Draconian: The public shaming of Lowers!

Iconic southern California wave did not deserve this.

It is the first day of September in southern California and feels like it. Yesterday’s August sun has been replaced by a cool mist. The children cower in the corner, severely shell-shocked, having just completed their first or second week of school. It feels like fall. Like the Hurley Pro at Lower Trestles.

Oh how my heart would soar these past eight years when the calendar turned for that is when I began to hear the song of those cobbled stones. They would whisper in the most delicate tune, whisper, “Come stand upon us… come and watch the world’s best surfers on one of the world’s best waves… come and rub sunburned shoulders with the people… come offer them sunscreen for their sunburned shoulders… come.”

Of course I would heed their call. Of course I would drive and park and walk and watch from the tent city, that Cair Paravel, and feel in touch with professional surfing once again.

And of course we all know that Lowers is not, in fact, “one of the world’s best waves” but it is an undeniably fun wave to both surf and watch. The announcers, from Pete Mel to Ron Blakey to the ’89 World Champ, couldn’t help but call it a “skate park.” A stupid description but as far as the waves on tour go partially accurate.

Well, Lowers is no longer with us. It has been replaced by Lemoore, all cow stinky and gray, and a fitting burial would have been to hand the wave and waiting period over to the locals. To let them enjoy prime Autumn but no. Lowers has been publicly shamed. Forced to wear a scarlet “L” for longboarding. Forced to host a longboard event.

Now, I have nothing against longboarding whatsoever and spend many afternoons on Cardiff-by-the-Sea’s sand enjoying seeing that dance. The walking to nose and taking off fins forward and arching back. Cardiff’s waves are conducive to the activity as are Malibu’s, Church’s, San-O’s etc. Lowers waves are not conducive and never have had any moment of hot longboarding action save the great Herb Fletcher but for some reason, for some very sad reason, Lowers will be hosting the RELIK World Longboard Tour stop from Sept. 9 – Sept. 19.

The shame of losing high performance professional surfing is one thing. The shame of hosting high performance professional longboarding is quite another. Quite another altogether and Lowers will have to carry that shame for years to come. Years and years and years especially if a high performance longboarder sticks an alley-oop or some sad thing that we must watch on repeat.

Longboarding doesn’t belong at Lowers and if my name was Chris Ward I would paddle out there every single day from Sept. 9 – Sept. 19 and refuse to move.

Dane Reynolds screening in Santa Barbara creates unforeseen drama!

Nothing can derail local love for favorite son but where is Chas?

If you’ve been to Santa Barbara, you’ll know that Channel Islands occupies a shingled, craftsman-style house next to the railroad tracks. The store is a block or so away from the brand’s original shop whose bones now lie under a luxury hotel. There’s a front porch with rocking chairs and more surfboards than a girl could ride in a lifetime.

Tucked behind the shop is a cozy backyard space tailor-made for drinking beers and watching surf movies. Strings of lights hang from the roof. That’s our goal as we chart a meandering course through the board racks. A horde of people clusters around the pizza’s remains and we slide on through. On land, in the lineup, it’s all the same. Then we’re outside and looking for the beer.

It’s always the same people. Maybe you don’t know their names, but you recognize them. You’re at a surf party. There’s pizza and Coors Light. The guy in front of me has a Rip Curl hat jammed on his head, backwards with the silver sticker still shining on the brim. We run into a few friends, a guy who works at the surf shop, another who works at the deli. A cluster of blonde haircuts laughs at their own jokes.

Dane is here. The people love Dane and pack in tight. There’s a brief effort at a question-answer session, but no one can hear. Dane squints, blinded by the projector’s light. He doesn’t know what to say and we don’t mind. We really just want to see some surfing. We don’t actually have any questions.

Looking for the right wifi network is our time’s version of fumbling with the reel-to-reel. The massive number of open tabs on the computers’ browser gives me anxiety and whoever’s working the keyboard mistypes the password on the first attempt. This is me, like every hour of the day. Then we’re in. The screen goes dark and we all lean forward, anticipating.

A trio of groms climb the back fence to get a better view. A couple others climb over the fence from the outside, apparently too cool to come in through the front door. Soon a line of heads peer over the back fence, too cool to come in at all. We stand packed tightly together, sweating gently in the warm summer air.

We watch as Dane rides an unusually wide variety of surfboards. He looks self-conscious on a midlength, as though the idea of doing less with more confounds him entirely. What do I do with this board, he seems to be asking. He invites us to laugh with him as he falls and we do. The closer the board is to a thruster, the more at home he appears — which comes as no surprise at all. His above-the-lip hijinx please the crowd. Dane is surfing and there’s free beer. We’re happy. Sometimes life is that simple.

There’s a drawing for a new surfboard. I never saw the raffle tickets. Finding the beer was winning enough for me. Stocky and bearded, the master of ceremonies pulls out a ticket with the air of a magician producing a unicorn. Someone named Chas wins.“Chas?” Long pause. He asks again, “Is Chas here?” I never see the winner, but they must have found him eventually.

Then we’re swimming toward the exits. I stop to talk to a friend on the way out, forgetting for a moment that in this particular context, he’s famous. Around here, we’re all just people drinking too much coffee and staring at the horizon and it’s easy to forget that there’s anything more to our identities than our shared rituals. Someone bounds up excited to see him and talk shop. I Cheshire Cat into the crowd.

I use the bathroom and it’s filled with surfboards. Stacks of boards lean against every available wall. It’s not really a surprise to find them in the bathroom, too. It reminds me of the time I visited a mountain bike brand who kept their secret prototypes locked in the women’s bathroom. They didn’t get too many female visitors there, apparently.

We walk outside into the soft, late-summer air and unlock our bikes. A friend stands on the corner. “See ya later Lance!” he yells. I flip him off and laughing, we pedal over the culvert and across the tracks toward home, our red tailights dancing in the dark.

It’s good watching surfing with other people. We should all do that more often.

Correction: Google co-founder doesn’t buy Namotu!

But his partner has a very large yacht.

Apparently the rumor about Google co-founder Larry Page buying the island of Namotu is not altogether accurate. I would apologize for misleading you but… well… things move pretty fast around here and well… what can I say? Oh, I’m sorry. That’s what I can say. Yes. I’m sorry.

There is some smoke and I’ll keep digging but can also imagine the confusion stemmed from Google’s other co-founder Sergey Brin owning a yacht that is as big as Namotu. Have you ever seen Dragonfly?

The 239.50ft Silver Series motor yacht motor yacht ‘Dragonfly’ was built by SilverYachts in Australia at their Henderson, WA shipyard , she was delivered to her owner in 2009 and last refitted in 2014. This luxury vessel’s sophisticated exterior design and engineering are the work of Espen Oeino. Previously named Silver Zwei, her luxurious interior was designed by Silvestrin Design.

Dragonfly’s interior configuration has been designed to comfortably accommodate up to 18 guests overnight in 9 cabins, comprising a master suite, 3 VIP staterooms, 1 double cabin, 2 twin cabins, 2 single cabins, 2 pullman beds. She is also capable of carrying up to 16 crew onboard to ensure a relaxed luxury yacht experience.

Dragonfly features a semi-displacement aluminium hull and aluminium superstructure, with teak decks. She was built to Lloyds Register Lloyds Maltese Cross 100A1, SSC Yacht Mono G6 Maltese Cross LMC UMS SOLAS up to 35 passengers classification society rules, and is MCA Compliant.

Dragonfly yacht is equipped with an ultra-modern stabilization system which reduces roll motion effect and results in a smoother more enjoyable cruising experience underway. This luxury yacht is also fitted with ‘at anchor stabilisers’ which work at anchor, increasing on-board comfort when the yacht is stationary, particularly in rough waters.

Powered by 2 MTU (16V 4000 M71) 2,481hp diesel engines and propelled by her twin screw propellers Motor yacht Dragonfly is capable of a top speed of 27 knots, and comfortably cruises at 25 knots. With her 110,000 litres fuel tanks she has a maximum range of 4,500 nautical miles at 18 knots. Her water tanks store around 30,000 litres of fresh water.

At Anchor Stabilizers, Air Conditioning, Sauna, Helipad, Beach Club, Dance Floor, Cinema, Tender Garage, Outdoor Cinema, Deck Jacuzzi, Gym/exercise equipment

Her foredeck helipad doubles as a guest sitting area, and she has two tender garages, one forward and one aft, the latter converting to a beach house following the launch of the tenders.

An easy mistake to make. I believe the boat is, in fact, bigger than Namotu but, again, I’ll keep sorting the information and get to the bottom of my glass. I mean story. The bottom of the story.

Breaking: “World-class” surf resort planned for Palm Springs!

Not a Surf Ranch!

Did I write yesterday that I was bored of wave pools and wave pool accessories? It must have been the damned third wave coffee punching those keys (there is no other kind in Portland, Oregon apparently) because oooee! I’m a man reborn. For it was revealed today that one of my favorite places on earth (Palm Springs, CA) is set to break ground on a “world-class” surf resort. You read that right. Palm Springs, California. In the desert far away from the Pacific. Very near to Coachella.

Now, Palm Springs has, for the past three decades, been known as a retirement community. A place older folk go to get the cold out of their bones. Hipsters and fabulous gay men have taken a shine to it lately but there are still many aged and I would imagine these sorts of conversations plague Bingo night:

Trouble, oh we got trouble,
Right here in Palm Springs!
With a capital “T”
That rhymes with “P”
And that stands for Pool,
That stands for pool.
We’ve surely got trouble!
Right here in Palm Springs,
Right here!
Gotta figger out a way
To keep the young ones moral after school!
Trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble…

But a pool is nothing to fear, these days. Surfing ain’t like what it used to be three decades ago. It is a sport now and wholesome.

But let’s turn to the local Desert Sun for more:

Plans for the proposed 14.6-acre resort, on a vacant parcel southwest of the clubhouse and parking lot, call for a two- to three-story, four-star level, 270-room hotel; 45 villas, two to four bedrooms and ranging 1,500 to 2,500 square feet; a 5.5-acre surfing lagoon.

Amenities include a spa, several swimming pools, a volleyball court, pickleball courts, restaurants as well as other food and beverage options around the resort and lagoon, said Doug Sheres, a partner in Desert Wave Ventures LLC.

Desert Willow would be the first development of this type for the group, he said, but one of the partners has consulted and worked on various aspects of other surf lagoon projects and manmade wave technologies.

The surf resort is intended to appeal to customers looking for a vacation experience, Sheres said.

“Our guests are multi-generational and committed to a healthy and active lifestyle,” he said. “In today’s world, it’s more important than ever to compel people to take a break from the digital world and share quality time with their family and friends.”

The lagoon, he said, will combine advanced and challenging waves for expert surfers but also provide an area for beginners. It will be open to resort guests and the public.

The lagoon will use Wavegarden technology – a leading surf lagoon engineering company based in northern Spain.

Wavegarden, eh? In the four way race for supremacy ‘tween Wavegarden, American Wave Machines (Waco). Surf Ranch and Webber doesn’t it seem like Wavegarden and American Wave Machines are pulling away from the pack? Or is it still too early to pick a winner?

Maybe we should wait for Webber.

"OK Google... barrel me!"
"OK Google... barrel me!"

Rumor: Google co-founder buys Tavarua’s li’l sister Namotu!

Threatens to build Surf Ranch on the island that rivals Cloudbreak (just kidding)!

I haven’t had time to properly vet this hot rumor because I’ve been reading shorter and shorter passages of the summer sleeper Cocaine + Surfing to smaller and smaller crowds but it is also too hot to continue sitting upon so here we go.

Google’s co-founder Larry Page has purchased the island of Namotu.

Of course island ownership is the true mark of ultra-ultra-ultra rich men and possibly woke women. I’d imagine the allure is simple. It’s like owning a country without having to become a president/dictator. I’d imagine it is why Donald J. Trump does not own an island because he has the world’s one-time power previously knows at USA. But for the rest of the ultra-ultra-ultra rich… Richard Branson has Necker Island in the British Virgins, Leo DiCaprio has Blackador Caye off Belize, Ted Turner owns St. Phillips off South Carolina, Celine Dion owns Ile Garçon (which in in a river but still an island) near Quebec.


And now Google’s co-founder Larry Page has purchased the island of Namotu, best known for being near Cloudbreak and housing professional surfers who can’t afford to stay on Tavarua/like a bit of rebellion in their island choices.

Or that’s always been my impression. When the World Surf League used to have an event in Fiji and some stayed on Tavarua and some stayed on Namotu and they had competitions etc. I always assumed the ones on Namotu were Pepsi drinkers, Chevy drivers, Android users. People who love the other but not quite as popular option.

Namotu’s website reads:

Namotu Island Resort has been at the forefront of world class water sports resorts for the last 19 years. We are the closest island to all seven unique surf breaks including Cloudbreak. Depending on conditions there is something for everyone. Surf, Kite or SUP; Namotu Island Resort caters to all.

You can spend all day in, over and under the water. No matter what activity you may be interested in, Namotu Island’s attentive ‘can do staff are there to make it happen on your schedule. Boat transfers go where you want, when you want.

Larry Page’s Business Insider quote reads:

On robots replacing humans: “The idea that everyone should slavishly work so they do something inefficiently so they keep their job — that just doesn’t make any sense to me. That can’t be the right answer.”

But what if it is the right answer? What if working slavishly is the very essence of the human experience?

Tavarua = Apple

Namotu = Samsung


Or am I missing something…