Inspiring: Baby seal outwits “fast and furious” Great White shark thereby teaching surfers valuable tricks on how not to be eaten alive!

We can be best.

There has been nothing but bad, bad news, for surfers, in our current and ongoing Shark Apocalypse. Yes, the world’s attention has turned to China Coronavirus or Covid19, but in our small and shrinking community, the mighty shark still menaces supreme. “Man-eating” men’s toes. “Man-eating” men’s salty chocolate balls.

Valentine’s Day red blood in the water.

Our kine facing extinction.

But…

Did a lowly, albeit cute, baby seal just learn us how to save our toes and balls?

Let us read about the inspiring incident from the world’s leading scientific journal:

The shocking video starts with the pup leaping out of the water as the shark snaps its jaws shut just inches from its tail.

The prey then turns quickly and heads for the shark’s tail. Every time the shark turns trying to land a bite, the desperate pup turns too, keeping as close to the tail as possible.

When the predator tires of this encounter the seal then makes a run for it, escaping with its life.

You must watch it here and absorb the lessons of keeping as close to the apex predator’s tail as possible, tiring the beast out then catching the wave of your life as all other surfers will surely be on the beach breathing heavily and scared.

A Dane Reynolds-esque performance circa his prime?

It’s not out of the question and the general public will even think you are the first Dane Reynolds as the Other Dane Reynolds has Coors Lighted himself out of history’s memory.

Imagine being an unsullied Dane Reynolds.

The rebirth.

Oh my goodness.

#ThankYouSharks

More as the story develops.


Warshaw on Surfing’s great unsung queen: “There isn’t much about her I don’t love!”

Scared of nobody, loved Hawaii etc.

Yesterday, the gatekeeper of surfing’s historical archives, Matt Warshaw, loosed a three-minute filmic tribute to former world number two, Jodie Cooper. 

If that name ringeth a bell, it might be because much of last year was eaten up by a court case where she successfully accused a Lennox Head local, the surf mat aficionado Mark Thomson, of attacking her in the surf.

But, as you will learn, there is much, much more to the dazzling Jodie Cooper.

BeachGrit: Yesterday you loosed a swinging little clip of Jodie Cooper, a woman who remains an important strand in our cultural DNA for two reasons: one, she was one of the female pros who loved surfing Hawaii and, two, she didn’t take any shit from boneheads. Do you remember when Johnny Boy Gomes belted her at Rocky Point? Let’s gather around the campfire while you retell that fabulous story.

Warshaw: I re-read Jodie’s version of the Johnny-Boy story yesterday—what a nightmare, on so many levels. Apparently everybody in pro surfing was out at Beach Park, I think it was 1993. Johnny-Boy and Bud Llamas take off on the same wave, get tangled, John comes up and starts knocking Bud around. Everybody looks the other way, except Jodie, who tells Johnny to chill out, so he lets go of Bud, paddles over and hits Jodie in the head. Nobody in the water does or says a thing. For two years after that, she says, he harassed her.

And, then, just last year, she was pounced on and wrestled by surf-mat king Mark Thomson at Lennox.

And before that, she got bit by a shark. On the hand, shaved off a couple of knuckles.

Johnny-Boy and Bud Llamas take off on the same wave, get tangled, John comes up and starts knocking Bud around. Everybody looks the other way, except Jodie, who tells Johnny to chill out, so he lets go of Bud, paddles over and hits Jodie in the head. Nobody in the water does or says a thing. For two years after that, she says, he harassed her.

Do you love her fighting spirit?

There isn’t much about Jodie Cooper that I don’t love.

You once wrote of a dinner date and “mid-sized crush” and described her thus: “endlessly cheerful, gorgeous, fine dinner companion, raspy voice.” Again, let’s all gather at your feet while you tell that story.

Having a crush on Jodie Cooper in the 1980s was as daring and radical as thinking Tom Curren had good style. Everyone had a crush on Jodie. For me, I’ve always had a thing for girls who look like boys who dress like girls, and that was Jodie all the way. I’d talked to her a few times before, probably at the Op Pro, and in Hawaii. She and Pam Burridge and Barton Lynch were my favorite people on tour. I’m trying to think, looking back whatever it is, 30-something years, if I thought it was a date-date, and I remember being before nervous beforehand, so I guess I did. I’m sure she didn’t think so. We went to Mongkut Thai, in downtown San Clemente. Five minutes in I knew it was just a friendly dinner, which was fine, maybe even a relief, and we had a really nice time. I remember her voice, and also that for such a small person she had these big rough country-girl hands.

Jodie swung the door open to the closet in 1997. Do you remember? Do you remember the response to her being gay? Did you tear down your bedroom posters in tears?

She came out in sort of an oblique way, at least as far as the news got to America. Surfing mag called her up for a little one-column interview, and the question was “What is the punkest thing about you?” and Jodie said something like, “My lifestyle, being gay, is pretty punk.” Which it was, in surfing terms, back then. It still is.

You lived through the heady eighties and nineties when Jodie was in her competitive prime. What were your impressions of Jodie as a surfer? I think, a little off style-wise and hence no world title maybe, but, when they happened, big turns and wonderful demonstrations of strength.

The women pros of that age were all a little off, style-wise, except maybe Pam. Wendy Botha and Frieda Zamba won all those world titles, and neither of them had a better style then Jodie. Also—and this wasn’t true for Frieda or Wendy or any of the others—the bigger the surf got, the better Jodie looked, especially at Sunset. I don’t think she ever quite hit Margo Oberg’s level in bigger surf, but pretty close. Jodie loved being out there when it was heavy, and it showed. She’d hang on the North Shore for weeks after all the other girls left. She was never a particularly ambitious world tour competitor but in terms of pushing it in bigger waves, nobody from her generation could touch her. Layne Beachley was the next one, after Jodie, to really charge.

Last I heard, Jodie was working costumes on the movie adaption of the surf novel Breath, nailing that seventies-era perfectly and the taking down Carcass in court. How about you?

Jodie and I wrote a couple letters back and forth, as you did back in the ’80s, and that was about it. I left Orange County in 1990 and lost touch with everybody in the surf biz for a couple of years, Jodie included. She did the commentary at a couple of WSL contests recently, Bells or Margarets, or both, and to me she sounded kind of reined in, a little nervous, not much like I rememer her. But it was good to see her onscreen anyway. Jodie seems indomitable in a way, unbreakable, but there’s something kind of hard-luck about her too. I don’t quite know why. Maybe I’m just still pissed on her behalf because that geezer Thompson who assaulted her basically walked, which seemed like a pretty grievous miscarriage of justice.


Can I quit you?

Listen: An increasingly handsome Devon Howard takes Chas Smith gently by the hand and begins leading him out of closet!

Happy Valentine's Day!

If you’ve ever heard me jabber then you know how much I hate mid-length surfboards. Funboards, eggs, fatsters, kook rafts, floaties, yellow beanies… whatever they’re called, I hate. Hate very much and hate with a visceral blinding sort of hate.

True hate.

To me the mid-length represents a giving up, a throwing in the towel, a capitulation to nature, age, crowds, weakness. Quitters ride mid-lengths. Rebels ride shortboards, high performance, fishy-hybrids, twins while shaking a balled up fist at destiny and yelling, “I will NOT be undone!”

Except

At night, when no one is looking, I hide under the covers and scroll Instagram until I find Devon Howard’s profile then drool, playing this clip over and over and over and over until I’m in the throes of absolute ecstasy.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B7FOXSCHP8V/

That is how I want to surf. The flow, the angles, the effortlessness.

The… beauty.

The sun comes up in the morning, though, and I begin to rage again and hate. To hell with mid-length surfboards. It sets and I drool. This duel life almost too much to bear.

Well, as fate would hate it, Devon Howard swung by the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center in San Clemente, California this morning looking better than ever. Hair slicked back but not greasy. Beard coming in gray. Skin hammered by the sun but in an enviable way. Eyes smiling.

Under his arm he carried the above board. A Channel Islands Mid.

David Lee, Devon and I chatted about this and that, about how Gerry Lopez likely destroyed surfing and Kelly Slater too, before getting down to the topic of mid-length surfboards.

My heart was pounding.

I told him to shove his beginner board, but didn’t mean it.

Told him to break it in half and die.

He took my barbs and then my hand.

A Channel Islands mid-length is coming to my home soon. Will I love or will I be like Ellen DeGeneres, give it a try and decide it’s not for me?

Wait, I can never remember… is Ellen gay or straight?

Listen here and more as the story develops.


The Prophet.
The Prophet.

Prophet of Rage Baking: Surf Journalist inspires movement that helps women deal with their seething hatred of Donald J. Trump!

"Very humbled."

So there I was driving north yesterday, through south Orange County up into central Orange County, passively listening to National Public Radio, actively wondering what Joe Turpel does in the offseason when a story came on that snapped me into the present.

A story about rage baking.

I turned the volume up, gripped the wheel and listened intently.

Apparently women are so infuriated, so maddened, so rage-filled at things in life they can’t change (read: Donald J. Trump) that they are taking out all their frustrations out by “rage baking.”

The book, just out, is titled Rage Baking: The Transformative Power of Flour, Fury, and Women’s Voices and co-written by two friends, Kathy Gunst and Katherine Alford, who became massively furious with Donald J. Trump and his cronies while watching the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearings on television.

One started baking then…

Together, Gunst and Alford co-authored Rage Baking: The Transformative Power of Flour, Fury, and Women’s Voices in direct response to this flash point moment, which spotlighted institutional misogyny. The book is born of political frustrations and camaraderie, intended to provide baking as a transformative outlet for the deep anger that has simmered to the surface of American life since 2016’s elections and beyond, turning our frustrations into something tangible and delicious. The book features responses to the mass movement of rage baking through essays, poems and interviews alongside recipes for rum raisin brownies, root beer cake, and ricotta rice pudding pie.

And to know that I inspired such a powerful, cathartic movement. Such a beautiful transformative, emotionally healthy, creative outpouring.

Of course you remember, three long months ago, when I was overcome with my own impotent frustrations at our World Surf League and its then President of Content, Media, Studios now Chief Executive Officer Erik “ELo” Logan and his treatment of professional surfers. Oh I seethed and there was only one thing to do.

Bake him a cake.

And to think that one cake has turned into ricotta rice pudding pie and is now bringing down the Chief Executive Officer of the United States of America?

Well, I’m truly, very humbled.


Surf town’s benevolent Jews offer shelter to homeless gentiles!

Encinitas, California, a model of co-existence and brotherhood.

You don’t gotta get me started on the righteousness of the Jewish people or their gorgeous little sovereign nation, forged in the fires of the Holocaust, endless war and the indifference and hostility of the rest of the world.

If there’s a problem, tech, health, yo, the Jews got it.

Therefore, it came as little surprise when the WSL commentator Chris Coté shared a lovely story of Jewish generosity and ingenuity that was taking place in the surf town of Encinitas, just north of San Diego.

The Leichtag Foundation has taken a novel approach to dealing with California’s catastrophic homelessness problem which is partly due to the hard right’s contempt of the weak and the hard left’s infantilisation of the same people.

What our Jewish brothers have done is open up parking lots for people sleeping in their cars to exist safely until they can get back in the game, under a roof that doesn’t have four wheels.

A simple, elegant, and cheapish solution.

Have a little taste of the story by Babs Henry of the San Diego Trib.

Early on a chilly Monday night, the first of what would become eight clients of a newly opened overnight parking area for homeless people brought his vehicle to a stop at the back entrance to the Leichtag Foundation property.

The middle-aged man, who drove a sport utility vehicle and holds a job in the retail industry, checked in with the security guard at the gate. The guard looked his name up on a list, then opened the big metal barrier that had blocked off access to the Leichtag Foundation’s 67-acre farmland property and directed the man to drive up a paved, private roadway toward the 25-spot parking area. Just over the crest of a hill near some night-lit greenhouses glowing softly in the darkening evening sky, two caseworkers waited to greet the man.

He spoke to them briefly after he parked his vehicle near the portable restroom building, then climbed back in the vehicle, eased his seat back and closed his eyes, looking like a weary dad waiting for his kids to finish an evening soccer or softball game.

“He’s tired, I can see,” Lea Bush, the senior director of family and community services for Jewish Family Service, said as she watched from the shadows.

Read the rest here.

And, here, my last holiday to Israel, with Ozzie Wright (listen to Oz sing Jesus was the King of the Jews, here) and Otis Carey.