The Virtue of Selfishness!

Like Ayn Rand said, "The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me."

As a surfer, I am a selfish, selfish person. I will greedily scratch for any and all waves that peak in my vicinity. I will roll my eyes if you are in better position to take one. I will look at shore and think, “There are no waves for YOU” when I see you paddling out. I will give you the silent treatment when you get there. I will get mad at you if you get mad at me for dropping in on you. I will shake my head in silent disapproval if you drop in on me. I will only respond, “Good” if you ask me how I’m doing. I probably won’t listen if you answer back. I will audibly groan if I see a crowd in the lineup. I will avoid any plans that conflict with my plans to surf.

I know I am not the only one to feel this way. I know this from experience. This weekend, the breaks in Southern California came to life for the first time in what felt like months. I surfed at multiple spots. Each time, I was greeted by hoards of likeminded, surf thirsty, wave mongers. I was dropped in on. I was given the silent treatment. I was jockeyed for position. I was talked shit to. I was disregarded.

What is it about surfing that produces such angst and self-centeredness? A sport that is otherwise reveled for its Zen-inducing influence? Individualism. That’s what. Surfing is a sport that supports the one. There is no team, no roster, and no room for anyone else. Just one person. One board. One need. When waves are a desired but limited resource, it becomes survival of the fittest. Competition ensues. And the needs of the one are promoted over the needs of the many. We care less about our neighbor and care only about our fix. Addicts. Selfish addicts.

Today when I realized this, I felt dirty. I needed to resolve it. I sat in the lineup and let each wave pass me by. I watched everyone else smile. It occurred to me that we are all competing for the same thing. Not waves but happiness. The pleasure that only comes from riding water. The replication of that feeling; that indescribable feeling. So today, I gave everyone else my happiness and received nothing in return. I don’t know how long that will last.
As a solution-oriented person, I’ve been searching for a more permanent answer. One that will offer more reward. It finally became so clear to me: I wish everyone else would quit surfing, so I can be happy.

Big: Dane Reynolds turns 30!

Our favorite bird has become a man.

Has any single surfer meant more to our beloved pastime over the last decade plus one year than the enfant terrible from Long Beach/Ventura? Has any single surfer made us hold our breaths, more often, or gasp as louder? I will say non! And the boy turned 30 this weekend past. He is an adult!

Let us, then, take a quick look back at the first half of a fabulous career. Do you remember Young Guns 2? He was 19 then but not enough superlatives can be employed to describe his ferocious attack.

Do you remember when he joined the World Tour, winning rookie of the year? His surfing was spectacular, of course, but his manner was even better. He was hungry to learn, to grow and change. I interviewed him at his house, around this time, and we had many laughs and I wrote a bad story (on purpose!) which he subsequently marked up with pen (innovative!).

Do you remember when he got 4th place in 2010? 4th in the world! But everyone knew Dane was better than 4th. He was number 1. “The greatest free surfer in the world!” according to Andy, or Bruce, if I recall.

Do you remember when he quit? He did not think the tour suited him, calling it “retarded” and broke many hearts. As much as we loved Dane’s video bits we loved him competing too.

Do you remember when he launched A game changer! More clips and better clips than anyone out there. Beautiful and inspiring!

Do you remember when Quiksilver paid him 23 million dollars? Worth every penny!

Do you remember his section in Dear Suburbia? My favorite by far.

Do you remember when Quiksilver almost declared, and maybe still will, declare bankruptcy (yesterday)?

What will the next decade plus one year hold for our Dane?

Jerks: The Welsh surfers hating Surf Snowdonia!

Welsh surfers shouldn't complain, they should learn to shred!

There is a tiny little shit storm brewing in South Wales. Surf Snowdonia hasn’t invited the cream of Welsh surfing to show off their wave pool and the result is a  significant amount of moaning, huffing and even grommet abuse which came to a head this weekend on social media.

Red Bull seem to have added fuel to the fire by organising a pro contest at the venue and also overlooking the Welsh brothers. A Swansea grommet opined that maybe RB weren’t that concerned by giving us lot a shot at bogging around with the best free surfers in the world. After a lengthy dressing down and character assassination he was instructed to “give up” surfing by two of his now former idols. High spirits indeed.

Ever since the invitee list for the press day  in Snowdonia was released, there have been a fair few prominent Welsh surfers stating what a travesty it is that we were not represented at the facility. The Inertia, a racist but otherwise well-intentioned website, published an article suggesting it was a ‘PR disaster’ (click here), but people are forgetting that Surf Snowdonia is a business (see Oxford dictionary) and requires top talent to highlight what it is trying to sell.

The facility needs paying customers coming through the doors to pay the bills, they have consulted knowledgeable people in British surfing and have taken advice on whom to invite to surf their waves, for free, to showcase their machine.

The  top surfers in Britain got the nod, among them, Oli Adams, Alan Stokes and Ben Skinner, all of whom’s talent is without reproach. They dutifully turned up, tore the lefts and rights to pieces and declared the place to be a success. Job done.

But oh, what’s this?

There’s a group of my peers that seem really upset about this. They are incensed that both Surf Snowdonia and Red Bull have not included any of us on their respective invitee lists: “Shame there were no Welsh surfers invited”, “Why are we not represented?” “We can compete at this level” so on and so forth.

Here’s the thing.

Firstly Surf Snowdonia is a private enterprise and they can do what the fuck they want. They made a choice on whom to invite and went with it. The fault can only be ours if we are not glaringly brilliant enough to get an invite. Red Bull are organising a pro contest. There are currently no real professional surfers in Wales.  This, too can only be our fault, no-one elses.

Secondly, this facility is in North Wales, four hours away from the winging masses. Ordinarily we don’t give a shit about what goes on in North Wales, and from a surfing perspective there is a complete disconnect between the north and south of our green, wet country.

Very few of us make the drive up north to surf, we have plenty of waves down here. Why, suddenly, are we so concerned with getting a free ticket to surf a man-made wave in the middle of nowhere? If you want to surf it that bad, get in your car, drive up there, pay your entry fee and surf the bloody thing.

Lastly, the only PR disaster here is the fact that the moaners are inadvertently advertising our mediocrity. If there is no talent shining bright enough in Wales to get even an invite to a glorified bath tub then we really do have problems.

The only reason we’re not on any invite lists is because we have been deemed unworthy. Tough shit.  If you don’t like it, do what Carwyn Williams did: get in your van, drive to Europe, put yourself up against Europe’s best and become a better surfer.

Put in the effort and refine your trade. That way you may get invited to things like this and you can stop sucking on your sour grapes and have some self-respect.

great white shark

Australia: “Unusual Great White Activity!”

If you're a shark-spotter, these are halcyon days!

Australia’s government broadcaster, the ABC, published an online story last Friday warning of “an unusually high number” of great white sharks off the coast of Perth.

“Six great white sharks have been tagged off Perth in the past two weeks by the Department of Fisheries.”

The tagged great whites were two metres or larger.

“Department scientist Dr Brett Molony said unusual activity was being caused by the annual migration of schools of salmon.

‘The salmon typically migrate into metropolitan waters every year, but they are doing it in bigger numbers and staying around a lot more, a lot longer,’ he said. ‘I don’t think size is that important, it’s just knowing that they’re there, and when they’re there there may be other sharks as well.’

The Western Australian government has built a website called “SharkSmart” that enables users to click on a map and see where tagged sharks have been recorded. It’s a little clunky, like most government websites, but it does include a link to a Twitter account with warnings from this morning such as,

“3.5m white shark sighted 3km offshore  Port Beach, Perth Metro.  sighted 15:23hrs 07/09.”

Or, from a few hours earlier,

“4.5m white shark sighted 5km offshore  Michaelmas Island, Albany.  sighted 11:21hrs 07/09.”

Meanwhile, on Australia’s east coast, a community organisation has set up a Facebook page called Shark Reports that collects data from fisherman, surfers and the government to at least give ocean users a bit of a heads-up when it comes to the location of sharks, specifically whites.

From this morning, it reports that a 10-foot white was tagged and released off the popular left-hander South Wall at Ballina, NSW. Ballina? That name ring a bell? Probs don’t need to remind you of the fatal attack on the Japanese surfer by a white in February or the non-fatal attack by a white on a bodyboarder there in July.

Three hours earlier, it reported a minor attack six hours drive south on the NSW Central Coast.

Yesterday, it reported numerous sightings of a great white around Fingal Island and Fingal Bay.

At Lennox, a source reports that nine great whites “have moved in. All four-metres plus…”

The same source emailed a photo of small Lennox Head, with the message, “It’s flat, praise the lord.”

Now you can take all this three ways.

That the focus on sharks has made us paranoid and no further action is necessary. Stay surfing.

Two, there’s something going on out there, therefore, monitor these shark sites and don’t surf rivermouths or anywhere at dawn or dusk.

Or, three, if you’re the romantic type, a shark spotter maybe, marvel at the blistering health of Australia’s coastal waters  and pray for some meaningful interaction with these one-of-a-kind predators.

These are halcyon days!

And what do you do if you find a great white on the beach? Roll it back into the sea!



The Victoria's Secret model Yfke Sturm

Jet-Surfboard claims Vic Secrets Model!

Dutch model Yfke Sturm in coma after collision with jet-surfboard… 

Jet powered surfing, that Kai Lenny promo’ed high speed fun-fest that I’m dying to try but will never be able to afford, has claimed its first high-profile injury victim.


Supermodel, Yfke Sturm (cool name) is in a coma after suffering a fractured skull and several fractured vertabrae while being run down by a fellow high octane enthusiast after Sturm fell from her board and attempted to swim to safety.

(Click here)

A safety which does not exist, so long as you’re sharing the water with a bunch of yahoos flying around on kill sleds.

Which is what they are. Two things come to mind whenever I see a clip of one of these things in action. First, they really do look like a lot of fun, and second, people are gonna die.

By my estimate, jet-skis kill over a million people each year, a number which is completely invented but seems likely if you’ve ever spent time near a freshwater body during a holiday weekend.

Absolutely terrifying, drunk lunatics flying around on heavy machinery with no brakes and poor steering capability. Remove the ease of riding from a sitting position and steering with your hands and you’ve got a recipe for carnage.

No word yet on which company’s product mangled the Victoria’s Secret model, though an almost definitely assured lawsuit should soon shed light on the subject.