Gaz, bringing life to Nazaré. | Photo: @garrettmcnamara

The true story of the Hawaiian big-wave surfer abandoned by his mom in Guatemala and almost adopted by peasant farmer before being taken into a Christian cult: “It was the worst humiliation of my life!”

And how this noted big-waver came to save a Portuguese fishing village…

It is rare when the civilian world jumps into the surf pool and makes a ripple that we don’t snicker at.

Surf, like combat and birthing a child, can only be understood when sleeves are rolled up and fingers are buried into the rind.

It has to be lived through years of torture punctuated by minor successes to be understood.

But then, and rarely, there’s a story that reveals a surfer, a wave, or both, like never before.

This Smithsonian article from 2018 (the mag was gifted by a retired uncle whose new hobby was permanently borrowing ‘free’ magazines from old barber shops and dentist offices), brings light to the darker corners of the Garrett McNamara and Nazaré square.

Garrett, who is fifty-two, is often overlooked by surf media. Could be the Mercedes drip or the Anderson Cooper jet ski drive-by.

But this article endears him to the reader.

Highlights include Garrett’s upbringing with his mother who was searching for answers in communes and cults. Mammy took Garrett to Central America where her then-partner Luis kicked her in the head till she was bloody and unconscious with five-year-old Garrett as a witness.

Another details Garrett being left with a peasant farmer in Guatemala who adopted him for some time.

It describes their time in California when Garrett’s mammy, now following the Christ Family christian cult which was led by a man who called himself ‘Jesus Christ Lightning Amen,’ took all their possessions, put them in a pile and lit them on fire.

They were left with bedsheets that became their robes with rope for a belt.

Garrett describes the incident as “one of the worst humiliations of my life.”

He tried to hide in an alley but school friends saw him.

The dark history of Nazaré (named after the place of Jesus’ birth, Nazareth) will similarly excite.

It tells how the town withered into near-extinction after once being a prosperous fishing village.

Fishermen who set out never returned.


Thrown into the cliffs by giant waves while trying to bring their catches to land.

It also tells how the widows of the lost fisherman now line the streets, quiet and sullen, in black dresses.

And, how Dino Casimiro, a local who knew the town was in despair, sent an email to Garrett to explore the wave in hopes that it would bring tourism and life back to the sequestered village.

Get a piece of the Smithsonian story here. 

Watch: Aggressive shark crosses “thin blue line” in Kelly Slater’s hometown; attempts to eat young child and police officer!


The relationship between law enforcement officers and citizens in these United States of America has reached a true nadir. Much distrust and hard feelings etc. with the divisions being stoked from on high.

Well, at least we have Kelly Slater’s hometown of Cocoa Beach, Florida where, over the weekend, a shark sensing vulnerabilities in the system attempted to eat a young boy directly in front of a policeman.

As you can see in the dramatic video, the policeman does not pause, but rather jumps immediately into action and saves the day. Also, no crowd gathers and begins chanting obscenities about brutality etc.

A sea-change where we can all, once again, be wonderful friends like in the Andy Griffith days?


But what does Kelly Slater think? As I am not allowed into his mind’s eye (Instagram feed) anymore I don’t know where he falls on federal officers being dispatched to U.S. cities in order to arrest people standing around statues.

Is he mad about that or still occupied with the amount of sugar in Snapple?


Lil Dean Morrison wins Snapper; Mick Fanning hoists upon shoulder etc. | Photo: @thewaveofalifetime

Essential service: Coolangatta Kid and Snapper Pro winner Dean Morrison will tow you into the wave of your life for five-hundred bucks!

Includes private filmer and après-surf tutorial…

If there’s a better way to spend five hundred Australian dollars I ain’t heard of it.

Dean Morrison, who is thirty-nine, is a former world number nine, Pipe Master runner-up and winner of the Quiksilver Pro in 2003.

In 1998, aged seventeen, he won the Queensland Title, the Australian Title and World Games in the one year.

A legend in the game, the pivotal figure in the Parkinson/Fanning/Morrison triumvirate although its least successful competitively, mainly cause he wasn’t into raking his teeth across the erected cherry nipples of ASP judges.

Now, punters, you and me, can get access Dean’s skills, his jetski, a filmer and a private tutorial for five hundred dollars, three American c-notes or thereabouts.

Dean’s coaching biz is called The Wave of Lifetime. He offers, private hour-and-a-half lessons with filmer and analysis of footage, no ski, for $350, two hours, with ski and filmer etc for $500 and a deluxe pack called Wave of Lifetime that’ll take you to anywhere within a two-hour radius of Coolangatta for two days or up to a week.

His youngest client is a nine-year-old pro surfer hopeful, his oldest is a sixty-five year old who wants to keep an edge before the sands of time run out.

When I called Dean, he was fresh out of the water after an eight-til-ten session. He tells me he got into coaching three years ago and the ski came into the equation when he realised that his marks weren’t getting that many waves.

“You see results, but not really,” he says. “With the ski, they get better straight away. You can keep telling ‘em to make little adjustments.”

The way it works is Dean’ll pick you up on his ski from either the boat ramp on Kennedy Drive, in West Tweed Heads, or from little D-Bah, a crescent of sand inside the mouth of the Tweed River just before it runs out into D-Bah.

You and he will identify something you want to work on, he’ll tow you into fifty waves or whatever, following you on the ski to analyse your style, and a few days later Deano’ll send you a split-screen of your surfing, cut with a pro surfer of a similar build, to illustrate the diff, and how you can get better.

While we’re talking he Whatsapps me a sample. It’s pretty sick. An intermediate sorta surfer is in the top frame; pro on the bottom. At each juncture of the turn, Dean commentates what’s going right and what’s going wrong.

“I just want you to see what you’re doing here, mate, you’re doing great with the compression on the bottom turn, look how low you’re getting here but what I want is for you to start rotating your shoulders so that your front hand is coming behind you in that position,” says Dean. “As you’re going along and extending, start bringing that front hand here (arrow appears on screen) to square you to the lip…”

And so on, for five minutes.

“I teach the basics, compression, extension, rotation,” he says.

Watching the same surfer get a no-rail-grab backside tube is proof the one-on-one coaching works.

“Moments like that,” says Dean, “And they’re stoked for weeks later. Being able to be a part of that…”

He lets out a laugh.

“It’s such a gift. Fuck.

Greatest Day Ever: “Superbad” actor Jonah Hill chats with Mick Fanning on World Surf League’s new “One on One” interview program!

Dreams come true!

It’s now official. Santa Monica’s World Surf League, fronted by Chief Executive Erik Logan, listens to us, alongside many stakeholders, co-Waterpersons of the Year and Brazilian professional surfers on the World Qualifying Series, but mostly us.

You and me but mostly me.

I have been begging for Jonah Hill to be the face of professional surfing’s pivot to Middle America for weeks now instead of Zeke Lau or… Laird Hamilton’s Superfood Creamer. For him to be invited on Ultimate Surfer etc. and now look.

Today, he appears across from my friend Mick Fanning on the World Surf League’s new interview program “One on One.”

Mick Fanning is not really my friend. He called me a “fucking Jew” a decade ago and I have milked it for that entire ten years (buy here) but Jonah Hill is one of my favorite actors and now he is really here.

Thank you World Surf League.

More please.

Please more?

Wait, what are you supposed to say when manifesting things from the World Surf League?

Pretty South Straddie ain't a secret anymore. And less so after a two-day, broadcast-only WSL event there. | Photo: WSL/Andrew Shield

WSL launches Australian Grand Slam: two-day, broadcast-only “strike missions” with month-long waiting periods!

Signs of life rattling within the swinging carcass, faint though they may be.

Shhhh. D’you hear that?

Signs of life rattling within the swinging carcass, faint though they may be.

WSL has today announced an Australian Grand Slam, a novelty series consisting of two speciality events for CT-rated AU surfers this southern-hemi Spring.

One on the Goldy at South Straddie, the other for Margies in West Oz.

Both two-day, broadcast-only ‘strike missions’ with a month-long window. Chuck in a couple of local wildcards and a heritage heroes heat for each. Prize winner’s money goes to a charity of their choice.

It certainly ain’t revolutionary.

But it’s something.

What do you think?

Coupla things from me.

September and October’s not the best time of year for waves here in Australia, particularly on the Gold Coast.

Spring = shit.

Long flat spells and cold onshore winds. The swells slow right down and the tropical quadrants are yet to rise from their slumber.

But, signs are pointing to a La Nina pattern this year on the east coast at least, so who knows.


The announcement reeks of government stakeholders. The WSL presser has extensive comments from the relevant state tourism ministers, complete with lines spruiking economic benefits like “Only the Paluzuk government has a plan for jobs.” (You may also remember the head of WA Tourism, one Brodie Carr. I’m sure I’ve heard that name somewhere before…)

Ideally, this thing would have been announced a few months ago to make the most of the winter swell window, but ya can be sure working with two separate state governments to organise and announce twin events like this, especially in a Covid world, is no small feat.

There’s obviously been some extensive networking going on behind the scenes.

Longtom’s mate Andrew Stark is, it would appear, getting shit done.

E-Lo might wanna take note.


Covid is not done with Australia yet. Not by a long shot.

Today we announced the largest number of new cases since the pandemic began. Victoria’s copping the worst of it.

Queensland and WA are safe for now.

But, active cases are popping up here in my very own postcode, which is also home to almost half of the Australian men’s CT contingent.

Domestic travel restrictions, especially for those in known hot spots, are already being enforced.

This Grand Slam format is still a victim of the same old thinking when it comes to running a comp. A few tweaks around the edges, sure, but overall it’s just as susceptible to the Covid bogeyman as the regular tour.

The WSL will never have a better opportunity to throw the handbook out the window and try for something new during this period.

They sell themselves as innovative. Novel. Cutting edge

Is this really the best they got?

Handsomely curious surf fan seeking answers.