Jeremy Flores Reunion Island

Must see: The best surf film of year!

How Reunion Island was held hostage by sharks and the people's response… 

There’s a joke going around mainland France that the country’s para-Olympian team is comprised of residents of Reunion Island. It ain’t far off the money.

When a marine reserve was created off the west coast in 2007, the joint turned into a bloodbath. A Tarantino splatterfest. Twenty attacks, including seven deaths in the last four years.

As Reunion-raised Jeremy Flores pointed out a year ago, “From generation to generation there were always fishermen and then people from overseas, environmentalists, came and they stopped fishing in a 10-kilometre area where all the shark attacks are now happening. That was eight years ago. By the time they stopped fishing the sharks didn’t have anything to fear anymore so they started coming and now it’s dead territory. They ate everything. There is no more life. There is no more turtles. There is no more fish. No more nothing. No more reef sharks. Because the bull sharks have eaten everything. And now, because there’s nothing left to eat, it’s the surfers.”

Suddenly, the natives of this idyllic island, whose leisure was almost entirely leisure based, were told they couldn’t swim, couldn’t surf, unless underwater divers were present.
Popular opinion in France, and remember this is a French department so they’re bound by the laws of the distant mothership, was that, the ocean is the shark’s domain, swimmers and surfers should accept the danger etc. Usual platitudes that forget that it was man’s intervention that cooked this catastrophe in the first place.
It wasn’t always that way.
For a time there in the nineties, Reunion was the most exotic stop on the world tour. Mountains, blue-water reef passes, pretty brown-skinned, blue-eyed gals and all bound up with all the good French bits (food culture, education, language) without any of the stiff French formality.
Anyway, Jeremy’s dad Patrick, the deputy mayor of Saint Leu, worked his ass off and, recently, got  a 610 metre net, protecting a bathing area of 84,000sq m, installed off dreamy Boucan Canot and a 500 metre net installed off Roches Noires.
Surfing is back on the menu.
This film Radical Times Ile de la Reunion documents, in a beautifully Wes Anderson kinda way, the narrative arc of an island held hostage by sharks and their response.

Parker: How to Make “Pickles”!

Healthy cooking for the energetic surfer!

A unforeseen, but pleasant, side effect of living on Kauai for the last going-on-two-years, I’ve become a much better cook.

I like to eat well, but we’ve got a real lack of quality eateries. Almost every place is absurdly expensive, yet mediocre. The cost of isolation and catering to tourist palates.

Doesn’t need to be great, but it does need to appeal to a wide range of tastes. And everything gets the vacation bump. You’re starving, you’ve had a great day, you’re in a beautiful place, it’s the best damn food you’ve ever eaten.

But if you were charged $17 for the same overcooked ahi wrapped in a stale Costco tortilla with a dollop of institutional pesto back home you’d throw in right back in your waiter’s stupid face.

By cooking at home I eat better, save a ton of money and, most importantly, deflect attention from certain aspects of my wifely duties which I don’t quite properly perform. I’ve earned more money this year betting on chicken fights than writing, the house is usually dirty, always plenty of chores that’ll get done on the perpetual morrow.

When the breadwinner comes home from a hard day at work and asks, “What’d you do today?” I can reply, “Making calzones from scratch.” Leave it at that. The full truth would include, “Wrote a self-indulgent essay for a surfboarding website, went for a surf, smoked some hash, rubbed one out then took a nap.”

I make a big batch of pickles every few months. I love pickled stuff, it’s easy to do well. And I always end up with far more than I can use, which means jars of homemade deliciousness I can hand off to friends and neighbors. Score a few points, the adult equivalent of a hand drawn birthday card.


1 qt White Vinegar (I use Heinz brand, but I don’t know if it actually matters)

1 qt Water

1 cup sugar

½ cup sea salt

6 x 16oz wide mouth Mason jars

Assorted veggies

A ton of crushed red pepper flakes


First, you’ll need to prepare your veggies. I like to pickle asparagus, long beans, garlic, and sweet onions. Try to find asparagus stalks that are on the thicker side, they’ll stay crisper. I love the long beans because they have a chewier texture and go great on sandwiches once you’ve diced them up.

Wash the Mason jars very well, set them aside to dry while you cut your ingredients to fit.

If I’m planning on giving the pickles away I’ll mix ingredients in each jar so it’s a little sampler setup, but it’s easier to pack the jars when all the ingredients are roughly the same shape.

Onions get halved then cut into eighths, garlic peeled, asparagus and long beans need to be about a half inch shorter than your mason jars. Pack each jar as tightly as you can, jam any leftover garlic or onions in with the asparagus and long beans. Top with a tablespoon of red pepper flakes. If I have any ginger in the house I’ll peel and slice some up and add that too, but it’s hardly crucial. I just tend to buy too much ginger and am always looking for a reason to use it before it goes bad.

Once your jars are full set them aside. Now toss your water, vinegar, salt, and sugar in a pot and bring it to boil. Your house is going to stink like vinegar for a couple hours, best not to make this stuff if you’re expecting company.

When it’s come to a rolling boil use a Pyrex measuring cup to slowly pour the still boiling mixture into your Mason jars. Let them sit for a few minutes so everything can settle, then top off. Screw the lid down as tightly as you can. Be careful not to burn yourself, the jars will be hot.

I make these because they taste good, not because I’m trying to survive the Winter, so I don’t bother vacuum sealing them in a hot water bath. It’s a pain in the ass, I don’t really see a point in bothering. If you haven’t eaten them within a few months it’s probably safer to toss ’em in the garbage, but I’ve never had them last that long uneaten.

Let the pickles sit at room temperature for 24 hours, then toss them in the fridge. You can eat them once they’re cold, but I find they’re best after about a week.

There’s a good chance your garlic will turn a bluish color. Don’t worry about it, it’s due to a chemical reaction caused by minerals in the garlic during fermentation. Tastes fine, I think it looks cool. And, anyway, I have no idea how to stop it happening.

When your pickles are ready, be sure to post an artfully arranged photo on social media so everyone knows what an awesome cook you are, then gobble the fuckers up.


wavegarden melbourne
Do you love the… optimism… of an artist's impression as much as me? | Photo: Wave Park Group

Soon: Wavegarden for Australia!

Dreary Melbourne airport suburb to be dressed in Australia's first ever Wavegarden… 

Who would’ve thought a few years ago that building wave pools would become an… industry? There’s Wavegarden in the Basque Country (Oowee, can’t say Spain), American Wave Machines in Solana Beach, California, with its “turn-key surf parks” (and whom I once called and was told that everyone was on holiday and couldn’t be contacted), the on-again-off-again Webber Wave Pools  and the most promising of ’em all, Kelly Slater Wave Co,

Lot of heat, ain’t much fire, though.

The first commercial Wavegarden, Wales’ Surf Snowdonia, seemed to make people either sad or angry Can’t win, huh?

A couple of hours ago, the Western Australian-based Wave Park Group, announced its first Australian pool – at Tullamarine, an airport suburb 20 clicks north of Melbourne. Two metre waves, 32-second rides, we’re promised, in the promotional short below.

Eight months ago, I spoke to Wave Park Group’s Andrew Ross. The former investment banker and lawyer told me he’d had a mid-life epiphany after years in the corpo world, wanted to create a surf biz, visited Wavegarden, saw Taj Burrow riding it and told ’em he’d write ’em a cheque on the spot.

And this is the first of 10 he wants to create over the next decade.

He ain’t sub-letting the Wavegarden technology, either. Wave Park Group either buys or leases the site, all the Wavegarden pieces are bought and shipped to Australia, it all gets put together, a few months of testing, and away it goes.

The Tullamarine pool goes live late 2017, says Wave Park Group.

More details when I either find Andrew’s number (new phone! SE!) or he hits me back via Instagram. @urbnsurf if you’re wondering…

Environment: WSL’s new gold mine!

The WSL unveils another get rich strategy but this one will totally work!

The difficulty in being both a surfer and an environmentalist has been discussed here before. We are in the ocean every day, of course, and love it so but also travel on fossil fuel sucking jet liners, ride poisonous planks and demand an ultra low price point for our goods. We are, let’s be honest, gross polluters.

And what to do with these two sides of our nature? Give up entirely and embrace our nasty? Stop surfing? What about if make tons of money and keep surfing and also help fishes? Does that sound like a win-win-win?

The World Surf League has discovered the magic bean and plans on doing just that. Welcome to WSL PURE, a new environmental collaboration with Columbia University. So Ivy League! Should we read the press release?

The World Surf League has announced the creation of WSL PURE (Progressive Understanding and Respect for the Environment), its philanthropic initiative dedicated to supporting ocean health through the key areas of research, education and advocacy.

In its first initiative, WSL PURE is launching a unique partnership with Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, one of the leading Earth science centers, to fund critical research into ocean health. In addition, WSL PURE is helping to create the curriculum for programs in ocean studies to be offered for students at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies.

This partnership illustrates the World Surf League’s commitment to join forces with world leaders in ocean research and create funding mechanisms for ocean health at a time when the marine environment is at a critical juncture, with rapidly growing issues of pollution, climate change, and overfishing, but diminished government funding for ocean research and little global representation for the oceans themselves.

WSL PURE has contributed an initial $1.5 million in funding that will support Lamont-Doherty scientists as they lead pioneering research in ocean health & ecosystems, ocean acidification, sea-level rise, and the role the oceans play in climate change. All of the scientific findings will be shared publicly and transparently, as is standard practice.

“The WSL PURE and Columbia partnership is a unique way to marry research, education, and advocacy in a way that can bring powerful studies to the global community,” said Greg Muth, director of WSL PURE and a member of the graduate school faculty at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies. “This collaboration incorporates traditional philanthropy as well as a hybrid reinvestment model into research and education. Over time, we expect this will create self-sustaining funding for research.”

Wait! Let’s stop for just one second. Did you catch that last sentence? Did you read, “This collaboration incorporates traditional philanthropy as well as a hybrid reinvestment model into research and education. Over time, we expect this will create self-sustaining funding for research.” ?

Ding ding ding ding! Can you see the dollar signs between those lines? Traditional philanthropy $$$, hybrid reinvestment model $$$$ self-sustaining funding for re$$$$$$$$$$$$earch! The WSL gonna make it rain on this one and I completely doff my cap in WSL CEO Paul Speaker’s direction. A very smart financial play. I bet that WSL PURE will have lots more money than WSL by this time next year, Caio Ibelli jersey sales notwithstanding.

WSL Pure / Columbia University's Earth Institute Partnership Announcement – LDEO Scientists Speak from CUSPS on Vimeo.

Bethany Meilani Hamilton-Dirks, front, and husband Adam Dirks, a template of surf marriages that work! | Photo: Bethany Hamilton

Parker: Surf Trips with my wife!

Rediscovering marital love through shared interests!

I had a ton of fun during my trip to Nicaragua this past November. Drugs and surf and sexy children galore! Cost of living is cheap down there, pennies on the dollar compared to Kauai.

“Let’s go back,” I thought. “Bring the wife this time, live it up. Lap of luxury, colonialist class!”

If only it were so easy. Been down this road before, planning with the wife. Every time the same, doing the marital power struggle dance. I want, she wants. Neither of us does compromise well, there can be only one victor.

Stage One: Free Reign

“Hey, want to go to Nicaragua later this Summer? It’s cheap, we can live like kings!”

“Yes! That sounds awesome.”

“Great. I found a neat little place, saw it last time I was there. Fun surf out front, they offer horse back riding and massages and have a bar on the beach. And they’ve got a bunch of shitty rental boards, so I don’t need to lug one down with me.”

“I thought you hate horses.”

“I do. Terrible animals. But I figured this would be perfect for you. If there are waves I can paddle out, you can ride horses or get drunk at the bar or pay some lady to rub on you while I do it. Close to town too, so we can go party or eat or whatever.”

“Oh, that sounds nice! I’m in.”

“You want to see where I’m talking about?”

“No, no big deal. Just figure it out, sounds perfect.”

Stage Two: Input

“So, I checked out that place you were talking about. It looks cute…”



“I feel a ‘but’ coming. It looks cute, but…”

“Well, I thought we were going to stay somewhere nice.”

“We are. It’s an an awesome spot, bar’s right there. Plenty of young trim hanging around out front, maybe we can lure some unexpecting young thing back to our room.”

“It doesn’t have a pool though.”

“It’s beachfront, why would you need a pool? Besides, you hate pools. You always complain about the chlorine and refuse to swim in them.”

“Yeah, but they look nice. I want to sit next to a pool.”

“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”

“You’re such a dick. Can we at least stay somewhere really nice the last two nights?”

“Ugh, fine.”

“Can I pick it?”

“I thought I was in charge.”

“Come on, don’t be an asshole. Let me pick.”

“I knew you were gonna do this. Fine, you pick the nice place.”

Stage Three: Encroachment

“I’ve been looking online, I found a couple really nice hotels.”

“Okay, let’s see ’em.”

“Look at this place, it’s super cute. There’s a pool in the courtyard, they bring you breakfast each morning on your private veranda…”

“That’s a balcony.”


“It’s a normal little shitty balcony. Veranda sounds all open and cool, that’s a cramped-ass little balcony.”

“But we can eat breakfast on it each morning. It’ll be romantic.”

“Since when do we do romantic shit?”

“Look, I like the place. This is where I want to stay.”

“Where is it?”

“What do you mean?”

“You know what I mean. Where is it? That looks like it was built a long time ago, everything near the coast is new.”

“Well, it’s not that far from the beach.”

“Where is it?”


“Oh, fuck you. ‘Not that far from the beach.’ Granada’s a three hour cab ride from San Juan Del Sur.”

Stage Four: Argument

“You never let me do anything I want.”

“Don’t feed me that bullshit. You said I could plan the trip, now you want to go to a totally different city on the opposite side of the fucking country.”

“It’s not on the opposite side of the country. It’s on the way to the airport.”

“It’s three hours from where I want to go. What am I supposed to do in Granada?”

“We can take a trip to Monkey Island. Look, you can hire a boat for a day trip.”

“I don’t want to go to Monkey Island. Monkeys are fucking mean and dirty.”

“Monkeys aren’t mean.”

“Yes, they are. A fucking monkey is going to attack you. Why do you really want to go there?”

“I thought you’d be stoked on Monkey Island.”

“No, you didn’t. You know how I feel about monkeys. You’re just trying to sell me. Why do you want to go there? What are you planning to do?”

“It’s just such a cool city. All the architecture…”

“It’s the fucking doors and windows, isn’t it?”

“I, uh…”

“It is. You’re planning on making me walk around a filthy fucking city in the scorching heat all day while you take pictures of fucking interesting fucking doors and fucking windows.”

“So what if I am? I’m going too. I should be able to do what I want.”

“I don’t want to take a fucking trip around Nicaragua goggling at fucking doors and windows. It’s stupid and boring. You’re an idiot.”

“Fuck you, you fucking asshole. Get some culture for once. All you do is play in the ocean, why do we need to take a trip so you can do it?”

“I like the ocean. I don’t like fucking doors and windows. And how is that even culture? Everywhere has fucking doors and windows. It’s so fucking stupid.”

“Fine, god, you’re such a fucking asshole. How about this place?

“It’s five hundred dollars a night.”

“So? You said we were going to go all luxury.”

“We still can’t afford five hundred bucks a day. That’s absurd, it’s a third world country.”

“But it’s so nice. Each room has a yoga platform…”

“What the fuck is a yoga platform? No, wait, it doesn’t matter. Because neither of us does fucking yoga!”

Each room has a private pool.”

“Again with the pool. You’re not going to swim in it, why the fuck do you want a pool.”

“I’ll swim in it. They don’t use chlorine in them.”

“Show me where it says that.”


“Show me on their website where it says they don’t put chlorine in the pool.”

“Well, it’s an eco-villa. I just assumed…”

“Jesus fucking christ… You’re so full of shit.”

“I hate you.”

“The feeling’s mutual..”

Stage Five: Acquiescence

“Look, okay, fine. I don’t want to fight about this, it’s supposed to be fun. We can go to Granada for two days.”

“No, we’ll go where you want. I don’t care.”

“God damn it, you do this every time. Push and push and push, and when I give in you back off. You just want me to come to your side so you can say you did what I wanted. I’m not gonna do that. But if you really want to go to Granada we will. You win.”

“It’s not about winning. You’ll have fun, you’ll see.”

“Whatever. Just pick a spot, we’ll stay there.”



“Yay! Okay! So, we’re gonna go to Monkey Island one day, and there’s this Sandinista Museum that’s super awesome. And I found a different hotel, it’s perfect. It’s new, this gay couple from New York just opened it. The rooms are decorated really nice. They have a three night minimum stay, so we can’t be near the beach as long, but I was thinking, if we’re going all the way to Granada, maybe we should go to León instead…”