Hamilton (left) gorgeous at any age.
Hamilton (left) gorgeous at any age.

Big-wave icon Laird Hamilton shares thoughts about fear, death and the fountain of youth in wide-ranging interview: “If every day I put you in front a bear that was going to eat you, you’d be exhausted.”

Pretty soon, when you don't die, when you get sucked out the brain's like, “Well, I don't think I'm gonna die because I haven't died the last year.”

If we surfers, we grouchy locals, are all honest with ourselves then we must admit that Laird Hamilton has aged like fine cheese. Complex, pungent, well-ordered. A Gruyere, maybe or a Stilton blue. The big wave icon and coffee supplement scion has done it all. Launched a thousand paddles, conquered heretofore deemed unconquerable swells, made millions of dollars, acted in films and when he speaks it is always well worth a listen.

Thankfully, Men’s Health has just published a wide-ranging interview with the still-handsome 57-year-old. A plethora of topics are duly covered, from XPT training to exercise being a “moving meditation” to the value of extreme heat and cold to staying young forever, but I found his treatise on fear quite profound.

The author mentions the climber Alex Honnold and how, in a recent podcast, he declared he feels like he’s trained his mind to be desensitized to fear. What’s Laird’s take?

I have a theory about that! I saw that part about Alex, and this is my theory: When you’re exposed to danger, that’s a very taxing thing on the system. If every day I put you in front of a bear that was going to eat you, you’d be exhausted. And if I did that to you every day, pretty soon, the body would be like, “Well, I didn’t get eaten. And being scared is taking too much energy. It’s too taxing on the system emotionally and physically. So I’m going to stop being as scared, and see if I still don’t get eaten.”

You eventually get to a point where your system doesn’t have the same response. And somebody looking from the outside would say, “Why is he not scared?” He is! You’ve worked your way to it.

I grew up getting washed out to sea, right? So I’d be stuck in a rip current, and I thought, “I’m gonna die.” And then the next day, I thought, “’I’m gonna die.” After you go out and you get sucked out and you think you’re gonna die for a year straight … pretty soon, when you don’t die, when you get sucked out the brain’s like, “Well, I don’t think i’m gonna die because I haven’t died the last year.”

The restorative power of fear.

Good stuff.

But when was the last time you were properly scared? Oh, I don’t mean about getting caught in some elaborate lie, I mean physically?

Also, what is your favorite cheese?

I’m a Roquefort man, myself.

The show's protagonist, the delinquent daddy Seong Gi-hun in his True White slip-ons. | Photo: Netflix

Iconic surf brand books 7800% sales increase following wild success of Korean splatterfest Squid Game!

Biggest spike in slip-on sales since Spicoli in Fast Times!

If Pauly Van Doren, the legendary founder of the world’s most enduring surf-skate brand Vans, didn’t die five months ago he would’ve seen the sharpest spike in sales in his company’s history. 

See, following the wild popularity of the Korean kill-porn splatterfest Squid Game on Netflix, fans have gone mad buying up the green boiler suits and white Vans slip-ons worn by the desperate bastards killing each other for a fifty-mill winner take all kitty and for the entertainment of elderly gay white men. 

According to the Sole Supplier, sales for the Vans True White slip-on with its vulcanised mid-sole and waffle tread and a retail of around fifty dollars, has increased 7800%. 

Van Doren, a high-school drop-out, whose nickname was Dutch the Clutch, created the Van Doren Rubber Co in 1966 with his little brother, James, who died in 2011, and their pals Gordon, Ryan Emmert and Serge D’Elia. 

The first store, in Anaheim, California, sold American-made shoes direct to the public with the slogan, “Canvas Shoes for the Entire Family” at prices between two and four dollars a pair. 

It’s not the first time pop culture has lit a fire under sales.

Californian surfer actor Sean Penn, as Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, used his own pair of Vans OTW  slip-ons in the movie, a decision that would propel sales of the shoe into the stratosphere, although nothing like ol Squid Games.

Light environmentally damaging reading.
Light environmentally damaging reading.

World’s greatest athlete and noted environmentalist Kelly Slater publicly blasted for littering North Shore beach with self-serving sandbags!

Do as I say, not as I do.

But oh, is it rude to call the world’s greatest surfer and noted environmentalist Kelly Slater environmentally damaging? Yes, it certainly is but is it also true? To wit, the 11x world champion has circled the globe so many multiple times in carbon-dioxide spewing jets. He has also flown private, too, when he could have flown commercial spewing carbon-dioxide on top of carbon-dioxide. He invented a wave pool in water-starved central California, began a clothing company that makes clothing, manufacturers surfboards in Thailand, loves and collects Bitcoin which sucks so much energy that Elon Musk, himself, has turned his nose up at the stink.

None of these things are bad, none are necessarily even wrong, but for Slater is regularly championing the environment, its protection, its cherishing, and now he is also littering Oahu’s North Shore with self-serving sandbags that infuriate those who lean green.

Slater was fingered in a damning report, almost a year ago, for illegally installing a “burrito,” or sandbag system, in front of his Ehukai house.

In 2018, Kelly Slater, an 11-time world surfing champion who lives on Ehukai Beach by the world-famous Banzai Pipeline surf break, illegally installed a burrito. He, as well as his neighbors, were fined just $2,000.

Slater paid the fine and wrote to the Department of Land and Natural Resources last year asking it to approve his illegal structure so his home would be protected from future hurricane surf, as well as unexpected and seasonal weather. Lemmo, in response, rejected the request and underscored the seriousness of the situation.

“Unfortunately, we have reached a tipping point in which near complete loss of beach resources is a realistic future due to sea level rise and the prevalence of [densely] urbanized shoreline development,” he wrote to Slater, noting that the situation on the North Shore is particularly precarious.

Lemmo added that if the state doesn’t enforce strict policies controlling shoreline armoring “it could set in motion a [domino] effect leading to chronic beach loss.”

Well, all this time on and the face of The Ultimate Surfer has refused to clean up his mess. Per a new story in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser:

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and ProPublica published an last year that found DLNR had granted 66 emergency shoreline permits to property owners across the islands. Nearly half of the permits were for properties along Oahu’s North Shore, known as the Seven Mile Miracle because of its abundance of prime surf breaks and stunning beaches.

Many of the beneficiaries are owners of multimillion-dollar homes along some of the most prized beaches in the state and include famous surfers Kelly Slater and Fred Patacchia. While DLNR says Slater’s system was installed without permission, they haven’t forced him to remove it.

The news organizations found the temporary sandbags and burrito systems are rarely removed from public beaches when they expire. Instead, state officials repeatedly have granted homeowners extensions or don’t enforce their own deadlines, while granting after-the-fact approval for structures that were built illegally.

DLNR now seems to be trying to rein in the protections, particularly along the North Shore, though none of the homeowners have been fined or faced any other enforcement action. The state can fine property owners $15, 000 a day for unauthorized structures that remain on the beach.

Not a good look but would you love if Kelly Slater simply just responded “do as I say not as I do, plebe?”

It would be bold and honest, I think.


60-year-old Florida man seeks to obliterate decade-old Guinness World Record of surfing the most consecutive hours without pause!

Marathon man.

When I was a younger boy, in school, I would spend library time with nose buried in either Jack London or Guinness. Oh that Book of World Records held endless wonder, boundless inspiration. I would study the standards, of course, the “most weight lifted,” “fastest,” “longest distance swum,” etc. and marvel but really focus in on the more obscure records and pick which one I would attempt to break.

Making the world’s tallest hat (currently an easily beatable 15 ft 9 in).

Most consecutive pinky pull-ups (36).

Most consecutive hours surfing (30).

The Florida man who set that last record in 2011 wants to break it too, though, and is currently planning a date with destiny wherein he will surf for 40 straight hours without break. With only the lightest of pauses.

Kurtis Loftus was 50-years-old when he surfed for 30 hours. He will be 60 when attempting 40 and you can go watch him, this October 15-28th, at Jacksonville Beach, Florida there in front of the lifeguard station.

Or, ruder, paddle out alongside and beat him in real time.

He’s doing it for charity. You can do for pure selfishness.

Strap on a WHOOP and watch your numbers soar.

"All of the surfers that were with me out in the water came out altogether and grabbed this big, long board and put me on that long board… (they)held me on the board, kept up the board and carried me all the way up the steps, saving time for when the ambulance got there." | Photo: ABC Good Morning America

Surfer hit by ten-foot Great White in northern California describes his wild “slow motion” fight for survival, “I just felt this heavy thing pull on me and it was like a clamp right around my leg… we went underwater together!”

"I punched this thing. But it was such a measly punch compared to how big this creature was."

Six days ago, surfer Eric Steinley was hit by a ten-foot White while surfing at Salmon Creek near Bodega Bay, San Francisco sorta way. 

His buddy Jared Davis helped Steinley, who is thirty-eight, to the beach parking lot where another surfer, who happened to be a doc, used a tourniquet he kept in his car to stop the bleeding. 

Chopper came and flew him to Santa Rosa Memorial hospital.

“I was out with five guys — we heard a couple people yell shark about 50 feet away,” one surfer named Cody told KPIX. “It was by the mouth of the river. The sharks come there to get salmon…Next thing I heard the dude screaming. I knew he got bit.”

Steinley says he felt the White clamp onto his leg three times before dragging him underwater.

Eric Steinley talks to GMA from hozzy.

“I was in a lot of pain and still thinking I’m going to lose my leg or die. I just felt this heavy thing pull on me and it was like a clamp right around my leg. And we went underwater together and it was slow motion,” Steinley told ABC’s Good Morning America. “I punched this thing. And I mean, you can see just from grazing its teeth. I cut my hand. But it was such a measly punch compared to how big this creature was.”

And, then, five minutes paddle from shore, Steinley figured he was done.

“I started to see spots and then I know, you know, [thought] I’m definitely I’m not going to make it. And I catch up to Jared and he paddles next to me… He goes, ‘You going to make it, don’t look at your leg, let’s just keep going.’ And then we paddled in together until a wave came, and then I gave it my all… All of the surfers that were with me out in the water came out altogether and grabbed this big, long board and put me on that long board… (they) held me on the board, kept up the board and carried me all the way up the steps, saving time for when the ambulance got there.”

Steinley on the beach after the attack. Photo: Doc Silvia/ABC

Steinley says the attack hasn’t spooked him enough to keep  him out of the drink, although he doubts surfing will have the same meditative effect it once had.

“Surfing is such a big part of my life and it really calms me down,” he told the Press Democrat. “But I just don’t know if I’ll get that feeling anymore sitting out there.”