Unbent: The mighty British surfer!

Will the Brexit steal his prestige? Let's ask an expert!

The Brexit! The Brexit! England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland shaken, not stirred, by a global kick in the nuts! What do they call nuts in the United Kingdom? Bollocks? Smashed in the bollocks by a bloody trainer! That’s what they call shoes, yeah? Trainers?
The British like to leave their country and live in other people’s but now that they have voted to brexit the European Union what will happen to them? Specifically, what will happen to the mighty British surfer?
Well it just so happens I know one! His name is Paul Evans and he helms Surf Europe and may be my favorite surf journalist in the world. Also, he is surprisingly handsome considering he is a British man. He lives in France and I feel he will know deep truths.
As an expat Brit in France does the Brexit hurt you?
I’m not sure if it’ll make that much difference. There are plenty of Swiss and Norwegians roaming free around here, breathing our EU air. They never had any truck with the European dream, for not wanting to share any of their plundered gold / oil wealth with the siesta-taking, Pope-bothering economies. So perhaps we can be the new them, only not as good as languages, but better at interesting.
Will a Frog mob descend on your property and grab it back?
No quite the opposite. I think Brits will head back voluntarily, thus leaving l’Hexagone entirely bereft of inhabitants willing to form an orderly queue or stop at pedestrian crossings. And then they’ll be sorry they burnt our lambs!
But if they do where will you go? 
I’ve always fancied Bermuda.
Will British surfing lose prestige now or will the brexit make British surfing strong again?
Brexit will probably see British surfing go from strength to strength, similar to when English football teams were banned from European competition for hooliganism in ’85. After a few years in the wilderness, we came to the World Cup in Italy in 1990 with the best player (Gascoigne) and best official team song (New Order!!). Although actually, come to think of it… when the Romans left, Britons would spend the next five centuries living in ditches and dying at 25, while the grapes rotted on the vines and the underfloor-heated villas fell into disrepair. So, I see your point, it could actually go either way.
Any advice for visiting London now that it is as cheap as Tijuana?
My London advice remains unchanged. Definitely try to buy weed from outside Camden Tube station. It’ll be a very, very small bud, probably spray painted green and probably with no actual weed in it, but at only £50 a pop, who cares! That’ll be the equivalent of about 10 rupiah.

Action sport cam in “racist mess!”

Ironic racism makes a comeback! Maybe!

Do you remember the heady 2000s when extreme sports turned into action sports and could be used to sell anything from poorly conceptualized music tours to poorly designed cell phones?

Boost Mobile!

That’s right. Boost was an action sport cellular service sponsoring the likes of Andy Irons and probably Bruce (?) etc. Their orange sticker was yo and their messaging was fresh. Action! Sports! Yo!

The company mostly went away due to probably bad service (?). It was busted in Australia for promising 100 text messages for 1 dollar and then that not being altogether true. Whatevs! Shred yo!

In any case, company founder, Peter Adderton went on to launch an action sport camera that delivers 360 degrees vertical/240 degree horizontal panoramic view all in 4k. Yo! I assume the resulting footage is supposed to be used in a virtual reality headset.

Mr. Adderton wanted to show how awesome catching a wider view is and so he commissioned a commercial that features a Trump look alike, a wall and Mexicans. It is not very funny, though clearly parody.

The Los Angeles Times, AdWeek, Gizmodo etc. were each ashamed of it.

TechCrunch, the industry’s leading tech blog, wrote:

What do you do when nobody is paying attention to your 360-degree camera brand? Well, you have a couple of options. You could put together a campaign that shows how awesome your tech is and how it is the perfect match to your target audiences.

Or you could go the other way, enlisting a Trump impersonator and an inexcusable dollop of stereotypes to try to get the word out.

I spoke with 360fly’s CEO Peter Adderton, who claims that 90% of the people they surveyed don’t have a problem with the ad, and that the advert is actually meant to beanti-racist.

“We aren’t idiots. We knew that the ad would be controversial,” said Adderton, saying that he expected that 1% of viewers would hate the advert. “But the feedback from the community has been unbelievable. People tell us they love the spot and say it’s extremely funny.”

“Every other camera out there only shows what is in front of you. It wants to believe just one thing,” says Adderton, drawing a parallel with what is going on in US politics. “In the ad, we have our 360-degree camera bring all the views together, and we say there is a better way. We are trying to bring people together.”

Mr. Adderton, who is Australian, then went on to say he would be a Republican if he was an American citizen.

The best part of the whole racist mess is that 360fly said the spot was rejected by television channels for being too extreme. After researching, neither the Los Angeles Times nor TechCrunch could come up with a single television ad buyer who rejected it.

Tame, not very funny ironic racism that stirs the rage of tech blogs and newspapers but doesn’t actually get rejected from TV because it is not actually very racy and/or 360fly did not have enough money left over to pay for airtime?



Just in: Jetski crashes into Wedge!

A super wreck! Dramatic lifesaving! Perfect viewing!


I’ve done a lot of stupid shit in my life. We all have. It’s part of living. You make bad decisions, pay the consequences. Hopefully learn a lesson. No harm, no foul. Just pick up your shit and move on.

But, you know, there’s a level of utter fucking stupidity that’s hard to swallow. Sticking some firecrackers in your mouth and lighting the fuse.

Making terrorism jokes on line at the airport. Taking out a payday loan. Mixing benzos, painkillers, and booze.  Trying to beat a train at a railroad crossing. Being the only black guy in a group exploring a haunted house. Voting Trump.

How about ramming your jet ski into the jetty at solid sized Wedge? Is that the stupidest thing anyone has ever done?

Gotta be up there. Blow apart an expensive piece of gear, nearly kill you and your lady. Force a bunch of bystanders to risk their lives to save yours. Shut down the spot while your thousand pound hunk of scrap floats about the lineup.

Thank goodness for lifeguards. Or maybe not. Now we’ve gotta live with these people. Maybe shoulda let nature takes its course.

Elio Canestri
Did this kid, thirteen-year-old surfer Elio Canestri, have to die, attacked twice by sharks, for authorities in France, and Reunion, to address the obvious result of protecting the damn bull shark?

Watch: The Sharks Killing Réunion!

A wonderful documentary about an island besieged by protected sharks… 

Reunion Island is a pretty little French island, nearish to Africa’s east coast. Hell of a place. Volcanoes soar into the blue skies. Waterfalls. Warm-water reefs. Brown gals with afros and rows of white teeth. Creole fever. Catch it, as they say.

Like nearby Madagascar, sharks have always been a bit of a thing there. If you surfed there, you played your cards straight: no surfing after rain or in dirty water or river mouths, avoid the east coast, dusk, dawn. Hardly the science of rocketry.

And, so, for years, surfers, swimmers, tourists, co-existed in relative harmony with a steady population of sharks. Fishermen hauled twenty or so tonnes of sharks out of the water, restauranteurs used ’em for shark curry. No species was threatened. Kids could surf. Swimmers could swim.

In 2007 a marine park was created, shark fishing was banned, and…boom…Reunion suddenly become the worst place in the world to jump into the ocean. Eighteen attacks in five years. Seven fatals.

As the Reunion-born pro surfer Jeremy Flores told me last year when hot-rat Elio Canestri was killed, “I can’t tell you how many times I surfed that place by myself. When I heard it was a young kid, thirteen years old, I started shaking. I could picture myself at the same age, frothing with all my friends, just trying to get a surf. On Reunion, it’s a small surfing community, everyone knows each other, and I’ve lost some really close brothers to shark attacks, but this time, to be a thirteen-year-old, one of the best surfers on the island, with all his life in front of him. To die like that, so young, is terrible.”

So when he went back to visit family and pals, Jeremy didn’t go near the ocean.

“It wasn’t worth it to take the risk. It took a long time for people to realise how bad the situation is. People thought it was like everywhere in the world. But, right now, we have the world record for attacks for how many people are here. It’s not like everywhere in the world.”

This documentary, Island of the Sharks, is a wonderful study of an island torn between the political elites on Reunion, and back in France, searching for fashionable “high-tech” solutions to appease their electorate’s squeamishness and locals who either had to avoid the ocean, as suggested by the mayor and at one point enforced by law, or deal with it in a more pragmatic fashion.

In the end, it came down to a little of both. The governments supplied the fabulous vigie requin, divers who swim around the lineup as bodyguards (the movie studies this phenomenon) and a one-kilometre shark net.

It ain’t a perfect solution. Give the fishermen the keys back if you want to surf St Leu again without fear of attack. But at least surf is back on the menu.

Watch here.


Grant "Twiggy" Baker
Grant "Twiggy" Baker wins the Puerto Escondido Challenge 2016 amid the chaos of men padding twelve-to-fifteen-foot waves.

Twiggy Baker Wins Puerto Challenge!

“He is a hog, just out there in his pen," says Strider!

Second and final day of Puerto Escondido: taking advantage of people, Mexican Style!

Yesterday’s little contest write-up contained an error. The guys who lost in the first round, and also the semis, don’t earn a thousand bucks. The magnanimous lizard people who don’t surf but still run the show are paying everyone two thousand dollars this year! You can earn more if you make the finals. But everyone else gets a slim 2k.

(By the by, notice that “TBA?” I’m betting that’s the prize purse for the sole female BWT comp that’s running this year.)

The WSL has no right to monopolize huge swells and treat the riders like cheap whores. A top tier big wave surfer should earn at least as much as high end prostitute.

This is why people need unions. Fuck the lie of “you’ll make more when we make more.” Fuck exposure. If this contest wasn’t running the surfers’d still be there, plus the guys who didn’t get invited, and there’d be a million cameras pointed right at them. The WSL has no right to monopolize huge swells and treat the riders like cheap whores. A top-tier big wave surfer should earn at least as much as high end prostitute.

But, whatever. I feel like I’m banging my head against a wall. The conditions looks great, I’m up extra early to watch. Bring on the carnage. Let’s see someone earn hospital bills there appearance fee won’t cover!

Twiggy Baker started off the day with a beaut. Big wide open right, foam ball ride and easy-ish exit. Looks a little smaller today. More manageable. Great great great. Yesterday was neat but there weren’t many made waves. Ramirez pulled in behind and didn’t come out. Then Layer on number three. Fading the takeoff, so scary! Then a high line pocket ride. Pretty, pretty, pretty, nice.

Will Skudin came in spitting up blood yesterday! Yes! Carnage! Let’s play up the injuries! Exploding bodies!

Think the WSL has an event doctor on site? Like, a real one? Because spitting up blood is very very very serious. Very likely caused by aspirating water. Potentially deadly. Can lead to secondary drowning. Skudin should not be paddling out. I understand why he would, he’s a maniac. Got a ton of heart and that’s really damn great. But if this bullshit “governing body” gave two shits about the competitors he’d be in the hospital right now.

Twiggy’s second wave is another gem. Strider says, “He is a hog, just out there in his pen.”

Does that make the WSL a bunch of pig fuckers?

At the midway point Baker is way out in front.

Makuakai looking intense on the beach. Remember when he used to be all chubby and cherubic? Wonder if it’s just something he outgrew, or if he changed up his diet and went exercise mad. Hope it’s not the latter, for his sake. As a guy who gets fat easy and hates himself for it I wouldn’t wish that self loathing on anyone. For all the shit people talk about the Rothmans online, they’ve invited me into their home, were really really cool. And what a home! I’ll admit that Papa Rothman is kind of intimidating, even though he’s about two feet shorter than me.

Listening to Strider talk about how dangerous this is, how badly they get hurt, how they’re “blue collar” workers busting ass back home to afford to compete, is ruining the comp. Making me so fucking angry.

Lots of unmade rides. Pull into a cave, get shut down.

Greg Long is a patient man. Takes a more cautious approach ever since Cortes Bank nearly sent him into the void. Reminds me of the stories I grew up reading about Pat Curren. Slightly off kilter charger sitting way outside all day long waiting for that one big bomb.

I was talking to Dave Wassel yesterday about this stuff. About the BWT, money, women. Other stuff. Gotta love Wasselhoff.

I brought up the women, how I think it’s stupid they think they can’t compete with men. Hell of a thing, he changed my mind. Laid it out, proved me wrong. Showed me that, in the end, I have no idea what I’m talking about. I can admit when I’m wrong. I’ll keep the details under my hat for the moment. The whole things on tape, you’ll be able to listen in soon enough.

Jesus tap dancing Christ, Layer got sucked over on a nightmare.

Four minutes left in semi one. Baker/Skudin/Lenny looking to advance.

Big set rolling in with two minutes. Twiggy drags his hand off the bottom into a double spitting cave. Oh my.

“It looks like Greg Long must have gotten a wave we couldn’t see,” says Strider.

Must’ve been a good one. Got him through the heat, knocked Lenny out. Seems as though they didn’t get it on camera. That sucks.

Twiggy, Will Skudin, and Greg Long are into the final.

Semi two starts off with a big sets that beats the shit out of everyone. Pedro Calado took off on a first wave closeout. I’m sure the last few minutes hurt pretty bad.

When exactly did Makua Rothman become Makuakai? I know that’s always been his name but I could swear no one called him that until a year or two ago.

Whatever the reason, he’s fucking charging. Part of a long tradition of guys who couldn’t really get it done in small wave comps, embraced the big stuff and set himself apart. Takes off retard deep on a huge right. Huge barrel that shuts down on him, kicks his ass.

Thank allah for water patrol. I know Abe Lerner is working today, flew out from Hawaii. But some of the drivers are local guards, right?

North Shore lifeguards are without a doubt the best in the world, but the Puerto dudes are a close second. Very close relationship between the two groups. NS heads helped them get the whole thing set up decades ago. Provided training and equipment and support when no one else would. Admirable actions.

Carlos Burle goes left, can’t get around the section. Goes full Da Bull, flops onto the deck and takes a churning whitewater belly ride to the inside. Smart way of saving what could’ve been a bad situation.

Bit of waiting between sets, not much going on. With ten minutes left we’re looking at Rothman/Calado/ Burle. The Hawaiian pigdogs into a left that almost looks easy but it runs away.

Then Jimel Corzo, lone local left, grabs a very pretty right. Quick cover, would be the wave of my life. But with seven minutes left it’s unlikely he’ll make it through. Kid definitely made a name for himself in this event. I know they’re saying he’s the Mexican national champ, but if we’re being honest that doesn’t mean much outside their borders. If that trophy doesn’t say USA, Australia, Hawaii, maybe Brazil, it may as well not exist. Very unfair. But that’s just how things are.

A couple unmade rides in the dying minutes. Guys hucking themselves over the ledge, hoping to find the score.

With the teachers strike, and the gov’s attempt to union bust South of the Border, I’m seeing a lot of propaganda on social media. Some idiots crossed the picket lines, got snatched, had their heads shaved, enjoyed some public shaming.

Good, great, grand! Fucking scabs deserve what they get. Never cross a picket line. Never! Running dog pieces of shit.

Jack London put it well.

After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, the vampire, He had some awful substance left with which He made a scab.

A scab is a two-legged animal with a cork-screw soul, a water-logged brain, a combination backbone of jelly and glue. Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten principles.

When a scab comes down the street, men turn their backs and angels weep in heaven, and the Devil shuts the gates of Hell to keep him out.

No man has a right to scab so long as there is a pool of water to drown his carcass in, or a rope long enough to hang his body with. Judas Iscariot was a gentleman compared with a scab. For betraying his master, he had character enough to hang himself. A scab has not.

Into the final…

It’s Grant Baker, Greg Long, Pedro Calado, Carlos Burle, Will Skudin, and Makuakai Rothman.

Everyone else gets a check for $2k. Go home, go back to work.

Pedro Calado grabs a left to start things off. Can’t make it out. Twiggy on a right, big pump off the bottom on a “small” one. Strider says he’s playing tactics. I don’t know, are these guys really wired like that? Maybe, there’s a huge difference in the finals. Fifth and sixth get 3K, fourth gets 7. Third earns you $10k. Second sixteen. First place gets twenty five thousands of dollars! Meh. Like, that’s a nice check, but it ain’t exactly that much. How do tax rates work on contest winnings? ‘Cuz you gotta pay that shit. Sunny Garcia will back me up on that.

Couple of rides exchanged. Nothing super special. Just a lot of evidence that the human body can take a surprising amount of punishment while you’ve got a gallon of adrenaline pumping coursing your body.

Greg Long goes right, looks at the closeout section, says, “Fuck that.” And kicks out. Discretion definitely the better part of valor.

Rothman’s on the beach, he looks hurt. Out of the heat. Cost of a smaller left hander. Earned some points for the title, but only enough money to cover airfare.

Rapid pace wave exchange. Twiggy, Burle and Long all go left and eat shit. Burle’s was a sick fade into the barrel but the nose of his giant sled caught the curve on the way out.

This is basically turning into a wipeout contest. Great for the guy’s who are gonna profit from the highlights. Pretty tough on the dudes performing.

Holy hell, Twiggy on the best wave of the day. Gotta be a ten!

Half hour left in the heat, no way anyone is catching Mr Baker. Not enough makeable waves.

Oh man, that’s just great. I’m about an hour behind, been trying really hard not to spoil the results for myself.  But the WSL just emailed me a press release with the result in the title.  Heard the little notification, clicked over without thinking. So, as of two minutes ago, I know how this all turns out.

In the end it’s…

1. Grant “Twiggy” Baker

2. Greg Long

3. Pedro Calado

4. Carlos Burle

5. Will Skudin

6. Makuakai Rothman

Can’t say I’m terribly surprised. The usual suspects, mostly.

In my mind, the guy who most impressed me? Kinda came out of nowhere? The local kid, Jimel Corzo. Charged hard, did well. Earned some money without hemorrhaging his own getting there.

That’s it, we’re done. I’m going for a surf. Gonna see if the ocean can rinse this sour taste out of my mouth.

Highlights here!