Confession: This is my worst ever vacation mistake but what is yours?

Get ready to spill your beans.

Watching adult learner and Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton discover how to surf, get barreled, have good style and foil board (so far) while on vacation has been a revelation for all of us or it least it has been a revelation for me. A beautiful, beautiful dance. Now, I don’t follow Formula 1 though I would like to. It feels like a sport for the upper upper crust. For those better than you and I which is probably exactly why I don’t follow. Because I haven’t been asked and the powers that be know that I don’t belong.

Those powers are right but let’s get back to vacations here.

Lewis Hamilton is absolutely crushing the vacation game but also falling into a traditional vacation trap. Sporting a vacation-specific hair-did that he likely got while on vacation.

Have you ever gotten cornrows while in Bali? Be honest please. What about a henna tattoo? Honest. What about your name written on a grain or rice that you wore around your neck like a magical talisman?

Seriously. Be honest.

Because my worst ever vacation mistake was to buy and wear a pair of hot pink and teal Teva sandals when my grandma gave all the grandkids the option of either going on a snorkeling trip to Molokini or $50 cash during a family reunion to Maui when I was thirteen. I took the $50 cash and bought a pair of hot pink and teal Teva sandals and have basically regretted it for the rest of my life.


Old enough to know better. Still too young to care.

But now cough yours up. It is no more embarrassing than hot pink and teal Teva sandals over a fantastic snorkeling adventure.

Trust me.

Adult learner and Formula 1 champ Lewis Hamilton now an expert at foil surfing!

"This is fun! I can't get enough of it!"

What did you do yesterday? Oh. That’s nice. Well, adult learner and Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton learned to foil surf expertly. You think I’m mistaken because only two days ago he was learning to surf and only ten-ish days before that he was getting his very first barrel at Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch?

Well I suppose you don’t know Kai Lenny.

Or Kelly Slater.

The two have spent the month of January mocking conventional surf school curriculum and training techniques by taking a man who looks very much like Allen Iverson and transforming him not literally but figuratively into a multi-skilled waterman overnight.

Lewis Hamilton wrote, “Now this is fun 🤙🏾 Foil surfing, I can’t get enough of it! 🏄🏾‍♂️ Would you give this a try? #adventure.”

Normally I would respond, “No. I would not give that a try, damn it.” But look how stylish he looks. Look how poised.

I know that his athletic frame is far different from my writerly one but can’t help dreaming. Can’t help picturing myself as an expert in something/anything.

How long would it take Kai Lenny and Kelly Slater to teach me how to maximize every deduction on my taxes?

Or center, level and hang a picture frame on a bare wall?

2 weeks?


Adult learner and Formula 1 champ Lewis Hamilton declares, “Surfing is my fave sport!”

Kelly Slater and Kai Lenny are the two best teachers in the world!

It appears that Kelly Slater and Kai Lenny can transform any internationally-renowned, multiple-time Formula 1 champion and turn him into a surfer overnight. The best two teachers in the world? Although our sample is limited, I think the answer is a resounding yes!

After getting barreled on his very first trip to Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch just a few short weeks ago, the British racer Lewis Hamilton is back at it in the real ocean, this time with Kai Lenny though I think Kelly Slater is there too.

Are the pointers helping?

No doubt. Hamilton looks confident, poised and ready to barrel in the real world. Face forward, shoulders squaring toward the wave, eyes down the line.

The commenters agree that he is surfing extraordinarily.

@shai_3355 writes, “You make it look easy!”

@lesly.stubbs.9 writes, “Cute butt cheeks!”

@giansa_aprilianko adds, “Hello im live in Indonesian please following me”

On it goes, not a bad comment in the bunch and does professional driving not have “grumpy locals?” Did the Father of Modern Professional Surfing accidentally buy the wrong pastime?

More as it develops.

chappy jennings
James "Chappy" Jennings, snapped in the guts of Pipe by the peerless Don King.

Dorian, Healey, Kohl: “Wait! This is the best surf shot ever at Pipe!”

Kohl Christensen hands his three-day old crown to that ol master Don King… 

Three days ago, or thereabouts, Kelly Slater announced that he had seen the best photo ever taken at Pipeline.

It was a shot of underground Pipe regular Kohl Christensen, snatched on a grapefruit sunset, by the  photographer Daniel Russo, who was seated on a jetski.

“This picture sums up why we surf. And nobody seems to be more in tune with the ocean than Kohl,” said Kelly.

(Click here for story, photo.)

Russo ain’t one to claim thing, but he did say it was his best ever shot at Pipe.

“Perception of one’s experience can vary from person to person. But this image is exactly what happened. To me, this is the exclamation mark of the winter at Pipeline,” said Russo.

Christensen, for his part, was pretty quick to hose off the best-ever photo tag, writing on his IG account, “The best picture is the picture that inspires you the most. Pipeline. Surfer Magazine 1984 shot by Don King. I had this shot on my wall as a kid. I didn’t know Chappy. I was only seven when this went to print but it was so amazingly beautiful and terrifying at the same time. Shocking. The size of the barrel! The lip detonating on the shallow reef, the boils and Chappy’s crazy low ninja tube stance. I never forgot this image and along with countless other wonderful captures, I was inspired to follow my dream of surfing the ‘Pipeline’ one day.”

A roll call of noted surfers were quick to agree.

Mark Healey: “Still my favorite Pipe shot. Something about the lack of distortion in the image makes it feel more like real life out there.”

Shane Dorian: “That is still by far my favourite shot of all time at pipe!! Had the poster on my wall and just stared at it for hundreds of hours in shock.”

Koby Abberton: “Had it on my wall for 15 years!”

And, Kelly Slater, of course.

“Chappy was insane and underrated out there I thought. Always charging from so deep. I played golf behind him and got to chat a couple years back on the Gold Coast. That conversation ultimately allowed me to make a flight I was late for on the Gold Coast but that’s a different story for another time. Glad I got to meet him finally. Was always a legend to me from Performers in early 80’s.”

Chappy, for those who aren’t one hundred years old, is James Jennings, a surfer from Queensland who, despite being the size of an adolescent girl, was a marquee Quiksilver rider alongside Gary “Kong” Elkerton.

Matt Warshaw’s Encyclopedia of Surfing (subscribe here) describes the photo and Chappy thus:

“He was better known as a fearless tuberider, utilizing a wide, low, crablike stance, and a photo of him racing through an cathedral-sized tube at Pipeline ran as a two-page spread in A Day in the Life of Hawaii, a 1984 coffee-table photo book. “The usual mugs were riding deep,” SURFER magazine said of Jennings’ performances at Pipeline that year. “But Chappy went deepest, and those who witnessed it talked for weeks in tones of respect and valor.”

Apocalypse now: World Surf League president of content, media and studios takes on foil SUPping!

So deadly it should come with a Parental Advisory warning!

The very famous poet T.S. Eliot once mused, “This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper.” and while I both appreciate the art form and the sentiment have to disagree for the world will neither end with a bang nor a whimper but with the sound of the World Surf League’s president of content, media and WSL Studio’s new SUP’s new foil sawing through your jugular vein.

Something like a gurgle.

Or maybe a choked gasp.

And what possessed our dear president of content, media and WSL studios to exchange his normal mode of transportation, the @infinity_sup #blurrV2, for 18th century France’s favorite tool? I cannot honestly say. I cannot even honestly speculate.

President Logan himself writes, “Super #sundayfunday on the @kalamaperformance @gofoil setup. Been quite some time since we FLEW the GoFoil. Waves were PERFECT and fun. Thanks to @jawadchabib for the pic. Foil Squad @legrandebeachhomes & @nikaukai with support of @ballred @ryharrisshapes #somewhatLOYALtothefoil #neededahaircut #justatadrusty”

Maybe there’s a clue in the hashtags? Like, why is “loyal” capitalized in #somewhatLOYALtothefoil? An acronym maybe? Lopping Off Your Auburn Locks? Is #needahaircut code for “I am going to scalp some folk today…” ?

More questions than answers.

But one more.

Would you rather surf knowing there is a Great White shark prowling around underneath or with President Logan next to you on a SUP foil?