Applying linguistics.

Question: Why do surfers insist on perpetually tacking the suffix “-land” onto the abbreviated word “combo?”

Welcome to Comboland.

Of all the many gifts orbiting in my personal constellation, the fact that I am an applied linguist, by training, often gets lost but I am and it’s true. A master of applied linguistics, even, and, anyhow, I am always paying attention to the words and phrases floating through our shared space.

Words and phrases that inspire like “hand jam.”

Words and phrases that completely annoy like “comboland.”

Surfline just released a duet, Comboland, Part One: Orange County + San Diego and Comboland, Part Two: LA – North featuring images, I’d imagine of the just-passed combination swell (coming from both north and south) that lit up our shores.

Comboland.

Comboland.

Any time a professional surfer enters that precarious position, in a heat, wherein she needs a combination of two scores in order to advance, then she has also entered comboland.

Comboland.

Comboland.

It is as if the surfer tongue is completely unable to utter the word “combo” without affixing “land” but why?

A deep etymological search reveals the word “comboland” is only used outside our surf world to describe the musical acts arising out of North Carolina between 1981 and 1984. The Spongetones and Fabulous Knobs etc.

I can’t imagine Joe Turpel is thinking about the X-Teens when describing a scoring situation Nat Young often finds himself in nor can I imagine the Surfline’s editorial staff listening to Luky Owen and Revolver when running headlines up the mast.

Comboland.

Comboland.

So annoying but while you’re here, please enjoy some comboland rock.


Koa Smith, too beautiful for this world!

Dirty Water: Ultimate Surfer #2 Koa Smith sends blunt message to WSL CEO over wildcard brouhaha, “Elo, you know what to [email protected] do. You saw what I can do! Put me in, Teahupoo, Pipe, Portugal, G-Land, I’ll take some monsters down. Let’s [email protected] go!”

The hype and the heat is real!

Today’s guest on Dirty Water is the three-time NSSA champ and runner-up to Zeke Lau’s Ultimate Surfer, Koa Smith.

Smith, born in Kauai and a student of Bruce and Andy Irons, surfs with the contented and dreamy look of the female suckling her young as he dominates some of the best waves in the world including, but not limited to Teahupoo, Skeleton Bay and Pipeline.

He is also a prized fashion model, although that, as Smith explains, has its dark side.

While it would be better, I think, for our guest to just marry a nice, clean girl from a good family and settle down on a ranch in the hills of Kauai, he is hellbent on dragging himself around the loathsome WSL tour.

Charlie and I asked, why?


Nazare.

Facebook founder, Kauai local, Mark Zuckerberg continues to culturally appropriate surf by naming latest product offering “Nazare” after famous Portuguese big wave!

Bombs.

The world’s fifth richest man, friend of Kai Lenny, Mark Zuckerberg made news, days ago, by announcing that his company Facebook would be changing its name to “Meta” with a video release featuring himself achieving second place to the aforementioned Lenny in a “very cool” foil game.

Today, he reveals a new product offering, a Google Glass-esque something rather named Nazare after the famous Portuguese town, wave pioneered by fellow Hawaiian Garrett McNamara.

Per the industry publication Upload:

Alongside the reveal of the new Project Cambria VR headset, Meta (formerly Facebook) just gave a codename to its first pair of consumer AR glasses. Meet Project Nazare.

A demo video of Nazare showed some familiar AR experiences, like communicating with friends in virtual windows and even playing multiplayer with avatars appearing in the user’s living room. There was no actual picture of the hardware itself, but expect more information in the future.

Are you stung by your culture being appropriated by “big tech” or happy and honored?

Zuckerberg.

Say it loud and there’s music playing etc.


Circus Circus.

Scientists determine that Great White Sharks are “boorish clods” with “unrefined visual palettes” that can’t tell the difference between delicately exquisite seals and gamey, greasy surfers!

Brutish churls.

For many years, now, scientists have wondered why Great White Sharks so viciously and savagely attack surfers in the water when surfer meat is widely known to be “gross” and “yucky” filled with many vaccines and/or theories about vaccines. No species on earth enjoys surfer so why, then, do sharks bite?

New research, just out, may provide the answer, suggesting that Great Whites, particularly baby Great Whites, are boorish clods with unrefined eyes that simply can’t tell the difference between seals, surfers or even swimmers.

Per the report:

Recent investigations into shark vision have expanded scientists’ understanding of how the cartilaginous predators see their environment: probably in grayscale and with a minimal ability to see detail. To try to see the world as a shark, Ryan said to imagine taking your eye examination underwater without goggles; things are a little less sharp. As such, the visual cues a hunting shark most relies on are probably motion and brightness contrast.

Spurred by this knowledge, the researchers did an experiment. From the bottom of aquariums at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, the researchers attached a GoPro to an underwater scooter traveling at the speed of a cruising shark. They recorded videos of two sea lions, one fur seal, swimming people and people paddling on three different types of surfboards (the boards came from the personal collection of Ryan, who surfs).

Ryan and colleagues edited the GoPro footage in a computer program to translate the lens of a video camera to the retinas of a young white shark. They stripped the video of some color and rotated them all so the overhead objects moved from the bottom to the top of the screen. Then the researchers ran the videos through a series of statistical analyses at a range of resolutions to glean whether a juvenile white shark might be able to discern between the objects.

In the shark’s-eye view, the researchers found no significant difference between a swimming person, a paddling surfer or a meandering seal or sea lion. Ryan said she was surprised that sharks might confuse even a swimming person without a surfboard with a seal.

Quite basically, sharks are like tourists from Australia’s Gold Coast who prefer to eat at the Circus Circus buffet, when visiting Las Vegas, instead of the Michelin-starred Restaurant Guy Savoy.

Brutish churls.


Surf Journalist (pictured) in training. Photo: The singular Pat Stacy @patstacyfilm

Surf Journalist decides to test fitness gains gifted from ballet, prison, and paddle into dream southern California combo swell an almost-unimaginable twice in one day!

A man, reborn.

I’m in love, I’m in love and I don’t care who knows it! Oh who could have ever guessed that a sleek, black strap wrapping my left wrist, directly above my Nixon Supremacy watch, would change my entire life? Make me a better husband, father, writer, friend, surfer?

WHOOP.

The most beautiful sound I have ever heard.

WHOOP.

All the beautiful sounds of the world in a single word.

My personal transformation, crawling out of a morass of mental and physical inertia, began exactly one month ago for it was then that I admitted there was a problem, that I was a sedentary blob forever destined to be lightly below average, to have a lightly below average cutback, down carve, lip tap unless I did something about it. Unless I took action and was forced to measure my progress every waking, and sleeping, hour.

WHOOP.

Say it loud and there’s music playing.

WHOOP.

Say it soft and it’s almost like praying.

I first needed to reach a baseline of general fitness so began running and watched my strain levels rise, my stamina grow.

I next needed to build muscle so reached out to my famous bank robbing cousin, currently serving time in Oregon, for “prison bod” tips and watched my strain levels rise, my shoulders bulge.

A detour to Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch proved I was on the righteous path but needed more flexibility, dexterity. The fates responded by casting me as Mother Ginger in the famed Nutcracker ballet and I watched my strain levels rise, feet become nimble, as I attempted not to step on young Bon Bons hiding under the folds of my skirt.

Twelve days, out of October’s twenty-nine (so far), that my strain surged north of ten.

A fitness bonanza.

An aggressive slaying of personal mediocrity.

And then, like that, a gorgeous combination swell laced into Southern California. Water warm, air warmer, waves plentiful and peaky. Head high. Running across the various reefs and sandbars.

Was I ready?

I purposed to surf an almost-unimaginable twice in one day discover.

Paddling out in the morning, I felt strong, not winded, and sets stacking up out the back did not cause bile to rise for I knew that I could punch through them with my new convict arms. Oh, punch through I did and I caught waves very easily too, opening shoulders on turns, feeling reborn.

Paddling out in the afternoon, I felt sore but good sore, and did not falter on my pop-ups but was quick and clean and brave with enough energy to smirk at longboarders I zipped past on my Channel Islands Mid. Lightly spraying them.

A new man.

Afterward, heart beating healthy and proud, I checked my WHOOP application to see if I had kissed John John Florence levels of excellence.

The surfing, itself, still did not register as an “activity.”

More work to do, gains to see.

But would you like to join me on this journey? Buy your own WHOOP here and receive a fifteen percent discount if you use the code BEACHGRIT at checkout.