Watch: Filmmaker responsible for “awkward” tsunami surfing scene in Escape from L.A. blames Flowrider for making it look “janky!”

"Back then it was very, very difficult to stand up and surf on those things."

Surfing and Hollywood, oh are there any couples more awkward, more out of step? Maybe Elon Musk and Grimes. Maybe Elon Musk and Amber Heard and Cara Delevigne but it is a very thin maybe.

Hollywood latched onto our Pastime of Kings in the post-war era when sun-tanned, fit, blonde boys represented hope in a healthy future. Surfing, in return, fell right back in love with the spotlight and the two have stumbled around the dance floor since, groping, grabbing, stepping on each other’s toes.

From the beach blanket bingos to stilted surf talk, In God’s Hands to Jimmy Slade, the Pipe scene in Blue Crush featuring Noah Johnson in drag to Snake Plissken ripping a tsunami down Wilshire Blvd.

Escape from L.A. may not have reached the acclaim of Escape from New York but it was a fun enough film just released on Blu-ray with many interviews. In one, the computer graphics supervisor, David Jones, shoulders responsibility for the surf bit, saying, “It was my idea and we executed it and it was a bad idea.”

But why?

Jones blames the Flowrider.

“I’d seen reference to a standing wave surf park in Texas. You see them on cruise ships now where you blast water up a wave shaped thing and you can surf by basically standing in the middle of the curve and the water’s rushing under you so it’s supporting the board. The first of these had just opened in Texas and got on the nightly news. I said, ‘Oh,, it’s no problem, chaps. We’ll just go down to Texas, put green screens up behind the standing wave and shoot it there and then we can comp it in. It’ll be marvelous.’ That’s what we did. The thing that I could’ve taken into account is back then it was very, very difficult to stand up and surf on those things. Professional surfers couldn’t do it. Only the guys that worked at the Texas place could do it. They looked janky. It did look janky.”

You’ll recall our recent chat with the wonderful inventor of the Flowrider, Tom Lochtefeld, and it is a shame that he wasn’t involved in the production as he could have lent much expertise. I must say, though, compared to the slightly sized up Teahupoo scene in the Point Break remake, the Flowrider looks positively fine.


Two-ton, fifteen-footer Unama'ki, currently swimming east of Novia Scotia.

Online gambling house opens book for “tasteful” betting on Great White sharks; attack odds not offered: “That is a negative side that is really not something we wanted.”

A potentially lucrative game of hide-and-seek with the queens of the sea… 

There’s certain man, and it’s almost always a man, who’ll throw down a bet on anything, from how long it takes for a celeb to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl to the year alien terrestrial life will be proven to when the world will end.

(500-to-one within the next couple of years, if you’re wondering.)

And, now, as further confirmation of the arrival of the Great White in the public consciousness, the gambling man can throw cash at the migratory movements of geo-tagged Great White sharks. 

Costa Rica-based, whose servers are based in Canadian Indian territory, is using information from not-for-profit company OCEARCH (A “data-centric organization built to help scientists collect previously unattainable data in the ocean”) to create its market.

The Great Whites include, Sydney, a twelve-foot male weighing over a ton, Shaw, a ten-foot half-a-ton male, Caroline, a thirteen-foot, 1300-pound female, Miss May, a ten-foot female, no weight recorded, Vimy, twelve-foot male, 1100 pounds, Miss Costa, chubby bitch, twelve foot, almost 1700 pounds, Teazer, 10-foot male, 651 pounds, Caper, eight-foot female, slim at 348 pounds, Ironbound, twelve-foot male, 998 pounds and fifteen-foot, two-ton gal Unama’ki. 

The spread has four of ‘em clustered off the Florida coast from Jacksonville to Melbourne; three swimming around from North Carolina to Virginia, two gettin’ sexy off Fire Island and the two-tonner Unama’ki off Nova Scotia.

Obvs, bad taste to put a market on when, where, the next fatal or hit is going to happen; that or there was going to be a sudden influx of cash from Byron Bay (Five-to-one there’s an attack at Lennox this weekend etc) and the market couldn’t handle the volume of bets.

As’s David Strauss told Forbes, 

“I wanted to do it, but I also wanted to shine a negative light on fishing, so that is a negative side that is really not something we wanted.”

Surf journalist Chas Smith (left) and World Surf League CEO Erik Logan (right) show off their telephones.
Surf journalist Chas Smith (left) and World Surf League CEO Erik Logan (right) show off their telephones.

Ma Bell: World Surf League CEO Erik Logan forces new internal mandate restricting employee calls to 45 minutes or less!

"I think having the flexibility..."

Wild times etc. Weird times et. al. but if there is one thing we have learned to count on it is that professional surfing, in its most modern incantation, will continue to be weirder.

But what?

But how?

California’s governator, future presidential hopeful, and unfortunate eye candy Gavin Newsom just mandated masks be worn by all his state’s happy citizens.

Masks everywhere in public.

World Surf League CEO and one-time Oprah Winfrey stalwart, Erik Logan, not to be outdone, forced a new internal mandate that the three employees left, himself included though possibly excluding right hand and senior vice president of brand identity Dave Prodan, who has been accused of hosting an overwhelmingly caucasian podcast, conduct their phone business in 45 minutes or less.

But why?

Front Office Sports reports that, “Logan saw almost instantly that WSL employees were productive and able to schedule an abundance of phone calls – to the point where he encouraged them to take fewer calls. Going forward, he has mandated that no work calls are to exceed 45 minutes in length.”

The piece goes on to state that Logan has “been changed as a leader” and is trying to better understand the remaining employees self-care routines. Like, I assume, how to live on 1/3 of their former salaries and how to continue to draw salaries even though zero professional surfing now exists.

According to Logan, “There’s not a need that I see in the imminent future that has to say we have to be pushed back into an office in a very accelerated or short amount of time but, there is a need for human interaction. There’s a need for human connection, but I think having the flexibility and the openness that we have as an organization for people to do that could be a game changer for a lot of reasons.”

Those lot of reasons are forthcoming.

The World Surf League currently has unused offices in Santa Monica, Australia, France, Portugal, South Africa, Brazil, and New York though not Hawaii, which is currently seceding from the League and taking professional surfing with it.

More as the story develops.

Name this varietal of beast!
Name this varietal of beast!

Watch: Brother protects sister with knife, dad with speargun, as brazen shark attempts to eat Australia’s most beautiful family!

Grace under fire.

It is a tragedy any time a shark eats a person but much more tragic if that person is beautiful and unspeakably tragic if an entire beautiful family finds its end down a ruthless gullet but maximum tragedy nearly occurred last week just off Australia’s Bulli Beach.

The reef, just south of Sydney, is known for consistent enough surf though on that frightful day the Hanleys were all out for a family snorkel.

Sister, Taia, explains how she saw the beast getting closer and closer and alerted brother, Baxter, who didn’t think it was real. Father, Scott, heard one of the children scream and made his way over in order to calm them down and plan an escape as they were roughly 150 meters off shore.

Brother, Jobi, gave his speargun to his dad but kept his knife handy in order to protect his sister, knowing full well that a knife beats a fist when it comes to inflicting damage.

Blessedly, they all made it back to shore safety and were praised by local authorities for keeping cool heads and their eyes on the shark and have already been back in the water since the encounter.

Yet have you ever seen a family so beautiful?

So gorgeous?

I imagine, when the film Hanelys vs. Shark comes out next year, that Brad Pitt will play father Scott while the children will play themselves and go on to wonderful, fulfilling careers in Hollywood.

Quickly, though, what will play the shark?

Is it a white?

A spinner?



Longtom on rock-jumps for beginner surfers: “With the ‘democratisation’ of tuberiding at Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch the rock-off remains the one thing that cannot be celebrity faked or bought!”

Rocking off is one of the greatest elements of the surfing life and perhaps the only true method that exists of delivering cosmic justice to the VAL hordes.

We missed a trick after the recent footage was released of our VAL pal getting himself involved in a slow motion trainwreck on the north side of Sydney harbour.

It called for a long overdue essay on the rock jump, even if author Chas Smith in a recent Dirty Water podcast (mis) identified it as a mostly Australasian phenomena.

Rocking off is one of the greatest elements of the surfing life and perhaps the only true method that exists of delivering cosmic justice to the VAL hordes.

With the “democratisation” of tuberiding at Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch the rock-off remains the one thing that cannot be celebrity faked or bought.

Some first principles can be elucidated.

A war on rocks, like a war on drugs, is unwinnable.

Therefore, efforts to arm yourself against mishaps and accidents are self defeating.

Booties are a particular abomination.

Cuts heals, broken bones knit, shame is a much more persistent affliction.

The rock-off is where the unstoppable force meets the immovable object, at least on a human time scale.

The explosive energy released when wave hits a rock ledge allows for tremendous drama. You can be vertical one second, ten feet in the air the next. Knocked over like a ten pin.

Nothing offers such a visual feast as the sight of human beings getting fucked over on a botched rock jump.

Of course, I don’t take (much) pleasure in seeing people get hurt and for the most part the ocean remains very kind to a botched rock offer.

Missing fins, cuts, maybe a broken bone is the usual size of it.

How does the VAL proceed?

Slowly, then quickly, or not at all. A walk of shame is no shame at all if the mind can’t figure out what to do.

And what the mind has to figure out is how to construct a mental map of reality and then formulate a plan to navigate that map in between waves.

In layman’s terms: pick a path, walk it, then jump.

It’s a dance move, essentially.

Choreographed to the millimetre.

Like every dance you don’t stop till the music stops and the music don’t stop until you’re in the water.

The common VAL mistake is to choke halfway through the dance.

You gotta move and keep moving.

Counter-intuitively, moving forwards, towards the apparent danger, is usually safer. If in doubt, jumping of some description is almost always the best option.

The worst option is freezing or attempting a late flee like a wounded animal.

Don’t do that.

I got caught flat-footed when asked on Dirty Water about botched rock-offs.

My phone was flooded with texts reminding me of epic fails, including one from my cuzzy bro, which I think serves a purpose to share.

We get a certain type of day here in late autumn, deep fall if you like.

Grey, cold with a massive swell from a close range storm. In this case, twelve-to-fifteen-foot at Lennox Point. A rock-off up there with the most heinous.

Three foot of foam covering rocks, walls of whitewater smashing in, six-foot sidewinders, thirty-yard suck-outs, total detonations on dry rock.

Horror show.

You don’t want to look at it because it’s ugly but you have to look to figure it out.

I’d borrowed my Bribie pal’s board, a prized 8’5” Brewer gun he’d dragged back from Hawaii.

He’d loaned it under extreme sufferance.

During the transaction we rolled up and got on the end of one too many. May, as well as being prime time for big surf, is also harvest season and while the local bush bud doesn’t have the knock-out of the hyge it still packs a punch for a lightweight like me.

So, I’m standing on the rocks, greening out. Thinking a little spell in the foetal position under the pandanus might be in order, but walking forwards instead, through foam to rocks I knew were there.

A big drain-out, step, step, hop, hop.

Now a wall of water is coming, step, step (a little slip) then jump. Sailing in the air, over the top of the oncoming wall of whitewater.

The forward momentum stopped.

I’m going backwards at the same speed I went forwards.


I’ve bunjee jumped.

The fucking legrope is caught around a rock.

Now, I’m in the worst place in the world.

Looking up I see my pal. He looks very, very unhappy.

I get hit and smeared across the rocks.

My cuzzy bro is laughing.

I try and sacrifice my arse and hold the board up. I get pushed up the rocks then dragged down. Pushed up again, banged up all over.

Dragged, pushed, rolled. Hit. Hit many times.

And my pal is yelling,“Get the fuck off there!”

Well, I would if I could y’see.

I got a little break, put the feet down, felt that fine hot slice of barnacles through skin and jumped.

Out. No longer greened out. And the strategy had worked. I was bloodied, but the Brewer was intact.

Well, it creased later on when my pal rode it, which he blamed on me, but that was never proven.

Of course, when it comes to surfing rocky coastlines, what goes up must come down.

I think Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bill Finnegan takes the cake here.

In his memoir Barbarian Days he describes a session at Jardim do Mar in giant surf that goes very, very wrong when he and his pal are forced into a night-time exit from the ocean onto dry land, being smashed by walls of whitewater into a seawall and emerging half dead onto a mossy boat ramp.

Finnegan then details getting his balls memorably busted in the post-surf debrief by an elder Portuguese lady who accuses him of having “no respect for your family and friends… no respect for the generations of fishermen who have risked their lives to feed their families”.

It does sound a bit overwrought and scripted to be true, but even if it’s apocryphal it still tells a story of how rattled Finnegan was, of how he saw himself reflected by the local culture.

Have I persuaded, via this guide, a single VAL to abandon the noble art of rocking off?

Put your hand up, no-one will judge.

Well, that’s good.

And also bad, because it’s the best live entertainment going in this strange Covid time.

Rock-off stories below, pls.