Utopia: Electric Flying Surfboards!

Twelve thousand dollars apiece! Plus shipping and tax.

A little real talk. Most of us are butchers on our surf crafts.

We either go too slow, too fast, we’re too loose, too stiff, our cutbacks are too far on the face or we pointlessly launch into the air.

At some point, surely, a surfer recognises the futility of time and money wasted and moves towards a pursuit that suits his failings. Golf, for instance, or wandering, ever so sadly, around shopping centres on Saturday mornings with wives who long stopped reciprocating affection or desire, who feign sleep in bed, whose bodies stiffen at your touch.

Which is why the clip below elevates my heart rate and kicks my spirits into the skies. Surf like the Hawaiian prince Kai Lenny on a hydro-foil and… best part… no skill necessary!

The electric flying surfboard’s inventor Nicholas Leason explains his vision:

To harness the power of a wave and surf like a bird, although extremely rewarding, is difficult. Not because riding a foil is hard, but controlling the source -flying a kite or surfing a wave- takes skill. To harness that type of power and gain excellent control is something that may take years to master.

So I set out to make it easy.

I started with the simple task of strapping an electric motor to our foils. My team and I took some parts we had in the shop, cut holes in them, bought some parts off the shelf and pretty much duct-taped pieces together. It took some tweaking, but eventually we got our first ride of about 50 feet. 

From that moment on, I was possessed. Imagine taking someone that has never dreamt of surfing, deep powder snowboarding or flying. A person that doesn’t live the extreme lifestyle and within minutes they feel it all. They’re soaring like a bird, carving butter smooth turns and experiencing the freedom of flying through the freeways of the ocean, rivers or lakes. That was my goal, but what I thought would take a year to build took a whole lot more.

Anyway, took a few years, but the company Lift Foils is taking pre-orders for their electric flying surfboards. They cost twelve thousand American dollars, plus shipping and tax, and you gotta sling ’em a six-gee deposit to show ’em you’re serious.

Order here. 




The skinny: Cristian Bosco, a Spanish-born surfer, went on a trip to Bali to experience its surf and culture. A month-and-a-half later, still enjoying his Indonesian sojourn, Cristian experienced an incessant nosebleed. A trip to the hospital resulted in devastating news -- he'd contracted acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. The Balinese doctors are incapable of treating the disease, and because he lacks proper travel insurance, Cristian is unable to fund an emergency medevac back to Spain -- a one-way fare of $140,000.

Play God: Save another Surfer’s Life!

Help a dumb-ass who went to Bali without travel insurance… 

Be honest, when was the last time you did a good thing?

I won’t utter the term selflessness, because in this condition we call human, there are only selfish actions. Bank robbers are just as selfish as Red Cross volunteers are just as selfish as Trump re: ice cream.

Certain types of selfishness are more socially justifiable than others but, in the end, we do what makes us feel good. Sometimes feeling good means rolling around in a pile of undeserved Franklins, other times it means giving the shirt off your back. This time it could mean saving a life.

The skinny: Cristian Bosco, a Spanish-born surfer, went on a trip to Bali to experience its surf and culture. A month-and-a-half later, still enjoying his Indonesian sojourn, Cristian experienced an incessant nosebleed. A trip to the hospital resulted in devastating news — he’d contracted acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow.

The Balinese doctors are incapable of treating the disease, and because he lacks proper travel insurance, Cristian is unable to fund an emergency medevac back to Spain — a one-way fare of $140,000.

According to his crowdfunding page, Cristian is stuck in Bali while the disease continues to worsen. Happily, the surfing community has contributed up to 82% of the medevac fee, and there’s still time left to donate. Surely, by 2017, you know what to do.

While weighing your options, keep in mind that this could happen to any single one of us. When was the last time you got your entire body scanned for tumors? Never? Yeah, Cristian probably hadn’t either.

Plugging tunnels one day, bed-ridden and dying the next. C’est la vie.

So don’t be selfish. Or, actually, do. But be the good kind of selfish and donate today!

Help: We’re hopelessly diseased!

The "is surfing a sport?" debate laid to rest forever!

The sun set at its normal time last night and Michael Ciaramella came over to examine a bee colony currently infecting the roof of my home’s guest unit. I had noticed the bees a few weeks ago, maybe a month, flying in through a vent. Worldwide bee die-off is a serious problem, I think, so was happy to host the bees at first but then they spilled outside the roof and it is time for them to move.

Michael told me it, is in fact, past time. That the bees’ honey will drip down the walls and cause lasting damage. I entertained just giving them the whole guest unit but living next to the world’s largest hive could prove problematic.

After he left I poured another drink and scrolled through Instagram, stopping on a picture of Julian Wilson threading a very fine barrel at Cloudbreak that was shot earlier that day. I then went over to Julian’s own Instagram feed and saw that he had been home just one week ago.

And it was either the bee infestation or the other drink but it really struck me how hopelessly diseased we all our. Very infected with surfing. Julian Wilson had been on Tavarua through the final day of competition at Cloudbreak two weeks ago, having made it all the way to the quarterfinals. He then flew home and then flew back to surf some more and just because. Not for points or for glory or fame or any other reason, as far as I can tell, than just because.

The NBA season ended a few weeks ago as well and what if LeBron James, say, went straight to New York and played all day in pick-up basketball games? What if Russell Westbrook flew straight to France so he could play on some new courts?

Sure,  all next level athletes train in their offseasons but Julian Wilson isn’t training for J-Bay by going back to Cloudbreak. He was, I think, compelled by a good swell and the never satiated desire for barrel.

I think this addiction that all surfers share, to some extent or another, is precisely why surfing isn’t a sport. Why it is nearer the opioid crisis than any other professional league. But what do you think?

Surf Lakes
Just look at the numbers!

GET RICH: Invest in Occy’s new wave pool!

A potential weekly revenue of six hundred thousand dollars!

Mark Occhilupo, world champion of 1999, is the “surf industry advisor” of a new wave pool company who wants you to send cash to help ‘em fill the sudden need for artificial waves.

Surf Lakes (Everyone Gets a Break) has issued an investors information memorandum “to raise up to $5,250,000 at 0.10 per share.”

Are you a dreamer? Do you wish you had something you could shovel money into? Something that would change the world for the better? Gift you an endless supply of waves? Will Surf Lakes fulfil this criteria?

The numbers are formidable.

According to the Memorandum, it costs half the price of Wavegarden’s new tank The Cove to build (Fifteen mill instead of thirty), creates more than double the weekly revenue of The Cove and two hundred times more than Slater’s pool (Six hundred gees versus two fifty k and three gees), creates 2400 waves per hour vs 1000 (The Cove), dwarfing estimates of fifteen for Slater’s pool.

So how’s it work?

Well, the tech ain’t immediately obvious, it’s not as if they provide diagrams of the machinery, but judging by the artist’s impression of the tank, it’s a vertical plunger that goes up and down to create a circular ring of waves, like the concentric rings created when you throw a stone into a pool.

You’ll get a throwing peak takeoff, with a wave that loses size rapidly after the initial takeoff. Plenty of waves created, but only a few you’d throw cash at.

Physics, right?

I may be wrong, but the artist’s impression implies a wave height that remains the same through the length of the wave. I can’t see it happening. You’ve watched that footage of the Cove? See how it quickly it loses size?

It isn’t a deal breaker, not even close. I can’t wait to spend days, weeks, months, riding that damn tank. Thousand bucks for a season pass? I’ll take it. It’s better than any wave I’ve seen recently.

But, why not aim for greatness instead of good-ish? Greg Webber (Oh, I can hear the groans! Show us something!) the shaper turned eternal promiser of a wave pool utopia, puts it this way.

“None of these things are as good as the great natural waves on earth. Not one of ‘em… yet,” says Webber. “That’s what’s gotta be done, to get to the same level as the great waves that we already surf on earth. It’s gotta be as good if to succeed at a global level.”

Webber says his full-scale prototype, which is 300 metres long by 150 metres wide, is going to be built somewhere between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and construction could, if all things go well, begin in a couple of weeks.

Surf Lakes says it’s already build 1:25, 1:10 and 1: 5 proof-of-concept protos with a full-sized tank being built in Queensland and ready, it says, by the end of the year.

I tell Webber I think the wave pool market appears overcooked. So many tanks chasing money. So few potential customers.

Webber tells me I’m wrong. He says that the “potential market is off the chart based on all the normal mechanisms that exist, the capitalistic world in combination with one of the most addictive activities on earth. If you can give this experience to another human being, a two-metre wave that lasts twenty seconds, and it costs one dollar and you can charge ten…”

It’s a point.

“The waves so far are pretty good,” says Webber. “They’re not the same as the amazing waves we’ve already got but it’s the repeatability. We’re distracted by that. It’s neat and clean and keeps repeating itself. But is it throwing the same way as the great waves that we really enjoy? You’ve gotta be able to get deep inside that thing.”

Two years ago, Surf Lakes had a swing at raising half-a-mill via Indigogo. Eighteen backers provided a little over a thousand bucks.

Maybe now we’re all getting our heads around wave tanks it’s a buy.


Say it loud and proud!

Comedy: I Am Adriano De Souza!

An afternoon delight!

Had a rough day? Feeling like you need a drink to drown the sorrows of your humdrum existence? Or maybe you’re a crack-cocaine kinda gal?

Well leave those substances alone, Shirley! I’ve just the thing to perk you up and it ain’t even perc-o-cet — it’s comedy!

Surely you’ve heard of Tyler Allen. In recent months, the LA surfer has become something of a cult hero for his Instagram impersonations. He’s done Gabby and Kelly and of course Trump, but I think his latest masterpiece is his greatest. Say hello to Adriano de Souza(s)!

Da real!! @adrianodesouza @wsl @coconut_willie music by my favorite surfer Gabe Boucher @ocsabat_

A post shared by Tyler Allen (@tylerallenvo) on

And did you laugh? I did. I laughed the whole time and honestly I’m having trouble picking my favorite impersonation. My top three include: the guy in the hood, Strider, and the cut on the foot. Tyler’s was probably the best but he’s a pro so it doesn’t count.

Who knew surfers were so funny!