The HeART of Barney


A Shawn “Barney” Barron Art Show

The late Shawn “Barney” Barron was truly the clown jester of the Santa Cruz surf scene. His antics, in and out of the water were over the top, to say the least. Everyone who knew or were exposed to him has at least one bizarre, yet hilarious anecdote to illustrate this.

For example, about fifteen years ago I was surfing Pleasure Point during a fun south swell. I saw a black truck pull up to the Cliffside, and out emerged Barron, already clad in his fluorescent Hotline wetsuit. With the car still running and his dog in the camper shell he proceeded to scale his way down the sheer cliff, apparently disinterested in the preferred Billy goat trail that existed before the sea wall.

He paddled out, singing loudly, caught one wave to the beach and scaled the same sketchy cliff route he’d taken to get down. He jumped in the idling truck and took off. Everyone in the lineup just shook their head and burst out in laughter.

This is Barron in a nutshell. Impulsive, outrageous, and unbelievably amusing. He devoted his life to entertaining others with his brand of hard charging and explosive aerial surfing. As a poster boy for Volcom, he was able to travel the world, scoring magazine covers and prominent roles in heaps of surf films. While many have seen his comic book inspired wetsuits and brightly painted surfboards, other than the people close to him, the vast majority of his fans are unaware just how much of a creative genius he was.


This Friday, at 6PM at the R.Blitzer Gallery, a mind boggling collection of his art will be on display in an art show/tribute called, “The HeART of Barney”. Along with live music by Ribsy’s Nickel, and Ono grinds from Pono Hawaiian Grill, this show is a true grassroots community event to honor the treasure trove of Barron’s amazingly expressive and eclectic artwork. There will also be prints of Shawn’s paintings available for sale, along with other goodies.


As a child, Barron was fueled by boundless energy that made it hard for him to sit still during school. Despite a lack of engagement in traditional schooling, he had an extremely active mind and imagination.

“Early on he was inspired by the world of space and science fiction by our father (Shawn’s stepfather, John Coulter),” remembers his step-sister Amelia Coulter. “He would take my brother up to Berkley to little known theaters to watch strange Sci-Fi films. Shawn ate it up. They both had a love for toys and all things unusual”.

Barron was always a standout surfer but it wasn’t until high school when his art teacher, neighbor, and family friend Katie Harper saw the potential for creative genius when he took her classes.

“We had a lot of fun,” remembers Harper, “We played around and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get super traditional stuff out of him so I just tried to guide him in his areas of strength– which was spontaneous, energetic, and colorful. His art was textural, very tactile; not too abstract like other abstract artists, but very playful. He was a playful kid. Because of that, I realized that he wasn’t going to let this go, like, “Oh I’m going to take this art class and be done with it”. I realized that he was really an artist. Truly an art spirit. A young art spirit and it was just a matter of time before he locked on and used it for his life, the way he navigated his life.”


Art became a sanctuary for Barron, who had struggles with bi-polar disorder. Like surfing, it was a way to express the explosive energy that was constantly simmering in his imagination, as well as the reflective and painful lows. As Shawn became more prolific, this became more and more apparent to Harper.


“He used it (art) as a therapy, as a playful medium, an exploration, as an adventure”.

Barron’s art was very impulsive and diverse. One day he would be working on an oil painting of UFO’s, and the next he would be using physical objects as a medium, like the infamous “Trophy Man”.


“In going through his work you can see really distinct phases,” recalls Coulter. “In the late 90s/ early 00’s he had a really intense creative period where a lot of his work seemed more pop in color and style. He then got really into body molds, landscapes, abstracts, lots of dots and circles, and of course, girls. He painted canvases so many times I don’t know how the paint ever really dried. Prior to his death he went through another really pretty creative phase, with a much softer tone, yet still bright with tons of color  and subtle shapes… He was mourning the death of our mother and to me, you can see some this in his work. They were extremely close.”


Now the public has a chance to appreciate the massive collection of art that he created. It’s a chance to honor a very conflicted, yet beautiful soul. I can attest to this gentle spirit. As a grom growing up on the EastSide, I was scared to death of the older Westside guys; yet Barron was always very approachable and kind to me. It was this “Allsides” mind frame that made him a favorite for local surfers across town; hell, across the globe. I like to think that Barron’s creative and sensitive soul has found a comfortable place in the universal soup of energy that we refer to as the universe.

Harper sums up Barron’s stay on this earth quite simply.

“Shawn was just one of those people who wasn’t going to be stuck in a box and to conform, and more power to him! He was a wonderful spirit. He was a gentle man”

I hope to see you all this Friday at this once in a lifetime event, which is orchestrated with love by Coulter, Sandbar Brenna, FleaHab, Nate Weinstein, and Patrick Trefz.

Instagram @shawnbarneybarronart


I’m A Grom, and I’m Angry!!



I’m a grom and I’m angry. I’m sick and tired of the older boys dropping in on me and taking all my waves. I’m fed up with the titty twisters, dead legs, monkey bumps, and Mexican Hat Dances. I don’t like picking licorice out of my hair after being dumped headfirst into the trash can. Why do the older guys pat me down for lunch money every time I go to the beach to check the surf? I can feel my blood boil when they talk trash on my older sister and my mom. Maybe I should take some Ju Jitsu classes and learn how to wrap these bullies into a pretzel.

Too bad I’m just a little fella, and all I have are these wiry arms and chicken legs. I’m growing though, so they had better just watch out.   Man, sometimes it’s tough being a grom.I’m so angry.  Good thing I can go out surfing and get rid of some of this pent up aggression. All I have to do is paddle out and unleash my fury on some innocent, unsuspecting lip. It’s such a relief when I feel my fins blow out the back of the wave, my body tapping my minds inner anger to execute extreme acrobatics. As I pump down the line of this well-groomed launch ramp, all the noogies, wet willies, and “your momma” jokes act as fuel for my lethal lift- off.

When I stick my angst aided aerial, my angry quickly subsides. The feeling of stoke after pulling a big move is enough to cure any case of bad mojo. A couple tubes later I’m ready to come in a happy camper, completely calmed from a successful session of liquid therapy.  Like the icing on top, it turns out all the older guys were watching my session from the beach.  What better way to get my revenge than to put them to shame on my own terms.  The cherry on tops comes when I walk by the crew of ruffians and hear one of the boys address me.  “Sick wave little guy.  Not bad for a grom”.  I smile and walk by, and for once I don’t feel so angry.

Preview: Surfers’ Blood-By Patrick Trefz


Patrick Trefz’s new film, Surfers’ Blood, is a film about diverse individuals spanning across the globe who share a common thread. That thread is the saltwater that runs through their veins; a passion for sea that compels them to devote their lives to playing in the ocean. ‘Cause that’s what it is right? A gigantic playground where grown men and women can feel young and full of vigor and inspiration.

“That’s what this film is; stories from a diverse group of humans who all share this primordial connection with the ocean. From the history of old world Basque Coast oar fishermen to a Silicon Valley visionary’s unorthodox computer surf board shapes—they all live and breathe to be in the ocean, in whatever form that may call to them.  It’s about their almost genetic need to be around the sea. There are striking similarities between Isotonic Ocean Water and internal body fluids, so I thought the title SURFERS’ BLOOD to be apt title,” Trefz explains.

Now, Trefz has dropped a preview of Surfers’ Blood on Redbull TV. Click the link  below to check it out.

Surfers’ Blood a film by Patrick Trefz

Archives: Last Time w/Peter Mel



By Neal Kearney

This article was previously printed by Transworld Surf in 2008



Went left at Mav’s–  Last session I had, I went left.  It’s so crowded out there these days that now the lefts are free game.  Because of the packed lineups, sometimes you’re forced to deal with what your given. The risk level at Mavs is highest it’s ever been.

Shaped a board–  My older son Anthony hit me up for one last year and we shaped one together.  Shaping boards is a lot of hard work and I have a lot of respect for shapers.  I still have a great interest in it, but my schedules been so hectic it’s hard to find time to do it but Anthony might be getting another one later this month.


                                                     The Condor getting roasted by Lil’ John

Got burned– John John, my youngest son, burns me all the time. Last time we surfed together he saw me on a wave and completely toasted me.  I don’t mind as long as he’s the only one who burns me.

Signed an autograph–  In Puerto Rico.  I just got back from good will tour for Quiksilver over there.  Signed as many autographs as I ever have in a weeks trip.  The Puerto Rican surf culture is super stoked, and the waves are fun too!

Got schooled by a grom–  Last summer at the Quiksilver Pro at Puerto Escondido. Ashton Madeley, a grom from South Side has had my number the past few comps I‘ve surfed against him in. But I finally got him back at the Volcom Contest last week.

Disagreed w/ judges-  I agree to disagree. Its part of my job being a to analyze what’s going on while I’m webcasting, but ultimately I’m not a judge, all I can do is give my two cents.


                                                                     Pete, getting beat

Two wave hold down–  It’s happened to me twice.  My last one was Jan 2007, at Mavericks. I had a wipeout which I didn’t even realize I was held down for two waves until Garret McNamara came to pick me up on the ski and yelled at me to let me know.  That’s when I kinda freaked out.


This wave eats boards for breakfast! Photo-Nelly

Broke a board– Last week at the Harbor.  Due to all the crazy storms, we’ve been fortunate lately to have some dredging sandbars lately.  But unfortunately, when the waves are dredging, your gonna pay some dues and break some boards.

Last book you read–  Called “Blue Water Gold Rush” by Tom Kendrick.  It’s a story about the urchin fishing trade in California.  It’s an incredible story I highly recommend it. Couldn’t put it down.  My old buddy Chris Brown is an urchin diver so I read it to get an idea of what it‘s like.


Chris Brown Wrap Around


Sold a bar of wax–  At Freeline Design last Tuesday I sold a bar of Sex wax.  Happens every time I work at the shop.

Won a contest–  Last week at the Volcom contest at 26 th ave , the beach break right by my house.  It’s been a long time since I’ve won a comp and it feels pretty damn good.


Pete’s right…

Pulled in at Waimea shorepound– During the Quiksilver Eddie Aikau event the year Bruce won.  Didn’t get a chance to this year.  In order to win the contest you almost have to.  I don’t think people really realize how gnarly it is.  Its one of the most dangerous shorepounds in the world.

Chased out of the water by a shark–  It’s never happened .  Knock on wood.  Closest call when I was surfing an unnamed slab up north and two seals buzzed me with fear in their eyes.  Thought I was a goner, but no shark.  So never really gotten chased out, but definitely had the shit scared out of me.


Pete’s proud Papa


Surfed with pops–  Just last month, dad and I surfed pleasure Point.  It’s so cool to surf with your dad, he’s in his 60’s.  Hope to keep doing it for years to come.

Got a stand up tube–  Santa Cruz Harbor just yesterday.  It’s illegal to surf there, but when its on it worth the risk.  Harbor patrol has been on it lately, issuing tickets during the last swell.  Tazy and Columbo got tickets (laughs).

Stressed on the economic situation?  This summer I almost sold my house, scared that I might lose it.  I realized I needed to do everything I could to keep it.  Got a vacation rental in the back, anyone need a room in Santa Cruz? Hit it up on!


Pete, whipped into a thickie

Had a tow surf– I tried it again on a swell last month.  I’ve come to realize that tow surfing is weak.  Paddling is where it’s out.  Watching the boys push it has gotten me inspired.  This year some of the boys, like Ramon Navarro, Greg Long, Shane Dorian, and Mark Healy have paddled into the of the biggest waves this year.


Last time you where grateful–  Just recently realized how grateful I was for my longtime sponsor Quiksilver, who’ve given me so much support over the years.  Also my other sponsors, Sanuk, and JC for all the boards. I live a blessed life, and I’m grateful for their support.


Pete and the beautiful Tara Mel

Last romantic Moment– Last night.  Can’t go into details but lets just say the romance has  lasted all these past 16 years.  Sweet surprises and candlelight dinners help keep the romance alive.

Last Magazine you read–  Transworld! (laughs) I also read a great article in Mens Journal about how to quiet your mind.  Some of the tips were incredible like -have a purpose, meditate, and cultivate good relationships- all in order to keep the stress down.  Stress can kill you, and I’ve found the tips useful.

Last time you pulled back on a wave–  During the Eddie.  In my first heat a set came at the very beginning of the heat, started to look over the ledge and pulled back.  Wish I could have that moment back, kicking myself cause it was one of the biggest waves that came through that heat.


A true surf fan, by a true surf fan

Last autograph you got– I got one from Grant Twiggy Baker after the he won the Pico Alto event in Peru. I like to collect winners contest jerseys. I also got a signed Nat Young’s O’Neill Coldwater Classic victory singet last year.


The beautiful and daring Savannah Shaughnessy

Last time someone made an impression on you- This winter at a session at Mavericks, Savannah Shaughnessy, a 20 year old young lady from Santa Cruz, rushed a big one on the bowl at Mavericks.  It’s rad to see the women getting out there and charging.

Last time you threw up– Can’t really remember. I stopped drinking three years ago, and now that I’m not polluting my body, I haven’t really been getting sick anymore.  Since I’ve been taking care of my body I can feel the difference, it‘s great.

Flashback Friday- How Three Hawaiian Princes Brought Surfing to Santa Cruz



Gaze out to sea along our beloved coastline on any given day and you’ll see scores of rubber-clad fun seekers sitting in dense packs, waiting patiently for signs of an approaching wave. Once the waves pour in, these wave riders employ a number of different crafts to catch and ride them.

Some ride short, pointy boards that allow them to carve and even launch above the breaking waves. Others use longer, round-nosed boards for a more relaxed ride, during which the surfer can coast and trim casually, at times dancing to the nose, hanging the toes and gliding along as poised and erect as a statue.

You may even see surfers riding prone on much smaller, rectangular boards, or stand-up surfers using wide paddles to propel their large crafts into the breakers.

These aquatic enthusiasts are a tough and dedicated breed of passionate athletes who willingly enter the frigid waters, even in the most treacherous of conditions, just to get their saltwater fix.

Plain and simple, Santa Cruzans are crazy for surfing. And why shouldn’t they be? After all, our town boasts a number of world-class breaks, beautiful beaches and a rich surfing history. Innovators such as wetsuit pioneer Jack O’Neill, world-renowned shapers like Bob Pearson of Pearson Arrow and modern day surf icons such as Pete Mel and Jason “Ratboy” Collins serve as examples of our community’s influence on the world of surf. In fact, Santa Cruz has had more of an impact on surfing history than most of us probably realize.


Santa Cruz, the TRUE “Surf City”, USA

Despite the area’s long-held reputation as one of the most popular surf mecca’s in the world, though, there’s a bit of history that has slipped through the cracks, until now.

The gumshoe efforts of two passionate local surf historians have revealed the story of the three Hawaiian princes. These princes were the first to surf in mainland America, and the first place they paddled in was Santa Cruz.

The culmination of 35 years of work, Santa Cruz’s Geoffrey Dunn and Kim Stoner have put together a clear, concise and historically supported account of the Hawaiian princes’ stay in Santa Cruz. It is hard evidence supporting a story printed in the local newspaper, the Santa Cruz Daily Surf, on Monday, July 20, 1885.

In the Daily Surf’s page two Beach Breeze column, the writer mentions — along with reports of a packed beach, ideal summer conditions and 30-40 swimmers “dashing and tossing and plunging through the breakers” — the three princes and their surfing exploits in front of a crowd of merry beachgoers at the San Lorenzo River mouth.

“Everyone knew about the Daily Surf mention in 1885,” Dunn said. “But no one knew the actual story.”


Geoffrey Dunn here at home in Santa Cruz

Dunn spent his childhood playing in the waters of the river mouth and has always felt a strong connection to the place. Like most of his peers who grew up on the Westside, Dunn spent a great deal of his time swimming and surfing. The river mouth was his favorite, and he and cousins would surf it on mats during the summer.

“The river mouth used to be an entirely different spot before the harbor was around,” Dunn said. “When big western swells came in during the summer, the wave could get really good and powerful. I’ve always been fascinated with the river mouth as a surf break and could imagine how good it used to get. Being familiar with the story of the princes’ surfing exploits there, I can understand why it caught their attention, as back then it would’ve resembled some of their home breaks on Oahu, such as Waikiki.”

Dunn’s personal connection to the river mouth and love for our city’s rich surfing history inspired his subsequent quest to unearth the details of the surfing princes once and for all. Dunn teamed with Stoner, his childhood friend and a devout advocate for the preservation of Santa Cruz’s surfing history who had similarly developed a fascination with the story of the princes, and began years of research.


The original boards on display in Santa Cruz

Rare documents and photographs were gathered from the Hawaiian Legacy Archive in Honolulu and the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley. They also found previous mentions of the princes by former Sentinel historian Ernest Otto. In time, a clear picture of the princes’ visit to Santa Cruz, as well as the impact their “surfboard swimming” had on its residents, began to emerge.

As it turns out, the young princes had indeed spent time in Santa Cruz while attending St. Matthews Hall in San Mateo, a military school for boys. During their time off school, the princes, named David Kawananakoa, Edward Keliiahonui and Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana’ole, had stayed with Antoinette Swan, a native of Oahu and an adopted member of the royal family.

Swan moved to Santa Cruz in the 1860s with her husband, Lyman. Her home served as a perfect summertime respite for the young men, who most likely were anxious to surf like they did back home on Oahu. It’s easy to see how inviting the waves peeling into the San Lorenzo river mouth on that hot and festive day in 1885 were for the young Hawaiians.

The report of the surfing exposition highlighted the amusement and joy that beachgoers experienced. Ten years later, another article mentions how local boys had taken to surfing the river mouth like the Hawaiian princes. This nugget of overlooked history shows how surfing caught on in Santa Cruz. The surfing spectacle must have had a profound effect on the generation of citizens who witnessed it, adding weight to our town’s claim to the title of the real “Surf City, USA.”


What “localism”?

Kristen Zambucka, an artist and writer from Honolulu who is friends with the descendants of the royal family, came up with the idea to create a plaque to display somewhere in Santa Cruz. After collaborating with Zambucka on the design of the plaque, Dunn got financial support from the royal descendants of the Kawananakoa and Marignoli families. Bronze artist Sean Monaghan and Tom Ralston of Tom Ralston Concrete helped design and build the base, and additional funding came from the Santa Cruz Woodies Club and Friends of Parks and Recreation.


The plaque. Surfing means so much to this town. Here we honor those who came first

For Dunn, the plaque is a perfect way to celebrate the legacy of those who first brought surfing to America.

“It’s gorgeous,” he said. “The city could’ve done something else, but they went out of their way to do something special and I couldn’t be any more pleased. Tom and Sean did a beautiful job on this and created what I think is the most spectacular framework for a monument in California. It’s a beautiful monument, and I’m proud to have played a part in this effort to uncover and pay tribute to a rich part of our community’s history.”






Patrick Trefz and SURFERS’ BLOOD

Patrick Trefz has been sharing Santa Cruz surfing with the world for decades. He’s worked tirelessly with the area’s best surfers to capture that elusive “shot”. It was this drive and talent that lead to his position as staff photographer for Surfer Magazine. Over the years he’s published an impressive collection of creative photography with emphasis on different angles, atmospheres, and personalities.

“I’m a second generation photographer and it was always something that I was into. There was different styles of photography out there: travel photography, people photography, fashion photography—I was always fascinated by all of them,” he reflected during a chat on my patio under cloudy, muggy skies.

Trefz has transferred this passion into highly successful, award-winning art, documentary, and action photographer-filmmaker. He has directed two feature films: Thread (2007) and Idiosyncrasies (2010), along with a number of shorts, music videos, and other independent projects. His photography has landed him gigs with, Big, Geo, and The New York Times.


Over time, Trefz talent as a storyteller began to shine through his work

“As my travels took me around the world taking photos I got into surf photography; I always thought there was a high peak action shot that was really cool in surfing, yet lacked a background story you know? You just see that one frame. So as I began to transition more into surf videography I felt like I had more freedom to be a complete story teller.”

He is the author of Santa Cruz: Visions of Surf City (Solid Publishing, 2002), Thread (powerHouse Books, 2009), and SURFERS’ BLOOD (powerHouse Books, 2012). After the success of his SURFERS’ BLOOD book, he decided to turn his tale about a group of eclectic individuals who all share deep bloodline with the sea into a film.


“That’s what this film is; stories from a diverse group of humans who all share this primordial connection with the ocean. From the history of old world Basque Coast oar fishermen to a Silicon Valley visionary’s unorthodox computer surf board shapes—they all live and breathe to be in the ocean, in whatever form that may call to them.  It’s about their almost genetic need to be around the sea. There are striking similarities between Isotonic Ocean Water and internal body fluids, so I thought the title SURFERS’ BLOOD to be apt title,” Trefz explains.


The film climaxes with a spotlight on 3 time Mavericks champion Darryl “Flea” Virostko’s  troubled past, where stardom and a rock star lifestyle almost killed him. This section is juxtaposed with Flea’s childhood best friend, Shawn “Barney” Barron, to whom Trefz had a truly deep connection to.


“The final piece is very personal. It’s a contrast of Flea/Barney and how best friends could be so polar opposite. Shawn and I got along well because of our creative inclinations and we travelled the world together. He was dealing with a lot, especially the loss of his mother the year before, and as we know had that flap in his heart. But he was a recreation drug user. Flea’s proud of the way he turned his own life around, but in the end, he couldn’t save his best friend.”



7PM, $10 dollar entry

To see more of Patrick’s work, please check out

Know Your Announcer…Kaipo Guerrero


Mr. Guerrero. Photo: Honolulu Pulse

    Split Peak Soup’s ongoing “Know Your Announcer” series features the men and women behind the mic at all of your favorite WSL competitions. We’ve caught up with big wave hell-man Pete Mel, Brazilian stoke ambassador Andre Giorenelli, and now, in the thick of Van’s Triple Crown of Surfing on the North Shore of Oahu, we’re giving you insight into the mind of Hawaiian webcaster Kaipo Guerrero’s mind. I remember seeing Kaipo in the blowing up in the magazines and Bud Tour features on T.V. back when I was first learning to surf. Now, Kaipo’s smoothly transitioned from pro surfer to one of the few local Hawaiian voices interviewing the pros and calling the shots when the World Surf League comes to the “Aloha State”. And he does it so well! It’s good to have Kaipo and Rocky Canon representing the “brown bruddahs” in a overwhelmingly Caucasian webcaster lineup (O.K., Ross Williams is from Hawaii, but you get my point). Here’s what the humble Hawaiian had to say….

In the back of my memory I remember seeing you either in surf magazines as a writer or sponsored rider….can you refresh my memory as to how people might remember you (pre webcasting)?

I was Hawaii State champ, NSSA open champ, Hawaii Team member for worlds, 3 US champ finals and 3 years top 16 Bud Pro Tour. I quit pro surfing at 24 to take a job with my then time sponsor, Body Glove.


Kaipo’s 80’s fluorescent fin ditch Photo:@kaipoguerro

 How long have you been surfing and who taught you/where?

I learned to surf in Waikiki. Both my father and grandfather were surfers. I spent a lot of young years with Waikiki beach boys and paddled for Waikiki Surf Club.


Beach Boy roots runnin’ strong

What are some of the lessons that surfing in the powerful waves of Hawaii as a youngster? What about lessons of Hawaiian culture that remain important to you today?

Basically in Hawaii I try to understand the water and move with it. Noticing currents, channels, bone yards, and escape area; I had a lot of help from other surfers teaching and supporting me. As a Hawaiian I feel it is important to perpetuate our culture. I am a graduate of the Kamehameha schools. I moved back to Hawaii a little over 10 years ago because with a new family I wanted my kids to know Hawaii and their culture so they can continue with it.


Kaipo and his beautiful family. Photo:@kaipoguerrero

Can you recount how you became involved in the Triple Crown webcasting? Did you have to try out for the job, or did it fall in your lap unexpectedly?

Ed D’Ascoli from Xcel asked me to announce Xcel Pro at Sunset and that was my big break. I had announced the Xcel Pro for a couple of years, as well as the HASA amateur events, when Randy Rarrick called me and asked if I wanted to work on the Triple Crown. I was so stoked, so of course I said yes!


Guerrero in the field, with Aussie upstart Jack Robinson. Photo:WSL

The Triple Crown is a huge deal to a lot of surfers. What do you think makes the series so prestigious and desirable for competitive surfers?

The Triple Crown is so crazy because the venues are incredible waves, with all the best surfers from around the world competing. Everyone is watching and the performance level gets pushed up by having powerful waves,warm water and all the best guys ripping. There is a buzz in the air. In Hawaii it is peer approval that is important; fan approval is secondary. Back to back events. Big waves. Winds. Crowds. 7 miles of coast. A giant gathering of surfers. The perfect recipe for drama and spectacle!


Pipe, the ultimate proving ground

If you come to Hawaii to compete, what aspects of your surfing do you feel like you need to showcase to the judges to win heats?

You have to be adaptable for Haleiwa. You have to surf big for Sunset. You have to charge and ride the barrel well at Pipe.

 Who are some of the young Hawaiians on tour that you are very proud of?

Since I work with the amateur ranks I am proud of every Hawaii surfer that I watch come to the pros. Josh and Seth Moniz. Zeke Lau. Keanu Asing. Mason Ho. Billy Kemper. But there are so many more coming up. The 11 and 12 year old crew right now are crazy good.

What kinds of traditional Hawaiian ocean activities interest you as well?

I really enjoy paddling SUP and canoe. My father is a great canoe paddler with multiple Molokai race wins and former member of Polynesian Vouyaging Society (Hokulea). I have 4 Molokai crossing under my belt. Canoes (Wa’a) are very important to Hawaiians.


Man of many talents. Photo:Mana

The North Shore becomes a bit of a circus during the winter. Do you welcome this influx, or is there a sense of bitterness of being invaded during the prime time season for surf. I ask this because Santa Cruz has become a war zone in the water, yet it’s a huge part of our economy.

Its human to get mad at crowds or feel a bit entitled. But the positive economic result is a good thing. I do believe in respect in the water and surfers surfing breaks appropriate to their skill levels.

What changes would you like to see the WSL make as far as allowing Pipe specialists like Danny Fuller to showcase their skills? Or are you happy with the current format and other opportunities like the Volcom Pipe Pro?

Local trails is an answer for non rated surfers but if you call yourself a pro surfer you got to surf a couple comps to get on the rating radar. Danny Fuller, for example, did surf a WQS in Chile to get in Xcel Pro, then he won the comp in his home waters.


He’s still got it! Photo:@kaipoguerro

Anything else you’d like to add? Or shout outs?

I just feel lucky to be involved in and still be able to make a living working in surfing because, basically, surfing was my first job out of high school. I am a territory manager for Surf Hardware and Rip Curl. Both companies make such great products to enhance everyone’s surfing experience and I’m stoked to represent them. Working events is an occu-passion (part occupation part passion).

Remember When?…with Harry Mayo

A true Santa Cruz legend

A true Santa Cruz legend

The Santa Cruz Surfing Club

An original member dishes about early Santa Cruz surfing

Previously featured in Santa Cruz Waves Magazine

Santa Cruz hasn’t always been a surf town. The sport came to Santa Cruz, originally, with the visit of three Hawaiian princes in July of 1885, but it didn’t become popular until the 1930’s, when surfers from Southern California visited the area and discovered the bounty of cold, yet perfect, surf.

A group of local teenagers took notice and subsequently caught “surf fever,” borrowing the visitors’ boards and gathering as much advice as possible. These youngsters began shaping their own surfboards in high school wood shop, and a fledgling surf community was born, culminating in 1936 with the establishment of the Santa Cruz Surfing Club. Ninety-one-year-old Harry Mayo was one of those youngsters, and is the last surviving original member. Waves sat down with him to hear about his memories from that era.

Mayo at the clubhouse

Mayo at the clubhouse

The Club: “Locally, nobody else was surfing. Members of the Santa Cruz Surfing Club were the ones who started it. It was a mixed group—some of us lived on the Westside, some of us downtown and some of us lived on the Eastside. I started at about age 14 in junior high at Mission Hill Junior High. It was just us youngsters at first, but then a few older guys from out of town [Burlingame and San Mateo] started coming around, and between them and us we formed the club around 1936.
In ’38, the Junior Chamber of Commerce built the clubhouse board house for us. We had keys [and] charged guys from out of town a buck to store their boards in there. The Club was social and became more popular with time. We started charging dues, so in ‘38 it became more organized. We had a president, a secretary and a treasurer. We had our own bank account. During the war we leased a hamburger stand for our clubhouse and we bought it later.
We had our logo on the T-shirts and then we got some big heavy parkas—hoodies is what we called them, and we got the logo on them, too.”

Mayo, as a grommet

Mayo, as a grommet

The Equipment: “We had basically two types of boards. We had the planks—solid planks—and the rest were hollow paddleboards. I made mine in high school in 1939, at Santa Cruz High School. We had skegs, like on a rowboat. Tom Blake [the inventor of the surfboard fin] came and visited us one time. He used an umbrella to sail around Cowell’s. First windsurfer. [Laughs] No wetsuits or leashes, we wore bathing suits, and we used paraffin wax.”

Mayo and crew hiking the bluff where the Dream Inn now stands

Mayo and crew hiking the bluff where the Dream Inn now stands

The Surfing: “You didn’t go out alone. If we were able to get down to the clubhouse early or something, and there was nobody around, we’d wait for somebody to show up to go out with.
Then we’d surf for approximately an hour and come in. If it was the wintertime, we’d come into the clubhouse to warm up—we had a pot-bellied stove. We’d get it goin’ with wood, try to warm up, take off our wet bathing suits, put a warm one on, or put our pants back on. Or, if the weather was halfway decent, we’d sit in front of the clubhouse facing the east and warm up with the sun.”

Mayo, surfing for the first time in 62 years, with Richard Schmidt

Mayo, surfing for the first time in 62 years, with Richard Schmidt

The Culture: “I don’t know exactly what the girls at that time thought about us. We had plenty of women hanging around. We even had a couple gals surfin’ with us. But folks didn’t like them surfing cause they could fall and get black and blue marks if they got hit with a board.
If you weren’t a big football player, or a big basketball player, you were out. Surfing was nothing, it wasn’t even counted. It’s changed. But still, some girls hung around at the beach with us. We weren’t looked on very highly because we weren’t winning any big games for the old alma matter. You had to be a football jock or something, so we more or less flew under the radar.”

No suits, primitive boards-but no lack of stoke.  Indicators

No suits, primitive boards-but no lack of stoke. Indicators

The War and Decline of The Original Club: “Originally, in the SC surf club, you couldn’t get in if you drank or smoked. But that changed during the war, I’m sorry to say it did, but it did. It was a different attitude. We didn’t know if tomorrow we’d be in the service. It was a kind of feeling of “what the hell?” We did no drugs, to my knowledge.
All of us went into the service: Army, Navy, Air Force. I went into the Coast Guard. We all came back- one guy had a knee problem, but we all came back.
By then, the club started breaking up, we were older, going to college, married with kids, workin’, etc. By the fifties I was done, I was workin’ three jobs, and I joined the Fire Department in ‘49. Then I was married and had a baby. Didn’t have the time to go surfin’ no more!”

Mayo, present day, checking out the recreated Clubhouse

Mayo, present day, checking out the recreated Clubhouse

Mr. Matthew Myers…The Manager

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Matty, loving life as usual

“Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes (turn and face the strain) Ch-ch-changes“…One minute you’re getting shots in the mags and travelling around the world as a pro surfer, and next thing you know, you’re the guy behind the scenes orchestrating the careers of others. Matthew Myers is one of my best friends– we’ve shared some of the best experiences of our lives together, namely a magical day surfing a secret thundering reef in Bali in the morning, heaving tubes at Keramas for lunch, and a magic afternoon session at Padang Padang accompanied by one of our idols, Benji Weatherly. We were like stoned out teenagers at Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.

It seems like yesterday that we were chasing the dream of being professional surfers; but life changes, sometimes we have to accept the fact that the industry has transformed and it’s time to grow up. Mr. Myers has definitely grown up and strapped on his big boy boots, giving up a cozy existence here in Santa Cruz to pursue a career in the surf industry. A few years ago Myers got the seemingly dreamy position as team manager for Rip Curl, packed up his shit, and moved to Newport. While getting to travel the world and surf with guys like Tom Curren and Mick Fanning may seem just as groovy as a professional surfing career, Myers is constantly working behind the scenes to facilitate the careers of a bevy of grommets and grown men, a hectic task to say the least.

I can’t express how proud I am of this kid. He’s such a positive and awesome person, and it stokes me out beyond belief to see what he’s done for himself. I caught up with him recently to chat about this new lifestyle and how he deals with the daily grind down South.

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Mr. Myers and Mr. Knox

Going from pro surfer to someone who manages pro surfers…how was this transition?

The transition from Pro Surfer to Managing Pro Surfers, was definitely a tricky transition at first. However, over time it’s became easier and easier. Just like any job I’d suppose.

He's still got it! Photo-Watts

He’s still got it! Photo-Watts

What are your job duties? How do you find time to surf and relax amidst the chaos?

This isn’t always the easiest question to answer, as my job duties range pretty far and wide. I think they call it “wearing a lot of hats”. My official job title is Team & Promotions Manager, so there’s plenty that fall into those categories.

For example; Looking after the roster of 40+ Rip Curl sponsored surfers in North America, from 10 year old groms to Tom Curren. Surfers from California, Hawaii, up & down the East Coast, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Costa Rica. Running the GromSearch surf series as a contest director; 5 events across the US. Scouting new talent to add to the team. Managing team & event budgets, schedules, flights, and contest entries. I also help run Rip Curl USA’s social media handles; Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. I help host grassroots events like the wetsuit demo tour, promos, team signings, movie premieres, and other local events. I attend and help coach many junior/grom events up and down the coastline. I help organize photo shoots for our team riders with our staff photogs and filmers. I make sure to keep a great relationship between our brand and the media outlets. I also help host junior/grom camps that focus on raising the level of our team and offering support to help guide their futures. Finally to wrap this way too long paragraph up, I help out with the WCT team roster when they’re in Cali/Hawaii and make sure things run smoothly during their time in our region.

Find time to surf and relax in this chaos? Shoot… not much relaxation, but I do get a fair amount of water time!

Taking time to mentor the groms

Taking time to mentor the groms

You must be privy to a lot of insider knowledge/rumors about the world of surfing?   Were you shocked at anything you learned about the inner workings of the surf industry and all the players?

To be honest, nothing comes to mind as far as things that are shocking. Everyone for the most part is super cool that I’ve worked with. The only insider info that I try to utilize is around the WCT events while picking my Fantasy Surfer teams.

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                             M.Fanno and M. Myyo

Who are you currently managing under Rip Curl?

Are you asking who’s on our surf team? If so here’s a link to our North American team list, And this is our A-Team plus Mason Ho, my newest team addition.

Taking a time out to tee-off

                              Taking a time out to tee-off

What’s the most difficult part of your job? Being away from Santa Cruz? Dealing with lazy and or difficult team riders? Time management?

You pretty much nailed it. By far the two most difficult items is being away from SC. Santa Cruz is where my heart is. It’s where my family is. It’s where all my best friends are. Luckily I have an amazing girlfriend from Santa Cruz, that lives with me here and that makes a world of difference.

Secondly time management is really tricky. I hardly find time for myself, doing my own surf trips, or just getting away from technology. I spend so much time staring at my computer, or phone. I miss “losing” my phone for a day and unplugging. Not to mention how many hours a day I spend answering emails or team rider requests.

Lazy or difficult team riders aren’t much of an issue. It’s so hard to keep a sponsor these days, if you have one you’re generally pretty on top of it.

Living vicariously, luxuriously

Living vicariously, luxuriously

People must tag you as a punching bag for Rip Curl and it’s team riders. How do you deal with controversy and or scorn from others? Is it hard to balance your allegiance to your employer and your own personal beliefs?

Yeah that’s pretty funny. I know of a few instances I believe you are bringing up. If people are talking shit to me personally because of something a Rip Curl team rider did, than they must not have much going for them.

I try not to be biased, but I’m always pulling for Santa Cruz surfers, especially Nat Young, he’s probably the only friend of mine that will ever surf on the WCT; I mean like someone I actually grew up with.

Balancing the allegiance vs personal beliefs comes easy for me. The RC team has some of my favorite surfers, well from before I started working here.

"Hey Curren, goin right!"

                                                  “Hey Curren, goin right!”

What is your favorite part of the job?

I love traveling for work, I love offering my knowledge to young team riders and running great events. I work with a great crew of people who are all friends of mine, and my boss is incredibly smart and a great mentor to learn from. There’s a lot of favorite parts to my job, but nothing can beat sharing a lineup with Curren or Fanning and have them call you into one of the waves of the day.

The Surfing Historian…Matt Warshaw

A man, a library, and a cat.  Smells like History to me!

          A scholarly man, a library, and a cat. Smells like History to me.

Historians have a pretty damn hard job. They have to sift through documents, journals, periodicals, legends, and myths; working like detectives to present a fair and balanced account of the past. Now picture this…a SURFING historian? Surfing history is chalk full of zany characters, unbelievable antics, and monumental sessions.. Before webcasts, Go Pro’s, and RED cameras, there wasn’t much to rely on for information but first-hand accounts, grainy footage, hearsay, whispers and mutterings. How in God’s name could someone compile all these stories and watershed moments in surfing history, especially considering all the swollen egos, bitter rivalries, and hazy memories of surfers who’ve bounced off the reef a few too many times or voluntarily fried their brains?

It’s a tough gig, but luckily for us we have a special individual devoted to decoding our surfing heritage, Mr. Matt Warshaw.   Warshaw has tasked himself with compiling surfing history into an online database, The Encyclopedia of Surfing.

From the Air-Drop, to Captain Good Vibes, Warshaw has toiled endlessly to allow the public a peek into everything surfing. As a fellow historian and surf scribe, I find this dedication and bounty of knowledge nothing short of amazing. Well, today is Matt’s birthday, so I thought of no better time to let him tell his story, and explain what compelled him to take on such a monumental task…

Early days with fellow surf rat, Jay Adams.  Photo Booth fun 1971

Early days with fellow surf rat, Jay Adams. Photo Booth fun 1971

Can you tell me briefly how you were introduced to surfing? Did you ever compete, or was it strictly a passion?

My uncle pushed my brother and me across our swimming pool on his huge Hansen surfboard. This was in Tarzana, California, probably 1965. Uncle Dan was coolest person I knew, I already loved the water, so the hook was set. We just had to get out of the Valley, which we did a couple years later when my family moved to Venice. I got my first board in 1969.

Oh yeah, he shreds

Oh yeah, he shreds

I know that editing a magazine can be a tiresome and thankless job at times. It must have also been a thrill to have access to so many colorful characters…How would you describe your tenure at the helm of Surfer Magazine?

There was this long and amazing series of lucky breaks that helped get me to the editor’s chair. Just one thing after the other. On the other hand, I’m driven and ambitious and scheming, and made a lot of things happen as well. I was at SURFER for six years, and only in the last year or so, maybe the last 18 months, did I do anything that I’m proud of. Before that it was me learning the ropes in public, and most of what I did—my own writing anyway—I’m really deeply embarrassed about.

Another thing I remember was, when I got to SURFER, in 1985, everyone on staff was still using typewriters. I was the first person in the building to get a word processor, I think it was 1986. The year after that we all got word processors, and the art director got some primitive designing software, and some of the issues from the late ‘80s have this horrible sort of Nintendo-y design look.

On the plus side, I got to work with Derek Hynd, Jeff Divine, Matt George, Warren Bolster, Steve Pezman, Paul Holmes, and lots of other really talented people. I was only actually editor for maybe six months, but that position set up everything that followed in my work life. I’m really proud and honored to be a SURFER guy.

After Surfer, what was next on your agenda? Did you continue to freelance, or did you look at other avenues outside the realm of surfing to make ends meet?

After SURFER I went to UC Berkeley to finish college, and I funded that by selling my house in San Clemente and by sponging off my family. I did a bit of freelancing too. Actually I got some good assignments. I did a short piece for Esquire, and a couple things for Interview. Again, all those doors opened because of my skillful playing of the SURFER card.

Warshaw and vestiges of the past

Warshaw and vestiges of the past

I’m sure that as Editor at Surfer you established ties with countless extraordinarily interesting cats…did these personalities and their stories compel you to start the Encyclopedia of Surfing–a sort of time capsule to bring all the legends and monumental events to the public in a familiar (Encyclopedia) and digestible format?

After college I mostly did articles for Surfer’s Journal and SURFER, then did a couple of books. One morning I made some random comment to my dad about knowing more about surfing than anybody in the world, and he said “So write an encyclopedia,” and a half-million words later it was done. The making of EOS is too boring to get into, but I’ll just say that I spent all of 2000 doing data entry prior to actually starting on the book. The whole year, loading up a Filemaker Pro database. You can’t spin that into anything gonzo. It’s drudgery, plain and simple.

What surfer doesn't relish the tube.  Matt, tucked in all cozy like

What surfer doesn’t relish the tube. Matt, tucked in all cozy like

Expanding on the last question, was there any “Eureka!” moment when you realized the importance of saving these stories and compiling them for public consumption?

No, never. None of this ever seemed important in any kind of good-for-the-world sense. It gives me something to do. It makes use of this ridiculous among of very particular information I’ve got stored in my head and my various hard drives. I love the work. To a fault, almost. I wake up and can’t wait to start working. But never have I kidded myself into thinking that it’s important. It’s nice that I’ve been able to organize and archive and present the sport in some way. It is useful. Some of it is entertaining. But your surfing experience, my surfing experience—nobody’s surfing experience is affected by it.

The book that started it all

The book that started it all

How do you go about gathering information for your EOS entries? There are so many legends, showdowns/rivalries, design breakthrough, and epic stories to document–it must be a bit overwhelming!!

EOS will never be complete, and will never be finished. It’s a permanent work in progress. I knew that from the minute I started the book version, and 15 years later this remains the greatest comfort. I’m actually not overwhelmed. I do have a responsibility to surf history, but at some level what I do, what any historian or archivist does, is arbitrary. Especially with the website, where I need photos and video. There are entries in the book that aren’t on the website because I don’t have photos. There are huge holes on EOS. All I can do is post pages when they’re ready. And meanwhile fix all the typos, and update John John Florence’s page every month, and clown around endlessly on social media to try and get people to my site.

Surfers can have some pretty inflated egos…how do you deal with rejection and or avoidance while contacting sources for information? Has anyone called you out for something you’ve written about them? Also, have you ever had anyone call you out for not including them and their exploits/contributions in the EOS?

EOS is a 501c3 non-profit organization, and the entire “company” is me, working in my guest room for less money than I made as a surf shop clerk in 1983. When people call me out for whatever—it doesn’t happen that often, maybe once or twice a month—I throw my hands up and play the little man card. I can only do so much. I’ll get there when I can. Thanks for the patience. Which isn’t bullshit. But it’s also a way to deflect.



This must be a tough one to answer, but what has been the most enjoyable entry for you to include in the EOS thus far?

No single entry stands out. But what’s surprised me is much I enjoy flogging the site on Facebook and Twitter, and doing the EOS blog posts. I was late to social media, and was dragged there in chains, but once I signed on I really loved it. When I’m doing something for publication, a book or an article, I write the shit out of it, draft after draft after draft. Writing for the web has loosened me up. My writing is better for it. I’m learning from guys who are better at it than I am. I love my job because, even though I’ve been doing it for 30-something years, in one form or the other, I really seriously feel like I’m just now getting the hang of it.

Follow Matt on instagram- encyclopedia_of_surfing and be sure to check out