The motivation of surf travel has shifted. Blame the modern age. In today’s world of selfie madness and Go Pro mugging, with most of a surfer’s day taken up by personal social media management, the travel experience has become something seen and not felt. These days a surfer has to get back to his phone to actually see where he was. Post it or it never existed. All website surf footage these days is just an exercise in advertising. We only see sponsored video shorts. With the touch of a delete button, Surf stars today are disposable.
As part of the celebration of Russian surfing here on Bali, this year’s Surf Jam Festival at Balian featured a photography contest. The results were extraordinary. A window into a surfing place that is a galaxy away from the Indonesian experience. A window into the power of the passion of surfers regardless of their environment. Surfing in Russia. Sub-zero weather, snow, ice, mystery.
World-renowned stretch of Hawaiian coastline located on the north side of Oahu; the undisputed capital of big-wave surfing from the 1950s to the early ‘90s; home to about 40 surf breaks, many of them hallowed. “If the surfing world has a shared mythology,” American essayist William Finnegan wrote in 1997, “then the North Shore of Oahu is its Olympus.”
Mason Ho hit the DNA lottery at birth. Consider the bloodline that he shares. Mason’s Uncle Derek was Hawaiian Amateur Champion at 14, he won the 1984 Duke Kahanamoku Classic with brother Michael finishing second. Derek Ho won the Pipeline Masters in 1986 and finished second in 1991. He won the Triple Crown in 1984, 1986, 1988 and 1993. By 1993 he was our World Champion, a two-time winner of the Pipeline Masters and a four-time winner of the Triple Crown.
There is something about surfing with your blood brother that is truly sacred. When one rides, the other rides with him. Now multiply that by about ten and you might have an idea of what it is like when CJ and Damien Hobgood light up a line-up. Identical twins, damn near identical surfers, mixed with that mysterious, otherworldly bond twins share, from womb to grown-up barrel. Throughout surfing’s history, blasting out of a tube has always been likened to a re-birth, inspiring atavistic memories of our first breath in this world of ours. One wonders what it must be like for these two.