Corky's Fake Surfer Magazine News
by Corky Carroll
Ah, the wonderful world of media. I learned the hard way, when I was very young, that just because something is in print does not always make it true. Stories are told from the angle of the person who is telling the story and from what they personally feel is true, which many times is not the same angle that many others feel is factual. It’s the nature of the beast. In recent years this has come to light more and more in world news. But, in the surfing world, I have to admit that most people believe what they read. I have had issues with so many things printed over the years that it would take a year of columns to get into half of them.
With that said, I fully admit to having played a part in a couple of classic “fake news” surfing myths back in the great yesteryear. The first was the great “J.J. Moon” caper. There was, still is actually, a great dude who wrote a handicapping column for the horseraces back in the 1960’s. He went under the name J.J. Moon, and his column was called “Moonshots.” This guy also surfed and was pals with Joey Cabel, Mickey Munoz and other surfing big wigs of the time. They got together with John Severson at SURFER magazine and put together a great spoof on the surfing world. SURFER did stories on the great legendary eleven toed heroes’ hero, J.J. Moon, the only man who could “hang eleven.” This totally ballooned into a J.J. Moon fan club, t shirts, towels, membership cards and the whole nine feet. There was one story called “Corky vs J.J.” It was supposed to be a debate, but it was mostly both of us praising the great Moon and how he was secretly the best surfer in the world. It was huge. In fact, I used the “J.J. Moon Corporation” as a credit reference on the application for my first credit card, the address and phone number was the Chart House in Newport Beach. When they called he actually happened to be there, and they put him on the phone. He told them I had unlimited credit with them. I got a gold card right off the bat, I think I was like 18.
In later years, when I was working at SURFER magazine myself, we pulled off, to a much lesser degree, the same sort of mislead. One day our photo editor was going around the building with a great surf photo that they wanted to print, but had no idea who it was. He as asking all of us if we had any idea. This sparked the conversation about all the unidentified great photos that we had in the files. We were all sitting in the coffee room talking about this when the idea popped up, and I am pretty sure it was mine, to make up a name to use whenever we had a great photo that could not be identified but was too good not to use. We came up with the name “Lucas Bowels.” If memory serves me, which is hardly ever the fact these days, the guys involved were Jim Kempton, Guy Motil, Tom Servais, Jeff Devine, Art Brewer, Warren Bolster and myself. I am not sure if we told Steve Pezman, our publisher, or not.
For a couple of years Lucas Bowels showed up in the occasional great photo. Sometimes he was mentioned as one of the guys out on some particular day or session, or in some gossip news thing in the “Pipeline” section. Stuff like “the great Lucas Bowels sat in on guitar with the band” at some big party. Just enough to establish him as a part of the surf world at that time, thinking this was late 1970’s. We even nominated him on the ballot for SURFER POLL one year, and he got votes. The only person to ever actually question it was a local guy, who was an excellent surfer and unhappy that he had not been nominated. He, and I am not going to name him, came in one day and voiced his displeasure, which included a “and WHO is this Lucas Bowels guy anyway?”
At that point we stopped doing it and just let the myth of Lucas Bowels fade away. But for a couple of years he was alive and shredding all over the world and nobody was the wiser.
If a few surf dudes with a sense of humor could pull of J.J. Moon and Lucas Bowels, what in the heck do you think those dudes at CNN and FOX could be up to??? The ONLY place you can come to for real stuff is right here folks. Really.