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log 11.22.17

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Venice


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Let’s face it, there’s only one true guarantee in this life: we are all going to die. You know it, I know it, everyone knows it, yet somehow we just can’t accept it. We run and shy away from the very thought of it. Australian artist and director, Stefan Hunt has made it his mission to explore the notion of fear as it relates to death — and life for that matter. In doing so, he has taken a more light-hearted approach to the most dismal of topics and created a very ambitious, multi-media project which culminates in a Festival this weekend in Sydney. Since we cannot make the event in person, we caught up with Stefan recently via the interwebs to tell us all about his epic project and what festival-goers can expect.

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An inextricable part of SURFER’s photo department for the past ten years, Todd Glaser has become synonymous with surfing. Even outside the bubble, if you have seen a surf photo, you have more than likely seen one of Glaser’s. Hell, he’s one of the go-to guys for surfers as varied as Kelly Slater or Joel Tudor and for good reason. Everyone could learn a thing or a volume from Glaser. The water crazed San Diegan has established himself as one of our most revered water photographers, and his work has appeared in countless publications such as in The New York Times, Outside, Men’s Health, and GQ. His photographs have even been shown at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. And when his face isn’t buried in a camera, he can be found searching up and down the coast in San Diego county or hanging with his wife, Jenna. Sometimes, he like to sleep on his laptop. Earlier this year, Glaser published a book in partnership with Taylor Steele’s film, Proximity. Beyond that, he was the first photographer invited to Kelly Slater’s ground breaking Surf Ranch. Take note of this fellow’s rhythms. We’re honored to have him included here.

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Suffolk Park is a suburb in the Byron Shire of the Northern Rivers region in New South Wales, Australia. It is five kilometers south of Byron Bay and home to one of the best waves in the area: Broken Head. In this coastal haven lives Celeste Twikler, a free-spirited surfer and jewelry maker with more natural Boho-chic style than a van full of gypsies at Coachella. Her home came with the bones of the perfect beach shack, complete with a large front porch, timber walls and plenty of natural light inside. Since moving in, Celeste has renovated one space at a time and now lives in a picturesque, cozy dwelling where every nook has been considered and designed in her own style with an eye for unique vintage finds. As a self-professed outdoor shower aficionado, I must add that I think Celeste has a real future in backyard shower design in case the whole jewelry thing doesn’t work out.

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“Northeast fishing villages all have their local watering holes. Fortunately for those of us who live in Montauk, we have The Dock. This small, dark tavern embodies Montauk — from the happy hour regulars sitting outside draft in hand, to the homestyle cooking, to the welcomed feeling as soon as you walk in the door. For so many locals and transients alike, The Dock is a safe haven — an escape from the rapidly changing world around us. Sitting at that bar you experience a sense of community and the special energy that is Montauk. This photography book is my attempt at capturing that slice of Montauk culture by focusing on the visual ephemera, of the many curios and the stories they tell, all located on the walls and shelves of The Dock.” Says photographer Grant Monahan of his new self-published book, “The Dock,” a unique visual tribute to a favorite local bar in his hometown of Montauk, New York. I had the pleasure of catching up with Grant recently at his own storied local establishment on the beach; the Ditch Witch to talk about this beautiful, labor-of-love photo project.

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If you are a surfer and don’t know who Hayden Cox is by now, well, you should. Shaper, designer and founder of Haydenshapes, he has singlehandedly revolutionized the shaping industry with his patented FutureFlex, stringerless technology and created the world’s most popular surfboard design ever: the Hypto Krypto. All this before the age of thirty five. Progression and innovation are two words that immediately come to mind when trying to describe Hayden, the surfboards he designs, and pretty much the way he lives every facet of his life. His recently renovated home in Palm Beach, just north of Sydney is a perfect example of this. It is a modern home overlooking the water that reflects his passions for technology, efficiency, design and minimalism. Hayden has worked harder than most to get to where his is today, so it is refreshing to see that strong work ethic paying off for such an honest and humble prodigy.

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From some far-off residency, away from his home in Los Angeles, Sandow Birk reflected on the ways surfing has informed his life and career considering he’s been a lifetime devotee. Birk works as an artist whose work spans the spectrum from the recent war in Iraq, musings on the Constitution of the U.S., and the Qur’an. He’s represented by Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco, P.P.O.W. in New York City, and Koplin del Rio in Seattle. In his career, he has garnered Fulbright fellowships, NEA grants, and was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in 1996. Along the way, he has spent great swaths of time suspended in water near his local haunts in north Los Angeles, balancing a life amidst being a partner, a father, a surfer, and an artist.

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Jim Olarte is an artist in every sense of the word, from his unique found object works to the way he lives his life. Stepping into his beach bungalow in Laguna Beach is like walking onto another planet — or a scene out of movie mashup of Avatar meets Pirates of the Caribbean. Upon arrival, you are led down a rickety outdoor staircase lined with a yellow, braided snake of nautical rope that stretches almost thirty yards. At the base of the stairs, you are greeted with a scene that is truly out of this world: long tangles of rope braids hang beneath deck ceiling above like colorful jungle vines, found seashells and beach detritus dangle in the form of intricate, hand-made mobiles room dividers and blinds. Then there are tables with his prized beach-combing finds all laid out and organized neatly, like some pirate treasure room of sorts. Jim is a simple and humble man, but like any true artist, he is also a character layered with complexities and eccentricities that are both charming and intriguing. If you are already looking for Jim on Instagram, don’t bother, he’s still rocking a clamshell flip phone. Old school; just what you would expect from a guy who ran one of the hottest and most influential vintage stores in Southern California for decades. After meeting him, I have so many more questions for Jim, but we’ll just start with this interview for now.

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Mia and Jasson are a beautiful and talented creative couple who both hail from the northern beaches of Sydney. Mia is an artist who creates lively paintings that embody elements of magic, mysticism and spirituality in fine lines and expansive color. She also has an organic linen and bedding brand called Taninaka. Jasson on the other hand, is a stylish, professional free surfer who rides for Banks brand. He is also an teacher of Vedic Meditation, an ancient and practical technique that anyone can learn and easily integrate into daily life. After living in Bali for some time, Jasson and Mia moved back to Australia to plant roots and start a family with their two young boys. They now live in an awesome ‘treehouse’ near Byron Bay. This is a couple who I have always admired from afar, so it was a pleasure to finally meet them in person, get a glimpse into their daily routine at home, and to also hear how these traveling free spirits have adapted to parenthood.

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Meet Jamie Smallwood, a man of simple tastes and pleasures who lives completely off the grid in the secluded mountain rainforest area overlooking Byron Bay and all of its glory. Jamie is an architect by trade who focuses on sustainability in his design projects whenever he can. His own home is a shining example of this; everything is recycled in some way. From the stacked, used shipping container structure, to the well-designed out house made of leftover materials, the palette wood patio, beer keg sauna, hempcrete walls, to even his own DIY surfboard quiver (by fashioning odd shortboard shapes out of broken longboards), Jamie “lets none of the beast go to waste” so to speak. I had the pleasure of meeting Jamie at his very own Fortress of Solitude on a recent trip to Australia where we discussed design / build challenges, the changing hippy culture of Byron Bay, and the pros & cons of an off-the-grid lifestyle.

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Born somewhere in the Canal Zone’s lush understory, Karina Petroni was born traveling. As an activist, traveler, and professional surfer, Petroni has garnered a number of accolades to demonstrate her time in and out of the water. In 2008, she was the top surfer on the World Championship Tour, still the last woman to join the ranks from the East Coast. She’s acted, served as a conservation ambassador, modeled, taken up public speaking, among operating sea planes. Today, Petroni finds herself out in the Central Exumas of the Bahamas, often taking off on trips with her husband David. We pinned Petroni down for a quick run-down of her take on surfing with all this in mind.

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Surfing is lucky to have characters like Peter Schroff. Eccentric, complex, artistic, bold, and most importantly; different. In the surf world, the name Schroff is synonymous with the Echo Beach movement in the 80s. His colorful shortboards were a must have for any high performance surfer during that period. Everything from the board graphics to the print ads for the Schroff brand were drastically different from anything else in surfing at the time. Flash forward to present day; Peter is still marching to the beat of his own drum and very much an enigma. He moved from Newport Beach to Venice 31 years ago and works as a professional set designer and installation artist operating under his design studio, Superlove, but still finds time to create new unique board designs in his home shaping bay. Upon meeting this tall, quirky, sixty-something-year-old figure, you would never assume that he shaped some of the most iconic, progressive boards in modern surfing. His home is more like an art piece – or art exhibit (depending on your interpretation of the a-word). Each room in his front house has a different theme ranging from a medieval breakfast nook with antlers covering the ceiling, to a vibrant Hawaiiana dojo, to a Japanese geisha-like living room. Then in stark contrast, there’s his back house, a prototype of futuristic minimalism. Lengthy novels could be written about this man and even just his home, but for now we must settle on this brief interview.

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Chas Smith is a luminous figure in surfing, an adept journalist, and author. Born in San Jose, California in 1976, Smith’s family uprooted and landed in Coos Bay, Oregon where he learned to surf. After studying intercultural studies in undergrad, Smith graduated with a master’s in linguistics, going on to study in Egypt and at Oxford. Following a story he published in Australia Surfing Life about surfing in Yemen in the wake of 9/11, Smith went on to report in Lebanon, Somalia, Israel-Palestine, and wound up a captive of Hezbollah reporting for Current TV. In the early-aughts, Smith worked for Vice. Soon, he joined Stab magazine at the behest of Derek Rielly, then editor-in-chief, and they set in on an unparalleled era in surf journalism. Some of Stab’s more controversial content garnered unsavory public spats that earned Smith some anti-Semitic epithets, and then in 2014, Smith and Reilly began Beach Grit—a deep well of incendiary, tongue-in-cheek honesty drenched in satire, sans filter. He’s now a regular contributor to The Surfer’s Journal, with bylines at Esquire and Playboy, and the author of Paradise, Now Go to Hell, a cultural vignette of Oahu’s North Shore, which was a finalist for the PEN Center USA Award for Nonfiction.

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