Here’s the list of current web fodder so you can decide for yourself.
You can blame Jamie O’Brien for the surf vlog. He started the whole bloody thing, secured 8 billion subscribers, made a shit ton of money and gave every other wannabe pro surfer on the planet the idea that it was easy. Clearly, it isn’t, as the list below shows. Right now there are some very good efforts, a tonne of average and quote a few that should be good, but are quite bad. Here’s the list of current web fodder so you can decide for yourself.
Who Is JOB?
Features Jamie O’Brien and a revolving cast of sidekicks, the most internet famous being his long suffering such as Poopie. Originally a showcase for O’Brien’s Pipe skills its morphed into a reality tv show based around crazed stunts, extreme random surf action and the personality of JOB himself. It’s currently in its eighth series proving that O’Brien’s life of good mates, slight bullying, sometimes epic waves, stupid stunts and his unstinting commitment to not giving a fuck what people think remains as popular as ever.
This Is Livin
Koa Rothman and his North Shore mates are filmed by Jack Germain and Rothman proves an engaging, reserved and genuine host with an enviable lifestyle. It helps that also happens to pack some of the biggest tubes on the planet, with his surfing at Pipe and Jaws a highlight. It provides a great behind-the-scenes look at how the best surfers on the North Shore operate, while every now and again (see episode 30 that features an emotional family trip with his mum to visit his brother in Georgia) there’s real insight that come with the incredible waves.
Chris Monroe documents Tyler Stanaland, Kalani Robb, JJ Ayala and Blair Conklin and punters from the SoCal surf scene. It’s very American but the mix of pro surfers, skim boarders, soft boarders and kooks come with Chris Monroe’s humour and rough, warts-and-all filming make it addictive. The massive Newport Wedge footage, Kalani Robb’s surfing and the best skim boarding you’ll ever see round out one of the better waste of time on the net.
East Coast American shredder and tube hound Brett Barley is armed with a Go Pro for his to-camera narration as he documents his surf trips around the globe and at home chasing tubes. Barley has proven himself as one of the best tuberiders and aerialists on the planet and his blogs always feature incredible surfing. But it is his natural gift for telling a story well and slick editing that makes these so sharp, lean and compelling.
Prolific vlogger and New Jersey surfer Ben Gravy broadcasts his surfing life and the novelty waves that have become his trademark, gathering a huge following who like his honesty and positivity. However like the waves, the novelty soon wears off, especially after he racked up 1000 vids in a couple of years. If you are into weird waves, a small amount of surfing talent and pure froth, than Gravy’s your man.
Julian Wilson tour travails should provide a fascinating watch, given his surfing ability and the challenges he has faced this year. Yet while the surfing action is sublime, we gain no real insight into the man himself, and some time come out the other side of eight minutes knowing less about him than we went in. A proud new father, we could also rather not deal with half of the action being based around him talking to his 18 month old kid. It all seems like a tremendous waste.
Alana Blanchard, Jack Freestone and their child Banks started their blog this year and while surfing’s best ever looking couple mix family life with some pretty good high performance action, it’s all a little mundane. The outstanding DNA and two good surfers who obviously have a positive relationship and a damn good life should make for thrilling content, but do we really need to see another trip to a farmer’s market or Banks’ first steps?