Dariel, not a man to reflect on life's what-ifs… | Photo: @dariel_melendezd/@quekasurfer_ma

Surfers raise $26,000 to buy freakishly talented Caribbean amputee a custom titanium prosthetic leg!

"Team work truly is the dream work!"

Ten years ago, eleven-year-old Costa Rican Dariel Meléndez Davila was hit by a train while trying to escape a thief, his leg so mangled it had to be amputated in hospital, the kid conscious the whole time. 

The train shortly after running over Dariel.

Seven years later, Dariel got hit by a different train, this time the desire to surf.

He’d seen all the surfers around his home town of Puerto Viejo, but it wasn’t until he spoke to a pal who’d been to an Adaptive Surfing Camp that he realised there was a network out there of surfers dealing with disabilities and who could help him get into the game. 

Little by little, Dariel worked out how to balance on his one stilt, where to weight, where to unweight, until he got to a point where he surfs rings around plenty of us with two legs, hitting even Costa Rica’s heavier waves. 

Now, thanks to the intervention of noted filmmaker Logan Dulien (Snapt series) who created a gofundme to raise cash for a prosthetic limb and travel to the US to get the appendage fitted, Dariel is gonna get a custom titanium prothesis from Russ Molina, owner of Advanced Kinematics and one of the best in the biz. 

Four hundred and twenty five donors hit the 25k goal in less than three days, the pot currently spilling over at $26,042. 

“He will come out start of September compete in the adaptive surf competition in Oceanside first week of September then after the comp he will spend 10 days in Palm Springs with Russel Molina getting a custom mold fit for the titanium leg,” Dulien told BeachGrit. “Then after that attend the Snapt4 world premiere in HB September 25th and then fly back to Costa Rica a few days later.” 

It ain’t gonna all be plain sailing, howevs. Dariel has never used a prosthesis. 

“He will first have to learn to walk and eventually surf. Will be work in progress,” says Dulien. 


World peace through surfing!

Many-time World Champion Kelly Slater floats hosting surfing in 2028 Los Angeles Olympics at his Lemoore Surf Ranch: “It’s something that could be done. You’ve got my brain thinking over it!”

Explosive!

In an explosive new development, many-time World Champion and artificial wave technology pioneer Kelly Slater has floated hosting surfing in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics at his Central Valley Surf Ranch.

The question was floated to him during the junior national championships at Lowers earlier in the week by a Los Angeles Times’ reporter. His response, “Hmm. I didn’t think about that,” led to an introspective spitball about what might work best.

“I think by then we’ll have other designs. Maybe something a little shorter, maybe a 20-second ride would be optimum because you could push as hard as you want and have enough variety in the maneuvers,” before ending with “It’s something that could be done. You’ve got my brain thinking it over.”

But can you imagine surfers from around the world coming to Los Angeles in seven short years, driving up to the Tachi Palace, taking a few practice runs each, maybe, then going for gold?

The world’s best surf journalist recently opened up about his feelings on Kelly Slater’s eponymous wave technology, writing, “The only thing I felt like killing after (watching) Surf Ranch was myself. It made me realise though, that I really and truly wanted no part of Kelly’s power-hungry, water-wasting machine wave. In fact, you’d have to pay me to go there and surf it.”

What would an Olympics at the tub do to surfing?

What would it do to Longtom?

More as the story develops.


Founder of Queer Surf Club discusses pretending to be straight while learning to surf: “I was worrying about whether I was cheering camply or coming across as effeminate when I was falling off the board.”

A serious discussion.

Can I be truly open and honest with you? I am a sarcastic, snarky man, there I said it. I am sarcastic and snarky and think I’m funny and think being too serious is such a bore.

And it was in this normal state of being that I stumbled across the BBC piece Pride Month: ‘I pretended to be straight to learn how to surf’

“Huh?” I thought, probably sarcastically and snarky. “Pretended to be straight to learn to surf?”

I immediately clicked and read the story of British man, and founder of the Queer Surf Club, Frazer Riely learning to surf in Morocco where not surfing, but state laws, prohibited homosexuality.

Continuing, I learned how the experience was not enjoyable how he “was worrying about whether I was cheering camply or coming across as effeminate when I was falling off the board. My experience of learning to surf was of hiding my true identity, and I never wanted another queer person to feel like that.”

“Huh,” I thought, toned down and introspective, then reached his impression of the broader surf community.

“There are incredible individuals out there who are welcoming and inclusive. But the issue with surf culture is that there’s a very singular, homogenous story on what it is to be a surfer, from how you surf to riding shortboards to what you wear. That image is generally cis-gendered, straight white men who are athletic and able-bodied – and that narrative has perpetuated surf culture since conception, almost. Now, I truly believe we’re on the cusp of changing. Surfers are waking up and looking around them and seeing who is present and who isn’t.”

I’ll continue to be truly and openly honest. I was moved.

A question for you, now.

Is surfing, or the public perception of surfing, an outdated cultural relic that should be dashed on the same rocks that brought low “whites-only” country clubs or is identity, as primary lens with which to view everything, not always the most useful?

Here’s one more.

What if we, altogether, learned how to stop worrying and love the bomb?


Listen: Surf journalist wonders which of world’s top 20 surfers, man or woman, has the greatest capacity to become axe murderer; receives confirmation almost immediately!

Assassino do machado.

Fate is a funny thing. This very morning I drove, per the usual, to Album Surf in sunny San Clemente for my weekly chat with David Lee Scales. I wasn’t thinking about much, most of my interest soaked up by stumbling across Nic Harcourt hosting an obscure public radio morning program that somehow split headquarters between Northridge and Mission Viejo.

“Northridge and Mission Viejo?” I pondered over and over. “What strange bedfellows.”

Nic used to be host of Los Angeles’s KCRW’s famed Morning becomes Eclectic but was unceremoniously shown the door and I began wondering what he had done or what mad beef there had been in KCRW’s Venice-adjacent hallways some decade ago.

Interest soaked, in any case, until I pulled up at Album, waltzed in, sat across from David Lee and blathered on about Surf Ranch, Chris Cote, progression, regression, etc. until arriving at our segment closing “barrel or nah” where “barrel” means good or approved and “nah” means nah.

“Buying a home in which someone has been murdered,” David Lee asked.

“Barrel” I responded but the question did trigger another reflection about The Shining and its Overlook Hotel.

“Which of the world’s top 20 surfers, man or woman has the greatest capacity to become axe murderer?”

David Lee did not want to answer but I had sinking suspicion that it might be Gabriel Medina.

The current World number 1 has been electric all year with a personality that can only be considered a 180 turn from his previous self. He seems to be thoroughly enjoying his life, happy, easy-going, loving surfing etc. but also family struggles bubbling… somewhere.

Jack Torrance’s personality shifted drastically too. Family struggles bubbled.

After the podcast ended, I said my goodbyes, drove home and received a forwarded Instagram from the World Surf League’s account.

@swindler_ish, who sent, wrote, “Happy Gabi is gonna be pissed off Gabi when his 13000 point lead doesn’t secure the title coz he loses at trestles.”

Axe-murdering pissed.

See?

Listen here.


Provocative: World’s best surf journalist tells world’s greatest surfer, “You’d have to pay me $10,000 to surf your stinking tub Kelly!”

"Surf Ranch does not seem to 'spark joy' amongst the world's best. They look exhausted and depressed after a ride…"

Pursuant to watching every single wave of the 2021 Surf Ranch Pro which followed from watching every single wave of 2019 Freshwater Pro and 2018 Surf Ranch Pro and 2018 Founders Cup a comment from former surfer and Surfer Magazine caption writer Ben Marcus got me thinking.

Marcus claimed in a comment directed at critics of the Tub that we were all essentially pseudo-intellectual blowhards who would “kill to surf the thing”.

Kill?

Kill what, kill who?

The only thing I felt like killing after Surf Ranch was myself.

It made me realise though, that I really and truly wanted no part of Kelly’s power-hungry, water-wasting machine wave. In fact, you’d have to pay me to go there and surf it.

You scoff Kelly, but I’ve got a figure in mind.

You won’t like it but I think it’s fair and reasonable.

Ten thousand. US dollars.

Plus expenses and travel, of course.

This miracle of modern technology which causes technophiles like Marcus to spasm with envy and admiration, is it really so special?

Creating waves, in the end, turned out to be a relatively simple engineering challenge. At last count, there were about twenty different methods creating commercially viable wavepools.

This ain’t the I-phone or birth control pill. Anyone who has watched a boat wake break on a shallow bank has seen the template for the so-called “groundswell” technology used by the Surf Ranch. Basically, put a hull through the water and surf the wake as it breaks down a shallow edge. The Kelly Slater Surf Ranch is a glorified boat wake.

Twenty.

This ain’t the I-phone or birth control pill. Anyone who has watched a boat wake break on a shallow bank has seen the template for the so-called “groundswell” technology used by the Surf Ranch. Basically, put a hull through the water and surf the wake as it breaks down a shallow edge.

The Kelly Slater Surf Ranch is a glorified boat wake.

The tub, now that we are well past the blitzkrieg marketing and every pro has had a swing at it, does not seem to “spark joy” amongst the world’s best. They look exhausted and depressed after a ride, unless they just won of course.

Watching Strider Wasilewski live commentate a ride made me realise I would surf it worse than him, but make the wave. Which means I’d safety surf my four waves probably without the intellectual balls to kick out early on the left. I’d get two half barrels on the right, probably get necked on the end section or dodge it all together like Jadson Andre did.

Magical thinking persists with the pool fans, though.

What is miraculous about waves is the physics of water. It’s dense, 830 times more dense than air. It’s incredible how much energy it takes to heat it, cool it, make waves in it.

The physics of water ain’t gunna change.

Which means all the guff about “just wait until the next one when it’s eight foot and barrelling” etc etc is pissing in the cosmic wind.

Already, Slater’s power hungry tub is sucking out Solar power from PG and E’s solar plants which could power homes etc etc. Until a tub can be hooked up to a nuclear power plant we’re going to be squatting right down to fit it into those tiny toobs. The increase in energy required is logarithmic, not linear. Which means to make a wave twice as big takes eight times as much energy etc etc.

Or something like that, don’t quote me on the math.

What do you get for your ten grand, Kelly? You get to humiliate me in public.

Get a loudhailer, or get on the mike and heckle me live as I’m up and riding. It will very much be an enjoyable experience for you, I promise you. I will sign an NDA, promising never again to mention the Tub in any way, shape or form. Nothing. You get silence for life.

Ten grand. That’s pocket change, even for someone as notoriously short armed and deep pocketed as your self.

They are fighting a proposal to bulldoze bushland on floodplain in the heart of a “blue zone” to build a wavepool and enormous canal estate development in your name, which they call a “Trojan Horse for ill-conceived urban sprawl” , which must be “rejected outright”.

And the money?

I won’t even take a cent of it. I intend to donate the entire ten grand to a grassroots environmental organisation. A real one, not a second-rate Greenwasher.

Maybe you’ve heard of the Sunshine Coast Environment Council? They are the peak environmental advocacy group dedicated to protecting the beautiful Sunshine Coast. There are a lot of environmental threats there.

They are fighting a proposal to bulldoze bushland on floodplain in the heart of a “blue zone” to build a wavepool and enormous canal estate development in your name, which they call a “Trojan Horse for ill-conceived urban sprawl” , which must be “rejected outright”.

So what do you say Kelly?

I know you are reading this.

Ten grand won’t get your soul back but it will be one less annoying mosquito to have to respond to, and we know that keeps you up at night.