Son (left) and stepson.
Son (left) and stepson.

San Clemente transplant Filipe Toledo utterly rejected by hometown as “We Only Have Eyes for Griff!” banners fly over city’s freeways

The sad story of an unwanted stepchild.

Oh to be Felipe Toledo, the world at your feet, the world on a string. Coral, his main enemy, is rapidly dying everywhere due global warming, the World Surf League, where he competes, has pivoted almost entirely to small waves, the 2022 Championship Trophy already sits above hearth and space has been pre-cleared for the 2023 one which is almost assuredly his.

The cherry on top?

That hearth is in San Clemente, California, the selfsame hosting last “Finals Day” and this one too.


Filipe and his entire family moved from Ubatuba, in beautiful Brazil, to the Spanish Village by the Sea in 2014, nearly one whole decade ago. Basically a lifetime when it comes to rootless Southern Californians. By right, Toledo should be honored, celebrated, feted at Nick’s and South of Nick’s nightly but… no and emphatically no.

He is not and, moreover, his interloper status is rudely rubbed in his lightly puggish nose.

I had to drive north, very much too early this morning and very much too far. While passing through the Town That Andino Built I saw giant red banners stretching over the first 5 freeway pedestrian overpass, closest to Lowers. Being where I was, I assumed they read “Trump Won!” but as I got closer, Trump’s face somehow seemed more… squishy.

Closer still, I realized it was current world number two Griffin Colapinto’s face with the words “Griff for World Champ!” emblazoned.


I assumed the next overpass, though not closest to Lowers, would be a giant green banner, li’l lion front and center, reading, “Paddle Pip!”

But no.

And no on the next and next and none even when I entered San Juan Capistrano like a tired swallow.

But there has to be one brave San Clemente local who can break with the mob and cheer his or her neighbor.

Raise your hand, please.

Firebrand surf journalist turned conservative news anchor Fred Pawle slams “inconsistencies” in Owen Wright’s version of Pipe brain injury in new book

"There is something about the story of Owen's injury that doesn't add up."

If you were to examine the life of Owen Wright and his storied family from any sort of angle or distance it would hardly need embellishment to make interesting. 

The surfing heartthrob and one-time title contender turned real estate developer returns from a catastrophic brain injury, bleeding on the brain, paralysis and (temporary) inability to speakto win his first event back on tour one year later and return to his usual position as a world title contender.

 Two-time world champ Tyler wins a tour event at fourteen, qualifies at sixteen, but throws it in (briefly) before returning to the tour and carving and plating her two titles.

Mikey? Hot and salty and greasy (like a sunbathing German) and a wildcard world title contender.

And, all wrapped up with a family pal-turned-bookeeper who fleeced ‘em of their hard-earned millions so she could have a little play money for the horsies and poker machines. 

That theft of almost one million bucks led to his estrangement from Ma and Pa Wright, Dad would later be diagnosed with dementia and Owen would take up his care, friction with his siblings and his pop star wife Kita and a fear he didn’t have enough cash to get out of the pro surfing game despite his catastrophic 2015 brain injury.

“I wanted to retire but I couldn‘t financially (due to the impact of the offending) and fought back into my career risking my life in the process,” he told the court. “I was still being stolen from while I could barely walk and while the doctors were saying I would never work again in my career. The physical risk I‘ve taken on to keep surfing was a choice I made because I was not financially in the position to stop my career.” 

Well, in wild claims made by Fred Pawle, whom you know as the Walkley-nominated journalist responsible for putting Sarge to the sword (irony!) and telling Matt Branson’s gay-and-proud-ish story, he says Owen has thrown a little fairy dust on the retelling of his Pipe brain injury in his new book, Against the water: a surfing champion’s inspirational journey to Olympic glory. 

Leaving aside the clear embellishment of calling a bronze medal “Olympic glory” in the title, at the 2008 Games, for example, Swedish wrestler Ara Abrahamian hurled his third-place trinket onto the floor and walked out, punching the barricade as he exited, Pawle questions Owen’s “inconsistencies” in the telling of the events at Pipe. 

There’s inconsistencies in Pawle’s arguments, too, his claim there’s no ten-wave sets at Pipe for one.

“There is something about the story of Owen’s injury that doesn’t add up,” says Pawle. “Surfers are not always the most reliable storytellers… tall stories are part of surf culture, but, the inconsistencies of this story matter because it has become central to the Owen Wright myth.”

Open Thread: Comment live as World Surf League places jackboot on jaw of San Clemente locals and shutters Lowers for “practice!”

Rage time.

Snakes (pictured). Photo: 9 News
Snakes (pictured). Photo: 9 News

Gold Coast man accused of “bringing sand to the beach” after teaching pet snake to surf

Like Joel Parkinson except skinny.

Australia’s Gold Coast, home to Snapper, the Alley, Kirra, etc. is very famous for its waves but also its hungry locals. Men and women who don’t think twice about slithering around their fellow surfers and sliding into waves not, by rights, theirs. Snakes. It may just be the snakiest stretch of water on earth and so it was with much confusion when the world learned of a man who brought a pet snake all the way from home into the lineup.

But let us meet Higor Fiuza and his carpet python Shiva. The long-haired longboarder has owned the animal, now a few feet long, since she was a little baby and “always took her to the beach” where she would lounge on the sand. One hot day, he decided that she belong with her own kind, in the lineup, so paddled her out.

She took to it immediately.

“Usually when she doesn’t like something she starts hissing but she doesn’t hiss [in the water], she is always chill.”

Shiva clings to Higor’s neck, when they are surfing together, though not everyone loves it. “[Some] people get really scared but others think it’s amazing when they see the connection between me and her,” he told Australia’s ABC News. “I think I can get a barrel behind the rock [at Snapper Rocks] with her one day.”

As a surfer, if you saw yet another snake out amongst it would you be tickled or pretty annoyed?


Me too.

No London for Reza and his famous Hamster Wheel.

Iranian activist-cum-mad-hui Reza Baluchi arrested after attempting to run to London inside human-sized hamster wheel!

Incredible feat stymied by US Coast Guard who adjudged thrillseeker as a "danger to himself."

The Iranian thrillseeker and activist Reza Baluchi has been arrested after he was dragged from his homemade contraption, a human-sized hamster wheel, by Coast Guard one hundred clicks from Tybee Island in the US state of Georgia.

He’d planned on making the four-thousand mile journey to London over the course of a damn uncomfortable six months. Odds on he would’ve drowned, starved or died of thirst.

Reza, fifty-one,  is a mad hui, as they say. A pro cyclist, he was tortured in his home country for offences against Islam, defected to Germany when he was twenty and granted political asylum in the US a decade later. He’s now he’s turned his life into a series of ultra-marathons. 

In 2003, he ran from LA to New York to “dispel misconceptions about the Middle East”, then he did a lap of the continental US to raise money for a kid’s hozzy in Denver, and did another LA-to-New York run in 2009, reason unknown.

A few year’s later, after saving four-and-a-half gees from his job washing dishes at a hookah bar in Newport Beach, Reza built and fitted out what he called a “hydro-pod” or what looks like, to most, a human-sized hamster wheel. 

Trips to Bermuda, Puerto Rico, New York and, a couple of weeks back, London have all failed for various reasons, mostly when Coast Guard figured he was gonna drown and maybe they should save him.

In his latest episode, Coast Guard officers said Reza wouldn’t shuck himself free of the hamster wheel for three days and even threatened to kill himself with a BBC-sized knife but not before detonating a bomb he said he had on board.

Reza, a legend, let’s face it, but maybe a little on the volatile side, was charged in federal court with obstruction of boarding and violation of the Captain of the Port Order, had to cough up a surety of a quarter-mill and “may not go to the ocean or board a vessel on to the ocean.”