On Style

Light / Dark

This space is normally reserved for performative action moments—surfers looking sorted on waves. But, as we know, style is telltaled in one’s overall approach: the right board for the day (“horses for courses,” as Nat Young says), the way one casually attacks a rock-dance entry, the use of a hidden rip to portage through a lineup. 

Unfortunately, an average surfer’s style rarely grows legs. Our dry-land wanderings too rarely reflect our waterborne nature. Forced into clothes, we become not “us” but “them.” Lemming-like. Subject to trends: barista chic. Carhartt cosplay. Clinging to ’90s surfwear manifestations. Or darker: drafting behind New Surf’s creepy, nouveau riche, “the poors can’t afford this” aspirations—all pretty much the opposite of “surf.” 

When did the sucking sound start? Hard to say. Too much nuance. But, even with your nostalgia flaps tucked in, it’s easy to see how far we’ve tumbled. 

Check Phil Edwards here, at center. Clean-shaven. Kennedy haircut. Cable-knit sweater. White jeans. West Coast Prep, but worn in the knowing way that Miles Davis co-opted midcentury Brooks Brothers. Augered with a sidecar of Pacific Jazz, Gary Cooper, and a nod to the Navy surplus store sensibilities of Bev Morgan. And enough slop in the rigging to not be a peacock. Perfectly haberdashed for any California overcast operation, be it repairing a rudder on the beach at Poche, checking the competition at O-side Pier, or clutching a rocks glass while crashing a wedding at the Balboa Bay Club.