On the cover: Tommy Dalton breathes through his nose and keeps his mouth shut in the rural heartland of New Zealand.

TSJ 29.6 nearly breaks the odometer, jumping from an unlikely shaping bay in the Californian desert to trespassing for empty lineups in the Antipodes to checking the reemerging balsa scene among locals in Papua New Guinea. A look back at the surf lineage of a mile-long stretch of San Diego beach and a profile of the multi-craft expert Kai Lenny provide written doses of subcultural tradition and pure evolution. Visually, the issue’s showcases on fine artist Milton Avery’s abstract seascapes and photographer Will Adler’s atmospheric captures serve as reminders that the ocean, and riding waves, ultimately boils down to feeling it. Find all that and more inside.

F*ck Your Hang-Ups Photograph by Fred Pompermayer

Lenny switched from his 10-foot gun to a smaller tow-board, grabbed the handle of the rope, and nodded to his driver to whip him into whatever was deemed “unrideable.” With that, he proceeded to ride over a dozen waves with superhuman endurance—slinging into behemoths, streaking across the rippled faces, dancing beneath falling guillotine peaks, air-dropping two stories down, capping waves off with corked backflips.

Page 44

F*ck Your Hang-Ups

Kai Lenny will enjoy the ocean as he pleases.

View Feature ›
Shut Up and Paint Photograph by Arnold Newman/Getty Images

Page 38

Shut Up and Paint

How American master Milton Avery leveraged the surf to help change the course of art history.

View Feature ›
Two in a Tuk Tuk Photograph by Luke Alcorn

Page 58

Two in a Tuk Tuk

On a wild road trip through the Americas, a pair of adventurous surfers cast their fate to the
wind…and three wheels.

View Feature ›
Photograph by Matty Hannon

A few days before, Ben and I had witnessed the international company’s methodical and unflinching strategy to destroy the land for private gain. Yet here we celebrate the wild, organic, and ritualistic grace of the village economy—cutting down a single tree for communal benefit.

Page 26

Good Wood

Plunder and pleasure in Papua New Guinea.

View Feature ›

Support independent surf journalism.
Become a member.

Essay Illustration by Egle Plytnikaite

Might this be what some positive spirits term “aquatic mindfulness meditation?” Concentration? Serenity? Bliss? Nope. No dry-land therapies, please. No counting of breaths, no training of the mind. In the ocean, one mostly gives in—consents to surrender.

Page 16

Essay: Swimming to Molokai

An ex-surfer and award-winning writer remains focused on the deep.

View Feature ›
Every Sandbar Tells a Story Photograph by Dave Frankel

As that first autumn of ours deepened, the crowds of summer surfers and tourists disappeared. The parking lot was mostly empty. Then winter came. It revealed the social workings of the hardcore, year-round surfing subculture.

Page 64

Every Sandbar Tells a Story

A La Jolla Shores memoir.

View Feature ›
The Compound Photograph by Matt Cherubino

Page 78

The Compound

At home in the high desert with Mike and Forrest Minchinton.

View Feature ›
Photograph by Cody Keepa

For high-risk spots, I have the option of deploying a sniper’s ghillie suit. It obscures the human shape, and I become a shaggy blob that’s invisible from only a few meters if I stay still.

Page 86

Loitering with Intent

Covert operations in New Zealand.

View Feature ›

The Surfer’s Journal is the perfect gift for every surfer.

The Paddle Out Illustration by Elyse Pignolet

Page 98

Fiction: The Paddle Out

One last ride in the old world.

View Feature ›
Portfolio Photograph by Will Adler

Page 102

Portfolio: Will Adler

Something Out of Nothing.

View Feature ›
Interview Photograph Jocko Willink/Echelon Front

Page 20

Surf Passage

Interview: Jocko Willink

View Feature ›
Undercurrents Photograph by Gary McCall

Page 118


This issue’s back of the book starts with a check in from the lapwing’s eye: In the Northern Hemisphere winter, storms freight across the Atlantic drawing a bead on the coast of Ireland. Mullaghmore Head, December 2019, copping some forerunner’s on a 20-foot “paddle day.”

Purist surf energy from Page One to close-of-book, delivered directly to your door.

Field Report Photograph by Ted Grambeau

Hikes on land required a guide armed with a large-caliber gun due to the constant threat of polar bears. This danger was very real, and once I even found myself confronted by a polar bear while shooting a small pointbreak from land.

Page 120

Field Report: Hunting the World’s Northernmost surfer.

A redbelt surf shooter’s most memorable surf trip was also his coldest.

View Feature ›
Library Photograph by Paul Kemnitzer

Page 121

Library: The Western Gate

Classically sourced takes on the well studied, from California to Western Australia and back again.

View Feature ›
Miscellany Photograph courtesy of Dana Fisher

Page 122


Quick hitting reads and visuals, including a playlist selected from the original hype genre, the absolute worst place to store a surfboard in your car, and the ocean as performance art, among other finds and pulls from around the surf and non-surf horn.

Surfing Around: Playing the Same Game Image courtesy of the Australian National Maritime Museum

Though the early origins of wave riding are most frequently thought of as Polynesian, or perhaps spawned in Peru, evidence indicates that it was and is a natural thing for man or child to be drawn to wherever conditions are suitable.

Page 124

Surfing Around: Playing the Same Game

Tracking the overlooked roots of our origins.

View Feature ›