And you have, by now, certainly seen the stunning drone footage shot by eighteen-year-old Doheny local Payton Landass. There he was, lounging at his parents beachside home when he spotted the incredible; a giant grey whale, or blue whale according to Russia Today, casually swimming through the lineup. Landass, alertly, grabbed his drone and flew it overhead capturing what he correctly dubbed “an insane and surreal” tableau.
The particularly high tide allowed the stately beast to move so close to shore and casually flick her or his tail.
The clip is wonderfully moving and should have been a moment for our fractured world to come together in a celebration of nature’s majesty but has proven otherwise. The story and video went viral with mainstream media coverage mostly focusing on how the surfers in the lineup were “unaware” of the whale’s presence with a very thick insinuation that “unaware” should be read myopic, lazy and self-obsessed.
Surfers have, for years, tried to shake these stereotypes by participating in beach clean-ups and a rehabilitation of the “surfer image” has been the near-sole focus of our World Surf League. We are, in President Storyteller Erik Logan’s soft hands, “athletes, world-citizens, ecologically-minded wave tank builders.”
And yet one grey, or blue, whale swimming through a lineup unnoticed kicks us straight back to being a pack of naval-gazing Jeff Spicolis.
Too dumb to notice a behemoth.
Too addled to care.
Is the stereotype true? Should President Storyteller Erik Logan throw in the towel and greenlight “Box of Rocks” alongside his heart-stirring hit “Transformed” (three-thousand views and counting) wherein a gaggle surfers sit in a parking lot and argue about surfboard volume for three uninterrupted hours?
But would you watch?
Seeking: A hero who will kiss away our pain, stand by us forever, take our breath away!
So yesterday I was driving through town of my way to pick up some Vietnamese-Laotian fusion when I heard, on the radio, the story of hockey goon John Scott and how fans, furious with the National Hockey League, made him an all-star.
It was an epic of the sport journalism genre and you must read in full, but I will give the very short version and how it relates to us, Professional surf fans and professional hockey fans are the basically the same. We both love a game where men and women dance upon the water. We both mistrust our governing body. I had no idea, but true hockey fans consider the National Hockey League an inept interloper exactly like we consider our World Surf League.
And so one day, the host of a famous hockey podcast became furious with the NHL and its perpetual tinkering with the all-star game format. He mustered his fans to vote for an older, large, not extremely skilled player named John Scott. A classic hockey goon but also the near last of a dying breed.
Fans rallied, John not only won the vote but smashed all-comers, the NHL got all inept and mad and tried to convince John it would be embarrassing for his children if he attended the all-star game, he decided to anyhow and so they had his team trade him and the team that acquire him kick him down to the minor leagues. But there was no rule that a minor league player couldn’t be an all-star and so John went and… I won’t spoil it for you. Must must read but how does it relate to us?
Well, the World Surf League just announced its new reality show Ultimate Surfer and while we can’t just vote anyone in, like our lucky hockey fan brethren, I feel if we muster our forces we can figure out our standard bearer and get her or him onto the show.
You must be at least 21 years of age and a legal resident of the United States. You must be in good physical condition to be able to compete in a series of skills-based challenges that may be considered physically demanding (e.g., running, climbing, lifting, swimming, balancing). You must not be a candidate for public office and must agree not to become one from the date of your application until one (1) year after the initial broadcast of the final episode of the Program in which you appear. You may not ever have been convicted of a felony.
And besides the “legal resident of the United States” bit which seems both entirely anti-surf and xenophobic who could we push forward?
Who should we?
We must decide together and then petition that person to fly our flag.
Revealed: Advanced shark tracking technology proven “extremely fallible” as tricky Great Whites learn to outsmart complicated systems!
Two days ago, surfers, bodysurfers and mostly boogie boarders who call North Carolina’s Outer Banks home freaked out very much as the shark tracking organization OCEARCH informed them that a 500 lbs Great White named Cabot swam into their once-pristine Albemarle Sound, just inside of Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head. The only places anyone has ever heard of on North Carolina’s Outer Banks and also the most popular.
Pandemonium struck and struck hard. OBX locals went fear crazy, locking themselves into storm shelters, refusing to take baths, not even washing dishes for fear that Cabot might squeeze through the plumbing and chew limbs.
Yesterday, OCEARCH revealed the rotund shark was never in Albemarle Sound but very likely stalking surfers, bodysurfers and mostly boogie boarders elsewhere. A very scary twist and let’s go to The Outer Banks Voice for the very latest.
It turns out that Cabot, a 500-lb. great white shark tracked by Ocearch, did not pay a visit to the Albemarle Sound on Wednesday night, according to the ocean research organization’s founder, Chris Fischer.
Fischer told the Voice that a low-quality ping from the satellite-linked tracker on Cabot’s dorsal fin made it appear that the shark had found its way into the estuarine waters not far from Point Harbor, resulting in reports of his apparent and curious location. A higher quality ping on Thursday morning, however, showed that the shark – named after explorer John Cabot – was in the Atlantic Ocean not far off Kitty Hawk.
Fischer noted that the Wednesday night ping showed up on Ocearch’s online shark tracker and was reported by several news agencies.
“We are watching sharks all the time, and get different ping qualities,” he said. “We got a ping [in the Albemarle Sound] that was lower quality…When we saw the high-quality ping out [in the Atlantic], we knew we were right.”
He added that, “While Cabot wasn’t in the sound, I don’t think that is something new…They do go into the sounds and have since the beginning of time…we just know it now.”
The longer the shark’s fin is out of the water, the better the quality of the ping, Fischer explained. He added that shark enthusiasts can check Ocearch’s social media sites to confirm a shark’s location. “You’ll know it’s a real ping if you find it on” Ocearch’s media posts, he noted.
Sharks now know to keep their fins in the water while stalking prey, while stalking you and you should likely not surf this week or probably until OCEARCH fixes its bugs. All the lessons we learned from watching and re-watching Jaws have essentially been erased. The bastards now have every advantage.
More as the story develops.
Watch: “Life is truly known only to those who suffer, lose, endure adversity and stumble from defeat to defeat!”
The boogie boarder is right. I’m a fraud, a phony, fake insurgent daydreaming a swelling movement in the hearts of Grumpy Locals everywhere, a passion as ephemeral as successfully performing “the floss” in front of a six-year-old birthday party today when children stopped flossing months ago and only yell “Epstein didn’t kill himself” back and forth.
A way of life that is over. Done. Spent.
Cool Kids’ Club shuttered and the keys handed over to a SUP aficionado from Manhattan Beach, California by way of Oklahoma, roll Sooners roll, and a billionaire from Manhattan Island or somewhere very similar.
I wanted to blow a hole in their Wall of Positive Noise and thought I had the will, the conviction, to fortitude to pull it through but maybe I don’t. Maybe we don’t.
Is starting our own professional surfing league the answer? The way we show Santa Monica that we mean business?
What about making movies, funny movies with surfers?
Will that work?
Should we go and try to free other, more appreciative, downtrodden peoples?
Like maybe the Kurds?
I don’t know if I know anymore. Dark days even in this oasis of anti-depressivism.
Dez Hynd, sixty-two, one eyeball, hit by cancer, still shredding. Steve Sherman/@tsherms
Longtom: “I renounce quit-lit! Why should we cede the space to the VAL hordes?”
Trainspotting and T2 posit smack addiction as an alternate path to dreary consumer lifestyles, something which the mainstreaming of the opioid crisis has made impossible.
surfing, which walked hand-in-hand with the drug lifestyle for long periods of its history, is now dished up as meat and potatoes to the mainstream. It ain’t rebellion from anything, least of all the trappings of the post-modern capitalist surveillance state. Still, it remains a far better addiction to grow old with. The best ever.
Smack can’t be a rebellion anymore when they dish it out at every pharmacy. The melancholic consequences of that gig are still profound. Doyle said he wanted the film to smack people in the face with their life choices, or words to that effect.
Likewise surfing, which walked hand-in-hand with the drug lifestyle for long periods of its history, is now dished up as meat and potatoes to the mainstream. It ain’t rebellion from anything, least of all the trappings of the post-modern capitalist surveillance state.
Still, it remains a far better addiction to grow old with. The best ever. The consequences of the choice to give it a proper go, a minority of Californian media barons excepted, are mostly positive.
Let me get to the Point.
After consideration, I renounce quit lit. Quit-lit, quite properly belongs to the real drug takers. The smackies, the tweakers, the drunks and chronics. Our opportunity costs are much smaller, negligible even in the modern world.
Which took me to Noosa Heads on a Saturday morning with head high surf at Tea Tree. Top five crowded wave in the world. I’d avoided crowds like that for twenty years.
First surf minus fins, a hundred people out. Sitting wide and down the line and the set of the day comes in. Took the drop, put the board into a flat spin and put a full body hit on a plumber from Coolum out enjoying a Saturday morning paddle.
If that was you, sorry pal.
A few fun peelers followed. Why should I avoid this, I thought, in favour of headbutting beachbreak closeouts? I went back to the crowds. The better waves. Began to rack them up again. My thinking now: why should we cede the space to the VAL hordes?
I know not everyone thinks that way. But you ain’t going to find solitude in the tub either, if that’s the escape plan.
I look around at the old guys, especially those who quit the gear and kept surfing. Jeff Hakman, Owl, Tommy Carroll; many others.
Those who never got on the gear. Hynd, Greenough, Rusty Miller. Even Old Baldy, despite the farcical displays of hubris. All still shredding.
In the face of that a defiant pessimism seems more anti-depressive, a more triumphant melancholy. And if you get on the end of one, like a little bump now and then, want to expand the horizon with some psychedelics, no judgement either. Thats what we do.
Am I saying quit-lit is dead? It is too me.
Am I saying being a lifelong surfer is a better choice than being a drug addict, even if the life of a drug addict, ipso facto makes for a more “interesting story”.