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?

Watch: New apocalyptic horror arrives in South Africa as “the most beautiful killer in the ocean” washes up on beach, nearly kills sweet grandmother!


But how infuriated is the Great White Shark, this morning, to learn that she is not the “most beautiful killer in the ocean?” Likewise, I suppose, how infuriated is the saltwater crocodile, the orca, the giant squid, the Portuguese Man o’ War? All ugly Bettys compared to the glorious Blue Dragon but were you aware of the Blue Dragon’s existence until right this moment?

I was not but now cannot turn away. The cerulean, cornflower, admiral, Aegean blues. Those flower petal-like limbs. Gorgeous, simply gorgeous, but also very deadly.

The Blue Dragon, you see, feeds off the Portuguese Man o’ War and other stinging sea creatures, stores their poison, cooks it, then uses it for an even more potent, more deadly blast.

Like portable methamphetamine kitchens.

Usually these supermodels of the sea are far, far away but, for the first time in recorded history, have begun washing into the lineup and onto the beach in South Africa.

Grandmother Maria Wagener, who found the animals, and usually puts beached things back in the water, said, “I’ve never seen them before and I’ve lived near this beach for most of my life. They’re a bit like a sea scorpion. They are small, about an inch in length. They’re blue on the top and white underneath. I pick up starfish all the time and put them back into the sea but I had a feeling that these would have a sting.”

Thankfully grandmother listened to her instincts as the Blue Dragon sting causes pain, nausea, vomiting and acute allergic contact dermatitis.

I worry that if I was surfing South Africa and a Blue Dragon came washing through I would try to kiss it. Just wouldn’t be able to help myself a la Donald Trump.

Boy would I have been taught a lesson.

The six low-rise ghetto apartments at Rainbow Bay sold, in one line, for twelve-mill.

Revealed: How four-time world champion surfer Mark Richards turned a $32,500 investment into two million dollars-plus!

How to get rich without trying etc. 

The Newcastle surfer and shaper Mark Richards won four consecutive world titles from 1979 through to 1982 whereupon he retired at the then ancient age of twenty-four.

The following year Richards celebrated his return to full-time shaping and a busy life managing the fam’s surf shop in Newy by buying into a low-rise block of ghetto apartments at 1 Petrie St, Coolangatta, with point-blank views of pre-Supabank Snapper Rocks and a short stroll up the hill from D-Bah.

Cost him thirty-two and a half gees, about half the state’s average for apartments at the time. A conservative buy, you might say, a little holiday bolthole for he and his kids to enjoy.

Four decades on that little joint was bought, last December, for $2.05 million, when self-confessed VAL Paul Gedoun bought the entire block of six apartments for twelve-million dollars.

Gedoun promised to demolish Rainbow’s End and erect a $A70-mill “landmark apartment building” on the site.

“It’s a landmark site and I want to deliver a landmark project that does the site justice. I love everything about it and can’t believe I’ve been lucky enough to buy it,” Gedoun told The Gold Coast Bulletin.

VAL gets prized hunk of Snapper Rocks.

The building, which is called Flow, will have all the usual markers of wealth, heated pool, daybeds, steam room, gymnasium, personal surfboard locker rooms, fire pit, even a “surfboard preparation room” where locals might be employed to fix their masters’ two-thousand dollar longboards and where lucky children with whisky breath will be free to roam and little dogs sourced from Mexico will be trained to walk on their hind legs. 

Here’s the price range.

2 bedroom 100sq.m – 113sq.m from $1,175,000
3 bedroom 160sq.m – 200sq.m from $2,300,000
Oceanic Residences 241sq.m – 289sq.m from $3,150,000
Sub- penthouses 524sq.m from $6,450,000

The sorts of places that send a message to the world that says, and I’m quoting Hannah Mary Rothschild here, “I have time to subcontract all the menial, dull chores out to others… I am time-rich. I can mooch about in a sea of pickled sharks.”

MR ain’t dumb. Word is he’s already rolled his windfall into of the new joints.

Inspect the sales literature here. 

“Hey, have you seen the Nazare footy? Biggest waves ever ridden! What’s the biggest wave that you have ever ridden?” Suddenly twenty feet sounds like miniature golf. "Twenty feet? Wow, that girl yesterday surfed an eighty-foot wave!” 

VAL-lit: “Are you tired of talking surfing with people who don’t surf?”

“Did you see the Nazare footage from yesterday?”

(Editor’s note: Introducing a new genre of surf writing, VAL-lit, where surfers marinated by many seasons describe encounters with vulnerable adult learners and non-surfers.)

Tavarua, 2004

I couldn’t get the rope through the leash plug on my new gun. 

A hand reached out with a fin key and I pulled the rope through just as we anchored.

I hope that I thanked him.  He did smile. 

The boat was settling in as I heard a voice behind me, a realtor from South Bay, say “I hope it’s big”.  

The Manhattan Beach Century Twenty One Realty office was ready!

Funny, I remember that quote till this day. 

Boatman immediately jumped off the bow and I jumped too. 

You’ve heard of cardinal sins… here’s a cardinal rule. 

If you pull up to surf and the seasoned boatman is frothing, you should be too. 

“Is the scaffolding your lineup?”

“It’s a point of reference,” he scowled. 

Then he stared at me, asking if I was going on the next wave without speaking a word.

I had no choice. 

Three strokes in and I had ridden the length of the reef almost to the boat.  

Pretty much point A to B surfing on a 7’2”, but a lot of work connecting dots. 

Half the guys in the boat never paddled out.  Stage fright.  Including Manhattan’s Century Twenty One Realty’s big-wave warrior. 

I flew home with big Cloudbreak on my resume and I was internally proud as fuck.  Also scored four days of mostly windless Restie’s, well overhead… pure gravy as the meat and potatoes was eaten at Cloudie. 

Each of us has our unique ladders in life and I had just climbed mine. 

Ventura, November 2020

Minding my own business checking anemic surf, an attractive woman approaches holding her coffee in one hand and her phone in the other… tuned into a Surflie video. 

“Hey, have you seen the Nazare footy? Biggest waves ever ridden! What’s the biggest wave that you have ever ridden?”

Suddenly twenty feet sounds like miniature golf.

“Twenty feet? Wow, that girl yesterday surfed an eighty-foot wave!” 

“Yeah, but I sat in a position that wasn’t safe and I dodged bombs to paddle into gems and almost drowned a few times… but yeah, it was only twenty foot.”  

She looked at me as if some girl in Portugal made my experience obsolete.  She tried to hand me her phone to see the video, but I declined. 

I think the girl in the video turned out to be Nic von Rupp, but his hair is kind of long and the idiot that I am dealing with is “conservative”… which really means she is incurious and sure of her opinions.  

And she won’t wear a mask. Made a point of telling me because that’s why she thought I declined to touch her phone. 

Apparently, she drives her thirteen-year-old grandson to surf class three days a week and he gave her his password for premium surflie.  Now she’s totally connected. 

More than I am. 

She sensed a lull in our conversation as I pet her ten pound dog, cute as fuck, but so tiny. 

“My forecast reads that it will get big on Thursday, maybe you can catch that eighty-foot wave at the end of the week?”

I did what I do in these situations. I asked a question about her appearance and we stopped talking about surfing.  

Well, she talked, but like I said she was very attractive and I liked her dog so I listened to her explain the difference between cashmere and cardigans. 

Even enjoyed several touches of the magic fabric…

Hometown, November 2020

My visit to the Organic Farm Cart went similarly later that day.  

“Did you see the Nazare footage from yesterday?”

There is no way this woman surfs or she’s been very secretive with me for a decade.  Let’s just say she isn’t active or fit. 

“It’s kind of a different sport, but I’ll google it later, what are you cooking tonight?” I tried to change the subject. 

It’s like the entire world is infatuated with a surfing stunt performed yesterday, and the rest of us have to respond to it. 

When you see a jet-ski run along the lip line of a sixty-foot wave, you know there is no lip line. No Darren Handley going over the handle bars. Not enough transition in the wave to turn let alone put a ski off the track. 

It’s vanity heroism. 

A rider is dumped at the bottom of a standing wall and photographed making a world record before the lip crumbles above. I assume that the crumble is the top of the measurement. 

Then it‘s a race to the shoulder that is filled with jet-ski assistance if multiple oxygen suits isn’t enough for the occasional plunk. 

I do not disparage tow in surfing at Nazare, it’s like finding an empty amusement park and milking the rides that are incredibly photogenic. 

Problem is, in a weird global way, chop-hopping a moving wall of water has come to define our (surfing’s) greatest accomplishments via social media’s adoring embrace. 

Has Instagram replaced the Bible for sheep? 

Sorry, rhetorical question. 

And why… bear with me angry brethren who hate board theory… why would you tow into giant mush with such a little board? 

I fucking hate the mid length bullshit, BUT, if you are not going to even attempt turns and there is NO tube, why not plow through all the cheddar with more foam because at best, Nazare is point and go surfing, nothing more…

One big swoop on a eighty-foot wave and you’ll be signed to John John’s contract. 

Like Tom Carroll reinvented surfing Pipe with one turn.

You’ll wake up feeling so Laird. 

Mexico, 2017

I remember sitting in this boil field. Well inside the position of the swing-wide deep-water sets, and playing games with my mind. Betting on the swell direction that pinwheels the point with a keen eye to a horizon turning black toward the channel.

You win, you lose. The casino is open and it’s only skin in this game. And lungs. 

No jet-ski’s in sight. No crowds on the bluff. Just me, my decisions and continuous three-storey houses marching in unison with my fate. 

Charmed was the best way to describe my first two hours. DOH+ perfect point break and the swing wide wash-outs occurred coincidentally during my hike back to paddle outs. 

So far, I had dodged their bullets. 

I giggled at my good fortune as another gem stood up and bent around the first crop of boils. I dug hard, but the wave bent too much and swept under my position.  

Took a few seconds to appreciate the light offshore running down the line away from me, probably should not have. The turn back out to sea revealed that the deep-water, swing-wide set was standing up and trapping me in position. 

The violence underwater is difficult to explain to someone uninitiated. Surfacing through deep foam, I had reached the channel in between the point and beachbreak which I DID NOT want to explore at this size. 

Composing myself and repositioned at the big peak, those damn perfect runners kept luring me back into the field of boils.  The deep-water peak was pretty much a takeoff and a few snow boarding turns while the sets that hugged the point could be tagged over and over and over and over. 

Like the sirens call, I was seduced back to my blessed boil field.  

You know you’re making that mistake, but you have to. 

Think I caught two, three waves when destiny intervened conspiring with the dropping tide, another swing-wide set loomed. 

Not sure how my leash held, but I got mowed. 

Nearly drowned twice in one half-hour, alone at sea and almost poetic if not for my heart beating out of my chest.  

It’s about as opposite an experience to Nazare as it gets. 

How can I explain that to the hot surlie grandma or the flower groupie at the produce stand?  

Kelly Slater (pictured) as epidemiologist. Oh what might have been. @sensitiveseashellcollector.
Kelly Slater (pictured) as epidemiologist. Oh what might have been. @sensitiveseashellcollector.

World’s greatest surfer Kelly Slater weighs in on raging Covid-19 vaccine debate: “Something to ponder. But I’m no epidemiologist.”


We may not all agree on the value of modernist architecture but every surfer around the globe knows, for a fact, that Kelly Slater is the world’s greatest. 11 professional surfing championships, a face no supermodel or actress will deny, style, smarts, a heart for the environment.

When Kelly talks we listen and, yesterday, he delivered his long-awaited thoughts on the Covid-19 vaccines being rushed into production.

I don’t need to remind you of the current pandemic, of Operation Warp Speed that cut traditional regulations and is speeding preventative medicines to a weary public.

But what does Kelly feel?

In a strongly worded Instagram post, he quoted pharmaceutical giant Pfizer’s former Chief Science Officer Dr. Mike Yeadon…

There is absolutely no need for vaccines to extinguish the pandemic. I’ve never heard such nonsense talked about vaccines. You do not vaccinate people who aren’t at risk from a disease. You don’t set about planning to vaccinate millions of fit and healthy people with a vaccine that hasn’t been extensively tested on human subjects.

…adding Something to ponder. But I’m no epidemiologist.

Something to ponder indeed.

Dr. Yeadon has been making the interview rounds, of late, throwing much shade on the pandemic, saying that almost all tests for Covid-19 are false positives and, “Were it not for the test data that you get from the TV all the time, you would rightly conclude that the pandemic was over, as nothing much has happened. Of course people go to the hospital, moving into the autumn flu season…but there is no science to suggest a second wave should happen.”

Thought provoking but back to Kelly not being an epidemiologist… I feel if he put his mind to it he would be the world’s greatest. I feel he would win 11 epidemiological titles with only a brief challenge, in the middle of his run, from Michelle Bachelet.

But what do you think?