‘Happy Talk’ is a film from Andrew Schoener and Eithan Osbourne that has run sorta parallel to Chapter 11 tv with us filming at the same beaches over the past few months surfing in California. They made a point of shooting it entirely on 16mm film. Documenting surfing on 16mm is no easy task. Each roll is 2-1/2 minute and changing rolls on the beach in a dark bag is a bitch. And those rolls aint cheap! (luckily for those dudes billabong supporting the film) Regardless, it’s heartbreaking and costly when the surfer blows it. But the results are always surprising and almost always add a little magic to even an ordinary wave. But the level of surfing in this video isn’t ordinary, Eithans ripping. The 16mm is pleasing. Nice work Andrew and Eithan.
I don’t really know what to write but I’m just gonna sit here and hit the keys and see where it goes.
I was sitting in this exact spot a few months ago on a Tuesday around noon when my mom called. I screened it cause the kids were being noisy and I’d call her back later. My mom had decided she wanted to live on a boat and was in the process of buying one. We had been talking a lot because I have friends that are knowledgeable about boats who were consulting her. She calls again. And again. I figure it’s a pocket dial at this point. Screened again. Then a text from my dad – ‘call me as soon as you can’ I get a sinking feeling in my stomach.
I call my mom, she’s sobbing.. “Brek died.”
I spent a large portion of my life worrying about this moment and had only recently let my guard down.
In most ways my brother and I were polar opposite. He was reckless boisterous and wild and I was reserved and shy. I idolized him and his friends growing up skateboarding around Bakersfield and building bike jumps in the empty lots. I liked to pretend I could hang but what they were doing scared me. Smoking weed and tagging, going to parties… getting in fights. The roof over our garage led right up to his bedroom window and he’d sneak out at night and the next day tell me about all the crazy shit he got up to. I never knew what was real and what was embellished but when he came home at 3am in the back of a cop car after vandalizing some old man’s home that was verification that he was up to no good.
When my dad got a job transfer and we planned to move to Ventura he came in my room one night and told me he was running away and I’d never see him again but he’d be fine and he loved me. He didn’t want to leave his friends. I was 10 he was 15.
That didn’t last, but it might have been a key moment where my worry for him started to develop.
Once we moved he found a new crew to cause chaos with and I found a group of friends that were into surfing and doing contests and filming each other and I became hyper focused on surfing.
Brek and his friends surfed too but in a different way, the high school feuds and territorialism extended into the surf and for him it was mostly just something you do. For me it was everything.
Police visits, jail time, drugs, rehab, lost jobs, borrowing money, a baby at 18… he had a wild entry into adulthood and I was constantly worried about him.
Still, surfing brought us together. When he was doing good, you’d see him at the beach every day. He started caring a lot about his surfing and improving so we had that as common ground. Then he’d slip up or get in trouble and not surf for awhile.
Brek was a brilliant storyteller. Whether it was a story about a ghost fuckin with him at the house where he was working or how he chased some fisherman around Hueneme pier with a sledgehammer after they were casting at him – ‘I wasn’t gonna kill em I just wanted to get em in the leg’ only to return to his van with a parking ticket, the van parked with perfect vantage point of where he was chasing the fisherman, I still never knew what was real and what was embellished.
My guess is it was mostly real and he was able to focus on the comical aspect and maybe stretch it a bit for maximum impact.
We had a falling out a few years ago. He was obviously doing drugs but hiding it as well as he could and Eithan’s parents were nice enough to give him a spot to stay. I saw him out surfing and he asked if he could move in with me for a bit. My wife was 8 months pregnant with our twins and it was ultimately a ‘hell no’ which was tough but that’s what it was and we didn’t talk again until last summer.
I was at the print shop making Former shirts with our mutual friend Jenkins (@thumpdrums) when my brother called. Jenkins told him I was there and he said he wanted to talk to me. He told me he was doing good and wanted to meet the twins.
I started seeing him surfing a bit but I was reluctant to let my guard down.
Then in November our Grandpa passed away and at the service my brother delivered a beautiful and eloquent eulogy. He was bright, clear, level headed and well spoken. I talked to him and he said he was a year and a half sober.
We started talking on the phone and sharing surf reports and meeting up to surf even though surfing with him was a huge commitment cause he’d take every goddamn wave.
He had a big bellowing laugh and was wickedly clever and had a brutal sense of humor. I started enjoying surfing with him just to spend the time together even though my wave count would get chopped in half when he paddled out. And that’s no exaggeration. He was the greediest surfer I’ve ever surfed with. He’d snake you then heckle you on the way back out. Over and over. But somehow there was love in the way it was delivered and you couldn’t be mad about it.
I loved queuing him up on conspiracy shit. He’d post screenshots of memes that would say LGBTQP with a bunch of people holding hands and a little kid off the end that said ‘pedophilia is ok if the child enjoys it’ and the comment was something about sick democrats and I’d text him instantly. ‘Dude you’re getting trolled there’s no way anyones promoting pedophilia.’ And he’d respond ‘The dems are trying to normalize it before their indictment.’
I told him about Chapter11.tv and he was pumped on the idea. As I worked on the first few videos we surfed together a ton. I’m guessing a portion of that was motivated by getting into a video. After a session he’d check in to see if Mini got any of his waves. I finally sent him all his clips and he said ‘aww alright, I need to bend my knees more.’
I planned on getting him in a video but never thought it would be under these circumstances.
I’m forever grateful for the time I got to spend with him this spring surfing every day, we were able to reconnect and talk about growing up and life and I got so many good stories about his wilder years. We planned on having him come meet the twins. I didn’t feel like there was any urgency. For once he seemed content and grounded and I felt like we had a lifetime in front of us to reconnect.
I clearly remember him making fun of Mini for trying to film in fog so thick you could barely see the waves. Some of those waves made this video. I remember him snapping on kids for getting in the way, taking all the best sets, telling me about how he almost made his best turn of the season. He’d usually send me a sequence of it later that night. He’d befriended local photographers and loved showing everyone his latest spoils.
I remember a dude on a 7 foot egg shape telling him ‘excuse me… I don’t want to cause any problems but you snaked me on my last wave’ Brek belted out a huge ‘HA!’ instantly burning another dude and the egg shape guy consoled the new victim ‘I tried to tell him that’s not cool but he just laughed.’
Brek was flawed, as all humans are. Life is fragile. He was like a brother for a lot of friends. Hopefully this was a nice way to commemorate him. I am very thankful for my friends who’ve been supportive these past months it makes me realize what friends are for. My heart breaks for his daughters Paisley and Kolby and wife Alex and my Mom and Dad and all his close friends.
Special thanks to Jenkins, Alex, Jordan, Tyler and Natalie for contributing photos and voicemails.
Dane Reynolds (Still fairly nimble for 200 pounds and never stretching)
We took a pause in programming out of respect and solidarity with the current civil rights movement. Surf videos aren’t urgent, there’s more important issues at hand. I never intended for this site to cover anything but surfing, and hopefully this is our only departure, but I’ve decided to take this moment to open up a conversation.
Here we go…
I surf with Matt a lot. More often than not in really crappy waves. Ventura in the summer can get pretty bleak.
Between sets we shoot the shit, usually about funny things – our buddy having a paranoid meltdown after Matt told him to eat a whole weed candy, bill and mini gettin on each others nerves, stuff like that, but lately the topic of conversation has shifted to current events. We both have friends and family on extreme sides of the increasingly divided political spectrum that feed us information and the absurdity of what’s getting spread has reached a threshold for me.
Social media’s gone mad. Left and Right media are conflicting on every issue. Misinformation is spreading like a disease.
Can anyone tell me what the hell is actually going on out there?
Is it a coincidence that all this chaos is happening during an election year? I can’t help to think about how supposed Russian operatives used social media to create division and chaos in America during our last presidential election.
It’s really not that hard, Anyone can invent a fictional story around an event or a person, connect a few dots, post on youtube or facebook or a meme on instagram or twitter and someone will believe it. Post something real enticing and it just might go viral. Evidence? Shit even the president doesn’t care to fact check before posting. Social media is an open stage for spreading false narratives.
Are things more bizarre and unfathomably scripted than we can imagine? Are we pawns in a massive scheme?
Or is it mostly straightforward… to use the current situation as a reference – an unfortunate set of events… coronavirus spread to a human in a wet market in China and is highly infectious so it spread like wildfire into a global pandemic and then two months later a fucking heartless person with a badge got recorded abusing his power and ultimately killing a black man over a misdemeanor which triggered global protests and a movement for equality and police reform which will ultimately be a positive change?
I know the reality lies somewhere in-between… I wish to believe that for the most part politicians are good people that look out for the greater good, and create policies that benefit everyone from the disenfranchised to the wealthy. But that’s a fairy tale,
It’s all a fucking mess man.
I sympathize with the black community, who have been suffering from systemic racism since being stolen from their homes and shipped to America as slaves 100’s of years ago. Some basic reading if you need a reminder –
I sympathize with police. Policing is the last line of work I would want to do – confronting people every day who are breaking the law. Enforcing minor infractions would just be sad. Dealing with people committing real infractions would be sketchy, being a police officer dealing with sketchy situations day in and day out has to warp your perspective on how to treat people fairly.
There’s people everywhere with poor judgement and no moral compass, angry fearful self absorbed egotistical mean and judgmental people. How people with those traits can become our leaders and law enforcers I don’t know.
I don’t have any answers, I try to think logically, rationally, critically, vote, support businesses that support causes I believe in, treat everyone with respect, teach my kids good values… but it doesn’t feel like enough…
Add sand to the ridiculous set of variables that need to unite for waves to break at optimum quality. Dirt of the ocean. Soil for waves.
Sand is a granular material composed of finely divided rock and mineral that’s defined by size, being finer than gravel and coarser than silt. Erosion of sea cliffs is responsible for 67 percent of California’s beach sand, but it’s likely to have all landed on the coast through mountain watersheds and gone through many cycles of being buried, exposed, buried and liberated again. It’s mostly composed of mica, quartz, granite and shells.
In the industrial world, sand is an “aggregate,” a category that includes gravel and crushed stone. Natural aggregate is the world’s second most exploited natural resource, after water. It’s the primary base material that concrete and asphalt are placed on during the building of roads, buildings, parking lots, runways, and many other structures. Windowpanes, wineglasses, and cell-phone screens are made from melted sand.
It was also used to create the waves which we are exploiting in this video.
This spot was an institution in the 80’s with a tightly regulated lineup. Guys like Davey Miller and Danny Hedges sat at the top of the hierarchy. Chapter 11 TV filmer Mini was there –
“South Jetty Bodyboard Crew was a known thing. 👊
Me, Forbes, Aichner and Phil Corsi were the regular’s…then the Landucci’s of course!”
In 1993 congress approved funding to build a 650 ft groin to the which harbor officials deemed necessary to ‘catch sand that sweeps into the harbor entrance from the south.’ Surfrider foundation contended that the natural flow of sand is north to south and the jetty would actually trap sand in the harbor and deplete sand from Oxnard beaches but they lost the battle and just 45 days later the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finished construction of the “New Jetty.”
At first surfers were stoked, “It made it better,” said 20-year-old Ventura resident Jesse Conlan “It created new sandbars.”
But eventually the beach filled up, which I can attest to, cause in late 90’s me and my friends would paddle across the harbor when it was flat in our neighborhood hoping ‘New Jetty’ would have a flicker of south swell. It was a vacant shithole of a beach. Always dead animals. The sand almost extended beyond the ‘New Jetty.’
When they added 100 yards of rocks to the breakwall that was the nail in the coffin for jetty wedge. Visit the parking lot and you’ll hear all about it from the guys drinking beer and playing horseshoes every day awaiting it’s return…
‘New jetty’s’ sand normalized. It’s is still called ‘New Jetty’ nearly 30 years later and I still hate the wave. It bends out to sea or closes out or somehow does both at the same time and it’s always packed.
Once in a blue moon the sand moves into the place where the swells that bend around the breakwall collide with a borderline backwash refraction off the south jetty and it shows a glimmer of it’s old self. Mostly novelty but a lotta fun.
CH | 11 | TV | 003 was filmed over the course of 3 days last winter when the magic set of components aligned. Freshly dredged harbor and an off season south swell that pulled the sand into the perfect spot
Eithan is 20 years old – not old enough to buy a beer but old enough to go to war. He drives a beige mid 2000’s brown Volvo stationwagon which not that long ago was synonymous with Karine, his mom, always pulling up with two groms hanging out the windows. A Motorhead sticker now adorns the back.
My brother ‘coached’ Eithan for a bit so I asked him if he had anything to contribute –
“Aton ….he was about 8 or 9. He was buck toothed and skinny, but strong and wiry. I was working for his dad at the time. He asked me if I’d want to get paid to take off at lunch on Tuesday and Thursdays and you know “take Aton surfing and coach him up a bit.”
I have no idea why his dad thought my brother was qualified as a surf coach, but…
“I knew Aton was already a black belt in Tae Kwando , which meant to me he could kick a 6 ft man in the head. So I knew he had potential. I pretty much just told him that putting power and style into his turns and airs would set him apart from the rest of the kids. Then I told him to bend his knees and watch where he’s going.”
When my brother fell on hard times they gave him a place to stay.
“their whole family treated me like I was a part of them when I was bad, they didn’t know how bad, but still… I had it better there than at home, watching TV and eating family dinners. Like the Simpsons. Dane (his dad) is like a tobacco chewing beer drinking good ole boy from SoCal and his mom is a French Hebrew speaking humanitarian. It’s pretty funny combo.”
Eithan had an illustrious amateur career, won his first pro contest at 18 in Israel, where I’ve heard he’s become quite famous, even qualifying for their team in surfing’s Olympic debut through his moms side of the family’s ties.
But I’d say the real challenges lie ahead for an aspiring pro surfer. You can have all the talent and determination in the world but with fickle industry support based off engagement numbers and a competitive circuit where a certain amount of luck is involved there’s no guaranteed path to success.
And what is the measure of success for a surf career?
Trophies? Titles? Covers? Not any more… Youtube subscribers? Money made?
I’m forever grateful for guys like Taylor Steele and Kai Neville who gave my generation a platform to do tricks to music. And thankful for surf magazines that organized trips and employed surf photographers who took pictures of us which got printed in said magazines thus validating sponsorships.
That system has collapsed, and it aint comin back.
If Chapter 11 TV has any small part in guiding the next generation of surfers and keeping it fun while providing a platform the way magazines and video makers did for us, then for me that’s a success.
Sometimes the absurdity of trying to make surf videos becomes perfectly clear. This particular morning I showed up before dawn and the waves weren’t what I had hoped for.
Mini had texted me the evening before ‘JW going off’ as I was making the kids dinner, which is kinda cruel as I can’t just drop everything for a session anymore, things have to be at least somewhat planned and evenings are mostly reserved for bathing, feeding, managing conflicts and trying to get the kids to bed early enough to have a brief moment of solace. Plus, lately, the reliability of his surf reports have been greatly influenced by the potency of the weed he’s smoking. So we agreed to meet first thing in the morning.
But by morning the swell had dropped and it was foggy and cold. I still paddled out to validate the effort. Surfing at dawn is awesome when the waves are exciting enough to get your blood pumping but trying to do airs at this hour is like waking up and doing gymnastics in a cold shower. Water trickled through the seams of my suit as I waited for a shitty little refraction off the jetty to connect with a meager 2 foot swell from the South Pacific so I can catch it and stand my fossilized body up on my surfboard and hopefully do a trick that I can post on my website.
Shit wasn’t coming together so I paddled down the beach where about a dozen people had gathered and there seemed to be a little more action. The waves were a little more interesting with even a few novelty tubes.
I notice a kid paddling for straight closeouts and getting pitched then sitting in the impact zone waiting for waves.
The best wave I’d seen all morning formulates just within paddling distance so I dart off. I see him darting off in the same direction. My goal is to catch a 2 foot clean little barrel, his goal is to not get smoked by a 2 foot clean little barrel.
I get into position.
As I’m dropping in I see him in my peripheral vision still paddling his ass off hoping to not get demoed.
He just makes it out of the way of the waves devastating blow, but bails his board to ensure no physical harm. I make the barrel but have to change my line to avoid hitting his board.
“I should snap on that kid” was my first thought.
Of course I would never because I hate bumming people out more than anything but I’ve been conditioned to think this is a worthy scenario for verbal abuse.
i grumble to myself “If you can’t hold on to your board in 2 ft surf you should be at a beginner spo-“
“Bro that was a SICK barrel!” He shouts which instantly disarms my thought process.
“Ha, yeah, that was a fun little one”
“BRO are you Dane?”
“Why aren’t you on tour anymore???”
“Cause I’m old and out of shape”
“Bro, but Kelly’s like 50 and he’s still doing IT!”
“Yeah I know… he should probably give it up”
“No way bro, NEVER give up on your dreams!”
This conversation is comical, his level of enthusiasm lifts my spirits.
“But you’re still a PRO SURFER right?”
“I don’t think there’s such a thing as a pro surfer anymore”
Kid was a little confused…
“Do you ever surf Tar Pits??”
Over the course of 2 hours of surfing no clips that i would typically put in a video were recorded, I came home to chaos of fighting children. Bobbie has a knack for spite which triggers Maggie who’s usually cool but when she passes the threshold of frustration there’s no coming back. Sammy loves the chaos and contributes at will. It was more tolerable than normal after getting a few little head dips.
In 2019 I surfed the least I ever have. I was running a business out of my garage while raising 3 kids under 5. Plus the waves in California were mostly shit and the few trips I made time for we got skunked.
With all the kids going to school and Former graduating out of my garage my goal for this year was to make more time for surfing. It’s my salvation.
I got excited to start Chapter 11 TV in January when I was surfing a lot and feeling pretty good about it and getting inspired by the new generation of local surfers. I miss making surf videos despite the preposterousness of the pursuit.
Things have changed for everyone since January and for me has slowed the development of the site but i’m still excited and ambitious. I’m going to try and keep the bar low and get videos out rather than dwell on what’s worthy.
There’s no real concept or criteria for Chapter 11 TV, Surfing means different things to different people, I’m just trying to convey our version of it.
From my experience the less you expect the less you get disappointed.