Man-made Chinese islands.
Man-made Chinese islands.

Hush: Surfrider Foundation stays mum on world’s biggest ongoing ocean-specific environmental catastrophe!

Is building islands in sensitive ocean waters cool?

Fear of China, and roiling the totalitarian overlords of the world’s biggest potential market, has long hamstrung western power preaching “freedom” and “democracy.”

Who could forget the recent Hong Kong protests where brave citizens took to the streets demanding very small liberties being brutally quashed by Beijing?

It might be imagined that surfers, skaters, snowboarders and the extreme sport companies appealing for our dollars would raise a fist and defiantly shake it east but no. Vans accidentally released a shoe depicting a different Hong Kong protest by an artist that had won an online competition then buried it quicker than it takes to say “freedom ain’t free.”

The Costa Mesa-based company should be deeply ashamed but maybe so should the San Clemente-based Surfrider Foundation that is”…dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network.”

Very fine and good except the world’s biggest ongoing ocean-specific environmental catastrophe gets zero mention.

How could that be?


And let us travel east where the Chinese government has been building islands in a disputed area of the South China Sea for military purposes, trawling for oil, scooping up all the fishies and otherwise behaving abysmally.

China has upped the ante amid rising tensions in the South China Sea by declaring two new administrative districts for the contested region and releasing a new map naming all the islands and reefs it claims.

The provocative moves come as Beijing faces diplomatic pushback from some of its Southeast Asian neighbors against its sweeping assertion of sovereignty across the resource-rich sea.

It also takes place as the China’s Coast Guard and maritime militia pressure other claimants, even as they grapple with the global coronavirus pandemic. Most recently, China has deployed a survey vessel and escort ships near an oil field off the coast of Malaysia.

China’s announcement on the administrative measures came this weekend. The State Council, China’s top administrative body, approved the creation of two new municipal districts: Nansha District, which is based at Fiery Cross Reef, an artificial island built by China that it says will oversee all of the Spratly Islands and their surrounding waters; and Xisha District, based on Woody Island, which will oversee the Paracel Islands.

Will the Surfrider Foundation act?

Also, is there a sweet little point there?

The world’s biggest non-politician polluter Kelly Slater wants to know!

More as the story develops.

A little paperwork after taser threat.

World #11 surfer suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after being threatened by cop with taser for playing with kids on beach: “I’m having recurring nightmares and flashbacks! I almost died; my kids would have died!”

A cop threatens to taser you while your two kids cling to your back and you stand in knee-deep water. What do you do?

Overzealous policing was always going to be an unwelcome side-effect of various government orders to eliminate human activity from beaches etc.

For who polices the police?

Florida’s Shea Lopez, who held a spot in the top sixteen for six consecutive seasons and who only exited the tour in 2003 after a catastrophic knee injury during the Pipe Masters, says he was threatened with being tasered, in front of his kids, while collecting sea shells.

On Facebook, and a few posts before a quote from Adolf Hitler describing, in his kinky way, how easy it is to control a population by taking a little of their freedoms one at a time, Shea writes:

The scene. My kids on the left. Saw some sand fleas running back to their surfboards. They love sand fleas. The guy fishing on the right was fake fishing. The officer’s big red truck is approaching from the south. He’s going. 20+mph. He drove that speed thought the water and tide pools until he came to a screeching halt right behind my girls. They all jumped. He yelled to them. I walked up from the north. Tried to let him know we were just surfing. They had wetsuits and boards. It was allowed. Everything went south after I asked his name. My girls crying from the scare he gave them. He could’ve killed us all.

“My question? If you were threatened to be tasered in front of your kids while your kids held tight to your back crying after getting yelled at by this masked and agitated officer in a big red truck. We were at the waters edge. Dead low tide. Two tide pools between us and the normal high tide beach. We were all wet. We would have all died.” SHEA LOPEZ

I have ptsd. It’s not new. Heck. We all experience elevated levels and times of stress that stay with us. To different levels. I’m at odds with what to do now to help me recover from an April attack that left me having recurring nightmares and flashbacks. All very real to me. It was real. The eve of Easter Sunday during quarantine and an emergency order. My question? If you were threatened to be tasered in front of your kids while your kids held tight to your back crying after getting yelled at by this masked and agitated officer in a big red truck.

We were at the waters edge. Dead low tide. Two tide pools between us and the normal high tide beach. We were all wet. We would have all died.

What do I do???

To prevent this from happening ever. In any situation for any reason. A taser. Wet kids. Because we were playing in the surf. Surfing. Dancing. Running. Collecting sea shells as we moved along the beach with our boards.

Why do beach patrol officers have big trucks. Big guns. Tasers. I almost died. My kids would have died. The way our beaches are protected and served. Could use a closer look. I’m scared. My kids were scared. Change is great. Let’s make a change. I don’t want to have nightmares anymore. Until I act on this event. I will keep having nightmares.

More, as, if, the story develops. ie if Shea picks up the telephone etc.

@tariquepeters Instagram.
@tariquepeters Instagram.

New York tourist and potential Covid-19 super spreader arrested in Hawaii after Instagram posts depict him carrying surfboard on beach, flexing muscles!


You know, by now, that I am very critical with regard to how surfers have acted during our current Coronavirus apocalypse. That our scaredy-cat, tattle-taling, collaborationist souls have been laid shamefully and absolutely bare in a time of crisis

Surf media publishing passive-aggressive missive after passive-aggressive missive, demanding that surfers stay locked indoors, huddling under beds. The governing body of professional surfing re-imagining itself as a less interesting, more family friendly version of The Oprah Winfrey Network.

Shame on us etc. though sometimes the tattle-taling collaboration with law enforcement is funny? Dare I say justified?

The exception that proves the rule?

Let’s fly straight to Oahu, Hawaii, USA for more from the New York Post:

A Bronx man on vacation in Hawaii was arrested by agents with the state attorney general’s office Friday morning — and charged with violating the state’s strict rules that tourists observe a 14-day quarantine after arriving.

The giveaway?

Officials say the tourist, Tarique Peters, 23, posted incriminating photos of himself sunning and carrying a surfboard around the beach on his Instagram account.

Peters landed in Honolulu on Monday and is accused of immediately venturing off to see the sights, according to an announcement from Gov. David Ige’s office.

“He allegedly left his hotel room the day he arrived and traveled many places using public transportation,” the news release scolded.

“Authorities became aware of his social media posts from citizens who saw posts of him — on the beach with a surfboard, sunbathing, and walking around Waikiki at night.”

Local sleuths realized he’d Instagrammed a selfie from Bryant Park just a week ago, pegged him for a new arrival and then ratted him out to authorities.

A picture on an Instagram account that appears to belong to Peters from two days ago tagged at “Honolulu – Waikiki Beach” shows him posing in front of the ocean holding a surfboard with the caption “#newchallenge surfing.”

“We appreciate the assistance of local people who spot flagrant violations of our emergency rules on various social media sites and report them to the appropriate authorities,” Connors said in a statement.

Hawaii residents were apparently none too pleased with the New Yorker’s alleged rule flouting.

“Don’t come to Hawaii and break our laws,” one Instagram user replied to his surfing photo.

“You thought you were cute skipping out the 14 day mandatory quarantine and putting our residents in danger. Good for you.”

Oh damn it.

Damn it, damn it, damn it.

I just can’t do it. As much as I loathe mainland tourists who descend upon Hawaii, stop their rental cars in the middle of the road to take pictures of turtles, paddle out inappropriately and shoot their Tuf-Lite boards at shins, line up for miles and miles to get shave ice, treat the islands and their locals like squatting servants I just can’t take the Karen Goggans You-thought-you-were-cute-skipping-out-the-14-day-mandatory-quarantine-and-putting-our-residents-in-danger-Good-for-you tone.

Damn it.


Kelly Slater, left, knows his roots. Here, with Fred, both in wonderful formal slacks. | Photo: Steve Sherman

Revealed: Pipeline Masters created for “average schmuck watching TV in Middle America!”

As for spectators at the early events, "you had the guys hanging off in the bushes, smoking dope and calling bullshit on the whole thing."

Every Sunday afternoon, east of the international date line that is, Seattle-based former surfer Matt Warshaw emails subscribers to his online encyclopedia a thoughtful summation of a certain event or epoch in surfing.

Today is Pipeline Masters themed, and the email links at the end to an interview Warshaw made with the father of the Pipe Masters, and pro surfing, the former Republican senator, Fred Hemmings.

Oh, reader, it’s thunderbolt after thunderbolt.

“I wanted to develop a format that would look good on television so I could market surfing to a larger audience—to the average schmuck watching TV in Middle America,” says Fred.

“I didn’t kiss the surfing establishment’s ass. I was an outspoken critic of drugs, back when that wasn’t cool. ‘Do your own thing, man’ —all that stuff. Well, a lot of my friends died as a result of doing their own thing.” FRED HEMMINGS

On why he chose Pipe over Sunset or Makaha.

“I went back and talked to people in New York, TV people, business people, and surfing was a really hazy thing to them. I’m sure they wouldn’t have really understood what was going on with a guy riding a 10′ wave at Sunset or Makaha. Seen one wave, seen ’em all; this guy looks just like that guy. That kind of thing. So I wanted to sell them on something a little more challenging—and dangerous, to be frank. The Pipeline is so different from other spots. And back then, as a contest site, it was virgin ground. The reason I just had six guys in the first contest was because I didn’t want to create a situation where someone was going to get in over their head.

Why the surf media ignored his event, at least initially.

“I didn’t kiss the surfing establishment’s ass. l didn’t play ball with Drew Kampion and the rest of them. I was an outspoken critic of drugs, back when that wasn’t cool. ‘Do your own thing, man’ —all that stuff. Well, a lot of my friends died as a result of doing their own thing. Anyway, I didn’t see things the way the magazine folks saw ’em, and my contest was a victim of that.”

And the spectators?

“I did the best I could to hype the thing, but I doubt if there were any more than a hundred people on the beach—probably not even that. And then you had the guys hanging off in the bushes, smoking dope and calling bullshit on the whole thing. But we just went ahead and ran it, and all in all, I think it was pretty exciting.”

(Subscribe to the Encyclopedia of Surfing, here. It’s a few bucks a month and will give the interested surfer rabbit hole after rabbit hole to fall down.)

The WSL's number one announcer Strider Wasilewski, like a spider in the thicket with jacuzzi toy boy.

Hot rumour: Tour cancelled for 2020; WSL to launch series of exhibition events; America-based surfers mobilised for Lemoore contest “within a month”!

Given the paucity of high-level surfing in front of us, will you be thrilled to watch Filipe, Brother, Griff and co oxidise Lemoore's water spouts?

Any port in a storm or so the rationale goes at three am in an emptying bar or, in our case, a year with no surfing contests. 

So it was with much excitement that we fielded a rumour, straight from WSL HQ where twenty-five percent of its staff have been “furloughed”, that America-based WCT surfers were being mobilised for a Lemoore contest “within a month.” 

The field will include Filipe Toledo, Kolohe Andino, Conner Coffin, John John Florence, Seth Moniz, Griffin Colapinto and the tank’s creator Kelly Slater; Carissa, if she decides to end quasi-retirement, Caz Marks, Lakey Peterson, maybe Stephanie Gilmore (Malibu crib), Courtney Conlogue, Sage Erickson, Malia Manuel and Brisa Hennessy if she can sneak in under the tortilla curtain. 

The Freshwater Pro, of course, has never been a favourite of surfers or fans. 

As Longtom opined last year, it was “damned with faint praise by Kolohe Andino, openly mocked by Jeremy Flores, universally panned as a doomed experiment by surf fans the Tub should have retreated back to its by now natural niche: as a novelty venue for things like Founders Cup and a high-priced corpo retreat. It ain’t a championship Tour stop. Especially one now stretched out over six days. That’s cruel and unusual punishment and I refuse to cover it.”

But, now?

Given the paucity of high-level surfing in front of us, Pentacoastal and Reynolds and Mini Blanchard’s new blog aside, I’ll be thrilled to turn on the WSL channel and watch Filipe, Brother, Griff and so on oxidise Lemoore’s water spouts.

Are you of similar mind?