"I want you all to know how great of a human being this man is."
I woke up this morning, dear reader, and thought, likely against my best judgement, to be completely transparent with you. I beg forgiveness at the outset. You know that I write and speak often about the world’s greatest surfer Kelly Slater. What you don’t know is that sometimes, very rarely, I am not altogether straight in my most high praise and descriptions of his excellence.
Sometimes, almost never, a low, smirking sarcasm drips in. A rude and and sniveling cynicism most underserving.
Jealousy maybe? An all-too-human desire to deface beauty? My motivations lost and swirling in this polluted heart.
But who am I to write and speak anything but appreciation for the 11x World Champion? An award-nominated author, yes. One half and one third, respectively, of two different surf podcasts (one currently on hiatus but re-emerging soon).
Almost opposite from extremely important race car driver Lewis Hamilton who took to Instagram while I was sleeping my toxic, feverish sleep, to write:
He probably doesn’t know this but Kelly changed my life for the better. I want you all to know how great of a human being this man is. I am forever grateful for the time you have given me, for the insight and your passion for the waves. Thank you @kellyslater! Can’t wait until we can hit the waves again (praying hands emoji)
I am a fool or foolish.
Legendary Hawaiian surfer-artist who designed UN stamp honouring the world’s oceans “used a wooden elephant statue to smash a neighbor’s car window” and menaced a security guard with knives; pleads guilty to “second-degree terroristic threatening!”
"He was actually deep in his neurosis. He is getting much better and doing much better.”
The marine artist Christian Riese Lassen, a one-time darling of the naive art set and who set up his eponymous galleries in Waikiki, Key West, Laguna Beach, San Francisco, Las Vegas, La Jolla and Seattle, has been hit with four years probation for breaking into his ex-girlfriend’s joint, waving knives at a security guard and smashing a neighbour’s car window with a wooden elephant statue.
Lassen, now sixty-four, but still remembered as the swinging, long-haired blond in tight pants and leather jacket who guest starred on Baywatch and Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous in the nineties, pleaded no-contest to first-degree burglary, second-degree criminal property damage and second-degree terroristic threatening.
Two years ago, yeah, justice moves fast, Lassen, whose record was clean until 2019, went down the hole of arrest, re-offend, arrest etc.
On December 2, 2019, Lassen threatened a security guard with a set of knives. (His attorney said the knives were designed for spreading butter and, therefore, weren’t sharp.)
One week later, he used a wooden elephant statue to smash a neighbour’s car window.
Nine days after that, he busted into his ex-girl’s house, damaging property.
The prosecution didn’t buy into Lassen’s defence that it was mental illness that drove the acts.
“The state does believe this is a case of the defendant’s mental illness getting the best of him and him not being able to control himself in these quite impulsive acts… We are appreciative and glad he has gotten treatment for that, and he does seem to be on the right path.”
Defence attorney Marcus Landsberg said, “Back then, he wasn’t really committed to recovery… He was actually deep in his neurosis. He is getting much better and doing much better.”
Lassen himself said he couldn’t afford his medication and “that’s why I got into trouble.”
As part of his probation, Lassen can’t sink booze or take drugs.
Chris began painting with oils while still in California; he sold his first hand-painted T-shirt design to a local gift shop while in the eighth grade. He was soon recognized as both an athlete and artist. Lassen appeared sailboarding in commercials for Swatch and Quasar in 1985, and three years later was featured on the cover of Surfer magazine
In 1992, Lassen created a United Nations commemorative stamp honoring the world’s oceans, and said that his work “expresses the interconnectedness between Earth’s life forms and the creative forces of the universe.” Not everyone, however, was swept away. Surfer, in 1999, called Lassen’s work “narcoleptically banal,” and said that his environmentalism “has the depth and power of Spice Girls feminism.” Lassen was among the artists included in Wall Street Journal’s 2006 “Shopping Mall Masters” feature, whose poster-copied work was likely to “adorn the walls of dentists’ offices, nursing homes and chain-hotel rooms.” Lassen originals, however, were fetching up to $300,000.”
Watch Lassen on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous here.
In shocking rumor likely to send VALs and their loved ones into fits of uncontrollable rage, despair, Costco to discontinue the much-adored 8ft Wavestorm!
Oh but how the VAL utopia was ticking along without a bump in the road. An abundance of rinse-kits. Lineups packed with joy. A smile on every face and a Wavestorm in every garage but a hot new rumor out of Oahu for portents much possible trouble directly over the horizon and I quote:
Potential for civil strife here in Oahu. My buddy and I we’re just at the local Costco turning in our battered Wavestorms for freshies in prep for an upcoming south swell. After being refunded, we were informed that Costco has discontinued carrying the classic 8.0 Stormie!
And can you imagine what the VAL will do? This may be the first time he has had a problem in his surfing life, a bump along her surfing road. It’s been all shakas and inclusivity up until now. Rainbows with various meanings.
One ocean etc.
Will they turn on each other in vicious ways, snarling and snapping like injured dogs?
Will they quit en masse?
I’d imagine a run on Costco not seen since the great toilet paper recession of 2020.
More as the story develops.
Listen: If Kolohe Andino wins a World Title this year he will throw it in the trash, catch it on fire, stomp away while flipping an all-American bird at professional surfing!
I don’t know this for a fact, or because I have spoken to Kolohe lately, but his recent interview absolutely torching the World Surf League’s new and ill-considered format on Brazilian media made me fall in love with him once again.
The two of us have history which you may, or may not, be aware of.
I first interviewed him for a feature on proto-Stab Premium decades ago, taking him to the Ritz-Carlton overlooking Salt Creek, ordered some vodka thing and asking if he wanted the same.
He said, “No. I’m 14.”
On the way home he added, “Don’t worry. I won’t tell my dad you tried to buy me booze.”
Later, after the success of Red Bull’s greatest surf film of all-time, Who is JOB, I secured a Red Bull Kolohe Andino film wherein he would be depicted at the end of his career. Many substance abuse issues, broke, living in his mother’s basement.
We shot the first scene and did not receive any more funding. I have it somewhere and it’s brilliant.
But Kolohe is us.
He always has been.
And him ripping in to the new WSL format re-re-re-confirms. He wants a title, an actual title, not some random win at Lowers on some random day.
He, like us, knows “it takes a tour to make a title.”
He, like a phoenix from the ashes is our new North Star.
Did you ever think the lame “takes a tour…” tagline would actually sum up what we’re all about?
David Lee and I also discuss revolutionizing the whole game by sponsoring Caio Ibelli.
The best surfer in the world?
A tight race between he and Kolohe.
House of “gentle but fierce-looking” Hawaiian surf legend destroyed in terrifying blaze: “It was a towering inferno!”
A fire of a yet-to-be-determined cause has destroyed the home of Hawaiian surf legend Tony Moniz, daddy to rookie of the year Seth, Pipe trials winner Josh and longboard world champ Kelia,
Tony and his wife Tammy split the fire with nothing but their lil dog, a Bible and a couple of Tony’s beloved surf trophies from the Duke contest.
“Twenty-four surfers get invited each year,” Tony told Hawaii News Now. “As a young child growing up I always wanted to get into the Duke Classic. Which wasn’t easy to do. It was the world tour to me. That was my goal.”
Ten fire trucks with forty firefighters hit the blaze, which started in the garage, but were unable to save the home.
“Within minutes, it was a towering inferno,” said Tony, a champion boxer, motocross rider and one of Hawaii’s best surfers in the seventies, eighties and nineties.
According to Warshaw’s Encylopedia of Surfing, “In the early ’80s, Moniz was one of the first to master the lay-forward stance, which allowed a backside-riding surfer to get nearly as deep inside the tube as a frontsider. In 1982, 1983, and 1984 he was a finalist in the Duke Kahanamoku Classic, held at Sunset Beach. By the mid-’80s, Moniz was concentrating on big surf, and he placed sixth in both the 1999 and 2001 Quiksilver-Aikau events at Waimea Bay.”
Another surfer of note, Derek Hynd, who lost his own home in 2019, wrote, “From unfortunate experience the entire sequence from spark to knowing the worst is coming down can take place in seconds, not even a minute. Tony sits as the toppest Top Bloke that I’ve met in my surfing decades and I hope he and the family emerge without long lasting effects from the trauma. Tragic.”
The house, which is in a real nice part of Honolulu, just east of Diamond Head, was worth around $600k.
There’s a GoFundMe kicking around, hoping to raise 200k to help rebuild the joint.