California surfers breathe sigh of relief as state installs “odor sensors” near beachfront border with Mexico!

"If this doesn’t prioritize our crisis here, our emergency that we’re all living and experiencing, I don’t know what will.”

Now, there are many, many, many things that can ruin a good surf. Forgetting to properly wax board, lingering in parking lot until the wind picks up, chatting with pal while wave of the day feathers just right there, eye-catching man or woman being lightly too provocative, the smell of fresh sizzling carne asada wafting on a warm breeze.

The latter is of particular trouble in California’s very southern San Diego County where a weird piling fence thing from about 100 yards into the Pacific and up the sand separates Mexico from the United States of America. President Joe Biden, fulfilling campaign promises to his most liberal base, has bulldozed environmental concerns and is adding to his predecessor’s border wall while expelling who families from icky places like Venezuela. That’s all mostly happening points east, though, leaving California open to south-of-the-boarder distractions.

Like aroma of fresh sizzling carne asada or, even more problematic, al pastor slowly spinning on a spit, pineapple nearby.


Well, the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District (SDAPCD) has decided to take matter into its own hands and will measure the air quality near the Tijuana River Valley by figuring out what’s in it by setting up six new “odor sensors” in Imperial Beach.

Hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide are the main focus for the odors,” Kevin Bradley, a senior chemist at SDAPCD told San Diego’s local ABC affiliate. “It’s a quality of life issue. It can affect mental health, you know, your appetite, all sorts of different things to be able to smell something that terrible. All these compounds contribute to poor air quality. However, the gasses that are of most concern in the Tijuana River Valley are sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide, with hydrogen sulfide being the main culprit that causes the pungent odor associated with sewage and wastewater. Sulfur dioxide typically does not produce odor at ambient levels but can provide additional information on hydrogen sulfide levels.”

Imperial Beach Mayor Paloma Aguirre was happy about the odor sensors but also frustrated. “It’s unfortunate that we have to present hard data to make our case, right?” She said. “It’s very obvious we are having environmental impacts, public health impacts, impacts to our local economy. If this doesn’t prioritize our crisis here, our emergency that we’re all living and experiencing, I don’t know what will.”

I guess I didn’t know that melty panela cheese let off sulphur dioxide though, I’d imagine, it would be difficult sitting down for a boring old hamburger or slab of ketchup smeared meatloaf in Imperial Beach and being forced to smell grilled octopus and cilantro would be a huge bummer.

I surfed through the border, once, in Imperial Beach. Paddling from California to Mexico and actually had tacos on the beach right there.

Cutting the session short.

If I recall, I wasn’t allowed to paddle back and a pal had to come pick me up.

He had tacos too.

Very unchill. Photo: Bali Bogans
Very unchill. Photo: Bali Bogans

“Bali Bogan” reveals hideous plague awaiting visiting surfers on the “Island of the Gods!”

Terror nigh.

Any surfer who has had the good fortune of traveling to Bali has certainly experienced the vast pleasures contained on, and around, the Island of the Gods. From playful monkeys who gently steal sunglasses to curious visitors learning to ride motor scooters for the very first time, Bali is feast for the senses to say nothing of the waves.

Uluwatu, Nusa Lembongan, Canggu and Kuta, just to name a tiny few. In the water Brazilians share with Frenchman who, in turn, share waves with Australians. Afterward they all toast Bintangs and marvel at their blessings.

But alas, a hideous plague is manifesting, painful and unsightly, confusing to general practitioners (doctors) and a brave bogan is issuing a dire warning to other “Bali Bogans.”

The Tomcat Beatle.

The pestilence, which delivers an unsightly, painful rash, is most common in wet areas and, well, from the source herself:

“Noticed a blister on my leg at dinner after sitting outside… on a cane chair. The next day it blistered, burst and I noticed the scar like marks across my skin. I applied betadine and after I got home I’ve been on antibiotics… after some googling I figured out what it was. I felt nothing and saw nothing.”

She traveled home completely disfigured.

The Tomcat Beatle doesn’t actually bite its victim, but dares bleed on him or her when being drunkenly squished, leaves a toxin on the skin that flares hard.

Dieter Hochuli, ecologist and University of Sydney professor, said “Brushing them away can add to the problem, as you end up smoodging the toxin in the direction of the brush and spreading it. That’s why lots of the blisters look quite linear.”


In any case, the best thing to do is wash the area with cool and soapy water or, maybe, Bintang.

It generally takes a day or two for symptoms to appear but then weeks for them to go away, making it awkward and weird when trying to suntan post surf.

Best practice is to hide in the dark like a mutant and NOT surf.

More as the story develops.

Calls to boycott surfing “Bigot Fest” grow deafening as pile-on continues following alleged “vile exclusionary rhetoric”!

"This rhetoric is rooted in the misogynistic idea that women are weaker, smaller require protection…"

A terrific storm hit Mexico several days ago when a much-loved longboard contest there was throttled by trans-activists after including the rule, “There are only two divisions: natural born women and natural men.”

Pretty silly to be so transparent for we live in an age of confected danger and outrage. Most people know to pull their heads in when it comes to dudes with dickies and the slightly rarer jock pussy.

After a post appeared with the controversial rule, contest organiser Izzy Preciado was slammed, first, by Fringe Surfers New England, which was quickly followed by Surf Equity, whom you’ve read about here, here, here, here and here. 

In the hysteria that followed, sponsors were urged, with varying success, to pull out the Mex Log Fest or else would be seen to be “condoning the perpetuation of bigotry and hate.”

Oatly, a manufacturer of oat-based drinks whose charter reads “Everybody—regardless of spiritual beliefs, birth country, race, gender, sexual orientation, or color of their nail polish—is of equal worth” quickly threw their weight behind the boycott. 

“The bigotry mentioned in the screenshots is absolutely contrary to our values and our team has relayed this accordingly to the event founders,” the company wrote in a DM to Fringe Surfers New England. 

Hydrophile Surf Craft, maker of fins for longboards, singles, experimental craft etc, were similarly aghast.

“I wanted to take a moment to be sure I made it clear how I stand on trans rights, gender equality, and human rights in general. The targeted exclusion of trans athletes from @mexilogfest by @surfinmexico is not okay. There is no room for hate in surfing and I implore you to stand against it as well.” 

Someone calling ‘emselves @sats_ko lit up on a “cis bro supporting a cis bro who is the founder and event direct of “Bigot Fest” with a lengthy screed., 

“Trans women’s inclusion in surfing is a feminist issue and a human rights issue – and this vile exclusionary rhetoric harms ALL women. Obviously this is blatant transphobia – and he is not thinking/caring about the trans experience – but one thing that stands to me is: I imagine he thinks he is speaking in solidarity with cis women (?) – whereas, banning trans women hurts cis women too. 

“Because ppl come in all shapes and sizes – and this rhetoric is rooted in the misogynistic idea that women are weaker, smaller require protection etc. Would he prefer weight classes to make things ‘fairer’ amongst different sized ppl. No because it’s not really about that. 

“But what banning trans women does it put scrutiny on cis women who may be taller, more muscular, more masc/butch/androgynous. I hope this can start a dialogue  to unpick get ppl reflecting how these arguments are rooted in misogyny.” 

Powerful words although experience does tell me that, generally, women are weaker than men, although miles ahead when it comes to mind fucking, again, generally.

More importantly, take Eddie Rodrigues, below, a crossover gal.

Is the line blurring for you now?



Future California workers (pictured) with their hero (insert). Photo: Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Future California workers (pictured) with their hero (insert). Photo: Fast Times at Ridgemont High

California surfers rejoice as adored Governor Gavin Newsom gifts two extra “sick days” per year!

Super "sick."

While, from the outside, it may seem like a California surfer’s life is all milk and honey, good times and chill vibes, it can get rough and tough in the Golden State. From too many converted vans taking up the prime beachfront parking spaces to the sun shining in eyes when it sets, globs of tar that, occasionally get stuck to the bottom of feet to former World Surf League CEO Erik Logan prowling around… Not easy.

Thankfully, the almost universally adored governor, Gavin Newsom, just signed a new law raising the mandatory sick days workers get from three to five.

“Too many folks are still having to choose between skipping a day’s pay and ‘taking care of themselves’ or their family members when they get ‘sick,’” Newsom declared. “We’re making it known that the ‘health and wellbeing’ of workers and their families is of the utmost importance for California’s future.”

“Taking care of themselves,” “sick” and “health and wellbeing” all clearly dogwhistles for surfers.

With these two extra “sick days,” it will be much easier for the state’s hardened wave sliders to maximize the swell that is sure to be whipped up thanks to El Niño.

Newsom and his allies in the legislature, in another wink to surfers, rejected the California Chamber of Commerce-supported alternative bill that would allow for five days, as well, but also require employees to provide “proof of the reason for their absence.”

Buzzkills, man.

“Cooler” heads prevailed, though.

Super “sick.”

Do you remember when Governor Newsom closed beaches during Covid and “fined” surfers?

Another solid wink wink.

The wave sliders’ friend.

John Witzig's hall of fame Noosa shot from 1966 with Bobby McTavish in the foreground. | Photo: John Witzig

Surfers declare war on council accused of destroying iconic wave so perfect riding it is “like having a cup of tea with God!”

"Maddeningly inconsistent but enchanting" wave gets disappeared by bureaucrats!

Surfers in Noosa Heads have drawn battle lines against its local council, demanding it “cease all future sand pumping onto the area known as First Point at Noosa Heads – and to work with interested groups to find a solution to the present situation”.

See, the “maddeningly inconsistent” but “enchanting set of tropical right-breaking Australian point waves located inside Noosa Heads National Park, 150 miles north of Brisbane” has become buried under tons of sand. 

And, in a petition the Save First Point Action Group writes, “Due initially to the effects of offshore sand dumping, followed by sand pumping by the Noosa Council, and two recent sand flow deposits following flooding, we need a pause to future sand-pumping to allow First Point and Little Cove to recover naturally. We are calling on interested parties and the surfing public from across Australia and around the world to help us Save First Point.”

Ol Phil Jarrett, one of the best in the surf journalism game who shifted north to Noosa decades ago, explains it pretty well. 

The science behind the sand, the massive buildup of sand which has all but destroyed First Point’s global reputation as (arguably) one of the world’s great point break surfing waves and (certainly) one of the best longboard waves in the world, has been caused by a complex set of factors, both natural and man-made, and there is no easy fix. What we do know is that, in time, storm swell events will gauge out the record sand level (perhaps as much as 100,000 cubic metres) allowing perfect waves to stand up over a rock and sand bottom and peel down the point as they once did. But the Save First Point Action Group is playing the long game, hoping to convince the council – and the general public – that we need to be proactive to ensure that the natural asset doesn’t disappear again.

The problem with that is that most people don’t surf (despite evidence to the contrary every time we have a swell event) and beachgoers think a Sahara of sand on which to plonk their cabanas is the best thing since sliced bread, while accommodation managers and Hastings Street business folk panic every time the beach erodes and a few rocks are exposed, to the point of privately organising the dumping of several truckloads of sand some years ago just ahead of the Christmas rush.

While its importance to the modern-day shredder has diminished a little, although the last time I flew up there to chase a cyclone swell I was sharing the green-walled waves with Julian Wilson and Wade Goodall, it remains a natural treasure.

“Surfing at Ti Tree Bay,” the shaper Bob McTavish once said, “is like having a cup of tea with God.”