Fifteen-foot swell hits Teahupoo; Raimana hits reef; trials cancelled!

Out of towners and Tahitian locals ride the Teahupoo subway…

A drove of the world’s most persistent big-tube chasers, including Koa Rothman, Jackie Robinson, Nathan Florence and Anthony Walsh, joined their Tahitian brothers for a day of waves so big it forced the cancellation of the Tahiti Pro trials.

Mr Walsh, a thirty-five-year-old Australian who has spent twenty winters on the North Shore, flew in to Papeete two days ago, hoping the expected swell would be so big the trials couldn’t run.

It came close. The first heat was readied, jerseys handed out then…hold.

Wait and hour.


Wait an hour.


Walsh describes the wave size at Teahupoo today thus, “Eight-to-twelve-to-fifteen with twenty-foot sets’ and laughs at the absurdity of what a long period swell delivers.

Moments of relative calm, and relative perfection if you like that sorta thing, before unruly things came through, wiping the water off the reef and, in one instance, giving Surf Ranch mayor Raimana Van Bastolaer the appearance of being mauled by an alligator.

Walsh entered the water at six am, had a couple of hours off at lunch and was there til dark. He estimates he caught forty waves.

Any hall o’ famers?

“I had some amazing wipeouts in the morning,” he says.

The two best waves of the day went to local surfers, Matahi Drollet and Ariihoe Tefaafana, fifteen-foot tow bombs.

The trials event will run tomoz, the swell halving in size before the main event kicks off later in the week in, likely, three-foot waves.

Revealed: Neanderthals likely world’s first surfers; Hawaiians thrown into jealous rage!

New scientific evidence throws history on its ear!

For centuries now, it has been held that surfing’s historical river has its headwaters in Hawaii. Those ancient kings, practicing that wonderful pastime, were observed by Capt. James Cook and his merry men as they sailed around the world looking for fantastic diseases.

Cook’s right hand man, Lt. James King, wrote in his journals:

But a diversion the most common is upon the Water, where there is a very great Sea, and surf breaking on the Shore. The Men sometimes 20 or 30 go without the Swell of the Surf, & lay themselves flat upon an oval piece of plan about their Size and breadth, they keep their legs close on top of it, & their Arms are us’d to guide the plank, thye wait the time of the greatest Swell that sets on Shore, & altogether push forward with their Arms to keep on its top, it sends them in with a most astonishing Velocity, & the great art is to guide the plan so as always to keep it in a proper direction on the top of the Swell, & as it alters its direct.

During research for the academically-driven Cocaine + Surfing (buy here), I marched out on a thick limb, positing that it must have been ancient Peruvians who took surfing from their cold, misty shores over to Tahiti and those Tahitians took it to Hawaii.

Thor Heyderdahl and his Kon Tiki was proof positive and also the fact that surfers love cocaine, which was first planted in Peru by the Great Inca who cut a very beautiful woman in two, named Kuka, and stuck her in the ground.

Many Hawaiians were not pleased with my putting together of research and blamed me, in harsh tones, for being a crackpot and sham.

Well, those Hawaiians have another possible usurper.


For it was revealed today that the human-like creatures suffered from surfer’s ear and let us turn to Discovery magazine for more.

Being a lifelong surfer or diver sometimes comes with an odd side-effect: the growth of small, bony knobs in the ear canals, the result of chronic exposure to cold water and air.

They’re often referred to as “surfer’s ear” because the condition is common among those who ride the waves. But there might well be a more apt term for the condition, based on new findings from a team of scientists: Neanderthal ear.

The bony growths, also called exostoses, show up in many Neanderthal skulls found in Europe and southwest Asia. It’s evidence that the ancient human cousins likely spent a fair amount of time in the water, perhaps to gather food, the team says.

Or, likely, surf.

On it goes and, real quick, the bastards better not rename “surfer’s ear” “neanderthal ear” but also doesn’t it make sense that we come from neanderthal roots? It explains our surf rage. Neanderthal by way of Peru.

Hawaiians will not be pleased.

P.S. Click in the margins and purchase Surf Ears if you want to be smart and evolved. They are honestly epic.

The Australian surfer and noted big-wave charger Sean Mckinnon with his Canadian fiancee, Bianca Buckley.

Man arrested, charged, in Raglan carpark murder of Australian surfer!

"You're always going to get pieces of shit wherever you are…"

A twenty-three-year-old New Zealand man has been arrested in the carpark shooting of an Australian surfer a dozen or so clicks out of Raglan, the country’s most celebrated wave.

The surfer, Sean McKinnon, who was thirty-three and from Port Campbell in Victoria, home to one of Australia’s best big waves, was in a camper-van with his girl, Bianca Buckley, early on Friday morning when a man demanded the keys to the van.

Sean got shot.

Bianca escaped.

Gunman drove off with the mortally wounded Mckinnon still in the back.

From Australia’s national broadcaster, 

His partner, described as being “very shocked and distressed”, managed to escape the gunman and alerted the police.

“At approximately 3:20am, police were notified that an offender had approached a van and shots were fired,” Detective Inspector Graham Pitkethley said.

At approximately 8:00am this morning, police located the van with the man’s body inside.”

Police said they found the van with the body inside some 80 kilometres away.

“Inquiries indicate that this was a random attack,” Detective Inspector Pitkethley said.

The suspected gunman was arrested after police raided a property at Tauhei on the outskirts of Hamilton late on Friday night.

He appeared in Hamilton District Court this morning charged with murder, aggravated robbery, threatening to kill and driving disqualified.

His identity was suppressed and he was remanded in custody to face another hearing in the country’s High Court on August 27.

I did a little ring-around pals in Raglan, population five thousand or so, and as, one said, “The police said it’s a local guy to the region so it’ll be interesting to see who it is. You wouldn’t imagine this happening here but then, you’re always going to get pieces of shit wherever you are. And there’s shitloads of people in campers around here. Pretty spooky for ’em.”

On Facebook, the Victorian surfer Glen Casey, another man noted for his love of big cold-water waves, wrote, “Seany you showed us how to live life to the fullest and charge as hard as anyone on the big days.! You touched us all with your kind heart and beautiful mind. See you on the other side dear friend.”

Listen: “Professional surfing is the world’s greatest pyramid scheme!”

The wizard of lies!

It only took me near 20 years as a surf journalist to stumble onto professional surfing’s greatest secret, truth, dirty, dirty, deep-cut mission.

The whole thing is a racket.

Pyramid scheme. Ponzi scheme. Bernie Madoff rob-Peter-to-pay-Paul racket and I have been vaguely suspicious for a while but now I know for a fact.

Not fact fact, obviously. We live in a post-truth world. But a fact.

Have you ever wondered why the World Surf League insists on keeping thirty-odd surfers in the main draw, with non-elimination rounds, even though it necessitates that a contest run well beyond a forecasted swell? Have you ever wondered why there are hundreds, if not thousands, of World Surf League Qualifying Tour events each and every day, even if they go un-broadcasted?

Even when they go un-boradcasted?

Oh my Pulitzer is coming, damn you Finnegan, because I’m going to dig right in, not to mention Kazakhstan has a surf team.

Kazakhstan has a surf team and something is foul in River City, or whatever Shakespeare said.

More as I crack the caper.

Until then, listen here. I know that David Lee and I have not done a podcast in too long and that we lost all respectability in the meantime but also… did I ever have respectability?


A great, if not greatest, loophole in financial history!

Surfboard "manufacturers" argue about volume.
Surfboard "manufacturers" argue about volume.

Trade war: U.S. surfboard manufacturers “shaping” in China “not stoked” about tariffs!

But what does it all mean for us?

And are you a student of macro-economics? Micro-economics? Trickle down, Keynesian, Austrian? Me? Oh. I read Flash Boys and watched The Big Short so not only am I a student, I think I’m probably an expert but our current trade war confuses me greatly. Is it not just a tax on the American consumer? Am I missing something important and fundamental? Tell me what I’m missing but in the meantime let’s discuss the “plight” of U.S. based “surfboard” manufacturers that have product “shaped” in China.


Frustrated and let’s turn to Reuters for the painful tale of non-surfing surf executive Sue Bowers for we will then all understand.

President Donald Trump’s decision to slap 10% tariffs on imported surfboards convinced surf executive Sue Bowers to move factory jobs out of China – but not back to the United States, which was one goal of Trump’s tariffs.

Strict environmental rules and steep labor costs have sent scores of Southern California surfboard manufacturers to China. Now, the tariffs have Bowers and other executives searching for factories in places such as Thailand and Vietnam.

“This was Surf City,” said Bowers, general manager of Southern California Sports Industries in Orange County.

“I would like to have our production back here,” said Bowers, whose office/warehouse is decorated with surf legend Mike Doyle’s artwork and filled with surfboards bearing his name.

Instead, Bowers – not a surfer herself but who learned the ins-and-outs of surfboard construction from Doyle – is joining the growing list of U.S. manufacturers and retailers reconfiguring supply chains in the wake of the Trump’s bitter trade war with China.

She was among a half dozen U.S. surf company executives who told Reuters they support using trade policy to shelter their homegrown industry from a daunting wave of international competition.


Ok, and I’m sorry, but also completely confused. When Sue Bowers says, “This was Surf City…” is she talking about China? It is completely unclear but, in context, I can only read “Surf City” as China and now “New Surf City” is either going to be Thailand or Vietnam.

Also, what were the “ins-and-outs” of surfboard construction that she learned?




All of it?

Where are you Pete Schroff! Help me understand!