Did a psychedelic drug trip four years ago open a portal for Kelly Slater to launch a world title challenge, unprecedented in all sports, in his fiftieth year? “I got a miracle of information. It opened up some sort of doorway in my future”

“I just had the most profound experience of my life."

For the past two days, pro surfing fans have thrilled to an invigorated Kelly Slater performing better, according to our august corespondent, than fifteen years ago. 

The source of Slater’s zeal?

In today’s contest analysis, Longtom points to the ability of psychedelics to open a gateway to perceiving the Universe. 

“It flat out works. We simply have to accept this separate reality when it comes to the WSL and the Goat. How else to explain a fifty-year-old man doing the best turns of the day (opening turns on wave one and three) in head-high point surf?”

Four years ago, y’see, Slater, was a guest of the Rythmia resort, “the ultimate spiritual vacation located in Costa Rica, in an all-inclusive luxury resort” where “93.26% of our guests report a life-changing miracle during their stay.”

In a testimonial posted to Facebook and presumably related to the Ayahuasca ceremonies held at the resort, he said, “I got a miracle of information. It opened up some sort of doorway in my future. It was otherworldly.”

Kelly appeared in the to-camera testimonial looking beatific and dressed in guru-chic beige. 

In an almost whisper he says,

“I just had the most profound experience of my life. I literally decided to come here twelve hours before I came. It was something that was nagging at me for a few weeks beforehand, that this was something that could potentially change my life. I’ve had a lot of experience in my life. I’ve been all around the world… I’ve lived all around the world…and I’ve got to experience most worldly things. But…”

What miracle did occur?

“I don’t think I could explain unless we sat for a long time and you kinda understood what it is. It’s really bizarre. I would say I got a miracle of information and what you do with that is your own thing. So that’s the challenge and the goal now is to refresh to that knowledge and to use the what I experienced and got to understand from it to change my life and my world. I think it opened up some sort of doorway in my future.”

Watch here!

We simply have to accept this separate reality when it comes to the WSL and the Goat. How else to explain a fifty-year-old man doing the best turns of the day (opening turns on wave one and three) in head-high point surf? | Photo: WSL

Day two analysis, Corona Open Mexico: Kelly Slater says “world is still beautiful”; announces world title run in fiftieth year!

Beautiful! Brilliant. Why not?

One of my favourite things, if not the favourite thing, about pro surfing is how it can create its own reality.

It’s very post-modern, very “now”. In this reality retirement does not exist. It’s like dark matter. Very post-physics. We are not allowed to call a pro leaving the sport, “retired” they are merely starting a new chapter.

In this reality, Kelly Slater, beaming down on the big five-o after a Round of 32 win over Miggy Pupo, more on this in a minute, can use the post-heat presser to announce a Title run. The reasoning, according to Slater: If I win this comp and then win Tahiti, I’m mathematically a chance to make the five…..I paraphrase, but words to that effect.

But, beautiful! Brilliant. Why not?

And with Gabe and JJF out of Tahiti, along with who knows how many other pros choosing a “new chapter”, he might be right.

This crazy old man, just might be right.

Have you read the Carlos Castenada classic on Mexican shamanry “A Separate Reality”? Carlos gets all whacked on mushrooms, jimson weed and peyote with Don Juan and describes a whole new way of perceiving the Universe.

Look, it turned out to be a hoax but no matter, the concept of considering psychedelics as “allies” as we know Slater did with Ayahuasca, works.

It flat out works.

We simply have to accept this separate reality when it comes to the WSL and the Goat. How else to explain a fifty-year-old man doing the best turns of the day (opening turns on wave one and three) in head-high point surf?

OK, retirement doesn’t exist in pro surfing, Slater proves it. Julian Wilson has time to study for a Ph.D in pharmacology, epidemiology, become a real estate baron and still come back in a decade and challenge for a Title.

Slater was magnificent on a Firewire FRK, a board I have ridden and claim as the worst sled I’ve ever had under me.

Made me a complete kook.

Made Kelly look better than 2006.

Mexico is a separate reality.

Anyone who has been there will testify. It made Filipe Toledo surf one of the most confoundingly inept heats in pro surfing history. He sat for forty minutes with a million runners available and a repertoire that could turn any single one of them into a seven at least with a two-point heat total.

Then shredded an eight, left wildcard Rio Waida with priority, who duly safety surfed a midsized set for the mid-four required.


Did his brain melt in the heat?

Magic mushroom omelette for breakfast?

What explanation can be offered?

Would be sufficient?

All the Mexican wildcards got knocked, which left Rio Waida, riding the Olympic high as a potential spearhead for a new surge from Indonesia and the sole remaining wildcard. Is this slim cat a CT surfer? Only question on my mind watching him surf against Toledo.

Heavily qualified, yes.

Agile, lightfooted surfers need to improve rail game to make impact at Bells Beach, Margarets, J-Bay etc etc. But Toledo did it with a similar physique and approach so no reason Waida can’t follow suit. If he gets through against Jack Robbo in the next heat the momentum surge will be huge.

Could our Aussie lambs turn into lions we asked yesterday?

Jack Robbo and Ethan Ewing principally, our non-retiring pros or whatever the correct term is for those not choosing a new chapter. You’d have to say, yes.

Ewing’s people wonder why I am so anti their man. “What did he ever do to you?” they ask me.
Not a damn thing, and that’s the problem.

My problem is people getting paid big bucks to do the business, not doing the business. People getting relentlessly hyped as top three surfers, as Andy Irons clones, who haven’t got a functioning above-the-lip game.

There ain’t a snowballs chance of surviving a day under even the shadiest Cabana in Barra de Cruz of a surfer making the Top 3/5 without a functioning air game in 2021. And so far, to my knowledge, despite an Aussie leg with two beachbreak venues, Ethan Ewing has completed zero aerials. I might not even like an aerial attack, you either, but that’s the way it is.

Ewing got the highest heat score of the day against Matt McGillvray. I thought the 9.2 very generously scored, considering the last third of the ride was essentially safety surfed. It did, however, lift the scale for Kelly’s turns.

It put judges in a quandary.

They paid Gabe’s last-minute low altitude rodeo flip on a nothing wave, fair enough. They also paid Italo’s very weird last ride against Wade Carmichael. A whipped reverse out of the lip, a whole lot of nothing and a closing turn. That score could have gone anywhere. I thought, low six and not enough. Judges went 7.33, which kept Italo in the comp and probably pushed Wade’s career into a new chapter.

Gabe vs Ewing first heat of the round of sixteen. A very intriguing match up. A solid Gabe performance steadies the ship, gives him some mental breathing space for a month. Puts Ewing in his place as a non-top three surfer. A fired-up Ewing who blows away Medina shuts up the critics (me) moves into 2022 with a first half of the tour suiting him to a tee.

Conditions will suit Ewing. Not many waves, judges in favour of his surfing.

Kanoa out, Griffin out. Ciblic in.

The strangest outcome this year is a Kelly Slater World Title. Second place, a Morgan Ciblic Title. Nothing that has gone before now is relevant. Which is lending a very weird vibe to a comp that barely matters, despite being the penultimate comp before the Finals.

Shizer, Waida and Mateus Herdy, last remaining wildcards.

In horrifically incomprehensible turn, popular Santa Barbara surf school owner arrested in Mexico after his two toddlers found stabbed to death with wooden stake.


A Santa Barbara surf school owner has just been arrested in Mexico after his two children, aged 3 and 1, were found stabbed to death with a wooden stake.

The Los Angeles Times first reported the stomach-turning news yesterday evening. Matthew Taylor Coleman, who owns Santa Barbara’s Lovewater Surf School with his wife Abby took the couple’s children to Mexico, over the weekend, without telling friends or family.

Abby became worried and alerted authorities.

Video footage from Rosarito, just south of the United States/Mexico border, showed Coleman checking into a hotel with the two children and leaving very early Monday morning before returning later, alone, to check out.

A farm worker, meanwhile, discovered the bodies of the two toddlers nearby, stabbed multiple times with a wooden stake.

Coleman was arrested as he attempted to re-cross into the United States and is being held on charges of aggravated murder with the FBI saying “a joint investigation is underway.”

The Lovewater Surf School was voted Santa Barbara’s number one school by Trip Advisor. The website is full of positive testimonials and includes a lengthy biography of Coleman, who was born in Santa Barbara, traveled the world surfing before returning home to become a local high school teacher then founding the surf school which was described as, “a company committed to passing on the love of surfing to people of all ages, ethnicities and life backgrounds.”

It’s a heartbreaking and impossible to fathom what went wrong here.

Open thread: Comment live, Day Two, Corona Open Mexico presented by Quiksilver!

Come and git it…

The Paskowitz fam in 1988, Doc held aloft by children.

Warshaw on the greatest surfing documentary ever made, “Twenty minutes in, you fully realize how complicated and fucked-up the story actually is… it’s not an easy film to watch”

World's most charming and narcissistic surfer performs decades-long social experiment on his own family with mostly bad results.

Seven years ago, Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz, a 93-year-old surfer who had developed the most common-sense guide to eating (“Pinch an inch of fat anywhere on your body and you’re overweight”) and living (“Don’t screw another man’s wife!”), died after surgery gone bad.

Doc, a Russian Jew, went to Stanford, became a doctor, threw it all in to chase surf, introduced surfing to Israel (and later to the Palestinians of Gaza) and surfed up and down the American coastlines with nine kids in a 24-foot van, following his philosophy that wisdom comes not from formal education but experience.

A documentary of his life was made in 2007.

It was called Surfwise and, even if he comes across as a wild tyrant, the stories of him and his wife fucking in the van while the kids blocked their ears and living on gruel and beans and surfing their lives away, is an example of life as an experiment, as a Great Dream.

As fate would play it, me and Matt Warshaw, the great surf historian and former SURFER editor, were kicking around interview favs yesterday and the documentary came up.

BeachGrit: Ain’t it a funny world, one minute we’re talking about best interviews in the game then it turns to Dorian Paskowitz eating pussy and the best surf documentary ever made, Surfwise. Gimme a synopsis? 

Warshaw: World’s most charming and narcissistic surfer performs decades-long social experiment on his own family with mixed results.

Mixed results?

Mostly bad results.

Not much surfing in the movie. 

Surfing is off to the side—as it should be, or has to be I think, for this kind of movie to work. Surfing just happens to be the thing that gets hold of Dorian and shapes all the choices he makes. But the movie is about those choices, not surfing itself.

Why do you give Surfwise so much weight, above, even, something like Sea Of Darkness

Because I think any all-in surfer over the age of 25 starts to wonder about what it means to dedicate your life to chasing waves. We do some shit. Dorian pulled his nine kids out of school, loaded everyone in an RV, and basically headed up a small surf-based commune. That’s radical, but in some ways it’s just a scaled-up version of what we all do. So you watch the movie wondering if Doc nailed it or fucked things up completely, and the question U-turns back on your own life as a surfer. For me it does, anyway.

Doc called you once a year, that right? Jew to Jew?

He’d call and it was just an easy warm breeze. I’d just fall right into it. Doc was flattering, gossipy, foul-mouthed, great sense of humor, and a half-hour later I’d hang up smiling and feeling very special—even though I knew he’d moved on and was doing the same routine to the next person on the list. He was very political. I do think he enjoyed talking to me, but he also knew I was writing surf history, and I’m sure he was fluffing his legacy—I’ll be doing the same, soon enough.

Doctor, surfer, womb buster, writer of a grand treatise on what being healthy means, he was a real cat, ol Doz. I bought his book, he sent it to Australia with a handwritten note about how thrilled he was to be sending a book all the way to Bondi. But he wasn’t unconditionally adored by his family, I think safe to say. Like you say, he did a grand experiment via his nine kids in nature vs nurture. How much of us is genetics, how much is what we kick around doing and who’s in our orbit. Some of the Paskowitz kids thrived, didn’t seem to mind the parents sexing next to ‘em most nights, living rough; others wanted to bust out of their daddy’s tough but idealistic bubble, driven mad by it all. 

Am amazing part of the movie, that never gets commented on, is that it was co-produced by one of the kids—Jonathan, I think. Family-made movies always have a slant. Andy’s doc did, for sure. But Surfwise was totally open to going wherever it was going to go. I haven’t seen it for a few years, but I very clearly remember sitting in the theater keeping a sort of graph in my head, with “hating dad” on one side and “loving dad” on the other, and placing the nine kids on there. One of the sons, I can’t recall which, was playing piano onscreen at one point, just raging against Dorian, and that floored me. Another one of the kids, one of the younger ones, seemed almost brainwashed by his dad. Then Doc himself, who I think was in his mid-80s, trying to sort it all out while the camera rolls—and kind of failing, as I recall. But like I say, hats off to everyone in the family for putting it all out there at all.

Highlight of film?

It wasn’t any one moment or scene, but something happens in the movie, maybe 15 or 20 minutes in, where you fully realize how complicated and fucked-up the story actually is. Early on you’re watching Doc nude on a stationary bike, a charming old surf-geezer talking fitness and health, and you fall for him, you’re in his camp. And you get to hold onto that notion for while. Then there’s almost a kind of vertigo as the other side of him comes into view. And the film sticks to its guns. You think the big family reunion at the end is going to bring the big redemption for Doc, but it doesn’t. I mean, it’s not an easy film to watch!

The bit where Daddy Doz encouraged one of the other, Moses or Israel, to beat the other to death. 

Yeah, that was awful.

From an American point of view, and you were there when it was all happening, the Paskowitz fam were big surf names in the US, yeah?

Not really. Every month in the surf mags there was a little black-and-white ad for the Paskowitz Surf Camp, and I guess they brought in enough people to make a small business out of it. Dorian had a health column in SURFER, but it told us not to eat french fries, and nobody wanted to hear that. The whole deal with the Paskowitz family seemed a little cultish, but surfing itself was a little cultish. Later on, Izzy and Jonathan Paskowitz were maybe the two best young longboarders in the world, but that felt different from the whole Paskowitz family deal.

What do you think Doz got right, and what did he get wrong? Or does it matter? It made great cinema. 

As a surfer, especially way back then, you’re always figuring out what kind of deal you’re going to cut with the non-surfing world. How much to go with it—school, job, home, convention—and how much to do it your own way. Doc went full surf. Good for him. The cardinal mistake is that where Dorian was a well-connected Standford-educated practicing doctor at the time of his big decision, his kids were half-feral home-schoolers. They had no say, no choice, the way Doc himself did. Each of the kids seemed remarkable, each in their own way, in the film, and while I only ever knew two or three of them, I sincerely hope they are all doing well and thriving.

Did you talk to him after the movie came out?

Just once. He said he hadn’t watched it, and wouldn’t watch it, which I think was bullshit. But it would have been incredibly difficult for him to say otherwise, probably. That’s a pretty heavy reckoning to deal with at the end of your life. I think about Dorian and Surfwise, a lot, to this day. Sea of Darkness I watched and liked and forgot.

(Rent here.)