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Surfing Laguna: Times change

Back in the “olden days” my friends and I would wait anxiously by the mailbox around the time of the month when our surf magazines were scheduled to arrive. Magazines finally in hand we’d slowly and methodically soak up every photo and article, dreaming of all the warm water and lush tropical locales shown in the glossy pages. The ads were important, too, as they gave us a look at what our surfing heroes were riding and wearing.

Back then it was Lightning Bolts, Brewers and Stewarts for surfboards, and Kanvas by Katin, Vans and OP for duds. Channel Islands, Lost and Rusty surfboards currently reign supreme for boards, while Billabong, Quiksilver and Volcom outfit the masses.

Contest results were also an important part of the content, and although many times it had been months since the actual surf events had taken place, we didn’t mind a bit.

The contest stories were often rich with drama and intrigue, as they were written by talented surf scribes witnessing first-hand the events transpiring. Good guys, bad guys, underdogs, favorites, locals — the storylines seemed endless, as did the pages devoted to adequately tell about the often nuanced and complex players involved.


Well, the 2010 ASP World Tour started this week in Australia, and as I found out recently, it can be watched live on your cell phone. I have to admit it was pretty cool watching an event unfold right in front of my eyes, especially when you consider it’s happening one day in the future! (Australia is about a day ahead of the U.S.)

I happily soaked up much of the exciting event with my teenage son and his buddies on one of their iPhones — and boy they sure enjoyed it. Now (as an official old surf dog) I can hardly wait till the next surf magazine arrives in the mail. I’m sure going to savor all two sentences still devoted to contest coverage and try to figure out who actually won!

CHRIS WILLIAMS is a surfing coach and Laguna Beach resident, and father of four surf-crazy sons. He can be reached at or (949) 497-5918.