Surf Journalist hopes America’s rich southwest, home to many First Nations tribes, is gushing geyser of non-surfing World Surf League fans!

Epic quest still on track.

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.

“Is this how it all ends?” I wondered. “A decorated surf journalist on an epic quest to find the mythical non-surfing World Surf League fans who must certainly be sprouting up all over this great land dead in a ditch?”

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.”

Bethany Hamilton.

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.

More as the story develops.

Faith healer Charlie Goldsmith revealed as Kelly Slater’s secret weapon in raw new documentary series, Lost Tapes, “Even up to the minute I paddle out I’ve had him on the phone!”

“The truth is, I’ve had a lot of days and time on the road where I’m not enjoying. And, it’s not pro surfing it’s my own life."

A few years back, the world was introduced to “healer, inventor, businessman” Charlie Goldsmith in the Kelly Slater episode of Sound Waves, one of the better video shorts produced by the WSL.

Goldsmith, real popular with some, attacked by sceptics on the other side, was eighteen when he “first felt a strange sensation between his hands. He says he soon discovered this energy could heal people. Worried about exposing himself to a world of doubters, he wanted to keep his gift secret until science supported his claims.”

In this episode of Lost Tapes, which follows Slater’s travails on the 2019 tour, we swing over to J-Bay. 

Slater, forty seven at the time, something the commentators keep reminding him of, is even more introspective than usual. 

“I’ve had a lot of days and time on the road where I’m not enjoying. And, it’s not pro surfing it’s my own life, my own personal issues, family stuff, relationship … sometimes you go surfing and forget about and you don’t think about it. Surfing becomes that drug that covers it up for a while.” 

Goldsmith tells Slater, “The truth is, you’ve had so much success that if you didn’t have one more bit of success you’d have had more than anyone else.”

“He gets me not-thinking,” says Slater. “I’m a heady person…even up to the minute I paddle out, I’ve had him on the phone.” 


Very handsome Kelly Slater (left). Even more handsome, and age-appropriately dressed, Peter Mel (right).
Very handsome Kelly Slater (left). Even more handsome, and age-appropriately dressed, Peter Mel (right).

Blood Feud: World’s greatest 50-year-old surfer Pete Mel chokes out world’s other greatest 50-year-old surfer Kelly Slater in searing Instagram clip!

The year of the condor.

Kelly Slater, the consensus greatest surfer of all time, has, until now, also been considered the current greatest surfing quinquagenarian. Days before turning 50, Slater became a Pipeline Pro and thereby saved himself the indignity of suffering the World Surf League’s controversial mid-season cull. Skipping World Surf League events in El Salvador and Brazil to physically rehab while also getting insanely barreled only burnished the 11-time world champion’s bonafides.

Major and surf media swooning at the elder statesman still plying his craft at the highest level.


Just today, 52-year-old Santa Cruz icon Pete Mel choked out the idea of Slater’s elderly stranglehold by posting the most searing clip ever of a man, woman or birthing person surfing with half a century-plus under the belt.


You, of course, know Mel as the world’s second greatest surf commentator and also big wave stud. His Maverick ride, months ago, won the coveted Ride of the Year award.

All things considered, from Ride of the Year to picking waves off in a crowded lineup and demolishing, I think it is clear that this is the year of the condor.


I dare you.

Tom Hanks (right and Tom Sizemore (left) surf amphibious troop carrier in France.
Tom Hanks (right and Tom Sizemore (left) surf amphibious troop carrier in France.

Mighty United States Marine Corp ravaged by unforeseen surf enemy as famed “Code Red II” swell cripples two amphibious troop carriers!

"You can either surf or you can fight!"

The very famous swell dubbed “Code Red II” by unimaginative Surfline hacks has now, officially, subsided but its memory lingers. Who will ever forget Kai Lenny, Robin to Mark Zuckerberg’s Batman, racing down the world’s fastest right in Maui? Or all those brave Tahitians sending it across “the place of broken skulls?” Or a surf journalist etching his name in the annals, hopping the shoulder of giants like Ian Walsh and Billy Kemper?

But did the monster waves have ulterior motives?

Maybe sent from Russia or China?

For it was revealed, today, that the selfsame surf event crippled two amphibious troop carriers of the mighty Marine Corps just south of Trestles, north of Oceanside, at Camp Pendleton.

Per reporting in The Washington Times (not to be confused with Jeff Bezos organ The Washington Post):

One of the amphibious combat vehicles rolled on its side in the high surf, while another apparently developed mechanical problems that resulted in both crews evacuating to safety, according to local media reports.

“The incident did not result in injuries to the Marines and sailors aboard the ACVs,” the Marine Corps officials in a statement.

Lt. Gen. David J. Furness, the deputy commandant of the Marine Corps for Plans, Policies, and Operations, said a temporary pause on ACV waterborne operations was “the right thing to do” as the probe into what happened proceeds.

Current training on the land — including live-fire exercises — will continue, officials said.

Blame Surfline?

Billy Watson and spectator steer the ski back to glory.

Wild scenes at Burleigh Heads as onlookers help noted local surfer and lifeguard rescue jetski lodged in rocks during monster swell, “Rough day at the office! Couple of scratches!”

"I didn't see how he got there, but the poor bloke was well and truly wedged on the rocks."

The Burleigh Heads surfer James “Billy” Watson, a noted local, lifeguard, big-wave surfer, tamer of Jaws etc, has shown terrific class under pressure after he retrieved his lost ski from the rocks at Burleigh Heads, albeit with the enthusiastic help of onlookers. 

Watson, a long-time standout at Burleigh and regular water patrol ski driver, was whipping in at real eight-foot Burleigh, with pal, when the ski was lost and washed onto the treacherous rocks of the Burleigh Heads Cove. 

As anyone gonna tell ya, it ain’t easy getting off the rocks with a board under arm, let alone a six-hundred pound ski.

With a little help, Billy got some water under the impeller and out of danger, to the wild cheers of spectators. 

“Rough day at the office! Couple of scratches!” said Watson.