I Was Robbed in Panama Part 2!

The drama continues!

Part 1 here!

Timmy continued to play the best friend role, which was actually kind of nice. He seemed genuinely interested in my happiness and comfortability, often performing nice gestures like buying me a drink or offering a piece of his candy bar. Of course I understood this was all part of his plan to eventually get inside my wallet, but that knowledge only made our dynamic more absurdly comical in my eyes.

It soon became apparent that Timmy dabbled in the narcotics biz. Mostly because after asking whether or not I was a cop (is that really a law, where cops have to admit their punitive intentions if queried?), he offered me a giant nug of the green stuff for a “great price”. I declined, and he assured me that if I ever needed weed or anything else, he was the guy.

No big deal, I thought. We’re in Latin America and even back home I have friends who are, shall we say, entrepreneurial.

A couple days go by and nothing out of the ordinary happens. My money and supplies are seemingly in order, and Timmy and I are getting along fine. He had a girl over one of the nights, which put me on the couch for a few hours, but that’s to be expected in a shared-living situation. Then one day, out of nowhere, he pulls me outside for a chat.

“Bro, look… if either of the guys here (they were living in the first room) asks, tell them you’re only paying me $10 a night.”

“Errrr… why?”

“Because man, if they know you’re paying $30 a night they’re gonna think you got money, and they’re a little sketchy, you know?”

I had met the other guys. They seemed normal, but who’s to say what evils lurk beneath?

He continued, “Oh and hey, you got $20 I can borrow?”

“I just gave you $90 the other day (for my first three nights), what happened to all of that?”

“Man, those ninety bucks were gone like that. I had to buy food and supplies and pay off a couple utility bills. You know how it is. So yeah if you could give me $20 right now I’d really appreciate that.”

This was an obvious red flag, but seeing as how I’d have to pay him for rent the next day anyway, I conceded. And considering Carnaval had just ended, I talked him down to $20 per night for the remainder of my stay. I didn’t expect to get the money back, but rather wrote it off as a down payment.

Later that day, one of the guys from the first room, let’s call him Luis, pulled me aside and asked how much I’d been paying Timmy. I’m a terrible liar, especially when put on the spot, so decided to tell the truth and see how things played out.

When I told Luis about the $30 rent, a bit of air escaped his mouth as he shook his head.

“Uhhh… is there a problem?”

“Yeah, but not with you,” he responded. “I need to go have a talk with Timmy.”

Five minutes later, Timmy whistles at me from around the corner.

Psssst. “Mike, come here!”

I approach Timmy and shoot him a “what’s up” look.

“Bro what did I tell you? Why you went and told Luis about our deal?”

“I… uhhh… kinda panicked and told the truth.”

“Maaan that’s fucked up Mike. I thought we were friends bro. Why’d you do this to me?”

“I thought you only wanted me to lie for my own protection, so I don’t see the problem.”

“Ok man, here’s the thing. Those guys want a piece of the profit right? But they don’t do shit. I’m the one who found you, right? I’m the one who takes care of you, y’know? So we have to go back and you tell Luis you were confused is all.”

We had a back-and-forth about it but eventually I caved. I returned to Luis and told him I was confused by the language barrier and what I’d meant to say was that I only paid Timmy $10 per night.

This didn’t bode well with Luis, and ultimately led to the dramatic conclusion of this story…

Coming tomorrow!

Just in: Lorde hopes shark eats poser!

New Zealander superstar and her very black wish!

And of course you know Lorde or maybe, if you are Negatron, then you know her as that Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor girl who lives down the street. The New Zealander superstar first broke onto the scene with her 2013 blockbuster Pure Heroine. And of course you have heard the song Royals over and over and over again and maybe, if you are Negatron, then you have shouted out your window, “Hey Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor… turn that racket down!”

In either case, she is out with a new single called Green Light and in it she wishes that her poser ex-boyfriend would get eaten by a Great White shark. The exact lyric is:

I know about what you did and I wanna scream the truth
She thinks you love the beach, you’re such a damn liar
Those great whites, they have big teeth
Hope they bite you
Thought you said that you would always be in love
But you’re not in love no more.

And wow. Have you ever wished for someone to get bitten by a shark whilst at the beach? The boy, maybe, holding the brand new Merrick with all five of its fins in? Did you want him to get bitten by a shark? What about the kid with his with wetsuit backwards? Did you want him to get a little nibble? What about the babe wearing her leash on the front leg? Her?

I am a dickhead but have never wished for any of these damned liars to meet a shark. Lorde seems particularly rude and, Negatron, it might be worth your time to go have a chat with her parents.

Warhol (pictured) after reading MW's masterpiece.
Warhol (pictured) after reading MW's masterpiece.

Towering achievement in surf writing!

Billabong x Andy Warhol x a surf masterpiece.

Sometimes a piece of surf writing sparks across the digital sky so brightly, so brilliantly, that it is a sin not to stand and stare. And I present Stab’s Morgan Williamson’s Andy Warhol x Billabong party description from yesterday. Each sentence, each use of the passive, each run-on sings to me. It is art. It is poetry. It is a towering achievement in surf writing.

Read every phrase slowly. Let each roll around in your mind. Savor. Go back through and re-read. See if you can’t find a different, more subtle rendering. Pick a favorite. Pin it on your wall.

And without further ado ladies and gentlemen… Morgan Williamson.

There’s always an excuse for a few too many before the weekend hits, and the Billabong Warhol Launch Party served as just that.

Across the tainted boardwalk of Venice, hand-painted signs condemning Snapchat’s IPO and overall presence in Venice, at the Rose Room, the collection premiered.

Tracy Bryant, Sextile. Roya, Reverberation Radio and Aquarium Drunkyard provided the tunes and House Beer, Deep Eddie Vodka and Bacoo Rum provided the social lubrication.

Chords were plugged in, bands played, and the Thursday night folk timidly shuffled to the beat–it started slow, as 7 pm was for the awkward loosening up, post 9 pm was for becoming unscrewed.

Maybe it was a product of the free alcohol, music, or the factory vibe presented by the Warhol Collection–whatever it was, a pre-weekend shindig worthy of the workday hangover came to fruition.

Taj Burrow, Tyler Warren, Paul Fisher, Tai Graham and other notables rolled through.

We shot, we drank, and wrote and edited the above clip while a little dizzy when we got home last night.

So, here’s to the weekend, Friday in the US, Saturday in Oz–there’s no better cause than nothing at all…

Mic drop.

I Was Robbed in Panama Part 1!

Totally my fault! But also Chas's!

Remember that shady roommate I talked about here? Well it took few days but he finally got the best of me! Let me explain how I became a terribly clichéd victim of a tourist trap, all thanks to Chas Smith.

After deboarding my insland-hopper and taking a cab to the nearest, cheapest hotel in Bocas del Toro, Panama, I was informed by the clerk that they had no availability due to Carnaval. Slightly dismayed but mostly just thirsty, I made my way to the water refill station, which was currently occupied by a couple of American girls and their bevy of empty jugs.

The ladies kindly ushered me in and even paid the twenty-five cents for my refill, as I didn’t have any coins on me. While waiting for my flask to hydrate, I asked if they knew of any places to stay nearby.

The blonde, who would have been attractive were it not for her very dead front tooth, named a few different spots and pointed a few different directions. Not much help. Then the brunette, who was less attractive but had a wonderful smile, led me outside the building to further explain. Mid-way through her spiel, a local guy on a bicycle rides by. “Anybody need a hostel?”

“Uhhh, I do!”

“He’ll rip you offfff,” she said in a sing-songy tone. “But up to you…”

Not hearing her warning, the man flipped a U-ey and rode up to my feet. “What you looking for bro?”

“You got any singles?”

“Yeah bro, $20 a night.”

I looked to my female friend. “It’s a good deal…” she said with an unconvincing shrug.

Remembering Chas’s sage advice to seek out hardship, and neglecting every parent, travel guide, or intuition I’d ever experienced, I replied: “Uhhh, yeah ok… let’s go check it out.”

Next thing I know we’re standing at the bottom of a big apartment building. The guy hands me a key and says I’m in number six. I lug my board bag up two flights of stairs and find the room, which is actually a two-bedroom apartment, walk in, and try the first door. Locked. The light emanating from the frame tells me there are people inside. I try the next door, which is unlocked, and open it to a double-bunk bedroom with no apparent occupants.

I guess it’s all mine?

The first bit of swindling happens an hour later, after I’ve meticulously laid out all my goodies across the stacked bedspreads. Homeboy, let’s call him Timmy, comes back and walks in the door.

“Bro, what are you doing? Why you got your shit everywhere?”

“You told me it was a single… I assumed that meant I could put my shit anywhere.”

“Maaan are you serious? You think I’m gonna rent you this whole room for $20? Bro it’s a $20 a bed, so unless you wanna cough up $80, you better move alllll that shit over there.”

We went back and forth until I talked him into $30 for an entire bunk, or two beds. He made it seem as if I’d twisted arm, but I knew he was still getting one over on me.

“Oh, and get off that bed. That’s my bed,” he declared.

“You’re staying here?”

“Yeah bro we’re roommates! Hey and there’s only one key so we gotta like… coordinate and shit.”

At this point, I was 99% sure the situation was destined to end badly. Everything from the salesman pitch, the backpedalling, the “best friend” act, and now the fact that he was going to be living in the same room as my passport, computer, money and surfboards all spelled disaster. But I felt a certain comfort in the fact that I was aware of it all. Like somehow because I knew the situation I’d put myself in, it wouldn’t happen to me or if it did, it wouldn’t hurt as much as being robbed blindly.

Gotta let the bad times roll!

Stayed tuned for part 2 and maybe 3 of this scintillating tale founded in utter stupidity.

cyber bully

Surf Taught Me How to Be a Loser!

The game of surf gifts us immunity to the calamities of life.

The sting of rejection? The burn of disappointment? The horror of reflection? You won’t feel a damn thing if you surf. Here’s how the game of surf gifts us immunity to the calamities of life.

1. Self-Reflection (watching yourself surf on video for the first time)

Most of us think we look like gilded ballerinas on a wave. Watching it, transferred to the smart screen sitting in your palm, there are snippet parts familiar to an Eastern  European throwing an American football for the first time. Ever seen? It’s physically impossible to make the pigskin look more awkward, askew or asymmetrical, flying through the air like a buck-shot duck.  The good news? No one is exempt from being graded on this Bell Curve.  Just like the camera adds five pounds, no one (except John John and some choice elite) is immune. Michel Bourez’s arm flares are akin to a Kermit the Frog freak out with Miss Piggy in pursuit. Let’s not forget Adriano’s Bitchy Crab Stance. Options: Think of POV Go-pro vids like a reverse Monet, the closer you are the less of a mess it seems to be…

2. Introspection (Recognizing our wave-height ceiling)

Everyone lands on this vertical timeline. There are a few things that are inherently terrible but everyone pretends to like and are socially bound to accept: listening to someone’s Declaration of Independence about their kids baseball game, cute photos of the cat snuggling with the dog on the couch. Most therapists will tell you guilt is like carrying a bag of bricks, just put them down. Like telling your friend you truly hate their outfit, there is a liberating effect to saying, ‘No way man, too big for me.’ Like a 12-step program on the way to recovery, a simple equation applies: 40ish (years of age)+ 20 (years surfing experience)+ 1 solid turn + ability to thread a tube = Honestly not giving a shit what the groms in the surf shop or the parking lot crew think about your limits.

3. Rejection (Back of the bus)

That peeling point where the locals take off behind the rocks. Their little rotation, closed to outsiders, trading stories, is very similar to a circle of cheerleaders giggling over the quarterback. Paddling into one of these snake pits reminds me of freshman year in high school. Of walking into the cafeteria for the first time, desperately scavenging for a morsel. You can’t blame them. They earned it and they have the skill and knowledge to take off deeper. John Steinbeck said one of the possible reactions to social ostracization is that a man becomes determined to be better, purer and kindlier. Go back to your beachie, work on that wrap and return with a swagger.

4. Disappointment (Optimistic/confident surf forecasts) 

At this point, the sexually provocative website Surfline (and the likes) remind me of the soothsayer from Julius Caesar. Sure, they can tell the future, but what kind of future? Beware, the Ides of March is a transitional season month with sudden wind shifts. Like Bob Dylan said, “You don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows.” I’ve made dinner plans with old friends months in advance only to have them disappear one by one like characters from the movie Clue. Turns out, the ‘best laid plans’ are the ones never made. Hyped-up swells that only show half of what they promised on the wind charts remind me of “current” Tinder pics from 10 years ago. Both letdowns are equally painful. Eventually, the light of day exposes both. If Alexander Pope was bright enough to translate Homer from the Greek, then he’s good enough too summarize limp swells. “Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”