Revealed: Santa Cruz’s dirty secret!

Will surf's other city be forever changed?

Santa Cruz is a fantastic town, one of California’s greatest, with a surf history as storied as any. I think it was two Hawaiian princes who first brought surfing to the cold kelp and the locals took to it with gusto. Many years later we have Steamer Lane, O’Neill, Pleasure Point, The Big Dipper, Maverick (kind of) and methamphetamine. Surfing would be a dull penny without Santa Cruz.

But guess what? Things may be changing for it has been revealed that Amazon, the biggest company in the world, has opened a secret office in Surf’s Other City and let’s read about it in CNBC:

Santa Cruz, located 75 miles south of San Francisco, is a popular surf town best known for its nice weather and beachfront amusement park.

But soon we may start associating the city more closely with one of the largest tech companies in the world: Amazon.

According to the Silicon Valley Business Journal, Amazon has been quietly growing its presence in Santa Cruz over the past two years, now employing over 100 people in a 40,000 square feet office space.

It’s unclear what exactly the team there is working on or why Amazon has picked Santa Cruz as an office location. But the report says the office has a group of engineers working on the Alexa voice technology and could possibly expand up to 200 people.

I would way rather have a meth problem then an Alexa problem but what about you? Are you a fan of voice activated robot help? Or, like me, do you prefer methamphetamine? If the nerds take over and Santa Cruz becomes like Venice Beach and Venice-adjacent then… well… then it will be a very sad day indeed.

Real quick… do you use any voice activated robot help like Siri or Alexa or anything? I never have but should I?

Guarantee me a tight back door, daddy?

Watch: Kelly Slater hosts “Only in LA”

Champ drags gimp foot along for behind-the-scenes romp at the Hurley Pro!

Last month, Kelly Slater hosted ESPN’s Only In LA segment with a behind-the-scenes look at the Hurley Pro, which was held at Lowers, in San Clemente.

Although too smart to achieve the vapidity required of the modern television host, Slater, first, engages in riveting dialogue with the 1988 world-champ-turned-commentator Barton Lynch (Kelly tells Barton he has a photograph of him being beaten up by US marines in Japan).

He then surprises Joe Turpel and Martin Potter in the broadcast booth. Joe’s startled look is a chilling portent of what goes on behind the scenes.

Kelly takes the viewer through the competitors’ locker room where Matt Wilkinson, affixing his contest jersey, appears on the brink of tears.

Ultimately, Kelly delivers his prize – an interview with the iconic photographer Steve Sherman, whose pencil moustache sings of padded booths in dirty bars and drinking Crystal with a sloe-eyed beauty in a tight pink dress.

Watch here!

Just in: “Laird can fuck himself!”

When will the superlative deluge stop?

The world has demanded a third Laird Hamilton documentary and what the hell is wrong with us? Laird and Riding Giants were apparently not enough to fill our insatiable cravings. We needed Take Every Wave. A third bio-doc about Laird Hamilton truly and earnestly titled Take Every Wave.

Take Every Wave.

We begged for it.

The film is directed Robert Kennedy’s daughter. She, of course, a legend from a legendarily liberal family but somehow she has become swept up in the Trumpification of language.


A curse!

And come on. Are you not tired of everything being the biggest, greatest, grandest, estest? I am. I am exhausted by the never ending stream of superlatives that infect every bit of our media. Why can’t things just be ok? Why can’t they quietly be what they are? The superlative storm has rendered our speech meaningless. If everything is the greatest than nothing is.

Rory Kennedy.

Laird Hamilton.

They should both know better. Especially Rory Kennedy since she is a Kennedy.

Fucking hyperbole.

And would you like to read some hyperbolic statements from the Take Every Wave 1:30 trailer? Too bad.

Intensity no one has ever seen. Hawaii’s biggest swell in years. It’s the largest ever recorded. We heard it was undoable. It was just asking to die. Legendary surfer Laird Hamilton has pioneered the sport of riding huge waves. He was fearless. We all thought he was crazy. Laird would do these things that nobody had ever seen. He’s as radical as they come. Visionary. Laird completely redefined what it meant to be a surfer.

Yeah. Not one word of that is true. But if Laird Hamilton could fuck himself then we’d be on to something. Then we’d have a story.

Yemen: The world’s greatest surf town!

Chapter 9: Forget Huntington Beach.

(I am writing a series about Yemen because what is currently happening there is terrible beyond. My inaction disgusts me and so I am going to introduce you to to the country because… the place, people, culture all deserve to be saved. Catch up, if you wish, on the links right here… (Prologue, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8)

(Part 1)

We dragged worn carcasses from the water, from the best wave in the entire world, after I don’t know how long. It was one of those surfs where time stops or rather ceases. We stood on mossy rocks and felt exhilarated. Tired. Happy. Genuinely happy. A few Yemenis had found perches in the cliff across the road and were chewing qat, watching us. Vaguely unimpressed.

We threw our boards into the Landcruiser jabbering about how happy Sam George would be with our discovery, wondering if it was a typical day or an out of the ordinary bump, asking our photographer if he captured any photos of our shredding? He lowered his Blue Blocker slightly and said, “Totally…” though clearly had no idea. He was not a surf photographer and new fangled digital cameras were not good enough for magazine quality yet so he was shooting film.

It was probably better that way. Visions of little jams danced in my head as we hit suburban Mukallah. The outskirts were typical Arab. Three story cement buildings. Wide streets. Mosques. Photos of president Al Abdullah Ali Saleh looking down from light posts. Qat. But there was a feeling in the air that was… otherworldly. Maybe it was the electricity of that surf slowly dissipating. Maybe it was the eons of history floating between Chinese motorcycles and Russian tractors. A Greek navigator commented about the nomads and fish eaters that had set up a trading post on the town to send frankincense to the far corners of of the known world which explained the Indian, Persian and central Asian architecture in city’s center.

It was a perfect set up, hugging a bay and facing the sun. Naked, towering hills proudly flanked the city. The water was surprisingly blue. We drove to the far end and found a perfect ancient hotel with giant bay windows that swung open to a square. We negotiated with the proprietor for a while and he seemed uninterested in renting us a room. A crowd of serious men began to gather and listen to our handicapped blend of Egyptian and scholarly Arabic. Suddenly Ghamdan elbowed us and said, “Let’s go.” We had stopped listening to him by now, more or less, but his urgency seemed out of character so decided to shuffle after him back to the Landcruiser. When we got there we asked what was up. He said, “Too many beards.” And didn’t elaborate further which was also out character. Ghamdan was always one to wink at perceived danger. He was not winking now. He was nervously fiddling with his Kalashnikov.

We agreed to move to a hotel a kilometer up the river that flows through town, just outside the old city. Annoyed because it didn’t have giant bay windows and was named Al-Khail. The Horse. A few years later we would end up staying at the ancient hotel and it was everything it should have been. A few years after that the city became the home of a revitalized Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the target of poorly guided Saudi bombs. Sickly and cruelly decimated.

But that day the sun was setting as the call to prayer began to filter and I knew that no better surf town existed on the face of the earth.

Kelly Slater
Kelly Slater, an unlikely symbol of local pride in Lemoore, California.

Win: Ticket(s) to Kelly Slater’s pool!

Entire pool. Yours. For a whole day.

Kelly Slater has just announced he willl gift two tickets to his (and the WSL’s) Surf Ranch to surfers who donate money to hurricane relief.

As you know, hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria have bombed the Americas this year. The waves have been fabulous but, oowee, it’s also real nice to have clean water and a roof over your head.

It’s a minimum ten bucks to be in the game, an emphatic but not ruinous donation, and this is what you’re up for.


Spend the day at the WSL Surf Ranch
Surf the man-made wave developed by Kelly Slater Wave Company (you’ll be filmed, so you’ll have footage to prove it!)
Be coached by Kelly and learn some techniques from the best there is
Unwind at a BBQ with Kelly and friends
Get flown out and put up in a sweet hotel 


Come to (near) Fresno for the surf experience of a lifetime!

Dig: you’ll have the pool, for a whole day, to yourself (and pal and KS of course). The engineer will even tweak it to a style you’d prefer. De-tune, upscale, whatever you’re feeling.

Other prizes include t-shirts and signed jerseys (including John John Florence, in frame).

Donate five gees and you’ll get “50,000” entries into the contest.

Can you imagine?

Little rich boys and girls all over California storming into daddy’s office and screaming, “I want to go to Kelly’s wave pool… now! Now! Oh daddy, how I hate you!”