Question: “Must you feel the whiskers of death to hear the purr of life?”

Why do folks dance with death as such?

I’ve not seen Heavy Water. I didn’t even read Longtom’s review so as to not dilute the potency of my first viewing, whenever that may be in the states.

But I’m getting older. Four days ago, I shredded the ligaments in my foot at the skatepark. For these reasons and others, mortality has been on my mind.

I’m no hero in the water, but I have been known to supplement a lack of skill with an extra dose of bravery (stupidity). Our own limits are relative, but I’ve found mine the only way one can, and thus I’ve had a few closeups with the Maker.

Apart from the love for my son, a more-complicated-but-pretty-good-after-all-we’ve-been-through love for my lady and that for a handful of others, death is the only thing I’d regard as certain. I know… groundbreaking prose.

Not taking into account the natural byproduct of years of drug addiction and alcohol abuse, involving much eye-covering, mono-vision-producing vehicular operation and too-many-but-evidently-just-the-right-amount-of “Gee, hope this next line doesn’t stop my heart” moments, I’ve smelled death’s breath thrice…

The backseat of a car doing unintended 70mph donuts on a highway in Georgia. We teetered atop a slope that led down into a dense forest of stubborn trees. Mid-spin, while getting in an impact-ready position, this sense of not being alone came over me and with it a feeling that, while the odds were good I’d be maimed, I’d still be… you know… fine. Maybe it was God. Maybe it was denial. Maybe it was another piece of my consciousness that was speaking to me from a parallel universe.

Puerto Escondido. May. 2010. Took off on the first wave of a double-overhead+ set, got one of the waves of my life then kicked out to realize it was just the opening act. Having yielded to local custom, I was without leash. Detonation. Then another. Another. I was trapped in some whirlpool rip. Another. My fingertips tingled from lack of oxygen. Another. I thought of my mom. Another. I wondered why I just thought of my mom. Another. I was spared.

Salina Cruz. Point break. April. 2014. Took off on the first wave (why?) of a large, long-period set, did some awkward wiggly shit with my body that was supposed to be surfing until I deservedly fell. Detonation. Another. I was being river-swept 30 feet from the beach. Another. Another. My leash got tangled with some guy spouting French panic-speak who came out of nowhere. Another, now entangled with French panic guy. I recall being leashless in Puerto years before. Another, without my board. Another. Wet terra firma. Dry terra firma. I sit and think about how my wife’s father drowned and that under no circumstances should she have to go through that twice.

So why? Why do folks dance with death as such? I don’t inquire with even the faintest undertone of heroics. Eddie Aikau. Firemen. Good teachers. Hospice workers. Chas’ tolerance for scorn. These are examples of heroism.

But surfing? Not heroic.

Brave? Sure.

Irrational? Often.

Heroic? No.

I inquire with the curiosity of one trying to understand the mind of cat, or why anyone would own a cat.

To a degree, I understand my own drive. I’m a dormant-volcano-of-a-drug-addict with self-destructive tendencies. For me, chaos can provide a sense of balance. Pretty cut and dry.

But what’s your excuse? How close have you come? Have you ever actually died before?

(Apparently, this guy did.)

Do you carry a death wish in the lockbox of your mind? Are you all just addicts of varying degrees of functionality? Were you dropped as babies?

I was.

Do you sniff out extreme sensory experiences like that bear with my food that one time in Yosemite? Do you so yearn for the salinity content of the womb that you’re subconsciously trying to find a way back in? Must you feel the whiskers of death to hear the purr of life? Do you want me to stop making shitty cat analogies?

After recently taking the piss out of others with balls bigger than mine, all in the name of flexing my miserable wit and a quick escape from self-loathing, I’d like to pivot and devote this entire paragraph to paying tribute to the bravery, courage and incomprehensible drive of each and every (gender-inclusive) aquatic astronaut out there who voluntarily stares into the great wide open. Who is contractually-obligated to paddle out. Who does it for nothing. Who does it when nobody’s watching. Who interprets and redefines the limits of possibility. Who strokes into uncertain destiny at the behest of your compulsion and the whim of Mother Ocean. This entire paragraph goes out every single one of you… except Keala Kennelly.

Kidding. She was out at Puerto that day in May 2010, was super cordial in the lineup and took off on waves I wouldn’t look at even if I had an over-sized scrotum full of every Big Wave Tour surfer’s testicles.

No thanks. I like living.


Much respect, you fucking loons.

Stay: Universal Orlando Resort opens “The Endless Summer” surf themed budget hotel!

An entire generation turned off surfing and maybe even two!

When was the last time you were on a proper family vacation and by “proper” I mean Chevy Chase-style “National Lampoon’s Vacation” family vacation? Oh it’s been far, far too long for me but a notice this morning made we want to rush out, pack the station wagon, toss Russ and Audrey in the backseat and head off to Wallyworld. I mean Universal Orlando Resort’s newest surf-themed budget hotel “The Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn.”

First, a question about licensing. Do you think Universal must pay a licensing fee to the Bruce Brown family in order to use the name “Endless Summer” or is just a phrase in the parlance?

And now on to the meat and potatoes. “The Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn”… introduces extra affordability to your Universal vacation, with the lowest rates of any Universal Orlando Resort™ hotel. The feeling here is relaxed and easy, with a fun surf vibe woven throughout. In addition to sunny, beach-themed rooms, Surfside Inn and Suites features spacious, two-bedroom suites that sleep six, making it the perfect spot for families of any size to base their Universal Orlando Resort™ vacation. A sister hotel, Dockside Inn and Suites, will open in March 2020. Both hotels will be part of Universal’s Endless Summer Resort, a vibrant and sunny retreat.

Would you like to know what thrills me about this new extra affordable family hotel? It is going to turn an entire generation off of surfing. Imagine being a young child and brought to the extra affordable suite with six other people, cheap surf-themed finishes falling apart, Russ and Audrey kicking you underneath a cheap surf-themed comforter. Imagine going into the lobby and seeing this brown “wave” crashing into your living nightmare:

Imagine walking up after a long, hot day in Orlando, Florida… Orlando, Florida… to this melange:

Yeah. An entire generation turned off and maybe even two entire generations. Mark my words, between wave tanks featuring brain-eating amoeba and surf-themed budget resorts you and I will be the last few standing.

To us!

Panic: Super-flu kills 75,000; kneecaps Kelly Slater!

Death is in the air that you breathe!

Oh, I don’t want to alarm anyone. 

But, panic!


From the electric pages of Instagram, Kelly Slater, who is forty-seven years old and the current world number seven, the Mike Stewart of stand-up surfing, you might call him, has been felled by Pig Flu, or H1N1, the very same strain that infected 100 million Americans when it appeared in 2009, hospitalising a million of ’em and killing seventy-five k.

The Champ told his million or so fans his temperature had hit 102 F (39 degrees) last night, which does demonstrate the ferocity of the viral attack given it had to breach the Wim Hof aficionado‘s border wall of superfoods. A fever, of course, and as anyone who’s ever had a kid will tell ya, ain’t necessarily a bad thing. The extra heat kills the bacteria.

And 102 is what a doc would call “intermediate grade.”

Pig flu will make you feel like you’re eating marshmallows laced with razor blades every time you swallow, head gonna thump and your bones will ache as if all the lubricating fluid has been drained.

Sinusitis just means boogers flowing like Wild Turkey at a Virginia baptism.

Will Kelly make it?

Tune it to updates here. 

Longtom: “Sharks made me love surfers (but now I hate them again)!”

Can a justified fear of White attack create a circle of love?

I always get a bit sad when I read here, and elsewhere, that the worst thing about surfing is our fellow surfers, how much we hate them: all a pack of c…u….n…ts……or words to that effect.

I have a different view somewhat, I wonder if it’s widespread or just a result of becoming prey in the surf zone and a curious mix of survival and fun.

It was about the most glorious day imaginable when Tadashi Nakahara got taken in Feb 2015. Late summer, warm, crystal-clear water, delightful little baby food peaks being shared by a small crowd.

He disappeared and came up without his legs.

People scattered in shock, one of my friends went back and got him. On the beach they tried to revive him.

Tadashi died in my friends arms. I won’t name him, he suffered terribly from PTSD.

A man got hit at Lennox Point. Horror show, apparently. Huge White came up out of the water as he kicked off a wave and whacked him. Matt Lee, a bodyboarder was mauled, surfing perfect peaks on a bluebird winters day. He was torniqued by pals. Died three times and lives to this day because a rescue chopper, for the first time, was carrying blood supplies with them.

July 19, Mick Fanning had his encounter at J-Bay on live broadcast. Twelve days later, Craig Ison, a fifty-one-year-old former boxer, fought his way clear of the jaws of a White shark and then vowed to quit surfing. The surf was tiny, the sun was shining.

These facts are all well known by now. It made the atmosphere around here febrile and fearful.

A lot of people just stopped surfing altogether. Dawn patrols went unattended.

Ten o’clock in the morning and pointbreak peelers went unsullied by fibreglass and human beings.

In response to being prey local surfers closed ranks. Fires were lit on the points and kept alight all day.

The smell of driftwood burning became a comfort.

Driving around looking for people to go surfing with! Safety in numbers. The guy or gal sitting next to you stopped being an impediment to your wave count and took on a different role. An unspoken question lingered between every surfer in shrunken lineups.

If you were the next one hit would they paddle away or come in and save your life?

Of course you can see how that changes the equation.

How could you hate the gal next to you whose eyes you will be staring into as you mumble through grey lips: “How bad is it, am I gunna make it?”

Low crowds remained the norm in 2016 and 2017. It seems almost unfathomable to be able to go back in time and surf pre-crowded premium pointbreaks on modern equipment, but that is what happened.

When the crowds came back, full force and larger than ever, as if the shark restraint had been a taut bow pulled back further and further and then finally released, it was hard to deal with.

Not just the size but the nature of the crowd changed. Not sure what the deal is in California but in Australia one of the biggest rackets going around is fee paying overseas students. Students pay big money to study bogus courses and get permanent residency visas etc.

If there are 500,000 overseas students in Aus as estimated then 499,000 of them are between Byron Bay and Burleigh Heads. To a man, woman and child they had been deterred from coming here because of the sharks.

In 2018, that prohibition was removed and the resulting invasion was swift and relentless. The modus operandi was simple: safety in numbers. The first car load at the Point Facebook live-streamed it and within the hour multiple van loads were on site.

Brotherhood, communalism by the fire degenerated into bloody tribalism.

None of this will come out in the upcoming court case between Carcass and Jodie Cooper but that is the context.

I’m a low wave-count guy. Normally content to pick the eyeballs out of it. That strategy became untenable sometime last winter.

On a mid-week four-foot day any semblance of order got thrown out the window. I had my little corner bar stool, waiting for a wide wedge. When it came a throng converged. Two people in front of me, trying to paddle in right in front of me. I mean, directly in front. I had to literally elbow my way through and as I got to my feet I could see out of the corner of my eye I had elbowed a gal, Spanish speaker, in the head, to catch a wave at my local break.

Some people might have been happy to laugh it off; I couldn’t find the funny in it.

Fuck it, I hate surfers.

Except a couple of months ago an Asian rock fisherman got swept off at a local Point and a fifteen-year-old kid I surf with dragged him up.

Dead weight, blood-flecked spittle foaming out of his mouth, had to keep diving down and dragging this guy up.

Got him to the rocks.

He died.

I get a little moistened up when I think of it. Fifteen and he put his life on the line dragging some stranger in.

Do I hate, or love?

I don’t know what to think. It could go either way.

Breaking: Kelly Slater’s longtime business partner caught up in college admissions scandal!

The mad genius behind Purps, KS Wave Co., Outerknown etc. admits to paying $250,000 to USC for son.

A month and a half ago we all watched as the college admissions scandal rocking the rich and powerful crashed right into our surf world. Well, sort of into our surf world. One-time surf-esque entrepreneur Mossimo Giannulli, husband of Aunt Becky, was implicated and it was good enough for a BeachGrit headline. But in all seriousness, no one has considered Mossimo a surf-ish brand for two decades.

Today, though, Kelly Slater his very self is caught up in the snares via his longtime business partner Jeff Bizzack and let us head straight to Bloomberg without pausing.

The college admissions scandal that has rocked academia expanded as authorities charged yet another parent in the case.

Jeffrey Bizzack, 59, of Solana Beach, California, will admit to paying $50,000 to the University of Southern California and $200,000 to the scam’s mastermind, college counselor William “Rick” Singer, to get his son into USC, according to the Justice Department.

In July 2017, Singer asked Bizzack for biographical information about his son that prosecutors said was for a phony athletic profile. Later that month, Bizzack emailed Singer his son’s academic transcripts, which were forwarded to Laura Janke, the former USC assistant soccer coach, prosecutors said.

Janke then created a fabricated volleyball profile for the son and sent it to Singer, who forwarded it to “the senior associate athletic director at USC,” according to the government. She has pleaded guilty in the case.

Bizzack’s son received conditional admission to USC as a student athlete in November 2017. In December, at Singer’s direction, Bizzack made a $50,000 payment to USC’s Galen Center, a sports facility, according to the U.S. He also made a number payments totaling $200,000 to a purported charitable foundation Singer ran, the government said. In March 2018, prosecutors said, Bizzack’s son was formally accepted to the school, according to court documents.

Bizzack faces a prison term of 18 to 24 months, but prosecutors agreed to recommend a nine-month sentence and a fine of $75,000. Bizzack’s willingness to plead guilty may have led to the recommendation of less time.

Now, you may still be scratching your head with scrunched up, confused eyes saying, “Kelly Slater’s longtime business partner Jeff Bizzack?” All for good reason. Mr. Bizzack prefers remaining in the shadows, pulling the levers. In 2017 Kelly told Tracks magazine…

“Jeff Bizzack. He’s been my partner in everything I’ve done in the past few years… I’ve been the face of it but Jeff is just the bones and structure of everything that we’ve done.”

The mad genius behind Purps, KS Wave Co., Outerknown etc.

Anyhow, going to prison over all this feels very extreme. Which parent doesn’t want the world for their children or do you disagree? Are you a died-in-the-wool communist who cheers any rich and powerful tumble from grace? Are you the sort who calls for the guillotine at the very sight of wealthy grift?

Well that’s rude.