Open Thread: Comment live, Round of 32 at the Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Haleiwa Challenger!

Professional surf time.

It’s time for professional surfing, once again, but do you care or do you care more about the SEC Championship Game between Georgia and Alabama later this afternoon?

Watch here (surfing).

Tell you friends what you think about football, Covid, Zeke Lau in the comments below.

Parents sue electric hydrofoil company after 10-year-old surf champion son has thumb tragically severed by propeller: “If he can fall and suffer the loss of a limb, anyone can.”

"One thing that’s important to know is that these boards are marketed as safe for kids, safe for the elderly, safe for everyone..."

In what could, perhaps, be a blow to the exploding popularity of electric hydrofoils, a family on Hawaii’s Big Island is suing the manufacturer WeFoil after their 10-year-old son, and recent NSSA West Coast Regional Championships winner, fell off and had his thumb severed by the propeller.

The horrific incident took place off Kailua-Kona and was the boy’s first time on the electric foil all captured with video. He was airlifted to Oahu for emergency surgery but the thumb could not be saved.

The family’s lawyer, Jeffery Foster, told Hawaii News Now, “Within literally seconds of him riding this e-foil the board did something weird. He fell off and tragically he lost his thumb on his dominate hand due to this exposed propeller. One thing that’s important to know is that these boards are marketed as safe for kids, safe for the elderly, safe for everyone. I don’t want this to happen to any other kid.”

Malia Lins Costa, the boy’s mother, added, “If he can fall and suffer the loss of a limb, anyone can.”

The lawsuit is seeking the immediate recall of WeFoil boards and “all other boards like it.” Furthermore, it calls on governments to enact further regulation of the electric hydrofoil industry.

There doesn’t appear to be any mechanism on the board that causes the board to stop operating,” Foster said. “If it did, if the propeller stopped moving at the time that he fell he wouldn’t have gone through this horrific incident. It’s important to say that it’s not just this company that sells this board with this particular exposed propeller. From what we’ve gathered it’s an industry wide issue.”

Is Big Foil the next Big Tobacco?

More as the story develops.

Surf Journalist discovers that sleeping better, not longer, is one very important key to a well-oiled mind!

A better life awaits.

Sleep. I’ve never been a huge fan of shut-eye, I’ll be honest. I mean, it’s ok but there are many more enjoyable things to do when the sun sets like driving to Las Vegas under the pale moonlight, eating sugar cereal, watching sporting highlights, playing iPhone blackjack, reading Matt Warshaw’s Encyclopedia of Surfing, scrolling through Donald Trump Jr. speeches but did you know that sleep, that shut-eye, is actually very crucial to a well-oiled mind?

It’s true but herein lies the quandary. Too much sleep means missing out on high-quality surf and especially during this holiday season.

Too little sleep means writing error-laden stories about the Caribbean.

How to find the balance?

Mercifully, my personal digital fitness and health coach is always on the job. My sleep WHOOP strap, perpetually gathering data, constantly tabulating heart and respiratory rates, overall strain, my various recoveries from previous days and allows me to sleep smarter, not longer. It gifts, “personalized sleep suggestions based on how strenuous your day is and when you need to wake up the following day” allowing the evolved to “set target performance goals so the sleep coach can adjust your sleep need suggestions so you can perform on days you need to be at your best and get by on days you can recover.”

Just before Thanksgiving, for example, I wanted to paddle for an early surf but would I make intelligent decisions in the lineup? Checking in with my WHOOP I realized that my recovery had been high, the previous day, and my strain within reason.


I knew that I could wake up early, select the right board for the conditions, the spot where it would be best and perform the right maneuvers in the right sequences.

I also knew that I could come home and write art-adjacent stories about my fitness and health journey that you could learn from, lessons that you could apply to your own situation.

Christmas is around the corner. Gift yourself a better life.

Buy here, fifteen percent discount if you use the code BEACHGRIT at checkout.

Moongie liked bikes, too!

Malibu surf icon Moondoggie whose legend was dramatised in seminal teen movie “Gidget” and who had disappeared at Venice Beach prompting an outpouring of grief found alive!

A Hanukah miracle!

Surfer, motorcycle racer, artist, hep-cat, and co-founder of The Royal Hawaiian crowd-clearing technique at Malibu, Billy al Bengsto,  is safe and sound and back with his family, although details are thin as to where he disappeared to and why.

Pretty much the only information that Bengston was home was one Instagram post announcing WE FOUND HIM!!!! by “Bluetica” on the last day of November, 2021.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by bluetica (@bluetica)

An appeal to “Bluetica” for details came up with bupkis and that led to an internet search to discover who “Bluetica” is.

“Bluetica Bengston” got mixed results from Los Angeles to Rome, but it appeared there was a Blue Tica Bengston who was involved with the horsey and polo set in Santa Barbara.

A Google search for “daughter Billy Al Bengston” was revealing, as apparently this was not the first time Moondoggie split from Venice.

According to a story called Venice is losing a bit of its cool by Lousie Roug in The Los Angeles Times for 8-8-2004, Bengston was retiring and splitting from Venice to move to British Columbia,

“In mid-August, he’s moving to Victoria, Canada, with his wife, Wendy, and his 14-year-old daughter, Tica – a move prompted, he said, by Tica, who wants to live in ‘horse country.’”

So that was her, a daughter born in 1990 who was into horses. So that was revealing but more so about how an influential artist from the 1950s and 1960s was negotiating the years on either side of Y2K.

According to The LA Times, Bengston’s departure was seen as the end of an era and bad juju by the resident artists of Venice:

But by the early ‘90s, Bengston had nearly vanished from the art scene, showing intermittently and then, for long stretches, not at all. His friends developed theories: Bengston had given up on the art world, or the art world had given up on Bengston; he was a victim of changing sensibilities, or he had opted out of a corrupt system.

Bengston himself gave contradictory answers. ‘Billy Al is retired and in his retirement, doing all the things one shouldn’t do while retired,’ his website said.

Now, a show of old and new work, ceramics and paintings opens today at the Cartelle Gallery in Marina Del Rey.

The show is a farewell to Los Angeles. Billy Al Bengston, contrarian, is leaving town.

Matt Kivlin was done with surfing in the 1950s: “Too crowded” and went on to be an admirably prolific architect, working non stop as Los Angeles boomed after World War II.

Bengston also thrived as a post-war artist, but it took him longer than that to be over the art world, which he compared to the surfing world.

Later on in the article, Bengston found parallel lines between the surfing world of the 50s and the art world of the 1950s:

On a lazy summer morning, Bengston’s view was a Southern California tableau: An ocean breeze rustled the palm trees in his garden and rippled the surface of the pool. But Bengston was happy to be leaving it all behind.

“I’m so thankful I’m not young and having to do it the way they do it today,” he said. “It was a lifestyle when we used to do it. Surfing absolutely paralleled the art world: It used to be a lifestyle, it became a business. When things become a business, your values change. There was no dollar value in surfing, and there was no dollar value in being an artist.”

The real value of art, he said, is mystery and surprise.

“A work of art is always supposed to leave you, ‘I don’t understand that. But it sure isn’t boring,’” Bengston said.

The only function of art is to be “something that you ain’t seen before,” he said. “To be itself.”

If you’re interested, that Los Angeles Times article is a good biography of Bengston up to 2004, when Bengston apparently bailed to British Columbia.

At some point he came back, and then, more recently, he disappeared again.

Information on that is non-existent. But safe to say, Billy Al is safe and sound and bouncing babies.

Home for the holidays.

World Surf League flexes hard on long-suffering fans, forces them to enter “foil king” Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse in order to experience professional contest surfing!

Boss moves.

I met Adam Silver, the commissioner of the NBA, many years ago in New York and was impressed by both his vision and his approach. He seemed to know where the future of sport was headed and was guiding basketball there, turning its stars into international sensations. He was also very aware that he had an opportunity to grow a fanbase far beyond the United States of America’s borders. People watching, engaging, following the world over was what mattered and so he pivoted hard from the NFL and MLB models of restricting access to certain channels, suing wildly when logos, team names appeared anywhere unsanctioned etc. and let people take games, highlight clips, all of it and do what they pleased.

A winning strategy and now the NBA has more fans than the once all-powerful NFL.

Well, the World Surf League has decided that it has too many fans and, days ago, followed the iron fist model refusing for its surf contests to be embedded anywhere not Facebook, YouTube or

Forcing its fans to live inside “foil king” Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse.

Completely idiotic, I think. Santa Monica should be begging for any sort of engagement they can get, any sweet boy or girl to care about Conner O’Leary somewhere, anywhere. They should be trying to hide their player on each and every surf or surf-adjacent website out there but no, I suppose. Too many fans already, I guess.

David Lee Scales and I discussed Ben Gravy’s wedding for about three-times as long as we did Haleiwa yesterday, in any case. Maybe another worrying sign co-Waterperson of the Year Dirk Ziff and crew.

Listen here.