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

I’ll never surf the wave pool Even if Kelly Slater invites me, no strings attached, I will very politely decline. Here’s why:

I have the worst taste in music because of surfing. And yeah, I suppose music is entirely subjective, but I spent my formative years listening to a melodic and generic emo version of punk rock that is now married to my obsession with surfing. And I don’t blame Taylor Steele. I thank him. It has been my life’s pleasure turning all the enthusiasm it created into my own wonderful surfin’ life.

Good friend and (definitely not a surf journalist) Chas Smith just penned a bit of the magic I’m talking about on his website Beach Grit today. And I wanted to reiterate his point a bit, and celebrate the part where he references the “surfing life” William Finnegan created in Barbarian Days and stand shoulder to shoulder with him on it, and explain what I feel everyone seems to be missing from this wave pool stuff (aside from the country club vibes, which are very real too). It’s the fact that we’re assuming the act of surfing is all we’re after. Standing on a wave, alone, riding it. When really, the real chase, the way we create our unique surf life is all in the foreplay. As a surfer, we spend our lives rolling the ball up the hill with Sisyphus stoked as hell that it will fall back down and we get to do it all again because between the bottom and the top is where all the surf magic is created. Otherwise, you’re just standing at the top. Riding a wave. And that’s fine and what we’re after, but that will lead to a misunderstanding of the art of the surf life. That’s what makes us the weirdos we are. Weirdos who knew what MCD, SMP and ASP stood for (RIP). Who earnestly debate whether to use grip or not on the front of a new board. Or understand the technicality and beauty of Justin Poston’s backhand turn. Insane, ridiculous psychotic details that make an otherwise mundane surf check magical. Otherwise, we’re just there, on a wave, riding, the same one everyone is on.

I’ve seen all of you saying that this wave pool is just the same as a skate park and that street skating still exists so I should chill and stop complaining. And I have my beanie off and waving in salute to the technology that goes into this wave and into my phone and into the airplanes I sit on, but I have to tell you I can still find a beautiful existence without them. My life will not improve riding a man-made wave.

A wave pool is probably really “fun.” And what they’ve created is oh so impressive, but you’re still just bottling up what shouldn’t and cannot be bottled. We have a good thing. Surfin’. A thing that uses the planet, for fun, and for making a surfing life. And we’re just trying to fuck it to death. We’re skipping dinner. Flirting. Nervous texting. Hugs. Drinks. Everything that makes living life an art.

So, I sit here today, shoulder to shoulder with Chas, planning a surf trip with him to Who Cares Where to celebrate all the ridiculous things that bring us joy along the way. Including going to the airport. Lugging a board bag. Paying a high sum of money to transport it. And to probably get skunked as all hell. But there will be surfing! And there will also be a lot of good living. Surf living! And I’ll promise you right now that I have no desire to surf the wave and will politely decline should that offer ever come down the pipe. I love Kelly Slater and I think he’s done more for surfing than could ever be asked of him. But I love what you did to “Superman” by Unwritten Law in Good Times more than anything you can or will create with a wave pool.

And right now, since it’s small where I am, and I already surfed, I’ll blast this ridiculous song that I know all the words to and I will think of Shane Dorian surfing small waves in France and wherever else from his part in Good Times. And you can call me nostalgic, but also call me happy. As a clam. —Travis 

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 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…

what youth issue 19 kader sylla

We’re giving Issue 19 Away Our next Issue is out next Tuesday and here’s how we’re gonna make sure you get it…for free

We lost another classic print publication last week (the regionally great ESM has halted its print edition). We also heard through the grapevine that another magazine in the surf space is on “temporary print hold.” Meaning: magazines are officially gasping for air as our anxiety levels rise with our digital media intake. And that’s fine….

what youth globe new surf movie

Globe’s Cult of Freedom is ready Joe G and his all-star cast of Noa, Creed, Dion, Taj, Nate, BG and EG are back with a new vid

We call our intern “neck tan Nick.” He’s the office shred turkey. And yesterday between watering the plants and taking out garbage and telling us about which local sandbar might yield a fun surf he said, ” I need to watch something sick to get amped. It’s been so small. What’s coming out?” I happily…

what youth growlers 6 costumes

Costumes from Growlers 6 Scott Chenoweth put these ghouls on film. Enjoy the costumes of this past weekend’s festivities

The annual Growler’s 6 festival is one of the best places to spend Halloween weekend. Music, freaks, geeks, costumes, surrealism and us, all brought together by every genre of music you’d ever need. We wandered around and captured some costumes and inhaled a significant amount of halloween spirit.

The Growlers Six Our wild weekend at the LA Waterfront with The Growlers, Modest Mouse, Juvenile, The Paranoyds, Bad Brains, Tinariwen and many more

What a weekend for some surrealism brought to you by The Growlers. We spent the last two days running through the freak show that was Growlers Six (formerly Beach Goth),  a two-day festival of music and circus-like fun. The pre-Halloween festival has become an annual tradition in Southern California and with a lineup as colorful, diverse…

Cam Richards, South Carolina

Southern comfort We’re in deep South Carolina with Cam Richards getting some culture shock

We are deep.  Motorcycles. Fishing. Bowling. Shooting. Beer drinking. And Boating. Facing and immersing in a unique brand of culture that — thanks to Cam Richards and his family — has found a way to brush up against the surf culture we’re all familiar with. Cam Richards has opened up his home and shown us…

what youth dylan rieder mark oblow

Today (and always) we think of Dylan One year on

It’s been one year since we lost Dylan Rieder. But there hasn’t been a single minute in a single day his influence hasn’t been all over us. In everything. From the way we walk. To the way we skate and surf. To how we treat each other. Every single thing. He’s made us better, I…

what youth surfing indonesia nate lawrence photography

How’d this happen? Issue 0019 is somehow a thing coming soon and we really need to surf again

Every single issue of What Youth comes with it’s own insane personality disorder. It walks and talks and fucks with us like the hot babe at the coffee shop who just can’t be bothered. We’re obsessed, but completely frustrated every minute of the day. The smallest details, the biggest details, the weather outside and the…

what youth scott chenoweth ny illustration

Let’s be together When all goes numb, the numb need to get together

I spent the end of last week careening through the perfectly lit and temperate streets of early autumn New York. I ran around with beautiful Hawaiian princess Kelia Moniz and we drank rice wine margaritas, shopped for jewelry and watched golden hour illuminate over the bustling streets as we ate oysters and sipped Stellas. There…

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