The Sunday Joint

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 ...

SUNDAY JOINT, 4-18-2021: BRADSHAW’S DUKE TROPHY IS GOING, GOING, GONE. OR IS IT?

Hey All, At some point in the early ’80s I threw away a boxful of my old surfing trophies. Ten years ago I did the same with a big tear-stained stack of journals, and good riddance to every one of those woeful handwritten navel-gazing emo boy pages. For a lucky few of us, the anti-hoarding impulse grows stronger with age, not the other way around. Get me on a roll and I will purge down to the stu...

SUNDAY JOINT, 4-11-2021: PAUL THEROUX DROPS INTO “WAIMEA”

Hey All, Under the Wave at Waimea, Paul Theroux’s new novel, comes out this week. I’ve only read excerpts and some early reviews, so jumping in here with tiny fists balled and swinging feels premature or petty or unfair or all three. On the other hand, I’m finding it harder and harder these days to make it through an entire book, any book (I loved the first half of French Exit, however, and parts...

SUNDAY JOINT, 4-4-2021: THE CRUELTY, IRONY, AND JOY OF THE SHAKA

Hey All, Do you throw the shaka? If so, do you mean it? The first question is easy, yes or no. The second question is maybe a little harder. In this Age of Perpetual Satire, we would need a full statistical analysis with a hot side of boolean function in order to estimate the percentage of ironically-thrown shakas. “A shit-ton” is the best I can do this afternoon. The shaka, of course, long ago s...

SUNDAY JOINT, 3-28-2021: REVENGE IS A DISH BEST SERVED FROM WITHIN A SPITTING 50-FOOT PEAHI TUBE

Hey All, It seems petty at this late stage to dwell on the early ’70s Lennon-McCartney feud. Then again, it was a no-holds-barred battle of rock titans, so let us dwell, briefly. Paul broke up the Beatles, and thank God, because the band’s 10-year career arc is in itself a thing of artistic perfection. But John was furious at how things ended, and his 1971 song “How Do You Sleep” is a dis track f...

SUNDAY JOINT, 3-21-2021: MARGO OBERG CROSSES THE GREAT SURFER POLL DIVIDE

Hey All, I knew Margo Godfrey (as she was then known) was super young when she took 4th in the 1965 SURFER Poll. I didn’t know till just now that she was in fact only 12 on the night of the awards ceremony in mid-April, 1966. A braces-wearing sixth-grader! With that in mind, my newly adjusted Top-Five Greatest Preteen Surfers is as follows: 1. Jeff Hakman 2. Margo Godfrey 3. Donald Takayama* 4. ...

SUNDAY JOINT, 3-14-2021: IN PRAISE OF THE RICHARD CRAM CUTBACK

Hey All, Richard Cram of Bondi Beach, in his 1980s prime, with that curly hair and fine powerful build, looked like Michelangelo’s David just after a drive-by gear-grab to the Quiksilver factory. And like David, Cram has long benefited from the rest of us not knowing much about him. Did he possess hidden depths? Maybe. Cram liked to write and published a dozen-or-so smart and well-phrased article...

SUNDAY JOINT, 3-7-2021: SO LONG AND THANK YOU TO PHIL BECKER AND MIKE EATON

Hey All, Phil Becker died two weeks ago at age 81, and Mike Eaton died on Wednesday at 86. Between them, Becker and Eaton shaped north of 200,000 boards, with no machines involved save the ancient planers they kept alive with solder and electrical tape and spare parts. Phil’s work ethic was ridiculous, maybe pathological; he shaped the day his mom died, and during his own Hermosa Beach Walk of Fa...

SUNDAY JOINT, 2-28-2021: BRAZIL ’78, TOM WOLFE, AND AN APOLOGY TO JOE QUIGG

Hey All, First, a bit of housecleaning. Thanks to Spencer Croul and Kevin Kinnear for reminding me that Joe Quigg shaped the game-changing Darrylin Board, not Tommy Zahn, as I reported last week. Zahn himself was a fine shaper, and Darrylin was his steady, which makes me wonder why he jobbed the project out to his friend Joe. An unwritten surf-history footnote. Meanwhile, I dug out this 1947 shot...