Category Archives: Surf

Dragon Alliance Surf

Shane Dorian talks newest edit, Lemon Pepper

Shane Dorian, one of the most accomplished watermen and surfers in the sport’s history, recently released Lemon Pepper, a 7-minute video by Ryan Moss. Filled with striking visual imagery, a driving electronic beat, and, of course, incredible surfing, Shane answered a few questions about the making of Lemon Pepper and what’s next.

Dragon: Where does the title come from?
Shane Dorion: Ryan Moss, the filmer/editor, and I tried for a few weeks to come up with some sort of name for the edit. It’s nothing significant, just an obscure rap lyric reference to a rapper named Rick Ross. Pretty random but I like the sound of it and I couldn’t think of anything better.

DR: The 7-minute video is packed with nearly 6-minutes of action. In a world where shorter videos are dominating, what was the impetus behind making a longer and visually impactful edit?
SD: I think people get so inundated with ultra short-form clips these days via social media, I think it’s refreshing to see something a bit longer, that isn’t rushed along. We got pretty lucky, footage-wise, so we wanted to use most of the great stuff Ryan shot.

DR: Any specific waves or breaks in there that were your favorite?
SD: It’s shot at random waves in Hawaii, some that are just fun shreddable waves and some ultra-rare slabs. The slabs are a favorite for sure. When surfing waves like that you really have to be switched on and focused because if you mess up you could be headed to the hospital.

p: Todd Glaser

p: Todd Glaser

DR: Was there a longer story behind the shark sighting mentioned in the beginning?
SD: Not really, I surfed a really fun novelty wave for a couple hours with a friend and just after we came in a huge tiger shark was lurking right in the lineup, just cruising back and forth.

DR: There’s a little credits clip of you and your son. What’s it like being able to surf with your son now? Does it change your viewpoint on surfing at all?
SD: For sure. I used to always wish the surf was overhead, now I am stoked when it’s waist high because my son froths to surf. He is little so waist high for me is head high for him. Surfing with your kids is amazing, it’s like you get to see surfing through their eyes: it’s new all over again.

DR: What’s the next project look like? What have you got on the horizon?
SD: Next month we are releasing PROXIMITY, a new film by Taylor Steele. I am really excited to see that. He paired surfers from different generations together on trips, according to a common thread between the two surfers. I am paired up with Albee Layer. [Other pairings are] John Florence and Kelly [Slater], Rob Machado and Craig Anderson, and Dave Rasta and Stephanie Gilmore.

For more on Shane’s exploits, head to his Instagram feed.

A post shared by Shane Dorian (@shanedorian) on

Two surfers, two covers

The beginning of April has been kind to Dragon surfers, as two of them have recently bagged covers. Longtime Dragon surfers Mikala Jones and Owen Wright landed on the covers of The Surfer’s Journal and Surfing World, respectively, with killer images. Mikala’s stands out because he’s also the photographer, while Owen’s story is amazing due to the fact he recently returned to the water (and World #1).

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L-R: Mikala Jones, Owen Wright

We also want to wish Owen good luck in the quarterfinals (and beyond) in the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, that is currently on a lay day, but will hopefully run soon.

Evan Geiselman is ready for the big time

Proflect-Evan Geiselman

photo: Todd Glaser

Evan Geiselman is one of the most exciting young surfers in the world. The young goofy-footer was on the cusp of the Championship Tour last year, and he hasn’t lost sight this year. He kicked off the year with a warm up win at the Ron Jon Pro at Cocoa Beach, FL, but the stakes will get higher with every contest. We snagged a little time with Evan before he competes at the first ever Barbados Surf Pro on St. Michael.

Dragon: You started the year off with a win at Ron Jon. Does it feel good to get started on the right foot?
Evan Geiselman: For sure, getting heats under your belt is huge when you have a break and don’t compete for months so getting a win and surfing a bunch of heats felt good. Not a keeper for the overall year hopefully, but was nice to win.

DR: Ron Jon was held at your home in Florida. Does it help or hurt competing with home field advantage?
EG: To be honest, I’ve only surfed Cocoa [Beach] only a handful of times so I didn’t really feel an advantage but I was really working on heat surfing and trying to keep how I surf a heat consistent!

photo: Ryan Miller

photo: Ryan Miller

DR: You finished just off the mark at 19th in the QS last season, is the goal this year to qualify for the CT?
EG: At the end of the year, yes, the goal is to be in those top 10 spots but I’m really looking at it as each event and consistency for the overall year and try to win.

DR: What will it take this year to do that?
EG: I mean its really comes down to peaking in those Prime events. If I had the run I had last year in the Primes rather than them being in the 6,000 [range] I would have made the [World Championship] Tour, so really focusing on those 10,000-point events this year but every event I enter is just as important; that’s the consistency I’m working on.

DR: You’re the defending champ at the Vans Pro and the Chiba Open, does that add any pressure when you go compete there? Or are you just laser focused on the overall goal?
EG: Every event needs to be laser focused. There [are] always going to be ups and downs but trying to get to the finals day of a event is always a good goal then dialing in finals day to win but I don’t feel pressure for those events. I just hope to put myself in those positions to win!

photo: Jimmy Wilson

photo: Jimmy Wilson

DR: Which event or destination are you most looking forward to this year and why?
EG: I’m going to Barbados for the next event and haven’t surfed the wave the competition is at. I like see new spots but again, I’m looking forward to every destination this year.

DR: What was it like growing up with an older brother to help you with your surfing?
EG: I look up to my brother [Eric Geiselman], he’s one of the best out there so it’s awesome when we get to surf together but our schedules don’t link up much. Surfing together rarely happens but still to this day I look up to him.

DR: You’ve had over a year to look back at the injury you sustained at Pipe in late 2015. Is there anything you can take away from that whole experience?
EG: Really it just helped me appreciate life. Surfing is awesome and what I love to do but as far as my competing I just feel lucky to still be here and have the chance to compete. Take things as they come and enjoy the experience. I’m really fortunate to call surfing my job and love what I do.

To follow Evan on his adventures, make sure to follow his Instagram and Facebook.

Chris Benchetler and his Stealthy Marmot

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Chris Benchetler doesn’t need much of an introduction. The acclaimed freeskier is a legend within the sport, as well as an ambassador for outdoor living. The skier (and surfer and rock climber, to name a few), tackled a new project this year: Completely custom-fit a Sprinter van that he and his filmer would cruise around in to find the best snow, surf and climbing spots, and document the whole thing on GoPros. Living out of a van may sound rough, but wait until you see it. We caught up with the long time Dragon athlete in Pemberton, BC, Canada on a down day to hear about the process behind The Stealthy Marmot.

Dragon: Why the Stealthy Marmot?
Chris Benchetler: The name?

DR: Yeah, did you crowdsource it or something?
CB: [laughs] No, so we [Chris and Scott Smith] were researching a ton of different builds, and a high percentage of them were like, fierce predators. The grey wolf or black bear; this, that or the other thing. And so the stealthy marmot was a placeholder. We went with the most insignificant creature we could. And then it just kind of stuck while we were building it.

DR: And how long did it take to kit out?
CB: 45 days. Scotty slept in a cot next to the van. He worked from like 8 am to 2 am everyday and I worked like 8 am to 11 pm everyday. So it was really obnoxious hours. It was full on. We had a deadline because we went to Thailand for my 30th birthday, and Scotty came. And so that was our deadline. That and he was remodeling Michelle Parker’s house, so he had to finish that before winter, too.

Electrical was huge. That was the hardest part for me. I was just researching, researching, researching. and essentially had to hire an electrical engineer at the end of it [laughs]. I either wasn’t smart enough or whatever it was to be able to see how much amperage was needed. It was crazy.

In terms of other designs I was planning on living in it and slowly figuring things out as time went on—and there’s been a couple things—but in all honestly we’ve so far pretty much nailed anything. Haven’t had too many issues other than a heater malfunction in Oregon, while I was staring in Bachelor. A wire came loose in the fuse box and I had to diagnose it. I was researching online but couldn’t figure out the error code. Eventually, I just chased the wires and figured it out. Actually, that was a huge bonus that i had helped build the entire van so I was there for every step and I knew where everything was located.

Photos: @TheStealthyMarmot & @ChrisBenchetler

Photos: @TheStealthyMarmot & @ChrisBenchetler

DR: Obviously, there is a huge industry for kitting out vans and vehicles. Did you have a specific vision of what you wanted?
CB: We basically researched as much as we could on already built vans and sat down together and talked about each sport and environment I’d be in. What was essential, what I could cut out. We wanted everything enclosed; everything super waterproof and sealed. There’s a lot of venting stuff, but we basically didn’t want any condensation or anything so we went all marine-grade plywood and wiring. We basically made it like a boat. We knew it’d be in the Northwest a lot and it would be shitty and wet and not much sun to dry everything out. That was a huge focus.

And I wanted enough space for all of our sports. I wanted to surf, ski and climb. And Matt [Cook; Chris’s filmer] was going to be with me, and eventually Kimmy [Fasani; Chris’s wife]. So I had that in the back of my mind. Most importantly was electrical. We had to be able to charge gimbals, GoPros, drones, laptops, hard rives, all that stuff. It sucks a ton of energy. It’s worked out that we’ve had a lot of friends open their houses to us. So, I’ll stay in the van and Matt will stay in the house so he can kind of blow up the room and have his charging stations. It worked super well in Oregon and we stayed in the van lots, but while we’ve been up in BC, it’s been nice to have friends so he can dry out and charge everything there.

DR: Why did you choose a van? What’s the impetus behind it? It’s obviously much more limiting on where you can go in one winter.
CB: A lot of it had to do with my future and what Kimmy and I have talked about. Wanting to reduce our consumption a bit and live simpler. That mentality has been growing the last few years and been getting more and more intrigued with the idea. Rock climbing, skiing and surfing… they are all very “van culture” sports and I’ve seen a lot of people just living that lifestyle and being in that location with no commute necessary and it’s been inspiring to me. Just wanting to reduce a little bit the amount of crap I do and trying to play my role a little… that was a big part of it. And also I’d be lying if I said that van —since they are so trendy—I saw it as a good opportunity for a project that people would be into.

But it was just a way to slow down and really embrace each location and not be frantically chasing weather all the time. I can post up there and let the weather go through. And if the weather does go to shit and I want to surf, I just take my house with me and go surf for a few days. [laughs] That was the whole idea. Instead of flying home or flying to the next snowy condition, embrace the bad weather and do another sport I enjoy doing. Stay in that location and access the mountains or the ocean and kind of do everything I love doing.

DR: You’ve been with GoPro for a long time and you and Matt do full GoPro projects… how has it been received?
CB: Committing to it last year was super scary. But something I’ve been missing the last few years is just skiing a lot. Red [cameras] are really slowing down the production process. Just waiting to set up; waiting for this, waiting for that. And I just wanted to rekindle that stoke of hot lapping and skiing more. Just making sure I was enjoying what I was doing.

Matt and I, the year before, at a heli operation on a GoPro trip. He did follow cams with Travis Rice and me and slaughtered it and I thought, “Whoa this could be cool.” I’ve always been into skateboarding so I thought it would be cool to do a whole project with movement and really do something different. Only have follow cams, almost no static angles. That was my idea last year and it was received pretty well. I just wanted to keep that going and it was pretty successful. Trying to think of what was next and this project encompassed everything loved to do and allowed me to slow down my life a bit and it’s the dream project basically. The fact I’ve been able to make a season out of it, is pretty cool.

DR: The project won’t stop just here, as winter is over soon-sh?
CB: The project itself—the video—will be done but the journey in the van will be far from over. I’ll be rock climbing and surfing and utilizing the van a lot. I’m already starting to conceptualize new projects and ideas while utilizing the van. It’s been awesome. I’ll brainstorm this summer and see if I can’t make a bigger project out of the same idea essentially.

I’ve met up with so many cool skiers, ‘boarders and surfers. Some new people I’ve never met and some old friends I haven’t seen in a while. I’ve met up with everyone I could have hoped to. I’ve been skiing with [Sean] Pettit a bunch here in BC. It’s been a great outlet for allowing me to do whatever I want with whoever I want. It’s not a huge production. We grab a GoPro and Matt comes and follows us.

DR: Good winter to pick the West Coast? With the winter that the whole West has had from BC to California.
CB: Yeah, absolutely. I’ve had some other complications and things that have held me back from totally killing it, but that’s life. But it’s been fun.

For more of Chris’s exploits, follow his Facebook and Instagram feeds. Follow Matt Cook’s Instagram feed. And don’t forget to follow The Stealthy Marmot for more of its adventures.

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Big thanks to Chris Benchetler, Matt CookThe Stealthy Marmot & GoPro for imagery.

Owen Wright wins Quiksilver Pro

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Owen Wright is back in business. The tall Australian defeated Matt Wilkinson in the finals of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast 14.66 to 13.50, thus completing his miraculous return to form. “I couldn’t have done it without all the support of my friends, family, partner and my little baby boy,” Wright told the media following the win.

The former—and once again—title contender will be wearing the yellow jersey as the World Number One at the next stop at the Margaret River in Western Australia.

Wright, 27, hadn’t surfed competitively since December 2015, when he was unfortunately injured warming up for the Pipe Masters in Hawaii, where he sustained a TBI, and suffered concussion-like symptoms for more than a year.

After being cleared earlier this year by his doctor and WSL physicians, Owen got his feet wet at the QS in Newcastle in February, and then subsequently accepted a WSL wildcard spot to the 2017 CT. So roughly 15 months after suffering a life-threatening injury, with questions if Owen would ever regain his former surf form, the lanky Australian stands on top of the world.

“I think it was the start of February—I was sitting in the doctor’s office and there were question marks on the year,” Wright told local news after the victory. “So to be sitting here right now, we just pushed hard and went hard and confronted every fear of getting back into it. There were a lot of questions of getting back into the sport and back into pretty much what took me out and could have taken me out forever. I just kept going and kept doing it.”

Luke Hynd: The What Youth 34

What Youth recently introduced this year’s Top 34 list… the company’s list of the top 34 surfers in the world. And our very own Luke Hynd rolled in at #20. From What Youth:

“Luke is a nice quiet young Australian who looks so at home on a board. As you saw in Everything’s Wrong But in the Right Place: he’s not scared of the big stuff and he’s got a technical air game. Right under the radar, but probably not for that much longer.”

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Help us give a hearty round of applause for Luke and here’s to watching him grow his surfing career for many, many years to come.

The What Youth philosophy on how they pick The Top 34:

The perfectly inexact science that sees the surfers who represent themselves the most authentically through their surfing and living at the top. Their creativity rewarded. Their flaws embraced. Their zest and style counting exponentially. There are no numbers, it’s all feeling. Like music. Or poetry. Subjective. Like surfing should be.”

Fellow Dragon surfer and Quik Pro winner Owen Wright was named 34th in this year’s top 34.

Evan Geiselman Takes Ron Jon; Ready for Season

With the competitive surf season getting underway, Dragon surfer Evan Geiselman took the win at the Ron Jon Vans Pro in Cocoa Beach, FL. A native of Florida, Evan felt at home, but regardless, the win at the QS event felt good. “I just tried to stay patient and think I just got lucky,” Geiselman told local news about the final. “Winning this event was a great confidence boost for me. I learned a lot from last year, got a few wins and ended up 19th on the QS. So my goal is to just keep doing better.”

Evan looks to finish higher on the QS (after a 19th place finish in 2016) and qualify for the CT, and the Ron Jon Pro is a step in the right direction. The attention now turns to Australia and Snapper Rocks for the Quiksilver Gold Coast Pro, the first CT of the 2017 season, where Mick Fanning, Owen Wright and Ace Buchan look for an early season performance.

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Mick Fanning All in on CT for 2017

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Our friends at WSL caught up with legendary surfer and 3x World Champion Mick Fanning on his return to the Championship Tour full-time after taking a break from the 2016 season.

“2015 was a tough year,” Fanning told WSL. “A lot happened to me on camera and in my personal life. I just felt exhausted by the end of it. Fortunately, I was in a position to step away from the Tour and have some time to myself. I ended up doing a few events and qualifying which was great because I didn’t want to take the wildcard off of Bede [Durbidge] or Owen [Wright]. I’m coming into 2017 seeded 18th which will be a change for me.”

For the full interview, head here.

Griffin Colapinto & Seth Moniz Crush Hawaii

Young guns Griffin Colapinto and Seth Moniz have spent quite a bit of time down in Hawaii the past couple of months, including competing at the Volcom Pipe Pro where Griffin took 3rd and Seth was recognized with the Todd Chesser Hard Charger award. Here’s what the duo got up to in their time in the tropical destination.

Griffin Colapinto Snags 3rd at Volcom Pipe Pro

Looks like youngster Griffin Colapinto picked up where he left off at the end of 2016 with a podium performance at the Volcom Pipe Pro, at Pipeline in Haleiwa, Hawaii. The young Californian bested big time names like John John Florence, Bruce Irons and Mitch Coleborn (not to mention the other not in his heats), to make it to the finals despite challenging conditions and wave inconsistencies.

The QS 3000 event had an international final, featuring California’s Colapinto, Hawaii’s Bruce Irons, Adriana De Souza of Brazil and the eventual winner, Soli Bailey, an Australian national.


Other than Colapinto, Dragon’s Hawaiian grom Seth Moniz was the talk of the event being awarded the Todd Chesser Hard Charger award. Annually given to honor the North Shore big wave waterman of the same namesake. “Wow this is pretty amazing to be here right now standing and receiving the Todd Chesser award,” Moniz told WSL. “Ever since I was a little kid I always heard about him. I never got to meet him, but I heard he was a super nice and humble guy who went out there and charged. I’m just super honored to be here, to receive this award.”

Griffin currently sits in 5th in the QS rankings, albeit after only one event for him. Seth sits in 21st, with a heavy QS schedule coming up in Australia next month.