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 

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…

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