In a move previously deemed impossible, Surf City becomes less attractive.
Huntington Beach, home to rohypnol, Donkey Punch and Travis Ferre is now home to “an aggressive seven foot Great White shark.” Who knew “Surf City” could get worse!
Last week, ISIS targeted the famed 4th of July parade. “The Intel is they are going to kill mass people and then target the fire, police and military that respond…” Huntington Beach’s fire chief allegedly texted his son (read here!)
This week, the marine patrol closed the water for the first time in city history after an aggressive shark bumped a surfer. It was hot and people from inland Chino and Riverside wept openly when told they could not wet their skins and calf length boardshorts.
Lt. Claude Panis told the Los Angeles Times, “The ocean is like a big wilderness. There are many sharks out there.”
Stanford University, though, just released a study that said shark attacks in California are down 91% since 1950. Lt. Claude Panis maybe told the Los Angeles Times, “They have all gone to Australia. Australian flesh tastes like avocado toast drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. California flesh tastes like cold McDonland’s french fries. Huntington Beach flesh? Oh. You really don’t want to know.”
Don't wanna die in the mouth of a shark? Stay out of the ocean! Who knew!
There’s one of those viral video clips doing the rounds at the moment. After the half-a-doz recent shark attacks in North Carolina, Tennessee gal Veronica-Pooh Nash Poleate (yeah, welcome to the south) filmed herself delivering an in-car sermon about dey fools who swim in the ocean.
“I’m on my way to church this morning, but I wanted to make a quick video because my spirit was troubled this morning. I had the news on and it was talking about somebody else done got ate up by a shark…
“The shark has the right to eat you up when you get in his house. Use some common sense if you are going to the beach. Go to the… beach. You watch the ocean from a distance.”
Twelve-and-a-half million views plus however many million hit it from here.
Every major news organisation from New York to London bit. Without exception, it lauded her “logical” and “epic” advice.
And that’s the thing with the pro-shark argument. Don’t wanna die? Stay out of the ocean. Simple. The world carved into black and white.
I don’t want to die in a twisted car wreck either but I’m not going to recoil at getting behind the wheel. Plummeting to the earth in an Airbus with all engines flamed-out don’t excite me too much either, but I’m still going to fly.
What usually follows the argument are the stats for getting hit by a shark. But take away the 95% of the world’s population who don’t go in the ocean, but who are included in the calculations for shark attack, take away another four per cent who don’t go past their knees, add the fact that you surf every day somewhere where there’s been a cluster of attacks and the odds shorten dramatically.
What this kinda homespun “common sense” also misses is, there’s a world of grey out there. What if you’re not for the destruction of sharks but you’ve got a few questions to ask before you hang up your sled?
As in, what if there is a sudden imbalance in the ocean?
Ask the surfers of Reunion Island, who lived with the occasional shark attack without complaint, but when a marine reserve made it a haven for bull sharks, surfers started dying en masse, kids included. Jeremy Flores went there for two weeks last year and didn’t surf once, even when the surf was pumping.
What about Byron Bay? A fatal every decade or so, now one every few months. And not the usual bull sharks and bronze whalers hanging around rivermouths but the mighty great white.
What about Western Australia? Quiet, now, but how long before a white surfaces with a lid or six-two in its mouth?
A year or so ago, I spoke to a shark fisherman from SA who said he and the other 50 or so shark fishermen there used to take a couple of hundred whites every year. He told me to do the sums since they were protected in 1999.
Five bucks for a few ounces of salsa? Fuck that noise. I'm gonna make this shit myself from now on.
There are nine Mexican restaurants (at least, I may be missing one or two) in Kapa’a, the tiny little Kauai town I call home. It’s an absurd amount for our population, but they all manage to do a steady business, no doubt bolstered by the withdrawals felt by all us SoCal haole transplants. Nearly eight years in Hawaii and I still feel the itch.
Quality-wise, they run the gamut from merely mediocre, to outright fucking terrible. Which is ridiculous, Mexican food is among the easiest to make on Earth. Just burn some flank steak, chop it up and plop it on a tortilla, and drown that shit in some good salsa. It’s not brain surgery.
I found myself enraged beyond reason recently when I asked for more salsa to go with my twelve dollar unseasoned chicken and canned bean on store bought tortilla burrito, only to be informed it would be an additional five dollars.
Five bucks for a few ounces of salsa?
Fuck that noise. I’m done, I’m just gonna make this shit myself from now on.
With a little effort I’ve managed to dial in my salsa recipe. It’s fucking good. Really, really good. The best salsa you’ve ever tasted.
I’ve started making it in a big batch every few weeks, pouring it into mason jars, and actually enjoying good Mexi food on the regular. It’s surprisingly expensive, but only because I live where I do, and insist on only using the best locally grown ingredients.
Which, honestly, doesn’t really make that big of a difference. But it’s more fun.
“This salsa was prepared with only the finest local heirloom tomatoes and freshly harvested sweet onions.” Pointless but fancy.
2 x Large tomatoes, chopped (Like I said, I pick out the fanciest tomatoes on offer, but you can substitute cheap stuff without really noticing a difference. Pick ones that are slightly under ripe, they’ll be easier to work with.)
2 x 14.5 oz cans of plain diced tomatoes with no seasonings (Get the cheapest shit you can find. They’re all the same.)
4 x 6 Jalapeños, seeds and all (cut off the stems, obviously)
2 x Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 x Tablespoon Cumin (This is key!)
5 x Garlic Cloves, minced
1 x large sweet onion
2 x Tablespoons salt (more or less, your choice. I use our fancy pants Hawaiian Alaea sea salt, finely crushed, but Morton’s works fine)
1 x Tablespoon red pepper flakes
1/2 Cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Blend until smooth.
If you over blend it may get a bit whipped and foamy, just pour it into your mason jars and let it settle for a while.
Surf music has all the appeal of a Tel Aviv sideshow marketing “strangest dick in the world.” Roll up, roll up, my friends, five shekels to see an uncut penis, a wad of pink wrinkles so disgusting you’ll shriek with pleasure!
But what if I told you that good surf music existed. That it had a honk, and a beat and a… feeling… that was more surf than anything.
Here’s ten that do surf with a flourish. A couple you might know; most you won’t.
1.Beach Rats by Los Growlers
The best tune ever written about being a kid chasing the surf dream and the reality that squeezes in as adulthood beckons (drugs!). Take this verse.
“Strawberry noses, snakeskin backs and knees all covered in wax Showoffs begging for attention, trying to show ‘em that we’re rad It’s easy to forget about the world outside of the town Feeling free with no rules in the sea, but even fish eventually drown…”
And the refrain, “Beach rats , reckless days, foul-mouthed salty kids All day healed by the sun and wrapped up in the ocean’s lip…”
2. Single Fins and Safety Pins by the Japanese Motors
Before Tomorrows Tulips Alex Knost was the frontman of the most fabulous Japanese Motors. This was back when catch-y tunes were seen as a cop-out, of course. The finest gig I ever went to was a Jap Motors show aboard a boat swishing around a great harbour. The roof was low, there was no stage, and we shucked and jived as Alex, the master puppeteer, manipulated our strings. This song is about the highs (surfin’ and lovin’) and lows (that damn 405 freeway) about being a surfer in California. “Drop your pants and grap your shades,” advises Alex. Why, yes, Mr Alex!
3. Surfers are Back by the Barracudas
While the Sex Pistols were flaming in London in 1977, the Barracudas were parodying (or was it homage?) the Californian sound. But, somewhere in there, it turned into a British longing for waves and bright balls in the sky.
“Here in London town There ain’t much fun getting around People don’t understand Ya gotta live for the sun…”
4. Summer Fun by Tijuana Panthers
Another Costa Mesa band (alongside Los Growlers) that owns the new surf sound. The lyrics don’t have depth (Summer fun, summer fun,Summer fun, summer fun) but who’s chasing existentialism?
5. Last Summer by the Barracudas
Another great moment from the London surf-punk band. This is total parody. And who doesn’t love parody. “You know I was a surfer…once,” the Barracudas announce solemnly, before launching into a spectacular story of a big-wave surfing suicide.
6. Summer’s Almost Gone by the Neptunes
Play this when summer’s on the way out. It’ll make you weep for those lost, long days.
7. Sur La Planche by La Femme
Who knew the French would strike the crowning blow for modern surf music? Half of the band is from Biarritz (surf!), the other half from Paris (chic!) and their 2013 hit Sur La Planche (On the Board) is a first-person narrative of a surfer describing the invincibility surfing gifts him. Although it ain’t all feel-good. “Si tu oses me pousser dans les rouleaux, je t’attends sur la vague, ou sur la plage dans le sable…”
“If you dare to push me in the barrels, I’ll wait for you on the wave, or on the beach in the sand…”
8. Hallucination Bay by the Neptunes
Psychedelic pop wrapped around all those little surf towns we mow through for the weekend. “It’s on the coast and it’s not too far, come on baby, we can take my car down to… Hallucination Bay, Hallucination Bay…”
9. My Beach by the Surf Punks
Surfing on Heroin by The Forgotten Rebels
Such tough talkers! But catchy beat!
I’m so fucked up I can’t remember my name Tried it once, I’ll never feel the same. I’m swimming in a sea of puke. Lend me a quarter play myself on the juke. Got my kid brother hooked yesterday. Pimping him pays for my habit today.
I’m surfin’ on heroin. I’m surfin’ on heroin. Get a needle gonna stick it in. I’m surfin’ on heroin. I’m so drugged up, I’m so fucked up. I’m surfin’ on heroin.
Social media can be a drag but it can also be the most brilliant place on earth. Todd McFarland, master surfboard shaper, got me thinking today. He sent over a picture of Laird Hamilton bottom turning some remote controlled, self propelled water thing and said:
“Laird’s approach to surfing is more dystopian than the Terminator film franchise. It’s as if Laird actually hates surfing on surfboards. I feel like, in the midst of this turn, he is thinking to himself that he should have been working in a tool and die factory in the midwest…or stamping out sheet metal.”
And how brilliant! And I think Mr. McFarland is right! From the hydrofoil to the SUP to the Golfbort it does, in fact, seem that Laird Hamilton hates surfing on surfboards which may certainly be some insight into the way he feels about the future.
Could it be that, with pollution and global warming etc. the way they are, waves will either stop coming someday and thus Laird SUPs, remote controls, golfboards?
Or that they will be so gigantic that a hydrofoil will be necessary to ride them? This begs an even greater question.
Is Laird Hamilton prophetic? Or does he just hate surfing on surfboards?