Ask Pam: “I hate you right now!”

And, hey, I'm going to have a baby brother!

Pam Reynolds is the French bulldog of American lovers Courtney Jaedtke and Dane Reynolds. Over the past six months, Pam has become the animal kingdom’s own Dan Savage, giving frank, and often surprising, advice on love, loneliness, whales in captivity, existentialism and the Beyonce-Solange-Jay-Z split.

In this episode, “D” from the British Virgin Islands writes of a love let free and the pain contained therein. “D” also included the synth track “I hate everything about you.”

Alexander from Sydney bemoans humanity. “Some people just shit,” advises Pam.

And from Spain, Andrea Aparicio is curious of Pam’s mama’s impending birth.

“Hi beauty!

Im so expectant about your mother’s last post

Is true you are going to have a sister or brother???

Fighting cock
…but wait, Rory has change of heart and performs emergency surgery on brave little bird.

Candid: I get my kicks killing little animals!

Who knew removing creatures from our earthly kingdom could be so much fun!

It’s a hair past five in the morning and I’m crouched behind a cinder block wall on my back patio waiting for a rooster to step out from the cover of our lychee tree. By Kauai standards it’s freezing, hovering somewhere in the low sixties, but I’m shirtless, being eaten alive by mosquitoes.

My shoe-less feet squelch in unidentified muck (I really need to clean up out here) and a pair of too-big shorts, hastily pulled from the clothes hamper in my mad dash to kill this fucking bird, are falling off my ass, revealing more succulent flesh on which the hovering skeeters can feast.

I’m hunkered down on the balls of my feet, calves starting to scream, barely able to make out the silhouette of the bird over the lip of the wall. The shadow hops to a branch above, seeking a higher vantage point from which to watch over its harem. It freezes, alert to the fact there’s a predator somewhere nearby. I slowly drop behind the wall and count to thirty. My six-month campaign to murder every crowing nuisance with the temerity to set foot on my property has done little to reduce the local rooster population. The sheer number of feral fowl means that killing one only serves to open new territory for landless adolescents to seize.

Perhaps my efforts only serve to cull the dumb. Maybe I’d be better off leaving a single rooster to establish a domain within my yard, patrolling its boundaries and driving off interlopers. Maybe I should just learn to live with a tiny dinosaur that spends its days screaming its ownership of my domain. Maybe.

I’d much rather sit in the cold and wait for it to turn, to present an opportunity at either the head or the area between its shoulder blades, to drop it in a single shot. Failing that I’ll hurl this .177 cal hollow point pellet at 1200 feet per second through the center of its body and leave it to die a slow death in the underbrush. Not exactly humane, but I’m far past such concerns. Dead is dead, and the local environment will break it down into its constituent parts before it has a chance to stink.

According to local lore the feral rooster population on Kauai is a result of Hurricane Iniki, which in 1992 tore through the Hawaiian archipelago doing nearly 2 billion dollars worth of damage. The majority of devastation was on Kauai, thousands left homeless and the entire island forced to live without electricity for months. The hurricane also freed countless roosters, bred for local cockfighting rings, into the verdant wilderness that comprises the majority of the land. They reproduced at an explosive rate and nowadays it’s impossible to set foot anywhere on the island without seeing a dozen of them running around, standing watch over their hens and chicks or fighting for dominance in a gas station parking lot.

With the exception of exceptionally courageous feral cats and the odd pig-hunting dog lost to eke out an existence in the hills until it’s killed by starvation and parasites, the birds have no predators. Further exacerbating the situation are soft-hearted fools who would seek to protect the birds, claiming that they add a quaint charm to the island. Which I suppose they do, if your only exposure comes during the three weeks a year you spend in your Hanalei vacation rental.

But those are the type of people who feed feral cats at a local park, the kind who ask, “Why don’t you just trap them?” as though tricking a large vicious bird into a cage somehow eliminates the need to wring its neck and drive its corpse to the dump.

I know that I have no real chance of victory, that every rooster I kill just allows another to thrive. I’m little more than a sanguinary Sisyphus, following Camus’s exhortation and reveling in my pointless task. The struggle itself must be enough to fill my heart.

So, slowly, I raise my head, peering through the scope of my rifle at a living being I’m about to remove from this earth for no other reason than that it has annoyed me. It shifts on its branch and in that moment I have my shot. I squeeze the trigger and put a piece of lead through its body.

It is not a clean kill. The rooster drops from the tree, squawking and thrashing in a hopeless effort to rid itself of the pain. The hens and chicks scatter. In its panic the rooster runs toward me, then turns and makes a crippled hopping effort to find the safety of cover. It drags a wing, dripping blood in the dirt. I have time to reload and take another shot. I’m rewarded with a burst of feathers. The rooster’s struggles slow. I fire once more from close range, an easy shot to the head.

I head back inside, wide awake, and crack a Pacifico before dawn. The corpse needs to be picked up, but still doesn’t mean dead, and I have no desire to have a spur slash me open. I drink the beer, letting the rooster bleed into the dirt. Garbage pickup is tomorrow so I can skip the drive to the dump.

The corpse gets double bagged and tossed in the trash.

If Dane Reynolds is fat, I don’t want to be thin

The man from Ventura is changing surfing again.

SURFING MOROCCO from gudiferrer on Vimeo.

This little clip, as seen on Stab, is gorgeous and it is lush. Filmer Ayoub Abouizza and editor Gudi Ferrer do a great job of making me want to surf. Moreover, Dane Reynolds makes me want to surf. He doesn’t appear much, but when he does it is all clean lines with exceptional speed and razor certainty. It is beautiful.

I never really got in to “power surfing” because I didn’t care about Tay Knox. He was too “American” for my taste and by “American” I mean dull and provincial. And I’m sure the sort of action featured in this clip gets categorized in the “power” camp but, to me, Dane is doing something different. He is, single-handedly, bringing surfing back from the air to the wave. He is digging his rail deep and he is throwing tons of water. But it seems more dance-like than anything Taylor Knox did. It doesn’t have the grunty grimace of each of Cap’t America’s arcs. It is how I aspire to surf.

How do you aspire to surf? Should we all put on a few more pounds/kilos?

Ian Walsh, Cloudbreak, FIji, 2012.
Want to surf big waves? It's as easy as hucking yourself over the ledge, says the Hawaiian Ian Walsh, pictured here at Cloudbreak, FIji, in 2012. | Photo: Brian Bielmann

5 ways to improve your big-wave game right now!

Do you even have a "big-wave game"?

The Hawaiian Ian Walsh, who is 31, has shaped out a meaningful (read: he gets paid) career out of chasing swells around the world. For the northern hemisphere winter he is based in Maui (yeah, Jaws) but when those swells evaporate he’s ready to pounce on Tahiti, Fiji, Indonesia, South Africa or Australia.

Just lately, and mostly because he’s single and when you’re single and 31 and you know commitment might be just around the corner you do such things, Ian’s considering a move to Barcelona. It’s a convenient airline hub, but also, the girls are smoking, the the bars are alive and you can pounce on Scandinavia or Italy for a weekend of partying if the mood, or an uncomfortable tumescence, strikes.

Still, if there’s a swell, Ian’ll chase and lasso it. Here, Ian taps out 5 important slugs of advice for the big-wave novice.

1. Time in the water

This is so unsexy it hurts me. But it’s true. You’ve got to put more hours in the water. Surf a shitload. Find a connection with waves that comes from hours and hours in the water. And when it gets big being in the surf won’t feel so alien. You’ll feel a kinship. You’ll anticipate what’s coming, you’ll read signals that were previously invisible.

2. Learn to ride those giant boards

Don’t be one of those guys that has his eight-o in the racks and only pulls it out when the surf hits 15 foot. You don’t wanna be swiping off cobwebs from dirty wax. Ride it, ride it often. Know it. Yeah, it’s thick, yeah, it’s long, but it’s narrow and if you don’t make it part of your family, you’ll be struck with a lack of confidence in your equipment while you’re in the biggest waves of your life. Know it and it’s an old pal. You and she against the world.

3. Get pounded

No, no! Not in Barcelona! I mean, don’t shy away from falling and getting pounded. The more you go down, the more you experience those motions and experience what it’s like to be thrown around violently, the more comfortable you’ll feel. Embrace it. Think of it as a fun park ride without the tedium of safety rules.

4. Watch the alphas

When you start dipping your feet into the water on a bigger day, pay a quiet attention to the dominant guys, the consistently good guys, in the lineup. Don’t bother ’em, don’t pepper ’em with questions, observe from a distance how they approach everything. Take mental notes and remember to respect ’em.

5. Send it!

More is lost by indecision than wrong decision. Huck yourself over the ledge!


WSL gets slapped out of South Africa

Capetonian big wave surfers tell the World Surf League to "GO TO HELL! (or at least Mavericks or whatever)."

The waiting period for the World Surf League’s inaugural event at Snapper has been extended due to lack of surf. 11,000 kilometers away, though, a storm is brewing that threatens to knock the Surf League out for good.

The famed Dungeons, that breaks off Cape Town’s Hout Bay, has been yanked from the Big Wave World Tour by the local Cape Big Wave Trust (CBWT). The event was on this past year’s slate, even though it didn’t run, but this year’s vote was 100% unanimous to take it away. Why? Barry Futter, spokesman for the CBWT tells South Africa’s WaveScape, “There is not a reliable open and clear qualifying system meaning that surfers from the media centric areas get chosen over really good surfers from more remote areas. This would mean that in the event of an event happening here a really good and capable South African surfer may have to sit and watch a less capable, but more social media popular surfer from a different area ride waves here. Given that we only get to surf here 5-10 times a year, this is a bitter pill to swallow. Even if a South African surfer did well at Dungeons it seems unlikely that he would get into one of the major events at another location- like Jaws. We have had some magical days of big wave surfing recently and we were once again reminded that what we have got here is absolute paradise and to prostitute it for media publicity (but no sustainable financial gain) of one or two people would be an absolute sin. It is every surfers dream to be able to surf perfect waves without crowds and a good vibe in the water. We do not want the hype, crowds or politics that a competition brings specially if there is no sustainable long term reward for anyone involved.” (read full article here).

Well son of a bitch. It may seem a small thing, one stop on a the smaller Big Wave World Tour that doesn’t necessarily run every year but in standing up to the World Surf League, the South African big wave community is certainly making a statement. They were given 6 local wildcards in the first event and that number was dropped to 4 for the upcoming year. Sound like a familiar flash point? What if Hawaiians said, “Enough is enough. Go back to Santa Monica, Haoles.” ? What if Tahitians did? What if Fijians and San Clementines did too? The World Surf League operates, more or less, beneath the good graces of local populations. It owns no beach, no infrastructure, only operating licenses and with enough anger, those can disappear.

Are South African big wave surfers being unchill? Should the WSL just have allowed more local wildcards in to the event? Is Graham Stapelberg going to get slapped in Hawaii this upcoming year on the 4th anniversary of his originally getting slapped in Hawaii?