, Occy, and Brendon “Margo” Margieson’s power surfing. The Celibate Rifles and Concrete Blonde songs in the film became the soundtrack to my own surfing life.





by Hapa

The combination of Keli’i Kaneali’i’s lyrics and Barry Flanagan’s slack key guitar is magical. The song “Ku’u Lei, Ku’u Ipo” takes me back home, back to Hawai’i, and back in time. My mom played this album constantly. My Dad made guitars and ukuleles and Hapa inspired us to mess around with slack key a bit.

by Wooden Shjips

The instrumentals, simplicity, flow, and non-overwhelming vocals on this psychedelic rock journey keeps me going—especially when I’m on a long drive.


Seven Arrows
by Hyemeyohsts Storm

From a native perspective, this book tells when the Northern Cheyenne, Crow, and Sioux people converged on the Western Frontier in the latter half of the 1800s. I first read Seven Arrows in 2001 in Costa Rica while on a soul search. The mythology, science, philosophy, and psychology of the natives helped transform my worldview and career. I had quit electrical engineering to travel and surf. This book inspired me to go back to school and study culture and natural sciences.

The Hero with a Thousand Faces
by Joseph Campbell

In the 1930s, many intellectuals were bouncing ideas off each other in Germany and the United States—this was the formation of modern anthropology. From Campbell to Carl Jung to Herb Kane to Franz Boas, these individuals challenged and dismantled the racist paradigm. Campbell also highlights the human need for metaphor and storytelling as essential elements to truly comprehend what it means to be alive.


This is my dad’s original Craftsman planer that he has had since the ’70s. He modified it by attaching a skateboard wheel and rigging a lever to make it move like a Skil 100 planer. He passed it down to me, and I used it for a long time. It still runs perfectly but I’ve retired it. It’s more of an heirloom now.



Hempsurfboards is the branding I use for the boards I shape and for social media (@hempsurfboards). I started incorporating hemp cloth and other alternative materials over 16 years ago. Additionally, I use agave wood for cores and recycled redwood for fins. My goal is to create high-performance boards that are endowed with positive energy. The name “Hempsurfboards” may seem like an oxymoron, it’s not a weed thing—that’s definitely not my thing. It’s more of a tribute to hemp’s remarkable industrial and medicinal properties. While surfboards make up a small portion of our industrial production, we still have a responsibility to explore different materials in our craft. This is especially important considering that modern surfboards are typically synthetic and wasteful.


Photo by Russell Holliday

I’ve been researching eroding cultural sites along California’s Central Coast. Last week, I received some radiocarbon results of 7,500-8,000 years old from an archaeological deposit located directly in front of one of the heaviest reef breaks around. I always imagined our human ancestors mind surfing huge, perfect waves. The fact we ride those waves now connects us to our predecessors—whether it’s here, Hawai’i, Ireland, or wherever. From the development of he’e nalu in Polynesia by our ancestors to the birth of skateboarding and snowboarding to modern wave pools, the trajectory is crazy. Many of us can’t even consider our identities without a board under our feet. Still, nothing beats an all-time surf session with a magic board, fellow humans, and friendly wildlife.


“Beyond the Bluff”
By Christian Beamish

Our new issue delves into Chad Kaimanu Jackson’s Central Coast exploits as a slab hunter, surfboard builder, archaeologist, environmentalist, and tribal liaison. To read the full feature, become a TSJ member today.

[Feature image by Russell Holliday]