Laird Hamilton (pictured) making money, getting loaded. | Photo: Laird Superfoods

Magic pudding award: Laird Hamilton’s “Laird Superfood” company aims to raise $40 million via IPO despite $8.5 million loss…

Fairy dust or essential nutritional addendums? It don't matter! Invest!

Laird Hamilton is the supersonic mouthpiece, and part-owner, 13.5 percent if y’wondering, of Oregon-based company Laird Superfood, the company he created in 2015.

It sells plant-based coffee creamers, including one made from an ocean algae called Aquamin, which will toughen up your bones, “premium” instant coffee, freeze-dried coconut water and assorted other treats that line up under the umbrella of  “superfoods”.

Before you tuck your napkin into your collar, it might be prudent to point out, here, that frizzling your body with superfoods don’t automatically turn you into Laird Hamilton.

Or toughen up your bones,

“Food is more than the sum of its parts,” writes Peter Lipson in Forbes. “Some of the vitamins present in foods are necessary in small amounts to maintain health, a fact that has over the years led us to think that there are more magic substances in food.  This has not been borne out by science.  None of the myriad ‘antioxidants’ and other magical substances discovered in foods has ever been found to provide some sort of revolutionary health benefit.”

It don’t hurt sales.

Laird Superfoods did thirteen-million dollars last year although the company recorded a net loss of $8.5 mill.

Selling the gear too cheap? Not according to the IPO’s prospectus.

“Strong gross margins provide Laird Superfood with a sustainable competitive advantage…”

Go figure, as they say in the trades.

The forty mill Laird Superfood is hunting in this public offering ain’t such a stretch for the fifty-six-year-old who was born in the UCSF’s Medical Center’s bathysphere, mammy and bebe enjoying zero gravity for the birth.

It raised ten mill from Danone Manifesto Ventures in April and WeWork founder Adam Neumann, a surfer bro of Laird, was part of a thirty-two mill round of funding in 2019 

Of course, all foods live or die by taste.

And BeachGrit‘s Jen See was at the vanguard of Laird Superfood in 2018.

When I ate the Superfood I did not immediately acquire the ability to fly or anything useful like that. Presumably it added calcium to my bones, but I felt nothing. Not even a tingle. This was slightly disappointing.

I mixed the Hydrate with bottled water in a 12-ounce container as the instructions demanded. Once mixed, it has a milky, white color. The flavor is nothing to write home about. Not terrible! Just not super exciting.

It needed something. I rummaged around the kitchen and found vodka of questionable vintage. I added the vodka to the Hydrate. Mmm, vodka. I added more. Even better. Then I was out of coconut water Superfood. More Vodka. What were we talking about again, I don’t know. Vodka, good. Next time, I skip straight to vodka. More vodka.

I approached the Instafuel with trepidation. Instant coffee. I once carried a French Press in my camera bag on a bike-packing trip in Oregon. This was a stupid decision, because packing out wet coffee grounds is stupid. But it does give you an idea of my feelings about instant coffee.

I again entered the kitchen to boil the required boiled water, which just about exhausts my kitchen repertoire. I added boiling water to the instant coffee and Superfood mixture. It dissolved! Magic! A thin layer tan bubbles, resembling crema, appeared on the surface. I know this game. I see you, Instafuel! I see you trying to fool me into thinking you are actually good coffee! You can’t fool me.

If you like your coffee very sweet and you enjoy coconut-flavored things, Laird Superfood Instafuel is your dream morning libation. It is easy to make! And almost instant! But so is Starbucks Via, which more closely resembles coffee.

Browse the Laird Superfood range here.

Ships worldwide.

Another gender reveal party on Australia's Gold Coast obvs.
Another gender reveal party on Australia's Gold Coast obvs.

It’s a Boy: Gender reveal party responsible for burning “the surf industry’s historical home” of California entirely to the ground!

Bad idea.

Ooooooee it has been hot outside for those lucky enough to call the Golden State home. Record temperatures from sunny San Diego all the way up to foggy San Francisco. Or maybe San Francisco is freezing cold like it is every winter (read: summer) but, in any case, scorching.

My Cardiff-by-the-Sea sky a smoky white with ash falling like manna, enhancing the oven-like feel.

The ash is a product of a massive fire blazing to the south and east.

Another monstrous fire is blazing to the north and east, near Yucaipa, and was sparked by a “gender reveal party” that used a “smoke-generating pyrotechnic device.”

One would have thought these sorts of gatherings would have been cancelled not due fire danger, of course, but because gender is now super uncool to claim.

Like, very lame.

But have you ever been to a gender reveal party? I have not and would not go if invited.

If California does burn entirely to the ground, Hawaii will have to fight it out with Florida for rights to use the title “the surf industry’s historical home.”

Do you have a horse in that race?

More as the story develops.

"Excuse me, Hawaii board of tourism? Yes, I was just looking for your surf museum."
"Excuse me, Hawaii board of tourism? Yes, I was just looking for your surf museum."

Hawaiian politician flies into justifiably jealous rage: “You look at California, at Australia, they’ve glorified surfing, they celebrate surfing, they monetize surfing!”

One word: Museum.

Today is Labor Day in these United States of America. A day to spend thinking about those who work so hard to make our lives so very good. The surfboard shaper and the surfboard glasser. The Sticky Bumps wax mixer and the Sticky Bumps wax wrapper (watch here). The surf shop trucker hat orderer and the surf shop trucker hat unpacker.

A day to ponder and thank all those who make our surf industry so mighty.

Well, Hawaii state Sen. Glenn Wakai, chairman of the Senate’s Economic Development and Tourism committee, is looking at that mighty surf industry and wondering why the other birthplace of surfing (after Peru) doesn’t have a bigger stake.

“You look at California, you look at Australia (where everyday is Labor Day), they’ve glorified surfing…” he told Honolulu’s Hawaii News Now “…They celebrate surfing and they monetize surfing.”

All true but state Sen. Wakai ain’t just a complainer. He has a plan of action to bring the luster back.

First up, a museum.

“There’s a surf museum in Oceanside, Calif. There’s a surf museum in Australia. We’re the center of surfing, we don’t even have a surf museum.”

Oceanside’s surf museum has led to an economic boom in the once-forgotten town, frustrating some but pouring money into the coffers of already rich out-of-towners. Australia’s surf museum is likely responsible for keeping the World Surf League Championship Tour in country for 1/3 of the year.

And so state Sen. Wakai has organized a committee to get moving on that project.

Second up, competitive surfing at the high school level.

“There’s six states in America that have competitive high school surfing, Hawaii’s not one of them. That is embarrassing.”

Sure is and, to be honest, surprising.

Lastly, state Sen. Wakai would like to streamline the permitting big surf contests.

“Let’s figure out who gets it, when they get it, and for how long they get their permits.”

Here, I can help. DO NOT GIVE ANY TO THE WORLD SURF LEAGUE! Punish co-Waterperson of the Year Dirk Ziff for building a fancy office in California’s Santa Monica instead of Honolulu. The WSL will, honestly, collapse in a year and you, state Sen. Wakai can take the thing over, change the name to Association of Surfing Superstars, celebrate and monetize.


Happy Labor Day.

Gaz Linden, seventy and still swinging his monster blade. | Photo: Linden Surfboards

Cookie-cutter condo development forces master shaper and big-wave surfer to shutter iconic Oceanside shop after forty-three years!

Hit by the gentrification bulldozer… 

Master shaper and big-wave notable Gary Linden has whittled boards in his Oceanside, CA, shop for forty -three years.

Now he’s forced to move.

The block is being systematically bought out to build high-end condos. 

Many will be displaced.

It’s said If you don’t like gentrification in your city, leave. 

Oceanside had long been immune to major development and is one of the last places along US coastlines with relatively inexpensive housing for its citizens who work ten-hour days hanging drywall, shoveling gravel or working in shaping bays.  There are some parts that aren’t as shiny as its neighboring cities, making Oceanside a bit raw, but affordable and unmolested from corporate hands.

But the town’s city council approved a plan which includes mixed-use structures complete with six and seven-story condos and hotels perched above gyms, coffee bars, and restaurants. They’re investing in cleaning sidewalks, painting over graffiti and hiring additional security for safety to increase tourism and entice new business development.

Gumaro Escarcega, program manager at the downtown business association, told the San Diego Union-Tribune that their plan is expected to bring more jobs and tax revenue to the city.

“Downtown Oceanside is becoming a destination for new investment opportunities. It’s attracting people from San Diego to Los Angeles.”

The plan also calls for the construction of multiple big-box stores, bars, a wave pool,and attention to the arts, an Oceanside centerpiece. 

Unfortunately, the city council is thinking Bob Ross when the town is more Goya. 

The transformation is something many residents do not recognize nor welcome.

Walking around town, you can see hats and tees (courtesy of Real Surf Shop) reading “Localization not Gentrification.”

But Escarcega said, “Most of our downtown residents and neighboring communities are talking positive about downtown Oceanside growth.”

And the eternally upbeat Jason Mraz says that “Oceanside’s the new Brooklyn of San Diego.” 

Sounds cool, if not disorienting.

But let’s hear from Mr. Linden who, like Mraz, is also eternally upbeat but happens to be getting kicked out of his lifelong place of business. 

Here’s Gary’s take:

“Gentrification is a joke! I have been robbed twice in the last four years. When Oceanside was considered a rough place to be the locals protected each other and nothing ever happened. Now there are so many transient people it is impossible to control!

“This building has a huge surf history and before I moved in it was the Plastic Fantastic surfboard factory. You could walk out the back door, check the waves, and cross the tracks to the surf.

“Cleveland Street has been the best place to make surfboards that I have ever been in and I have shaped all over the World. Close to the beach so you can surf on your break time and the onshore breeze keeps the factory cool and aerated. The residents on the street were always really mellow and stoked to see what I was up to building my boards. There was a really homey vibe.

“Oceanside has for so long been kind of a secret jewel in between San Diego and LA. The waves are super-consistent and the crowds were always thin. It was the last major beach town to face the developers’ greed! There was a strong sense of community amongst the residents who faced with the constant portrayal of living in an unsafe place. We took care of each other.

“I am not really sure exactly how it will all play out as in so many ways this place can never be recreated, It was just such a special time and place. I will still be surfing and making boards in Oceanside and hoping some great opportunity presents itself!

“I hope everyone appreciates the fact that life takes its turns and you never know what the future has in store. Keep positive and expect the best. I am sure this will all turn out great!”

Eternally upbeat, for sure.

And you can always help him out by checking out his balsa boards or new agave guns; Gary even finds and cuts his own lumber!

As perfect as they are unique. 

As some of these special boards run up to five gees, it’s ironic the only people who can afford to grab one are the same who will be living in the new condos covering of the footprint of his old shop.

You are not finding these boards in New Brooklyn.

Call to Action: This September 19 march into your local surf shop, buy a hat or chain wallet and save the world!

It's Board Shop Day!

There is one last bastion standing between the VAL horde takeover, the Oklahoman Erik Logan’s World Surf League’s attempt to “change the world through the inspirational power of surfing,” goofy smiles plus positive vibes and the grumpy local.

Between Oprah and us.

Your local, independent surf shop.

Oh, I remember so fondly gingerly walking into Freeline in Santa Cruz, Wahl in Pismo Beach, Katin in Huntington, Hansen’s in Encinitas as an Oregonian and feeling the sheer terror of being rightly judged.

In the now forgotten book Cocaine + Surfing I wrote:

I panic and run into the nearby Laguna Surf and Sport without thinking. To a place even more pressure filled than the mean streets, or at least a place that used to be. The California surf shop was once a bastion of all things cool. The boards, the trunks, the clothes, boardbags, magazines, VHS surf videos, Lagwagon soundtrack, and especially the shop workers. Grown-up surfed-out Orange County preteens who would mock hapless customers from behind glass counters filled with surf stickers.

I remember stepping through the doors and into the fog of sweet surf wax as an Oregonian youth on family trips down south. I would gaze lovingly, longingly at the at the merchandise that I couldn’t afford. I would run by hand along the rails of boards I could only dream of owning. Sometimes a shop worker would ask if I needed any help in the most laconic way possible, usually while flipping through a surf magazine and not looking up to make eye contact. My heart would seize and I would mutter something and flee, trying not to gaze at the Sex Wax in the glass counter, lest anyone catch me and think I was a blushing debauchee.

We must save the core surf shop so it, in turn, can save us and Sept. 19 is our chance. It is the second annual Board Shop Day, founded by Building the Revolution founder Mike Vavek who wonders, “Is it too much to ask that we ask for a day dedicated to the shops that created an industry and a culture for many of us?”

No it ain’t.

Head into your local on Sept. 19, or before, and buy a trucker hat, chain wallet, hoodie, whatever your heart desires.

Suck it, ELo.