At least he still has his teeth?
At least he still has his teeth?

Bustin’ Down the Door II

Another Australian takes one on the chin in Oahu. Did he deserve it? Maybe.

Reminiscent of the beating Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew was handed some 25 years ago, another Australian has been shown Hawaiian justice. Multiple news outlets report that, last night, Melbourne native and PGA bottom-dweller Robert Allenby was kidnapped and beaten after missing the cut at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Allenby, 43, said he was at a wine bar in Waikiki when he was abducted at around 11 p.m. local time, placed in a car, driven 6½ miles away and robbed.

“I didn’t think I was going to survive this one,” Allenby told the Australian Associated Press.

“I was separated from my friend (Anthony Puntoriero) in the bar after we had paid the tab at 10:48 p.m., and he went to the bathroom and next thing you know I’m being dumped in a park miles away.”

“I only know this part because a homeless woman found me and told me she saw a few guys pull up and throw me out of the car. That is where I got the scrapes above my eye from the sidewalk.”

Law enforcement officials are busily following leads but I have only one question.

Wine bar? In Waikiki?

Weekend Read: The Little Surfer Boy at Number Ten

Rejection ain't easy! It's especially hard when it spikes the heart of a little boy… 

The married couple liked to “jog.” The husband had been to America and had brought back an enthusiasm for the new fad years before it was to reach the isolated suburbs of Western Australia. (He imported a thirst for “swinging” too, although his wife was uncooperative.)

Just before the sun rose every morning, the couple would circle the 500- metre crescent where they lived six times.

Every Saturday, as they passed number 10, they would wave at a boy whom they estimated to be seven years old, but who was actually 10, squatting on top of the cream brick letterbox, as if ready to spring an attack on an unknown enemy.

Sometimes, the boy’s shivering was visible and this wasn’t surprising with his uniform of boardshorts, singlet, visor and thongs, even in winter. On the coldest mornings, he would be wrapped in a towel that had the words Ocean and Earth written across it in large block letters. Other days, the towel would be folded on top of the surfboard that leaned against the letterbox. If you were to stop and watch the boy you would see that he checked the large yellow plastic watch on his wrist every few seconds.

Most Saturdays, they would see the boy still sitting there even after they’d jogged their six laps, had gone home for breakfast, and were now taking their Afghan – another American influence – for a walk.

By then, the sun was well above the horizon now and the boy’s shivering had stopped. His freckled face would be cut into a grimace as the sun hit his eyes. If the couple had ever stopped to see what happened next, they would’ve seen the boy’s mother hurry up the driveway in a dressing gown that ballooned in the morning offshore, whisper in the boy’s ear, help him down from the letterbox, and hold his hand as she led him inside, the boy’s surfboard hanging from a strap on his shoulder.

The boy would walk back into his room, prop his surfboard against the wall in the corner, nose down, just as he’d seen it done in the surf shop, and lay down on his bed, looking at the trees outside his window and waiting for the onshore change that always came by nine am.

He would have liked to call his friend, but he was afraid, so afraid, of a definitive rejection. Because, even now, even two hours after the appointed pick-up time, his ears were attuned to any sort of crackle that might signal the arrival of a VW.

Rarely, perhaps once ever six Saturdays, the couple would see the boy climbing into a bright orange Volkswagen station wagon, an older boy smiling at him as he shifted into the back seat. A bearded man would tie his surfboard onto the roof with short lengths of rope.

The boy’s failed vigils disturbed the husband and he often spoke about it with his wife.

Why does the Rielly boy wait for a lift that hardly ever comes?

His wife would shrug and liken it to their passion for “jogging.”

But, it upset her, too.

He was too young to be rejected so blithely.

For the boy’s part, he never felt rejected or ignored.

Of course, he felt sad. And sometimes the sadness was so overwhelming he pushed his face into his pillow until it was damp with tears.

But, only because when you live in Perth and your surfing is limited to weekends and you miss that early offshore window, fuck, wouldn’t you cry too?

Mambo Jesus
What happened when Mambo waded into Jesus?  “There were letters to the newspapers, a half-hearted boycott of a country surf shop and a couple guys threatened to fire bomb a Mambo outlet but it all blew over pretty quickly,’’ says Reg Mombassa, the great Australian artist. “I do occasionally get nervous about some of my work and to some extent it wouldn’t be allowed in some countries, but overall it always only a pretty mild objection… though it is hard to predict what is going to happen.”

When Mambo Spoofed the (Other) Prophet

"You should be able to mock people without being slaughtered," says the artist Reg Mombassa.

And here we find the great Australian artist Reg Mombassa pondering the question suddenly screamed from the bloody streets of Paris.

Je suis Charlie Hebdo? 

Reg made his name as an artist when he drew for the clothing label Mambo, once a hot-bed of satire and bitting commentary.  Religion, sport and, in particular, Australia and its inhabitants itself were all openly skewered by the label, occasionally to the ire of religious and political figures.

“Satire is incredibly important and it has been throughout history,” says Reg.  “It’s a very vital way for humans letting off steam and expressing their objection to a range of things from religion to systems of government.”

Mambo was taken to task for a depiction of Jesus Christ as a mouse nailed to a cross and one of Reg’s works again of JC, this time as an overweight caricature. “There were letters to the newspapers, a half-hearted boycott of a country surf shop and a couple guys threatened to fire bomb a Mambo outlet but it all blew over pretty quickly,’’ says Reg. “I do occasionally get nervous about some of my work and to some extent it wouldn’t be allowed in some countries, but overall it always only a pretty mild objection… though it is hard to predict what is going to happen.”

What might provoke, apart from the obvious?

“There are some topics and mythical figures where you are just asking for trouble. In Australia for example we have Anzacs (returned service men and women) and it would be foolish to mock that legend,” he says. “But the artists in Paris would have known that the people they were goading were capable of doing what they did, but they believed in what they were doing and the outcome was shocking and horrible.”

Reg believes the implications of the tragedy in Paris are far more wide-reaching than a body count. “I feel sorry for those who were slaughtered and I feel sorry for Jewish and Muslim people, who will continue to be vilified because of the attack,” he says. “Tragedies like these also gee up the far right factions and stir up anti-Islamic and anti-Jewish sentiment and a whole host of other unpleasant stuff that isn’t going to go away in a hurry.”

Should freedom of speech be pursued and defended at all costs? “Freedom of speech is incredibly important but we obviously don’t have that and it’s just not true to say we do. Having said that we are still incredibly fortunate to live in a country like Australia that is generally very tolerant,’’ says Reg. “That said, nothing should be excluded from comment or observation… you should be able to mock people without being slaughtered, violence against people in any form is just not acceptable.”

Dusty Payne

Candid: The dumb things that drive Dusty Payne insane

Kelly Slater for one, fashion, mushrooms ('cause they look like wieners), booze, tatts, the complexity of sex…

Let’s get oiled in the grooviness of Maui’s Dusty Payne. Generous of spirit, tight of spin and with a beard that makes gals of a certain ilk (New York) melt like popsicles. But, still, he’s human. He loves, he hates.

And he really hates… 
Australia: There are not that many reefs around here. I miss the reefs at home: how it breaks in the same spot and you get the same section over and over.

My best friend: Granger Larsen is always pissed at something. Like we’d be sitting here cruising and he’d be like, “Brah, I am so pissed right now.”

My family: My mum’s cooking. She can only do simple things like fish. She probably couldn’t make lasagna.

Today: There’s four hundred feet of swell and we can’t surf anywhere. I’m just sitting in a room looking out at windblown scuzz. It fucking sucks.

Politics: That I don’t know much about them. I haven’t found a need to study up on them.

Travel: You always miss home no matter what. It’s hard leaving warm water, good waves and the freedom of being able to do anything you want whenever you want. When you’re on the road you can’t just go and golf when you want to.

Exercise: I dread the moment you wake up and realise you gotta go to the gym. It’s so much pain. Kahea Hart is coming through Europe with me to train me.

Food: Mushrooms. I hate the texture, I hate the taste, and I hate how they look like a little wiener.

Alcohol: Waking up the morning after and having that feeling of regret. I hate what I do when I’m drunk.

Fashion: Unless I’m Luke Stedman, it doesn’t really matter to me. I just wear what is given to me. The whole image thing in surfing is funny but you can’t judge someone for what they wear unless they look like a complete fag.

Music: Death metal. It’s too loud and in your face. Reggae is where it’s at. It suits the vibe in Hawaii.

Kelly Slater: Where to start? That he poled Pamela, Giselle and then Bar Rafaeli.

Tattoos: That you can’t take them off the next day. (He shows me a shaka tattoo on his toe) I would never take that off.

Sex: Why can’t women just think like men? Why can’t they rifle us and just be like, “Peace! I’m out.”

The media: You need the media but all the stuff – the interviews and the commitments, tires me out.

Noa Deane
Noa Deane, number three in my list of favourite surfers to interview after Andy Irons and Mason Ho. If y'don't dig what he's got to say, "That's your problem, baby!" says Noa.

Revealed: The Five Best Interviews in Surfing

Meet the pro surfers who deliver such esoteric verbal husks!

Long ago, I lusted to talk to the pro surfers. What a thrill it would be to penetrate their secretive little world and liberate those solid kernels of truths. What secrets would unfurl before me?

The truth, as I would later discover, is that interviewing professional surfers is a frustrating exercise. I still dine on the story of interviewing one of the best in the game and after a handful of futile questions, I retreated to a standard to at least get some keystrokes happening.

I asked, “What boards are you riding?”

He replied, “Whoa, these questions are heavy.”

I vowed never to interview the surfer again and never have. Finding truth and insight while interviewing what we call “athletes” is a rare and infrequent experience.

But, sometimes, a surfer will come along and reveal the most volatile elements of his soul. Below I list my five favourite surfers to interview.

1. Andy Irons

Oh, he was the most dynamic of motherfuckers. The expression “wear your heart on your sleeve” was constructed to explain the glory of Andy Irons. If he was bummed, he’d tell you; maybe he’d wanna fight you. But, mostly, if you called, if you shoved a recorder near his mouth, he lit up. No one was more accessible or more honest. Paradoxically, Andy’s insecurity about his surfing and an obsession with money, fuelled his interview energy. I interviewed Andy from age 17, when we both went on our first big magazine trip together, until a couple of weeks before he died in 2010. The tension between love and hate, between success and failure, between life and death was forever apparent.

Notable quote:

What childhood dreams have stuck with you? 

“It’s usually, I’m on top of a mountain and I’m trying to stand on the pinnacle without falling off. The wind gets really strong and it turns into this radical Wizard of Oz trip with the wind coming up and with lightning bolts appearing around. It starts to rain and the mountain starts getting real slippery. What does it mean? Probably, that I’m trying to hold on.”

Read Andy’s interview here. 

2. Mason Ho

Where did this kid come from? Sunset Beach, North Shore? Son of Michael Ho? Bro of Coco? Nephew of the world champ Dez Ho? I always clear the decks for a least an hour when I get Mason on the line. Everything from his accent to his vision on surfing, life, girls, sex, is an audacious madness that leaves me spellbound. Mason was never shackled with a serious sponsor that’d  ever demand he retract his more startling comments. Mason is alive, he’s with us and, right now, he reigns supreme.

Notable quote:

I’ve had a few good fights. I’ve never really gotten too beaten up, though. I like to talk it out and do it nicely, like what just happened recently at Deserts (Desert Point, Lombok, Indonesia). I don’t want no problems after. I like to be respectful. I’ll say, “I’m sorry you’re pissed, and I respect you big time, but you look down to fight and I’m down to fight, so let’s go in, fight, then shake hands and have a beer afterwards.” That’s my theory. If you’re going to fight, respect ’em and they’ll respect you back and maybe not tag you so bad if they catch you good. If they call me a bitch, at least I tried. I’ll come in and… bang… dynamite! When I was a kid, an Aussie guy cracked me really good. We made friends ’cause I elbowed him in the face and he was all stoked. That was on the Gold Coast.” 

Read Mason’s interview here. 

3. Noa Deane

Another surfer with a superb touch when it comes to interviews. The almost-20-year-old from Coolangatta on the Gold Coast might’ve floundered on stage at the Surfer Poll but, for Noa, surfing is not just a dumb jock sport but the sacred vehicle of life. He takes it more seriously than you’d think. Dane Reynolds recognises his uniqueness, as he does Craig Anderson’s. And talk? Noa embraces interviews and he hits the spot.

Notable quote:

“Hey, I’ve got a good story for ya! We went to this place called Ifrane, an alpine snow town in the Atlas mountains. The day before we were online picking a house to stay out. There was this one that was real sweet but it was 200 euros and I was, like, fuck that, that sounds too expensive for one night. It would’ve been sweet once we’d split it up but, then, fuck, we went to this other joint. It looked sick. Old school. It fucking had a garden. Snow out the front. We turned the fireplace on and everything started going downhill from there. Why are the window’s boarded up? Jay goes to the toilet downstairs and sees all these lipstick kisses on the back of the door. On the terrace there was graffiti that said, you died tonight! And in the backyard there was this creepy dude cutting up wood. All the mirrors were smashed. One bed had all these weird stains. It was so sketchy. The lady who rented us the house kept asking us if we wanted hookers. Are you sure you don’t want hookers? And the lady pointed at one door and said, don’t go in this door. It was wigging me out that we were obviously staying at a haunted hookers house. I slept with my fucking shoes on and shit and tried to green out but I totally kooked it. But I got to sleep for one second and felt this thing poke me in the back. Are you fucking kidding me? I started stressing out for hours, trying to put alarm clocks on to wake everybody up. By the time we got out, it was, fuck yeah, we survived that. Fucking hell, that was the heaviest thing that’s ever happened to me. I was so tripped out the next day but psyched that it happened, just cause you got that story to tell.”

Read Noa’s interview here. 

4. Mitch Crews 

I had no idea that the recently de-boned rookie could string a sharp sentence together. And, then, on a winter’s night on a rooftop at a mutual pal I found myself enthralled by how well he harnessed his meagre education into a whirlwind sweep of life. “I have to interview you!” I winked. And I haven’t stopped!

Notable quote:

“I felt very awkward in the competition area because I’m really social and felt like I had to go through the charade of putting my headphones on and then staring at the camera all strong. I lost interest during the year because, straight up, I’m not ready to sacrifice all the cool things in life to go for those big competitive goals. I’ve gotta wait until that kicks in. I’m only 24. I like being 24 and a normal dude and getting to have fun and meet people and drink coffees and go out in clubs and do that sorta shit. And, truthfully, I’m not good enough at surfing yet. I need to put in a hard year of getting better.”

Read Mitch’s interview here. 

5. Jeremy Flores 

Very much like Andy. Sometimes eggy, often ready to blow his chains. The time of the sham is over for Jeremy and, although he risks turning into a serial complainer, when he’s on, he’s on.

Notable quote:

“I’ve always been honest, always said it like it is. A lot of people respect that. A lot of people don’t. So there’s always going to be people talking shit. I’ve always been true to myself and the people in my entourage and the people that believe in me. The rest, to tell you the truth, I don’t give a… I don’t really care. As long as I’m not fake. In surfing, nowadays, there’s a lot of fake-ness. So much fake. People are so fake. Most of the guys are so fake. I know it because I know all of ‘em and they’re all such legends and such cool guys but then through the media you see a different person. That’s something that scares me and something I never want to do. I want to stay true. People like me and people don’t. But people see the real me.”

Read Jeremy’s interview here.