Surfing, Skateboarding, Music, Photography, Travel, Culture and general antics of the youth on the run.

Cull Your Fear A spike in shark sightings and an attack in Southern California raise the debate…again

what youth sharks surfing stressed out
Illustration: Travis Ferré

Editor’s Note: Taylor Paul is a surfer. A really good, big wave surfer in fact. Mavericks, Dungeons…all the scary ones, that come with lots of sharks. He has researched this, spoken with experts on shark populations, flown in helicopters to look for them (and found them) and lived in Santa Cruz, Southern California and San Francisco. He knows this topic, feels strongly about it. And he had a little something to say regarding some audacious things we’ve overheard recently about sharks. —Travis 

It starts with shark sightings. Then shark sharing. Then a shark attack, which is the bomb that blows up the dam that was holding 45 million gallons of fear that rushes onto our social media feeds and into the parking lots of our favorite surf spots. And that’s when you start to hear it — the C-word — cull. Which is just a different way of saying slaughter. Or kill.

Look, I’m not even here to argue that shark culling doesn’t work, although experts say it doesn’t. I’m not here to point out the ecological ramifications of meddling with an apex species, although there are many.  I’m not here to suggest that there probably aren’t that many more sharks, you just see them more because technology makes shark encounters more visible (GoPros, drones, cam rewinds, social media). And I’m not even here to mention that if you account for the influx of people in the water over the past 50 years, shark attacks in California are actually down. No, I won’t belabor any of those points. I’m  here to say that if you are in favor of shark culling, you are a pussy.

There is no other explanation. You fell in love with a recreational activity with the perception that the odds of getting attacked by a shark were extremely low. So you kept doing it. And now that sharks are front of mind, the perceived risk is higher, and you’re scared. Your risk tolerance threshold has been breached and you’re panicking. You feel like you’re in danger. That you’ve lost control. That something needs to be done and the only solution is murder.

But there is another option, a fool-proof way of not getting attacked by a shark, a method that people have been successfully practicing since we crawled out of the sea — don’t go in the water. Nobody is making you go surfing or swimming. It’s your choice. So if it’s too scary now, start skateboarding. Climb a mountain. Take up Crossfit. Or rollerblading! Sharks cannot get you on the boardwalk. You will be so safe. And don’t worry, your knee pads will only chafe for the first week or so.

Alternatively, you can chill the fuck out. Take a few deep breaths. Understand that your actual risk hasn’t changed much since last week, and that the only difference is the fear you’ve let fester between your ears. But on the off chance a shark comes out of the ocean, busts down your door and tries to chomp one of your loved ones, by all means, kill the fucker. Till then, quit being a baby and go surfing.—Taylor Paul

Outside the Comfort Zone San Francisco to Florida to the North Shore to “The Other Guys.”

It’s been one of those days. Weeks. Years. Hell, six years. I haven’t used my own soap in three weeks. My bag of clothes is soggy. I miss my bed and I’ve seen three time zones in a week, but I’ve surfed, talked, laughed, drank, filmed and even worn a headset and done commentary for…

Media Model Subsidy Line Noise Ordinances and surf video making with Mitch Coleborn, Harry Bryant, Nate Tyler, Colin Moran and more

This morning we received a note on our front door reminding us that this town operates under a noise ordinance and that we may have been in violation during our first night here. And I may know why. You see, we lucked into an AirBnb that’s equipped with a pool table in the sun room, and last…

what youth harry bryant surf trip

Well, you’re hired We reached out to you and you delivered. Now it’s time to go

Holy shit, it worked!  The idea hatched over a pitcher of margaritas the other night is a reality. And it’s all because of you. You have officially funded the What Youth California ramp hunt and now the boys are ready to send it. We’re starting tomorrow and making it official: The What Youth film project,…

what youth surf trip kickstarter

Wanna help Produce our next film? We’re making a WY surf vid and we need liftoff. And that’s where you come in.

Remember “We quit, we’re poor” and all that when we started What Youth? Well, not much has changed: still pretty passionate, still pretty strapped. But we we wanna keep creating. And we need your help to get this fire started. As you read this, there’s a bunch of us assembling for some reckless abandon on…

dear youth david bowie has a book club

David Bowie Has A Book Club Maybe 2018 won’t be terrible after all

When history looks back at our bizarre little era, it will agree on one thing: Everything went to shit real quick right after David Bowie died. It’s baffling how quickly reality unraveled after David Robert Jones left us in early 2016. Muhammad Ali, Prince, Tom Petty and a whole bunch of people you really like passed…

Quiksilver has acquired rival Billabong In the least shocking headline you’ll read today

I know this headline isn’t as good as: “Iguanas are freezing and falling from trees.” Or “It’s so cold that sharks are dying.” But we’ll give it a shot. Quiksilver and Billabong are now owned by the same company. This was posted last night by our fabulous friends and drinking buddies and hard-hitting journalists at…

Hunter Martinez, San Francisco

2018: Fitter, Happier…still on antibiotics Here we go again

To be modern is to find ourselves in an environment that promises us adventure, power, joy, growth, transformation of ourselves and our world – and at the same time, that threatens to destroy everything we have, everything we know, everything we are…—Marshall Berman 2018 and I woke up strange. My FICO score changed (for the…

Blake Myers, Noa Deane

Save What Youth Dot Com And the rest of our little digital realm for that matter

I have loads of nasty habits. I drink six cups of coffee every morning, I let my wetsuit ferment in the back of my car because I’m too lazy to rinse it out, and I’ve caught myself watching the Oi Rio Pro un-ironically on several occasions. But there’s one stupid, habitual quirk I do every single…

what youth bruce brown rip

RIP Bruce Brown The man responsible for surfing’s greatest celluloid achievement is gone, but there’s no chance we’ll ever forget him

I was 12 years old and I remember leaving baseball practice of all things to go see the world premiere of Endless Summer II at the old Peirside Cinema in Huntington Beach. That night was the beginning of the end of my cleat-wearing years. Just me and my dad went and the electricity inside that…

what youth dear youth

Forced Creativity In a Musty Place Or, the art of throwing empty pint glasses at a laptop and expecting results

“Writing is the flip side of sex — it’s only good when it’s over.” —Hunter S. Thompson  Editor’s note: Here’s something(one) new. James Royce is a young surfer/writer dude from California who’s been submitting and writing a few things here and there for us. Just another one of us trying to navigate all this shit we…

Do surfing a favor today Let’s all subscribe to the Encyclopedia of Surfing. What’s that? Well, let me tell you

Matt Warshaw writes really long, really well-researched books and articles about surfing and its history. He’s quite maniacal about it all and it tickles me that surfing has someone psycho enough to document its rich history so damn well. Matt has been the editor of Surfer Magazine and written for The New York Times, The…

Would you rather: Lowers or a Pool? The WSL released its 2018 schedule of events and it’s missing Fiji and Lowers but has a pool

There are 840 miles of coastline in California. And while there will be one stop on the 2018 WSL World Tour in California, it will not be happening along any of those 840 miles of coastline. It will be happening in Lemoore, CA. The WSL just released a press release this morning announcing the 2018 World…

Sign up for letters from What Youth