Dirty Water: The Ultimate Surfer’s breakout star Malia Ward on her decade-long feud with Tia Blanco, getting rich on crypto and the seven-year anniversary of putting Gabriel Medina to the sword at Lowers!

Whispered conversations, impish bursts of laughter and mysteriously indignant 'Oh's'!

Today’s guest on Dirty Water is Malia Ward, the breakout star of ABC’s The Ultimate Surfer, a serious investor in cryptocurrency and the daughter of the courageous, yet deeply flawed, pro surfer Chris Ward. 

In this episode, and amid the crackle and pop of the flawed audio, you’ll hear from a smart gal straight outta university, degree in comms, who once appeared in a high-voltage swimsuit shoot with her mammy and lived in a five-storey house at Del Mar with its own private beach and who travels, still, in limousines and private jets. 

Seven years ago, Malia put the newly crowned world champion surfer Gabriel Medina to the sword at Lowers.

She is someone whom you’d agree to have dinner with even if you weren’t hungry and whose angelic face is framed with silky yellow curls caught in a spot of moon glow. 

She was described by BeachGrit’s TV critic Jen See as “savage”.

Surf school, party disc jockey company, first to sue oil giant deemed responsible for Huntington Beach spill: “Tens of thousands of dollars lost in early October alone as potential VALs turn to other lifestyle hobbies instead of surfing!”

Many balls in air.

The fallout from the devastating Huntington Beach oil spill, which was revealed last week, is yet to be fully grasped. 144,000 gallons leaked from an underwater pipeline coating sea life in black crud and shuttering the coastal strip from Huntington on down past Newport through Laguna.

A disaster both ecological and economic but local businesses are wasting no time in filing suit against Amplify Energy Corp., the owner of the leaky tube.

Amongst the first is Jaz Kaner, owner of Banzai Surf School, who told The Orange County Register that his business stands to lose tens of thousands of dollars in early October alone due to the fact that surf classes cannot be conducted.

I would imagine the damage is far greater, though, as future Vulnerable Adult Learner surfers, or VALs, having never touched softtop will turn to other lifestyle hobbies in droves.

Maybe toy voyaging or amateur quidditch.

Learning magic tricks.

Performative volleyball (see above).

The Banzai Surf School is not alone. Other Orange County businesses are filing their own suits, including Peter Moses Gutierrez Jr., who operates an Orange County party DJ company and alleges loss of income and possible damage to his health.

The Laguna Beach waterfront property owners are piling on too.

Much sleeplessness in Houston, Texas, where Amplify Energy is headquartered.

No party vibes.

Fanning and Warbrick tower, Rainbow Bay.

World’s most-loved surfer Mick Fanning pools fortune with Rip Curl founder Doug Warbrick to bankroll $130 million, 93-apartment “wellness” tower at Snapper Rocks!

Half of the apartments sold in the first weekend, a wild seventy-one mill in sales.

The three-time world surfing champion Mick Fanning and Rip Curl founder Doug Warbrick have pooled their considerable fortunes to bankroll along with a few others, a wild looking tower with yoga and steam rooms, gymnasiums, a rooftop slide and hanging gardens in Rainbow Bay, where you’ll find Snapper, Greenmount etc. 

Mick and Doug, who both own hunks of dirt in Rainbow, although not on the beachfront side, combined their landholdings into one monster block. 

Doug, y’might recall, came into his cash after selling his slice of Rip Curl to Kathmandu after fifty years of continuous ownership in a total sale worth $350 mill; Mick, who won world titles in 2007, 2009 and 2013 before retiring in 2018 after seventeen years on tour, has long been into real estate as well as various business plays, including Balter Beer which sold one year ago for a rumoured two-hundred mill.

The approval for the tower, which is called Esprit, wasn’t a fait accompli despite Fanning’s god-like status around Coolangatta, with the Gold Coast Council stinging ‘em for a $2.084 million infrastructure charge. 

Council also wanted to green up the joint, getting the “celebrity moguls” to increase the size of planter boxes on the apartments. 

Whatever you think of towers, of development, of the rich getting richer and so on, y’gotta admit, oowee, ain’t she a peach.

Lap pool, ice bath, yoga and steam rooms, infrared sauna, rooftop slide, outdoor cinema and so on. 

Popular? Yeah, you could say that. 

Half of the 93-apartments were bought in the first weekend, a wild seventy-one mill in sales.

A little under two-mill gets a three-bedder, around a mill, and all Australian shekels, gets two beds.

The developer of Esprit is Paul Gedoun who is building the exclusive Flow residences overlooking the Supa Bank at Rainbow Bay.

As I wrote at the time, “Flow’s got all the usual markers of wealth, heated pool, daybeds, steam room, gymnasium, personal surfboard locker rooms, fire pit, even a ‘surfboard preparation room’ where, perhaps, locals might be employed to fix their masters’ surfboards and where lucky children with whisky breath will be free to roam and little dogs sourced from Mexico will be trained to walk on their hind legs.”

V exciting.

Buy Esprit here.

Surfer gets surrounded by pack of ravenous sharks in Florida while fiancée stands helplessly on beach bravely capturing moment: “Only thing I could do was take pictures and ask God not to let him get bit.”

A keeper.

There are, of course, many different levels of fear. There is, for instance, being startled when a book falls from a shelf and makes a loud bang on the ground. There is a halloween corn maze. There is being in the middle of a bait ball while a pack of vicious, ravenous sharks chomp, chomp, chomp. There is losing a daughter and her friend in a halloween corn maze, quickly realizing that they may never be found.

While the last of the examples is scariest, the second to last just happened to a brave surfer at Sebastian Inlet, Florida though, miraculously, he escaped unscathed.

According to Miami’s Channel 7 News, Eli McDonald had decided to go to Sebastian to “do some surfing.” There he was, doing some, minding his own business with his fiancée Laura Evans on the beach when horror struck.

“Next thing I knew, I got stuck in the middle of a mullet bait ball and they (sharks) were just jumping everywhere. One hit me in the head and I seen a big tarpon go underneath my board,” he said.

His fiancée stood helplessly on the beach, watching the madness unfold and telling the television station, “Only thing I could do was take pictures and ask God not to let him get bit. I was terrified. I wanted to go scream and run up and down the beach but, you know, I knew that he would know what to do in that situation, and I also knew that he would want me to capture whatever I could.”

A total keeper.

McDonald escaped unscathed, his future wife captured the moment and now he knows he can trust her in a halloween corn maze.


See photos here.

Photo: City and County of Honolulu.
Photo: City and County of Honolulu.

Humble surf podcast sparks beautiful movement culminating in October 6th officially and forever being declared “Carissa Moore Day!”

An overwhelming sense of love.

David Lee Scales and I were chatting, as surfing’s grand Olympic debut culminated some few months ago, when I brought up the need for “Carissa Moore Day.” Or maybe David Lee Scales brought it up. In either case, the Hawaiian surfer has done it all, multiple Association of Surfing Professionals and World Surf League titles, first-ever Olympic gold, forcing a premium surf magazine to make an embarrassing apology, and deserves a day.

Well, the humble surf podcast episode somehow made it all the way across the ocean and somehow into the ears of Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi who somehow recognized the error of his ways and, forthwith, declared October 6 as “Carissa Moore Day.”

Moore, gracious as ever, declared, “I’m so honored to be here. I’ve felt this outpouring and overwhelming sense of love from my community, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without all those people, without all that love,” before adding, “It’s my hope that anyone that is young and chasing their dreams that they know that anything is possible if they work hard and they put their heart and mind to it.”

She did not mention The Grit! nor did she need to for we toil for the sake of toiling.

During yesterday’s toil with David Lee, anyhow, I also disparaged Gerry Lopez’s great legacy.

Win some, lose some.

Listen here.