A little off the shoulder dungaree outfit.

Beloved Japanese-Australian surf brand Banks Journal suddenly shuts down after almost a decade in biz

"On Friday, October 13th, we will close our doors for the last time and bid farewell to all of you."

Tears in Byron Bay, Los Angeles and across the Pacific and slightly to the south in Tokyo after the shock announcement that Banks Journal had closed its famous brand after nine years in biz.

“I’m writing to everyone who has lovingly supported Banks Journal since we embarked on this journey back in 2014,” writes Rama McCabe, whom we’ll talk about shortly, and who created the brand along with his Byron Bay pal Tim Cochran and some Japanese investors. “We started this project to merge style and function with a sustainable approach to design and development. We were fortunate to have a unique perspective on coastal living, inspired by our Japanese and Australian heritage.

“We’ve come a long way from our original office in Bondi Beach, Australia, and we wouldn’t have had this opportunity without each and every one of you. From the incredibly talented individuals we’ve had the pleasure of working alongside, to the retailers who always believed in us no matter what, our factories that went above and beyond to provide us with beautifully made products. Last but not least, to all the people who have one of our products hanging in their closet, you’re the friends, family, and supporters who have turned the dream of creating Banks Journal into a reality.

“On Friday, October 13th, we will close our doors for the last time and bid farewell to all of you. Our hope is that you will continue to support our incredible retail partners until the last Banks Journal products have left their shelves, and that you will find an everyday journey with our brand in your life.”

The chisel-jawed nymph Rama McCabe started off at Rip Curl, swung over to Globe, then O’Neill, Critical Slide for a while before joining a Japanese-Australian gang to form Banks Journal.

I remember in 2006, in Fiji, when the then-famous surfer Nathan Webster described me and Rama as Big Dez and Little Dez.

I was thrilled more than Rama, he better looking and dazzling in the water, me, shark-nosed, thin-lipped, flamingo legged, belly fat, but thirty pounds heavier and maybe six inches bigger where it matters. (Height). Sorta same haircut gave us a vague similarity, which I milked.

Over the years I got Rama to design various surf trunks, the high point being our Bill Cosby and Black Enuch trunks, short in the leg, gentle on the hips, grippy on the thigh. Works of art, I think, through sales were slow.

It’s a been wild couple of days for Rama.

His brother Pritamo, the head judge of the WSL men’s tour for the last five years, has just been replaced by Brazil’s Luiz Fernando Steffen Pereira following the near mutiny of Gabriel Medina, Italo Ferreira and Filipe Toledo after they weren’t gifted victories in every event on tour.


World Surf League appoints Brazilian head judge in wake of near-mutiny from Gabriel Medina, Italo Ferreira, Filipe Toledo!

There's a new xerife in town.

Last year’s real World Surf League mess, which led to the unceremonious firing of its Chief Executive Officer Erik Logan, began in Salvador wherein shoddy judging was called out by Brazilian superstars Gabriel Medina, Italo Ferreira and Filipe Toledo. Each former champions. All masters of their craft.

The aforementioned Logan was, however, not impressed and fired back an “open letter” so bitter, so altogether nasty as to make that evening’s cocktails very unpleasant.

He was, anyhow, gone during the Brazil event after making alleged monkey business. The World Surf League, though, still barely standing has made a major change for the upcoming 2024 Championship Tour, replacing former head judge Pritamo Ahrendt, Australian I think, with Brazil’s Luiz Fernando Steffen Pereira.

Per the press release:

Today, the World Surf League (WSL) announced the appointment of Luiz “Luli” Fernando Steffen Pereira as the Director of Officiating and Head Judge, succeeding Pritamo Ahrendt, WSL Director of Judging, as he steps away from this role to pursue other opportunities.

With Pereira’s appointment, the WSL Tours and Competition team has evolved the structure and scope of the Head Judge position. In this new role, Pereira will serve as Director of Officiating and will serve as Head Judge for all WSL Competitive Tours.

“We are thrilled to welcome Luli Pereira into the role of Director of Officiating and Head Judge,” said Jessi Miley-Dyer, WSL Chief of Sport. “Luli’s comprehensive understanding of competitive surfing, coupled with his deep commitment to excellence in judging and officiating, makes him the ideal person to lead this team. I am excited to partner with Luli and look forward to the great work that lies ahead.”

Pereira brings a wealth of experience to this role. With a distinguished career in competitive surfing that spans over two decades, Pereira has served as a Judge on the Championship Tour (CT) panel for the last 18 years, including serving as the Women’s Head Judge since 2020. Additionally, Pereira served as a judge in surfing’s Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Games. Pereira brings unique experience from his early career as a professional surfer on the South America Qualifying Series. Pereira also has a distinguished educational background, holding a law degree from the Universidade do Vale do Itajaí, Santa Catarina, Brazil, and he is fluent in three languages.

“I’d like to express my admiration for Pritamo’s leadership as Head Judge and for his extraordinary impact on the sport,” Pereira said. “I am honored to have been selected for this new role and I am looking forward to building on the legacy of excellence in judging and officiating.”

Ahrendt had been on the job for five years, having been a regular old judge for nineteen. Derek Rielly liked him, if I recall. There was no word if he was pushed or if he jumped. What do you think?

Also, do you imagine Filipe Toledo’s daddy Richard is pleased?

More as the story develops.

Faith healer Charlie Goldsmith famous as Kelly Slater’s “secret weapon” charged with assaulting boy in Byron Bay

“Kelly Slater has Charlie Goldsmith, Italo Ferreira has god.”

Four years ago, the surfing world was introduced to the faith healer Charlie Goldsmith, Kelly Slater’s “secret weapon”, in an episode of the excellent WSL series Sound Waves filmed at Slater’s Surf Ranch.

Goldsmith is very famous, at least in Australia, for his ability to cure the sick with his personal electric vibrations, as well as tap into the wellness zeitgeist with various business start-ups.

In a three-month study carried out by the Australian television show Sunday Night viewers were privy to the miracle of Goldsmith who “claims he possesses a mysterious energy that can cure the sick using just his mind…he can end chronic pain, cure crippling arthritis, even save lives.”

Goldsmith was eighteen years old when he “first felt a strange sensation between his hands. He says he soon discovered this energy could heal people. Worried about exposing himself to a world of doubters, he wanted to keep his gift secret until science supported his claims.”

Two years later, Goldsmith appeared again, this time in the Kelly Slater produced series Lost Tapes.

It is the 2019 season and Kelly is at Jeffrey’s Bay. Forty seven at the time, something the commentators keep reminding him of, the champ is even more introspective than usual.

“I’ve had a lot of days and time on the road where I’m not enjoying. And, it’s not pro surfing it’s my own life, my own personal issues, family stuff, relationship … sometimes you go surfing and forget about and you don’t think about it. Surfing becomes that drug that covers it up for a while.”

Goldsmith tells Slater, “The truth is, you’ve had so much success that if you didn’t have one more bit of success you’d have had more than anyone else.”

“(Charlie) gets me not-thinking,” says Slater. “I’m a heady person…even up to the minute I paddle out, I’ve had him on the phone.”

Around that time, I spoke with Matt Warshaw on surfing’s great Svengalis, men, always men, who come into the lives of great surfers offering success, happiness, friendship and just a little fairy dust.

“All athletes at that level, I’m guessing, are looking for any kind of edge or advantage they can find, mental and physical. Kelly has Goldsmith, Italo has God,” said Warshaw. “If putting your faith in some person or entity gives you peace of mind, relaxes you, distracts from the pressure, then it works. Goldsmith laying that New Age hoodoo on Kelly makes more sense than his girlfriend telling him again and again to ‘have fun.'”

Shock today, therefore, when Goldsmith, who is forty-three and the nephew of Grease star Olivia Newton-John, was charged with the assault of kid who was mucking around with golf clubs near his house in New Brighton, just north of Byron Bay, and allegedly belted a rock into his cleaner’s car.

Police allege Goldsmith drove to the scene, grabbed one of the kids and then “demanded they all sit while he berated them.”


Goldsmith denies the charge.

“I was made aware of a group of local youths using golf clubs to hit rocks, resulting in damage to a passing car,” Goldsmith told the Daily Mail. “I assisted the individual whose car was damaged. I am deeply disappointed that I have been charged with one count of common assault. I deny any violent conduct or physical contact with the teens. I strenuously deny the allegations and have instructed lawyers to defend the charge.”

He ain’t hanging around New Brighton for long, either. His joint there, with its barrel sauna, gym and hot tub, four beds, three bathrooms, five-car garage, pretty as anything, is currently listed for sale with offers around three million dollars sought.

Greg Browning, shoots from the water while family and pals hunt the little barrels.

Kelly Slater gifts incurably ill surf filmmaker Greg Browning and Momentum-era stars $50,000 day at Surf Ranch wave pool

"This will go down as one of the best days of my life. Surfing with family and sharing memories that will live on forever."

Couple of months ago, shithouse news. The creator of the beloved Drive-Thru series and former star of Taylor Steele’s Momentum rock-and-cock films, Greg Browning was in the ring for the fight of his life after being diagnosed with the incurable neurodegenerative disease ALS aka motor-neurone disease also aka Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The outlook ain’t pretty for Browning. He is fit as a bull and blessed with an optimistic soul but MND leads to increasing muscle weakness, loss of mobility, difficulties in speaking and swallowing, and eventually respiratory failure.

“The nicest guy gets thrown around a lot but he actually is one of the most giving friends,” said Taylor Steele. 

Now, thanks to his old pal Kelly Slater, Browning, along with his son Parker, Benji Weatherley, Keith and Derek Brewer, got a taste of the famous Lemoore tank where the hospitality is as good, personalised lockers, chilled wine, excellent tapas, as the long, clean walls. 

“This will go down as one of the best days of my life. Surfing with family and sharing memories that will live on forever,” wrote Parker Browning.


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Dorian (pictured) living in the future. Photo: Instagram
Dorian (pictured) living in the future. Photo: Instagram

Medical tourists kept on edge of seat as big wave stud Shane Dorian shares more details about his quest for eternal life

Youth in our time.

Yesterday found the surf world glued to phone screens, pondering their own vitality as big wave stud Shane Dorian announced that he was headed to Tijuana, Mexico in order to receive a week’s long stem-cell treatment program. The surf legend declared he was going to have the life-giving noodles injected into his sore bits, shoulders, knees, neck etc. after a career or taking heaps of water on the head.

Ever the educator, Dorian said he would take the health-curious along on the ride and, true to his word, answered many frequently asked questions. On day one, he spent “two-plus hours” in an MRI tube getting his body ready for the flood. It was loud and claustrophobic but he was brave and survived. Scans coming back clear.

After meeting with doctors, having a delicious dinner, Dorian got down to the FAQs. You must follow along on his Instagram stories for full details. The boiled down pertinent bits below.

Why Mexico?

Here in Mexico they can do things with stem-cells, like duplicating cells, that is not allowed in United States. A whole lot more stem-cells into each treatment than the U.S.

Why nervous?

Couple pals had a lot of pain. Woke up from treatments in a lot of pain. Pain is from volume of stem-cells. Doesn’t like pain. Doesn’t like pain meds.

Feel safe in TJ?

A lot of people have assumptions, I had those same concerns but now that I’m here I don’t feel unsafe at all. Really incredible restaurants, bone marrow tacos. Seems super chill. No fentanyl zombies like in California.

How much?

Impossible to answer. Varies a ton. Stem-cell treatments, in general, are expensive. It’s just part of the deal.

Where do the stem-cells come from?

There are a lot of different type of stem-cells, the type that I’m getting her are stem-cells from umbilical cords. Harvested and “expanded.” Only one healthy mother out of 1000 meets the requirement for CPI. Wanted to make sure that donor mother was unvaxxed. Pre-Covid stem-cells.

And there we have it.

Are you sold?

Booking passage to Tijuana presently or taking a “wait-and-see” attitude?