Far-right extremists co-opt floral Hawaiian shirts as “…a seemingly goofy uniform that, within the ranks of their movement, signals adherence to a violent, divisive, anti-government ideology!”

A troubled landscape for surfers everywhere.

First they came for mid-length surfboards, then they came for Vans slip-ons and now far-right extremists have taken floral Hawaiian shirts as symbols of violent white nationalism, or at least according to The Washington Post.

The surfing life, co-opted.

But have you heard of the Boogaloo Bois? Aware of their cause?

Per The Post:

A Tampa television reporter was broadcasting live from protests last weekend when two young men in Hawaiian shirts moved in front of the camera and began chanting the name of an obscure white nationalist group, drowning out protesters shouting “No Justice, No Peace!”

The incident was one of a growing number in which far-right extremists who once organized mainly online have been inserting themselves into the real-world protests roiling much of the nation, sowing confusion about the nature of the protests and seeking attention for their causes.

They’ve appeared, sometimes carrying assault rifles, at protests in Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Dallas, Atlanta, Philadelphia and dozens of other cities, often wearing Hawaiian shirts — a seemingly goofy uniform that, within the ranks of their movement, signals adherence to a violent, divisive, anti-government ideology.

Not a very pretty picture, though one disputed by Patrick Fairbairn, an administrator of several Boogaloo Facebook groups, who told Politico that most people affiliated with the movement were showing up at at sites of unrest to protect protesters, and he offered praise for Black Lives Matter.

“If they haven’t been heard and they need to be heard, they’ve got to do it their way,” said Fairbairn, who identified himself as a 23-year-old electrician. “The worst thing is to have this artificial separation between the people.”

But back to the Hawaiian shirts. Have you ever dabbled stylistically? Non-ironically? Will you be more likely to wear one now that they are attached to the far-right or will you put yours in a box filled with old surf magazines?

More importantly, will the World Surf League utilize for its commentary crew ever again?

Much to consider.

"I just can't help craving that surfing life!"
"I just can't help craving that surfing life!"

Looters go crazy for Vans, breaking heart of woman who pleads: “We don’t want Trump re-elected, please don’t do this!”

Craving the checkerboard.

Riots have shaken these United States of America to its very core over the past week. A much needed jolt to a nation being confronted with its very bad record on race, most especially when it comes to policing and the judicial system.

In a thought provoking piece, writer Matt Taibi traces today’s horrors back to the antebellum south and draws a line through the heavy-handed “broken window” policies of today which have prisons stuffed to the gills with mostly black and brown men even while crime rates have plummeted.

…the history of policing in our country, especially as it pertains to minority neighborhoods, has always rested upon dubious justifications. The early American police forces evolved out of slave patrols in the South, and “progressed” to enforce the Black Codes from the Civil War period and beyond, on to Jim Crow through the late sixties if not longer.

In an explicit way, American policing has almost always been concerned on some level with enforcing racial separatism. Because Jim Crow police were upholding a way of life, the actual laws they were given to enforce were deliberately vague, designed to be easily used as pretexts for controlling the movements of black people. They were charged with punishing “idleness” or “impudence,” and encouraged to enforce a range of vagrancy laws, including such offenses as “rambling without a job” and “leading an idle, profligate, or immoral course of life.”

An idle, profligate and immoral course of life is, of course, very familiar to surfers everywhere and many have taken to the streets in support of wholesale change.

Sometimes, though, in the middle of demanding justice etc. a protestor, especially a surfing protestor, is confronted with extremely desirable trinkets of the surfing life. Two days ago, we witnessed the looting of various mid-length surfboards from a Channel Islands shop in Santa Monica.

Today, we have an unquenchable lust for Vans. The shoe has been synonymous with the surfing life since Jeff Spicoli and there were protestors, again in Santa Monica, smashing windows, overturning boxes, in order to own a pair of slip-on classics.

Per a Buzzfeed reporter on the scene, a woman stood outside the store begging people to stop because “it will help get Trump re-elected.”

“We don’t want Trump re-elected…” she begged “…please don’t do this.”

Alas, her words went unheeded but do you think pilfered Vans will truly lead to the re-election of Donald J. Trump?

Much to ponder.

New Jersey surf vlogger Ben Gravy, main picture, with BeachGrit principals Charlie Smith, top, and Derek Rielly, on bottom.

Listen: Movie-star handsome Ben Gravy talks of his “striking similarities to Woody Harrelson” and how he went from low-down drunk to king of all surf vlogs! “I was getting wasted every day! Ten-to-twenty cans of beer, easy!”

"I started my YouTube channel to stay sober."

Today’s guest on Dirty Water is the world-champion vlogger and high-end intermediate surfer from New Jersey, Ben Gravy.

His YouTube channel has 101,000 subscribers and so many little films you could watch them back to back on a rocket ship and not even be halfway through ’em as you touch down on Mars.

Thirty-two-year-old Ben’s themes are positivity and an everyman vibe.

If I can do it, you can sorta thing.

Consistency varies, as it does on such a prolific channel. Some will produce an unsettling gas; others stroke your stomach and whisper in your ear.

Over the past three years, Ben made it his goal to surf in each of the fifty states that make up the United States of America. 

He succeeded at this bullish endeavour and even came close to meeting his maker during a river session in dirty ol Missouri.

In today’s podcast, he tells how YouTube saved him from a life as a drunk, “I drank like a fish,” he says; the bitterness he felt at being overlooked in the pro surfing game; and the joy, the relentless, beautiful joy, of making a little cash for waking up every single day and going surfing.

According to Statsmash, Ben is worth sixty-nine thousand dollars. 


(Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcast, Stitcher, TuneIn + Alexa, iHeartRadio, Overcast, Pocket Cast, Castro, Castbox, Podcast Addict, Podchaser, Deezer and Listen Notes.)

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Listen here.

"Looks like the one!"
"Looks like the one!"

Wanted: Shark bites young boy’s foot thereby infuriating father who offers a cash reward for the naughty beast thereby infuriating national Environmental Minister!

Two caveats: Shark's gotta be alive and you have to prove he was the biter.

A Thai father infuriated the country’s Natural Resources and Environmental Minister over the weekend by offering a cash reward for a naughty shark that bit his young son’s foot.

Mayor Mahmadneesum Bilungload son Harafat Limapicharsakul, 12, was enjoying a wonderful afternoon by the water, splashing and playing with two friends on a pier very near the mouth of a canal that runs to the Andaman Sea. It was a warm, humid day, very common in the region, and the boys were keeping cool when a shark emerged from the deep and bit Limapicharsakul’s left foot.

The injury required a trip to the hospital and fifty stitches.

Locals suspected the aggressor to be a Bull Shark, as they frequent the brackish waters.

The boy’s father immediately hired a boat and followed what he believed would be the shark’s escape route in a bid to track it down and “give it a whooping.”

His efforts proved unsuccessful and so he offered a cash reward of 1000 Baht to anyone who captures the shark, alive, and proves it is the one who bit his young son’s foot.

Maybe a tall order.

Thailand’s Natural Resources and Environmental Minister Varawut Silpaarcha found the bounty to be in bad taste and released a statement. “Don’t offer a bounty for a shark or support the hunt for a reward.”

Local marine scientist Thon Thamrongnawasawat added, “The shark might have thought the foot was prey. But it swam away after realising its mistake.”

Well, even if it did realize its mistake it is likely too little too late. Mayor Bilungload is a man of action.

Are you in a shark hunting mood?

A little trip to Thailand that could end up being subsidized?

It sounds like a job for the Salty Crew.

Malibu BLM protest. | Photo: Jamie Tierney

Solidarity: Malibu millionaires protest police killing of “Gentle Giant” George Floyd!

We yearn to rebel. It’s in our blood and we usually make a mess of it.

“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”
– W.B. Yeats

I never would have read Yeats if it wasn’t for Joan Didion.

She used him for the opening of the best essay I’ve ever read, “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” where she exposed the ugly side of Haight Ashbury in the Summer of Love circa 1967 in a way that was as hard and bare and truthful as the iPhone videos of the light slowly going out in George Floyd’s eyes.

Ms Didion’s still around. I wonder what she thinks about what happened in Santa Monica over the weekend.

Has anyone asked her?

Does it feel like deja vu?

A never ending circle of shit?

I think she’d get a whiff of the red tide that’s lingered in the bay for weeks and say, “There is something uneasy in the Los Angeles air this afternoon, some stillness, some tension.”

I had a feeling what would happen in Santa Monica and stayed away.

I saw it firsthand in Oakland and Berkeley in 1992.

I felt it coming in Huntington Beach a month ago.

Americans just aren’t built for this.

You take kids of out school, you keep us locked down, you don’t let us make a living, you try to force control and something snaps.

We yearn to rebel. It’s in our blood and we usually make a mess of it.

Whether it’s Trump supporters refusing to wear masks in Costco or suburban kids in designer clothes casually walking down the street with stolen surfboards under their arms, the Eric Cartman level of arrogant ignorance is the same: “It’s my body, and I’ll do what I want.”

In Joan’s 1967, the world still had Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy and Jimi Hendrix. The protests had leaders, demands. They fought and bled for the end of Jim Crow and the war in Vietnam.

They thought they were making progress.

Now we’ve got moneyed teens hopping in Ubers to go and loot shopping malls and a reality show insane clown president tear gassing protesters so he get can his picture taken holding a Bible in front of a church.

And it’s all a distraction from this:

Less than 200,000 people in America were in jail in 1970. Now there’s 2.1 million behind bars. Forty-six percent of them are in for drug offenses. Five times more blacks are locked up than whites and they’re more than twice as likely to be killed by police.

We’ve traded an overt form of bondage and segregation to one that’s quieter and more ruthless.

I saw three white people in Malibu today holding signs and asking people to honk their horns in support of Black Lives Matter.

I’m sure they meant well but their town is 1.2% African American.

I live in Inglewood (yes, I got priced out of Venice) and my neighbors would have laughed if they’d seen them.

Unlike 1992, it’s quiet here now. Really hope it stays that way.