A shockwave is reverberating across the social scientific world, this morning, as it has been revealed that a potentially landscape altering study is being embarked upon seeking to determine whether surfers are the true “unsung heroes” when it comes to saving lives or the lowest form of self-congratulatory liars that ever paddled the seas.
Professor Rob Brander of the University of New South Wales (UNSW) first published a study nearly seven years ago that suggested surfers rescue as many people as volunteer lifesavers and that 63% of surfers feel they have saved a life.
Again, 63% of surfers feel they have saved a life.
The numbers have haunted, Dr. Bander and colleagues all these nearly seven years and so are kicking off a new study to quantify the actual count of “guardian angel” surfers worldwide.
“It’s estimated that over 35 million people regularly participate in surfing – that’s a lot more than the entire population of Australia,” says Dr. Brander. “In Australia alone there are an estimated 2.5 million surfers, which is about 10% of the population. So we are really interested to see if we can get stronger data about surfers and how many rescues they might make each year at Australian beaches, and whether this is consistent the world over.”
Will the jig be up when Dr Brander and his colleagues start poking? Will it be revealed that surfers are unrepentant cons who will say anything for a pat on the back or true halo’d saints?
Which do you think?
Do you feel you have saved a life?
More as the story develops.
Malibu surf icon whose legend was dramatised in seminal teen movie “Gidget” reported missing somewhere in Venice area! “It is possible he is suffering from some age-related mental frailty and is wandering the streets of west Los Angeles”
Surfer, motorcycle racer, artist, hep-cat, and co-founder of The Royal Hawaiian crowd-clearing technique at Malibu, Billy al Bengston was one of the members of the Malibu pit crew in the 1950s who had all those lovely green walls to himself and friends, which included Miki “Da Cat” Dora, Terry “Tubesteak” Tracy, Kemp and Denny Aaberg and a Happy Few digging the secret thrill of surfing in the 1950s.
More importantly, Bengston was a serious player in the art world – one of the most influential California artists to move out of the 1950s into the 1960s – and is called by some “The West Coast Andy Warhol.”
On the night of November 28, surfer/ceramicist = surferamicist Cory Bluemling sent an alarming AT RISK/MISSING PERSON bulletin (by way of the California Highway Patrol and Malibu local Carla Rowland) alerting the public that an 87-year-old man named Billy Bengston was missing in the Venice area.
Cory wondered if this was the same artist/surfer whose art was so influential in the middle of the 20th Century, and whose nickname inspired the James Darren character in the 1959 movie Gidget.
Quick emails went around and there were responses from Kathy “Gidget” Kohner-Zuckerman,
“He lived on Mildred in Venice. Yes this could be a pix of Billy Al and I have not seen him in a long while. Age would be correct about… is this for real?”
And Phyllis “The Concrete Heiress” Tracy, wife of Tubesteak Tracy (RIP 1935 – 2018).
“Yes. I thought he lived in Venice.I hope he’s ok.”
So Venice and the age match up, so this missing person probably is the surfing world’s Billy Al Bengston, and that’s a worry.
“So what?” you sneer. “Who is this guy? What’s it to me? How does this affect my trip?”
According to Wikipedia,
“Billy Al Bengston (born June 7, 1934 in Dodge City, Kansas) is an American artist and sculptor who lives and works in Venice, California and Honolulu, Hawaii. Bengston is a contemporary artist probably best known for his work that he created that uses the radical Californian “Kustom Kar” and motorcycle culture. He used colors that were psychedelic and shapes that were mandala like.”
It’s all true, and the (2021 – 1934 = 87) matches up to the age of the missing Billy Bengston.
Fleshing out the Wikipedia, there is this from the Getty.edu webpage:
“Billy Al Bengston (born 1934) is a flamboyant character who, beginning in the late 1950s, combined art with professional motorcycle racing and quickly became a key player in the Ferus Gallery circle. He had five solo shows at Ferus from 1958 to 1963, as well as a major exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1968. The motorcycle imagery in several early works associated Bengston with West Coast Pop, as did his use of techniques and materials drawn from custom-car and motorcycle culture, while the polished surfaces he achieved with spray lacquer also connected him to early conceptions of Finish Fetish.”
Finish Fetish. Out of the 1950s and into the 1960s, Bengston was a sharp-looking, clean-cut dude with a moustache who – like Bruce Brown and John Severson and other surfer artists of that era – dabbled in surfing and motorcycles and brought inspiration from those pursuits to their art.
So what is the connection between this real Moondoggie and the fictitious character in the 1959 movie Gidget?
In the book, Moondoggie invents the name “Gidget” (a fusion of “girl midget”), and eventually gives the chirpy teenager his class pin. Asked by Longboard Magazine in 1997 if there was in fact any romantic relationship between himself and Kathy Kohner—the real-life Gidget and daughter of author Kohner— Bengston dismissed the thought. “She brought sandwiches to the beach. We ate them.”
Billy Al Bengston is 87 years old and while surfers like to think our kind are not prone to mental disabilities because surfers spend their lives bathing their brains in adrenaline and endorphins and other such sweet liquors (See: Dick Metz, Mickey Munoz, Gidget) it is possible Bengston is suffering from some age-related mental frailty, and is wandering the streets of west Los Angeles.
Please be on the lookout and let’s get Moondoggie home.
World’s most famous Great White Shark doppelgänger captured lurking near Southern California, likely practicing choreography for gory “Hollywood moment!”
I’ll tell you what. There is nothing more difficult than ballet choreography. Why and how I know such is a longer story, becoming a book, but my goodness and wow. The moves are all in French, impossible to do, rapid fire and must be exact. Exact. Not one toe out of place. Not one finger wrong. Toss in dizzying spins, inhuman flexibility, a brain able to sort the specifics then add grace and flow.
Hollywood acting, I’d imagine, much easier but maybe not for Great White Sharks as their brains are only 60 centimeters long and, thus, a Great White was practicing her simple choreography very near Southern California in a possible indication that the world’s most famous Great White Shark role, Jaws, is being recast.
Per news reports, Nikki Brant Sevy and Euan Rannachan of the Be A Shark diving operation were off Guadalupe Island snapping headshots when they saw “Nicole” working her routine.
“When sharks are serious about getting a hang bait they often make a fast vertical approach from the depths.” Sevy told The New York Post.“I saw Nicole approaching from below and was able to visually track her as she instigated her approach. She rose up directly in front of me and I knew I had the chance at a Jaws movie poster shot. There were a lot of mackerel around that day, and I was worried they ruined the photo by getting between me and Nicole, or that they pulled focus from her. Checking your photos underwater is difficult, though, so I crossed my fingers and went back to photographing Nicole for another hour. It wasn’t until the trip was over that I downloaded my images and realized I got the shot.”
Would you like to audition for “surfer getting eaten” in the re-deux?
Easier than ballet, I’ll tell you that right now.
Open Thread: Comment Live day two of the Michelob Ultra PURE GOLD Haleiwa Challenger!
North Shore residents are mad as heck and not going to take it anymore. Inundated with folks buying homes then flipping them into short term rentals has choked streets with traffic and turned one-time friendly neighborhoods into zombie zones where two-week vacationers from Albuquerque greet one-week vacationers from Cincinnati with shakas and “how-zits.”
So mad as heck, in fact, that a bill is being introduced to the Honolulu City Council that would seek to kill the short term rental situation with taxes.
Under Bill 41, which has already passed a first reading at the Honolulu City Council, short-term rentals would be taxed at higher rates than residential homes, among numerous other changes to the city’s land use law.
Properties where the owner lives on site would be taxed at the bed-and-breakfast rate.
Transient vacation rentals, investment properties for owners who live off-site, would be taxed at the same rate as hotels and resorts – almost four times the lowest residential rate.
Seemingly wonderful except caught in the net would be longterm, and legendary, residents like Mark Foo’s widow SharLyn who has run Backpackers for decades, a hostel that allows migrant surfers to follow seasonal swells and sleep cheap.
“They keep saying they’re going to leave the existing, legal NUCs (or non-conforming use) alone,” Foo told Civil Beat, “But what they’re really trying to do is put everybody out.”
Her taxes would soar from $27,000 a year to over $90,000 coupled with many fees.
The residents and long-time hostel/bed and breakfast owner-operators are trying to find a solution wherein they are not hit with a sledgehammer while, also, ridding the fabled 7-plus mile miracle of illegal rentals.
Will the mainland-dwelling North Shore income property owners fight back?