The Noon Goons Guide To Surfer Speak
Mr Kurt Narmore
Mr Kurt Narmore, surfer and the man behind the LA brand, teaches us a few key terms as his Made In California capsule collection launches on site.
To walk into the Downtown LA loft apartment of Mr Kurt Narmore is to immediately understand the DNA of his skate- and punk-inspired surf brand Noon Goons – which launches on MR PORTER this week as part of our exclusive Made In California collection.
In the corner of the raw space is a stack of eight surfboards of varying styles and lengths with wetsuits and towels ready to go. On the huge main wall is a partly hung exhibition of framed LA photographs that doubles as a mood board for his MR PORTER capsule collection of 1990s-inspired streetwear.
“The wall in my loft is basically what I grew up with. Dogtown, aka Venice Beach, is the epicentre, the womb, the birthplace of skateboarding and the true skate and surf style,” says Mr Narmore, an athletic figure with long, sun-bleached hair who looks every inch the embodiment of his brand.
“You’ve got Dogtown and the Z boys, the Zephyr boys – Tony Alva, Stacy Peralta and Jay Adams – the most iconic skateboarders of all time from the beginning. My collection on the wall is primarily focused around Tony Alva, who just had such a badass attitude, which is kind of how I was growing up as a kid. That’s how the kids that we use in our lookbooks are, too. A lot of this was shot by Wynn Miller, an old-school skate and surf photographer who did a lot of punk photography as well, from the mid-1970s, early 1980s. Anything that was happening in LA, Wynn Miller got the shot and was one of the originals.”
We move on from skate photography to a picture of some wild-eyed kids crowd-surfing a seething moshpit. “This is a shot by Ed Colver, an old-school LA punk photographer, of a crowd of kids at a punk show,” says Mr Narmore. “And that’s a good representation of what Noon Goons is as well – unique style, with all your boys, going around crazy, doing whatever we want.”
Then there are some pictures of the late Mr Tupac Shakur. “This is the work of Mike Miller, also from LA, who shot many, many West Coast hip-hop artists – 2Pac, Eazy-E, N.W.A., that whole thing. This wall is a perfect representation of who we are over here at Noon Goons.”
Photography by Mr Neil Gavin
If Mr Narmore sounds like a gallerist conducting a private viewing, that’s because he is. He and his creative director Mr Sam Jarou are in the process of setting up a gallery called Blackball in their nearby studio/showroom, which will showcase artwork and installations on a revolving basis.
For now, though, the only artwork on display there is a rail of Noon Goons’ introductory capsule collection for MR PORTER, all made within a 10-minute radius of Downtown LA. “My favourite piece is the red zip-up flannel shirt,” says Mr Narmore. “It’s very Southern California/Los Angeles punk. Me personally, I like to be loud, wear loud clothes, wear loud things, be a weirdo. So, I love wearing the bright blue corduroy jacket. You don’t often see a jacket in that colour.”
Mr Narmore has a particular way of speaking that can be tricky to understand. “Surfers have their own lingo,” he laughs when I ask him to explain what “YEWWW!” means. “Me and my friends we speak to each other almost in tongues. We understand each other but no one else does.”
As a primer, Mr Narmore offers this short glossary of terms, which also explains the derivation of his brand names.
Noon is when all the tourists turn up at the beach and make it too crowded for surfers. Hence, goons.
A flag that the lifeguards put up, typically during the summer months, when all the tourists come to the beach and it gets too crowded and they’re worried that the surfboards might hit someone in the head. Surfers hate the blackball flags. All the surfers have to get out of the water and there’s no surfing allowed.
There are no waves at Newport and it’s totally flat.
It’s really windy out in the water and it’s totally blown out.
The waves are really good, like if you’re standing in a wave that’s taller than you. Double overhead means it’s like, “Oh shit, it’s big.”
An exclamation of excitement when you’re stoked. Someone will type out “YEWWW” in a text if the waves are pumping or, if they see someone do a cool thing surfing, they will scream it out.
Another way to express enthusiam when you’re stoked about something – eg, “the waves are bitchin’”.