The world feels strange right now. As the Coronavirus sweeps the globe, entire countries are locking down. Bars, restaurants, libraries, schools all shuttered. “Work from home whenever possible,” we’re told. “Practice social distancing.” If you’re smart, you’re listening to those instructions. You’re staying away from other people, for your own sake and theirs. It’s ironic that in this time of great uncertainty, the thing that will best bring us together as a species is staying away from each other. But social isolation inevitably leads to boredom, because God forbid we need to spend an hour alone with nothing but our own thoughts for company. With that in mind, we’ve picked a handful of some of our favorite evergreen features for you to read, watch, or listen to.
A rare piece of fiction from Senior Editor Alexander Haro that looks at a future where the coast is too toxic for humans to survive and wave pools rule the surfing world. But there are rumors of roving bands of surfers who risk it all for the perfect wave…
2. Holy Meola!
Holy Meola! is a punchy portrait of (arguably) the most unique and talented brother-sister duo in the surf world today: Matt and Lily Meola. Matt has Warhol-like ingenuity when it comes to creativity and panache in aerial surfing. To see him surf is to witness something of a ping pong ball flying through the air, seemingly out of control, but then stylishly sticking EVERYTHING. He’s unflappable – with knees of steel. Gumby, we say! His younger sister Lily is no slouch either. With syrupy, Winehouse-esque country pipes, Lily’s on a fast track to becoming a household name. Rolling Stone called her “one of ten country artists you need to know.” As it turns out, superstar kids don’t appear out of thin air. With love and support from their mother, Nancy, and Dad, Gary, they’ve got the brother/sister, family dynamic on lock. Outside of surfing, outside of music, it’s family first. And what a fine family to be.
3. The Inertia Podcast With Jamie O’Brien: What’s Core in Surf and Competing Against Giants to Build His Brand
This past winter, The Inertia‘s Senior Managing Editor Joe Carberry hopped on a flight to Hawaii. While he was there, he spent a few hours figuring out the age-old question: Who is J.O.B.? He recorded their conversation for one of our favorite episodes of The Inertia Podcast.
“Jamie O’Brien is his own media outlet,” Joe wrote. “During the course of his career, aside from attaining most every goal he’s set out to achieve, like winning the Pipe Masters and owning a home overlooking his favorite wave, he’s also become a prolific creator of content. As he puts it, he’s cracked the code. While huge corporate entities have worked at building brands around the Banzai Pipeline, Jamie, who grew up on the sand there, was able to elbow his way in with the big boys, creating as authentic a brand as any of them. Yet his surf story is a juxtaposition: his background is as “core” as it gets but his vlog reaches an audience that spans well beyond surfing.”
Sports transcend. That’s what they do. That’s why we love them, and why every once in a while a moment arrives that is so transcendent that people relish dissecting it many years after it passed. The high five between Rob Machado and Kelly Slater at the 1995 Pipe Masters is one such moment, so we made a film about it.
CLASSICS was a series that provided insight, life advice, and general words of wisdom from surfing’s most respected individuals. In this installment: Mr. Pipeline himself.
His influence on surfing is almost beyond comparison. One of the first to master the Banzai Pipeline, Lopez’s style and casual approach to one of the most dangerous waves on earth struck a chord and continues to do so today. Years spent searching for – and finding– perfect waves opened up the public’s eyes to whole new horizons. And yet, through all of it, his easy smile and quiet cadence remained the same. He is quick to impart the knowledge he’s gained on the road he’s traveled, but quicker to explain that there is more than one road for each of us.
Back in 2017, we had the honor of making a film about Ocean Ramsey, the “little blonde girl” who swims with sharks. The Inertia‘s Juan Hernandez introduced the film:
“Plenty of people travel all over the world and pay to climb into a tiny submerged cage floating amongst a school of sharks. You already know the cliché photo that comes from it; jaws wide open with the ocean’s angry, giant apex predator making a beeline right for you. Lucky for mankind, that cage is there. At least that’s the implication.
I’d venture a guess that not as many people would consider paying money to do this without the cage, but that’s the version Ocean Ramsey and Juan Oliphant offer. Just hop on a boat in Haleiwa, cruise out to the middle of the Pacific, and jump straight into the ocean with nothing but a snorkel and a pair of fins. The conservationists spend their 20 minutes riding from the harbor to a congregation site reciting the rules and what to expect scenarios for their guests. Ramsey describes the body language of a shark as if it were a household dog.”
In the Summer of 2018, The Inertia traveled to El Salvador with Kassia Meador, Leah Dawson, and Lola Mignot, three outstanding women who are inspiring the next generation of ocean lovers through their alternative approach to both surfing and life. Each has developed a strong voice as a leader in surfing and managed to do so on her own terms. They ride the boards they want, spearhead projects that speak to their passions and keep their eyes peeled for interesting ways to engage that fascinating nexus where surfing and the rest of the world collide.
In this beautifully-written piece, contributing writer Josh Dassa delves deep into the localism issue in the Pacific Northwest. “Surf localism certainly isn’t new, and it certainly isn’t unique to the Pacific Northwest,” he wrote. “Most of us are familiar with the concept and can quickly point out the select few surfers at our favorite breaks who run those spots. That said, there isn’t a standard definition of what it means to be a local when it comes to surfing. Before praising or demonizing localism, isn’t it worth asking: What makes someone a local?”
ICON: Alex Gray is a heartbreakingly honest look into a formative moment that shaped Alex Gray’s life. As a teenager, Alex lost his older brother and mentor, Chris, to a heroin overdose. The loss devastated the family – and for a period caused Alex to drop surfing altogether. But, in a turn that only life’s unpredictability can inspire, Alex and the Gray family channeled loss into a constructive outlet that honors a family legacy and enables an unflinching pursuit of greatness. ICON: Alex Gray paints an earnest portrait of the resilience of the human spirit in chasing the ocean’s outer limits.
Griffin Siebert calls the Wasatch Mountains home. In An Ode to the Wasatch, Siebert takes you into his hometown and explains exactly why he loves the range so much. “Snowbanks grew into white monsters, double overhead,” he wrote. “Local hits off the home hill became non-existent, and new lines that I had never seen before showed their face. We were truly living in a snow-globe paradise, inducing anxiety whenever a trip was coming up that took one away from home for a week or two. You don’t want to miss good days in the Wasatch. Powder days blurred together, and I felt as though I was stuck in Groundhog Day. The legs screamed, but the fresh snow kept them grooving since we all knew this harvest was one for the record books and that we may not see these types of conditions again for a long while.”