If you do not know the name “Shaun White” from feats of Olympic snowboarding greatness, including three halfpipe gold medals, then you certainly know it from appearing next to “Tony Hawk” and “Kelly Slater” as the three presented a moving speech at the most recent Academy Awards.
White, who enjoys going by “The Flying Tomato,” has been a fixture in extreme sport since bursting onto the X-Games scene in 2002, winning both skateboarding and snowboarding medals. The mainstream fell in love when he won that first gold at the 2006 Turin Olympics, propelling him to normal famous status as opposed to Julian Wilson famous.
Well, at 35-years young, the American darling has officially retired. In a sweeping interview with Us Weekly, White declared, “It feels great, honestly. I mean, it’s hard to say because obviously I’ve done so many Olympics and at this point, like, I normally take the season after off just to, you know, get excited again. And so, everything’s kind of felt like it’s going to plan. I think that the strange part will be the winter season after this one. I’ll be like, ‘Oh wait, I guess school’s still out.’”
But how will he spend the next 35 to 45 years of his life?
TikTok-ing with his girlfriend, actress Nina Dobrev. “I convinced my girlfriend to get on TikTok and now she’s all about it. And now I gotta watch her just, like, surpass me in minutes in her following. It’s like, ‘No!’ Not that I’m competitive at all.”
And the dream of all dreams, becoming a surf instructor. “I’m teaching Nina how to surf currently. She’s so talented as a snowboarder, which is great, because I’ve been in past relationships when they couldn’t snowboard and I’m a terrible coach. I’m like, ‘You just do it!’ But now she’s got the surfing bug. She’s excited about it, so now we’re trying to find places we can go surf and vacation and hang … She caught like seven waves in Hawaii and it was like she was feeling it, yeah!”
Wonderful and I wish nothing but White and Dobrev eternal happiness. But… if the relationship were to unfortunately end, there would be more fish in the sea for our Tomato. Maybe even a whale like the multi-talented Jonah Hill, who fell in love withhis surf instructor too.
Surf instruction is so hot right now.
“I’m thinking she’s going to die, by the time I get down to the beach," said the woman's husband. "When I got there, three rescuers, including one in an outrigger canoe were bringing her to shore, while the seals were swimming toward them again.”
Screaming woman mauled and dragged underwater by endangered seal named after breakthrough Sylvester Stallone movie, “It was a brutal attack. It was rough to watch. At one point, Rocky’s mouth got a hold of her head!”
"People started screaming and yelled to call 911. Everyone was freaking out nobody knew what to do!"
A monk seal named Rocky has given hell to a swimmer in Hawaii after the woman swam too close to its two-week-old pup.
“It was a brutal attack. It was rough to watch. At one point, Rocky’s mouth got a hold of her head, and she was trying to splash and get away,” witness Rosa Timberlake told KITV.
Her daughter Kaili added, “The seal saw the swimmer and raced toward her. People started screaming and yelled to call 911. Everyone was freaking out nobody knew what to do since there was no lifeguard on duty.”
Kaimana beach is a pretty little joint at the foot of the Diamond Head volcano and is famous for its feisty monk seals, which were once hunted almost to extinction.
Most of ’em are around eight foot long and weigh five hundred pounds. Real big units.
The NOAA and Hawaii Marine Animal Response have signs telling swimmers they might get roughed up by ‘em, especially around babying time.
“If you’re in an area where mother seals with pups have been spotted, we urge you to stay at least 150 feet away from mother seals with pups on land and in the water,” warns the NOAA Fisheries.
The woman’s husband told investigators,
“She could not hear 50 or so people on the beach screaming for swimmers to get out of the water. She then stands up and hears the people screaming and waving at her. She starts swimming away from the seals. I’m thinking she’s going to die, by the time I get down to the beach. When I got there, three rescuers, including one in an outrigger canoe were bringing her to shore, while the seals were swimming toward them again. All my wife did was go swimming, and she happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
As Surf Journalist limps into Texas on epic quest, World Surf League CEO elates core fan base with inspirational message: “The journey to get here might have been serendipitous, but it has also been life changing…”
Who knew that “limp mode” was a thing? I sure didn’t until Ray’s Truck Garage in Tucumcari, New Mexico told me one of the Volkswagen’s problem, a busted throttle box and something they couldn’t fix, kicked the car into “limp mode” wherein it couldn’t go faster than 40 mph.
I wondered if I could limp mode all the way to Amarillo, Texas, where a Volkswagen dealership tantalizingly floated 130-odd miles away, but had witnessed the aftermath of a semi-truck/car fatality yesterday and imagined limp mode would end me in the same spot.
My next tow driver, Julio, agreed.
“Truckers here? Man, they don’t give a fuck. They will run you over.”
Julio had served in Desert Storm and had the remains of a bullet bulging out his back, which he showed me while driving full freeway speed, swerving violently onto the shoulder and kicking dust into the hot wind.
Salt of the earth.
“Does it bug you?” I asked.
“Only when it’s hot, then it fries my skin,” he responded.
Obviously he did not know about, or watch, competitive professional surfing.
While I was slouching in my passenger seat, though, chatting with Julio about all the children he had fathered, Cadillac Ranch and the Middle East, trying to get my epic quest to find non-surfing World Surf League fans back on track, World Surf League CEO Eric “ELo” Logan was elating his core with the most inspirational of messages.
Grateful everyday to be the CEO of the World Surf League @wsl . A global of team of people all focused and aligned on building this massive platform.
The journey to get here might have been serendipitous, but it has been life changing. Growing up in Oklahoma City, I was terrified of the ocean and even lakes… (Thank you Steven Spielberg) like many, I was traumatized by the film Jaws. But, a family gift of a wetsuit right when I turned 41, when I moved to Manhattan Beach, changed everything.
Now, surfing has become my sanctuary. And such a rare business opportunity to bring my professional experiences to bear and watch the best surfers in the world chase their dreams. There is so much satisfaction in working to see others achieve so much and seeing them blow past all their own dreams is SO rewarding.
I was riding my @markrichardssurfboards this weekend and I wanted to say again, to @oursouthbay, thank you for allowing me to share my story on your platform and in our local community. (Link in my bio). #liveyourpassion
Praise was universal, ranging from “You. Are. Amazing. I love you.” to “Finding your peace. We say it but rarely land it.” to “Johnny Utah.” to “Thank you for ushering equality into the WSL. Loving the environmental programs, too. Excellent work.” to “Riding the wave of life.” to “Such an amazing story. The WSL is killing it.” to “Manifested it.” to “That’s a left, no?”
And what was I doing?
The Volkswagen gets out tomorrow, theoretically, and I shall redouble my efforts, attempting to achieve so much and blow past all my own dreams.
Non-surfing World Surf League fans here I come!
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.”