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

Youth against the machine I’m so proud of you

Photo: Robin Pailler

Editor’s Note: Last Friday night I got emotional. I was watching recaps of what happened in the world that week and a lot had happened. Part of me was on the verge of tears watching young people, you, the youth, standing toe-to-toe with politicians and paid speakers and paid pros for the NRA, and I saw you standing there scarred and raw with grief…and you were fighting back. Against all odds. Against it all. Demanding action. Action that could have had an impact on saving 17 of your classmates from being destroyed by an automatic weapon. This is what we’re talking about in America right now? Yes. It is. I immediately thought of ideas and ways we can help here, and was reminded of the intro to What Youth Issue 15, which has become a bit of a kick in the ass when all seems lost, week after week. Even though sometimes it feels like it’s for nothing, we gotta keep raging against the machine. Over and over and over again. Read the below, and stay at it. We are.—Travis

PS: We’ll be surfing before you know it, but this is important too.  

From What Youth Issue 15: 

For a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself.  

There are heavily armed soldiers on quiet street corners in Paris. Back home grandma worries. Mom too. And I can’t blame them. Sitting here we’re just as safe as we are in danger. You always are, I suppose. And I think you have to remember that. Because I almost did something this month that I’ve never done: cancel a trip because of the news. Because of fear.

Should I stay or should I go now?  

Even simple things feel more complicated now. And I know there have always been these horrors and fears in various manifestations. Political. Terror. Nature. Fire. Flood. Cleanup set. Plane crash. Ignorance. Hate. Donald Trump. Zika. Guns. But this marks the first time in my life I almost did something that goes against who we are and nearly pulled the plug on something I’ve always found as simple as breathing; all on account of a too mad world. I almost chose the couch over the dimly lit Parisian street corner because it was “safer.” Because the pressure was too real. And people were worried and “would understand if we didn’t go.”

And what was so important that we had to go anyway? Well, nothing. We wanted to sip wine, watch people, listen to rain, fumble with foreign language…exist. This wasn’t even our usual wild jaunt to Indo to ride heavy waves above sharp coral reef in a tsunami hot spot or explore inside a war-torn country that gave me pause. This was much simpler. But somehow felt heavier. Riskier. And I’ve come to loathe the fact that I slipped into this thinking long enough to consider something as reckless as cancelling. But we didn’t. We went.

There was a book that found its way into my hands this month too, just some old Hunter S. Thompson stories. Kingdom of Fear. And I found myself reading stories that dated back to the ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s and 2000s. Magazine articles he wrote, that if the names and some dates changed, could very well be written about circumstances today. At home. Abroad. Horror, corruption and terror everywhere. For a minute there I was overcome with a sadness, thinking that if greats like Hunter can’t break through this shitstorm, what/who will? Why are we still fighting such similar battles? I sunk in my chair, wondering if it was worth the fight. Worth the typing. Worth all the noise, the rock ‘n’ roll. Worth the ink. But then I thought: what if Hunter S. Thompson didn’t rage against the machine as hard as he did? What if we all cancelled? Quit writing? Quit challenging? Quit pushing back?

I’m very aware that we seem to be yelling about the same things now as we did then, and that’s scary too. Big and small. Fear and terror and war and surfing in the Olympics and cigarette smoking and nudity and a conservative culture. And it’s easier to be scared sometimes because it’s harder to make eye contact with people. Harder to connect. Harder to find time to fight and fuck and surf and travel and hug. But the real fear should be what happens when we do quit? When you do stay home? When we do cancel? Then what? Does The Inertia win? Do we live under a Trump regime? Do we buckle the chinstrap on the gas mask and pretend that it’s OK? Do we not say hi to the beautiful woman across the room because we never even make it in the room? Does fear win? And do we all go back to our oatmeal and comfortable couches? Sometimes that’s the safest thing to do, but it’s also the most similar to the graveyard.

But the answer is no. Of course it is. And you know that. We don’t cancel. We keep pushing. We go. We write. And we sit and watch the rain in France. We read Hunter and follow his lead. We don’t pull back. We sand our skin down on coral. We wake up still in our shoes, in the sand next to the smoldering coals from last night’s fire. We fight and fuck and travel and learn and write and take more photos. And we’ll meet you for that glass of wine in Paris. And we’ll go down with any ship we set sail in.—Travis 

Taylor Steele, Joe Curren, Tim Curran

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…

what youth kelly slater wave pool caddyshack

Country Club Surf Culture Why I want nothing to do with the WSL and Kelly Slater Wave Co.

All day today there’s been a lot of hype, speculation and excitement around the WSL’s specialty event at Kelly Slater’s wave pool. I’ve spoken to people at the wave and people who rode the wave and people who attended the event — some invited and some not invited. We’ve texted with Kelly (who I must say has…

what youth dear youth discontent travis ferre

Fan the flames of Discontent The Dream Tour is changing and it’s starting at a wave pool

I’ve made it more than apparent that I hate the word content. I hate all of it’s definitions. Content. Content. And content. Fuck ’em all. It’s a bad word. It’s a vanilla plain oatmeal crappy word that encourages status quo and general well being and I’ve never gotten along with it no matter how you’re…

what youth florida hurricane irma

When you’re in the radar of Irma I’ve learned a lot about hurricane culture today

In Florida, everywhere you look there is a television screen bigger than the previous “biggest TV screen you’ve ever seen” and they are all shouting and displaying a massive radar depiction of Hurricane Irma — who deserves to be capitalized and probably deserves an even bigger TV. And I’d be lying if I said I…

what youth thomas campbell movie craig anderson surfing

Thomas Campbell’s Fever Dreams In a world of gimmicks, it’s nice to know there’s a new Thomas Campbell film in the works

“This isn’t going to be like any of my other films.” That was the first thing Thomas Campbell told me about this new project. He then went on to describe his vision a bit — which is always a fascinating journey, listening to an artist describe what they see in their mind over the phone….

what youth julian k

Who is Julian Klincewicz? Well, he’s an underground and prolific part of many things and the subject of an upcoming WY Artist Series

Julian Klincewicz has the kind of name you hope you don’t have to type out too often. There are letters in it that don’t spend a lot of time next to each other and sounding it out just aint gonna work. But it’s one I nail every time now. Without looking. Written and spoken. And…

Leo Romero, Brostyle

Brostyle Pacific Northwest trip We went to Seattle and back with Leo Romero, Dakota Servold, Corey Glick, Dylan Witkin and Aaron Homoki

Well over the past few years we’ve been lucky enough to get to know Leo Romero pretty well. He owns a griptape company called “Brostyle.” And the thing that makes a grip company special and different from a board company or shoe company is the fact that you aren’t necessarily in it to make money…

The guys still going in the US Open Stories behind Kanoa Igarashi, Tanner Gudauskas and Soli Bailey

The early days of the US Open are interesting. It’s a mixed plate of up and comers, some familiar faces and a bunch of dudes you probably just straight up haven’t heard of. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with who’s who in those early days, but now that things have thinned out, we looked at who’s still surfing…

what youth happy hour mitch coleborn us open of surfing summer

When Mitch and Yago stop by “Don’t you wanna fly above the water like a pelican?”

Hi there. Yep, back. Nothing like a nice couple of “Happy Hours” with Mitch Coleborn and Yago Dora to ignite the spirit. Yesterday, both popped in for the afternoon to kick off the completely unofficial and totally unregulated or sponsored “What Youth Happy Hours.” If you don’t know, we have a little store front at…

what youth recommends rip chester bennington

RIP Chester Bennington The Linkin Park frontman apparently had a bigger impact on all of us than we thought

Editor’s note: This a weird one. Linkin Park might not be a band you’d anticipate seeing us report on after learning about lead singer Chester Bennington taking his own life today. But Linkin Park is interesting.  They are probably the first band that somehow has had a weird impact on every single person and age demographic…

what youth issue 18 lauch party

Come Spread the Gospel with us “Join, or die” with us, Former, Need Essentials and Vans at the Ace Hotel in LA

In 1754 Benjamin Franklin made the political cartoon you see on our flyer and he published it in the Pennsylvania Gazette, an editorial piece about a “disunited state” that existed between the founding colonies of America. And before I get too deep on that — because the fact of the matter is we’re all just gonna check…

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…

Sign up for letters from What Youth

By enabling this page, you are acknowledging and accepting our privacy terms and conditions.