London's father has sinned, but like all good priests we forgive*! (*for a small fee)

Grom Abuse: London’s Dad Apologizes!

Surf community promotes parental reform!

If you’ve been following the grom abuse saga, you’ll know my main stance was that London’s parents, not London himself, were most culpable for the teenager’s petulant behavior. That if there absolutely must be a target for your middle-age rage, please direct it toward Mr. and Mrs. Almida.

It comes down to my belief that kids should never be hit or socially condemned by adults, especially if those adults aren’t the kid’s own parents. It’s not just a moral thing, it’s a law — and for good reason. Although kids should learn to take responsibility for their actions, it’s also the responsibility of the parents to teach them right from wrong in the first place.

But that responsibility doesn’t transfer to a stranger’s fist just because he feels the parents have done a poor job.

Today, London’s father Chris Almida released a statement via Ian Cairn’s Facebook (Ian is London’s surf coach). It went as follows:

The incident at Salt Creek last week involving my family has brought many issues to the surface both positive and negative and I have decided that there is nothing to be gained for anyone by further action on my part and as such I have no intention to pursue any legal recourse. While I respectfully disagree with the idea that bullying is ever justified or that violence is merited as a response to “disrespect” or misbehavior, I can appreciate that others have a different view. It has been very hard to hear this negative feedback and I have run through the gamut of responses from defensive to anger to righteous indignation and finally to resolution that this must be made right. 

One bit of feedback that has rung true is that I need to take a deep look in the mirror and see what part I am playing in the creation of this dynamic. In looking deeply at what I have role modeled I can see the many ways that I have been selfish, aggressive, entitled and easily offended. While I tend to exhibit these traits in a passive aggressive manner they are none the less what I have unwittingly role modeled to my son. This behavior has set my wife into a mode of protection within our family that has been expressed outwardly when the same dynamic plays out in the wider world. For my part I do apologize – first to my family, to my friends and peers and to the surf community as a whole. My lack of acknowledgement and ownership of this behavior has ultimately created this situation and the blame lies squarely with me. I will continue to dive into the root of these issues and work to unravel this behavior and do better for my sons, wife and all.

In respect to London, he has as you may imagine, had to face some serious introspection and participate in some very difficult conversations. He has had to take ownership of how others have experienced him both positively and negatively. London is a good kid with no negative intentions and he will be working hard to show this by his actions and engagement with others.

In peace and aloha and with hope for a new beginning for all involved I offer my apology.”

Chris Almida

And… wonderful! Dad realizes his shortcomings as a human and how they’ve trickled down to wife, son, and lineups across SoCal.

Owns up to it, vows to improve.

A win, yes? Not if you’re Koby Abberton. He screams:


Caps lock: the font of kid-dunkers everywhere.

Here, Christian Fletcher, right, and the patron saint of young surfers everywhere, Mr John John Florence.

Audio: Christian Fletcher V BeachGrit!

Christian Fletcher debates with Michael Ciaramella!

To read the lead up to this heated debate, click here!

So there I was, sitting in the middle of Pepi’s Sports Bar in Capo Beach, CA, with the entire crowd looking at me.

They were ready to witness a slaughtering. My slaughtering. At the hands of their beloved, if slightly psychotic hometown hero, Christian Fletcher.

Christian didn’t like some things I wrote about him. In fact he thought that journalists, or “mag fags” as he calls them, were by in large pussies. That we took things out of context and avoided interaction with our very subjects. That we sensationalized and opined on topics which we didn’t fully understand.

He’s not wrong.

And it was my time to pay for these sins, via a presidential-style-debate about grom abuse, in front of his home crowd. His friends and family. A constituency loyal to the point of tattooing Christian’s namesake on their half-shaven domes. Does Slater even have that?

Ya Pitt @chrisname this dude is serious!!

A post shared by Christian Fletcher (@christianfletcherlives) on

I was Bernie Sanders at a Trump rally. A non-Herbie longboarder at Lowers. My destruction was not just expected, but a foregone conclusion. Still, I had to hold my ground.

Christian took a seat beside me and grabbed the mic. The rest is history.

I’ll let you decide for yourselves how the debate went, but I have something to say about how it ended.

Christian threw out a few baseless insults (You’re fucking retarded, You aren’t even a fucking American), after which I was pulled from my seat by Christian’s bouncers.

These guys didn’t even work at the bar, they were just there “in case you get a little lippy” (Christian’s words). The crowd cheered wildly as I was yanked from center stage.

While being helped out the door, one of Christian’s boys stopped to tell me something.

“Don’t worry man,” he said. “It’s all part of the show.”

That made me feel a little better.

After being removed, I went for a walk around the block to consider the night’s events. Once I’d pieced it all together and realized it wasn’t just a weird dream, that everything I’ve written did in fact take place, a tremendous laugh came over me.

Then I called Christian to see if he’d like a goodnight kiss. In reflection I realized he had been, mostly, a gracious and welcoming host. Sadly there was no answer.

Before driving off, I sent him a text. “Thanks for the wonderful evening,” it said. “Hope to see you soon!” He didn’t respond to that one either.

I’m still not sure if Christian Fletcher hates my guts, or if this entire operation was his idea of fun. Of boyish camaraderie. Of testing my limits…

Either way, we’ll always have Pepi’s.

Editor’s note: if anyone was at Pepi’s that evening or knows someone with pictures or video of the event (especially JP Van Swae), please send them our way! 

Can't you just smell the chlorine and piss? | Photo: Wavegarden

Watch: Wavegarden Made a Toob!

Toob for you, toob for me!

Wavepools, they’re everywhere.

It’s honestly hard to keep track of all the different sites and techs available today. Whether or not they’re functional, whether they look fun to ride.

The most recent uptake in wave pools started with Wavegarden’s Snowdonia a few years back. It was a small, long, rippable right-and-left-hander, depending upon which side of the median you’d chosen. Albee Layer won a contest there but then I think it shut down due to mechanical issues.

Then came Kelly’s pool. It was leagues better than anything we’d ever seen, maybe even believed possible. Head high-ish and with the possibility of a 20+ second barrel. So how would Wavegarden respond? Most importantly, would they be able to make a human-sized toob?

Well, a year-and-a-half later, they finally dropped this:

The trailer above looks at Wavegarden’s newest tech — something they call “The Cove”. The full release will happen in a few days, but let’s talk about what we’ve learned from the teaser.

The water: it looks like the same combination of water, chlorine and piss that you’d find at the local water park. I’m not entirely sure why, but to me this is a turn off. I’ll take Slater’s chocolate pits over this blatant falsity any day.

The surfer: Who the fuck is that? I mean, he can surf, but how hard could it be to get a recognizable face behind your product? You only get one chance at a first impression, and I’d consider this one blown. Imagine if it were John John! Oh Kelly, he’d’a been livid.

The wave: It’s honestly tough to tell. When we first saw Kelly’s wave, it was from a “beach” angle, which told us everything we needed to know about size, shape, and length. This clip is mostly water shots of chest high tubes and turns, so it’s hard to call. Something tells me it’s a little smaller and not quite as perfect as Kelly’s joint. Still looks hell fun.

The upside: according to Wavegarden, The Cove can produce 1,000 waves in an hour. This shatters Slater’s pool and creates a truly profitable business platform. Also they can apparently make rights and lefts, plus control wave shape. Pretty revolutionary stuff going on over there.

P.S. Kelly and Wavegarden: I’m free whenever to test both waves and give an honest review! You know, for the people.

Symbiosis: Laird teaches Jim to SUP!

Laird Hamilton and Jimmy Buffett are two peas in a pod!

Much of our world exists in sharp discord. Non-aligning puzzle pieces jammed together. Awkward alliances. Forced marriages. And so it is the biggest breath of fresh air when two things just go together like… peanut butter and jelly.

May I present the new peanut butter and jelly.

Laird n Jimmy!

I read this story in the San Diego Tribune, between shark attack tales (more of those later), and felt my spirit soar. Let me anti-depress you too!

Now, if you’re a longtime surfer (as the 70-year-old Buffett is) who’s looking to try riding waves on a stand-up board (as Buffett was a decade ago), you might think about getting a board designed by the world-class waterman Laird Hamilton, who essentially launched the modern SUP phenomenon.

If you’re the actual Jimmy Buffett, you go ahead and buy the Laird board — and then have Hamilton himself teach you how to use it.

Surfing on an SUP can seem at times like some kind of political act — there still tends to be something between grudging acceptance and full-on friction between SUP’ers and original-recipe surfers, depending on where one paddles out.

But if you’re Buffett, you just go with the flow and enjoy the advantages that the universe, the elements and Laird Hamilton have blessed you with.

Buffett told the interviewer:

“I’ve probably been doing (SUP surfing) for 10 years, because it was the new new thing, and I surf mainly in the summer up in Montauk on the East Coast. There was like a Laird Hamilton 12-footer, so I bought one and I had no clue what to do with it.

You go out in the water and you watch the kids do it. And the first thing they told me was, get your balance on a lake and then go out. Long story short, I went out to a wedding in Malibu and ran into Laird, and so Laird actually taught me how to ride the board. And then I was hooked.”

He also said:

“Do we get more waves quicker? Well, that is true, so na na na na na na! (Laughs). But I’m gonna watch the local break and make sure I’m in the (right) pack.

The more territorial place out there is Old Man’s in San Onofre. It’s like being put in the corner in school. “Stay down there, you f—in’ stand-up people. Don’t ever come up here by us!”

And did you have any idea that Old Man’s was so… aggressive? Me neither! Read the rest of the story here and feel your insides smile!

Are you a parrothead? Have you ever eaten a Cheeseburger in Paradise? Will you burn the next SUP you see whilst humming Margaritaville?


“Tagging Whites Turns ‘Em Into Killers?”

Tagging is trauma! And it might be making 'em bite… 

You know how Great Whites are tagged? They’re either dragged aboard a boat in a sling and jabbed with the satellite tracker or it gets stuck into the fish via a harpoon.

Great Whites ain’t dumb. They’re going to go searching for the son of a bitch who knifed ’em.

You tag ’em, they’re going to come back and bite.

At least that’s the theory in a story that appeared in The Australian recently, a story written by the surfer Fred Pawle, and backed by compelling evidence.

And let’s be honest, Fred is more than happy to call a spade a spade.

One common factor in six of the attacks is that they occurred within or adjacent to areas where researchers are tagging sharks or dive-boat operators are trying to turn them into tourist attractions.

In the story, Better to cull sharks than stir them up with tagsFred reports:

“There have been seven serious shark attacks reported around the world in the past month. Three were fatal: surfer Laeticia Brouwer, 17, in Esperance; surfer Adrien Dubosc, 30, at Reunion Island; and Austrian diving instructor Leopold Mairhuber, 68, in South Africa. Of the other four, one involved a partial leg amputation (Kauai, Hawaii) and a near fatal bite to the thigh (southern California).

“One common factor in six of the attacks is that they occurred within or adjacent to areas where researchers are tagging sharks or dive-boat operators are trying to turn them into tourist attractions.

“It hardly bears repeating that none of them occurred in Queensland, where a program of nets and drum lines has been keeping ocean lovers safe for 55 years.

“Brouwer was attacked at a beach near Esperance, 80km from Salisbury island, where an Australian researcher, working with filmmakers commissioned by the US Discovery Channel, had been tagging sharks, with state government approval, two months ear­lier. Esperance also is one of the sites where the CSIRO and the West Australian Department of Fisheries have tagged great whites through the years. In 2014, surfer Sean Pollard was attacked by two sharks there, losing one arm and a forearm. Two sharks, one tagged, were caught and destroyed.

“The DoF has said repeatedly it is “unknown” whether the tagged shark was involved in the attack.

“The tagging program in Western Australia was initiated because of the increase in attacks, says Rick Fletcher of the Department of Fisheries. It was “funded to investigate the series of attacks that had occurred in 2012”, he says.

“The NSW DPI’s main tagging program is off Ballina. There have been five serious attacks (two fatal) and scores of close encounters in the area in the past three years. Asked if the department has considered if there is a causal relationship, the DPI also says its program has been in response to attacks.

“In Reunion Island, however, where the first of nine fatal attacks began in 2011, the same year as a two-year tagging program, local surfers are critical of the response by researchers.

“Tagging is trauma,” says protester Jean Nativel. “And the ones that have been hooked are very difficult to recapture. We have tagged 80 monsters and released them in front of the beaches to watch if they are going to attack. And they have. If these sharks were fished instead of tagged, we would have saved lives.”


“Byron Bay council, one of the organisations invited to address the inquiry, last year embraced its own method to deal with the problem — Shark Watch, a program developed in Cape Town, South Africa, involving people sitting on towers staring at the water. The program was launched last year with the endorsement of state MP Tamara Smith, and the promise of $11,000 from the council.

Tagging is trauma,” says protester Jean Nativel. “And the ones that have been hooked are very difficult to recapture. We have tagged 80 monsters and released them in front of the beaches to watch if they are going to attack. And they have.

“Byron Bay mayor Simon Richardson tells Inquirer the program has been put on hold after problems caused by Cyclone Debbie and will “recommence shortly”.

“Surfing Australia chief executive Andrew Stark told the Senate inquiry that such surveillance methods were useless anyway. When pro surfer Mick Fanning was attacked in South Africa in 2015, it was live on TV, he said. “There was more surveillance than you could imagine. There were 10 cameras, thousands of people on the beach, spotters, and people looking straight at him … and no one saw that great white shark.”

“Stark said surfers felt safer 80km north, in Queensland. “I know of many surfers that used to travel down here to surf in Byron and northern NSW that stay on the Gold Coast now because they feel inherently safer,” he said.

You biting Fred’s theory? That tagging is creating a generation of unamused Great Whites? That the feel-good thing of watching sharks appear as blips on computer screens might be killing people?

Oowee, it’s a hell of a posit.