Hawaiian man hit with “lava bomb!”

"Even small pieces can kill."

The beloved Joni Mitchell song Big Yellow Taxi is most famous for its lyric “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” An apt rendering of our modern age, it is sometimes difficult to imagine what this world must have been like before we totally dominated it. Before we imposed our mighty will upon its feeble strictures. But Hawaii has provided a glimpse of unpaved paradise these last few months.

There have been devastating rainfall and floods on the garden isle of Kauai. There has been a vicious concession grab on Oahu’s Waikiki and now a volcano is threatening the entirety of the Big Island.

For many years tourists have swooned as Kilauea has danced for their pleasure. Little mini eruptions, lava flows to the sea, steam etc. It is, in point of fact, the world’s most active volcano and has been since man has waltzed the earth.

Things had, anyhow, been getting more serious with Kilauea all month with larger sulfurous belches and lava flows burning fields, houses and roads. Then on May 17 the volcano blew its stack sending poisonous ash 30,000 feet into the air and also “lava bombs” which caused the first reported injury. And let us read:

A Hawaii man standing on his third-floor balcony was hurt Saturday when he was hit by lava spatter, becoming the first person injured by the Kilauea eruption.

The man’s leg was shattered from shin to foot as a result of the impact, according to Reuters. He has been identified as a homeowner on Noni Farms Road, but no additional information was immediately available.

“I heard the injury was quite bad, serious to his leg,” Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Lava spatters “can weigh as much as a refrigerator and even small pieces of spatter can kill,” Janet Snyder, a spokeswoman for the Office of the Mayor, County of Hawaii, told Reuters.

I mean, son of a bitch. I would imagine, if you were lounging on your third floor Hawaiian balcony, that you would feel immune to nature’s wrath. What could get you all the way up there? What could possibly cause you harm besides a bad building superintendent or fussy doorman? Certainly not a lava bomb. But there we have it. A cruel twist of fate.

Before today I did not know that “lava bombs” existed but from henceforth I shall keep an ear out for their potentiality even though I can’t imagine any effort could thwart. Maybe paradise is fighting back. In the meantime, would you like to watch a short informational video narrated by a man with a soothing accent? These things help in times like ours.

Now that you are comforted would you like to watch a music video of 90s college band Counting Crows covering Big Yellow Taxi? Sorry. I am going to make you anyway.

Peter Schroff
Schroff and his "Yellow-Face" Instagram post which may, or may not, have got his account removed from IG under new terms regarding racism etc. "The pictures that I printed with those chopsticks was taken by my Japanese friend in a sushi bar. Mark Price knows goddamned well I'm not racist."

Peter Schroff: “I’m a stick of dynamite!”

The noted shaper on his defence of the made-in-America surfboard industry…

Three days ago, the shaper Peter Schroff’s Instagram account, a vehicle he used to shit on made-in-Asia surfboards, had been disappeared.

Read that here. 

Or if you want a quick education into his attacks on Slater Designs, Firewire and so on, click on Blood Feud: Schroff v Hayden Cox, Relentless: Schroff’s War on Mark PricePeter Schroff Does Yellow Face, Modern: Peter Schroff Doubles Down and Three-Way: Dorian v Tudor v Schroff.

I’d tried to contact Schroff, who is sixty-three years old, retired and living in a gorgeous shack in San Pedro, Los Angeles, a couple of times, Facebook, IG, the usual. At the end of my last story, I tried to smoke him out by calling him a sissy.

An email was duly relieved: “We think it might be in your best interest to print the truth save your credibility. Last we heard you were going to interview us to get the truth from the horses mouth, the next day Beach Grit is sporting A FireLiar ad & the interview never happen. You know darn good ’n well what this battle is about, Over sea surfboards production is flooding our market with unethical business practice!…… seems there’s some dirty hands involved here.”

Earlier today, I called Schroff. A soft voice answered.

“Who in the heck is this?”

Oh it’s Derek, BeachGrit. Tell me, where are you and what are you doing?

“You know, having a cigarette and a beer. Doing pretty well. I haven’t received a call from Australia in twenty or thirty years.”  

What happened to your Instagram account?

“Well, the big boys had it yanked off Instagram. It just disappeared. No warning, no nothing.”

Are you going to start a new account?

“Well, you know, the thing is, it took years to develop that following. We were gaining momentum ’cause it was definitely hurting Firewire. I heard they got it disappeared through an attorney. Said, they’re killing our business.”

I mention that Mark Price told me he had nothing to do with it and that it was, most likely, removed because of what was perceived to be racist content.

Ohhhh,” says Schroff. “You’re from BeachGrit. Shit, it took me a while. I can barely understand English let alone an Australian accent on top of it.

“But, yeah, everybody sent me messages saying I gotta go look at BeachGrit, that it was very one-sided on the Firewire side. You know, once Kelly Slater joined Firewire it started taking off, outta control. The way I see it, another five years there won’t be any surfboard industry except for the Asian one.”

The American board builders are cutting each others’ throats to sell boards. They can’t compete with boards landed for 120 or 150 dollars. It’s a complete mess here.

I ask: but doesn’t the made-in-Asia phenomenon create a point of difference for the custom shaper?

“Well, you know, you got the little hipster thing over here, that’s the custom thing. That’s maybe five percent of the market and at the rate it’s going, ninety-five percent of the market will soon be Asian-made boards. The American board builders are cutting each others’ throats to sell boards. They can’t compete with boards landed for 120 or 150 dollars. It’s a complete mess here. They’re cutting corners to make boards cheaper and it’s ruining the market. Nobody can compete with the consignment surfboard strategy. That’s causing a lot of damage. Every shop is taking 120 Firewires in their store because they get ’em for free, basically, they only have to pay when they sell ’em. And you know how surfboard shops are. They don’t pay their bills too well. It could be six months before the surfboard maker is paid. Firewire has the backing to pull that off.”

Interestingly, the consumer hasn’t directly benefited from the reduced cost of wholesale .

“The retail cost is pretty similar whether it’s made in Asia or custom-made here but the fact is, they’re giving the retailer a lot bigger profit margin and consignment. It costs a custom shaper 215 just to get his shape glassed.

I’ve been surfing for fifty-five years and I’m watching it just turn into a toaster oven business. The methods that we’re using is to ridicule Kelly and Mark Price and to have local people be too embarrassed to buy the boards. That’s the strategy.

“And besides,” says Schroff. “I’m retired. I just build boards for friends. I might do one or two boards a week. I’m not fighting for my livelihood. I’m fighting for the surf culture. I’m the elected jack-ass. That’s my stand on it. And, believe me, I’ve never been political in my whole fucking life. This thing is outta hand. I’ve been surfing for fifty-five years and I’m watching it just turn into a toaster oven business. The methods that we’re using is to ridicule Kelly and Mark Price and to have local people be too embarrassed to buy the boards. That’s the strategy.

“Nobody wants to touch me with a ten-foot pole. I’m a stick of dynamite. Most people are watching in the background. But it’s leaving its mark. Definitely every surfboard builder and retailer in the US knows what’s going on.

“Can you name anything that’s handmade any more? Skateboards are over and there’s nothing else. So it’s like preserving an endangered species. And, believe me, America is rooting to win this fight.”

Joey Buran, the USA surf team coach, ponders ways to smash nature.
Joey Buran, the USA surf team coach, ponders ways to smash nature. | Photo: Surfer Today

Olympics: “Competition against nature!”

But who will win?

It is Sunday morning in America and what a fine week stretches out behind us. There was the Oi Rio Pro and its eventual champion Filipe Toledo saving professional surfing from mechanical boredom. There was Steph Gilmore admitting to wanting so much more. There was the death of the greatest surf writer to ever live and there was a massive protest in front of the Duke Kahanamoku statue fronting Honolulu’s famed Waikiki beach.

But there wasn’t any Olympic surf news. Oh earlier in the fine week I read that Joey Buran is the United States Olympic Surf Team coach and will go head to head against Bede Durbo (Australia) and Charlie Medina (Brazil) for international bragging rights, fame* and fortune** but the news did not crack BeachGrit’s slider… until now.

The Olympics, as you well know, will take place exactly two years from now in Tokyo, Japan and surfing is officially included. A Kelly Slater wave pool is being built near Tokyo and I do believe there is language in the contract that allows the Olympic competition to be held there, the organizers still dream of hosting a natural event. The official Tokyo 2020 website states affirmatively:

The competition will take place on the open ocean, where the condition of the waves, the direction and strength of the wind, and the height of the tides will all be factors. No two waves are alike, making surfing a competition against nature as much as it is a contest between the competing athletes.

And the phrase “…surfing a competition against nature…” certainly made me stop and think. Do you feel like you are competing against nature when you surf? Do the professionals? It seems very antagonistic but maybe we are? Destroying nature the best we can while laughing maniacally? Smashing nature into the ground to show it who’s boss? This “competition against nature” bit sure does make it easier to ride very toxic surfboards and litter without pause. Smearing sunscreen all over before surfing reef passes, etc.

In this “competition against nature” which country wins? The United States of America are early favorites but Australia spews out exactly as much CO2 per capita as its erstwhile cousin and Brazil actively chops its rain forests down as quickly as it possibly can. A lot closer than it appears at first glance, no?


surf comedy
Is there a joy in life greater than watching an adult beginner in the surf? Is it the highest mountain of comedy?

Movie: “The beauty in skilled performance!”

A forty-three minute surf comedy!

One-and-a-half years ago, the Ventura-based surf filmer Norwell9 (he don’t like you using his real name) quit the game despite the popularity of his Instagram comedy clips. 

As he put it at the time,

Just like the country song says, “My camera broke down, care broke down, computer down…” After trying to nurse this season, tonight the axel on my old car snapped.  That and with my camera down and costly repairs I am forced to make the decision to shut down the volunteer work that I have been doing in the Ventura area for the past 31/2 years. I will organize all current footage, make the remainder instas, and then make a final Insta Movie #2.  Then celebrate all that we have accomplished with one final party and be gone.”

Of course no one really quits.

And goodbyes are never forever

You might turn your head away from the thing you love. You might seek other kinks, new adventures, pussies as slippery as freshly shucked Indonesian pawpaw or cocks of the friendliest red, but you always return.

Today, we’d like to present Norwell9’s return, which was filmed on the southern Californian coastline from Rincon to Malibu. The surfers featured include Dane Reynolds, Lakey Peterson, Griff Colapinto, Parker Coffin, Tim Curran and so on.

“It represents 10,038,486 views on Instagram in the nine months,” he says. “But it’s just me having fun with and volunteering filming the local surfers. In the process, I was at most of the good days this winter. Please remind everyone that I am just a monkey that hits record. The true stars are in the water and on the beach.”


Ross Williams (pictured bottom left) looking taciturn.
Ross Williams (pictured bottom left) looking taciturn.

The unbearable weight of being (a coach)!

"At the end of the day it’s good to eat humble pie!"

With Filipe Toledo’s win in Brazil we are now officially… wow I was going to write halfway though the 2018 World Surf League Championship Tour but we’re only three events in. Three! Can you believe it? I mean, I suppose we’re really four events in if we count Margaret River as an “event” and I think we should because it was certainly action-packed and the perfect set up for Founders Cup in Lemoore, California where neither shark nor dolphin swim.

There are, of course, many intriguing storylines.

-Will Julian Wilson hold on to win his first ever world title?

-Will Filipe Toledo, instead, swoop in and claim his first of many crowns?

-Will the upcoming Lemoore Classic be as dull as the just passed Founders Cup?

-Will Uluwatu shine in the spotlight?

-Will John John Florence continue his subpar performance and who is to blame?

Let’s break this last intriguing storyline down.

-Maybe no one is to blame.

-Maybe John John is to blame.

-Maybe John John’s coach Ross Williams is to blame.

Hmmmm. It is rude to blame Ross, certainly. He does not tie on the boardshorts nor does he paddle into waves BUT he is coach and, as such, his entire job is to make John John win. Ross addressed these concerns on Instagram and let us read.

Johns had a couple poor results this year but it was never due to a lack of effort or will. Despite all the talk, some warranted and frankly some due to just laziness in my opinion, John has been surfing with the same conviction and froth as the last two years. All these amazing surfers go through their dry runs. It happens. He had a couple insane rides in his heat today but honestly I was happier with how well he built to his aggression. He fought hard for a couple scores which led to him putting the hammer down. Funny how much John gets scrutinized against his own potential. He’s had some of the most aggressive and progressive rides this year and some decent heat totals. Just a couple sloppy heats in the mix to give him those bad results. It’s a testimony more to the level of the tour. Everyone rips. At the end of the day it’s good to eat humble pie. I think it’s made his fire even stronger. He will continue to draw different lines and push the sport with integrity. Hoping it will inspire the yarners to do the same.

A fine post but I have a few more questions.

-Why is it funny how John John gets scrutinized against his own potential?

-Which of the talk is warranted and which is lazy?

-Is it really good to eat humble pie?

-What’s a yarner?

Most pundits have buried John John’s year, concluding he is too deep down the rankings for a comeback. The World Surf League’s own official mouthpiece seems to agree, suggesting people should be worried. Ross seems unperturbed but being a coach ain’t easy. The NBA’s Toronto Raptors just fired theirs after he won Coach of the Year.

A heavy burden. An unbearable weight.