Paul Speaker and team exit the water after another clean event!
Paul Speaker and team exit the water after another clean event!

The Mormonification of Surf!

The surf world fights an epic battle against bland!

I spent the majority of today driving back and forth from my beloved north county San Diego to my least favorite south Orange County. Beginning, really, in Laguna Niguel and winding up through the San Joaquin hills to Newport Beach one would be hard pressed to find a more sterilized environment. Everything is a newer shade of brown. All the cars are Lexus. The palm trees stretch as high as they can hoping to catch a glimpse of either Disneyland to the north or the San Onofre nuclear generating station to the south. Anything to break the monotony.

There is, anyhow, at the northern foothills of the San Joaquin hills in Newport Beach a giant newer shade of brown Lexified depressed palm tree’d temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.


I studied it three times, studied its hideous faux mission architecture, its water sucking landscaping, its gold Angel Moroni trumpeting eastward toward the Salt Lake faithful and praised the real Lord that I am a Christian and not a Mormon. Who would want all of that?

It just so happens that, after my day’s journey, I also accidentally read a story in the Deseret News (the official Mormon mouthpiece) titled Meet LDS Surfer Jordy Collins, one of the sport’s rising stars.

Jordy Collins was pictured and looked very cute and seemed sweet and surfed well etc. etc. but in the interview there were two paragraphs that really roiled. Would you like to read?

At first glance, an active Mormon in the surfing world might seem like a clash of cultures, but surfing has evolved. As Daren (Jordy’s father) puts it, “When I was growing up it was more of a culture of rebellion against society and parents and all that. But it’s become a competitive sport and people approached it differently. It’s really changed. It’s a family atmosphere.”

Says Jordy, “There are a lot of kids in the pros now who realize how serious our sport is becoming, so it’s not too hard to say, ‘no, I don’t do that.’ It’s about becoming athletes. Kelly Slater (a legendary surfing champion) was the first to step back and say we’re actual professional athletes. So it’s not too hard, although it’s definitely not the normal thing. I usually don’t surf on Sunday, so I get questions. You explain and then they say, oh, OK, that’s cool.”

And FUCK THAT! Right? If this is where surfing is going, where the World Surf League is taking it, to a clean, safe, family friendly sport then…then….then……FUCK THAT!

Not that surfing is/needs to be rebellious, it’s not and hasn’t been for some time, but it becoming Mormonified is more than I can take.

So bland! So Mitt Romney! So…so…so Marriott!

I hope that the sporting elements flat out lose in the long run and I know they will because, at the end, surfers all are selfish derelicts or even worse unrepentant addicts. The WSL and Mormon church, however they try to package, are on the wrong side of history. Surfers/we are dicks. And cocaine users.

The end.

Kai Lenny hydrofoil
How good is the ability to ride a wave to its death and then pump…pump…pump… and catch the next wave behind it! What a future it would beckon…

How to: Surf a Hydro-Foil!

Kai Lenny is a total ocean savant. Watch his mastery of the hydro-foil surfboard.

Hydrofoils are crazy business. They’ve been around lakes and rivers for a long time. You’d see some seated weirdo bouncing big airs behind a boat every once in a while.

I think Laird was the first guy to take them in the ocean. The first I’m aware of, at least. Snowboard boots and tow ins on custom made equipment. Innovative. Not exactly accessible to normal humans.

Until Kai Lenny came around and started getting into it. First on a downwind SUP, which looks pretty fun, if very difficult. And insanely tough on your leg muscles.

Now he’s paddling in on a shortboard with a foil stuck on the bottom, kicking out and pumping his way into the wave following.

Very impressive. Lenny’s a total ocean savant. Even he don’t make it look all that easy. Definitely gotta be more difficult than it looks.

Or so I hope. Lenny playing around on the thing is really cool, nothing bad about it. A million bozos doing the same, hop hop pumping through the lineup, trying to catch wave after wave without stopping, would be a nightmare.

Like sharing a skatepark with BMX barneys. Not that bike guys are inherently lame, but there’s a certain type that pedals around instead of pumping. Does ten-minute long “lines” without taking a break. Very selfish. Totally infuriating to anyone patiently waiting their turn.

Shark Shield
The $600 tailpad-Shark Shield combo from Ocean and Earth. Does it work? The University of WA studied the devices for two-and-a-half years and says, yup.

Just in: This $600 Anti-Shark tailpad!

Why the price? It terrifies Great Whites!

I’ll happily throw absurd amounts of money at anything. But on one proviso. It’s gotta do what it says. If the television is 3-D, I want to have my lungs ripped out by zombies. If the camera’s 4K, I want to see every droplet of saliva on her lips.

So, shark repellants.

Do I want to pay $250 for a leash equipped with magnets that claims to ward off most sharks, with the notable exception of Whites? Uh, maybe not, after reading this. 

But, as revealed yesterday, there is a shark repellant that works. The University of Western Australia studied the Shark Shield for two years among the Great White colonies of South Africa and discovered it kept Whites at bay. At least most of the time.

In a peer-reviewed paper, which you can read here if you’ve got time on your hands, researchers found the Shark Shield, an electromagnetic device originally developed by South Africa’s Kwazulu-Natal Sharks Board in the 1990s before being commercialised by the Australian company SeaChange, actually…works.

The results of this study show that the Shark Shield™ can reduce C. carcharias interactions with a static bait (under test conditions), and provides no support to the suggestion that the Shark Shield™ attracts sharks.

The University of WA’s lead researcher, Dr Ryan Kempster, said only one Great White interacted with the static bait in the presence of a switched-on Shark Shield, and this only happened after multiple approaches to the device.

“Although the effectiveness of the Shark Shield likely varies between species, the fact that white sharks are implicated in the majority of fatal incidents globally suggests that a deterrent that effectively deters this species should be an important safety consideration for ocean users,” Dr Kempster said.

“The research found no evidence that the Shark Shield attracted sharks from a greater distance, which is a common sentiment shared by surfers, and showed that the Shark Shield can reduce white shark interactions.”

You want in? Ocean and Earth have partnered with Shark Shield for a device that fits under a tailpad, which you can buy for six hundred dollars. It ain’t my thing, if I’m going to be honest, sticking antennas and whatever else all over my board on the off chance I might get tagged by a White.

But, who knows?

Maybe sharks give you the heebies jeebies so much you’d do anything to calm your fluttery mind.

Study the video tutorial below.




Just in: San Francisco bans surfboards!

The City by the Bay votes to unanimously ban all styrofoam! The guts of our favorite tool!

I’ve always found something very fishy about the City by the Bay. Something not right. Sure the Golden Gate bridge is beautiful and the Chinese dumplings are second to none…but something. Not right. Not right at all.

I tried to deal with my confusion with San Francisco’s Nietzschean surfer not one month ago on a short biz trip, puzzling over his turning the simple act of riding waves into man’s fight against the existence of God.

Still, on my short biz trip the sun shone in San Francisco and I had the most amazing Spanish/Korean fusion meal. I began to think the not rightness dwelt in my own chest. My problem with San Francisco was, in fact, the world’s problem with me.

But just yesterday the city that brought us both hippies and satanists banned surfboards and I feel totally vindicated! The bastards! Those weird, techy, lame, methadone addicted, pale San Franciscan bastards! Lets read from NBC News:

When San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted on a law that expanded the city’s existing ban on the use of foam food containers, it dealt a blow to some things summer barbecue guests and beachgoers in the rest of the country take for granted.

Kids’ swim aids like foam kickboards? Gone. Those lightweight coolers that make it easy to bring drinks and snacks to a picnic or potluck? Nope. Even more utilitarian items like polystyrene dock floats and buoys will be illegal to sell in the city beginning in 2017.

Summer fun-seekers will still be able to buy these items elsewhere, of course, but lawmakers hope that the ban will keep people from using these products entirely.

“This ordinance is one of the strongest in the country protecting both the environment and public health,” Guillermo Rodriguez, spokesman for San Francisco’s Department of the Environment, told NBC Bay Area.

The ban on meat and fish trays made of foam kicks in on July 1, 2017; the remainder of the ban goes into effect next January 1. Penalties for violating the ban start at $100 and climb to $500 after three or more violations.

The rule will get a second reading on July 12, although this is mostly a formality given that the 11-member Board voted in favor of the ban unanimously this week.

And look at that! Foam kicks (i.e. surfboards)! Gone as of three days ago! Just think now of San Francisco’s confusing Nietzschean surfer. No longer does he get to smash his head against Ocean Beach’s Wall of Futility with a modern polyurethane aid. He must smash with a wooden plank like his ancestors before him. Like Steinbeck himself.

Oh San Francisco, may God smite thee for thy disbelief! And for thy liberal fascism!

great white shark
There's never been a better time to be an observer of great white sharks, particularly if you live on that stretch of coast between Ballina and Byron, now known as a great white shark highway. | Photo: SharkSmart

Australia’s “White Shark Highway!”

Great White sharks flock to Australia's north coast!

Is it only four weeks since the Great White’s terrific assault upon the beachgoers of Western Australia? Do you remember?

Two fatal attacks in one week, one a surfer, one a diver.

Meanwhile, on the opposite coast, from Newcastle to Byron Bay, sharks, Great Whites mostly, have closed beaches, ripped a swimmer from the shallows, killed surfers and terrorised a community built around the game of surf.

As Owen and Tyler (and Mikey) Wright’s father Rob told the Australian newspaper last year: 

“We’ve never seen anything like this. We’re all over it. We live up up here and we surf up here, but this is all we’re thinking about. The married guys, they’re not allowed to go surfing. The young guys with kids, they’re thinking about it all the time. Everybody is.”

According to the story, “Wright has had two sharks swim beneath his board in recent weeks. One — ‘a fricken big thing’ about 4m long with a pointy head and wide body — was chasing a fish at full speed. “It was flying, but it wasn’t after me, thankfully.”


And, as revealed today, again by The Australian, 

“Two white pointers have been caught using “smart” drum lines off Ballina this morning, as great whites return to the NSW north coast, which was plagued by attacks and sightings last year.

“Aerial contractors and local authorities have spotted more than a dozen great white sharks stalking north coast beaches in the past 24 hours.”

“Surfers were evacuated off Sharpes Beach, at Ballina, this morning. Great white sharks have also been spotted off Forster, Coffs Harbour, Crescent Head, Hawks Nest, Broken Head and Shelly Beach since Saturday.


“The NSW north coast has become a “white shark highway” in recent years, with the apex predators attracted close to shore by a perfect mix of water temperature, whale migration and food stocks.”

Are you, like me, thrilled by the rude good health of Australia’s great white stocks?

Are you, like me, not planning on surfing the Ballina to Byron stretch anytime soon?