Run don't walk! A diamond may be forever but these prices won't last!
Run don't walk! A diamond may be forever but these prices won't last!

Opportunity: Russia seeks to end ban on “Blood Diamonds” sending hordes of “thrifty” surfers in longterm relationships to mall-based jewelry stores!

Strike while the iron's hot!

Surfers are known for very many things, being stupid, being dumb, being cheap, but in my experience none of these stereotypes are true. We are elevated, able to think through myriad complexities with clarity. Able to problem solve etc. and also prioritize.  Yes, none of these stereotypes are true except for surfers being cheap, though “thrifty” is a much better descriptive adjective.

The surfer has many important things on which to spend her or his money included but not limited to wax, Futures Fins, BeachGrit outerwear (buy here) and wetsuits. He, therefore, must economize. She must pinch pennies when there are pennies to be pinched.

And recent news coming out of Russia and Africa is very welcoming to the thrifty surfer in a longterm relationship.

A possible end to the ban on “Blood Diamonds.”

As you well know, the traditional diamond engagement ring is supposed to be worth three months of salary. That is a small-ish diamond and especially for surfers employed by the surf industry where a fifteen year apocalypse rages even through the greatest economic run in modern history. Many layoffs. Much depressed wages.

In any case, Russia and Africa are seeking to solve this problem and let us turn to Bloomberg for the very latest.

Russia is proposing to move toward ending the ban on selling so-called blood diamonds from the Central African Republic, a former French colony that’s struck recent military and commercial ties with Moscow, amid resistance from the U.S. and Europe.

The CAR, which is mired in civil conflict, should be granted a “road map” outlining the steps it needs to take to get the suspension of diamond sales lifted, Russian Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev said in an interview in Moscow.

“We need to ensure that illicitly traded diamonds move to the legal marketplace, bringing income for people and taxes for the state,” Moiseev said. “The situation in CAR isn’t getting any better, and we can’t delay this any more.”

Russia’s pressing for action as President Vladimir Putin seeks to challenge the U.S. and other major powers in a new push to restore Soviet-era influence in the resource-rich African continent. He hosted more than 50 African leaders in the first Russia-Africa summit in October and his ally Yevgeny Prigozhin’s mercenary venture is active in about a dozen countries, including the CAR.

So, are you in a longterm relationship? Is a ring expected soon, maybe even this holiday season? Aeroflot flies non-stop from LAX. I have flown many times and cannot recommend highly enough.

First wave, day one. Butchered, of course. | Photo: URBNSURF/Jarrah Lynch

Report: Mysteries revealed, weaknesses exposed after ten hours and 150 waves in Melbourne tank!

Can a kook finally reach nirvana if given enough pool time?

I’m an intermediate surfer, lower intermediate for the sake of precision, and will never be anything more.

This isn’t a new revelation.

It’s a truth the has been demonstrated to me at various times and at various places, Cloudbreak Teahupoo, Ours and, twice last week, at Australia’s first commercial wave pool, which can be found just a mile-and-a-half from Melbourne’s international airport.

On Monday, I enjoyed Urbnsurf’s hospitality from one through til six as part of a media reveal. The catering was excellent, Cliff bars, Poke bowls, spring water in plastic bottles, beer and coffee from an on-site van. I discovered the CEO of Urbnsurf, Andrew Ross, and I grew up, in the same era, lived roughly one mile apart and attended neighbouring schools. Eerie.

Waves were, mostly, a three-foot ledge called The Beast, although there were waves in some sessions where turns could be employed. It was very hot, one hundred degrees Fahrenheit, the wind was a northerly offshore and I surfed, first, in trunks, but was soon forced to dress in a short-sleeved steamer as the water was cold. With fourteen surfers in the water and eight-wave sets every two minutes only one wave was caught every four minutes. There was no paddling in between to keep heart-rate up, body warm. An estimated fifty waves snatched.

One head injury was sustained. Stu Nettle, a very good surfer and editor of the Australian surf forecast site, was sucked up the face of a lefthand tube and into the concrete bottom when a layback went awry.

That same week, on the Friday, I joined the party of an old friend who had hired the joint from nine am until eight pm, although the pool was switched off at seven, much to the chagrin of the two surfers left out the back and who were forced to paddle in.

I spent seven hours or thereabouts in the water and caught, at a conservative estimate, one hundred waves. It was cold (eighteen degrees C or sixty-four F) and the wind blew onshore from the south. A four-three was the suit of choice although my Rip Curl 3/2 sufficed. Over the course of the ten hours the pool was open, I sustained myself by taking hot showers and eating handfuls of the protein balls supplied.

One head injury was sustained. David McArthur, a very good surfer and newspaper cartoonist, was sucked up the face of a righthand tube and into the concrete bottom. The way he staggered out of the pool suggested a mild concussion was also included in the deal.

What did I learn from the experience of two days, of one hundred and fifty waves under my feet? That I suck. Yes, that, but that is hardly news.

I learned that all those elements that I can disguise in the surf, the indecisive takeoff, the mistimed turns, the habit of staying ahead of the pocket, the back foot refusing the plastic of my tail-pad are magnified ten-fold in the pool.

And, yet.

Ah, yes, there’s a yet.

It is only through the reveal of our flaws that we can improve.

What good is it to tell a child he’s clever if he’s stupid?

Or a painter that she has something unique when her work is derivative and poorly drawn?

I find my best moments when I’m overtaken by an anger at the repetition of my mistakes and the slap in the face of being reminded of my inability to surf. Usually, I’l rectify on a wave, get my back foot on the tail-pad, actually locate and hit the lip, then go in, mission complete although new approach not ingrained in muscle memory.

At the pool, I was there for an extended period – what was I going to do, sit and watch? – and there was no escape from the truth.

In the Monday session, I couldn’t understand why I was missing the tube. I sent an email to the professional big-wave surfer Mark Mathews who, perversely I suppose, has been to the pool five times. He told me to forget turns, stomp on the tail on the take off, sit in the one allowable groove, and you’ll be caved from ass to mouth, as they say.

Even if it sounds straightforward enough, it took me all of day two to understand what he meant and to…see…the groove. It was only on the last wave of the day, at one minute to seven, I completed a ride satisfactorily.

Backside, less successful, although I’m starting to see the line on that side, too.

I won’t bother you with my philosophical take on pools or whether you should spend eighty Australian dollars on a one-hour visit there, that’s up to you.

What it gave me was a reminder of my frailties and an extended period to, finally, address these multiple errors.

I’m back, I believe, next Thursday.

Paige Alms, winner of $20,000. $80,000 less than her short wave brothers and sisters.
Paige Alms, winner of $20,000. $80,000 less than her short wave brothers and sisters.

Opinion: “The World Surf League’s bald-faced hypocrisy regarding ‘equality’ mocks the dreams of Martin Luther King Jr., Thomas Paine, Susan B. Anthony etc!”


Oh how Santa Monica pounded its chest in announcing that its World Surf League was the world’s first, first, sporting organizational body to provide equal pay for both men and women. That it represented the largest civil rights shift since Russia freed her serfs. But do you not remember? Do you not recall the breathless press release? Let’s practice retroactive journalism together here and now.

The World Surf League (WSL) today announced that it will award equal prize money to male and female athletes for every WSL-controlled event in the 2019 season and beyond, becoming the first and only US based global sports league, and among the first internationally, to achieve prize money equality. The WSL is proud of its commitment to gender equality, and proud to join other organizations beyond the world of sport reaching this important milestone.

Of course the WSL’s public relations busy bees, trapped in reclaimed cubicles, slaving under the ominous glare of Erik “ELo” Logan’s pearly whites, pushed the narrative out to the mainstream media.



First in equal.

Except it’s all a damned lie. An absolutely egregious display of bald-faced hypocrisy not seen since… since… Mark Zuckerberg.

For how much did our big wave brother and sister make after surfing heart-stopping Jaws?


And how much does the winner of every Championship Tour surfer make?


This discrepancy sickens me as it should sicken you.



Obviously yes, troglodyte.




National Weather Service declares: Extremely dangerous “two-story” waves arrive in Bay Area!

An important discussion regarding big waves and their measurement.

Our Hawaiian brothers and sisters, God bless each and every one, pioneered the absolutely confounding “back of the wave” measurement scale. Our Australian wave plunger brothers and sisters, God bless them slightly less, pioneered a miraculous 8 foot measurement using bodyboarders as perspective. But, I feel, as both an artist and Caucasian male, that the mainstream media delivers the most compelling system, measuring waves using “storeys” of buildings/houses.

Headlines began screaming, a few days ago, that “two-story” surf was headed to the Bay Area and let’s read before discussing.

The National Weather Service has issued a high surf advisory as a brewing storm in the Gulf of Alaska is expected to deliver waves up to 22 feet tall to Northern California beaches.

“The high winds associated with that storm are generating the swell that should get there by Thursday,” said Spencer Tangen, a forecaster with the NWS office in Monterey.

In effect 3 p.m. Thursday through 3 a.m. Saturday, the advisory warns of strong rip currents, beach erosion and large waves running far up beaches and washing over large rocks and jetties.

“Use extra caution near the surf zone as these large waves will be capable of sweeping people into the frigid and turbulent ocean water,” warns the Weather Service. “Cold water shock may cause cardiac arrest, and it also can cause an involuntary gasp reflex causing drowning, even for a good swimmer.”

So, quickly, can our San Fransisco adjacent sisters and brothers first let us know that they’re ok? No cold water born cardiac arrests? Gasp reflexed drowning?

And now, “storeys” for waves. Are with me? Best way to measure them? I feel it combines the smoke throw of the Hawaiian system with the nonsense of the plunger system. Who amongst us hasn’t jumped from a second story into a swimming pool?

We’re all big wave surfers!

But also should be employed more broadly. “I just surfed some pretty fun wainscotting this morning…” etc.


Panda Dolly Dagger Review: “A comfort zone for the non-pro. Very seductive bottom contour. Very easy speed, nice flow.”

The success of this modern performance twin fin design is as a bridge between the hard-core shred and the anyone-can-ride alternative “crutch” board. A certain type of shred lord for whom the thruster is too jock and the quad too macho will find solace in the twin fin.

You ride a twin fin, your Mom rides a twin-fin, your Mom’s girlfriend rides a twin-fin. The twin-fin is the ubiquitous piece of surfing equipment at this juncture: December twenty-nineteen.

The Dolly Dagger by Panda surfboards gets filed under performance twin, to distinguish from the traditional twin-keeled San Diegan fish and it’s offspring. The performance twin is almost always a direct replica in outline to the Mark Richards twins he rode to four World Titles 79-82. Balanced outline with width in both the chest area and tail block and a single flyer, which both breaks the outline curve at the point of primary fin engagement and helps to reduce planing area in the pod behind the back foot. Swallow-tail mandatory.

To that formula, the Dolly Dagger adds a modern (neutral) rail, compared to the hard down rail with tucked edge of the Richards Twin and a very dynamic bottom contour. Single concave under the front foot with a pronounced vee through the aft area housing concaved panels either side.

I got mine at 5’8”, coming in just under 30 litres, and the very first sensation, after coming off the Slater FRK was one of sweet relief. This is a very fine paddling surfboard, both from A to B in the line-up and into waves. Width under the chest and a relaxed forward rocker means this board moves through the water very nicely.

Do you get trapped by the rigidity of your own thought patterns? I sure do.

For example, I thought I hated twin-fins, and everything about them. My very first wave, in crumbly but longish period high-tide runners, like Bells Beach, so therefore perfect for a twin, ended badly. Squirrely pieces of shit, I thought.

A regular surfing pal on a mid-length twin went straight past, with that release/glide off the top. I always thought twins exerted too much rotational force on the hull, compared to the more hull-centric single or thruster feeling, where there is less rotational force from the side fins. Less pivot around a hypothetical fulcrum. It’s that pivot that always bugged me on the twin.

I was very, very lucky, in that a solution to the problem presented itself.

Chatting to an American chap who had paddled off the rocks and was sitting inside me on a soft-top and I was thinking there was no way he would have the hide to think he was going to paddle straight up the inside and have the next set wave, but he did.

That creates a comfort zone for the non-pro. Not having the back foot placement so critical as a thruster while maintaining the engagement of the fin cluster during turns. Parko copped heat for safety swoops but for a rec surfer not much feels better, and that greased soap around the bath tub high-line is a stoker. Both of which the Dolly Dagger does supremely well. It’s a very relaxing surfboard to ride. Lots of good feels. Compared to the FRK, it does not demand much to be ridden well.

So I took it. Sorry pal, if you are reading.

Which means I had to haul ass, as they say, and in that process I got two big pumps in that were more like top-to-bottom swoops and generated an insane amount of speed. My back foot was a little further forwards than a thruster placement.

That creates a comfort zone for the non-pro. Not having the back foot placement so critical as a thruster while maintaining the engagement of the fin cluster during turns. Parko copped heat for safety swoops but for a rec surfer not much feels better, and that greased soap around the bath tub high-line is a stoker. Both of which the Dolly Dagger does supremely well. It’s a very relaxing surfboard to ride. Lots of good feels. Compared to the FRK, it does not demand much to be ridden well.

I rode it mostly in crappy surf but just as Eskimos have lots of words for snow, Arabs for sand and Polynesian navigators for ocean there an infinite number of types of crap surf, rarely categorised. The type I rode mostly was a seasonal variety consisting of small mid-long period swell, point surf with a counter-vailing devil wind. Hard to ride. Hard to maintain speed, join the dots, find clean corners and do turns. Hence derided and uncrowded.

This Dolly Dagger ate it up. You get the speed and the safety swoops going and crack the corners; the flattish rocker keeps the glide going and the short hull and fin set-up gets the pivot. I think, a lot of waves break like that in the world with, what in ecology is termed, an unexploited niche.

I also rode little beachbreak wedges at Coolum and had a ball smashing closeouts, more typical beachbreak and could glide between sections. Rail-to-rail movements get water flowing through the concaves either side of the vee. It’s a very seductive bottom contour. Very easy speed, nice flow.

The marketing blurb says twin fin, one look at it and I thought twin fin but some minds- Derek Rielly, for example, saw three fin plugs and thought: thruster. I did put some JJF Alphas in the plugs but the board instantly lacked the drive of the big twins.

Back to the OG set-up, which was the Merrick AM-T’s. A big upright twin, with a small trailer.

The trailer might be considered cheating by some, but as a way of softening the rotation on my backhand it worked a charm. My beef with the AM-T’s was the Soviet grey colour. Twins need a beautiful fin. My Irish ranga pal at the Byron Equinor protest rocked a rainbow set in his twin and that looked amazing. Don’t snort Nick Carroll, you’re as prone to petty vanity as the rest of us.

The Mayhem Evil Twin set would also work fine, with a nicer aesthetic.

Cons? Some shred will be left on the table in good waves. A local breakwall turned on a rare day (for this time of year) of overhead wedges. There was resistance from the wider nose to going straight up into the bowl at speed. Hard to lever off the fin cluster to get really vertical.

Don’t get me wrong, still fun, but maybe just a tad restrictive, more lateral. I might add, most of this was backside surfing. Forehand, I think the control and placement of vertical surfing would be much easier, especially for those of an advanced skill set.

The success of this modern performance twin fin design, I believe, is as a bridge between the hard-core shred and the anyone-can-ride alternative “crutch” board. A certain type of shred lord for whom the thruster is too jock and the quad too macho will find solace in the twin fin.

There are many fine examples from Dave Rastovich to Asher Pacey to Torryn Martyn. The non-pro intermediate finds larger margins for error in foot placement, very nice feeling speed swoops and easy pivot surfing that feels better than it looks, in most cases.

Deferring to Dane Reynolds dictum that for the non-pro, if it feels good it is good, is a fair enough punctuation point.

PS. I rode a board with three plugs but the Dolly Dagger has options to fin as a twinzer, which is an enormously appealing prospect.