It don't matter if it's two or twenty feet! Little Mason at The Eddie. | Photo: WSL

Can anyone get enough of Mason Ho?

The latest instalment of License to Chill, Island Oscillation… 

More Mason Ho?

Yes, please!

Can anyone get enough of the kid?

Creative approach, barrel slayer. As much as I love seeing him in heats I really prefer his edits.

So surf stoked, plays the happy card real well. Nothing but butterflies and rainbows going on upstairs. I’m sure he’s deeper than that, but the public persona is great. Like a big loveable labrador retriever.

What’s the name of that NS hell wave he loves so much? Right between Logs and Rockpiles. So fucking shallow. I’d call it unsurfable if I hadn’t seen so many killer clips.

Random fact: I went to elementary school with ...Lost filmer Joe Alani. He was in my younger brother Cody’s class.

Other random fact: Rory Pringle’s first name is short for Riordan. Mine isn’t. Just plain ol’ Rory.

Johnny Boy Gomes once threatened to kill me. He was working as a private surf guide for some Japanese tourist and the longboard he middle-manned for his client was taking too long. When he came back a few days later he picked up the freshly polished board and accidentally smashed the nose into an overhead pipe. Then demanded we fix it for free.

I don’t really miss Oahu.

Kauai’s better in nearly every way. But you just can’t beat the awesome reality of living on the Seven Mile Miracle when there’s swell in the water.

LICENSE TO CHILL | ISLAND OSCILLATION from LICENSE TO CHILL on Vimeo.


Fantasy: You can’t script this!

Did Rio throw a wrench into your game too?

We are almost to the halfway mark of the Men’s Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour brought to you by Jeep 2016 and how is your fantasy team faring? Are you riding a wave of unprecedented success that buoys each day or is your collection of professional surfers dragging you to the ocean’s floor like a millstone?

This is the first year I’ve actually participated and let me tell say, I thought I was learning the game. I started poorly at Snapper but had found my footing by Margies. I thought, “Yeah. I know these surfers. I know their foibles and their peculiarities. Time for Charles David Smith to put the pedal to the metal.”

But Rio absolutely smashed me. Destroyed not only my standing but my confidence. I had done what I thought you were supposed to do, pepper the lineup with a few extra Brazilians. They all lost. Everyone lost but Jack Freestone and John John Florence neither who were on my team.

I did so poorly, in fact, that I am throwing some of the blame upon the World Surf League. I know their motto is “You Can’t Script This.” But, really, Brazil seems like such an outlier, such a total crapshoot, that, in fairness, it is time to take it off of the schedule.

If you are a baseball fan you’ll recall when the Colorado Rockies entered Major League Baseball. The team built its park in Denver, a mile above sea level, and do you know what happened to the ball there? It flew! It flew through that thin air producing home run after home run after home run. A strange anomaly that was enjoyable at first but then tainted the game with weirdly inflated stats and bizarre games.

MLB has tried to fix it by making the outfield bigger etc. and it has worked, somewhat, but it would be better for everyone if the Colorado Rockies just went away.

Like Rio. It is out outlier. A strange burp that surfers don’t want to participate in and fans don’t want to watch. Its results aren’t reflective of the rest of the season and even though the WSL preaches unpredictability and chaos theory etc. etc. it is time to admit the mistake and relegate that event back to the Men’s Kyocera DuraForce GoPhone Qualifying Series brought to you by Peter Tosh’s used Kia Superstore: Kingston, Jamaica.

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There's river trash tearing up the brown water and there's dazzling wake superheroes like Collin Harrington! | Photo: Collin Harrington

Parker: Wakeboarding with river trash!

Teen single moms pounding warm booze and fist-fighting their own silicon-tit moms!

Wakesurfing looks real fun. But I’ve never tried it. Always lived near the coast. No point in dropping gas money to ride a tiny, if perfect, wave on some disgusting freshwater body.

Used to be a passably decent wakeboarder. That’s fun too. Stopped going when I hit the age people began expecting me to kick in on the aforementioned gas up. Too tough on the knees anyway.

Last time I went was a little over a decade ago. Ran into a buddy who’d just finished fireman school, immediately rushed out and financed a really nice boat. He was headed to the river, I could come along.

Why not? I spent a lot of time during my little boy Summers running around a Colorado River resort where my grandparents own a vacation home. One of those really nice double wide trailer deals. Full on garbage luxury. Many fond memories of stealing beers and fumbling a few knuckles into my fellow unattended teens once the sun went down and the adults were stumbling around semi-conscious.

It was a classy affair. Mainly moneyed SoCal heads who wanted a cheaply maintained weekend getaway. Kind of figured that was the average reality.

River trash are crazy people. Sun scorched nineteen-year-old single moms pounding warm booze then fist fighting their own be-thonged silicone tit mothers. Redneck goons chugging cheap beer and hauling ass through crowded waters. Jet skis smashing into everything. Absolutely fucking terrifying.

Headed into Needles, Arizona on a holiday weekend towing a brand new boat, realized I was dead wrong. River trash are crazy people. Sun-scorched nineteen-year-old single moms pounding warm booze then fist fighting their own be-thonged silicone tit mothers. Redneck goons chugging cheap beer and hauling ass through crowded waters. Jet skis smashing into everything. Absolutely fucking terrifying.

Homeboy thought his new boat would be a real pussy magnet. Which it was. All the gravel-voiced young ladies with premature crow’s feet and bad dye jobs wanted in. Not my scene. I’ve always liked ’em trashy, but you’ve gotta draw a line somewhere.

Three days of white knuckle terror. Captain always hammered. Convinced we were gonna bash into a levy at any moment. Saw a ton of tits, but nothing to write home about. Abandoned a guy at the second worst strip club I’ve ever been to because he was convinced one of the sex workers was into him.

Three days of white knuckle terror. Captain always hammered. Convinced we were gonna bash into a levy at any moment. Saw a ton of tits, but nothing to write home about. Abandoned a guy at the second worst strip club I’ve ever been to because he was convinced one of the sex workers was into him.

Might’ve been true, if he’d had a ton of blow. Which he did not.

Don’t know how he got back to our place. He didn’t remember either.

One of those trips that was miserable at the time, but is pretty funny in retrospect. Swore I’d never go again. Starting to reevaluate that oath.

Video of gorgeous jiggle tits sliding behind a boat helps. And I suspect that all those ladies who looked so nasty in my twenties might look quite a bit better now that I’m creeping toward middle age.


Here we see the big-waver Ryan Hipwood being tumbled by Nam Baldwin. During the course, Nam told a story of Ryan preparing himself for…the…wipeout and, when it happened, knocked unconscious at Shipsterns, he found it the most sublime experience ever. "Train hard, play easy," advises Nam. | Photo: Nam Baldwin/bettraining.com

How to: Survive a Two-Wave Hold-down!

Too late for Aaron Gold, but not for you…

Yesterday, I paid $175 for a four-hour Breath Enhancement course with Mick Fanning’s trainer Nam Baldwin. I’d read and heard plenty about the breath-holding game, written about it few times, even, and wanted to crawl into the darkness of oxygen deprivation.

Specifically, I wanted to hit a point where the oxygenated blood is released from the spleen… euphoria!… and I wanted to learn how to activate the mammalian dive reflex, that dramatic decrease in heart rate and the peripheral vasoconstriction that pulls the oxygen from the limbs and to the vital organs.

Nam Baldwin can hold his breath for seven minutes.

I wanted to find my inner dolphin.

Outside magazine’s James Nestor tells a wonderful anecdote of the first time the dive reflex was proven.

“In 1949, a stocky Italian air force lieutenant named Raimondo Bucher decided to try a potentially deadly stunt off the coast of Capri, Italy. Bucher would sail out to the center of the lake, take a breath and hold it, and free-dive down one hundred feet to the bottom. Waiting there would be a man in a diving suit. Bucher would hand the diver a package, then kick back up to the surface. If he completed the dive, he’d win a fifty-thousand-lira bet; if he didn’t, he would drown.

Scientists warned Bucher that, according to Boyle’s law, the dive would kill him. Formulated in the 1660s by the Anglo-Irish physicist Robert Boyle, this equation predicted the behavior of gases at various pressures, and it indicated that the pressure at a hundred feet would shrink Bucher’s lungs to the point of collapse. He dove anyway, delivered the package, and returned to the surface smiling, with his lungs perfectly intact. He won the bet, but more important, he proved all the experts wrong. Boyle’s law, which science had taken as gospel for three centuries, appeared to fall apart underwater.”

Oowee, who wouldn’t want a piece?

And, today, after the big-waver Aaron Gold had to be resuscitated after a two-wave hold-down?

How would your or I be able to deal with the sorta waves that make you involuntarily suck in your gut, that lock your throat with panic?

I was among 12 students, ten studs, two gals, who all wanted to get better at choking off their oxygen supply. A couple admitted to being a little terrified at even being there. Others wetted their lips in anticipation. Most were a week or so away from boat charters in Indonesia.

Nam, who is 43 years old with a vee-shaped torso and calf muscles that form perfect ovals, begins the course with a classroom physiology lesson.

That instant, panicked gulp of air? It ain’t no good.

If you want to really inflate your lungs, you’ve gotta breath from the diaphragm upwards. We do a bunch of exercises so we get used to the idea of sipping air through a straw. Of expelling air like a whale.

Psssshhtaaaaw! 

A yoga teacher interjects and describes the feeling of sucking in air as our life force.

“Ah, it’s the oxygen in our lungs,” he says, pointing out to the anatomy diagram on the screen, although he quickly, and diplomatically, soothes her disappointment when he tells her oxygen is, indeed, “chi, life force” and holds his hands in a prayer position.

Soon, we’re in a 25-metre pool, practising breath holds with drills. Three in-breaths, then five metres underwater, ten freestyle, five underwater, back, and repeat every forty five seconds.

Harder than it sounds on paper.

Then, the Caught-Inside-at-Ten-Foot-Sunset drill.

Five metres underwater, ten freestyle, ten underwater, ten freestyle, ten underwater.

Repeat. Four times. I did one and a half.

Get good and you should be be able to nail 12.

In other words, train yourself to be able to deal with being caught inside by the longest, biggest set, you’d ever face on earth.

Later, we activate our mammalian dive reflex with a series of slow breathing exercises and floating face down in the pool.

Euphoria?

How about being hypnotised by the dancing waves of light hitting the bottom of the pool. Becoming miniaturised and slowly climbing over each link of the bracelet of the diver next to me. Studying every detail in the grooves of the pool titles.

And surviving two-wave hold-downs?

Don’t breathe as soon as you hit the surface. What if a wave is there and your mouth is open? Thing is, you’ve got more oxygen than you think in your body. It’s the build-up of carbon dioxide that makes you want to breathe.

Come up, look, if it’s clear, breathe out like a whale, inhale.

We practise wipeouts with a drill that is eight seconds being tumbled, three seconds with a foot pushing you onto the pool floor then your leash being pulled taut. You have to release the leash, then swim five metres underwater.

Fun, yeah, surprisingly fun.

Mick Fanning’s gotten so good at the game he trains in a five-metre deep pool, simulating wipeouts by wrestling with Nam underwater.

Should you do it? I can’t believe it too me so long.

Watch Mick underwater here.

 

 


The Hawaiian big-waver Aaron Gold, post-CPR…

Aaron Gold (nearly) drowns in Fiji!

CPR brings big-wave surfer back to life… 

Earlier today, the Hawaiian big-waver Aaron Gold, who was awarded the biggest paddle-in wave of the year recently, wiped out at 12-foot Cloudbreak and was found unconscious and face-down.

A two-wave hold-down?

The Hawaiian surfer Benji Brand, reports:

Live from Fiji – my brother @therealaarongold had a heavy wipeout this morning at cloudbreak, got a two wave hold down, and then blacked out unconcious underwater for 2 mins. Currently in the hospital checking the amount of water in his lungs. He wouldn’t be alive without Uri grabbing him with the ski or Mark Healy resuscitating him. God bless you guys.

Gotta have friends with eyes, and skills, right?

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More, soon…

Meanwhile, here’s A-Gold at Jaws.