A filmic representation of JP mistreating his bookmaker.

Scam: I got rich betting on surf!

Bookies lecturing me about “good faith”. Get fucked.

I am a gambler.

It’s not something I’m proud of, but it’s something I’ve come to accept as inherent in my nature. I can’t always control it, but I can live with it.

It’s my affliction. I take things and run with them until I smash gnashing teeth first into concrete. My fiance thinks I might be on the autistic spectrum, which is probably just her euphemistic self-soothing when I act like a cunt.

I’ve gambled on most things you can imagine, and some you probably can’t. I’ll take it any way I can get it. Live, face-to-sweaty-face in time-abstinent casinos. Furtively, through back doors of peeling painted side streets and shady poker rooms. Or whittling away hours in the self-loathing, perspiring glow of a laptop screen.

I’ve largely been a functioning addict. But, shamefully, the fact that I’m still standing is owing to the better financial decisions of my family. Most significantly, a brother who at the height of my addiction was making enough cash as the skipper of a fishing trawler that bailing out his desperate, degenerate older brother became as regular a routine as hauling up the nets. I’m forever in his debt.

In this context it might be a hard sell to convince you that I’m actually good at gambling, but it’s true. Spend long enough consumed by anything and you’ll be an expert. 10,000 hour rule? Smashed it years ago.

Yet I am not rich. Self-control, patience, knowing my limits…none of these attributes have ever been in my locker. Like I said, teeth to concrete.

But sometimes it works out. And once, for an extended period of time, it worked out that I could make a lot of money from betting on surfing. Once upon a time the online bookies were like green lines of code I manipulated as if I were Neo, flexing The Matrix to my will.

Until a couple of years ago, bets on surfing were unheard of here in the U.K. I’m still a bit surprised that it’s sustainable. But they appeared one day as I trawled for obscure markets, buried deep in “Other Sports”.

Odds on professional surfing were fresh like the first crocus in springtime, ready to heal the hurt of a long winter of soft grounds, cup upsets and bad beats. This is a market I can conquer, I thought. I mean, what the actual fuck do British bookies know about professional surfing?

How right I was.

Bookies like tip off times, and finish lines, and goals. You know, objective things of black and white certainty. To my knowledge they didn’t like scoring which drifted between arbitrary and waffling in accordance with weather or whim. And I was absolutely certain they didn’t understand the tidal intricacies of SW France.

As suspected, the bookmakers didn’t have a clue. There were minor errors (Gabriel Medina 25/1 to win in France anyone?), and there were major errors. On several occasions they presented me with completed heats that I was still able to bet on.

Suddenly I was Sonic the Hedgehog spinning wildly through showers of golden coins.

In a way it was a gamblers dream. In a way it wasn’t. There was something a little empty about it. Real gamblers savour the masochism of losing, because without the lows how do you know the highs?

Nevertheless, I enjoyed it immensely. I sat at home with my laptop and spotted errors. I placed relatively minor bets so as not to arouse suspicion. I told no-one, aside from the brother to whom I was indebted. (He went too hard and too fast with large stakes that were flagged and cancelled but would have netted him enough to retire on if they’d slipped through).

The first time I noticed a major error was after I had sat up all night watching Round two from Tahiti in 2013, I think. The year Ace Buchan won. I refreshed the gambling site in disbelief that they were still offering odds for heats which had finished. In the morning I placed a £100 multiple of guaranteed winners which scooped me around five thousand pounds or seven thousand American dollars.

Most of the time I was betting on outcomes I already knew.

The first time I noticed a major error was after I had sat up all night watching Round two from Tahiti in 2013, I think. The year Ace Buchan won. I refreshed the gambling site in disbelief that they were still offering odds for heats which had finished. In the morning I placed a £100 multiple of guaranteed winners which scooped me around five thousand pounds or seven thousand American dollars.

It took a while for them to process the bet. I was sure it wouldn’t pay out. Bookies were pretty much infallible, I thought. When the money hit my account I was outside the pub having a smoke on the day of my Grandad’s funeral. I withdrew it straight away and tried to mourn and mingle for the rest of that afternoon without grinning.

After that I scoured every market of every event. If they could make an error that massive then surely they would make others? And they did.

I sat at my work desk and watched Slater drop a ten in the opening seconds of his round five heat at the 2014 Rio Pro against Adriano, noticing that the start time was scheduled 15 mins too late. A minor error, but all too easy to take the money. This sort of thing happened regularly.

I watched heats run early in France when the bookies had scheduled start times much later. The European leg was always a gift. You just can’t pin accurate start times to sandbanks and tides. I basked in Kieren Perrow’s morning calls. I could almost taste the boulangeries and the pine trees and the sex. It was bliss.

It lasted for three seasons before the oddsmakers got their shit together. The last mistakes I remember were in the 2015/16 season. I don’t know how much I made overall. I can’t tell you because my accounts were all frozen. Some of them remain in negative figures where the bookies cancelled bets I’d already withdrawn. I’ll never pay it back.

I placed my bets carefully, conscious of not leaving it too long lest the errors be spotted, which sometimes happened. I tried not to go too daft. A few doubles, a scatter of trebles, a four-fold here and there. The errors slipped on by. I wondered if I was the only punter in Britain betting on surfing every single time I cashed out.

It lasted for three seasons before the oddsmakers got their shit together. The last mistakes I remember were in the 2015/16 season. I don’t know how much I made overall. I can’t tell you because my accounts were all frozen. Some of them remain in negative figures where the bookies cancelled bets I’d already withdrawn. I’ll never pay it back.

I took a couple of calls at the time from earnest representatives of bookmakers who said things like “There’s been a mistake, Mr Currie…we believe your bets were placed in error…betting should be done in good faith…obviously we cannot reclaim winnings paid out in error but…”

Bookies lecturing me about “good faith”. Get fucked.

I owe them nothing but I’m persona non-grata with nearly all of them these days. Partly because of my activity in the surfing markets, partly because of some other loopholes I discovered. I do have a couple of sneaker accounts, but it’s been dialled back significantly.

They’ve done me a favour, really. It was fun while it lasted. I’m pretty sure it’s the most money I’ll ever make from surfing.

(Editor’s note: this story segues well into the sidebar ad that links to PalmerBet, an Australian surf gambling site. Did you know Zeke Lau is paying 100-1 at Snapper? Joel Parkinson 17-1?)

Warning: Zombie cats terrorize Hawaii!

First meth and now this!

The zombie craze was such a dang thing two-ish years ago, wasn’t it though. From television shows like The Walking Dead to books like Guide to The Zombie Survival Guide to the dead-in-the-not-so-distant-future-of-some-flesh-eating-disease chic that made its way down Parisian runways zombies were totally everywhere.

Of course I don’t believe in zombies in real life but the wonderful Hawaiian islands are beginning to challenge my prejudices. The chain, as you know, has many methamphetamine enthusiasts and while not officially “zombies” they sure do act the part. And now Hawaii is home to cats carrying some brain eating protozoan (called “toxo”) that essentially zombifies them. Let us read a snippet from Outside magazine:

There was something else about toxo that made it especially creepy, in a Walking Dead kind of way. For starters, the perpetrating protozoa, T. gondii, can sexually reproduce only in the gut of a felid, a member of the cat family. An infected felid excretes the protozoa in the form of microscopic oocysts, and a single felid can poop out hundreds of millions of oocysts, although only one is needed to infect another animal. If a rat then consumes an oocyst, the protozoa can take over the rat’s brain and make it lose all fear of cats. Studies report toxo-infected rats cavorting in cat urine. Cats consume such rats easily, enabling T. gondii to replicate again.

While not having fear and cavorting in cat urine may seem like a wonderful vacation it is very dangerous I think. In short, the disease spreads to all sorts of seals, pigs, dogs, birds etc. mostly from these wild zombie cats. A bill was introduced in the state legislature to outlaw the feeding of feral cats, thus culling the population but cat people got all crazy and killed it in committee and now there is a war between cat people and non-cat people and the zombie cats are going nuts everywhere.

Very strange times and do the zombie cats make you re-think your next Hawaiian vacation? If the World Surf League does not, in fact, secure a permit for the 2019 season do you imagine the zombie cats could pull off the Pipeline Masters? Who would they invite to participate?


Watch: Mark Healey in “My Secret Garden!”

"Villainising GM foods is asinine," says filmmaker Cyrus Sutton.

Women of a certain advanced age will get the title of this story. It refers, as none of you know or me until recently, to the Nancy Friday book My Secret Garden, an explosive collection of female sexual fantasies that was released in 1973.

Let’s read a couple of quotes for context:

“Rape does for a woman’s sexual fantasy what the first martini does for her in reality: both relieve her of responsibility and guilt.”

“Who said “ladies” don’t use words like “fuck” and “cunt,” or that one doesn’t use them around “ladies”? Maybe not when you’re having lunch with a lady, but when a lady’s fucking, she’s not having lunch.”

And the compelling fantasy?

Madge is a married woman, who has a very detailed fantasy she eagerly shares with Friday.

“I find myself at the door of a big house,” she begins.

 A black man, and a ‘buxom’ black woman invite her into their home. She is dragged into a room with a large male dog and a young man.

“I am ordered to strip naked,” Madge recounts, and the man says “Let’s see what you’ve got.”

(Read the long-form version of that here: Friday Nancy – My secret garden)

But we come not for Nancy nor the erotic liberation of women, but the liberation of big-waver Mark Healey’s garden in the hills behind the North Shore. The filmmaker and #vanlife doyen, Cyrus Sutton, has made this short about Healey’s little garden being transformed by a group called “Permablitz.”

“The past three years I was making a documentary about food sovereignty in Hawaii called Island Earth,” says Cyrus. “The project took me away from beach culture and introduced me to the backyard farming movement across the islands. A group called ‘Permablitz’ on Oahu really impressed me. It’s a reciprocal gardening network that combines hands-on small-scale farming education with a party. If you participate in three events flush with local food, music and garden building, you become eligible for the ‘party’ to come to your house. At the end of the day you’ll walk away with a new garden in your backyard and a working knowledge of how maintain it and cultivate food for yourself and your neighbors. I gardening is typically seen as a menial task and I like these folks were breathing some fun into it.”

Is it a rail against the evils of genetically modified foods?

“It’s not exactly railing against genetically modified foods,” says Cyrus.

I know you’re a realist as much as an idealist. Some GM foods are good, yes? Increased yields etc? What’s the bad side o’ things?

“GM foods are a technology, villainising any technology is asinine,” says Cyrus. “I have issues with how the technology is being used right now but I think GMO’s have potential to solve some problems.”

Describe Healey (last seen on these pages pushing his barrow in a feud against Depactus founder Luke Egan).

“He’s just a no-bullshit, hard working guy who like to fish, hunt and surf. He cares about self-reliance and thinks the world would be a better place if everyone took stake in their realities and endeavored to improve them.”

And the take-out from the film?

“A lot of the food we eat is imported from a long ways away. We can work together to improve the quality and impact of our food by coming together to learn, share and reap the nutritious rewards in a fun way.”

Enter: The big wave contest for us!

Your plus-sized dreams are about to come true!

Have you ever fantasized about entering a big wave contest? Maybe it’s late at night and you’ve had many drinks/much cocaine and you think, “You know what? I could do it. I could totally enter Maverick’s/Jaws/The Eddie/Belharra etc. I can paddle, I can go straight and I ain’t afraid of nothing.” Maybe it’s midday and you happen to catch a round of Nazaré action at your local pizza place and you think, “Look at that mushburger. I could take it.”

But let’s be honest. You and I are not really cut out for big wave surfing. We can’t hold our breaths very long and our shoulders pop out of socket when we try and paddle with force. Am I right? Well I was right until this very moment and all thanks to Florida.

The Sunshine State is proudly hosting the Salt Life Food Shack Florida Big Wave Challenge and we’ve got a shot!

The rules are simple per the contest website.

Challenge Dates: July 15 – November 1, 2018
Participants must Register to win.
Teams consist of one surfer and one photographer.
Winners will be announced at the Awards Party at Salt Life Food Shack in Jacksonville Beach, FL on November 18, 2017. Must be present to win.

Got that? So you just have to go bag a sick wave in Florida this coming summer/autumn and get the shot to prove it. I think good. I think we could win. I think next time it’s late at night and you’ve had many drinks/much cocaine you could tell everyone that you are a big wave champion and everyone will be impressed.

Register here!

Gimme: The velvety pipes of Todd Richards!

Snowboarding's Todd Richards is the answer to WSL commentary woes!

The World Surf League’s 2018 season will commence next month and, before last night, I had completely given up on any changes to the announcing crew. Oh you’ve read the gentle prodding directed toward the booth here for years. Like when the great surf historian Matt Warshaw wrote: “Martin Potter’s jaw-grinding voice sounds as if its been filtered through six espresso shots and a migraine headache.” And “Turpel hurts me on a both a professional and personal level.”

But what are we going to do? Every season the prodding gets less and less and less because I’ve lost hope. Complete and utter hope. The WSL is not going to change the lineup and, what’s even worse, before last night I couldn’t even imagine who they could/should introduce. Sal Masekela is too satisfied with his pro surfer friendships, Wassel too hyped, Todd Kline has gone fishing and Trippie Redd is busy leaning. Cote might be great but as a color man not the anchor that holds it all down.

There is no anchor to hold it all down. No savior.

Until last night.

I was watching Olympic snowboarding, you see, and into my ears flooded the velvety pipes of Todd Richards. He is NBC’s “man on the mountain” and was knowledgeable, authoritative, intelligent. He mixed the exact right amount of insider information with helpful beginner explanation all in a rich baritone. He knew when to talk and knew when to shut his mouth, letting the moment breathe.

And he’s handsome. Like, a more masculine/less pudgy Mexican nativity cherub version of Joe Turpel.

“So what?” you say. “Todd Richards ain’t no surfer…”

And I almost lunge across the coffee table right at you because yes he is. Todd Richards lives very near to me in bucolic North County San Diego, surfs often and well. He knows all the grabs, he knows all the jams off the top and squirts off the bottom. He knows it all and I don’t know how this very obvious solution had not become obvious to me before last night.

Todd Richards is the answer to all our surf commentary problems and we should all email the World Surf League’s Santa Monica office today and demand his inclusion. Maybe let’s try [email protected] and if that doesn’t work I’ll give you Dave Prodan’s phone number.