Welcome to the 2023 Shreddies Awards! No, it’s not a real award. Not yet, anyway. But it is a recap of some of my favorite surf content from the past year. There’s a ton of good stuff in there, if I say so myself
Surfboard of the Year: Ryan Burch Twin Fin Fish
I think this was probably the coolest board I wrote up all year. Check out the full writeup here. What makes this Ryan Burch twin fin fish stand out to is the ridiculous level of craftsmanship. The color fade is 100% resin, courtesy of Superwolf and the rest of the team at Lamination San Diego. There are many questions about the sustainability of surfboard manufacturing in the United States, and it’s exciting to see beautiful, functional boards made here in California by talented folks. Thanks again to Dylan for sharing the photos of his board.
Surfer of the Year: Victor Bernardo
“Estilo” is Portuguese for style. I’ll spare you any more clumsy Google translations, but I think we can all agree that Victor Bernardo has got plenty of pizzazz. I’ve basically written up everything he’s released this year on the blog, so have at it. The Brazilian Storm has successfully reshaped competitive surfing, and I’m fascinated to see how the country continues to influence surf culture in the years to come, which I’m sure will be far more interesting than anything the WSL has to offer.
Movie of the Year: “Following the Fall Line” feat. Bryce Young
Speaking of stylish surfers, Bryce Young’s “Following the Fall Line” was my favorite full length film released during the year. Need Essentials followed things up with Torren Martyn’s excellent “Calypte”, another full length offering.
The Home Cooking Award: “For Pleasure Only”
If you haven’t yet had the chance, check out “For Pleasure Only”, a Shred Sledz original film by Kyle Buthman, featuring Darshan Gooch and Doug Haut. I can’t begin to tell you how satisfying it is to be able to play a small role in producing original surf content like this. Hopefully there’s more of that in 2024 — stay tuned.
Feature of the Year: “Peak Print” by Sean Doherty
“Peak Print”, by Sean Doherty and appearing in issue 31.2 of The Surfer’s Journal, chronicles Surfing World‘s torrid run during the 80s and 90s, when Bruce Channon and Hugh McLeod oversaw the magazine during a time of supercharged creativity. I found “Peak Print” incredibly inspiring, especially given my own aspirations around creating memorable surf content. No matter how much the media industry changes, quality will always endure.
Doherty and photographer Jon Frank recently purchased Surfing World, a fact that is curiously not explored in the piece, save for a very brief mention. You can sense Doherty’s deep respect for Channon and McLeod’s work, and I think it’s safe to say Surfing World is currently in great hands.
YouTube + Instagram
I’m not sure when YouTube took over as my surf content destination of choice, but it’s pretty much my go to nowadays. There’s more great stuff than I know what to do with, honestly. John John Florence‘s skill in the water is apparently matched by his ability as a filmmaker. As previously mentioned, I’ve been gorging on anything related to Album Surf, especially if Victor Bernardo is involved. Nathan Florence has taken Jamie O’Brien’s blueprint and run with it, cutting out the middleman and delivering killer content straight to his audience. Kale Brock brings along the audience as he travels the world. Even though he rips, he still comes across as quite accessible. I’ve really been digging Zack Flores’ brand of positive, slightly chaotic energy. Finally, per the clip above, Shyama Buttonshaw has been producing some absolute bangers. I’m sure there’s a ton I’m forgetting but that should be enough to tide you over until the New Year.
Photos + Art
Here are some images I encountered during the past year. There aren’t enough places online that do surf photography justice, in my humble opinion. In the meantime here are some shots that I loved.
I scanned this photo from an old Surfer Magazine. It was taken by the late, great Warren Bolster, whose work I’ve really been diving into lately. I just picked up his entry in The Surfer’s Journal “Masters of Photography” series of coffee table books, which is definitely worth the money. Bolster was also an accomplished skate photographer.
A young Tom Curren, photograph by Aaron Chang.
This is Col Smith, photographed by Aitionn.
Last but not least, an inviting lineup shot always gets the juices flowing. Photographer unknown.