Listen: “World’s best shaper” and modern Rasputin Greg Webber on pools, artificial reefs and jungle sex romps with Indonesian pygmy!

"He oozed closer and jerked his hips!"

I enjoy, very much, any conversation with Australian surfboard shaper and architect of floating reefs, environmental friendly shark nets and yet-to-be-built-best-wavepool-ever, Greg Webber.

Greg, who is fifty-nine, and with a mouth sticky with cocktails, made concaves his own personal fiefdom, beginning in the late eighties. Thirty-five years on, his designs are adored by Kelly Slater. 

He is the inventor of a yet-to-be-made wavepool so good that he insists it will make the little blue veins in your neck bulge like delicate pencil marks.

Wavepool sketch by Greg Webber, circa mid-eighties.

His shark nets promise a bloodless solution to Great Whites hitting surfers. 

In private, Webber will offer a complex case for single-sex hierarchies in society and will posit that we spend too long on love, lovers past and present, as well as sexual jealousy.

But, not today. 

Society isn’t ready for his revolutionary thoughts, he says.

Greg is equipped with a certain amount of arrogance, although he is his own severest critic and his range of criticism includes his life, his career and just about everything else.

In this podcast, Charlie and I listen politely and then clap like children after Greg’s opening gambit of sex games with a crotch-grabbing midget on the Indonesian island of Sumbawa.

A compelling reason to travel.

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"You sleep like an angel, just like Kelly." Matt George, with Hawaiian Matty Liu, from In God's Hands.

Miracle anti-malaria drug approved: “The fever, the chills, the convulsions, the romantic madness of it all!”

For a little sobriety, sixty-five humans were killed by sharks last year. Around 400,000 people died from malaria, almost 70% of them kids.

Last week, the United States Environmental Protection Agency approved the chemical nootkatone for use as a legitimate mosquito repellant and potential insecticide. 

It was developed by the infallible Center for Disease Control (CDC). 

Are you kidding me? Did my online chemistry class start already? 

No, and anyway you should really just read your syllabus.

This bit of news from the EPA is about surf travel and saving hundreds of thousands of lives each year.

But, mostly surf travel. 

Mosquitos, as we know, like to play give-and take with mammals, drawing blood as they leave a particular parasite causing the disease malaria. 

It’s a risk that’s taken when rummaging coastlines for waves in areas of Asia, Africa, and South America. 

It’s a horrible condition and nootkatone might be the end of it. 

From the dirty ol NY Times,

“Adding a new weapon to the fight against insect-borne illnesses like Lyme disease and malaria, the Environmental Protection Agency on Monday approved a new chemical that both repels and kills ticks and mosquitoes.

The chemical, nootkatone, an oil found in cedar trees and grapefruits, is so safe that it is used by the food and perfume industries.

Nootkatone is considered nontoxic to humans and other mammals, birds, fish and bees, the E.P.A. said in a statement…

“In tropical countries, malaria and yellow fever are major killers; elephantiasis is also spread by mosquitoes. Lethal Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever is spread by ticks, and kala azar is spread by sandflies.

Manuel F. Lluberas, a public health entomologist who has worked on mosquito-control campaigns all over the world, said he hoped that nootkatone would be accepted by people who fear synthetic repellents and that it could be made cheaply enough to be bought by foreign aid programs like the President’s Malaria Initiative.”

Sure, pre-trip meds and nets and smoky fires can help stave off thirsty mosquitos as you huddle in the night waiting for the next day’s surf.

But nootkatone, a natural substance found in citrus, is the first chemical to be cleared to be used as a reliable repellant in over a decade.

Tests have shown that it’s up to 83% effective. 

It’s also been seen to actually act as an insecticide, killing the bugs as they try to poke you. 

Fair odds, yes?  

I knew this was science class!

Yeah, well, this is important to anyone who’s planning their first post-covid trip.

And after all, this is serious, man.

You remember what happened to Travis Potter?

Or better-yet Matty Liu in In God’s Hands? 

The fever, the chills, the convulsions, the romantic madness of it all! 

As gripping as a performance as it was, Matty’s portrayal failed to share the slightly less cinematic bouts of rabid diarrhea, which fully eliminates the chance of a beautiful beauty nursing you through.  

I had my own trouble with jungle sickness a few years ago with the unexpected kick-in-the-crotch, snake-in-the-grass surprise. 

I attest to the madness, the pain, the neurological effects.

They’re real. 

Finding solid doctors in small Peruvian villages is a challenge. 

Wrong medications, wild diagnoses. Eight weeks of a PICC line shooting who-knows-what into my heart balanced by a fine bouquet of pain killers knotted my body like the midday Cross-Bronx Expressway, torturing the liver. 

All hubris gone.

And while the dramatic weight loss was flattering, pallid-syphilitic wasn’t the look I was aiming for that season. 

Humiliating and frightening.

And for a little sobriety, sixty-five humans were hit by sharks last year. 

Around 400,000 people died from malaria, almost 70% of them kids.

 It’s hard to wrap the head around that figure.  

So, let’s be happy for science. 

It looks like nootkatone will be added to lotions and soaps, easy to carry on your next trip and give away to locals who will still be battling mosquito swarms as we dance away, remembering how feral we were.  

 


Listen: “The Anti-Birthday Party is a political machine ready to sweep both Democrats and Republicans out of office!”

Can I count on your vote?

Last night brought us the official nomination of “Bad Grandpa” Joe Biden as Democratic Party nominee and official close of the Democratic National Convention in Zoom, Wisconsin.

Were you on the edge of your Barcalounger?

Excited?

Monday will kick of the Republican National Convention, in Zoom, North Carolina, and will be much of the same except slightly weirder. Donald J. Trump will accept his party’s official nomination then off to November where Biden vs. Trump will dominate the national narrative.

Are you pumping with energy?

Thrilled?

And it is a good thing absolutely nothing is happening in the larger surf world for it allows me and David Lee Scales to problem solve real issues during our weekly chat. I came up with a new political party, for example. One that is certain to get the lion’s share of the vote in the coming decade.

The Anti-Birthday Party.

It has no position on immigration, human rights, guns, taxes etc. but promises, with enough elected officials, to ban the public singing of “Happy Birthday.”

Such an egregiously horrible song and the whole of the United States of America will be 4% happier overnight with its disappearance.

Have you ever heard anyone hit the high note in an appealing way?

Have you ever been moved either singing or being sung to?

Of course not. The Anti-Birthday Party will bring tangible change and can I count on your vote?

David Lee and I also discussed Kelly Slater and hickeys.

Listen here.


White people (pictured) being awful.

Revisionism: Surfing was not “revived” by devil-like white people, as previously held, but practiced continually by proud Hawaiians!

The root of lasciviousness.

And the hits just keep coming for men and women who belong to the increasingly degraded “white” race. Body blows as each new day brings with it sordid, ugly details of historical, and modern, crimes committed by those who descend from Europe.

Microaggressions, melding the narratives of majority and underrepresented groups, inhibiting perspective-taking, forcing stereotypes that cluster into especially prevalent myths like the one that holds surfing, an ancient Peruvian dance, was revived by benevolent Caucasoids after going extinct on the Hawaiian islands.

Well, according to new research that narrative is simply not true.

The old theories held that missionaries coming to Hawaii in the early 1800s declared surfing an unhealthy pastime, the “root of lasciviousness” due its time-wasting, mingling of the sexes etc. and “stamped it out” by 1847.

Hiram Bingham declared that it, like all other heathen sports on the islands, had “disappeared. Nathaniel B. Emerson Lake and Palmer backed up that account in 1892, stating that it was impossible to find a surfboard on the island.

Uncovered histories, though, from British travel writer Samuel Hill show that surfing was being practiced on the Big Island in the 1850s and even on Waikiki as late as 1891. Likewise, those prancing the naughty jig shared it with others. James Apu of Kauai, for instance, traveled to San Francisco in 1893 and put on surfing exhibitions for slack-jawed locals.

So there we have it. Surfing was never crushed only to be brought back to life by progressive whites. It was, rather, practiced continuously by Hawaiians and stolen by us.

By the end of the decade, I fear it will be revealed that the only things white people actually made were Cheez Whiz and Salty Crew.

Maybe pre-paid credit cards too.

Sad.


Cancelled: Fox sports broadcaster Thom Brennaman caught calling city “one of the (naughty anti-homosexual slur) capitals of the world” though doesn’t specify which city!

"You're _ _ _ _ _ _ _ out."

Sloppy journalism really gets my goat, especially sports journalism. There is a fine tradition there what with the greatest of all time George Plimpton, Norman Mailer, Arnold Hano, Hunter S. Thompson… I could go on all day, but what I’m saying is that I wish surfing, too, was a sport. Mainly, though, there is no room for slop.

And maybe you’ve heard by now that sports journalist and Fox broadcaster Thom Brennaman was laid bare last night while calling a baseball game between his Cincinnati Reds and Kansas City Queens when a hot mic caught him calling an unspecified city “one of the _ _ _ capitals of the world.”

He was instantly fired from his National Football League duties, suspended by the Reds, probably fired too and pounced upon by national media for his indiscretion.

What I want to know is which city? Clearly not Cincinnati or Kansas City. San Francisco? West Hollywood? A sneaky Waco, Texas?

Excellent branding opportunities are being left on the table here, due sloppy journalism, and I would certainly petition my wonderful longtime friend and business partner Derek Rielly to move BeachGrit’s operational hub to whichever libertine capital Brennaman was referring.

Bondi?

Bondi, Australia?

Are we already there?

Fingers crossed.

Also and mainly, though, are Joe Turpel, Ron Blakey, 89, 88 and the rest of the boys (and girl) so thankful that they know a collective 17 words?

A hot mic will catch any of them saying, max, “And that should go near the excellent range.”

Always a silver lining.