Travel's gettin' real sexy again.

Surf Travel Biz brought to knees by pandemic develops “COVID-19 tool”, aims to re-open world to intrepid shredders: “It was like a bomb exploded!”

Hit the button, punch in where y’coming from, where y’going, and you’ll get a list of what you can and can’t do and where you can and can’t go. Australia? Screwed. US? You got some travel options.

For anyone in the travel game, airline, travel agent, maker of limp pastries tossed at passengers in coach, biz didn’t just slide in March 2020, it plummeted off a cliff.

Billions of dollars worth of plane tickets, hotel bookings, boat trips, whatever, all rendered void.

Planes were grounded and sent off to the desert in California, the airlines’ flight attendants sent off to eek an existence as playthings on OnlyFans. Contracts with travel agency employees were terminated, offices cleared out, them pretty Herm Miller chairs thrown onto Craigslist, the whole industry all dead in the water.

German surfer, skier Tim Heising, whose surf, snow, travel business LUEX.com had been running on an upward trajectory since he kicked it off in 2008, explains what it’s like to be booted in the teeth.

“It started real subtle. We didn’t worry about it too much until sales literally dropped to zero from one week to another,” he says. “We’ve had so many affected trips, we couldn’t keep up processing date changes, refunds and credit vouchers. It was like a bomb exploded, and there was no stopping in sight.”

First thing he did was cut costs and draw up the ol worst-case scenario plan.

“By the time we implemented some changes, the situation went from bad to worse. We had no other option but to (temporarily) lay off most of our staff and move out of our cushy office and into our homes.”

Heising didn’t feel great about icing his employees but, worse, was the spectre of losing his own shirt and almost a decade-and-a-half of work.

“Some days, I didn’t know how and for how long I was going to be able to feed my family. It was such an emotional rollercoaster, and for a long time, we had no idea how and if we’re going to pull through.”

“Fear of bankruptcy because we didn’t know what was going on with the trips that were already paid in full and people were requesting refunds for,” he says.

Heising wasn’t gonna let his biz slip away, howevs. He cut some deals with suppliers, got a piece of the government aid pie and focussed on getting surfers to the Maldives, which remained accessible during the pandemic and where the waves were, still are, gloriously empty.

And, now that the world is getting a handle on the virus, surf destinations are opening up, slowly. But if you wanna travel you’re going to hit plenty of logistical speed bumps.

There ain’t two countries alike when it comes to COVID protocols, requirements etc.

So Heising and his LUEX gang came up with a “COVID-19 tool”. Hit the button, punch in where y’coming from, where y’going, and you’ll get a list of what you can and can’t do and where you can and can’t go.

Australia, our pretty hermit kingdom? Screwed, pretty much.

The US, a whole lot better.

“Our intention with the tool isn’t to promote traveling per se but to ensure that people playing with the idea of going on a surf trip have access to accurate, up-to-date and relevant information to keep everyone involved safe,” says Heising.

“We also get many people asking us for information on what traveling might look like in the future, and just like everyone, we can only speculate. A lot of countries will adopt more lenient protocols for vaccinated people – similar to what the Seychelles, Belize and Barbados are already doing. But how exactly this will look like, and if we’re required to carry a vaccine passport with us once we embark into the ‘new normal’ remains to be seen.”

Darkest days over, silver linings in clouds, Heising is getting the gang back together.

Business is good, not booming, but it’s good.

Birds are in the sky.

Boards are being shoved into bags.

Ain’t never gonna be a time like this, again, at least not until the next time the world shutters.

There’s a window into empty lineups.

Right now.


Gimme: Former high-end surf brand Hurley releases much-anticipated inflatable “wave runner pool float!”

Summer's here (Australia not included)!

It was almost one year ago, now, that BeachGrit gained exclusive access to top-secret plans that showed the future of Hurley. The once high-end surf brand had recently been purchased by Bluestar Alliance, a company which promised to “embark on a complete and thorough understanding of the brand’s potential channels of distribution and price point strategies. We create tools such as brand development profiles, trend guides, style guides and marketing strategies. These marketing materials portray graphic illustrations and a strategic marketing road map to enhance consumer brand recognition.”

The staff was culled, apparently unnecessary on the journey of complete understanding, and top-secret plans leaked showing an inflatable wave runner and an inflatable wave.

Almost one year ago, now, but the dream is officially reality.

The Hurley Inflatable Wave Runner Pool Float is available at all fine retailers including Walmart and Amazon for an average price around $15.99.

If you live in North America or Europe, with summer right around the corner, I can’t imagine not owning.

Heck, I don’t even have a pool and am considering a purchase for to do whip ins at Cardiff Reef.

Do you think it is a 2 or 4 stroke?

Exciting.


Logan (left) pictured celebrating the removal of his curse.
Logan (left) pictured celebrating the removal of his curse.

Breaking: Curse of World Surf League CEO Erik Logan officially lifted from Hawaiian islands as surf competitions allowed to resume!

Celebrate!

It was many months ago, or maybe years, that the World Surf League kicked off its 2020/21 championship tour season at the very famous Banzai Pipeline. Fans of professional surfing were thrilled, as were the professional surfers themselves, who flew to Oahu’s North Shore and became tested for the dreaded Covid-19 and neither came to within six feet of each other nor spoke to each other without masks.

But even with the abundances of caution, that dreaded Covid-19 found a chink in the armor and infected World Surf League CEO Erik Logan who, in turn, made an announcement that he had been infected, along with five staffers, and that the Pipeline Masters would be suspended whilst he convalesced.

Days, or maybe weeks, later it resumed and John John Florence won and Tyler Wright won but the next event, at Sunset, was cancelled and all subsequent surf competitions were cancelled forever.

Or, rather, until June 1, 2021 which Governor David Ige has officially selected to banish the Curse of Erik Logan and allow for points to be awarded for hand jams off the top.

State Health Director Libby Char told Honolulu Civil Beat, “The data shows us pretty clearly now that outdoor activities is quite safe. The transmission rates are very, very low, I believe it’s less than 1% if you’re outdoors.”

The Curse of Erik Logan had been a severe burden, not just on aspiring professional surfers, but all Hawaiians as even the U.S. Surgeon General was ticketed for trying to take pictures outside.

“F*ck the WSL” he might have been thinking.

But a very happy ending with the state’s children being able to go out and chase their dreams and know they are chasing their dreams properly because of hooters going off.

Very cool.


Close call for one of the Honkies of the sea. | Photo: Trapman Bermagui/Facebook

Watch as two Australian anglers land, then release, Great White shark in knee-deep water near swimmers at popular Australian tourist beach, “It shows that sharks aren’t hell bent on eating humans!”

"We hooked two more sharks there in a short three-hour session, while people were swimming right next to us," says angler.

More proof, if proof was necessary of course, of the abundant and healthy stock of Great White sharks in Australian waters. 

In this remarkable video, we find two anglers who were busy catching bronze whaler sharks right off a popular swimming beach at Short Point in Merimbula on the NSW South Coast, hooking a Great White and then releasing the happy creature back into the wild.

Great White gets the ol catch-and-release treatment. Bronzies not so lucky.

“We hooked two more sharks there in a short three-hour session, while people were swimming right next to us,” fisherman Lucas Smith wrote on the Trapman Bermagui Facebook page. “No shortage of them around, we target bronze whalers anything else is a by-catch and certainly not a targeted species, was amazing watching it swim away healthy.”

A smart move, yes. 

In NSW, y’gonna get hit with a $55,000 fine and a year in prison if you figured you’d souvenir the fish. 

You’ll recall the Western Australian deckhand who was fined $12,500 and had his fishing license suspended for one year for taking selfies with two Great Whites after dragging ‘em, dead, from his nets. 

The response on the page was mostly positive, “It shows that sharks aren’t hell bent on eating humans” wrote one, forgetting perhaps, the Sydney surfer who was killed, six days earlier, by a fifteen-foot Great White only fifty yards from shore.

A witness on the beach said, “The shark came out of the water, just smashed him, five seconds later he came round and hit him again,” disproving that hoary ol chestnut that Whites take one bite, don’t like, and beat it.


"Let's local."
"Let's local."

Brave professor at The Surf Institute declares war on Malibu VALS: “2020 saw nearly every other Joe take up surfing and every other Schmoe become a surf coach!”

"So, what do we do? Do we throw our arms up, sigh in defeat, and let the guests dictate the state of our home?"

Frustration has been brewing for months, now, between those who have been surfing for, like, two years and those who took up the Pastime of Kings during the Covid-19 pandemic. Real negative feelings etc. and war now seems inevitable but who would have guessed, could have guessed, that our Fort Sumter would be Malibu’s famed wall and a general looking to take up arms would be a professor from The Surf Institute?

Strange days, indeed, but let us read from Carla Zamora’s Instagram and learn more.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CPI3sN-nXbc/

Imagine your home became an amusement park. New faces flocking daily to claim their E-ticket pass, except instead of getting in line, a free-for-all of bodies bob & weave, twist and tangle in hopes of getting a thrill. They don’t even acknowledge your existence, much less recognize your local status.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but just two decades ago being “from Malibu” carried an air of prestige. We were masters of our spot, encouraged, even pressured, to surf at the highest caliber possible and given no leeway or forgiveness when we faltered. It was chaotic then, too, but there was a method to the madness; control to the chaos. Rules were not just established, they were enforced. If you publicly cried about it, you felt it even harder.

When new faces would show who were keen on making the Bu their home, they were usually met with cold shoulders, glaring stares, and difficulty getting waves. Not to mention a usually not-so-becoming nickname like PSD (Porn Star’s Daughter) or Jazz Hands or D2. While we most definitely were threading a thin line of inappropriate exclusivity, the LordoftheRing-esque vibe is what kept order. Those who wore a tough enough skin and weren’t jaded by the hazing, were eventually accepted. While I do not necessarily condone all that went down, I can absolutely appreciate the discernment.

Fast forward 20 years. A pandemic singlehandedly changes people’s lives and increases the surfing population by astronomical proportions. As an outdoor activity relatively safe from exposure, 2020 saw nearly every other Joe take up surfing and every other Schmoe become a surf coach. Young adults already versed in the sport, begin flocking in droves to park, no, camp, in our lot for days on end. (Note: this has been a problem prior to COVID). Photographers and videographers arrive with their own talent to rape and pillage the waves, shunning the existing talent who have paid their dues.

So, what do we do? Do we throw our arms up, sigh in defeat, and let the guests dictate the state of our home?

I will not. I cannot.

Please join me Tuesday 5/25 4p at The Wall to discuss, create, and implement a strategy to take back our home!

Will you attend?

Provide more if the story develops?

I’m counting on you for that and to take my home back too.