Revealed: Some places are better than others to be a surfer and Central Florida is that place!

Or, on becoming a god.

As previously declared, I am currently in New Smyrna Beach, Florida and for those not familiar with America’s naughty li’l dangler it is an hour and a half drive from Jacksonville to the north, a three and a half hour from Miami to the south, next to Daytona Beach where mustache men drive souped up sedans in one large circle 500 times.

Two days ago, I surfed very fun waves in trunks and felt good. The water was warm, the air was warm and even though the lineup was plenty crowded it didn’t feel that way. Many peaks. Much spread. Little ego. It was one of the most enjoyable surfs I’ve had in weeks.

Yesterday there was bad wind and not waves but it was Saturday and the number 1 college football team in the country was playing the number 2 college football team in the country, both of which happen to be in the SEC or Southeastern Conference. Now, those who care about such things know that the SEC dominates the college football conversation and to be in Florida, which also happens to have a team in the SEC, during a potentially historic game felt fated. I wandered through town to a sports bar, pulled out a stool, ate chicken wings, drank vodka soda with a twist of lime and only received slight frowns from the otherwise friendly locals for that second choice.

Did you know they call vodka sodas “skinny bitches” in Denmark?

Watching LSU throttle Alabama surrounded by southerners was a culturally rich experience. Fulfilling. There was a man who cheered loudly and had a long braided beard that he paired with a Trump 2020 hunting cap. A couple that looked fourteen but must have been twenty-one in matching shirts that read “Let’s get slothed” featuring a stoned sloth. A grandma who cursed Alabama like a sailor. A bartender who insisted on shouting “Roll Tide” in her weathered face. Smiles and backslaps. Groans and hollers but it was as if everyone was family.

Then last night, under the stars at the Florida Surf Film Festival, the very best surf film festival in the entire world, I chatted with Shea Lopez about outwitting Surfline, flying down to Puerto Rico before breakfast, surfing all day and being home for dinner and the all to easy plus plentiful plus short routes to Central America.

Hunter Martinez’s Lost in Thought played in the background, a fine film, and I thought to myself, “Some places are better than others to be a surfer and between fun warm waves, easy flights to funner warmer waves, college football, chicken wings and only slight frowns from otherwise friendly locals for being a skinny bitch, central Florida is that place.”

Thankful: “I was just this morning reminded that I am the luckiest son of a gun on earth!”

Let's consider all we have instead of all we lack.

November is a month of thankfulness in the United States of America. A time to reflect on all that we have instead of all that we lack. Oh it’s so easy to get trapped in patterns of desire, craving more, needing just one more thing in order for everything to be ok.

Then one more thing after that and one more thing after that.

Like, I would finally be satisfied if professional surfers had their freedom. Or I would, at last, be complete if the 1989 World Champion Martin Potter hung up the headset for 2020.

But one shift, one adjustment will never bring satisfaction for satisfaction is all around us and I was reminded of that this morning. Would you like to read the passage that spurred my self-development? It would be rude of you not to and let us turn to the rich, both literally and figuratively, pages of Forbes magazine:

Only an hour past sunrise, a line already has formed outside Goofy Café + Dine in Waikīkī.

Tourists sneak a hearty breakfast in before they head out for a day of island excursions. Locals come in for coffee and loco moco – a hamburger patty served over rice topped with a fried egg and gravy. Even Makoto Hasegawa, director of operations for Zetton Inc., the burgeoning restaurant group that runs the café, stops by after his morning surf to recharge on an acai bowl before starting his workday.

As Oʻahu prepares to kick off its annual season of surf competitions this winter, Hasegawa and his staff have one dream: that legendary surfer Rob Machado will visit Hawaiʻi and their café to indulge in monster swells and the new special that they named after him: the Goofy Machado Acai Bowl.

On and on the story goes, describing why Rob is the staff and owners’ favorite surfer, how they hope to lure him (two cups of unsweetened acai blended with bananas, blueberries and strawberries to create the bowl’s base topped with a heaping spoonful of peanut butter that’s blended with yogurt to boost creaminess and nutrients. Manoa Chocolate cacao nibs, fresh, local papaya, chopped macadamia nuts, sliced banana, hemp-seed granola, and a drizzle of Big Island Bees raw honey complete the dish) and how they will all just melt into giant puddles if he ever dawns their door.

This heartwarming story stopped me dead in my crusty tracks.

I get to spend time with Rob Machado almost every day. I get to post up with him at the free cheese sample station while shopping for organic produce (him) and vodka (me) at Seaside Market. I get to smile and wave while passing him eating açaí bowls outside the local Sambazon while also quietly thinking that I hate açaí and that he is disgusting and likely pre-diabetic for eating the damned stuff. I get to chastise him sternly for being a dangerous parent when we drop our kids off at elementary school on bikes and his isn’t wearing a bicycle helmet because Rob forgot to put it on.

I get to see Rob Machado so much that he probably thinks we’re best friends or something.

It is time to recalibrate, right now, and admit that I don’t need anything else in my life for I am the luckiest son of a gun on earth.

Are you feeling thankful?

For what?

P.S. Goofy Café + Dine… if you make me a signature dish I’ll visit as long as it’s not gross açaí.

The view from the inside! Reporter grills Japanese and American team riders. | Photo: @redbull/no contest

Jen See advises surf media: “Raise that middle finger high. Be rude. Be authentic. Avoid the cool kids and their velvet ropes!”

Recognize that a wink and a nod toward the sheer ridiculousness of the pastime that consumes us provides an essential guardrail against over-sentimentalizing the whole thing…

Last week on a Thursday afternoon, Deadspin died. You are wondering what the hell this news, which is now a week old, because I am not very fast with the typing, has to do with surfing.

She made us read about her bikinis, the red one and the mismatched one, and we put up with it.

She told Stab to fuck off, and we played along, even though we still sometimes go there. Do you think she knows? (Yes, I know.)

Now, she’s making us give us a shit about a website we never read and doesn’t even cover surfing. Who the fuck does she think she is, anyway? Fucking wannabe surf writer who has never been to Hawaii.

Does she even surf? Fucking jock, going to the gym all the time. She probably doesn’t even surf.

This part is true, actually. I don’t surf! There are no waves! I’m pretty sure there are never going to be waves again. I have tried every possible sacrifice, and none has so far worked.

Times are desperate. Send help.

Back in the time when magazines roamed the earth in herds (rather than the few hardy survivors who remain today), Chas had a column: This has nothing to do with surfing. Of course, wherever he started, he would end up writing about surfing.

I think that’s because eventually, everything is about surfing. This story is like that. It will be about surfing. I promise! And I would never go back on a promise.

Last Thursday, Deadspin died after management told the editorial staff in no uncertain terms to stick to sports. If you read the site regularly, you will know that straight-up sports coverage was one element of a mix that included an annual review of the Williams-Sonoma catalogue, withering critiques of the Trump presidency, and advice for layering season.

The editorial staff refused to bend to management’s edicts. Management fired the deputy editor (the editor-in-chief had already resigned).

The writers walked.

What made Deadspin good was the joy and talent its writers, allowed a long leash, brought to the project. The results were not always good! Blogging is writing as a live performance, and quite honestly, even the best among us, sometimes fuck it up. But the writers at Deadspin played this game better than most.

There will always be the lure of becoming an insider, of sliding under the velvet rope in the hope of becoming one of the cool kids. It won’t work, though. Writers can never be cool, not if they are actually going to do the work of telling stories that are authentic, and especially not if they’re going to be rude.

Until the end, it was one of the sites that I read more days than not — and I don’t generally care about mainstream sports at all.

What also made the site good and necessary was a relentless determination to puncture the egos and pretensions of the powerful, in sports and beyond. Those take-downs took many forms from detailed investigative reporting to straight mockery. Powerful people, in general, do not enjoy mockery. Oh it burns! It burns so bad!

And there it is, right there in the internet for everyone to see and all their money and power can’t make it disappear (Sometimes they can! But it requires lawyers and stuff).

Deadspin was one of the last of the “rude press,” says Alex Pareene, a former editor of Gawker, one of our era’s original rude media outlets. “Rudeness is not merely a tone. It is an attitude,” Pareene wrote in an essay published on Thursday. “The defining quality of rude media is skepticism about power, and a refusal to respect the niceties that power depends on to disguise itself and maintain its dominance.”

Around the time the Deadspin writers were heading for the exits, Chas dropped a post here asking what the surf media should look like.

If you could wave your wand, what would you want to read and watch about surfing?

(See, I told you! Surfing!)

You all had plenty of answers to this question. For me, the surf media should be fun. Leave the earnestness to the New York Times and their ilk. It should be authentic and real — while recognizing that authenticity is not only the job of writers and creators.

It’s a two-way street, and the characters who populate our little island need to meet us halfway. Give it naked emotion, both good and bad.

Show us what’s at stake, whether it’s a contest heat or an interview.

And recognize that a wink and a nod toward the sheer ridiculousness of the pastime that consumes us provides an essential guardrail against over-sentimentalizing the whole thing.

The surf media would do well to take a page from Deadspin’s playbook and be rude. Raise that middle finger high. In truth, the necessary skepticism should come easily for us.

How often have you read a surf forecast and believed it?

And do you actually think it was better yesterday?

No, of course you don’t.

Surfers already have the required skepticism burned into their well-brined souls. It remains but to use it.

There will always be the lure of becoming an insider, of sliding under the velvet rope in the hope of becoming one of the cool kids. It won’t work, though. Writers can never be cool, not if they are actually going to do the work of telling stories that are authentic, and especially not if they’re going to be rude.

Eventually, to be one of the cool kids or the pretty people, you have to sell out, and that negates the possibility of ever writing anything that’s good and real.

(Selling out because you need to eat is an entirely different situation. Please sell out, if you need to eat. That is just common sense and anyone who judges you for that can suck it!)

There’s nothing especially complicated here.

Be rude. Be authentic. Avoid the cool kids and their velvet ropes.

Write what’s real. Keep your stiletto at the ready.

Mock pretension. Find joy in the stupid details. Laugh as much as possible.

That’s it. That’s all there is to it. Now, let’s build it.

Listen: “A pack of already boozed surf journalists, accountants, firemen and historians walk into a bar!”

Injury-inducing pornography!

I got in big trouble on today’s podcast, our 51st, for raging against the World Surf League’s Wall of Positive Noise without having a stable, well-thought, good-ish enough concept of how to replace it. Kevin Miller, worshiper of President Erik Logan and co-founder of the Florida Surf Film Festival was incensed, outraged that I dare destroy instead of build.

Oh, my response to him was too easy. Destruction is the skill I have. Construction is for others but we (read: you) cannot construct without first punching giant holes into Santa Monica.

The Encyclopedia of Surfing’s Matt Warshaw joined and provided historical clarity. You must please donate to his labor of love, our memories here. Scott Hulet of Surfer’s Journal fame also sat behind a mic hating every minute but also providing the best of them. Kevin Miller and Florida Surf Film Festival John Brooks were also in the bar.

John, a fireman, had just come from an emergency situation where a man was masturbating so heavily to big-screen pornography in his house that he fell off his bed and hurt himself to the point of calling 9-1-1.

Our best show yet? With that nugget I don’t know how it couldn’t be.

Shark bites surfer.
Shark bites surfer.

Massive shark eats man celebrating birthday in Reunion; grieving wife identifies remains from wedding ring on severed hand!

A particularly egregious mauling.

I am writing today from the shark bite capital of the world, New Smyrna Beach, Florida. The weather is currently a touch gloomy and threatening rain but the surf this morning was very fun. Peaky. I rode a Machado Seaside and it went fast and loose though was not good for all the Gorkin Flips I was attempting in honor of New Smyrna’s first son Aaron Cormican.

I failed to land one.

I’ll admit to thinking it would be fair if a shark bit me out there, thinking that it would even be valuable because imagine the damage I could do as a shark bite victim. Think of outrage I could manufacture. The undiluted outrage.

Alas, I was not bitten but a 44-year-old Scotsman celebrating his birthday in Reunion with his wife was. Not only bitten but completely eaten in a theoretically “shark free” swimming pond and it is our solemn duty to read the very latest from Scotland’s favorite newspaper Daily Mail.

A British tourist eaten by a shark was snorkelling in a designated ‘safe’ Indian Ocean lagoon – and was identified by his wife who was shown the wedding ring found on his severed hand in the beast’s stomach, it was revealed today.

Richard Martyn Turner, 44, and Verity Turner, from Edinburgh, were staying at the five-star Lux Réunion resort in Saint-Gilles on the paradise island of Reunion – 100 miles from Mauritius.

The couple (pictured) in happier times.
The couple (pictured) in happier times.

The civil servant was reported missing by Mrs Turner and she identified his remains after reportedly being shown his wedding ring found on a finger attached to his severed hand and arm pulled from the 9ft-plus shark.

The Foreign Office declined to comment on the victim’s identity yesterday. DNA tests are being carried out on the remains found inside the tiger shark to confirm that they belong to Mr Turner, it is understood.

The other three sharks will also have their stomach contents examined.

The Hermitage Lagoon was deemed safe for swimmers thanks to its calm, shallow waters of less than 6ft and its dense coral reef, which serves as a barrier that helps keep sharks out.

Damn those “man-eaters.” Heartless. Heartless each and every one from the Great White to the Tiger to the Hammerhead swimming around in theoretically safe lagoons and man-eating husbands. I think it is not safe for anyone else to surf today, especially married men. I think this particularly egregious mauling will inspire other sharks to perform copycat attacks.

Again, no surfing today.

Or tomorrow.