Watch: How big-wave surfer Wayne Cleveland made $300,000 a run as an international drug smuggler, “Imagine walking through the airport strapped with three-kilos of cocaine; that was a thrill for me!”

And then jail, redemption etc…

It was sometime in the mid-nineties when photos of a skinny kid from public housing in Maroubra throwing himself over ledges started appearing on the desks of surf magazine photo editors. 

Puerto, Hawaii, the newly  discovered slab at Cape Solander that was renamed Ours, wasn’t a damn wave Wayne Cleveland wouldn’t touch. 

No one in the mag game knew who he was except that he ripped.

Lke most bright kids who grow up in public housing, Wayne was a fast-talker, athletic and knew how to handle himself in a fight, to put it mildly. 

“Growing up in housing commission in Maroubra, you’re either going to be an elite athlete or an elite criminal,” he says.

I remember a phone call to my office in Hossegor, France, the familiar laughter pouring down the line and a request to set the gendarmes right who’d mistakenly arrested him for something or another. 

He’s the only man I’ve ever seen exit a lock-up, and I’ve seen a few oddly enough, shaking everyone’s hands. 

Then came a gorgeous house fashioned entirely in shades of white that would feature in myriad design magazines and a bunch of kids.

All going real good except the cash was coming from running coke out of the US using airline food caterers and the cops were on his trail. 

This, from a newspaper report in 2011, 

The court heard that 40-year-old Cleveland was the Australian principal of a syndicate that imported cocaine from the US with the help of corrupt staff employed by Gate Gourmet, a catering company servicing various airlines at Sydney Airport. On December 2, 2007, customs officers found 12 blocks of white powder in the rubbish bin cabinet in the toilet of United Airlines flight UA839. The blocks contained 2.8 kilograms of pure cocaine with a street value of close to $1 million. It had been destined to be picked up by an employee of Gate Gourmet.

Long story short, the cops confiscated everything he owned, including the pretty house, Wayne got ten-to-sixteen years, did ten, and is back in Maroubra doing a little fitness work and acting as a cautionary tale to any kids who think drug smuggling might be a biz worth examining. 

In this short, Wayne talks through the smuggling game, “Imagine walking through the airport strapped with three kilos of cocaine…that was a thrill for me”, the money he made, what it’s like to have thirty feds banging down your door while your kids cower on the loungeroom floor and life after jail.


BeachGrit contributor murdered in Bali kitchen after rohypnol allegations against locals?

"Bye Bali..."

Dark news floated across the Timor Sea, yesterday, that Santa Cruz surfer turned Bali transplant Mara Wolford had been found dead in Benoa, a 30 minute jog from Kuta Beach.

The owner of the rented villa, where she was staying, failed to reach her by phone and called the police, who entered the apartment and found her body on the floor.

Investigation into the cause of death is ongoing.

Wolford, a BeachGrit contributor (read here and here), was also a fiery presence in the comment section, posting under the moniker Impervious Blonde then BazzaBitch and often crossing proverbial swords with one-time Surfer magazine editor Ben Marcus.

Four years ago, she alleged that she had been dosed with rohypnol, the “date rape” drug, while at a local Kuta Bar. The story was picked up widely by international news outlets and did not paint a rosy picture of Bali or its locals. She ended her re-telling, “Bye Bali and fuck you as well.”

Wolford is the second BeachGrit contributor to meet an untimely death. Michael Kocher, an early favorite who faked cancer for money (read here, here, here, etc.), was killed by a hail of police bullets while he held an ex-girlfriend hostage.

Rumor: World Surf League to drop “major” announcement soon, first event December 2020 in Hawaii that rolls directly into 2021 season!


A hot rumor, fresh off the iPhone, and theoretically debunked or proven correct within hours. Maybe even minutes. For Santa Monica’s World Surf League is set to drop a “major” announcement this morning, maybe afternoon, that declares 2020 will kick off this December in Hawaii, likely Pipeline, and roll directly in to the 2021 season as the first event of the “year.”


Ex-CEO Sophie Goldschmidt’s dream come true!

Don’t you recall when she flew out to Honolulu in order to juggle permits and begin each and every Championship Tour at Pipeline instead of ending it there? It all ended very badly with much egg on haole faces etc. but now could it actually be?

Did Covid-19 provide the end-around she needed but bright and daring current CEO Erik Logan received?

Are you thrilled or does it matter a lick?

Chew on that for a few hours, or minutes, before it gets theoretically debunked or proven correct.

Australian beach towns under siege from flesh-eating bacteria; US news network calls it, “A slow-moving horror show even more baffling to infectious-disease researchers than the novel coronavirus” and asks, “How long will Australia be liveable?”

"Their necrotic limbs reek of rot…"

If it ain’t raining it’s pouring for the inhabitants of Australia’s second most populous state Victoria, home to Bells Beach and the country’s sole commercial wavepool.

After a second hit of COVID infections, the capital city, Melbourne, has just shut down for six weeks, locking the poor and wretched away in ghetto towers, shutting gymnasiums, restaurants, the wave tank etc.

And now, according to The Atlantic, that august literary relic from Boston, beach towns on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula are under siege from a “flesh-eating bacteria” called Buruli, so-named after a former county in Uganda, where it was first identified.

It really is a horror show.

“Untreated, the pathogen slowly worms its way under the flesh before breaking through the surface, maiming and disfiguring its victims. Their necrotic limbs reek of rot,” writes The Atlantic‘s Brendan Borrell.

But Uganda is a world away from pretty, first-world Victoria, yes?

The Atlantic’s reporter flies from Los Angeles into the infected zone and “Wherever I went, everyone, regardless of their social standing, seemed to know someone who’d had an ulcer. No one was immune from the disease, and everyone had an opinion on it—whether it was something they’d read in the newspaper or a rumor they’d heard from a friend or just an idea they’d come up with over a pint of Victoria Bitter.”

(Note to writer: beer ain’t served in pints in Australia, it’s a British thing.)

And the treatment is ghastly.

The process is more traumatic than one might expect: (The doctor) had to plunge a cotton swab into the maw of Mikac’s open wound and scrape out the gunk inside as Mikac cringed in pain. Johnson put Mikac on two powerful antibiotics, clarithromycin and rifampicin, which turned Mikac’s urine the color of orange Fanta…He warned Mikac that the antibiotics had shut down Buruli’s defenses, and now the body would launch an attack on the infected tissue. The pus was building up under the skin, and it was about to blow. “Once it breaks through,” he said, “it will feel a lot better.”

It goes on to explain that the mycobacteria that do the flesh-eating are also the “culprits behind tuberculosis and leprosy.”

(Read more here. Fascinating etc.)

If flesh-eating bugs aren’t enough to convince you Australia has gone to hell, The Atlantic warned in January that y’might just be better off splitting the joint completely.

“How Long Will Australia Be Liveable” is a January headline, “Facing a future of fire, drought, and rising oceans, Australians will have to weigh the choice between getting out early or staying to fight.”

But what happens after the fires have passed through, and Australians return to either their intact homes or smoking ruins, dead cattle, a blackened moonscape where crops once grew? The lucky ones give thanks and get on with their life. The unlucky ones grieve, rage, shake their fist at Fate—and defiantly rebuild on the same ground. The battler spirit triumphs again, but for how long.

Get buzzed on that here. 

New evidence suggests it is highly unlikely that Julia Roberts “begged” husband Danny Moder to quit surfing in order to save their marriage!

A relief.

Does your significant other love that you surf? That you have nice triceps and a tan face? That you have a hair-trigger temper and bring sand into the bed, are often late to pick up kids and/or dates, sometimes cross into oncoming traffic because you are rubber necking the lineup, drain the family accounts on Surfline memberships, etc?

Yes, surfing is an enviable trait but not everyone appreciates.

OK! Magazine recently reported that famous actress Julia Roberts begged her cinematographer husband Danny Moder to stop surfing in order to save their marriage.

According to the popular British tabloid, Moder’s surfing was seen as overly dangerous as he was too much of a “thrill-seeker” and she would have preferred that he would have worked out in their home gym instead of “blowing off steam” in the ocean but he refused to give up and kept “getting his fix.”

Very sad.

Thankfully, though, Gossip Cop has debunked most of OK!’s story.

First, Roberts posted a loving tribute to Moder on Father’s Day featuring him walking with what appears to be a swallow tail’d fish.

If she was really so anti-surfing, it seems unlikely she would use this shot.

Second, the two vacation in Hawaii.

That’s mostly it.

Does anyone know when Ultimate Surfer is supposed to air again?

If this particular post frustrated you with its lack of depth, direction, meaning, value etc. don’t worry. I’ve got a fiery rebuttal from Surfline over the charge that the surf forecasting website gouged its customers during a pandemic.

It will be exciting.