Tension broils on Maui as pro-tourist and anti-tourist camps dig in

Should they stay or should they go?

The horrible tragedy on Maui, wildfires chewing through large swaths of the western side of the island, burning historic Lahaina to the ground and killing over 100, is still unfolding. Families suffering, lives forever altered, paradise strained. In the days after the fire, which sparked to life on August 8th, Maui residents and those on neighboring islands pleaded with tourists to change their travel plans and not visit.

“Maui is not the place to have your vacation right now,” Hawaiian actor Jason Momoa declared, adding, DO NOT TRAVEL TO MAUI. Do not convince yourself that your presence is needed on an island that is suffering this deeply.”

The sentiment remains for many, days, on, but others are feeling the strain as tourist dollars account for the bulk of Maui’s economy.

“We’re really in pain, but I have no trouble with a customer coming in with a smile on their face,” Panna Cappelli told NBC News. She had art gallery on Front Street in Lahaina and the work of some 200 local artists were all destroyed but she also has three other galleries on the island that remain open and in need of customers.

“Come to Hawaii, but also respect what is happening,” said Maui resident Jon Baker, who owns and operates a rental car business near the normally bustling Kahului Airport. “If you don’t see the typical aloha, it’s only because people are hurting and grieving,” he added. “We rely on tourism. We need it.”

Air travel to Maui has dropped by 80% since the fire.

“It’s a fine line. It’s a fine balance,” said Ilihia Gionson, spokesman for the Hawaii Tourism Authority. “At the end of the day, for those people who want to be working, we want to make sure they can be working. What we don’t want to see is people losing their homes and then losing their jobs.”

“(Not coming to Maui) is the wrong message,” said Maui-based wedding photographer Tara Lee Murphy. “We want to keep working to keep Maui open. We don’t want Covid 2.0.”

And on it goes.

But do you have an opinion on the matter?

Team Momoa or Team Tourist?

More as the story develops.

Pip, Italo and Gabriel

Olympic selection process slammed as a “colossal failure” after Filipe Toledo chosen for Teahupoo 2024 over Gabriel Medina and Italo Ferreira

“Filipe’s deal is un-spinnable. I feel crushed by what I saw. He isn’t ready for prime time at Teahupoo"

A byzantine selection process for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games has been slammed as “absurdist” and branded a “colossal failure” after Filipe Toledo, whose fraught relationship with Teahupoo ain’t no secret, was selected for Team Brazil over Gabriel Medina and Italo Ferreira. 

In an ironic twist, it was against Ferreira in 2015 where Toledo suffered the ignominy of becoming one of only two surfers in pro surfing history to paddle in from a heat without a wave being caught. 

“Fail-wise, it was just beyond epic,” the surfing historian Matt Warshaw told BeachGrit. “And so very public… Filipe’s deal is un-spinnable. He isn’t ready for prime time at Teahupoo… I’m his biggest north-of-50 fan, and I feel sort of crushed by what I saw.” 

Seven years later, Toledo almost reprised “his brave act of cowardice” in a heat against middle-aged veterans Kelly Slater, fifty, and Nathan Hedge, forty-three. 

As Chas Smith reported, 

Toledo, with reputation for not enjoying the Teahupo’o battle, would certainly spear naysayers in the throat by dropping in to infamy, no? Apparently no.

Slater and Hedge traded waves, big and perfect, one after the other after the other with Toledo holding priority well out the back, refusing to paddle, one after the other after the other.

Slater, barreled, unable to contain smile.

Hedge, barreled, unable to contain smile or beat, smartly, boss.

Toledo, un-barreled, holding priority for fifteen-odd minutes while Slater and Hedge swapped beneath him.

In the dying seconds, the King of Saquarema swung on a baby tube then punched board in channel.

Again, this year, Toledo bobbed, holding priority, while (wildcard Mihimana) Braye paddled, dropped, became barreled and was spat into applause. There he took off on a small closeout just to hand that priority over and not be forced into actually trying. There he lost 15.50 to 5.73. It was a shameful display and would be semi-forgiven if Toledo finally, and for the first time, admitted that Teahupo’o terrifies him.”

Now here’s the twist.

Thanks to the Olympic selection process where the top ten-rated CT surfers of 2023 are granted automatic passage to the event with each country permitted a max of four surfers (two men, two gals) unless their country wins the ISA Games in which case they get a couple more, something Brazil probs ain’t gonna do, Filipe and Joao Chianca are gonna be Team Brazil.

Australia, Jack Robinson, Ethan Ewing.

USA, John John Florence, Griff Colapinto.

JP Currie noted the contrast in his Tahiti Pro analysis, 

“The masters of this are Jack Robinson, Gabriel Medina and John Florence. Teahupo’o is their element, and their mastery is unmatched. The contrast between these three men and the one (Filipe Toledo) sitting atop the rankings is jarring. For the layperson or those new to pro surfing fandom, it would be hard to explain.”

Hope does loom for Medina, at least, on the horizon. Literally. A six-foot plus swell may appear next year and the lil man whose Teahupoo campaigns rival your ol pal DR’s (five trips, zero tubes) will be happy to sit it out and gift his card to Medina.

Or will the chance of Olympic gold awaken the famous Lion beneath the tattoo?

Comments sought. Leave below the line.

"It all seems like a distant memory now. Some fevered dream. But he knows it happened. He knows it was real. As real as those few items he was able to grab before they herded him onto the plane back home. Before they so ruthlessly excommunicated him from his role."

Elo-Lit: “He ruled the waves and everything in them. World champions, sponsors, all kneeled to his mighty rule. All rubbed their nose to his. All felt his mana!”

"He wanted to share his love. To teach the teacher in Wisconsin the thrill of a cutback. The farm boy from Ohio the glory of a barrel-tube."

The man walks down the sunlit Santa Monica street as if in a daze. It’s a midsummer morning, early August. The air still has a dry, suffocating warmth. Birds drift on the breeze overhead like passing thoughts.

The man is walking slowly, measuring his every step. Thinking about all he had. All he lost.

Around him the the world continues on as if nothing ever happened. Tourists roll back and forth, camera phones out and necks askew. A dump truck hisses as it deposits another load in its belly. Bums hold their hands out in pity, as if they’re the only ones that deserve it.

It’s what gets to him most. His world had been turned upside down, inside out. Torn from him in the most callous of ways. Yet out here on the street, you wouldn’t even know. Life goes on.

It’s been three weeks now since It happened. Three weeks since he had seen his Lion. Three weeks since it all disappeared.

The man wears a bright, short-sleeved button-up and tight-fitting chinos. His short brown hair is greying at the sides and his five o’clock shadow is tastefully trimmed. He could be any office worker or creative type, off to their morning coffee.

But he wears no shoes. His feet are grubby and brown. He hasn’t so much as toed a sock since he had been home. Hasn’t felt the need for them. It’s his freedom. It’s his silent protest. The soles make a pleasant soft, thud every time they connect with the grimy sidewalk.

There was another beloved prophet who once wandered the earth barefoot, he thinks to himself. Who was nailed to a cross for imagined sins. Lord, he knows how he felt.

Up ahead of him, there’s a group of surfers heading towards the beach, a couple of blocks to the west. They’re carrying softboards and backpacks. Their wetsuits half hanging from their pale torsos. Laughing. High-fiving. Living their best lives.

They don’t know, the man says to himself. They don’t know who he is, or who he was. They don’t know who he still could be.

He can see a slither of blue between the buildings. The ocean.

It was once his domain. Once his kingdom. He ruled the waves and everything in them. World champions, sponsors, support staff, all kneeled to his mighty rule. All rubbed their nose to his. All felt his mana! All felt his love!

And he wanted to share his love with the world. To teach the teacher in Wisconsin the thrill of a lip-line cutback. The farm boy from Ohio the glory of a barrel-tube. The synergies. The vectors. The cross-cutting synchronicities. Those ripe, taut bodies. All there for the taking!

But it’s all gone now. All turned to shit.

And they will never know.

Something awakes him from his reverie. Somebody’s calling his name. Could it be one of the surfers? Might they finally recognise him? Might they be there to offer him a shoulder to cry on? A word of consolation? We know its not your fault! We know you were only trying to help them!


Oh wait, that’s not it.

Hielo. Get your hielo. Is muy frio!

It’s that god damned Mexian selling shaved ice cones. Can’t he get a better job?

He spits on the footpath. Turns his back to the ocean. Heads for the liquor store instead.

It all seems like a distant memory now. Some fevered dream. But he knows it happened. He knows it was real. As real as those few items he was able to grab before they herded him onto the plane back home. Before they so ruthlessly excommunicated him from his role.

These were his keepsakes to saviour. His reminders of a better time.

He takes them from his pocket. The Apple Watch. The tube of Shiseido sunscreen. And the strand of hair, so curly and black and thick. He holds it to his nose, sniffs. He can still smell the Lion’s scent.

He will have it all again, he says out loud, though nobody is listening. His soft feet thud towards the liquor store’s neon lights. He will have it all again. Some day.

Surf funnyman Tyler Allen makes must-see music video lampooning Kelly Slater surfboard factory!

"Times are hard, board prices are super steep so, you know, you find some groms in China to make them super cheap..."

The surf comedy space has exploded and in just the last few years. While Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson were very funny in 2004’s Doped Youth, the entire genre used to mostly revolve around Benji Weatherly and Donovan Frankenreiter making hijinks. Good but not great like it is today.

For today, John Wayne Freeman, Sterling Spencer, Luke Cederman and Filipe Toledo each producing hilarity near daily or, in Toledo’s case, when the tour rolls into Tahiti.

One of my favorites of this new crop is Tyler Allen. The voice over artist has a sense of humor that slices like a knife and, well let’s just get to his latest offering because it is, for certain, going to become vanished quickly.

The piece opens with a Chinese man, chained to the floor, sad and shaping a blank to the tune of Steely Dan’s Dirty Work. Allen, wearing a bald cap, comes in and sings, “Times are hard, board prices are super steep so, you know, you find some groms in China to make them super cheap…”

And it gets better from there.

Allen captures Kelly Slater’s verbal ticks perfectly, interjecting them into lyrics such as “When you need to get a surfboard and your local surfboard shaper has been shut down, that’s the time you get me running and making Kelly sounds (cha-ching).”


The funniest ever surf bit (save Toledo’s various masterpieces)?


California surfers (pictured) huddling. Photo: Panic Room
California surfers (pictured) huddling. Photo: Panic Room

California surfers board up windows, frantically call Floridian brothers and sisters for advice on hoarding etiquette etc. as category 4 Hurricane Hilary set to make historic landfall!


California surfers have been glued to various wind finder applications, overnight, witnessing their very first hurricane twisting and turning just off the southern tip of Baja Mexico. Hilary be her name. Meteorologists are predicting she will make landfall, in San Diego, as a tropical storm sometime on Saturday being the first to do so since 1939.

Currently she is a category 4 and predicted to strengthen.

“The combination of heavy rainfall, the potential for flash flooding and strong winds could very well make this a high impact event for Southern California,” Samantha Connolly, a National Weather Service meteorologist in San Diego, wrote in a Thursday morning forecast.

Exciting but what about waves, boarding up windows with plywood, hoarding and other such activities? The aforementioned California surfers are used to all. manner of disaster including, but not limited to, traffic jams, the U.S. Open, Jonah Hill’s ex Sarah Brady moving to Hawaii and gloomy weather in June but never a hurricane.

Many are frantically calling brothers and sisters in Florida, as state that sees many of them, and asking advice.

The CDC reccommends:

Write down emergency phone numbers and keep them on the refrigerator or near every phone in your house. Program them into your cell phone too.

Prepare an emergency supply kit.

Locate the nearest shelter and different routes you can take to get there from your home. If shelter locations in your area have not been identified, learn how to find them in the event of a storm.

Pet owners: Pre-identify shelters, a pet-friendly hotel, or an out-of-town friend or relative where you can take your pets in an evacuation. Local animal shelters may be able to offer advice on what to do with your pets if you are asked to evacuate your home.

But the CDC is… sort of discredited now, no? Like we don’t trust, yes?

Florida brothers and sisters, help!