Creative Kin | Baja

“Maybe we should just burn it,” joked woodworking artist Jay Nelson, looking at the gorgeous wooden A-frame structure that he had built with the help of a dozen or so of his fellow Vissla Creators & Innovators.

Ending the trip with a fire ritual would have made a strange sort of sense, as there was something Burning Man-esque about this particular adventure in Northern Baja. The wooden sculpture sat on a bluff overlooking a dazzling stretch of the Pacific and was flanked by a mobile shaping bay just a few yards away, and a glassing tent a stone’s throw down the hill from there. The entire headland had been a buzzing hive of activity all week, with an eclectic group of creative surfers working together on art projects and shaping and glassing surfboards.

There was a late night resin rave, when master glasser Alex “Superwolf” Villalobos did abstract laminations while the rest of the crew watched through Mexican lager-tinted lenses and blasted strange music. Boards with names like “The Pschadelic Cow” and “The Sphinxster” came into being. Donald Brink made a set of fins that could probably be used to hunt wild game if civilization crumbled and you needed squirrel meat bad enough.

But just as fascinating as the things being built on land were the lines being drawn in the water, as the crew assembled each morning at the cliff’s edge, surveying the swell, selecting their craft and sharing some glassy peaks. From Hawaiian Cliff Kapono’s timeless knock-knee approach to filmmaker Jack Coleman’s finless joyriding, there was no shortage of aquatic inspiration for the group to feed off of.

Press play to watch highlights from the truly unique meeting of the minds in Northern Baja, featuring Derrick Disney, Cliff Kapono, Donald Brink, Thomas Campbell, Nick Melanson, Jay Nelson, Evan Marks, Jack Coleman, Alex “Superwolf” Villalobos, Jeff McCallum, Mitch King, Travis Reynolds, Jason Woodside and Danny Hess.

Should The Next Cape Fear Event Run at This Brazilian Slab? SURFER

Triple-ups, waves thicker than they are tall, below-sea-level slabs, tow-ins--we must be talking about Shipstern Bluff, right? Not exactly. Itacoatiara, Brazil--as we discovered last week on social media--is home to some very heavy waves. The latest discovery, a wave named "Shock", has caught the eye of local pros and tow teams. Last week, Daniel Rodrigues, Felipe Cesarano, Gabriel Sampaio, Ian Vas and Ziul Andueza whipped into a handful of these Brazilian mutant waves and they have the edit above to show for it.

What's strange and equally is impressive is that this new wave is both a slab and a wedge, a bounce off the cliff adds an extra element of surprise. See for yourself in this little edit filmed by Lucca Biot and Matheus Couto.

The Wedge Welcomes The First South Swell of the Summer | SURFER

It's not uncommon for California to see early frontrunner south swells as early as March. That was not the case this year. Mother Nature was stubborn, giving us our first taste of summertime south swells in mid-May. While most beachbreaks saw walled corduroy with some frayed ends to race, some spots stood out more than others. The Wedge was one of those spots.

Here are a couple of the best rides from the morning of May 14th. Tommy Cantrell, Sage Burke, Johnny Weber and friends made good use of a semi-surfable session at Newport's most infamous A-frame closeout.

Madsteez is a Surfer and Artist with a Psychedelic Color Palette

Last weekend, in the parking lot of a Rip Curl store located just a stone's throw from Swamis in Encinitas, CA, a street artist who goes by the moniker Madsteez stood on top of a towering ladder with a spray can in his hand. A crowd of locals watched as he put the finishing touches on a large-scale mural he had been painting for days on the shop's façade. With each new layer of paint, a vivid, barreling righthander came to life. A Kaleidoscope of color–gradients of yellows, oranges, reds, purples and blues—blended together on an acid-drenched wave face.

The mural, which you can now glimpse while cruising north on the 101, stamped the new collaboration between Rip Curl and the artist formally known as Madsteez–or, if you know him personally, as Mark Paul Deren. For over a decade, Madsteez has garnered international recognition for his brightly-colored, large-scale exterior paintings–mostly renditions of characters, both strange and familiar, depicted with purple faces in front of graphic backgrounds. Just recently, while visiting Australia, Madsteez daubed the faces of Mick Fanning, Tyler Wright and Gabriel Medina on the front of the Bells Beach Rip Curl store.

When he's not painting huge renderings on the side of buildings, Madsteez spends his free time surfing. Madsteez claims that his first passion is, first and foremost, riding waves. According to the edit above—wherein which Rip Curl team rider Mason Ho interviews the artist–his trademark color palette was partly inspired by the tropical-hued sunsets he would see while on surf trips to Bali.

“The sunsets were so violet and they would go these crazy oranges and then burning reds so it was almost me witnessing that for the first time and coming back home and being so inspired and that's when I just started painting,” says Madsteez.

But his obsession with surfing wasn’t the only thing that guided him as an artist. Madsteez was born blind on one eye, but rather than seeing nothing at all in his bling eye, the artist now sees “wild ass colors,” as he describes it, through his left eye. This, he explains, is the main reason he paints his subjects as purple beings. “Everything stems from how I see the world,” he says. “At the time [when he was diagnosed] there was 60 known cases. It’s this weird, rare anomaly that's creating art from how I see out of my blind eye.”

“Everything I create, I first and foremost create for myself,” says Madsteez. “And it’s so wild to step back and look at something that may have just been a white wall before and I can transform worlds by what I can do. And that is so wild and I get super excited every time that happens.”

Pacific Wave Surf Shop Wins Northwest Oakley Surf Shop Challenege Regional Qualifer

Pacific Wave Surf Shop of Santa Cruz has won the Oakley Surf Shop Challenge Northwest regional qualifier. After failing to make the finals in 2018 and giving up the regional title to Berdels, the now six-time Northwest winners are headed back to Mark & Dave’s place at Playa Colorado to compete for the National Championship.

The stage was set for the nine shops competing in stop three of the Oakley Surf Shop Challenge with overcast skies and clean 2-4ft waves at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz. Four squads would advance to the finals after three opening qualifier heats. The squad representing Freeline Surf Shop with Nat Young and father-son duo Peter Mel and John Mel secured the highest team score in round one with a 34.74. Channel Islands Surfboards, O’Neill Surf Shop, and Pacific Wave Surf Shop would also qualify for the final round.

During the final heat, Nat Young opened scoring for Freeline with a solid 9.7, the event’s high score, but time management would prove a key strategic factor as wave conditions became a little inconsistent. As seasoned Oakley Surf Shop Challenge veterans, the squad from Pacific Wave Surf Shop managed their time well and completed the heat in first place with a total team tally of 30.3. Freeline Surf Shop threatened a close second (total 29.73) but the dwindling clock would not allow their final surfer to catch more than one score-able wave, a 2.9.

Congratulations to Pacific Wave Surf Shop team members Randy Bonds, Austin Smith-Ford, Emmett Balassone, Alessandro Slebir on their Northwest OSSC title.

“We’re super excited,” said Pacific Wave’s Austin Smith-Ford. “It was the first year being back at The Lane and my whole team was feeling right at home. I can’t believe we won, the teams were all so good this year and we had a really competitive final that came down to the wire. We couldn’t be any happier and we’ll see you soon Nicaragua!”

The Nixon Base Tide PRO-formance Award was presented to Sam Coffey of O’Neill Surf Shop for his lofty frontside air reverse to the flats in the finals.

Here is the full #SURFSHOPCHALLENGE 2019 schedule & waiting period

2019 Oakley Surf Shop Challenge ScheduleMarch 29 – Southwest – Seaside Reef, Cardiff, CA

WINNER: Surf Ride Oceanside

April 24 – Southeast – New Smyrna Beach Inlet, New Smyrna Beach, FL

WINNER: Sunrise Surf Shop

May 9 – Northwest – Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz, CA

WINNER: Pacific Wave Surf Shop

June 6/7 – West – 54th or 56th Street, Newport Beach, CA

July 11/12 – Hawaii – Ala Moana Bowls, South Shore, HI

August 13/14 – Mid-Atlantic – Outer Banks, Nags Head, NC

September 9-13 – National Championship – Mark & Dave’s, Playa Colorado, Nicaragua

The Best Surf Clips From the Month of April 2019

April saw the full spectrum of entertaining surf edits, which made the grading and ranking of the best ones more than a tad complicated. Luke Hynd took a trip to Ireland and locked into more than a few frigid death slabs, securing a spot on the list. Tanner Gudauskas, Shane Borland and super-grom Jackson Dorian all made the ranks for the high-performance shows they put on in Waco, Texas. But in the end, it was Leroy Bellet's stunning footage of Michel Bourez at Teahupo'o that earned the top spot. The full episode of "Chasing the Shot"--wherein Bellet breaks down the horrifying process of getting towed in behind surfers in massive barrels in order to capture unique angles--is worth a watch in its entirety. But in the meantime, check out the top 10 surf clips from the month of March.

#1 Michel Bourez | Teahupo’o, Tahiti
Filmed by Leroy Bellet/Redbull

#2 Tanner Gudauskas | Waco, Texas
Filmed by Alex Kilauano

#3 Nick von Rupp | Mullaghmore, Ireland
Filmed by Felix Gänsicke

#4 Filipe Toledo | Gold Coast, Australia
Filmed by WSL/Red Bull

#5 Reef Heazlewood | Gold Coast, Australia
Filmed by WSL/Red Bull

#6 Jack Robinson | Northwest Australia
Filmed by Volcom

# 7 Shane Borland | Waco, Texas
Filmed by Ryan Johnson

#8 Griffin Colapinto | Northern California
Filmed by Perry Gershkow

#9 Jackson Dorian | Waco, Texas
Filmed by Shane Dorian

#10 Luke Hynd | Ireland
Filmed by Darcy Ward

Shop Chronicles: Inside Harbour Surfboards

In our video series, “Surf Shop Chronicles”, we celebrate the most iconic surf shops in America—and none has a more storied local history than Harbour Surfboards, located in Seal Beach, California. The 60-year-old shop is rooted in the art of shaping high-quality surfboards, an ethos fostered by owner Rich Harbour, who crafted his first surfboard at the age of 16 in his parents’ garage. Since the opening of his eponymous enterprise in 1959, he and his team have created more than 32,000 boards.

Rich Harbour might be best known for his open-door policy--giving a home to some of surfing's greatest influences. Besides putting together an all-star surf team in the '60s--which included Jock Sutherland, Corky Carroll, Bill Fury, Herbie Fletcher, Mark Martinson, Richard Chew and countless other legends--Harbour was best known for his hands-on approach and making his surf shop a place for everyone to hang at. Dick Brewer spent his first year shaping under Harbour. Surf photographer and photo editor Larry "Flame" Moore's first water housing was built by Harbour. Steve Pezman spent his early journalism years hanging around the shop, as did Gerry Lopez during his California travels. Needless to stay, Harbour's generosity has left a mark on his community and continues to do so today.

Sunrise Surf Shop Wins Southeast Oakley Surf Shop Challenge Regional Qualifier

SURFER Magazine is excited to announce that one of the most consistent teams in Oakley Surf Shop Challenge history, Sunrise Surf Shop, has won the Southeast regional qualifier. The eleven-time winners have secured a spot to compete at the National Championship event in Nicaragua with their sights now set on claiming a sixth overall Shop Challenge title.

Competitors were greeted with peaky 2-4ft waves and beautiful sunny Florida skies at New Smyrna Beach Inlet for stop two of the Oakley Surf Shop Challenge. Out of eight teams who took to the water for qualifying, the squad representing Red Dog Surf Shop led the opening round with a combined score of 37.61. Defending Southeast champs Sunrise Surf Shop squeaked into the finals with a fourth-place seed behind the teams from Aqua East and Quiet Flight NSB.

During the final heat, Sunrise Surf Shop displayed an ultra-consistent performance with no one on the team scoring a wave lower than a 6.67. Sitting comfortably on a total team tally of 37.27, a full 7.05 points ahead second place finishers Red Dog Surf Shop, their domination continued and they raised Southeast qualifier trophy for the eleventh time in Surf Shop Challenge history.

“This year was a little different,” said Sunrise Surf Shop’s Cody Thompson. “We squeaked through to get to the final so we had to figure things out and switch up our order. There was a lot of serious ripping this year so we had a more nerves than normal but were able to close it out in the final. We always really look forward to this event and we’re super stoked to be going back to Nicaragua to try and get some redemption this year!”

Congratulations to Sunrise Surf Shop team members Tristan Thompson, Evan Thompson, Cody Thompson, Adam Harrel on taking their eleventh Southeast win.

The Nixon Base Tide PRO-formance Award was presented to DJ Buchanan of Red Dog Surf Shop for his frontside full rotation air during the qualifying round.

New for 2019, the Nixon Base Tide PRO-formance Award is presented to the athlete who performs the most radical and progressive maneuver during competition at each event, as decided by the judging panel. Winners receive a custom 2019 Nixon Base Tide Pro watch and other Nixon accessories.

Special thanks to Oakley, SURFER and event partners Body Glove, Flexfit, Futures, Nixon, Mark & Dave’s, Merge 4, Reef, and Yeti for their support, without which the Surf Shop Challenge series would not be possible.

Up next is the Northwest regional qualifier at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz, CA where Berdels will look to defend their 2018 regional qualifying win to renew their ticket to the Oakley Surf Shop Challenge National Championships at Mark & Dave’s in Nicaragua.

Beyrick De Vries and Friends Tour Africa in "Higher Light" | SURFER Magazine

Principle Cinematography: Steven Michelsen, Ryan Janssens, Perry Gershkow

Edited: Steven Michelsen and Brett Shaw

Russell Bierke and Friends Charge Slab South of Sydney | SURFER

Slab hunting on the south coast of Australia is to surfing what fly fishing is to Montana. Plots of shallow reefs, crowded with surfers and their well-established pecking orders are as common here as anywhere. Sydney, and south of it, runs deep with some of the best surf set-ups in all the country. It’s a hub of world-class slab potential.

In this latest edit, Russell Bierke, Nathan Bartlett, Aron Cox, Keanu Miller and Dyl Robo trade-off paddle-ins and whip-ins at a particularly hairy slab south of Sydney. It’s two minutes-plus of footage we’ve curated from the talented cinematic visionary Tyge Landa. Consider this a small precursor to what should be very active fall/winter Australia season. Just look at what went down last year along this coastline here, here, and here. Needless to say, stay tuned.

Kolohe Andino Owns Clips of the Month for March 2019

March stirred a whole lot of variety into the melting pot of "Clips of the Month". Jordy Smith snuck away to East Africa to link beastly carves and barrels, Nathan Florence locked in the most dramatic POV shot we've ever seen at Waimea Bay, Ian Crane got uber-tech on his backhand and oh so much more. But at the end of the day, it was the style and cleanliness of Kolohe's ever-lofty backside grab reverse at San Clemente Pier that undoubtedly marked him the winner for March. Not only was it a stellar move, but the edit itself is filled with incredible surfing and adds some high-end water cinematography from the incredibly talented Pat Stacy (click here to re-watch in its entirety). This edit will be a force to be reckoned with come the 2019 SURFER Awards. But for now, his ender clip will take the cake this month.

#1 Kolohe Andino | San Clemente, California

Filmed by Jacob Vanderwork

#2 Nathan Florence | Waimea Bay, Hawaii

Filmed by Nathan Florence

#3 Ian Crane | Northern California

Filmed by Jacob Vanderwork

#4 Nic Von Rupp | Nazaré, Portugal

Filmed by Pedro Miranda

#5 Matt Bromley | Mullaghmore, Ireland

Filmed by Andrew Kaineder

#6 Koa Smith | Off The Wall, Hawaii

Filmed by: Lucca Biot

#7 Jack Freestone | Gold Coast, Australia

Filmed by Scotty Hammonds

#8 Jay Davies | Indonesia

Filmed by RVCA

#9 Chippa Wilson | Waco, Texas

Filmed by Ryan Mack

#10 Jordy Smith | East Africa

Filmed by Wesley Lewis

Hunting Slabs Along the Irish Coast | Scenes From Cold Water Journal

Sometimes cold water can be a blessing. Think of Ireland, for example: it holds some of the most incredible barrels, rippable walls and beautiful landscape that you'll find at any surf destination on the planet. Oh yeah, and there's an abundance of Guinness. Now, can you imagine how crowded it would be if it had 75 degree water? Every break would look like Lower Trestles.

Luckily it's cold as hell, and surfers like Justin Quintal, Cody Thompson and Nate Zoller can still find themselves locked into crystal vortexes on the Emerald Isle with relatively light crowds, which is exactly what they did a few years back with filmmaker Ben Weiland in tow. The clip above is from Ben's latest film, "Coldwater Journal", which documents his longtime obsession with chasing perfect, uncrowded waves to some of the earth's chilliest fringes.

To read more about “Coldwater Journal,” click here for an interview with Ben:

To watch the full film, click here to find it on iTunes: ;amp;ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Ireland's Mullaghmore Slab is a Cold Water Teahupo'o | Amp Sessions | SURFER Magazine

With big-wave spots like Jaws and Mavs taking center stage over the winter and early spring months, it's easy to forget that those breaks don’t have a monopoly on mountainous, terrifying tubes. Above, a cadre of hardy Irish surfers remind us that Hawaii and California aren't the only places inhabited by hollow, harrowing waves and hard-charging hellmen. The two minutes of footage showcase surfers Gearoid McDaid, Enda Curran, Ryan Watts, Angus Scotney, Noah Lane and Conor Macguire tackling an infamous Mullaghmore—pulling into throaty caverns with timing that demonstrates years of home-court knowledge and experience. If you've ever worn booties and gloves thicker than 3-mill, you're aware of how incredibly difficult it is to surf average waves covered head to toe in a suffocating amount of neoprene. Now imagine slotting yourself into Mack-truck-sized tubes donning that much rubber.

Surf Ride Oceanside Crowned as Southwest Oakley Surf Shop Challenge Regional Champs

SURFER Magazine is pleased to announce the completion of stop one of the 2019 Oakley Surf Shop Challenge. Cooperating winds and peaky 3-4ft+ waves throughout the day made conditions at Seaside Reef in Cardiff, CA prime for the thirteen shops who competed for top southwest honors and the coveted ticket to Nicaragua.

After four qualifying rounds in clean morning conditions five squads secured their positions in the final. Shops represented in the final heat were Hanger 94, Rusty Del Mar, Sun Diego Mission Beach, Surf Ride Oceanside, and Surf Ride Solana Beach. Conditions proved to be a little trickier for the final round as light onshore winds began to threaten.

Surf Ride Oceanside was consistent through the entire day, finishing with the second highest team score behind Sun Diego Mission Beach in round one and then carrying that momentum to the finals where they had strong start. Early in the final round, their second surfer, team rider Levi Slawson, whammied his first wave, a 9.40 (total wave score 18.80) that proved critical towards their total point tally. With the final heat coming to close, Rusty Del Mar’s fourth and final surfer was unable to secure the 8.71 required to take the lead, thus crowning Surf Ride Oceanside as the winners. The 2018 Oakley Surf Shop Challenge National Champions will now have the chance to defend their title in Nicaragua.

“The waves were a bit all over the place but we were able to get a few good ones”, said Surf Ride team rider Levi Slawson about the final heat. “I happened to get a perfect wave, the 9.4 whammy, and then all the boys just clutched it up and now we’re going to Nicaragua!”

Congratulations to Surf Ride Oceanside team members Braeden Steele, Levi Slawson, Brent Reilly, Tanner Waite on taking the Southwest win. The 2019 win marks the eighth Southwest regional Surf Shop Challenge title for Surf Ride Oceanside. (2019, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2009, 2008)

The Nixon Base Tide PRO-formance Award was presented to Surf Ride Oceanside competitor Levi Slawson for his aggressive backside tail release to airdrop during his team’s qualifying round.

New for 2019, the Nixon Base Tide PRO-formance Award is presented to the athlete who performs the most radical and progressive maneuver during competition at each event, as decided by the judging panel. Winners receive a custom 2019 Nixon Base Tide Pro watch and other Nixon accessories.

Special thanks to Oakley, SURFER and event partners Body Glove, Flexfit, Futures, Nixon, Mark & Dave’s, Merge 4, Reef, and Yeti for their support, without which the Surf Shop Challenge series would not be possible.

Up next is the Southeast regional qualifier at New Smyrna Beach Inlet, New Smyrna Beach, FL where Sunrise Surf Shop will look to build on their regional dominance for a chance to compete at the Oakley Surf Shop Challenge National Championship in Nicaragua.

Here is the full #SURFSHOPCHALLENGE 2019 schedule & waiting period:

2019 Oakley Surf Shop Challenge Schedule

• March 29 – Southwest – Seaside Reef, Cardiff, CA
o WINNER: Surf Ride Oceanside
• April 24/25 – Southeast – New Smyrna Beach Inlet, New Smyrna Beach, FL
• May 9/10 – Northwest – Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz, CA
• June 6/7 – West – 54th or 56th Street, Newport Beach, CA
• July 11/12 – Hawaii – Ala Moana Bowls, South Shore, HI
• August 13/14 – Mid-Atlantic – Outer Banks, Nags Head, NC
• September 9-13 – National Championship – Mark & Dave’s, Playa Colorado, Nicaragua

A Once-In-A-Lifetime Russian Surf Adventure | Scenes from Coldwater Journal

To watch the full film, click here to find it on iTunes:

Back in 2012, photographer Chris Burkard, along with cinematographer Ben Weiland, set out on a once-in-a-lifetime surf adventure to one of the remote surf destinations in the world: The Kamchatka Peninsula. Burkard and Weiland spent months planning this expedition, inviting surf-travel junkies Keith Malloy, Cyrus Sutton, Dane Gudauskas and Trevor Gordon to their Arctic mission when visa finally cleared and the strike was on.

In "Coldwater Journal"--a new 44-minute, full-length film--director and cinematographer Ben Weiland revisits Kamchatka, Russia with a fresh perspective. To read more about “Coldwater Journal,” click here for an interview with Weiland: