Exotic: Go surf Hawaii and catch the most horrifically named disease since “brain eating amoeba!”

I triple-dog dare you.

Brain eating amoeba, once allegedly featured in the Waco, Texas BSR wave pool, is a very scary name. Amoeba is bad enough. Once, I contracted amoebic dysentery in either Egypt or Jordan, likely from trying to develop a cast iron stomach by drinking tap water. Anyhow, there I was in Aqaba on the Red Sea feeling fabulous, going to sleep then waking up a few hours later with diarrhea.

“Classic.” I thought, went to the bathroom then went back to bed. An hour later I was back. Then 30 minutes. 15 minutes after that I was both diarrhea-ing and puking and that continued until my two great friends rolled me into a hospital. I was so delirious that I don’t remember much. The doctor told me that the amoebas has started eating through my intestinal walls and I stayed in that hospital, hooked to an IV, for seven days.

Maybe they got to my brain too. We’ll never know but I digress. Guess what just popped up on the Big Island?

Rat Lungworm disease.

Have you ever read anything so terrifyingly disgusting? And let’s learn all about it. Let’s head straight to the respected medical journal The New York Post for the most up to date information.

Health officials have now confirmed a total of three cases of rat lungworm disease in travelers who spent time in Hawaii. A report from the Hawaii Department of Health confirms the cases, which are believed to be unrelated to one another.

The disease, which is officially known as angiostrongyliasis but is also called “rat lungworm disease,” is caused by a parasitic infection. The parasite is known to target rats, hence the name, but its life cycle can bring it into contact with humans as well. The severity of the infection can vary from person to person, but the disease can be deadly in some cases.

The parasite in question, a rat lungworm, has a habit of infecting rodents which can spread the parasite through feces. The parasite is known for hitching a ride on slugs and, when a rat finds one of the slimy critters to feast on, the rodent becomes infected and the life cycle begins anew.

In humans, the parasite can wreak havoc on the nervous system. Late last year a man died after eating a slug on a dare resulted in a rat lungworm infection that left him paralyzed. He remained in a compromised state for eight full years before he died. One of the three infections confirmed by Hawaii health officials appears to have happened in a similar way.

“One of the individuals visited East Hawai‘i in December 2018 and became infected by purposely eating a slug on a dare,” the state Department of Health explains in a statement. “The individual became ill in late December and was not hospitalized for their symptoms.”

Would you eat a slug on a dare?

I don’t think I would.

Cinema: Kelly Slater plays “hardboiled cop,” Gabe Medina the “damsel in distress” in WSL epic “Margaret River!”

What is your favorite archetype?

The waiting period for the fourth stop on tour opens today and how thrilled are you that Margaret River is still on tour? How over the moon? It is a perfect place for the world’s best surfers to come ply their trade as it has everything from scenic backdrops, hearty locals, multiple waves ranging from scary good to scarier better and terror below.

Margaret River is as close as the World Surf League has to a blockbuster film, like Avengers: Endgame, and it’s difficult to imagine it getting pulled out of multiplexes but it almost was and just last year.

Who could forget the multiple shark sightings and attacks that led to the cancellation of the event, its moving to Uluwatu and possibly never screening in Western Australia again?

Well, magic was made behind the scenes to keep the show going on until 2021 and this year’s cast is the best ever. Reluctant leading man John John Florence is back and sitting atop the Jeep Yellow Jersey Sand Dune Aerial Leaderboard. “Ingénue” Kanoa Igarashi nipping at his heels. “Bad boy with a heart of gold” Jeremy Flores is in the top ten and “hard-luck heartthrob” Julian Wilson needs a result just to keep from being let go.

And two great stars have been recast in wonderful new roles. Gabriel Medina as the “damsel in distress” and Kelly Slater as the “hardboiled cop.” Let’s turn to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation to listen as they get into character.

The Margaret River Pro, held in the south-west of Western Australia, was abandoned mid competition last year after two non-fatal shark attacks occurred on the same day.

The two recreational surfers had taken to the waves in Gracetown, 15 kilometres north from where the competition was being held, when they were bitten.

It prompted Brazilian’s Gabriel Medina and Italo Ferreira to take to social media with claims they did not feel safe surfing in the area.
Despite his safety concerns last year, Medina has returned to Margaret River.

The reigning world champion said the extra safety measures announced for this year’s competition helped to lure him back.

“Last year was a tough one, everywhere we were surfing, we were seeing sharks,” he said.

“This year, they’ve put in place more security — jet skis, drones and planes.

“I feel much more confident.”

Justin Majeks from Surfing WA, which has helped to organise the competition, said this year a drone would take to the skies to protect surfers.

“It’s a dedicated drone that will essentially fly all competition day, pretty much from first light,” he said.

He said there would also be a fleet of jet skis and trained water patrol staff on duty.

Surfing legend Kelly Slater is on his final year of the pro circuit and said he felt comfortable in the Margaret River water.

“I’ve never really had much of a fear of sharks,” he said.

Oh I just love it. I absolutely just love it and will be on the edge of my seat, munching popcorn and cheering on the bad boy. Always my favorite archetype but what’s yours?

Who are you hoping will steal the show?

Board review: Longtom on the Sharp Eye HT 2.5 “Something special happens when you lay this board into a tight turn!”

But run a mile from this board if you are injured, fat, old, slow or any combination thereof.

One of the greatest myths in the whole of surf is the applicability of the pro surfer whip to the non-paid rec surfer.

Joel Tudor, the great alterna-board master from San Diego, emphasised the same point in a Stab in the Dark movie featuring Dane Reynolds surfing non high-performance boards in Mexico. Dane is the one percent, he said, or the one percent of the one percent, I forget exactly which, and thus there is no point trying to extrapolate from his skill level to the experiences of the other 99.99%.

Obviously true, right?

So, that’s Dane. A freak but a freak with a Dad bod and a few screaming kids who reckons he struggles to get his go outs.

How much more freakish then and unrelatable is Filipe Toledo and, via extension, his equipment, to the average Joe?

Don’t answer, it’s a rhetorical question.

There is no less relatable surfer on the planet than Filipe Toledo.

Which means you can understand the trepidation running deep when waxing up and paddling out at the home point on his HT2.5 model for the first time. It’s a pro model according to the Sharp Eye website.

You know the one. The curvy little swallow tail with the very sexy tail channels; same one he blitzed Keramas on.

It’s pitched as a high-performance board oriented towards smaller waves, more ordinary conditions.

Right before paddling out I got a text from BG biz guy Jazzy P. He said the rocker was insane and “threw you onto the back foot”. That did not reassure. The initial paddle out took place on the day Kelly was robbed at D-bah.

Three foot of surf at my local Pointbreak, lightly attended. Pretty much perfect.

Under the arm all the elements of the board are subtle: no radical shifts in rocker or distinctive curves like a Pyzel Ghost, slight single concave under the front foot and a deeper concave with slight doubles between the fins.

Straight away you can feel this is a board that works in two halves.

The forward rocker feels more pronounced paddling, it’s not a good paddler, you need to get up and over it to catch waves. On a wave the board sits down into the aft rocker curve. Initiate a turn and it slams you back onto the back foot.

That has interesting and exciting results for the non-pro. It carves a very tight arc with an engaged back foot. Through a vertical backhand turn I loosed the fins out the back, nose picked halfway through and finished the turn with more speed than I went in with. A very invigorating opening session.

To compensate for the poor paddleability, to generate the necessary rider input. I gave up drinking, pretty much, getting on the end of one with my pals, again: pretty much. Embraced Russian kettlebells, deadlifts, chins (hundreds of them), superfoods, clean eating, Laird Hamilton videos on Yootoob. Embarrassing.

What would you give up to ride a high-performance shortboard?

To compensate for the poor paddleability, to generate the necessary rider input. I gave up drinking, pretty much, getting on the end of one with my pals, again: pretty much. Embraced Russian kettlebells, deadlifts, chins (hundreds of them), superfoods, clean eating, Laird Hamilton videos on Yootoob. Embarrassing. How I will survive the inevitable and inescapable meeting with Chas Smith I do not know. A night at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino going whiskey for whiskey with D. Rielly would destroy me.

So the driver has to be on. Run a mile from this board if you struggle for go-outs, are injured, fat, old, slow or any combination thereof. The vehicle, as we have established, is tuned for high performance. The track needs some steepness. It’s a small-wave board, but a good small-wave board. It needs a wave with some cup. Lots and lots of Australian beachbreaks and reefbreaks and Pointbreaks fit the bill. It’s obvious how good it goes in small Indonesian reefbreaks. It might be more of a daily driver in Californian surf. French beachbreaks would be a stellar match.

It’s not a groveller. Remember that pre-season video of John John at small, weak Snapper and how mediocre he looked? I saw him saw him surf equally weak shapeless surf during the Quik Pro and he looked less impressive than the local kids. He’s tuned his equipment for better waves. I use as an example of how the HT2.5, even allowing for the quite generous tail block planing area needs some steepness and shape to carve against.

In truth, I did not find this board difficult to ride. And that surprised me. Almost shocked me. If you’ve got some game and regular go-outs at your disposal I would have to swallow my initial posit and say there is something in this for the 99 per center. I rode mine at 6’0” just under 30 litres and that felt spot on.

Marcio Zouvi has something going on with his shapes right now. That’s obvious from the quantum leap from Igarashi Kanoa after jumping on the swords pre J-Bay and how good he looked at Keramas. I’m tempted to write them off as an aesthetic afterthought but I believe there is something going on with the sexy little tail channels that cut into that curvy swallow-tail. Zouvi claims they give speed, bite and drive and despite wanting to rebel against the vagueness of those terms that is the case. Something special happens when you lay this board into a tight turn.

In truth, I did not find this board difficult to ride. And that surprised me. Almost shocked me. If you’ve got some game and regular go-outs at your disposal I would have to swallow my initial posit and say there is something in this for the 99 per center. I rode mine at 6’0” just under 30 litres and that felt spot on.

I whacked some AM2 honeycomb fins, quite large, straight in and they also felt perfect. The AM2 is the basic reference point fin for any slightly wide tail block. You’ll see that distinctive yellow and black fin adorning the rump of many pro boards.

Controls a board beautifully with it’s moderate rake and stiff flex pattern. Even a mad old fin bitch like me felt no desire to change them up. You could tweak the boards range if you did.

I know that fin talk makes people angry so I conclude the review here.

Any questions?

Question: Would you trade your grumpy local status for the life of a rich VAL?

Is the grass always greener?

Now this is a serious question. Would you? Imagine how many hours you’ve spent in the water, perfecting the little things like balancing your board when paddling so its nose neither points straight to heaven nor dives beneath the brine. Or popping up sans nobs and also without a hitchy knee nor hobbled stutter.

Duck diving.

The hours upon hours pushing first with hitchy knee in middle then graduating to foot on tail, gliding underneath the most menacing white wash barriers.

I could go on and on all day here without even arriving at actual surfing. Actually standing on a wave and gliding upon its surface.

It’s the little things that make surfing so difficult to master and the bigger things too.

So would you trade it all, the hours, the pain, but also the elation, the singular glories to be like the Moroccan/New York rapper French Montana if you could live like him too?

Would he trade his life for yours?

Much to ponder.

Dreams come true: “We just got married at Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch!”


Are you a fan of weddings? Cute ringbearing boys and cuter flower girls? Matching bridesmaids’ dresses, matching groomsmen cummerbunds? The blazing 2:00 pm sun shining overhead, mother-in-law tears dripping on new Michael Kors dresses, father-in-laws toesies hurting in new Cole Haan shoes? Korbel Brut raised high while best men and maids of honor regale attendees with lightly embarrassing stories?

I’m going to be honest with you here, like I always am. I don’t like weddings (besides my second and final), especially since they are usually at 2:00 pm thereby gutting the day/weekend and somewhere annoyingly difficult to find, headache inducing, filled with shallow conversation, not fun and generally not funny.

Then again, I was never invited to a wedding at Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch and it’s true. Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch is now open for the wedding business and could you imagine anything more wonderful, more glorious?

If you’re thinking about getting married but haven’t yet please convince your significant other that a Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch wedding is the only way to go. I know from experience the food is good, the staff is impeccable and no beach on earth can conjure this on demand.


If you need more convincing then you love Korbel Brut.

Here’s to the happy couple!