Laguna Beach local (insert) victorious.
Laguna Beach local (insert) victorious.

Iconic California surf town Laguna Beach breaks toddler hearts, outlaws whimsical balloons!

First they came for balloons and I said nothing because I wasn't four-years-old...

Laguna Beach, California is as beautiful as it gets. The one stretch of southern coastline that soars out of the Pacific, green and commanding, as opposed to the typical rolling and brown. It is famous for being the birthplace of Gotcha, home to world-class skimboarding and an art festival wherein volunteers dress up like paintings and stand very still.


Though, moving forward, celebrating any of these wonderful qualities, not to mention toddler birthday parties, with balloons will land a person outside the law for the city council, days ago, voted to ban the whimsical bits of floating joy.

“This is the beginning,” Chad Nelsen, chief executive of Surfrider Foundation, stated before the elected officials put pen to paper, prohibiting balloons. “We’re chipping away at all these things we find and trying to clean up the ocean one item at a time.”

“Even the balloon advocates and balloon industry was not opposed to banning them on the beach,” Mayor Bob Whalen confidently declared, “There is going to be some impact on the local distribution of balloons, but as I say, people will still find places to buy balloons.”

The balloon industry, eh? Do you imagine it is more robust than the aforementioned surf one?

Also, do you think there will be incidents of civil balloon disobedience?

Also, do you think neighboring Laguna Nigel will pounce and try to court balloon lovers with open balloon laws?

Currently more questions than answers.

Slater (pictured) tasting gold.
Slater (pictured) tasting gold.

Living surf legend Kelly Slater’s clear and present path toward Olympic qualification plus subsequent grand retirement then shock marriage to Gisele Bündchen!

Butt into gear.

Kelly Slater, who needs no introduction here, shocked the world, yesterday, by telegraphing his third and maybe last retirement. The 51-year-old 11-time champion recently sat down with leftist organ The Guardian and declared, “If I make the Olympics, I’ll retire at the Olympics. I’m really hoping to qualify for it, but I need to get my butt into gear. The qualification process is going to be tough, but if I can get into the Olympics, the location the event is at in Tahiti – that wave really suits my strengths. So if I can get there I think I have a really good chance of a medal, but I think the harder part is going to be getting there, to be honest.”

As the dust settles, though, surf watchers are wondering both how much his butt needs to be in gear and what actually needs to happen for him to Team USA.

Let us examine together.

Now, the top two American male surfers on the World Surf League Championship Tour receive automatic qualifications. Unfortunately in the Olympics, Hawaiians count as American, which throws some salt into our hero’s game but here we are.

Heading into Portugal, Griffin Colapinto is the top Yankee in the world at number 6 followed by Johan Johan Florence at 7. Seth Moniz swings in at equal 8, Nat Young at 11 and then Slater at 16.

Science suggests that Colapinto will slip down the rankings, taking many Surfivalists with him, and J.J. will get hurt, though will do enough before injury to guarantee a bid. Seth will fade hard, Nat will move mountains with that yeoman backside stance but receive purposeful rude from the judges and end the year at 23.

Which leaves Slater number 2.

Do you think Kolohe Andino is going to make a charge?

Ezekiel Lau?


The number 2 slot is there for Slater’s plucking.


Science me better.

(Light one more candle for Gisele and Kelly, too, while you’re here. Seems like things are getting serious between her and jiu-jitsu instructor and we know where that all ends. Joel Tudor.)

Shark debate roils Australia following gruesome deaths of two swimmers, “The anti-human sentiment has become so ingrained in progressive thought that the occasional shark attack is likely viewed as a necessary sacrifice”

"What has become of our culture that human life is so undervalued?"

The dramatic deaths of two Aussies enjoying a refreshing swim in the summer heat is a tragic reminder of the ever-present risk of encountering a shark in the wild.

Having witnessed an attack, and been in close proximity to another, I feel sickened that these tragedies are allowed to continue. What has become of our culture that human life is so undervalued?

It’s not easy being pro-human in the shark debate currently roiling Australia. Eco-warriors think we not only hate sharks, but nature in general. Apart from being wrong, such religious zealotry probably indicates that they hate humans, and society in general. So, it is not surprising that people avoid the conversation — no doubt fearing retribution.

But, the Australian government ought not be swayed by this vocal minority.

I recently attended a public lecture by shark scientist Victor Peddemors, who works for the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI). He confessed that, while the purpose of their research is to find a solution to shark attacks, it is very difficult to identify risk factors when there are so few attacks.

For example, in research co-authored by Peddemors, El Niño was found to be a likely risk factor. However, two years later, a spate of attacks occurred during a mild La Niña.

It is foolish to expect that a solution will be found that does not involve reducing the population of sharks. That is why I have suggested targeting the most aggressive sharks with an electrified drumline that deters less aggressive sharks. It seems like a reasonable compromise. But, the government is afraid of the inevitable backlash from eco-warriors, who will continue to impose their values on society, disregarding the human cost, or outright celebrating it.

The problem with the debate is that it hinges on a false dichotomy pitting humans against nature. The anti-human sentiment has become so ingrained in progressive thought that the occasional shark attack is likely viewed as a necessary sacrifice. It is futile arguing with people who subscribe to this worldview.

But, there is hope, if we reframe the debate, so that it focuses on protecting all mammals in the wild, not just humans.

I have argued, for instance, that the added benefit of significantly reducing the rate of shark attacks is that it would set the stage for the removal of shark nets, which regrettably catch a lot of non-target species, including dolphins and whales. But, any reduction in shark attacks would apply to all potential prey, including dolphins and whales. So, the removal of aggressive sharks could have a profound effect on their welfare, too.

The only response I have received from the government has been a stock standard reply, outlining the current suite of shark mitigation measures, designed to balance the protection of sharks with the protection of people. Their letter made no reference to my proposal.

So, I requested a meeting, hoping to discuss the matter, but they didn’t reply. The reason I persist is that I don’t believe anyone in the know actually believes that lives will be saved.

For example, in research estimating the future rate of shark attacks, our most qualified shark scientists completely overlook the effect of the government’s shark mitigation programs. Of course, the numbers are buried under a mountain of obfuscation, fancifully modeled as the widespread adoption of shark shields.

But, it is clear that the base rate of shark attacks, i.e. without anyone using a Shark Shield, is projected to continue rising at the present rate, despite massive investment in other shark mitigation measures.

The government needs to ask the scientists at DPI if they actually believe the current suite of shark mitigation measures is saving lives. While it is certainly true that shark attacks are rare, the resulting trauma ripples much further through society than other tragedies. Dubbed The Jaws Effect, the horrific spectacle of shark attacks haunts ocean users, despite the risk of injury or death being less than it is for cycling. Even Dr Peddemors is reluctant to swim out too far.

(Dan Webber is the author of Surfism: the fluid foundation of consciousness.)

Chief of Sport Jessi Miley-Dyer (pictured) and nemesis President Joe Biden.
Chief of Sport Jessi Miley-Dyer (pictured) and nemesis President Joe Biden.

World Surf League prize partnership with Apple Watches in sudden peril as President Biden refuses to veto potential ban on devices!

At least we'll have ladders.

Things were going brilliantly for our World Surf League. After securing a ladder partnership, it seemed as if everything had finally fallen into place, financially, and the long-promised arrival as equals with Federation Internationale de Football Association, National Basketball Association etc. within grasp.

Apple Watches sponsorship, much ballyhooed, of course a major coup. Rolled out by Chief of Sport Jessie Miley-Dyer in an inspirational Instagram message, the highly technical watches were set to revolutionize competitive professional surfing by showing how much time was left in the heat, who had priority and… well I suppose that was it but more than enough. And let us not focus on multiple-time world champion Carissa Moore’s refusing to wear the watch, it not being able to tell time thereby nearly causing lateness, generally not working, the union was a match made in heaven.

But might Joe Biden, who some think leads a Satanic cabal, be poised to destroy?

In recent, and stunning, news, the United States President has refused to veto an International Trade Commission ruling that could result in a ban on Apple Watch imports.

AliveCor, a wearable health gizmo, is claiming, with ITC support, that Apple robbed its electrocardiogram patents.

The whole business will head into the courts, without Biden standing in the way, and if Apple loses then the World Surf League will not longer be able to sell statistics on Italo Ferreira’s vitals to the highest bidder, cutting the surfer out of the profits along the way.

Nor will Zeke Lau get to make an interference then stare at his wrist.

I’d imagine the aforementioned Chief of Sport has another Instagram message ready to roll.

Fingers crossed.

Kelly Slater, a pin-up, idol and surfing champion for over thirty years. | Photo: @wiggingoutwithkellyslater

In bombshell interview quinquagenarian Kelly Slater officially announces date and time of retirement!

And simultaneously creates new sporting record for retirement announcements, his third official communiqué in four years.

Do you remember the first time Kelly Slater retired? You will if you old. 

It was  1998, a quarter of a century ago can y’believe, and the then six-time world champ had just-turned twenty-six. He’d compete sporadically over the next few years, winning Pipe in 1999 and the Eddie in 2002, before re-joining the tour to take on Andy Irons head-on, hinting at retirement every year thereafter. 

In 2018, and piggybacking Joel Parkinson’s retirement announcement at J-Bay, he said he’d officially quit by the end of the following year at age forty-seven. 

Last year, Slater told the wonderful MMA broadcaster Ariel Helwani, a thorn in the side of the UFC’s famously prickly Dana White, that he’d be done by 2022, and just before his fifty-first birthday. 

Now as Slater heads to fifty-two, he’s told left-wing firebrand blog The Guardian, he’ll defs be done after the Paris Olympic Games in July 2024, the surfing being held at Teahupoo in French Polynesia, an old favourite of the wily master. 

If he  gets in, and there’s waves, there’s as better than even chance Slater will win a gold medal, the one trinket that has eluded the Champ. 

“If I make the Olympics, I’ll retire at the Olympics,” Slater told the Guardian. “I’m really hoping to qualify for it, but I need to get my butt into gear. The qualification process is going to be tough, but if I can get into the Olympics, the location the event is at in Tahiti – that wave really suits my strengths. So if I can get there I think I have a really good chance of a medal, but I think the harder part is going to be getting there, to be honest.”

You’ll remember Slater was stiffed of the last slot in the US side at Tokyo by John John Florence, who competed despite being injured.