Reviews: Guns, Bidets, Pot!

And the ultimate hangover board for those days the surf is firing but your body is shit…

I like writing for the internet. Sure, the money is shit, even when compared to the paltry wages paid by the old-timey pulp and print set, but there’s something be said about getting your words out within hours of putting a piece to bed.

Like, I finished a piece for The Surfer’s Journal nearly six months ago and it won’t see the light of day until next issue. That makes perfect sense, the realities of print necessitate a far more exacting approach to editorial and layout than the ‘net, where you can fix typos (or just ignore them) within minutes, but at this point I’ve totally forgotten what I’ve written, so it’s going to be just as new to me as it will be to you, should you decide to go pick up a copy.

Which you should. I’m sure it’s just brilliant, if a bit more conservative, than the typical tripe I pump out semi-daily for our beloved BeachGrit.

But one thing I sorely miss is product reviews.

Smaller companies without the budget to pay for ads would send along a box of gear and get a little positive (or not) press about said product. The bigger swinging dicks would plead poverty, throw money away on a two-page spread in Vice, and expect exposure in exchange for a pair of size 28 skinny jeans and an extra-small sample tee that no one in their office wanted.

But the upshot was that I didn’t pay for clothes or skateboards for nearly a decade, and the sense of entitlement that engendered led to a fashion sense mirroring that of a down on his luck hobo. I’m cool, dammit! Why should I pay to rock your label?

Chas and Derek may like to get all gussied up, but I’ll keep shopping at Ross and Costco and wearing my shirts until they fall off my filthy body. At least until people start trying to bribe their way into my good graces.

Since that hasn’t happened yet, and because I’m kind of out of ideas today, here’s a little list of things I like. Each one was paid for with my wife’s hard earned money, and has made my life better.

Gamo Big Cat .22 Air Rifle


There’s a reason my neighborhood is the only one on Kauai without a scourge of roosters screaming their brains out twenty four hours a day, and that reason is my beautiful .22 caliber break barrel Big Cat.

 The hollow point pellets I load have a tendency to fuck with accuracy, but at those speeds any hit to the body is a one shot kill.

Easy to obtain thanks to Hawaii’s insistence on regulating air rifles in the same way as toy guns, but with a muzzle velocity that breaks the sound barrier and cracks like a real rifle, this puppy has been responsible for a feral fowl genocide. The hollow point pellets I load have a tendency to fuck with accuracy, but at those speeds any hit to the body is a one shot kill.

Just make sure you talk to the neighbors before you go running around shirtless pre-dawn. A hairy haole with a  firearm tends to freak people out when they don’t know what’s going on.

Brondell PureSpa hand held bidet


As I grow older I find myself becoming more and more hirsute. Post-bowel movement cleanups are a terror, my rat’s nest of an asshole resembling a coprophiliac spider’s web. Wipe and wipe and wipe until I’m raw and sore and feel like it’s the final day of Fleet Week.

Praise Allah for the Brondell PureSpa hand held bidet! It installs in minutes and makes clean up a breeze! The adjustable water pressure ranges from gentle angel kisses to full blast 1950’s race riot fire hose, meaning that whatever ill-advised meal you jammed down your gullet the night before will be rinsed clean, leaving you with a sparkling fresh pucker nugget so clean you could eat off it.

Sea Sniper 110 rear handle open track speargun

sea sniper speargun

When it comes to freediving and shooting fish I’m a bit of a gear whore. There’s just so much cool shit to buy, most of it surplus to actual requirements, but, hot damn, so sweet!

Even though my speargun quiver is only one purchase away from double digits, I always find myself going back to this beauty. Gorgeous hardwood construction, a stainless-steel reverse trigger mech that gives it the band stretch of a larger gun without the unwieldy length, and a price point that, while not exactly cheap, is a bargain for what you’re getting. And their custom blue water guns! True works of art.

Les Creuset Dutch Oven

les creuset dutch oven

Yeah, paying $300 for a cast iron dutch oven is kind of retarded, but the wife and I scored an entire set of Les Creuset cookware as a wedding gift, and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever received.  Slow cooking pork belly, stews, baking, there ain’t nothing this thing can’t do.

And, oh sweet jumping jeebus, the bread that comes out of this fucker!

Perfectly crispy crunchy crust without the hassle of spraying water into the oven the entire time it bakes. A heavenly soft interior, the type of shit you send to work with your lawyer wife so you can bask in the praise of her envious coworkers cursed with spouses who don’t know their ass from elbow in the kitchen.

The only real downside is that they’re heavy as fuck, and long distance moves while hauling a hundred plus pounds of pots and pans is a chore. But if you really like to cook, make the investment.

Or just find a cheaper knockoff.

I’ve got no evidence to support my opinion, but I suspect all enameled cast iron cookware is pretty much the same.

Kahanamoku Sons Surfboards by Dan Ernest

promatic When I first moved to Hawaii I brought along a two board quiver. A 6’0″ Fireball Fish knockoff, and my 6’4″ round pin “step-up.” Between the two of them I’d been able to handle pretty much anything SoCal had ever thrown my way, and I saw no reason Hawaii would be any different.

I learned how wrong I was within weeks of arrival and realized I’d need to completely redial my boards.

Over the next few years Dan shaped me about a dozen boards, from small wave ripper boards, to barrel hunter semi-guns, to pin tail terror sleds, each one perfectly suited to a bigger guy who actually knows how to surf fairly well.

Figuring out boards as I got older has always been a bit of a chore.

I graduated high school at 5’8”, had a growth spurt ridiculously late in life, and struggled to wrap my head around the fact that those tiny boards I was used to riding didn’t work so good no more.  Especially in thundering North swells.  But Dan’s a big guy, absolutely rips, understands that a big version of a board designed for some 5’2” muscle bound freak doesn’t work at all for anyone, and managed to drill that fact into my hubris filled head.

Which brings me to a terrible confession.

And, yes, I’m aware my surfing doesn’t look nearly as good as it feels, and that everyone in the world absolutely hates hi-perf loggers, but big fucking deal.

In the last few months, as I’ve rebuilt my shoulders and transitioned from hideously obese to disgustingly pudgy, I’ve been riding, almost exclusively, a high performance longboard Mr Ernest built for me a few years back.  9′ x 21” x 2 9/16”, with as much rocker as he could jam into the blank.  It’s a fucking rocket, excels in the barrel, and can be put on a rail as long as you’re carrying an excess of meat.

And, yes, I’m aware my surfing doesn’t look nearly as good as it feels, and that everyone in the world absolutely hates hi-perf loggers, but big fucking deal.

If I really cared what other people think of me I’d act a hell of a lot differently.

Honestly, I think every surfer should have one of these guys in their quiver. Fast, fun, forgiving, they’re the ultimate hangover board for those days the surf is firing but your body is shit.

Buy: Quik Boss’ $13 mill spread!

Do you like boats, sunsets and the lingering odour of a big-wave stud? Me too!

Bruce Raymond, do you know? He’s the brutal looking stud with the open jacket and open container of beer in hand from the famous Quikilsver ad, reproduced below.


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The Encyclopedia of Surfing is rich with his story. Let’s read, in part:

Australian pro surfer and surf businessman from Sydney’s Bondi Beach; world-ranked #16 in 1977, and the managing director for Quiksilver International surfwear from 1979 to 2008. “He has that dark-eyed sinister air about him that appeals to women and makes men wonder,” surf journalist Phil Jarratt said of Raymond in 1977. “He would have made a good con man, hustler or gigolo.”

Raymond was born (1954) in Wauchope, New South Wales, moved with his family to Sydney at age four, and began surfing at 10, the same year his father died. He lied about his age and became a fireman at 17, then resigned three years later to join the fledgling pro surfing tour. Raymond wasn’t an especially good competitor, but put in first-class performances each winter on the North Shore of Oahu, where he earned a reputation as a brave and sometimes reckless big-wave rider. “I didn’t think I had a death wish,” Raymond later said, “but everyone around me thought I did.”

Read more here. 

Anyway, Bruce was smart with the cash he made from Quiksilver, and in 2004, dropped six-million Australian dollars on a slice of beautiful waterfront land near Avalon in Sydney.

Just over a decade later the place is selling, at tender, with a price of around 13 million.

Let’s read the selling agent’s take:

Iconic Waterfront Position. Wow!

Arguably the most desirable position on the entire Northern Beaches, this award winning Gartner design and Dampney built residence occupies the strategic Northernmost tip of prestigious Taylors Point, Avalon.

Positions simply don’t get better than this!

* Wrap around 270 degree water panorama, north to Lion Island

w800-h534-2012379368_3_pi_151029_060124 w1600-h1200-w4500-h3000-2012379368_21_pi_151103_055344 w800-h532-2012379368_14_pi_151029_060120 w1920-h1080-w4000-h2662-2012379368_1_pi_151029_060117
* Very gently sloping, easy to live on site, over 1330 sq metres 
* Enviable privacy, warm winters, cool summers.
* Sophisticated design offering seamless indoor / outdoor living and entertaining in a spectacular North facing setting
* Chefs kitchen opens to waterfront terrace and lush level lawns
* Massive master suite with dressing room and stunning ensuite
* Private boathouse and lawned waterfront terrace with cosy firepit.

* Jetty, pontoon, boat ramp and sandy beach at low tide
* Underfloor heating in living area and en-suites
* 6 KW solar panel system
* Large indoor/outdoor koi ponds

Magnificent. Iconic. And now for sale.


Does that sound like you? 


Buy here! 


Only got a mill or so to spend?


Sally Fitzgibbons is selling her house, too! Investigate here.

Clairvoyant: Surfing’s next megastars!

Come see Leonardo Fioravanti, Kanoa Igarashi and Jack Robinson, when they were so young!

The best surf photographer in the world (maybe), Nate Lawrence, and I spent 2010s summer in Australia living the dream but also searching for surfing’s future. Kelly Slater was still doing it, Mick, Joel, etc. not yet over the hill. The Brazilian Storm not even a twinkle in Huey’s eye. It was exciting. The future seemed free for the grabbing except there were three twelve year olds who already seemed swathed in destiny.

They were all riding for Quiksilver, at the time, and each phenomenal. Leonardo Fioravanti hailed from Italy but spent most his surfing days in France. Kanoa Igarashi was, ethnically, Japanese but lived in Huntington Beach. And Jack Robinson who was as Western Australian as the very Kangaroo.

Today, they are on the very cusp of real fame. Leo surfs with a ferocity that belies his Continental upbringing. Kanoa is going to qualify for The Dance. And Jack Robinson? Could he usurp John John’s throne before the Hawaiian has even gotten comfortable?

Watch the video, shot by Nate, marvel at their youthful exuberance. Wonder at how high each can fly. If you had to bet on one to be surfing’s next megastar which would you choose?

Wade Carmichael Wins Hawaiian Pro!

Wade who? Who cares! He rides for Piping Hot!

Do you remember the classic Australian surf brand Piping Hot? How could you not! So color! Such 80s!

Well, they are back and piping hotter than ever thanks to Wade Carmichael, the Australian who comes from the same town, I think, as Ace Buchan. He is your 2015 Haleiwa Pro winner and might maybe qualify for the World Surf League main event next year if he does well at Sunset. Let’s read the press release!

Australian Dark Horse Wade Carmichael powered from Round 1 to claim a win at the Hawaiian Pro, and in so doing catapulted from 59th to 13th on the World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) ratings. This is clearly the biggest result of his career. Carmichael is now in a strong position to qualify for the 2016 WSL Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour and will be looking for a strong finish at next week’s Vans World Cup– the second leg of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. By virtue of today’s win, he is the early leader for the Vans Triple Crown title.

Employing brute force and classic power maneuvers, Carmichael, 23, was hard to match in the glassy, head-high waves on offer. The flamboyant aerials of Filipe Toledo (BRA) fell short of reigning in Wade on his determined path to the podium, leaving the Brazilian in runner-up place. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) was third, and the defending Hawaiian Pro champion Dusty Payne (HAW) was fourth.

Carmichael’s performance during this event closely mirrored Payne’s triumph last year – both athletes were ranked low on the QS series and used the win at Haleiwa to propel them toward the top, and in Payne’s instance, a spot on the Tour. It’s the kind of exciting turn of events that the Vans Triple Crown is most famous for.


By the way, what happened to Reef’s title sponsorship of the Hawaiian Pro? But, really, don’t you love Hawaii for this? It launches heretofore unknowns into the spotishlight. Hope reigns supreme! I think I like the Triple Crown more than the tour. I like it so much I once wrote a whole book about it and you can buy it here!

Do you? Does Nick Carroll? Let’s ask him after he wakes up!

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.