Top secret Kelly Slater.
Top secret Kelly Slater.

Top secret images of new Abu Dhabi Kelly Slater surf pool emerge!

"It's huge!"

We, of course, know Kelly Slater as one of the most environmentally conscious people on the planet. He is a surf champion, yes, 11 times over and the greatest to ever do it. He is also earth first in nearly everything. His sustainable clothing brand OuterKnown produces warm shirts and comfortable pants made from used fishing line. His sustainable sandal, inspired by the great romance between the moon and turtles, are made from algae.

In four words, green to the max.

Those who call The United Arab Emirates home know Kelly Slater differently. To them, he is an industrialist of old. Chewing up the earth in order to create monuments to man’s primacy over it. Bulldozers rumbling, diesel smoke filling the air. A giant pool filled with water emerging in a desert.

Kelly Slater Wuz Here

Whispers of his grand Abu Dhabi Surf Ranch have been percolating for some time now but they were only that. Whispers. How did it look? Like Lemoore or different?

Thanks to an Emirati Air Force pilot, we now know. It looks like this.

And this.

Big.

Though did I ever tell you about the time that I almost went to work for the Emirati Air Force? It’s true. I flew to Washington D.C. to interview and it went very well. They offered me a job almost immediately and I was supposed to move to Abu Dhabi where I would be put up in a new project, have a food budget and a fine salary. I decided not to take the position for some reason and look at me now.

A very cool surf journalist and also one half of a long-running podcast that discusses surf adjacent themes.

I suppose if I had taken that job, though, I would soon be surfing Kelly Slater’s monument to himself.

Alas.


Iconic Australian beach shack at Burleigh Heads demolished to make way for three ultra-luxury apartments.
The old joint at 10 Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads, inset, and, main photo, a glass box in the sky.

Ultra-luxury apartment to be built on site of iconic Australian beach shack fetches $24 million!

The bulls are running wild in once dirty-as-anything Burleigh Heads

A few years back, a pretty little wooden beach shack on the top of the hill at Burleigh Heads there, not quite overlooking the Cove but only a few steps from the vista, sold for seven million dollars, almost two-and-a-half mill more than it sold for in 2016.

The little beach shack at number 10 Goodwin Terrace was built in 1920 at and typical of the period, was elevated to snatch northerly breezes, a covered wrap-around balcony to shelter from the pretty damn relentless Gold Coast sun.

Iconic Australian beach shack at 10 Goodwin Terrace Burleigh Heads.
The pretty little beach shack at 10 Goodwin Terrace, Burleigh Heads, built in 1920, demolished a century later for ultra-luxury apartments.

The land was zoned medium density, a three-storey, fifty-feet feet height limit, which meant the developer wasn’t able to toss a tower on the land, even if developers have been known to work many behind-the-scenes miracles.

The developer, Spyre Group, described the location and the subsequent build thus, 

A parcel of land so rare insisted on an architectural response like no other, a location engulfed in the most impressive collection of natural inspirations granted the freedom to design the impossible.

Glasshouse is an architectural response that captures and amplifies the qualities of such an extraordinary place – something that was as distinctive and rare as the site itself. It’s an offering stridently new to not only Burleigh Heads, but the South East Coast entirely. 

Every aspect of Glasshouse is a triumph – from the breathtaking individuality of living environments to the authenticity of stone materials and the skill of the artisans’ craft. Sculptural island benches and bathroom vanities forged in the finest Italian stone serve both in function and statement. 

Two of three have been combined to create a ten-thousand square feet apartment that has just sold for twenty-four mill, four mill more than for the building’s single penthouse, which sold last year. 

“You are quite elevated and your view is like floating into the waves, the rock pools at the front, and the lit-up city in the background,” the selling agent told the property press.

Once one of the grittier parts of the Gold Coast, third in shittiness behind Coolangatta and perennial winner Palm Beach, Burleigh Heads has been transformed into a paradise for investors, including the Chinese man who bought the Old Burleigh Theatre Arcade, the former home of Surfing Life magazine, for eighteen-mill.

Your ol pal DR deeply regrets selling his mid-century masterpiece next door, which had a gun-barrel view of the Cove, for a little under six hundred a decade ago.


Widow of Andy Irons pays tribute to her husband on thirteenth anniversary of his death.
"He told me loved me after a week! It was on from the second we were together. He was the most handsome man I’d ever seen and now when I look back at pictures it takes my breath away. So handsome … and so… perfect… he was… perfect… it’s still really hard for me to even look at photos… I always tell my friends I can’t believe how handsome he was. I’m shocked now that he’s not here."

Andy Irons venerated by wife Lyndie on 13th anniversary of surfing king’s sudden death

“We partied hard, and danced always”

Andy Irons was 25 when he pulled the brown-skinned Californian gal towards him and then pushed the both of them back into the trunk of the tall Ficus tree between First and Third streets, Encinitas.

Andy Irons, a world champ too, but only one-time and not thrice, although he was mid-way through his second, kissed twenty-year-old Ms Lyndie Dupuis who held her breath and felt like, well, how can she explain what it’s like?

To be held, owned, by a Hawaiian god who’d suddenly become, unexpectedly, the most exciting and dominant surfer of his generation?

“He was the most handsome man I’d ever seen and now when I look back at pictures it takes my breath away,” Lyndie says. “So handsome …  and so…  perfect…  he was… perfect…  it’s still really hard for me to even look at photos… I always tell my friends I can’t believe how handsome he was. I’m shocked now that he’s not here.”

Seven years later Andy Irons was dead.

I still remember, vividly, the Wednesday morning when Taj Burrow fired a text message from Puerto Rico to a mutual friend saying that Andy Irons had been found in a Texas hotel room.

A few calls and I was into the Tarrant County coroner’s office. AI’s body was inside. He’d been found by two hotel workers at the Grand Hyatt at Dallas-Forth Worth airport, dead, bed sheets pulled to his neck, an empty Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup on the floor beside him.

Andy Irons, who was thirty two, had died six thousand clicks from a wife pregnant with his son Axel and a home gilded by the rays of a Hanalei sun.

Even with the passing of time, it doesn’t get any easier for his widow Lyndie Irons, although now she has Ax, Andy’s lookalike son.

And, today, on the thirteenth anniversary of that terrible day Lyndie posted a tribute to Andy.

November 2nd.

I can still hear your laugh. I can still see you dancing (in Axel) and it still feels like yesterday that he you left. Andy taught me the most in my lifetime about how to live. He was the most authentically honest man that loved so hard and so deep. He made time for everyone and never treated anyone differently. He always made time for kids and he gave so much to the community of Kauai. He was so special. He worked so hard to achieve every single goal he set and he achieved them all in his 32 years ‍♂️! He was an incredible athlete and I will always be his biggest fan.

We partied hard, and danced always. Makes me smile thinking of our wild times together. We had the very best time always. Andy was my best friend and he gave my forever best friend Axel. Andy really lived every single day to the very fullest and I do that with our Axel the best that I can.
I will forever miss that raw pure love from Andy. Feeling blessed through the pain that I got to experience such love and out of that relationship I have my beautiful Axel. My rock !

Hug and love your people hard. We aren’t promised tomorrow !

The year after Andy Irons died, I interviewed Lyndie about her wild husband. 

DR: Did Andy dream a lot? Were they sweet dreams, nightmares?

Lyndie: Definitely nightmares. He’d wake up screaming a lot. And, he was talking to Koby Abberton about it. Seems like they had similar dreams. Andy would wake up sometimes screaming out or he’d sit up and start punching the bed. He had some very, very radical dreams, and a lot of them.

DR: Did he describe these dreams?

Lyndie: Sometimes. When he had radical ones. There’s a few I can remember, but I’d prefer to keep them to myself. He definitely had emotional, physical dreams even though he looked so sweet and peaceful when he slept. I look at Axel and get the same feeling. Axel goes a million miles a minute and when he goes to sleep I feel like I can take a breath.

DR: Talk to me about the whirlwind of those world titles, you the gal next to the guy. How about the year he made Kelly cry? That was intenso!

Lyndie: When I was first started dating Andy he’d already won one world title and was already in the middle of his second one and so him winning every contest seemed like the natural order of things. I was shocked if he didn’t make the quarters or the semi finals. He was so happy and so on top of the world. He never second-guessed himself. He was such a magical human, particularly in those world title days. It was like he was floating on air. He never even, it’s so hard to explain it in words. I wish he was here to explain it for me because he was so good with words…  But, that year that he beat Kelly in the final was magical in itself. It was so unexpected. I remember G (Graham Stapelberg, the then VP of marketing at Billabong) adding up the points and he was like, “Whoa, Andy, you can actually win this world title.” He wasn’t a long shot for me, and not for Andy either, but for everybody else it was shocking. It was magical and crazy.


Hollinger. Photo: Encyclopedia of Surfing
Hollinger. Photo: Encyclopedia of Surfing

Revered Hawaiian surfer, writer Kimo Hollinger dead at 84

"Born on Oahu, Uncle Kimo kicked off as an ink drinker, not the tall, graceful heavyweight of legend."

Kimo Hollinger, revered Hawaiian surfer and writer, died yesterday. He was eighty-four.

Born on Oahu, Uncle Kimo kicked off as an ink drinker, not the tall, graceful heavyweight of legend.

“You see, I became a bookworm, even reading encyclopedias. But my father made me go out. He sent me to the YMCA, he sent me to judo classes, and when he was sure I could take care of myself, he sent me to Waikiki.” He started surfing at sixteen but jumped the rungs quickly to become a standout at Sunset and Waimea.

Hollinger, who loved listening to jazz on his back porch almost as much as he loved Spam, rode waves without much of the glory draped on his contemporaries. He shunned the spotlight but relished being a part of the adventure, talking story and writing it, too. Kimo gifted us tales of big wave disasters and low-brow mischief so crisp you’d swear you were there dripping wet laughing beside him. His self-effacing prose made ya’ feel like a brother.

Kimo would say that he’s not a pro surfer, not a legend. “I’m just an observer,” he called himself. An observer? That’s like thinking of a stringer as decoration. Kimo was a link in the chain of surf history. A few years back a Greg Noll 10’ 10’ gun was auctioned, grabbing $9,500. That’s a steep gavel drop even for a Noll. The plank was advertised as a board Kimo stood on in his prime.

It’s well-deserved. I chipped this from Warshaw’s EOS:

“On Thanksgiving Day, 1975, just prior to the final heats of the Smirnoff Pro, with the Waimea surf booming in a gorgeous 25 to 30 feet, Hollinger and a handful of other non-contestants were asked by Smirnoff officials to leave the water. Hollinger complied, but resentfully—in part because Waimea breaks just a few times each season, and rarely with the kind of form seen on this particular day, and in part because of the commercial intrusion on what Hollinger regarded as a sacred surfing area.

“Powerboats and helicopters appeared,” he wrote in Surfer magazine a few weeks later, “and contest officials started warming up on the loudspeaker. I couldn’t believe it. Telling us who could ride and who couldn’t. A surfer has trained himself to ride these waves. It is all he asks of life. Who the hell is Smirnoff to tell him he can’t? God created those waves.”

But Kimo was never shy to find the humor even in the most miserable circumstances. Speaking at the launch party of his book Talking Story, Hollinger recalled a near-fatal experience in the mid-seventies. Some big-name mainlanders, including Mike Diffenderfer, went out at big Waimea and Kimo, proud and itching to get in the mix, paddled out, wanting to represent the islands.

“When I went out it was only about 15 feet, then it was eighteen feet then it was twenty feet, then it was closing out the bay, Eddie was trying to scream at me to come in, but I couldn’t hear them. This huge set was coming from way outside and I thought to myself, ‘Well, I’ll take the first one cause I didn’t wanna, you know, get pummeled. But it was a big mistake. So, I took the first one and when I wiped out I was right in the impact zone and all the following waves just smashed me.

“My wetsuit was around my head and my shorts around my ankles and I had to clear a hole in the foam so I could take a breath. I was crying for my mother, I knew my wife would take care of the kids, I was wondering ‘who is gonna take care of the dog?”

Fifteen foot shore break with rocks on the sand, he was getting pounded and couldn’t make it the last twenty yards in.
“Butch van Arstdalen was on the sand, shouting me in. I always called him Dutchman and he always called me Hawaiian. ‘Hawaiian, Hawaiian, swim around the rocks!”

But he couldn’t make it the last twenty yards.

“So all the guys formed a human chain and they grabbed me.”

Tributes coming in rapidly.

A quote from Kimo:

“Life is a compromise. You’re not going to make everyone happy, but that’s the only way to do it. There’s no sense yelling and screaming at each other and being angry.”


Justin Trudeau (left) tone deaf. Photo: Instagram

Canada’s Justin Trudeau excoriated for son’s “tone deaf” costume

"He should have dressed up as a surfer who got attacked by a shark..."

Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, is the world’s highest ranking surfer. The stylish 51-year-old is not shy about his love for our “sport of kings.” He often takes to social media and showcases his svelte frame, wrapped in black neoprene, arms akimbo. Legs like tasty toothpicks. Trudeau appreciates the surfing life so much that he skipped his country’s very first Truth and Reconciliation Day to shred Tofino.

Very cool.

Though the Liberal Party leader is currently in very hot water. Halloween was, of course, just two days ago. The day allows children and adults alike to dress as favorite characters or goblins. I went with the one-time 11th best surfer in the world Luke Stedman. Trudeau’s son chose to go as a beheaded man.

“Hadrien seems to have misplaced something… but that’s not going to stop him from trick-or-treating,” the newly single PM penned to Instagram. “Happy Halloween, everyone – have fun out there!”

“Out” pronounced “oot”

While the costume appears to be lovingly crafted, critics immediately pounced on its “tone deafness.”

Beauty guru Saba Khan wrote, “Heart says this is the most tone deaf thing he can do at a time when children are getting their heads blown off in Palestine.”

Others pounced with “disgusting, insensitive and disrespectful.”

Surfers knew that poor Hadrien made the wrong choice and should have dressed as a surfer getting mauled by a shark.

A classic that never goes out of style.

He could have also picked former World Surf League CEO Erik Logan.

Or, better, former World Surf League CEO Erik Logan dressing in Filipe Toledo’s skin.

A costume within a costume like Inception.

Justin Trudeau, of course, has his own history with “problematic” costumes, donning blackface for his Aladdin get up back in 2001.