With 2015 nearly in the rearview, we decided to compile a list the five longform features that resonated most with our editorial staff this year. “Indication Point,” written by Kimball Taylor for our June 2015 issue, tells the complex story of Barra de la Cruz. You may remember Barra as that impossibly-perfect right-hander that Rip Curl debuted to the masses during their Search contest back in 2006. While we all got to see Barra’s perfection during that event, most of us had no idea about the turmoil that followed. Click here to discover what happened to Barra after the event scaffolding came down, and the last perfect runners reached the shore.
The Gulf Coast of Texas isn't exactly the first place that comes to mind when you think of world-class surf zones. It's fickle, only getting great waves a few times a year when the conditions align perfectly. When SURFER Features Editor Justin Housman met up a few Texan surfers for a strike mission around Corpus Christi, he found that the Texan Gulf Coast is plenty capable of producing epic surf. But what was more interesting than the waves was the surf scene he found. As it turns out, Corpus Christi is home to a tight-knit community of incredibly dedicated surfers who's lives revolve around those fleeting moments when their local breaks come to life. Click here to tag along on a Texan swell chase.
Most surfers had never heard of Jerome Sahyoun when this profile came out, and to be honest, those who had may have doubted that he actually existed. A mysterious, wealthy Morrocan who hunts boar, once ran a mixed martial-arts studio, has access to never-before-surfed North African coastlines, who spends all his time hunting barreling slabs? At a glance, Sahyoun could be a surfy “Most Interesting Man in the World” parody. But Alex Wilson’s story on Sahyoun paints a fascinating portrait of one of surfing’s most unique characters; a man perpetually in motion, chasing swells in a way that no other surfer can. Perhaps Sahyoun is the most interesting man in the world after all. Click here and see for yourself.
The Occy profile from our 2015 Big Issue tops the list of the year's best longreads for the same reason that Occy tops everyone's list of favorite surfers; Occhilupo is truly a different breed. His journey through life, filled with laughs and tears, addiction and triumph, and, of course, inhuman amounts of spray, is perhaps the greatest story in the history of modern surfing, and it has never been told in greater depth than by Sean Doherty in his beautifully-crafted, 20,000-word biography for this year's Big Issue. Here, you will find an excerpt from the feature, which charts the rise of the square-jawed, lead-footed kid from Kurnell, Australia, before he made a mark on surfing's biggest stage and things got, well, weird.
Collecting the stories for this Tom Curren piece was one of the highlights of our year. The people who’ve spent time with Curren are seemingly always eager to divulge their favorite memories. There were dozens of stories to choose from; the following 12 were highlights, but there were plenty of others that could have easily made their way into the article. We tried to track Curren down for this piece to have him tell his side of some of these tales, but in hindsight, it’s better and more fitting that he was impossible to get a hold of. The last story, told by Steve Hawk, sums up what so many people hope is true about Curren--that he puts the surfing experience above any material rewards that his talent might reap. Click here to learn about the man behind the myths, according to those who know him best.