How to: spend a billion dollars

Say you had a billion dollars. How would…you… spend it?

I woke up this morning to an oddly strong desire to pickle a bunch of veggies. I’m not sure where it came from. I like pickled stuff, but I don’t love it. Maybe I’ve got some sort of vitamin deficiency.

Whatever the cause there’s currently eight quart jars containing various ratios of asparagus, green beans, garlic and sweet onions slowly cooling on my kitchen counter.

My mind wanders and as I was waiting for my mixture of vinegar, water, sugar and salt to come to a boil I started thinking about The Magic Christian. It’s a novel by Terry Southern, the guy who wrote the screenplays for Barbarella and Easy Rider.

The upshot is that a crazy billionaire uses his fortune play elaborate mean-spirited pranks on the unsuspecting world he inhabits. It was made into a not very good movie starring Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr. You can watch it here.

I’ve never understood why actual billionaires don’t do something similar. It can’t be because of moral restraint. You don’t build an empire by caring about other people.

I’ve put a lot of thought into my evil plans. Not that I really think I’ll be a billionaire, but stranger things have happened. I fired my cleaning lady last week for being lazy, not something I’d’ve ever expected to need, or want, to do.

But she did a terrible job and taught me a lesson about hiring white people. No work ethic.

Maybe my idea for an app will take off. It’s called Meet Market and it’s an anonymous location based “dating” service. You log in and it uses your phone’s GPS to broadcast your location to other users looking for a no strings attached hookup. Then other users can search you out. It’s like a treasure hunt, where the treasure is an overweight married man lurking in a public toilet waiting to suck off whichever unkempt pervert finds him first, or fourth, or whatever. I’m not in the passing judgment business, I’m in the facilitating public indecency business.

Here’s what I’ll do when the cash comes in.

Become a supervillian

A person could really wreak some havoc with one of those flying water jet pack deals. Find any gathering that takes place near water, then come roaring in blasting unsuspecting citizens with your water hand cannons, then zipping away when your fun is done. Sure, it’d be felony level assault on multiple people, but once you’re in the billion club you’re above petty considerations like the law.  Look at James Pflueger, he killed seven people and got off more or less scot-free. (Click here.) 

Sink a Yacht

Buying your way into a high end regatta, then playing bumper cars off the line, what could be more fun? It’s all the goodness that comes with crashing stuff, mixed with ruining rich peoples’ good time.

Get in car accidents

Don’t you just hate it when someone is inconsiderate to you in traffic? Don’t you wish you could just put the pedal to the floor and smash right into them? Or when some asshole in a rental speeds around you to steal a parking spot, wouldn’t it be great to totally bludgeon their ride, laugh in their face, and give your lawyer a call to let him know you’ve “done it again”? If I were a billionaire I could live that dream.

Give scumbags 10K

The funny thing about ten thousand dollars, it’s enough to ruin your life, but not enough to really improve it. What’s it really get you? A few months breathing room on rent? A down payment on an inexpensive car? A year of health insurance? It will buy a lot of drugs, though.

There’s a public toilet in the middle of Kapaa that’s the hangout for our local shit bags. They do their thing, smoke their meth, beat each other with pieces of driftwood and hunks of coral, no doubt talk about all the cool stuff they’ll do when they’re billionaires. I think it would be fun to cruise down every once in a while and hand one of the losers a nice thick stack of hundreds. Just to see what would happen. Nothing good, that’s for sure.

Build low-income housing

I recently learned that George Lucas already stole this idea (click here), but I’m sticking with it anyway. Wouldn’t it be nice to buy up large tracts of land in affluent areas and fill it with poor people? Like, I could solve the Kaka’ako homeless problems by relocating everyone to their nice new digs in Hawaii Kai and Kailua! And anyone who has a problem with it can be painted as a hateful asshole, even though I’m obviously not planning on living anywhere near my own philanthropic endeavors.

Maybe I could do a gofundme.  I wonder if enough chumps would be willing to kick me down some dough?

David Carson just designed 151 new WSL Logos!

"The logo represents people who take risks on every single wave they ride," says Carson.

The graphic designer David Carson (yeah, the famous one, click here) isn’t afraid to swing his opinions on surf around.

And what an opinion it is, coming from someone who was a pro in the seventies (signature model board, full-page ads etc) and who appears to watch every single heat in every single major surfing event, QS and CT, who shaped his life around one perfect Caribbean wave and whose style of graphic design is still widely imitated.

For the last six months, David and I’ve been back-and-forthing about WSL logos. He was vocal about how bad the current one was (I was nonplussed but didn’t hate it with the same vehemence) and I said, how about you design one?

I was expecting, eventually, maybe half a dozen. This morning he sent me 151 versions of the logo. Some are playful, some are hard-edged, most a mix of both. Watch a movie of ’em after the interview.

And Carson’s reasoning behind it all?

BeachGrit: You lit up on the original WSL logo. What didn’t you like about it?

Carson: It has no soul. The logo just doesn’t represent the sport very well. It’s pedestrian, unoriginal, forgettable,  safe, gentrified and corporate. All things surfing is NOT, at least to me. The zillions of people worldwide, intrigued for decades, who might have felt surfing is unique, are now being shown, no, it’s not. The essence of surfing, the surfing experience, what people feel about it are all belied by this mindless little logo.

Do you see people clamouring for tee shirts with it? Stickering their cars, walls, friends, bikes or computers with it? …nooo. It has no particular intrigue nor design unique to surfing.

Surfing’s been an integral part of my life for over 40 years, and it’s disappointing to see the lack of imagination, spark, inventiveness and cultural awareness. I would have liked to see a logo and branding truer to the sport, its history and future, as well as the unique individuals involved with it all.

I think many others would love to have been excited about the new WSL logo, which is just the weak ASP logo with new letters. World Sleeping League. World Snoring League, World Sunning League, whatever. it’s just a huge missed opportunity to send a message about the sport globally. That it…is… unique and…does… have different ways of doing things other sports don’t.

With the shark media-fest worldwide after Mick’s encounter, millions of people for the first time saw anything related to the WSL. Snd what did they see? A generic little round corporate logo.. similar to  countless other logos.

“Oh thats surfing? I thought they were more, ah, different? Free-spirited? rebellious, or something.”

BeachGrit: From a technical point of view, what’s wrong with the logo?

Carson: Nothing is given any importance. All lines are the same width and it’s by far the most common logo, or button, shape in the world, a circle. And those lines. What are those? Rays of sunshine? Lightning? A button someone found on the computer? They’re given as much importance as the wave. Or the letters or the border of the circle. It’s forgettable and evokes no emotion or flavour of the activity it is supposed to represent. Mechanically, I’m sure its perfect, same width to all the lines, correct spelling, perfect circle. But is it surfing? It feels more like a student’s first try on illustrator.

WSL Logo
Says Carson: “Nothing is given any importance. All lines are the same width and it’s by far the most common logo, or button, shape in the world, a circle. And those lines. What ARE those? Rays of sunshine? Lightning? A button someone found on the computer? They’re given as much importance as the wave. Or the letters or the border of the circle. It’s forgettable and evokes no emotion or flavour of the activity it is supposed to represent. Mechanically, I’m sure its perfect, same width to all the lines, correct spelling, perfect circle. But is it surfing?
It feels more like a student’s first try on illustrator….”

BeachGrit: What about the broadcast graphics? 

Carson: The broadcast in that first year of WSL was a bit of a trainwreck. Every possible bad TV graphic cliche was used and overused apparently because someone knew how to use them. Transparent, 3-D flying logos, huge metal letters, complete with rivets and beveled edges, clanking down on the sea over Tahiti or France or wherever, sometimes flying up and swirling from the depths of the ocean. Very silly suff. Luckily, they’ve toned it down this season.

And the boxes with scores and smiling surfers? And fake wind blowing fake flags?Very hard to read. The whole thing looked, and looks, like surfing is trying to follow football, soccer, badminton, lawn bowling,cricket, rugby and other sports that have adopted a certain look for on screen “graphics”.

Having said that, this year they did clean it up a bit and it’s less offensive. But still adrift somewhere in the Walmart, professional wrestling and Las Vegas worlds of broadcast design.

BeachGrit: Why did you apply for a gig as creative director at the WSL recently? And what was their response?

Carson: Given my experience and background in art direction and design, in motion graphics and all things related, along with a life long passion for surfing, it seemed like a great fit to me. It also seemed like a great challenge, combining two of my great passions. Design and surfing. I’m positive I could have helped notch up the overall level of all the design and communication related aspects of the WSL. I actually applied three separate times but I never heard a single thing back. Not a word. It’s common practice in the real and business and corporate worlds to let applicants know you have, at very least, received their application. And then, to let them know, either thanks or no thanks.

BeachGrit: I don’t know anyone who consumes as much pro surfing as you and who holds such strong opinions. What excites you at the moment, pro surfing-wise?

Carson: Dane Reynolds, Filipe and John John’s level of surfing. I finally kinda understand what all the mad crazy world soccer fans feel with their sport. I’m a bit obsessed when a WSL event is on and often watch every single heat and stress over bad decisions by judges or competitors or mother nature.

But, to be clear, the current state for watching pro surfing has never been better: live, slo-mo, instant replays, it’s never been better. No question. I usually root for the underdogs or wildcards. I enjoy the drama, personal and professional, rooting for the underdogs, watching surfing at a level I could only dream about, checking out new equipment and waves, the ads and commercials, all of it really. I enjoy all the various subplots and personalities. For example, Kelly is at a fascinating point in his career. It’s too late for him to go out on top, so how does he exit? Like CJ? Like Jordan? All sports have top athletes who just don’t know when to leave. It’s gotta be really difficult and many, or most, of the very best stay too long..

BeachGrit: How about surfing in general?

Carson: There are two times during my day-to-day life when I feel totally in the moment. Surfing and when I’m deeply involved in a design project.

I so often pull out of waves and people tell me I was smiling or I hoot when I realise a great wave is lining up in front of me or I see someone elses as I’m paddling out. Or even for a great empty wave. And those that know me personally would never imagine I’m a hooting kinda guy.

It really is that indescribable thing. I take it all in: that first jump into the water, the sunsets, the wind changes, the smells and sounds, the views. I’m never anywhere it the world where I couldn’t tell you if the wind is offshore wherever the nearest beach might be. And you can always keep learning, experimenting, new experiences, new equipment, new challenges.

Sometimes in graphic design interviews people ask me, what are you working on now, and I say, my cutback.

Dave Carson surfing
What are Carson’s surf credentials? According to Warshaw’s Encyclopedia of Surfing, “Carson was a top-rated competitor in the Western Surfing Association’s prestigious AAAA division, and in 1976 he appeared in the surf film Playgrounds in Paradise. He was invited to the Smirnoff Pro-Am surf contest in the early ’70s, and for a time Infinity Surfboards sold a “David Carson” model board.”

BeachGrit: What just kills you about pro surfing?

Carson: One, the whole idea that they called off a pro contest because the surf got too big and perfect, that’s still mind-blowing to me.

Two, I just watched a heat from HB and the top in-form surfer of the event just completed a crazy air in ridiculous, deplorable conditions. He got a 2.5. The one commentator, the teddy bear big guy one who took the mike away from the world champ, was in disbelief saying it must have been a mistake, can’t be right, had to at least be  a four he said. His co-announcer replied, as any good company man would, well, the judges have seen him do that just so many times, so he got scored low.

What? Judge the difficulty of the move please. Very few of the WSL top 34 could have pulled that move and none of the judges could even dream about making that move or what goes into completing it.

And, by the way, who are these mysterious people ,not allowed to talk to the press or explain any of their decisions, kept far away from all media and public, making these life-changing decisions as they hide away in the dark behind security guards and iPads? Oops, sorry, Samsung imitation iPads.

Three, overhyped Californian surfers who never quite deliver. California hasn’t had a world-class, game-changing surfer since Dane Reynolds. And the best surfers in San Clemente are all Brazilans.

Four, I love the pride and passion of the Brazilians and am surprised by the racism and hate toward Brasilians. Primarily, it seems, by Australians if Stab is to be believed.

Five, the way pro surfing swept Andy Irons’ death under the carpet. It missed a huge opportunity to help educate the youth of the world, of all ages, and the dangers and dumbness of some drugs.

Seven, claims. Stop ’em. Should be penalized for them. Watch John John finish a ride. No claim needed, the surfing speaks for itself. Kelly had a great idea – make the surfers pay for any claim that doesn’t then score in the excellent range!

Judges are human. There is no doubt claiming has helped a surfer or three through a heat and, more recently, has kept some from advancing. Even Adriano rarely does them. Kolohe’s ranked 30th in the world and his are the worst ever. Doubled handed “give me the money ” ones and just yesterday, half-way through his ride, claiming each individual manoeuvre. A new low for claim land.

Dave Carson house Cane Garden Bay
Carson bought this spread overlooking his favourite Caribbean wave 17 years ago. He is yet to experience buyer’s remorse.


BeachGrit: Now tell me all about your house overlooking the best wave in the Caribbean?

Carson: Well. I’m a lucky man. I jump off my front yard, have a few paddles and am in the line up. no drift. No cold water. Often I’m the only one out. The wave is a long, high-performance righthander with a little bit of everything. I can tell from my porch when the first ridable wave of a new swell comes down the point. Sometimes I’m already out waiting for it, thanks to Surfline and Magic Seaweed. I never tire of watching the offshore lines of any swell or mindsurfing if it’s tiny and still perfect. I can see the point from my bed, can’t sleep if it’s big or a new swell is arriving. It’s truly,and literally, a dream set up. I bought the house 17 years ago sight unseen. I only knew of its location. I’ve never had buyer’s remorse.

Click here for David Carson’s website. 

Filipe Toledo smashes board
Filipe Toledo winning the US Open of Surfing at HB is pretty much a given after last year. Ain't nobody able to connect the languorous dots of that beach like the world number four. So when he lost his semi-final against Maui's Tanner Hendrickson he, to quote the photographer, "Killed his board. Dead. This shot reminds me of The Clash's London Calling cover shot by Pennie Smith," says Sherm. "In that shot, Paul Simenon smashed his prize Fender bass when he wasn't getting the sound he wanted." | Photo: Steve Sherman/IG @TSherms

Gallery: Backstage at the US Open of Surfing

…with the one, the only, the incredible Steve Sherman…

It’s abundantly clear that without the photographer Steve Sherman backstage at a surfing event, the results will be vulgar, anarchic, hopeless. We might sentimentalise the low-fi photo but the results, on close inspection, are often clumsy and ignorant.

What could be more depressing than having such a tight collection of surfing greats and none of those wonderful behind-the-scenes moments are stolen?

At the recent Vans US Open of Surfing, the San Diego photographer Steve Sherman penetrated everything, and everywhere.

His photos, I believe, have a commercial, contemporary theatre.

Johanne Defay wins US Open of Surfing
Ain’t it just sweet how Johanne Defay won the US Open of Surfing against super talents like Carissa Moore? A lil gal from Reunion Island (now overrun with sharks thereby making surfing an act of faith) swinging her jams in front of the biggest surf audience on earth.
Ricardo Toledo
Filipe’s dad, Ricardo, a three-time Brazil surf champ and king of Instagram! Who can forget his online feud with Californian twink Alex Gray. “hei alex gay…sorry, gray, I think you this wanting suck my dick! sorry but will not give, I am well settled sexually, and besides, my wife will kill you!!! Fuck yourself…” BeachGrit adores the spirit of Ricardo for without Ricardo, or his little panther of a son, surfing would dissolve into a world of beige.
Mounted police
Who doesn’t love mounted police, a world away from their belligerent, suspicious and brutal car-bound colleagues? Is it their love of horses that, ironically, humanises these men?
Jesus surfs
It always feels, in least in my opinion, that proselytisers for Christianity in this part of southern California are preaching to the converted. Think of all those beautiful coffee-coloured Catholic Mexicans who see these sorts of signs and think, yeah, is true. And as a base rule, most Californians do seem at least mildly Christian. So why bother beating the drum?
Hiroto Ohhara
Why glorify youth? Because Japanese teen Hiroto Ohhara is representative of the Glorious Youth legend. Such splendour! He wins contest and says, oh man, now I buy cars! What a cool wave of sanity he is.
Filipe Toledo surfboard
Catholic Filipe Toledo with his hyper colour surfboard featuring the Blessed Virgin Mary, the semi-deity who miraculously conceived Jesus through the Holy Spirit and without her husband’s seed. Apparently, she was at Jesus’ crucifixion too. So, quite the historical artefact.

surfing alligator

Nature at best: Alligator goes surfing!

And is trapped, fate unknown, thereby raising profound question: whose domain is it?

Yesterday on idyllic Pawley Island, in beautifully progressive South Carolina, a seven-foot alligator was seen casually riding waves, frolicking in the water’s balmy August warmth.

According to The Daily Mail, “Police officers who were called to the scene followed the amateur four-legged surfer for two hours as it unhurriedly made its way a mile up the shore.”

(Most likely) the gator took a few lefts on the inside sandbar, favoring his left hand approach in the small, glassy peelers. Then he took a look at a couple corners outside, made his way up the coast slowly, patiently waiting for sets.

Basically, enjoying a Monday afternoon bodywomp!

And fuck if South Carolinians aren’t harsh on outsiders picking off peaks! A pack of “professional gator trappers” (imagine! The life!) eventually got close enough to lasso it and drag it from the water. Like fucking coastal cowboys!

surfing alligator
And fuck if South Carolinians aren’t harsh on outsiders picking off peaks! A pack of “professional gator trappers” (imagine! The life!) eventually got close enough to lasso it and drag it from the water. Like fucking coastal cowboys!

Now, alligators are for me perhaps the only animals scarier than sharks. Being from Florida, I’ve witnessed attacks from both. Sharks are quick, their attacks chaotic bursts from below. But alligators are monsters. They are scrappier, uglier, and just as fast on land as in the water. They can torque off an appendage with one dramatic twist.

But part of me thinks, That poor reptilian man-eater! Literally dragged from the water! The fucker commenced “about 20 Death Rolls” before trappers got a good handle on him, taped his trapped-door of a chomper shut, and dragged him away.

What do you think? Should the beast have been allowed to cruise the coast, sliding summer shorepound as he made his way north?

Kelly Slater teahupoo
It seems like Kelly's been this grizzled old vet for ages. With his peanut-brown dome and weathered good looks, he's an elder gladiator, older but no slower, more cunning, maybe slightly less motivated. But he was a young man once. Not too long ago he was a Baywatch starring ground breaker who was plastered on my walls. | Photo: Miles Pitt/ casteyewear

“Screw you Robbie Maddison!” says Slater

Actually no, he don't! Instead, twenty five years of Slater… condensed!

The Kelly Kut, a “borrowed” footage edit of Mr Slater’s decades-long run at the forefront of performance surfing is a trip to watch if you were alive and cogent during the early years of his reign.

It seems like Kelly’s been this grizzled old vet for ages. With his peanut-brown dome and weathered good looks, he’s an elder gladiator, older but no slower, more cunning, maybe slightly less motivated.

But he was a young man once.

Not too long ago he was a Baywatch-starring ground breaker who was plastered on my walls.

Watching the old footage, juxtaposed with the new, it’s striking how little he’s improved over the years. His boards are different, his style a little more perfect, but it’s unreal to ponder how far ahead of the pack he was, and how long it took everyone to catch up.

If anyone even has.

Some kids may come close in certain aspects. It’s hard to beat a teenager’s air game, what with their bendy bones and hyper-flexible ligaments.

But no one else is the total package, it’s doubtful anyone ever will be.

This is a killer video, give it a watch. And soon.

‘Cuz there’s a whole lot of sampled content on there, I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t get yanked from the web post-haste.

Even if Kelly is stoked on it and posted it to his instagram page. What does he care? He don’t own the footage.

Excerpts Courtesy Of:

‘Flow – The True Story of a Surfing Revolution’
Director: Josh Landon
Koastal Media

‘Blue Horizon’
Director: Jack McCoy
A Coastrain Production

Director: Taylor Steele
Poor Specimen Productions

‘Good Times’
Director: Taylor Steele
Poor Specimen Productions

‘Cypher Vision’
Director: Jamie Tierney
Quiksilver Films

‘Kelly Slater: In Black and White’
Director: Richard R. Woolcott
A Pavillion Film

‘The September Sessions’
Director: Jack Johnson
Jack Johnson Films

‘Letting Go’
Director: George Opadchy & Jamie Tierney
A Pavillion Film

‘The Dream Tour 2005’
Director: Matt Gye & Shagga
ASP International/Mutiny Media

‘Young Guns 3’
Director: George Opadchy & Jamie Tierney
A Pavillion Film

Director: Taylor Steele
Poor Specimen Productions

‘Campaign II’
Director: Taylor Steele
Poor Specimen Productions

‘Days Of Strange’
Director: Ivan Tanjung & Kai Neville
Poor Specimen Productions

‘What’s Really Goin’ On’
Director: Jason Kenworthy Ryan Ray
Mike Reola
Lost Enterprises/Snapping Turtle Productions


Web Excerpts Courtesy Of:

‘Kelly Slater Afternoon Interview’
What Youth

‘Human To Hero’
Cable News Network/Turner Broadcasting

‘Kelly Slater in West Oz 2015’
Geordie Tarren
DZH Digital

‘Final Day Highlights’
2011 Quiksilver Pro New York

‘Throw Back Thursday: Quiksilver Pro France’

‘Day 3 Shot On Red’
Volcom Pipe Pro 2014

‘Men’s Final Heat’
2012 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach

‘Final Day Highlights’
2011 Quiksilver Pro New York

‘Slater’s Backside Barrel Tutorial’

‘Kelly Slater’s Urban Jungle’

‘Massive Swell Continues’

‘Kelly Slater’s 540: Red Camera Footage’
Noah Alani

‘Kelly Slater 15 Foot Drop’
Billabong Tahiti Pro

‘Shane Beschen vs Kelly Slater: 1994’
Encyclopedia Of Surfing


Steve Sherman

Edited By:
J. Patrick Stublen

Motion Graphics By:
Jason Stublen

Music Courtesy:

Sleep Forever
Fat Possum Records

‘I Wanna Destroy You’
Uncle Tupelo
Still Feel Gone
Uncle Tupelo Partnership

‘Tiny Birds’
Yo La Tengo
Summer Sun
Sire Records