Kealii Mamala
There's stand-up paddle and there's…y'know… the kinda SUP pilots that cliff-dive Teahupoo. Kealii Mamala is a remarkable devotee of this maligned sport.

Disaster: SUP Tour on Brink!

Contests without prizemoney! Money owed! Do you weep?

In a departure from my normal light and breezy daily schedule I’ve actually got some shit to do today. And that means low effort post, just get something up. Because this is the internet and if we don’t have tons of posts every single day y’all will move on to the next thing and all this effort will have been for nothing.

Which I doubt, because if surf contests are boring, stand-up contests are like fifty years in solitary confinement with only an audiobook of Ethan Frome for company.

Lucky for me, Christopher Parker (no relation) over at posted a very interesting article regarding the current status of the Waterman League, that cringeworthy named attempt at cashing in on the stand-up craze.

Turns out they don’t have any money, aren’t paying competitors, and are continuing to run contests while hoping against hope they can pull a funding rabbit out of their hat and remain solvent.

Which I doubt, because if surf contests are boring, stand-up contests are like fifty years in solitary confinement with only an audiobook of Ethan Frome for company.

Highlights from the article include:

  • Athletes are still owed a combined $70,000 from last year. 
  • There was no prize money for the Sunset Beach Pro in Hawaii last week. 
  • Looking further back: In September 2015, the Waterman League began trying to raise capital through a group of Canadian investors. This is why they initially promised all prize money would be repaid by the end of October 2015, and that all 2016 events would have a $50,000 purse. But they jumped the gun: The Canadian deal fell over before the end of the year.
  • Robert, and by extension Park Lane, appear to be the Waterman League’s only real chance of survival at this stage. The company is broke and on the brink, but if Park Lane can raise up to $5,000,000 as promised, it’ll be happy days for everyone. They’ll finally be able to go big and realise the grand vision they’ve been promising for the past five years.

I recommend giving the entire thing a read. It’s an interesting bit of backroom fuckery, competitors as chumps, all couched in a curiously optimistic tone.

Is Team America your favourite film about the hermit kingdom too?

Just in: Rip Curl Uses “Slave Labour!”

From North Korea!

As revealed by Australia’s Fairfax newspaper group today, “iconic Australian surfwear giant Rip Curl has sold millions of dollars worth of clothes made in North Korea, where factory workers endure slave-like conditions.”

Let’s examine.

“In a major embarrassment that raises serious questions about Rip Curl’s garment sourcing practices, a Fairfax Media investigation can reveal that workers at a the Taedonggang Clothing Factory near the North Korean capital Pyongyang were contracted to make some of Rip Curl’s 2015 winter range of clothing.

“The clothes were shipped to retail outlets and sold with a “made in China” logo on them in a practice unions and non-governmental organisations say is likely to involve other large Australian clothing brands.

“In a major embarrassment that raises serious questions about Rip Curl’s garment sourcing practices, a Fairfax Media investigation can reveal that workers at a the Taedonggang Clothing Factory near the North Korean capital Pyongyang were contracted to make some of Rip Curl’s 2015 winter range of clothing.”

“Rip Curl has blamed one of its subcontractors for the practice.

“Workers in North Korea are routinely exploited. North Korean defectors have told investigators from NGOs, including Human Rights Watch, that employees are forced to work long hours with minimal or sometimes no pay. Workers who do not obey orders are imprisoned in work camps.

“After Fairfax Media sent Rip Curl photos of its garments being made in North Korea, the company’s chief financial officer Tony Roberts released a statement that said the firm “takes its social compliance obligations seriously”.

“We were aware of this issue, which related to our Winter 2015 Mountain-wear range, but only became aware of it after the production was complete and had been shipped to our retail customers.

“This was a case of a supplier diverting part of their production order to an unauthorised subcontractor, with the production done from an unauthorised factory, in an unauthorised country, without our knowledge or consent, in clear breach of our supplier terms and policies.

“We do not approve or authorise any production of Rip Curl products out of North Korea.”

“It is unclear if, prior to the approach from Fairfax Media, Rip Curl has made any effort to inform customers some of the firm’s clothing was made in North Korea and falsely tagged with “made in China” labels.”

Read the whole story here!

And take a swing down memory lane when BeachGrit brought you news of North Korea’s dazzling surf potential! 

Who else would face death with a thumbs up? The coolest of motherfuckers.

Parker: What Brock’s Death Teaches Us

…that life is fucking pointless and cruel, but also filled with gorgeous moments… 

Brock Little’s death has me kind of bummed today, which is surprising since I didn’t know him. Saw him around Haleiwa once or twice, that’s it.

Sure, he was the charger my entire childhood, a guy I, everyone, looked up to. But I’m not usually wired for mourning. I think that when we die it’s straight into the void, may as well have never existed. Which is a prick thing to say in this context, because Brock as so well liked and admired and a lot of good people are really hurting after losing him.

Life is just so fucking pointless and cruel. For a guy like him to be undone by his own body, still super young, lickety-split, out of nowhere… I mean, the same thing could happen to any one of us at any time.

Life is just so fucking pointless and cruel. For a guy like him to be undone by his own body, still super young, lickety-split, out of nowhere… I mean, the same thing could happen to any one of us at any time.

I’ve dealt with my own mortality a few times over the past couple years, but not really on that level. Serious tones from a doctor, “You could die,” ain’t the same as “You’re going to.”

But laying in a hospital bed with tubes coming out of you and a virulent infection coursing through your bloodstream, it’s fucking terrible. Not really because death is bad, it’s coming for us all. But life is just so damn full of gorgeous moments, and I plan on having decades more.

I think that’s once you’ve really really really internalized the fact that you’ll eventually end the knowledge never truly goes away. You try to push it into the back of your mind, why deal with something unavoidable? Still there though, you’re gonna die.

I’ve mentioned before that my 89-year-old landlady lives on the property. She’s a great woman, awesome neighbor. I try to help her out where I can. At that age something as simple as moving a twenty pound bag is nigh impossible. For me it’s nothing.

She took a spill a month or two back. Pretty bad, tripped over her own feet, ended up with seventeen staples in her forehead. Otherwise she was fine, and remarked that she was just glad she didn’t break her hip. She’d seen it happen to friends, after that it’s just a slow decline then death.

Which makes it so much worse when she fell last week. Called the wife and I for help, we ran her to the ER, they sent her home the same day. Then she fell out of bed, called again.

A broken pelvis and seven broken ribs, and if I’m being honest with myself I know it’s pretty much the end for her. Healing injuries that bad take forever, you lose all your muscle, it’s a trial to get back. And at the tail end of your ninth decade there’s not much you can do. No real chance to weight train, when you’re frail at best even a minor injury is serious.

And, fuck, I’ve been hurt before, I know how terrible it is, but to know you won’t ever get back to form is so damn awful. It’s easy to say, yeah, she’s had a long full life. Big loving family, hospital room packed chock full of flowers and balloons. But she’s not a stupid lady, she knows what’s in store.

Not that you can choose your end, quick while you’re young and strong or slow when your old and feeble, but you can hope. I guess I’d hope for old and slow.

I don’t know what the take-away is here.

Just try to live in the moment. We’re all due our share of misery, try and make magic happen when you can.

You’ll either see it coming or you won’t, and one day it’ll be over.

It ain't entirely unrelated, but did you love Mall Cop too?

Choking: A New Mall for Carlsbad?

Chris Murnane Is Fighting To Save Carlsbad, California…

Malls choke the character out of a town and Southern California is starting to look blue in the face. For every victory in preservation of space and small business, the golden coast is smothered in generic chain restaurants, big box retailers, and homogenized watering holes.
Malls offer an experience that can be found anywhere there’s a major freeway. Sure, they’re convenient for the passer-bys, but they hardly benefit those who make up the pulse of the town. 
 The California Coastal Commission has remained politically independent in the fight to assure that our coastlines remain open to all Californians but giant developers like Caruso Affiliated have quite the pull in local politics.
The corporation is responsible for The Grove shopping mall, a colossus in Anaheim that sees more patrons a year than Disneyland. Caruso Affiliate now has its eyes and checkbook on the south shore of the Hedionda Lagoon, a estuary that feeds into the Carlsbad surf spot, Warm Water Jetties.
One of  the wave’s proudest exploits, Chris Murnane, is pissed off and vows not to let Carlsbad submit to the fast buck and compromise the character of his hometown.
Who is this young virtuoso? A brief introduction.
 Chris Murnane is 19 years old and has called Carlsbad home for the entirety of his existence. He works at Surf Ride, pleasantly placing tail pads on new surf boards and offering advice with a winning grin. He studies philosophy at Mira Costa college and seeks the truth in all situations.
In the water, he dazzles with a fluid and effortless style. On land, he’s a shaggy blonde who rocks a folded beenie like Che Guevara did a beret. A tuned in youth, Chris has asserted himself on the front lines, fighting Caruso and his proposed mall.
Through his struggle with local politics and the influence of corporate money on proposed development, we learn what is worth protecting, what is worth fighting for, and why surfers make the best environmental activists. 
Indulge in his teenage rebellion and get involved in the fight. 
BeachGrit: You think your town is at risk of losing something irreplaceable?
Chris: Totally. I don’t have a bone to pick with the city council or with Caruso. I love Carlsbad, I love my community and its being screwed over by people who don’t love it. It’s not that I hate the developer, its that we have to fight for the character that makes Carlsbad unique. Once you build a mall, there is no going back. 
BeachGrit: They already have the power plant on the north shore of this lagoon, a mall would just complete the look of ecological ruin. 
Chris: The power plant as it stands is going down in 2018. They are taking it out and putting in a new one that isn’t such an eye sore. But really what this is about is that the people in charge of our city have an outdated vision of the American dream circa 1955. They propose development at any costs and I think that opposes what makes Carlsbad special. Rampant development of our city is not what we need. 
BeachGrit: Its something you are seeing across America. Do you think the mall will kill The Carlsbad Village? 
Chris: The 91-12 report found that local businesses will be hurt for 18 months after the creation of the mall and that they may return to normal once the mall has lost its sheen. But how many places can withstand a year and a half of shitty sales? Not many dude. Proponents of the mall have been saying how many jobs it will add but they aren’t mentioning all the pre-existing jobs that will be lost and lives that it will ruin. 
BeachGrit: Refresh me on the geography. This is the lagoon that feeds directly out to the surf spot, Warm Water Jetties? 
Chris: The proposed build site is on the shore of the lagoon! 
BeachGrit: Is it terra firma or we talking marsh lands?
Chris: Well, right now its farmland but the land surrounding the lagoon is integral to it, and they are rolling the dice that a 585,000 square foot mall wouldn’t crush the ecosystem. As someone who looks in on the lagoon when I’m surfing, I feel like it’s our job to protect it. 
BeachGrit: I read that there’s an aqua farm in a section of the lagoon and its been quite successful in bringing back a species of bass. I’m bet being downstream from a mall isn’t going to help.
Chris: That’s what really pisses me off is because the developer says that the mega mall will clean up the lagoon. 
Beach Grit: As opposed to farm runoff? 
Chris: Well, as opposed to as it is now but what about the potential for a different kind of project? You can’t get back what we’ve lost, but we can protect what hasn’t been corrupted yet. We can decide. The people have got the power but we have to vocalize what we want for our towns because politicians are just looking to cash out. 
BeachGrit: How can someone help? 
Chris: Instead of sending the lagoon mall to a vote next November, costing 25 grand, or placing it on the ballot in June, costing 50 grand, our city council decided to create a special election in February costing $500 thousand dollars. They know that if we have a whole year to talk about the lagoon mall it would get vetoed down, so they made a special election so the least amount of people will vote. Despite the mall’s 35,000 daily visitors adding a ton of traffic to all of North County, San Diego, they have made the vote only for Carlsbad citizens. If you want to make a difference, get the word out that measure A is going to be detrimental to the environment and local business. Use your passions and get involved whats happening in your city so that our coastlines don’t get destroyed. If we remain ignorant of the intentions of these developers, the souls of our cities will be sold for profit. 
And watch Chris surf, here!

Who else would face death with a thumbs up? The coolest of motherfuckers.

Brock Little Just Died

The big-wave icon and Hollywood stuntman, dead at 48… 

A short time ago, the big-wave icon and Hollywood stuntman, Hawaiian Brock Little, died, among family, among friends.

The coolest of motherfuckers? Yeah, he was.

Brock, a big-wave surfer who was held in awe by Kelly Slater and co, announced his cancer via Instagram. “I have cancer. It sucks, but I’m taking chemo. You do what you can. Can’t believe the person in that picture is me. I look in the mirror and I feel like it’s not me.”

Brock Little cancer
The big-wave stud and Hollywood stuntman Brock Little, right, announces his cancer diagnosis.

When we spoke three weeks ago, he said, “I’m so stoked. I’ve had a great life and what I’ve lived through and what I’ve done in my life, crazy good times.”

When we said goodbye, he thanked me for my interest in his condition.

A few minutes ago, Kelly wrote:

[email protected]…larger than life to me. The world I know will never be the same. I love you, man. Thank you.

Examine Brock’s career here. 

And, listen to my phone call interview with Brock three weeks ago, below.