Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sickness revisited

Last week I was a little sick. Now I'm a little more sick because we fell asleep with the windows open in New York and the seasons changed overnight. It went from hot and steamy to cold sometime around midnight and, having no blanket, I woke up with pneumonia. This morning I ejected a half-liter of Nickelodeon Gak into the bathroom sink. Now the question is: go to the doctor or go for a surf? Or be a real mountain man and go to swim practice? It's a heavy decision. I'm pretty sure it's pneumonia, having had that three times now. 

There's a lot of good stuff to cover, so I'll have to get it together here and start typing. But for now....tea and pills.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Apparently, we as a nation spend a lot of money to beam broadcast signals into space, trying to contact aliens and invite them over to play. Since poor people are a myth perpetuated by the Left, I think that's money well spent. But it would be nice if the aliens would respond and say, "Yes, we'll be right over, do you fancy a bottle of wine?" or "No, we can't right now, Mad Men is on." At least so we'd know they were out there.

That's how blogging is. Is anyone reading this? I don't know. I'm not. Are you? Say something, we can start a conversation and eventually you can cook me dinner. Use the comments feature, it's loads of fun.

Absence explained

Presently in New York City trying to catch a glimpse of Tina Fey. So far only have seen crazy people. Remaining hopeful.

I've learned a few things here in the past week. Among them:

1) The NYU student body is undernourished, oversmoked, and way too sure that they're on to something. They are fun to watch.

2) It's time to get a bike, because it's a clean and cheap way to move around, and because bikes are highly fashionable right now. So if your shirt is from last season and your shoes are lame, you can ride a bike, and pretty much come out even.

3) Speaking of shoes, everyone here has fancy sneakers. In Hawaii and California, if you have fancy sneakers, you're overdressed and people think you're a hip-hop star. In New York, if you don't have snazzy shoes, people know you're NOT a hip-hop star so they spit their gum at you. I gotta get me these New Balance M410's:

Once I have them and my rap career takes off, I'll get signed to Brushfire Records, tour with Mickey Avalon and do benefit shows for endangered sandcrabs. Stay tuned, I spit hot fire.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Koa-Lohe Smith-dino: Sabotaged

After talking to Kolohe yesterday, it turns out that due to NSSA Hawaii's new contest structure, he's only surfing the Oahu series (while Koa is surfing the Kauai series). So...bullocks. Ignore this post.

Boost Mobile Pro & cutoffs

Yesterday was day 1 of the Boost Mobile Pro at Lowers, and aside from the surfing, three things really stood out:

1) The VIP area buffet. It consisted of mushroom risotto, lasagna, meatloaf, salmon, calamari steaks, ginger coleslaw, tomato/basil/mozzarella skewers, roasted vegetable sandwiches, clam chowder, a fruit plate, a wine bar, and all new Red Bull Cola. Brilliant.

2) The fake breasts. I'd never really seen so many in real life, because I avoid Huntington, but there were loads of them making their way through the contest site, scaring kids, making crude jokes, ruining the family atmosphere. Breast implants are up there with face tattoos and poverty, in the category of things that make you look funny.

Lookydem cutoffs

3) The cutoffs! Brandon Guilmette from Hurley and Kolohe Andino from the future both were wearing cutoffs. Torrey Meister asked Brandon why he was always wearing girls' pants, which led to a lengthy debate about pants vs. shorts vs. shants vs. cutoffs. The point is, scissoring up your clothes is coming back, which means in a few months we'll have new clothes for sale in shops that look like they've been cut up. Go green by slicing up your own pants and not buying new ones, then brag about how eco-conscious you are, all while drinking a new Starbucks Vivanno. Because it's made from plants.

Lookydem cutoffs!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

RVCA T-shirt Price Index

This is a brief price-weighted indexing of RVCA's summer line of men's t-shirts

On a total of 63 t-shirt designs available:

Minimum price: $14.70*
Frequency: 3.2%
Maximum price: $58.00
Frequency: 6.3%
Average price: $29.43
*(Labor Day sale. Non-sale minimum price: $21.00)

Comparing those numbers to the Surf Ride t-shirt index of 170 designs from 28 different companies (including RVCA):
Minimum Price: $9.48
Maximum Price: $39.95
Average Price: $20.09

This means that the average RVCA t-shirt is 46.5% more costly than the average t-shirt at the Surf Ride shop, which carries Analog, Atwater, Hurley, Volcom, O'Quinn and others, as well as its own shop brand. RVCA's numbers are carried higher by its limited-edition artist designs and collaborations, which generally command a higher price. And make you look cooooooooool.

Koa-lohe Smith-dino: A battle is taking shape

What's more exciting: the walk-off between Hansel and Derek in Zoolander, or the fight scenes in 300? In the first case, the models take turns trying to one-up each other's performance. It's sort of dramatic, I guess. But in 300 it's straight hand-to-hand knifery. No nonsense.

We can think about the NSSA this way. There's definitely strong competition in each individual conference, but the super-stars tend to be spread around the country, so they only really meet up at Nationals. The rest of the year, it's more like the walk-off. The top guys try to get the most wins or the conference title or the magazine feature, but really they're just sending warning shots to each other in anticipation of June. The rest is build-up.

This year may be different, as Kolohe Andino is apparently surfing the Hawaii NSSA season against styles-for-miles Koa Smith. That's the sort of action that's usually reserved for Lowers at the end of the year: Hawaii's top Explorer Boys surfer against California's (and arguably the two top surfers in that age group anywhere). It's like one of the chimps got out of the chimp cage and snuck into the gorilla cage. Now he's fighting the gorilla leader in an epic monkey scuffle. Do you see?

I'll be keeping tabs on the results as the season progresses. Kolohe skipped the first contest and Koa got a decent result, but in the second event - worth double points - they went 1-2 with Koa taking the win. Who's going to come out on top? The viewer, that's who.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Confessions of an ASR Rookie

When Willy Wonka (the first Willy Wonka, not the creepy second one) opens the doors to the candy room in his factory and starts crooning about pure imagination...well, that's it for me. Modern cinema reached its apex with those four minutes of chocolate rivers, toddler-sized gummy bears and a real life jelly bean tree. 

Substitute surfing for candy, and that's more or less how I imagined the ASR tradeshow would be. Nixon watches would litter the floor for the taking, every-color Nikes would be boxed in my size with matching socks, Yadin Nicol would invite me to a party and I'd assure him I "might try to stop by." Magical, magical ASR.

Today I zipped down to the convention center for my first real experience with the show, and, I figured, to load the back seat of my car with free loot and industry contacts. So like a kid emptying his Halloween bag after Trick-or-Treat, let's see how I made out.

Convention center parking: $10
Hours spent wandering the aisles like a shady predator outside the ballet academy: 2.5
People I met: 1
Gear I scored fo-phree: none
Dreams shattered: a couple

It turns out that ASR isn't about fun; it's about business (it's sometimes about business AND fun, but not really the latter without the former). For people with nothing to buy or to sell, it's not that awesome. Imagine walking around the set while they film Pirates of the Caribbean IV and seeing that the effects are digital, the accents are phony and that Keira Knightley somehow has been hiding a hideous third ear. It would take the glow off the movie for you. ASR is sort of like that - it reduces the glamor of shiny new surf stuff to the cold reality of a commercial transaction. Orders, price points, SKU's - where's the surfing? Where's the chocolate river and the little fat boy drinking from it?

But that's the business, and the business is fine. It lets a few lucky folks buy food and shelter without donning a corporate jumpsuit - or, at least, they get to compromise for the corporate boardshorts. Wow, that last sentence there was a real train wreck. I'm going to leave it to remind myself never to write something that inane again. Phooey.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Where's the milk?

Today: A quick surf, and then 9 (nine) straight hours of economics exams. 

Tomorrow: A barrage of pent up bloggery, and an ode to the wonders of coffee. Also, ASR day 3 - my badge says "working media." My badge is a liar.

Sunday I'll be at the Boost Mobile Pro to do magazine coverage and to stalk Taylor Knox. Hopefully this year he won't get uncomfortable when I call him dad.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Four Fine Flix For Fellows, Fresh From FinalCutPro

All f's in that title. Forrrreal.

Tis the season for movie premieres and tours. Some gems are making the rounds right now - and none are made by or starring Jamie O'brien. Get giddy about the following 4 (links are to showtimes and locations near you):

1) The Pursuit by Aaron Lieber
  • It's the youth, George! (trois Gudauski, Geiselman, Seabass, Jordy, Torry Meister...)

  • The dance-off between Sebastian and Tanner (thumbnail #19) is more significant to our generation than recycling.

  • Filmmaker Aaron Lieber started as an intern at a surf magazine (hey, I did that) and is in school full time while finishing the project (hey, I do that) so I have a soft spot for him.
Benji Jumping

  • Benji doesn't shine in Taylor Steele skits, but at random he's fun to watch - like a pudgy child. Examples: Drive-Thrus, Benji's Firsthand on Fuel TV, the Gravis Japan Tour 2007. Quality.

  • If you were born before 1991, you may have heard of Ross Williams. Regular foot from Oahu, used to do Poor Specimen movies? No? Nothing? Well, he's in it too.
3) Cyrus Sutton's Under the Sun

  • His other movie, "Riding Waves," was fan-trippity-tastic. Much more watchable than most surf videos with ten times the production budget. Rob Machado at small Blacks, Dane Reynolds in borderline bad waves, Joel Tudor at Doheny. I DVR'd it on Fuel, back when I had TV, and viewed it lots.
  • After you read about what Cyrus went through to make the film, not going to see it would be kind of like stealing a homeless veteran's coin cup. 
4) Just Add Water starring Clay Marzo

  • It seems like they've taken a heavy-handed Rainman approach to bill Clay as a tortured surf genius. But marketing or not, people go wild for tortured geniuses. Have you seen Good Will Hunting?

Digital camera, come to me (in time for ASR)

I don't have a camera. I used to have a great Nikon N80 SLR, film not digital, but it was spectacular. I had actually stolen it from my sister though, and she stole it back, my dad stole it from her, the whole thing almost tore my family apart. Now I have no camera.

But I'm going to get a little handheld digital one, try to bill Surfing Magazine for it, that won't work, and then I'll pay full price - all hopefully in time for ASR this week in San Diego. I've never been before but I'm sure there will be no shortage of people high-fiving and talking loudly about Dane Reynolds. A little slice of heaven.

Retro surf style / 1960's TV Batman

If you can make it through the following 234 seconds of 1967 broadcast television, the rest of this post will make a lot more sense:

It's the old Batman TV show, wherein Batman and the Joker have a surf contest to see which of them is...I donno, king of the beach? To see which is king of the beach. There's big waves and sharks and all manner of wild behavior. Still, it's a far cry from the 2008 Heath Ledger/Christian Bale version in which the Joker takes lives with razors and pencils. But whatever, people change.

What's interesting about the TV clip is the people watching from the beach. What are they wearing exactly? The sort of brightly colored, wayfarer-inspired frames currently getting churned out by the likes of Sabre Vision. Tight t-shirts, just like...everyone. Tight pants. I think the Joker's even rocking Zinka.

I guess this means that 
1) style goes full circle or
2) we all look like idiots. 
I suspect #2. More on this as it develops.

Hollister: Why you should buy it, buy it now

Why do surfers hate Hollister? It would be like farmers hating home-gardeners for not being hardcore enough when it comes to growing food. "Nice gardening gloves, poser. You call that a tomato?"

That just isn't real. But surfers have an inborn need to feel unique and rebellious, and if your clothes can't effectively communicate that you're a hip-fab surf divo, then there's really no point in surfing. That's what I've always said.

After Josh Hunter scored a touchdown with this topic on TransworldBusiness, and Scott Bass went for the two point conversion over at Surfer, I think this press release from ArtCo Surf (who?) really tacks on the extra point. A few choice lines:

"Another one of the unique shirts in the line features an acid wash that’s put through a specific hand-dying process to generate a retro look. So no two shirts are exactly the same."

"The ArtCo Surf collection is currently available online and through Oliver Boutique, a trendy, upscale boutique in Wilmington, NC."

Wilmington, North Carolina screams "surf cred" at the top of its lungs, and since surfers are notorious suckers for what's trendy and upscale, I'd say these guys have hit on a winner.

But all the individuality in surfing is so false and manufactured now that I predict a backlash, and Hollister is the star player. If surfers said, "I'm so legit that I don't need to wear Billabong to show how legit I am. I can wear Hollister and still be heaps legit. Legit!"

Then it'd be a race to see who could load up on the most un-surfy surf stuff and still be cool - loafers, cardigans, fedoras...oh wait a second. Dammit.

Seriously though, Hollister. Git some.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Beautiful Losers Trailer

Let's kick the evening off with a movie. Since Harry Potter has been pushed back to a summer release, here's what I'm looking forward to seeing now:

Beautiful Losers film trailer from beautifullosersfilm on Vimeo.

Extra points to Thomas Campbell, who looks like Morrissey in the trailer.