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 ryan burch issue 18

New issue is at the printer, now what? Well, hit the road. And have a party of course.

“Do you know how many times I clicked my fucking mouse to make this thing?” We’ll chalk this up to “shit art director’s say,” but it’s true, ours, Scott Chenoweth, did probably click his mouse a lot of times. And it was all for you, because we made another issue. Number 18! Hot damn. While…

Why would anyone wanna leave Paris? Donald Trump is making it harder to be a youth on the run

The great Gloria Steinem put it best: In response to Trump’s attempt at pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement: “Too late, we’re already pregnant.” Yesterday Donald Trump announced that the United States was leaving the Paris Climate Agreement. Now, I suggest you do a little homework (always a good idea), but the short of it:…

what youth the murder city devils los angeles music

What’d you do this weekend? We threw ourselves into the pit with The Murder City Devils

“A lot of our songs early on were about romanticizing places we weren’t. Other places, other towns, things we couldn’t get to” said Spencer Moody, lead singer for The Murder City Devils before a secret show they were playing Saturday night. And yes, this was a place you definitely wish you woulda been. And it…

what youth dear suburbia absurdity

This is Absurd An old note comes back to haunt and hype us

Editor’s note: This was originally published in What Youth Issue 1 (which is now sold out) as an intro to Kai’s film Dear Suburbia,. It recently struck another modern chord with us as we thought of all the impending doom out there. And this kind of reminded us that’s it still, in the face of insanity,…

what youth off beat yago dora surfing

How we met Yago Dora Yago’s success at the Rio Pro is validating something we’ve known for a long time. Let’s recall.

Long before the WSL started with the weird warrior techno hype video things, we were watching Yago Dora. His surfing caught our eye, but it was his vibe, his personality, his approach that really stuck with us. In What Youth Issue 13 we recall his ability to jump in our big white van and road trip…

dear youth wsl

did you see that new WSL commercial? Is Dion right? Is it time we say no to the WSL?

I’m quite depressed right now. There are the sharks. Crowds. Hospitals. Stress. Bills. Work. Marketing. Branded Content. And WSL. And it’s the WSL that’s really getting to me right now. This morning the first thing I read on Instagram was Dion Agius (on Aussie time) calling out the WSL for turning their new promo video…

what youth sharks surfing stressed out

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

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….

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…