On the stands now! I profiled the Gulf Coast’s most prestigious surf dynasty, the Spencers. In response, Sterling Spencer created the video montage linked above. Getting a written response is cool, but a video is way better. Check the cover:
In issue 22.2 of The Surfer’s Journal, I profile renegade arborist and legendary body surfer Greg Abbott. For a good chunk of his career, Abbott worked as a seasonal life guard at the southwestern most beach in the continental United States. Working as a guard on the border line posed issues that, probably, no other life guard service has to deal with. Meanwhile, with his winters off, Abbott roamed the world perfecting his body surfing and delving deeper and deeper into a unique environmental perspective. A kind of Johnny Appleseed of the southwest, you may have come across native trees planted by Abbott. Maybe you didn’t notice or think about them, but that’s okay, Abbott takes a long view of keeping these species alive.
The assignment given to photographer Grant Ellis and I for the Big Issue, was to simply fly to Madrid and meet up with manic traveler Kepa Acero. From there, we would go anywhere the surf would take us. Cabo Verde and other Atlantic islands were on our minds. Africa was a distinct possibility. But the charts told us to head for Ireland. There, we linked up with the locals and were introduced to some of the scariest waves on the planet. Check it out in Surfer’s Big Issue.
“Please don’t walk, but run to give Kimball Taylor his next assignment. ‘The 20-Year Surf Trip’ was by far the best article I’ve read in your mag in the last ten years. I can do without the disgruntled pros, the state of the ASP and all the other drama. Give us something we can all relate to and get back to local, well written stories. It’s why I subscribed in the first place and will continue to. –SouthTown local on a 30-year surf trip.” –Michael Myers
“I don’t know how other people felt about ‘The 20-year Surf Trip’ by Kimball Taylor, but I thought it was the best thing I have read in SURFER or anywhere else for many years. Do you have more of the same thing? Any more pieces similar to that from Kimball Taylor? If so please publish them! Fascinating reading! A really intelligent writer!” –Susan Hewitt, NYC
For a number of reasons, I spent most of February and March living in Galway, Ireland. When the winds went wrong, I stayed inside and wrote. When things cleared up, I jumped into the diesel Ford and logged some kilometers. Navigating Ireland is tough. I must have passed this little gem two dozen times before it’s existence hit me.
Keep your eye out for my piece on Ireland in Surfer magazine’s “Big Issue” due out in June.
After researching 1960s Banzai Pipeline, Kimball Taylor’s interest in Bob Simmons’ 1953 bicycle trip from Makaha to Sunset Beach around Kaena Point piqued his interest. Rather impromptu, Taylor sets out to replicate Bob’s trip, even down to an old, rusty bike in favor of a newer, easier ride.
New Yorker Writer Bryan DiSalvatore on Kimball’s The Bicycle Tour: “I loved the no-bullshit first page, these roaring, feuding dinosaurs, still pissing on the shrubbery after all of these years. The quick-shots of Noll and Edwards–to me these, oh, documentary shots, as opposed to the air-brushes we’ve had for years, prose wise, are essential . . . I thought his, Kimball’s, prose soaring.”
What’s your favorite beach book? I don’t know anything about this one but loved the cover. My designer, Shawn Bathe, is currently working on the cover for my upcoming book “Drive Fast and Take Chances: Advance Warning from the Lives of Surfers.” It’s a collection of surfer profiles, from a surfer who joined the Army just so he could surf Pipe, to dare devil Garrett McNamara’s glacier wave attempt, to big-wave surfers on meth, to cancer survivor Dean Randazzo, to Bob Simmon’s greatest bike ride.
Keep your eyes peeled for it.
Sean Mattison, the mastermind behind Slater’s “nubster.” Courtesy: Mattison
It’s live: we read the wind in textures, we hear the sounds, place ourselves in the moment, measure ourselves against it, and we make our opinions known to anyone who will listen — but the truth is, there’s close to nothing a webcast fan can do to influence the on-site action of a world tour surfing event.
Yet it’s not impossible. In August Sean Mattison — former pro surfer, USA team coach and design geek of note — rolled his ankle while deploying a power snap in front of one of his young athletes, Courtney Cologne. The embarrassment healed better than the sprain. “Anytime I tried to do anything,” he said, “it’d swell up.” So a strong part of his rehab regime included watching every competition webcast, heat-by-heat, sitting in his kitchen, his ankle propped on a stool. Beginning with the U.S. Open, it turned out to be a pretty full contest schedule. Mattison told himself that he was studying heats to the benefit of the elite teen surfers he coached. They might find themselves in similar competition some day. But there was a part of Mattison that was just fanning-out as well. Continue reading
“Tourism and surf travel are not the same,” said Reef co-founder Fernando Aguerre, “Tourism is like a whorehouse, the best beds go for the biggest money. Surf travel is different.”
Aguerre was letting loose at the first- ever “symposium” on surf travel and philanthropy held September 17. An academic conference or “intellectual jam session” built on speeches, panel discussions, and lectures, the symposium was a gathering of people with deeper interests in surf destinations and their communities. The inaugural event had been established by San Diego State University’s Center for Surf Research — in itself a new and unique entity — and drew a who’s who of surf explorers, environmentalists and humanitarians. Wilderness conservation organizations like Wildcoast shared a venue with humanitarian outfits like SurfAid — whose work toward defeating malaria in the Mentawai islands set the gold-standard for surf-themed aid work. The common thread, many discovered, was the need for healthy breaks and healthy host communities. Continue reading