“Last Call for Print Media,” the newest History of Surfing chapter, looks at our once beloved and now beleaguered Fourth Estate. Surfing and SURFER both soared in the ’90s and ’00s, before getting kneecapped by digital media; Surfing went dark in 2017, and SURFER, recently purchased by American Media, may end up as a circular for National Enquirer. On the plus side, the 190s gave us the still-thriving Surfer’s Journal, and the ’00s brought Stab, so let us count our blessings. Surf writing itself, meanwhile, print or digital, in long-form or blog post or comments section, only got sharper and more varied (and much funnier) in the ’00s and ’10s. Good writing is good writing, regardless of platform. The medium, it turns out, isn’t always the message. Sometimes the message is the message.
Gerry Lopez was kind enough to share some thoughts on his old friend Stanley “Savage” Park. The post includes a short video of Savage, shot at Pipeline in ’67—and I know I’ve voiced this complaint before, but here it is again: without context, we really don't get any sense here just good of a surfer Savage was. I’ll just say that in small-to-mid-size Pipe (I don’t know if he charged the big stuff), Park was at the very top, along with Jock, David, and Jackie Eberle.
Savage is still in the water, by the way, stand-up paddlng, no doubt in the smoothest possible manner.
Long-time EOS folks know that I’ve been going back to redo some of the site’s original video clips, which were made in 2012 using a Moviola and scotch tape. This new Lance Carson edit was way overdue. In 1981, I saw Carson and his R&B combo (Hot Nuts, I believe they were called) slay ’em in Redondo Beach, and I believe he will approve of how this greasy four-on-the-floor BB King track moves in time with Lance's own pointbreak swing.
On the same note (the puns are free with your EOS subscription), here is the fishtailing musical journey I took yesterday afternoon while making a clip for Jax Beach ace Joe Roland, who looked like Napoleon Dynamite but surfed like David Nuuhiwa. Looking for a song to match the shakey 8mm home movie footage I have of Roland, my Google search history went from “Florida garage bands” to “bands from Jacksonville” to “early Allman Brothers,” and finally, thank you Jesus, to the Allman Joys’ 1966 track “Bell Bottom Britches,” which was loaded into my hard drive faster than you could say “Florida Man Charged With Assault After Throwing Alligator Through Wendy’s Drive-Through Window.”
Watch and listen here. It is easy to imagine Joe and his teenage pals lurking around a Jax Beach dive bar in ’67 and hearing this song coming all hot and muffled through the walls. Perfect track, right? But hold on. While tidying up Roland’s EOS page this morning, I stumbled onto the other Joe Roland, a jazzman who not only played vibes as smooth as our Joe rode the tip, but was living and jamming in Florida during the ’60s and ’70s. If I’d found this track first, I would have used it, no question, just from being unable to resist the cleverness of a Roland-Roland pairing.
And then regretted it, because “Bell Bottom Britches” works so much better. Thank you and RIP Duane and Gregg Allman. SURFER ran a short reader's letter in the early '70s that read something like, “I just want to surf as freely as Duane Allman plays guitar,” and the editor’s reply was a simple “Amen.”
Thanks, everyone, and see you next week.
[Photos: Jeff Divine, LeRoy Grannis]