Dear Rory: I Want to Move to Hawaii!

You'll be broke, working your ass off, and your kid will be stupid. Total bummer.

Dear Rory,

I’m married and have a young son. We recently sold our first home, and are sitting on a decent stack of money. Our original intention was to reinvest our funds in another larger home in the same city. Currently we are about 2 weeks away from closing on the new place, but we’re starting to have second thoughts. 

Although none one of us have ever been, we’re considering a move to Hawaii. Should we throw caution into the wind and move to paradise, or play it safe and stay put?

Aspiring Malihini

Dear Rory says:

Sorry, haole, we’re all full up out here.

Ha! But, seriously, it’s complicated.

The first thing you’ve gotta ask yourself, “Why do I want to move?”

Is it because you have itchy feet, feel all wrapped up in ennui, desperate to be somewhere, anywhere, but where you are? If that’s the case, stay put. Too many people move to Hawaii looking for answers, or fulfillment, or some sort of inner peace. And those things ain’t here. You can’t run from existential problems. No matter where you go, there you’ll be.

Now get the paradise thing out of your head. Sure, I live in paradise, but I Forrest Gump’ed my way into this situation, and I don’t have any crotch fruit depending on me. Everyone knows how expensive Hawaii is, but you can’t really appreciate it unless you live here. Expect to pay $200 a month for electricity (much more if you want A/C), and don’t expect to own your home. Median prices are around $750K, so unless you feel like living in Puna (you don’t want to live in Puna), you’re gonna be paying out the ass for rent. A two bedroom rental on Oahu is gonna run you at least $2000 a month, and that’s if you’re living in a shitbox in a terrible neighborhood. The same place in Town will be over $3K. You can always find a cheaper spot in Waianae, but then you’re stuck. Only one way in and out, you’ll be sitting in traffic three to four hours a day commuting to work. Commute from North Shore is about the same, but rent is closer to Town prices.

All in all, Hawaii’s cost of living is about 30% above the national average, while wages are generally lower. According to the MIT Living Wage Calculator, a family of three with both parents working requires $63,356 combined income before taxes. From personal experience, that is low. Enough to live hand to mouth, one missed pay check away from total destitution. In reality, if you want some minor luxuries, like cable TV and the occasional meal out, with some money left at the end of the month, you need closer to $100K.

And, you know, there’s the whole school thing. I won’t say that Hawaii public schools are bad, I never attended one. If I had to guess, I’d say the teachers are probably pretty comparable to the mainland, when it comes to skills and motivation. But 2009 saw statewide “Furlough Fridays,” reducing the school week to four days because of budget shortfalls. Beyond the problems that causes with childcare, it says a lot about the state’s priorities in regards to education.

Plus the water isn’t fluoridated. Lots of little kids with fucked-up teeth. Good purity of essence, though.

If you decide you want your kid to go to private school, Punahou is supposedly the best. $23K per year, which isn’t exactly cheap. Is it worth it? I couldn’t say. The President’s a Punahou grad, but I’ve met a ton of stupid losers who are as well.

So you’ll be broke, working your ass off, and your kid will be stupid. Total bummer.

But it’s not all bad.

The sense of community out here is mind blowing to guy like me who was raised in the go-fuck-yourself world of Los Angeles. If you can make it through your first six months (people hesitate to make friends with new arrivals because so many leave almost immediately) things will get easier. You can save money on food by growing your own, trading with neighbors, or killing your meat. You’ll figure out how to save money by mixing up your shopping. I typically hit three different markets for various stuff, depending on who sells what for less. You save a lot on entertainment, because, you know, there’s nothing to do. Hike, swim, surf, hunt, repeat. All the best stuff is free, once you’ve purchased gear. As long as you’re okay with waiting, Amazon will save you a ton of money. Prime pays for itself super fast.

Occasionally it’ll be a pain in the ass to get your hands on something quickly. Like, this weekend I went on a day long, island-wide hunt for au gratin dishes because I wanted to make scallops baked in a mushroom curry Béchamel. I finally found them, though, and it was delicious!

That’s most of the terrible, and it’s really all about money. It’s hard to deal with, but hardly impossible. The wife and I moved here with no car, no place to live, no jobs, and $4k in the bank. If someone were to ask me now, “Is that possible?”, I’d say no. We got very lucky. We also begged money off family a shameful number of times.

But there was also a ton of hard work, and a total refusal to give up. We saw most of our friends throw in the towel and move back home, but by never treating that as an option we were forced to make it work. And it eventually did.

I could never counsel someone to take the safe path. Mainly because I don’t believe there is one. Yeah, you can be a dutiful employee and save money and act like we’re taught you’re supposed to, but that’s a recipe for a mundane, miserable, soul sucking life. And there’s no way of knowing what the future will bring. You can work away your entire life, and drop dead at 60. You can save every spare cent and be swindled. You could enroll your kid in the best schools, and still see him end up blowing dudes in a bus station bathroom for meth money.

Mortgaging your youth for security in your old age is a sucker’s bet. The system is built to keep us slaves, as long as you play by the rules you’ll always be one.

I say do it, if it’s what you really want.

Why not? You’ll be dead soon enough, make the most of what time you have.

Send your life questions to: [email protected]

Due to the volume of mail, Dear Rory can’t answer letters personally etc… 

Witness: The future of the WSL!

An image that stirs the loins of WSL CEO Paul Speaker!

Do you remember the surf posters that hung on your wall as a child? Or, if you are slightly younger, the ones that electronically papered the background of your computer screen? Which image was your favorite? Andy Irons ferociously carving perhaps? Kelly Slater flying like a bird? I’ve shared before that mine was Tom Curren wrapping around so smooth on a Maurice Cole. Of course you know the one.

What about World Surf League CEO Paul Speaker? What poster is on his wall? I think maybe this one!


That right there is NFL quarterback Tom Brady. He plays for the New England Patriots and is married to Kelly Slater’s ex-girlfriend Gisele Bundchen. And look at that pro football power stance! Look at those muscly arms! Look at that no nonsense expression! I think in maybe ten years when 30 million corn fed Americans feast on pro surfing this ride will be a 10.

Fashion: Hurley’s high tech revolution!

Hurley adds a layer (but BeachGrit makes you tan!)

When you see serious bicyclists riding down the street what is the first thought that pops into your head? “I want to kill you by pinching you ‘tween my car and the beer delivery truck parked curbside…” is mine. And “Why are you wearing all that skin tight colorful bullshit?” And “Thanks for saving the environment!”

Back to the skin tight colorful bullshit though. Spandex, introduced in 1962, really revolutionized the athletic clothing game. Bicyclists love it because of the aerodynamics and maybe the muscle compression that skin tight provided and it was theirs to do with what they would. Until almost yesterday!

Hurley, the world’s favorite hi-tec surf boardshort manufacturer, seems to be pushing spandex as part of their brand new Phantom Hyperweave. “What is the Phantom Hyperweave,” you ask? According to Sports Illustrated:

The newly released Hurley Phantom Hyperweave created a new way to construct the waistband. Instead of a rigid layer of microfiber layered over material to provide structure and then more layers of fabric creating what Ryan (Hurley…Bob’s son and design man) calls a bulky and water absorbing piece with no ability to move with the body on the lone part of the short that touches the skin at all times, Ryan went with the first single-layer textile. The four-way stretch layer moves with the body for comfort in the water, eliminates bulk for comfort when laying on the board and adds in free-floating magwire—a water-centric take on Nike’s Flywire technology—cabling to keep the movable fabric locked to the waist.


But the spandex is what intrigues me because it brings something fresh to the surf fashions. They are called the Hurley Phantom Compression and are worn underneath the Hurley Phantom Hyperweave and maybe help the thighs rejuvenate. There they are, poking out, running down the leg to just above the knee. It is like basketball! Do you remember when Kobe Bryant et. al. donned black compression things underneath their baggy shorts? I found that look very chic.

And the tech boardshort really has completely taken over the game hasn’t it though. I was in Huntington Surf & Sport not too long ago and the store manager told me that Hurley Phantoms fly off the shelf like you wouldn’t believe, crushing all boardshort competition, leaving broken hearts and bankruptcy in their wake, forcing brands like Rip Curl to turn to North Korean slave labor. Rory’s piece yesterday was my favorite surf writing in a long time. His honest rage against a genuinely horrible thing that really did just get swept underneath the carpet was so refreshing.

But Hurley’s tech boardshort + compression. Of course it is not made in North Korea and of course it is wonderful and innovative and etc. etc. etc. Do you want a pair? Do you think they will make you surf better? They probably will for almost sure. But you know what will make you feel better? A pair of BeachGrit trunks! They are made by loving hands in Bali and your leg will tan all the way up to your hip so when you are nude in front of a woman she will ask, “How did you get so brown?” instead of “Do you play lots of basketball?”

Buy here!

Dear Rory: Advice for the Wretched!

Who am I? I get my kicks holding my breath and killing beautiful animals!

One of our lovely commenters, named after either a fish or hairstyle, suggested we run an advice column. I love that idea, it’s actually something I’ve always wanted to do.

When he was backed up by my favorite pseudonymous surf writer, well, I had to go forward.

So say hello to BeachGrit‘s newest Agony Aunt. I understand that the proper gender related term is Agony Uncle, but it makes me a little uncomfortable. Brings to mind a relative who you only see on holidays but whose very presence makes you sick to your stomach because you know he’s gonna corner you in the laundry room and nobody will believe what happened except for your mother who says you brought it on yourself for being such a slut.

I bring some heavy qualifications.

I’m a naturally gifted martial arts expert, having practiced my moves on my wife post-UFC bout for years. Won both of my last two fights, against a 65-year-old man and an 80-pound homeless girl.

The epitome of masculinity, able to provide moral guidance in an era when gender roles have become increasingly fluid and confusing. White of skin, well versed in the terrible discrimination faced by the modern Caucasian.

I’m a naturally gifted martial arts expert, having practiced my moves on my wife post-UFC bout for years. Won both of my last two fights, against a 65-year-old man and an 80-pound homeless girl. I earned my yellow belt in karate at the Newport Beach Women’s Club after only one lesson! I once fought a professional kickboxer at a resort in Olympos, Turkey. He beat the shit out of me, but I consider it a moral victory.

What I lack in wisdom I make up in confidence, able to deliver lengthy polemics without the need for research or reason.

I believe in the sanctity of the self, the god given right to do whatever you want, consequences be damned. But I don’t let that stop me from heaving bricks from my glass house, oh no! I’m always right, even when I’m kinda wrong.

I can hold my breath for a long time, get a strange kick from killing beautiful creatures.

I understand the struggles of the portly hirsute male in sport that caters to the slim and shaved.

I’ve traveled the world, tricked an attractive woman into catering to my every need, built a life in an island paradise free from the struggles of the modern world and the indecency of my fellow man.

I’m here for you!

To provide guidance, understanding, and circuitous justifications for bad decisions you’ve already made.

Send your questions to [email protected].

Jeremy Flores
Jeremy Flores is a ruthless machine at Bells. | Photo: WSL/Cestari

Parker: Bells, Drug Testing, Slavery!

The Bells contest starts in maybe two days! Let's discuss!

We’re two days, (maybe three, the dateline confuses me), out from Bells, that crusty cold water bitch that’s been around forever. Even though she really doesn’t look that hot anymore, and everyone is kind of sick of her shit, it’s all smiles and politeness and pretend relevancy. Hard to get excited.

In theory, it’s nice to think the competitors will dust off longer boards and use a little more rail. But that’s just the old man inside me talking. “Look! I can kind of surf like that because it’s easier on my joints!”

Whatever. Who cares? Great to see Mason getting a spot, we all love him. Too bad for Freestone, getting the Banting curse.

One wonders, with all these injuries, will the ‘CT ramp up drug testing? Because surfing ain’t exactly a sport that benefits from ‘roids, but when you’ve been out for a while and need to build atrophied muscle quickly there’s a solution in that needle. Or pill. I’m not really sure how one goes about taking steroids.

Will Kanoa learn to stop drawing out his reverses? Yeah, you can ride backwards, big deal. So can everyone on tour. This ain’t the ‘QS, can’t milk a score that way. Just slows you down, fucks up your approach to the next session. Hit it quick, flip around, save your effort for the end section bonk that the judges love.

Just kidding, we know they won’t. Testing is kept secret, which means they probably aren’t doing it. You only hide everything when you have something to hide. It’s the same reason police departments keep disciplinary records secret.

Will Kanoa learn to stop drawing out his reverses? Yeah, you can ride backwards, big deal. So can everyone on tour. This ain’t the ‘QS, can’t milk a score that way. Just slows you down, fucks up your approach to the next session. Hit it quick, flip around, save your effort for the end section bonk that the judges love.

Then there’s the elephant in the room, Rip Curl uses slave labor. Hefty profit in that, contracting out to people who quote real low. Don’t ask how, that’s a can of worms.

I love how they wrote it off. “Yeah, we knew. But the stuff already shipped, so what can you do?”

Could’ve recalled it. Which would have been the decent thing. Take a loss, rather than benefit from human misery. I understand that’s asking a lot, monitoring production, holding yourself accountable.

I love the irony of Chas’s Monster Energy drink articleBecause an energy drink company isn’t really run by Satan, though there is a moral gray area that comes with peddling any addictive substance. But partnering with a company that profits from slave labor? Pretty brutal, totally uncaring.

I’m gonna say it again: RIP CURL PROFITS FROM SLAVERY.

They knew about it, could have got out in front of the subject. Make an announcement, donate the profits. But they didn’t. They tried to ignore it. Sweep it under the rug, keep the money.

And try to remember the next time you need a new wetsuit, or snowboard jacket, or whatever.

Now watch last year’s final between Mick Fanning and Taj Burrow here!