Australian Russell Crowe becoming rightly enraged.
Australian Russell Crowe becoming rightly enraged.

All of Southern California’s myriad problems would instantly and easily be solved if its many residents, visitors, surfers simply respected the left lane!


Southern California has, let us be frank, seen better days. The onetime most desirable place to live in the entire United States of America is now an overcrowded, expensive, boggy mess with headaches more popular than the iconic orange poppy. Trouble percolating. Rage and dissatisfaction growing. Residents fleeing the Golden State for Austin, Texas and Nashville, Tennessee in droves.

The issues seem, on the surface, myriad and insurmountable but a light went on in my head this morning, sitting across from David Lee Scales, as he played a recorded call as part of our weekly podcasted chat.

The gentleman on the other end was commenting that disembodied spirits do not much haunt these parts because hell has become preferable to Southern California and he may well be right but the solution presented itself in a flash.

If only people respected the left lane, on the many highways and freeways criss-crossing Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego counties, then this southland would once again transform into a utopia.

The left lane, you see, is supposed to be a passing lane and/or the “fast” one wherein trucks, cars, SUVs with places to be zip unencumbered. These days, though, slow moving vehicles of all makes and models choke the left lane, insisting on keeping speeds sub-70, refusing to move when sped toward, flashed, honked, otherwise shamed. Are the drivers unaware? Self-absorbed? passive-aggressive? Insistent on forcing a personal understanding of “safety” on the general public?


And imagine that all those aforementioned traits were suddenly vanished overnight.


David Lee and I, anyhow, discussed and also discussed fairness in sport. An enlightened conversation. Enjoy here.

Ghosts of epic ’97 Quiksilver Pro set to haunt upcoming G-Land contest, “For two weeks, Grajagan was soaked with waves ranging from ‘very good’ to ‘call the wife and kids, tell ‘em I ain’t coming home!'”

Derek Ho severed a tendon on a drainer, Slater toyed with 10-foot double-ups, Machado and Egan surfed one of the highest scoring heats ever.

If you follow my eponymous, sporadically intriguing surf nostalgia account @surfads on Instagram you would have seen a few recent posts celebrating the Quik G-Land ‘97 Pro.

That infamous, pre-internet jungle slam that cooked up one of the most memorable CT events of all time.

Up there with Bells in ‘81, Pipe in ‘95, Mexico in ‘05 or Fiji in 2012. An entire competition window blessed with primo swell at one of the best waves in the world. A draw sporting names like Tom Carroll, Vetea David, Martin Potter, Rob Machado, Mark Occhilupo, Rizal Tanjung, Matt Hoy, and eventual winner Luke Egan.

All documented by Dick Hoole, Don King and the brothers Carroll with a nineties Handycam.


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Fucken nuts.

Indonesia in 1997 was a wild time, man.

The county was smashed by the ‘97 Asian financial crisis. The political situation tidak bagus. After decades of autocratic rule the US-backed strongman President Suharto was finally coming undone. A swelling of democratic support not seen since the days of Sukarno had the country on a knife edge.

Set to that backdrop, it’s a miracle the comp even went ahead.

The current WSL and its abundance of caution wouldn’t go near that shit with a ten-foot selfie stick if it was going down today.

But, to quote surf journalism doyen Nick Carroll, this was a time when companies had cool ideas and sorta just did ‘em. Pre internet. Pre long-range forecast. No worries.

The Indian Ocean wasn’t paying any attention to domestik politik either. For two weeks, Grajagan was soaked with waves ranging from “very good” to “call the wife and kids, tell ‘em I ain’t coming home.”


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Derek Ho severed his patellar tendon on a Speedies drainer before the comp even started. Slater toyed with ten-foot double-ups like it was two-foot Macaronis. Machado and Egan surfed one of the highest scoring heats of all time. Fourteen ten-point rides dropped across the comp in total.

Egan bulldozing the lot to take his maiden ‘CT win.

Watch these clips.


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Tell me how much tube riding technique has progressed in the last quarter century. How many of these surfers would hold a candle to the current crop.

Or still do, in Slater’s case.

The VHS released to surf shops worldwide later that year sold for $9.95 a pop, and instantly became a cult classic for those who got a hold of it. Easily in my top three movies of all time.

For a long time the film, only ever released on VHS, lay dormant.

In the ensuing years its legend only grew. But Quiksilver have recently digitised the movie and pulled together some of the primo clips you see here.

Dunno if it’s gonna be made publicly available but good on ‘em regardless.

We all know how the rest of the song goes.

Suharto finally fell in early ‘98 and the subsequent comp was canned by Quik (another story in itself).

The wave fell off the tour completely until its recent Covid-delayed resurrection.

So how’s the 2022 redux gonna compare?

The forecast for the comp window is looking promising, though as Swellnet points out, tidewise it’s been planned on the wrong side of the lunar cycle, and the wrong time of the day. Grajagan wants as much tide as you can get, preferable around early afternoon.

Most of the window falls on early morning, low new-moon highs.

But still, it’s hard to miss at G Land.

A new, leaner CT.

Plus Gabby.

Plus chicks.

It’s gonna be an instant classic, right? Right?

Slater (pictured) holding bottle of inexpensive champagne which he should be very careful about drinking away from his house as cheap champagne is a known diuretic.
Slater (pictured) holding bottle of inexpensive champagne which he should be very careful about drinking away from his house as cheap champagne is a known diuretic.

World’s most recognized surfer Kelly Slater admits to suffering from debilitating syndrome: “The condition is also known as ‘avoidant paruresis’, ‘psychogenic urinary retention’ and ‘pee-phobia!'”


In these slower surf news days, I find myself drawn like a moth to Kelly Slater’s instagram profile. The world’s most recognized surfer has won 11 titles, starred in movies, presented awards at the Oscars and eviscerated the globe’s richest man Elon Musk. He is also a social media master, never afraid to share opinion or spar with others.

Now, of course I am blocked from his instagram profile, like many others, but when there’s a will there’s a way and my will to observe Kelly Slater in the wild is great.

Thus, today, I clicked over and while there were no new postings or stories, his biography had changed, merely reading “Paruresisist.”

“Paruresisist?” I wondered, having never encountered the word before, and quickly searched it up.

Paruresis, as it turns out, is a social phobia that involves a discomfort, or inability, to urinate in front of, or near, others.

Per Australia’s Better Health resource:

A person with paruresis (shy bladder syndrome) finds it difficult or impossible to urinate (pee) when other people are around. Paruresis is believed to be a common type of social phobia, ranking second only to the fear of public speaking. Paruresis is often first experienced at school. The condition affects men and women of all races. In mild cases, paruresis is an occasional event, like a form of performance anxiety. For example, a man at a public urinal may find that he is unable to urinate when flanked by other men. In severe cases, a person with paruresis can only urinate when alone at home. The condition is also known as ‘avoidant paruresis’, ‘psychogenic urinary retention’ and ‘pee-phobia’.


The fact that such an accomplished professional surfer is so open about what may be considered embarrassing is wonderful, no? But do you suffer “pee-phobia” as well? Will Slater’s bold declaration free you to admit that it’s ok? That you are not only among others but great others? Or do you toil under the invisible yoke of some other syndrome like nomophobia or plutophobia that you will now be willing to publicly embrace?

Inspirational, in any case. Inspirational and uplifting. Kelly Slater the Cesar Chavez of paruresisists.

Rescuers work to free buried teenager on Jersey Shore.
Rescuers work to free buried teenager on Jersey Shore.

Officials warn bored surfers, beachgoers about dangers of digging giant sand holes as tragic collapse on Jersey shore claims life of young man.

A new menace.

Tragedy struck Toms River, there on the Jersey Shore, days ago, when two teenager siblings on vacation with their parents became trapped in a giant hole they were digging in the sand using frisbees. The sister, seventeen, was quickly rescued while the brother, eighteen, was not and was pronounced dead at the scene.

It took rescue crews over three hours, using heavy machinery, to recover his body.

Toms River’s mayor wrote in a statement, “The Jersey Shore is a place where families come to make memories, bond and enjoy all that the beach has to offer. This tragedy is a reminder to us all to be vigilant for our loved ones safety. Let me remind all of our beach goers, visitors and locals, to never dig more than knee deep in the sand. Doing so puts yourself and others at risk.”

The unimaginable nightmare has highlighted a recent spate of New Jersey sand hole collapses with multiple trapping young children up and down the coastline during the past few years. Officials are warning of similar deep holes being dug by bored surfers on North Carolina’s Outer Banks whilst taking breaks from the waves.

These holes remain gaping after the surfers back up and head home, becoming potential menaces to children or emergency vehicles.

Ocean rescue supervisor for Kill Devil Hills, David Elder, told NPR news that the they’ve had people break limbs by falling into pits and even dying. “Sadly, this is the way that people choose to spend their time,” he bemoaned.

You want a pool, kid? Go to Typhoon Lagoon.

American Wave Machines sues WSL-owned Surf Ranch Florida and others over abandoned Palm Beach, Florida, wavepool project!

Confused? Like, wasn't Palm Beach supposed to become only the second Surf Ranch built? Click and get lost in the Byzantine world of biggish finance!

American Wave Machines has sued Surf Ranch Florida, LLC, owned by Dirk Ziff and of Kelly Slater Wave Company fame, in Florida state court.

Other named defendants include 80 Acres Surf, AW Property Operations (AWPO), and AW Asset management.

American Wave Machines is one of the earliest surf pool technology companies. Its technology is ubiquitous, with projects including Waco Surf (formally known as BSR Surf Resort) and PerfectSwell® Shizunami, where the US surf team trained in anticipation of the Olympics.

The suit concerns a failed surf pool project in Palm Beach, Florida.

According to the complaint, one year after the World Surf League acquired Kelly Slater Wave Company in 2016, the WSL announced it would be developing a second pool using KSWC’s technology in Palm Beach.

The project promised “substantial” capital investment, 322 jobs, a $33 mill annual economic impact and year-round tourism.

The WSL bought the site for $6.5 million.

Brian Waxman, President of AW Property Operations and AW Asset management, was self-described as the project lead for the Florida project.

In 2019, the WSL announced the cancellation of the project citing an “extremely high water table [that] exposed unforeseen challenges that made the decision around this unique project clear.”

Then, in 2020, according to the complaint, Brian Waxman approached American Wave Machines “to revive the former project as PerfectSwell® Palm Beach.”

Waxman allegedly “made repeated statements that [the] WSL would not be involved [in] the Project.”

Further, “Waxman insisted that PerfectSwell® Palm Beach not be announced publicly.”

According to the complaint, in January 2020, the parties signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement that limited parties from sharing any confidential information unless approved in writing by AWM.

In June 2020, the parties signed an agreement for the construction and installation of AWM’s PerfectSwell® technology for $7.64 million.

The agreement included a payment schedule.

At the behest of Waxman, the first payment was only $250,000, less than 4% of the purchase price.

The second payment, a much larger sum, was slated for 120 days after the initial payment. AWPO was also was permitted to terminate the agreement before making the subsequent payment.

According to Waxman, the purpose of the cancellation plan was designed to “allow [AWPO] to commit to [AWM] in a somewhat significant manner while we spend the next 60 days working with you, learning and getting better organized on this new concept without putting too much at risk.”

During the negotiations, the AWPO allegedly retained Blake Hess, General Manager at the WSL’s Surf Ranch, as a consultant. AWM was apprehensive about Hess’s role, likely due to Hess’s affiliation with a rival pool technology company.

In an email, AWM requested that “communications in the coming months be limited to direct partners, stakeholders, and accredited professionals.”

According to the complaint, the following year, Hess left the WSL to join Beach Street Development, a real estate development company, as its Chief Operating Officer. The following month, AWPO “formally retained Beach Street” for the project.

AWM immediately made its concerns with working with Beach Street known.

In an email, Bruce McFarland, founder and president of AWM, “expressed AWM’s unwillingness to work with a company [Beach Street] that actively tried to undermine us [AWM], are attempting to falsely equate PerfectSwell® in the marketplace, and is licensed to exclusively sell another wave generating system.”

It is unclear what technology Beach Street is licensed to sell, but on its website, it says “Beach Street is pioneering a new segment – barefoot lifestyle destinations and resorts anchored by man-made surfing lagoons.”

The site also lists several pool projects throughout the U.S.

After making the first payment, the AWPO allegedly continued to delay any additional payments, even as they “continued to request, and AWM continued to provide, confidential and proprietary information.”

The second payment was originally scheduled for September 2020; on May 31, 2021, AWPO requested an additional extension.

Then, on July 15, 2021, Waxman and AWPO informed AWM that they would be no longer moving forward with AWM’s technology, alleging that investors “had lost confidence in AWM based on certain representations made during various discussions with unauthorized third parties, including Blake Hess.”

Among the issues cited was the wrongful death suit and subsequent settlement at BSR in Waco, Texas and apparent dissatisfaction with the Japan project.

Following the dismissal of AWM, the Florida project allegedly employed WhiteWater, a company with technology created by an ex-AWM employee.

According to AWM, WhiteWater employs technology that infringers on AWM’s intellectual property.

The complaint alleges that AWPO shared AWM’s “confidential and proprietary information with unauthorized third parties.”

AWM alleges breach of contract, both with respect to the original purchase agreements and the NDA.

They further seek injunctive relief to enjoin defendants from further disclosing AWM confidential or proprietary information.

Under Florida state rules, defendants have until May 25 to file their answer

More as the story develops.

Wanna read the whole 89 pages of the complaint? Click here!