Tourists to Hawaii continue driving rental cars into water whilst blindly following GPS prompting surf great Kelly Slater to have “so many questions!”

Wild times on the Big Island.

Our lives, each, are inextricably tied to technology. We either embrace all the gizmos and gadgets, the smart appliances and next-gen Apple priority recognizing watches, we don’t and plant flags on Mt. Luddite or fall somewhere in between. I am solidly in the hypocritical camp when it comes to computers, phones and their various applications. I know they are all making me dumber and I hate Big Brother peeking at everything I do but also want to know how much traffic I’ll be stuck in, say, so Google Map my brain into mush.

Have you read the studies that relying on GPS is actively destroying our sense of where we are in the world? It is true and, perhaps, truest of all on Hawaii’s Big Island where tourists in rental cars continue driving into the water whilst blindly staring at their digital maps.

The second such incident in under a month occurred days ago at the Honokohau Small Boat Harbor near Kailua-Kona. A fisherman, Drew Solmonson and his son captured the automobile as it sinks, its driver attempting to turn off the windshield wipers with the two screaming at her to save herself.

“We were trying to land the boat and screaming the whole time to get her attention but her GPS had told her to go there so she drove right in,” Solmonson explained.

The world’s greatest surfer, Kelly Slater, preparing to not go the Olympics via El Salvador, commented “So many questions,” on the Instagram clip leaving fans confused as “How did the woman drive into the water?” had just been answered with “We were trying to land the boat and screaming the whole time to get her attention but her GPS had told her to go there so she drove right in.”

Studies on avid social media users and their declining reading comprehension certainly in need.

In any case, Ryan Aguilar, spokesperson with the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, told SFGATE that there are no plans to add signage to the harbor. “It’s really clear that it is a ramp and it leads directly into the water,” he said.

More questions, I suppose.

Australian big-wave surfer films extraordinary encounter with fifteen-foot Great White shark!

“I was terrified of sharks before, now I’m even more scared of their power and speed!”

The last time I had cause to telephone the big-wave charger Justin “Jughead’ Allport he’d blown his lungs and ribs out after getting “fucking annihilated” on a fifteen-foot wave at Tasmania’s infamous Shipstern Bluff.

This morning it’s to fill in the deets on his encounter with a truck-sized Great White shark on Wednesday morning while in southern Australia chasing his favoured big-wave slabs.

Three weeks earlier, at nearby Elliston, a local school teacher was hit and killed by a Great White while surfing a sleepy point with a bunch of kids, his last act to warn others to save ‘emselves and get out of the water.

Jaiden Millar, a twenty two year old, saw the attack.

“It was such a confronting incident. It could have been anyone. The worst part was there was a 13-year-old out there and he witnessed everything,” Millar told Adelaide Now. “There was a bloke on the beach tooting his horn and as I turned around I saw everyone paddling in. I saw his board tombstoning, which means he’s underwater and his board’s getting dragged under … trying to fight his way back up to the surface… He was gone. (We) saw the shark just thrashing around out the back. The shark’s obviously let go and come back and got him for a third time”.

Jug, who’s forty-nine and a firefighter a couple hours north of Sydney at Bateau Bay, said he’s never seen a shark in the wild before, only dead on the beach. That was a twenty-foot White that had been washed onto the sand of a Victorian west coast beach. His pal and said he thought he could get inside of it for a photo but Jug stopped him warning he’d never be able to wear that wetsuit again.

And, so, when a South Oz local said there were a fleets of Great Whites around and maybe he should take the jet skis out and have a squiz at a few hanging off the tuna pens, he thought, yeah, ‘I wanna go have a look.’

It’s a decision that’ll probably haunt the habitué of lonely outer reefs for the rest of his life.

“I’m scared of sharks, yeah, I’m terrified,” says Jug. “But I’d never seen ‘em while surfing and now I’m even more scared of the power, how fast it was. Things hit you when you see one in real life. Everything about it. I know guys who’ve seen Great Whites swim past, how mellow they are, how they don’t get touched, and drone footage of sharks following people, but that thing was so quick, so fast and powerful I shit myself. Anyone who says they’ve been chased by a shark, no you haven’t. If a shark was chasing you, it would eat you. Maybe a shark stalks you, it never chases you.”

Jug says he’s always thinking of sharks. His pal and workmate Tim Doherty, brother of the storied surf journalist Sean Doherty, was surfing at Tuncurry in 2020 when a surfer visiting from Sydney, Mark Sanguinetti, was hit in three feet of water.

“He watched this guy get fully mauled. There were six or eight guys in the water and the guy that saw the shark was the guy that got eaten. He said calmly, ‘There’s a shark I’m going in’ and everyone started slowly paddling in and it took him and Tim was within four metres of the whole thing.”

Another pal, the slab hunter Brett Burcher, was also hit by a shark after moving to Tuncurry-Forster from the NSW South Coast.

“Hit and punched off his board,” says Jug.

With all the shark noise in his head and the visuals of a giant White near where he’d been chasing barrels in South Oz, I jokingly ask if he plans on hitting that coastline anytime soon.

“Thinking about going back down there this weekend, to be honest,” he laughs.

Volkswagen uses “Riot City, USA” as backdrop for unveiling brand new electric bus “synonymous with Southern California surf culture!”

"Surfing, the bus, the sun, the smoke from burning lifeguard stands... it's fantastic."

We don’t spend nearly as much time as we should discussing automobiles here. You drive one, I drive one and most of us drive one to the surf unless we are driving our electric bicycles. Cars and trucks, SUVs and vans are as much a part of our deal as the surfboards we so cherish. But what is your current vehicle? Mine is a 2017 Toyota Tacoma 4×4. It is black, has four doors, a cracked windshield, or windscreen for our Australian and British brothers and sisters, a sticker on the back right side featuring Cryin’ Jordy Smith surrounded by the words “I want my BeachGrit” and boasts 97,000-ish miles.

It has been very good to me and I have no complaints but in a perfect world I might have a 1971 Porsche 914/6 M471 with the “Competition Option.” I would not have a Volkswagen bus of any year though many consider it the “ideal surf transportation.”

Well, the German manufacturer just unveiled its redesigned all-electric version of the bus yesterday and chose Southern California’s Huntington Beach due its moniker “Surf City, USA.”

The Orange County Register reported that 100s of Volkswagen bus aficionados came out for the event and the day was dubbed “International Volkswagen Bus Day” by National Calendar Day founder Marlo Anderson. He receives 25,000 applications a year and only accepts 30 of them.

In any case, Volkswagen surrounded their new bus with surfboards borrowed from the Surfing Heritage Culture Center. Cameron Batten, senior vice-president and chief communications officer for Volkswagen Group of America declared, “The VW bus reminds us to smile, relax and take life a little less seriously.”

It is expected to sell for around $75,000 when it hits the market next year, though enthusiasts hope it will become a collector’s item.

Two such fans, Jan Engelhardt and Vera Sanders came all the way to Huntington Beach from Germany for the unveiling. “It’s a great show,” Engelhardt told the Register. “Surfing, the bus, the sun… it’s fantastic.”

If the two are lucky, they will might also catch one of Huntington Beach’s other specialties.

A good, old-fashioned riot.


Back to us, though. What do you think World Surf League CEO Erik Logan drives?

I’m guessing a Tesla Y model that he feels socially conflicted about.

A child warns John John of the lifelong humiliation should he lose to Czech Robert Vysloužil, Keith Lewis from Trinidad and Tobago and Taiwan's Liu Ming Jang in his repechage heat.

Bloodbath at Olympic surfing qualifier in El Salvador as WSL stars John John Florence, Joao Chianca, Ethan Ewing and world #1 Griffin Colapinto all lose in early boilovers!

And reigning world champion Filipe Toledo soundly thrashed by Ireland's Gearoid McDaid!

As Teams India, Netherlands and China soar to hitherto unseen heights at the ISA World Surfing Games, embarrassment for the cream of the WSL crop after the two-time world champ and the current world numbers one, two and four were beaten in their round two heats in El Salvador.

John John Florence, who blitzed his round one heat against Taiwan’s Liu Ming Jang and Korea’s Dohoon Yun, lost in the second round against German Dylan Green and the Brazilian turned Italian Jesse Mendes.

Griff, beaten by Alex Suarez from Equador and Italian Leo Fioravanti; Ethan by Bali’s Rio Waida and Argentina’s Leandro Usuna; Chianca by Colombia’s Giorgio Gomez and Spain’s Bryan Perez.

And, although reigning world champ Filipe Toled was soundly thrashed in his round two heat by Ireland’s Gearoid McDaid, the small-wave wizard automatically progresses to the third round after finishing the four-man heat in second place. 

John John, Chianca, Griff and Ewing all bundled into repechage heats, Florence in a must-win or endure lifelong humiliation scenario against Czech Robert Vysloužil, Keith Lewis from Trinidad and Tobago and, again, hapless Taiwanese shredder Liu Ming Jang who felt the double-champ’s blade in round one. 

In other news from the event, Gabriel Medina is coasting through his heats and China’s Siqi Yang gave spectators a little glimpse into what surfing is gonna look like in a dozen years when she smoked the field in her round one hit-out. 

Still a little unsure about how surfers are selected for the 2024 Paris Games, the surf event being held at Teahupoo?

– 2023 Tour:Highest-ranking 10 eligible men and 8 eligible women.

– 2022 & 2024 The winning teams by gender, will qualify 1 place for their respective country. The NOC will nominate the surfer to participate following the conclusion of the Qualification System.
– 2023 Highest-ranking eligible man and woman per continent from Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania (Total of 4 men and 4 women)
– 2024 Highest-ranking 5 eligible men and 7 eligible women

– Highest-ranking eligible man and woman in the surfing competitions will qualify a continental slot for the Americas.

– One man and one woman will be guaranteed a place for the host nation of France. If an athlete(s) from France already qualified, the slot(s) will be reallocated to the next highest ranking eligible surfer(s) from the 2024 ISA WSG.

– This is meant to promote development, provide opportunity to smaller nations, and progress the sport on a global scale. One man and one woman will earn a Universality Place, as per the IOC selection criteria. 

What is the over/under on Logan's remaining days?
What is the over/under on Logan's remaining days?

“Fair Weather Friend-Gate” stretches into agonizing fourth day as World Surf League Chief of Sport Jessi Miley-Dyer, Chief of Strategy Dave Prodan continue to stand by and silently watch barrel buddy Erik Logan sway lonely in the breeze!

But a sympathetic ear awaits.

All’s quiet on the social and regular media World Surf League front, today, disturbingly hush hush. You are certainly very aware that nearly a week ago, professional surfing exploded in a ball of pent up rage. An insurrection after judging at the Surf Ranch Pro was deemed entirely not good by three former champions, each hailing from Brazil. Surf fans and surfers, alike, took sides, most directing ire at the World Surf League itself for being confusing and dumb. Chief Executive Erik Logan thought it would be a good idea to victim shame and patronize and the insurrection morphed into a full on war mostly against him.

An all out boom.

Stories were written about the World Surf League’s major problem, even reaching the mainstream media. Surf media focusing on little else than incompetence at the top.

The most focused upon thing in World Surf League history save Mick Fanning’s dance with a South African shark.

Yesterday, Dave Prodan, the Chief Strategy Officer took to the airwaves for his podcast The Lineup and decided the chief strategy would be to entirely ignore Gabriel Medina, Felipe Toledo, Italo Ferreira and the burning landscape. He got together with Mitch Salazar, who was there in the booth, calling the action, and spoke only of Caitlin Simmers and the “winners and losers” of the Surf Ranch Pro with zero mention of the mess or defense of embattled leader Logan.

A wild bit of head-in-sand and/or utter condescension.

Completely wild.

Chief of Sport Jessi Miley-Dyer, never shy to pat her own back and celebrate herself and what she does for the World Surf League, equality, being an icon to the next generation, etc. has gone on a record breaking quiet streak, neither commenting nor storying for an entire five days. Her longest previous break was fifteen hours. No helping hand or rodeo clown attempt to deflect some of the heat from beset commander Logan.

Five days of standing quietly to the side and watching the Oklahoman Chief Executive, their barrel buddy, sway lonely in the breeze.

But have you ever encountered such a thing yourself? Attacked for some reason, or another, only to have colleagues or friends completely abandon you? It happened to me, once, when the aforementioned Mick Fanning complimented me but did so with a angry sneer. Fellow surf journalist Tim Baker was standing right there and could have had my back but did not and watched me get trotted out of the house against my will in order to receive punishment.

Tim Baker (center) not helping.
Tim Baker (center) not helping.


I wonder if Logan feels sad right now? Feels abandoned by his fellow chiefs. If he doesn’t, he should and can reach out for a sympathetic ear.

David Lee Scales and I, anyhow, discussed his ineptitude on our weekly chat, scooping Prodan, I suppose. I call him a boob multiple times so maybe he won’t reach out but you can listen and decide if I provided tough love or was simply tough in an unhelpful sort of way.

I appreciate it.