worst wipeout ever
"I'm only 35, still long for this world, but ridiculously injury prone," writes Rory Parker. "A lifetime of broken bones, sprains and strains and tears. Constant trips to the ER, two life-threatening infections in the last twelve months. It's terrifying to realize there will come a time I don't bounce back. I'm still young and strong, I heal fast. But I can feel it adding up. I know I'm not the only one. A doctor once remarked, as he looked over my medical history, 'Your entire generation will be using walkers by fifty.' A few years later he killed himself, rather than go to prison." | Photo: Brian Bielmann

“Your generation will be on walkers at 50!”

You surf? You young? Get used to the idea of walking frames… 

I don’t much fear death. That’s not meant in some bravado soaked, “who wants to live forever?” sense.

Though there’s a decent chance that the things I enjoy will turn off my hunk of flesh one day, I don’t revel in the fact, I take every reasonable precaution to avoid it. I just believe (I’d say know, really, but that smacks of too much hubris to admit) that when we die it’s nothingness all around.

No afterlife, no reckoning.  Lights out, you’re done.

May as well have never existed. Maybe in some hippy-dippy, we’re all made of star farts, way our existence holds some meaning outside ourselves, but if you’re not a conscious being that point is pretty much moot.

I’ve come as close to drowning as you can in a controlled setting, I can tell you the end feels euphoric, confusing, and empty.

But aging, she holds some terror.

My landlady had a slip and fall this past weekend. She’s 88, active, and when the ambulance pulled into our drive it scared the shit out of the wife and me. I’ve fallen into a kind of houseboy role for her, nothing crazy, just little things. Fetching shit off high shelves, carrying in groceries, hanging the occasional picture.

No big deal, happy to help. Super minor effort on my end, tons of appreciation on hers. She rents us a nice little two-bedroom at below fair market value, definitely don’t want to kill that golden goose.

She’s got a dark sense of humor, “I read the obituaries to see which of my friends died” and drives like a maniac. Takes a pretty fatalistic view of her ever encroaching demise.

When she got back from the hospital we hung out for a bit.

“I’m just glad I didn’t break my hip,” she said. “When that happens it’s always surgery, then just… death. That’s how it works at my age.”

Which rattled me. I’m only 35, still long for this world, but ridiculously injury prone. A lifetime of broken bones, sprains and strains and tears. Constant trips to the ER, two life threatening infections in the last twelve months.

It’s terrifying to realize there will come a time I don’t bounce back. I’m still young and strong, I heal fast. But I can feel it adding up.

I know I’m not the only one.

A doctor once remarked, as he looked over my medical history, “Your entire generation will be using walkers by fifty.” A few years later he killed himself, rather than go to prison. He wasn’t looking at much time, for a young man.

But he was very old, not likely to see freedom again. Suicide’s the coward’s way out, but I don’t hold it against him. We make our choices.

I, and likely you, have spent decades heaving my body at the ground. Beating my joints into dust, plenty of stretching and creaking and a long hot shower each morning to get moving smoothly again.

I fear how fifty-five will feel.

Twenty more years of this, can I hold up?

Blood Feud: JetBlue responds to JJF!

Every blood feud has two sides...

Yesterday, BeachGrit‘s own Derek Rielly broke the story of the moment (read here). John John Florence, our young prince, heir apparent to Kelly Slater’s throne, got mad at JetBlue Airline for breaking his board and posted about it on his Instagram account.

Not only did this bit of journalism further our goal of winning surfing’s first Pulitzer prize, it was also very funny. Professional surfers hither and yon jumped into the fray, decrying JetBlue’s heartless corporateism. “Maybe airlines will never care about surfers or our boards…” wrote CJ Hobgood. “#instagramisthenewyelp” added Peter King.

JetBlue’s own Instagram account was overrun with surfers telling them to “Go back to the valley…” and “What a bunch of Barns…” and “Beat it, kooks…”

With such salty, surfy talk I wondered if JetBlue actually understood they were being criticized? Also, I don’t like many airlines but I have never had any problems on JetBlue. Their DirectTV almost always works and the snack selection/Tito’s vodka is nice. And so I decided to call and get their story. Every blood feud, of course, has two sides.

Ironically, the song that greeted me, as soon I was put on hold, was Jack Johnson’s radiate. “We turn so slow I know it’s hard to wait. Take your time, sun is yours to take I’m gonna watch you raaaadiate….” he crooned. And in case you have been hiding under a rock, Jack Johnson also penned and performed the View from a Blue Moon original tune (read here).

I was very quickly, and surprisingly passed up the chain until reaching Morgan, a seemingly nice man. I asked, “Are you aware of the brouhaha surrounding a kind of famous surfer lashing out on Instagram?”

Note: I say kind of famous because, let us be quite honest, no surfer is actually famous. Not even Kelly.

Morgan responded with a friendly sigh, “Yeah we are aware of it…”

“Do you understand all the surfspeak getting thrown your way?” I wondered. “It’s all so slangy!”

Morgan chuckled a little. “I don’t surf myself but we have a lot of surfers who work here and they translate it for me.”

“Well…” I continued “…what is JetBlue’s position on the matter?”

Morgan, refreshingly, did not slip into corpo parlance and said simply, “As far as I understand, the baggage folk tried to work with him. He had four boards packed into one board bag and we have very specific rules of one board per bag…”

Aha! That cheap little bastard John John tried to game the system! Any surfer knows that flying one board per bag is a virtual impossibility except John John ain’t any surfer! He could hire four little men to walk behind him, anywhere he goes, each toting a crisp Pyzel in a crisp new bag. What if they were all five feet tall and from India? What if he dressed them each the same? I’m thinking maybe an Egyptian cotton Tom Ford tunic paired with linen harem pants and red Louis Vuitton driving moccasins. What if he had each of them wear a delicate red fez? Of course, the fez is Turkish, in origin, but if I have learned one thing it is who cares! Orientalism is a state of mind!

And here is the real problem. Surfers are notoriously cheap and professional surfers more so. A lifetime of free swim shorts and fins and boards makes them stingier than stingy. John John could have had a retinue of manservants for a relatively small fee and his life would be a pageant. Instead he tries to save a few pennies and ended up with a hurt board/feelings.

I told Morgan, “Don’t ever let surfers fly JetBlue. They are all cheap bastards.”

He, kindly, didn’t agree with me.

John John Florence
John John Florence sends his 400,000 followers into battle against budget airline JetBlue!

Blood Feud: John John Florence vs JetBlue!

Hawaiian superstar sends his 400k followers into battle against budget airline… 

Hell may have no fury like a woman scorned, but a pro surfer with a large social following might come close.

Today it was revealed by @john_john_florence that the budget airline @jetblue had had treated his board bag poorly.

The post currently has over 24,000 likes and 2500 comments from John John’s almost half a million followers. Very few were in favour of New York-based JetBlue.

The three comments, below, sum up, I think, an overwhelming sentiment.

ryanswiss@JetBlue you suck! I still remember when my board inexplicably turn up with a hammer strike through the deck when it came off the plane, and how you broke the nose off @pauldozier ‘s Webber when we flew you for our trip to Rincon, PR. Lame.

paulmrandolphWon’t be flying @JetBlue anymore. “Fly with us where you’ll get #jetscrewed ”

jeffbortonAre you serious @JetBlue ? Hope your $500 saving was worth the hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue! That’s super lame. Sorry bro.

CJ Hobgood and Peter King, maker of Hurley’s Tour Notes, meanwhile, added their flavour.

peterkinglajollaNow that is social justice! @john_john_florence gets treated like junk by @JetBlue after THEY destroy his surfboard…they said it was his fault…he paid $500 for luggage fees and THIS IS HOW HIS BOARD SHOWS UP!!! Well, one post about it by him on Insta and already 25,000 people have seen it and 2500 comments and growing…@jetblue getting written off on their own Insta feed too and probably gonna lose SO MUCH business because of this! Hahahaha… #InstagramIsTheNewYelp #JetBlueLosingThousand$$$ #JetBlueTombstoneModel

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 12.43.58 pm

cjhobgood#socialjustice or maybe airlines will never care about surfers and our boards…so be it. But for now let’s not go down without a fight, because I know how respectful and humble this kid @john_john_florence is and I can see someone @jetblue treating our boy like crap and I’m happy to put a little gas on that injustice fire that has been going on forever. @dakine_surf Johnny also needs new board bags.

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 12.47.08 pm

What do you think?

Do airlines treat you poorly too? Or is John John a cry-baby who shouldn’t fly such shitty airlines?

Beachfront land Oahu
Most of that green behind Sunset (the first point)? Yeah, you can grab it for $US15 mill.

Buy: Quik CEO’s $15 mill North Shore spread!

Bob McKnight selling 100 acres across the road from Sunset Beach… 

It ain’t summertime in the Quiksilver Int offices these days, at least not after the bankruptcy thing. Almost a billion dollars on the wrong side of the balance sheet will do that.

Who can forget the $320 mill buy of ski brand Rossignol in 2005?

“Joining forces with Rossignol allows us to create the number one outdoor sports lifestyle company in the world,” said Quik CEO Bob McKnight at the time, adding, “We look forward to capitalizing on the tremendous synergies that come from this partnership.”

If capitalising means selling it for less than half of what you paid a few years later, it was a roaring success.

Anyway, maybe it’s related, maybe not, but McKnight has just listed his (and according to this report Fast Eddie Rothman’s) 100-acre spread across the road from Sunset Beach.

According to bizjournals.com,

“Bob’s Paumalu LLC, which is headed by McKnight and Eddie Rothman, founder of Da Hui, has owned the property since 2005, V. Elise Lee, an agent with Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers, told PBN.

“The ‘Sunset Paumalu’ property may be subdivided or developed with up to four homes that will be surrounded by organic agricultural farms or an equestrian ranch, according to the listing. The parcel comes with two building permits, two water meters, two electric meters and two eco-friendly wastewater systems installed.

“Located at 59-178 D1 Kamehameha Highway, the property has a total assessed value of about $3.6 million, according to tax records.

“Quiksilver, one of the largest outdoor sports lifestyle companies in the world, which includes such brands as Roxy and DC, recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

“The California-based company said last month that it was closing 27 stores.”

Watch a compelling video on the property here. 

Kolohe Andino 10
The perfect no-claim claim, as illustrated by the surfer Kolohe Andino after a tube-fin-ditch combo that netted a 10. "It's a humblebrag, a delicious display of false modesty meant to illuminate accomplishment without resorting to any untoward gesticulation," explains Rory Parker. | Photo: WSL

Fashionable: The No-Claim Claim!

The no-claim claim is a humblebrag, a delicious display of faux modesty… 

Let’s talk a bit about the no-claim claim. It’s a humblebrag, a delicious display of false modesty meant to illuminate accomplishment without resorting to any untoward gesticulation.

A downward gazing fist pump, soul arching kick out, meant to say, “I’m proud of myself, but I’m not gonna get all up in your face about it.”


It covers up failure well.

Maybe that barrel wasn’t so deep, that air so high, that turn so hard. All the no-claim’s saying is that you think you did good, not better than anyone else. Ostensibly, at least. We all know the truth. It’s like complimenting an old lady on her famous homemade pie crust.

“Oh no, this one didn’t have enough sugar, it was terrible.”

But the old biddy is smiling on the inside, ‘cuz she thinks the meringue you whipped up tastes like sour cardboard.

I don’t do humility so good, got an awful tendency toward self praise. I really don’t see much wrong with it, you’ve gotta have a lot of self confidence to get shit done.

Years ago I got a damn good barrel out at Turkeys, a guy on the beach even said so.

“Dude, sick tube you got out there.”

My reply?


On the drive home the wife pointed out that I kind of came across like a prick.

“You should just say, ‘Thank you,’” she said.

Hard to wrap my head around at first. I try hard, why shouldn’t I just bask in well deserved praise?  Because people will like me more, that’s why.

It’s a pretty manipulative move. Almost insulting, denigrating an impressive accomplishment only serves to shit on those who aren’t on that level.

But we lie to ourselves and others every day. In word or deed, it’s these forced delusions that get you through life.

It works great with freediving.

“Yeah, I only hit 120′ before I turned around. Pretty weak.”

I’m not an idiot, I know 12 stories is plenty deep. But the subtext, so beautiful.

“I’m so gnarly that 120’ ain’t shit.”

But make no mistake, it’s all the same when things are said and done. Whether you’re waving your arms above your head like some meth-ed out monkey, or just setting your jaw and giving a bit of swagger, you’re broadcasting to the world that you think you’re better. Just in a more palatable fashion.

And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it.

Of course, I wouldn’t. I’ve got a pretty high opinion of myself.

(Thanks to Karl Myers for the idea…)