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Surfer May 2018

We founded Surfer Magazine in 1960 with a mission: to bring our readers a slice of the entire surfing world with each issue. And for over four decades, we've made good on that promise. Every issue of Surfer is packed with spectacular award-winning photos, provocative interviews with the leading pros, and journeys to the coolest undiscovered surf spots. With your order you'll get the Annual Oversized Issue, the Buyer's Guide, and the Hot 100, featuring the world's best new surfers.

United States
American Media Operations, Inc
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8 Issues

In this issue

3 min.
editor’s note

A lot of people refer to surfing as an escapist pursuit. “You get to leave your worries at the water’s edge,” is a common refrain in our culture. To me, however, this never really rang true. If anything, I feel like surfing is the time I’m best able to confront my worries, to think things through, to take a hard look at myself, my life and the world around me. When I’m stressed out about work, concerned about a relationship or rattled by something in the news, the lineup is my therapist’s couch, the place to become aware of and work through my shit. I’m not “escaping” anything. I remember paddling out at a San Diego beach break last summer after reading a news story about escalating tensions between the United…

12 min.
a storm of violence

Two days after Tropical Storm Lidia hit Southern Baja this past summer, my girlfriend and I drove into San Jose del Cabo from Los Cabos International Airport. This was the only way into the city at that point, as Lidia had washed out the coastal roads to the north and south. Everywhere in the city still showed its hangover from the storm, which had killed at least six people, destroyed hotels and homes and cut off much of the area’s power and water supply. Many of the roads in town were still so flooded or covered by sand that you couldn’t tell which were paved and which were dirt. At the beachfront apartment complex where we stayed, palm fronds and sand covered the bottoms of the pools. This was the worst…

17 min.
the infinite line

Ask any member of the big-wave elite, and they’ll tell you that few people are poised to make a deeper impact on big-wave surfing than Kai Lenny. That’s because the Maui-born charger grew up under the tutelage of heavy-water pioneers like Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama, caught his first wave at Jaws at just 16 years old and has since painstakingly proven that he’s one of the most skilled riders of oversized surf on any craft. When Lenny shows up at Jaws during an XXL swell today, it’s like watching a military operation unfold, precisely planned and organized with water safety skis and a boat filled with cutting-edge big-wave equipment. But while Lenny’s approach may seem incredibly sophisticated already, he talks about big-wave surfing today like a NASA pilot would…

3 min.
panamanian mind games

In photos like this one, Silverbacks may seem like an easy choice for a pro-surfing strike mission: there’s no shortage of power, beauty and drama to be found in this yawning slab. But the Panamanian phenomenon has a steep learning curve and is maddeningly fickle, with the forecast for the mercurial Caribbean coastline often changing significantly between a visitor’s takeoff and landing. For some surfers, however, that’s precisely the draw. “To me, Silverbacks is a unique, almost mythical wave,” explains Kemper, pictured here in its maw during a recent trip with friends Nathan Florence and Eli Olson. “The first time I saw it, I thought it looked like a crazy, reverse Teahupoo. But it’s so hard to score—you’re pretty much rolling the dice every time you go, even if the…

13 min.
the flames and the flood

Following a historic dry period from March through December of 2017, two fires sparked to life four miles apart, within 30 minutes of each other, in the hills of Ventura County. The ignitions occurred in the early evening of December 4. The flames coincided with unseasonable Santa Ana winds gusting up to 50 miles per hour. The resulting brushfires merged near Santa Paula, Calif., and then made fast progress toward Ventura. That first night hundreds of homes burned and the blaze expanded to encompass 45,000 acres. Two weeks of erratic Santa Anas pushed the inferno west and north into Santa Barbara County, scorching national forest and several coastal towns. Named after Thomas Aquinas College, located near the fire’s twin sources, with 281,893 acres burned, the Thomas Fire eventually grew to…

1 min.
experience key

Beginner to Novice Sure, you’re still learning your way around a lineup, but you’re having a blast figuring out the basics, and your skills are noticeably improving after every session. You’re not ripping yet, but you’re damn sure you will be soon enough. You need a board to help you iron out those kinks. Intermediate to Advanced You know how to match the right board to the conditions, judge what an oncoming section will do, and then do something with it. Deep tubes and lofty airs aren’t exactly your forte, but that isn’t going to stop you from trying. You need a board that will keep you progressing and increasing that make ratio. Expert to Pro You’ve already got a solid quiver and you know how to use it. You’ve traveled far and wide, turning…