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Dispatches : Surfing

A Stand-Up Paddleboard Made From Coconut Fibers

NSP cocomat SUP hi res

Artists often find inspiration in their environment. It turns out, sometimes, product managers do too.

Here’s the story: One of New Surf Project's (NSP's) product managers rides his bike by a coconut farm on his way to work at NSP’s factory every day. One day he notices that the discarded coconut husks in a pile on the farm’s perimeter look very similar to the fiberglass NSP specs in its surfboards. The product manager stops. Curious, he picks up a few discarded husks and squeezed them into his pannier, next to his computer and his lunch. When he reaches the factory, he put the husks through a battery of tests. What he finds: coconut husks have a higher strength-to-weight ratio than fiberglass. That means that coconut fibers could theoretically make a surfboard or paddleboard both lighter and stronger.

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Kelly Slater Wins 50th ASP World Cup Tour Event

Slater0390trestles12kirstinKelly Slater. Photo: ASP/Kirstin

Kelly Slater moved into third place in the overall ASP standings when he won the Hurley Pro at Trestles on Thursday. "I feel like I’ve had so many good years at Lowers and the pressure is really on every year to make the final—I feel like it’s been like that since I’ve been on tour," said Slater. "It’s cool to win the 50th here. I won my first event as a pro here and it’s great to get this win.”

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Adventure Video of the Week: Fiberglass and Megapixels

“I don’t think in any other sport do you have the license to get so closely involved with the subject at such a high risk factor as surf photography,” says Ted Grambeau in the film Fiberglass and Megapixels. “It would be like being able to photograph the Super Bowl, but you're allowed to use a wide-angle lens and run around the field with the guys.”

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Andy Warhol Surf Flick to Debut 44 Years After Filming Started

Andy-Warhol,-San-Diego-Surf,-19681996,-copyright-2012-The-Andy-Warhol-Museum"San Diego Surf." Photo: Copyright, 2012, The Andy Warhol Museum

In 1968, Andy Warhol and friends moved out to La Jolla, California, from New York to film a surf movie about an unhappy married couple. The footage apparently included a lot of sexual tension between a lot of actors playing surfers—exactly one of whom could actually ride the waves. For a long time, the footage met the same end as the sexual tension in the apparent plot: little action was ever taken because of its existence. Then, in the mid-'90s, the Andy Warhol Foundation commissioned Paul Morrissey, who filmed the movie with the pop icon, to edit together a final product based on a rough cut and Warhol's notes. It's done now, and will show on October 16 as part of the Museum of Modern Art's "To Save and Project" series. If you're wondering if you'd be interested in a 90-minute-long Andy Warhol surf flick that revolves around an unhappy marriage and the prospect of infidelity, here's a brief review of the film put together by Christopher Bollen at Interview magazine:

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Galleries We Like: The Underwater Project

"Frozen." Photo: Mark Tipple, The Underwater Project

There's a lot about Australian Mark Tipple's career as a photographer that appears backwards. Take, for example, his beginnings. The then 21-year-old had already been filming for years before he attached a lens to his first still camera and took his first photo, a shot of himself looking into a mirror. The next day, Tipple drove four hours with a few friends to a remote beach where he planned to surf and take pictures. There were no waves, so the group turned around and drove home. "But I remember shooting the colors in the sky and the flat calm ocean," he says. "So I could at least have something from spending eight hours in the car."

Tipple loved to chase waves. At 19, he started working day jobs for four months at a time so he could earn enough money to travel during six-month stints to film surfers and bodyboarders. The gigs were rewarding, but by 2002 he had become frustrated at having to wait until he could get back to a computer screen or a TV to see his results. Then, his father offered him that gift that inspired a simple reflection. "A print on the wall doesn't need a screen to be viewed," he says. "My dad bought me a camera for my 21st birthday and I was hooked straight away."

His father was a traveling surfer and his brother was a marine biologist. Tipple filled the space in between by focusing on filming and photographing the ocean. I called him up to talk about his series The Underwater Project (on Facebook), in which he captures the contorted expressions and shapes of swimmers diving beneath waves. He's gotten a lot of attention for the series, and has used it to transfer eyes to his less publishable projects, like the Ocean film embedded below about an aid worker in Tanzania.

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