Monday, January 9, 2017

Friday, January 6, 2017

History Of Surfing

Matt (or as I like to call him intimately, Matty, or sometimes The Big Mattismo) and I've had a couple back and forths in the "comment & reply" section on Facebook, which basically means we're super tight. I'd say, you know, I reckon, we were approaching best friend category. And then he pulls one of these on me, you know, this History of Surfing website crap. It's a total ripoff. What does he think I'm doing over here, sitting on my hands? Well, to borrow a phrase, I'll just lay claim to EBNY as the Living History of Surfing. Anyhow, I guess his version is alright. I'm not sure where this leaves us in the circle and stuff, but I'll let it slide, forgive the pun.

Happening : Coming up at Picture Farm Gallery

You can buy the seat but you'll only use the edge. The Picture Farm Gallery 2017 Winter Season is about to go full Begbie. First up: Exit Light, a group photo exhibit that features the work of the people who get a touch less attention in the image making world, namely assistants, producers and editors. 

Then, the PF Film Fest returns for its third year with a timely curatorial agenda focused on "alternative" lifestyles, environmental consciousness and political commentary.

Check out to read up and get ready.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Ty Breuer Gets A Deserved Moment

"There are few more passionate and prodigally involved characters in New York City’s surf community than Tyler Breuer. A writer, producer, filmmaker, event manager, and activist, Tyler has played a role in shaping local surf culture his whole life."

So starts Whalebone/Ice Cream Headaches piece on China Ty. He may be the most influential surfy person in the New York area by virtue of sheer stoke output and depth of local knowledge, not to mention a rabidly earnest desire for sensible inclusion and the pedagogy of traditional surfy core values. He is certainly one of the "Walking Archives of the Sport" a title that can only really be boasted by a select few. Ed Thompson and Julien Roubinet have put themselves on an interesting path documenting local surfers in print and copy. Ty is as deserving as any for the spotlight.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Today's Thought

Will "Slightly Sad Surf Porn" be the next thing to hit surf filmmaking? I hope so. Rebecca Olive threw this one our way via her blog, and it is so engaging and perfect in many ways. The next entry into the poetic-realism school of surf filmmaking. What a beauty. Sit down, cut that raw cranberry juice with some seltzer and set aside ten quiet minutes to engage in thoughtfulness, perspective and life.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

1993 Was a Different Year

Geoff Akins sent this through the other day. Geoff, his brother Jay and I. 
Pre San-O run, Laguna Beach, California, ca. 1993

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

This Week In Not Surfing

1. Ankle arthritis is a hard thing to treat. There are, of course, cortisone injections that can help temporarily. There are also viscosupplementation shots or PRP – neither are FDA approved for the ankle and generally come with an out of pocket cost. Bracing or inserts are potentially another option depending on any deformity. Ankle replacements are an option but have a high failure rate – higher than a total knee or total hip. The gold standard for severe osteoarthritis is an ankle fusion.
And so it begins, or continues, or whatever. "Has your ankle affected your surfing yet Toddy?" he asks in his slightly craggly Aussie accent. The question is almost quaint, then piquant. And yet, I cannot answer it in an affirmative, such is the state of my surfing in general. What effects my surfing more, a non-existent ankle or a non-existent surfing? Really, I'm not so sure.

2. Post-Truth. I have been personally post-truth since the practice saved my marriage the second time. The therapist taught us to begin our sentences with "I feel," apparently absolving us of digesting an objective truth while creating onus to gestate the other's subjective truth. There are three sides to every story may very well be the most harmful platitude in the history of democracy.

3. The iTunes shuffle goes from UB40's Reefer Madness to CSNY's Cost of Freedom to Walk on the Wild Side by Lou Reed. That's the kind of week this is.

4. Upon the us who chooses to be us is the realization that the football manager is now a brand item. Flash in the pan, johnny come lately and laden with the expectation of instant success based on a instant formula needing specialized ingredients. Gegenpressing, Tiki-taka, touchline gesticulation, post-match drama, wingback shuttler flyweight career resuscitations! Flavor of the month kool-aid acid test. It's gonna be alright.

5. There were waves at some point in the last week. Somewhere around here. I did not surf again. Not surfing is the new surfing. Has surfing finally passed through it's insipid moment in the cultural sun? I hope so. I think Kelly's wave pool basically killed off the whole mystique. Another reason to love Kelly Slater.

6. Tyler and I meet Derek Hynd for a plate of pasta at the most overtly mafioso-feeling place I've ever eaten since that time my dad took us to dinner in Fregenae when I was ten and I was the only one who ate the calamari and the family eventually got kicked out for eating too much and not paying enough. That's a long story. Derek Hynd is one of the more interesting guys I've somehow managed to be a regular in the company of given the right situation. And it's always great to be in his company with Tyler since Tyler constantly peppers him with the great burning questions of surf lore. And Derek always takes the bait, more than happy to tie a little levity-filled anecdote on to whatever arcane subject Ty brings up. It's like I'm the fly on the wall when someone says "oh to be a fly on that wall." I'm the fly!

7. Beware people who loudly claim to be loyal when the going is good. They're often missing the point that loyalty is a concept meant for when things are going badly. If someone proclaims their loyalty to you and things have always been relatively sunny between you, it probably means you’re being used.

8. Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think.

Happening : Token Benefit for Standing Rock

This thing isn't over by a long shot. Those goons are still at it.
Our goons ought to be still at it as well.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

This Week In Not Surfing

1. The Uber driver wears a silver set of boxing gloves around his neck. When a paunchy and balding sixty-something driving an SUV honks maniacally, nearly running the stop sign and smashing into our Prius, gesticulating wildly, our driver quietly chuckles to himself. Someone from the back seat lightly posits “I think we could take him,” and the Uber driver raises his eyebrows and says he’s pretty sure it wouldn’t be a problem. “Golden Gloves,” he flicks the dangling silver pendant. “My dad started me too early. I was fighting in the ring by the time I was eleven. By 16 I'd beaten everyone. There was no one left. I'm all about pressure points now. You can beat anyone with a pressure point. The cops don’t like it.” I reference a southern Kung Fu style, “ooh, Mantis style? That's illegal. Who taught you? I carry around a taser now. I had a guy make me a taser glove once. The cops got it. I got caught and the cop just took it, didn't even arrest me, wanted it for himself. They’ve got a device they put under the hood that will open every door and latch in your car, electric or mechanical. No joke.” No one jokes.

2. In an effort to keep my life under control I start deleting my Instagram app from my smartphone and downloading it again every time I want to post a picture. This keeps me from mindlessly flicking my thumb at any given spare moment; standing in line, in the kitchen, driving my car. It also spares me the full brunt force anger-envy that wallops me every time I see a shot of a Long Island beach break working in any fashion.

3. I travel to 45 minutes north of Austin, Texas to make a film about a dog. As most things concerning dogs, I learn a lot. 

4. Forgive me father for I have not surfed in weeks. I have not even seen the water, the waves, the sand, the horizon line. The problem is, your highness, that there is a problem with guilt. It’s not that one should not feel guilty, guilt can be an incredibly useful motivator, mentor, best friend. It’s that people seem to feel guilty at all the wrong times.

5. I am often asked how I like my eggs. It is a standard question. At 5:45 in the morning I walk into a fancy restaurant in an airport and ask to be seated at a table with four seats in front of a T.V. showing a rerun of a women’s international soccer game and even though the restaurant is empty, the hostess states she will only seat me at a table for two far away from the T.V. I leave without telling her how I want my eggs. The fact is I almost never know how I want my eggs until the last minute. It can take a slightly embarrassing amount of time to decide, and at the last minute, the waiter tapping his toe, this can be awkward.

6. I stop surfing altogether and am now simply a father in a city. And surfing, the normal kind of surfing, the kind of surfing I still see in magazines, is not part of my normal life. I like being a father though. I like my kids.

7. I would like people to stop using the word ‘just’ around me. Cut that crap out. “Can you just…” “It’s just that…” “Why can’t you just…” “I just feel…” It’s ridiculous. If you can’t figure out why I feel this way, well then you’re just dense.

8. I turn 42 years old and fail to re-elect a slim sliver version of status quo laced with stubborn hope. The actual result feels like a new, scary reality, a dawning of a new, scary era, but in reality it is the dusk of an old scary era. Had I elected the other one, the one I had wanted to elect, it would have simply prolonged a charade. I face a reality. There is the garden variety misogyny, racism, tribalism and strains of ignorance communally tended to in varied states of ignorance and delusion. But I am now firmly in the opposition and I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be opposing.

9. People are asking where we went wrong. Some people say it started with the loss of Glass-Steagell or with Bush V. Gore or with the failure of school desegregation. Some people think it is faulty polling, identity politics or disconnected rhetoric. I personally see a significant correlation with the disappearance of video rental shops.

10. Leonard Cohen died this past week. A long time ago he introduced part of me to the rest of me. For that I am grateful.

11. On the plane to California I watch Ferien “... a prospective district attorney takes her father’s advice to get some rest and relaxation and heads to an island - where she makes friends with a series of strange inhabitants (German with English subtitles.)

12. I try, when able, when not traveling with my children, to wear a suit when I fly. I have a few suits. A very expensive one, which is also the most non-traditional, making it the hardest to find a moment to wear. A cheap ready made black one that I had tailored to fit my oddly shaped body and is worn with a very narrow tie and a white shirt with a collar that is just slightly too large. A medium-dark blue cotton one that I bought at a fancy store in downtown LA and I imagine makes me look slim. And a light blue summery suit that I have worn only once, to Antonio's wedding. On this flight I wear the third suit with a light blue, very thin cotton oxford that opens between the buttons in an embarrassing way that exposes my belly button. But I feel like people treat me well because I am in a suit. Everyone except the people who naturally distrust people who wear suits.

13. I visit Jef and Joce, my French friends who are reopening the mythical, legendary, iconic Brooklyn bar Zebulon in the Los Angeles neighborhood called Frog Town. These two men make me smile, they make me happy, but mostly they make me squirmy. Their massive authenticity and pride, the very apotheosis of manliness sometimes a shade too overwhelming for me. I nod and titter and try to understand everything they say through their shruggingly manly French accents. When all is going badly and I think I may fail, I dream that perhaps after it all I will just move to L.A. and bartend at Zebulon and not surf there either.

14. I visit my mother who has voted for Trump. She had not voted for two presidential elections and then decides to vote for Trump. I ask her incredulously, I say, "you could have voted for McCain, for Romney, for Obama... why did you come out of political retirement to vote ... for Trump?" She coughs a little cough and waves her hands with fingers pleading, "you don't understand, how could you understand? You're not my age! I had to live through Bill Clinton and that, that cigar! I had to bring up my children, trying to explain to them about that Lewinsky girl! I cannot have another Clinton in office." I nod and understand better. Ok, so that left a mark on you, having to explain to your kids about that sort of thing. It really scarred you. A full 24 hours later, sitting in a hotel room bathtub I realize that I, her youngest son, was already a year married and working as a television cameraman in San Francisco when the Lewinsky scandal broke.

15. I text my friend Jamie to see if he'll be in the vicinity while I'm in California. But he'll be in New Smyrna, Florida. I text back, "you know what they say about New Smyrna." "What?" he replies. "A real upgrade!"

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Monday, November 14, 2016



Of all the distantly intimate losses in the last couple years... Lou, David, Prince... this one has hit me hardest. Leonard Cohen was a mentor to me when I needed one in a way unparalleled in my life. Thank you for guiding me through and to.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Happening : Surfer's Blood

SMASH Production is proud to host the New York Premiere of the highly praised SURFERS' BLOOD by award winning photographer and filmmaker Patrick Trefz.  The film premieres Monday, November 21st, 7PM at The Wythe Hotel. SURFERS’ BLOOD tells the universal story of true individuals that share deep bloodlines connected to the sea. From the old world fishing history of the rugged Basque Coast via oar and surfboard shaper Patxi Oliden, to the modern metropolis of San Francisco and the eccentric computer shapes of Apple fame designer Thomas Meyerhoffer. A Sonoma Valley Art Museum that exhibits hydrodynamic surfboards via avant-garde curator/surfer Richard Kenvin, to 3 time Mavericks big wave champ Darryl 'Flea' Virostko's struggle to overcome an almost fatal meth addiction and the bittersweet loss that came with it.

"For me, the film began as a personal interest," he continues. "I see my work as an anthropologist would. Here are these interesting profiles, from figures of different eras and places - from the most preserved villages of the Basque region, to the technological heart of San Francisco, to Santa Cruz - where you have this lineage and this passion for the sea. Let’s see how we can find what makes them different. Let's find what they share." - Patrick Trefz,

Date: Monday, November 21st, 2016
Where: Wythe Hotel: 80 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY
When: 7PM - 9PM
Ticket Price: $20
Live Q&A with the Filmmaker

PATRICK TREFZ lives and works in Santa Cruz, California. He is a director, producer and photographer and is widely acclaimed for two feature-length documentary films, Thread (2007) and Idiosyncrasies (2010). He has directed multiple music videos, commercials and shorts. As a photographer, his work has appeared in publications including Surfer, Big, Geo and The New York Times. He is the author of Santa Cruz: Visions of Surf City (SolidPublishing, 2002), Thread (PowerHouse, 2009), and Surfers' Blood (PowerHouse Books, 2012).


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