Influencers at Bondi. Photo: @bondilifeguards
Influencers at Bondi. Photo: @bondilifeguards

Australia’s Bondi smashes Waikiki, Santa Monica to be named “most popular beach on TikTok!”

Much to celebrate.

Champagne corks are shooting skyward in Bondi, Australia and hips are jerking to Meghan Trainor’s hit “Made You Look” as those who call the eastern Sydney suburb home celebrate their shock win as “the world’s most popular beach on TikTok.”

According to the luxury United Kingdom holiday company Destination2, Bondi smashed all-comers by garnering 445.8 million views, over three times the nearest competitor which just so happened to be Pattaya Beach in Thailand.

Coming in fifth and eighth, respectively, were Oahu’s Waikiki and California’s Santa Monica but at such a fraction of TikTok views as to be basically non-competitors.

Longboard tour regional series-esque numbers.

TikTok, as you know, is the preferred social media platform of annoying people and also regularly accused of being a spy tool for the People’s Republic of China.

Very cool.

The World Surf League boasts an impressive 2.1 million followers with many of its videos marked with the disclaimer, “The actions in this video are performed by professionals or supervised by professionals. Do not attempt.”

Do you think the kids at home heed the “no surfing” advice or blatantly ignore?

Would be a lot cooler if they heeded, to be honest.

Here’s the TikTok dance tutorial to the aforementioned “Made You Look,” in any case you’d like to learn.


Dirty feud over legendary surf photographer’s estate, including $379k in cash, ends after judge deems mysterious will labelled “Powderkeg” invalid!

Bitter legal stoush over iconic photographer's fortune ends!

The Gold Coast photographer Marty Tullemans, who was as much a part of surf history as the iconic photographs he took but who suffered from bi-polar disorder and, later, dementia, died of kidney failure two years ago.

Marty was man of indeterminate age whose flamboyant behaviour, driven by his mental illness, helped created a sort of cosmic legend.

Minutes after I’d sold a painstakingly restored vintage station wagon built in 1964 to him, I looked out the window of my office to see the ancient Valiant mowing through the company’s flower beds, the compact Dutchman’s grinning face only just visible above the oversized steering wheel.

Another time, at the opening date with the woman who would become my wife, later ex-wife, Marty appeared with a sword and performed a dangerous set of callisthenics while swinging his weapon, which was polished to a high sheen. 

And ol Marty, who was pretty canny with his money, left a total of 625k, which included $379,000 in cash.

A will from 2013 shared his estate equally between his ex-partner’s four kids, including his step-daughter Tamar Tane, and nothing to his sister, Maria Shaw. 

In response, his sister claimed she had found an envelope, marked “Powderkeg”, after he went into a nursing home that contained an updated version of his will, this time leaving most of his fortune to her. 

The mysterious will!
The mysterious will!

“This is to be read only if the will is contested,” a letter accompanying it read.

The step-daughter, Tamar Tane, challenged Maria’s application and filed a counterclaim.

Tane’s lawyer alleged there were “suspicious circumstances” surrounding the signing of the will.

In a court doc, Maria says she and her husband found a safe containing the updated will, dated October 18, 2019, in Marty’s Kirra Beach Caravan Park cabin. 

Maria said the will had been witnessed by her dad Petrus Tullemans and Marty’s pal and neighbour of thirty years, Deborah Phillips. 

Shaw’s son, David, said his Uncle Marty asked him to fill in a will form and then dictated his wishes and then watched as Marty signed the form in front of his grandfather Petrus and neighbour Deborah. 

Marty, said David, told him to keep the will confidential, telling his nephew, “I have put the will in an envelope which has “Powderkeg” written on it and put it in my safe”.

The “Powderkeg” will left fifty k to Tamar Tane to divide with her siblings however she wanted, fifty k to Marty’s bro Frank and the rest to Maria. 

And here came the twist. 

Deborah Phillips, whose signature is allegedly on “Powderkeg”, signed a stat dec saying she didn’t see or witness Marty or his Dad signing it. 

In November 2020, Deborah said Maria invited her for dinner and said, “I need you to sign a document for Martin” which she said she refused. 

Maria denied asking Deborah to sign the will. 

The judge, meanwhile, ordered Maria to reveal text messages between her and  Deborah and to surrender all of Marty’s phones and computers. 

On Friday, Justice David Jackson described the circumstances surrounding “Powderkeg” will as suspicious pointing to the discovery of the will by Shaw, who was gonna get the bulk of the cash, that it was written by her son and the neighbour saying she didn’t sign it, and found in favour of the 2013 will. 

A fitting coda, I think, to Marty’s wild life. 

“I’ll never forget Marty Tullemans rolling up to our family front door in Nullaburra Rd Newport back in 1976,” Nick Carroll wrote. “Tom and I were innocent grommets and the Cosmic Pygmy was one of our early encounters with the sort of incredible humans who dwelled in the realm we were doomed to inhabit for the rest of our lives. We went out front to greet him, and Tullemans bowed, then began a kind of ritualistic movement, a dance if you will, swinging his hips around like an Indian Yogi. “Do this!” he urged us. “You’ll open up the chakras!” The smell of patchouli arose and wafted across the lawn. Our 80 year old grandmother, who’d lived through two world wars and a Depression and was now engaged in raising three grandkids on a foreign shore, was entranced by Marty. “What an interesting person!” she said to me later. She was totally right. Vale, you wacky witty lens person you.”

Laird (insert) shining on. Photo: @lupitanyongo
Laird (insert) shining on. Photo: @lupitanyongo

Love sleuths finger big wave stud Laird Hamilton as possible matchmaker in shock union between Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o and surf broadcaster Sal Masekela!

He's the one they call Dr. Feelgood.

One of the greatest gifts surf fans received just ahead of Christmas was Lupita Nyongo’o making Selema Masekela “Instagram official.” The much-loved, Academy Award winning actress at the very height of her powers, starring in blockbusters and critically-acclaimed films alike, debuted her romance with the surf broadcaster in a series of extremely cute matching outfit changes plus dancing.

But how did it come to be?

How did the two meet?

Love sleuths combing the internet have landed upon Laird Hamilton.

While the big wave icon is clearly multidisciplinary, pioneering stand-up paddleboarding, tow surfing and foiling, his skills as a matchmaker have not been thoroughly considered but here wave have irrefutable evidence. Nyong’o, you see, is currently starring the powerhouse film Wakanda Forever which features an underwater kingdom. But how did she get into physical shape in order to reach Talokan? By swimming with weights, of course, the patented cornerstone of Laird Hamilton’s XPT training program.

I think there is limited reasonable doubt to think that Masekela was at Hamilton’s house on one of those days, enjoying friendship and coconut-based coffee creamers when the latter made introduction. I think Hamilton, seeing a potential union would have followed up with each, texting encouraging messages and/or choreographed an XPT session where both Nyong’o and Masekela did underwater weights together.

The rest, of course, is now history.

But if Hamilton can reach amorous successes at such a peak level don’t you imagine that more single surfers and surfer-adjacent may darken his door?

Joe Turpel seeking Jennifer Aniston?

Gabriel Medina plus Drew Barrymore?

Laird Hamilton listening patiently before smiling, lightly, and saying, “Let us see what we can do?”

Exciting times.

Multi-discipline waterman , the Hawaiian Mark Zuckerberg.

In bombshell edict, surf company Vans classifies Mark Zuckerberg as “Hawaiian” for purposes of local inclusion in digital Triple Crown series!

Mele Kalikimaka!

As part of the reimagining of the Pipe Masters and the Hawaiian Triple Crown, a three-event series once lauded as the equivalent of the world title, VF Corp’s shoe company Vans set aside forty percent of entries for Hawaiian surfers, with a whopping fifty percent of starters in the Pipe Masters counting as “Hawaiian”.

A watershed moment for North Shore locals, whose island wave-park is swamped by surfers every October through February.

“There’s no shortage of rising talent within the region, but more so it’s about uplifting and respecting the culture and community that’s there today,” Justin Villano, director, brand management (Action Sports) at Vans, told Forbes.

Perfect, yes?

But what makes a Hawaiian surfer?

Because unlike New York or Texas, whose residents can claim to be New Yorkers or Texans wherever they’re from, if you live in Hawaii it ain’t considered right to call yourself Hawaiian unless there’s some Polynesian blood swimming around in your veins.

To wit,

To enter under Hawaiian inclusion rules, must there be a genetic link near or distant, like Koa and Makua Rothman with a Hawaiian mama, Mason and Coco Ho with a Hawaiian great-grand mammy or the Moniz family with proud links to Molokai?

(There’s an estimated 5,000 pure-blood Native Hawaiians left… in the world.)

Or, like the Florence brothers, John John, Nathan and Ivan, all invitees to Pipe, is being born on the rock to mainland American parents, enough?

Yeah, well, someone had to define what Hawaiian meant for the purposes of the rule book and so on and it came down to a simple formula of how long you’ve lived in Hawaii.

And, if you can prove you’re a permanent resident of Hawaii of three years you count as Hawaiian.

Which means that if multi-disciplinary waterman Mark Zuckerberg, a resident of Kauai since 2015, were to enter the digital Triple Crown, and why not, given his meteoric improvement in the waves thanks to on-again-off-again pal Kai Lenny, he might slide in under the Hawaiian edict.

Oprah Winfrey and Pierce Brosnan are also eligible for Hawaiian inclusion, although their entries would seem unlikely.

Fifteen-year-old boy gets knocked off board by shark, defies mother’s “no surfing” order and paddles right back out firmly establishing himself as hero these divisive times so desperately need!

A Christmas miracle.

It is Christmas morning, in America, and families are gathered together trying to get along. Oh, these are divisive times, as you well know, and finding something to agree upon can be a tall order which is exactly why a fifteen-year-old Australian boy is being hailed as a hero by all except mothers.

But let us travel to Perth where we find Bryce Hickman. He happened to be out surfing a break called “Cosies” with his twin brother when he spotted a six foot shark lurking and malingering. “I was waiting for another wave, then something kind of nudged my surfboard,” he told 9 News. “I looked again and there’s this big shark, then it darted off.”

Hickman shouted a warning to his brother and the two of them paddled over the reef and to the beach where their mother informed them that no more surfing was to be done.

Well, the youngster had only caught one wave pre-shark encounter, not a satisfying amount, and so waited for a few hours on the beach then, in defiance of both his mother and fear, paddled back out and caught a few sets.

A hero.

Surfers on the far left and those on the far right, sitting around the Christmas tree and usually wishing death upon each other are now nodding solemnly and saying, “That Hickman boy is a good one.”

Except for mothers who are united in rage.

A Christmas miracle.