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log 05.28.17

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As cliche’ as it may sound, Linn Lundgren and Petter Toremalm are living the dream. For real. They reside in a turn-of-the-century villa tucked amidst the jungle, less than a kilometer from the balmy Indian ocean in southern Sri Lanka. They’ve got an antique Land Rover, a dozen dogs, and unlimited coconuts. But more importantly, they’ve got a speed that the lifestyle of Sri Lanka allows. At a pace that is steady and relaxed, the young founders of Sunshine Stories surf and yoga retreat busy their days with work and pleasure, but most impressively, blur that line making both one-in-the-same.  I was welcomed into their home with great hospitality and thoroughly enjoyed the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor. Their design aesthetic is a breezy mix of Scandinavian design (they are Swedish ex-pats) with obvious influence from tropics; native banana plants in concrete pots, white-washed stucco interior, big windows with great afternoon light. Their property is impressive, but cozy and of course close to the beach. I thank them for allowing me to pay a visit, try the homemade dhal, and borrow a few Bing Surfboards.

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Kassia Meador’s knee-knocking cool has come to define a generation of surfing. Deemed the “queen of noseriding” by the New York Times, her poised form floating through the pocket of a first point runner is seared in the minds of anybody who has seen her surf. Born in 1982, Meador grew up a short drive from Malibu up through the serpentine canyons that lead to Westlake Village. In 2011, she’d take second place on the ASP Women’s Longboard Tour. Two years before, her surfing featured prominently in Thomas Campbell’s film The Present. Aside from her Tudor-esque style that’s hard to forget, her exuberance in and out of the water is unmistakable. You’d be hard pressed to find photographs of Meador without a gleaming grin stretched across her face. In the past few years, Meador has gone on to build and grow her own company, KASSIA+SURF, which makes wetsuits and gear for women spanning tops, long-janes, spring suits, and full suits in countless variations of color and design.

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In the gray and ludge-trodden depths of New York’s winter, a glimmer of hope flashed into a long-quiet Whatsapp thread on my phone: two friends would be available for a surf trip in May.

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Born in 1957 in Newport, Australia, Derek Hynd joined the world tour in 1979—a year after graduating college—and retired from competition at twenty-five in 1982. Hynd had gone blind in his right eye after being struck by his board in 1980, but he continued to compete and turned a few heads finishing seventh on the tour in 1981, his best result. Afterward, Hynd became a coach to the Rip Curl surf team, coaching up-starts like Jamie Brisick and went on to become a writer and remains a standout surf journalist. But Hynd’s most well known feat might be becoming analogous to “free fiction” surfing as he calls it. He has undoubtedly come to be known as a pioneer in how one can draw a line along a wave’s face. Many refer to it as finless surfing. But whatever you call it, Hynd remains paramount to the pursuit, developing boards and approaches in a milieu of their own. Since the ‘80s, Hynd has appeared in countless surf films such as Litmus (where his signature highline arch came to pass as the visual signifier of the film 20 years from its outset), and his byline has appeared again and again in places like The Surfer’s Journal and Surfer among others. If you need a reminder of how beautiful surfing can be, take a look at videos of Hynd out at his home away from home in Jeffrey’s Bay or revisit Litmus. Some of my fondest memories of spending time in Jeffrey’s Bay were checking the waves at dawn to find Hynd out at the top of Supers and to see him out there as the sun ebbed each day.

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Leila Hurst is a professional surfer darting around the world as a freesurfer. She lives in California and grew up in Kauai. At 23 years old, she’s a bright flare in professional surfing, abstaining from the competitive bric-a-brac, although she laid claim to the 2011 World Junior Championships flexing her competitive prowess. This regular foot’s strengths really shine at groomed right points, arcs and wraps punctuated with poised head dips and sharp lines which have made her the only woman on the Vans surf team. Take a look at what she had to say about the pursuit that became a living.

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Meet John and Rikki Balk, a couple of born and raised South Bay natives who call Manhattan Beach home with their two kids Koa and Ruby, and dog Hoale. Just a stone’s throw to the Pacific Ocean at El Porto, their two story townhouse sits up on the hill with a perfect view of the surf lineup and sunsets every evening over the water. Rikki has designed and decorated the beautiful surf-inspired house herself from top to bottom and her paintings even adorn the walls throughout. John is a local ripper who started Auctiv, an all natural sunscreen brand with his friends. A couple years ago, the Balk’s world was turned upside down when John was diagnosed with brain cancer. After undergoing brain surgery, he had a seizure that left half of his body paralyzed and since then he’s been on an intense road to recovery learning how to talk, read, walk, and eventually surf again. Hearing both John and Rikki talk in a positive tone about everything they’ve been through with two young kids at their side is nothing short of inspiring. Their story teaches us that every day is truly a gift and we must live each day like it is our last.

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On assignment in Morocco, Alex Wilson read an email from Scott Hulet about possibly joining the team at The Surfer’s Journal. Wilson booked a flight to California as fast as he possibly could to sit down with Hulet, the pen and paper left in Morocco. Two and a half years later, Wilson says it’s the best job he’s ever had. Wilson’s a writer of fiction and non-fiction, East-Coaster, literary nerd, and one of the most thoughtful, generous, and helpful editors that I have had the pleasure to work with. For a long time, Wilson worked at SURFER magazine as an editor before joining TSJ as their deputy editor. In between, he moved back East for his MFA at the New School in New York City. Then, he’d push back and forth from the east end of Long Island to the city, surfing here and there, wandering the city at night, and reading and writing like all hell. Now, he lives up in the hollows of Central California with his wife, daughter, and gang of animals. He’s currently churning out stories for TSJ, honing the work of others, working on a collection of short stories, and a novel. We don’t have enough real estate to list his accolades, but you can find his fiction in Story Quarterly, the Southwest Review, and the anthology, New Stories from the Southwest from the University of New Mexico; and look for his non-fiction in Byliner, Surfer, Surfing, TSJ, and the San Diego Union Tribune among others. Recently, Wilson received honorable mention from The Best American Travel Writing series.

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A rich tale of a young indigenous scientist’s struggle for truth between science and tradition as he enters an industry that many feel is threatening his homeland. His complex journey through the inner workings of GMO chemical companies and traditional Hawaiian elders reveals ancient values that can save our future.

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The day before this interview I told Julien we should make the three hour trip from New York City to Montauk to catch the tail end of a juicy swell. For one reason or another we didn’t, but when we arrived Tony made us pay. “Yesterday was unbelievable,” he said. “Seriously, as good as Ditch Plains gets.” Then he really cranked it up. “It was breaking from the trailer park all the way through the jetty, glassy, 10 people in the water, unreal. It was spectacular – it looked like somewhere else.” After recovering from a nauseating bout of envy, we settled in to ask Tony about his life as a pro longboarder and his enduring love for his home town, Montauk.

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“Woza” (“Come” in Zulu) tells the story of an African surfer who has been taken as a lover by the African water spirit Mami Wata. It features 22 year-old Transkei surfer, Avuyile Ndamase. Check out this rad new surf brand here:

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Directed by Keith Malloy, Fishpeople tells the stories of a unique cast of characters who have dedicated their lives to the sea. From surfers and spearfishers to a long-distance swimmer, a former coal miner and a group of at-risk kids on the streets of San Francisco, it’s a film about the transformative effects of time spent in the ocean – and leaving behind our limitations to find deeper meaning in the saltwater wilderness that lies just beyond the shore. Individuals featured in the film include Dave Rastovich (surfer), Matahi Drollet (surfer/fisherman), Lynne Cox (open-water swimmer), Ray Collins (photographer), Eddie Donnellan (youth worker) and Kimi Werner (spearfisher). Fishpeople will show in 13 US cities, premiering at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas, Calif on April 13. The complete tour schedule can be found here. The film will be available to the general public starting July 2017 on iTunes and other VOD platforms.

patagonia.com

Janna Irons is like many in this series: an all-out creative. She came up through the magazine world and was born in Hanalei, Kauai—born to the venerated Irons family. Bruce and Andy Irons (1978-2010) are Janna’s cousins. She’s the former managing editor of SURFER magazine and the founder of the short lived but adored publication, Salted magazine. Since leaving SURFER three years ago, she’s worked for many magazines and creative agencies as a freelancer. And recently, she and her husband lived out of a van and worked remotely for a full year, replete of the quotidian rhythms. Now the two live in Eastern Washington where they’re restoring a 1909 craftsman bungalow. Irons still opined that Rincon was her favorite wave.

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