The Sunday Joint

SUNDAY JOINT, 6-27-2021: ALOHA AND THANK YOU JOE QUIGG

Hey All, Joe Quigg, the Stradivarian-level midcentury boardmaker who more or less invented surfboard rocker—which gets us to the first cutback, which in turn gets us to John Florence at Haleiwa—and did it with great style and warmth, died last weekend, just a few days short of his 96th birthday. Design-wise, Quigg is best known for a pair of boards he made in 1947: the Darrylin Board (small, lig...

SUNDAY JOINT, 6-20-2021: SURF CITY REDUX, AND AN ENCORE FOR MAD JACK CHURCHILL

Hey All, The Sunday Joint gets longer each week, yet I look back and see meat on the bone and marrow unsucked—so let us rejoin the feast. First, Rodney Sumpter is still very much alive. I have made this mistake before—riffed on somebody’s life and times in such a way that could be construed as a memorial. Apologies to Rod, who is low-profile but very much of this world at age 74. Also, while I m...

SUNDAY JOINT, 6-13-2021: ROD SUMPTER – SURFING ROYALTY OR ROYAL SCAM?

Hey All, I’ve never met or talked with Rod Sumpter, the most uniquely decorated competitive surfer in history—during the 1960s he won national titles in Australia, America, Ireland, and Great Britain—and I understand there may be a Sumpter memoir in the works, so what you’re getting here is by no means the final word on a truly singular rider of waves. Sumpter was born in England, then moved at ...

SUNDAY JOINT, 6-6-2021: THE RISE AND FALL OF SURF CITY

Hey All, The song “Surf City” does not hold up to close textual reading—it is, in fact, ridiculous, what with strapping a board to your back and hitching a ride in your wetsuit etc. But in terms of high-torque V8 metalflake kustom Gold Star Studio pop-craft, “Surf City” is as good as it gets. The decades-long “Surf City” political scramble over who gets to use the phrase as a regional marketing ...

SUNDAY JOINT, 5-30-2021: THAT TIME YOU SINUS-DRAINED ALL OVER THE KOBE TRUFFLE PATE

Hey All, We could fill a month of Sunday Joints talking about surfers who grew up poor, or close to it. Before he evolved into surfing perfection incarnate, Tom Curren was a barefoot street urchin literally from the wrong side of the tracks. Silvana Lima of Brazil learned to ride waves on a piece of scrap lumber. Charles Dickens modeled his Artful Dodger on the young and feral Wayne Bartholomew: ...

SUNDAY JOINT, 5-23-2021: A CORNUCOPIA OF SMALL PLEASURES

Taking Liberties is the forgotten record from Elvis Costello’s opening fusillade of great LPs. Liberties came out in 1980, between Get Happy and Trust, and it pissed me off because my friend Dave McMillan and I had spent four years hunting down Elvis imports and bonus singles and whatnot, and Taking Liberties basically gathered up everything in our hard-earned stash and rolled it into one 20-track...

SUNDAY JOINT, 5-16-2021: EMBRACE THE TWANG

Hey All, Although I’ve paddled out with various country-western songs in my head for 40-plus years now, country music and surfing, for me, exist in two completely different buckets. Blame my SoCal upbringing. Loretta Lynn wasn’t on the KMET playlist. Merle Haggard did not have a place on any of the bootlegged surf movie soundtracks that had me pinned to the rafters at the Santa Monica Civic. I on...

SUNDAY JOINT, 5-9-2021: YOU’VE HEARD OF AA AND AAA? WE’RE CRANKING IT UP TO AAAA!

Hey All, Steve “Longtom” Shearer is the best surf-contest writer in the game, and probably the best ever, full stop. Steve’s BeachGrit contest reports have become the essential third leg in the stool upon which my full and mostly-very-satisfied WCT experience is built—the other two being the live-stream itself (flawed, but always improving), and the joyous rapid-fire bunfight in the BeachGrit com...

SUNDAY JOINT, 5-2-2021: BROTHERLY LOVE, FROM HERE TO HONOLULU

Hey All, The last thing I did before locking down in 2020 was fly to LA to meet my brother Chris in order to get our dad out of the hospital and into home hospice following a stroke. The first thing I did after getting vaccinated was fly to LA to see my brother—which included a lot of talk about our hospice-beating dad, who is back to one-clicking hardcovers from the latest NYT best-seller list, ...

SUNDAY JOINT, 4-25-2021: I MAY DESTROY YOU

Hey All, Last week I spent the better part of two workdays streaming the Narrabeen contest, and did the same for Newcastle the week before. Platinum-grade high-pressure live-action surfing, with a jackhammering open thread and a dose of Pfizer’s best fizzing through my now-defended circulatory system—what a joy! All last year, I wasn’t sure what a “return to normal” would look like or even if it ...