Whether they’re hero-worshipping, long-dead misanthropes or self-proclaimed iconoclasts insisting some piece of obsolete design theory is the future of progression, surfers love nostalgia. Which works well for an industry built around selling us useless accouterment – all they need to do to ensure the profits keep flowing is periodically dust off their old garbage and pimp it as the hot new thing. And so the wheel keeps turning, and the same useless bullshit keeps being flogged. Well, I’m sick of it. The following is a list of things I don’t want to ever see or hear about again. And, as a guy on the Internet, I expect everyone to follow my lead. Those who don’t can rest assured I’ll deliver a text-based tongue lashing they won’t soon forget.

Photo: Roche

Triple threats. Photo: Roche

1. Surfer/artist/musician triple threats: Yeah bro, I just spend all my time focusing on creating. I hang out in my warehouse, make music and art, pick from my forty-board quiver whenever I feel like getting wet, and just take life as she comes. I also collect vintage motorcycles, and check out all these funky clothes I found last time I went thrifting. Nah, bro, I don’t work; life’s too short to sweat that stuff. My trust fund matured the day I turned eighteen, and my parents own the building. I’m so fucking soulful it hurts.

There it is, in all its glory: the useless, ass slapping appendage.

There it is, in all its glory: the useless, ass slapping appendage.

2. Beaver tail wetsuit tops: Here’s an idea, let’s take a comfortable long-sleeve wetsuit top, put the zipper on the front, and add a useless ass-slapping appendage. Sure, it’ll be uncomfortable, overpriced, and do almost nothing to keep you warm, but all the dorks who think the height of progression took place in 1964 will love it. They’ll toss that thing on, maybe add a funny little hat, and go do some white boy dance moves on a 10′ 6″ rockerless plank. Who knows, maybe they’ll be a hit in Japan.

Photo: Jim Cook

Want a board that goes slow and turns like shit? Photo: Jim Cook

3. Single fin “retro” longboards: Want a board that goes slow and turns like shit? By all means, buy a single fin. I know there are a ton of dudes who swear by them, and, you know what? The day they admit that they ride them in order to have an excuse for their half-assed ability, I’ll accept it. Until then, the hipster children hand-sanding glass-on hatchet fins while raving about how little they bent their knees during their last awful soul slash can go piss up a rope.

Nice gams, bro.

Nice gams, bro.

4.  Short shorts: Dick rash and exposed nut sacks rule the world of the three-inch inseam. The day the new generation’s balls drop, they’ll realize these aren’t a viable apparel option. Sure, they’re great for showing off your hairless young gams, but if you’ve got a pecker that’s more than an inch long, you’re going to be a one man walking peep show.

Photo: Tim McKenna.

Now that we know what is possible, the ski is for drunk tubing only. Photo: Tim McKenna.

5.  Tow-ins: It helped push big wave surfing into a realm that was previously considered unrideable. And the potential contributions it can provide by allowing our bravest to ease their way into deadly surf can not be undervalued. But those dudes don’t generally do it anymore. And spare tire-waisted middle-aged realtors circling the lineup on a 15-foot day is seriously tiresome. Hit the gym, buy a bigger board, I don’t give a shit. Now that we know what is possible, the ski is for drunk tubing only.

Derek Hynd gets a pass on this one. Photo: Gregory Swanson

Derek Hynd gets a pass on this one. Photo: Gregory Swanson

6.  Finless boards: Yeah, there are awesome finless boards out there. They’re called boogie boards. Dudes use them to get pitted over razor sharp reef, do 720 backflips, and generally rip shit up. And, if you’re looking for a shitty board that slides tail and can’t really be put on a rail, you can stand up on them, too. But, man, to pretend that paddling out on a negatively buoyant plank and barely staying in trim surfing…Well, I guess it is surfing, poorly.

Photo: Soren Heil.

It doesn’t work. Photo: Soren Heil.

7.  Asymmetrical tails:  Shapers are weirdos. There are countless crazy theories derived from decades of huffing poison at work and sucking down drugs at home (and work), but, for some reason, this one keeps getting rehashed. It doesn’t work. Sure, some beardo wierdo can shape one for himself and ride it decently at a wave he’s got wired, but this idea is supported by a limited clientele: guys who only ever surf one spot and spoiled children whose mommy and daddy will happily substitute monetary indulgence for good old-fashioned parental involvement.

Photo: Tom Woods

Is this some kind of deep spiritual message? Photo: Tom Woods

8. Using surfing as a metaphor for anything else: Please just stop. No one wants to hear about how surfing is like raising a family, or how it’s taught you some deep spiritual message and turned your life around. Surfboards are made of poison, and all our nifty accessories are made in third world sweatshops. To pretend the act of riding waves is anything more than self indulgence is a product of delusion. I guess I can make an exception for entrepreneurship. It is a lot like surfing in that they’re both inherently meaningless and selfish pursuits that benefit no one but yourself.

  • coralreefmx


    • Rory Parker

      I’m constantly surprised that surf shops still exist. You can get your boards cheaper by buying direct from a shaper and there is no shortage of websites that will sell people whatever clothes or accessories they want for a fraction of what a brick and mortar shop charges.

      And, I know, I know, you’re supposed to support surfer owned establishments because of… I don’t know. Some reason I forget. I think I remember hearing something about how their existence helps support the surf industry or whatever.

      The thing is, I’ve yet to encounter a shop that didn’t wholeheartedly embrace the higher mark up that import boards allow, despite the very really damage they have done to the board building industry.

      Anyway, thanks for reading! I hope you have a great day.

      • Surferscanbejerks

        I understand what you’re saying about higher mark up on import boards at shops…luckily in San Francisco we are lucky to have hesssurfboards.com, we have 2 of his boards, one is 8 years old and doesn’t have a single ding in it, it’s made of lightweight salvaged wood and it’s been around the world 2x. We also have Sunset Shapers, James Mitchell that used to work under Doug Haut opened his own shop in SF
        and makes beautiful boards locally.

      • ScottTX

        Tongue-in-cheek, I’ve always thought surf shops existed in order to capture $ from out of town newbs who just needed/wanted to rent a board. Now, they can use a GoPro strap-on and really prove they got their sunburn by having someone push them into a weak baby wave before they crawl back inland, barely able to upload to Facebook because their shoulders are burned out after a 5-minute paddle session.

        In reading your link in point #8, I realized a possibly more apropos #8 would be, do away with people self-identifying as “a surfer.” For the hordes of us who simply pursue surfing as self-indulgence (in really farflung places where we make puppy swipes at internalizing our discomfort with the affluence gap), it doesn’t even make sense to call oneself “a surfer,” or to ascribe to some sort of global monoculture. Self-identification is typically reserved for professional and religious reasons, or for a Denis Leary anthem. “I’m a weekend warrior 7’s rugby player,” or, “I’m a surfer,” ring largely different than, “I’m a chef that just perfected some duck-fat battered, fried Portland-brewed stout, and I teach a free monthly class on how to cook healthy meals. Also, my beard won a Flickr photo world championship; it was formed into a downward cone by the water dripping off of it when I slashed my single fin longboard into a 2-foot drainer.”

      • Shawn Ambrose

        we are out here Rory… shops that don’t carry import boards…

  • yoelperu

    lol !!

  • yoelperu

    http://youtu.be/FtmMgt2Tp7s Be careful #8 ….Jerry Lopez is the king of surfing and metaphor for life…watch 3min mark on the video. I love #1 and #4, …#9 should be male surfers wearing women skinny jeans….

    • Jeff Byrnes

      By all means, correct me if I’m wrong (I’ll happily eat my words), but relative to his immense status, influence, and access to pertinent resources I haven’t seen much evidence of Lopez paying these issues a whole lot more than lip service and token gestures, especially when weighted against how much of his life has been spent playing all over the world. Jack Johnson, as far as I’m aware, has been a good deal more proactive at pushing sustainable practices and technology. Same with Rastovich. In fact, many surfers – and people in general – who have far less available to them with regards to means than Lopez have done a helluva lot more to give back. Lopez’s easygoing and affable demeanor seems to have gotten him a pass on the hard work. He’s capitalized tremendously on his name and brand, has a nice package with Patagonia (though I have no idea what he does for them other than get to extend his never ending childhood), and no doubt is one of the greatest surfers of all time.
      This isn’t a personal attack on Lopez at all (in the big picture he seems cool enough) but I’m just not buying into the whole “Saint Gerry” thing, especially after the number of times I’ve seen him blatantly roast people at their local breaks on an SUP, which, in my opinion, is anything but “zen” (seriously, Gerry?!?).

      It’s nice that he puts his name behind a brand like Patagonia. But if that’s the extent of his idea of giving back to a world he has taken so much pleasure in using as his playground then the words intoned in this video are lacking in greater substance.

      Like I said, if there’s information I’m not aware of (web searches aren’t turning up squat) I’m all ears and you can completely disregard everything above.

      • yoelperu

        I agree with you. My belief system or my “religion” completely disagree with G.L. And by my own life experience and people who work hard and smart, and contribute to society and a family structure, I have to tell G.L. that he is irrelevant for a life coach. Unless you are a trust fund ready to play around the globe with unlimited budget. In other words he is a great life coach only for those that can play 24/7 with unlimited budget.

        • Jeff Byrnes

          Wow. I gotta be honest in stating that I was not expecting such a response.

          Kudos for your honesty and clarity.

          Lopez is a great surfer. But in my estimation he has taken from this world far more than he has given, which I wouldn’t even care about if he would just be more honest about the fact.

  • Cavey

    So much hate. Do yourself a favor, relax, have fun, and worry about yourself. Surfing isn’t for you or anybody else to define, it is different things to different people and that is a good thing. Criticizing the industry for sponsoring trustafarians while writing an article on a site that sells clicks and views to said industry is a tad hypocritical. If it wasn’t for the surf industry, nobody would be reading your “writing”

    • Jeff Byrnes

      Apparently you and 21 (and counting) other witless dingle berries are in seriously short supply of a well refined sense of humor.

      Man, surfers really are a collectively stupid bunch of self-delusionals.

      Parker is the best thing to happen to The Inertia yet, the Doug Stanhope of surf media. He obviously got over himself a loooong time ago. The rest of us would do well to learn to do the same.

      Fucking brilliant.

      Love ya,’ Parker. Pour it on!

      • Cavey

        Ever had a friend who just can’t tell a joke to save their life no matter how potentially funny the subject matter is? Enter Rory Parker. The tone of his article lacked whit, irony, or any other device that would have implied humor and came across a lot more like a diatribe regarding Rory’s present take on some cultural aspects of surfing. If you got the joke, good for you.

        • Jeff Byrnes

          Parker can clearly tell a joke much better than the average surfer can take one.

          Enter you.

          Surfers are as inclined to elevate and refine their wit and intellect as a penguin is to migrate to the Sahara.

          Most live an escapist’s and sensualist’s existence. Not exactly fertile cerebral soil.

  • Cazart

    Death to short-shorts.

  • notsquare

    Do us all a favor and take a fin to the back of the head.

  • Joseph Samuel Hannah

    Awe hun #wotapisser #moanday #cometofloridapablo

  • Chris Joey

    well said cavey..!! if some dork doesn’t agree with the surf culture..then THEY SHOULD GET A REAL LIFE !!!

  • Guest

    …, man.

  • rozenswag

    Such strong opinions.

  • Surferscanbejerks

    Rory Parker-“writer” more like “complainer”. Why all the hate for Alex Knost and his surf/art/music generation? Why do you care so much about what they do? Maybe they’re trying to make a difference recycling clothing, boards instead of buying cheap crap made somewhere else. Maybe put all this negativity of yours into i don’t know, learning how to be a better writer? p.s. #4 is pretty funny

  • Dave Allison

    pretty myopic view of what surfing “should” be, if you ask me (you didn’t). dunno if this was supposed to be humorous (it wasn’t) or what, but i’d be pretty happy if this “article” would die & stay dead. in fact, if this post is a representation of the work we can expect from mr. parker, it’d be nice if we never heard from him again, too.

  • Daniel Nicholas Golly

    Wow Rory, you’re a stick in the mud, man- I go surfing to avoid the negativity of people like you. Personally everything and anything out on the water or surrounding the culture is alright by me as long as it’s not doing anything to ruin anyone else’s time. Spread love, not hate, dude..

  • Craig Klein

    Re: #6: Been surfing for more than 40 years, sick of trying to generate enough speed on a shortboard to do a decent turn and bored with walking the plank and trimming on longboards? Well then try free friction. I appreciate you giving Derek a pass, but in reality any good surfer can have a lot of fun riding free friction surfboards. Free yourself from the judgmental mind set that modern athletic shortboard surfing is the only “good” surfing and go spin a 360 to set up the little pocket ride and another 360 coming back out. You just might enjoy yourself.

  • Lawrence Chay

    Hey Rory, doesn’t your job revolve around the many faces of surfing?
    What are you doing here?
    You’ve probably insulted 60% of The Inertia’s fan base so go ahead and add yourself to the list under “People that surf and complain about how everyone else chooses to surf”

    • Jeff Byrnes

      If he’s insulted 60% of The Inertia’s fan base he’s a raging success in my not-so-humble opinion.

  • B.P.

    C’mon…surfers are supposed to be irreverent. Who can possibly take this dude’s article seriously? That was hilarious. Alex if you read this I’ll bet you laughed too because you get it. Surfing is surfing. It’s nothing more and it’s nothing less. The more you realize that the more fun you actually have. Stop stressing out on what you’re wearing and what you’re riding. Don’t take any of it seriously unless you’re in the Top 34 and earning a living from your wave riding performance. STOP WEARING SHORT SHORTS!!

    • Jeff Byrnes

      How can you be “irreverent” when you’re following a f-ing trend?!?

  • Jeff Byrnes

    Best op-ed on surfing I have ever read.

    The rest of you need to figure out what a sense of humor is then go about getting one.

    Like all good comedy this bit tells equal parts truth (which is never popular) and exaggeration. Sad to see that if it isn’t “pull-my-finger” obvious it goes right over the cone heads poking about in here.

    I do feel rather gypped, though. Hell, I’ve been at this surfer/artist/musician bit for decades and my folks are still holding out on the trust fund and real estate. Maybe if I kick ’em down my collection of retro swag they’ll finally relent?

  • Zac Falach

    Why would you take time out of your day to bring hate, you obviously dont know what its like riding a single fin for starters because out all of my boards my single fin most definitely has to be one of my fastest. Riding finless boards is shit ?its super fun you obviously haven’t done it enough.Do yourself a favour next time you consider writing such a negative blog go and buy yourself a fat old 6’2 single fin and try and enjoy it, itll hit you and you’ll be hooked.

  • wally

    Oh man! You’ve now gone too far!
    Don’t you be knocking my short shorts.

    And, for your info, I prefer to think of them as snug.

  • ichorousmedia .

    I can guarantee you Alex Knost is not trying to make a difference in the world. I heard stories about him droppin in longtime locals, and then taking them to shore afterward with his goonies and snapping their board for standing up for himself. That guy is just an asshole who can’t play guitar. In relation to the article, if you think there is no humor in what I just said then you should probably not read it. I endorse this sour humor because it keeps the rest of people outside the norm weird and unusual and unique, and I’d rather be that any day even if I have to endure a little ridicule from the masses.

    • ichorousmedia .

      btw classic face while that guy is checkin out the asymmetrical tail

  • Nick Carroll

    Im with ya Rory.

  • This made me giggle, nice!

  • Dandaman

    Brilliant… and made even funnier by some of the self righteous indignation in these comments. More please.

  • flashorton

    Looking forward to your next rant, perhaps about the lack of diversity in mainstream surfing? That would be almost as funny as this.

    • Rory Parker

      That would be funny. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • Skye Henderson

    This is hilarious! Thanks for taking the time to write something most people never had the balls to say!!!

  • Daniel Schoeman

    Funny! 1,2,4,6,8….so true!

  • Phocas Surf

    Looks like he pissed off quite a few hipsters. Great fucking article.

    • Jeff Byrnes

      Hipsterism stopped being hip once it garnered a recognizable look and label.

  • Jeff Byrnes

    I was gonna go with the G-n-R but I absolutely hate Axl Rose for the c–t he turned out to be (and McCartney is too much of a soft-cock to carry the weight). Besides, Lawrence’s bit seems to capture something more appropriate under the circumstances:


  • Jeff Byrnes

    How about we see your Disnified version and see how the response goes?

    • Keith Mountifield

      Oh dear. Isn’t it amazing that the people who criticise others are often the first to miss the IRONY of a comment, even when such a HUGE CLUE was given at the end.

      I actually wonder if it’s your own feelings of inadequacy that are manifesting themselves in the need to be overly aggressive in defending something that is not yours to defend. I’m sure that Rory Parker doesn’t feel personally insulted when someone doesn’t ‘get’ his humour. I certainly don’t see him jumping on here insulting people. Why do you feel the need to do that?

      There are services that can provide councelling for such feelings and aggressive attitudes that you have. I’m sure they would help you become a far happier and relaxed person. you might even find that you learn how to smile and not take life so seriously.

      I wish you a chilled and happy day. Oh, and don’t forget to list that single fin longboard, the one that you’re hiding under the bed, on eBay ;o)

      • Jeff Byrnes

        So I take it that means you’re not up to the challenge? How about “chillenge?”

        Come on, dude, you can do it!

        • Keith Mountifield

          Haha! And there was me thinking that all you were doing on this whole comment thread was being a troll. My mistake ;o) I’ll do a deal. You post on here your results from meditation lessons and anger management and I’ll think about taking you seriously.

          The difference is that I’m comfortable enough in myself not to worry about people who have different opinons to me. Life would be boring as hell if everyone thought the same. What I don’t like and can’t help reacting to is bullies like you.

          I really do hope that you think seriously about what I say. It will make you a happier person.

          As a matter of interest, how to you feel about visitors on ‘your’ local break do you welcome them? I suspect not… How do you react to a bad session on the water? Do you come in feeling all angry and frustrated by any chance?

          Remember, people react to you the way you react to them. So chill out, be nice. Make a random act of of kindness today and you’ll feel so much better for it.

          Good luck…

          • Jeff Byrnes

            Parker’s piece perfectly demonstrates that no matter how much blinking neon you dress your words in most people still won’t get it.

            If you see anger in his and my words we’re not the ones needing anger management, killer.

            You did notice his profile mug shot, right?

            Glad you’re doing the meditation and all the jazz. Might be the only thing keeping you from walking into a fast food joint and gunning all the patrons down.


  • surferpl

    (I hope Laird read this.)

  • michael cumstain

    I love wearing my beaver tailed wetsuit top!

  • Chris Thomas

    Holy crap. Bitter much? Then again it was pretty funny.

  • Great article, love your style bro.

  • Truth Hertz

    Again, I applaud Parker for writing an accurate satire of surf-journalism. His intentional use of that hackneyed surfer-speak tips his hand that none of this is meant to be taken seriously. Here he mocks surf-hipsters. He exposes their self-centered pretentious low-rent zen worldview. He rips into their under-educated dilettante affectations. And calls a spade a spade. Face it most surfer art is amateurish at best. Especially the “art” photography. Too many surfers rely on their celebrity to sell their art. Face it if you weren’t splashed all over the magazines only your parents and semi-literate girlfriend would show up and the “Stoked Gallery” in Newport to sip craft IPA and pretend to be moved by your seashell sculptures. Why? Cause you art sucks! And you’d know that if you’d gone to college instead of pursuing a surfing career. The same is true for a lot of surfer-writing. It’s just silly. The sentences are so weighed down with jargon as to render them cliche. There are far to many extreme adverbs and adjectives that distort rather than describe the subject. And the most basic observations are presented as being profound. “Life is just one long paddle with some kick-ass rides sprinkled in for fun”…huh? Thanks, I’ll make that my mantra. Get it tattooed on my forearm(A notable exception to this is The Surfer’s Journal which is well written). But then what do you expect from a group of writers who have basically only read Surf Mags? It’s a mediocre style that perpetuates itself. These writers and artists are professionals at surfing and rank amateurs at everything else. By employing that amateurish style in his article, Parker has created a subtlety mocking pastiche of the whole process. Kudos sir.

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