One man a surfing legend, the other sceptical of Greg Long's environmental bona fides.

Wildly influential surfboard shaper and Jonah Hill lookalike Matt Biolos challenges big-wave legend Greg Long’s environmental bona fides, “I hope you back it up by not wearing the Chinese-made, oil tanker-inported clothing co that you work for!”

'We, the human race, still need a lot of oil, or millions will starve and go unclothed," says master shaper Matt Biolos.

Three days ago, Greg Long, surfing’s most decorated big-wave surfer and a man who was dragged unconscious onto the deck of a boat after nearly drowning at Cortes Bank, posted a passionate screed against Dutch company Shell hunting oil off the South African coast. 

Echoes of Sean Doherty’s masterly Fight the Bight campaign that kneecapped a Norwegian oil co sniffing around for liquid gold off the Australian coast a couple of years back. 

Greg wrote, 

The fossil fuel industry is destroying our oceans and future! Despite being just days after the COP26 climate conference where global leaders agreed on the urgent need for climate action and ecological preservation,  on Dec. 1 Shell Oil will begin catastrophic seismic surveying off the coast of South Africa in search of oil or gas deposits.

The vessel operated by Shell Exploration will, for five months, drag up to 48 air guns methodically through 6,011km² of ocean surface, from Morgan Bay to Port St Johns, (The Transkei Coast) firing extremely loud shock wave emissions that penetrate through 3km of water and 40km into the Earth’s crust below the seabed. The ship will work around the clock, firing the air guns every 10 seconds. In the process, marine life on the sensitive Wild Coast will be panicked and damaged.

It is time we hold government and industry accountable.  We need systemic change that protects our natural world, rather than exploiting it.  


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A post shared by Greg Long (@gerglong)

Greg asked followers if they might join in a protest if they happened to be in South Africa and, or, sign a petition. 

All very nice, hard to argue with and so on, at least from the cocoons of our six-cylinder SUVs and with houses warmed and cooled by, mostly, coal-powered electricity. 

Matt Biolos, shaper to the stars and anything but a wallflower, was quick to point out the hypocrisy in the post. 

“I believe you’re doing good and passionate work, Greg. It’s a difficult situation,” Biolos began diplomatically before administering the fatal coup de grâce. 

“I hope you back it up by driving electric cars, eating only locally sourced food, no longer traveling by air, not wearing the the Chinese made ( oil tanker imported) clothing Co that you work for and other radical personally sacrificing changes to make a true example of what’s needed to live with out developing more oil resources. (Personally, We now have have two E-cars in our household, as a small start) but the facts are, every product is moved around the world on fossil fuel burning ships and planes. We need 1000 Elon Musk types , ballzy enough to re-create the industrialized world…which will take 50+ years, at least. In transition, we (human race) still needs a lot of oil, or millions will starve and go unclothed.”

Subsequent replies and back and forthing centred on whether or not electric cars were much of an improvement, what with their damn batteries and the need to charge those batteries with electricity sourced from fossil-fuel powered electricity. 

A circular firing squad!

Everyone dies! 

In metaphorically rich moment, bald eagle swoops down from the sky and steals man-eating shark from proud Florida fishermen thereby reinstating its, and America’s, position atop the surf food chain!

Kolohe Andino for the World Surf League Championship tour title in 2022.

In a moment beautiful enough to make any patriotic American surfer stand and salute, a bald eagle just days ago swooped down from the sky and made a shark its…. well its prey.

The metaphorically rich tableau was captured by Florida men Chad Rissman and his uncle Darren Vick who happened to be fishing on the Dunedin Causeway when they snagged a man-eater.

Vick told Fox News, the only outlet this story belongs upon, “We are just sitting there talking. The line got tight and slack.”

Rissman, providing color, added, “I was reeling it in my uncle was going to grab the line. As the leader is coming up, I said I’d get a hold of the shark.”

But Vick would not, in fact get a hold of the shark as American dominance re-asserted itself by reclaiming its spot atop the food chain both real and metaphorical.

Even though he did not get a hold of the shark, Vick accurately described the scene as “brushing the greatness of the country all into one picture and one experience.”

These colors don’t run.

Kolohe Andino for the World Surf League Championship tour title in 2022.

Smart money.

Unknown sixteen-year-old from Inner Hebrides island turns big-wave surfing world on its head; rides world’s biggest wave Nazare, says, “I don’t know if I’m a big-wave surfer yet!”

"I’ve got a good mindset, I stay quite calm.”

While most sixteen year olds in Scotland are swilling Buckie and tanning windows, or sitting in their bedrooms crying, Ben Larg is taking Nazaré bombs on the head and getting amongst it.

And all with zero fanfare.

To understand what Ben’s doing requires a little context.

He’s already ridden giant Mullaghmore in Ireland when he was just fourteen, as well as several other legit European heavy water spots.

Yet he comes from a tiny island off the west coast of Scotland with no notable surf scene.

The island of Tiree is a pancake flat dot in the Inner Hebrides. It has a population of only 650 people and is roughly ten miles long and five miles wide. 

There’s a beachbreak for almost every swell and wind direction, but the latter is so consistent and strong (with no trees or hills to interrupt it) that the island has traditionally been a haven for windsurfers and kitesurfers.

These days it’s a bit of a winter graveyard of holiday rentals, populated in the summer by bankers from Glasgow who took up surfing during lockdown. When I was there recently it was overrun by fifty-somethings in Teslas with mini-mals strapped to the roof.

SUPs and paunches were also popular.

But from the unlikely sands of (middling beachbreak) Balevullin, where his family’s shack on the beach provides surf lessons to the progeny of Scotland’s suburban go-getters on summer staycations, Ben Larg is rising.

(To be fair, it’s not all pishing rain and gales for days. Ben follows the swallows south towards Africa around November, spending the last few winters in Lanzarote.)

He tackled Nazare a few days ago on boards borrowed from Nick Von Rupp, his unofficial chaperone into the line-up. The two met when Von Rupp was in Scotland recently (YouTubing it to death) and enlisted Ben and his ski to whip him into a heavy slab up North.

They kept in touch and it wasn’t long before Ben got a call to see if he fancied tackling arguably the most famous big wave spot in the world. 

Or at least the one that has captured most mainstream attention for the cartoon-ish images of waves against the context of the lighthouse and viewing area on the cliff.

It was Ben’s first time at Nazare.

He got the call at night and flew the next morning. He towed a few and paddled a few, the screengrab he posted in a rare instagram post being one of his better tow waves.


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A post shared by Ben (@benlargsurf04)

“It was like a football stadium or something,”Ben says. “You can hear everybody cheering when you’re getting waves, and when you’re getting worked!”

Little Ben grabs the horns of his water-moto at Nazaré.

I ask him if he took any heavy ones. “I took the biggest set of the day on the head when I was paddling,” he says. “It’s a really heavy wave, you’re under the water for a long time. But I’ve got a good mindset, I stay quite calm.”

Ben wears a float vest and I wondered how many times he’d pulled it, expecting at least once or twice, but I’m surprised by his answer.  

“I’ve never ever pulled it, I like to save up the canisters,” he laughs. “It’s kind of a goal of mine. I’ve not done it yet, so I said to myself I wasn’t going to do it at Nazaré and I didn’t.”

I’m struck by the composure of a sixteen year old taking on some of the world’s most iconic big waves. Early in our conversation it’s clear that Ben Larg is cut from a different cloth. 

There’s no bravado, no bullshit. 

He seems naturally self-effacing.

“I don’t know if I’m a big wave surfer yet,” he says at one point when I’ve referred to him as such.

He spent a lot of the sessions at Nazaré doing safety on the ski for Von Rupp and others, as well as paddling and towing several waves of his own.

It seems a heavy load for someone so young, not just dealing with your own waves, but looking out for other, more experienced surfers you’ve only just met.

“It’s a super sketchy place to drive the ski on the inside there,” Ben told me. “Hardest place I’ve ever driven.”

But this seems all part of the experience for him, and working with the skis is part of it. 

“I just love surfing big waves. I love driving the skis and stuff, I’ve always been a massive motorhead. I’ve ridden motorbikes my whole life.”

He was surprised by how busy it was with skis buzzing around and roughly twelve tow teams. 

“My paddle waves were good waves, but I never got the proper set waves I wanted. Natxo Gonzalez was on the bombs. I want to paddle it bigger,” he says.

Ben has aspirations of being a big-wave surfer, but doesn’t seem comfortable with the self-promotion that’s arguably necessary to make it.

His Instagram account is quiet. There’s roughly one post a month and sometimes months on end of nothing.

“I hate to talk myself up,” he says. “I’m super inactive on social media, but after staying with Nick (Von Rupp) he says I have to do it.”

It’s an admirable approach, and a pretty remarkable outlier as far as teenagers go, nevermind teenagers pushing limits in heavy surf. 

He’ll probably be forced to amp up his online game if he wants to get noticed and keep sponsors happy, but I would hope some brands might recognise the long term value in authenticity and simply being out there rather than talking yourself up online.

Walk softly and carry a big stick, as they say.

Stories are always more powerful if you let others tell them for you.

I ask Ben if he realises that he’s ridden the biggest waves ever by a Scottish surfer.

He laughs and says he hasn’t thought about it like that. 

“I was stoked just to be the only Scottish guy in the water.”

And his plans for the future?

“Maybe post more than once a year on Instagram…or I could go onto TikTok and flick my hair about a bit.”

It's all in the hips.
It's all in the hips.

Foil king, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s 1400-acre Kauai compound explored in “visually stunning” project that “reflects a broader story of dispossession of Native Hawaiians!”

Gone native.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s transformation from a pale Silicon Valley drone into the world’s 5th richest man and a “foil king” is truly the story of the decade. That famed Caesar haircut, once synonymous with checking out what some kid you knew in high school was cooking for dinner now rests upon a head that has tamed the very seas.

For who doesn’t instantly picture Zuckerberg floating above the waves, foiling, when one pictures him at all?

Beautiful and the Garden Isle of Kauai must be credited as cocoon wherein the Harvard honorary degree holder entered a worm and exited a butterfly.

Zuckerberg famously purchased a nearly 1400-acre compound a few years ago but what does it look like, inside? What is on that precious land?

Well, Business Insider has some answers in “a visually stunning project showcasing the natural beauty that drew Zuckerberg to the island, Tyler Sonnemaker’s story explains how Zuckerberg’s estate there reflects a broader story of the dispossession of Native Hawaiians. Read on for a Q&A with Tyler, and to check out the project, complete with drone footage, illustrations, maps, and audio pronunciations of Hawaiian phrases.”

Very cool.

The piece also explores how Zuckerberg is “going native” on his land by taking up bow hunting and spear throwing.

And of course foiling.

Like King Kamehameha himself.


Bill introduced to Honolulu city council that would effectively ban all surf schools, spring breaker hair braiding operations, other commercial activity from Oahu’s fabled North Shore!

Later, VALs and other such cultural appropriators.

Anyone who has ever traveled somewhere beautiful, fabled even, and coastal has also recognized that beauty attracts like a magnet, beauty sprouts small business and larger businesses, beauty, if left unchecked, will eat beauty like a snake eating its tail.

And it was with this in mind, maybe, that a bill is being introduced to the full Honolulu city council that will effectively ban any surf schools and other commercial activities from Oahu’s fabled North Shore.

Councilmember Heidi Tsuneyoshi brought Bill 34 forward and the percolating frustration about soft top fever percolates through her very words when she says, “So when I went out to Puaʻena Point on an unscheduled site visit, Puaʻena Point was inundated with surf instruction. From point to point in the bay. No room for anything else — just surf instruction. Four different trucks in the parking lot by that area.”

No room for anything else.

Just surf instruction.

Professional surfing contests and commercial filming will be allowed to continue. Surf schools, though, gone. Ummmm hair braiding stands? Gone. Açai igloos? I guess gone? Wedding photography operations? Hopefully disappeared.

According to Hawaii Public Radio, “Committee Chair Augie Tulba expressed concerns about some elements of the bill, including how it would be enforced.”

I’ll tell him how in two words:

Black shorts.

Problem solved.

The vote is scheduled for December 1, 2021.

Later, VALs and other such cultural appropriators.