Surfer Gals in Bangladesh!

Decent people teaching surf, helping the fairer sex access a bright spot in a dark world…

I’m very suspicious of do-goodery. People travel across the globe, shoe-horn themselves into other cultures, try to “help.” Not a fan of that mindset, especially when the helpers are western world honkeys. We don’t have the best track record and the road to hell is well paved with good intentions.

All too often good deeds are just a mask for bad. Delusional freaks trying to switch out the entrenched barbaric superstitions for their personal brand. Cherry picked verse and supposed salvation. Ignore the depredations of today, your reward rests in eternity.

But maybe not, maybe I’m wrong. Could it really be? Is there really no ulterior motive, just decent people teaching water safety, helping the fairer sex access a bright spot in a dark world?

Sure, Islam is wicked and misogynistic, but no more so than Christianity. Bible thumper missionary assholes looking to displace the existing regime. A means to control, build a following, find some sheep to fleece. Here’s your role, god says so. Fall in line.

Surfer girls in Bangladesh rings warning bells. Plenty of cocksuckers out there raping the positive from surfing by using it to hide their true intentions. Stinks to high heaven, false prophets running non-profits.

Went into this story looking for the angle. Who benefits? Why bother? Surfing ain’t gonna save the world, teaching impoverished girls to slide waves does no good in the long term.

None of the parents reacted well to hearing their daughters were surfing. Besides the danger, they worried about the girls’ reputations in a profoundly male-dominated society.

Neighbors gossiped. Some of the girls were harassed on the street or riding in auto-rickshaws. A few parents said young men came to their houses accusing the girls of behaving improperly.

“Men assume they’re coming to the beach to do bad stuff,” said Venessa Rude, Alam’s Bakersfield-born wife, who first came to Cox’s Bazar four years ago to volunteer for a charity.

“No one is used to seeing confident girls like this.”

Dig and dig and dig, where’s the dirt? Gotta be there, I know it! No one’s hands are clean.

But maybe not, maybe I’m wrong. Could it really be? Is there really no ulterior motive, just decent people teaching water safety, helping the fairer sex access a bright spot in a dark world?

That appears to be the case, and I couldn’t be happier to be wrong. Women get a raw deal worldwide, anything pushing for equality is good work in my book.

I’m so accustomed to feeling disillusioned, finding the bad, proving my suspicions correct. But that looks like it’s not the case.

Teaching girls to surf won’t save the world, but teaching them to defy gender roles will change it for the better.

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.