Chinese shapers work on red boards.

Free trade: “Damn those yella boards!”

Are you a purist or do you demand low cost when it comes to your craft?

You don’t come here for political talk but can we chat free trade? Globalization? Integrated economies? Just for a moment? Oh let’s!

Surfboard shapers, glassers, artisans are the lifeblood of what we do. Without them we’d be clanging gongs. Bodysurfers. With them we glide and shred and limp through multi-staged cutbacks. Upright kings of the sea!

But surfboard shapers, glassers, artisans, like all others dependent on manufacturing, are getting bled by foreign trade. Cheaper imports coming from Thailand, Vietnam, China. It is more difficult to make a living with fiberglass coated hands then ever before.

Protectionism is lame, though, isn’t it? Fear-based and outdated? Maybe not? But what are other less drastic solutions? Are American/Australian made boards tons tons better than Chinese ones? Should all surfers buy boards hewn only by American/Australian hands?

What are your surfboard buying habits?

Mine? Oh I’m such a horrible queen! I only buy Italian made suits, French made bags and Matt Biolos made surfboards. He is true artist and is looking more and more like Hedi Slimane!


PBS, anyhow, takes a wonderful longer form look at manufacturing with a focus on surfboards! Let’s watch HERE and become more educated!


Indonesian police would be thrilled if this gal swung her head in the door for a little questioning.

Surfer drugged, robbed at Ulu’s!

"Drooling, covered in sand, shaking…"

I failed DARE in sixth grade.

For our non-American readers, DARE is an acronym for Drug Abuse Resistance Education. It was an offshoot of Nancy Reagan’s bullshit Just Say No campaign, part of the war on drugs.

A total waste of my time, even at that age. The grade didn’t matter, they were clear on that. But I was required to pledge and oath to never use drugs. Which I refused to do because I was a stupid child and thought that oaths meant something, but mainly because I’ve always been a contrarian little asshole.

Now I know that oaths are just words and trusting someone solely because of the hot air they’ve spewed is something only chumps do.

A recurring concept in their attempts to brainwash us was how people would try and force us to do drugs. Peer pressure, first one’s free, all the cool kids are doing it. All the cool kids are doing it. Except for the ones who couldn’t handle their shit and had to hit a program. But they aren’t cool anymore, are they?

People’d be throwing drugs at me from every angle, they said. I needed to learn coping skills. Stay away from that evil dope.

If only. Turns out you have to pay for drugs. And a simple, “No thanks,” is plenty when you feel like abstaining. Except for coke. Everyone wants to share their blow at the beginning of the night. Not so much later on, when the stash is running low.

They had horror stories.

Degenerates would offer me candy, but it would be spiked with… some sort of something. They never fully explained why someone would want to drug a child. But this was during a period of national abstinence only sex education. Probably why they shied away from the point. Adults sometimes give children drugs to get inside their bottoms. But usually they just sell it to them for money.

Like everything, there are exceptions. Real assholes dosing the unsuspecting with shitty drugs. Don’t even have the decency to load you up on something fun.

Mara Wolford was recently dosed with rohypnol in Bali. Pretty terrifying.

And now we’ve got Kyle Barnett getting handed some tainted ice cream this past Wednesday, September 7th. Things ended up as well as possible, just some stolen shit. No one got in his butt. But it’s a sketchy story, one that’s worth telling.

Kyle says:

I went to Uluwatu to check the surf about 3:30pm. I was actually hungry, and wanted to eat, but because of Glungan holiday Single Finn was closed. Nail Bowls next to Single Finn was open, and many people were eating ice cream.

I sat at Single Finn watching the waves planning out what peak I would surf…it was kinda that in between stage, small outside corner, big peak.

This ugly lady came up talking to me. She seemed strange and lonely. Telling me she was on vacation by herself from Singapore and she asked her taxi driver where was interesting to go.
He took her there…I suggested she go to see Uluwatu Temple down the road.

She was eating ice cream saying it was too big for her, and asked me if I wanted some.
I said no about 3 or 4 times, but she was persistent, and eventually went and got another empty bowl and spoon.

So we kept chatting, and the ice cream was sitting in front of me. I wanted food from Single Finn, but since it wasn’t open I took a couple scoops of the ice cream

She had bought the ice cream right in front of Nalu Bowls, she didn’t work there. I saw her buy it. She must have slipped the drugs in when she split the ice cream into 2 bowls. I didn’t notice anything funny about the taste. It was mixed with bananas and granola…..and the extra drugs I guess!

Then I told her I was going surfing. She asked if she could come because she had never seen surfing before. I thought she was a loner tourists and sort of felt sorry for her.
I walked her down the stairs to The Edge where I usually leave my bags, but because of Galungan (the holiday) it was closed.

Made Lana’s sister, Lani, told me her shop was open, and said I could leave my bag with her.
I left my bag behind her desk and me and the lady walked down through the cave.
I told her she could go to the beach around the corner or go upstairs to the restaurants above.

It was about 3-5ft and a lot of water moving around. It took me a bit longer than usual to get out the back.

I paddled out the back waited for a wave… and then I don’t remember anything. It didn’t come on slowly……it was just BANG oblivious.

Next thing I know its 9pm and I’m struggling to get to the beach.

I don’t remember paddling in or walking up the stairs.

Lani, the woman I left my bag with, said the other lady came back to get a towel 30 minutes after I paddled out and took a towel (along with my phone and wallet). She had no idea.

Lani said I was drooling, covered in sand and shaking.

I went up to Single Finn and some friends saw me looking very disorientated. They thought I was drunk.

I don’t remember any of this.

My good friend Andy Shags drove me home on the back of his bike and put me to bed.
That’s all I can remember. Being on the back of his bike and him yelling to me to hang on so I wouldn’t fall off the back

I woke up at 4pm on Thursday wondering what the fuck had happened.

I went to BIMC to get a blood test done. Called my banks and canceled my credit cards. They said $1500 had been spent at Bali Barong Cellular and $4000 had been spent at Polo Ralph Lauren.

BIMC took the blood, then told me they can’t do the test there and that I need to go to Sanglah.

I was in no state to drive around, so I called them the next day to see if they can send the sample to Sanglah.

I’m waiting on an answer now.

Yesterday I went to the police station

Today I’m going to the shops where the purchases were made and see if they will give me any CCTV footage. Feeling a bit dazed generally. Like a bad hangover without the party.

My Canadian bank says Im not responsible, but the Indonesian HSCB is saying I’m liable for 48,000,000 IDR, which is a fucking joke. I thought a PIN code is required.

Anyways, that’s Indo…no logic exists here.

HSBC will definitely be losing my business, if I catch the bitch or not.

Police have been notified.

There has been a lot of sharing of the post, and one person has recognized her, so hopefully I can find her.

I’m off to visit all the Polo Ralph Lauren shops and Bali Barong Cellular to see what I can find.

Opinion: “Treat sharks like rats!”

Why are sharks exempt from our usual attitude towards animals?

Did you notice the spike of shark hits last week? Three attacks, one fatal. Kitesurfer killed in New Caledonia. Bodyboarder becomes a double-amputee in Reunion. A fifteen-foot white throws a surfer off his board in south-west WA while his brother screams in horror.

The noted writer and surfer Fred Pawle sure did.

It was like every single damn Christmas had come at once for Fred, who fearlessly, and unfashionably, has been banging the drum to treat sharks as we do other fish.

This morning, Fred wrote a piece for The Australian newspaper titled Indiscriminate killers aren’t deserving of our sympathy. 

Can you guess the angle? Let’s read!

Almost everywhere one looks — the CSIRO, universities and the various departments of primary industries or fishing — one sees a higher priority given to sharks than surfers, divers or swimmers. This misanthropism springs from the common perception that humans are a blight on our planet and that a few casualties from interactions with nature are an acceptable price in the quest to save the Earth from ­rapacious humans. Such a deliberate lack of ­humanity is usually assoc­iated only with religious ­delusions or witchcraft. But, then, you “believe” in “saving” the environment or you don’t. 

The longer this goes on, the more absurd our behaviour. In this respect, Reunion Island provides a worrying sign of where Australia is heading. ­Reunion introduced a marine park on the west side of the island in 2007 and implemented a ban on shark fishing. Since 2011, the effect of these policies has ­become apparent.

All this for … a fish. Why can’t we treat sharks like other fish, or cattle, or rats? Why are they ­exempt from our usual attitude towards animals? Why do we go to such pains to ensure these fish thrive at the cost of young lives?

The island has had 19 attacks in six years, seven of them fatal, from a population of 850,000. Most surfers on the ­island have known not just one but several friends who have been killed or badly injured. Most parents in the tight surfing community have ­attended the funeral of several friends’ children, if not their own.

And it was on Reunion where this week’s third attack occurred. This one encapsulates how neurotic the debate about sharks has become. A bodyboarder named Laurent Chardard arrived at Boucan Canot beach last Saturday to see, apart from large and good-quality surf, red flags on the sand.

Boucan has a 700m net around it, built last year. It is one of two netted beaches, the only places where it is considered safe to surf on an island that until recently was on every surfer’s bucket list of dream destinations. However, ­that morning inspectors had noticed a 2m hole in the net and erected the flags — not warning of a shark, just the potential of one.

Fifteen surfers paddled out anyway. Chardard was one of them. He was attacked by a bull shark and lost his right arm and leg. “Just let me die — I don’t want to live like this,” he told the brave fellow surfers who came to his rescue. 

The day after the attack, the owner of the Petit Boucan, one of five restaurants on the beach, went on radio to complain he’d had almost no customers since the attack and that Chardard should be charged with a criminal offence. He also floated the idea of suing Chardard for damages. In Australia it’s common to blame the victim of a shark attack but threatening to sue one takes this antagonism to a new level.

The restaurateur has since apologised — a smart move considering his clientele consists mostly of surfers, who angrily proposed a prolonged boycott. However, the restaurateur’s grievance is understandable. He has a business to run and bills to pay. His restaurant is at one of the few ­places on the island where it was presumably safe to swim or surf. Now that beach has been stigmatised.

Arriving at this negative outcome has not been cheap for Reunion. The net at Boucan cost about $1.5 million to build (but was still damaged by one of the first large swells to hit it), and about half that a year to maintain. The island’s tourism industry has been cut dramatically. And, of course, Chardard and his family and friends have paid a heavy price.

All this for … a fish. Why can’t we treat sharks like other fish, or cattle, or rats? Why are they ­exempt from our usual attitude towards animals? Why do we go to such pains to ensure these fish thrive at the cost of young lives?

The usual response to these questions is that sharks are an “apex predator” and that tampering with them has a “cascading” effect that would lead to the “collapse” of the marine environment.

But a landmark report published by the West Australian ­Department of Fisheries this year, the result of one of the most comprehensive studies into shark movement, disputes this. The report, bearing the catchy title of Evaluation of ­Passive Acoustic Telemetry ­Approaches for Monitoring Shark Hazards Off the Coast of Western Australia, says the movement of great whites is “highly variable” and “not consis­tent”. So a beach visited by a great white one day might not see ­another for a week, or a year, or a decade. Whether the shark ­returns or not, the environment adapts, just as Charles Darwin explained it would more than 150 years ago.

Besides, the marine environment is less predictable than ­researchers lead us to believe. One would expect, for example, that the protection of great whites in South Australia would keep the population of fur seals (also protected) under control, but it hasn’t. Instead, fur seals are reaching plague proportions and are devastating the state’s fishing industry.

These outcomes are not quite as tragically counter-productive as those on Reunion but we are getting close. As part of its highly publicised $16m plan to protect surfers on the state’s north coast, the NSW government included the construction of a net, similar to the one at Boucan, at North Wall, Ballina. Local surfers told the government the plan was ludicrous and the net would be in ­pieces on the beach after the first big swell. The government persevered anyway, abandoning the idea after three attempts.

Five days after that plan was dropped, the government ­released to The Daily Telegraph details of an exciting new plan to keep sharks away from people: dropping Shark Shields, which emit electric pulses that make sharks uncomfortable, on them from drones. If this sounds like another ridiculously complex, time-consuming, expensive and ineffective idea, it’s because it is.

Do you believe that sharks deserve to be elevated above other species? Or are you of a similar frame of mind to Fred Pawle?

(And read the complete story here, if you can get past the paywall.)

World Surf League mines comedy gold!

Who knew that Paul Speaker hid laughs in his breast pocket!

I clicked on a story titled World Surf League Tries Comedy in Ads Starring the Sport’s Offbeat Characters and got ready to die… from embarrassment! We all know, too well, that surfers can’t act and actors can’t surf. And that the World Surf League is officially a no fun zone. Etc.

I cringed. And clicked. And watched.

And laughed!

And chuckled!

And laughed again!

Oh sure some are funnier than others but the ones that shine really shine! Kolohe Andino has a classic deadpan’s timing and delivery. Dave Prodan (as pie eating ASP official) should leave his post immediately and take the bus to Hollywood. Pete Mel gives each of his performances the appropriate zing and the judges complaining about their sandwiches…only the hardest of hearts could not find joy in that thick Portuguese accent complaining about pickles.

AdWeek reports:

Unlike past WSL efforts that focused on the inherent drama and chaos of surfing, the new work casts the league’s athletes, announcers and executives in skits designed to appeal to both long-time fans and those just discovering the sport.

“The WSL felt like they were succeeding in showing the best competitive surfing in the world, but were missing out on some of the offbeat characters and unique fun that is at surfing’s core,” Zambezi senior art director Chris Rutkowski tells AdFreak.

In seven 30-second clips running on WSL broadcasts and the league’s social platforms, the league “stayed true to the laid-back image of surfers with honest, sometimes self-deprecating humor to make the surfing world as inviting as possible,” Rutkowski says.

But enough of that mumbo jumbo. You watch and share your opinion! Two thumbs up? Or no?

Event winner John John Florence, inside, and afro-Hawaiian stud Mason on outside of gorgeous Waimea bomb. | Photo: WSL

Rumour: Red Bull to steal The Eddie!

Red Bull meets with Hawaii's first family, the Aikaus, in bid for broadcast rights!

I know we’ve all got abbreviated memories, but you do remember The Quiksilver: In Memory Of Eddie Aikau. You’ll remember because it was seared into your brain.

Those broiling waves, the wipeouts that made you hold your breath as you watched on the rectangle of your laptop, the mob of jetskis all roaring towards the beach to escape a thirty-five-foot closeout set. John John Florence surprising nobody by winning.

Biggest Waimea for a contest ever? Yeah, it was.

I put it to the guy who invented the pro circuit, the Triple Crown, the Pipe Masters, and who famously said he’d go surf Waimea alone to prove it was surfable in 1974, Mr Fred Hemmings.

Fred is seventy now, a little stooped, but says, yeah, bigger, better. Calls it “an epic.” And says Clyde Aikau was the “real hero” of the event. “Sixty-six years old and he paddled out in the surf with twenty-year-old young men and he took off on a wave and… got his ass kicked. And he paddled back out.”

Beautiful, yeah?

Anyway let’s relive a little of the contest here. WSL did a helluva job of broadcasting the event, I thought. What kind of value could you put on an event like that? Millions?

Now, there’s a rumour floating around, a solid rumour, that Red Bull has been flying back and forth to Hawaii to meet with the Aikau family in an attempt to secure media rights to next year’s Eddie.

Red Bull doesn’t want naming rights, necessarily, although cans of the company’s popular stimulant soda would, naturally, be suddenly apparent in broadcasts, but want to turn The Eddie into “a proper show.” Like this year’s Cape Fear event. 

And if Red Bull, who famously fell out with the WSL over co-sponsorship rights, gets the event, it’s likely it’ll become a non-WSL event. Which means, no John John, no Kelly etc.

Of course, if you listen to someone like Fred Hemmings, events like this year’s Eddie only come along, what, once every forty years.

Would broadcast rights, therefore, become a poisoned chalice?

Too much money for too little zing?