William Taylor

Born and raised in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Will has traveled throughout most of Latin America and still can't salsa dance beyond a level 1 class. He likes to read, write, surf, and be outside. He does all these things in Santa Monica, CA. He also writes for a sketch show at the Westside Comedy Theater in LA and was a finalist for the HBOAccess Writing Fellowship. Maybe one day he'll actually win something.

7 Reasons You Should Try a Finless Board

Babes Beneath The Waves

The idea that there’s been a finless surfing revolution over the past 10 years is a bit of a misnomer. Before the early 1900s, finless boards were the only type of boards available, and Hawaiians were surfing Alaia boards for hundreds of years. For those unfamiliar, an Alaia is a thin, round-nosed, square-tailed board made of wood and tends to be between 7 and 12 feet long, sometimes weighing up to 100 pounds. It wasn’t until 1935 when surfing pioneer Tom Blake attached a 4-inch by 1-foot keel scavenged from an old speedboat onto one of his boards that modern surfing really changed. And although progress is welcome in any sport, sometimes it takes going back to the basics to truly appreciate the task at hand. Most surfers today have never ridden a finless board and have little interest in doing so. Those that have ridden finless boards describe it as driving really fast and drifting on every turn. If you’re still not convinced, we’ve compiled a list of reasons you should be. Improve your style Style is one of the most objective things in surfing, but when someone has it, it’s undeniably beautiful. There’s no quicker way to point out your own flaws than by using a finless board. Chances are you’ll face plant on your first bottom turn with a finless board and that’s okay. With a little practice, you’ll master a sideways slide on your takeoff and look really cool doing it. Learn a functional 360 360s look good in general and they look even better when they’re serving a purpose. A wave’s energy works in circular motions and a 360 spin can harness that energy and give you extra speed for sections that might otherwise seem unmakeable. Once you get the hang of them, they’ll become as effortless as a bottom turn in your regular surfing. Alaias Master the Cutback Finless boards pick up a lot of speed. You’ll find yourself out on an open shoulder faster than a hipster buying Coachella tickets. And when you do, it’ll be the perfect time to dig into a solid rail cutback that displaces copious amounts of water.

Master the rebound
This goes along with mastering the cutback. You’ll be heading toward the whitewash with a lot of acceleration from your cutback and will have a number of options when you hit it, the most common being a 360 spin or drift. The fact that you don’t have fins will force you to use the waves energy to redirect yourself and get back on the face of the wave. It’s not easy, but will make a rebound on a board with fins feel effortless.

More tube time
Finless boards have unmatched speed down the line and give you the ability to accelerate out of deep tubes that would otherwise close out on you. In the barrel, you are also able to stall and side slip for better positioning. If you really want to test your balance and strength, you can also pull into a close-out and side slip through the whitewash.

Share waves
If you ever look at old surfing pictures you’ll see several guys on the same wave, all having a great time. Sure the lineups were virtually uncrowded at the time and it could certainly be the case that those surfers were posing for the picture, but it’s also true that finless surfing seems to bring out the best in the people around you. People on the beach will ask what you’re riding. Other surfers in the water will be curious to see what you can do. They won’t even be mad if you drop in on them. Okay maybe they will. It’s never okay to be that guy.

Connect with the spirit of surfing
You might not think of yourself as a spiritual person, but the fact that you make it down to the beach on a regular basis and proceed to walk on water makes you a guru of sorts. Finless surfing will take you back to simpler times and remind you of the stoke you felt on your first wave.


7 California Campgrounds Surfers Should Visit this Fall

Fall is here and with it comes better surf and smaller crowds all across California. Here are 7 spots you should consider for a weekend getaway if you live in Southern California.

San Elijo State Beach
As far as surfing goes, you can’t go wrong in North County, San Diego, and San Elijo State Beach offers a consistent beach break that will guarantee a good time. You’ll be sleeping on the bluffs surrounded by multi-million dollar properties in either direction, but none of that will matter. And if beach breaks aren’t your thing, head north or south to Swami’s or Cardiff where you’ll find higher quality breaks. Beacons, Del Mar and Ponto are all a short drive away as well.

San Onofre State Beach/San Mateo Campground
There’s nothing quite like a weekend spent at San Onofre. Bocci ball, bonfires, good company and, somehow despite the crowds, plenty of fun waves for everyone. The vibe tends to be upbeat and positive and it can sometimes feel like you’re stepping into a Beach Boys song. San Clemente is next door, so you’ll have all of its offerings at your disposal, including the world class waves at Lower Trestles. If you’re at any of the high performance spots, there’s a good chance you’ll see pros in the water or at the local diner. If you don’t want to compete for waves with Filipe Toledo, head to more forgiving spots like Old Man’s or Churches.

Doheny State Beach
Located in South Orange County, Doheny was California’s first state beach. Back in the day, Dana Point was known as Killer Dana because waves came from deep water and broke on the rocks lining the beach. Today there’s a jetty that creates a breakwater and produces gentle surf perfect for beginners. Tent and RV hookups are available and it’s family friendly.

Leo Carrillo State Beach
Want to get away from the glitz and glamour of LA? We don’t blame you. Pack your tent and head north to Leo Carrillo. Although campsites tend to fill up quickly and catching the right swell can be tricky, when Leo Carrillo does its thing, you’ll be reminded why it’s great to be a surfer. Being a point wave, Leo Carrillo has a small takeoff zone and anytime it’s good, you’ll be hard pressed to catch a wave. If competition intimidates you, there can be fun re-forms on the inside suitable for all levels. And if there isn’t enough swell, head down to Zuma for a fast beach break, drive down the coast to the Malibu pier, or test your driving skills in the canyons.

Carpinteria State Beach
Located within walking distance of the downtown area of quaint Carpinteria, the State Beach offers beach camping where you can fall asleep to the sounds of crashing waves. Santa Barbara is also a short drive away, so there is plenty to do for any non-surfers in your group. If the waves aren’t good right out front, head to Emma Wood, Ventura Overhead, C Street or Rincon. Start your day with a morning surf, have breakfast in Carpinteria, head to the vineyards in Santa Barbara for lunch and return to your campsite for a picture-perfect sunset.

El Capitan State Beach
You’ll have to wait for the right west swell to score at El Cap, but if you do, you’ll soon understand why it has a reputation as one of the best right points in California. Just north of Santa Barbara, campsites are located in a lightly wooded area with trails that lead to a rocky beach. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of Tom Curren’s unmistakable cutbacks.

Pismo State Beach
This is the only place in California where it’s legal to drive your vehicle on the beach. ATVs rule the dunes at Pismo beach, and on busy weekends there are thousands of people riding around in dune buggies. You can camp right on the beach and there are tent and RV options. Nearby breaks include Pismo Pier, Shell Beach and Avila beach.

Mick Fanning Ditched His Yum Yum Yellow Boards And You Should Too

A lot must’ve been going through Mick Fanning’s mind after his shark encounter at the 2015 J-Bay Open in South Africa. First and foremost being “How do I make sure that never happens again?”

Fortunately for surfers everywhere, there’s been a lot of research to help understand shark behavior and anyone who has watched Shark Week can probably rattle off some terrifying, likely blown-out-of-porportion facts.

Sharks Aren’t Your Average Predator
What we do know is sharks possess an impressive array of senses, including an acute sense of smell, hearing based on internal ears, enhanced sensitivity to low-frequency water vibrations, and the ability to detect the tiny electric fields generated by other living organisms. Needless to say, sharks are advanced predators.

So what difference would a yellow board make to a predator that can smell, hear, and feel you from far away? Well, in the 1960s and 1970s, the United States Office of Naval Research funded a massive program to research shark sensory biology. One of their findings was that the color of an object floating in the water was strongly correlated to the likelihood that a shark would approach and interact with the object. Highly reflective silver and white objects had a tendency to attract bull sharks and tiger sharks, whereas black and blue objects didn’t.

Colors DO Make a Difference
A later study found that bright yellow life vests, similar to those used by commercial airlines, increased aggression in blue sharks and mako sharks. Dummies dressed in the yellow life vests were readily attacked by the sharks, whereas dummies dressed in black life vests tended to be ignored. These findings gave rise to the saying “yum yum yellow”.

Recent research suggests that most, if not all, sharks are colorblind. While this may be true, it is still a good safety precaution to avoid yellow. Mick Fanning posted a video where he talks about adding black stripes to his yellow boards and ditching them altogether in favor of blue boards with black patterns. The high contrast patterns serve as a warning signal that might deter sharks since many of them tend to avoid venomous black and white-banded sea snakes.

In case those aren’t reason enough to never ride a yellow board again, here are 6 more reasons you shouldn’t:

  1. Yellow has a high light reflectance value and acts as a secondary light source. Excessive use of bright yellow can irritate the eyes.
  2. In Russia, a colloquial expression for an insane asylum was “yellow house”.
  3. Bright “marigold” yellow is associated with death in some areas of Mexico.
  4. Those condemned to die during the Inquisition wore yellow as a sign of treason.
  5. Babies cry more in yellow rooms.
  6. Couples fight more in yellow kitchens.

Okay, maybe those last two need to be myth-busted but the bottom line is: if you have a yellow board in your quiver, it may be time to retire it on your wall in exchange for a little peace of mind.