Hero: World Surf League President of Content, Media, Etc. Erik “ELo” Logan rescues two drowning children!

The man for our time!

And how many drowning children have you ever saved, Mr. and Mrs. Judgmental? Six? Nine? Zero? Me? Oh, I’ve rescued zero which makes me exactly half the man of our World Surf League President of Content, Media, Etc. Erik “ELo” Logan who rescued two over the weekend.

This heroic bit of good news comes via a friend who sent a screen grab from the Nextdoor app which bills itself as the “private social network for your neighborhood.” Since I don’t live in Manhattan Beach, California I am not invited to see but we have the beginning of the saga and let us read together from surf photographer Dave Weldon’s account.

“Howdy all, while doing my Sunday morning surfing photography at El Porto, I realized that surfer Erik Logan of Manhattan Beach spotted two kids that had been swept far out from where they started in shallow water. Erik quickly paddled over to the two and got them onto his board. Lifeguard Chris Maloney spotted the activity as he was passing nearby in his vehicle and dashed into the water with his rescue…

And that’s where the screenshot ends but we must assume that everyone is safe and happy and all thanks to our Mr. President.

Now, do you feel bad for making fun of his SUP? The only sort of board that doubles as a boat hearty enough to float drowning children high above the water’s grabby hands?

You should.

Scientists declare: “Go surfing in New Jersey after a storm and guarantee yourself a disease!”

No fine print!

Honest to goodness guarantees are more and more rare in this modern life. Oh sure companies, schools, restaurants etc. still use the word “guarantee” but it is chased by so much fine print as to be rendered not a guarantee at all but rather a “hopeful outcome.”

Well, leave it to the fine state of New Jersey to bring heart back to the guarantee. You’ll hopefully recall that I fell in love with the home of Bruce Springsteen, Tony Soprano, Tommy Ihnken etc. when we filmed our Wetsuit Fairytale. It is an earthly paradise and you should book your trip today and if you love exotic diseases you are guaranteed one for a surf after a rain.

Oh of course you know that sickness is a possibility after a rain but nowhere but New Jersey adds that guarantee and let’s head straight to New Jersey’s Post Register to learn more.

Most surfers know it’s best to avoid surfing near pipes that dump storm water into the ocean soon after a storm, due to the increased chance of getting sick from bacteria that enter the surf.

Many do it anyway because the periods just after storms often bring bigger waves, prompting them to hold their nose and brave the so-called “chocolate tube” or the “root beer float.”

Although the relationship between heavy rain, outfall pipes and water-borne bacteria has been well established, it continues to be studied around the country and the world.

One such study is underway at New Jersey’s Monmouth University, where researchers are evaluating water quality at popular surfing beaches along the Jersey shore with an eye toward documenting higher levels of harmful, illness-causing bacteria in the water after storms.

The idea is to give surfers and others who use the water more information to make more informed decisions about when to surf and what might be in the water around them.

“It’s not a question of if you’re going to get sick, it’s when,” said Richard Lee, a surfer and executive director of the Surfers Environmental Alliance, which is funding the $30,000 yearlong study in New Jersey. “There have been ear infections, eye infections, respiratory infections, intestinal problems.

“The water is murkier; sometimes we call it the ‘root beer float,'” he said. “You get this orange-brown float on the surface.”

And there we have it. It’s not a question of if, it’s when.


And now let us sing together.

"Witnessing this moment yesterday completely blew my mind," says the photographer Chris Bryan. "This is the most critical beyond vertical takeoff I’ve ever seen."

Motherfucker! Man takes tanker over the ledge of twelve-foot outer reef!

Ain't no time for doubts…

If you live on Australia’s east and you ain’t afraid of oversized fuzz, it’s been a helluva week. Roughly two thousand kilometres of coastline switched on by good, big, south and south-east groundswell.

A few hundred clicks south of Sydney is an outer reef that is dominated by a pack of long-hairs riding oversized guns with names like Rogue and Open Ocean made by Russell Bierke’s daddy, Kirk, and sitting on an inside ledge and dodging twenty-foot clean-ups so they can ride insane twelve-foot ledges.

Sydney-based Chris Bryan, the go-to filmer for water shoots around the world including movies like Point Break, knew this joint was on, hit it the night before and was out there piloting his ski and shooting photos.

He says the wave had around thirty guys feeding on it, but “there’s a lot of guys that don’t want it but want to go out there and feel a part of the action.”

The surfer is Dane Fisher, who says he sat in the lineup for an hour before this giraffe stomped over.

“Paddling deep I tried to be as committed as possible to the drop, compressing into the rail, almost nosediving. For a moment I thought I’d stuck it. She makes you pay to play out there, but I think sometimes it’s the waves you don’t make that teach you the most.”

Yeah, he didn’t make it.

“He got so flogged,” says Bryan, adding the moment was stolen using his RED weapon not his usual $140,000 Phantom, which had been sent to New York for an upgrade.

(Note: Chris Bryan is selling the one-year-old SeaDoo GTX155 he shot this on ’cause he needs something more specific for filming, ie something big he can rig up with cameras etc. The SeaDoo has forty hours on the clock, a year’s rego, has been wrapped in vinyl, bluetooth stereo etc. Seventeen gees. Call, Australia, 0415 130 652.)

Holiday repeat: The remarkable voyage of Mom John Florence!

Want to know the Champ? Get to know his one-of-kind mama…

How about we start at the beginning? Back in 1986, when Alex Florence, from Ocean Grove, a Christian seaside community, in New Jersey (yeah, the not-so-glam part of New York) and the sweetest of sixteens, told her parents she was going to the North Shore and asked if they’d, like, mind, driving her to La Guardia airport.

The surfing thing had been in her head ever since she was 12 and she was soaking her brain every day in surf movies like Beyond Blazing Boards and riding skateboards all over town and surfing in oversized wetsuits.

One day Alex was sitting in the room of one of her pals watching surf vids on the portable television set with the giant video cassette recorder hooked up and said: “I’m going to be one of those girls!”

With a backpack and a skateboard and a couple of c-notes in her purse, the lil blonde teenager landed in Honolulu, walked out to the Nitmiz and just stuck out her thumb. She stepped off in Haleiwa where another gal, who was 19 but seemed so worldly, picked her up and said,

“Say, girl, do you need a job?”

Uh, yeah.

Well, we’re filming this movie, North Shore and…”

Do what I did and download the movie and check out the Halloween party scene 20 minutes in. Sure is a scene. Laird Hamilton is in lycra pants and his bare torso is painted in purple and lime zinc. A bearded Gerry Lopez is the Hui leader Vince, sullen, supping beers and looking evilly serene in a red bomber jacket and yellow tee. And, there, but don’t blink, is Mom John squeezing past the female lead Kiani and the Arizona wave pool champ Rick Kane. Yep, that shoulder length tangle of permed blond hair in the leopard skin lycra is the same gal who, five years, later would birth the first of three remarkable kids.

But, this is 1986, and, man alive, ain’t there some partying to do! The set of North Shore, which also starred eighties surf star Rob Page and perennial icon Mark Occhilupo, is a 21-day bender.

Three weeks ends too fast and Alex needs a place to crash and a job. She scoops up a room at Velzyland, just south of Sunset, and the most Hawaiian of the North Shore’s beachfront neighbourhoods. Fifty bucks a month for her room and Alex becomes one of five gals on the North Shore that actually surfs

And, yeah, V-Land is tough but the heavies take a liking to this tiny blonde thing, this little sister from the mainland. Back then, the gnarliest cat was a guy called Junior Boy Moepono, 150-plus kilos of Polynesian threat. And, for whatever reason, Junior kept a protective arm around Alex.

Later, Alex’d move to Kauai for a year, setting up at Hanalei Bay, right where the Irons kids grew up and then she’d take off to Bali for six months. Australian surfers taught her how to ride a motorbike in Poppies Lane. She hopped a boat to Lombok for a while and then did the 24-hour bemo-ferry run to G-Land where she got so lit up by malaria she had to call her parents to get flown home.

But, do you think little Alex can live in Ocean Grove?

Chasing money and more adventure, Alex grabbed a cruise shop waitress gig with a gal pal who happened to a beauty who’d just won the Miss San Antonia beauty pageant. Her friend brought along her boyfriend and together they cruised the Caribbean.

Soon, more adventure. This time Europe as a backpacker. The couple had split back on the cruise ship and Alex and the guy travelled to Europe, strictly as pals. Separate beds. Totally on the level.

But, then, one night in Austria.

A few drinks.


Stumbling into the cold night.

One night.

One night in 1990 and the creation of John John Florence, named after the American president’s little boy, the kid who bravely saluted his Dad’s coffin in front of millions of Americans. Yeah, that’s a name that has strength, that has courage.

Alex remembers driving in her ancient Valiant, the ex-husband gone, John, five, Nathan, three, Ivan, a baby at one-and-a-half, looking over at her little boys and saying: “What do you guys want to do? We don’t have to do anything or be anywhere? We can stay out til 10:30! We can go to thrift stores!”

The partnership didn’t work. How could it? Three little boys. Ain’t a lot of cash in the house they rented at Rocky Point. Dad soon disappeared into the penal system.

Alex remembers driving in her ancient Valiant, the ex-husband gone, John, five, Nathan, three, Ivan, a baby at one-and-a-half, looking over at her little boys and saying: “What do you guys want to do? We don’t have to do anything or be anywhere? We can stay out til 10:30! We can go to thrift stores!”

Alex took her kids everywhere and despite what y’might call a massive hand break, felt this sudden freedom. A total freedom. She took them everywhere. And that summer after the Dad split Alex packed up the house and with her three little ducklings that followed her everywhere, flew to Bingin in Bali where she knew a local family who’d let ’em stay in their warung, cheap.

Sure, she didn’t have much money, but here they were living on 10 dollars a day, and they stretched out their resources ($1200) for a sublime four months. Little Ivan, who was just over two then, had broken his leg on the trampoline before they’d split but Alex was cool, she just carried her kid everywhere.

Back on the Shore, Herbie Fletcher, a pioneer of jetskis in the surf, was towing John John into bombs when he was seven. Here they were, back at Rocky Point, just one house back from the sand, funded by taking in up to 10 boarders at a time, squeezing ’em into three bedrooms. Alex’d let floorspace for $250 a month. Whatever it took.

They built a half-pipe in the yard. Magazines British Vogue, US Vogue and Elle couldn’t help themselves when they heard about this gorgeous solo surf mom and her shaggy haired boys. Alex felt like she had a guardian angel. No money, but she was on the beach, was feeding her three boys and, well, you tell me that this ain’t the life.

Meanwhile, Alex was studying for her degree in English literature at the University of Honolulu. And, this is where it gets real good. Alex says that if you saw the size of her student loans, which she’s only just paid off, you’d think she was the “gnarliest surgeon ever.”

But, her gig was using her loans to support the family, to raise the kids. She didn’t want to leave her kids with just anybody. So she went to school at nights and took in boarders. Yeah, sometimes dinner was corn flakes, but the kids were playing outside in the sun and were getting pushed (or towed) into waves by a role call of surfing icons including Nathan Fletcher, Danny Fuller, Kala and Kamalei Alexander, Herbie Fletcher and Pete Johnson.

Jamie O’Brien, too, but he was always a little crazy and’d sometimes throw dog shit at the kids. But, he also got John into contests and pushed into waves during his first-ever heat, aged four.

And, it wasn’t all surf. Nathan, a smart kid, would gobble up whatever lit books Alex threw at him, from Bukowski to Tom Wolfe. He’d mow through a thousand-page volume in one day.

Still, these were, are, ballsy little kids. Alex has lost count of how many times she’s thrown a bleeding kid in the car and hot-dogged it to emergency. John’s broken “almost everything”, his neck, his back, legs, wrists, arms, ankles. Ivan earned 55 stitches in his face (rogue fin) after he paddled into a 25-footer that would later be nominated for the Billabong XXL wave of the year.

Eventually, they were squeezed out of the house by a sale, an owner moving back, whatever it was, Alex can’t remember.

So Alex and John John, now 10 but mature beyond his years, ’cause he’s seen some shit out there on the Shore and he knows what it’s like to live on nothing, were walking down the street that runs parallel to the beach and talking about the situation, saying stuff like, “Oh man, what are we going to do now?”

And, as they’re walking, there’s this little beach house, just on the corner of where they live now, and Alex, being Alex, sees this car in the driveway, looks at John, who nods, and they walk right up to the owner, their brown faces break into gazillion watt smiles, and they say, “How about it?”

And, suddenly, they’re at Pipe.

And, the rest, y’might say, is the first day of the rest of their life.

See: Greg Webber’s latest invention, floating reefs and portable sea walls!

"A $200,000 wet dream!" says inventor.

I was burying my spoon under the milk in my Cheerios mix this morning, when I saw that the shaper and wave tank designer Greg Webber had created a Facebook page for his new invention, floating reefs and portable sea walls. 

It’s worth a call, I thought.

Now, I ain’t gonna sit on his face and jerk him off about his new invention when his previous brainstorm, a wavepool to beat all others, still exists only in his imagination.

Greg, who is fifty-eight, says a pool in the US is at the engineering stage, finance covered etc.

“I have been saying that for five years or more,” he says, adding the reason it’s taking so long is it’s being built within an existing resort. “Building a wave pool on a bit of farmland in the middle of essentially nowhere is way, way quicker.”

Greg also puts the slowness of the build down to his refusal to dilute his and his existing shareholders’ stock holdings to chase quick capital.

The Gold Coast pool, he says, is back at the looking-for-land stage after the the local government re-zoned the site for a highway bypass.

Is it still a chance to be built?

“God knows, actually.”


What he’s got for me today are three pretty cool-looking designs that have the potential, on paper at least, of turning shitty waves into spinning wedges. 

First thing is a vee-wall, a fifty-metre long portable sea-wall that can be stuck anywhere on a beach to turn a corresponding length of sand from closeouts into “mechanically perfect” wedges.

These things cost around $A200,000 and Greg hopes they’ll become a gateway drug to councils and developers to buy his thirty-million dollar vee-reef.

“The vee-walls are incredible fun. They achieve a lot for the average surfer. Have ten or twenty of ‘em along a stretch of coast and he’ll be able to get away from all the other nutcases.”

The vee-reef, he says, are three hundred metres long, base to tip, and they’ll create “a phenomenal wave, a world-class wave that is like two Supa Banks, back to back. How the fuck wouldn’t you want to ride something like that? Of course, it’s the same deal as the Supa Bank, crowd-wise, unless you’re building seven or eight of them.”


Therefore, Greg recommends a mixture of vee-walls and vee-reefs for somewhere like the Gold Coast where overcrowding has made surfing there, for the most, a Mad Max-esque experience.

Greg has sat on the reef and wall idea since 2015 ‘cause he didn’t want divert attention away from his pool. Now, he figures his little 200-grand walls may have the potential to convince someone to stump up the two million bucks needed to build a single channel, linear wave pool to show the world how good it is.

Same plough sorta idea as Kelly, but with his patented reverse current to make the wave “hollow as fuck.”

Third invention? An EVA blanket that sits under water and that’ll act like a kelp bed and keep the surface of the water clean even in an unfavourable wind.

“You can ride an onshore day and there’ll be no surface chop at all,” he says.

The vee-reef, which would be anchored in deep water offshore, also comes with shark nets, which opens an interesting, and compelling I think, philosophical side to Webber. He says that by employing the old we’re-in-their-environment-deal-with-it argument every time a surfer or swimmer is hit by a shark, we’re doing society a grave disservice.

“These nets are to appease environmentalists so sharks, dolphins, whales or any other loveable sea creature doesn’t even get a graze from the reef,” he says. “I am being a bit facetious but I do count human lives above the life of a shark or any fish, really. There’s a biological instinct that makes us fearful of deep water just as children are scared of the dark. As adults, we can rationalise the dark but when you’re sitting in deep, dark water no rationalising can stop that fear. And, I think, we all need to become more comfortable with the ocean, not less. And the only way to do that is for more people to surf or to feel comfortable swimming out into the ocean. The more people who use the ocean, the more who will want to protect it.

“We make a mistake when we favour the shark at the expense of the happiness of billions of people. If a billion people are happier by being immerse in the water, you’re having a large-scale effect on the way people think about life, society and materialism. The ocean gives us that.”

Greg laughs.

He’s feeling his 200-grand vee-walls, knows they’re affordable enough to actually be built.

“Not this thirty million dollar fucking nightmare (wave pools),” he says. “These are a two-hundred thousand dollar wet dream. I’m excited.”