Archive for the ‘In the news’ Category

Michael Kew on his new book “Crossings”

Friday, March 30th, 2012

“Crossings” is not about surfing. But surfing is woven throughout and, hey, there’s a groovy dude with a board on the cover. So what’s this stout 480-page book saying, and why should you go to Surfbeat Galerie this Saturday eve? The fact that I’m both interviewer and subject here makes for a dubious and literally self-absorbed riff. And — upon today’s arrival of my third printing — shamelessly self-promoting. For this, I apologize. Profusely. Sort of.

MICHAEL: What birthed “Crossings?”

KEW: Three things. A 10-year (starting in 2001) chunk of world travel,, and New Year’s Day 2012. Self-publishing a book has become incredibly easy, and once 2011 died, I felt it was appropriate to cram a bunch of my travel stories together and boil them into one neat little package that you could set on your nightstand or stuff into the back pocket of your MC Hammer-style parachute pants. You still have a pair, right?

MC Hammer.

MICHAEL: I never wore those.

KEW: Liar. You’re a child of the ‘80s. You had MC Hammer tapes and you liked his videos on MTV.

MICHAEL: Did you just say I lied?

KEW: Did I? Anyway, moving on. When I was 25, I earned a stack of cash by writing for an online start-up (thanks to Evan Slater). I was homeless, and, aside from a few childhood trips to Baja, had never left the United States. This was because I had zero dollars growing up, zero dollars in college, and despite reading about the world in National Geographic and Surfer and worldly mags like that, it was easy to hang in California and breathe familiar air. It still feels that way, but eventually city limits end up being just that: limiting.

Carwyn Williams.

MICHAEL: Where did you go first?

KEW: France. Almost everyone in the plane clapped when we landed in Paris. That was cool. (The only other time I’ve since experienced such patriotic clapping joy upon landing was last summer in Kingston, Jamaica.) So, at the urging of Surfer’s Steve Barilotti, one of my mentors, I aimed to rendezvous with Carwyn Williams, a legendary Welsh surf star who had expatriated to Seignosse. I don’t recall why, but I wanted to write about surfing in Wales. Carwyn was supposed to take me there. From Paris I flew to Biarritz, where Carwyn and a hilarious carload of dudes collected me. We drove straight to a pub and got drunk off of Stella Artois lager. I spent most of my two weeks in Seignosse down with influenza, but I did get to share a room in Carwyn’s house with Ted Grambeau, another one of my mentors, and that led to a jaunt to Norway’s Arctic Circle, my first official trip for Surfer magazine. We found epic waves. But Carwyn never left Seignosse; I still don’t know why. After Norway, I ended up in his hometown of Mumbles and survived to pen a story about it for The Surfer’s Journal. I wrote nothing about France.

Ted Grambeau.

MICHAEL: In those 10 years, did you visit other countries and write nothing about them?

KEW: Yes, probably about 20. Greenland is one I really should have documented.

MICHAEL: Greenland must’ve been interesting.

KEW: You can say that again.

MICHAEL: Greenland must’ve been interesting.

KEW: Dude….

MICHAEL: Haha, okay…so why should anyone want to read “Crossings?” Why should anyone care?

KEW: Anyone with even a dusting of global curiosity will enjoy this book. It’s not about surfing, so a non-surfing reader won’t be alienated. It’s travel writing, not surf-writing. It’s world culture, world environment, world politics, and occasionally world-class waves. It’s an intimate, personal portal into some of Earth’s obscure regions, mostly small dots on the map. And much of the travel was done solo, exposing me to cultural experiences I would not have had if I was insulated behind a gaggle of jockish pro surfers.

MICHAEL: How can somebody get a copy of “Crossings?”

KEW: Easy…[visit Kew's site to order a copy]. Or, if you come see me at Surfbeat Galerie on Saturday, flip me a Jackson and I’ll hand you signed copy. A trip around the world for $20? MC Hammer would dig that.

BE HERE: Saturday, March 31, 8 p.m., Surfbeat Galerie, 22 Anacapa St., #5, Santa Barbara, Calif. Phone 805-450-6268. Live music by Brother Bird (who is Catherine Clark, Johnny McCann, Travers Adler). Beer and wine. Art by Ricky Brotini. “Crossings” readings and signing and sales. Yes. Good vibes. Yes.

  • To learn more about author and surf-scribe Michael Kew visit the Peathead Blog and check out this recent interview.

Slater Takes Home 48th World Tour Victory

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

It was third times a charm for Kelly Slater this week as he beat Owen Wright at the Hurley Pro, taking home his 48th world tour win. This was the third time Slater faced Wright in the finals this year; first when Slater took home victory at the Billabong Pro Tahiti and second at the Quicksilver Pro New York when Wright won, putting him in the eyes of Slater as the man to beat.

Going into the Hurley Pro positioned as number one on the tour, Slater’s victory only puts him closer to winning an 11th world title. Seeing as though nothing is impossible in Slater’s world I’m willing to bet it can happen.

The final heat ended in a dramatic victory when Slater edged out Wright with a score of 17.50 to 16.74 in the last minute.  With the heat just about to be over, a set rolled in.  Slater let Wright take the first wave of the set.  Wright needed an 8.31 to take over the lead and succeeded with a score of an 8.87.  Typical Slater rose to the challenge and on the second wave of the set he scored himself a 9.0, grasping the win and prize money of $105,000.  Wright spoke of the dramatic ending to what seems to be just one event in the continuous battle between the two surfers:

“I’ve been enjoying the rivalry,” Wright said. “We’ve had some great heats and the last three finals have been great. I’m glad the sets came through at the end. It was a bit of a dud final but I’m glad that last exchange came though at the end. It made it exciting.”

Both surfers had nothing but good things to say about the other after the heat. “Owen (Wright) is tough and he’s been surfing great,” Slater said. “There really are no weak points to his surfing and he’s going to be a standout in every spot. A lot of the guys tried to get him this week and I got lucky in that last exchange. I was taking the first wave of the set under his priority and once I got priority I wanted to wait. It almost looked like there wasn’t a wave after Owen’s. It’s been fun surfing against Owen and surfing Lowers. It’s been a great week and thanks everyone for the crazy support, it’s been wonderful.”

After the Hurley Pro the rankings are (top 10):

Rank Name Country Points 2011 Money Career Money
1 Slater,Kelly USA 72,500 $481250 $2887005
2 Smith,Jordy ZAF 50,975 $139000 $665180
3 Wright,Owen AUS 50,650 $406750 $683200
4 Fanning,Mick AUS 43,649 $120750 $1524901
5 Parkinson,Joel AUS 43,457 $169000 $1353726
6 Flores,Jeremy FRA 43,070 $93150 $583335
7 Burrow,Taj AUS 42,990 $181500 $1587113
8 Wilson,Julian AUS 39,276 $161950 $295725
9 De Souza,Adriano BRA 38,450 $190750 $801145
10 Buchan,Adrian AUS 36,641 $88600 $599941

For more results check out the ASP Tour Page.

The next stop on the 2011 tour is the Quiksilver Pro France from October 4-13th.  Check out the event page and look for more possible Slater/Wright face-ups.


Quicksilver-Pro New York Results

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Surf photo by Morgan Maassen

For most people surfing is not the first thing that comes to mind when you mention New York. In fact many people might be surprised to hear that New York is home to a thriving and dedicated surf culture.  In the past ten years surf media has shed an increasing amount of light on the unique group of surfers who hail from New York. So, when Quicksilver announced that they wanted to hold an ASP pro surfing event on Long Island it wasn’t a complete shocker. Although looking quite different from the tropical waters of Tahiti, these waves still proved to be a great arena for world-class surfing.

The two wild-cards who earned their way into the event were Balaram Stack, a super talented New York surfer who has proved himself many times in competition, and Asher Nolan another well tested East Coast surfer. Jordy Smith was not in this competition due to an injury he suffered while surfing the Teahupo’o competition.

Jumping to the semis, competition was tense Taj Burrow of Australia faced off with Kelly Slater of Florida. Slater and  In his heat Kelly Landed a crazy front-side 360 degree aerial prompting the judges to reward him with a perfect 10. Backed by a 9.07 Slater advanced to the finals to surf against Owen Wright of Australia. Wright advanced from a lower scoring but equally tense heat against Brazilian Alejo Muniz.

In the semi-finals of the last contest Owen Wright received a perfect ten for catching a monster of a barrel. His performance in the Tahiti contest brought him very close to taking out Slater in the final who won by a narrow margin. New York became Wright’s second chance to take down the world champ, and he did just that. Wright said after finals,

“The conditions were perfect for me. I knew I’d do everything I could to get to the final with Kelly and I knew he’d be there anyway. Once I got the final I went, no, this is payback for last week! But I’ve watched Kelly my whole life. He’s been a huge inspiration to me.”

It’s safe to say that Wright is not doing too bad for a 21 year old tour rookie! Furthermore, Wright will walk from the “million dollar contest,” with a check for $300,000 and a no. 2 ranking on the tour.

To read more on the contest check out Quicksilver’s website.

If you’ve ever asked, “how does the new tour work?” Check out this great Nice Rack post from the archives.

What do you think of the event’s location?

Do you know how much NY City paid to bring the contest to their shores?

Was the Slater vs. Wright final a suspiciously story-book ending?

What do you think of Bobby Martinez’s removal from the contest?

Hit us up on the Nice Rack Facebook page and let us know what you think.



Nice Rack Guide to Bodysurfing

Thursday, August 25th, 2011
This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series Nice Rack Beginner's Guide to Surfing


If you’ve been keeping your finger on the pulse of the surf world for the past few years, you’ve probably noticed a resurgence of the sport of bodysurfing. Although Nice Rack designs products for surfboards, snowboards, wakeboards and kiteboards, we understand the importance of bodysurfing in surf culture and history. So, if you didn’t get a chance head to the Oceanside Pier last Sunday to check out the finals of the World Championship of Bodysurfing here are the results:

Woman’s Grand Champion: Patty Mackle
Men’s Grand Champion: Dave Ford
Team Champion: Pine Street

Other news in the world of bodysurfing is that Chris Malloy will soon be unleashing the first ever bodysurfing-centric surf film: Come Hell or High Water. Many know that Chris, like his brothers, is a pro surfer, but he also is an experienced waterman who placed 6th at the Pipeline Bodysurfing Classic in 2005. Other noteworthy contributors to this project were Bruce Brown (The Endless Summer) Cyrus Sutton ( and Tyler Manson (Hi Shredability). The film’s Southern California premiere will be on September 23rd at the La Paloma Theater in Encinitas. Hopefully I will have some premiere coverage for the blog!

The following is the beginners guide to bodysurfing, presented by NICE RACK
1. Go to the beach
2. Swim into a wave towards the shore and ride that sucka out.
3. Repeat!
REMEMBER: waves are powerful and often dangerous, watch out for other surfers and take time to study conditions like rip-tides and undertows. Nice Rack is in no way responsible for your safety, especially if you surf The Wedge.


  • Fins allow you to swim much more efficiently which is nice in powerful surf.
  • Hand planes are a flat surface that allows the bodysurfer some leverage on the wave. They make a DIY project and can be made from many different materials.

Did you know our racks make a great place to hang your fins and handplanes? Try it, send us a picture on Facebook and I will be forever grateful.