Damien Fahrenfort used to be a pro surfer. Now he is rich.
If you know anything about anything, you know Venice, California is the world’s hottest locale. Who doesn’t want? There is very delicious food (hello, Flake!), the sun shines constantly and the people get more beautiful each and every day. Some try to complain. “Oh…” they moan “…Venice is soooo over…” while glaring from the corner of their eyes at people more beautiful than they. Jealousy is ugly!
As you can guess, it is hard to establish in Venice, California and that is why South Africa’s Damien Fahrenfort becoming a commercial kingpin is beyond amazing. Over the weekend he opened the magnificent store General Admission. They sell exactly what you want, publish a journal, curate your lifestyle and all on Brooks Ave which, if you know anything about anything, turns into Abbot Kinney.
Damien Fahrenfort used to be a pro surfer. Now is he is a financial heavyweight and it is definitely worth going to his store because, also, the t-shirts and pants are spot exactly right. Shawn Stussy, Danny Fuller, John Moore and Rick Ross went to the opening party. You should go too, but not to the opening party. It’s over. Also order here.
When he explained all the physics behind keeping a motorcycle afloat, I felt quite dense that I hadn’t even questioned it. We soon realised that the curtain was going to be lifted on this elaborate prank at the world premiere, Wizard of Oz-like, that was happening… now!
I immediately called Chas Smith who was at the premiere. Chas spoke to his old friend Raimana Van Bastolaer, who was the Tahitian fixer behind the shoot, inspected the motorcycle, and called back.
“It’s real,” he said.
And so it was.
The bike is a KTM250 SX modified with skis that have little fins at the bottom to act as rudders and a paddle steamer-like back tyre. Maddison chose a two-stroke ’cause it was less likely to freak out in the water as opposed to a four-stroker.
The bike was first tested on an eight-mile ride in San Diego’s Mission Bay. But San Deigo ain’t Tahiti and Mission Bay ain’t Teahupoo.
At one point, Maddison hit a west bomb, one of those kinky straight-into-the-barrel waves only the best surfers dare challenge, and nearly died. Maddison told Rolling Stone, “There I was on a motorcycle, with the worst thing that could possibly happen… My friends and crew were completely rattled, having thought that I had drowned in the wave. It’s the gnarliest thing I have ever been through.”
"Laird Hamilton is the King of Triton!" says Lena Dunham
Over the weekend a bikini-clad Lena Dunham set out on a three-mile (SUP) Tour, taking part in the “Paddle for Pink” event in the Hamptons, benefitting the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Lena Dunham is, of course, the 29-year-old creator of the HBO series Girls, a spokeswoman for mid-to-late-twenties, directionless, dissatisfied, nocturnally-loose, diurnally guilt-laden women everywhere, and the author of the memoir Not That Kind of Girl.
Have you read? It’s all in there.
Here’s an excerpt, detailing an episode between Lena, aged seven, and her one-year-old sis.
Do we all have uteruses?” I asked my mother when I was seven.
“Yes,” she told me. “We’re born with them, and with all our eggs, but they start out very small. And they aren’t ready to make babies until we’re older.” I look at my sister, now a slim, tough one-year-old, and at her tiny belly. I imagined her eggs inside her, like the sack of spider eggs in Charlotte’s Web, and her uterus, the size of a thimble.
“Does her vagina look like mine?”
“I guess so,” my mother said. “Just smaller.”
One day, as I sat in our driveway in Long Island playing with blocks and buckets, my curiosity got the best of me. Grace was sitting up, babbling and smiling, and I leaned down between her legs and carefully spread open her vagina. She didn’t resist and when I saw what was inside I shrieked.
My mother came running. “Mama, Mama! Grace has something in there!”
My mother didn’t bother asking why I had opened Grace’s vagina. This was within the spectrum of things I did. She just got on her knees and looked for herself. It quickly became apparent that Grace had stuffed six or seven pebbles in there. My mother removed them patiently while Grace cackled, thrilled that her prank had been a success.
Anyway, out on her SUP, Lena apparently thought she wasn’t going to make it.
We’re not sure if she meant she honestly thought she might not make it, as in live, or if she just didn’t think she could get to the finish line. Regardless, a bronzed, chiseled, savior would appear in the distance!
“This is an image of Laird Hamilton coming to save me,” she captioned a blurry Instagram shot. In it, Lena struggles. Laird, just in the distance, approaches, looking the Hunter and Lena the Hunted.
“He is literally King Triton and as I struggled to complete BCRF’s Paddle for Pink…he appeared as if from the ocean’s depths and guided me to the finish line…. I kept screaming ‘will I make it?!’ like we were in a disaster movie. He said ‘yes, Lena, we will.’ Ladies, there are still a few heroes we can count on…”
I was at the Pipe Dreams premier last night in Huntington Beach and wow. Robbie Maddison rode a bike into medium-sized Teahupo’o. The crowd, tres moto with much Rockstar and DC and Kawasaki, seemed to very much appreciate the stunt. Hoots all around!
As a surfer, though, it was a bit off-putting. I love an absurdist fantasy come to life as much as the next man, but watching a motorcycle drop in. Watching it rip across the reef and over Tahiti’s pristine blue. Watching brrrappp-brrrrappp-brrrappp on the water turned my stomach slightly.
Now, I ain’t no great conservationist but last night made me wonder if I should be. If we should all be. Kelly Slater is. Jeff Johnson is. Cyrus Sutton is. Lots of surfers are and good for them because we depend on the natural environment as much, or more, than most other groups. But surfers travel more than most other groups too and travel is massively polluting, no? A shaping boards, even in the greenest manner possible, is pretty much poison, no?
Yes, the evil we do, as surfers, is far greater than Maddo’s evil at Teahupo’o because no one will ever do what he did again. It was a stunt. A laugh. Not a sustainably fun new hobby. We are the gross polluters. We are the yucky few.
And that got me thinking about Cecil the Lion. Zimbabwe outlawed big game hunting through most of their parks due the furor of a beloved cat being slain by a Minnesota dentist. But sometimes the yucky few are the ones you need. Hunters, with proper permits, practicing properly, etc. self-police. They take out poachers, clean up others’ messes, know more about the region, and what the region needs to be healthy, than the knee-jerk bleeding hearts at home.
Which takes me back to the ocean. I don’t litter, dump motor oil down storm drains or apply sunscreen when surfing over reef (my skin is so brown!) but I also don’t march, sign petitions or go to beach clean-ups. And I don’t give to Surfrider Foundation. I did once but then they annoyed me with incessant email featuring a worn-out, hysterical tone. Every little thing was of MAXIMUM importance to the FUTURE of the OCEAN.
It all just seems so….tiring. Stylistically tiring, emotionally tiring, physically tiring. Tiring. And annoying.
Does environmentalism have to be annoying? Hysterical? Tiring? How can I be an environmentalist and not be annoying, hysterical or tired? Is there a middle way between being oblivious and always being wagged by the tail?
Donates 60 Minutes appearance fee to the Ballina bodyboarder hit by a white last month…
Well, how about this. The three-timer who has been chased hither and yon like a goat in a game of Afghan polo for his story about being publicly wrapped up by a great white at J-Bay, has dropped his $75,000 60 Minutes appearance fee into the account of bodyboarder Matt Lee, who’s still in hospital one month after being hit by a White.
Matt, 32, was surfing dreamy little wedges at Lighthouse Beach, the next beach along from where Japanese surfer Tadashi Nakahara was killed by a white in February, when the four-metre (15-foot) white hit. His two pals got him to shore where a helicopter arrived to take him to hospital on the Gold Coast, where he remains.
To make it a round $100k, Channel Nine boss Dave Gyngell, also a surfer as it happens, has added $25,000.