Photo: Instagram
Photo: Instagram

Tragedy: 22-year-old Olympic surf hopeful from El Salvador dies after being struck by lightning training at her home break.


The unimaginable occurred Friday evening in the beautiful country of El Salvador when one of its surf Olympic hopefuls was struck by lightning and died.

Local news outlets report that Katherine Diaz Hernandez, 22, was out training at her home break of El Tunco when a series of electrical storms struck the south and east coasts. She was hit by a charge entering the water.

Witnesses say that onlookers rushed to her aid before medical personnel arrived, transferring her to the hospital, but they could not revive her.

Diaz is the sister of Jose “Bamba” Diaz, a former pro surfer and current president of the Salvadoran Surf Federation. She was sitting third in national rankings and preparing for the upcoming ISA World Surfing Games, which will be held in El Salvador May 29 through June 6.

Condolences immediately poured in from a stunned nation.

Yamil Bukele, president of the government’s Salvadoran Sports Institute, wrote, “I just found out about the death of Salvadoran surfer Katherine Díaz. I am very sorry for this death and I join the pain that overwhelms her family. Our solidarity with ‘el Bamba’ and the surf family. Peace for your soul.”

Jaime Delgado, the former president of the Salvadoran Surf Federation, posted, “You enjoyed your dream and you started doing what you liked the most. Those of us who knew you know that you leave a great emptiness in our hearts. A hug to heaven, ‘Katu’, Katherine Díaz.”


An exclusive interview with tin of Spam rejected by two-time world surfing champ John John Florence!

"There’s such a thing as etiquette. Honour. Good faith."

Hi can of Spam. Can you just run us through what happened the other day between you and John John Florence?
We’ve all seen the video. It’s simple; John John said he would eat me and then he didn’t.

Can you articulate exactly how you feel about being rejected by world champion John John Florence? I mean, it’s bullshit isn’t it? Promises were made – if not verbally then at least in spirit  – and JJ has basically thrown that back in my face. And not just my face; Luke’s face, Mr Pyzel’s face, Hawaii’s face, the face of the spirit of surfing, the face of the spirit of competition, he’s sullied all those faces.

You mention Hawaii’s face. How significant is this controversy in light of the fact that Hawaii consumes the most amount of Spam of anywhere in the United States, and Spam is sometimes called “the Hawaiian steak”?
You mean how significant is it to reject the national dish while competing under said nation’s flag in said nation’s national sport? I assume that is a rhetorical question. Hawaii basically runs on Spam. It ran on it during the war and it still runs on Spam. You can’t take the Spam out of Hawaii any more than you can take the salt out of Spam itself. That’s history right there. Anyone who says otherwise is a card-carrying statue-graffitiing antifa paedophile.

Some people might not see being eaten as something to really aspire to.
You’re missing the point; It’s not the being eaten that’s the thing, it’s the by whom one is being eaten. John John’s not just anybody. He’s a 2x WSL world champion. And when I say he’s not anybody I mean body. To be masticated in the mouth of a 2x world champion; to pass along the oesophagus of a 2x world champion; to be dissolved in the stomach acids of a 2x world champion; to pass through the intestine of a 2x world champion; for one’s minerals and vitamins to absorbed through the intestinal lining and into the bloodstream of a 2x world champion – that journey would have been something I’d have really savoured. And I was denied that honour.

So to be turned into faeces…
…of a 2x world champion.

And shat into a toilet is…
An immense privilege. Exactly.

I see. And even though he relegated your whole existence to a forfeit among friends you would still regard it as…
I mean we all enjoy a bit of banter and we all have to take it on the chin and not be snowflakes about it. Look; I get it: I’m a can of Spam. We’re a humble foodstuff. Bear in mind not everywhere in the world has such an informed and reverential opinion of Spam as is found in Hawaii. In most parts of the world the most a can of Spam can aspire to is to be eaten by a divorced forty-something man in a portacabin on a building site on the outskirts of a provincial town. I mean don’t get me wrong; these people are the salt of the earth. I, though, had a chance to rise above the expectations of my kind. And that chance was stolen from me.

What do you say to the speculation that John John refused you based on his pursuit of a vegan diet?
I understand that John John is in the public eye and thus has to humour whatever baseless woke fads are currently trending. He could have eaten me in private. I’d have done him no harm, quite the opposite in fact. Being mostly ham based I’m a rich source of protein. Aside from that my potato-based binding agent also makes me a decent source of carbohydrates. Both are essential for maintaining a high level of professional athleticism.

In the video he refutes ever having agreed to the forfeit.
He does?

Yeah. He says, “we didn’t settle on this rule.”
Unbelievable lack of basic chivalry. A surfer talking about rules? Is there an umpire in the line-up in a fucking stripey rash vest enforcing these “rules”?

I mean technically in competition…
There’s such a thing as etiquette. Honour. Good faith.

Pyzel says “John [John] says he’s gonna eat the spam on the beach if he gets second.”
There you have it.

And then John John says “No.”
What are you a fucking lawyer?

He did at least pose with you though didn’t he?
I’m not a little kid after an autograph. And then he started going on about a boomerang or something, didn’t he? Classic deflection. He knows exactly what he’s done.

Nathan seemed very insistent that John John ate the Spam.
I’ve got a lot of time for Nathan. He’s a good lad. You can see the desperation in his eyes when he’s imploring John to eat the Spam. He’s smiling but smiling is kind of his “thing” and he knows he’s on camera and at the end of the day he’s a Youtube pro. But the sadness is there, the panic. He can see his own flesh and blood throwing his career away, throwing away the goodwill of a nation. It’s tragic.

Was it Nathan who wrote ‘second place; JJ Florence’ on your tin and put you on a that wooden cabinet?
Yeah, like I said he’s one of the good guys.

Thanks, can of Spam.
Nice one.

Notoriously spiteful surf journalist sees light, repents of life spent injuring, heckling: “I was rude and took pleasure in being so but this will change the world and make you rich while so doing!”

Cakes to the moon.

Two nights ago, I left my home by the sea and traveled east then north into the Big Bear. Here I enjoyed my spirit, the crunch of melted-then-refrozen-to-sheet-ice snow, those twinkling stars above, that Eagle-Eye Cherry soundtrack below. I slid down and rode up and slid down and rode up and passed many other sliders wearing Los Angeles Lakers jerseys and Los Angeles Rams jerseys.

On one ride up, the chair upon which I sat, did not stop but continued past the man raking sheet ice snow, past his small chalet, past a large map and into the woods. There was no light, no moon, and the darkness surrounded me and my darkest demons emerged from the trees to engage in combat. I fought them and they slapped at my neck and I tried to dance them into submission, but they continued to come, spitting fire water and blowing smoke.

We danced a menacing dance for hours, endless hours, the only light coming from the terrifying yellow glow emanating from their hideously misshapen heads.

After an eternity my legs became exhausted, hands weary, and I feared I could dance no more so stopped my legs, let my hands fall, accepted my demise and as quickly as I had accepted it my darkest demons vanished.

I sat alone, breathing smoke heavily, until realizing I was not alone but sat next to a man also breathing heavily except without smoke, also glowing yellow but his yellow was not terrifying and his breath was pure.

Yellow, illuminating.

I was drawn to it, drawn into it, and realized the glow emanated from fire attached to wax stick attached to tier then a larger tier then a larger tier still.

A cake.

And the man glowing yellow, without word, nodded at me and I realized without a word that he expected more from me and expected me to do more. I realized, without word, that I had once baked cakes out of spite. Out of a low and mean spirit that sought to bring shame and embarrassment on others.

I realized, without word, that I wanted to bake cakes out of love instead.

“This is only the beginning of many great things…” reverberated through the air, trees, into me in great waves. Waiting to reverberate from me.

Abundance not lack.

I nodded, subtly, and come to you, now, filled with understanding. Imbued with enlightenment, or enlightenment-adjacent.


The man glowing handed me cakes and disappeared into the trees still without word.

The cakes a gift, always a gift announcing celebration, and I bring cakes to you, one yellow, one blue but you must have faith in them and trust in them and trust in me for now my eyes are pure and around my mouth hides no disgust.

Cakes that bring abundance.

Derek Rielly, in his recent piece about NFTs, profoundly misunderstood because he is too beautiful and therefore too blind. Trapped in the physical realm.

You can purchase a cake, own the cake and the specific gift it holds, sell the cake for a profit and pass that gift along. The more time the cake is bought and sold, the more gift it brings to you and others until, eventually, it becomes so imbued with gift and profit that World Surf League CEO Erik Logan will purchase and have his cake baked from spite replaced with a cake baked with life.

Cakes to the moon.

(buy here. own here. extremely exclusive. all rights including commercial. change the world.)

Extremely important race car driver Lewis Hamilton proffers most high praise to world’s greatest surfer: “He probably doesn’t know this but Kelly Slater changed my life for the better.”

"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)

A fool.

I am a fool or foolish.

Possibly both.

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.

It’s a long fall for Lassen.

Two years back he was still living in a 7800 square-foot beachfront estate on Maui, “with 25-foot-high motorised glass pocket doors that open to the lush grounds, a tropical haven with an infinity pool and rock waterfall, two hot tubs, wet bar, grilling station, and private access to the beach” and valued at fourteen mill.

Lassen’s old joint on Maui.

And the juicer bits from Warshaw’s Encylopedia of Surfing

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.