Photo: Back on Board films
Photo: Back on Board films

Listen: After decades of silence, controversial surf journalist opens up about true style inspiration!


I just so happen to be, currently, at the southernmost point of the charming Baja peninsula basking in perfect temperature air and water. The swell is, unfortunately, absent but the scent of plumeria floats on a warm breeze and it is impossible to be sad.

Much time to let the mind wander. To reflect and plumb the much ignored depths of motivations.

David Lee Scales called for our weekly chat in the midst of my plumbing and we had a fine discussion about many surf-adjacent topics until arriving at the end of the show where he brought up the issue of Speedos.

Barrel or nah?

Famed surf photographer Ryan Miller has made the look his own, in our surf world, so much so that I forgot my own attachment until David Lee Scales brought up and my earliest style inspiration flooded back in.

The year was 1984 and I was fresh back from Papua New Guinea where my father had taught for two years. The United States felt large, unfamiliar, but the Olympics were weeks away and I could not wait to watch. My grandmother and grandfather lived near Los Angeles and shared stories of the wonderful preparations etc. and then the world was there and then my eyes, up in cold Oregon, were glued.

There was one man that shined above all others.

Greg Louganis.

I loved everything about his grace, his physical poetry, his mastery and vowed to be just like him, practicing diving when we went to visit my grandmother and grandfather.

Buying a Speedo.

I wore it to the beach when I surfed with my cousins in Carlsbad, wore it at home, wore it going to Oregon’s lakes, wore it on Oregon’s cold shores.

I was Greg Louganis and was with him, even more, four years later when he bonked his head yet still stunned the world.

A master.

My Speedos eventually became lost, like my memory, but speaking about it yesterday made me want to revisit. Not as irony or funny but a legitimate, functional fashion move.

What do you think about that?


Scales and I also discussed cancelled Rio and the World Surf League’s asinine position on basically everything.


Spock (pictured) with whale.
Spock (pictured) with whale.

Man diving for lobster off Cape Cod experiences ultimate barrel, gets swallowed whole by whale: “I thought to myself, ‘there’s no way I’m getting out of here. I’m done, I’m dead!’”

Completely black.

We surf fans are treated, regularly, to such wonderful videos of impossibly deep barrel rides. Surfers becoming covered up, so profoundly, that it seems likely they will never see the light of day again. Surfers becoming one in the belly of a beast.

Oh, not a literal “beast” as the ocean is our friend etc., but a lobster diver out looking for nummies on warm a early summer day got swallowed whole by a whale and lived to tell the tale.

Michael Packard was just off his boat, Friday morning, heading down to Cape Code’s floor when a humpback whale gobbled him right up. “All of a sudden, I felt this huge shove and the next thing I knew it was completely black,” Packard told The Cape Cod Times Friday afternoon following his release from Cape Cod Hospital. “I could sense I was moving, and I could feel the whale squeezing with the muscles in his mouth.”

The 56-year-old father of two thought he may have been sucked down by a Great White, as he sees them regularly, but didn’t feel teeth or anything overtly nasty so surmised he must be inside a barrel.

“I was completely inside; it was completely black. I thought to myself, ‘there’s no way I’m getting out of here. I’m done, I’m dead.’ All I could think of was my boys — they’re 12 and 15 years old.”

Unlike Great Whites, though, whales have warm hearts, feelings, and Packard could tell his movement was making the mammal sad and so kept moving and moving until his new friend moved back to the surface and spit him out.

It is the first known incident of whale of whale swallowing man since the time of Jonah.

Packard suffered no broken bones and is excited to dive again soon.

A happy ending much like Nathan Florence in Nias.

Very cool.

Baby Cliff, just twenty-two, ASP world champ. | Photo: ASP

Revealed: World title trophy sold for $25,000 by US surf star to fund documentary spotted by fan in Huntington Beach! “I like that it’s floating in the free market!” says Champ

“Fernando Aguerre bought it. I went to  Fed Ex and shipped it to his address in Cali. Haven’t seen it since.” Until now.

The 2001 world surfing champion Clifton James Hobgood, who claimed his title after the tour was abbreviated to five events following the coordinated suicide attacks by Wahabi Islamist terror group Al-Qaeda on the Pentagon in Virginia, the Capital building in Washington DC, and the World Trade Center complex in Manhattan, has revealed the location of his long-lost world title trophy. 

Hobgood, who is forty-one, sold the precious cup for $US25,000, out of a goal of raising eighty k, to help fund the documentary And Two If By Sea, which tells the story of he and twin brother Damien’s ascent to sporting greatness. 

“This journey into character and emotional transparency does mark a shift in surf film-making,” wrote Longtom in a review of the film, here, adding, “I like this new wave of revealing, authentic type of film, much, much more.”

Of the “accidental world title” at just twenty-two, writes Longtom, “His humility in struggling to accept the legitimacy of the Title is refreshing. The regret overlaid onto the achievement by Damo makes it more poignant. Damo was surfing Pipe when the Title was awarded at Sunset.”

“One of the perks you could get when we were crowdfunding the movie was the world title trophy for 25k,” Cliff told BeachGrit. “(ISA chief) Fernando Aguerre bought it. I went to  Fed Ex and shipped it to his address in Cali. Haven’t seen it since.”

(Cliff elaborated a little more on Surfline a while back, “I told Dam, ‘Let’s sell my trophy! Let’s give away everything we have!’ Because [Indiegogo] is perk-based; that’s the way those things work. The idea is to give something away to let the people know that you’re invested on every level, like, ‘this is our baby and if you wanna help out and join our story, we will give you anything from our world.'”)

That was, until yesterday, when a sharp-eyed fan photographed the bauble in a repair shop and tagged Cliff.

“People kept commenting, ‘You gotta get it back’,” says Cliff, “But honestly I like that it’s floating in the free market!” 


Just in: Brisbane, Australia set to be announced as host of 2032 Olympics all but guaranteeing surfing’s inclusion for the next decade!

Australian tax payers rejoice!

Surfing, you are certainly aware, is set to make its grand Olympic debut in just weeks. Tokyo’s Chiba will see Jeremy Flores, Kolohe Andino, Sally Fitzgibbons, Italo Ferreira, maybe Kelly Slater battling it out for gold it what should be “small and funky” waves.

Extremely fun with the world’s eyes on us etc.

After Tokyo, the Games moves to Paris for 2024 and the host nation has already declared surfing will be included, taking place in “France across the Water” i.e. Teahupoo, Tahiti.

Incredible potential.

In 2028, the 5-ring circus travels to Los Angeles and it is impossible to think that surfing will not also be on the menu there too. Malibu? World Surf League CEO’s own Manhattan Beach? Lower Trestles?

Somewhere certainly.

And now, just moments ago, Brisbane, Australia was announced as a shoo-in for the 2032 Olympiad.

Per ESPN, “IOC president Thomas Bach said after an executive board meeting Thursday that Australia’s third-biggest city can be awarded hosting rights as the only candidate proposed at a July 21 meeting in Tokyo.
Bach praised Australia as a sport-loving country with strong support from layers of government in the city of Brisbane, the state of Queensland and federal level.’All this together, I think, made it somehow irresistible,’ the IOC leader said.”

Beautiful Brisbane in the shadow of Surfers Paradise, a stone’s throw from Coolie Kid, and of course we’ll be there, each and every one of us, cheering Joel Parkinson’s children to gold.

Does schoolies happen in July?

A decade-plus of Olympic surfing with no end in sight.

I really hope schoolies and the Olympics collide.

E-bike-to-Trestles pilot and surf star Olympian Kolohe Andino.

US Olympic Star Public Enemy #1 as furious San Clemente residents rally against “unsafe” e-bikes “impacting the serenity” of Trestles and San Onofre!

Ban the bike!

A petition, already signed by two furious residents, is circulating with the aim of convincing California State Parks to shut down electric bicycles being used to ferry surfers to and from Lowers and San Onofre. 

E-bikes have become de rigueur for surfers in San Clemente, including but not limited to US Olympic hero Kolohe Andino, eliminating the need to pilot trucks short distances around the pretty little neighbourhood, as well as providing a sweat-free way to negotiate the trail to Lowers. 

A few pedestrians have been hit by ‘em, and there’s been a collision here and there between bikes, but a small price to pay, I think, like the people dying of catastrophic blood clots ‘cause they gobbled up the Astra Zeneca vaccine.

You gotta break a few eggs to make an omelette, as they say.

As per Kyle Stevens’ petition. 

E-bikes have negatively impacted the serenity of the Trestles and San Onofre area by creating an unsafe environment for park users on trails, beaches, and paved pathways. The walkway off Cristianitos Road next to San Mateo Point leading south into the park has become heavily used by e-bikes often traveling at a high rate of speed while mixing with pedestrian foot traffic. Often the e-bikes are being driven by children too small for the bikes who have little ability or knowledge of how to safely navigate this area without putting others at risk. Dirt and sand trails in the area have the same situation occurring as well. Many of these e-bikes are traveling at 30 mph and some are modified to go up to 40 mph. These are speeds equivalent to gas powered scooters, motorcycles, and other motorized vehicles which are already prohibited in the aforementioned areas. California Parks regulates and often prohibits e-bike usage in state parks in other areas. The same should be done at San Onofre and Trestles before another serious collision takes place.

Do you sign or do you abstain?