Tear-jerking documentary casts surf as a woman’s only escape from Bangladesh’s brutal patriarchy, “People say girls who go surfing are sluts. There is no plan B. Surfing is everything!”

Weep for the brave surfer girls of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh is the sorta place women’s rights advocate Malala Yousafzai would love to turn on its head and shake by the ankles till all the loose change falls outta its pockets.

Human Rights Watch quoted one Bangladeshi woman as saying, “I sleep in my own deathbed.”

Wives doused with nitric acid, necklace and earrings melting into skin. Murders over dowery disputes. Husbands striking wives over the head with bricks because they don’t get cold water from the refrigerator fast enough during iftar.

A bleak place to be a gal.

But then there are the Surf Girls of Cox’s Bazar.

InSync Media and director Elizabeth D. Costa have created a documentary that shows how surfing has given three girls from Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh’s main surfing hub, a chance at escaping the brutal black male patriarchy.

Per the presser,

Shobe, Ayesha and Suma break away from the drudgery of their lives by joining a surf club in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. The girls fight family pressure and social judgement, for a few hours on the waves. They gain confidence as their natural skill and prowess gains attention and praise. Soon they are poised to make history as Bangladesh’s first women surfers. The odds are stacked against them but the girls refuse to give up. Balancing the freedom of the waves with the restrictive realities of their circumstances, we experience the thrill and struggle of coming-of-age in a developing country.

It takes a stone cold heart not to be moved, maybe even a little choked up, by the two-minute trailer.

We hear 14-year-old Shobe say, “I don’t dwell on the past. I think about the future. I choose my path. And now I am free.”

(Not the Orange County I-just-dropped-the-kids-off-at-school-and-now- I-can-drink-my-chai-latte-in -peace-free but Bangladeshi free.)

She continues,

“My dream is to go to different countries and participate in surfing competitions and be famous. If my dad sees me on TV when I’m famous then he will come back.”

We hear from Suma, The Provider, who’s been responsible for her families income since she was seven. When she sells eggs on the beach, she stops to watch the surfers.

Her reaction?

“I have no other dream left.”

Ayesha is deemed The Survivor. Her father is abusive and believes all girls who surf are sluts.

Her dream is to be a lifeguard on the beach.

She’s quoted with a sullen face,

“Why is every day such a chore. My mind just escapes to the sea. I mean, surfing is just mixed in my blood.”

Casual beach sex fingered as main culprit in destroying delicate environment of surf-rich Canary Islands: “This cruising is as bad as off-road driving!”

"Sand, Sun, Sea and Sex with Strangers."

Spain’s Canary Islands, floating west of sunny North Africa is on every surfer-worth-her-salt’s “places to go and poke around” list. Razor sharp volcanic reefs, feisty locals, nooks and crannies to explore and maybe get lucky within. The chain also just so happens to be on many sexually-adventurous-tourist-worth-his-chaps, hosting a very large Gay Pride festival etc. but a damning new report has fingered this casual public sex, not surfing, with destroying the environment.

According to CNN, a new paper in the Journal of Environmental Management — “Sand, Sun, Sea and Sex with Strangers, the ‘five S’s. Characterizing ‘cruising’ activity and its environmental impacts on a protected coastal dunefield” — looks for the first time at the environmental impact on the coastal reserve being used as a cruising area.

Researchers inventoried 298 “sex spots” on the beach, over a total area of over two square miles, mainly among “bushy and dense vegetation” and nebkhas — dunes that wad up around vegetation. They studied them during May 2018, a period which included the local Gay Pride festival.

The tourists’ sex, and “cruiser trampling,” impacts “directly” not only on the nebkhas, but also on eight native plant species, three of which are endemic, they found.

As a result of the tourists’ activities, there has been a “complete abandonment” of environmental education in the reserve, according to the study. The reserve was originally created with education as a “primary activity.”
What’s more, Gran Canaria giant lizards — a popular sight in the Canary islands — have “died after eating condoms left behind by pleasure seekers,” wrote Patrick Hesp, one of the report’s authors, in an article for The Conversation.

Hosting up to 14 million visitors a year, Gran Canaria is a gay-friendly tourist destination, with visitors from the US, UK and Germany among the main markets, and while the authors are quick to emphasize that there is “no intention to criticize some of the LGBTI community,” and stressed that it was not just LGBTQ visitors having sex in the dunes, they note that “cruising is openly practiced” on Maspalomas.

At the end, the authors of the paper did not want to call for an end to public sex but noted, “One couple having sex on the beach is one thing; but having hundreds converge on the same area every day damages the dunes as much as off-road driving does.”

Surfing, mercifully, spared any wrath.

The iconic Florida Surf Film Festival back from the dead and ready to party like magically rehabilitated Michael Jackson!

A proper thriller.

Global shutdowns resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic will be studied long into the future. Did they work? Avert millions of untimely deaths or cause the untimely deaths of many businesses, whole industries? Epidemiologists, economists, Kelly Slater will debate and debate but we know the hardest hit, certainly, was the surf film festival festival circuit.

People not gathering to watch their water heroes on big screens together was a damning blow but the strong survived and the strongest may be the now iconic Florida Surf Film Festival.

New Smyrna Beach’s finest product, save Aaron Cormican, has flung the doors wide, once again, and is selling tickets at a record clip.

Per the press release:

New Smyrna Beach, FL – Florida Surf Film Festival (FSFF), presented by Monster Energy, is proud to announce official selections for the feature and short documentary categories for its final installment of the 2021 festival on November 19th and 20th at Atlantic Center for the Arts, in New Smyrna Beach.

Passes are now available:

1. Adults: One-night passes run $25 and a two-night pass runs $35
2. Kids: 10 and under are also available for $15/night and $25/two-nights.
3. A patron pass for $125/person includes a festival poster, 2021 FSFF t-shirt, FSFF 20-ounce YETI Tumbler, dinner both nights from Clancy’s Cantina on-site, two-night festival pass, and four drink tickets per night.
4. We also offer a Green Room Membership, which includes an annual pass to all events for the next twelve months, including all the patron pass benefits.

Click here.

Kevin Miller, co-founder, told me, “Having had sold out events in June for Father’s Day and a great showing in August, we’re ready to pack the outdoor amphitheater with surf movie fans for some hippie flicks and quality docs like the USA Mainland Premiere of Waterman, a documentary about Duke Kahanamoku, and the 50 year anniversary of Morning of the Earth, remastered in 4K. Filmmakers will be here, including Jack Coleman for his masterful joy ride with Joey Bookout entitled Polysun with Joey also in attendance.”

I have attended twice and, if you are Florida-adjacent or Aaron Cormican, it is completely worth but act fast. People truly get turned away at the gate and I have witnessed tears.

A proper thriller.

Multipurpose actor Tom Hanks’ co-star and best friend Wilson, who was killed in unfortunate surfing accident, sells at auction for $400,000!

"I'm sorry..."

As point of fact, I used to enjoy the work of multipurpose actor Tom Hanks. Turner & Hooch, Joe Versus the Volcano and The Bonfire of the Vanities all made me smile as a younger man. Forrest Gump made me tear up. Cast Away made me re-consider my earlier enjoyment and I’ve since slipped into low-level disdain.

If I had to put my finger on it, Hanks’ relationship with the volleyball Wilson in the 2000 Robert Zemeckis film caused the slide.

Something about it really irked and I remember laughing loudly when Wilson died in a surfing accident, the theater becoming frustrated with my lack of heart.

Well, apparently I am alone in my powerful antipathy for Wilson just sold at auction for $400,000.

Per the report:

Some might say Tom Hanks’ movie prop from the film Castaway was just a volleyball. In fact ‘Wilson’ was a companion, a confidant and a crucial character in ‘his’ own right. And proving just how beloved the unlikely co-star is, the piece was recently sold on November 9 at auction for $A422,000.

Despite an estimation between A$70,000 to A$110,000, the famous ball was the second highest-selling piece on the 9th behind a Michael J. Fox-autographed hoverboard from Back to the Future.

The UK-based Prop Store Livestream auction spanned three days and was filled with entertainment.

If I was going to put money on it, I’d bet the man who tow foiled Fort Point recently is Wilson’s new friend.

Seems like something he would do.

This could be you, sitting on the porch, bottle of moonshine in your paw, fingers hitting a difficult lick on the banjo etc.

Byron Bay’s insane housing bubble laid bare as two-bed shack on leased plot in council trailer park lists for $750,000! “It’s perverse! Next-level madness!”

“Charming beachside cottage etc…”

A crummy ol’ tin-roofed shack in a council trailer park in Byron-adjacent Suffolk Park has hit the wildly buoyant Byron Bay property market for three-quarters of a million dollars, shack only, no land. 

The cash gets you a “charming beachside cottage in the highly desirable Suffolk Park Holiday Park”, a mobile home in a trailer park in other words, with “easy access to the beach from your back door”, which is true. 

Well located trailer park.

But you still gotta pay for the lease of space in the park. 

It’s a listing that has laid bare the insanity of the Byron Bay property market, house prices doubling in a year as well-to-do Sydneysiders, suddenly rich crypto-investors and leveraged-to-the-hilt panic buyers throw previously undreamed of amounts of money at palaces and shit-boxes alike. 

Two years ago, 750k got a sweet little house, yard, place to park the car.

Same joint is two-mill now. 

Byron Shire Councillor Michael Lyon told the ABC that even though caravan park legislation was created so the poor could afford a roof over their wretched heads, it couldn’t do a damn thing if someone wanted to sell their cabin at market rates. 

“It’s not right, but unfortunately that is the way the legislation is… It’s perverse, it was certainly never intended that way,” Lyon told the ABC. 

Luke Jolly, the administrator of the Byron Bay Community Facebook page, told the ABC, “I guess it could be a small price to pay for the ultra-wealthy to have a permanent holiday reservation, but it’s hard to fathom any regular person looking at it… it’s next-level madness.”

On the upside, waves have pumped pretty much non-stop for the past year. So there’s that.

And the Great Whites.

One pal who moved up there a year ago has seen eight of ‘em, including two breaches.