Spam musubi barrel dodges!

Crisis: Hawaii’s Spam black market!

Criminals are thriving while the law abiding now have to get their Spam from a locked case!

The news has been predictably bad of late even for a middle-aged white man. Wars and rumors of war, natural disasters, collusion, poorly executed advertorial, failing infrastructure, the left getting breathless about the right, the right getting indignant about the left, etc. I usually wake up, read, and feel… bored. Everything so… predictable.

This morning, though, I woke up and read a story I never saw coming. Something so wonderful that I’ve read it three times so far and will now share it with you. By way of quick background, anyone who has ever spent time in Hawaii knows the island’s love affair with the canned ham product known as Spam. It is used in many dishes. My personal favorite is Spam musubi from Foodland. Well, now it is being restricted like a class 1 drug. Let’s read again together in the famed Washington Post!

Last month in the Pearl City community on Oahu, Safeway customer Arlene Sua watched as a man suddenly grabbed eight cases of Spam and headed for the door. She thought “‘Okay, this isn’t real. No, he’s not going to take it, no, no,” she told KHON TV.

But it was real. The man took off with the Spam and disappeared.

Elsewhere on the island at about the same time, three women loaded up shopping carts at a Long’s drugstore with 18 cases of — you guessed it — Spam. They made a rush for the exit. Fortunately, an alert customer, Kurt Fevella, saw the attempted heist in progress, stationed himself at the door on Spam patrol and stopped them in their tracks. They shoved the carts toward at him and took off, Fevella told KITV4.

A shop at a downtown mall wasn’t so lucky. The Honolulu Police Department is now offering a $1,000 reward for a man (and an apparent accomplice) who entered a store on Oct. 3, grabbed a case of Spam and punched a security guard who attempted to stop him.

Police reported that the thief “fled in an unknown direction.”

These Spam snatchers are not hungry people desperate for Spam, said Tina Yamaki, president of the Retail Merchants of Hawaii. They are most likely part of a Spam black market that’s taking off in a state where the demand for Spam knows no bounds.

“It’s a staple,” Yamaki told The Washington Post.

The thefts have proliferated to the point that some businesses are putting Spam in plastic cases under lock and key, she said, along with the more conventional and more expensive shoplifting targets such as electronics, Gillette Power Fusion razor refills and, as it happens, canned corned beef, also popular in Hawaii.

To buy a can of Spam, you have to ask a salesperson to retrieve it.

Yamaki thinks Spam has become a form of currency, particularly for drug addicts in need of quick cash. With Spam selling for roughly $2.50 per 12-ounce can (depending on where in Hawaii you look), a thief who paid nothing for an 8-pack or a case of 12 can turn a decent profit underselling the retailers from whom they stole.

Brilliant! The story goes on to talk about how and why the Spam black market thrives and what it means for the Hawaiian economy. You really must finish and you will be smiling all day too.

But real quick, what is the last thing you have shop lifted?

Stab: This week in bad-vertorial!

"Oakley paid us to say that, but it's true!"

Advertising editorial, or advertorial, is the wave of three years ago but if you go to Mar Vista’s own as much as I do then you would be forgiven for thinking that it is also the future. Nobody but nobody tries to twist a company’s ad budget into awkward prose masquerading as real news than Stab. Nobody but nobody also throws fake Facebook “likes” at that story to make it look miraculously popular.

Maybe it’s the website’s DNA as part of an online surf retailer. Maybe it’s just a passion project. Whatever the case, Stab leads the way. And let us examine today’s offering for Oakley underneath the subhead…

“Oakley paid us to say that, but it’s true!”

A good pair of sunglasses exists to serve two main purposes: To look fucking cool and to provide protection for you eyes. Oakley’s new PRIZM technology adds a third. It involves what they call ultra precise colour tuning, for any environment. We’ll let them explain: “by fine-tuning individual wavelengths of colour, PRIZM sharpens visual acuity to reveal nuances that would be missed by the naked eye.”

Etc. Etc.

You probably know Oakley for their classic Frogskins, or those big wraps you’ve seen Kolohe Andino wearing in his post-heat interviews on the WSL webcast. But Oakley has some really good contemporary styles in their collection. Easily on the top of this list is the Latch, an easy-wearing modern classic.

Do you think it really is true? Do you think Oakley likes that Stab hedges by claiming, “Oakley paid us to say that?” Does it make you want to buy a pair of “contemporary styles” in Oakley’s collection?

I think Oakley was as bummed as the reader here which means Stab wins the award for this week’s bad-vertorial!

"It's not just surfers and swimmers but people, millions of people, thinking: I don't want to go swimming in the ocean anymore. That's not just an inconvenience. That's taking away from us one of the most important things we can do. Which is to immerse ourselves in the ocean.

Humane: Greg Webber’s Miracle Shark Net!

No one dies! Shark or surfer!

This whole shark thing has got out of hand, wouldn’t y’say?

On the one side, the groovies who are firm in the belief that the life of every shark is god-like and therefore any attempt to mitigate growing populations is immoral and catastrophic.

On the other, pragmatists who believe sharks aren’t any different to the tuna we happily gorge on at the sushi carousel and therefore refuse to build shrines to the animal.

In a town like Ballina where the sudden arrival of Great Whites killed not just surfers but the whole surf buzz, it’s either net the beaches or don’t net ’em. And the problem, if you regard it as a problem, is that nets kill.

Drowning in the nets are the god-like shark, the happy turtle, the even happier and the even more photogenic dolphin and whale etc.

But what if I told that the shaper and possible wavepool inventor Greg Webber, whose brother Dan has become the defacto leader of the pragmatist camp, has designed a shark net that…doesn’t kill.

Webber’s shark enclosure wraps the surfer and swimmer up in metaphorical cotton wool but, through the use of pylons that move and keep the net taut and “little moving elements on the net that flutter enough in the flow of the wave that the entire net will be noticeable to any creature day or night”, it doesn’t trap the damn fish.

Perfect, yes?

Everyone’s a winner and so forth. 

Greg sent the proposal, at his brother’s behest to the Senate Standing Committee inquiry into shark mitigation and deterrent measures, an ongoing investigation by the Australian government.

The design, which Greg says is cost-effective as well as non-lethal, took him two days to work out.

“I didn’t event to bother going public on this one. Everyone would just think it’s another crazy Webber idea.”

The net is real simple. Mouth-wateringly simple.

Click here for the PDF submission

Click here for an animation of how the nets move with the waves.

“The animation helps visualise the fact that despite tilting to a moderate degree there is always enough net above the waves to make sure nothing scary pops over the top,” says Greg.

Millions of people, thinking: I don’t want to go swimming in the ocean anymore. That’s not just an inconvenience. That’s taking away from us one of the most important things we can do. Which is to immerse ourselves in the ocean. It’s what we need to be  doing more of, not less. We can’t be horrified of going into the ocean.

And the philosophy behind it all is beautiful.

“It’s not just surfers and swimmers but people, millions of people, thinking: I don’t want to go swimming in the ocean anymore. That’s not just an inconvenience. That’s taking away from us one of the most important things we can do. Which is to immerse ourselves in the ocean. It’s what we need to be  doing more of, not less. We can’t be horrified of going into the ocean. So if we can’t kill the sharks we’ve gotta keep the two parties apart. There’s too much fighting, people hating each others’ guts over the issue, people virtue signalling online and it’s distracting from a moral issue.”


Globalism: “I am Brazilian too!”

The world needs more uniters.

We live in the most divisive of times, blacks hating whites, browns hating whites, whites hating whites, whites hating taxes, whites hating healthcare, whites hating intercontinental ballistic missiles, whites hating North American free trade and I think this is all very sad. Oh of course our surf bubble is not immune. We bicker like the rest of them and maybe even worse. Australians hating Brazilians, Americans hating Brazilians, Hawaiians hating Brazilians, the French hating Brazilians, etc. A bunch of ugly nationalists.

This polarization is getting us nowhere though. And it is sad. So today I went looking for a role model. Someone we could all look to as an example of open-hearted civility in these darkest days. Someone we could hold up and emulate.

And I found that person.


Chas Smith.

Before the Corona J-Bay Open, you see, I set my Fantasy Surfer team to “all Brazilian.” That’s right. I paddled Adriano de Souza, Gabriel Medina, Filipe Toledo, Italo Ferreira, Caio Ibelli, Wiggolly Dantas, Miguel Pupo and Jadson Andre into the best J-Bay ever and they performed horribly.

But you know what? I forgot that I had a Fantasy Surfer team and so also paddled them into the Hurley Pro where they did better and the Quiksilver Pro where they did worse. And now my team is 20,662 out of 21,583.

Expect to see me interviewed by Anderson Cooper soon. And don’t forget your tissues.

Choose: Your Stoke Ambassador!

The WSL is electing your voice! Choose wisely!

Being grouchy really brands a man as old and irrelevant, know what I’m saying? Or brands a man Gen-X which is pretty much the same thing. The kids aren’t grouchy. They are filled with hope and passion even though their entire world is ending in a hail of North Korean missiles and rising sea levels. Just kidding. Kim Jong Un will never really succeed and global warming is a lie. Know what I’m saying?

But how did we get so far away from Stoke and Leisure? Your World Surf league Ambassador of Stoke and Leisure finalists are in and YOU get to decide! Should we meet them?


1) Jason who says, “I’m the biggest gas station around. I use practices such as yoga, meditation, earthing, surfing and skating to fill my energy tank – not other people.”

2) Linda who says, “I’m stoked about surfing, coconuts, shells, people, stray dogs, mangos, sand between my toes, sunlight, sand in my wetsuit, bonfires, sand in my bed, moonshine, acoustic guitars, flashmobs, sand in my bikini…”

3) Mariana who says, “I’ve been working and traveling for a long time and I absolutely LOVED it.”

4) Sara who says, “eat as much coconut as i can and .. why not? share one with John John Florence!”

5) Scott who says, “I have those cahoonas and I’m ready for this challenge if given the opportunity.”

6) Adam who says, “Everything I have done, seen, and accomplished this far in my life has led me to this point.”

7) Zach who says, “Whether I get the position or not, I’m way too obsessed with filmmaking, photography, travel, surf, and the world of adventure to ever give up the dream.”

8) Pat who says, ” I’ve been told my spirit animal is a yellow labrador.”

Soooooooooooooooo? Who you feeling? Don’t be lazy. Vote today!

And it may totally read like I’m being ironic but I am not. Irony is cheap. Grouchy is out. Let’s embrace hope!