Mick Fanning with brother Ed and, inset, daughter Lyla.
Mick Fanning with brother Ed and, inset, daughter Lyla.

Mick Fanning announces birth of daughter two days after farewelling brother Ed at rollicking Gold Coast wake

In much needed, if bittersweet, news for the surviving members of the Fanning family, Mick and wife Breanna Randall announced the birth of their daughter Lyla Skye Fanning.

Two weeks ago in a tragedy as unimaginable as it was sad, Mick Fanning lost his last surviving brother Ed in a freak accident at a remote surf camp in the Indian Ocean. 

Ed Fanning was working as a surf guide in Anakao, Madagascar, when a reef cut turned septic, killing the forty eight year old. 

Over the course of the weekend, Ed was farewelled in spectacular fashion at Snapper Rocks. 

“Today we gathered to celebrate the life of Ed. I want to thank my family and friends for all the amazing support they have shown not only me but everyone that loved Ed. It was a beautiful day with so many amazing people coming together,” Mick Fanning wrote.

“I know Ed is always with me. The memories and good times we shared for so many years will always be with me. I give thanks for that. Some incredible stories were told today as people telling their versions of the funny and wild shit he used to do. Please keep telling them as Ed would want you all to laugh.”


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Nine years ago, and on the eve of a dramatic world title showdown at Pipeline, Mick Fanning received news that his older brother Peter, a daddy to three who had been suffering from a “serious hyperthyroid disease” had died in his sleep.

In 1998, Mick’s twenty-year-old brother Sean, along with another talented local surfer Joel Green, was killed in a car accident. Mick Fanning was seventeen.

In much needed, if bittersweet, news for the surviving members of the Fanning family, mama Liz, daddy John and sister Rachel, Mick and wife Breanna Randall announced the birth of their daughter Lyla Skye Fanning.

It’s the second kid for Mick and Breanna, lil Xander Dean was born in 2020 four years after Mick’s divorce from interior designer Karissa Dalton.

Both kids names reflect the three-time champ’s well-travelled life, Xander the diminutive of the Greek Alexander, “defender of mankind”, and Lyla a variation of the Hebrew Lilah, a shortening of Delilah.


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Surfer editor-in-chief helping "Jake Howard" with human slang.
Surfer editor-in-chief helping "Jake Howard" with human slang.

Surfer magazine desperately seeking human overlord for AI “staff”

"Jake Howard" needs a hard reset.

Did you imagine, ten or such years ago, that you would, today, be living in the future? Self-driving cars zipping up and down freeways, electric bicycles no longer requiring human legs, artificially intelligent surf writing bots who cover this Sport of Kings from the shadows of Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains.

Yes, the future is now with formerly respected institutions like Surfer Magazine leaning on bits and bytes named “Jake Howard” and “Emily Morgan” in order to give you, or rather Google’s algorithm, the information you crave.

Though is all not perfect with the machine?

In an overnight move stunning technology watchers, Surfer is openly casting for a human to keep its bots in check.

Per LinkedIn:

The Arena Group is looking for an experienced, dynamic, passionate and creative Editor-In-Chief for SURFER. This individual will be tasked with the exciting venture of relaunching the SURFER brands, as well as overseeing the content, direction, and future of the publication. Candidates must be self-starters who can thrive in both a start-up and corporate environment.

Very exciting though not without much responsibility listed here:

-Managing and leading the SURFER editorial team, including assigning stories and overseeing the writing, editing, and production process to the various AI bots.

-Ensuring that the content is accurate, relevant, and of high quality, and making final decisions on any controversial or sensitive material the bots might happen to mistake as “humanspeak.”

-Maintaining and growing surfing and adventure sports industry relationships whilst collaborating to bring more top robot talent to SURFER – such as “writers,” “photographers,” “creators,” “videographers,” and other digitized “media professionals” and building relationships with potential new sources including, but not limited to, ChatGPT.

-Consistently ensuring high standards of excellence, collaboration, and creativity across robot teams.

-Working with the business or management team to develop and implement strategies for growing the audience and increasing revenue through tricking readers into believing SURFER is real.

-Representing the publication or organization at events and in public, serving as the human face of the largely fake organization.

-Keeping up to date with industry trends and developments and using this knowledge to guide the editorial direction of the publication or organization seeing as the robots are often misguided, sometimes purposefully.

-Continuously looking for new ideas and opportunities to improve the publication or organization.

-Managing the budget for the editorial department, making sure that resources are allocated in the most efficient and effective way to the right machine.

-Continuously improving the skills of the editorial team by cleaning spam out of filters etc., providing guidance and mentorship by making sure robots are installed with the latest software updates.

-Ensuring a robust editorial calendar and pipeline of future content, whilst continuously uplevelling all imagery, advising on content experiences and collaborating on all social, commerce and experiential formats via advancements in artificial intelligence.

The lucky traitor will receive between $90,000 and $100,000 for helping further destroy humanity.

Do you have what it takes?

Apply here.

Question: Does Elon Musk quietly loathe chubby surfers?

Strong evidence presented.

The death of surf a business is often times, a mirror of our own earthly existence and eventual demise. More often than not, it is a slow and gradual decline until the body can no longer function, everyone knows it is coming, and is therefore emotionally prepared for it. In this instance, the trademark and branding might be shorn from the body (e.g., the Authentic Brands portfolio) and worn about by someone else, much like a pre-Columbian Aztec priest stepping into and adorning the flayed skin of a ritually sacrificed prisoner of war.

Other times (e.g., Clark Foam), someone might just decide to punch their own ticket without warning while leaving dependents and loved ones wondering why, sadly confused, and perhaps blaming themselves.

Alternatively, something abrupt might occur beyond anyone’s control, and the body ceases to exist rather quickly by virtue of some catastrophe and/or an aggressively fatal medical condition. The sudden demise of Varial foam announced publicly on April 6th but non-publicly known to USA West Coast shapers for at least a couple months ostensibly appears to be in this third category.

This has seriously bummed me out as an average surfer given that Varial was by far the best all-around board construction (trust me, I’ve tried them all) for average surfers surfing average waves in terms of performance, longevity, and durability. Sure, their price tag was between $200 – $300 more than a PU board, but they last exponentially longer and don’t ever go dead.

As a heavy surfer, I have abused my Varials on the daily without them creasing or the boards losing their flex/spring, while preserving my PU boards for prime conditions and/or travel. These boards also handle chop far better than EPS and don’t become a kite in offshore conditions.

It is nevertheless understandable why this construction never caught on with the pros or in the competitive context. In spite of its other advantages, Varial was a slow moving foam that didn’t respond quite as quickly as a PU or EPS. But slow moving surfers (i.e., yours truly and 99% of other surfers) aren’t going to be held back by a limitation that was never going to apply to our skill set in the first place.

So how did a company that has been in existence for nearly two decades and holds two patents go belly up almost overnight?

According to its farewell email to customers, Varial’s “partner” in the aerospace industry through which it was sourcing and/or licensing the foam decided that it was done with producing the foam for non-aerospace sporting applications.

I, however, am not buying this given Varial’s owners’ affiliation with SpaceX, an Elon Musk owned company. Granted, I have no idea whether or not SpaceX was actually the supplier, but the timing of this coupled with the disastrous roll out of the Tesla (another Musk-owned entity) Cybertruck certainly cannot be a coincidence.

SpaceX also did not reply to my email inquiry on the matter, so there is clearly something that is being covered up here. And, Musk is precisely the kind of guy who would create an elaborate distraction in killing off Varial foam to draw the public’s attention away from the fact that Cybertrucks are breaking down the moment they drive off the dealership lot.

So, I think it’s safe to say that, without question, Elon Musk killed Varial. Goddamn you, Elon Musk.

Will this board construction ever be available again through a different supplier? It’s hard to say. I certainly hope so. Perhaps Elon might be convinced to work with a certain 11-time world champion to have child slave laborers in Thailand start popping out Varial-constructed boards. These wheels might even be greased by Elon’s fellow South Africans such as Jordy Smith and/or Mathew “Did You Know He Base Jumps?” McGillivray pleading the case for Varial (though Shaun Tomson probably wouldn’t move the needle in that regard given Musk’s history of casual antisemitism).

For now, however, all I can do is to cherish the moments I have with my current small quiver of Varials with the time I have left with them (and the time they have left with me), and hope that Elon Musk does not someday come for them too. This is as much as any of us can do with the time we have with our loved ones.

Car stolen at D-Bah

Wild scenes on Gold Coast as surfer’s 4WD stolen in front of him before nearly hitting baby in pram!

"What about the dad with a pram and his kid in it having to dive down into the sand dunes just to get away from this f**king crim."

It may cost two or three or five mill to buy an apartment around these parts, just ask Josh Kerr, but it don’t mean the Gold Coast’s southern shank ain’t a gaudy Sodom and Gomorrah undestroyed thus far by God only because there’s worse places which call for immediate elimination. 

Duranbah Beach, which is officially Flagstaff Beach and in New South Wales not Queensland thereby not exactly the Gold Coast, is the beachbreak that feeds surfers when swells don’t bend into the famous points. 

If you were to stroll through the nearby town of Tweed Heads at night you’d enjoy the smell of cheap perfume, takeout food, stale alcohol and vomit. Men squint angrily at the world as if they expect to be attacked at any moment and from any direction; women squeeze their fat into iridescent outfits which leave no contour unstated. 

Fighting and thievery are par for this particular course and therefore it was without surprise to be entertained this morning by video of a surfer’s four wheel drive being stolen from the D-Bah carpark as the surfer chases it on foot. 

“How’s this shit at D-Bah this afternoon,” says Nick, “hype guy and surf reporter.”

“These guys get out of the surf and some prick had broken their lock box and stolen their car…but what about the dad down the road with a pram and his kid in it having to carry it and dive down into the sand dunes just to get away from this fucking crim.”

“She was asleep in the pram and I always for a walk around Duranbah, but I saw that something was wrong – a few guys start screaming and I saw the car coming in my direction on the sidewalk,” Daddy Roger Grassi told Today.

“And I just said, ‘Oh my God’ and it was super quick and I just went into survival mode to try and save my little one’s life – it was super scary, I’m still shaking… It was absolutely insane, I just hope this guy is already in jail and can never be allowed to drive again.”

Cops located the four wheel drive at the nearby Tweed City Mall, courtesy of the surfer’s phone being left in the back seat. 

The thief is still on the run, howevs.


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Folding surfboard (pictured with flush hinges) back to kill.
Folding surfboard (pictured with flush hinges) back to kill.

Clueless VALs trapped in death spiral as folding surfboards trend!

So long, VALs. We hardly knew you.

The vulnerable adult surf learner bubble, growing, growing, growing since the world went through a very, very scary pandemic, has long been seen an anomaly. Unpoppable. But if the internet, crypto, property values in Palm Springs have taught us anything, it is that unpoppable doesn’t exist.

And now the VAL is in real trouble.

Refusing to learn anything about surf etiquette or history, the thirty-plus crowd who discovered this Sport of Kings whilst remote working, is falling in love with foldable surfboards.

These atrocities have been attempting to infiltrate surf for years. Quarter page advertisements for “lego boards” once used to litter the rear ends of surf magazines though subscribers outside Oklahoma instantly wrote off as gimmicky and stupid.

The new lot, though, has not received the vaccine, as it were.

New Old Spice adjacent video spots has them clamoring for the ease, the function, the clear, to them, evolution in surf craft.

It, of course, will lead to their demise. Bogging worse than they ever did on Wavestorms, if such a horror can even be conjured. Surfing becoming not only uncomfortable but lame.

And, thus, goodbye, VAL.

We hardly knew you.