Bodysurfer Belinda

All Photos by Adam Kobayashi.

Belinda Baggs or Bindy, as friends call her is a cerebral waverider. She studies swell charts and knows the channels and rip currents around her local surf spots. She takes pleasure in learning about the Ocean, how the energy moves and the water reacts. Belinda speaks of swimming along a reef in the Maldives, mesmerized by the dynamics of water flowing in and out of the lagoon. 

Belinda, always exploring and learning.
Belinda, always exploring and learning.

Bindy grew up in the working-class community of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. Her father is a lifelong surfer and she spent extensive time at the beach and in the water growing up. He showed her how to read weather maps and instilled a deep passion for Ocean knowledge. She started competitive swimming around age 12. The 200m freestyle was her strongest event.

Around this same time, she began surfing more seriously. As swimming and surfing became more competitive, she was forced to make a decision. Either dedicate fully to swimming or surfing. The Ocean connection was too powerful. Belinda quit competitive swimming at age 16 and shortly after became a professional surfer. Belinda continues to represent the best of elegance and grace on a longboard. Her strength as a swimmer will forever benefit her as a waverider.

She met the Malloy brothers in 2006 through their mutual ambassadorship with Patagonia. While on the North Shore of Oahu, Belinda checked out the Patagonia Pipeline Bodysurfing Championships. Dan, Keith and Jeff Johnson headed to Ehukai for a swim and invited her to join. They told her, “You know how to swim and hold your breath and ride waves. You’ll love bodysurfing!”  Belinda says, “I immediately felt the vibe and fed off their stoke.”

When asked how bodysurfing relates to her surfing, she says, “Bodysurfing has helped increase my understanding of the Ocean: how waves break and the way water draws off a reef. Bodysurfing has helped my surfing and the two definitely feed off each other. Bodysurfing is refreshing for me because it is anti-competitive…I don’t care if I suck. It simply takes me back to my roots of enjoying the Ocean and riding waves.” She goes on to note, “I feel much safer bodysurfing some waves. It’s easier to navigate through the bright spots in the underwater clouds without a board.”IMG_6024

Family waveriding.

When not traveling, Belinda is often found riding waves around her home of Torquay, Victoria, Australia. Either gracefully cross-stepping and hanging on the nose of her log or riding her longboard tandem with her 4-year-old son piggybacking for long rides across local point breaks. Or jumping into a messy shorey for a quick bodybash…or bodysurfing nooks of heavy reef with her close friend Jarrah Lynch.

Jarrah is the son of Australian surf legend Wayne Lynch. He enjoys riding alternative surf craft but frequently resorts to bodysurfing the local, off-the-beaten-path, heaviest waves. Belinda says, “Jarrah’s threshold for fear is greater than mine and he pushes me take off bigger and deeper. He has a deep knowledge of the Ocean.”

Near home.
Near home.

Belinda now takes swim fins on all of her surf trips, having bodysurfed in Japan, Indonesia, the Maldives and California. Recently, she’s been trying different fins because she frequently feels undergunned wearing her tiny, size XS DaFins, but she keeps coming back to them.

Belinda cherishes her relationship with her sponsor and employer Patagonia. They are more interested in their athlete’s passion for the Ocean and the environment than contest results. Patagonia embraces bodysurfing and they give Belinda the freedom to enjoy the Ocean on her terms.

She has witnessed an increase of bodysurfers in Australian lineups since the 2011 release of Keith Malloy’s seminal bodysurf film “Come Hell or High Water,” in which she makes an elegant cameo. She also notes that swim fins and handplanes are more readily available in surf shops. There is little doubt she is inspiring the next generation of young women waveriders to try on a pair of fins, go bodysurfing and learn about the Ocean on a whole new level.

Belinda Baggs, Victoria
Belinda Baggs, Victoria


Dirty Old Wedge with Tim Burnham

Dirty Old Wedge is a 62 minute documentary about Southern California’s own bodysurfing magnet wave. We sat down with Director/Producer, Tim Burnham to learn more about his film and his process in making it.

Filmmakers by Ron Romanosky
Filmmakers and Fred Simpson by Ron Romanosky

How long have you been working on this project?

It has been about four years. After I saw Come Hell or High Water I knew I wanted to tell the Wedge story through film.  Then I contacted a couple of young and talented filmmakers (Jack Murgatroyd and Edwin Eversole, Ozzie Clarke, and Jeff McCoy) to get the project going.

What is the focus of the film?

Dirty Old Wedge is a film about the wave but more importantly about the culture behind the wave. 

How did you choose who to put in and who to leave out?

We covered Wedge waveriders spanning over 6 decades. It was extremely tough to decide who to interview. We conducted countless interviews and the ones that made it were the ones that helped tell the story the best. The film, more than anything, shows how the Wedge guys have always been about the wave and the group. It isn’t about the individual. They’re all addicted to the same “drug.”

Did you face push-back from anyone you contacted?

Nope. These guys want the story told and I think they trusted that I would do it the right way.

What was the most surprising thing you uncovered during your research?

The blackball history is so expansive. We didn’t have enough time to get into the details, but I learned how far back blackball has been a part of Wedge culture.

Does the film “take sides” in the blackball fight?

The film is primarily from the perspective of the bodysurfers and captures the sentiments and attitudes of the bodysurfers at the time when the most recent blackball regulations were put in place. 

Anything else surprise you?

I was extremely impressed with memory and depth of knowledge Ron (Romanosky) had about the Wedge. He has a relationship with that place like no other. He narrates the film and we couldn’t have picked a better person to represent the film’s voice. A true Wedge legend. 

Do you have a favorite part of the movie?

No, but the archival footage blew me away. The footage from the early days of Wedge bodysurfing is really unique.  I also really really enjoy the music that our composer Ben Messelbeck put together for the film. It’s absolutely amazing.

What will people learn from the archival footage?

These guys were riding massive waves and there was very few guys in the water. I know a lot of people will have a new found respect for these bodysurfers. They really pushed boundaries because they could. Terry Wade really stood out in the footage and I want people to see how unique he was at riding big Wedge.

Do you also show contemporary footage?

Yes. The infamous Hurricane Marie is part of the Wedge story and we were excited to get some of the young guys who are carrying on the tradition into the film.

When do we finally get to see it?

Dirty Old Wedge is premiering at the Newport Beach Film Festival in mid-April. If you can’t make that show, we are also showing at the San Diego Surf Film Festival in May.


DIRTY OLD WEDGE – TEASER from Something Kreative Studios on Vimeo.


Wake Me Up if it’s a Dream

By John Brodie

Tire by tire, the truck spat dust at the sea as my dog and I whittle to a slow roll. I yank the handbrake. Bathtub lines stripe the side of the bluff above a creek shallow enough for a shin wash.  I place my wetsuit on the driver side mirror while my dog admires a threesome of pelicans – wings in full sweep but without a shadow on the surface. The ocean as dark as the sky. I place a pair of swim fins on the hood and put my left foot through my wetsuit.  My dog and I both look at the water now and it’s a loud and noisy and uninviting. Overhead just beyond the rocks and who knows what madness was happening beyond the cove.   unnamed (4)

Doors left unlocked, there’s no people here.  The sun began to make a run for it and ‘maybe I should follow’ was my thought but I couldn’t turn now and drag back to the car with my tail between my legs… Imagine what my dog would say?  I found an opening and jumped. My fins felt stiff and stubborn.  Water made it’s way into the hood of my suit as I go twelve rounds with the kelp. Set. I dip under three walls of water and I could feel the cheers of all the spectators perched atop the cliffs. Yelling and screaming and saying, “Waaahooo! Yeah John you did it!“ spilling popcorn and high-fiving one another.  Under each wave my thoughts, ever so present, however built on a foundation of fear and loneliness while my dog is in the truck only concerned with the fish hunting birds.

I face the rocks and kick my fins, which have softened up now and feel fine. The wave comes closer and I swim harder and it takes me away, free of thoughts and inhibition.  I did it! Goddamn I did it! Sun was close to down now as it dips under the grey sending streaks of contentment all the way to the valley. It was all over, no more confinement and hallucination it was just myself and the ocean and my dog – joy in the purist form.  I look up at the sky see what magnificent bird can shed this shadow. There is no bird in sight. Was it a low flying airplane? I didn’t here a plane… and the thoughts come swimming back.  I submerge myself fully in reach of calm security.

Slowly the top of my head surfaces until my eyes hover above the water line to see an animal staring right back at me. Black marble eyes, his yellow teeth rotten and worn to the root – his whiskers, stubbed and split from prior war and we fell face to face, off the coast of the pacific, a cliff or two south of Big Sur.unnamed (2)

2016 NSLA Pipeline Bodysurfing Contest

The North Shore Lifeguard Association ran the Pipeline Bodysurfing Contest in average surf this year. As always, the competitors were stoked to get the wave to themselves if only for a little while. This year’s champion is Kalani Brown. Kalani defeated a final full of guys who have multiple final appearances including Todd Sells, Chris Baker and Kai Santos.

“I had a awesome time getting to compete in this years Pipeline Body Surfing Contest the North Shore Lifeguard Association put on. It was a real honor getting to bodysurf with such talented watermen at an empty 3-4 foot pipeline and backdoor. I’m still shocked that I was able to do as well as I did. I know how good all of the guys in the final are and didn’t think I stood a chance. I just want to thank everyone who works hard behind the scenes to put on an event like this one. Cant wait till next years contest!”
-Kalani Brown

Final Results @northshorelifeguardassociation
Final Results

To learn more about or support the North Shore Lifeguard Association check out their website or look them up on Facebook.

Special thanks to the photographers who volunteered their images to complete this gallery. Keep up with their work through instagram at:

Jeff Kawelo @unko_shots

David Rubuliak @drubu

Brian Yee @808makua2makai

The Art of Logo Design

By Swell Lines Art Director, Skye Walker

Our original logo served us well for Volumes 1&2, but it was time for something new.
Our original logo served us well for Volumes 1&2, but it was time for something new.

Creating the original Swell Lines logo took some time. I came at it with a very literal sense of the name, corduroy rolling over the ocean, marching it’s way to the shores of our coast lines to give us the gift of riding waves. And after many revisions, the first logo was born… and it’s served it’s purpose. But it always didn’t feel 100% to me. So I said, let’s change it.

It needs to be circular. It needs to have a sense of the ocean, a horizon and of course a wave.

The team suggested adding a bodysurfer into the image. Would it work? Would it be too small? Would it be cliche? We’re a bodysurf magazine. So I re-worked it. Tweaked it. We reviewed it. Then bam…it hit the sweet spot. Circular, clean, simple.  It was complete.unnamed (2)

My love of bodysurfing and the ocean was a real inspiration for both the old and new design and I wanted this new logo to really project those feelings of admiration for, what some may call a sport, but what we call a lifestyle.

There were a few iterations of the new logo that, while they were close and did touch on the vibe we wanted, just weren’t quite there. But that is the design process. Design, review, fix, review, fix and hone it until it’s just right.

The new Swell Lines logo isn’t meant to re-invent graphic design, but it is meant to give you a fuzzy feeling about swimming out and getting some tubes at your favorite break… then come home and read a fun story from some passionate and crusty guys who start frothing whenever the ocean starts making some noise.

Our new logo.
Our new logo.