Hey All,

“Hollywood Tries Again” is the latest History of Surfing chapter, and for the record let me say that 2007's Surf’s Up belongs on any worthwhile surf culture timeline, as the moment when Tinseltown finally got it right. Cost a cool $100 million to make us believe that a penguin built like DJ Khaled can ride the tube with Lopez-level style and flow, and worth every penny—and Warner Brothers has the Oscar nomination to prove it.

I’ve been riding my high horse on behalf of Surf’s Up for over 10 years. Outside once asked me to write a quickie review for Chasing Mavericks, which was so depressing I turned it into a bitchy riff on Hollywood, and only managed to turn my frown upside down by fluffing Surf’s Up at the end:

Hollywood can’t do surf because surfing has no hook or story arc. The whole point is just to continue. You rode a huge wave? Won the big contest? Great, a week later you’re out there like the rest of us trying to scrape together the daily minimum requirement of rides, and the week after that, and the next year, ad infinitum. Hunger drives surfers. The sport has its romantic and exciting moments, but mostly it’s just base, simple, interested only in repetition. Hard to get an elevator pitch from that.

Chasing Maverick’s won’t move Hollywood any closer to the mark. I didn’t even have to watch the trailer to figure that out. I just listened to it. The ominous single-wallop bass drum, the cymbal crash, the wailing Top Gun guitar riff. It’s the sound of 20th Century Fox trying to frog-march me to a tame PG-rated climax.

Anybody remember Surf’s Up? The animated one with the cute surfing penguins? No joke, that was the one time Hollywood got it right. Don’t take the sport so seriously, in other words. More penguins, less drama.

If somebody ever hands me a bracket to fill out for All-Time Best Surf Villain, and if these two giants are on opposite sides of the draw, I’ve got the Joker (TV version, 1966) vs Tank Evans from Surf’s Up in the finals, with Tank getting the nod.

Encyclopedia of Surfing

As far as big-screen surf gurus go (further than you might think, it turns out), I spent a full two days last week putting together this field guide, then logged extra time on Facebook in polite debate about the ass-kicking outcome of Chandler (North Shore) vs Bear (Big Wednesday). I punted by saying young sober Bear beats Chandler, but old drunk Bear obviously isn’t even in the game. Kahuna, Big Z, Frosty, and others are also examined, and video clips are included, which means you should be speaking fluent surf guru by midweek.

If you like your surf heroes family-friendly but not dull, spend a little time with 1980s world tour Aussie backbencher Terry Richardson. The man knew his way around a tube (new edit here), and his Above the Roar interview, which includes a nice bit on how to mix surfing and domestic responsibility, will warm your heart.

Encyclopedia of Surfing

Finally, I hope EOS 2.0 is treating you well. We’re still making minor adjustments and tweaks, so please get back to me with comments or questions or any kind of troubleshooting. Also: is anybody getting duplicates on the Sunday Joint?

Thanks for reading, and see you next week!