Desperate surf fans break out nautical charts, protractors, as universally adored John John Florence gets on boat with many surfboards and cryptically pens “South we go, excited and a bit nervous. I have never done a trip like this.”
I am still in Tucumcari, New Mexico, currently buoyed by “You should have known better…” comments. John John Florence is in Hawaii, or somewhere there abouts, with multiple surfboards loaded onto his boat, at the start of his own epic quest. The two-time world champion took to Instagram, days ago, cryptically writing, “South we go, excited and a bit nervous. I have never done a trip like this. Our first leg will be a little more than 3000 miles over two weeks. It’s been so fun looking over charts this month imagining the setups and waves we can sail to. It feels like a dream to have this chance to search for waves on our own. We will try to share as much as we can here. I’m grateful for the opportunity, and looking forward to the challenge!!”
Beleaguered surf fans of competitive professional surfing immediately broke out nautical charts, protractors and quickly realized that French Polynesia, home to Teahupoo, is directly south from Hawaii and started buzzing.
Could it be?
Might it be?
Florence sailing south in order to anchor off that place of broken skulls and participate in the upcoming Outerknown Tahiti Pro which kicks off August 11?
There is no current professional surfer as universally adored as the prodigy done good. He has proven himself in big waves, small waves, competitively and artistically. An artist in his prime. If his knee is good enough to sail and surf explore, is there a possibility it is also good enough to defeat current world number one Filipe Toledo at a thumping slab?
What do you think about that?
Surf Journalist suffers abject disaster on epic quest, leans in to World Surf League patented “Wall of Positive Noise” and has profound metaphysical experience!
The Volkswagen broke down two hours outside of Albuquerque and I thought, “Oh, dang.” The day had started fine as can be. Hot morning sun shining overhead, hares and lizards scampering for cover. I went for an early swim in the Hotel Albuquerque’s temperate pool, lap length, before hitting the road, pointed toward Oklahoma City with much hope and roasted green chilies flooding my heart.
Oklahoma City, though, certain to be a jackpot of non-surfing World Surf League fans, the very same for which I am searching these great United States. You, of course, know that the Sooner state’s capital has a famous first son and he just so happens to be CEO of the aforementioned WSL.
The tall tale of Eric “ELo” Logan must certainly be passed from father to son, birthing person to them, whispered in cowboy bars, shouted at Thunder games like those of Pecos Bill and Davy Crocket.
And I was thinking about this when notifications began popping above the freeway that the 40 east, my route, was closed due big wreck. Well, I stopped at a truck stop, asked a trucker if it was true and he told me it wasn’t closed, just rerouted onto a frontage road then dumped right back on.
I asked him if he happened to be a fan of competitive professional surfing.
He simply said, “No.”
20 miles later, exactly as it was foretold, traffic was rerouted onto a frontage road, creeped along for half an hour then dumped right back on except when I tried to dump right back on something happened. The Volkswagen lost power and warning lights began flashing wildly. I coasted off to the shoulder, restarted and the engine light was on but no warning ones and I had enough power to limp one mile down the road to the Pajarito Rest Area.
Figuring it was an oil issue, I bummed a sip off a fellow traveler but couldn’t get anymore so figured adventure was in order. The last time I was broken down in a desert was rural Yemen and adventure was only the half of it (buy here).
The nearest gas station was a two mile hike down the freeway. Hiking up my black wool Comme des Garçons trousers, I was off. Initially, I didn’t want to walk along the freeway so hopped a barbed wire fence and found a road that looked like it headed toward my destination. Then I thought, “People get shot on private land and who knows how far the legend of Eric Logan stretches,” so I re-hopped the barbed wire, got a nice nick on my finger and proceeded down the freeway, scampering across it during a break to be on the right side.
Oil acquired, I hitched a ride with a kind Native American living off the grid. He didn’t watch competitive professional surfing because he had yet to install solar panels.
Back to the Volkswagen, I discovered oil wasn’t the problem and neither was vapor lock, as a kind motorist suggested. I could get up to about 30 mph then power would drain.
Being non-mechanical, I called a tow truck.
It took forever to arrive, due the same big wreck, leaving me much time to stare at the clouds, get bitten by ants and think. I was stuck in the middle of absolute nowhere, my exceptionally talented daughter was not going to get her car, I was going to have to walk the freeway all the way back to Cardiff by the Sea.
But then it struck me.
What has the World Surf League been steadily building for the last five years?
What has it poured its entire credibility into?
A glorious, and patented, Wall of Positive Noise.
When the waves are two foot and dumping?
Eight foot and draining.
When Kelly Slater doesn’t want to show up in El Salvador or Brazil because he thinks they suck?
The list goes on and on and on and I could just hear Joe Turpel’s voice ringing in my head.
“Hop on the sled and reset.”
“Hop on the sled and reset.”
“Hop on the sled and reset.”
By the time the tow truck driver arrived, and loaded the Volkswagen on his flatbed, I was a changed man a changed man on an epic quest who would not be undone by harsh realities.
Victor told me that he could get me to Tucumcari and that sounded just fine. We chatted on the road, he told me everything about tow trucking like Bubba told Forrest everything about shrimping, and then there was a pause. I pounced.
“Do you happen to watch competitive professional surfing?”
Victor smiled, “I don’t know what that is but I used to watch surfing on YouTube sometimes.”
“Why?” I asked.
He had a wonderful laconic drawl and stopped for a minute before answering, “I used to think I wanted to surf but we have this thing where I live called the Blue Hole. Have you heard of it?”
I had seen a sign for it and assumed it was like Crater Lake in my home state of Oregon so nodded.
“Well,” Victor continued, “I get in there and I think something is going to come up and eat me. I know it’s not, but I can’t get the anxiety out of my head so figure there is no way I’ll ever get in the ocean. But I liked those YouTube surfers.”
We pulled into Tucumcari about that time, Ray’s Truck Garage as it was closing, mechanic told me he’d take a look tomorrow, and reading the name sparked a clear memory. On the very first post detailing my epic quest, three days ago, our very own thevoiceofnoreason made two comments.
The second was, “PS If you go through Gallup, NM, stop at Zuni Trader and buy your baby some Zuni Pointallism jewelry. Say Keshi (kay-SHE) when you greet to the salesperson. You’re welcome.”
I did go through Gallup though did not stop, even though I said I would, as it was late and I was pushing to get to Albuquerque before restaurants closed.
The first was, “Tucumcari, NM. Drive safe, Charles.”
Here I am.
Hawaiian realtor seeks to correct record regarding surfing great Kelly Slater’s use of “illegal burritos,” blame falls on The Inertia for wantonly spreading misinformation!
Kelly Slater, world’s greatest surfer, 11x competitive professional surfing champion, etc. recently made waves by putting one of his two Oahu North Shore homes on the rental marketplace for a song ($36,000 per month). Recent changes in local laws allow for homes to be rented out for at least three months and surfers world over checked under couch cushions, rifled through pockets to see if a spare $108,000 might be found.
BeachGrit, which broke the story, lovingly described the property, adding it would be safe from ocean rage thanks to a burrito, or sand filled bag that stops erosion, out the front and a Buddha statue by the swimming pool.
Well, Slater’s Hawaiian realtor was kind enough to call me as I drove east, yesterday, in search of the mythical non-surfing WSL surf fan and shared there was, as it were, no Buddha by the pool and no burrito out front. In fact, she declared, the most recent Pro Pipeline winner has never used burritos on either of his North Shore homes and it was all an untruth.
In 2018, Kelly Slater, an 11-time world surfing champion who lives on Ehukai Beach by the world-famous Banzai Pipeline surf break, illegally installed a burrito. He, as well as his neighbors, were fined just $2,000.
Slater paid the fine and wrote to the Department of Land and Natural Resources last year asking it to approve his illegal structure so his home would be protected from future hurricane surf, as well as unexpected and seasonal weather. Lemmo, in response, rejected the request and underscored the seriousness of the situation.
Blame fell on The Inertia for spreading that bit of misinformation and I did not disagree with her one bit.
So the record is now, officially, corrected.
Europe explodes in outrage after topless woman attempts to “surf” stranded dolphin at Dutch resort, “Such people have no respect for nature, no empathy for other beings”
Summer in Europe is a helluva thing, a no-rules, anything goes sorta deal, children sitting on stools drinking beer in bars, dinner rarely served before eleven pm, and all resonating to the heart-felt moans of women having their animal appetites sated in sand dunes while their cuckolded husbands attend to the family children under gaily striped umbrellas.
In this short, which was posted on Twitter, we see a buxom woman, topless, for this is Europe, straddling a dolphin that had become stranded in shallow water and trying to surf the wretched beast.
The woman is only persuaded to leave the dolphin alone after the intervention of two men.
The caption reads, “Mad cetacean woman climbs on beaked whale in Zandvoort, while the dolphin was previously pushed back into the sea by others. The animal could have died as a result.”
Gestoorde walvisachtige vrouw klimt in Zandvoort op spitssnuitdolfijn, terwijl de dolfijn eerder door anderen teruggeduwd werd in de zee. Het dier had daar door kunnen overlijden. pic.twitter.com/AN4Z3twHkB
Annemarie van den Berg of SOS Dolfijn, a marine mammal rescue organization, told RTL News the fact the dolphin was even in this area was “very disturbing.”
“These are toothed whales and they do not belong in the North Sea. They are deep-sea animals. If they end up in the North Sea, they get into trouble. These animals do not survive well in these types of waters. They look for food at a depth of two to three kilometres.”
Twitter users were made sad, furious etc, many body-shaming the woman while others pointed out the famously rapey tendencies of dolphin.
Surf Journalist hopes America’s rich southwest, home to many First Nations tribes, is gushing geyser of non-surfing World Surf League fans!
The monsoon hit an hour outside of Phoenix and I thought, “Well hell.” Thick black clouds, bubbling and boiling, had been haunting the sky for some time and, while I know the southwestern American desert is partial to summer squalls, didn’t imagine the possibility of driving into the teeth of one.
My reaction, of course, should have been positive, witnessing the glory of nature, the striking contrast of dry versus wet, dripping cacti etc. but had tried to wipe bug guts off the windshield just after the sun had poked over the horizon near The Center of the World and realized the wipers on my very talented daughter’s 2011 Volkswagen Jetta wagon were broken.
And, so, when the sky finally broke I was officially driving blind.
My phone vibrated wildly in the cup holder with an emergency alert.
National Weather Service: A FLASH FLOOD WARNING is in effect for this area until 11:30 AM MST. This is a dangerous and life-threatening situation. Do not attempt to travel unless you are fleeing an area subject to flooding or under an evacuation order.
But also, are Surfline and the National Weather Service one and the same?
No time to ponder that. I was not to be undone by accuracy nor hyperbole and, since I couldn’t see a thing, let the Volkswagen drive where it wanted while focusing my mind on the task at hand.
Now, the southwestern American desert, currently deadly, is also home to many First Nations’ tribes. Those here long before Col. Haole stepped foot on the sacred soil and I wondered if many of them, if not most, had recently discovered competitive professional surfing and follow rabidly.
The World Surf League, you see, has pivoted hard progressive over the past few seasons and passively celebrates “Indigenous People’s Day,” does aboriginal face paintings before competitions at Bells Beach, I think maybe Jeffreys Bay too, and otherwise performatively activisms better than the National Football League (which had the “Redskins” as a team until months ago), Major League Baseball (where “Chief Wahoo” adorned Cleveland Indian hats until months ago), lacrosse (blatantly stolen from Native Americans though played exclusively by rich Ivy League brats) etc.
The WSL stands in alliance.
And so I stopped at a gas station and moccasin shop near the Fort Apache Reservation once the torrent ceased, still alive, marched in, bought a Red Bull and asked the kindly man behind the counter, “Excuse me, sir, do you follow the World Surf League?”
He studied me while answering, “World Surf what?”
“League,” I responded.
“What is that?” he asked.
“The home of competitive professional surfing,” I said.
“That exists?” he wrinkled his nose.
“Yes,” I nodded.
“No. I’ve never heard of it.”
Bent but not broken, I shuffled through puddles back to the car and kept driving, kept stopping at various gas stations and moccasin shops, kept receiving variations on the same answer.
The rain had stopped by the time I neared Albuquerque and bolts of lightning flashed across the heavens creating a dynamic tableau. I decided to give the day one last shot at a New Mexican restaurant serving traditional roasted green chiles and other items featuring roasted green chiles.
After ordering a hamburger with roasted green chiles, the waiter, a kindly man belonging to the Cochiti band, threw me a shaka.
Here it was.
When he returned, I was beside myself with anticipation, almost falling off my Naugahyde bench.
“Excuse me, sir, do you follow the World Surf League?”
“I have no idea what that is,” he replied.
“It is the home of competitive professional surfing and is for you and by you,” I told him before clarifying, “or not for you or by you but with you on social media.”
“Hmmm,” he hmmm’d.
I followed up with, “Are you aware of any competitive professional surfers?”
He thought for a minute then said, “I suppose the ones they show on ESPN.”
Getting somewhere now, I pressed, “Do you know any of their names?”
I could almost hear those sweetest of words Kelly and Slater but no. He thought a bit more then answered, “That one who got her arm bit off by a shark.”
Not exactly what I was looking for but a start. Epic quest still very much on track. The myth drawing closer. Plus, Albuqurque is famous for methamphetamine and, well, you know.