A short survey of surf-related podcasts.
Podcasts have to be one of the more exciting formats to emerge from the chaotic digital media landscape, and surfing, like everything else considered even remotely worth talking about, has seen a host of shows pop up dedicated solely to its discussion.
This isn’t exactly exciting news for your girlfriend on the five-hour drive north to see family, but for the surf-hungry mongrel inside you, it’s music to your ears and sure beats the hell out of listening to Beyonce’s latest masterpiece. The following list is but a sample of the podcasts dedicated to the beautiful pursuit we waste our time with, so if I’ve missed any gems, go on and share the love.
Ain’t That Swell
Are you a Swellian? What? No? Jeez mate, get on the bandwagon. Ain’t That Swell is the Aussiest, saltiest, most expletive-rich podcast out there, and to steal a line from host Vaughan Blakey’s inspired musical tribute to Mick Fanning, it’s that fucking good! Alongside Vaughan-o sits fellow host Jed ‘Smivvy’ Smith, and together the pair spend the better part of two hours discussing the latest happenings in the world of surf. Sometimes they’ve got company (80s tour icon Rob Bain often joins them) and sometimes they don’t, but they’re always raw, they’re always entertaining, and despite their propensity to take the piss out of themselves and everyone else, they actually do a pretty bang-up job of getting to the heart of whatever they’re talking about. Listening to them is kind of like having a beer with a couple of larrikin mates, and as a result they’ve garnered a dedicated bunch of followers. Up the fucking Swellians!
The Surf Mastery podcast is for those keen to better themselves in the water. Hosted by unpretentious kiwi Michael Frampton, each episode sees him pick the brains of a noted surfing mind to discover how we can all improve our performances on a board. Guests range from coaches to ex-pros to sports psychologists and have included the likes of Martin Dunn, Taylor Knox, and Nam Baldwin. It’s a stimulating listen once you get into it, and it’s great to see that in a sport that can be so wanky and elitist, someone’s out there asking questions we can all benefit from. Because who the hell doesn’t want to surf better? Listen here
An American podcast hosted by David Lee Scales, this show’s rich on content and variety. Going under the subheading ‘Conversations About Surfing’, Surf Splendor is just that—a podcast that delves into a wide range of discussions about the many different facets of surfing, from board design to surf history to big-wave surfing and everything in between. David and his guests go deep, with episodes often running past the two-hour mark and their discussions offering insights that are hard to come by in shorter forms of surf media. You might not love each and every episode and some of the opinions David and his guests espouse can rub you up the wrong way, but there’s plenty of variety to choose from and more often than not you’ll learn something you didn’t know.
Chances are you’ve been listening to or watching this one for a while. With its dual video and audio formats and the much-loved Mark Occhilupo as its host, the Occ-Cast has been doing the rounds for a couple of years and getting plugged on all the major surf sites along the way. Laidback and simple, it follows Occy as he interviews surfing luminaries from around the globe. Slater, Curren, Dane and John John have all been guests on the show, along with a host of other well-known figures. And while the early episodes were a little blundering in terms of Occy’s interview techniques, the man has upped his game and the more recent episodes have been slick and engaging.
Everything Is Always Terrible
Former Beachgrit scribe turned Stab writer Rory Parker is the man behind this one, and while he can be a sharp observer with a pen in his hand, his podcast isn’t always of the same calibre. Meandering and self-indulgent at times, each episode’s engagement levels often depend on who his guest is. The Nick Carroll episode, for example, is a gem, offering insights into surfing’s past, present and future from a man who’s been writing about the sport for longer than most, while the Ashton Goggins episode has its moments but could’ve done with a serious edit and better sound recording. The show has only been in production for less than two years though so it’s got room to improve, and the raw, DIY aesthetic fits with Parker’s whole doing-it-from-my-loungeroom-in-Hawaii vibe.