Memoir: The Little Surfer Boy at #10!

Rejection ain't easy. Especially when it spikes the heart of a kid… 

The married couple liked to “jog.” The husband had been to America and had brought back an enthusiasm for the new fad years before it was to reach the isolated suburbs of Western Australia. (He imported a thirst for “swinging” too, although his wife was uncooperative.)

Just before the sun rose every morning, the couple would circle the 500- metre crescent where they lived six times.

Every Saturday, as they passed number 10, they would wave at a boy whom they estimated to be seven years old, but who was actually 10, squatting on top of the cream brick letterbox, as if ready to spring an attack on an unknown enemy.

Sometimes, the boy’s shivering was visible and this wasn’t surprising with his uniform of boardshorts, singlet, visor and thongs, even in winter. On the coldest mornings, he would be wrapped in a towel that had the words Ocean and Earth written across it in large block letters. Other days, the towel would be folded on top of the surfboard that leaned against the letterbox. If you were to stop and watch the boy you would see that he checked the large yellow plastic watch on his wrist every few seconds.

By then, the sun was well above the horizon now and the boy’s shivering had stopped. His freckled face would be cut into a grimace as the sun hit his eyes. If the couple had ever stopped to see what happened next, they would’ve seen the boy’s mother hurry up the driveway in a dressing gown that ballooned in the morning offshore, whisper in the boy’s ear, help him down from the letterbox, and hold his hand as she led him inside, the boy’s surfboard hanging from a strap on his shoulder.

Most Saturdays, they would see the boy still sitting there even after they’d jogged their six laps, had gone home for breakfast, and were now taking their Afghan – another American influence – for a walk.

By then, the sun was well above the horizon now and the boy’s shivering had stopped. His freckled face would be cut into a grimace as the sun hit his eyes. If the couple had ever stopped to see what happened next, they would’ve seen the boy’s mother hurry up the driveway in a dressing gown that ballooned in the morning offshore, whisper in the boy’s ear, help him down from the letterbox, and hold his hand as she led him inside, the boy’s surfboard hanging from a strap on his shoulder.

The boy would walk back into his room, prop his surfboard against the wall in the corner, nose down, just as he’d seen it done in the surf shop, and lay down on his bed, looking at the trees outside his window and waiting for the onshore change that always came by nine am.

He would have liked to call his friend, but he was afraid, so afraid, of a definitive rejection. Because, even now, even two hours after the appointed pick-up time, his ears were attuned to any sort of crackle that might signal the arrival of a VW.

Rarely, perhaps once ever six Saturdays, the couple would see the boy climbing into a bright orange Volkswagen station wagon, an older boy smiling at him as he shifted into the back seat. A bearded man would tie his surfboard onto the roof with short lengths of rope.

The boy’s failed vigils disturbed the husband and he often spoke about it with his wife.

Why does the Rielly boy wait for a lift that hardly ever comes?

His wife would shrug and liken it to their passion for “jogging.”

But, it upset her, too.

He was too young to be rejected so blithely.

For the boy’s part, he never felt rejected or ignored.

Of course, he felt sad. And sometimes the sadness was so overwhelming he pushed his face into his pillow until it was damp with tears.

But, only because when you live in Perth and your surfing is limited to weekends and you miss that early offshore window, fuck, wouldn’t you cry too?


Pillage: the WSL plunders Hawaii!

Like the missionaries and Dole before them, the WSL takes takes takes!

Thanksgiving is a time, in the United States, when families come together and reflect on their good fortune. Or, if you are the World Surf League, contributes to the age-old plundering of Hawaiian resources.

As first reported here, your favorite professional surfing tour partnered with almost hotel Airbnb last year. The coupling began quietly, names simply interlocking on a step-and-repeat and links back and forth between websites (maybe I never clicked).

This year, though, the relationship is being used to actively screw Hawaii out of much needed tax dollars! An “experience” is being offered by the family of the League’s Regional Manager which promises:

We’ll immerse ourselves in surf culture around the Banzai Pipeline. We’ll meet professional surfers, explore Oahu’s North Shore with locals, and get VIP access to a world-class sporting event.

It sounds absolutely fabulous (sign up here) featuring a BBQ with Kieren Perrow, outer reef jetski exploration, Pipeline VIP tickets, surf lesson with Sunny Garcia and stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the local economy!

Hawaii Business recently published a story, Lodgers n’ Tax Dodgers, about the toll that vacation rentals take on a system that relies heavily on hotel tax dollars for education, welfare, roads, hopitals, etc. etc. etc.

$115.6 million in TAT taxes generated by short-term vacation rentals. Use the same calculation for the 4 percent excise tax, and that brings the total to $165.6 million. That theoretically is what should be paid by short-term vacation rentals; the state Taxation Department did not say how much is actually paid, but observers suggest only a fraction of the applicable taxes are collected.

Furthermore, the state collected $420.97 million in TAT in the latest fiscal year; that figure was close to the total we calculated for TAT paid by hotels, condo hotels, timeshares, hostels, apartment hotels and other “traditional” accommodations, indicating there is money missing from other sources.

Does this surprise? That the WSL maybe partakes in dodgy business practices?

Maybe!

But still, on this Thanksgiving holiday, I’m grateful to WSL CEO Paul Speaker for… for… ummm… for being too chicken to ever meet me face to face. Oh how I loathe turkey!


Don't miss out on love or sizzling conversation 'cause you feel intellectually inferior. Read! | Photo: @JustinJayPhoto

Revealed: We are Dane’s sloppy thirds!

Come almost watch Dane Reynold's new movie Chapter 11 here!

Dane Reynolds’ Chapter 11 has been, without a doubt, the film event of the year. Oh how the normally crusty surf fans spill praise and rightly so. Our antihero is still a vision! A force to be reckoned with! He shines with the power of a thousand Coors lightbulbs!

The only problem was that the film played exclusively on Stab and Monster Children for the first few days. Or, not a “problem” necessarily. Dane made his choice. He picked an outstretched hand and left all the other surf medias with tear streaked cheeks.

All by ourselves.

But last night an email shot into my inbox from Team Dane informing me that today around 8 PST the video would be made available to all! To everyone! To your BeachGrit and your Surfing and your Surfer and even that latently racist The Inertia. A link was provided at the bottom and we would all be invited to rub up on the Slacker King.

Sure we would all be his sloppy seconds but Stab already knows how that feels. Remember when SurfStitch chose Australia’s Surfing Life first but then settled for Australia’s Plagiarist Life? Maybe a little sting, initially, but I would imagine that $10,000,000 ring soon took away all the pain. Or most of the pain.

Like Stab I still felt joy (mostly)! Still bliss (overall)!

I woke early, at 7 PST, unable to sleep anymore and popped out of bed like Christmas morning, ran downstairs and opened my computer’s lid, pressed the link and…

…nothing.

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-8-10-52-am

Maybe they were holding off for a minute. Maybe Team Dane was preparing an extra special treat just for all the sloppy seconds. I made some coffee, paced the kitchen, looked out the window, clicked again and…

…nothing.

Maybe a technical problem on my end. I drank my coffee, washed a dish, felt my heart start to tighten, clicked again and…

…nothing.

I started to cry. Soft sobs at first that swelled into an uncontrollable river. I went into the bathroom, gazed into the mirror and sang:

When I could cry and sing no more I checked one more time and…

…bingo! Joy once again (chiefly)! Bliss forevermore (predominately)! Except……….

Still kind of out in the cold. “Sorry. Because of privacy settings, this video cannot be played here.” *

Hell Dane Reynolds. You are a hard woman to please.

She’s a hard woman to please
And I thought about letting her know
She’s a hard lady to leave
and I thought about letting her go
She’s a tough lady to leave
But, I thought about it
She’s a hard lady to please, yes she is

I gave her laughter, she wanted diamonds
I was romantic, she treated my cruelly
Where is the mercy, where is the love?

You see, passion has a funny way
Of burning down and running low
And suddenly it goes out
And you wonder where does it go.

* Just in! The video now plays here! We are seconds again! Alongside everyone else!


Slater and his cameo in the 11-minute short. (Comes in at 5:53.)

Watch EP #5: John John Florence in Twelve!

With a beautiful cameo by Kelly Slater!

There’s a purity about John John Florence and his connection with the ocean that’s very hard not to fall head over heels with. Where others might see surfing as means to an end (riches, houses, cars, gals), for John, surfing is the means and the end.

In this episode of Twelve, we find the soon-to-be world champion in Tahiti. He fishes, he pilots yachts, roars across lagoons on jetskis, all with his platoon of Hawaiian pals.

“We always seem to get insane little waves, that no one’s around. At the end of the day, you’re always surfed out and you’re like that was the best day ever,” he says.

Trite, if you didn’t know that he feels it.

About competing he says: “You hear people say, hey, go out there and have fun, don’t worry about the other competitor. But to actually… do it… that’s hard.”

It’s hardly a plot spoiler to say John’s Tahitian dream is run-over by a phenomenally in-form Kelly Slater but the heats, the behind-the-scene thoughts, especially during his heat with Medina, are revealing.

“I was so psyched with adrenaline I couldn’t calm myself down for the final,” he says.

Kelly, of course, is in there, the master of mind games, giving John his hat, high-fiving, all the before the final. (See at 5:53 minutes.)

We see Kelly win. We see John tweak his knee. We see the rehab. We see his difficult Trestles heats.

Watch here! 


Edward Ryon Makuahanai Aikau, the lifeguard and surfer, who was famously lost at sea in 1978.

Saved: The Eddie is back on!

Quiksilver and the famous Aikau reach tentative agreement to hold the Eddie this year!

Do you remember back in September when we reported that Red Bull had been flying back and forth to Hawaii to meet with the Aikau family in an attempt to secure media rights to the 2016/17 Eddie?

(The 10-year Quiksilver-Aikau deal was about to expire so the Aikaus were shopping around for a better deal.)

And, then, a few weeks later, that Quiksilver were going to pull out of the event because an agreement couldn’t be reached with the Aikaus?

And, then, when talks officially broke down, and it was revealed contest permits were owned by Quiksilver, that was that?  No Eddie?

Instead, Quiksilver were playing around with different titles: The Quiksilver: In Memory of Jose Angel, The Quiksilver: In Memory of Todd Chesser, The Quiksilver: In Memory of Brock Little.

Our money was on The Brock, of course. How could it not? 

Today we can reveal that pragmatism has finally prevailed. The Aikaus need the Quiksilver permits; Quiksilver has a ton of Eddie gear that still needs to be shifted.

Our source suggests the 2016-17 event, if it runs, and most likely it won’t given it’s only been run eight times in thirty years, will be The Quiksilver: In Memory of Eddie Aikau. 

But next season? Up for grabs, baby!

Now, what was your favourite moment from this year’s Eddie? This is mine! A platoon of rescue skis… beached… by a thirty-foot closeout.