Listen: “The world is ending tomorrow… but if it doesn’t, how ashamed are you of past behaviors?”

Tell the truth.

Oh hello, again, from day…. 3462792 of our virtually shared Coronavirus Quarantine. Madness has seeped into all our lives. Madness and severe introspection. Hours each day, locked in doors, jackboot’d Gestapo waiting to ship us off to re-education camps if we dare attempt President Trump’s recommended sunlight treatments, just thinking about our past behaviors.

Hours each day wondering if we lived well or failed our mandate.

If we’re lucky, named Strider Wasilewski, quarantined in Malibu and starred in iconic surf films there is more to ponder.

Like this famous surf film now ripped offline.

Damned hindsight.

Cursed hindsight.

But who, amongst us, dare cast the first stone?

David Lee Scales and I spent time discussing these heady thoughts, in lieu of actual surf content since the World Surf League’s gorgeous transition from sport governing body to fabulous surf blog appears to be hitting some bumps, but…

…are you proud of your younger self?

David Lee’s younger self cast a bean burrito at an innocent bicyclists.

Mine penned a high school newspaper editorial declaring people with AIDs deserved it.

I was subsequently fired.

Listen here.

Laird Hamilton (pictured) making money, getting loaded.
Laird Hamilton (pictured) making money, getting loaded.

Capitalism: French yoghurt giant invests $10m in Laird Hamilton’s Superfood!

Four functional mushrooms.

And I don’t have to tell you that we are living in extremely uncertain times. Oil at less than zero dollars a barrel as Saudi Arabia makes a power move, flooding the market and daring a petrodollar collapse, a disease that cruelly targets clinically obese people with diabetes and bad hearts, a professional surfing world tour viable no more.

Well, at least Laird Hamilton is there, eating the rubble of our recent past like Cheerios in oat milk. Toasting the downfall with bitter black coffee made sweet with his signature creamer.

For nothing, neither apocalypse nor plague nor drought nor Saudi intransigence can keep the world’s most popular SUP pilot down and in an reeling economy our hero just pocketed $10 million dollars for that signature creamer.

Shall we turn to the food and beverage industry journal for more?

US plant-based superfood producer Laird Superfood has secured $10 million in a financing round, funded entirely by Danone Manifesto Ventures (DMV).

Since its launch in 2015, Laird Superfood has reportedly recorded its strongest quarter to date and has witnessed growth in its products and with its retail partners.

The company recently expanded its Superfood Creamer line – its ‘signature product’ – with a creamer which combines the original product with four functional mushrooms.

Laird Superfood plans to use the capital to continue to grow its current platform, develop new offerings and expand its manufacturing campus in Sisters, Oregon.

CEO of Danone Manifesto Ventures, Laurent Marcel, said: “We are confident that Laird Superfood’s commitment to a healthy lifestyle and the quality of their functional products and ingredients will continue to appeal to consumers and retailers.

“Laird Superfood is a powerful brand with a unique story, and we are excited about our ability to seal this partnership, particularly in the current global environment. We believe it will result in future success with a foundation of mutual trust and shared values.”

Fantastic. But doesn’t it give you great hope that, no matter what else, no matter how bleak things appear, Laird?

And, quickly, what are the odds that current World Surf League CEO goes and works for Laird Superfood in Sisters, Oregon once the dust settles?

Though lastly, are any of those four functional mushrooms the psychedelic sort? If no, is there room in the plant-based coffee creamer space for BeachGrit it develop its own product?

More as the story develops.

New York City, June 2020. | Photo: The Omega Man

Life and pro surfing in a post-COVID world: “Shit is bleak, bleak, bleak. The tour looks viable no more. Who will step in and take over the show once the WSL is buried in a Santa Monica ditch?”

Who gives a fuck about surfing, other than our globally dispersed splattering of non-conformists and authority-thumbers? The battle for middle America/Australia was never fought, let alone won.

So. This is where we find ourselves.

The 2020 WSL season wrapped in plastic and thrown in a ditch somewhere along Santa Monica Boulevard.

#homesurfchallenges and Russian surf bots assume its place, with E-Lo hoping nobody notices.

And nobody does, ‘cause they’re too busy tearing former comrades limb from limb, seething with incredulous rage over who should and shouldn’t be allowed to surf their shithouse local.

Meanwhile, Matt George fills the void of real surf news with stories of the time he didn’t do shrooms with Darrick Doerner and the bro from Poison on a beach in Bali.

Or was it Sam George with Jeff Hakman and the guy from Bros on a beach in Cabo?

I don’t even know anymore.

But I do know we’ve reached peak Covid, at least for this first wave.

It’s time, I think, to take a peek over the other side and wonder what professional surfing might look like in an A.C. world.

Shit is bleak.

Let’s start with the international aviation industry.

The carbon-pumping, border-opening lifeblood of the world tour.

Like a house built on the low tide mark, the WSL has benefited from decades of cost-cutting carrier companies making international travel the cheapest and most accessible it has ever been. The tour and its supporting infrastructure rely on that low water mark holding.

But the tide has turned.

Most countries have shut their borders for who knows how long. The ones that are open generally come with mandatory quarantine periods. Expect that to continue indefinitely for countries with poor health systems, i.e. the ones with all the good waves.

Carrier companies, especially the povvo cheap ones, are collapsing.

When things do come back online the price of a ticket will take a drastic hike as mandatory one seat spacings between passengers are enforced.

What will this mean for tour operating costs?

And what will the ROI be for Quey warriors flying year ‘round to chase points and meagre pay cheques?

The days of easy global travel are no more.

Then there’s the sponsor income streams.

Even before the virus industry brands were being decimated, Soviet style.

Now the cull’s looking more like a Pol Pot bloodbath.

What endemic and surf-adjacent companies will a) be left standing and b) in any position to throw the type of coin needed to rescue an already spluttering tour from its demise?

This is probably the biggest challenge the sport will face.

The Olympics and its supposed shot in the arm for surfing?

About as safe a bet as a Deivid Silva world title.

Then there’s the surfers themselves.

Across the board professional athletes are seeing their earnings cut, if they’re still lucky enough to have a sponsor.

And while the few elite ‘CT should be fine, anybody below, say, the top 16 is gonna feel the pinch.

(Is that a bad thing, though?)

Finally, who is gonna be there to help advocate for the tour when it is ready to navigate the post-Covid world?

In Australia, we’re seeing the national sports fast tracked back to competition. Thank fuck.

But that’s because they’re operating on home soil, with a large percentage of the population pushing for their return. They have solid support from corporate and government interests.

Getting them back online is a money spinner and a vote winner.

Who gives a fuck about surfing, other than our globally dispersed splattering of non-conformists and authority-thumbers?

The battle for middle America / Australia was never fought, let alone won.

Ergo, who is gonna champion surfing to the myriad of stakeholders, stretched across multiple continents, governments, jurisdictions etc, that are responsible for green lighting competition, while the effects of the worst economic crisis in over 100 years play out before them?

Shit is bleak, bleak, bleak.

The tour looks viable no more.

As laughable as it is, E-Lo’s pivot to the WSL as content farm is his only logical choice at this point. Expect the convolution of inanity and click chasing to intensify, to the point where the WSL as surfing’s peak competitive and administrative body is no longer recognisable.

It is a dead man walking.

Thing is though, I like competitive surfing.

I want it to continue.

And, I know you do too.

Who will step in and take over the show once the Woz is buried in that same Santa Monica ditch?

What is it it all gonna look like in a post covid world?

Spunky surf commenter seeking advice.

Matt George on worst film ever made: “Think of In God’s Hands as a ten-million dollar disaster movie!”

Heartbreaking but good times!

Think of it as a disaster movie.

I have.

For many years now.

To be invited to Hollywood to write a movie about surfing and then have them actually want to make it and then to talk them into hiring all your friends to do it with you and then to have to stand by and watch the Hollywood machine turn the story into a compost heap was absolutely heart breaking.

But at least my friends and I had a ball making it.

People like Matty Liu (who surfed that giant day at Jaws but did not make the final cut), Shane Dorian (who I believe was at a contest in Brazil when I called him and asked him to star. He was fifth in the world I think but jumped…uhm…on board just to get out of two-foot slop there), Shaun Tomson (who when I called him asked “Will they clear the line-ups?”), Brian Keaulana (who no surf movie in their right mind would not call), Darrick Doerner (who provided the name for the movie after describing a terrifying wipeout at Waimea), Dave Kalama (who was convinced we were all gonna die doing our own stunts without any jet-ski experience and came damned close to being right), Pete Cabrinha (genius, and the best actor in the bunch, who had just invented kite surfing, which did not make the final cut either), Rush Randle (who was the strongest man in the world who when he hugged me in thanks bruised two of my ribs), and yes, even the band Poison’s front man Bret Michaels, (but more, much more, on that later).

So for those self isolated, and those brave enough to sit through In God’s Hands again (If you watch it with German subtitles it actually has a plot), here is a series of behind-the-scene capers to keep you occupied during the love scenes.


I had never heard anyone laugh at ten million dollars before.

But that was our budget.

I learned very quickly that movie producers are like government officials. They make alot of promises but keep all the money.

The joke goes: Why do producers hate making movies for a million bucks?

Answer: How the hell are they gonna steal half of it? Ha ha..yeah I know…not funny. I fucking lived it.

So yeah, as much as ten million dollars sounds, we were strapped the whole time and quite often making shit happen was up to me.

Anyway, we were in Bali and I wrote this huge party scene that was to take place at Padang Padang. I needed at least fifty people but the producers came to me and said that they couldn’t pay for any extras.

So the way I remember it, Shane Dorian, Matty Liu and I walked down Jalan Legian handing out my home-made flyers for a huge blow-out full moon party the next night at Padang Padang (even though the full moon was ten days away)

“All the free beer you could swill!” said the flyer.

I also spread the rumor that it was going to be a shroomfest. Remember, this was 1996 and mushroom shakes were still legal in Bali.

The thing was, we didn’t have any shrooms and between the three of us, we could afford about three beers, which we drank while we handed out the flyers. So I guess you could say we left it In God’s Hands.

But wait.

We needed a band, we’d at least promised that.

That’s when we heard a noise that sounded alot like an electronic cat fight in a slaughterhouse.

It was coming from one of the more notorious…uhm…welcome bars on the Legian strip.

A few of the ladies and, well, a few of the…uhm… dressed up boys, were hanging out front looking for early customers.

Matty realized we had found exactly what we needed.

Dragging us into the place Matty introduced us to the source of the catfight. It was a Russian industrial metal band called KAOS who had rented the place for band practice for a jug of black market Vodka. All KAOS demanded from us for the gig was a tip jar, a stage and ice cubes for their last jug of vodka (Which was honest to God black by the way. Christ, I’ve never figured that out).

I said sure, easy.

Have you ever accidentally thrown a baseball through a window?

We should have known when we pulled up and the scooters were backed up to the White Monkey Surf Shop.

We were chewing our nails worrying about how we were gonna throw a party with no favors when over a thousand people had shown up with their own eski’s and stash.

If you watch the big party scene, which we shot live, in the rain, and all night, you can see most of the famous cast all gone nuts. And we were. Me, Matty and Shane nuts with relief that we pulled it off, most others gone nuts on shrooms.

(Including a female cameramen, which explains the core of the movie in many ways, but more on that later…).

So under the deluge the rain poured down, the river broke through, generators blew out, the stage collapsed, someone’s hair was set on fire by the sparklers, the tide came in, the body painting contest got way out of hand and there was even a spaced out impromptu marriage between the female camera operator mentioned above and the mohawked drummer of KAOS.

Which was officiated by Bret Michaels in his famous male mascara (lead singer of the band Poison, if you have forgotten that point and for you romantics rumor has it the happy couple are still together).

By dawn the beach looked like the morning after the D-Day invasion combined with a human version of a turtle breeding season.

Dozing new couples lying in humps in each others arms and the walking dead making their way up through the cave with hangovers that I swear to God you could actually hear.

Meanwhile, Shane, Matty, Shaun Tomson, Bret Michaels and I were up on the shaded remnants of the listing bamboo stage.

(The band had fled fearing immigration reprisals, but they made sure we knew where to find them if we did this sort of thing again).

Being very South African, Shaun had somehow found some morning tea that wasn’t spiked and we all sat considering the impressive wreckage.

Shaun broke the silence.

“So Shane…If you didn’t body shave you’d be quite a hairy bastard, yeah?”

Even the female survivor on Bret Michaels lap busted up. (She was the Italian fire dancer and hula hoop instructor who had thoughtfully provided all the sparklers).

And that was when Bret grabbed his guitar and serenaded in the new day of what was one of the many mad moments in the remarkable surfing production that was In God’s Hands.

Bret, in very amused frame of mind, chose to sing the acoustic version of his number one hit from 1988.

And it could not have been more fitting.

“Every rose has it’s thorn

Just like every night has it’s dawn

Just like every cowboy sings his sad, sad song

Every rose has it’s thorn
. Yeah it does…”

Revealed: Overweight, diabetic surfers with underlying heart conditions make up vast majority of Coronavirus hospital patients!

"The findings, published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, confirm what physicians nationwide have noted anecdotally."

Do you recall when the entire world tossed its economy in a burn barrel then lit it on fire, closed beaches, outlawed surfing, accosted those who dared eat Asian fusion cuisine under the sun and otherwise locked itself indoors, drawing the blinds and hiding under various futons because a man ate a bat in China and/or scientists fiddled with a bat in China?

What a very odd season but these are the days of our Coronavirus life.

Social distancing, mass unemployment, staggering debt, crippling anxiety, debilitating fear.

Well, it was revealed today, in a large-scale study, that overweight, diabetic surfers* with underlying heart conditions make up the vast majority of New York’s Coronavirus hospital patients.

Shall we learn more?

People with obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure are at greater risk for complications from the coronavirus, according to a large study of patients hospitalized with the illness it causes.

The findings, published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, confirm what physicians nationwide have noted anecdotally.

The study included data on 5,700 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the New York City area.

Underlying conditions were common. The researchers found that, among all patients, 57 percent had high blood pressure, 41 percent were obese and just over a third had diabetes.

People with those chronic health problems should call their physicians if they experience new or unusual symptoms or have contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19, said the researchers, from the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research at Northwell Health in New York.

That’s “because those patients, at least from our description, are highly represented in the people who have a severe course of the disease,” said Karina Davidson, senior vice president at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research.


Well, at least we had fun.


More as the story develops.

*Read: people.