A sweaty man goes to Nicaragua!

It's a Disneyland built to please!

God, how I love Central America! That permeating sweet shit stink, jungle rot and poorly built cesspits. The smell of life become death become life. The smiling impoverished, pura vida to the South, a beginner’s Disneyland built to please, serving up the idyllic surf experience sold hard for profit and paid for by local quality of life.

Nicaragua’s a bit harder, the smiles a tad tighter.

My country has a sordid history within its borders. The Banana Wars of the early twentieth century. In the nineteenth Walker’s private army burnt Granada to the ground, left a lance in the rubble inscribed “Aquí fue Granada.

Reagan and the Contras, so much bloodshed for foreign interests. The smiles, tight as they may be, make it easy to forget a man my age grew up in the throes of civil war, a child witnessing terror and murder facilitated by rich white men thousands of miles away.  Ortega’s face is everywhere, ex-Sandanista savior with his gorgeous propaganda.

“Cristiana, Socialista, Solidaria!  Viva la Revoluciòn!”

But I’m a tourist, don’t pay it no never-mind. Take pictures, leave money, go home. Tip well, it’s no burden, just another rich white motherfucker treating their home as his playground. Three hours off the plane and I’m hoovering poison, spastic dancing to import Pop, sweat drenched and soaking the unfortunate young thing I’ve set my eye on.

Her friends are laughing at me, but I pretend I don’t notice. Maybe she’ll make a bad decision, head home with a hard learned lesson about older men.

“It’s the coke, this has never happened before!” Yeah right.

You feel your age after a night like that. All the young ones, so tight and trim, bright eyed and bushy tailed. When did everyone grow a beard? What’s with the long hair? Sixpack model bodies and lumberjack heads.  Tell myself there’s no chin under all that fur, makes me feel better when all the ladies coo-coo. I can grow a beard too, you know. But it swings me to homeless drifter, too much paunch for lumbersexual.

Thank my non-existent lord and savior for unregulated farmacias. Standing in the equatorial heat, dredging my broken brain for generic names. Alprazolam and Diazepam.What’s that there?  Says oxy-something. Those too, por favor.

Assorted pills from Canadian bottles, an ice cold Toña, a bump of garbage off a hotel room key. Sets the head right, or somewhere close. I fucking hate blow, usually years between uses. But I’m weak. No will, no resistance to peer pressure in the form of “Want some?”

Totally aware of the consequences, could end up against a wall, a cautionary tale for those with my own poor judgment. A total fucking idiot who has, time and again, managed to dodge the price of his own bad decisions. Forrest Gump with a chip on his shoulder and a doting wife that finances his adventures.

We scored our first day, even by my own jaded standards. A twenty-seven-foot tidal swing, early morning offshore stand-up closeout barrels, laughably gentle compared to my Pacific Island home. Rest and water and fun longboard suited cruisers before the tide kicked it back into gear in the hours before sunset.

Played hero midday, an ego stroke of which I never tire. A long-limbed blonde Scandinavian lass with no business in the water caught a board to the dome. Close enough to see the panic set in, ditched my board, tossed her back on hers.

Crawled on top, bear-hugged her to the deck, took a few on the head as we were pushed to shore. Chest pressed firmly against her g-stringed ass, a definite high point, inappropriate thoughts in a life or death situation.

I’m overselling it, she was fine. A dozen-plus stitches from a traveling Finn doctor on a makeshift beachside sterile area. Pretty gory, plenty of blood, but nothing worth going into shock over. You’ve gotta pay to play.

When she doffed her suited and invited me for a swim I thought I had a chance. Pert young tits, a quick glimpse of her pink asshole as she dove beneath the surface. Totally lacking self-consciousness, she broke my heart when ashore I realized she was only comfortable because of my age. No threat here, just a comfortable uncle type.

Would have enjoyed a little more appreciation. Got a cursory thanks, then saw her gush over the doc’s ministrations. I wasn’t expecting a hummer or anything. But if I’m being honest I’d’ve enjoyed a handy.

Then Katie, oh Katie! Slightly pudgy, a 23-year-old sorority sister, so ripe in her fecundity. Living in Nica for a spell, tending bar, joined us on a booze cruise and sucked down “blackout punch” as if there weren’t a hundred gallons waiting below decks.

I don’t drink on boats, a hard and fast rule born of my own terror at being afloat. Always ready for a long swim, to fight off drunken drowning victims unable to self-rescue. When she doffed her suited and invited me for a swim I thought I had a chance. Pert young tits, a quick glimpse of her pink asshole as she dove beneath the surface. Totally lacking self-consciousness, she broke my heart when ashore I realized she was only comfortable because of my age. No threat here, just a comfortable uncle type.

She disappeared the moment we arrived back in San Juan del Sur. Never saw her again, only a memory and a single photo to mark my love. No wonder my wife found me rock hard and ready the moment I deplaned.

That Rousey fight was something, huh?

We found a bar with a pirated stream, drank with our new best friends, watched my heroine get crushed.  Offered a Valium early in the night I turned it down, seriously flagging at that point, only bottles of water and shots of sugar thick rum keeping me upright and raging. By the time I’d changed my mind, the option was gone. My own stash kilometers away, those present dissolved into a slurry of hard alcohol and cold beer in the belly of a travel companion.

I witnessed the terrible moment his brain turned off but his body stayed ambulatory. We’ve all been there, it’s never good.

“Let’s go explore!”

Let’s not. Wasted tourists with targets on their backs don’t fare well in foreign locales. Muddled but good-natured, his state never turned belligerent. Easy to steer back inside with offers of nachos and another beer. When his brain hit the reset button every thirty minutes it was an easy rinse and repeat. Keep him safe, keep him sound, don’t take your eyes off him for even a second.

A late night disappearing act led to the fate we all feared. A knife to his throat, gun in his face. A decision to go whoring cost him his wallet, ID, credit cards. Passport was safe and sound back at our hotel, phone long gone, lost early in the night.

A touch of karma, a lesson learned. For all my supposed amorality I am not on board with buying sex.  Especially in an impoverished nation with an almost invisible shot at upward mobility.

It worked out as well as it could. No beatings, no injuries, just a fun story to tell once he’s gone through the hassle of replacing things easily replaced. We’re all adults, more than enough money to keep him afloat the rest of the trip.

An interesting realization, that comfort that comes with age.

While the young, dumb, and beautiful danced and fucked, slept four to a room and struggled to scrape together enough Córdoba for a tipica breakfast, we lived large. Throwing money around with a shocking profligacy. A six-hour session followed by the nicest restaurant in town. Appetizers, lobsters, top-shelf booze and a US$120 bill.

“No, it’s okay, I’ve got it.”

Add a tip that leaves the waiter awe struck, a bare nothing by standards back home. The perks of being old. It ain’t all weight gain and aching joints and self-loathing.

That last time I was in Nicaragua I witnessed the height of the Central American gold rush. Scum bag entrepreneur types, buying up local land for a song. Rushing to develop, strike it rich. Move that money out of the country, keep the locals scrubbing cum out of sheets and slaving for tips.

To learn the bottom fell out made my heart soar. The wealthy travelers barely materialized, their places filled by Canadians and Australians and gym rat Euro-trash with minimal budgets and no appetite for luxury. Talked to an ex-pat about it, a surf shop owner who’d make the trek in 2007 with dreams of hitting it big.

There’s no nobility in earning a buck, to do it on the back of an uneven playing field borders on evil. Lip service to job creation is a disingenuous lie, the only real result is a permanent underclass, backs forever bent in servitude to the privileged.

“I moved here to get rich,” he said. “Now I’m stuck. You can’t get anything done, the corruption just ruins you.”

They’re building airport on the Emerald Coast, a last gasp grasp at importing the moneyed set, the type who can’t stomach a three-hour terror taxi from Managua. Already he’s making plans to buy more.  Maybe flip, maybe develop. Whichever, he can smell that filthy lucre, it’s almost there.

Nice guy, good company. Killer little shop with an awesome staff and surprisingly good selection of boards. Very fair prices, really bent over backward to make sure we had a good time.

But I’d be lying if I said I don’t hope his dreams crash and burn.

There’s no nobility in earning a buck, to do it on the back of an uneven playing field borders on evil. Lip service to job creation is a disingenuous lie, the only real result is a permanent underclass, backs forever bent in servitude to the privileged.

But it’s a nation with a socialist god emperor, and a national hero in the form of Sandino.

“La soberanía de un pueblo no se discute, sino que se defiende con las armas en la mano.” (“The sovereignty of a people cannot be argued about, it is defended with a gun in the hand.”)

So there’s hope, I hope.

In the blink of an eye we were done.

Hugs at the airport as we split our group. Some off to San Diego, to Florida, a twenty-four-hour series of hell flights and border crossings as I made my way home to my island kingdom in the middle of the Pacific.

My pain at leaving eased by the knowledge I returned to a joke of a life, and by the fact that you can easily carry felony levels of pharmaceuticals through  customs so long as you’ve got a smile on your face, a spring in your step, and plausible deniability in the form of a poor grasp of the law.

The "nope" heard around the world. Or at least by Joel's 46.5k Instagram fans.

Blood Feud: Joel Tudor vs. Kelly Slater!

Part deux! This time, ready your surf history books and....fire!

A few months ago, the longboarder-turned-jiujitsu-black-belt Joel Tudor became enraged by a picture of Kelly Slater wearing a blue belt in an Instagram photo. “Crock of shit – the guy has been wearing a blue belt for years in pics and always made excuses when I would call him on it!” he wrote in the comments pane. “If he wants his belt , tell him to go sign up and put in the work like everybody else who starts at white and goes through hell to graduate to blue – anybody on here talking shit to me more than likely doesn’t train and has zero clue about Jiu Jitsu.Read all about it here!

Things went quiet, as far as I can tell, but yesterday Joel lobbed another missile toward the Slater camp, this time challenging Kelly’s appreciation of surf history.

On his Instagram account, @joeljitsu, he posted a picture of the lovely Phil Edwards and wrote alongside, “World’s first surf star/Phil Edwards – sadly, if I were to go to haleiwa today and show this pic to the top 44 ….. None of them would have a clue who he is!”

@jasonronis quickly chimed in, @kellyslater would

@joeljitsu responded with a dagger. @jasonronis nope

Ouch! Is true? I can’t believe so. I can’t believe that Kelly Slater would not know Phil Edwards if he saw his picture. Kelly prides himself, partially, on his astute memory. I have heard him recount waves, turn by turn, that he rode decades ago. The exact score he got etc. And it is feasible that his photographic recollection applies solely to hisself but….no Kelly would know for sure. Yeah?

Let’s ask Matt Warshaw as soon as he wakes up!

Update: Matt Warshaw was not sleeping! He was enjoying a wonderful, crisp fall morning walk with his son while sipping hot coffee. Is there anything better?

I ask him, would Kelly know a pic of Edwards, if it was pressed under his nose? And also, who amongst the current crop have the firmest grasp on surf history. He answers:

“Of course surf history knowledge is woeful among young surfers. They are top-level athletes. They are surf gods. They wake up in the morning, have a cup of coffee, get out there and put their tanned shoulder to the wheel of surfing progression. That’s it. That’s enough.

Some will eventually want to know about surfing’s past, and good for them. And good luck to them, because the writers and filmmakers and the rest of us have access to that knowledge have mostly made our sport’s past as flat and boring possible.

As to who among the pros has the any surf history knowledge, I have no idea. Slater, actually, just because he’s been around longer, and has had more contact with more of the older legend-y surfers among us.”

What would we be without Matt Warshaw? Genuinely flat and boring is what.

Israel got waves? It do and it ain't just at a pinch. It's also the most insanely rad, bravest and loveliest country in the world. An experiment without precedent built on the rocks of the desert and on the sands of the moody Mediterranean. Let it bloom! Come swim!

Just in: WSL contest for Israel!

The world's bravest little country gets its own QS event…

A little over thirty years ago, the ASP swung into Tel Aviv for the Israel Pro. It was a speciality event and, in surprisingly good waves (this is the moody Mediterranean, after all) Derek Ho beat Rabbit Bartholomew.

Anyway, the WSL just announced the “Pro Netanya, a QS1,500 men’s event in Netanya – Israel, as the first event of the 2016 Qualifying Series sanctioned by WSL Europe.”

It’s the first time the world tour has been in this lovely part of the world for three decades. And what timing! Hint: read news.

The contest will launch the 2016 European Qualifying Series, there’s gonna be 1,500 ranking points available, and 25-gees prize money.

Oowee, it’s going to be fun. Have you ever been to Israel? I do advise a holiday there, or if you can throw a few turns together, maybe the contest.

I would go for the food, the chubby army gals, the mostly flat but occasionally real good waves, hospitality that just don’t stop, dazzling architecture and, if you’re a worldly sort of cat who like to create his own opinions, to see, with those two holes in your head, that the Jews ain’t the devils you might’ve been led to believe.

I would go for the food, the chubby army gals, the mostly flat but occasionally real good waves, hospitality that just don’t stop, dazzling architecture and, if you’re a worldly sort of cat who likes to create his own opinions, to see, with those two holes in your head, that the Jews ain’t the devils you might’ve been led to believe.

Read my summation of the joint here.


The contest runs Jan 16 to 27, 2016.

WSL promises wanton violence!

"Dreams made and destroyed daily" in "QS cage matches" the WSL says.

I was scrolling through espn.com minutes ago seeing what was happening in the world of sport when a strange advertisement caught my eye. It featured a picture of Kolohe Andino, hung dog, and read, “DREAMS MADE & DESTROYED DAILY” and then “QS CAGE MATCHES” and then “IT’S ON!”

And what the hell?

I get that it is an ad tailored to me because I watch surfing etc. etc. etc. and Google know where I go and what I do but advertising like surfing is mixed martial arts is a very strange thing to do. It is not, for one, and for two it is not even close.

And for three of course I don’t really want to see any dreams destroyed, especially not Kolohe’s. How do you think he feels that his picture is used, hung dog, to showcase, clearly, destroyed dreams? How do the surfers with actual destroyed dreams feel that the WSL is mocking their pain?

And for four, who is in charge over there?

Do they think, if the ad is being shown to non surfers too, that Ronda Rousey’s depressed fan base will click on surfing and be confused long enough to stick around awhile and then become fans? 

I don’t get any of it. Could you help me? Please.

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North Point is very very good for anyone capable in the discipline of high jumps. Noa Deane, here, won't be there, but…John John, Filipe, Gabriel, Italo…  | Photo: Bosko/@boskophoto

Just in: North Point added to WSL Tour!

But only change to 2016 schedule… 

It’s a small tweak, but significant enough. The Margaret River event, number three on the schedule, now has the ability to move, not just to the Box, as we saw last year, but to North Point.

In case it doesn’t ring bells, here’s what North Point looks like from the world’s tiniest helicopter.

North Point Drone from Taj Burrow on Vimeo.

Makes Main Break, Margarets, look like the superseded wave it is, don’t it?

Apart from that, the rest of the tour stays the same, including Jeffreys Bay, which is really seizing the day, I think.

Will there be a terrible anxiety among the surfers? Maybe psychologists and chaplains to deal with any not-so-unexpected consequences?

Will the WSL employ Reunion Island’s vigie requin to patrol the Great White-infested lineup, as I suggested to the WSL’s media guy Dave Prodan?

From the WSL Commissioner Kieren Perrow: “Athlete safety is a top priority for the League. We have been in constant discussions with our athletes, event organizers and administrators regarding the future of this event. The WSL has made significant investments in the areas of surveillance and response for all current and future Tour spots, and we are currently working with a number of firms specializing in mitigation technology that focus on both athlete safety and the safety of the marine environment.

“The strides we’re making in the areas of surveillance and response are significant, but there presently exists no technology that has been proven to be 100% effective. Our athletes are aware of this, as they have always been.”

In other words, we’ll have a swing at keeping the sharks out but, really, we ain’t superhuman.

And life’s about taking chances…

2016 World Surf League (WSL) Samsung Galaxy Men’s Championship Tour
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast – March 10-21, 2016
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach – March 24-April 5, 2016
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro – April 8-19, 2016
Rio Pro – May 10-21, 2016
Fiji Pro – June 5-17, 2016
J-Bay Open – July 6-17, 2016
Billabong Pro Teahupo’o – August 19-30, 2016
Hurley Pro at Trestles – September 7-18, 2016
Quiksilver Pro France – October 4-15, 2016
Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal – October 18-29, 2016
Billabong Pipe Masters – December 8-20, 2016