I had come to Tahiti to do a location feature for Le Boogie and showcase some of the local bodyboarding talent that had been all over the Internet. I hadnâ€™t actually heard of David, but I had heard of this new move that had been invented. I didnâ€™t realize he was actually one of the pioneers. I had been waiting for a good day out at this one spot to see him in full flight, and he did not disappoint. The wave is possibly the best hittable air bowl I have ever seen, and the perfect place to attempt such an unorthodox maneuver. As you can see, the rotation is going against the force of gravity so to even attempt something like this in the first place shows
ridiculous commitment. David is a man of few words but he definitely shreds on the boogie. I would love to see him and the rest of the Tahitian bodyboarders get some more exposure in the near future. -Luke Shadbolt
SURGEBODYBOARDING.COM | VERSION 6.0 Chris Schlegel at “Yew Turns.” According to Chris, “It has only broke three times so far on the biggest south windswells, and I have been surfing it, for the most part, by myself. Once they take what’s left of the sunken commercial fishing boat (the reason the Jenks Pro was held at Seaside last year) that formed the sand and this spot on the outside of the jetty, the spot will disappear and no longer break.” Chris Schlegel | PH: Albert Pollioni http://www.facebook.com/albert.pollioni
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CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Maurice Aubuchon, Nicola Lugo, Sacha Specker, Joshua Shelly, David Baker, Edwin Morales, Ryan Craig, Andrew Chisholm, Dan Taylor, Patrick Grady, Dane Grady, Chris Allen, Jordan Anast, Alex Verharst, Carlos Santana, Luke Shadbolt, Chris Zeh, Steve Jones, Mike Cerrone, Clark Little, Eric Schnitzer, Chris Burkard, Caleb Davenport, Bret Winners, Vince Cavataio, Colin McGillivray, Adam Warmington, Kalen Foley, Cameron Gundlock, Joe Grodzen, Richard Diaz, Ben Jackson, Travis Hackett, Fred Booth, Greg Nielson, Matt Vaughn, Eric Schnitzer, Julien Durand, David Tuarau, Addamon, Patrick Vierra, Warren Anderson, Dustin Michelson, Mitch Nibbs, Zach dela Cruz, Shane Grace, Andrew Rams, Josh Tabone, Robbie Crawford, Aaron Goulding, Keila Grodzen, Andrew Westerman, Nathan Tyack, Mark Balasbas, Timmy Hamilton, Emalia Zuttermeister, Matt Catiglione, Alessandro Masciotti, Tosh Demello, Daniel Moreira, Warren Baynes, Roger Fa, Damien Antioco, Gavin Shigesato, Jeff Yusa, Matt Byzak, Jordan Stallard, Chris Gurney, Brandon Colbert, Jem Cresswell, Joseph Libby, James Mertens, Kristy Kaku Joe Grodzen, Justin Mack, Kevin Gonzalez, Shea Sevilla, Jeff Blege, James Hennessy, Andrew Herch, Joyner, Pablo Jimenez, Jye McDonald, Jeremy Phillips, Marty Kooistra, Morgan Halas, Ron Ziebell, Nick Arant, Don Nguyen, Matt Clark, Dave Weedall, Martin Yelland, Tim McCaig, Josh Wills, Martin Justinevicius, Elmo Ramos, Chase Miller, Ricardo Faustino, Rich Bean, Pedro Ferreira, Jenavieve Belair, Jay Vodipija, Bryan Pezman, Andrew Herchakowski, Scott Sporleder, Aaron Mizushima, Ricardo Estevez, Jon Alexander, Evan Conway, Bob Baldwin, Ricky Miller, Manuel Velez, Gabriel Padial, Chad Barlow, Evan Fa, Julien Durand, Conan Whitehouse, Makana Chaffee, Michael Bolton, James Dawson, Colin Goddard, Wes Broshears, Eddie Olmeda, Neal Miyake, Nicholas Seymour, Bryan Cabalce, Nick Borgens, Manuel Gonzalez, Mike Bain, Mike Neal, Jo Bessen, Jimmie Hepp, Tyler Walker, BJ Yeager, Justin Pirtle, Daniel Kauhaahaa, Carey Trabue, Jared Houston, Nic de Jesus, Caleb Burns CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Darren Delmore, Eric Schnitzer, Luke Shadbolt, Jay Reale, Russell Hoover, Jared Houston, Nicola Lugo, Jacob Reeve, Mike “Libo” Libudziewski, Mike Cerrone, Joshua Shelly, Murphy Bartling, Neal Miyake, Thomas Pagano, Matt Vaughn, Chris Schlegel, Mike Coots, Micah McMullin, Aaron Byzak, Jacob VanderVelde, Ian Patton, Evan Conway, Richard Pata, Chris Won Taloa, JT Grey, Nicholas Seymour, Mike Stewart, Kawika Kaui, Clark Little, Paul Benco, Spencer Skipper, Sacha Specker, Mark Watts, Eunate Aguirre, Ben Player, Amaury Lavernhe, Happy Zurowski, Mark Balsbas, Adam Dumas, Greg Tindall, Glen Thurston, Adam Burton, Joe Suzuki, Ryan Frazzetta, Jason Bitzer, Al Rumbos, Nicholas Seymour, Anthony Olayon, Robert Isambert, Marcus Rodrigues, Alistair Taylor, Claudia Ferrari, Edwin Morales, Joseph Libby, Robbie Crawford, Hauoli Reeves, Elmo Ramos, Eric Fairbanks, Jeremy Phillips, Sundaran Gillespie, Jonah Romero, Bob Baldwin, Rich Bean, Chris Schlegel, Ricky Miller, Julien Durand, Joe Grodzen, Adam Burton, Alisha Kayama, Alex Gero SurgeBodyBoarding.com online magazine is published by Surge Media Group / SurgeBodyBoarding.com. Reproduction of any material requires the written consent of the publisher. Copyright ® 2012. All rights reserved. The opinions in the articles are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of Surge Media Group / SurgeBodyBoarding.com and the advertisers. Advertisers assume full responsibility for the entire content and subject matter of all advertisements. Advertisements and articles are accepted upon the representation that the author / agency, or advertiser will indemnify and save Surge Media Group / SurgeBodyBoarding.com of all claims and legal action. Surge Media Group / SurgeBodyBoarding.com does not assume responsibility for unsolicited contributions. All photos should be submitted to Surge Media Group Attn: Photo Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. Advertising rates available upon request. Contributors retain all rights to their contributions. Surge Media Group P.O. Box 901436 Kula, HI 96790 Email: email@example.com
PH: Andrew Westerman
A Magical Place | PH: Addamon
EBODYBOARDING.COM | A FEW MOMENTS WITH JAY REALE SURGE PROFILE | SUNDARAN GILLESPIE WITHIN THE LINES | ERIC SCHNITZLER PIONEERS RIDING THE CONSEQUENCES LIBO, RON, & DAN THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE SPRING THOMAS GAULKE ANOMALY BOARD COMPANY TWO SIDES OF TAHITI DAVID TUARAU & NICOLAS RICHARD MY MEXICO VACATION JEFF HUBBARD
34 84 108 134 202 218 222 234
DEPARTMENTS SURGE EMPTIES SURGE FITNESS | MIKE SIMONE SURGE MUSIC | INNAVISION STYLE & POWER SURGE ART | CHAE HO LEE DK LIFE
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Evan Fa | PH: Roger Fa | Rajahdatphoto.com
If one were to compare the relationship between the shortboard surfing industry and the bodyboarding industry, it would be a relationship between a man and a woman. Surfing would be the man, and bodyboarding would be the woman. The man thought the woman was extremely attractive. Well, because she was. Everyone wanted her. She was young and naive, but she had a lot of self-respect. She was more into an open relationship than anything serious. With a bit of persistence, the man eventually persuaded the woman into an exclusive relationship. At the time, the man wasn’t quite that successful, but things were improving for him as well as her. Life was good. Then the woman started getting lazy with things. She grew needy and overly reliant on the man. She even started putting on weight. Meanwhile, the man was getting a lot of attention from other women. Eventually, she wasn’t so attractive to the man anymore, so he dumped her. The man quickly rebounded and found a new love interest. The love interest was a sugar mama that has been taking well care of him ever since. On the other hand, the woman is a mess. She hasn’t moved on. She still thinks the man is going to come back. She hasn’t been able to respect herself like she once did. Although, the woman is still young and beautiful, she just needs to start treating herself that way again. In order for her to truly move on she will need to rediscover who she is, start taking care of herself again, and realize that she doesn’t need the man in her life. Now, don’t take this analogy the wrong way. Shortboard surfing isn’t necessarily masculine (or “The Man” for that matter) nor is bodyboarding feminine. The reality, though, is that bodyboarding has not moved on since its business relationship with the shortboard surfing industry. It has, instead, become stagnant. Now bodyboarding can sit around and wait for some superhero to swoop in and rescue it, or it can accept that it doesn’t need the shortboard surfing industry. Of course, waiting to be rescued is the most soothing to the senses, but it’s also the most unlikely. Which leaves bodyboarding with its solution—to do its own thing. So what will it take for bodyboarding to do its own thing? Well, for starters bodyboarding needs to learn to love and respect itself again. One simple way to gauge this is determined by how the companies take care of their riders. If companies don’t take care of their riders, then companies aren’t reinvesting into the sport and aren’t loving and respecting bodyboarding. This is a call for bodyboarders and companies to action. If you are a company that is reinvesting back into your riders, then we applaud you. If you aren’t, we remind you of your duty. If you don’t want or plan to do it, then hopefully you fail because you don’t love and respect bodyboarding. If you are a consumer, only purchase from companies that love and respect bodyboarding by supporting it. That means if it comes from the shortboard surfing industry, don’t buy it. Avoid it like the disease to the sport that it is. Furthermore, investigate into bodyboarding companies to see if they support their riders. If they don’t, then they don’t support bodyboarding and there is no future in that company for you. Bodyboarding is in the process of doing its own thing. Love and respect it by making wiser decisions at the register to get it back on its own two.
Ben Player | Ph: Sacha Specker | TheSpex.com
B ge r u
In order to fully understand the true story behind eBodyboard-
ing.com, think back to a day when surfing the web meant waiting five minutes for dial up access to the Internet. Think back to a day well before the beast we refer to as social media. Now think about a husband and wife, both professional bodyboarders ready to retire from the sport, not just interested in settling down and starting a family, but willing to take big risks in order to provide for it. Once you can put yourself into this frame of mind, you will find Jay and Vicki Reale, founders and owners of eBodyboarding.com. We at SurgeBodyboarding.com were able to catch Jay for a few moments to ask him some questions about what he’s been up to, his background in the sport, his family, and some history behind the powerhouse business known as eBodyboarding.com. Surge: Aloha Jay! How are things? What you been up to? Jay: Thanks! Things are, in a word, frenetic. Vicki and I are pretty stinking busy this summer with not just eBodyboarding. com, but managing our two young kids to keep them busy during their summer vacation, taking turns watching them while we get in our daily workouts, and swapping work days. Plus, I’m a competitive ultrarunner and triathlete, so I’m training 10-15 hours/week, and I’m still in the water 5-6 days/week, so we are pretty flat out! Surge: Your history with the sport runs deep. For those that might not remember, could you tell us about yourself? Jay: In a nutshell, born and raised in Maryland. Lived at the beach permanently over there from age sixteen, which is when I started bodyboarding seriously. Started out riding rafts before that, and then merged into bodyboards when my brother got one and loaned it to me one day in 1979. During high school and all through college, I worked my way up the amateur ranks, becoming East Coast and US National Champ a few times over before graduating college in 1986 and moving to California a year later to turn pro. I competed as a full-time pro from 1987-1998, doing the US Tour, Australian Tour, and the GOB (now IBA) Tour during those years, traveling on photo trips and doing TV announcing for surf/bodyboard events on the side. Competed in the Pipe event seventeen years straight. Retired as a full-time pro at the end of 1998 and started eBodyboarding.com with Vicki, my wife of thirteen and a half years. Surge: You met your wife Vicki through bodyboarding, too, correct? Jay: Yeah, funny story. I was traveling around the east coast of Oz with Pat Caldwell and Keith Sasaki, and we stopped in
Port Macquarie to make an appearance at their bodyboard club barbecue. Vicki and her friends were groupies really and we gave them autographs and that sort of thing. I signed a poster for her that said, “Let’s get wet together someday!” Vicki contacted me out of the blue about a month later when I was back in California, and we kept the communication going by phone and letters (no one had computers or email back then), and then met up in Oz again the following year and had a couple of dates. Yet another year later in January of 1992, we met up in Hawaii and started dating full-time then. Surge: So what gave you two the idea to start eBodyboarding.com? Jay: Vicki and I were looking at the end of our pro bodyboarding careers in late 1998. My contract with Morey was getting terminated as were Vicki’s with her sponsors in Japan, and the climate at the time was not such that we could easily pick up sponsorship with someone else, and I was 35 years old and kind of felt like I should go out on top rather than slog it out as an old, washed up has-been pathetically trying to hang on to a career past it’s peak. Vicki was at the top of her game and was only twenty-six, but there were just no lucrative sponsorship opportunities out there for girls at the time, and I think since I was going to be retiring, she was ready to plant some roots after several years of traveling the globe extensively. I have a teaching degree, but didn’t really want to teach high school, so I put out resumes and spread the word around the industry that I was looking for work. I ran into one brick wall after another. Vicki didn’t have a green card yet, so she couldn’t work. We had about six months savings. I think we were having a conversation with Tom Morey about this, and we were talking about how many emails we were still getting from fans, many of whom lived in areas where there was nowhere to buy decent gear, etc. Although there were already some mail order outfits, no one had really capitalized on the whole “dot com” boom that was happening at the time. Tom made an off-the-cuff remark about how we should start “an online surf shop.” That was the second best idea he ever had in our opinion. Vicki and I put everything into getting it going, and despite initial resistance from a lot of people in the industry, we got it off the ground and built it up slowly. Surge: So it was pretty difficult to start up eBodyboarding. com? Jay: WAY more difficult than we ever anticipated. Several companies wouldn’t sell to us because they thought we were going to discount everything online and undercut their existing dealers. We assured them we wouldn’t, but they were afraid of rocking the boat with their dealers. It took a while to convince some of them. Custom X was actually our first vendor. Fred Simpson at Viper was on board pretty early too. We ran the business out of the condo we lived in at the time and the garage was our warehouse. We were working our asses off the first year especially. Long hours, learning by trial and error, making mistakes, fixing problems, etc. At one point, we considered hanging it up we were so burnt out, but, eventually, we hired an employee and that took a lot of the workload off the two of us.
Surge: Having both experienced the ins and outs of the industry, what’s your take on the current state of bodyboarding in the U.S.? Jay: It’s interesting. Competitively, on the pro side of things, it’s nothing like it was twenty years ago. Small purses at the few events we have here, and only a couple of guys from Hawaii making a living at it. From the recreational point of view, it’s thriving. We’re finding a lot of riders that were hardcore into it in the 80s and 90s that got out of the sport when they grew up and started families of their own are now wanting to get back into it with their kids. Plenty of people out there riding still. The pro thing really suffers from a couple of things—no support from the surf industry like we had twenty years ago, and too many companies all diluting the profits. In 1990, when the sport was at a major peak in growth, there were maybe five bodyboard brands in the USA. Now there are like thirty, so no single company has the money to sink into the sport like they did back then. Surge: Interesting. Well, let’s hope things change with some of the talent in the U.S. and re-growth of the sport. Who are the riders you support/sponsor at eBodyboarding.com? Jay: We have a sort of “association” with some great riders. I don’t know if you could call them full-blown sponsorships, but John “Beans” Porzuczek, Collin Goddard, my Maryland homeboy Brian Stoehr, and our local buddy Tom Prince always carry our flag, and we hook them up with what they need. We have a great crew of local riders that support us here in San Clemente, too. You guys know who you are! Surge: Anything you’d like to share with your current and potential customers? Jay: When it comes to eBodyboarding.com, thanks to all our loyal and new customers for helping Vicki and I put a roof over our family’s heads, food on our table, and keeping us able to make a living in the sport that has completely shaped our lives. Too many people have helped us over the years, but here a few are: Mom and dad Reale and Gleeson, Jeff and Kathy Phillips, Jack Crosby, Mary Lee Christensen, Patti Serrano, Pete Gleeson, Tom Morey, Sasaki … the list goes on. Of course, you guys at SurgeBodyboarding.com for keeping us relevant. PAU.
TO GET YOURSELF GEARED UP GO TO: EBODYBOARDING.COM
RUSSELL HOOVER SURGEEMPTIES
I bought my first camera and took my first black and white photography class in 1975, my first water housing soon followed. I started shooting friends at my local break, South Side, Seal Beach. I have spent twenty consecutive winters on the North shore of Oahu. I shot the cover of Surfers Journal, Volume 1 Issue 1. Back then it wasn’t about the beauty of the empty wave. Sure, now and then one of the magazines would run an empty wave but not for it’s art but rather for its location. With a manual camera inside a waterhousing you were a hero if you got a half dozen sharp images on a roll of 36. Today you can be a hero thanks to GoPro if you are within an earshot of a birthday or Christmas. Then you got all the trust fund kids and want to be’s getting DSLR rigs getting in everyone’s face. Then again, who is anyone to say that someone can’t buy a camera and go out into the ocean and take a photo? Thanks to Clark Little’s vision (no he wasn’t the first to ever put a camera in a housing and go out and shoot waves, but he was the first to go and make an art out of it in the shore break. A place he grew up charging, stand-up surfing since I have known him for over twenty-five years now. Don’t be a hater.).
So now we have everyone out in the water from the walruses to the short bus kids thinking they are the next Clark Little getting in each other’s way and ruining everyone’s images with out the slightest clue what an f-stop is. The other morning I showed up at one of my favorite breaks at dawn and there were already eleven photographers out in the water. I turned around and walked sadly back to my car and drove home. I see now why localism, pecking orders and Wolf Packs came about. It will be interesting to see how the future pans out.......until then, here is an empty one to enjoy. (See next page)
What is it like to actually shoot and empty wave, sitting in the impact zone for hours, letting the energy of the ocean engulf you like you are still in your motherâ€™s womb while she is eight months pregnant riding the Coney Island Cyclone, getting rag dolled like the little bitch that you are? A lot less fun with ten yahoos flailing in front of you.
PH: Russell Hoover | http://www.russhoover.com/
PH: Parker Mendenhall | http://www.facebook.com/parker.mendenhall
Joshua Shelly | http://www.facebook.com/JoshuaShellyPhoto
PH: Evan Fa | www.evanfa.blogspot.com
PH: Evan Conway | www.Reddawnproductions.net
Sacha Specker | www.thespex.com
PH: Maurice Aubuchon | Facebook.com/AubuchonImagery
PH: Joshua Shelly | www.facebook.com/JoshuaShellyPhoto
PH: Mike Cerrone | www.facebook.com/mike.cerrone.98
PH: Shane Grace | www.shanegracephotography.com
PH: Chris Zeh | www.facebook.com/ChrisZehPhotography
PH: Maurice Aubuchon | Facebook.com/AubuchonImagery
PH: Stan Moniz | www.StanMoniz.com
PH: Maurice Aubuchon | Facebook.com/AubuchonImagery
PH: Dylan Chaplin
TO PURCHASE YOUR COPY OF RING OF FIRE III CLICK HERE>>
e arrived at my Anderson Valley dwelling at dusk as rain clouds clustered above the treeline. There was a black car in the dirt driveway that any father of a 17 year old girl would cringe upon seeing sputter up to his house on prom night. Putting our feet in the earth, a man in big black shades, t shirt, eco pants and skate shoes rounded the deck with a glass full of wine from the Santa Lucia Highlands. He looked older than he should and was red faced and weak. Like the fruit ﬂy spirit within him, he had made himself comfortable in my house when we weren’t around, and, more to the point, sniffed and buzzed his way to an opened bottle of alcohol to make the afternoon seem normal. I hugged this man who had ridden the wave of the Santa Cruz winter season. He deserved some sabered Champagne, covers of magazines, women, SOMETHING for fearlessly driving through that suckout. But this modest gathering was about all a bodyboarder can expect these days as an award for rushing, and I was intent on making it memorable. Longtime central Californian boogie Wes Box and his 21 year old tartine of temptation uncorked more fuel for the ﬁre as we settled in: Nagy 2009 Santa Maria Valley, some indigenous red from Portugal, etc... This seemed to blow wind into the traveler’s sails, and he embarked on a very ungastronomic reading of his recently published medical confession called “The Yeti” while eggplant pizzas were crafted. It’s clear he is a walking collection of stories, like an
ancient mariner of the Moor so rampant in his line, best lit by campﬁre, and packed with profundity often at odds with straight up like “I’m just worried about coming across legal.”
bloodpoetic verses as il-
It wasn’t long til the four of us were drunk and he was freaking Wes’ red polka dot panty fantasy to awfully ampliﬁed Sean Paul jams in my little living room on a mountain in Mendocino. The bottles went dry as fast as they were opened: Melville, Cotes Du Rhone, Foxen Foothills Reserve.... I went into my bedroom stash for another and Wes followed me with a face of grave, defeated concern that I’d seen before. “You better make sure that motherfucker is in here sleeping by you tonight!” It was an understandable request: He had been swinging and striking out for three nights running with this girl he referred to as “Smoky Eyes” while her boyfriend served 30 days in the slammer for DUI related charges. He wasn’t about to let this rare freakshow from SF who was already grabbing hips and bumping ass to poach her two hours in the door. “All three of you are sleeping on the foldout!” I answered back, a bottle in hand and the Caribbean streamed prophecy “Make da booty go clap clap clap” booming from the JBL speaker. “I’m ﬁve eleven and I weigh one eighty four on a good day!” he shared out of nowhere, standing back up and
stroking his chest. Off came the shirt. Those that know him have seen this before and have wished that he had been born a woman. He shouted for Wes to join him for a dance, nipple to nipple. “Fuck you!” the aging wine slinger shouted back. “You’re being interviewed in case you forgot. Why do you think Sammy Garcia is so good at airs?” “Sammy Garcia can’t bottom turn on a slab to save his life. He’s riding beaded polypro double stringer! That’s why.” “Were you ever vegan?” I asked the surprisingly vegetarian party animal. “No ‘cause I eat so much cheese and wine that it’s fucked up. If I lived in Norway I’d add twenty years to my life but in California I go bronze!” He touched his chest again seductively then pulled his ballsack out of the zipper in his pants to reveal it to all of us. “That’s hairless balls! Unshaved hairless balls! Are you afraid?” “Jesus,” Box said, turning around. Smoky Eyes, still dancing, ventured a hungry glimpse. “What happens when you die?” I asked him shortly afterward. He answered at length about his parents’ beliefs and his own which were all interconnected to some greater energy or spirit. “When you pass you’re not gone yet. You are present around the ones that you left behind when you passed. My grandfather is the epitome of how someone should pass. He had diabetes, lost one leg, couldn’t golf anymore. He said “I’m gonna eat steak and have cocktails.” When he passed away he went through a lot of pain but he was happy. My dad was vegetarian but still from the same Irish genes.” “Do you see a new crew of bodyboarders around Santa Cruz?” I asked. “There are no boogieboarders at the harbor. It took ﬁfteen years to get [Josh] Mulcoy and the guys to get me. Guerin Myall and the guys hated bodyboarders. Guerin told me “Sundaran, you’ve gotta go on everything these guys don’t go on.” I don’t want to come across as an asshole but it took ﬁfteen years of getting burned and getting stuffed onto concrete to get here. People stopped fucking with me as the doubleups came in. There’s only me and Riley and Big Wave Dave. None of the others have ever made it past the river. The Santa Cruz harbor means more to me than anything else in my own life.” “Really?” Wes asked him.
PH: Ryan “Cachi” Craig ryancraigphotography.com
Sundaran Gillespie PH: Ryan “Cachi” Craig ryancraigphotography.com
“If at the end of the day I get to have the same happiness as my friend in Ireland has after getting that wave that he wanted or if I get to land a project that saves six thousand acres of land in California, preserving the wildlife, wetland and streams, that is the best life I can imagine.” I was in the bathroom when I ﬁrst heard the commotion. Shouting, screaming, laughter, “What the fucks?!” and such. I walked out into a hazy, burning scene and began coughing immediately. My eyes burned and my throat was stripped of all moisture. He was holding up an arm glazed with brown liquid. The girl was laughing her ass off and Box was darting outside with his shirt pulled across his face. She had pepper sprayed him on request, hitting the wall behind him and my $3,000 dollar oil painting in the process. The house was fucked. Occupy Philo. I was hacking my lungs out in the night air. He sat there at the bottle strewn table, hand up,
looking at us all with an empty glass. He didnʼt feel anything. *** M. Sundaranandan was Born in Santa Cruz, California on September 3, 1982. “In a yoga tradition your last name was combined with your ﬁrst name. My bartender calls me M Dot, like, ʻWhatʼs up M Dot?!ʼ” “Sunny” is what Santa Cruz bodyboarders call him, “The Yeti” is a pen name when it comes down to it, and “Sundaran Gillespie” is what Iʼve always known him as, though it took me years to pronounce. He is what Australians would certainly refer to as “a bit of a loose cannon, mate.” He charges big waves on his boogie. He also works hard and was a model student. He quit competitive bodyboarding, went to college, got a “real” job, and after all that ﬁnally started getting published in magazines. For six years he has lived in San Francisco and works for an environmental ﬁrm in San Rafael that allows him a ﬂexibility in schedule that gets
Sundaran Gillespie PH: Ryan “Cachi” Craig ryancraigphotography.com
him to places like Ireland, Nicaragua, Australia and elsewhere, often times in the same calendar year. No sponsor sends him to these slabs—he pays for it all. “In February alone I drove over three thousand miles for waves,” he said. He is part of an essential but dying breed of Californian waverider—the lurking bodyboarder in a wetsuit, like Bob Forbes or Chad Barba, riding that sharky rivermouth or deepwater reef when no one else is around. The Paciﬁc Northwest is his own personal Mecca and he protects the gold heʼs panned there respectively. I asked him about the boards he rides, Custom X, and he said, “Debbie gives me two boards a year. Thatʼs it. I pay for all my own travels.” Itʼs no surprise that he has an immense admiration for Chad Barba. “Chad Barba knows more about waves than anyone. All he does is drive around in his beat up van and jerk off at 7-11ʼs!” He credits Scott Aichner and Bob Forbes as being the most knowledgeable barrel men on the planet, before riﬂing off an impressive list of the best water photographers in surﬁng and how a dozen or more were bodyboarders in the beginning: Jack English, Aaron Loyd, Brian Bielmann, Scott Winer, Chris Burkard, Ryan Craig, the list goes on. “I never thought Iʼd live in a city,” he said about his current address. “I was born in Santa Cruz. I was born in a hospital but my brother was born in a hole in the ground in the backyard with a tarp. His name is I-Jah and is one of the most genuine people ever. He is the opposite of me. But anyway I moved from Santa Cruz to Calexico, then to Imperial which is a horriﬁc farming town. My parents got divorced. I moved to El Centro.” “Why?” I asked. “These are all Hindi Ashrams we could live for free at. My dadʼs guru wanted to connect with Native American communities. Both of my parents didnʼt have enough money to pay the rent. We would get robbed and the people would realize we had nothing worth stealing. My parents split up and my dad moved back to Santa Cruz. I moved to Long Beach. The ﬁrst time I rode a wave was at Westwards on a boogieboard. My aunt took me out. I went to six different elementary schools. I spent middle school in Yuma which is hell on earth. I went back to Santa Cruz for high school.”
The morning after the shenanigans we drove out to the coast in search of a rivermouth heʼd had his eyes on. He sipped a Modelo tall can as we sat on the beach watching a slabbing, brown water set up repeatedly spit its guts out. We suited up and he didnʼt stretch at all, didnʼt nibble on fruit or take a drink of water, and immediately he was pulling in dropknee on big closeouts and getting obliterated. There were harbor seals everywhere as the freshwater ﬂowed out into the deepwater canyon. He pulled into every draining barrel, big and small, and seemed to play with what most Mendocino county surfers would bypass immediately. I retreated after duckdiving an unexpectedly massive set and got approached by a nine year old kid that wanted to use my board to do what Sundaran was doing out there. I had to explain that he would die in the nicest, age-appropriate vocabulary I could muster, and he ran off down the tideline, charging right up to each surge and pushing his own set of boundaries. The little grommet was inspired. *** “Do you have any enemies?” I asked him on the drive through organic pasture land toward Point Arena for lunch and a look at the cove. “There are people who deﬁnitely donʼt enjoy my company,” he replied. “I’m a jovial person.”
“Did your dad surf?” “My dadʼs been practicing yoga longer than Iʼve been alive. He loved going and taking me to the beach. Took me at four years old. We were living in a ghetto apartment behind Liquor Barn. The entire inventory of bottles hit the ground in the eightynine earthquake. He brought his Churchills down sometimes. He hadnʼt seen me ride waves in ﬁfteen years since that day at the harbor.” On April Foolʼs Day 2012, Sundaran pulled into a wave that was declared the wave of the winter in Santa Cruz, California. A deadly, artiﬁcial right slab of consequence, he not only made the drop within reach of the notorious concrete jetty jacks, but cranked a bottom turn and made it through a ridiculously heavy barrel section and out onto the shoulder. His dad was on the beach to witness it. I asked him about two photos of himself pulling in at a frightening left slab north of the Eel River. “That was the ﬁrst wave I caught of the day,” he described the ﬁrst shot. “It was ten to twelve consistently that day with eight foot Hawaiian death traps that came through. That wave holds twenty to probably forty foot. It can pinch. It can have some steps in the face. I hit the reef
Sundaran Gillespie PH: Adam Warmington | adamwarmington.com
one time, I felt my leash break, then it shoved me off the face of the reef like way down. I came up seventy-ﬁve yards from where I hit the water.” He drank a Racer 5 at the Chowder House with a rugged, fried vegetarian option. Heʼs never eaten an animal, which, when all is said and done, is probably the best contribution a human being can make on this earth. I asked him about Ireland, Nicaragua, Australia with Nick Lawrence, and his UCSB years in Santa Barbara. “I lived on D.P. I would have died of aids in Isla Vista if I didnʼt have my girlfriend. Jacob Reeve ran a church a block and a half away. I would be riding a bike with a bag full of Jaegermeister and a six pack of Guinness and pass him loading up some van with Christian people.” We returned to the rivermouth for an even better afternoon session and discovered his coworker and traveling companion Morganʼs car in the somewhat creepy, remote parking lot. The San Francisco based fella was in the outhouse. “Watch this,” Sundaran said to me, running up to the closed door and suddenly pounding the fuck out of it repeatedly. If I was Morgan in there, hours from home in a county known for its serial killers and random acts of violence, I wouldʼve been sobbing hysterically or ripping off the faucet head to defend
myself. However, he just said “Sundaran?” It was something Sundaran would do. We watched the surf for awhile and couldnʼt resist the golden offshore lefts ﬁring toward the mouth of the river. It looked like some African beachbreak. An hour into the session I noticed Sundaran just ﬂoating on his board and not going on many, as if he were napping but with his eyes open. I thought about the nocturnal streak heʼd been on—two hours of sleep on Thursday night after a Tommyʼs Tequila Bar run, ﬁve hours at best with a pepper sprayed arm the night before... his body was sleeping in spite of his mind, with overhead spitting slabs cracking all around him, urging him to keep keeping on. Afterwards he invited Morgan back to my place for the night. “You shouldʼve seen it last night, Morgan,” he said. “Three guys and one girl getting weird! You should come.” The practicing botanist declined, in pursuit of fauna, a lone campsite beneath the stars, and some peace and quiet. *** On Sunday, Sundaran and I sat on the deck of my house and drank. Drank all fucking day. We got
sunburned. We exchanged stories of waves, love gone wrong, perilously dodged STDʼs, jobs, family and the future. He plans a return to Ireland, which could be a permanent home for him one day. “Iʼve made a lot of good friends over there. There’s the Skajarowski brothers—they are Cornish guys that moved to Ireland for the waves. We can only dream of having the waves they have.” “Can you surf year round in Ireland?” I asked him. “I went in February. It snows.” After a six pack of Coopers Sparkling Ale, Mad River Extra Stout, a 22 of Sheaf Stout, I grabbed a sparkling water in thirst and he asked if he could move on to red. I opened him up a homemade Pinot Noir from Anderson Valley and asked him for commentary on a variety of people and subjects. On Manny Vargas “One time during a seven hour binge during Superbowl in San Diego, we said ʻHey Manny, youʼre the second most famous person to come out of Imperial Beach.ʼ Then he said ʻWhoʼs the ﬁrst?ʼ ʻMario Lopez from Saved by the Bellʼ!”
On JJ Ayala “JJ Ayala is the dirty Manny Vargas. He is so gnarly. I love JJ. I spent a week in Mexico with him and saw him make out with a stripper in a tin shed with a dirt ﬂoor while people sat on buckets to watch this chick dance around some rusty pole. I mean, have you seen the Toys ads?! Itʼs like they put an oompaloompah in a porn!” On A-Frame Magazine “Itʼs an internet relic that is ﬁve issues of our hearts and souls that Alex Statom and Joshua Shelly committed hundreds of hours to make. I came out with the idea and Alex and Josh made it happen. It surpassed what we were expecting. It hit a lot more people than I thought it would. We started it because Pit and BodyBoarding died, and we had nothing. We never intended to make money off it. The Surge guys are doinʼ a good job. Itʼs hard to get photographers to contribute for free.” On Eddie Solomon “Eddie and I rode for Morey at the same time. We shared the same type of lifestyle. We partied hard and loved to ride shorebreak.” On Bodyboarding Contests “I wouldnʼt even if it was a big wave event. But I
Sundaran Gillespie PH: Ryan “Cachi” Craig ryancraigphotography.com
would love to have a really heavy session in the Paciﬁc Northwest with Beans and Weimann, Savoji, Mike Murphy ʻcause heʼs a lunatic and charges, Murdock, Schlegel...”
*** To give an example of why bodyboarding is a hobby and not a sport in America these days, I asked Sundaran “Are any Custom X boards for sale in Santa Cruz?”
On the Santa Cruz Harbor “An eight foot wave at Santa Cruz Harbor is heavier than a thirty foot wave at Steamer Lane.”
He went to nod then pulled back on the reins, his face gone frozen. “Umm...” There arenʼt. And there sure as hell arenʼt any north of San Francisco.
On his Sexual Demon “Itʼs not a demon. I just feel I havenʼt met the one that challenges me.”
Itʼs heroic to me that Sundaran rides the waves he rides for his own personal inner wealth. Heʼs not doing it for the cameras and the photo incentive. Heʼs doing it for his old Irish soul. Part of me wishes he could draw a check for riding waves, which would turn him on to undiscovered slabs that are out there, cracking and exploding right now. But another part of me loves the sunglass-wearing character in the shady black car, reeking of the nightʼs spirits, living check to check, and traveling deserted, forested highways toward the next deadly barreling ﬁnd.
On a Perfect Day “Yesterday would be one. Wake up. One to two friends paddle out at some sharky rivermouth. Go have a beer, look at some other waves. Come back to the same beach and get better waves. Offshore all day. People down south get empty moments, but up here, north of the bay, thereʼs no one around. It sucks riding rivermouths in Northern California by yourself. And especially when your girlfriend is on the sand with a cell phone to call for help in case you get attacked by a shark, and with a knife in case some crazy local starts fucking with her.”
Photo By: Gavin Shigesato
Photo By: Evan Fa
Photo By: Jordan Anast
Photo By: Evan Fa
Reeflex Wetsuits USA With the growth of the sport, bodyboarders are not only looking for an alternative to standup surfing brands, but they are searching for products that cater to their specific needs while investing back into the sport. Reeflex Wetsuits, founded in Australia, is one of these bodyboarding specific brands. John Barker, the managing director of Reeflex Australia, has done a phenomenal job designing and building a reputable brand. Known for their warmth and comfort, household names like Dave Winchester, Ryan Hardy, Mark McCarthy, Andrew Lester, and Lewy Finnegan stand by the brandâ€™s quality. The idea to bring the Australian founded brand into the U.S. started off with the vision and motivation of a teenager named Drew Ramstead. Drew is a seventeen year old bodyboarder, snowboarder, wakeboarder, and aspiring entrepreneur, who is working hard to establish the brand here in the United States. He built two websites for the company to house Reeflex USA. One is ReeflexUSA.com, which displays the wetsuit lineup and store lists stocking the brand. The other is PassionSurfCo.com, which is for online sales of the wetsuits as well as other products. When you purchase a Reeflex wetsuit in the U.S., rest assure that your dollar goes back into the sport. As proof, Reeflex USA is currently supporting a strong team of riders, namely IBA World Tour contenders Jeff and David Hubbard. So grab yourself a wetsuit to keep you warm this fall and winter by checking out ReeflexUSA.com for more information on products and where to purchase one. Tom Ramstead V.P. & Marketing Manager Passion Sales, Inc. dba Reeflex USA
“For me personally, bodyboarding is also as much mental fitness as physical fitness … being in the water is my peace of mind.”
Mike Simone | PH: Kalen Foley | KalenFoley.com
SURGE FITNESS EDITOR | MIKE SIMONE
TRAINING Mike Simone: SurgeBodyboarding.com Fitness & Training Correspondent
Mike Simone is just like you and me. The New Jersey native grew up with a deep passion for the ocean and riding waves on a bodyboard. He, of course, happened to discover another passion for fitness and health along the way. Enough so that his passion for such has become his profession. Which brings us to the topic of his newly appointed role here at SurgeBodyboarding.com. Mike is SurgeBodyboarding.com’s newly appointed Fitness and Training Correspondent. With over ten years of experience, research, and practice in the field, and a strong resume and network to back his findings, we present to you an expert resource to assist you, the reader, in your quest to strengthen your body to surf better, prevent injuries, and enjoy a healthier lifestyle altogether. With such, we decided to stop Mike for a few minutes to ask him a handful of questions about his background and what you might expect from him in the issues to come. Surge: Aloha Mike! What have you been up to these days? Mike: Hey Surge! Thanks for asking. I’ve been hard at work for the past couple years in the fitness industry. I currently work for Men’s Fitness Magazine in New York City as an Associate Editor of MensFitness.com; I also oversee much of the social media. Aside from that, working on my brand—humanfitproject.com—trying to get in the ocean whenever possible and planning some surf trips for 2012 and 2013. Oh, and of course, keeping up with my training. Surge: Wow! That must keep you busy, huh? Mike: Yes, it’s quite a lot, but I enjoy what I do and I know I’m making a positive impact. Surge: So how did you get into fitness? Mike: Wow! That’s a huge question. I believe I got into fitness for many reasons but my path in fitness has twisted, turned, and evolved so much.
One minute I’d be all into getting powerful, the next I wanted to have mind-boggling endurance. Now I’m sort of on a “CrossFit” kick because of its difficulty on a competitive level. But, for the most part, I got into fitness through my dad who has an incredible work ethic. Essentially, he wanted to help me get bigger for baseball and to feel more comfortable in the ocean. I’ll admit in my younger days I was also a skinny little runt with insecurities. Surge: What made you decide to make it your career? Mike: Oh man, because I was obsessed with it. Hell, I still am. I read for hours upon hours about workouts, different training and dieting techniques, biology and chemistry of the body, you name it. But the key takeaway is that I tried it all, and if I didn’t try it, I’d like to. Then, as I continued to write, post photos, track my progress I began to notice that people appreciated my studies, findings and knowledge from others that I’d share. And now that’s just where we are. :) Surge: Bodyboarding and fitness pretty much go hand in hand, right? Mike: Absolutely! Obviously the act of paddling in itself is beneficial, but the ways in which you naturally change the intensity of your paddling during sessions plays a powerful role. For example, you know those bursts of speed when you’re trying to get in position for a sick one, or are stuck on the inside? Those fluctuations cause your heart rate to do the same, and it’s very well supported in the fitness industry that interval style cardio is not only great for the heart, but also on body composition. Another thing is maneuvering on waves—it’s almost as if your body naturally becomes more flexible. For me personally, bodyboarding is also as much mental fitness as physical fitness … being in the water is my peace of mind. I’m sure you can relate.
Surge: Definitely! To kind of reiterate your point, have your experiences, studies, and expertise in fitness helped you prevent injuries and/or perform better in bodyboarding? Mike: I think my training has helped me enormously on a number of different levels. Now, I’m no world champ or big wave maniac, by any means, but I must say that training has increased my cardiovascular endurance which increased my comfort level in the water for starters. Second, the amount of muscle mass and the distribution of it in certain parts of my body has safe guarded me from injuries, allowed me to become more flexible and surf more powerfully. It’s funny … so many people think muscle makes you less flexible. That’s such a misconception. Long story short, yes, training has helped, and I’m very thankful to be injury free. I don’t know what I’d do if I were unable to surf or train. Surge: What can the readers expect from you in the issues to come? Mike: Well, I’d love for readers to send in their questions, that way I can either answer it myself or find the right person for the job. But for the most part, we’re going to prepare injury prevention workouts, full body strength and endurance workouts, flexibility drills. Basically anything that can help a bodyboarder physically, we’re on it. Surge: Where can readers go to find more information about you, fitness resources, and any questions? Mike: I’m a huge social media guy. It just makes things easier for me. I like to give little bits and pieces of information that can be useful. I can be found on Twitter @Mike_Simone_ on Instagram @Mike_Simone and on Facebook.com/MikeSimoneHFP. I can also be reached through humanfitproject on Twitter @humanfitproject on Instagram @humanfitproject and Facebook.com/humanfitproject. I also recommend MensFitness.com. Surge: Thank you for you time Mike! Now to the readers, send in your questions. PAU.
SURGE FITNESS & TRAINING
Eric Schnitzler | PH: Richard Diaz
Interview by Paul Benco Many of you may know Eric Schnitzler, aka Big E, for his unmatchable filming and editing skills found in his films The Drift and Within and viral Within podcast series exposing the world’s best underground and professional bodyboarders. As you can also probably tell from his numerous POV video clips, the man can bodyboard with the best of them. Although he lives in one of the best places to be a bodyboarder, Tahiti, he is constantly traveling to bodyboard and shoot around the world all year round. Not only have bodyboard companies from around the globe hired him to film and photograph their best riders, but also corporations, such as Apple, have used Eric’s talents in and out of the water. This is probably the Eric you know. As for the one I know? We’ll start in Indonesia. It is 1999. There is political unrest around the country, including the usually peaceful island of Bali, had made the currency (rupiah) of Indonesia expectedly weak, and therefore made the US dollar even stronger than usual. I had just traveled to Indonesia the year before on a solo trip for a month, falling in love with the country immediately. G-Land, Uluwatu, Padang Padang, Shipwrecks, and many other waves filled my dreams for months after returning to Hawaii. While these waves beckoned me back once again the following summer, I knew I had to share the experience with my two favorite bodyboarding partners—Johnny Russell and Big E. Long story short, Eric was nervous and far from ease in the new surroundings and possible dangers. Of course, that was Eric of 1999. Things have obviously changed. Time happens. People grow. The man has set foot on almost every continent, has been in more perfect blue barrels than most people could only dream of, is married to an incredible and beautiful Tahitian woman, and now gives me hints about traveling in distant surf destinations. Eric of 2012 is a friend I’m not only proud of but a fine example of why you (yes, you) need to see the world and approach it with an open mind like a bowl ready to be filled with the world’s knowledge. And, just like Eric, each person can offer the world spectacular and positive things. Eric just so happens to be matching the explosive riders of the world with the globe’s best waves. Mahalo nui loa my friend.
Paul: What’s the haps Eric! Provide everyone some background information on yourself. Eric: I was born and raised on the Big Island of Hawaii. I currently reside on Tahiti in French Polynesia. I enjoy traveling, learning new languages, bodyboarding, filming, and just hanging out with good-hearted, humble people. Paul: How was it growing up on the Big Island? How did it influence you as a bodyboarder and videographer? Eric: I actually spent most of my childhood on the Hamakua coast of the Big Island. I moved to Kona to live with my Dad when I was 15 to be closer to the beach. In general, growing up on the Big Island was pretty mellow. It had its ups and downs, but overall it was a great place to spend my youth—always being in the ocean, hiking in the mountains, just being quite involved with nature. Had my parents not left Michigan a few years before I was born, I’d be freezing my ARS off. As far as influences, I grew up in an ocean culture. Most people were somehow involved with the ocean, whether it was swimming, fishing, or waveriding. When I was eight years old I got one of those Aussie brand, orange, foam bottom bodyboards for Christmas, and I was pretty much hooked. I eventually graduated to a Mach 7-7 and so on. As a grom, I’d always do eye spy barrels with the friends at the local shories, Hakalau and at Haapuna on the west side. Great memories. Paul: How and when did you first get into videography? Eric: I started off doing stills when I first moved to Oahu in 97, but it seemed that I had a lot more interest in motion. I picked up my first Digital 8 Sony camcorder in 2001 for a trip to Chile. I continued filming all my travels from then on to share my experiences with friends and family upon return, and also to document wave-riding of course.
Paul: What drew you to it? Eric: Mike McMichael, owner of Pacific Vibrations surf shop in Kona, talked me into getting a video camera and documenting all my travels. The guy’s a legend and I was quite inspired by his words. He made it sound like the dream, which it has ended up being, so a big thank you to him for the inspiration. Also, the stoke I got from filming friends scoring good waves was equal to the actual wave-riding myself, if not better, because it was something I could hold onto forever. Paul: Why did you choose bodyboarding instead of standup surfing? Eric: Honestly, I always wanted to stand-up surf as a kid. I remember cruising into the local surf shop in Hilo and dreaming about having one of those new, shiny, pricey surfboards. My mom always told me that she’d buy me one someday and I constantly bugged her about it, but it never happened. She couldn’t afford it being a single mother of two at the time. Now I look back and am stoked she never bought me that board. I love bodyboarding! I have my own reasons why I chose or stuck with bodyboarding from affordability to convenience to preferred tunnel vision, the list goes on and on. Paul: How do you feel about the animosity that exists between standup surfing and bodyboarding? Eric: It’s really unfortunate that bodyboarding is still looked down on in some circles. When I hear, “Brah, why don’t you surf?” or “Dude, why do you even film bodyboarders? or “Mate, why not just film surfers?” It makes me laugh. I think about all the bodyboarders in Tahiti, the Canaries, and all over the world who are taking wave-riding to new levels. I respect all types of wave-riders, and I think the best wave-riders are those that look past the specific tools one uses to ride a wave to see the true skill demonstrated by the individual riding the wave. The tools a person chooses to ride a wave is really just a matter of preference. Who cares if the guy on the next wave
prefers to standup, bodysurf, drop-knee, or lie down? In the end, we are all fascinated by the same natural wonder. Paul: What made you decide to start filming for The Drift? Tell us the background story. Eric: It first started on a trip just filming a few friends—Paul Benco, Jonny and Dusty Russell, the KNOWMADS crew—in Indo back in 2001. I originally intended to just document that trip and make a short movie for the friends and family. But afterwards, I continued filming my other trips and the bodyboarders I traveled with or met along the way. I kept just wanting to include more and more destinations. Eventually, I had enough footage to make an international bodyboard flick including eight wave-riding destinations, plus additional destinations outside of wave-riding. I finally released the thing in 2008. Talk about lagging. Hahaha! But, yeah, I was stoked to finally finish what I started. The Drift’s main emphasis was to expose underground bodyboarders globally with real talent apart from the norm, and those whom I felt deserved a bit of exposure. I also wanted to show different cultures around the world to appeal to a wider audience aside from just bodyboarders. Paul: Was it always a passion of yours to travel around the world to shoot bodyboarding? Eric: I had a passion for traveling and getting to know other cultures and learning new languages, but I also had a passion for documenting waveriding, bodyboarding in particular, so I guess the answer to that question is yes. It’s obviously not a passion that will make much of a living but it’s where my heart was and still is today. Although, I’m pretty content just staying here in French Polynesia these days as we have everything and more of what the world’s waves have to offer. However, I definitely won’t say no to a job traveling to an international destination. In fact, I just returned from a job in
Indonesia filming a few Canarian guys—Richard Diaz, Airam Cabrera, and Antonio Prado—who were a great crew to work for. I couldn’t imagine a better job. I’d be stoked if I could get at least few of these gigs a year. Paul: You’ve definitely become a bridge between Tahiti and Canary Islands. What drew you to both places? How did it happen? Eric: As for Tahiti, I’ve been living down here nearly five years now, and I recently married. As for Canaries, I was on a trip with Paul Benco, and Jonny Russell to Indonesia in 99 when we met this guy Daniel Hernandez from Canary Islands. He invited us to go there and couldn’t stop talking about how good the waves were there. At the time, we never really heard anything about surf over there, but we just spontaneously decided to take a trip there the following year. It ended up being a complete score. We were super impressed with the level of riding there at the time. We got to know the majority of the locals there and were very well received. Ever since, I’ve been going back quite often and sometimes get invited to work the season over there filming and editing for LINKtv, which is run by Daniel. I find both these places to have one thing in common, riders at a pro level who have not received due exposure for their abilities. Hopefully that’ll change someday because they deserve to be up there with the best. Paul: Your profession is videography. What sort of discipline does one need to do what you do? Eric: Tons of patience, practice makes perfect, super early mornings, hoping for the best but expecting the worst. Paul: Do you only film bodyboarders for work? What other type of work do you do? Eric: I’ve also worked on weddings, cultural events, commercials, random films, and with pro surfers on the occasion. I’m not too choosy … I’ll take
PH: Mike Cerrone
what’s available. I still have to make ends meet. Paul: Tell us the background story on Within. It’s the first bodyboard video to come on BluRay. Eric: Making The Drift, first off, was a great experience. I was stoked with the outcome. Even though it only had a few pros in it, it managed to do okay. But it really seemed to be more work than gain. I guess that’s what separates passion from actual work, something you continue to do even if it’s not paying the bills. I still kept filming though, just to keep myself busy in Tahiti, and eventually I found my computer full of footage of historical days in two of the world’s best bodyboarding destinations, Tahiti and Canary Islands. I thought it’d be a waste not to make something out of it. The whole film was filmed in full HD, so I figured that with the tropical and photogenic colors of French Polynesia and, in contrast, the deserted dryness of the Canary Islands, what better way to release it than in full HD in order to give the viewers the most life-like, vicarious experience possible. Releasing Within in BluRay was a bit extreme but I’m glad I did it. I hope that it left somewhat of a mark on the sport or at least gave bodyboarding films a bit of evolution. Paul: Share the different podcasts you’re working on and tell us about them. Eric: My main project is WITHINcasts, which is basically just an extension of Within but via podcasts since it’s all on the net these days. The main focus at the moment is to promote Tahitian bodyboarding, both locally and internationally. As I mentioned earlier, I also work on the LINKtv podcasts which promotes Canarian bodyboarding locally and internationally. Paul: If someone and/or a company were interested in hiring you to do work, what could they expect from you? How can they contact you? Eric: Hahaha! Thanks for the work referral Paul. Well, I’m confident at what I do but consider myself to be humble at the same time. I’m motivated, easy to work with, and very passionate about my work and try not to settle for anything average. My best contact would be my email: thedriftvideo@gmail. com Paul: Who are the five individuals you always look forward to shooting and working with? Eric: I don’t really wanna leave out any riders. I look forward to shooting so many guys, especially down here in Tahiti, but if I had to choose I’d probably say the following: In Tahiti—David Tuarau, Niko Richard, Fred Temorere, and Tahurai Henry. They’re all pretty amped and never seem to disappoint. Internationally—Paul Benco, Jared Houston, Nelson Mora, Jeff Hubbard, Elliot Morales, Pierre Louis Costes, and many more. Paul: Lastly, anyone you would like to thank? Eric: First of all, I want to thank my family and my beautiful wife Mel, who have all been super supportive of my lifestyle. Secondly, thank you to the true friends who have always had my back and supported me from the beginning and continue to do so. Much love to all of you, you know who you are. Lastly, thank you to SurgeBodyboarding.com for the interview and your interest in my work. Aloha!
PH: Richard Diaz
PH: Julien Durand
David Tuarau | Ph: Eric Schnitzler
Nicolas Richard | Ph: Eric Schnitzler
JARED HOUSTON | Ph: Sacha Specker | TheSpex.com
Photo By: Nathan Henshaw
Photos By: Maurice Aubuchon
C AT C H I N G U P W I T H
I N N AV I S I O N
INTERVIEW BY | RICHARD PATA
Inna Vision is back, presenting to the public their third full
length album timelessly titled No Stopping! Their album delivers a full-fledged original sound that encompasses all the beauty involved with everyday struggles. No Stopping is created to inspire listeners in following dreams, and their passions despite life’s many challenges. Each song is chosen with purpose, created with passion, and presented with righteousness. No Stopping has a positive holistic message that permeates the idea to keep striving. Inna Vision faced tough times in 2011 as the drastic falling-out of vocalist Bengali and saxophonist Jahson took occurrence. Despite the changes, the group continued with their 2011 Upliftment Tour playing in Oregon, Vegas, Utah, and the Hawai‘i Islands. The attitude Inna Vision adapted was: “no stopping”. The 2011 Upliftment Tour developed an opportune space for the Inna Vision band, allowing them to reconnect with their fans and providing proof that they could pull through
as one solid original sound. Fans traveled near and far to witness and partake in Inna Vision’s tour. Kokomon performed a double set while Pokimon and Kaya made up for lost saxophone melodies. Kamakoa sang background vocals and Calvi-dread held it down with prominent percussions. Inna Vision arose to the challenge with dignity and consciously focused on keeping the positive in every situation. Life works in mysterious ways and as doors close others open up, changing dynamics and allowing for chance to build on foundation. David Bailey, who started with Inna Vision playing drums, guitar, and singing back in 2005, made his return helping push the band with his signature vocal harmonies and powerful stage presence. David Bailey was a big part of Inna Vision’s first album Music on my Mind. Also adding to the albums dynamics is bassist Kamakoa. As a growing artist, Kamakoa adds lead vocals on feature tracks “Bless Me” and “Beautiful,” and has two collaborations with Kokomon, “Solutions” and “Roots Daughtah.” Kamakoa recently released his first single, “Shacks and Shakas” under the InnaVision label getting recognition in Hawai‘i, Tahiti, Austrailia, USA, and France. Lead singer Kokomon continues to represent Polynesian roots and culture with his unique riddim attack and unmatchable flows. Kokomon gains recognition from albums such as: Music on my Mind, Ashes for your Urn, Koko meets Ooklah, Vaults, as well as recent collaborations with Josh Heinrichs, Mr. 83, Ooklah the Moc, Skank Records and Father Psalms Studio. This album will showcase the best in hard-core roots reggae and features Jamaican influences of Bob Marley, Jr. Reid, Barrington Levy, Jr. Gong, Hugh Mundell, Musical Youth, Half Pint and Michael Rose. The outcome of this re-construction is a 13 track full length album rightfully titled, No Stopping. No Stopping is a representation of the band’s growth and maturity, and love for authentic reggae music. All members have grown in a level of superior musicianship, which you will be able to hear in the recordings and see in live performances. No Stopping was recorded at Cultural Vision Maui Studio, released under Inna Vision’s label Cultural Vision Maui and will be available world-wide in Spring 2012. “In the realm of life anything can happen. The lesson learned is to adapt and be in control of your actions, attitude, and destiny. No matter what happens in every day life, time never stops and in the pursuit of happiness and sustainability there is No Stopping.” RP: What’s going on Inna Vision? IV: We recently released our third full-length album No Stopping and are about to embark on our fifth west coast tour in October with stops in Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, and Nevada. No Stopping has, by far, been our best work yet. From the musicianship to the production and marketing, we’re very proud of this project.
RP: You guys have been traveling a bunch. Who have you been playing with and what spots have you guys been to? IV: This year we have toured the Hawaiian Islands a lot and performed with Ooklah the Moc, Dubconcious, Father Psalms, Most High, The Kicks, Sol Seed, Sounds of Jah, Rootz n Creation, and many others. Last year we toured North America and was honored to perform with Kymani Marley, Gramps Morgan, and Mishka. Previous tours included our good friends Tribal Seeds, Rootz Underground, and Resination. We’ve played in Oregon, California, Nevada, and Utah, and this year’s tour will bring new states Washington and Arizona and possibly Colorado. RP: Being a rootz reggae band from Hawaii, have you guys been well accepted all over? IV: Being from Hawaii helps us a lot in the mainland because the islanders that live up there want a little taste of their homeland, so it’s like we’re refreshing them with some aloha spirit. Audiences have shown us great support and appreciation for what we do, and we’re very grateful to be traveling and doing what we love. Polynesian artists have been gaining recognition worldwide thanks to artist like Jboog and The Green. RP: What makes each of the guys in the band unique? IV: All members of Inna Vision are very talented and have great hearts with great intentions. We’re a very close-knit family, everyone has their own personalities, but when it comes to the music we all know our job. All members have their own side projects besides Inna Vision—Bailey, Calvi-Dread, and Kaya make up the band Kohomua. Mr. 83 and Koko perform with Father Psalms. I run our label Cultural Vision Maui which has its hands full with Inna Vision and other artist such as Paula Fuga, Iakopo, Kali, and just recently Koa Hewahewa. We all got so much talent it’s hard to keep it contained to one focus. RP: Other than Inna Vision, what’s the music scene like in Hawaii right now, and who do you guys like playing and listening to? IV: The music scene in Hawaii is blowing up! It’s insane. With artists like The Green, Jboog, Anuhea, and Hot Rain reaching the heights that they are is something people thought would never happen. These artists are breaking down barriers for us to follow. We’re trying to ride that wave while the Hawaii music is hot. Big,
Big, Big shout out to these musicians making history. As far as what we listen to, it varies day-by-day depending on the mood. We listen to everything from 80’s Roots Radicals reggae to the new school Busy Signal dance hall and everything in between. I’ve been getting into a lot of blending reggae and rap to create a little more urban sound, but all music is therapy. RP: What’s the best and the worst thing about being on the road touring? IV: The best thing about touring is spreading the message that we set when we started the band. We had a mission when we made Inna Vision—it wasn’t for fame, money or girls, it was to share island living and culture with the world. When people listen to what we gotta say and feel what we have to say, the mission is being accomplished. It’s a great feeling to play for a crowd full of strangers and have them relate to you in their own way. Everyone in the mainland admires that Hawaii is our home, and it’s an irie place to represent. The worst thing about being on tour is how much it costs to get us there. Coming from Hawaii with a crew of about ten members, you could imagine how much airfare, hotels, transportation, gas and food costs. We are indie artists, so we don’t have a big label backing us up with funds. We save all our money through out the year just to make a tour happen. It’s a labor of love, and the experience is priceless. RP: Who would be your dream gig to play with and why? IV: Our dream shows would be performing on festivals like Reggae on the River, South by Southwest, NNWRF, Sierra Nevada Music Festival with artists from all over the world. To be a part of something so worldly would make us feel like we finally made our mark on the international music scene. RP: It takes a lot for musicians to get to that point. People don’t know how hard it is to fulfill a career in the music industry, huh? IV: There’s a lot of blood, sweat, tears and heartache that is fueled by indescribable reward and satisfaction. Everyday there is something to do—a song to record, a show to promote, a rehearsal to schedule and accounts to manage—and organize with about ten members. There will be disagree-
ments and there will need to be compromise. Some expect you to always have your superman cape on, others hold you to your messages in your songs. I guess what we’re trying to say is that we came a very long way. We work hard and continue to push ourselves the furthest we can while remaining balanced with our everyday lives. We all have 9 to 5 jobs, and we all are grinding our way to success inch by inch, day by day. Our journey hasn’t been a cakewalk. RP: What people don’t know about Inna Vision that ought to? IV: We have already started brainstorming and recording our fourth album set to release in 2013. From the lyrics to the structure, chord progressions and the recording itself, we’re going to bring the best songs we can. We’re also focused on touring more often and getting better shows with bigger audiences. The main thing is keeping the fire burning! RP: What are your guy’s future plans, and where can people find your music. Shout Outs! IV: Big love going out to all our families, friends, and fans that have been helping us with our journey, making our dreams a reality. Respect to all the Inna Vision family members, and thanks for all the sacrifice over the years. Shout out to my good bredrins Jagz at Klotwarmedia, Marcus Rodrigues living the dream in Tahiti, and Mike Kini for all the edits. Check out their latest movie Shacks and Shakas and download the theme song by Inna Vision on iTunes. Shout out to all the Tahitian bodyboarders pushing the limits and all the Maui Bodyboarders, especially Jacob Romero killing it around the world. Big up to The Foam Company, Maui’s #1 Bodyboard Shop, for supplying Maui and sponsoring this year’s No Stopping Tour. Thanks Cary and Alicia! Thank you RP and SurgeBodyboarding.com. And, last but not least, our creator the lord up above. Peace and blessings every time. You can check out our music online at iTunes or visit www.innavisionmusic.com for all our albums, merchandise, and show dates. Give thanks every time, Koa Lopes, Inna Vision PAU.
Tom Rigby | Ph: Sacha Specker | TheSpex.com
Photo By: Zachary Ramos
Photo By: Aaron Goulding
Photo By: Aaron Goulding
Photo By: Jordan Anast
PH: Evan FA
s bodyboarding pioneers, Dan Taylor and Ron Ziebell witnessed bodyboarding grow from literally nothing into something. They have ridden everything from the original kit boogie board to the boards on the shelves today. They explored unchartered territories and discovered not only new waves but the potential for the bodyboard in them. With such comes a rich history of experience and wisdom. As for Michael “Libo” Libudziewski, he fits in right behind this generation of pioneers. He grew up in the same area and looked up to Dan, Ron, as well as others like them. Libo definitely experienced the fruitful growth of the sport into its prime. Having witnessed the various generations of riders come and go, it’s important for bodyboarders to listen and learn from the experiences and wisdom of these three individuals. It’s important because they are what every bodyboarder might expect from himself as he ages. As you read, you will see that the conversation we had was a candid account of the good ole times, politics of the now defunct Bodyboarding Magazine, and advice to the younger generations. One serious topic touched on in the conversation is that all three have undergone some heavy injuries through the decades. In Ron’s case, it’s one that he will never fully recover from. Just so the reader knows, I started recording mid conversation. I figured it’d be more interesting to present it as the conversation naturally drifted and bounced around. Ron: I went to Cabo with Bodyboarding Magazine to do an article. It was me, Jay Reale, Heath Erickson, and Aaron Lloyd took pictures. Libo: Heath Erickson punched me in the face once when I was a little kid. I was like sixteen. I was just starting at Wedge and there were all of these pros. I was taking the sidewave and he hit me. He didn’t hit me hard but it was enough to where people saw it. Stewart paddled over and said something to him, and you could tell he was bummed. Ron: Haha! Yeah, they were all on my trip. This was ‘87. They said we got this Hawaiian guy coming, Kainoa McGee. He came the second night to join the group to do the article. We were there for ten days. He came and he was the puniest little kid. He was as tall as me but skinny … like a hundred pounds. To see him grow into what he grew
into was like, “Wow!” Evan: Kainoa is a beast. Cabo was kind of the spot to be back then, huh? Ron: Yeah, you know … it’s just a shorebreak. It’s for pictures of closeouts; but as for waves I’ve never really ridden anything great down there. Libo: Puerto was your spot, right? Ron: Yeah, I’d rather go to Puerto. Get real waves. I just went there because that’s where they asked me to go. So I said, “Yeah, I’ll go!” I was going to Puerto in one month and said to myself, “Damn, how am I going to make my money?” I had to fly down to Cabo, and then I flew back and work my ass off to go to Puerto a month later. It was a fun trip. They didn’t know anything. It was ‘87 and no one had really gone down to Cabo. We just drove down there the year before with Terry Upton and Ron McAdams. Dan: That was ‘86? Ron: Yes, that was ‘86. So a year later they fly us down there in ‘87, and none of those guys had been down there. They wouldn’t listen to me. I tried to tell them about Sol Mar and Lover’s, but they wouldn’t listen to me. Now those are the only places that people go. Haha! I’m like, “Guys, we’re in San Jose del Cabo and it’s like 8 foot. Oh man, it must be insane over there.” Finally we go there the two last days and it was epic. Evan: I bet they were bummed they didn’t listen to you. Ron: Yeah, it was perfect a-frames and barrels. I remember we were all linking up with Aaron Lloyd in the water. Kainoa was sitting deeper on a set so I let him go. Then on the next set he paddled around me to try and go again. Of course, I went. After that wave Aaron tells Jay and Kainoa to go with him and for Mike, Heath, and myself to stay and surf by ourselves. I was like, “Screw you guys. I don’t care.” The article came out, like three or four pages, and there was not a single picture of me at all. I’m the only person that they didn’t put a picture of riding a wave. They ran a picture of us walking through the desert with our boards, but no pictures of me riding a wave at all. Kainoa and Jay got several. Mike got one and Heath got one. The one of Mike was him eating it on a wave. Nose-diving and getting pitched. Evan: I hate magazine politics. It ruins bodyboarding. Ron: They asked me if I wanted to write the story, so I wrote a full on story. Jay wrote a story, and they went with his because it was all goofy and kid like. Mine was more, “We’re
Dan Taylor | PH: Matt Vaughn
in the desert with scorpions.” Evan: Realistic, right? Ron: They sent it back and said it reads well and everything, but we want to get a little more fun into it. Then I read Jay’s story and realize what they wanted. Dan: Bodyboarder Magazine was such a joke back then, though. They called me in to write an article on Wedge with somebody else. I was very excited to write it but then when I go down to the office to write it they tell me, “Well, there was a boat that wrecked in Corona del Mar, we want to do this, we want to do that.” I thought they wanted a story about what was going on. Instead they were telling us exactly what they wanted us to write. I go, “Why do you even need us?” I got up and walked out, and they didn’t put a picture of me in Bodyboarding Magazine for like ten years. Up until that point, I’d have a picture in the mag every couple issues. I wasn’t in it for ten years after that. Their message was clear. I was perfectly okay with it. Mike: Sponsors would always go, “Get our guys in. Get our guys in the magazine.” Shit. I never got any good shots in Bodyboarding but have three epic shots in Surfer’s Journal. Evan: It was so political, yeah? Mike: Totally. Dan: They didn’t care about bodyboarding. They wanted to create their vision of what they thought bodyboarding was. It was just odd. It’s so different now because there is Surge, and there is A-Frame, and there is stuff online. Whatever is cool is cool, and I like that. Ron: I wasn’t really into the whole magazine or the competition stuff. I went to all the contests because I wanted to be able to travel around and get a sponsor to pay for all of that. So I had to compete in all of them. As far as the mag stuff, I wasn’t really into it like Jay and stuff. They were totally into it to promote themselves. Mike: Jay is good. He would wear full suits all summer long with super bright colors. Ron: Haha! Mike: He would be at Wedge, but he wasn’t a Wedge guy at all. He’d be out there as long as you could be as long as there was a camera. Dan: “Is the camera guy leaving? All right, I’m out of here.” Mike: When I would get out of the water, he would tell me, “Dude, if you want to make this your job, you got to go get out in the water.” I would be like, “I’m kind of tired.” Back then I was one of the younger guys at Wedge. Everybody was out there then because that was when the Bud Pro Tour was going on, so all the pros would be in town all summer. Dan: Stewart was living here. Mike: Yeah, Stewart was living in Huntington. So when it’d break they’d be there. I had some of the most frustrating sessions ever. Sitting out there frustrated. You catch a wave and get snaked. Then I got punched by Heath Erickson. Dan: Ron sent me some pictures of Puerto, and we were talking about the good times. I thought about that a lot since then. What was really cool, and it’s my perspective being older, is that we were the first. People that surf now are always following in somebody else’s footsteps. Maybe you’ll find some new place to surf or something, but with bodyboarding there was a time when you could be the first. When we first went to Puerto, there weren’t any bodyboarders there. You were like, “Is the bodyboard going to work in these waves?” Then when you went out to Wedge, people would paddle out with a new type of board. It was a crazy period of time. Mike: I realize that when I was doing contests when I was younger,
they would have a thirty and older group, and there weren’t really any guys over the age of thirty that were good at bodyboarding at that time. The sport was that young. I mean … Dr. 360 pretty much had it nailed because he was the best one going at that. He was the exception. Dan: It changed so much. Australians sucked. They were terrible. I mean … there were a couple guys that were good but the rest were terrible. Now the Australians are insane. Mike: Who would have thought, huh? Dan: And it just died here. Five years ago it was just dead. It was wonderful. I’d show up to Wedge and there wouldn’t be anyone there. It was wonderful. People are like, “Let’s make bodyboarding popular again.” I go, “Why?” Ron: When I stopped competing and then bodyboarding stopped after the PSAA. Surfing stopped funding the tour. After that I got married and stopped paying attention to anything. I just went surfing. I didn’t look at the magazines. I didn’t watch any movies. Then when I bought Alternative Surf I didn’t really know who Jeff Hubbard was. I was so far out of it. The guys at the shop were like, “Well, Jeff Hubbard is the man. You should know that now that you own the shop.” Haha! I had to find out from my employees who was who because I didn’t get back into it until the day I bought the shop and jumped right back into the whole thing. Mike: I kind of just quit. I surfed maybe three times a year at Wedge. I just worked. I burnt myself out doing all of those contests. Then I recently got into it again and broke my neck. Then after when I found out I didn’t lose anything and was going to fully recover, I really fell back in love with it. I got a second chance to keep doing it after a whole freak accident. Evan: You’re very fortunate. Mike: I didn’t really know who anyone was until I broke my neck. When I broke my neck I was able to watch and see everybody out in the water from the beach and watch the contests online. I was able to watch GT kill it in Arica because I was recovering from my accident last year. I was able to update myself on who the new guys are. Ron: It’s crazy to see what they are doing at that spot. I’ve been there and that spot is not a place to mess with. Mike: You’ve been there? Ron: Yes, I’ve been there twice. It’s right in front of dry reef. The water just washes right onto it. There are crevices that you can ride right up to the top, but you don’t to do rolls right in front of that. Evan: Did you see that one Stewart got? The spin in the pocket to the invert? Dan: I was more stocked on the spin before the tube. You see a lot of the other guys with their boards flat and chattering down the line looking for a spot to hit it. Where you see Stewart and how it’s rail to rail. Mike: He is so smooth. He has the best style. I patterned the way I ride after him. Evan: So I’d like to go around and ask how each of you first got into bodyboarding? Dan: 8 or 10. I used to bodysurf at the beach. You could put the bodyboard on the storage at the top of the bus. I was kind of a loner, so it was a good thing to do by yourself. It grew from there. Ron: When was that? Dan: It had to have been over 40 years ago. I actually had the original kit board where you had to put it together with special glue. They’d sell you the two skins and you’d have to put the board together on your own. Ron: That was the very first board. They still have one of those at the Alternative Surf in Seal Beach. Everybody trips out.
Dan: They were terrible. There was nothing to them. They were harder to ride than bodysurfing. Evan: That’s crazy. Well before my time. Dan, what would be some advice you have for the kids today? Dan: The one thing that I think about for kids doing it is that you can get hurt really bad. Like my acl took me two years to recover from, my scapula in my shoulder comes out about three inches because of my rotator cup in my shoulder. Kids go, “You never do any rolls or airs anymore.” I did them and I don’t have any shoulders. My shoulders are gone. If I do anything now my shoulders pop out. I’ve dislocated them numerous times. I have had four or five knee injuries. Pace yourself. I want to keep doing it as long as I can. I see guys that go kind of crazy in the beginning and, I don’t know, I think it’s better to go more years than go nuts and not be able to work, to do anything … to turn it into everything in your life. You’re potentially going to get really hurt early and get turned off by it. I’ve seen so many people try to make it their life, and they progress and ride really good waves, and all of sudden they’re bummed when the waves aren’t good because they’re at a level where they’re ready to ride eight foot Pipeline and they don’t want to do anything else in their life or they’re bummed. Balance, I guess I’m old, is the key to life. If I go down there and it’s a half a foot and a sunny day, I can still have fun. People think you don’t get hurt, but you can seriously get really hurt. When Ron got hurt it really changed me. My wife asked me if I was still going to do it. I was freaked out and still am a little freaked out. Evan: You have your family? That’s more important. Dan: Is it really worth it? I don’t know if it is. It’s a selfish endeavor. Ron: Yes, it is. It’s all about you (or me) riding a barrel. Evan: Check me out! Ron: Imagine the kids back then. They weren’t doing all the crazy things like they are doing now … the backflips. They are starting off doing the hard-core airs, bouncing, airs bouncing. Dan: I remember doing so many senseless rolls on sections. It was before what’s his name? Eppo. We didn’t know that you could put both of your elbows in to protect your shoulders. Evan: Yeah, people need to be more careful of the consequences. They need to train hard to do this. I haven’t gone through as much as you guys have, but this past winter I bruised my ribs and tore muscles and cartilage in between my ribs and back. I was out for two months. Obviously it could have been worse. Dan: I’m starting to take pictures more often now, and I don’t want to take pictures of some kid killing himself. I don’t want to. Evan: So Ron, would you mind touching on your history with bodyboarding and the injuries you have undergone? Ron: I used to skateboard a lot when I was little in ‘76 and ‘77. I competed and stuff like that. I loved it. Then it started fading out in ‘78, and I started catching the bus from Long Beach to the beach everyday. I didn’t have board, so I started off bodysurfing. Then I started bumming boards off of someone at the beach. Then the next year I got my first board. You couldn’t take a surfboard on the bus, so it was easy to just take a bodyboard. Also, South Side was blackballed. That’s how I started. Then looking at the picture on the front of the Morey Boogie kind of got me going. That was the only thing we got to see. There was no magazine. They didn’t put much in Surfing Magazine at all. I started dropkneeing from day one because I saw a picture of Jack dropping in at Pipeline. We saw that picture and said, “We’re going to do that.” I would dropknee on the rights and lay down on the lefts.
I used to read every Surfer and Surfing from front to back. I didn’t have a chance to read about bodyboarders so I read about all the surfers. Then I saw a Morey Boogie ad that said to call this number for a newsletter. I did that and started competing in the Morey Boogie contests. That was probably ‘81. I never stopped from then on. As far as injuries go, I never really got injured until I dislocated my shoulder doing a roll the year before I broke my back. That scared me because my left shoulder was out all summer and didn’t really surf all winter because I was worried about going back to The Wedge. I didn’t think I was going to be able to do what I was doing before. I took care of my shoulder, exercised and made it back to The Wedge come the spring time. Rode some waves and realized that my arm was 100%. I was so happy to be able to ride again and not have any problems with my shoulder. That was in the spring and June is when I broke my back. That was the end of that. Evan: What kind of advice would you have for people? Ron: Don’t think that you’re invincible. You need to take care of yourself. I mean … I broke my back on a four foot wave. It was totally unexpected. Out of the blue. I didn’t do anything wrong. I don’t know what happened. It could happen to you anytime. You don’t want to end up like me where you can’t do it anymore and have trouble walking around. You could break your neck and become a quadriplegic like other people have. Everyone wants to be aggressive because that’s the way it is now. It’s hard to give that advice because no one wants to listen to it; but I could be an example of what could possibly go wrong. It’s not worth it, man. Trust me. I’m happy to be walking around and to be alive and be able to go down to take pictures. That makes me happy because I always wanted to take pictures but didn’t want to get out of the water. If you loved it as much as I did, and then be pulled away from it. I try to not to think about it too much. I just try to think of things I can do. People complain about getting a twisted whatever and are out for a week or month. I wish I were them because they will have a chance to go out there again. I don’t have that so I will say that people need to take care of themselves. I would say don’t do anything stupid but it comes with the territory nowadays. Evan: It really just goes to show that it can happen to anyone doing anything. You could be skimming, walking to the beach, anything. It’s always the smaller days that one should be more aware of what’s going on. Ron: I’ve almost drowned three or four times where I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it. It was at Wedge a couple times and Puerto a couple times. You don’t hit the bottom on those days. It’s the smaller days. Evan: Libo, your turn? Libo: I started when my parents would drive me to the beach with my buddies. I lived a little inland in West Garden Grove, so I always claimed Seal Beach. I would go to Seal Beach when I could. I went to a Catholic school for high school, and we had a week off from school. It had something to do with the Pope. I was fourteen. I had my grandparent’s car at the house, and my parents were gone. I knew there was a big swell in town, so I drove down to the beach. I was tripping out on the drive down to Seal Beach because I was like this little fourteen year old in this giant car. I remember that day. John Perez was out, both of you, Barba, and a couple others. There were eight guys out … that was all on the South Side of Seal Beach. It was a perfect day at the beach. I remember sitting down and watching all these long hairs getting barreled and doing big rolls.
Libo | PH: Dan Taylor
Thing is back then surfers didn’t surf it. It was only bodyboarders. It was only bodyboarders riding shorebreak, and I loved shorebreak. Then I started doing contests and riding 40th Street a lot. I think when I was fifteen or sixteen I started going to ride Wedge. I fell in love with Wedge. I was able to ride a lot with both Ron and Dan. Then I got my job at UPS and started getting away from bodyboarding. I never really got hurt. Only this one time someone dropped in on me on a corner bowl and I got pinned against the sand. I could feel this sharp pinching feeling and couldn’t really do anything for a few days. Of course, after a swell I’d have a sore neck from doing rolls and stuff. Then a couple years ago, I started meeting up with Taylor Amick. It was good to get back into it. It was nice seeing my old friends. Getting back into shape somewhat but I was still partying a little too much. So I was burning the candle at both ends. Then I got into the Go Pro thing because of Robbie. Was getting in the water. Everything was going fine and then I was shooting pictures on a really small day. I made this mistake that I made only once before. I disrespected Wedge. The first time was a while back while I was working and partying a lot, and I wasn’t in really good shape, I showed up during a big swell. I had like six beers the night before. I paddled out and took the first set wave and then got caught by Brutals for like 10 to 12 waves. I couldn’t go in nor could I go out. I was stuck. My girlfriend at the time was crying on the beach. I was almost crying, too. I finally swam my way back to the peak and then came in. It took me a long time to bounce back from that. Then I was shooting a pictures one day. I did 200 stops at work. I was super tired. I don’t really remember what happened when I broke my neck, but I did just take my fins off. I wasn’t even thinking about it. I just didn’t think The Wedge could break my neck on a day like that. I just lollygagged to get back out. I just saw that the situation I was in before it happened wasn’t a good one. I knew I was fucked. It broke my neck like that on a tiny wave. From that day on, I’m lucky enough to keep doing it because I didn’t lose anything. I just had to heal this giant swelling. I was in a lot of pain. I’m in the best shape of my whole life now. I keep up my cardio, keep my core the strongest. If I don’t they might have to fuse another vertebrae. I got to stay strong. I’m never going to let that sort of stuff happen again. Now, every time before I go in I pray. I wasn’t thinking about it like that before. Evan: You are very lucky. Libo: So many people don’t realize it. Kids paddle out to try and get hurt on purpose. I could have died that day. I fractured my C1. I could have been dead shooting pictures and messing around. Right now I’ve been riding better than I ever have before. I don’t worry about where I am out there anymore because I’m in the best shape of my life. I’m also picking and choosing the waves I’m going on. I’m always looking for the possible dangers out there in the water because it can. Ron: As I got older, I actually looked forward to it because I was in really good shape and, yeah, we were the first round. I remember Joe “Dr. 360” Wolfson, he was an older guy and in great shape, and I was thinking I wanted to be like that. I wanted to be the guy at 50 still riding Wedge. Not doing big airs or dropping in at the peak or anything, but pulling into the barrel and getting spit out. I think it would be cool. I didn’t mind getting older because it’s going to happen to everyone; but if you choose which span to be in, the thirty to forty years you can ride a bodyboard, it could be the 80’s and 90’s, 90’s and 2000’s, I am grate-
ful to be in the one I was in because everyone else is sandwiched in between people. To be the first one—there is nothing like that. To ride places for the first time and empty. For us, to go to Puerto Escondido. Dan: Before all those kids had bodyboards. Now all of them do. They all started with Joe Wolfson’s boards. Everyone had a Wave Rebel. Evan: That’s a trip. Dan: In Puerto, you’d go to sleep and wake up hearing it. Then you’d see it and be in awe. No one was going to save you. Ron: There were no lifeguards. Dan: Now there are believe it or not. Ron: Yeah, there are. Back then there was nothing on the beach. It was just sand. I put up old pictures on my Facebook. Back then you got an ocean view even if you were on the ground floor. You could see the ocean from there. Dan: Everybody was so cool back then. Ron: We were all there to surf. We would get up at the crack of dawn to surf as much as you can all day and konk out. We wouldn’t go into town that often. We were in bed at a decent time because we wanted to surf the next day. That’s what we were there for. Dan: I remember the Hawaiians wouldn’t believe us that it was good. We would talk to Ben and he was like, “Nah, it can’t be that good.” Ron: We would be competing in the PSAA, and I told Mike about it. We were hanging out after a contest, and I had just got back from Puerto in ‘86. I was telling Mike and Hauoli Reeves that you guys need to go to Puerto. You won’t believe how insane it is down there. They were laughing at me. I told them, “Trust me … it’s like Hawaii but it’s all sandbars. You would love it.” Then the next year I went down there and then tried to tell them again. They wouldn’t go. Then years later Hauoli came up to me and told me, “Dude, I remember you telling me I should go to Puerto. I’m an idiot. I should have listened to you years ago. I wasted four to five years of my life. Dan: I remember going down there with Wolfson. The runway wasn’t big enough for a regular plan so we had to fly in on a prop plane. It was cool to be the first. We showed up with our bodyboards, and people were like, “You’re here to bodyboard?” Ron: Then you paddle out and get some insane waves and then hang out with them at night because everyone would just hang out. They all had a different attitude. Dan: This was way before surfers wanted to ride slabs. They’d say it wasn’t a good wave to surf. Well, they were great waves to surf … for bodyboarders. Haha! Libo: That’s why I chose to bodyboard. Surfing wasn’t doing it. Everything was all about the barrel. Ron: When I look back to when I was a kid, there weren’t any surf reports, no internet. All you could do was listen to KMTV at 7 o’clock, 9 o’clock, and at noon. For the surf report, they’d call surf shops up and down the coast from Ventura to San Diego, and the guy, whoever it was, would be on live and tell you, “Hey guys, it’s looking like this. The wind is this.” That’s all you would get. Rarely did you get a forecast of a good swell unless it was on the news. Evan: That definitely opened it up, huh? You could get those empty sessions. Ron: Thing is it wasn’t as crowded anyways. Dan: And you had to drive the peninsula to get to Wedge. Ron: You had to spend your time to go everyday. I mean … you had to spend your time to go to The Wedge everyday. I’d go everyday, even if there wasn’t that much swell in the water. It was fifteen miles from my house. You could show up and no one would be there. If it was three feet at Huntington then the Wedge would be four to six feet.
Dan: I remember when the cell phones came out, and I bought one. They were ungodly expensive. I’d see The Wedge was really good, and I would scream on my way to the car as loud as I could. Then I’d call work, “I don’t know what it is, but I don’t feel so good. I can’t make it today.” My voice would be completely wrecked. “I could try to make it but I don’t think I can.” Libo: That’s awesome! Dan: You know, Ron, if I keep riding I will be fifty and riding Wedge this year. There is no body. Ron: No, there is no body. You’re going to be the first one to really ride Wedge at your age. I mean … there is Shawn’s dad who rides there. Dan: He’s sixty. Ron: Yeah, that’s true. He doesn’t really ride how you do. Dan: I’ve really thought about it. I want to pull in and get spit out at fifty. Ron: On a nice sized wave, too. You’re going to beat me to it. I mean … you were going to beat me to it anyways. Dan: Here is something that is good for the younger guys. You see those massive days when you go down there; unless it’s really clean I don’t go out when it’s like that anymore. I watch people go out. There will be some 15 foot sets, and they are trying to ride a six foot wave. Don’t do that. You have to be ready to ride the biggest wave out there, or you have to be willing to allow it to break on you or in front of you. When I was a kid I took off on a wave and I saw a shadow and looked up. The lip landed right on my head and pushed me straight to the bottom. Like a fifteen to twenty foot wave. You should be ready for whatever it is that is coming in that day. You should stand there for fifteen minutes to say, “All right, I’m willing for that to break on my head.” If you’re not, then don’t go out. Now when I look at it, if it’s more than I want or than I’m up for, then I’ll go surf somewhere else. If I’m not ready to ride the biggest wave that comes in that day, then I won’t go out. Evan: That is really good advice. That’ll help people gauge their limits. Dan: When I go down there on medium sized swells with all the media/ news vans, I see kids in the water that I don’t know what they are doing. I ride waves way bigger than them. The funniest thing was during this medium swell, and I’m a quiet guy and I don’t hang out that much, I go down there and I see this kid suit up with his board in hand, does three news interviews and then just walks off the beach. I’m like, “What are you doing?” You know, during the interviews he’s like, “Oh yeah, riding The Wedge.” Haha! Evan: What a con artist. I’d be so ashamed of myself if I did that. Dan: I see kids on smaller days and they’re not going on waves, but they are going to go out today when it’s big. Your number is going to come up. I’m so careful now. I’m really methodical about what I do now so I can reduce the risk. It’s going to happen. I think people think The Wedge is kind of a joke sometimes because it’s California, but it’s a shit load of water when it’s really doing its thing. There are people that try to downplay it, but it’s an Olympic sized swimming pool coming down on you and then going back out again. Those are some of my worst experiences when you’re stuck in that one zone where you can’t go in and you can’t go out. Libo: You don’t know what to do. Evan: I’ve totally downplayed Wedge before. I remember telling myself it’s not that bad. It’s not as bad as Ke iki or something like that. Then the next wave I pull in and knock my face on the bottom and pop up with a bloody nose. Evan: I know you guys have shared a lot already. Any other words to
the younger guys. Ron: Keep yourself healthy. Know you limits. Libo: A lot of the kids don’t know their limits. There are a lot of good kids out there, though, but take your time and work your way up. Ron: I think with all the cameras and stuff kids are going out to get shots and stuff like that. Dan: If I’m shooting, don’t take off just to get a picture. I’m not responsible. Evan: There is a strong pecking order, too, especially at Wedge. Ron: I was just going to say that. There is a pecking order. Evan: I think that The Wedge gets painted as a place that doesn’t because it’s a shorebreak. It gets so crowded. Dan: There aren’t always that many good waves coming through. Evan: I think they don’t always realize it. Libo: Yeah, they don’t always realize it. Taylor Amick and I go in the morning and it drives him nuts when people roll up with sticks and boogs and carloads of people. Then when they check the waves, he’ll tell them, “Hey, back in the day we wouldn’t do that stuff.” Just talking trash. People don’t realize that we grew up going by ourselves to The Wedge. We didn’t roll up with two people. We went by ourselves in separate cars. We still do this. We always park in the back street because we didn’t want to be with all the other people and those kooks. We would call each other but roll up by ourselves. That’s how it was back then, but it’s different now. Back in the day you could get in a fight. I can’t do any of that anymore. Not that I want to but I have a family. Dan: It was actually kind of nice that someone would get smacked every once in a while. I remember going to Hawaii. I was sixteen. I didn’t know what I was doing. I was by myself. I got a rental. I’m on Kam Highway and I’m looking around. I cut this giant moke off in a van, and he tells me to pull over. So I pull over next to the pineapple fields, which they used to have. The guy gets out of the car and he’s three hundred pounds. I’m thinking I’m so screwed. He walks up and grabs me by the shirt and, BOOM! He punched me in the face. Then he goes, “Where are you from?” I go, “I’m from California.” He then responds, “Watch what you’re doing so you go home, okay?” It didn’t hurt but it corrected me. And I think sometimes at Wedge it happened. Someone people would get whacked and then they’d move on. Now there is no control of that. Now it’s different. I said something to a guy a couple years ago. He’s all, “I’m seventeen and my dad is a lawyer. I’ll own you.” Libo: Totally. That’s the kind of stuff today. Kids are crying. There was this kid the other day, who was probably eighteen, snaking everyone. Robbie says something, and starts going off on Robbie. Then someone smacks him, he got his stuff thrown in the drink, and sure enough the cops come and Robbie has to give him his fins or someone is going to go to jail. The kid is crying with some lady who is on the phone calling the cops for him. We still have this sort of respect but these kids don’t even realize. Evan: Kids need to learn how to respect. Dan: Like that kid whale. He’s a really respectful kid. He consistently showed up in the morning and waited his turn. After a few years I would see him on the sider after I caught one and just let him go.
Photo By: Eric Schnitzer
Photo By: Evan Fa
Jared Houston | PH: Maurice Aubuchon | Facebook.com/aubuchonimagery
I think Style and Power in Bodyboarding is like a violent romance— Romeo and Juliet, if you will. Grace and grunt … it’s finding the perfect unison between the two that is the real challenge. To stylishy convey power on a wave is an art. -Jared Houston
Fred Temorere | PH: Eric Schnitzer
MARK M | Ph: Sacha Specker | TheSpex.com
Yoan Florantine | PH: Daniel Moreira
Chad Bradford | PH: Aaron Goulding | jagmediaproductions.com
Unknown | PH: Maurice Aubuchon | Facebook.com/aubuchonimagery
ben player | PH: Maurice Aubuchon | Facebook.com/aubuchonimagery
Jacob Reeve | PH: Joshua Shelly | facebook.com/JoshuaShellyPhoto
Dave Winchester | Ph: Sacha Specker | TheSpex.com
Eric Drexler | PH: Nicola Lugo | nicolalugo.com
Joseph Medina | PH: Roger Fa | Rajahdatphoto.com
jeff hubbard | PH: Maurice Aubuchon | Facebook.com/aubuchonimagery
Mike Stewart | PH: Colin McGilivary |
Jacob Vandervelde | PH: Maurice Aubuchon | Facebook.com/aubuchonimagery
Herman Ano | PH: Maurice Aubuchon | Facebook.com/aubuchonimagery
Tommy Pagano | PH: Joshua Shelly | facebook.com/JoshuaShellyPhoto
Karla Costa Taylor | PH: Maurice Aubuchon | Facebook.com/aubuchonimagery
Bj Yeager | Ph: Clark Little | clarklittlephotography.com
Joshua Garner | PH: Jordan Anast | jordananast.com
Julien Pons | PH: Brian Conley
James Murdock | PH: James Dawson
Ricky Miller | PH: EvanConway | Reddawnproductions.net
Photo By: Maurice Aubuchon
Photo By: Ryan Vandever
Photo By: Addamon
Photo By: Neal Miyake
Nicholas: What is your interpretation of design? Chae: Design is the improvement of something. I think when you hire a designer, or even if you’re not a designer, you don’t try to make something worse. You’re trying always to make it better. I think a lot of work can look dated quickly, or just not be relevant, because it’s not successful in whatever objectives that you’re trying to create. For instance, maybe you’re trying to improve the communication between yourself and an audience or for a product. Apple doesn’t necessarily make products worse, but always lighter, smaller, and more useful. And I think that’s why people seek out designers, because when you hire a designer you’re going to get a better product and a better way of doing something.
Nicholas: Interesting. So it’s a way of improving both a service and communication? Chae: Yes, for instance, I’m presenting at a conference at the end of the summer, and it’s all about design thinking. A lot of brand managers and people in business, whether people from a hospital, a design studio, or just a company that provides a service, are looking at design thinking as a very power method and approach to improve a service they provide; the relationship they might have with a client or what they’re communicating to people. Nicholas: Can you speak the importance of design in society? Chae: I think design is important for all those things I mentioned. You know, they have that new chimpanzee movie that just came out. What’s interesting about that movie, as I was listening to something
about it on MPR, is chimpanzees use tools. They’ll actually carry stones to break these big nuts. So we’re not necessarily different from animals; but I think that when they first discovered chimpanzees using sticks to get ants out of holes they had to redefine humanity because the definition of humanity or human kind is this ability to work with tools. I think that design in society has that potential to improve our lives, make it easier, make us feel more human or have experiences we can have in no other way. As a designer, what I try to promote with the students is not creating stuff that already exists but creating things that will benefit other people in ways, and not just themselves, and also improve other people’s lives. It’s kind of idealistic, but I think you have to be an idealist when you go into teaching. Nicholas: So design changes the perception of the world around us?
Chae: I think it really does change the perception of people. For instance, when I work on an identity project for a number of companies, some of these companies may not have been seen as progressive. They were dated, or there sort of wasn’t an identity for the company. They weren’t able to communicate their mission, their goals for the company or for their product, their service, or their event. As a designer, I am there to help them communicate in a way that they can’t do themselves. It’s not all about finding a pretty picture and nice colors and an image but really trying to come up with a communication strategy over a period of time. I work with clients that it’s not just a one shot sort of deal but a series of advertisements that they might run in Newsweek or a publication. Going back to the previous question, it goes back to improving things in society. I think that you have an ability to reach people and get a response when there is no other way to get that response.
We live in a society where mass communication is the way we work, right? So, for instance, Twitter, Instagram, Pininterest … it’s not just talking to one person and getting them to know what’s happening, it’s about reaching this larger audiences and being relevant. Design isn’t about a letter you just send to one person, I mean that could be one type of design, but you are looking to talk to humanity … talking to as many people as possible. There are types of designs I work on that are for a more focused group. For instance, the work I’m doing for certain cultural and educational institutions that are trying to reach a certain type of audience. Not the general public but someone that is interested in a graduate degree in certain type of program, or a type of show or exhibition because that might be of interest because they are studying it, researching it, that sort of thing. Nicholas: Do you feel as you look at design in comparison to the
80’s and 90’s that we are moving back to a more minimalist style with Apple and that of the 60’s? Chae: Yeah, I think there is sort of this more modernist type of minimal approach especially to a lot of portfolio websites I’m looking at now. A lot sites are trying to be as clean as possible now. For instance, if you look at the Google and Gmail sort of interface, it doesn’t have these drop shadows and gradations; it’s just lines and text, right? That’s the basic theme that people get. That might change because design runs in cycles. You have modernism which tends to be about negative space and san serif and look and style that people might understand and be as minimal as possible, but then after that you have post modernism. You have some people like Michael Graves and his architecture that sort of incorporates a lot of popular culture. I think that comes in waves. Yes, I think Apple had a huge influence on technology.
Where you don’t get a manual anymore, it has to be intuitive. I think websites are that way, too, where we don’t want a lot of distractions. So I think a lot of people are talking how it’s not about creating new technology but more about improving the technology and new filters to help us. For instance, Twitter is a filter, Instagram is a filter … because those images already exist out there on Flickr and Picasa, but it’s more about how do you filter that and focus people’s attention and get them to really notice something. I think design is really getting to be that way. How do you get people to really notice something when there is so much information coming from out there all the time?
Nicholas: Has the way you teach changed over the years? Chae: The way I teach design now is very different than ten years ago, even five years ago, because the world has changed. This is why I go to conferences and have my own practice and have my own clients is because I want what I teach to be relevant and applicable because the world is changing very dramatically. I’m always exploring social media and new technology, but it’s very hard to keep up with all of that because design is so wide. Someone doing publishing is way different than someone doing web design. Designers tend to focus on just one area and try to get really good at it because it’s very hard to everything well.
Nicholas: How is the current design education playing into this? Chae: Things are changing. Maybe twenty years ago there weren’t a lot of graphic design programs, but now pretty much every university has some sort of design and communications type of program. I think you can get a job without a degree, but I think it’s harder because there are fewer opportunities with human resources and the way jobs are posted; you have to get a degree in order to get certain jobs. It doesn’t mean you can’t be a designer or you can’t be successful, but it’s just harder. It’s sort of like, you can be a billionaire without a high school degree but that’s not as easy to do now because I think the expectations are higher and more people have degrees in general. I think the way education is going is it’s changing all the time. There is more funding where technology is involved. People are always thinking, “What’s the next big thing?” For me, it’s all about teaching people composition. I think it’s important to teach people sensitivity to typography. I think it’s important to think and be critical. Most importantly to teach people to think and be critical when they analyze something. That’s what I would say is the difference between a university education and a vocational kind of program. Where it’s not so much about skill sets and how to use the programs as what do you do with that. Because anyone can pick up a Photoshop book, and there are so many tutorials online that you can learn those things from, but being able to work with typography, layout, and compose something that isn’t just all centered, doesn’t follow any set of rules, margins. I think you can create a poster or a design that would be great for a poster, a t-shirt, or for a magazine funded by yourself or going toward a niche audience; but when you’re trying to create signage for an airport or a mall or some of the projects I’m working on, it’s a different story. It has to work within a system. There are requirements from the architect, usability issues for people who are handicapped, people who speak more than one language, or cultural requirements. Nicholas: So what would you say is a good design education? Chae: I think a good education, because I’m not saying that every education is great, is a responsible education that really focuses on having you learn all the rules so that you can break them if you want later. But at least you know what they are. Like if you want to get your driver’s license, you got to read the book to learn what the signs mean, how far you should drive behind a car. I think in design I try and teach those compositional rules, all those typographical rules, what are points, range and sizes, and yet pushing students to be more experimental and contemporary.
Nicholas: Thank you Chae for taking the time to share some of your thoughts about design! PAU.
As the North Pacific begins to lose steam and the southern hemi-
sphere starts to stir, only one thing comes to mind—springtime. Memories of freezing sand and ice cream headaches give way to spring suits and sunny days. Springtime is a fresh start for everyone and everything, like an unofficial New Year kind of thing. Surprise. This spring pretty much fell flat. The south winds were running a muck, and the South Pacific pretty much should have landed a spot on the back of a milk carton. For the fortunate few able to take a quick trip to a more fruitful locale, it only curbed the sadness
temporarily. “The worst spring on memory” was a common phrase thrown around on all the social media sites and message boards, which had people debating on whether there was any end in sight. With multiple month long lulls and only a few pulses from the south, typically uncrowded spots resembled waiting lines at the local DMV. Just when spring seemed to be all but a total loss, Hurricanes Daniel, Emilio, and Fabio rolled out in a production line fashion producing a healthy dose of swell to surf starved California. Dormant spots facing the south were producing in fine fashion. The Wedge was
Thomas Gaulke | PH: Evan Fa | evanfa.blogspot.com
back again wrecking those who dared to take it on and, for a select few, the steep angled souths kept them at home-base. Spring is synonymous with rebirth, renewal, regrowth, etc. This year’s spring surf season provided a harsh but valuable lesson—new beginnings don’t always happen right away or when you plan them. Just as the ocean rolls with what we throw at her, we have to do the same.
Kevin Jimenez | PH: Aaron Goulding | jagmediaproductions.com
John “Beans” Porzuczek | PH: Jordan Anast | jordananast.com
PH: Joshua Shelly | facebook.com/JoshuaShellyPhoto
Julien Durand | PH: Joshua Shelly | facebook.com/JoshuaShellyPhoto
Thomas Gaulke | PH: Colin Brown | colinbrownphotography.com
Alex Johnston | PH: Jordan Anast | jordananast.com
Hideto Shibata | PH: Jordan Anast | jordananast.com
Photo By: Maurice Aubuchon
Photo By: Aaron Goulding
Photo By: Nathan Henshaw
Photo By: KlotWar Media
ANOMALY BOARD COMPANY
BY MARK BALASBAS
Mark: What is Anomaly? Micah: Anomaly means deviation from the common rule, irregular, or uncommon. Or like Charley, the man behind the name, says with me, ‘we ain’t normal.’ Bodyboarders love all the spots the common surfer doesn’t; so we just feel this way about our sport. Launching on huge closets or just pulling in them when the average surfer kicks out—that’s what Anomaly is all about.
from the beginning. Seems like some decent bodyboarders have been coming out of that place, like JB Hillen and my brother Jason, who always did better than me. Mark: How can people interested in getting a board contact you? Micah: If you want to check out the website, it’s abcbodyboards.com. We also have a Facebook page: Anomaly Bodyboards.
Mark: How did it start? What sparked your interest in doing this? Micah: I started making boards because everything in Hawaii is simple and easy except ordering a custom board. I got my first blanks from BSD back in the mid 90’s and started chopping up boards from then while being sponsored by Ben. I’ve always liked and thought BSD had the best boards, but I always wanted to try my own thing. So I kept chopping up boards, got some tips from Ben and Dean Marzol, and kept on moving forward. Got hooked up with you and just charged.
Mark: What can they expect? Micah: They can expect more old school bodyboards. They can also expect to get color combinations for their own look and a starting price that is crazy. They can also expect to talk to me directly so we can be on the same page when I’m shaping their boards.
Mark: Anything else? Micah: I’d like to get my company big enough to help some talented riders become world competitors because there is so much hidden talent here in Hawaii. Lastly, the Tahitian bodyboarders are killing waves like no other making me crazy ready for Pipeline.
Mark Balasbas | PH: Claudia Ferrari
Mark: What is your background in bodyboarding? Micah: I don’t remember how old I was when I started bodyboarding, or even learning to swim, but my family had us at Tracks on the west side
Mark: What are your plans for the future of the company? Micah: My plans are to become a multi-billion dollar company and make bodyboarding the new golf of the world. Nah, we just want to give Hawaii riders and any other bodyboarders in the world a few boards that they want to kill some waves with.
Mark Balasbas | PH: Evan Fa | evanfa.blogspot.com
David Tuarau & Nicolas Richard / PH: Eric Schnitzer
Nicolas Richard / PH: Eric Schnitzler
Niko I first met Niko when I moved down here in ’07. I asked him if he had any travel plans, like Canaries, Australia, Indo, etc, and he simply replied, “I don’t need to travel. I have everything I need here as far as waves.” I’ve obviously come to understand exactly what he’s talking about. Haha! Niko moved to Tahiti from France with his family at the age of six. He grew up surfing many of Tahiti’s reef passes and beaches. He has done quite a bit of competing in Tahitian comps with much success. He has also done a few international comps, including Hawaii. He is probably the guy here with the most international exposure as he connected with Pride international on a trip to France quite a few years back. Not only fierce in competition, Niko has also gained a reputation as one of Tahiti’s biggest chargers … surfing bombs at Teahupoo before the infamous Laird tow-in days. These days, he’s kind of away from the scene and is not too big on comps. The way he sees it, why spend money traveling and chasing the tour when he could spend the same or less cash exploring the infinite amount of islands here in French Polynesia. Who could blame him? Niko’s pretty content on life these days as he runs his own distribution company, carrying quite a few bodyboarding brands and sponsoring a few local riders with gear and contest expenses. He also sponsors a few local competitions here in the islands. He’s a pretty busy guy as he juggles his time between his company, part time job as a bell captain, wife and two kids, art forms such as statue figures and paintings, hiking, and, of course, bodyboarding. He’s doing a lot for Tahitian bodyboarding and doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon. Niko is in it for the growth of Tahitian bodyboarding more than anything and doesn’t seem to be letting up.
David David Tuarau was born and raised in Faaa, Tahiti. He grew up in a family of fisherman, thus spending most of his life in the ocean with his father, a professional fisherman. Like Niko, David’s been surfing big Teahupoo since way back in the day, but these days he cruises closer to his homespots near town. Although they’re not quite as perfect as Teahupoo, they still offer the power and perfection needed to get spat out or hit a big ramp. Not to mention, the drive to Teahupoo isn’t cheap with gas prices. David’s also been doing local comps here in Tahiti for over ten years. He hardly ever comes short of the final. He’s managed to win quite a few as well, both prone and dropknee. David’s definitely the cultural ambassador for Tahitian bodyboarding as he is 100 % Tahitian, speaks his language fluently, and is very proud of his cultural heritage. He’s a pretty mellow guy and doesn’t talk unless he has to. People often mistake him for being a badass thug like kind of character that you don’t want to mess with. As long as people are humble and respectful, he shows them maximum aloha with the big heart he has. David enjoys meditation and hiking in Tahiti’s outback. He’s a nature kind of guy, always emphasizing how important it is to respect nature (Faatura te Natura). He doesn’t come from much wealth so he has never had the opportunity to travel outside of Tahiti. Bodyboarding is something sacred to him, so he puts everything into it. I’m hoping one day he’ll actually be given the support he needs to make a living riding waves. If not, at least have some travel opportunity out of bodyboarding. He’s currently riding for PRIDE Tahiti through Niko Richard’s distribution company. Niko is doing everything he can for him here locally, but he is also hoping to get him some international support. He always says he’d be stoked to get out and show people what he has, but if not he’s ok here in Tahiti. Although he’s never ventured outside of here, he knows in his heart where the best waves are … and that’s right here at home.
David Tuarau / PH: Mike Cerrone
David Tuarau / PH: Julien Durand
Eric: Ia orana Niko and David! Tell us about yourselves … Niko: I have practiced bodyboarding for twenty-one years. I live on the north shore of Tahiti. It is really close to one of my favorite breaks, Point Venus, which is a heavy right. I have a beautiful wife and two kids. David: I’m from Tahiti. I come from a family of fisherman and canoe paddlers (Va’a). I lost my father six years back and continue to live with the rest of my family. I love the ocean as I grew up next to it. I believe the most important things in life are family and respect to both the people and nature. Eric: How and when did bodyboarding arrive in Tahiti? Niko: Bodyboarding arrived in the middle of the 80’s, and it was really popular with the Tahitians. Some of the first bodyboarders at that time were Matthew Walbrou and Raimana Van Bastolaer. It was those types of guys that started bodyboarding. David: Bodyboarding was already here before some of the first pros arrived, although it wasn’t really until Mike Stewart and Ben Severson started coming here that the locals were really starting to become influenced, and since then the popularity has only grown. Eric: How did you get into bodyboarding? Niko: The first time I bodyboarded was with my neighbor. We were at the beach break at Point Venus. It was the first time I saw and rode a bodyboard. He let me try it. I caught one wave
and I didn’t want to give him the board back. After a couple of months of helping my parents, they offered me my first board. This was the early 90’s. David: When I was 12 my good friend brought me to Taapuna, my home spot, and pushed me into a pretty sizeable wave over dry reef. I loved the feeling and, since then, haven’t got bored with it. Eric: Why bodyboarding and not surfing? Niko: In the beginning I was really interested in surfing. When I used to bodyboard I would always try to stand up. I was looking at surfers like, “Oh, it looks cool. I want to surf.” I asked my parents for a surfboard but they never bought me one. They said it was too expensive, so I continued bodyboarding. Then when I was 13 they asked me if I wanted a surfboard for Christmas and I told them, “No, I want a new bodyboard.” Haha! I was having too much fun with bodyboarding and was no longer interested in surfing. I saw the potential in bodyboarding, like flying and doing some flips. David: Surfing has never really interested me. Bodyboarding always seemed to be more fun and the waves here are perfect for it. Not to mention, I could never really afford a surfboard. Those things aren’t cheap here. Eric: Being among the first generation of bodyboarders in Tahiti, where did you draw inspiration?
Niko: Influences … it’s all about Mike Stewart. He was one of the first, or the first, to surf Teahupoo. And with his style. In the 90’s it was all about him. I remember cutting out all the pictures of him and putting them on my wall. David: Although there’s been many, I think the one who had the most impact on me would have to be Jeff Hubbard. The guy surfs like an acrobat. Eric: Speaking of acrobatics, David, tell us about your maneuver—the gainer flip—and how you came about doing it? David: I thought about it a bit … kind of wanted to do something that would go against gravity. One day I tried it, pulled it, and voila … there it was. You were like “WTF!!!” and kept telling me to concentrate on this move. Eric: I was definitely like “WTF!!!” So, David, tell everyone what drives you to charge waves like an animal? David: My real motivation is to push Tahitian bodyboarding. I know we have the potential to go far in the sport. Of course, I do it for the love as well. Eric: How does bodyboarding fit into the Tahitian/French Polynesian culture/way of life? David: We, the Tahitians, are people of the ocean. We try and spend as much time in the ocean as possible. What better way to be in the ocean than on a bodyboard enjoying its perfect
waves, which are perfect for the sport? Niko: Perfectly, yes, especially people in the islands that don’t have too much opportunity for work. Anything with the ocean, fishing and surfing, fits perfectly into the life. It’s in the blood of the people. The people are naturally made to be in the ocean. Tahitians are made to bodyboard. They are strong and talented in this sport. You’ll see ten year olds out there surfing and doing moves … they aren’t scared of the reef at all. They are in the ocean like they are in their garden. Eric: Is the Tahitian perspective and approach to the ocean different than other places? David: I’m not sure how other people see the ocean but I know that the ocean is sacred to us. It’s our way of life, enjoyment, and often our way of eating. Niko: It’s different because it’s cultural. You were born in the water and die close to the water. You live with the ocean. It’s in their blood. People of the ocean. Salt water people. Eric: David, since you haven’t left Tahiti, if you could take one trip to anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? David: For competition, I would like to go to Hawaii; but other than that, I am pretty content just traveling around my own islands, as I know we have the best waves here.
Nicolas Richard / PH: Eric Schnitzler
Eric: Hopefully we can make that happen soon, David. Have you ever felt like foreigners are exploiting your waves and hospitality? David: Sometimes it has, but we’re pretty tolerant and forgiving people. We are very welcoming. As long as people are respectful, they’re welcome here. Ia orana e manava! Eric: What are some of the positives and negatives of having tons of traveling surfers and bodyboarders visiting Tahiti? David: Some of the good things are, of course, tourism as we are pretty reliant on it. Also, it’s good for us to communicate with foreigners to see different cultures and learn different languages. From a bodyboarder/surfer standpoint, I think to surf with foreigners is good, as having outside influences helps to progress our riding. On the negative side, I’d just have to say that outside influences sometimes rub off on some of the locals. We are very friendly and welcoming people but at times can be naeve and are easily influenced by foreign ways, both good and bad. Niko: The spirit of Polynesia is they like to share. There aren’t any black shorts here. If you respect the locals then they are more than cool with you. If I’m in the water, and I see a Hawaiian, an Australian … if he’s not a good one, I just tell him to be careful of the reef. If he is a good one, and he’s killing it, then I’m just screaming and excited in the lineup. People here are happy to share waves. Except for Teahupoo because it’s more circus circus. Eric: David, what are your thoughts on having an IBA World Tour stop at Teahupoo? David: I think it’d be great so we’d be given the opportunity to make a name for ourselves without having to leave Tahiti. It’s pretty hard for Tahitians to travel as it’s super expensive here. I’ve never left Tahiti, and am not sure if I ever will, but am hoping one day I’ll have the chance to prove myself in the IBA, especially here at home. Eric: Niko, you were there at the Tahiti Skins contest, right? Tell us about it. Niko: There was a lot of hope for this contest. We weren’t sure if it was going to be every year, and it ended up not being. It was sick, though. It was one of the first contests that showed the world the real potential of bodyboarding in those kinds of waves. Also, 2003 event and the Human at Teahupoo. Hopefully we can have a stop on the IBA in the next year or two. It would be great for the sport and the Tahitian bodyboarders in general. It’s the type of event to get more interest in bodyboarding.
Nicolas Richard / PH: Eric SchnitzLer
Eric: David, what do you think it will take to bring something like the Tahiti Skins event back to Tahiti? David: More support for bodyboarding, in general, as Tahiti would probably be the most expensive place to hold a competition on the tour. More local support from the government as most of it leans toward surfers. It’s kind of crazy, you see guys hitting the end bowl at big Teahupoo, literally risking their lives, and the sport yet goes un-noticed; but hopefully that will all change soon. Eric: What will it take to get some Tahitian/French Polynesian bodyboarders on the IBA World Tour? David. Of course if the IBA came here, that’d probably be the first step. Other than that we just have to keep promoting ourselves via podcasts and photos, etc. Your WITHINcasts have been a big help in promoting us. It’s been doing pretty well the past year and hopefully it will continue to grow. Niko: For many years I was sponsored with local shops here, and they never gave a lot of boards or supported bodyboarding. It’s kind of different because now I’m distributing bodyboards. Now I have the chance to sponsor riders like David, Tahurai, and John. To give them the materials to push the limits. Then WITHINcasts (which Niko works closely with Eric to produce) gives the exposure and recognition. Then to push to get the riders on the world tour. It would be a win for the Tahitian bodyboarding family. Eric: Mauruuru roa to both of you for your time my friends!
David Tuarau / PH: Eric Schnitzler
Jeff Hubbard / PH: Paco Calleja
Jeff Hubbard / PH: Paco Calleja
Dave Hubbard | Ph: Angel Central Surf Photo
Jeff Hubbard / PH: Blair Jeffreys
Dave Hubbard / PH: Paco Calleja
Jeff Hubbard / PH: Blair Jeffreys
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“These days, dropknee is simply another good habit I have in my life to help regenerate from my life stressors.” TOMMY PAGANO
Tommy Pagano / PH: Joshua Shelly
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Alan Lamphere | PH: Maurice Aubuchon
Das Whale / PH: Joshua Shelly
Adam Dumas / PH: Joshua Shelly
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Kaleo Lancaster | PH: Colin McGilivary
Marcus Rodrigues | Ph: Eric Schnitzler
Ph: Jay “Jbones” Vodipija
Amaury Lavernhe / PH: Pablo Jimenez