Air New Zealand Socks It Out of the Park!

Mick Fanning, Gabriel Medina, Anastasia Ashley, Alana Blanchard and Laird (swoon!) in best airline safety video ever!

I thought the WSL and professional surfing had made it big when it was getting a weekly mention in the Northern Territory’s finest publication, the NT News. I felt proud… the sport was going somewhere.

I was wrong, horribly wrong.

I now know that the sport has really made it because some of its finest surfers, including current world champ Gabriel Medina and maybe 2015 champ Mick Fanning, have reached the staggering heights of fronting the latest Air New Zealand inflight safety ad.

To summarise though:

To the light and breezy ‘Young Folks’ by Peter, Bjorn and John, Alana Blanchard tells us to obey the cabin crew. She also instructs us on the proper use of a seatbelt.

Anastasia Ashley then demonstrates how to operate an oxygen mask and makes some grom’s day by fixing one upon him once she has secured her own.

It gets better though! With four world titles between them, Mick and Gab’s show us what to do in the unlikely event of an emergency, using their surfboards. Then Mick, racing along a wave, tells us that it’s easy to put a life jacket on.

Ricardo Christie and Laird Hamilton drive around the West Coast of NZ oozing steeze. Laird rocks the hydrofoil board at Raglan, and at the end, with the gravitas that only Laird’s capable of, tells us “Kia ora, thanks for watching.”

It’s a delight!

My girl was disappointed though,

“Where’s Occy?” she said.

But what does she know? I love it, the country will love it, and visitors will love it. It’s a win for surfing!

Professional surfing’s warriors now feature alongside such illustrious company as Jack Black, the cast of The Hobbit, Sports Illustrated models, the All Blacks and aerobics extraordinaire, Richard Simmons in fronting such a campaign. Professional surfing has reached its pinnacle!

I’m sure our beloved pro surfer warriors were paid handsomely for their time, and I am glad they were, they deserve it. As a NZ tax-payer with a 51% share in Air New Zealand (she’s partially state-owned), I’m glad that Air New Zealand are cutting services to the provinces in favour of paying for surfing’s greatest. Because as a surfer I can hold my head high knowing that, living vicariously through the pros, I’ve made it and you’ve made it too.

horrific wipeouts
Watching ordinary folks barely escaping quadriplegia is comedy gold!

Ordinary Kooks and their Extraordinary Wipeouts!

The joy in your heart will last forever. Better than fat gals falling over!

My stepmother, Laurie, is an amazing waterwoman. She’s one of those lunatics who actually enjoys paddling and she spends her free time in an outrigger canoe grinding her way through the open ocean. I’m very proud of her, and more than a little in awe. Stroking your way across the Molokai Channel is for crazy people, I want nothing to do with that stretch of water.

Many years ago, when I was nineteen or twenty, my father and I were sitting on a jetty on Catalina Island, waiting for her to finish a race. It was a beautiful day, we had a twelve-pack of cold Miller High Life that we’d overpaid for in an Avalon market and while we waited and drank we watched a beginner group of SCUBA divers dorking around in the water next to us.

The SCUBA area was a roughly twenty by fifty foot area surrounded by a buoy/net contraption, totally devoid of even the tiniest of swell. Which was why we were surprised when a woman surfaced, looked at us, and began screaming for help.

It was winter, the water was somewhere in the low-fifties, and there was no way we were going in after her. And, anyway, she was no more than ten feet away from the safety of the jetty.

“Swim to the rock,” we yelled, “You’re not in any danger.”

“Help me!” she shouted.

“No, just swim to the rock.”

What happened next was a stunning display of the contagious nature of panic. The guy next to her began yelling for help as well and, again, we refused to jump fully clothed into freezing cold water in order to drag them a few feet to safety. Not that they were actually in danger, the entire time they were yelling they were also treading water without difficulty.

They both, eventually, swam the short distance to the jetty. The woman proceeded to hold onto a rock and sob, but her fellow had better plans. He attempted to climb up the boulders onto the little paved area upon which we sat. It was actually rather impressive, with all his gear still attached, including his oversized open heel fins, he nearly made it. But only nearly.

Watching him lose his grip and fall backwards, bashing himself a few times before gravity returned him to the murky depths which had so terrified him, took only seconds, but the joy in my heart made it last forever.

While I don’t have it on video (this was long before digital recorders were ubiquitous), I’ve collected a few videos that capture the essence of the day. Some are more brutal than others, but they’re all funny as all hell.

If you’ve spent any time on the North Shore during the winter you’ll be familiar with exactly how terrifying Sharks Cove can be during a run of large swell. The sheer obliviousness that a person would need to possess in order to walk all the way to the end of the natural breakwater is mind boggling.

(Click here) 

Ever seen a drunk fat woman nearly drown in knee-deep water? Well, if not, now you have. Her cries for help are what make this one for me.

(Click here)

The actor that played Greg Brady was, apparently, a pretty good surfer. This incident, however, was totally unscripted. Serves him right for stealing a tiki god from da ‘aina.

I don’t know how you turn a flat day into a near-death experience, but this guy does an excellent job. And there’s just so much going on! From the glasses tied to his wetsuit string, to the worried total stranger, to the kids laughing as their father barely escapes becoming a quadriplegic, this is pure gold.

We’re in Hawaii! Wow, it’s so warm and pretty! Look, Bob, there’s coconuts growing on that tree! How nice! You know what would make this trip perfect? A fun day at the beach. Let’s go pick up some of those boogieboards at Walmart and head down to Why-uh-me-uh, the guy at the hotel said the beach is the best on the North Shore.

This video was posted in 2007, but I can guarantee that a day doesn’t go by without this dude feeling the burning shame of its memory. The only thing worse than a beating over sharp rocks is doing it in front of a laughing, and filming, peanut gallery.

Stay tuned for part two. There’s no shortage of this stuff on the internet.

And, if I ever run out, I can just use videos of fat people falling down


Pure comedy gold!

Matt Wilkinson slept with………

You are totally going to DIE!

…’s a really funny story but I’m going to keep it to myself. In the meantime you should really watch this because it is great, for one, and the song is perfect, for two!

WILKINSON from Nick Pollet on Vimeo.

One Day at Souplantation with Damo Hobgood

A buffet of barrels.





You’ve already seen this gem on StabStitch and Surfing-Er and, if you are 43 and drive a Toyota Corolla and dream of moving out of mother’s house, The Inertia. But it is worth seeing it here because I love Damien Hobgood.

Damien Hobgood is possibly the greatest man on earth and tied as my favorite surfer with CJ Hobgood. I saw him at Souplantation just the other day because my 2¼ year old daughter thinks it is heaven even though it is, quite possibly hell.

Souplantation, if you don’t know, is a buffet of salad and soup and pretend pizza. My 2¼ year old daughter loves the peas and the noodles from the chicken soup. I like none of it. But I take her at least twice a week because she is souper cute. And just the other day I walked in and there was Damo and his three children and his wife. He and his wife looked very tired but they were such grand parents to the children and we all laughed about many things and they made me happy to be at Souplantation.

The moral of this story is kids make you tired, don’t go to Souplantation if you can help it, but if you do go pray that Damien and family are there. And get barreled.

Lex and Justin, new owners of Stab and Magic Seaweed.
Lex Pedersen and Justin Cameron, founders of SurfStitch, the online retailer that scooped up FCS, Stab, among other enterprises. Now this gorgeous coupling has split. Is good? Is bad?

SurfStitch Buys Stab and Magic Seaweed for $20 mill!

In a split of $13.8 million in cash and 4.8 million shares… 

Ain’t biz just a lottery? One minute you’re on the bones of your ass, sitting at the back of planes, driving sputtering Japanese cars, the next you’re kicking down the door of a new beachfront mansion, multiples of teens plucking at your strange fruit.

Just, like, then, the online surf store SurfStitch bought Stab, a little print mag and online portal your ol pal DR started in 2004 and sold six years later (Duh!), and Magic Seaweed, the second-biggest surf site in the world after Surfline, in a deal worth $13.98 million cash and 4.8 million SurfStitch shares.

According to the Australian Financial Review, “SurfStitch chief executive and co-founder Justin Cameron is hopeful that in addition to reducing the company’s reliance on external marketing channels, the two acquisitions will deliver revenue synergies as content on both sites will drive sales to SurfStitch and promote repeat visitation across all platforms.

SurfStitch’s demonstrated global leadership in action sports and youth culture apparel is greatly enhanced with the addition of Magicseaweed and Stab Magazine,” he said.

“These highly complementary acquisitions represent the voice of SurfStitch‘s core audience, connecting us with our customers and providing us greater insight into their preferences, influences and purchasing behaviour.”

“Mr Cameron added that SurfStitch’s mission is to become the global destination for action sports and youth lifestyle content and online retail.

“Combined with our recent launch of ‘The Lens’, the acquisitions will further SurfStitch‘s global content driven strategy to provide relevant and engaging content to our growing active customer base,” he said.

“A fully-underwritten institutional placement of 25 million shares – representing 11.7 per cent of issued capital and priced at $1.50 per share – will raise the needed $37.5 million cash to pay for Stab and Magicseaweed. This represents a 3.2 per cent discount to SurfStich last close of $1.55 per share.”