TOP 44

Top 44

Ranking things by order of importance is pretty stupid. It’s always super subjective and filled with someone’s prejudiced opinion about how things should be. These are facts we knowingly accepted when we took on the task of ranking the 44 best things about surfing into what we call TransWorld SURF’s Top 44.

So instead of doing a bunch of mathematical calculations or surveying a control group-which we wouldn’t be interested in even if we knew how-we simply thought of 44 things most people would agree are worth mentioning. It may be super subjective and filled with our opinions and prejudices, but at least we had fun doing it. Isn’t that supposed to be what surfing’s all about?-J.P.

40. The World Qualifying Series
More fun than a barrel of groupies.

The World Qualifying Series, or WQS, is a happy little tour that moves around the world bestowing a party-like atmosphere and incredible surfers upon the surf spots it lands on. Although it’s primarily a second-tier tour where the highest-placing surfers qualify for the big show, or World Championship Tour (WCT), it’s still important as a tour. Now, however, it has taken on a different meaning with the changing attitude toward contests and progressive surfing in general. How else would you explain ratings like Chris Ward at number 75, Gavin Beschen at 135, and David Rastovich at 288?Why is it changing? Because chances are, the thousands of ‘QS surfers aren’t gonna be in the top ten at the end of the year-in other words, qualifying’s a crap shoot. Because a lot of surfers don’t have the money to chase every WQS event around the world, many of them pick and choose contests where they’ll get the most exposure. So now young, frothing, hungry surfers are visible, having a good time, and not worrying about another equal 33rd (or last place) in the big leagues. It’s also fun to watch the WQS’ four-man format with its variety of combinations of interesting, different surfers.In the good ol’ days, or pre-WQS, the world tour was one big contest where every now and then a local ripper would advance through ten rounds and go on to beat the top sixteen-a sort of combination of the two tours. Today there’re trials in select events, but it’s just not the same. While today’s ‘CT superstars hide out in hotels and take limos, the ‘QS guys are eating peanut butter and jelly, drinking, and having a hell of a lot more fun. The next time a ‘QS comes to your town, have a heart, and buy one of these vagabonds a drink-they’d dig it.-A.C.

39. Sacking Up
It is a good day to die.

Before going into battle with neighboring tribes, Native Americans painted their faces, bodies, and horses with symbols of strength and speed. They greeted each other with the expression, “It is a good day to die.” Before sacking Rome, the Celts removed all their clothing, painted themselves blue, and drank themselves into a frenzy. Before laying siege to Constantanople, Christian crusaders were blessed en masse by priests assuring them entrance to Heaven for their bravery.To psyche themselves up during the Mexican-American War, Texas Rangers would take turn riding across the field of battle, hurdling enemy lines, and bolting back. Before taking off on suicide missions against American aircraft carriers in the Pacific during World War II, Japanese Kamikaze pilots would take part in an ancient ceremony celebrating tradition and country. Before being parachuted behind German lines during the D-Day invasion of France during World War II, American Army Rangers gave each other mohawks and, like Native Americans millenniums before them, symbolically painted their faces.Surfing may not be war, but certain situations require the sheer courage to momentarily let go of your fears, stare into the abyss, and embrace the idea that death might not be so bad.How do you prepare?-J.P.

37. Expression Sessions
Pump, pump, punt, then poke.
“Up and riding, the surfer in redt’s Taj Burrow! He’s pumping down the line, picking up speed. Here comes a section-oh, my god! He blasted off the lip and into a 360 air with a backside grab! Ladies and gentlemen, that was amazing!”Doesn’t that sound more exciting than, “Here goes Joe Pro on the left-top turn, top turn, cutback, top turn, floater, and then he pulled out”? That’s the difference between the expression session and the straightforward twenty-minute heat.In a 40-minute freesurf, the surfers aren’t holding back whatsoever; they’re hauling ass and busting out bangers. It’s true that the lines have been blurred by some freethinking acrobats like Taj Burrow, Andy Irons, Cory Lopez, and Shane Beschen, so now it’s time for contest judges to step into the future and reward points for flair as well as style. The spazz-out three-to-the-beach format is slowly dying because fans want to see some new shit-new styles and combos done with flow and speed. Progression is the key.So come now, oh three-to-the-beachers-throw an air or a flip in your mix, and we’ll all be happy to just sit on the beach and eat popcorn while you bros are out there just f-king ripping!-C.C.

36. Waves Magazine
The thunda from down unda.
This is our most favorite surf magazine in the world. It has great photos, shows boobs, talks loads of shit, and the writers are funny. Waves makes most American publications look like shit, and the Aussie slang’s hilarious. Editor Blakey is a bro and a funny farking poof. There’re lots of frothing Bosko visions, and every month they have contributing editors like Ozzie Wright, Noodles, Taj, Ace, and Catto in the mix. If you can get your hands on a copy or two, you won’t be sorry-you’ll be happy. Sections to look for include Slash Of The Month (grotesque bleeding cuts), Natural Wonders (ladies), lots of giveaways, Ten Who Turn Me On (surfers list their favorites), and Your Call (readers ask the questions). Waves magazine rips.-C.C.

33. Web Cams
Eyes in the sky.
Whether it was an educationally and militarily minded mode of decentralized communication, a way to disseminate information on a global scale, or a complex scheme to waste unfathomably large amounts of money, the Internet has become part of our lives. Unfortunately for all those young entrepreneurs and the blue-haired old ladies they coerced into sinking gobs of cash into future failed Web sites, humans have largely thumbed their nose at e-commerce, or electronic capitalism, or what have you, although ironically we’ve embraced the original purpose of that massive fiber-optic spiderweb-free information.With the obvious exception of the porn industry, with its pioneering of real-time fornication, the surf world might be the only niche market effectively maximizing the most important utility of the World Wide Web-live video. “Web cams” have changed the way we check the surf forever. No longer do you have to depend on your stoned friend’s impossible-to-decipher description of the waves (“Dude, it’s pretty cryp right now, but the tide’s f-kin’ with it”); Web cams allow you to cut out the middle man and judge it for yourself.Currently there are cameras at thousands of popular local breaks, with the notable exceptions of spots lacking good camera locations (like Trestles) and where pissed-off locals simply won’t allow them (like most of the Central Californian coast). But in the near future, as the high-speed Internet becomes more readily accessible and camera-mounted government satellites are declassified and their services offered to the highest bidder, no wave will be able to hide from the wired surf audience.-J.P.

32. Surf FashionWow! You look, like, so cool!Surfers dress so cool sometimes. It all started with the Beach Boys. They dressed like nerds, but they combed their hair cool and everything worked out. Surf style soon evolved with the help of a well-known high high school kid, Jeff Spicoli. He sported checkered Vans slip-ons, duck-billed hats with a flap covering the neck, and his hair was long and shaggy.When the 80s came around, styles became flamboyant. Tight neon trunks, flashy airsprays, silk shirts, and Ugg Boots were all the rage. Also, having a large chunk of hair or bangs covering one eye was in style and radical. Colored Zinka covered the face of all surfers-young and old alike.In the early 90s, surfers found that surf-style clothes weren’t getting them laid, so they started dressing like gangsters or rappers. It was now cool to show up to the beach wearing basketball jerseys and baggy pants that sagged below the ass.In the late 90s, surfers found that skaters were getting all the girls, so they started dressing like skateboarders and wore only skate shoes and skate-brand T-shirts.Now it’s the year 2001, and surfers are wearing the most awesomest new fashions, like cargo pants, skate shoes, and T-shirts. Nosekote has become quite a trend at the workplace, and the farmer tan has made a big comeback. Good on ya, bros! Surf fashion is ripping!-C.C.

31. Paint Pens
Light-headed fun.
White boards are classy and art-like. When you see a brand-new all-white board, you think, “Wow! What a cool-looking board. I wish I was riding that!” Too bad two weeks later that once beautiful piece of art is piss yellow and looks like a dead body. That, my friend, is where the paint pens come in.

Simply get yourself some of those expensive art pens at a local art store and go to town. Slop on drawings of your pets, your friends, or even write a chick’s name on there (girls love that shit). Find some cool album cover and try to copy it on the bottom of your board. They usually turn out looking like crap, but sometimes they actually make the board look better. Besides, have any of you ever ordered an airbrush from your shaper? It takes like an extra month and usually looks nothing like you’d envisioned it.Take things into your own hands-paint the bottom, top, and rails of your board. It’ll look so rad-you’ll just shit in place and laugh. One more thing: remember to paint your board in a closed room so you get light-headed.-C.C.

28. R/C Surfer
Radical cool radio control.
How many times have you looked at perfectly glassy, bowling, reeling waves, but they’re only one foot? It happens all the time. When it does, we’re basically screwed because that means we’re either gonna be indoors playing video games or drinking at lunch.There is a way, though, to get outside, play in the sun, and feel almost the same amount of excitement as when you’re shredding in the ocean. It’s called radio-controlled surfing. All you have to do is send your little radio bro out into the lineup, and in a split-second he’ll be shralping those perfect little insiders by pulling in, carving, shredding lips, and even doing airs.

One company has released a Kelly Slater radio-controlled surfer. Think about it: You can control Kelly as he gouges hard at speeds of 200-feet per minute. You can have him throw slashes in the face of those dorks who are trying to surf on a one-foot day. If you’re not a fan of Kelly, you can take the stickers off his board, paint his hair black, call him Jean-Jean, and say he’s the French surf champion.

Don’t be the last kid on the beach to own one of these things. Plus there’s an added bonus: Every girl on the beach will come up and be all, “Oh, my god! That thing is like, sooo cute!” It works better than a puppy and is less threatening than a baby.-C.C.

24. Rob Machado Winning The Pipe Masters
Skinny man overcomes fat waves.
If you could have seen Rob when he was in high school, you never would’ve thought he’d be winning the Pipe Masters almost a decade later. It’s not that he wasn’t good; he was a f-king ripper. It’s just that he was about five-five, 75 pounds, and as skinny as Calista Flockhart from Ally McBeal.

Rob’s always had the talent to make the world tour and win a world championship, but winning the Pipe Masters nvering the neck, and his hair was long and shaggy.When the 80s came around, styles became flamboyant. Tight neon trunks, flashy airsprays, silk shirts, and Ugg Boots were all the rage. Also, having a large chunk of hair or bangs covering one eye was in style and radical. Colored Zinka covered the face of all surfers-young and old alike.In the early 90s, surfers found that surf-style clothes weren’t getting them laid, so they started dressing like gangsters or rappers. It was now cool to show up to the beach wearing basketball jerseys and baggy pants that sagged below the ass.In the late 90s, surfers found that skaters were getting all the girls, so they started dressing like skateboarders and wore only skate shoes and skate-brand T-shirts.Now it’s the year 2001, and surfers are wearing the most awesomest new fashions, like cargo pants, skate shoes, and T-shirts. Nosekote has become quite a trend at the workplace, and the farmer tan has made a big comeback. Good on ya, bros! Surf fashion is ripping!-C.C.

31. Paint Pens
Light-headed fun.
White boards are classy and art-like. When you see a brand-new all-white board, you think, “Wow! What a cool-looking board. I wish I was riding that!” Too bad two weeks later that once beautiful piece of art is piss yellow and looks like a dead body. That, my friend, is where the paint pens come in.

Simply get yourself some of those expensive art pens at a local art store and go to town. Slop on drawings of your pets, your friends, or even write a chick’s name on there (girls love that shit). Find some cool album cover and try to copy it on the bottom of your board. They usually turn out looking like crap, but sometimes they actually make the board look better. Besides, have any of you ever ordered an airbrush from your shaper? It takes like an extra month and usually looks nothing like you’d envisioned it.Take things into your own hands-paint the bottom, top, and rails of your board. It’ll look so rad-you’ll just shit in place and laugh. One more thing: remember to paint your board in a closed room so you get light-headed.-C.C.

28. R/C Surfer
Radical cool radio control.
How many times have you looked at perfectly glassy, bowling, reeling waves, but they’re only one foot? It happens all the time. When it does, we’re basically screwed because that means we’re either gonna be indoors playing video games or drinking at lunch.There is a way, though, to get outside, play in the sun, and feel almost the same amount of excitement as when you’re shredding in the ocean. It’s called radio-controlled surfing. All you have to do is send your little radio bro out into the lineup, and in a split-second he’ll be shralping those perfect little insiders by pulling in, carving, shredding lips, and even doing airs.

One company has released a Kelly Slater radio-controlled surfer. Think about it: You can control Kelly as he gouges hard at speeds of 200-feet per minute. You can have him throw slashes in the face of those dorks who are trying to surf on a one-foot day. If you’re not a fan of Kelly, you can take the stickers off his board, paint his hair black, call him Jean-Jean, and say he’s the French surf champion.

Don’t be the last kid on the beach to own one of these things. Plus there’s an added bonus: Every girl on the beach will come up and be all, “Oh, my god! That thing is like, sooo cute!” It works better than a puppy and is less threatening than a baby.-C.C.

24. Rob Machado Winning The Pipe Masters
Skinny man overcomes fat waves.
If you could have seen Rob when he was in high school, you never would’ve thought he’d be winning the Pipe Masters almost a decade later. It’s not that he wasn’t good; he was a f-king ripper. It’s just that he was about five-five, 75 pounds, and as skinny as Calista Flockhart from Ally McBeal.

Rob’s always had the talent to make the world tour and win a world championship, but winning the Pipe Masters never really crossed anyone’s mind when they thought of him. When he made the semis at Pipe a few years ago, people were like, “Whoa, Rob made the semis at Pipe. That’s crazy!” Then he just shocked everybody this year by casually and calmly dominating every heat he surfed in.

Seeing Rob soul-arching and pulling into heavy and menacing Pipe that day of the finals was one of the most amazing displays of surfing ever. The beach was all smiles as surfing’s nicest guy had just taken out the most highly respected contest in the surfing world. Rob’s bros sitting at Petey Johnson’s house were emotional wrecks. Have you ever seen Kelly Slater weep tears of joy? Well, I know I have. Rob was already a legend before this, but after the day of the Pipe final, he proved once and for all that he’s one of the greatest surfers who’s ever lived. And he’s still just as skinny as he was in tenth grade.-C.C.

22. Having A Quiver
When luxury is a necessity.

In Mike DeMello’s old house on the North Shore of O’ahu, where four people (not counting homeless friends, traveling pros, hack journalists, or drunk girls) slept in two small bedrooms, very little luxury was to be found. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were white rice topped with whichever condiments hadn’t gone bad, the shower was outside, only a couple TV stations came in decently enough to watch, and the expression “Let’s go out to dinner” was about as commonly heard as “Can someone help me load this wheelbarrow full of gold onto my private jet?” But that little house, located one door down from Ehukai Beach Park, was equipped with a feature that seemed almost too luxurious in comparison with its surroundings-an entire wall of surfboards.

At first I didn’t recognize that mass of thoroughly ridden fiberglass and foam as an actual “quiver”-it seemed like the used-board section of some Third World surf shop. In my mind, quivers were only found on Michael Ho’s front lawn, glistening in the warm light of the late-afternoon sun, unridden, each board airbrushed identically, splayed like a fan around their smiling owner. DeMello’s was a working quiver, comprised of surfboards left as tokens of thanks by guests, loaned to the house and forgotten, or simply abandoned by pros who only rode them once. There was a board for every occasion and every surfer.

At first I thought those boards were being wasted-some were only ridden once a year-but as I watched people select them each day, I began to understand their purpose. They became extensions of how people were feeling and how they wanted to project themselves outside the little house. Eventually, I found myself caught up in the ritual of choosing a stick. I had favorites, and I even learned how to talk others out of wanting the board I wanted. At some undefinable point, the quiver began to seem much less like a luxury and infinitely more like a necessity.

When my stay was over, like so many before me, I left my six-seven Cordell behind. It seemed like the least I could do.-J.P.

17. Joel Parkinson
The frothing Aussie.
Parko appears on this list for two reasons: Style and flow. These are two things that make Parko’s surfing unique and exciting. Joel has a way of casually cruising down the line, and if you blink, you might’ve just missed one of the quickest turns in the world. He’s so fluid that one second he’s in the midst of a carvey cutback, and the next thing you know, he’s in the air six feet above the wave he was just doing a turn on. Sometimes it’s bizarre to watch him, because when he takes off, he looks almost like a 70s-style surfer-just flowing. Joel’s proven his talents by winning just about every Junior contest in the world, and he’s topped it off with a WCT win as a wild card at J-Bay. Now that he’s made the big show, the pressure’s on, but he shows no signs of nervousness or fear. Joel is in it to win it-we’ll keep you posted.-C.C.

8. Point Breaks Leg burners and tube sections.As y