Mesmerizing: Teahupo’o from the air!

The land of crushed skulls, or whatever, has never looked so beautiful!

Have you never been? You should remedy! But while searching for air fares, open up another window and watch this lovely footage from Ashley Gasper. The prettiest corner of the world? Excluding Nusa Dua lot S 6, probably.

Surfing Teahupoo Tahiti Huge XXL Waves July 2015 Drone Footage from Ashley Gasper on Vimeo.

Help Get Scott Aichner Back in the Water!

Buy an original Aichner transparency! Get the king back in the drink!

Scott Aichner is a Ventura-based bodyboarder with a wrestler’s neck, torso and hams. He is also, or at least was, maybe still is, more on that soon, one of surfing’s great exponents of the wide-angle water shot.

In the early to mid-2000s, Ike based himself on Oahu, never missing a swell at Off the Wall, and when that season passed, would walk the camino trail to Puerto Escondido. Ike was Surfer magazine’s prized staffer and his images filled 80 magazine covers across the world.

A thinker, Ike even came up with a dual-camera device able to shoot a 270-degree angle. But, like a lot of surf photographers, Ike quit the game when print mags began their inevitable contraction as surf co’s moved to cheaper, more effective advertising online.

“The mags were shrinking rapidly,” he says. “This was in 2009 and selling print ads was becoming harder. I also wanted to surf when the waves were good.”

Ike says he always had this “little guilty dude on my shoulder whispering, ‘You should really be shooting not surfing.”

Lately, however, the old itch is back.

“I miss the hunt and the score, when you and the surfer realise you just nailed it.”

But it ain’t stills this time. Ike wants to shoot motion. Slow motion. Using the vaguely accessibly ($25,000) RED cams developed by Oakley founder Jim Jannard.

And so, in the words of Ike, he’s selling “30 of my most-prized images to raise enough dollars to buy a high-speed movie camera. Get a housing built and jump back in the water.”

Ike says it’s like “selling a little bit of your soul, Yeah, it stings.”

He’s posting one image a day on ebay. “Opening bids are $US1400 for the main image. The image is an 8 x 12″ print with the original slide mounted below, lit with a  battery-powered LED light box behind. The matte is 16 x 16 and the total frame size is 19.5 x 19.5″. I wanted to produce one-of-a-kind surf art.”


What thrills him so about slow-mo that he’s willing to give up a crucial slice of his body of work?

“It’s where I started before stills. I was always fascinated by Jack McCoy’s films. The watery wide-angle slow-mo’s just captured me. The ability to expand time in the barrel from one second to 20 seconds or more. Back then, I bought a high-speed 16mm camera, had a housing built and moved to Hawaii. Then I gave stills a go and had a couple of covers in my first North Shore season. I was hooked! But I love motion!”

Got room on your wall? Room to move on your credit card?

Click here to see the pieces on ebay. 

New study: Surf tourists rob, drug and sex!

Also, Jordy Smith punts a massive one after getting barreled!

Oxfam is a fantastic organization that seeks to put an end to global inequality and poverty. It operates in almost every country, bringing food, education, medicine and help to the most needy. Today one of their interns, Ben Fortun, wrote a piece on how the surf industry is, for the most part, shit.

Ben, apparently, used to be a pro longboarder but got hurt and then got thinking. “I remembered the farmers in Cardon, Mexico forced off their land to build resorts…” he wrote on Oxfam’s blog “…leaving them with the choice to either become resort workers or turn to illicit activities. I remembered the gangs in Costa Rica that have grown out of the massive inequality there. I remembered the sweatshops in China and elsewhere that produce surfing products, from board shorts to surfboards, by the thousands with little to no safety regulations to protect their workers. I have seen the dark side of the surfing community, that existed then and persists to this day, but is rarely seen or talked about.”

Bummer. But it gets worse!

He cites an Argentinian study that found “Costa Rica experienced a 700 percent increase in robberies and a 280 percent increase in drug related crimes between 1990 and 2006. Similarly, Indonesia’s Tourism Department recorded more than 13,703 child victims of sexual exploitation between 1972 and 2008. Coincidentally or not, these trends parallel the emergence of surf tourism in each locale.”

Bummer. Are there any bright spots?

I don’t think but BeachGrit still believes, above all, that surfing is anti-depressive so watch Jordy launch! (don’t worry about the privacy business just click and watch on Vimeo!) (Rob, drug, sex)

An inmate suns himself in between surf sessions.
An inmate suns himself in between surf sessions.

Incredible: Inmate escapes using surfboard!

The little butterfly shreds to freedom.

Norway’s Bastoy Prison is widely considered the world’s most lovely place to be locked up (amongst connoisseurs of such things).

It’s an island one square mile in size. It’s got no fences, no cells. There’s tennis courts, beaches, saunas, the works. According to Time, it’s Scandinavia’s line in the sand as far as treating all humans, well, humanely. rapists, murderers, drug czars—they’re all there, basking in the sun, debating: sauna now, tennis later? Or tennis now, sauna later?

And yesterday an inmate—a “sex offender in his 20s”—grew tired of doubles games and beach bronzing, and set out from the island via surfboard and plastic shovel, paddling the two miles to shore before disappearing.

Obviously, with Bastoy being so posh, escape attempts are super rare. Not just because it’s so nice, but because if you try and escape and get caught, well, you ain’t coming back to the beach. Escappees are instead sent to the more standard correctional facilities.

Time’s report claims the prison’s response to escapes is particularly precious:

“When inmates come to his island jail, [Arne Kvernvik] Nilsen, the governor, gives them a little talk.

Among the wisdom he imparts is this: If you should escape and make it across the water to the free shore, find a phone and call so I know you’re OK and ‘so we don’t have to send the coast guard looking for you.’”

As of this writing, the inmate is still at large. And he hasn’t called.

Heartwarming: “Surfing is for everyone!”

A Rohingya girl shreds Bangladeshi waves and inspires!

When the act of surfing extends beyond sheer selfishness it sure does warm the heart. Julian bravely paddling toward Mick. Tyron Swan duct taping his friend’s paraplegic mother onto his back.

And here we have Nassima Akhtar in southern Bangladesh. Her story is a few years old, now, but even more inspiring than ever because the plight of her Rohingya people is increasingly bleak. The small minority group, predominately Muslim, hails from Burma (Myanmar) and is widely persecuted. The Burmese government does not recognize them as citizens. The women are sold into sexual slavery, the men killed. Pope Francis recently said that the Burmese government’s treatment of the Rohingya constitutes war against them. Thousands try to flee via rotten boats and are lost forever.

Nassima, pressing through not only ethnic discrimination but sexual too, is a true inspiration. Get that girl a sponsor! #ImWithNassima!