I don’t know if the humblebrag is a newer phenomenon or if it has always been. Social media has certainly spiked its employment. Kelly Slater is, of course, king of the genre just so happening to mention Joe Rogan, Tom Brady, Sylvester Stallone and all his other famous besties whilst discussing various unrelated thises and thats.
Sal Masekela very good too, just so happening to mention that he is best friends with the aforementioned Slater and that Slater regularly calls him on the phone putting him Joe Rogan, Tom Brady, Sylvester Stallone-adjacent.
A clearly very proud of himself Facebook founder and CEO, fifth richest person in the world, Mark Zuckerberg got in on the humblebrag game, in any case, just yesterday.
Out e-foiling on a fine Hawaiian day, wearing a black wetsuit and helmet, face unseen so maybe slathered in sunscreen, maybe not, Zuckerberg grabbed a clip from either wife or personal filmer, posted it to Facebook and wrote, “Kai Lenny, am I doing this right?” all set to a White Stripes’ cover of “I just don’t know what to do with myself.”
Speaking of Sly Stallone, though, I was once having lunch on Los Angeles’ Waldorf-Astoria rooftop and the Rocky/Rambo star was there too.
He was very dapper in a fine suit and took time to pose for pictures, chat with fans.
It made me like him even more.
Controversial best-selling author of Cocaine + Surfing, A Sordid History of Surfing’s Greatest Love Affair pledges support of terror group Hamas, responsible for routine mass executions and capital punishment of homosexuals, in Israel v Gaza conflict
There is no moral equivalence between Hamas-ruled Gaza, that fraught, but gorgeous, little strip of Mediterranean beachfront and Israel, a model society amid dictatorships, military juntas and artificially created kingdoms.
“Oh, you who murdered Allah’s pious prophets
Oh, you who were brought up on spilling blood
You have been condemned to humiliation and hardship. Oh Sons of Zion, oh most evil among creations Oh barbaric monkeys, wretched pigs…”
Six-year-old Palestinian girl recites poem on Palestinian television, 2013.
“Israel was not created in order to disappear—Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope and home of the brave. It can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success. It carries the shield of democracy and it honors the sword of freedom.”
Let’s be frank.
However you slice it, there is no moral equivalence between Hamas-ruled Gaza, that fraught, but gorgeous, little strip of Mediterranean beachfront and Israel, a model society amid dictatorships, military juntas and artificially created kingdoms.
Earlier today, BeachGrit principal and best-selling author Chas Smith, (buy Reports from Hell, here, Welcome to Paradise, here, Cocaine + Surfing, A Sordid History of Surfing’s Greatest Love Affair, here) wrote that Israel’s “greatest shame” had begun in the creation of its state in 1948 and that it continues to “cast blame on its subjugated, impoverished, alienated, trapped population for bad behavior worthy of decimation. Squeezing the vice tighter, dreaming fever dreams that it can break the will of a battered people with next to nothing to lose.”
Smith claimed there was no blood spilt between Arabs and Jews in the years prior to 1948.
“The argument that the struggle between Jew and Arab is somehow and ancient grudge match, more deeply rooted than any struggle on earth, is patently false. The troubles began in 1948 with the establishment of the State of Israel and the subjugation of the native Palestinian population.”
Beyond the Jew-killings throughout the Middle East in the nineteenth century and earlier, there were the programs in Algeria, Iraq and Libya in the thirties and early forties. In 1941, hundreds of Jews were murdered in Baghdad, spurring a mass migration out of the country.
Ever since Israel split from Gaza in 2005 as a concession in the never-ending peace process, and after using the army to evict 21 Jewish settler communities, bombs have rained from mosques, hospitals and schools, every Palestinian child, woman, man killed another martyr to the cause; a network of tunnels built in part by child labor ’cause kids are “nimble” are used to smuggle weapons, to kidnap Israelis.
During the last stoush with Israel in 2014, Hamas turned on its own people.
“Hamas forces carried out a brutal campaign of abductions, torture and unlawful killings against Palestinians… In the chaos of the conflict, the de facto Hamas administration granted its security forces free rein to carry out horrific abuses including against people in its custody. These spine-chilling actions, some of which amount to war crimes, were designed to exact revenge and spread fear across the Gaza Strip.”
“I had a date recently. I was in his bedroom and … uh … can I speak crudely? Well, he was going down on me. Suddenly, someone opened the door, then immediately closed it. I was paralyzed! I thought we were going to be murdered. We got up to check: It was actually his blind grandmother who had opened the wrong door!”
The Middle East, y’see, is not known for its fabulousness. Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Syria ain’t what you’d call progressive. If you’re a gal or you’re a guy kinky for dick in Gaza City, it’s hell on earth.
But in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, girls and boys can flash eyes at each other in public and swim together in revealing swimsuits and not fear a vengeful brother or father. It’s a city where gay men can openly lasso tongues and not cower under the threat of jail or violence.
You’ve gotta admire somewhere that’s surrounded by countries whose sole reason for getting up in the morning is the desire to see it destroyed with as much fire and histrionics as possible.
A few winters ago, on my second trip to Israel, I asked the wife of a guy I met if she was going to have kids. Standard small talk. “With this tension? Last year we were running into bomb shelters. Do I want to bring a child into this?”
When I asked a young surfer if he felt tension between Jews and Arabs he said of course he did, but “it’s our destiny to be chased. It’s our destiny to be hunted.”
The checkpoints, the walls exist because if they didn’t, again, the buses would burn, the nightclubs and cafes would explode, cars would plough into crowds and Jews would be knifed in the streets.
As I write, bombs fall on Israel from Syria.
Two points: Palestinians gotta lose the all-Jews-gotta-die mentality; Israel has to reign in its far-right “settlers”, a destabilising, ruinous force and a disgrace to the Israeli ideal.
Geopolitic: On the International Surfing Association’s State of Israel and its vast failure of imagination and responsibility!
It is impossible to be even vaguely aware of the news and not know that the State of Israel, important member of the International Surfing Association, is currently undertaking a massive military operation against the self-governing Palestinian territory, known as Gaza, to its south.
In response to an uptick in Hamas rockets sailing across its borders, the Israeli Defense Forces have pounded the the densely populated Mediterranean strip from the air, with artillery and a further potential ground invasion in the works.
Many women and children dead. Much destruction of property.
Whole apartment towers flattened etc.
Israel, defending its actions, vows to put a stop to the “terrorist actions,” with Defense Minister Benny Gatz saying, “If the citizens of Israel have to sleep in bomb shelters then Gaza will burn.”
On its face, maybe, a brutally asymmetrical but somewhat sensible argument.
In reality, though, absolutely absurd.
Now, BeachGrit regulars will certainly be aware of my bias. I’ve been to Israel and loved but have spent much more time in Yemen, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and love more. All to say, the argument that the struggle between Jew and Arab is somehow and ancient grudge match, more deeply rooted than any struggle on earth, is patently false.
The troubles began in 1948 with the establishment of the State of Israel and the subjugation of the native Palestinian population.
And imagine, with me, that for the past 72 years the International Surfing Association’s United States and Australia’s subjugated native populations regularly threw dynamite sticks, rocks, etc. at us settlers. Would they be considered terrorists? Likely not, but, most importantly, these subjugated populations don’t regularly throw dynamite sticks, rocks, etc. and why?
Because the United States and Australia have handled their shit. Not always beautifully but handled nonetheless.
Even once-apartheid International Surfing Association’s South Africa, bravely boycotted by Tom Carrol in the 1980s, has handled its shit.
While pretending to be a western democracy and plied with billions of yearly U.S. dollars, the proud little country has not even come close to handling its shit, not only failing in its responsibility, but continuing to cast blame on its subjugated, impoverished, alienated, trapped population for bad behavior worthy of decimation.
Squeezing the vice tighter, dreaming fever dreams that it can break the will of a battered people with next to nothing to lose.
It hasn’t worked for 72 years, it won’t work in 72 more, and this vast failure of both responsibility and imagination should be carried with great shame.
The greatest shame.
Man, if there are two things I can’t stand it’s a lack of responsibility and imagination.
Like listening to Joe Turpel describing Mick Fanning getting attacked by a shark in the middle of a heat.
Revolution: March into your local surf shop today, buy a t-shirt, sticker, towel, march back outside and kick a VAL!
Today, in Australia, tomorrow in these United States of America is the third annual Surf Shop Day. That special time of year when we, as grumpy locals, come together and celebrate the most wonderfully grouchy places of all.
Your local surf shop.
Oh the magic, the perfectly curated magic held within a local surf shop’s four walls. I waxed poetic about in the international best-seller Cocaine + Surfing. Would you like to read?
I panic and run into the nearby Laguna Surf and Sport without thinking. To a place even more pressure filled than the mean streets, or at least a place that used to be. The California surf shop was once a bastion of all things cool. The boards, the trunks, the clothes, boardbags, magazines, VHS surf videos, Lagwagon soundtrack and especially shop workers. Grown up surfed out Orange County preteens who would mock hapless customers from behind glass counters filled with surf stickers and quiet derision.
I remember stepping through the doors and into the fog of sweet surf wax as an Oregonian youth on family trips down south. I would gaze lovingly, longingly at the at the merchandise that I couldn’t afford. I would run by hand along the rails of boards I could only dream of owning. Sometimes a shop worker would ask if I needed any help in the most laconic way possible, usually while flipping through a surf magazine and never with eye contact. My heart would always seize and I would mutter something and flee, trying not to gaze at the Sex Wax in the glass counter lest anyone caught me and think I was a blushing pervert.
And the shop worker in Laguna Surf and Sport asks me if he can help me find anything. He is standard surf cool and I feel the muscle memory of a kooky youth but swallow hard and make a panic impulse buy instead of running away. A red and black Laguna Surf and Sport trucker hat. He seems appreciative and probably is. The surf shop has fallen on hard times, even harder than the rest of American retail. Online shopping, changing habits, fast fashion, etc. have all cut into already slim margins plus the surf shop is tasked with selling the apocalypse. The Volcoms, Reefs, Quiksilvers and Billabongs that nobody wants to buy anymore.
The hat definitely won’t fit my skinny head but I feel happy giving a small drop of life support to my childhood nirvana and head back out into the perfect evening, check my phone and try to find a place to kill some time where the raddest ten year olds on earth don’t lurk. A neon light across the street advertises sushi.
Yes, Laguna Surf and Sport is very fine but my favorite, now, is Real Surf Shop in Oceanside. A crusty place with hollowed out surfboards hanging on the wall once used to paddle cocaine across the border, into these United States, from Mexico.
Only a local surf shop would display such a glorious artifact.
I also love Zuhg Life in Lincoln City, Oregon. Though I have never been, they once had many boards stolen by a methamphetamine connoisseur. Very fine.
Support your favorite today, in any case. March in and buy a t-shirt, sticker, towel, trucker hat then march outside and kick a VAL or at least heavily vibe one.
Let’s keep our traditions alive.
Listen: A massive, all-consuming civil war is set to pop between Surfline and the World Surf League. On which side will you fight, bleed, maybe die?
A strange wind has been buffeting southern California lately, maybe accounting for weird vibrations, maybe responsible for such odd behaviors and especially coming out of southern California’s Santa Monica.
Swift removal of offending material and a cease + desist letter from the WSL’s legal department.
When the longest employed man in professional surfing, Dave Prodan, got wind of the kerfuffle, he reached out to Biolos to help sort but was also violently bashed down by his own organization.
What sort of business sense does that make?
A strange wind, I already told you.
But speaking of the World Surf League, David Lee Scales and I discussed on today’s podcast as it relates to Surfline.
Scales had just conversed with the forecasting giant’s newly appointed CEO and made some sort of case for Surfline taking over all content, sending the best surfers out at the best waves during the best swells and filming away.
This, to me, felt like a direct challenge to the WSL’s core business and I wondered, if the two declared a massive, all-consuming surf civil war on each other for which side would David Lee take up arms, bleed, maybe die?
Without a second thought, he said, “Surfline” then tried to explain his poor choice.
I would definitely battle for the World Surf League.
Surfline is an insidious enemy intent on pushing thousands upon thousands of new south swell-infected VALs into each and every lineup. Imagine the potential surge if Huntington Beach is also allowed to own every facet of our beloved pastime. Marketing wave events, marketing surf events, marketing, marketing, marketing.
The World Surf League, what with Ultimate Surfers and hammering Biolos for sharing heart-warming moments, seems to be on a successful participation eradication program. Something I can certainly get behind.
Not the rebel tour we want but the rebel tour we deserve.