A man don't have to give up on life even amid the decay of his once pristine temple.

Surfing contest forced to create new division for eighty-year-old competitor; labels age-group “The Improbables”!

Eighty is the new thirty; one hundred the new forty etc.

The organisers of a surfing contest in New Zealand have been forced to add a new age-group after an eighty-year-old kneeboarder signed up for this year’s event.

The Fisher and Paykel Easter Masters’ Surfing Championships has been a fixture of Taranaki, a pretty little stretch of towns built around a volcano on the west coast of New Zealand’s north island, for the past three decades.

To accommodate older surfers, those aged seventy-five to seventy-nine, there exists the division, “Immortals”.

But, now, Adrian Pickering, who has surfed in the contest for twenty-four years, has grown out of the division and into his own specially created age-group, eighty-to-one hundred, called “Improbables”.

After his heat, Pickering told RNZ,

“It was a beautiful heat and I was out with four other very talented surfers and they were getting some amazing rides. I was getting some pathetic ones, but I got the rides that’s the main thing. The hardest part was getting across those rocks and then getting back when you’re exhausted. That was very slow and painful.”

Pickering, who didn’t get into surfing until he was into his fifties, says, yeah, it’s wonderful he’s surfing but admits, “It’s getting near the end of my surfing life I can tell you.”

I always figured mid-sixties was going to be the cut-off date for my career of throwaway airs and three-stage cutbacks.

Have now revised to mid-seventies.


The Angourie shredder Nav Fox stays calm despite rough handling and ass play by lil Chinese man. | Photo: Hayden Aull/newsroom

Chinese developer that destroyed a reef, dumped waste and ignored stop-work order on idyllic Fijian island to face court on raft of charges; pro surfer neighbour says, “The battle we’ve found ourselves in has become a landmark case for Fiji and its Pacific neighbours!”

“There were two or three excavators in the water, smashing through the reef and digging it out to create a massive channel. There was hydraulic fluid spilling into the water… it was shocking."

A couple of years back, BeachGrit reported on the legendary stoush between a couple of surfers from Angourie and a monied Chinese developer, and all centred on the Fijian island of Malolo in the Mamanuca chain.

Real pretty joint. Volcanic. The same place you see in the background of those lineup shots of Restaurants.

Forty minutes by speed boat from the mainland, same to Cloudbreak.

Six years ago, the pair from Angourie threw their life savings on a 99-year lease on an acre of land there. A third share went to a Fijian pal Ratu Jona Joseva, who gets his bread ferrying surfers to Cloudbreak and whose family is one of the three that own land on Mololo.

Their little patch of dirt looked straight out onto Tavarau and Namoutu, two joints the pair love to surf.

“We had a vision of putting a few bures on there and just enjoying the place for what it was. Letting friends and family come over and use it and have a bit of a creative space and a relaxing getaway,” he said.

Then they got word that a Chinese developer, called ironically enough Freesoul, had bought the land adjacent with plans to build a 370-bure (hut) resort and casino.

Their side of the island is real hard to get to except the developer, says Nav, got the excavators and chainsaws in.

“There were two or three excavators in the water, smashing through the reef and digging it out to create a massive channel. There was hydraulic fluid spilling into the water. Another excavator on the land was covering the beautiful little beach on our land with the material from the reef to build a hard zone. It was shocking. We knew they didn’t have a foreshore lease and what they were doing was illegal,” Nav told Newsroom, NZ.

Now, two years after the developers started tearing hell out of the joint, Freesoul is going to face the Suva Magistrates Court on a raft of charges.

The decision by the Fijian government to take Freesoul to local court instead of the High Court was a surprise to many given the max fine there is around $US25,000 compared to the High Court where you can get hit for $US400,000 and ten years in the pen.

Said Nav, “The battle we’ve found ourselves in has become a landmark case for Fiji and its Pacific neighbours, the world is watching to see if (Fijian PM) Mr Bainimarama’s Public Prosecutions Office and courts will uphold his strong stance against environmental vandals.”

And, it don’t end there for Freesoul.

Two hundred investors from mainland China who were emptied of $US25 mill after paying upfront for their yet-to-be-built bures are launching a class-action lawsuit against the developer.

The episode has had its moments of levity, howevs.

Click here to watch as one of the developers’ henchmen engages Nav in a rough game, though not necessarily enjoyable, of ass play. 

On love, loss and an Offrocker: “Professional surf contests, angry octopi, man-eating sharks, VAL king Jonah Hill, Backward Fin Beth, world’s greatest surfer Kelly Slater all be damned. It’s you who matters.”

Thank you.

This BeachGrit, this divine mess, kicked to life almost a century ago right here, where I sit now, on an increasingly pocked zinc countertop littered with unpaid bills, Haleiwa Joe’s slice of paradise plastic take home Mai Tai cups, homemade slime disasters.

Derek Rielly pressing the upload button. Me giggling like a damned fool. Premium surf magazine Stab, pre-premium, stealing our very first exclusive scoop (Beth Hamilton ripping an air) egregiously within minutes.

Who could have ever imagined it would become an actual community?

A place where this damned fool would cry?

But cry I did, last night, when reading that one of the derelicts who graced us was in his last days.

Offrocker, Sean Mitchell, was not only a regular but pecked out two of the best pieces we’ve ever published.

His virtual paddle out a testament.

I thank him and hope he can still read that, feel that.

I thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you for putting up with angry octopi, man-eating sharks, VAL king Jonah Hill, Backward Fin Beth, the world’s greatest surfer Kelly Slater, co-Waterperson of the Year Dirk Ziff, Gabriel Medina, Plump Pip Toledo etc.

Thank you for dancing alone, together, here.

We are family, a derelict family, and I love each of you more than you will ever know.

Thank you all, absolutely sincerely.

More as the story develops.

Professional surfers terrified as “angriest octopus in all of Australia” revealed to be lurking around stop five on World Championship Tour!

Make professional surfing exciting again.

But yesterday’s competitive professional surfing was pretty ok, no? Lightly enjoyable? I found it to be better than thinking about taxes though worse than eating carne asada burritos near the beach. Most of the elements were there but it was missing… something.

Maybe “the angriest octopus in all of Australia?”


That li’l menace has just shown up lurking around the corner of stop five of the 2020/21 Championship Tour Marg. River, there on the western shore, and just slapped a nice father of one in the neck for no good reason at all.

Lance Karlson, a geologist and former lifeguard, was splashing in the water with his two-year old daughter when he spotted what he thought was a stingray lashing out at a seagull before realizing it was a furious octopus.

Noticing the humans, the octopus left the gull and tried to slap them instead.

“My response to the first encounter which I caught on film was shock, followed by fascination. I had not encountered an octopus this close before, so at the time, I was mostly intrigued. Keep in mind that I was with my daughter, and I think any dad would relate to being more protective of her than fearful of the threat,” he said.

After depositing his daughter on the beach, Karlson grabbed some goggles to go for a little swim. All of a sudden his goggles fogged and the water became murky. “I remember being shocked and confused,” he said. “I was then struck a second time, more forcefully, across my neck and upper back. I can only describe it as a ‘whipping’ sensation followed by a stinging.”

The angriest octopus in all of Australia back for seconds.

Karlson was ok though in some pain. The family rushed back to their hotel and he poured Coke on his wounds, which lessened the stinging some and I wish I would have done the same when slapped in the neck by the angriest surf groupie in all of Florida but I will say, in my personal experience, unexpected slappings make otherwise dull events exciting.

Which brings us back to the octopus.

Imagine Matt Banting making less-than-wonderful turns out at Main Break and…. THWACK!

Neck slapped.

Exciting, no?

Sunbathers revolt as Los Angeles councilman proposes moving city’s homeless to local beaches: “Did anybody ask the homeless what the best place was? Because as a society we make assumptions all the time about what is best without asking people!”


Spring has sprung in southern California and what a time to be alive. Bear’s breeches and sea lavender scenting the air, that golden sun staying up later and later, warmth and joy super spreading. Time to be outside. Time to go to the beach, flap a towel and bathe.

Except possible war is brewing between towel flappers and southern California’s largest city as a Los Angeles councilman recently proposed that the city’s homeless should be temporarily housed at three local beaches: Dockweiler, Fisherman’s Village in Marina del Rey and Will Rogers beach.

Anyone with access to the news knows that homelessness has reached a crisis in Los Angeles. City streets, particularly downtown, have become choked with tents, cardboard lean-tos, shopping carts everywhere.

A disaster.

But the beaches, warm and joyful, are right there with lots of comfy sand and parking lots too. That’s exactly where councilman Mike Bonin has motioned to move the homeless, putting them in tiny homes and tents, much to the chagrin of some.

Sunbather Marcella Debidda, frustrated, told ABC 7 news, “Did anybody ask the homeless what the best place was? Because I mean, as a society we make assumptions all the time about what is best for people without asking people. And one would argue, it’s beautiful. But I’m sure it’s cold at night and it’s not necessarily comfortable and there is no shelter when it rains. I think we can go back to history and every time people have been confined and put in ghettos there wasn’t much improvement.”

Jessica Rogers, who lives in Pacific Palisades just up the hill from Will Rogers Beach, added, “At this particular time when our economy needs it the most, this is an area that is of tremendous value. So this motion causes us a lot of concern for the safety of not only the homeless that are here and could be affected by this high traffic along PCH, along with the safety of the community of LA who comes to enjoy this beach.”

Don’t you love when people care, first, about the homeless? Not wanting to put them in ghettos, keeping them safe from traffic etc.?

I am looking forward to hearing the World Surf League’s solution to the problem, anyhow.