Lid Game Question 3.
By Dan Dobbin.
The late 90’s. The surf industry has been laid low by the Asian financial crisis. Surf brands around the globe start jettisoning sponsored riders left and right. The ones deemed most dispensable?
Quiksilver roll up Q-boards. Billabong cull their team, Rip Curl the same. Fringe brands like Kuta Lines, Body Glove, Fox and O’Neill check out entirely.
Now largely cut off from the corporate surf brand financial tit, bodyboarders are forced into a position we are now well aquinted with; do it ourselves or it’s not going to get done.
In a serendipitous “right idea, right time” moment Californian dudes Ross McBride and Brian “Stoker” Stokes were in the midst of planning the launch of a film and clothing project centred around a cadre of riders, each with a unique niche in the bodyboarding world.
Jeff Hubbard, the sports greatest aerialist, Spencer Skipper smooth as butter, the metalcore DK blastings of Paul Roach, the eccentric approach of Ross McBride, and the old school power and flair of Lanson Ronquillio. This group would be tailed around the globe and filmed by Stoker, and the subsequent action documented and distributed to the masses.
The film was a blockbuster which encaptulated the zeitgeist of boogin’ culture at the time and spawned thousands of copycat video projects and clothing brands. It represented a totally fresh direction in production values, soundtrack and format which became the blueprint that was aped for the next ten plus years.
“Support those who support you” became a common refrain a bodyboarder owned cottage brands sprung up to fill the gap left by the big surf wear brands, and No Friends became the biggest and most popular boogin’ owned company globally.
Each following No Friends film grew bigger and bigger with global tours seeing packed out venues and many shenanigans and hijinks post viewing, before momentum finally petered out as McBride and Stoker outsourced the making of the final films to Australian based videographers, finishing with the by now bog average “No Friends Decade”.
And the man who coined the name “No Friends”?
The legend goes that McBride and Stoker had settled on “Amoungst Friends” as a perfectly understandable moniker for a project involving five riders pooling their resources to create a join venture. However, upon hearing the name bodyboardings most charismatic character Paul Trevor Roach interjected ” @#$& that we’ve got no friends” and the name stuck.
And the fall out over at “The Lid Game”?
Three steps in and we’ve
had our “Red light, Green light” moment. Metaphorical bodies piled up like driftwood after a violent storm, leaving only a bakers dozen still standing. In the words of Ricky Baker ” Shit just got real!”
Only a bakers dozen of players now remaining.
The Lid Game is proving to be a brutal mistress……
Have a listen below for some classic tunes from the No Friends soundtracks: