Archive for the ‘Surfing culture’ Category

Way Cool on Hainan Island……Part 2

January 9, 2012

Just so you know we are both on the same page, here is your calligraphy lesson on writing Surfing in Mandarin:Ehow video

The history of surfing on Hainan Island began in 1986 when Australian surfer Peter Drouyn sought to establish a surfing academy on said island.

Peter Drouyn then

After a decade long career in professional surfing – a career that included top-tier victories and contributions such as of man-on-man surfing – Drouyn retired without any tangible rewards for his efforts. In November 1985 he told Tracks, ” Look, I’ve got nothing to show for all this achievement, skill and creativity. I could go and be a tyre fitter or I could stick myself back into something different and see where it goes.”

So Drouyn did a course in Asian Studies at Griffith University, and whilst there got the idea of introducing surfing to China. After finishing the course he spent many months ploughing through the red tape that would allow him permission to do so.

Drouyn’s ambition to enter a Chinese team in the 1988 ISA came to nought, and God it must have been a stressful gig, as he went on to out himself as a transgender reassignment candidate with the new name Westerly Windina.

Westerly today, plus vintage board

The next loawai surfing entrepreneur on Hainan was Brendan Sheridan who pioneered the Hainan Open in 2008, China’s one and only surfing competition.

Tremendous visual of pure wave concentration - Hainan

Another excellent account of attempts to open China to surfing culture courtesy of ESPN can be found HERE,
pro surfer Holly Beck discusses Sino-surfing HERE, and we are now in the middle of the Hainan Riyue Bay International Surfing Festival presented by Quiksilver January 6 to 14, 2012 HERE.

Former ballerina, pro long board super hot pin-up Darci Liu. San Diego

While Hainan has serious surfer unfriendly pollution issues (eg broken glass), and women fear that farmers daughter tan, Sino-surfers are also acquiring an enviro-conscious mindset.

HERE is my favorite link and quote: One afternoon, when Mr. Sheridan took two young Chinese couples out for a surf lesson in Sanya, he got an unusual request from one of the women. “Can I take this umbrella with me onto the surfboard?” she asked.

Lets leave it here for now, but I give you a major league prediction. Young Chinese urbanites will adopt surfing attire in a big way too soon in the future, and I shall address that cool style claim in another post.

Hainan Open official website:

Glossy and clunky, and a corporate group grope to put it mildly, with the stodgy Agricultural Bank of China getting in on the act.
A couple of nice photos though.

Second day results naturally sees Australia leading the Team events with the French coming a close second.

Below two way cool women long board riders.

Yuko Shimajiru heading for a Formosan sunset. Also ranked 17 ASP

Hatsumi Ui. Ranked 17 ASP
Yoko Shimajiru heading into a Formosan sunset. Also ranked 17 ASP

Want to build your own hot list, well THIS is where you go.

Finito. Promise.

Way Cool on Hainan Island….Maybe. Part 1

January 9, 2012

Despite its extensive coastline, East and South-East Asia is not exactly noted for its beaches, sun, sand and surfing activities. China Beach (some 30 kilometres long and south of Da Nang) has a website which provides a 48 hour wave forecast. Relatively small waves depending on open water access. Given the extent of Vietnam’s coastline, surf tourism is relatively undeveloped, and there is always the unwelcome possibility of UXOs (unexploded ordnance).

No Apocalypse Now war porn references.


There are some identified surf spots around Hong Kong and along the Guangdong coastline , but I just can’t see it for obvious water quality reasons. Ditto for Zhujianjin Island off Ningbo. To view this information, go to

The east coast of Formosa (formerly known as Taiwan) offers small waves and what appears to be a pleasant tourist experience, while Japan has a serious surf culture as illustrated by this website, but I recommend that you purchase a good wet suit before venturing forth. However, no sharks it seems.

Water Babe in Peril

And this brings us to surfing in China and Hainan Island in particular. Hainan is variously discussed in superlatives by its spruikers as the Chinese Riviera, China’s Gold Coast, etc. Its claim to fame thus far relates to its being the home of the PLA-N nuclear submarine base (close to Sanya), boom and bust real estate market and massive sex industry.

It is also a major golfing entrepot (Mission Hills, no doubt spruiked by that odious Greg Norman), the host of the politically correct Miss World Contest and its yacht showrooms catering for PRCs mega-wealthy and clueless. In short, a rich source of critical commentary on much that is wrong with social wealth relations in China today.

To be continued.

DEFCON2….Reds Invade the Waves

January 5, 2012

I was supposed to be taking a break, but the daily news feed has moved the TDF (tubbyland Defense Forces) onto the second highest state of military alert, and you called it correctly. Once again the PRC is the bad element in the global woodpile. I shall attempt to deal with this situation in visual terms, but that does not lessen the fear.

The Great Southern Land is noted for thongs (flip flops to you aliens), casual sex, weapons grade ganga, cricket, rapid uptake of digital technologies and gormless politicians, but most of all for its Endless Summer surfing culture.

Margaret River WA

And, as you would expect, this culture supports a healthy artisanal industry of board designers, shapers, manufacturers and boutique surf shops.

Personal preferred board

Today Bloomberg reported that Paradise Lost for Aussie Surfboard Makers Amid China Imports

From Bells Beach to Brisbane, Australia’s board builders are facing a choice: close down, or try to preserve local designs and branding by applying them to products made abroad.

“Surfing is almost our national pastime,” Blauw (Spokesdude for the Oz Surfboard Manufacturers) said of the birthplace of the three-finned “thruster” surfboard in 1981, which changed maneuverability and revolutionized the sport. “But small manufacturers like ourselves are shutting down left, right and center.”

And this is the culprit. Sedition surfboards, retailing for $A230, in part due to an unfavourable exchange rate

Okay, lets give the xenophobia a rest and look at a positive development on the beachscape. Is surfing still the preserve of white dudes and dudesses (I worry about the latter), but we are experiencing a national emergency here.

Brief answer, no.

IQ Test. Which Asian nation is making a major imprint on the Oz surf scene: DPROK, Formosa, Cambodia or Japan.

And no holiday to the Caribbean if you selected Japan.

Japanese tourists and long-stays are now a commonplace in the waves and rapidly gaining a presence in competitions. Fearless on big waves and deft in the pipeline, and probably successful with Oz beach babes to boot.

Sixteen year old Hiroto Arai

And the really hot dude to watch is 16 year old Hiroto Arai, originally from Chiba Japan, who still retains his Japanese good manners – “I’m so happy to win here in Queensland. All surfers are fantastic here and I feel honoured to take out the event,” he said – after winning the Rip Curl Grom Search at Coolum Beach reported Surfing NSW.

HERE is a link to the best surf websites around incl French (Teahupoo) and Japanese sites.

You will note that I linked the the seminal Oz surf movie Endless Summer above. Well, here is a bit of Japanese reverse engineering.

No caption required, and you can google for more information.

And how better to finish this piece. Aliens, eat your hearts out.

Back Link on more Surf Culture:
Nov 20 2011
Manifest Destiny meets the Pacific.

Manifest Destiny meets the Pacific.

November 20, 2011

Waiting for the lynch mob to descend upon the zhongnanhai can be a bit frustrating, so here goes.

The history of white America was one of Manifest Destiny with genocide, strip mining and dead buffalo. Taking a key theme found in Mike Davis’ City of Quartz (which I’ve enjoyed many times), the founding fathers who laid out the city plans for Los Angeles were proto white supremacist Anglo-Saxons. Lebensraum beside the Pacific.

City of Quartz with the rotten new cover

Barney Hoskyns in his Waiting for the Sun provides a totally white bread history of Californian rock kicking off with the Beach Boys. This mold was broken once only and that was by Sly and The Family Stone. Hoskyns was acutely aware of this contradiction.

Thus his cover.

Very Hispanic with a measure of sexual ambiguity.

Thing got a little strange however, when white folk started entering the Pacific Ocean:

Annette and Frankie

The Gidget fanchise is almost up there with the James Bond royalty stream – sequels, TV shows, etc – surfing being milked by Hollywood for all its worth. Annette and Frankie would have been more at home in the Italian sections of New York. Frankie surfed in front of a moving background, while Mouseketeer Annette got by on her assets.


In the face of decaying technology, lets go to the crux of this post, being my enjoyment of surf art. And where better to begin than with Don Severson’s Ranchland, a water colour which displays a discomforting quality at odds with the innocence found in his main body of work.

Ranchland a water colour which displays a discomforting quality, unlike the innocence of his main body  of work

You can peruse a great selection of Severson’s work HERE, and I just love Discovery #222 which represents the dialectical antithesis of US land-based Manifest Destiny.(The old bastard Hegel has his uses.)

Night Rush by Pamela Neswald

You can see more surf art by Ms Neswald HERE.

In the same vein, Lynn Coleman and other artists are discussed HERE in the LATimes

I’ve barely scratched the surface of surfing’s visual culture, and so shall conclude with the Tony Edwards OZ contribution – Captain Goodvibes “the Pig of Steel” – and shit, he was a challenge to the PC set.

The Goodvibes Manifesto

The George Greenough Twin Fin Revolution

Disco Inferno: The Goodvibes Mix. Sticky Records 1978

And now that I have graduated you to post-graduate surfing qualifications, here is your next challenge, companeros.

Highly recommended reading and the basis for this post.

STOKED! A History of Surf Culture 2001 Drew Kampion. Gibbs Smith.

Rich in brilliant photography, eloquently written and well referenced. I bought my copy from a barrow guy in Shenzhen.