Like Teahupo'o only not at all. Photo: WSL
Like Teahupo'o only not at all. Photo: WSL

In bizarre twist, U.S. Olympic surfing head coach Brett Simpson declares team will use Kelly Slater Surf Ranch facility to train for Teahupoo!

"It’s the longest, it’s got the most power, it’s the most challenging."

Right exactly at time of writing, the Wallex U.S. Open of Surfing has just gotten underway in 2 – 3 foot Huntington Beach. A summer crowd is beginning to gather, to watch the surfer bash the lip all the way to the sand. It is not very exciting, if I’m to be all the way honest, though next summer we will have quite a different spectacle to enjoy during this window.


The Place of Broken Skulls.

You, of course, know that Tahiti’s gem is set to host the surfing portion of the Paris Summer Games and all are very excited, save Brazil’s Filipe Toledo. The ledging left, sucking water off the reef and creating a thick, dynamic tube is one of the world’s best waves. One of its scariest too. But how shall the U.S. Olympic surf team, coached by Huntington Beach’s Brett Simpson, prepare? Maybe a trip to Hawaii? A little jaunt to Puerto Rico?

But no.

Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch, which creates a mechanical wave not one thing like Teahupo’o, will be utilized.

“Right now in my eyes it’s still the best wave pool out there,” Simpson told Your Central Valley. “It’s the longest, it’s got the most power, it’s the most challenging. I think that wave is so long so you, as a surfer, it’s great. As a beginner you get a lot of ride time, but at an expert level you have a lot of room to make mistakes. I think for the youth and these younger kids to train, it’s something special and I think you’re seeing it. You’re seeing the level rise.”

Oh. I guess he’s talking about training for the Los Angeles Games, which will take place in Los Angeles. Do you think the tub will be the site of the surfing portion there? San Clemente and the aforementioned Huntington Beach are in the mix. Will Lemoore rise above?

If it does, it’ll be the end of Olympic surfing.

Maybe a good thing.

This story number 4979 brought to you by Klly Slater’s Turtle Moon sandals which would like to remind you that the turtle and the moon both have cycles, or something.

Photo: Breitling
Photo: Breitling

Kelly Slater bucks equality trend in sport, wears luxury watch 57% more expensive than Breitling “Surfer Squad” members Steph Gilmore, Sally Fitzgibbons!


Culture is an odd thing, though, no? Forever shifting, moving. What was totally acceptable yesterday, using the gender binary, for example, is today a form of assault. Drinking soy milk, let’s say, a disgusting, hormone disrupting habit when it was, just a handful of years ago, the healthy future of iced-coffee drinks.

It is almost impossible to stand ground when the shift begins, takes real moxie and verve to hold to “the old ways.”

Take the move, particularly in sport, to “equality.”

Equal opportunity between men and women. Equal pay between them. Equal, equal, equal.

It is, and should go without saying, a wonderful evolution but it appears Kelly Slater has reached his limit with equality and is drawing a line in the sand.

The 11x world champion, considered the greatest athlete to ever live by many, is part of the luxury Swiss watch maker Breitling’s “Surfer Squad,” as you certainly know. The other two members just so happen to be Australian greats Stephanie Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons.

Both openly female.

Well, in a recent spread, both gals sported Breitling Superocean’s retailing for $7,190 Australian. Slater, the lone man, wore the Superocean’s $11,490 Australian model.

A solid 57% percent increase.

It was not just in one pictorial. The Boy from Cocoa Beach wore a 57% more expensive watch whilst the three lounged in a car,  ran on the seashore, stood on some rocks making apparent jokes.

Gilmore and Fitzgibbons never got to wear it.

Only Kelly Slater.

But do you imagine if he takes over as World Surf League CEO, as many want, that the men will receive a 57% pay bump while with the women remaining flat?

Moxie, man.

This story number 4978 brought to you by VAER watches. Use promo code splendor15 to receive 15% off the non-sexist watch of your choice.

Coastal San Diego enclave declares “local state of emergency,” mulls changing e-bike rules after tragic accident claims life of 15-year-old

"Do we want kids to die and ride bikes and be free and all that, or do we just want kids to be safe and not die?"

E-bikes have, for better or worse, become a ubiquitous part of the Southern California surf experience. Like manna, or locusts, depending on your personal bent, they have descended upon beach towns from San Diego to Santa Cruz, whizzing along various bike paths at various freeway speeds, carting whole families plus their Yeti coolers, umbrellas and Wavestorms, cutting the tradition Trestles walk from twenty minutes to two.

Joel Tudor, anti-e-bike, recently posted a video mocking a tens upon tens of freedom machines getting taken out by a rogue wave, recently.

Fans of technology excoriated him for being grouchy.

Thus far, there are very few regulations concerning electric power. They are allowed everywhere that traditional bikes are but the tide may be turning.

During the early part of this summer, in Encinitas just thirty clicks north of San Diego, a well-liked 15-year-old was struck by a work van and tragically died. By all accounts, the boy was not being dangerous nor the driver at fault. Just a horrible accident though one that may lead to changes.

The city council declared a “local state of emergency,” in the aftermath and is debating putting at age limit on e-bikes, require a written test and a photo ID for those without driver’s licenses.

Niko Sougias, owner of Charlie’s Electric Bike in Encinitas, told Channel 10 news, “We should consider maybe 13, 14 or 15-year-olds be exempt from e-bikes. I just cringe anytime I see a kid almost get hit, and it’s like, what are we? Do we want kids to die and ride bikes and be free and all that, or do we just want kids to be safe and not die; I want kids to be safe and not die.”

Former Olympic cyclist Shaun Wallace, though, disagrees, sharing, “Anything that regulates cycling is likely to have a net negative effect whether it’s requiring licensing, or registration or helmets overall because the benefits so outweigh the risks. Perhaps kids under 12 don’t really need an e-bike. It’s not like they’re going off doing the grocery shopping or commuting to work, so if they have to actually pedal the thing themselves on 100% kid power. I think that’s probably not a bad thing either.”

But what are your thoughts on the matter?

Do you believe that e-bikes should be free, that the nanny state will always lead to hell or that common sense has a limit?

Update: Bizarre twist in case of Sunny Garcia as court documents reveal Hawaiian’s father sued for $1 million by carer for alleged incidents including “throwing a suitcase…and threatening to commit further violence”

"Garcia Jr. made a false police report of 'imprisonment' that Plaintiff was depriving Garcia Jr. of food, and alleged other false crimes against Plaintiff"

(Editor’s note: The first version of this story interpreted court documents as a civil suit between Sunny Garcia and his carer. It’s since been revealed Sunny’s father, who shares the same name, Vincent Garcia, although his daddy is Vincent Garcia Jr and Sunny is Vincent Garcia III, is the subject of the case. Hence the update.)

A civil suit in a Texas district court has shone a little light on the state of Sunny Garcia, four years on since the world champ and perennial Triple Crown winner was found unconscious in room 210 of the Best Western Hood in Oregon, almost dead, and apparently by his own hand.

The forty nine year old had posted this shortly before he was found.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Sunny Garcia (@sunnygarcia)

The lack of interest in Sunny beyond the initial outpouring of grief in 2019 indicated that no one was expecting any miracles.

Years on, whispers, rumours.

What was made public was Sunny, who is now fifty-three, was hospitalised, put into an induced coma, had kidney dialysis and lung surgery in California being being sent to a facility in Texas paid for by his wealthy Harvard-educated girlfriend Lori Park, one of the first software engineers at Google. Park was the Champ’s best hope of recovery, said our sources, as she has the “resolve and the resources” to, if not cure, at least improve Sunny’s condition. A good person to have in your corner.

A civil suit filed in a Texas court on July 10 by Park against Vincent Garcia Jr, Sunny’s daddy, for one million dollars, however, has shone light on a complicated and apparently fraught recovery.

In the statement of facts, Park is “saddened to initiate litigation related to these matters but is now forced to file to suit to preserve her legal rights.”

Among the allegations,

10. Garcia Jr. made a false police report of “imprisonment,” that Plaintiff was depriving Garcia Jr. of food, and alleged other false crimes against Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s house staff including that Plaintiff “assaulted” Garcia Jr. and that Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s house staff performed “illegal medical procedures” and falsified records.
11. Garcia Jr. false allegations caused multiple HPD patrol cars to come to Plaintiff’s home late at night, terrifying Plaintiff. Plaintiff was eventually completely exonerated of these allegations by video evidence and an HPD investigation.
12. Garcia Jr. made false statements and threats to Plaintiff’s staff and conspired with a police sergeant who ran her security with the intent of impairing her ability to run and properly staff the home.
13. Garcia J.r agreed with Plaintiff that he was simply a guest in her home but then covertly attempted to establish residency in the home so that he could not be removed for his dangerous conduct. Garcia Jr. subsequently refused to leave Park’s property and misrepresented in different instances to police officers and others that he was both a legal tenant of the property and a 50% owner of the property. Garcia J.r lied to police by alleging that he had no other place to go besides Park’s home even though he owns his own home in Hawaii and Plaintiff had notified Garcia Jr. that she had prepaid for a hotel room for Garcia Jr. Plaintiff had provided Garcia Jr. with the hotel reservation confirmation such that Garcia J.r could verify the reservation in his name.
14. Additionally, Garcia Jr. lied to neighbors and security guards about the nature of medical care being provided in the home. This defamation caused the homeowners’ association to attempt to evict Park from the home during the Covid pandemic, forcing Plaintiff to retain legal counsel
and eventually being forced to purchase the property on short notice and with extreme financial cost
15. During this time, Defendant Garcia J.r assaulted Plaintiff by throwing a suitcase at Plaintiff, following Plaintiff to another room and throwing another suitcase across that room, and threatening to commit further violence against her. Plaintiff was forced to hire security to protect her in her own home because Garcia Jr. would not leave and was dangerous. Garcia Jr. had other violent outbursts and would talk of his past of “beating” and otherwise harming other people.

The Instagram account @freesunnygarcia2 claims Vince shared custody of Sunny with Parks but, well, yeah, see above.

More coming obviously.

Surf demigod Laird Hamilton ravishes hater’s mind with high-performance SUP move that will live on in eternity!

There's only one Laird Hamilton.

(This bit came from The Grit! podcast segment Pros in the Wild wherein dear listeners phone, or email, in their encounters with professional surfers in the… wild, I guess. Enjoy.)

Hey David and Chas, I’m reaching out from the beautiful North Shore of Oahu where I transplanted myself over twenty years ago. Sidenote: I almost feel like anyone on the North Shore shouldn’t be allowed to contribute to this segment as we are constantly surrounded by the worlds best pro tour surfers, local legends, former pro’s, you name it. Over the years I’ve had a ton of memorable encounters with legendary surfers, but there’s one encounter worth discussing because it altered my perspective of how a wave can be suffered, and my perspective on one of the most famous surfers of all time, Laird Hamilton. And although this encounter occurred 15 years, I can recall it vividly.

Now, just to put this encounter into perspective a little, I was in high school in the mid- 90’s. A friend showed me those “Strapped” VHS surf videos of the whole Maui crew towing giant Jaws. Of course I already knew who Laird was and was aware of his windsurfing prowess and of course I had seen the movie “North Shore” a million times but seeing how much better of a tow surfer Laird was than everyone and seeing the huge barrels he got and the big power carves he did really made me realize he was very special and worthy of all-time-legend status in the realm of tow surfing. If you consider the surfing he did at Jaws in the 90’s or and of course the Millennium wave At Teahupoo it’s hard to argue he wasn’t the greatest tow surfer ever, until maybe Kai Lenny in the past few years (so that’s like a 30 year run as being the all-time best tow surfer- –not bad…)

Another bit of context here, Stand Up Paddling was exploding in Hawaii at the time. And tons of unskilled people were going out into larger surf in crowded lineups and reeking absolutely havoc. So while I admired Laird’s talent, I also blamed Laird completely for the entire Surf SUP plague.

Anyway, my story takes place on Kauai. I was surfing a playful 4 foot reef with about 15 locals, everyone getting their share. All of a sudden Laird showed up on this huge Stand up Paddle board and I couldn’t believe it. This frickin guy had a full Ipod strapped to his thick bicep with water proof head phones on! I had seen joggers with this kind of Ipod set up but a surfer in the ocean? Never. He came out and wasted no time going to work. This frickin guy just started doing circles around the lineup. He never stopped moving. He’d catch a wave, do all those dumb stand up paddle turns putting the paddle behind him to mimic a layback (cuz you can’t really do shit on those big dumb boards). He’d kick out, paddle back out immediately, make a right turn to get past everyone, and then the very next wave that come big or small and he would stroke right into it and do this again and again and again and again WHILE WEARING FRICKIN’ HEADPHONES IN THE OCEAN!

And maybe what was more annoying was these locals all seemed to know him, and were not only not-bothered by this but they were even cheering him on. They’d be hooting “ya Laird” but he couldn’t hear them cuz HE HAD HEADPHONES ON IN THE OCEAN! To this day I’ve never seen any surfer ever so oblivious to others in the water.

So we’re on this beautiful tropical island in the middle of the pacific and you can see giant water falls in these majestic green mountains, with perfect nuggety clean 4 foot waves and this entitled frickin douche is hogging all the waves while listening to his iPod! So now I’m like screw this guy. I don’t care about his legend Jaws towing status or pioneering hydrofoil bullshit. Beyond that, he’s a selfish douche and I’m burning him on the next wave.

And then, he did something that completely retarded my angst. This perfect set wave comes in and surprise surprise guess who’s going again for his 16th wave in a half hour? But from the moment of his approach, something is different. The wave is steeper with a double up building right at the take-off. But counter-intuitively, Laird is paddling way slower than he has for all his other waves. I was baffled and couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t paddling harder to avoid a steep drop on that big dumb SUP, he was liable to miss the wave entirely, or at the bare minimum get pitched, which is what I was dying to see. Then he shuffles his feet towards the front of the board. He is now on the top of the wave, barely any forward momentum, and his board is see-sawing on the crest of this ledging, overhead wave. At this very precarious moment, in front of all 15 gawkers, he calmy gives one last paddle and shuffles his feet all the way into a cheater 5. The lip pitches the back half of his board toward the beach and he slides backwards on the nose down the drop, 180s so by the time his in the trough he’s facing the beach and shuffling backwards into his normal stance and the board completes the 360. A flawlessly executed Helicopter take off on a big, dumb SUP! There was no stumbling or excessive leaning towards one side or the other. He was in complete control the entire time all while being serrended by his iPod (probably that “hey now you’re an all-star, get your game on, go play” song)).

He spun the whole board around in about 2 seconds and kept going like nothing happened. Now look, I’m not a fan of high performance longboarding and I remember seeing the helicopter move done a lot in the 90’s and thinking sure its probably hard to do but it’s kind of gimmicky—- but to do one off a take-off on a dumb Stand up Paddle board no-less, on a wave with some juice, with absolute flawless execution- I know it sounds ridiculous but it was and is still one of the most radical things I’ve ever seen in the sport of surfing and I’ve seen some crazy shit in person on the North Shore over the past 20 plus years.

I just can’t emphasize enough how impressive it was. Pure mastery by a master of ocean board riding, if there ever was one.

I left the water thinking he may be a dick in the water but this guy is one of the most skilled surfers ever on earth. At that point I truly believed only one guy on earth could have done what he did. I hate to say it, but he went up several notches in my book after seeing that.

He’d drop down again over the next decade with stupid stuff like not acknowledging paddling Jaws is more challenging than towing it, or colliding with and breaking the arm of a surfer during that Hurricane Marie swell at Malibu.

But that helicopter take-off was frickin gangster.