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

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

the what youth top 34 surfers

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 most authentically through their surfing and living at the top. Their creativity rewarded. Their flaws embraced. Their zest and style counting exponentially. There are no numbers, it’s all feeling. Like music. Or poetry. Subjective. Like surfing should be.

We made this list not as a means of pitting them against each other either, but as a way to bring them together. In whatever parallel universe we can make it happen in. And one day we will. We think it would be a much more entertaining experience for us all. Imagine this crew on a World Tour. Imagine how it would sound! And look! And how much fun we’d all have. And the ripping would be ridiculous. So here we go. The What Youth Top 34 for 2017.

THE WHAT YOUTH TOP 34: 

1. Chippa Wilson:

For the way he has carved his own space. He’s probably the most respected and technical aerialist right now, he continues to throws wrenches at his quiver, giving us new outlines, shapes and approaches. He’s genuine, kind, thrash and seriously up for anything. He’s been on skate trips, surf trips, snow trips — he’ll call you up to have a beer and go surf, for no reason. He is who we all strive to be and he does it like only the gold lion can. Chippa, you deserve this. WY World Champ for 2017. Enjoy your reign.

2. Craig Anderson: 

You rip up a paycheck and you are instantly our hero. Do what you want, be you. And that is exactly what Craig Anderson did last year. All the while, he was slipping away like a gypsy to secret slabs and just released a follow up clip to his early 2016 release, Welcome Elsewhere. Both are game changers. Former is live. He’s ripping through Hello, Sea and he’s one of our best great friends and we’re so happy he did it his way. And then there’s this.

3. John John Florence:

John’s most recent video proves that there is no one in the world more enjoyable to watch surf. In anything. He’s the thing. The only reason we miss him is because he keeps a tight circle these days — a long way from the antics of his early Barbados and Japan days with us. Maybe that’s why he’s ripping, either way: John John, we’re right here, watching with big silly hand praising emojis.

4. Yago Dora:

A lot of surfers are scared to go on trips with Yago because he’s so gnarly at surfing. Going left, there aren’t many I’d put above him, if any. He’s also the raddest dude. Great family. Great style. He is a well-deserving number 4.

5. Mason Ho:

No one has redefined the way we look at our sessions more than Mason. If you can’t find a way to put a smile on your face after watching his clips, then don’t surf.

6. Dane Reynolds:

Still moving to the beat of his own snare drum. He added some bass this year by launching his new brand Former. And releasing one of the best surf films ever released. True to his own voice. Now we wait on his new part for Former, but Dane is always going the other way and we still love every bit of that.

7. Soli Bailey:

He stood head and shoulders above everyone at maxing Greenbush, which  put him on the map, his win at the Volcom Pipe Pro validated what we already knew.

8. Gavin Beschen:

He gave us a turkey while we were in Hawaii. Literally, gave us a coupon for a free turkey from Food Land. He’s also leading an existence, on his own terms, peacefully raising his family, living off the land and surfing all along the North Shore as rad as anyone.

9. Noa Deane:

Looks right at home with his new Volcom sticker. Still ripping. Blister is really good too. Go see ’em. Surfing is lucky to have him, psyched to see what’s next.

10. Kai Hing:

Seriously, that backside straight air in Everything’s Wrong but in the Right Place put him on the map. And his Off Beat episode is pretty good back up as well.

11. Tom Curren:

Because @Curfuffle.

12. Ozzie Wright:

This guy just keeps blowing our mind. Resurrected and killing it 500 times over. His surfing, his lifestyle, his music, his family: They’re all such radical representations of what happens when you embrace your inner zombie and let it bloom for all to see.

13. Creed McTaggart: 

Mysterious as ever. On tour with his band, still tweaking airs and putting out Rage edits. RAGE. We honestly have no idea what to expect next from Candy, but no one is more excited to watch than us.

14.Mick Fanning:

Last year Mick dropped off the tour and decided to go surfing. He’s unlocked slabs and secret points and been smiling through it all. A well-deserved break from a pretty rad dude who we enjoyed seeing outside a singlet all year. Hoping he sends us a case of beer from his new company Balter while we got him…

15. Eric Geiselman: 

Eric has been around the game for a long time, but his showing on our recent “Hello, Sea” boat trip was rad. Floridian cruiser who can and will and did pull a flip.

16. Taj Burrow: 

The man has discovered free surfing, got engaged and had a perfect child. Taj is killing it, and always will be.

17. Mitch Coleborn:

You can call him The Australian Psycho, The Barrel, Spawn or a variety of other mystery nicknames, but one thing is for sure: The dude is still so fucking sick to watch on a wave. He’s hilarious as fuck to hang with (see here), and is very fun on the piss.

18. Colin Moran:

Easily one of the most refreshing additions to surfing this year. Unique, sick style on a wave. A legend at the bar top and is not afraid to say, “Fuck it let’s go!” We loved watching Goose come into his own this past year. And you know he’s cooking up some freshness.

19. Julian Wilson:

His most recent clip is something that finally woke the sleeping dragon that is surfing. Something we can all enjoy together.

20. Luke Hynd:

Luke is a nice quiet young Australian who looks so at home on a board. As you saw in Everything’s Wrong But in the Right Place: he’s not scared of the big stuff and he’s got a technical air game. Right under the radar, but probably not for that much longer.

21. Lee Wilson:

Lee is the hardest working, most authentic surfer there is. He’s created a life around him in Bali that is his studio, where the world’s best come to surf with him. He’s seen the other side, appreciates what he’s doing and it shows in his surfing.

22. Ryan Callinan:

If you’re ever having a bad day, go hang with Ryan. He will cheer you up and then some. Humble, talented and fucking awesome.

23. Dion Agius:

The lizard is busy as ever! Charity work in Mozambique. Can’t wait to see what his next adventure is.

24. Mikey Wright:

Bogan as fuck and owning it! Mikey’s healed up and ready to charge in 2017.

25. Austyn Gillette:

Austyn copped some shit in the skate world for starting a “surf” brand. But the thing is: he doesn’t give a fuck. He just keeps skating better than everyone and surfing because it’s fun(nny). There’s no time to not do what you want. Austyn, Dane, and Craig are doing that and we back em, whatever fucking board they wanna ride.

26. Dillon Perillo:

He’s had some cameos in Dane’s films this year that shocked us: Some of the smoothest forehand carves we’ve seen, and he’s still the most existential surfer we know.

27. Jack Robinson

There is no denying how crazy this kid surfs in Hawaii, Tahiti…anywhere scary. His air game is on the rise and his rail game gets deeper every year. Kid can pack a pit though.

28. Balaram Stack:

For taking us to a NY Rangers game, feeding us mushroom pizza and handing us tickets to Run the Jewels all within, like, 36 hours.

29. Christian Fletcher:

For continuing to push us all to remember where we came from and fucking go where we want to go. His bathtub scene in Metal Neck II. And for slugging that beer on the front of Issue 6. He was also at the Mayhem show the other night.

30. Ian Crane:

Ian is a throwback. I like to think of him as a modern Benji Weatherly. He’s surrounded by a great crew, he rips as hard as anyone, he’s hilarious to be around and just the kind of person you want to come along, for anything.

31. Jack Freestone:

Predicting some pretty damn big things for this one. He’s as charming as they come and always a good many to sink a beer with.

32. Andrew Doheny:

His part in Metal Neck II is the type of part that reminds us that Mexico is just over the border from Southern California and there is a lot of fun to be had down there. Also, because he still refuses to be anyone but Droid

33. Kelly Slater:

The man continues to give us things. Wavepools (even though we’re not the biggest fan yet, still waiting for our test run,) a new brand (Outerknown) and another go on the tour to snag what could be a 12th title or something crazy. He’s our renaissance Benjamin Button and we can’t not love every bit of his evolution.

34. Owen Wright:

Welcome back dude. We missed you.

Wildcard: Bruce Irons:

Bruce Irons surfing Backdoor will always make this list.

Wildcard: Kook Slams:

For making us laugh with water in our eyes. You’ve taken the Internet and our tendencies for watching destruction and put a cherry on top.

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…

what youth cluster surfing movie

We have Cluster Nostalgia Mitch Coleborn came over and fired us up for more of this

It’s no big secret that there’s still a scythe-toting grim reaper hovering over the formerly fun and care-free surfing industry. And it’s pretty easy to get caught up in that, as it does impact us all in some form or another (how we get our gear, watch our vids etc). But it isn’t as dire as…

Sign up for letters from What Youth