Photo: The Apocalypse.
Photo: The Apocalypse.

Historically significant broadsheet trains fire on Bali’s day tripping surf tourists, describes vicious near-decapitation of local by “beginner kook scum!”


Bali, or the island of the gods, is a very magical place and if you have not visited before, I would very much suggest. There are many places to stay, sights to see, waves to surf though, it must be noted, raggedy hordes of hopped up tourists have become a serious problem.

These menaces, often dressed in Bali-branded merchandise, zig and zag on scooters, vomit into the gutters after drinking mushroom milkshakes and attempt to fulfill misguided childhood dreams of “learning to surf.”

The “learning to surf” bit has become such an issue that even the South China Morning Post has taken notice.

Founded in Hong Kong in 1903, the broadsheet was the official mouthpiece of British colonial rule, then the Rupert Murdoch empire until being sold to the Alibaba Group. While these days it suffers some criticism for promoting China’s soft power abroad, its journalist Dave Smith spared no disdain for Bali’s scourge of beginner kook scum.

Describing one incident, Smith wrote:

I get a very clear picture of what they are talking about when I paddle out to Medewi’s popular “point break” at high tide. The waves break slowly and consistently and are at times more than 100 metres in length – perfect for beginners. And therein lies the problem.

A few minutes after I get into the water, I see a beginner try to stand up on her surfboard before being wiped out.
Unfortunately, she didn’t properly attach her surfboard’s leg rope to her ankle and it comes undone – a crime in the surf world because it turns any surfboard into a dangerous waterborne projectile. And sure as death and taxes, it hits someone in the head – and that someone happens to be a local.

He doesn’t hold back from voicing his discontent.

While no punches were thrown, there is a heavy suggestion that there should be as various Austrian locals are interviewed, declaring, “When conditions are right, you can ride waves for up to one-and-a-half minutes here. (Before the pandemic) there would be maybe 20 surfers out on the waves – mostly locals and a couple of blow-ins from Kuta. But today there can be up to 100 surfers on any given day. And they’re all hungry for waves. They forget the rules.”

What should be done to help them remember those rules?

You tell me and the Austrian local.

Comic powerhouses roast the controversial “reimagined” Vans Pipe Masters in fiery, no-holds barred interview, “It’s like someone trying to do a techno remix of a Fleetwood Mac song!”

"They remixed the Pipe Masters and fucked it up!"

Two weeks ago, Koa Rotham, the middle son of North Shore enforcer Fast Eddie Rothman and brother to big-wave world champion Makua, rocked the surfing world with explosive allegations levelled at Vans’ “reimagined” version of the prestigious Pipe Masters. 

On the eve of the event, Rothman accused Vans of copying the format of the Backdoor Shootout, which his family runs each year, of turning the event into a shoulder-hopping air contest and of inviting surfers who, by any measure, shouldn’t be surfing Pipeline. 

“They invited a lot of people who’ve never surfed Pipe,” said Rothman. “If John and Kelly aren’t in it, is it really yet Pipe masters? If I won, I wouldn’t consider myself a Pipe Master.” 

Now, surfing’s two hottest comedians, Pensacola’s Sterling Spencer and Raglan’s Luke Cederman, have joined the fray one week after Australian Molly Picklum and New Yorker Balaram Stack took home a cool $100k each for winning their divisions. 

Amid a litany of criticism, including the tarnishing of a legacy (“If anyone’s going to take the Pipe Masters name and keep the legacy going, it should be Hawaiians,” says Spencer) and the inclusion of Crosby Colapinto (“That’s what blew my mind, Crosby’s name instead of Kelly’s, oh my god,” says Spencer), the pair described its “reimagining” as akin to “trying to do a techno remix of a Fleetwood Mac song!” 

“Fuck, Vans, man,” says Cederman. 

“Dude, I bet Da Hui was pissed about the Pipe Masters taking their format,” says Spencer. 

“Kelly Slater won a Pipe contest early in the year and he couldn’t claim it as a Pipe Masters title even though he won the contest at Pipeline in the exact same format as every other fucking Pipe Masters,” says Cederman, adding, “They have the Triple Crown as well, in an online format. That’s not a fucking contest, it doesn’t make sense.”

Funny as hell. 

But, do you agree?

I found considerable joy in the new format and the pop graphics and the relaxed ambience of the event, although Kelly, John John, Italo and Gabriel were sorely missed.

Reigning world champ Filipe Toledo not so much.

Slater (pictured) in the stink. Photo: Surf Ranch
Slater (pictured) in the stink. Photo: Surf Ranch

Icon Kelly Slater defends scent of his Surf Ranch in blistering online screed: “Imagine thinking cows farting is worse than 6 billion lbs of pesticides sprayed a year!”

Death by a thousand turns.

And here we are near the very end of another year with all of its ups and downs wrapped in a nice bow. Did you have a favorite surf moment? Maybe champion Filipe Toledo’s brave performance at very scary Teahupo’o enjoying a front row seat while two 50-year-olds swapped kegs? What about Stephanie Gilmore climbing from basement to penthouse at Final’s Day?

But a worst moment?

Possibly the announcement that China’s Great Wall Motors had extended its relationship with the World Surf League in order to dump even more carbon spewing trucks and SUVs into landfills?

Or the re-inclusion of Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch back onto the 2023 tour?

I’d have to say that really did it for me. Now, I have been to Surf Ranch a total of five times, taking in a Surf Ranch Pro along the way, and while the wave is undeniably fun to surf, it is an absolute bore to watch being competed upon. The sections present singular canvases for our heroes and heroines to make the same turn, stall, barrel. The length absolutely sleep inducing.

Surf fans revolted as one when WSL CEO Erik Logan, and gang, disclosed that Surf Ranch would be May’s official entry and while the cries of anguish may not have pierced the patented Wall of Positive Noise, signs are pointing to Slater, himself, being affected.

In a minutes ago Instagram Story, the eleven-time world champion declared, “Imagine thinking cows farting is worse than 6 billion lbs of pesticides sprayed a year.”

As you certainly know, one of the many critiques of his Surf Ranch is the ever-lingering scent of bovine toot. I don’t know which championship tour venue features 6 billion lbs of pesticides sprayed a year but would agree with Cocoa Beach’s first son on that count. The smell becomes innocuous after a short while. What I can’t second, though, is the monotonous dull of the Surf Ranch Pro.

I’d, personally, take both cow farts and pesticides over watching Gabriel Medina ride the plow for one more year and he is as good as they come.

Death by a thousand turns.

Accident. Photo @justinedupont33
Accident. Photo @justinedupont33

Extra-large surf darling Justine Dupont catches dream wave at pumping Jaws only to be left dazed and coughing up blood after vicious theft!

The cost of doing business amongst beasts.

Swell has finally but finally arrived to North County, San Diego after weeks of flat and I must admit to feeling a bit of that big wave thrill. Oh, the sets are maybe a Surfline six foot, but being out there, ocean moving and wild, white water rumbling, gave me the sensation that I might be paddling Maui’s Jaws.

Spray in eyes, lunging into the abyss.

Paddling Jaws save wild crowds on Christmas boards, though, taking off and shooting them straight. Flopping around in the way afterward, gasping for breath and apologizing.

Who could have ever guessed, I suppose, that the pandemic would have ushered in a participation explosion but here we are dodging craft and human in the land of make believe.

More serious, certainly, is dodging at the aforementioned actual Jaws and getting dealt a good sound thrashing instead of mild annoyance. And let us hurry, there, and sit at the feet of monster wave slayer Justine Dupont who has a story for all.

I haven’t paddled a wave that I’m really proud of in Jaws since my injury during the #peahichallenge 4 years ago. I ended up with a broken shoulder and ruptured knee ligaments. Since then, I was afraid to come back and relive the same experience

At the same time I dreamed of taking a real wave with a committed line to put myself in a position to make a barrel. When I saw this Christmas swell I ask advices to @carlosburle and @gerglong I took the last plane ticket that was left from Nazare. After 40 hours of travel, arrival at 2 a.m., 2 short hours of sleep, in the water at 6 a.m. thanks to @kolomona1_.

The conditions were really nice, without being too big and with little wind which is rare for Jaws. When this wave came, I turned around and paddle hard, I shouted, I said to myself wow I’m there.

A fraction of seconds later I took a coconut tree on the face ( @coconut_willie). The fins went over my foot and I felt right on the impact of the lip. Like 4 years ago I saw a lot of stars again.

Thank you @kolomona1_ @kurtischongkee and all the boys for the rescue.

I was in pain everywhere, but I really wanted to take advantage of the conditions which were magnificent so I went back to the peak telling myself that I was fine. After 1 hour I still couldn’t see well, I wanted to vomit, I had a headache and I was coughing up blood.

End of session

Thanks to @kai_lenny’s family for the help and @have_you_seen_steve for the recovery tips.

I really don’t blame @coconut_willie, I stay positive, accidents are part of surfing (I’m starting to get used to it..) but I admit that I really wanted to surf this wave until the end.

It’s time to go back to Nazare, rest and get back to Maui as soon as possible I am sur this wave will come again.

Thanks to everyone for the welcome, the good vibes and the help.

Brutal and the best of wishes to Ms. Dupont but do you blame Coconut Willie for such behavior or is it simply the cost of doing business amongst beasts?


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.