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

Does WSL = Christian Youth Group? Conservative and “cool” with really bad music

When I was in high school there were always people trying to get us to join them at their church youth groups. They would meet on Tuesday night and camouflage the underlying church message beneath the prospect of a healthy amount of cute girls and “rock music” on a school night. I would sometimes go (there really were cute girls) and it was always clear what the main objective was: have us realize church can be “cool,” get us to like it and then bring our friends. Fall in line. Be like them. Hit the offering tray, while they skip the tax.

The other day while discussing the current state of surfing with deep surf thinker Tanner Gudauskas, he earnestly asked what I thought about the WSL. I responded that the technology and the viewing experience is incredible. NFL, NBA level. It’s crazy. But the issue I have is that they’ve sucked all the soul out of the individuals and it feels increasingly similar to a Christian youth group. A diluted, censored down version of “cool.” When I’m on the WSL website I feel like I’m being tricked into joining the church for the Tuesday night rock band and brownies. Over the course of this transition, they’ve managed to make Matt Wilkinson boring and predictable. Conner Coffin plays lead guitar in the church band. Peter King is the youth pastor making videos of the kids. And the post heat interviews are as sober as the pastor on Sunday morning. When I watch the WSL I see overexcited announcers and over-simplified analysis, and it’s now reached the “athletes.” The viewer is handled with kids gloves and we’ve officially managed to turn something as rad and interesting as surfing into homogenized surf soup that feels increasingly like a well policed Youth Group.

I do find it amazing that they can live stream a clear image of Strider Wasilewski from the water at any surf location (still most famous for looking up that girl’s skirt in Lost’s On the Road with Spike and his crazy Pipeline surfing). And beam 14 angles of John John’s turns live from remote Australia to my phone wherever I am. That is a feat worth applause, but being on the WSL as a surfer now equates to taking a safe corporate job and punching the clock 9 to 5 for the rest of your days. You know your schedule. You know what tomorrow holds. The money comes in and then one day retire or you’re Kelly. That is now the life on World Surf League Tour. Rock out with Jesus. “Look how much fun we’re having!” —Travis 

what youth dane reynolds fairly normal coming soon

What’s Dane Been Up to? We spent the weekend with the Reynolds family filming for a new Fairly Normal

Dane was home this weekend. A classic California pre-summer day: lots of blue, couple fun waves and lots of traffic. We met up with Dane at Rincon, where he surfed glassy and “1-foot but perfect” Rincon for an hour on a Channel Island twin fin (with a small trailer). He had earlier told me his…

Dane Reynolds, Former, Surfing

Let’s talk about trunks (briefly) We built this industry on them, so why are so few pairs worthy of your thighs?

Today marks the release of Former’s “Control” boardshort. So yes, full disclosure, we back them, and what they’re doing, so there’s the commercial above. It’s really cool. And those trunks look sick on Dane. But I do still retain the right as an editor and one of a few who started this whole blessed mess…

the surfer/hooper index

The Surfer/Hooper Index Craig Anderson is Steph Curry and other ridiculous comparisons to kick off the NBA playoffs

The NBA is probably the most commercialized athletic event in the world. This makes it the most unlike surfing (kinda). But at its core, basketball is like surfing. I’ve been around both types enough to see the personalities, egos, artistry, techniques and grandiosity of both sports. They are completely unrelated — maybe like distant second…

what youth dear youth travis ferre filipe toledo

Does WSL = Christian Youth Group? Conservative and “cool” with really bad music

When I was in high school there were always people trying to get us to join them at their church youth groups. They would meet on Tuesday night and camouflage the underlying church message beneath the prospect of a healthy amount of cute girls and “rock music” on a school night. I would sometimes go (there really…

Tanner And Norwegian Black Metal Bright guy, dark music

We had a sunny surf and followed it with Coronas in a dark bar full of magicians.  There were lots of smiles and laughs throughout our hour long afternoon sit down with Tanner Gudauskas, as you’d expect, but there was also critical analysis of what the hell it is surfers do for a living and existential life…

airport beers, dear youth, what youth, travel

My Fondest Memory: Airport Beers After a week in paradise, it’s the anticipation in those pre-flight bubbles I remember

I just got home from five days in absolute “paradise.” Clear water, boat rides, adventure, diving, nurse shark sightings, couple fun waves, good friends, dark rum and cold mini beers whenever I needed. A quick jaunt to recharge. I read some books, rode some waves, danced in the Third World discotheque, ordered foreign foods in foreign…

what youth owen wright surfing snapper rocks

Owen Wright and the First day of spring And tomorrow we have a new issue for you

Over the weekend, lots of you probably watched Owen Wright win the Quiksilver Pro. A feel good hit for the spring to be sure. There were times over the past year in which I had conversations with people about whether Owen would ever properly surf again, so I must say it was a pleasure to sink…

the what youth top 34 surfers

The What Youth Top 34 This is who’s coming on the very unprofessional What Youth World Tour 2017

OK, so this is a few days late. Lots of rum-infused discussions around fire rings to sort the order. But we did it. Just in time to beat the big boys out at Snapper. And so, just to brush up here’s the criteria: A perfectly inexact science that sees the surfers who represent themselves the…

soviet soviet

My favorite new band just got deported Italian Dark Wave band Soviet Soviet just got arrested, embarrassed and sent home before playing in LA

I discovered a rad new band this week. They’re Italian and called Soviet Soviet. Chris Coté sent it to me, and Maya was into it too as was everyone I’ve sent it to. Rad, Italian Dark Wave (my new favorite genre) for my headphones. And I was in luck, they were scheduled to play Sunday night…

Ozzie Wright, Surfing, Byron Bay

The New What Youth Top 34 We’ll unveil the new list Monday, March 13th

Last year we introduced the What Youth Top 34. The idea being: we wanted a list that gathered a more dynamic group of surfers together. The criteria? Umm, this: The perfectly inexact science that sees the surfers who represent themselves the most authentically through their surfing and living at the top. Their creativity rewarded. Their flaws…

what youth cherry glazerr and crap eyewear

Cherry Glazerr at The Smell Backstage and live photos by Tony Accosta

LA darlings Cherry Glazerr recently played a show at the very iconic and incredible venue The Smell, an underground institution for bands in LA. Tony Accosta got to tag along backstage and as they took the stage for this very intimate show. The show coincides with the release of the band’s new Crap Eyewear frame,…

what youth balaram stack

48 Hours in NYC with Balaram Stack “Finish your drink we gotta go!” Filming a “4 Cities” With Balaram

Balaram Stack’s New York moves really fast. I actually found myself in a full sprint at one point. The visit to the city was a string of finishing what’s in front of you to hurry along to the next place, where whatever is in front of you will be re-filled and your eyes will have a whole…