Blessed: Once-poor Thai fisherman stumbles across world’s largest blob of whale vomit on beach; experts claim value over $3 million dollars!

Smells like success.

Oh to be young and Thai, there eating some of the world’s best cuisine, getting some of the world’s best massages, gazing up at some of the world’s best Buddhist temples, speaking names with some of the world’s most syllables. Life presenting each day as a wonderful gift and even for the very poor fisherpeople.

And let us learn of Naris Suwannasang, a very poor fisherperson himself, who was there basking in perfection, walking along the beach in Nakhon Si Thammarat one fine morning when he stumbled upon several strange, pale rocks. He examined them for a moment then called his cousin to help carry the strange loads to his house. After poking and prodding then lighting on fire, the two realized they had discovered a treasure trove of ambergris, or sperm whale vomit, and whoa!

Ambergris, or sperm whale vomit, is also called “ocean gold” as it in an important ingredient in perfume, giving off a pleasing musty smell. It is also very rare.

Suwannasang became very excited, called a sperm whale vomit dealer and was immediately made an offer of over $3 million, as it was the largest blob of sperm whale vomit ever discovered.

The rich get richer, as they say.

Suwannasang made himself a delicious bowl of panang curry, beef, with a side of sticky rice to celebrate his fortunate turn but then became scared that someone would steal his sperm whale vomit so registered it with the local police.

I might have been more worried about the local police, but I am not Thai.

In any case, we surfers spend much of our lives in the ocean though I have never heard one of our kind finding any sperm whale vomit.

Cursed, I suppose.

Off with the ring.
Off with the ring.

Breaking: Former Honolulu police chief cops 7 year prison sentence, prosecutor wife 13 years, in “worst corruption scandal in Hawaii’s history!”

Perverted justice.

I first remember hearing of Louis Kealoha and his wife Katherine Kealoha when chatting with the effervescent Eddie Rothman one bright and shiny North Shore morning some eight years ago (buy here). He was speaking of the general corruption in Honolulu and how the whole business was rotten to the core.

I believed him, of course, as you would have, but also a little skeptical.

Like, all the way to the core?

Well, I shouldn’t have been as yesterday Honolulu’s former police chief Louis and his wife, a former deputy prosecutor with the city, were sentenced to long stretches in prison for their roles in what is being called “the worst corruption scandal in Hawaii’s history.

Mister got seven years.

Missus, who he repeatedly kicked under the bus, a whopping thirteen.

She was charged with trying to frame her uncle for stealing her mailbox in 2013, ripping off her uncle, grandmother and own children to fund a lavish lifestyle that included “trips to Disneyland, Elton John concert tickets and Maserati car payments” and other things.

He was mostly charged with helping.

She blamed painkillers.

He blamed her.

The judge didn’t care and walloped them hard because she had “perverted justice over and over and over again.”

“You framed your uncle for a crime that he didn’t commit,” he said. “Let me say that again. You framed your uncle for a crime he never committed. And given that your husband was the chief of police, the task wasn’t difficult. That’s the shock of all this.”

Mister divorced missus last year, mid-trail, when it was revealed she was having a tawdry affair.

Many questions, but one is paramount, or at least for me.

What sort of person buys a Maserati?

Like, you can buy a Porsche for the same price.

Very confused.

First of its kind study reveals surfers six times more likely to develop skin cancer than general public, shocking scientists though not surfers: “No duh, mate.”

Oi, oi, oi.

It is apparently worse than scientists could have ever imagined. Way worse. The very first study on surfers (ocean swimmers and SUPpers too) and occurrences of skin cancer within our ranks (ocean swimmer and SUPper ranks too) has just wrapped on Australia’s Gold Coast and determined that we are six times more likely to develop skin cancer than the general public.

Six times.

Six times.

Scientists were shocked.

Adjunct Associate Professor Michael Stapelberg, involved in the study, said that although the participants were obviously in a high-risk group, the results were alarming.

“Previous studies have shown they have an increased risk because of their level of ultra-violet radiation exposure. However, no study has actually quantified the exact risk and the exact difference between these select groups compared to other Australians. So that was very alarming and definitely raised alarm bells for me. What was actually very interesting about that was that these weren’t just superficial, very thin melanomas. Some of them were actually invasive.”

The study lead, Dr. Mike Climstein, added, “These phase-one results are quite startling.”

Surfers, on the other hand, were neither shocked nor startled, asking the obvious question, “But have you seen Longtom?”

Australia and New Zealand have the highest rates of skin cancer in the world.

Anti-depressive news for everyone outside of those two wonderful countries.

Writer Sean Doherty, with Marty Tullemans, at the launch of his biography of Michael Peterson, cover shot by Marty. | Photo: @surfingaus

Legendary surf photographer, self-described “poet, warrior”, dies suddenly of kidney failure

Like his old friend Michael Peterson, Marty Tullemans is "perched above us in the after-life transit lounge."

The sands of time stop for no man.

And Marty Tullemans, a photographer who was as much a part of surf history as the iconic photographs he took but who suffered from bi-polar disorder and, later, dementia, has died of kidney failure.

Marty’s classic shot of Pete Townend at Kirra from 1972.


Michael Peterson, 1977.

Marty was man of indeterminate age whose flamboyant behaviour, driven by his mental illness, helped created a sort of cosmic legend.

Minutes after I’d sold a painstakingly restored vintage station wagon to him, I looked out the window of my office to see the forty-year-old Valiant mowing through the company’s flower beds, the compact Dutchman’s grinning face only just visible above the oversized steering wheel.

For the past year Marty had been living at the Blue Care Aged Care Facility in Kirra where he was treated with dialysis for kidneys ruined by years of medication used to treat his bi-polar disorder.

Stories about Marty have flowed.

From Nick Carroll,

“I’ll never forget Marty Tullemans rolling up to our family front door in Nullaburra Rd Newport back in 1976. Tom and I were innocent grommets and the Cosmic Pygmy was one of our early encounters with the sort of incredible humans who dwelled in the realm we were doomed to inhabit for the rest of our lives. We went out front to greet him, and Tullemans bowed, then began a kind of ritualistic movement, a dance if you will, swinging his hips around like an Indian Yogi. “Do this!” he urged us. “You’ll open up the chakras!” The smell of patchouli arose and wafted across the lawn. Our 80 year old grandmother, who’d lived through two world wars and a Depression and was now engaged in raising three grandkids on a foreign shore, was entranced by Marty. “What an interesting person!” she said to me later. She was totally right. Vale, you wacky witty lens person you.”

From Tim Baker,

“Vale the one and only Marty Tullemans who died peacefully this morning. He was such a unique character who documented Oz surfing through the 70s 80s and 90s like few others. He took the two best surf shots I ever had of myself, knowing full well no one was going to pay anything for shots of an intermediate level surf mag editor, got prints made and gave them to me out of pure kindness. Every interaction with Marty was memorable for his colourful cosmic raves but there was always some profound truth underpinning them. It can’t have been easy being Marty with his wild swings and surreal world view. You’ll be missed Marty and made surfing more colourful and stoked out a ton of surfers.”

Fittingly, for he was a man of the celestial and more than a little extra-terrestrial, Marty died during last night’s penumbral lunar eclipse.

At a wake for his old friend Michael Peterson in 2012, Marty said,

“I will firstly share with you a short story on the directness of Michael Peterson. We were playing chess at his shaping factory in 1975 (where he rented me a room for black and white photography work.) Anyway MP is just about to call me checkmate and just before he does he comes out with this classic ‘China plate;… just like surfing big Kirra Point barrels in life: keep your balls fair and square to the wall head down arse up aiming for da hole’. Michael just wants you all to know that just like a surfer sitting in the line up; waiting for the next ticket to ride, he is currently perched above us in the after-life transit lounge. This time MICHAEL assures me he is going to do the journey a lot smarter and not harder. He is going to be a lot more picky on the vessel or body he resumes the journey with. Safe travels Mick and stay on the search for the real deal in life.”

Safe travels, ol pal.

More diary extracts from a WSL heartthrob and climate activist surfer: “Hair and skin care range is flying off the shelves! Interviews with MNSBC and Business Weekly re: my commitment to the planet and my astute business acumen. What can I say? It can be done folks! It can. Be. Done.”

#givingback #localoutreach #protectourbeaches

(Editor’s note: Here, part two in a series where the diary extracts of a climate activist pro surfer are opened to the public. As revealed last week, “It’s been six months since WSL heartthrob Drexel Wilson had an epiphany: climate change was real, was happening now, and if someone somewhere didn’t do something quick many of the world’s oceans would be rendered unrippable. There and then Drexel slammed down his disposable plastic smoothie cup and phoned his agent.)

July 25th

Quick hop up to Maui yesterday for a beach-clean in association with WSL and some soft-drink guys. I check the credentials of the soft-drinks company – don’t want to endorse some plastic-hawking bozos. They’ve pledged to reduce the plastic in their bottles by 20% over the next 20 years. That’s the kind of commitment I can get behind. I’m on the plane before the PR babe’s even rung off.

I’ve already filled one whole trash bag and insta’d 20 selfies (optics etc.) when Nate turns up with a couple of the guys and a few tall boys. Figure I’ve earned a break. Call around some buddies. Bit of driftwood and the gas from Nate’s truck and viola – a bonfire. Order some pizzas, more beers.

Woke up this morning on the beach with a cop blocking my morning sun with a fine for littering. Pick up a trash bag and get to work. Filled half a bag with beer cans when agent calls, meeting back in So-Cal. No worries, local kids and the teachers arrive to help out. I sign the trash bag and hand it to a ‘lil local grom.

“You wanna take over pal?”

He’s speechless. #givingback #localoutreach #protectourbeaches

July 28th

Shaper turns up. New bamboo boards from Brazil have arrived! EXCITED! Head straight out. Come straight in. Itching. Splinters. Full-body rash. Get on the phone with guy in Brazil. No answer. Try landline number. No answer. Strange. Feel woozy. Go to bed early.

July 29th

Only 40 signature boards left in the warehouse. Shaper suggests he knock out a few “disgusting hunks” just in case. I say yeah why not. Just in case. First time I’ve seen him smile in weeks.

August 3rd

In the store browsing the Lewis Hamilton CBD and supplements range when I have a Drexel brand brainwave. Drexel Wilson shampoos, hair gels and moisturiser! With my looks and luxuriant curls (Surfer magazine’s 11th Hottest Action Sports Athlete of the Year 2015) I can’t believe it hasn’t occurred to me before! I’m already on the phone to my agent even as the cashier scans my pre-peeled bananas and orange segments (the plastic tub makes a great wax holder!)

“Shampoo with my name on it. All bottles made from recycled snapped leashes,” I say.

“Just snapped leashes?” he says.

“And broken fins,” I say. “And ripped tail pads.”

“Tail pads rip?” he asks.

“Rip. Tear. Whatever. Let’s action that pronto.”

I hang up without even saying bye like in Hawaii 90210. Saving the world is pretty empowering.

August 6th

Flax! That’s where it’s at apparently. Some kind of seed like the dots on burger buns. And you can make surfboard cloth out of ‘em. Surfboards made out of seeds! WTF “I guess surfboards grow on trees now!” Everyone in the meeting lols.
Marketing dork say the costs will be too prohibitive for my board line’s target market: “They’re strictly vacation surfers,” he says, “Dads from the suburbs mostly.”

“You saying my people are kooks?” I ask.

“Mostly,” he says.


Marketing Dork is pure ice.

August 20th

Turns out there aren’t many snapped leashes and ripped tail pads knocking about. Projected stock levels of the Drexel Wilson shampoo, face-moisturiser and shaving gel stand at 35 bottles. Marketing dork’s not unattractive assistant mentions the soft drink guys from the beach clean-up. How about a tie-in with them? Use their recycled plastic bottles. So I do I pay these people for a reason! Marketing Dork’s Not Unattractive Assistant mentions something about gel and shampoo ingredients but I’m on my phone checking the forecasts – East coast hurricane swell inbound! Airport. JFK. Sickness. #riprecyclerepeat

August 30th

Flax to the max baby! The flax cloth boards are a go! Likewise bio-resin. I really feel we’re revolutionising the industry here, making history! And history has my name on it! But – surprise, surprise – marketing dork’s still going on about production costs. As usual it’s Drex to the rescue, “How about some boards with flax and bio-resin and some with flax but no bio-resin and some boards just normal?”

Marketing Dork’s Not Unattractive Assistant suggests a ‘build-a-board’ model.

“But what if no one chooses the flax models?” I say.

“The answer’s in the question isn’t it?” says Marketing Dork.

Too cryptic. Headache. Smash a bit of CBD and head to the office meditation room.

September 10th

My agent calls just as I get off the plane from Fiji. Good news! Hair and skin care range is flying off the shelves! Interviews with MNSBC and Business Weekly re: my commitment to the planet and my astute business acumen. What can I say? It can be done folks! It can. Be. Done.

September 12th

Sitting in the truck still dripping from a session at Trestles when the phone rings: some hack asking me all sorts of questions about the Drexel Wilson shampoo. She’s throwing all kinds of long words at me about toxins and rivers and water tables and drinking water in some town somewhere (Drexel Wilson drinking water? Research).

I say something about plastic bottles and snapped leashes.

She says something about palm oil.

I say but palm oil is vegan isn’t it?

More long words! Words! Words! Words! I toss the phone out the truck window. Stress!

Pull over for some air.

Go to phone my agent. Can’t.

Phone tossed out window.

Slam a bottle of CBD. Feel slightly better.

Not a good day. Can’t Surfer magazine’s 17th Hottest Action Sports Athlete 2018 save the world without being harassed about how?