Listen: “The holiday season is that most wonderful time of year we get together, as fans of professional surfing, and mercilessly criticize everything the World Surf League has done!”

A new tradition.

And, like that, a new holiday tradition has taken flight. This gorgeous Christmas Eve, David Lee Scales and I woke up (him in Newport Beach, me in Cardiff-by-the-Sea), left our loved ones, drove to San Clemente and began to bad-mouth the World Surf League.

We could have been lending a hand in baking Christmas cookies, cleaning homes for socially distanced parties, building vanities so they can be placed under the tree for morning joy, out running last minute errands, but no.

Surf needed to be spoken.

And how many other surf podcasters have ever gotten together on Christmas Eve to perform a service for The People™? Has Dave Prodan? The Great Mark Occhilupo?

I think not and I think a Christmas Eve surf podcast will become as much a December staple as gingerbread.


We, David Lee and I, spake of many things but mostly how the World Surf League is rudderless and may be finished before year’s end.


Sneak away from what you should be doing and listen here.

Watch: In act of brazen whimsey, Australian man gang presses partner into paddling him around gorgeous island while he observes the enchantment under the sea!

More questions than answers.

It is Christmas Eve in America, a beautiful time to be home basking in the love of family. Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow finding it hard to sleep. Husbands mixing comforting batches of egg nog. Wives stringing popcorn chains. Grandpas and grandmas nowhere in sight due the threat of Covid-19.

But what is the worst thing you’ve ever done to your significant other?

While you’re thinking, a man vacationing with his partner off Rottnest Island, near Perth, made her paddle him around on a SUP while he observed the enchantment under the sea.

Brazenly whimsical.

The video has gone mildly viral with people commenting unimaginative things like, “When you want to go snorkeling but don’t want to get wet.” And “No need for all your dive gear, only a mask and snorkel.”

Did you visit the World Surf League’s YouTube page, by the way, and read any of those comments while the Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons presented by Hydro Flask was happening?


Ok, what is the worst thing you’ve ever done to your significant other?

Also, has World Surf League CEO Erik Logan ever made his wife paddle him around on one of his many, many SUPs?

A strong possibility.

Barrel or Nah: Kelly Slater stuffing John John Florence in the dying moments of the world’s most accomplished surfer’s semifinal loss?


I know this has been discussed, both in the Open Thread and on Longtom’s Pulitzer-adjacent Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons presented by Hydro Flask contest wrap, but not as thorough, or specific, as I would like. So, what are your true feelings surrounding Kelly Slater’s stuffing John John Florence in the dying minute of that semifinal?

A fantastic flourish a la great showmen or cheap, funny, character revealing?

I’ll show my cards here.

I loved it.

Loved the implicit rage, loved John John’s shrug, loved Kelly enjoying a Backdoor just for the sake of enjoying it knowing that his Pipe Masters campaign had reached its end and that he might as well catch a wave that he enjoyed even though it fundamentally goes against every “rule” in our sort of surfing.

But I don’t want to influence your opinion, not that I hold myself highly enough to think I could, so what did you think?

High water mark of 2020/21 World Surf League season or low-ish water mark?

Tell me true.

Also, are you happy that Kelly Slater is my new shark or sad?

More as the story develops.

Kelly Slater and Betet Merta, Padang, September, 2020.

Indonesian island Bali to re-open for foreign tourism “early in new year” in desperate bid to revive collapsed economy, stem mass unemployment!

Dark cloud about to lift from the island of the Gods.

Empty streets. Shuttered stores. Families ruined. Bali in 2020 ain’t an island filled with optimism.

A twelve-billion dollar a year tourist industry, sixty-percent of its GDP, evaporated. What terrorist bombings and hundreds of dead tourists couldn’t achieve almost twenty years ago, a mysterious virus has.

In September, eighty-three…yeah, eighty-three, tourists got into Bali, a 99.986% drop from the previous year.

Come for a little stroll down Jalan Legian, the main drag that runs north-south from Kuta to Seminyak. Gone are the machine-gun staccato of scooters, the quack of a thousand klaxons, the throaty gargle of tourists retching into Hindu offerings.

Fifteen bucks gets you a hotel room, fifty cents dinner.

Charity groups put the unemployment rate at eighty percent, a little different to the Indonesian government’s seven-and-a-half.

Babies fed water instead of formula, families relying on not-for-profit groups to survive.

Originally, Bali had planned to open the island to foreign tourists on September 11 but was revised when COVID lit up, again, worldwide.

But, now, after an inspection by a delegation from the United Nations World Tourism Organization, the island may open to foreign tourists as early as January.

UN WTO Asia and Pacific director Harry Hwang said the island was ready to re-open, safety protocols ready and “excellent, if not the best there are,” he told the Jakarta Post.

"Get lost, VAL."
"Get lost, VAL."

Scientists capture first-time footage of octopuses rage punching fish in the face: “These cephalopods act like localized surfers annoyed with interlopers taking their waves!”

Right in the kisser.

Ahhh nature and what a wonder it is. From the cute n cuddly pit viper to the mighty giant ground sloth, each and every creature that flies, slithers, crawls, waltzes or swims across this planet is an honest-to-goodness wonder and best/most interesting when they act like people.

Take the octopus, for instance, with its eight legs and big head. Scientists have been studying these marvels for many years and have discovered many interesting things. Most recently, they have discovered octopuses use their eight arms to rage punch fish in the face.

According a just released piece in the academic journal Ecology:

When big blue octopuses (Octopus cyanea), also known as day octopuses, are displeased with their fish partners, they demonstrate their ire by suddenly punching the fish in the head. The octopus lashes out using “a swift, explosive motion with one arm,” in an attack “which we refer to as punching,” Eduardo Sampaio, a Ph.D. student at the University of Lisbon and the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior wrote in a new study, continuing, “…exactly like surfers annoyed with interlopers taking their waves. The fish would get pushed to the edge of the group, or would actually leave the group. Sometimes after a while it would return, other times it would not return at all. The octopus would leave the fish alone after displacing it. Despite collaborating with fish sometimes, each partner will always try to maximize its benefits. In the cases where prey is readily available, the octopus seems to use ‘punching’ as a way to control the partner’s behavior in a self-serving way.”

Very fun and we should use these octopuses as teachers.

Speaking of, have you watched My Octopus Teacher yet?

It will punch you in the heart and make you cry.