The Great Equalizer That Is Sunset Beach

Out of sight, but in this instance I took the first one on the head and then was greeted by a second beatdown moments later.

If you are an avid subscriber to this site or subject yourself to my instagram spamming on @gqgio, you probably know that in February I took my maiden trip to Hawaii. Specifically the North Shore. AKA the epicenter of the surfing world. With many waves to tick off my personal bucket list, there was one that I knew I could potentially have an interesting connection with: Sunset Beach. Now, my pops and I are very different surfers (mostly because we grew up in completely different eras of the sport), but we’ve always had some similar styles when it comes to certain things and even mimic the same movements on occasions. On top of this, we also share the same love for some spots along the California coast, all while being one goofy foot and one regular foot. My dad’s love for Sunset Beach is one that I’ve always known about-as he claims it as his favorite wave in the world.

When there’s a shit ton of swell on the North Shore, there are a lot of spots that get overpowered with swell and don’t really work. Two breaks that can take pretty large amounts of swell are Pipeline and Sunset. Both as different as can be, I’d be lying if I said they were of equal consequence. Pipeline is probably the gnarleist wave on Earth, so it holds a bit more terror to it’s power than Sunset. With that being said, the beach and the point at sunset both know how to deliver a proper flogging. 

A massive playing field with a long paddle out, multiple peaks, and sneaky sets that can come from what seems like every angle, a longer board is pretty much demanded, not recommended. Paddling is the name of the game, and for most booking it to the channel when you see mountains of water out the back can be a common occurrence, and you’ll be thankful you are packing the extra inches. With that being said, unless it’s tiny, you can still get smacked around in the channel. In a sense, nowhere’s safe. On Top of this, unless you ride a massive board, you need to sit more inside to catch the wave on the ledge, making you even more prone to copping one on the head. I think of all my sessions, there was only one I was able to dodge every set. It’s a bit of a write of passage to take a set on the head out there. 

As an added bonus (and also annoyance), my whole time surfing out there was with the top 32 surfers in the world, as it was on the world tour schedule this year. Paddling battling them for waves? Not fun. Watching them surf smaller boards and be jealous you can? Not fun. But there is one joy I got to experience in this instance. There’s not much of a better feeling than dodging a bomb at sunset and looking over to see a world champion surfer doing the Waimea duck dive seconds before getting exploded (as bullyish as that sounds). I think everyone that’s surfed out there has been in the position, so it’s not bad karma to laugh when you see Italo or Griffin get demoed by a set. Sunset is the great equalizer. No matter your ability or alertness, it’s pretty hard to not get humbled one way or another. Not to mention it is hard as hell to surf.

The Butcher Ain’t Coming-He’s Here

If you listen to rap music, you may have heard the phrase: “the butcher coming *****”.

(his iconic tag comes in at 30 seconds)

If you happened to click and listen to that musical masterpiece, you might have an early understanding of the talent Benny possesses on the mic. In an era of beats carrying the songs, basic rhyme schemes, and somewhat lazy successes, Benny is a breath of fresh air thats been grinding on the rap scene for quite a bit. 

Under the Griselda record label, Benny and his other Buffalo brethren have blown up in the rap scene over the past couple of years with consistent projects with their own trademark sound-hard bars over simple but grimey beats by their good friends alchemist and daringer. While each of the 3 have their own strengths, Benny to me stands out as the one with the star power and relentless raps to break into the mainstream (which he already has a bit with his last single with Jermaine).

With his latest project Tana Talk 4, Benny adds another great body of work to his magnum opus to fans, the Tana Talk series. Tana Talk 3 is held in high regard to fans of the butcher, and a lot were worried about the fourth installment being a bit of a let down since the expectations are as high as they could be. As an artist, you’ll never make everyone happy. But for me, Tanat Talk 4 picked up right where the third left off. Maybe a little more polished and a little shorter in length, but Tana Talk 4 delivered classic Benny with some additions of features that cater to a broader audience like P Diddy. But don’t worry, Benny still calls on his NY and griselda clique to give features fans know them best for. 

With most music reviews, I’d rather keep the writing a bit on the shorter side in hopes for you to close out and give the records I talk about a spin. If you like rap, I think you could be sleeping on Benny. If you like melodic rhymes and catchy hooks, maybe keep napping as the Griselda crew always delivers raw, barebones raps and production.

Stream it here:

PS- I recently saw benny live and the performance was great (aside from being about an hour late). No backup vocals and The Butcher spitting a cappella made for an impressive vocal performance with minimal breaks.

How To Surf Chest High Waves (Flawlessly)

This is a post from my alternative website Welcome Progress. Before I turned off the site, I grabbed a couple pieces I liked to be redistributed here. I’ve been looking for some added inspo to grind small, cold waves back home in California. It’s been a pretty rough winter, but clips like these tend to help. 

 Surfing gutless waves is no easy task. Everywhere in the world has their off days, and more times than not you might be taking a plunge into the ocean to surf waves much smaller than you would like. Obviously, it’s all subjective to where you live. A small day on the East Coast vs West Coast vs Hawaii are all very different. But for those on the mainland, there are a ton of opportunities every year to grind less than desirable surf.

There are a couple key factors to beat the conditions and make lemons out of lemonade. First, is picking the right equipment. In recent years there really have been a lot of different small wave crafts you can hop on. From a stubbier, wide shortboard, epoxies, fishes, or whatever you fancy. Less rocker and more foam are key ways to stay afloat (literally while riding the wave). There is a sweet spot in the board design for small waves: a little more foam than a shortboard, the right size so it fits into the smaller wave face, and the rocker helping in both creating speed and catching waves. Another big factor is practicing being light on your feet. Getting up and immediately shifting weight around on your board definitely helps build that first bit of speed and get moving. Depending on the shape of the wave, you might want to surf more out of the pocket or keep it tight if it’s a reform/mushy wave in comparison to a racey beachbreak.

So when you put it all together, you get this new clip from Brother surfing his fabled T-street. One of those waves in SoCal that always has a little bump, the T is a grindy wave. Most of SC’s top talent surfs here when need be. In the above clip, it looks pretty damn fun. Chalk it up to the sight of peaky little teepees or the fact that Kolohe puts in an impressive session for the dribbly surf. But this isn’t his first rodeo- Kolohe and the T have been a winning combo for years now (see below).

Handwritten Posts 001

The scene of the crime.

Initially, I didn’t want any words typed-just the handwritten note. but there should be some context.

I decided to handwrite a post for the hell of it. It wasn’t any sort of structured post, just a free write with a pen and paper. In classic writer fashion (or at least how I picture them in my head), I had to write on the back of 3 seperate to do lists since i had no classic line paper. Upon beginning, I got instant flashbacks to my writing prior to actually enjoying it. Standardized tests and high school english assignments. But that’s enough. Read it below.

Taking in the scenery: Oahu, Hawaii

Travel is one thing I maybe haven’t had the chance to do a crazy amount of in my life. And not for any particular reason, really. The places I’ve been outside the USA are sparse, but there’s plenty to see in America-especially if you’ve hopped around states and seen all the quadrants of the country. Long story short, whenever I get to take in a new zone I get excited and always tend to make sure to capture the beauty and local flavor with both my handy iphone and also my canon film camera (which unfortunately is suffering some light leaks). 

Recently, I got the opportunity to hop on over from Orange County to the beautiful island of Oahu in the island chain of Hawaii. I had only been once before-circa 20ish years ago. And as a surfer, the north shore of Oahu is pretty much a hajj any dedicated surfer needs to take (but more on that later). I really didn’t have much recollection of the inaugural trip, so I was excited to get back over there and take in the change of scenery. 

The landscape of Oahu is lush and green. You land in the city of Honolulu but as soon as you get on the H highway system, you are often surrounded by green on all sides. The air smells fresh. It had a refreshing breeze so we rolled with the windows down. I feel like after 5 hours on a plane any type of fresh air feels good. But this air felt especially good. 

40 minutes later and we got into the stretch of island I would spend most of my time at-the 7 mile miracle aka the north shore. So much green and blue. Seeing 10 foot waves groomed with trade (offshore) winds got the heart beating pretty quickly. What would come in the next 12 days would be tons of surfing, plenty of sightseeing, seeing old friends while making new ones, and just an overall stress-free stretch of time. It’s easy living. 

As much as I think I am a good writer and a rather descriptive one, I think some of the pictures would tell a better story. Here are a few selections from my film rolls in Hawaii: