The Coast News Group
Chris Ahrens, aka Uncle Sand, will host Seasick TV, described by creator Don Durban as Johnny Carson goes surfing. Courtesy photo

Waterspot: Uncle Sand wants you to tune in

It’s been over 25 years since Planet X Television founder/producer Don Durban blasted into the world of action and extreme sports.

Durban grew up in his namesake city, Durban, South Africa, and in Orange County where the sight and sounds of surf, skate, snowboarding, wakeboarding, motocross and music itself pounded out the soundtrack of the good life to his fertile mind.

In his time he has worked with everyone in the surf world, including: Tom Curren, Rob Machado, Jericho Poppler and Joyce Hoffman, along with numerous other icons of surfing and its offshoot sports while continuing to produce adrenalized quality programing for an increasingly large and hungry audience.

Durban first approached me to help host Planet X when the show was in its infancy. While that never did occur, we have stayed in touch ever since, occasionally discussing ways to plug in new content to Planet X’s millions of international viewers.

Recently, Durban hit upon the idea of Seasick TV, featuring me as your host, Uncle Sand.

While he sums it up as Johnny Carson goes surfing, I feel more like Johnny’s straight man, Ed McMahon, whose job it was to sit and laugh and make Johnny look good.

In my case, every guest is a new Johnny, all of them taking the lead role as I slink back into Ed’s role of turning the spotlight away from myself, onto them while turning up the laugh track to 11.

The Planet X library includes interviews with the aforementioned Curren, Machado, Hoffman, and Poppler, as well as Kelly Slater, Herb and Dibi Fletcher, Bill Stewart, Ian Cairns, Peter Townend and the Golden Girls.

Locations for the show are generally on or near the beach, but once in a while we drop into a legendary surf shop or surf museum, a warehouse, or on one occasion, Stewart’s infamous Fun House.

Billy’s Fun House, as he calls it, is planted deep in the hills of San Clemente and comes complete with a pingpong table, a pool table, a fully stocked bar, a sound stage decked out with a drum kit and all sorts of electronic instruments.

Every type of water toy imaginable surrounds all of this. With every corner of the place triggering a story in a chapter of watersport history, this is an ideal place to film a show. 

All I have to do is point to some cool old board and ask, “What’s that, Bill?” before he explains his contributions to surfboards, snowboards and wakeboards.

With a planned release date in late fall of this year, Seasick TV plans to expand locations to include various surf and skate shops and museums throughout Southern California.

For now, it’s quite a responsibility being Uncle Sand, but I promise to do my best to keep the shows fun, fresh and exciting while repeating an environmental message to a world determined to rid itself of plastic waste.

Uncle Sand wants you!

If you want him (no, not like that) or would like to contribute to the story of our tribe, he can be reached through this column.