Ryan Goz, on set of Barbie with pink surfboard.

Appearance of Barbie Wavestorm surfboards en masse a portent that “El Nino is coming, good waves are coming”

It feels like the first week of school. New boards, new outfits. How was your summer? Go anywhere good?

The other day, I saw the Barbie Wavestorm for the very first time. It was just out there in the ocean, riding waves like it was meant to be.

I wasn’t even at Malibu, where I might expect to see such a Barbie Wavestorm in its natural habitat. I’m sure you will not be surprised to learn that the Barbie Wavestorm is very pink.

The whole thing felt like a portent of some kind, though I’m not at all sure what it was trying to tell me. Reading the signs is not my strong suit. El Niño is coming. The typhoon is recurving. The moon briefly and incompletely eclipsed the sun.

If there’s meaning in the chaos, I haven’t found it yet.

A few weeks ago now, I walked down the trail at Rincon for the first time this fall. The warm, dry days feel magical after the summer’s relentless marine layer, and the waves sparkle under the dropping sun angle. Winter’s coming. But first, there’s these bright, golden days to savor.

Got any wax? A guy with a board of indeterminate age stops on his walk up the cobbles. I toss him a bar. He rubs wax on the deck in a desultory kind of way, and tosses what’s left of the block back to me. It’s covered in sand. Of course, it is. A pair of loose boards bump against the rocks on the inside. The sun’s out and all the characters are here.

A man wearing a spring suit, exuberant with tattoos, rides an 88 on his butt a long way down the line. No one drops in on him. They just sit back and let it happen. He walks back up the beach, carrying his board with its helpful carrying handle. Apparently, paddling isn’t cool now. Surfing has become its own worst enemy. Maybe it always was.

It feels like the first week of school. New boards, new outfits. How was your summer? Go anywhere good? There’s novelty in being here after the long summer. It all wears off far too quickly.

Good waves are coming. That’s the lie the forecasts tell us. Anticipation feels so sweet, but I’ll confess that I’ve run straight past it to impatience. At the coffee shop where I’m supposed to be writing, I daydream about riding waves like a kid stuck in school. Some things don’t really ever change.

At a nearby table, a girl eats Cup Noodles. I picture Trestles and millionaire pro surfers with their entourages. I imagine a Sprinter stocked with Cup Noodles. The joke fails. An avocado sponsor or a sourdough starter, now that’s synergy.

I paddle into a mirror one afternoon. The water shines with promise and small waves crease the surface. A rabid crew has descended on it like seagulls on a bag of chips. Hassle and shove, gotta get your share. A dude tells me how he and a friend are heading to Santa Cruz to get some real waves over the coming weekend. I wish him luck.

In the dry days of fall, I can’t imagine he’s the only one with that idea. The sun sets in a golden fury.

Another day, more windswell. It looks much better than it surfs. I run into a friend and we laugh at how bad it is. Rails sink into quicksand. We stand frozen, boards stalled, in the most ridiculous positions. Oh yeah, you think you can surf? There’s a lot of talk about he tide and boards, a sure sign the waves are bad.

A guy on a fish relentlessly snakes everyone. Angry words fly his way, but he doesn’t seem to care. He’s on his own mission, living his best life. I hear him tell his friend about his house nearby. He lives here, you know. He can do what he wants. I’ve never seen him before, but I’m not about to argue.

The forecasts taunt us, and the clock ticks down on the winter’s first swell. Are you ready? The lineup vibrates with anxiety. Gotta practice. Gotta get ready. Just one more — as though a few waves on a mediocre day will transform their surfing forever.

I admire the optimism. I scoop up a neglected corner. When I stand up, my leash coils like a snake under my backfoot. It’s all going according to plan.

Later I sit on the curb in the sun and eat ice cream dipped chocolate. Ice cream understands. Who needs surfing, anyway. A dog sits in the driver’s seat of a VW van. He’s ready to go. Where is everyone?

In the afternoon glimmer, I surf the incoming tide. My leash miraculously stays out of the way where it belongs. There’s no hype today, no striving, just a few little peaks. I turn on a cute section and then find another. Dance like no one’s watching, because in truth, no one is.

The sun falls. I tuck my board under my arm and walk down the point. Fall’s deep shadows stretch across the trail. A warm wind funnels through the canyon and carries away our secrets. Sunken rails and tangled leashes, they’re all forgotten now. I drive home in the fading light, windows open to the fast-cooling breeze.

Maybe this surfing thing is alright after all.

Poppers and pills Rodney D, Slater and Murray.

Kelly Slater and Bill Murray talk “poppers and blow” and “fatal curse” of Caddyshack in wild just-unearthed interview!

“I wish I could download my brain,” says Slater.

Ain’t nobody cleaner in sports than Kelly Slater, fifty-one, oldest, youngest-ever world champ, eleven tiaras balanced upon on his satin-skinned head. 

It came as a surprise, therefore, when an old interview that appeared in Montauk-based magazine Whalebone five years ago, Kelly and Bill Murray back and forthing while in a golf-cart together, suddenly started doin’ the rounds again. 


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A post shared by Whalebone (@whalebonemagazine)

Yesterday Slater posted,

“What percentage of people have @williammurrarygolf on their list of dream foursomes? I’ve had the pleasure of playing golf and spending time with this legendary greenskeeper a few times.

“Bill never disappoints. Here he is telling me about his first ever surf experience in Bali in 1980 when he quit SNL then ultimately found himself in G-Land with some familiar surf names.”

Better than that.

In their exchanges, Murray takes Slater on a tour of some hitherto unknown ports, including the fatal curse of eighties cult-comedy Caddyshack and the wild life of the long-dead comic Rodney Dangerfield. 

“There were a lot of fun people in (Caddyshack). That was a lot of fun. We lost some people on that,” says Murray.

“What do you mean?” says Slater.

“We lost some people, some good people never were the same after that. It’s so funny when you’re with Rodney… he was wild,” says Murray. 

“Rodney was wild huh?” says Kelly.

“Poppers and blow,” says Murray.

“Jesus Christ,” says Kelly. 

Later, Kelly tells Murray of his wish to examine the contents of his brain. 

Murray: You’ve probably seen, probably just so many amazing things in the ocean.

Slater: Yeah.

Murray: Many of which you were unable to document, right?

Slater: Yeah, I wish I could download my brain.

Murray: You know you could probably do a picture book. You could probably have someone draw it, ya know? You could have someone illustrate it, just from you telling them what it was, ya know?

Slater: Well I’ve read that they’re coming up with this technology that can go in and see your visions or something and take a picture of it and put it into a holograph. Your brain is a holograph, just thoughts in your head, so nothing is the storage of anything solid… it’s just a thought really. Weird.

Murray: Did you read this, that they discovered the largest organ in the body and they didn’t even know it existed?

Slater: No! Really?

Murray Yeah it’s just a interconnected, like a chain that goes through everything, it passes through everything.

Read the whole damn thing here. 

Authorities fear mass vulnerable adult surf drowning as perfect beach weather combines with monster swell in California’s Bay Area

A nasty equation.

Those who call the Golden State home know that autumn is one of the better times of year. Summer crowds gone, warm weather lingering, surf finding its way to many corners. In a word, glorious. But authorities fear this weekend might be too glorious in the Bay Area where a heat wave is combining with a large swell event leading to potential yikes as hordes of VALs, or vulnerable adult learners, snatch Wavestorms and head to the beach.

San Francisco’s ABC affiliate is ominously warning:

People heading to the beach to beat the heat in the Bay Area over the next few days are being warned about dangerous surf conditions that will coincide with rising temperatures.

A Heat Advisory will be in effect for the South Bay and Santa Cruz Mountains, and under sunny skies highs will range from the mid 70s to the mid 90s.

A Beach Hazard Statement is in effect along the coast for increased risk of rip currents and sneaker waves.

Those dastardly sneaker waves.

The scientific formula is simple.


Plus this:

Equals this:

Plus this:

A nasty equation.

Cage and Taj (insert). Photo: Con Air
Cage and Taj (insert). Photo: Con Air

Nicolas Cage bunks with surfing’s perpetual bridesmaid Taj Burrow while in Western Australia filming “The Surfer”

Kelly Slater jealous.

Surf fans far and wide thrilled when, five months ago, the it was reported that Nicolas Cage was set to star in a film with our surfing at its very center. The world was a different place then, more genteel with just one main war burning hot and Jada Pinkett-Smith only emasculating her husband Will privately.

The Hollywood Reporter, back then, reported:

In The Surfer, when a man (Cage) returns to his beachside hometown in Australia, many years since building a life for himself in the U.S., he is humiliated in front of his teenage son by a local gang of surfers who claim strict ownership over the secluded beach of his childhood. Wounded, “The Surfer” decides to remain at the beach, declaring war against those in control of the bay. But as the conflict escalates, the stakes spin wildly out of control, taking “The Surfer” to the edge of his sanity.

Grumpy local revenge porn.

And young grumpy locals thrilled even more, two months ago, when a casting call went out for them in Western Australia, where the picture was set to be made. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation noted, “We are looking for kids who are really confident with a bit of ‘attitude’ … we see them riding their BMXs delivering beer and generally causing trouble around town.”

Well, here we are, Cage is there delighting grumpy locals by purchasing expensive octopus and, drum roll, living in Taj Burrow’s home!

But does anything scream “Western Australia” more than Taj Burrow? Certainly not. The 45-year-old, who famously qualified for the Association of Surfing Professionals Championship Tour at 18 but turned it down so he could hone his skill, was a mainstay at the very top of the rankings for his decade plus in the big show. He won rookie of the year in 1998 and multiple stops including J-Bay, the Pipeline, the crown jewel Lower Trestles though never the World Title.

Surfing’s perpetual bridesmaid.

Unlike Kelly Slater, Burrow retired appropriately and now has the sweet joy of bunking with Nicolas Cage.

Yallingup’s first son always doing it right.


Do you think the two, Cage and Burrow, will get up to any housemate high jinx, though?

What would you recommend?

Kemper flings savage vibes at Hawaiian Airlines,.

Big-wave world champ Billy Kemper rebukes Hawaiian airlines in savage online takedown!

“Surfing was born in Hawaii. Wouldn’t you think Hawaiian Airlines would have some sort of support to our sport?

The Big Wave World Tour champion and four-time Jaws winner Billy Kemper has taken to Instagram to chastise Hawaiian airlines for refusing to carry his two surfboards, unlocking a Pandora’s Box of complaints from a who’s who of world surfing.

Kemper, who is thirty-three, cocks his face impassively, eyes burning with the ultra-alertness of a Haitian priest speaking through a freshly severed human head, as he delivers his coup de grâce.

“Surfing was born in Hawaii, it’s part of the HAWAIIAN culture. Wouldn’t you think @hawaiianairlines would have some sort of support to our sport? THIS HAS TO CHANGE!”

Listen below.


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A post shared by Billy Kemper (@billykemper)

The pile-on is impressive in its expanse.

“Ive had this same experience with @hawaiianairlines they told me leave my boards because i was 1lb over, not even a extra charge policy just said leave it we dont care,” writes Nathan Florence.

Mark Healey: “That’s why they’re called Hawaiian and not Aloha. Been dealing with that shit from them my entire adult life.”

Eli Olson: “When I won the Hawaii / Tahiti regional title and was trying to fly to California for the US Open to represent Hawai’i @hawaiianairlines never let me bring two of my boards that I needed. They told me leave the boards at the airport it’s not their problem.”

Torrey Meister: “Definitely time to bring awareness to this…..AGAIN! @hawaiianairlines absolute worst airlines for surfers and Ive flown on a lot of them. The most horrible board bag fees and senseless baggage policy stories I have had flying are definitely with you @hawaiianairlines

“So many vivid memories from when I was a little kid trying to put my 4’11 surfboards on a Hawaiian airlines to go do events around the state of Hawaii and getting reamed with board charges, as you let 75pound golf bags go right by for free.

“To this day you are still doing the same thing! I started flying aloha airline back then and now I fly @southwestair as much as I can. Great staff, cheap flights, honest with their board fees, and if your board bag is under 50pounds they go on for free! Over 25years of flying around Hawaii and I can say you have never supported us surfers once! That’s why I stopped supporting you and tell everyone I know to do the same till we see some change. You know what they say about greed….”

Koby Abberton, with vomit emojis, “That’s why they charge so much they know all the islands are surfers. It’s robbery.”


Shane Dorian, “SW is the shit! I love them. It’s ‘illegal’ to fly with 100 pound board bag, but they will allow you on the plane if you weigh 500 pounds. What’s that about? HA has some sketchy policies.”

You ever get heat for carrying boards?

I’ve shifted to the borrow a board when you get there model (thanks Paul Evans for recent Hossegor play date) although I imagine pro surfers and pro big-wave surfers have more sophisticated needs.