P. 49 / Kai Lenny, Pe‘ahi, 2021, photo by Mike Coots.
P. 49 / Kai Lenny, Pe‘ahi, 2021, photo by Mike Coots.

Hawaiian darling, multi-talented Kai Lenny set to be forever immortalized in stunning new hardcover book “Big Wave Surfer: The Greatest Rides of our Lives!”

A phenom.

Now, is there anything Maui’s Kai Lenny cannot do? Conquer oceanic mountains on all manner of craft, paddle between his islands like it was nothing at all, befriend the world’s 5th richest man and teach him to fly, charm two aging recently converted fitness buffs, revive the long-thought dead art of hardback book publishing.

No, there is nothing he cannot do and, regarding the later, his gorgeous immortalization, published by Rizzoli, is due out October, 26th.

Per the press release:

A jaw-dropping photographic narrative, Big Wave Surfer: The Greatest Rides of Our Lives features the biggest and most dangerous waves and the legendary men and women who risk their lives to surf them. The most expansive book of its kind, this lush volume collects a vast array of contributions from over 30 of the best big wave surfers today.

Over the last decade, a handful of surfers have been progressing the sport of big wave surfing to new extremes. Kai Lenny, one of the preeminent big wave surfers, offers readers a glimpse into this world sharing his personal stories and perspectives, and inviting the world’s best surfers—from legends who pioneered the way to young guns who are the future of the sport—to contribute personal tales of the greatest waves ever ridden. Also included in the book are the best women big wave surfers in the world, and their incredible stories—from barrier-breaking moments to competing in their first ever competitions in a historically male-dominated sport.

That list of male domination includes our Pete Mel, Laird Hamilton, Shane Dorian, Lucas Chumbo, Ian Walsh and many more. Keala Kennelly, of course, barrier breaking.

The book will cost $60 U.S. though add much more value to any coffee table it graces.

Maybe difficult to jump over, though, which might be taken into consideration.

Buy here.

Australian fisherman caught Great White shark, removed its monitoring tag and set off hoax shark alerts twenty seven times, claim authorities!

Senior cop says the man’s alleged prank was “irresponsible” and that it caused “unnecessary fear.” 

In the latest story of Man vs Great White sharks from Albany, a former whaling city two hundred and fifty miles south of Perth, a man has been charged with stealing after allegedly removing the monitoring tag from a Great White and using it for over a month to set off shark warnings twenty-seven times. 

Albany police officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Hugh Letessier told The West Australian the man’s alleged handiwork was “irresponsible” and that it caused “unnecessary fear.” 

Cops say the 48-year-old man caught the White in his nets, took off its monitoring tag and released the fish alive.

Gangster move, I think, finding a White wrapped up with your catch, delicately removing the acoustic device, which is surgically inserted in its belly, and setting a pretty pissed off man-eater free without harm to yourself or fish.

And, pretty funny, to use it as an ongoing prank.

How he allegedly did it wasn’t explained, perhaps it’ll come out when he fronts the Albany magistrates court on November 4, and searching for a charge all the cops could get him for was one count of stealing. 

It’s not the first time, nor I wager the last, Albany’s fisher-people have fallen foul of the law while interacting with Great Whites. 

Seven months ago, a Western Australian judge booted an Albany deckhand from his job for one year and fined him twelve-and-a-half-gees for posing with two Great Whites after dragging ’em, dead, out of his nets.

His skipper was fined twenty gees and his fishing license was suspended for his part in the event. 

The selfie-skipper back when he had an extra twenty gees in the bank.

Fisheries officers were put on the case after someone reported finding sharks with their jaws hacked out in a nearby river.

Magistrate Dianne Scaddan described the pair posing with the Great Whites as “barbaric” and “vulgar”, two hitherto unknown offences.

"And then this black belt tried an inside trip, I stepped over it, grabbed his lapel, trapped an arm and threw that poor fool to the ground. Oh, boy, I'm shredding on the mat."

Confession: “I was grotesquely complicit in the demonisation of the vulnerable adult surfer but through daily suffocation and strangulation learned to find common ground, even empathy, for VALS!”

What happens when a lifelong surfer gets caught in the snare of a new game? When his excitement overcomes normal protocols and he’s compelled to share his “precious” experience and his glorious new mission? 

The dreadful affair of the vulnerable adult learner surfer, the great replacement championed by the WSL, has been documented at length on BeachGrit, gifting its writers a brilliant hunting season. 

Our game-bags filled quickly and early. 

Headlines included, 

From The End-is-Night dept: VALS are the future surf, an apocalyptic scenario too real to ignore, Brave Professor at the Surf Institute declares war on Malibu VALS, Can a vulnerable adult learner actually show us the way?, Killers: Leashless VALS overrun Gold Coast, and so on for years.

It culminated with a series on Academy Award-nominated actor, the sexy no-longer-a-butterball Jonah Hill, anointed patron saint of VALS in, Actor and new Malibu local Jonah Hill cements position as “patron saint of VALS” with release of first epic surf shot, Actor famous for playing “sexless butterballs” and VAL pioneer Jonah Hill buys $9 million “windowless monolith” at Malibu colony, Heir to Miki Dora’s Malibu throne Jonah Hill pulls ultimate power move; woos an wins heart of surf instructor. 

There’s quite a few more but y’get the picture. 

The gravest crime of the VAL, as you know, is his, her, their, enthusiasm for the sport. Eyes bright, happy they’ve found a brother, sis, in arms, they’ll engage about your fins (“Dunno, had ‘em lying around”), the volume of your surfboard (“Ah, five-nine by nineteen, maybe two-and-three-eights”), leash length (“Had it for five years, comp cord, maybe”) and so on. 

And we roll our eyes and we yawn. 

But what happens when a lifelong surfer gets caught in the snare of a new game? When his excitement overcomes the normal protocols of conversation and he’s compelled to share his “precious” experience and his glorious mission with his new comrades? 

Jiujitsu is full of vulnerable adult learners and I was, still am, one of ‘em.

I should’ve been acutely aware of my station, that the camaraderie I felt with my rolling partners was a chimera; that the friendship and the trust they felt was something only available to those who had spent years strangling each other.

Like surfing, grappling gyms see a lot of people swing through, get all hot for the sport, find it too hard, and split after a few months. 

So, and like surfers, a newcomer is viewed through slit-eyes and a restrained engagement. Talk to me in five years is the unspoken order.

But, man, like a VAL you just can’t help yourself. Gimme some single-leg takedown tips, show me how to finish that kimura, look at this buggy choke/fly-trap on Instagram, let me drill the flying armbar with you, brother. 

It’s the jiujitsu equivalent of riding a two-thousand dollar eight-foot log at Malibu, struggling to one knee in the whitewash, raising your arms and yelling ‘tube’.

When I spar, I thrash like a panicked chicken in a hen-roost. My elbows hit black belts in the face, knees belt ‘em in the guts. 

My precious WHOOP strap, hidden under my Gi with a bicep sleeve, records the whole tragedy.

In the case below, we see a ten-minute roll before class with my kid. My heart redlines at 180 beats per minute as the ten-year veteran of the sport sends me into a blind panic with multiple multi-limb attacks. I have to leave the room briefly, sick at heart, holding my breath. 

The hour-long class that follows is a piece of cake, alongside other beginners, doesn’t kick the heart beyond 155. 

Couple that with a fifty-two minute surf in a rip-bowl that requires constant paddling, and where my heart doesn’t quite hit 180 but does stay above 145 for most of it, WHOOP under a John John Florence rubber band, and I almost hit the mythical strain level of 21. 

(Quick reminder: the WHOOP records strain on a scale from zero to 21 over the course of the day, zero being David Lee Scales, 21, Kai Lenny. Twenty-one re represents the max cardio load you can handle in a day. The WHOOP doesn’t measure miles, steps, so much as how your body is responding when you do it.)

And, yet, and still, back at jiujisu I VAL out every chance I get. 

For my jiujitsu podcast I mention to my black belt pal Johnny that I plan on getting a trademark move from each of our guests, a double-leg takedown from MMA guy Richie Vas, a heel-hook from leg strangler Jeremy Skinner, a guillotine from Brazilian superstar Charles Negromonte. 

Johnny looks at me.

He surfs. He’s seen it before, the enthusiasm, the joy, the need for connection, camaraderie. 

“Don’t,” he says. 

Next week: Is jiujitsu gonna work in a surf fight? 

Nicaraguan surf camp continues to carry torch for sense and sensibility, publicly rejects offer for tow-in foil program: “Yes, our tow-in foil program is located at foildeeznutz.com”

Sorry, Zuck.

It is rare to find women and men who prefer to stand on principle rather than the almighty dollar, even more rare in our surf world (see: The Inertia), which is what makes me so glowingly proud of Thunderbomb Surf Camp in northern Nicaragua.

The for-profit surf fully integrated operation, which asks, “Why not get uncrowded waves with great accommodations? With our surf vehicles and local boat captains you will have the freedom to surf more than just the beach out front. Here you can surf world-class waves, get barreled at The Boom, carve epic points, or even learn to surf without the crowds that plague the beaches of Costa Rica and southern Nicaragua,” just two months ago rejected a financially rich offer from a SUP tour group and publicly told them “fuck no.”

Lessons are tough to learn, though, and another punter recently reached out wondering if a “tow-in foil program” was offered.

Thunderbomb could have easily replied, “Sure” and taken much money but instead replied, “Hello, our tow-in foil program is located at foildeeznutz.com/fuckyocouch.”

Wonderful customer service indeed and many bravos.

The world’s 5th richest man Mark Zuckerberg will be made sad but you? Me?

Keeping deez nutz, and yours, safe.

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.