Archive for the ‘SURF LINKS’ Category

My local community has an amazing monthly board swap but if you aren’t so lucky and Craigslist isn’t cutting it, SurfingList may be for you. Here we have a quick chat with surfer and SurfingList creator Brett Hollman….

How did SurfingList get started?

I started SurfingList about six years ago with the idea that there were better communities than Craigslist for surfers that could provide more relevant local sites with items such as wetsuits, surfboards, surf reports, forums for surfers, beach condos for rent in the local surf community, and so on.

What are the advantages of using it over Craigslist?

SurfingList incorporates items for sale with other local items such as the surf forecast, surf report, forums, surf travel information, and places to upload photos rather than the much larger and diverse community Craigslist has created. SurfingList is a niche community where Craigslist is a community for all.

How many states / countries does Surfing List support? What are the goals?

SurfingList has 27 local sites right now and will continue to expand as we add more US and international destinations.

Do you find because airline fees are now so high (or there are so many restrictions) that more people are looking for sites that help them find boards once they arrive at their destination?

Hollman gettin’ some luv at Playa Grande, Costa Rica

Actually, that is a very good point and I would recommend people use the site for that reason as well. I have bought and sold a used board when traveling and SurfingList is the perfect location for a surfer to do just that.

What are some of your favorite surfing locales?

Well, I live in the San Diego area and love many North County areas such as Cardiff Reef, Swamis, and various breaks in Leucadia. As far as travel, I am a huge fan of Maui where I once lived and just got back from El Salvador which was an amazing surf trip with perfect right hand points.

Have you gotten any cool surfer celeb feedback?

Unfortunately not, but I do live down the street from Rob Machado, so you never know.

Check out SurfingList at SurfingList.com

Read Full Post »

tsunami surge hawaii island

Every so often, when a tsunami warning or incident occurs, talk ensues about the history and potential calamities of the next tsunami to hit the Hawai’i Islands. One of the quandries debated among the surfing community is what one should do if a tsunami takes place while out in the water (only people who do not surf -and usually into superhero fantasies- imagine the “wave” as potentially “surfable”). While the impetus generating these natural disasters often occurs at a great enough distance to where there is a few hours warning time (and at least here sirens around the islands would give proper notice), some tsunami that are generated locally could hit within a matter of minutes, leaving little time to react.

While working on an article for another “publication”, I decided to slide the question in to Dr. Stuart Weinstein, Asst. Director at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center located on Oahu:

If a surfer is out in the water and the tide starts sucking out, should they paddle out to sea, or inland and hope to make it to high ground in time?

Dr. Stuart’s reply: “I don’t know if there is an expert answer to this, and the question hasn’t been put to me before. For a destructive tsunami that produces a strong draw-down, you might well exhaust yourself paddling against the draw-down to get back to “dry” land. Even if you were successful in getting out of the water, you would then have to traverse the newly expose muddy sea-floor as quickly as possible. You have maybe 20 minutes to complete this, sometimes more, sometimes less. The alternative, going out to sea, isn’t more attractive in my opinion. If you don’t get out to sea far enough, the tsunami that comes following the draw down will simply carry you with it; in this case your chances are not very good either. If you’re fairly close to the coast when the draw-down starts your best bet is to head to shore. Other than that, it seems there are no good options here.”

Well, I always imagined paddling towards deep water was the best bet (besides incited chompin’ sharks occasionally invading the imagery). At least it seemed the more romantic option — perhaps influenced by my fave tsunami story, of the school teacher from Laupahoehoe who got carried out to sea by that 1960 tsunami and was rescued via boat by her future husband… but there you go.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Read Full Post »

joe blair surfboard shaperIn the surfing world, specifically the surfboard manufacturing industry, there are a slew of icons who’ve maneuvered themselves front and center. Names of the players and their companies, similar to fashion designers, splayed across products, which often focus more on apparel and accessories. But there are others diligently working, seemingly behind the scenes, expending less of their energy on marketing and self-promotion and more of it on innovations in design and taking their craft to the next level.

Blair Surfboards logoOne of these innovators is Joe Blair, who has casually evolved from old skool days as the first haole Beach Boy in Waikiki to being a young whipper-snapper building boards in the late ’60s alongside such pioneers as Simon Anderson, Xanadu, and Dick Brewer to today becoming a shaping legend (listed in Big Wednesday / tow-in heroes the Willis Brothers“Surfboard Shapers Hall of Fame“) and a creative force in high performance epoxy designs and the exploding stand-up paddleboard industry. Luckily we were able to steal away a moment of his time to meet Joe Blair…..

A long while ago, possibly before you were born, Joe had already been wave riding and shaping surfboards. That was 40 years ago – but he’s not that old, he simply had an early start. Speaking with him you’d think he was a local boy, but Joe was born in Coco Beach, Florida. How’d he end up spending so much time in Hawai’i? We’ll let him explain…dick brewer surfboard logo

Joe: “I spent the summers in Waikiki when I was a sophomore and junior in high school. Then, after I got out of high school, I moved to Oahu and lived in town and worked for George Downing, which was a very lucky thing in my life because George Downing was known as the biggest best wave rider in the entire place. I fixed dings at first and then he let me become beach boy and I was one of the first haole beach boys there in ’68.”

One reason Joe was accepted by the locals is because he happened to live with George Watanabe and Richard Mazuta, two local boys who took him under their wing. During a time when being a little too white, walking behind the hotels at night, let’s say, could easily get a guy clobbered Hawai’i 5-0 style, Joe never had a problem. As a matter of fact, Joe fit right in. Well, he also had the advantage of understanding island style. Thanks to a dad who worked for Pan American Airlines, he was able to travel extensively and live in places like Puerto Rico and Barbados.

simon anderson logoJoe: “Even though I have blond hair and blue eyes… I never ever got in beefs … because on the islands, it’s kind of a vibe thing with people. And if you treat them like they’re your brother, you are their brother. But if you’re an arrogant fellow with attitude, and you go there with an arrogant attitude, then you get beat up the second day you’re there. I find that the Hawaiian Islands are a spiritual chain of islands but a lot of haoles that go there don’t really see that….plus, I speak pidgin real good lik’dat.”

You can sense the sentimentality in his voice, almost a yearning to be back to a place that had offered so much and shaped the course of his future. So, besides some serious drive (mix in a dash of good fortune and location, location, location), how does one go from beach boy to the exclusive realm of respectedsimon anderson board shaper?

<Simon Anderson>


“I have a great story on that,” Joe’s youth is showing as he explains. “What happened was I was going to have my boards built in Hawaii but it cost more. So I had a board made for me in Florida. Well, when I got to the islands the board worked so badly. When the waves were head high, it just spun out; it rode terrible. I knew exactly how to shape boards because I was a craftsman but you had to be somebody to shape a board back then. So what happened was, a guy broke his board in half and gave it to me so I went and [re]shaped this board, made it racier, and took it out on this really good day. There was this one spot where the waves were huge but there were Kona winds and it was terrible, so I went around the island to this other spot and it was five feet overhead, lined up for eighty yards, perfect barrels and my board worked killer. It worked so good and looked so good that people were ordering boards from me. Then a friend of mine who was dating my sister, his parents passed away so he inherited some money … so within three weeks, we had a factory going down there; taking beat-up old, broken boards and stripping them and then redoing the rocker and reshaping them and making up-to-date boards out of them … and that’s how it started. I knew how to shape and then he met Brewer -Brewer made him some boards- and BOOM, I started making tons of Brewer boards and I was Brewer’s main shaper for about twelve years.”Xanadu Surfboards

He didn’t stop there though, as his evolution in board making also included working with Simon Anderson who invented the thruster, and Xanadu, a Brazilian who set the trend for how surfboards look to this day.

Joe: “That was the final topping that I’d needed because [before then] we were into flat deck, boxy rail boards and he [Xanadu] was thinning the nose and tail and doming the deck and making small rails….”


With a combination of the best elements of the pioneers of the modern surfboard, Joe Blair steadily made his transition from protégé to master. One can only imagine the excitement at the time, when surfers were moving from slower boards with more limitations to something more dynamic.

Joe: “It was exciting because at that point there were only twin and single fins and the industry was very boring then. Everybody was riding the same stuff and we weren’t going anywhere whatsoever. And then when Simon Anderson came in [he] called it a thruster because the three fin gave you so much more punch outta your turns and your board didn’t spin out, because at Pipeline, a single fin’s kinda dangerous ’cause it won’t stay on the face of the wave. (Read more about the history of the three fin and thruster here.) And Simon’s board… 85% of the guys were better surfers than him. He was a big guy and rode backside, but he won a couple of contests in Australia and then won the Pipeline Masters, a very important event, and people still didn’t stand up and pay attention to it. Then [Gary McNabb] from California who did Nectar Surfboards rode one and realized the potential. Then all of a sudden… It’s unfortunate that Simon didn’t patent it because he could have made a fortune. But he really changed the surfing world with the three fin. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Pohoiki Boat Ramp Swimmers

Puna had seemingly been losing the battle in terms of infrastructure and development needed to keep up with the population explosion of the past few years. While there’s been lots of debating, proposals, plans… actually action, when it occurs, is typically slow and inadequate. So it came as a surprise to many when the 5th District was allotted millions in federal grants and other funds for the new Poho’iki/Isaac Hale Memorial Beach Park. Sure, it’s been almost 10 years from conception to adoption to…near completion, but Puna residents have learned to be patient. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Q: Can someone please recommend a good sunblock I can use while I surf that is waterproof and DOESN’T cause breakouts?
A: I use AcneEyeStingSlipperyHands, SPF WashStraightOff, but I’m thinking about changing.

Mexican SunscreenAfter scanning the numerous “comments” sections of varying websites where everyone is asking everyone else what the heck is the best sunscreen out there, the above (actual quote I found) may be one of the more humorous yet right-on answers you get. Because we all know, no matter how good a sunscreen is, you still burn, still have to reapply, still ponder the ingredients, still aren’t sure if what you’re rubbing all over your skin isn’t worse than getting a little bit of sun.

There has been much debate over whether or not the studies that claim there has been an increase in skin cancers since the heavy marketing of sunscreens over the past few decades is a) because the ingredients can cause cancer, or b) because people are staying in the sun longer because they wrongly assume they are protected. And if we are going to waste our money on and time applying all these products, we’d like to think that what we are using actually works!

There are many people out there who love buying product (okay, I don’t as I’m still meandering in a financially… um… transitional phase, but many functional members of society do). And most savvy consumers are forever looking for the next best miracle cure; products to make everything smooth, smelly, shiny, supple, shapely, soft, sexy… (no idea why all these words started with an “S” but had to run with it). Anyway, when it comes to Sunscreens, you can look, shop, research ’til you’re… red in the face… and still never find the perfect skin protection that’s just right for you. Now as a surfer girl with a surfer-kine website (and every surfer needs some protection), we gotta eventually touch on the topic – especially my skewed view.

This three-part piece includes Part One: Skin Care – The Best Natural Sunscreen; Part Two: The Difficult Task of Recommending a Sunscreen; and Part Three: Why Your Sunscreen May Not Work. I believe part one is the most important of the three, so let’s get started.


Though this might seem oddly timed as we head into winter, it’s always summer in Hawai’i… and fact is, this is when an even more pale breed of tourist, who likely lives in an area that has four distinct seasons, are enjoying their winter vacations either to the slopes or to areas, like Hawai’i, that are close to the equator (meaning they are in prime condition to burn). And since UV rays can get you anywhere, any time of the year, much of these tips can be utilized in one’s day-to-day lifestyle. We’ll start off real basic…


“The skin is the largest organ of our body, therefore it makes sense to feed it with nature’s pure ingredients and not bombard it with chemical preservatives, additives, and artificial ingredients.”

Dr. Bronners Real SoapI copy and pasted that from somewhere – sounds logical. But considering the relatively simple concept, it amazes me what people put on their skin, especially harsh/ perfumey soaps, detergents, creams…. So before we start gobbing on the goop, let’s see where we stand with care of the skin first, as I believe that has much to do with the positive and negative effects sun and sunscreens have on it.

I remember as a kid, mom always bought Dove or Neutrogena brand soap, Phisoderm for the face and Lubriderm skin lotion – all those big brands marketed as being most gentle and of course “doctor recommended” – and how I would spend every night before going to bed itching (well, throw in super-chlorinated water, Tide-kine laundry detergent and fragrant Bounce sheets and you got a nice chemical overload for anyone with dry, sensitive skin. It’s all hard to avoid as the past few generations have been brainwashed via advertising by the chemical corporates that these products are necessary and good for us.). The discovery and availability of eco/healthy alternatives changed the quality of my life to be certain. But a major moment was actually when my friend told me how he never uses soap on his body; I was at first disgusted, then tried it and rarely itched again!

It’s not that I never use soap, but often opt for dry brushing before showering and – girl-kine fun – blend up a few natural body scrubs with varying ingredients like natural oils, shea/mango/cocoa butter, papaya seeds or ground coffee, essential oils… and whatnot). Many natural soaps use pure oils including olive, hemp and coconut as its base; Dr. Bronner‘s included, though the hippies that use it, especially the ones here in Puna, give it a bad rap, leading many to assume it doesn’t work (thought that’s likely because many of these particular “hippies” bathe less often and don’t quite grasp the concept of washing their clothes after each use).

But as far as soaps go, Dr. Bronner’s doesn’t seem to bother my skin. And you can check their web site to get more info on why, especially their amusing video Soap, Drugs, and Rock and Roll, which features the misadventures of one of my fave Ben Is Dead Magazine staff writers and Germs drummer Don Bolles. Don (who never particularly shied away from drug use) was pulled over and arrested for a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s found in his car, which tested positive for the “date rape drug” GHB. (The idea of why someone wouldn’t want GHB in one’s soap was never explained — but it is kinda ironic his punk rock band was called the Germs and he was arrested for having soap) Anyway, in this video, David Bronner, president of the company and Dr. Bronner’s grandson, goes off on how the Police NarcoPouch drug test kit can be used to prove “real soaps” like Bronner’s, Tom’s of Maine, and Pangea come up testing positive, while “detergent soaps” like Dial, Soft Soap, Nature’s Gate “Organics” (all chemical, nothing organic), EO, Kiss My Face, even Jason Organics (“Pure, Natural, Organics” is not pure, natural or organic) have not a molecule of real soap but are actually synthetic petroleum-based detergents - hmmm.

natural soaps 2“Our testing shows that real soaps which are made using the ecological time-honored process of saponification of vegetable oil will always test positive for GHB, while complicated synthetic detergent-based so-called ‘liquid soaps’ test negative,” said David Bronner, with the necessary sense of humor not only regarding the faux-organic labeling being done by questionable companies, but of the police and their psuedo-science which could have easily convicted an innocent person and that despite this fact the Police Department stated they have no intention of changing their testing procedure.

There are some non-soap cleansers that I use and like and are made from all-natural ingredients; it’s just you have to read the labels carefully, because as we see, even buying them from our health food store doesn’tirish spring guarantee they’re “natural” (yes, there are conflicting ideas on the term “natural” as the lack of FDA regulations and people abusing the term, but click link above for logical understanding of terminology).

Besides the weird perfumes used (often even in supposedly “unscented” varieties – re: new Dove formulation), it may be that these chemical “soaps” are giving real “soap” a bad rap. See, detergent-based soaps strip the lipids from the skin. When Hawaiian Bath and Body -located on the North Shore of Oahu in the cute former Waialua Sugar Mill- was asked “What makes your soaps different than those you find in the grocery stores? They answered,

The majority of “soaps” that you find in your local grocery store are actually detergents. Detergents are a group of man-made chemicals that were created for industrial cleaning. Imagine using something that is used to de-grease your dishes or remove stains from your laundry on your skin! Most people use these detergents on their skin everyday without realizing how damaging and harsh this product is for their skin. … Your skin is thrown out of balance every time you use a detergent. Because your skin is out of balance, it frantically tries to replace the sebum that has been stripped away and it also struggles with dehydration because the missing sebum plays a large part in helping your skin retain moisture. The most common problems associated with using detergent-based soaps are overly dry, flaky skin, rashes, itching; or sometimes the skin becomes so imbalanced it can produce too much oil trying to re-balance itself!’

There are also other reasons why most soaps suck. In a piece entitled Chemistry 101: Big Giant Soap Myths Exposed the author give some explanation as to why companies give us bunk soaps and the effects caused by our use of them:

The big retail brands rarely contain soap, and the ones that do usually suck out the naturally occurring glycerine to sell as a by-product to other industries because they can make more money than by just leaving it in, where it draws moisture from the air into your skin. Instead, they use chemicals, foaming agents and petrochemicals, which are the leftovers from the manufacture of gasoline and motor oil…. This is also why the big brands are so cheap…. Look for natural oils because they absorb readily into the skin, unlike petrochemicals which just sit on top of the skin, and leave it either greasy-feeling or dried out. Because they just sit on top of the skin, petrochemicals are also believed to act as a barrier that prevents your skin… from doing its other job aside from protecting and keeping your innards in: eliminating toxins and wastes from the system.

Another question to ask yourself is, are you mistakingly using antibacterial soaps? Maybe you are and don’t know it, as now 76% of liquid and 30% of bar soaps contain anti-bacterials. I know the “fighting evil germs and diseases” campaigning was balls-out but it never seemed like a good idea to me so I always avoided the stuff – relying more on pure soap and lotsa scrubbing. Besides irritating skin, clogging pores, there are other more serious reasons to stay clear, like exposing oneself to harmful chemicals, and by killing our beneficial bacteria leaving us susceptible to the more harmful ones. Some of the other cons to its use can be found in articles like “Anti-Bacterial Equals Anti-Health” on the NatureClean website.

What does this have to do with sunscreen? Okay, be patient, stick with me here. Our first piece to this puzzle is what we are doing to our skin that is causing it to be more susceptible to the sun’s rays, and that is stripping it of its natural oils; leaving the organ with no protective barrier. As far as soaps go, read your labels closely. Though with faux-natural and major brands there is no reason to necessarily trust they list everything that goes in it (as with the broad umbrella terms like “fragrances” or items unlisted because they are considered “trade secrets”), or that you will understand what makes up those strangely-named ingredients. At least try to find those that are less harsh on the skin. (Skin Deep reviews products for toxicity, as does the Green Guide, and Debra’s List links you with environment and health conscious companies). One thing’s for certain, if the soap says “deodorant bar” or “cleansing bar” etc., you can likely be certain it’s not an all-natural product (and an environmental no-no to be using it at your beach shower).

skin care


As far as facial cleansing goes, there may not only be kinder products, but better methods. Sure we have to wash our face, get the dirt off, but I also think there is a disservice one is doing by always scrubbing/lathering off all the natural oils and replacing them with expensive (often synthetic lotions). While most do it to prevent the effects of aging skin, I believe done too often and at the wrong times of the day it has the opposite results; leaving one more exposed to the elements. People need to shift their focus, from products they buy to protect their skin, to equally supporting the body’s natural efforts to protect one’s skin.

HUMAN SEBUM ROCKS!henna sunblock

So here’s my tip of the day and the impetus for this article: The best moisturizer and sunblock -first and foremost- are the skin’s natural oils! As far as I can tell, after many years in the sun, the best sunscreen I have ever used is the one secreted by my skin. And the best thing one can do to take advantage of them, is to not scrub these oils off one’s skin before going out into the sun! Yes, I am saying do not wash your face -or even your body- before you go surf. Sure, if they could bottle human sebum they would and people would buy it; but hey, it’s free! Human Sebum has an SPF of 6-8! Try it, you’ll like it!

So sitting at the coffee shop, almost done writing this piece, while still searching for the SPF of sebum, which was strangely difficult to find, it thankful led me to this report in the Canada Medical Association Journal by Dr. Ralph Douglas Wilkinson entitled, “The Xerotic Nephrologist” which not only gave me the answer, but supported my completely unscientific theory regarding proper care of the skin before sun exposure:

Homo erectus existed for over a million years using the cool-water, no-soap system. The earth’s general fauna still use this system, which removes sweat without disturbing the waxy barrier. Housing and clothing have afforded us much protection, and our lipid layer has become somewhat expendable. A duck, however, would sink without its waxed feathers. For older people, preteens and people with very dry skin, emollients in the form of oils, lotions or creams may offer some help. If necessary, lotions without potential irritants such as perfumes, dispersants and preservatives can be used. Human sebum has a tendency to oxidize to a brownish hue, much like earwax. It is the “ring around the collar.” Sebum has a sunblock action estimated to be about SPF 6–8. Its removal may lead to cleaner collars, but it leaves the skin at higher risk for sun damage. The sun can cause skin damage on bald spots, which are sebum poor. The incidence of skin cancer on the head and face is high in North America. So is the use of soap and shampoo. Are they causally related? Sun damage in the child may be more severe than in the adult. Is this due in part to the absence of sebum in the pre-adolescent? My advice: wash with cool water, minimize or eliminate the use of soap, and wear a hat!

sebum sweatHe also mentions eccrine sweat and salty/acidic residue on face which, if it occurs after washing when the skin is no longer protected by its waxy barrier, can be very irritating… Yes, you may feel you’re successfully removing the sweat by scrubbing with soap and hot water, but the imbalance is that it can return in seconds, while sebum can take hours. Even hot water alone can cause sebum breakdown – sebum melts at 30°C. And where is a surfer most likely to get burned?: face, neck, shoulders, upper arms, back… all places we soap, scrub, and which receives the most impact from the shower jet.girl in hot bath

When a surfer wakes up in the morning, they should wait to wash their face – and body – with anything more than cool water until after their surf session. At night utilize your light facial cleansers, gentle scrubs, masks. Though Dr. Wilkinson recommends avoiding hot water – especially if you’re experiencing skin problems that could be instigated by over-washing – there are essentials like hot baths, jacuzzi’s and saunas (that are great muscle relaxers for surfers); but keep ‘em natural (no bubbles! no colors!) and enjoy them at night. Also preferably in the evening, an occasional steaming – for oily or dry skin – or a super soft hot washcloth placed on the face feels as sweet as it does at the Japanese restaurant. However you like to cleanse, simply search out and invest in the best quality, most pure, least irritating variety for you (best to avoid the regular grocery store for such a purchase) and make the impetus of the cleansing occur later in the day or when you will not be exposing yourself to the elements. If you must bathe morning or afternoon, replace the natural oil with moisturizers that will best mimic sebum (read on) and avoid the sun for at least a few hours afterwards.


UmbrellaMy too-sensitive skin -and eyes- can’t handle most popular moisturizers, so I’ll opt for light serums and creams by Zia, John Masters, Pangea, some of the MyChelle Dermaceuticals. I most often mix my own creams or more often “butters”, which usually contain a mix of cocoa, shea, mango. As well, I keep on hand refreshing sprays for the face and body, as it seems to keep one from having to constantly wash the face – especially in humid locales like Hawai’i, which can oft leave you feeling sticky and dirty. They are also nice to cool off with and vital for hydrating the skin during plane travel! Rose Water (Heritage Products is the least expensive -$3 for a 4oz bottle), Caudalie Grape Water (yum! If you’re in Hawaii best to buy it from Sephora while on Oahu because of the bottle design Caudalie can only ship it ground), and finally MyChelle’s Fruit Enzyme Mist “a hydrating, anti-inflammatory, age defying toner with heavy water and phospholipids for all skin types” – whatever, it works. I also try to dab off oils ‘n’ dirt as much as possible; like the beautifully-skinned Asian women, keep those tissue paper blotters handy, instead of washing to curb the shine (in a pinch or on a budget, toilet seat covers work, no really).


“Oil instead of soap was used to remove dirt and grime.”

That was one of historical consultant Jonathan Stamp’s factoids displayed in the text embellishments for HBO’s awesome television series Rome (episode entitled “Utica” where Titus Pullo is being bathed) – oooof, I miss that show!

I surprised my friend the other day with coconut oil’s ability to clean the skin – took motor oil off a grease monkey in just a few wipes! It’s simply an amazing cleanser, which (as mentioned previously) is why real soap is based around it, but it’s also one of my favorite “skin creams” for dry legs (no matter that it’s thick and considered “comedogenic” – that’s why you blend it). As well it makes (again blended) a lovely massage oil and, FYI, the most awesome natural lube!

jojobaBesides Argan (which can have a iffy scent) my other fave skin and hair oil is Jojoba (Hawai’i people should get those on the mainland with Trader Joe’s access to ship you a box). Jojoba isn’t actually an oil but a wax. It has great healing qualities including being antibacterial, anti-oxidant, soothing, conditioning. It contains protein, minerals, and a waxy substance that mimics collagen. Unlike most vegetable oils it is chemically similar to human sebum, so it actually penetrates because the skin accepts it as a sebum, while at the same time it will not clog pores. These qualities are great for acne-prone/rosacea type skin, as well as rehab from negative effects of the sun. It works for all skin types: as a matter of fact, if your skin has an over production of sebum it will dissolve clogged pores and restore the skin to its natural PH. There is scientific research proving that “jojoba can increase skin softness by up to 37%, reduces superficial lines and wrinkles up to 25% upon application and up to 11% after 8 hours. (And hey, it’s a lot more cheap, simple and pure than concocted products that’ll make such claims).

Lots of high-end products tout their use of Squalene – derived from olive pits – which may be considered the closest comparable ingredient to human sebum, and with its natural emollients, gives the velvety feel that soothes the skin while replacing the necessary oil. Other oils that act like those naturally produced by the human skin includes: Macadamia Nut, Sweet Almond (similar to baby’s sebum), Sesame Oil, Shea Butter…and most seem to have an SPF of at least 4.

Oh, and in case you want to check your favorite oils, Moose Creek Bath and Body has a good list of the clogging probability of oils and ingredients. Since the term “non-comedogenic” is not regulated by the FDA or any other organization, a cosmetics company can make this claim regardless of proof or substantiation of any kind.


Citrus Body ScrubOne thing I’ve noticed in many products is the use of essential oils that are photosensitizing – meaning when applied they make your skin more susceptible or sensitive to the influence of ultraviolet light. Some may wrongly assume this will help them tan faster, similar to lemon on the hair causing it to bleach, but in this case it will only cause burning: reactions ranging from mild reddening to severe sunburn, often followed by hyperpigmentation. The obvious culprits are citrus oils but the list includes: angelica, bergamot, orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, yuzu. Some recommend avoiding the sun when using carrot oil – as in Retinoid and other Vitamin A skin treatments – though because it’s acts as a preservative it is often found in face creams and some sunscreens ironically enough. If you like creams with such active ingredients, use them later in the day or at night. Some products like Proactiv® and dermatologist prescriptions for acne and rosasea can cause more skin problems if you don’t completely avoid the sun while using them. Ask your doctor!

As well, with more and more people indulging in massage/spa treatments, if there is any potential for sun exposure after, you’re best to ask if there are any photo-sensitizing oils in their products. Massage therapists are usually aware and use such oils only late afternoon and evening or tell their clients to keep covered or wash off before they go in the sun (for the most part they should evaporate within a few hours, though many recommend waiting to sun bathe for at least 12 hours after the massage).


bare minerals make-upI know a lot of people have to wash more often because they wear make-up. And people often wear make-up because make-up has played a part in ruining the quality of their skin, so they need to cover it up; a never-ending cycle. I’ve always just avoided the heavy stuff – foundation looks horrible on me and my skin hates it; it actually makes it look as if it can’t breathe. If you can, try to avoid liquid foundation, perhaps only use cover-up or clay-based whitening-pens on dark spots, and instead try a light natural mineral powder. They’re less irritating for most skin types; though it’s important to make certain you keep the tools (brushes) clean. On top of that, the mineral powders – containing minerals like zinc and titanium – are an efficient sunblock; many of these mineral facial and body powders are actually marketed specifically as sunscreens. A few things to watch out for: 1) Titanium is sketchy. Research it first. I prefer non-nano-size zinc. 2) Watch out for all the cheap fillers added to powders. For example, I can not comprehend why major cosmetic companies still use / customers still purchase talc. We’ve known for a long while now that talc’s structure is very similar to asbestos and is best to avoid when there are more safe alternatives.

Responding to this evidence in 1973, the FDA drafted a resolution that would limit the amount of asbestos-like fibers in cosmetic grade talc. However, no ruling has ever been made and today, cosmetic grade talc remains non-regulated by the federal government. This inaction ignores a 1993 National Toxicology Program report which found that cosmetic grade talc, without any asbestos-like fibers, caused tumors in animal subjects. Clearly with or without asbestos-like fibers, cosmetic grade talcum powder is a carcinogen.) … Since the early 1980s, records show that several thousand infants each year have died or become seriously ill following accidental inhalation of baby powder. Exposing children to this carcinogen is unnecessary and dangerous.

On the Cancer.gov web site it explains:

Talc is a “finely-powdered native hydrous magnesium silicate” and that “when administered into the pleural space, talc initiates an inflammatory reaction, resulting in adhesion of the visceral pleura to the parietal pleura and fibrosis, thereby effectively closing the pleural space.”

Fact is, I’d avoid breathing in the dust of any minerals. Regardless of whether a proper scientific study has been done or not, when small dust particles get into the lungs, the lungs don’t like it. So, even while applying the most “natural” of these mineral-based powders, make an effort not to inhale.

The Green Guide goes into detail about the use of minerals in cosmetics and their actual ingredients.

As there is no set definition for the term “mineral makeup,” any product that contains minerals as a primary ingredient may be touted as such, although it may also contain some unhealthy chemicals.

Some companies are conscious of people’s concerns. Check out ElyOrganics whose line utilizes zinc and claims: “No nano-particles, no dimethecone coatings and no titanium dioxide is ever used in Miessence mineral based cosmetic products.”


Coconut Oil Skin CareAnd finally, there’s something to be said regarding the foods we consume as part of our skin care regime. We’ve heard too often that we need to include natural – high omega – oils in our diet. I fiend for Greek olives, adore olive oil, and wonder if my Sicilian instincts don’t kick in some when it comes to providing extra protection for my “olive” skin. I certainly think most salad dressings are junk considering you could take advantage and get your natural oils easily in your dressing (flax seed oil, mix in some coconut vinegar and shoyu and you’ve got salad dressing in under 30 seconds). Or for the even more eternally lazy, mix some flax, hemp or extra virgin organic olive oil into your regular dressing. Including steamed fish into the mix works. I like poached salmon salad (simply steam it), adding arugula, avocado, fresh goat cheese, pine nuts or hemp seeds – surprisingly quick and easy to make. Though those close to me know I am a butter (ghee) whore, a good way to get healthy fat is dipping one’s bread in some high quality oil too. Any way you can consume some virgin coconut oil will be a plus.

Yes, healthy oils are the way to go. I wouldn’t be surprised to find some scientific correlation to people eating hydrogenated fats, and/or avoiding and cutting out healthy fats from their diet to making them more susceptible to the sun, cancer and wrinkles. It’s strange the pharmaceutical industry are producing -and people are buying- such weight loss drugs like “Alli”, which pulls the fat out of your meals, causing involuntarily explosive oily bowel movements; leaving one to try to digest an imbalanced mix of carbs and proteins (and without any fatty oils left, I imagine what remains in your colon is some serious constipation). Also, we know -don’t we?- that avoiding fat keeps one hungry and prone to eating more. And studies done on the weight lose results for those taking these pills is not positive. Though you see all the commentary and reports on the “good” and “bad” fats, diet-obsessed America seems ingrained with the notion that by eating fat they will become fat. I guess it supports the obsessive/compulsive, indulge/avoid, right/wrong mentality… not superfoodsto mention fodder for many AA meetings and psychology sessions and best selling books on the next best weight lose plan. Common sense – and a sense of how you feel when eating specific foods – should dictate.

Supplementations and consumption of foods that supply proper nutrition/vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants that support skin and bones seem intelligent choices. Foods might include so-called “superfoods” and fruits (with high phytonutrient content) like: gogi berries, blackberries, pomegranate, acai, raw chocolate, chlorella, spirulina, to boost your skin’s natural UV protection. Antioxidants like a natural Vitamin C should be utilized daily. As well supplements like: Vitamin D (especially during winter, or times when you are not getting some daily sun exposure), astaxanthin (takes about 30 days of nutrition to boost skin levels) and MSM (magical stuff makes skin more permeable and pliant; preventative and promotes faster healing from sunburn) [for info on noni healing sunburn/blisters click here]. Magnesium (preferably transdermal) and silica (colloidal) are magic. Try yogurt, acidophilous, herbs and/or foods that help regulate colon function (after a good cleanse if needed) as your skin often seems to offer a visual on the health of your colon and liver. As well, stress and sleep deprivation makes one not only unhappy, unhealthy, and unproductive, it also keeps thatdrinking kava sallow, unglowing complexion that can’t easily withstand elemental factors; try Vitamin B (sublingual) for the stress, and Kava or Valerian Root (herb blends) at night to enhance relaxation naturally. A

Obvious as it is, drinking tons of pure water just can’t be beat for hydrating and protecting the skin. And of course the opposite holds true, so best to mellow out on anything too dehydrating like sodas, caffeine, alcohol and high sugar beverages when enjoying those outdoor activities. All of these things will hopefully give you an advantage, so you aren’t relying solely on topical sunscreen products and find yourself dismayed when they continually let you down. That said, utilizing the info in this article AND finding a eco-conscious natural sunscreen (and a big beach hat) will keep your skin happier and healthier. Let’s look hot surfing into our ’90s – well, why not try!

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Read Full Post »

Shark Launch

It’s kinda a thing with surfers, to recite our homogeneous oceanic factoids and universal truths, even though we’re often not precisely certain what we’re talking about. This seems to be the case in regards to sharks and particularly their olfactory sensibilities and its effect upon their desire to attack. And to be certain, there’s probably a whole bunch of erroneous commentary in the following many paragraphs, but hopefully, at the same time, we punch a few holes in the oft negative shark mythos.

How many times have we heard (or repeated), for example, “Sharks can smell a drop of blood a mile away.” Well, it’s not totally out of the ball park, just not exactly true. Sharks do have an amazing sense of smell: their paired nostrils, which have nothing to do with breathing, being a whopping 10,000 times stronger than humans. In conjunction with their skin (specifically an “organ” referred to as the lateral line, which detects movement and vibration and gives to odor more directional properties) most are able to detect odors up to 100 yards away; their highly evolved electrosensory-detecting ability may perceivably be able to pick up distress or things that often co-exist with blood at farther distances. Some species have the ability to pick up one molecule of blood in over one million molecules of water (about one drop of blood in 25 gallons of water), with up to two-thirds of their brain being made up of olfactory lobes. And in certain respects similar to dogs, they hunt swimming back and forth searching for trails of scent, then follow the strongest one.

surfer girl shark attack

Surfing on the Rag

But do they waste this amazing sense of smell on us? I mean, do sharks hunt and sniff out humans, especially if we have a yummy fresh bleeding reef cut? And, as every surfer girl has fearfully pondered, can they smell a woman on her period? Does it make her – or the guy surfing next to her – more vulnerable?

First, check the Mythbusters episode “Drop of Blood”: Where they are testing the myth of a shark’s preference for human blood over fish blood – BUSTED! According to their tests, Lemon sharks at least, are not interested in human blood.

As far as menstrual blood goes, in a piece onSurfline Women, which referenced the fact that most female surf pros go out in the water when they’re menstruating, they asked Ralph S. Collier from the Shark Research Committee what he thought about the matter:

There is no scientific data that confirms human blood to be an attractant to sharks. A number of years ago, friend and colleague H. David Baldrigde conducted a number of experiments using human body fluids to determine whether they were potentially provocative to sharks. One of the fluids tested was human blood. The results in these specific tests showed that human blood did not attract sharks. However, there are other fluids that are also associated with humans and female menstrual cycles. Without any positive determination sometimes ‘it is better to be safe than sorry.’ My personal suggestions have always been to avoid water contact during that time of the month when a woman is menstruating, even though there is no scientific evidence to support this suggestion.

Similar information is posted on the Florida Museum of Natural History’s “Ichythyology” web site.

Though I never found anything categorically conclusive – a shark’s reactions being not quite 100% predictable even under what seem predictable circumstances – there are a few more supporting references that offer up doubt to the common theory: since sharks can smell blood… stay away from chicks who are surfing while on the rag.

While a majority of studies focus on divers, it offers up similar conclusions:

It has been demonstrated that sharks are uninterested in menstrual fluids. This is not, as some dive physicians suggest, because the amount of fluid is small and discharged over a number of days. Sharks have an highly developed ability to detect chemicals dissolved in water…if even the tiniest quantity of mensus is released into the water during an hour’s dive, the incredible acuity of the shark olfactory system may well be able to detect it. While certain types of blood are well-known to be highly attractive to sharks, menstrual ‘blood’ is a complex fluid that is chemically very different from systemic blood. Menstrual fluid does include ‘old’ (hemolyzed) blood, but it has been shown experimentally that sharks are simply not interested in it. ["Shark Smart" by Richard Martin, shark fisheries biologist turned marine educator]

There is no evidence of increased shark interest in a menstruating female. The hemolytic blood associated with menses may instead act as a shark deterrent (Edmonds, et al., 1992, p. 65). ["Women in Scuba" by Jacalyn Robert of Texas Tech University]

Some suggest because it’s dead, “hemolytic” blood, sharks aren’t attracted. (Though they seem to be interested in fish blood/chum whether it’s “dead” or not).

There are a couple of studies, such as that by Johnsen, PB., and J.H. Teeter. 1985. Behavioral responses of bonnethead sharks (sphyrna tiburo) to controlled olfactory stimulation. Mar.Behav.Physiol., 11:283-91, which suggest that sharks may be repelled by “dead” (hemolytic) blood, but they used animal rather than human blood and only a single type of shark, and for these and other reasons cannot be considered as conclusive.

There is actually a myth about menstrual blood being studied as a shark deterrent (though most things I read discuss the use of shark carcasses…with hit-or-miss success as species, location, individuality, hunger, etc. all seem to be factors). Anyway, one random comment I found regarding the matter mentioned:

…the Royal Air Force did studies on this during the world wars. They tried to duplicate menstrual flow as their studies revealed it acted as a repellent. It’s a cleansing process – lots of mucus and other yucky stuff mixed in that the sharks don’t want to eat.

electrosenses sharksIt’s hard to imagine sharks are ever deterred by “yucky stuff.” As far as I can tell from their published information, the company Shark Defense (who studies semiochemical repellents, electrochemical repellents [OceanMagnetics], and gustation compounds – to protect humans, as well as sharks), has not yet explored the exciting world of menstrual blood. Guess the stem cell researchers have dibs on publicizing its usefulness at the moment – I’m getting my “C’Elle” ASAP.

Actually, after lots of searching I found one blog, Blood In Belize, that included contradictory information; that sharks are potentially attracted to menstrual blood… but in a different kind of feasting sort of way:

Dr. Sam Gruber, director of the Shark Institute at the University of Miami, offered a little more insight. While no formal studies exist on the attraction of sharks to human menstrual blood, he knows that women and female sharks have almost identical hormonal molecular structures. Seems that after hundreds of millions of years of evolution, Mother Nature knows you don’t fix something that works. So Dr. Gruber says, theoretically, a male shark is attracted to the same chemical smell in females in general; sharks or humans.

I do remember a male friend once confiding in me that I smelled sexy when I was bleeding. I thought guys would, instinctually, be more attracted to the female when she was ovulating. Then again, since they’re horny most of the time, and without cohesive studies to confirm or deny, I’m gonna assume male sharks are likely horny most of the time too. And the female odors they pick up surely do not have to come in the form of blood. As a matter of fact, from what I’ve heard, both male and female sharks hot for action – sharks who otherwise are surely heterosexual ;) – commonly engage in “homosexual” activities. And then there’s this copulation video that has hints of gang-bang activity (picture Jennifer Jason Leigh playing the part of the female)….

But what results could occur if, say, a male shark is attracted to a female human? You’ve heard weird stories about the overt sexuality of dolphins (and my personal experience of alleged sexual advances made by local sea turtles that have left me somewhat afflicted).

About 60 percent of shark attacks on surfers – the upper-radius bites – are typical of shark courtship rituals. [Star Bulletin]

Even normal human body secretions may be an attractant for sharks. Sharks usually bump or ram into a victim before taking a bite out of them. When ramming or bumping, victims will have lacerations and abrasions, which is sometimes considered an attack. Also, because bites on victims are similar to the courtship bites of males on females, even sex has been considered a motivation factor. [Understanding Sharks]

Well, for sharks, males are attracted to pheromones released by the woman that, dissolved in the ambient water, allow the males to hone in on the female that is ready to mate. Consequently, you will see in many species that the male follows the female for a while, getting more and more excited in the process. So they may be on the hunt, but it’s for satisfaction of another urge, and because they can smell us, they know we human females are not food – ergo no grab and release needed.Though if you watched the copulation video you saw an important component of shark courtship and copulation is biting so… maybe we’re back to square one.

Because of the fact that most of the reported shark attacks on people worldwide are on men, the author of “Blood in Belize” deduces, “Dr. Gruber doesn’t know why odds are stacked against men, but stats like these crystallize the message: Ladies, avoid men in the ocean, and count your lucky stars you’re a woman because you have more chance of winning the Florida lottery than you have being attacked by a shark. Period.” Well, there are more women enjoying a wider range of ocean activities these days, so those stats are slowly changing, but we get the point. And, since the research seems inconclusive, we can decide to decipher the message as we like, that – besides the potential sexually-orientated nibbles – it’s very possible our feminine juices keep us more safe!

The question is not whether sharks can smell human blood and bodily fluids, it’s obvious they can easily pick up the scent of such fluids when they are within the required range. The more important query seems to be if sharks more often attack when they can not pick up the scent. When there are no human fluids present to better help them discern – without the use of their mouths – that the object of interest is in fact not a potential meal.

Of course, there are other reasons a shark might stay away from females, on land as well as in the sea, as one chick aptly noted:

I think sharks fear p.m.s. over anything – nothing worse than cranky, bloated, junk food-craving women giving them the “finger”. They give them plenty of room. [Dot Wethington]

jabberjawWhy Surfers Get Bit

Firstly, sharks also have a strong sense of vision. But despite the shark’s acute vision, they don’t rely on it as much as other fish.

Most fish you see today have large eyes. But sharks are predators that do not particularly rely on vision. If you see a hammerhead shark searching for flatfish, it moves its head back and forth, almost as if it were using a metal detector. [Michael Coates, associate professor of organismal biology and anatomy University of Chicago]

And considering sharks hunt often at night, where visibility would be even more limited, the lateral line becomes essential to their ability to carouse.

According to new research from Boston University marine biologists, sharks can’t use their eyes and nose alone to locate prey; they also need their skin. Similar to how humans can sense air flow with the small hairs on the face. Odor plumes are complex, dynamic, three-dimensional structures used by many animal species to locate food, mates, and home sites. According to Jelle Atema Ph.D. (Professor of Biology at Boston University; Director – BU Marine Program), since most odor plumes disperse in patches, fish locate odor sources through a process referred to as “eddy chemotaxis,” or the tracking of odor and turbulence simultaneously.

We might see odor and turbulent eddies in the oily wake behind a boat. A moving animal, similarly, leaves behind a trail of turbulent eddies flavored by its body odor. [Atema]

These studies conducted at Boston University, which inhibited visual senses and lateral line senses showed that when visual senses were impaired search time was not significantly affected, while with a stunted lateral line the shark was much less discriminating about their target.

These results demonstrate for the first time that sharks require both olfactory and lateral line input for efficient and precise tracking of odor-flavored wakes and that visual input can improve food-finding when lateral line information is not available. [Atema]

shark cartoonDespite knowledge of the shark’s visual and tracking abilities, another oft-repeated misconception is that sharks attack surfers because it has mistaken the surfer for a seal, which is highly unlikely. Sharks have existed hundreds of millions of years on this planet, before the dinosaurs, and have a pretty good idea what a seal looks and smells like. As marine scientists have observed, sharks attack humans and seals in absolutely different ways. And if that’s the case, we could assume they would attack bodyboarders very differently from turtles.

“I spent five years in South Africa and observed over 1,000 predatory attacks on sea lions by great whites,” said R. Aidan Martin, director of ReefQuest Centre for Shark Research in Vancouver, Canada. A shark’s behavior while hunting a pinniped differs markedly from its demeanor as it approaches people – suggesting that the animal does not confuse surfers for seals.

Certainly it would seem logical that in instances, such as “murky” or what surfers call “sharky” waters, which might hinder a shark’s sight, it could cause random munching on whatever caught its attention or whatever was around during its feeding frenzy. If sharks are chasing something like a turtle and the turtle b-lines for the line-up, you might inadvertently find yourself between the two.

Sharks, unfortunately, just happen to use their mouths as hands, biting into all sorts of random things it comes across in the ocean, and then releasing them. And surfers are attracted to the same areas where sharks feed – the reefs – putting them consistently in the wrong place at the wrong time. The shark isn’t thinking a man in a wetsuit is a seal, specifically, but they might be curious as to what you are, and may bite into anything: a piece of metal, a kayak, a human, etc. to figure it out – on the off-chance with a dash of sea salt you might be tasty. Bite first, ask questions later.

Sharks are one of the best adapted vertebrates in the oceans and have a large number of highly developed senses…. Nature teaches us that organisms which developed in the same environment can recognize and classify each other properly…. Such development always takes place over thousands or even millions of years until at some point it becomes “instinct”…. In this way – even when the investigated object is not of marine origin – the shark may possibly react to a visual or acoustic impulse or an electrical field so that an object may resemble an organism he already knows… since he cannot completely analyze what he has seen, and since he cannot definitely exclude that it may be something edible, the shark may bite and test the edibility of the object with his taste buds…. Sharks do not bite by mistake! And a bite does not result because the shark, for example, has mistaken a diver for a seal…. [Shark Info: Research News and Background Information on the Protection, Ecology, Biology and Behavior of Sharks]

Murky water, often found at river mouths or sandy shore breaks, are the location of many surf spots and, along with other environmental factors support conditions reported in the majority of shark attacks on humans. We like deep water that hits reefs and sand bars. Salt-water surf fishing is based on fishing along the shore line where most species feed off of food that is stirred up as the waves break. As well, since these situations exist in areas in which there is river run-off and contains live food that often dies when it comes into contact with salt water, there’s a lot of feeding going on, from the little fish to the big. At the same time, this mixture of fresh and salt water includes a high concentration of organic and inorganic substances which adds to limiting visibility.

Most of the incidents in the Global Shark Attack File have nothing to do with predation. Some incidents are motivated by displacement or are a territorial behavior, or when the shark feels threatened; still others are the result of the shark responding to sensory predatory input (i.e., overwhelmed by the presence of many fishes) and environmental conditions (murky water) which may cause the animal to respond in a reflexive response to stimuli.

But besides murky waters and the tendency towards dawn and dusk surfing when sharks like to feed (gotta beat the crowds – though it seems odds are higher for the later), there are ways to help you catch the eye of a shark when their vision is limited, things that are often carelessly ignored: excessive splashing, wearing of the bling bling and bright colors.

shark follows yellow kayakYour brightly colored rash guard – or high contrast gear – can make you stand out. As a kid I recall watching a Jacques Cousteau-type TV show, where the marine biologists put a bloody piece of meat and a bright yellow object in the water – and each and every time the shark was more attracted to and attacked the yellow object (welcome back ’80s retro neon!). So it always made me a little more than curious as to why so many longboards, kayaks and surf gear utilized such attractive colors (though understandably some gear, including rescue rafts, need to be seen from distances). Even the plain white foam on the bottom of most short boards looks bright from beneath the sea and might attract interest. Why use these bright colors? Well, in some cases it’s purposefully used to deter sharks, such as those striped laminates by SharkCamo – for surfers and bodyboarders – designed to imitate a species that the shark in your neck of the woods positively does not want to eat.

When you read stories about shark attack victims, you will often read about some stand-out object – that they are wearing or utilizing – involved in the scenario. A common factor is people wearing their wedding bands or their surf watch with metal on it. Unless you are fishing while you are surfing, you really don’t want to look like a lure. And sure, perhaps the shark is not fooled, but what if you are invariably attracting other fish or creatures that the shark is actually interested in.

The diving site “Elasmodiver: Shark and Ray Pictures From Around the World” brings up some of these points, from the oft more educated perspective of one who dives with sharks:diving with sharks

• Tropical sharks are mainly fish eaters and as such are attracted to bright and shiny objects. Therefore it would seem logical that a neon yellow wetsuit would attract the attention of sharks looking for a meal. In shark diving circles neon yellow has actually been given the nickname of “yum yum yellow”…tone down your fashion statement and choose a more muted color or black.

• If you have bright metal objects…try to stash them out of sight in a pocket or replace them with darker-colored alternatives.

• Wear dark gloves. From a shark’s point of view there’s nothing more tempting than seeing two small lily white “fish” flapping around in front of them. Using your hands to swim with is asking for trouble. (And feet dangling off the board might logically be quite similar. -ed)

• Full suits are better than shorty wetsuits. This is the same principle as exposing your hands; try not to expose distinct areas of skin that a shark can focus on or mistake for a fish. Even if you have dark skin it’s a good idea to cover up. A lot of injury can occur from the brush of a shark’s sandpaper like skin. (Surely locals with their darker skin stand out less than the tourist haole! -ed)

• Fins tend to be prime targets for bites. This is more likely to do with their movements and exposed position rather than color but white, silver, or bright fins should be avoided. (So why are many bodyboard fins bright green, yellow, red, or black with bright colored tips? -ed)

• Avoid erratic movements. Sharks are able to pick up on disturbances in their environment. They are looking for the tell tale signature of a wounded fish or other animal. Once they find one they carry out their civic duty and remove the wounded creature from the gene pool. Thrashing around in the water may mimic the vibrations sent out by a wounded fish and/or may replicate the movements of a feeding shark.

• Sharks that come to a shark feed are not there to socialize. They want food and if you’re between them and dinner you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time. Keep your distance from any hanging bait that has been placed in the water and if the current is moving a chum slick away from the area make sure that you are positioned off to the side or up stream.

• Floating at the surface in the presence of sharks sends the wrong message. A body floating at the surface is high on the list of desirable objects for a shark to explore. In the ocean dead things float. If your head is above water you are effectively blind to the movements of any sharks underwater. A positively buoyant diver’s actions are far more limited. It takes time to become negative and descend out of trouble and swimming at the surface in dive gear looks an awful lot like a thrashing animal. (For divers, this is when unprovoked attacks on them most often occur. -ed)

Other Reasons Sharks Might Bite

There are other reasons sharks might attack. Of course, shark’s electromagnetic capabilities give them an uncanny knack to spot the bio-electric field of other creatures, interpreting agitation and fear. The scene in Jaws where the son of police chief Martin Brody was not attacked after he fell into the water because he was in shock and therefore barely moving – as doubtful as it might seem – could feasibly save a person (from getting bit in the first place, or after as you would lose less blood). But does a shark smell our fear?

Surfers can get as superstitious as fishermen (who oddly show equal fear of women and bananas on their boat). Most surfers try not to ever even think about sharks. When the waters are feeling sharky, it’s not only the conditions, but sometimes you can sense the vibration; like an electric current. The excited pulsations are similar to when dolphins are around, so fine-tuning lost sixth sensibilities is required. I always reconsider peeing during these moments (the pseudo-expert surfer rap contends peeing reminds a shark of scared prey). Well, I know pee stinks up your wetsuit (while keeping us momentarily warm) and that some say to pee in less concentrated squirts or not to pee at all. Question is, can sharks differentiate? If they’re not interested in menstrual blood, why would they attracted to human piss?

Shark text

[from the book "Shark: Stories of Life and Death from the World's Most Dangerous Waters" by Nathaniel May]

Yet the author of Diffusable Calamity describes a story he saw on National Geographic or the Discovery Channel, which does not offer any conclusive information but we’ll store it in the back of our minds:

There was this surfer who was so unfortunate to have been attacked by sharks twice. One time he was attacked, his brother was sure that he was gone. But they were surprised to see him swimming back to shore. He got no more than a few scratches but his poor surfboard could no longer be revived.

The next attack was even scarier. He was attacked by two Great Whites and the people who witnessed this were so sure that he would never survive that. But again, he rose from the waters and swam back to shore. Now the question is, why this guy? There were so many surfers out there but he was the one chosen by both Great Whites. It turns out that in both times that he was attacked, he urinated in the water. So now thanks to him it is known that urine can attract sharks. So no more peeing in the water. Damn!

Might it have simply been coincidence? (Are data shows 99.999% of surfer pee in the water! ;) Perhaps this guy give off the wrong vibe? And the fact is, we are surfing with a slew of fish that are pissin’ (and secreting urine) all around us. Add to that, in Hawai’i, the ever-presence of smells generated by the endangered-but-making-a-comeback sea turtle; a favorite on the shark menu, which maintains large numbers in surf zones. Actually, the pee of the beloved honu is one of the most rank of common ocean smells here (besides boat diesel/exhaust; sewage post rain; the occasional calf or feral pig that has gotten in the way of a tropical rainstorm flash-flood or has fallen off the cliff and washed upon the shore; and the more rare beached whale carcass). Compared to possible urine interest, these are all smells you may want to be much more weary of while in Hawaiian waters.bethany hamilton perfume

New Shark Tales

Q: Why do sharks swim only in saltwater?

A: Because pepper water would make them sneeze.

There are a few myths or surfer truths, I wouldn’t mind starting, using the fear of sharks for a higher purpose. To start off, to end the abuse of totally random smells that have no business invading the nostrils while enjoying nature in all her glory.

One which I have noticed a lot of lately is cologne – yuck! First off, I’m prejudiced, as besides pure essential oils, I think the majority of colognes and perfumes stink and, instead of being an attractant, gives me a bad headache. (Of course, I haven’t tried Bethany Hamilton’s new line of “Stoked” – which is supposed to “smell like the end of a good day surfing.” Its tropical blend of creamy coconut, jasmine, pineapple, freesia, musk and lotus blossom doesn’t sound too bad and…it’s Bethany!) But back to over-powering cologne, many girls –especially your au naturále surfer girls – aren’t too into it (hint hint). Even those chemical deodorants you guys wear are usually noxious and makes one yearn for some good, old fashioned girl surfing ipodmale pheromones (or at least deodorants in the unscented variety). But as sharks might want to check out anything that blinks on their radar, would perfumes be one of those things that might peak their interest? Or would they be similarly disgusted?

And maybe it’s not just the chum that fishing boats carelessly discard outside of surf breaks before they come in to dock. I know one of the most awful, powerful smells when you are surfing, is the one that happens on a clean, nice-sized, barreling day; usually when you didn’t eat breakfast. It suddenly whiffs out to sea: the aroma of grilled bacon, eggs, pancakes (from campsites on the shore; or those fresh baked muffins at the bed and breakfast on the cliff above one of our local surf spots — Maria, you’re killing me!). If we, with our not-as-sensitive noses, can smell the aroma, might sharks be curious too? (Yes, just kidding.)

ipod bikini

The new addition of waterproof housing for phones and ipods, which besides being morally unacceptable to the whole zen-ness of the surfing pathos, is that these electro-vibrations might likely intrigue a shark to explore its source. Guess we’ll find out – nice of the rich kids to test it out for us!

Hawai’i Mano Factoids

An old Hawaiian legend tells of a woman who freed herself from a shark by telling it that he was her aumakua. The shark let her go and said he would recognize her in the future by the tooth marks he left on her ankle. Since then, it is said, some Hawaiian people tattoo their ankles to let sharks know that their aumakua is a shark. [Hawai'i Sharks]

herb kane shark heiau kohala

For ancient Hawaiians, instead of fearing the shark and holding that fear in them when in the shark’s territory, many instead considered the shark their aumakua: a benevolent guardian spirit or family protector. Even if there was fear, for Hawaiians it was balanced with a deep respect, sometimes to the point of worship. Every island had a shark god and shark heiaus were built for feeding these creatures (via a few human sacrifices). It wasn’t that every shark was aumakua, but with some there was a direct connection, blood ties; a symbiotic relationship that is representative of the harmony of life.

Those who had the shark as their ‘aumakua wouldn’t hunt them or eat them, either. After all, it was believed that a departed ancestor took the form of a shark after death and appeared in dreams to living relatives. These Hawaiians would feed and pet a special shark whom they believed to be a relative. In turn, the shark would protect the family….

Kahu Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell Sr. will never forget the day he saw a free diver off Moloka’i tossing away every other fish he speared. “All of a sudden, this huge tiger (shark) came up and took the fish,” said Maxwell, a former police officer who is now a cultural practitioner on Maui. “I thought he was going to be attacked. Then I realized: He’s feeding his ‘aumakua. The man said, ‘Wherever I go, this mano (shark) help me. He follow me all over.'” [Honolulu Advertiser]

shark artThis mindset seems to offer the Hawaiians a greater perspective when it comes to understanding and respecting their environment – instead of falling into the typical American bad vs. good, where sharks usually represent the evil menace of the sea. That kind of attitude has offered allowances to those who are slowly endangering the shark population. Even I have often found myself thinking: one less shark, not so bad.

…for every human killed by a shark, our species slaughters more than 10 million sharks – about 100 million sharks last year. We are stripping the world’s oceans of one of its most valuable predators, animals that play a critical role in maintaining the health of the world’s oceans. An unreasonable fear of sharks has been implanted in our minds by the hype that surrounds the rare shark attack and by movies that exploit our primal fears. [Global Shark Attack]

Sharks are so essential to the health of our oceans their demise – by way of being hunted as well as being one of the numerous casualties of line fishing – will surely have more dramatic negative effects than a relatively small number of shark attacks a year. Though there is some debate as to the numbers, many marine scientists researching shark species have noticed a rapid decline in the population of many species. There are campaigns to end the eating of shark fin soup especially in Asia (shark finning is banned in the U.S., Brazil, Costa Rica, and Australia)…. Save the Fish, a conservancy group of anglers with an awareness of the importance for conscious fishing of our oceans, has a “Bring Back the Big Fish” program. Sea Shepard who are the most proactive in stopping the practice of long line fishing has stated:

hammerhead in fishing lines

Longlines are the most significant factor in the rapid diminishment of shark populations in the oceans. Longlines ranging from one mile in length to over one hundred miles in length are baited with fish (often illegally killing dolphins or seals) and are meant to target shark, swordfish, and tuna. The sharks targeted are caught mostly for their fins (which account for only 4% of their body weight) and also for their cartilage, liver oil, and teeth. The longline fishermen remove the fins and toss the still living shark back into the sea to die an agonizing death. Unable to swim, they slowly sink towards the bottom where other fish eat them alive. If longlines are not abolished, the oceans will lose most species of sharks within the next decade.

shark attack map

[map of recorded shark attacks globally]

There are 490 species of sharks – yet only 12 are a threat to humans. At present 20 are endangered, with many “near threatened” and “conservation dependent”…and the number is growing. So instead of regurgitating the tall-tales and being fearful every time we enter the water, maybe some knowledge could help instead of hurt. Most shark researchers contend their efforts toward garnering a better understanding of sharks is not only for their benefit, but to make people more aware of their environment and therefor less vulnerable – similar to people understanding other predatory animals in the wild.

True or False: Sharks cause more deaths in Hawaiian waters than any other animal.

False: More people drown picking ‘opihi than are killed by sharks, so the ‘opihi might be considered Hawaii’s most dangerous sea creature. (Of course, 60 people a year drown here – for a different perspective on the matter).

There’s so much concern (especially with the shark-like media frenzy coverage on attacks that do occur), that many states where people enjoy the oceans try to balance it with an educational site about sharks. Even in Hawai’i, the Aquatic Department has their Hawai’i State’s Shark site, which offered up information pertaining specifically to sharks in Hawaiian waters:

While any shark may be potentially dangerous, only a few species of Hawaiian sharks are known to attack people. They include the Tiger, Galapagos, Gray Reef and Scalloped Hammerhead. The latter two appear to attack only when provoked. • A Tiger shark is easily recognized by its blunt snout and the vertical bars on its sides. A Galapagos shark is harder to identify; however, any large (over six feet) gray shark with no conspicuous markings seen in inshore waters is probably a Galapagos. • Tigers are considered the most dangerous sharks in Hawaiian waters. (Great White Sharks – Carcharodon carcharias, which are also very dangerous, are rarely seen in Hawai’i.) Because of their size and feeding habits, they occupy the very top niche in inshore food chains. Tigers seem to come into inshore waters in Fall, and stay through Spring. They appear to move offshore somewhat in Summer, but this remains to be confirmed. Like other inshore species, Tigers seem to feed mostly during night and twilight hours. Tigers are often attracted to stream mouths after heavy rains, when upland fishes and other animals are swept out to sea. They can easily locate prey in such murky waters. Tigers are also attracted to waters frequented by fishing boats, which often trail fish remains and blood. Of all the inshore species, Tigers have the most widely varied diet. They eat fish, lobsters, birds, turtles, dead animals, even garbage. It’s not known how long Tigers can go without eating, but they seem to feed soon after a food source becomes present. • Shark attacks in Hawaiian waters are very rare, occurring on the average at a rate of about two or three per year. Surfers and spearfishers appear to be most at risk. Fatal attacks are extremely rare, especially considering the number of people in Hawai’i’s waters

hawaii incidents shark attacks

[map of documented Hawai'i attacks]

Incidents of shark encounters seem to occur on the outer islands more often than the Big Island. This year, for example, there were four attacks on Oahu, two in Maui and one in Kauai. As a matter of fact, there has been just six attacks in Big Island waters in the past many decades (three in one busy year in 1999) – mostly by smaller, likely young sharks close to shore. And only two documented but not confirmed Hawai’i Island fatalities in the past 100 years (one in Kona in 1987 – the body of the man swimming to a tied off boat was never found though his shark-bitten swim trucks were found on the ocean floor; and one of a net fisherman who supposedly fell into the waters near Honomu and was killed by a shark in 1907).

Hawai’i Island may have less surf spots/less surfers – but thousands of people enjoy the waters daily. One old-time local waterman gave me his explanation as to why, contending that the monk seal attracts sharks to the area, and once they’re here incidents happen. That we will soon see more run-ins on Hawai’i Island because recently this endangered species of seal – a favorite on the shark menu – was introduced to Big Island waters as a conservation measure to help expand the animal’s flailing numbers; but before this, the monk seal never really resided here. Soon we will be seeing more seals, he explains, and with them more sharks. Though I’d seen monk seals in Kohala on many occasions, after he told me this I noticed, for the first time in Hilo waters, a youngster playing near the surf break. (Many fisherman are concerned about monk seal relocation for other reasons.)

In Conclusion…

So back to the impetus, now that we’re on the road to being shark experts, this article isn’t about suggesting women should surf while bleeding, because there are other factors that go into that recommendation. While most of these researchers using the better-safe-than-sorry approach suggest wearing a tampon. Fact is, though I don’t, most surfer girls do, but it’s probably more about protecting their bikini bottoms, because the cotton of the tampon gets completely saturated with water, and at that point it may work as a cork but doesn’t absorb all the blood… or the scent.

Actually, as far as I’m concerned, the main issue with surfing while bleeding has nothing to do with sharks. Instead the concern is that you are internally exposed, especially if you are in waters that have bacteria, river run-off, pesticides, or potential toxins (as most seem to). And wearing a tampon might keep that corked inside you longer – yuck! (So if used, removed them immediately after exiting the water and rinse yourself out!) If you have an open wound, you might get staph, but we rarely consider what infections or diseases a woman might be exposing herself to during that time of the month (yeah, another story for another time).

There’s a likelyhood that sharks aren’t as interested in human smells as we have been led to believe (the crew at Mythbusters sure don’t believe it anymore). One could almost deduce that, in cases when sharks “attack” people to see if they are edible, the smell of human body fluids could potentially alert them of the fact that it is a bony, untasty human and not a fatty fish – possibly preventing the animal from needing to use its mouth to come up with the information. Who knows?

And after all these years of studying sharks no one has ever proven blood of the menstrual variety makes a woman more vulnerable.Though one would logically opt out on being part of any real life research project, it seems female surfers and divers are in actuality testing the waters every time they enter while bleeding. And with more and more women enjoying the oceans, it seems high time proper studies are done. In a way that protects them as well as us (from our fear and hatred of them). Perhaps we can invest in exploring all predatory sharks in all conditions, focusing on when a shark is most interested in humans – and their smells – and when they are not… and hey, why not start with menstrual blood!

This piece has some faint hope to spark momentum in public appeals for more marine research; to incorporate the more positive, symbiotic aspects of the Hawaiian’s relationship with the sea, and to the mano. To respect the king’s of the sea, as the top of the food chain and essential keeper of a balanced eco-system. There is a reason we keep going back to the ocean, to find our energy and purification, to look for answers.

For now, without discernible facts and conclusive data, I’m going to extend myself to coming up with my own hypothesis; and in the process, start a new surfer myth: that you might very well be more safe surfing near a menstruating wahine than you are in avoiding them! xo

Fun Big Fish Links

Shark Shield (Australian Co. electronic shark deterrent attaches to your surfboard) [here's a recent success story on the Shield from a Kona kayak fishin' family], Octopus Eats Shark, Swim at Your Own Risk, Moolelo, University of Florida, Ichthology Links, Shark Research Committee Links, American Elasmobranch Society, Shark Attack Survivors, Global Shark Attack File, Wiki’s Unprovoked U.S. Shark Attack, Tracking Tiger Sharks, So You Want to Be A Shark Biologist?, Shark Research Insitute,MythBusters: Are Sharks Afraid of Dolphins?, Dolphins Save Surfer.

P.S. In case you get bit by the way, you can tell your story to Surfer Magazine / join their “Nailed By Whitey club” and, withsurfer shark cartoon the help of Robert Wingnut Weaver and the many surf companies who graciously donate, they will help get you a new wet suit and surfboard… Hey brah, surfer-style, when can gotta keep it positive…

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Read Full Post »

Sea Turtle Sex CartoonAs a magazine writer (publishing my own magazines where I could -and would- add pages and shrink type size to barely legible as needed), I’ve grown accustomed to the zealous and verbose. Hey, when we wrote freelance back then we got two dollars for every drawn-out word (ah, the good old dayz). Anyway, I like curling up for a long read, and yes, I’ve even curled up with my Mac”Book” on occasion. But I can also appreciate the blurbs… er… blogs. Short and sweet. My sort of “articles” that appear in CGW typically originally stem from random thoughts and brain farts – that I might have intended on keeping simple… no, really. My intentions are good. I’m not trying to hurt anyone. And I know fully well, that 95% stop reading after the first paragraph…or first picture. Unfortunately, in that way that keeps me consciously success-stunted, I only care about the 5%. I only yearn for the attention of the strange soul who would sit through one of my unedited, parenthesis laden, adjective abusing, quote stealing, grammar-hating prose. And then the 1% that can relate – I will marry them.

REFOLDING THE ORIGAMI OF MY MIND (which way did it go?)origami sea turtle

So for those who want more than two supa-sized posts a month (hey, I do the surf report every day!), even though you won’t donate a penny (oh you didn’t notice that PayPal button – maybe it comes in fuzzy on your monitor), and despite varying degrees of suicidal inclinations, insecurities and inabilities to complete… I will do my best to write more often. Because, even if I make up a large portion of the 1%, I do not love myself enough to marry myself, and for some reason writing has a need and desire beyond sheer ego to be read (and keeping it all in my mind is making me a little weird and socially unacceptable). I’ll let this piece flow artlessly, unabridged, like an unreserved schizo diary entry for the one-minute-or-less crowd and (because of my heart-wrenching devotion to you dear readers) my only restriction will simply be…to try for once to keep it under 5,000 words.

So, my blog post for today is as follows….

The turtles here are attacking. No, seriously. The sea turtles. It’s like the birds. I mean The Birds, the movie. Actually, at this very moment, not very very moment, I’m writing this piece about sharks (Sharks, Swells and Stinky Smells – the original post intended to be a couple paragraphs long -actually it started off about ocean smells really- but, see what happens is, the topic starts opening itself up like origami and I can’t stop it and it opens and opens and… I fall in). So I’m kinda thinking about shark attacks, even though the piece is more about no shark attacks, when coincidentally people out surfing in Hilo start getting attacked. No, not by sharks, but by the Honu!

Hawaii Sea Turtle

purty turtle pict by Mila Zinkova check her link for more.


Okay, attacked is a strong word. Most people are just getting hit by them. But see, here in Hawai’i they’re all over the place. Endangered list and no more turtle soup and (minus some questionable tumors [fibropapillona]) they’re thriving. And usually we don’t have a problem. One of a few reasons why we prefer Futures to FCS is ’cause the fin’ll pop out instead of pulling out the whole plug  with it when we hit the turtles with our skegs…we hit them and then we keep going, flying through the air, kinda Wile E. Coyote style – super funny. Luckily the turtle’s shells are tough enough to get pounded on rocks and cliffs – so they don’t mind so much. We grab the shell and go for rides (totally illegal people!) or pet the shell, which supposedly removes some protective algae coating and is bad for them but I don’t understand how…. (and I don’t dare look it up right now ’cause that’s often how my personal origami torture begins. Curiosity and all that. We don’t need to know everything….. Okay, maybe later… but I did notice this cool link… on instructions for an origami turtle and this freakish geekish YouTube vid that is short and to the point…besides being ridiculously impossible to follow… unless you’re Dungeons and Dragons-kine fanatic about folding pieces of paper.)

Anyway, before today the only person I knew who got injured by a sea turtle was a body surfer at Pohoiki, who dove head first into a wave straight into a turtle and broke his nose. The whole top portion of his face was black and blue – those things are huge.


So today, after riding a wave, I’m paddling back out and my hand brushes a turtle, but instead of it casually shwooing away UFO-style as it typically would, it grabs me. I felt either like something chomped my hand that had no teeth, or my hand was stuck in some portion of its body, caught under the shell. I have no idea, but it hurt. More like a shock kinda hurt. You know how there are variables to pain, like when surfing and you eat it hard but jump right back on the board and shake it off. But then, when someone, or something, does it to you (causes a comparable amount of pain), somehow it “hurts” i.e. annoys you more. Is this still too train-of-thought…hmmm?

Thing is, after the odd turtle grabbing incident, and once I got over my hand kinda hurting, I had this weird vibe. Like that turtle told the other turtles something about me. Or like they were ganging up on me (I’m very sensitive). And I caught another nice left, into the shallow area (the longboarders were all going right but the lefts were sick and some barreling) – and another one charged at me, splashing the water next to me. I tried not to go left anymore but goofy-foot couldn’t help herself and it happened again; suddenly I felt surrounded, there were turtles everywhere, and they all seemed agitated. I screamed to my friend, in kinda a joking way, but I really wanted her to watch me paddle back out ’cause I felt threatened. Hey, there are stranger horror movie concepts than this!

Sea Turtle Sex


So problem here is… that I’m missing the love triangle of the story. Okay, one aspect is in the shark piece (that’s almost completed by the way, did I mention) – and that is about sharks possibly being attracted to female smells. Yes, female humans. No, not in order to attack them…to…you know…sexually (okay, you’ll have to read it). It’s just a few juggled hypotheses. But, what are turtles attracted to or not attracted to… they’re just so damn quiet, they don’t let on. They never talk, never complain – they just cruise, nibble and piss.

Ahhh and make babies! See, I never witnessed it live. But when my girl dog was going to jump in at one of her favorite swimming spots the other day, she sniffed around, retreated, and took a wide turn to enter farther away. She smelt them, because she never actual caught the visual of them underwater, but there they were, two huge consenting alien sea creatures, embarking on a journey together. (Do they mate for life?; I wonder their age difference?; Is it pleasurable?… note again, more future research). So, back to embarking, it was more like an embargo. The male: sorta clumsy slow-mo extra large space ship (didn’t catch visual size of the…package). The woman:  Obviously thinking to herself “whatevers – if he can’t get it goin’ on I’m over it.” This male turtle failed, but I’m concluding she can do better.

Anyway, point being, me thinks it’s mating season. Is that why the turtles are all ornery? (Oh shit, now I know why she was being choosy – I just read once coupled, they can stay that way for 10 hours —- see what happens when you don’t have cable for National Geographic or Discovery Channel…or even a TV). But one of the reasons I brought up female smells, is the fact that many of the surfer girls here… seem to be bleeding at the same time. Got a lot of full moon bleeders. It’s like a gang. A hardcore surfer girl gang of full moon bleeders. So the past week – blood. Lots and lots of menstrual blood (which was the actual impetus of the shark piece – no, you’ll have to read it! Yes, all of it!). And these turtle attacks have been happening over the past week. Are they not having any luck with their women? Are they hoping to get lucky with us? Or are we making the women mad stealing their men? Hey, maybe I’ll leave those and my other fifty questions unanswered ’cause this piece could certainly get longer.

That’s it. That’s all I have to say about the matter. Now I’m sleepy. That felt good. Just to get the moment’s ramble out of my head. A lot more easy! I guess the post is more text than most blogs – I’ll work on it – but it’s a start! Maybe I’ll even sleep more than five hours tonight. Wow, this must be how real bloggers feel. Kinda raw grandiose purification – an ocean plunge of words. Yeah, perhaps I’ll cap it off with a nice warm sea salt bath.

*   *   *

Okay, I definitely need the bath. I was almost raped by a sea turtle. I kinda had to do a little more research before going to bed – couldn’t help myself. But listen, did you know there was a Marine Turtle Newsletter? With an article entitled “Sexual Harassment By A Male Green Turtle”, written by Brian W. Bowen of the Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology at the University of Hawai’i? Neither did I…

Male sea turtles (family Cheloniidae) are notoriously indiscriminate in mating behavior, facilitating hybridization among most of the species in this family (Karl et al. 1995)…. Male sea turtles occasionally attempt copulation with human swimmers, snorkelers, or scuba divers (W.N. Witzell, pers. comm.). The loggerhead (Caretta caretta) mating population in Southeast Florida lies adjacent to one of the most densely populated coastlines in the world, and every year a few people are approached or (more rarely) mounted by male loggerheads. NOAA diver Jack Javech of the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service Miami Laboratory reports two copulation attempts by male loggerheads while scuba diving in the Florida Keys (J. Javech, pers. comm.). During a separate incident in the same area, a turtle mounted a male scuba diver and made good its mating attack on this luckless individual (Epstein 1989). A commonality in these events is that the male turtle attempts to pin the victim to the bottom. These are large powerful animals, with potential to inflict injury or even drown an unsuspecting swimmer.

…The green turtle described here did not raise fore-flippers in an attempt to grasp the target, as they do with conventional mating. Probably by the time that occurs, the interaction is inevitable. The only advanced warning was the deliberate approach of a male turtle, and the only acute signal was the ongoing attempt to approach my backside. Both behaviors are unusual and should be regarded as harbingers of a copulation attempt.

This is shocking. Yet another thing no one warned me about! Helllooo, I had to touch live coral (accidentally) to understand that it’s sharper than a razor; I had to see a lobster-sized hard-shelled centipede (clickity-clicking through the lava rocks of an outdoor shower) before I was ever informed such horrible things existed; and none of the guys I surfed with -when I was younger and so obviously desperate to learn- ever gave me a hint about the concept of turtle diving. Oh, cute, that led us right back to turtles.

Could only find a wiki-fact (it’s own breed of facts):

In the tropics, green turtles are known to nest throughout the year, with some subpopulations preferring particular times of the year.

WARNING: The sea turtles in Hawai’i are mating! And they don’t seem to care who they are mating with! The sweet docile omnivorous creatures have a dark side! Girls, watch yourselves. And guys, don’t assume you are safe – those species-swingers have been bumpin’ men too! Keep your legs closed at all times! Paddle lightly! Look before you pop-up (and let me have the lefts!) Beware of the Honu!

xo, sweet dreams…

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Read Full Post »


Though I appreciate Google, when it becomes your main reference library, no matter how efficient a “surfer” you are, you can’t deny your researching deficiencies. I remember when my good friend used to let me sneak into Reason Magazine and use their Lexis/Nexis search engine while fact-checking our book “Retro Hell” (we didn’t care so much about our information being factual, as for us it was more of a psychological reminiscence, but stuffy Little, Brown & Co. – our publishers – had a figurative stick up their you-know-what about the whole thing).

Anyway, it’s a personal goal I have, that someday I’ll be rich enough to subscribe. Of course, you never know for sure how things might go, and on the off chance I someday find myself on the other end of the spectrum, say per chance in an Hawai’i jail, I have learned (via Google) that there are some positive perks.

A company whose extensive database… is used mostly by legal offices, schools and libraries has attracted a new type of subscriber: prisons. The service from LexisNexis enables prisons to provide required access to legal information while banishing law books, which are more expensive, quickly outdated and easily damaged…. LexisNexis…has installed computer kiosks resistant to damage in four prisons and jails in Hawaii and five in California. The kiosk consists of a touch-screen computer monitor covered in shatterproof glass inside a steel box bolted to a wall.

girl juggling fruitSo, I’m not sure whether to blame it on growing up on sugar cereals, watching TV while doing homework, using drugs while trying to think, or some undiagnosed ADD-like syndrome succumbed to on a daily basis, but it has proven difficult to not let thoughts meander to all potentially relatable subheadings and tangents. This is just the beginning of the article, and gotta make our way back to the original idea: salt and lemons, and the finalé being a delicious nutritious lemonade recipe… of the sort you can not find on Lexis/Nexis!

But before we go there (or while we’re on our way), I must give in to one more interruption in continuity, the unnerving realization that perchance my parents had it right when they said I should marry a doctor. Yes, every Jewish mom and dad tells their daughter (if she’s not going to be a doctor) to marry one. But it’s not for the potentially secure lifestyle ($) that now makes me reconsider the idea. And in actuality it is more the idea of a “doctor”; the omnipotent philosopher who would know the answer to my every question. A kind of doctor / nutritionist / intellectual / researcher / scientist. Someone I could crawl into bed with, kiss on the neck, and whisper into his ear, “Hey honey, why do surfers need to supplement with salt and citrus?” And I don’t expect common-sense conclusions that I can imagine myself, about electrolytes and exercise, but specifics and studies and theories that take me a little beyond… beyond pseudo-research on a free search engine.

But that’s not the world I live in, and with not so many Mensa members in my midst, I can only pose the question to myself, and conclude with my erratic simpleton logic, rich life experience, erratic schooling in biology and nutrition, combined with hours of determined Google-ing… all to share with you, my dear readers (you’re so kind).

Unless sweat losses are replaced during exercise, an athlete will become dehydrated. Most of us know that severe levels of dehydration have a dramatic effect on exercise performance. But even small fluid losses reduce performance and increase your feeling of effort. Of course the effects at lower levels of dehydration are more subtle… however, well before the effects seem obvious, your output has dropped and your skills and concentration have deteriorated. In an ideal world an athlete would drink enough fluid to cover all sweat losses during their event. However in the real world of sport this is not usually practical or possible. At best, most athletes only replace 50 per cent of their fluid losses during the event so there is plenty of room for improvement. [Ocean to Outback]

surfer girl sofiaSurfers sweat more than they realize. Similar to swimmers, being in the water there’s little awareness as to the extent to which we sweat. Though you can use accurate scale weigh-ins pre and post session to get an idea (surfers just aren’t as fanatical about that kind of info as other athletes are; maybe when surfing becomes an Olympic sport perhaps?). But if indeed you are unsure, a simple way to tell if you are dehydrated is if your pee is dark yellow/orange; that shows your body is releasing the wastes but retaining the water because it can’t afford to lose any more. In addition, often we’re exposed to the sun – surfing occurring outdoors during daylight hours. Guaranteed even winter overcast there’s some sweating going on in those new fangled rubber wet suits.

And unlike most who exercise for extended periods, we often do not do the obvious: drink enough water! Just think, a bicyclist may be riding for a few hours, but he’s squirting water and energy drinks in his mouth all along the way; while we may be out in the water for hours with no access to fluids besides the accidental salty/gunky gulp we inhaled as we got pounded on the inside.

Those who do compensate with fluids might not be replacing their salt as well; and athletes need increased salt intake to properly hydrate the cells and reduce the risk of dehydration or hyponatremia. Most studies on this subject seem to focus on marathon runners though, not surfers.

How many of us end up with cramps while out in the water? Aches in our back? Pain in our joints? Jelly arms? Burns from the sun? Even end-of-the-session injuries because we are spent? Many of these symptoms (in combination with nutritional issues and a lack of adequate warm-up and post-session stretch) can often be attributed in part to our water and salt deficiencies and imbalances.

Salt Waiting to be picked up

Science and medicine have tried to define the precise roles of salt in the healthy and diseased human organism. Blood, sweat, and tears all contain salt, and both the skin and the eyes are protected from infectious germs by the anti-bacterial effect of salt. When salt is added to a liquid, particles with opposite charges are formed: a positively charged sodium ion and a negatively charged chloride ion. This is the basis of osmosis which regulates fluid pressure within living cells and protects the body against excessive water loss. Sodium and chloride ions, as well as potassium ions, create a measurable difference in potential across cell membranes. This ensures that the fluid inside living cells remains separate from that outside. Thus, although the human body consists mainly of water, our “inner ocean” does not flow away or evaporate. Sodium ions create a high pressure of liquid in the kidneys and thus regulate their metabolic function. [Shirley's Wellness Cafe]

Water and saltMore of salt’s endless list of therapeutic properties, as comprised in Dr. Barbara Hendel’s book “Water and Salt – The Essence of Life”, include: stabilizing irregular heartbeats; regulation of blood pressure; extraction of excess acidity from the cells in the body; generation of hydroelectric energy in cells in the body; absorption of food particles through the intestinal tract; clearance of the lungs of mucus, particularly in asthma and cystic fibrosis; clearing up congestion of the sinuses (a strong natural antihistamine); essential for the prevention of muscle cramps; making the structure of bones firm; sleep regulation; a needed element in the treatment of diabetics; vital for maintaining sexuality and libido; vital for preventing varicose veins and spider veins on the legs and thighs; vital to the communication and information processing of nerve cells the entire time that the brain cells work, from the moment of conception to death (oh, is that all…). Actually, drinking Sole (a mix of water and crystal salt) is also said to help dissolve and eliminate impurities and built up toxins which lead to kidney and gall stones.components of seawater

To truly understand the function of salt, we need to look to the sea, witness the high level of health of its creatures and compare its composition to that of human body fluids.

Dehydrated sea water contains over 80 elements, most required for the maintenance of the human body. While all salt originates from the sea, refined table salt and almost all sea salts sold in health food stores have none of these elements left. Even in the “natural” salts, refining, washing, boiling or kiln drying has stripped away almost all traces of these minerals. That’s why it is white and dry.

Any untreated, natural, whole salt will stubbornly hold on to part of its original water unless kiln or vacuum-pan dried. Even by drying naturally in the sun, salt crystals will not give up all of their moisture. True “natural” sun dried salt ranges from light gray or beige to pale pink in color. [Alternative Medical Angel]

NaCl Sodium Chloride molecule structureFact is, table salt, or sodium chloride, is a refined, adulterated version of what was once considered “salt”, similar to the way natural sugar is refined into white sugar. Even most commercial “sea salt” has little resemblance to salt that has come from the sea. In the 1940s, major salt producers in the US began to dry salt at intense temperatures degrading the salt’s structure while removing all the complimentary minerals and nutrients, leaving us with foremostly sodium chloride.pure salt

Sodium chloride is an aggressive substance, which biochemically is perpetually seeking an equalizing counterpart so that the body’s pH can always remain neutral. Sodium chloride needs its natural counterpart in order for it to produce its effect. The natural counterparts, such as potassium, calcium, magnesium and other minerals and trace elements, demonstrate, from a biophysical standpoint, specific frequency patterns. These patterns ensure the geometric structures in our body. When these structures are missing, we are without energy and are lifeless. Salt should not be used just to add flavour to our food, but for its vibration pattern, which is similar to our body! … The body recognizes table salt as an aggressive cellular poison, an unnatural substance, and wants to eliminate it as quickly as possible in order to protect itself. This causes a constant overburden on our organs of excretion. [Himalayan Crystal Salt]

Since our salt craving didn’t change with the advancements of technology, we are left with a confused body which, no matter how much sodium it consumes, is still craving real salt. As we need a precarious balance of salts in our body, this may lead a person to consume even more sodium chloride, and in turn more food, as the body tries to satisfy its needs, hoping to garner the aforementioned therapeutic benefits, but unfortunately generating the opposite results.morton salt wacky pack

For example, even on Morton’s Salt site, they recommend NOT using their salt for aquariums because the salt does not include necessary trace minerals fish need. And, though they don’t mention it, commercial salts often include additives that fish – and people – don’t need including: free flowing agents, inorganic/ potassium iodide (added to the salt to avoid iodine deficiency disease of thyroid gland (I prefer getting mine from RealSalt™ and seaweed), dextrose, bleaching agents, sugar (added to stabilize iodine and as an anti-caking chemical), and our Alzheimer compatriot aluminum silicate. That whole concept of limiting salt intake to prevent high blood pressure… has been proven to be, by and large, hooey! And one eight year study even showed stressed out New Yorkers on a low-salt diet had four times as many heart attacks than those on a normal sodium diet. Okay, we all need to watch our excesses of anything, but in a typical diet, it’s more likely processed salt, especially found in processed foods, that you need to limit.

“Lemonade” by Chokebore

Chandra fucked my loneliness away, at least for a minute or two, lemonade. I just fucked my loneliness away, it helped me for a minute or two, a lemonade. I just beat my loneliness away, it helped me for a minute or two, a lemonade….

And why lemonade? First of all, unlike casual sex for the addict, the benefits last more than a minute or two – or the time it takes to drink a glass of lemonade. Though, for myself, these sweet and sour urges modify to include other fruit, EmergenC™ packets, even li hing mui lollipops (mmmm!). Other times, depending on what’s available, and how careful I am being about eating right, these desires can adulterate to junkier compensations.

french friesOur cravings, often mutated by the brain into veiled indulgences, express the needs of the body. Even when we bolt from the beach to buy some french fries, processed meat-something, and a soda to quench the urge, there are reasons for it: the salt in the french fries; the protein in the meat; the quickly available sugar and carbohydrates in the soda. We may not be paying attention to whether the salt is natural, or the sugar whole, or the protein digestible, etc. Depending upon our personal awareness, there is a realization that proper choices keep us feeling healthier (and proffer us the ability to surf longer sessions and more often – and not having to pass out after lunch). Eventually, through years of trial and error, conscious beings eventually wake up to the fact that there are natural solutions that better comply to our body’s intrinsic desires.

So it’s conceivable, when we have a tangy thirst after surfing, our bodies could be wanting of hydrating fluids – like that found via citrus drinks – and unknowingly yearning for the benefits of lemons. These benefits more specifically include: being a great source of Vitamin C and other antioxidants; supporting the immune system, neutralizing free radicals; helping to prevent inflammation / swelling in the body; offering worthy doses of B6, iron, potassium, calcium, folic acid, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, zinc and other nutrients, phytonutrients, flavonoids (that have been proven to stop cell division in many cancer cell lines); limonins, which help fight cancers of skin and other organs and remain in the system much longer than the phenols in green tea and chocolate; and antiviral and antibiotic properties. Lemons have also been known to act as a blood purifier, improving the body’s ability to release toxins, and are an oft utilized ingredient in detox cleanses. They are also considered to tonify the kidneys.

Though there is some debate over whether lemonade should be consumed to hasten kidney stone development (they found orange juice to work better; and though I love OJ too, it’s kinda harsh on da belly and gets me into a diabetic coma quicker) it doesn’t negate lemon’s holistic support of kidney function, especially in the case of certain deficiencies. Lots of surfing can put a strain on the back: the muscles, the spine, draining the adrenals (hey, we’re goin’ for the dopa-high), and can weaken the kidneys. Kidney depletion is often found in those indulging in the water element; too much water puts out the fire. The sour/bitter flavor, like that of the lemon, is considered in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) as a remedy to correct that imbalance.

There is an interesting correlation between the lemons and the salts. As well the link between electrolytes and positively and negatively charged ions. Of course, being that I didn’t become nor marry a doctor / chemist / natropath / nutritionist, and never made batteries out of lemons or sodium chloride in science class, beyond logic and instinct I honestly have little specific knowledge about their connection. But I imagine there to be succinct science-based reasoning and potentially elaborate experimentation possibilities exposing the principles as to why sugar and salt and lemons and lots and lots of surfing mix so well together. And some smarter folk have contributed their two cents on the matter….

On page 19 of A.F. Beddoe’s book “Biological Ionization in Human Nutrition,” he states that:

“Man does not live off the food he eats but off of the energy that is produced from the food he eats. The energy you get from your food comes from the atoms and molecules of energy in your food. A reaction takes place as cationic food enters the digestive tract and encounters anionic digestive enzymes. To explain further, an ion is part of a molecule con-atom or a group of atoms that carry an electrical charge. Ions which carry negative charges are ‘anions’.

“Lemons are considered to be anionic, having more anions (negatively charged ions) of energy as compared to cations (positively charged ions) in their atomic structure. Saliva, hydrochloric acid, bile and the stomach’s other digestive juices are also anionic. Lemon is one of the only foods on the planet that has more anions than cations in its atomic structure. When considering the electromagnetic properties of food…all foods are considered cationic with the exception of fresh, raw lemon juice. Some have suggested that the reason fresh lemon juice is similar to digestive enzymes is due to the low amount of sulfur in lemons. It should be noted that pasteurized and packaged lemon juice is cationic and, therefore, ineffective as a health remedy.” [EMR Labs]

This may be why we get a buzz off fresh lemons; a buzz that is not like, for example, the sugary high we get off most sweet and sour soft beverages, fruits or candy. And when we add lemon juice to water, with the balance of sugars and electrolytes, it creates a sum greater than its parts, especially when it comes down to hydrating a dehydrated surfer.

Though hydration with H20 before and after exercise is important, plain water can actually suppress one’s thirst and cause bloating - all athletes know that feeling! (And if you drink water after you’re already dehydrated you get cramps!) It has been shown that the body absorbs fluids better and retains them longer if there are some dissolved solids (approx. 6% carbs/electrolytes) in the mix; ergo the sports drink. These are recommended especially for those who are working out for over one hour; and definitely vital for those who are not refueling while working-out!!!sports drinks

And what is a sports drink actually? Usually it’s a mixture of water, fruit juice or sugar water. Cheap brands include corn syrups, additives and artificial colorings. Expensive brands typically include the same things as the cheap but add more polymers and chemicals that many who critique the sports supplement industry consider unnecessary, as well as the blockbuster ingredient: salt (the electrolyte portion of the drink for which you are paying the big bucks). What’s so special about salt, kidneys, and your electrolyte drink? On the web site Essential Wellness Hilde Bschorr explains:

Salt has a very unique property – its atomic structure is not molecular, it’s electrical. The benefit we receive from salt is it’s electrical charge, the salt itself actually still remains in its original form…. This electrical charge is essential to the life functions in our bodies. So basic is this electrical function, that salt is one of a group of elements called “electrolytes”. These are made up of ions, which are groups of atoms that carry a positive or negative electric charge.

Sodium is positively charged and chloride is negatively charged, so they attract each other and bond tightly. Our bodies also contain other electrolytes, including potassium (+), calcium (+), magnesium (+), bicarbonate (-), phosphate (-), and sulfate (-). Electrolytes are essential because our cells use them to transfer liquids, nutrients, and wastes across their membranes and to carry electrical impulses through nerves and muscles to communicate with other cells.

The kidneys work to keep electrolyte concentrations in your blood constant when your body changes. When your body perspires (from exercise or high temperature), for example, electrolytes are lost in the sweat and must be replaced to keep the electrolyte concentrations of your body fluids constant.

But salt in lemonade? Hey, I’m not chef but there are culinary (and sensual?) concepts as to why it works:pure salt lick

…True, we do consume a wide variety of other minerals: both the so-called “bulk” minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium, as well as “trace” minerals like iron, copper and zinc. Yet the human body take[s] those in via organic middlemen like fruits, vegetables and meats. Salt is the only inorganic substance we dig out of the ground and put straight into our mouths. It is critical to our health (and in fact the health of all living things), the greatest testament to which is the fact that our tongues have receptors specifically designed to detect it.

Yet if simple utility were all there were to our relationship with salt, we’d probably just carry salt licks around with us in our pockets…. Like so many life-critical human functions (sex springs to mind), our experience of salt has been inextricably bound up with pleasure. And it’s evolution we have to thank.

How else to explain the effect that salt has on the foods we eat? Yes, the conventional line states that salt “accents foods”, that it helps them taste “more like themselves” or “excites the taste buds”. But what is it that’s really going on here? The unfortunate answer is that nobody yet knows, though some very interesting recent science has provided us with a window into just what function the salt sense serves in the overall sensation of taste.

Studies conducted at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Pennsylvania … have shown that in addition to stimulating our “salty” taste receptors themselves, salt also acts on other receptors in the mouth, notably the “bitter” receptors. Especially when administered in a triple-play with a sweet-tasting sample, it’s been found that salt actually suppresses bitter sensations — far more effectively than sweetness does by itself. … More than simply turning up the volume on flavors we do like, it also turns the volume down on flavors we don’t. [Joe Pastry]

Additional chemical magic includes the fact that both salt and fresh lemons contribute to creating a more alkaline state (lemons, like grapefruit, turn alkaline once they hit the digestive system) which might be useful when the body -especially that of a devout surfer- is pushed and there comes a need to balance the PH of the blood and tissues. Plus, we need a more alkaline state to keep microorganisms in check: that would include one well-known to Hawai’i surfers - the fun-lovin’ staph infection!

Active athletes also need to replace our glucose to keep our blood sugar levels up and reduce fatigue. Dr. Sears (AskDr.Sears.com), suggests “the best time for your sports drinks is during exercise, since the carbs in the drink do not cause high blood sugar fluctuations because insulin is not secreted during exercise. While drinking a high-sugar drink prior to exercise may trigger insulin and lead to hypoglycemia in the middle of the game.” Good thing salt and lemons also have the added benefit of regulating blood sugar!

So, if you’re going to drink something before exercise or immediately after, as us surfers need to do, my lemonade recipe should supply you with a healthy and balanced natural, homemade and certainly less expensive option (though I recommend for those who stay out in the water a long time and/or notice a dramatic drop in performance while surfing that they tie on their leash string or attach to a key pocket a fuel packet like the now 90% organic and all-natural CLIF Shot® clif shot(oooh, with Litter Leash packaging) and suck on it mid-session. Ingredients in their vanilla for example include: Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Sea Salt, Natural Flavors, Potassium Citrate, Magnesium Oxide; with 40mg Sodium, 30mg Potassium, 25mg of Carbs and 8g of Sugar.

Carbohydrate is stored as glucose in the liver and muscles and is the most efficient source of energy as it requires less oxygen to be burnt than either protein or fat. The normal body stores of carbohydrate in a typical athlete are: • 70kg male athlete: liver glycogen 90g and muscle glycogen 400g • 60kg female athlete: liver glycogen 70g and muscle glycogen 300g. During hard exercise, carbohydrate can be depleted at a rate of 3-4 grams per minute. If this is sustained for 2 hours or more, a very large fraction of the total body carbohydrate stores will be exhausted and if not checked will result in reduced performance. Recovery of the muscle and liver glycogen stores after exercise will normally require 24-48 hours for complete recovery.

During exercise, there is in an increased uptake of blood glucose by the muscles and to prevent blood glucose levels falling the liver produces glucose from the liver stores. Consuming carbohydrate before, during and after exercise will help prevent blood glucose levels falling too low and help maintain the body’s glycogen stores. Many athletes cannot consume food before or during exercise and therefore a formulated drink that will provide carbohydrate is required. [BrainMac Sports Coach]

If you’re avoiding sweets or got enough elsewhere, and basic hydration is what you’re after, try a more watered down version of the recipe, or simple Lemon Water (pure water, squeeze lemon into and add a few slices with a dash of salt). Penta, Essentia water, CellFood™, trace minerals, and coconut water are also great for hydrating.

The balance of our cells reflects the balance of our life. And as imbalanced as we may get, sometimes it’s those little things that get us back to center… like relaxing on the lanai swing chair, enjoying the trade breeze on a sweet summer day, sipping a nice tall glass of fresh squeezed electrolyte-laden lemonade.

For thousands of years salt has been known as a panacea. Alchemists called it “the fifth element”—besides water, earth, air and fire—because its qualities were comparable only to ether, the actual fifth element. Why are we so drawn to the ocean? Because our subconscious mind instinctively wants to return to the specific vibrational state of the ocean from which we once emerged. This is where we can return to recharge our batteries and regenerate. [Himalayan Crystal Salt]

Yup, something us surfers are doing all the time. So it makes sense, to try to accomplish it inside and out!

lemon tree

Coconut Girl’s Revitalizing Surfer Lemonade

Okay, sticking with my 15-min-or-less “cooking” method, this lemonade is quick and easy to prepare, and if you want to add the “boosters” it’ll only take a few more minutes. My recipe is infinitely easier when mom’s lemon tree is going off and I suggest that if you have a tree or a neighbor has one – take advantage (you can freeze excess juice for later use if you don’t want any to go to waste). And sure they’d luv it if you offered to bring them back a jar (always save your glass fruit juice containers). For this recipe we’re basically filling one 32oz jar so for larger batches adjust accordingly….

I pick 2-3 of the biggest, most yellow lemons off the tree. Roll them on the wood cutting board or counter top so they’re easier to juice. Throw in a lime if you have one too.

• In saucepan, with approximately one cup of purified water, medium heat, add approximately 1/3 to 1/2 cup of raw coconut sugar (coconut syrup also works). Essentially you are heating at the lowest temp needed so the sugar dissolves while stirring.

• Cut lemons in half. Using a citrus juicer (cheap electric ones work fine, though if you’re rich go use your fancy industrial strength citrus press), juice all 4-6 halves (if your lemons are small add one more and/or one small lime for flavor). Should take all of two minutes!

• As for the sugar mixture, add a few ice cubes, preferably made from filtered water to cool it down. Pour it into a glass measuring cup. Then mix in a healthy pinch of Real Salt™, Himalayan Crystal Salt or pure sea salt (Hawaiian Salt also works). Once it’s blended add a handful more ice cubes to cool it to approximately room temp.

• It’s important to not heat the lemon juice! So, pour the juice into an empty glass jar or pitcher. Add some cold or room temp purified water, then add the sugar water / syrup water you made. Then fill the rest of the jar with more water to taste. Chill.

lemonade and salt

• The Extras: Add a bit of ginger. Most recipes for ginger lemonade call for adding sliced ginger pieces into the cooking sugar water, but ginger’s got a more killa kick if you avoid heating it, and the body will benefit more from its healing properties. So I suggest, grating about 1/2 teaspoon of ginger (with a ginger grater, if can, small sized grater otherwise) and simply adding it to the jar. Shake/stir well! * Be your own barhand…add a little zest! (of course we’re using organic lemons so all good there…) * If you read my noni article and/or have some noni juice prepared and are in need of its benefits, add a tablespoon or two to a cup of lemonade for your morning elixir… or if drained in the middle of the day and you really want to get another surf session in… talk about energizing! * You can add a splash of coconut water (as in the Big Island favorite found in the local health food stores “Tahitian Limeade” yum!) or some aloe (which also supports digestion, kidneys, and skin). * Party option is cutting some lemon, orange and/or lime slices and adding them into the pitcher, then filling with ice and serving.

That’s it! Obvious but never forget it: coffee, soda, sun, surf, alcohol… all dehydrating. Try to respond to your body’s cravings in ways that make you stronger. Spend a little bit more time helping your body stay happy and balanced so you can surf longer: that is, longer sessions and for decades to come… xo


…and hey, since pure salt is good for brain function perhaps if I start using only the right salts I will get my IQ back up enough to where I won’t feel I need a brainiac scientist husband to explain this chit to me…

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Read Full Post »

steven valiereSo, word on the streets of Kauai is that if you were among those arrested for blocking the Superferry from entering Nawiliwili Harbor August 26 and 27th… the cops might be looking for you! Originally, arrested protesters were released due to a mix of reasons including the fact that, for many, officers filed the charges too late, and for others that there was, as reported in the StarBulletin, “insufficient evidence to bring charges because the police were distracted, focusing on the public’s safety.” There were also claims that there were too many discrepancies between the Police Officers and Coast Guard for charges to stick. Many on land were arrested if they were wet, not because they were specifically seen protesting in the water – while protesters on land tried to assist by giving them dry clothing before being spotted by the cops. Others, like surf artist extraordinaire Steve Valiere (dad of surf pros Evan and Shane [who was also arrested]), who was actually knocked of his board by Coast Guard boats and his board confiscated (and still not returned) is being cautious. As reported in the The Garden Island (kauaiworld.com) article “Protestor Charges Not Filed in Time”:

However, the lack of closure is being cited as unsettling by some defendants, as the possibility remains that they could be re-arrested and brought back to court. …Seven defendants made District Court Judge Trudy Senda’s call list, a list initially created to help expedite cases that might otherwise fall through the system’s cracks. The system was designed roughly two years ago so that those who had been arrested and assigned court dates but whose charges hadn’t been filed would be taken off the court docket. However, those who make the call list don’t necessarily have their cases dismissed, as prosecutors have the option to re-prioritize them.

Thoughts are that Lingle and company have every intention to let that baby cruise -despite the touring Legislative meetings in which a majority of the Hawai’i public made pleas for an EIS before allowing the Superferry to sail. And “re-prioritizing” these arrests will make those charged more fearful of getting involved; because instead of a misdemeanor they will be facing a more severe felony charge if are arrested again.

As Kauai activist Hope Kallai aptly put it, they’re skimming our front lines [of active protesters]. So far as I know, only Dayne Gonsalves and Rob Pa (leaders of the Kingdom of Atooi, who recently brought the Superferry issue, and sovereignty, all the way to Washington and therefore on the list of activists to watch) have been re-arrested and out on bail, though others have been unofficially warned. There’s no word if Police are threatening to go after the four children who were also arrested during the protest – though no one would put it past the powers that be to use them to dissuade the parents, as Lingle made it clear parents would be charged with child endangerment if their kids were found protesting again.

Hopefully a lawyer who’s not too busy doing pro-bono on the Pflueger case on Kauai or otherwise busy with Superferry actions will step in to help those in Kauai fighting these charges.

* * * * *

Postscript: I emailed Kauai Senator Gary Hooser concerning this subject and asked if he had any further information or personal opinion regarding the matter. As one of the few true representatives of his constituents concerning the Superferry, Senator Hooser is being flooded with emails, and warns, though all will be reviewed, due to volume responses may be delayed. Despite that, in less than 15 minutes he wrote back:

Thank you for the email on this matter. Yes, I read in the paper of the arrests but have no additional information at this time. I was surprised also and thought all of these cases had been settled or thrown out. The Kauai Police Department is part of the County and I have no control over County issues however I will try to find out more about this. gh

Senator Gary L. Hooser; Senate Majority Leader; Hawai’i State Senate; Seventh Senatorial District – Islands of Kaua’i & Ni’ihau; Office: (808) 586-6030 Toll Free: 274-3141, ext. 66030; Fax: (808) 586-6031 Email: senhooser@capitol.hawaii.gov

P.S. Please visit the Hawaii Senate Majority Caucus website at www.hawaiisenatemajority.com and the official State of Hawaii legislative website at www.capitol.hawaii.gov

* * * * *

Check in for updates on the Superferry Bill:

Hawaii House Blog


Ian Lind

(art by -arrested Kauai protester- Steven Valiere)

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Read Full Post »

Venice Beach PissThere are a few surf-oriented web sites I like to check out on a regular basis – mostly for their surf reports, a scattering of surf-related news, vids, and such. For the most part they’re informational, some kinda generic, or ultimately catering to the business/contest-driven aspects of surf culture. But every so often you stumble upon greatness: the web site Random Thoughts of a Surf Forecaster (aka “Venice Surf Report”) is one of those.

For zine fans, this thing reminds me, in certain regards, of the handful of incisive punk zines of the day, like Cometbus, and even a dash of Ben Is Dead at our most street. In a mix of thousands of useless piece-o-shit blogs wasting web space, this is one example of the paperless ezine evolution that works. Not simply a daily updated surf report, this blog incorporates the atmosphere and environment that makes up the surf/culture of Venice Beach, California (thankfully he doesn’t get into the hippie stuff) – which means it includes the homeless men and women who, literally, call Venice Beach home.

Venice Beach boyo crewNicknamed the “boyos” (the female version dubbed “boyo toyos… though there have only been a few”) these guys are the ones you usually walk by, or step over, as you make your way to the Pier. But for some reason the author of Venice Surf Report, who goes by the name “Dogtown Surfer”, decided not to just walk by them on the way to the beach. He recognized they were a part of the whole experience. Well, maybe the interaction wasn’t so much egalitarian, as it “just kinda happened” as DTS explained to me in an email interview. And “once it did I decided to run with it, as I found it very very informative and was surprised by the life they lead.” But I had to ask him to get more specific, because as friendly as one can be on their best day, usually people don’t intermingle with the homeless to the depth this man has.

I knew I wanted to do something more that just the surf report and I guess the friendship grew out of me not really ever asking anything more than “what’s going on today” and every once in a while I was a source of beer money. It has definitely progressed past that point, but I would say the whole thing just came from me wanting to write, and write about something I thought was interesting and that I wanted to learn about…

His March 8th report “First Approach to Pier Homelessness” explains in more detail the method to the madness:

I finally resolved last night to make some real effort to get to meet some of the homeless down by the pier. So, to start off, I drank about a fifth of vodka, put on some old ratty clothes and hopped on the bike. A quick reconnoiter failed to turn up any gatherings but I did see one old guy all huddled up trying to stay warm. It seemed rather incongruous – one old guy with nothing, surrounded by hundreds of beer swilling, sushi eating yuppies – so I took a few pictures from behind. Plus, the dude looked like he was sleeping and I didn’t want to wake him. I wanted to give him a few bucks for using his likeness so I nudged him and told him I found three dollars on the ground right next to him, which he eagerly grabbed.

So I went into the Whaler for a quick beer as it looked like there was a comedy show going on…but all in all the comics were pretty lame…Knowing I couldn’t sit through that I made my way outside and what do I see? My buddy in the orange coat wide awake and full of piss and vinegar.

Thomas Venice Beach

Turns out his name is Thomas and he has been living at the pier for something like 20 years. My three bucks had immediately gone to a 40 oz. Colt 45 and it seemed to do wonders for him; what was a comatose old man 30 minutes ago was now an expansive and eager storyteller. Seeing as the Colt 45 had had such an effect I immediately bought him three more and a Heineken for myself. Even though I was a little too drunk to make much sense I explained what I wanted to do as far as using him as one of my correspondents at the pier and he was all for it. I left him knowing that I had found the right person indeed.

As proof of that, I saw Tom again this morning at 7:15 am (in the exact same spot where I left him at 10 pm last night) and as he sees me he calls out my name and starts telling the other two about our discussion last night. They were also eager to help, which is reassuring, but then I notice that Tom is holding what? Three Colt 45’s! I remarked at his discipline for saving them for the morning and he just shook his head and looked at me like I was the dumbest guy on the beach. “Son, these ain’t from last night; these’re my breakfast!”alcoholic rat

So beer plus boyo equals good stories. The amount of beer needed: unlimited supply. And the cast as it were, have all become important members of the daily reporting (including transient friends, weirdo locals, even alcoholic pets: rats, dogs, guinea pigs). On a smaller scale it’s something like Howard Stern’s Whack Pack. From blow-jobs to passin’ out in their piss – an endless adventure. And the coverage is accomplished with a balance of compassion, realism and virulence.

boyos on the beach veniceIt’s not really one of those jobs everyone is equipt for. Picturing myself doing the same “field reporting” I imagined I’d likely think twice before drinking a fifth of vodka, putting on old ratty clothes and hopping on my bike to talk story with some homeless guys in the middle of the night in Venice. So I asked him if he has ever found himself in a dangerous situation, to which he explained that at 6’5″ and 290 pounds he never really feels threatened (man, if I could be that big for a day!).

An interesting factoid about the author, “Dogtown Surfer” (who choses to keep his real name to himself due to occasional hate mail and a potential psychotic finding his home – though here’s a pict here of him and Victor), is that he only started surfing two years ago at 38 years of age, when he moved todogtown surfer and victor Venice Beach, California from Little Rock, Arkansas (originally from Greenwich, CT and NYC) in early ’05. He was doing a surf report for swellmagnet.com since late ’05 on a volunteer basis. But that all changed when the owner switched it to a pay site and started censoring him, which he explained with his first post entitled No More Bullshit:

To give you the full rundown on what started this, yesterday I wrote a Top Ten list on what Al Sharpton would do if he found out he really was related to Strom Thurmond, whose greatgrand-daddy apparently owned Shrpton’s great-granddaddy back in the days of slavery. The point was that Al would all of a sudden start doing white, redneck things like fire the “darky” that worked in his kitchen. Maybe not the funniest thing in the world but hey, I was trying to give the Swellmagnet readers something for their $$$ on a day when surf was questionable.

Anywho, some dude named Shane (who apparently does the silkscreening for the Swellmagnet t-shirts ) writes this rambling letter telling me I am going to ruin the site cause people will be offended and his future (is silk screening a future? Sounds more like a lack of one to me) is in the site and blah blah blah. So, I post his email on the site and my response calling him an illiterate retard. Oh, he did go out of his way to call Sharpton and Jesse Jackson “bags of shit” but apparently my racism was just so much more blatant.

Al Sharpton, Strom Thurmond…sounds like reasonable “flat condition” surf report material to me! Despite the brouhaha, he still does the surf report for them, a more typical one paragraph of conditions and picts, for which he now gets paid, but the creative stuff all goes to his blog. Thus Random Thoughts was born, with a smirk and a big fuck you, on February 27th, 2007.

And as promised from day one, and unlike most bloggers who start their site with such New Year’s resolution-type optimism, this guy posts almost every single day! The first thing a surfer wonders…especially when you work full time is…how do you have time for surf?!

I am strictly a PM surfer during the week. I have to work NY hours ’cause of my job so I hit the pier at Sunrise, take a few pics, talk to the boyos, drive to downtown LA and hit my desk by 6:50 or so. I then post the pics and write for maybe 10-15 minutes. Which means I am home by 3:45 or so, so can surf the blown out, crappy PM conditions we have here in Venice 99.999% of the time (yes, that is bitterness you are detecting). So, the report takes slight precedence over the job in the am on the weekdays, but on the weekend if it’s good, and even if it’s not, you will find me in the water. That’s why the weekend reports tend to focus on the surf exclusively. Plus, I get the feeling people read the blog primarily as a 5 minute distraction at work.

respect my peepsThe dichotomy between the rich and the poor is never so apparent as it is in the beach areas of Southern California. Where the rich are…so rich. And the poor are…the poorest. On top of that, Los Angeles is strewn with the famous as well. A place where you could easily run into one tv or movie star a day depending on your route and modus operandi. I recall as one of my favorite features in Ben Is Dead Magazine, when my sister, who was living on the streets of Hollywood at the time, compiled a piece of her spare change experiences with celebrities; who would give her the cash, and who would give her b.s. excuses. It’s always a tell-tale sign, how they react with the real world, to how real in fact they are (or aren’t). So, of course, when you mix celebrity with drunken bums, it has to evolve into something absolutely humorous. Especially when you’ve got Dogtown Surfer ready and waiting with his unexpected camera and truth-capturing pen. And certainly when these guys decide to indulge in a beer…Henry Hill

“Hey Matt, guess who this is?” asks Tommy.
“Henry Hill.”
The Henry Hill? The one you keep talking about?”
“Fucking right I’m the real Henry Hill, ya asshole!” Henry says.

Recognizing his voice from the Howard Stern Show, Matt (just out of the surf, runs home to get his camera) catches some shots of the ex-mobster from Goodfellas. But, what may seem like good fun at the time, sometimes ends up in threats. Like the sweet note from Henry’s girlfriend once they discovered the event exposed in a YouTube video.

TAKE THIS SHIT DOWN ill get henrys lawyers to sue you this isnt cool at all at least get him with good drunks not these scumbags

How dare she imply the boyos aren’t good drunks!

Minnie Driver HobOlympicsOr when, to everyone’s surprise, Minnie Driver showed up to watch the HobOlympics (well, actually she was coincidentally cruisin’ Venice Beach Pier on her bike and when they very politely asked for a picture, she got one whiff of the boyos and totally dissed them).

What’s a HobOlympics, you ask? When I read he was organizing a HobOlympics I got excited, thinking they were going to get the hobo’s on surfboards. I mean, some of the local guys at our beaches start drinking after their first session (meaning, by 9am) and their second sesh is completely DUI. You certainly don’t want to get too close, but otherwise it’sHobolympics t-shirts completely comical. But surely the homeless of Venice Beach with no surf experience might not survive even the manini So. Cal summer shore break. No, this HobOlympics was an athletic competition that included the “Snipe Hunt”, “Chug-of-War”…I think they were too fucked up to do much more….

This small excerpt should give you an idea of the atmosphere [note: this is after the winner of the Chug-of-War couldn't quite hold it down]:

Randy was despondent. Not only was he not going to win the beer chugging contest and the $10 first prize, he had just wasted an entire Hurricane!chug-o-lug venice pier
“Matt, do I still win?”
“Well, I don’t know Randy. This was the chug of war, not the vomit competition. You think that was worth ten dollars?”
“Yes. Yes, I do.”
“Well, I don’t, and since I run the games my word is final.”
“It was not worth ten dollars – it was worth twenty! That was the coolest thing I have EVER seen. Here, take a $20.”
His eyes lit up like a kid at Christmas as he saw me pull the twenty out of my wallet. I would have taken a picture of him holding it up but I was still pretty much laughing at the memory of him puking his guts out, egged on by the motley crew that is the boyos, while Mom and Dad stroll the pier, trying to have a relaxing Saturday only to see a crew of the roughest looking characters this side of prison chuckling at someone blowing chow big time.

How many Surf Report readers showed up to cheer them on? Seven. Hey, that’s pretty good…they even had special t-shirts made for the event. Really, this guy has a large readership (300-600 per day) considering his blog is pretty fresh. But then again, if only we all had our own batch of boyos doing publicity…for the low low cost of a few beers! But I wondered, does he ever feel as if he’s taking advantage of these guys?

No, everything I do is strictly voluntary and there are one or two who have asked not to have their picture taken or be included and I respect that.

venice boyos

And on the the other end, does he ever think he might be able to help get these guys off the street (approx. 90% of whom are vets)?

Nope. Without exception they are there because they want to be. They all know how and where to get into treatment if they want and one of them, Dave, actually did go about a month ago. I help them by buying them beer when they can’t afford it and every Sunday night I cook a big, cheap dinner, like spaghetti, and pack it up and bring it down to them

Has your site, and your “contributions” helped them?

I don’t know. They get recognized constantly, the cops read it and I think have taken a little more empathy with them, even to the point where Bowser, the asshole cop of the month, went out of his way to explain that he doesn’t really give a shit what they do but that he is tired of getting calls about them. Of course, five minutes later he broke Kenny’s umbrella, so I don’t know how sincere he was. I guess the only thing I can say for sure is they find the site very funny, they really enjoy reading about themselves and if it makes them laugh then great.

Part of the adventure with the boyos is the cops. And it’s an endless game of boyos “drinking in public” and the cops wasting their time harassing and writing them tickets. As Dogtown explains:

The problem with the tickets is not the ticket itself, it’s the fact that if the cop runs your (real) name you get busted as you haven’t paid the last 23 tickets the cops have given you. None of the boyos have ID so it’s like a game they all play; the boyos pretend they’re going to pay the ticket and the cop pretends you’re telling him the truth when you give him your name and personal information.boyo and cops

Attitude is a big part of making this work, though, so no mouth or attitude to the cops. It’s all “yes, sir – no, sir”.

victor cops venice

Here’s Victor being lectured by the rookie and looking very contrite and serious as he signs and accepts his ticket.

He takes the thing, sits down and gives me this look like “Oh shit, I better hurry down to City Hall and pay my fine!”

victor smirk venice beach

What do you think the chances are this one gets paid?

How does he think the cops should deal with them? Should they ignore them/their drinking in public?

I think it is outrageous the amount of resources and time and money that goes into hassling these guys who are essentially harmless and who have nowhere else to go anyways. Let’s face it, kick them off the pier and where do they go? Somebody’s alleyway or carport or wherever and then they become one guys big problem rather than everyone’s slight inconvenience.boyo hobolympics venice pier

And if you were “in charge”, what would you do?

Like some of the cops do – see it, let them know the threat is there, treat them with a little respect and then generally the boyos do whatever those cops ask. There is one female officer in particular who never writes tickets, always stops by to see how they are when she is on duty, and they know when she is, they go out of their way to behave.

Considering how indiscreet and unobtrusive the author is not, he’s pretty much kept under the radar while behind the camera. Despite hanging out and drinking brewski’s with the boyos on occasion, printing shots of the officers in action, running “Asshole Cop of the Month” (which I believe evolved into “Cool Cop of the Month” to inspire a little more positive effects), he hasn’t gotten written up or hassled. Okay, maybe hassled a little bit. Like that time when he wouldn’t stop taking photos even when the cop told him to: “What the hell did I just tell you about taking pictures? You moving around and I don’t know if you have a gun or what you reaching for; just sit there and don’t move!” Of course, they love to pick on the homeless, and the homeless often respond amiably; they don’t want to be the brunt of the pig’s aggression. But sometimes the cops see that as a sign of weakness, and they go into predator mode. But when they threw Dogtown Surfer into the mix with the boyos and tried to treat him with the same lack of respect, he would have none of it: “Hey, dude, I’ll sit here and be quiet while you do your little investigation if it makes you happy, but I’m not doing anything wrong or illegal so don’t treat me like a fucking criminal. I run a website that 30,000 people a day look at and you so much as touch me or my camera and I will Rodney King your ass so fast you won’t know what hit you.” Okay, he made up the last line later, ’cause often our best comebacks are the ones we figure out hours after the scenario has already played itself out.homeless clean beach venice

Yeah, the meat of the site is not simply surf and shenanigans. DTS reports on litter at the beach (and how it’s the homeless guys who are always cleaning up after the beach slobs), serious issues involving some of the crew, how to’s for using the bike path (anyone who’s been to Venice knows how idiotic tourists can be), driving while putting on mascara (what about driving while taking photos?), and info on subprime and hedge funds (huh?). Well, fact is DTS is a bond trader…and every once in a while you might get a good financial tip. Personally, for the past few years while all has seemed hunky-dorey and my own friends have mentioned the attraction of buying houses with ridiculous adjustable rate loans, I have been warning them about the upcoming crashes and flashback wiffs of ’70s high interest to come….graph adjustable rate mortgage

So I asked his take on what’s happening to the economy?

Going to get a hell of a lot worse before it gets better. We haven’t seen a credit / liquidity crunch in a real long time in this country and I don’t think anyone is prepared for just how ugly it could get. …This mess was created by mortgage writers that were able to separate themselves from the fallout of loans that blew up, investment banks that were willing to buy this shitty paper and homeowners that were stupid enough to put their house on the line so they could buy a new car or travel to Europe. Everyone who is going to feel pain is partly to blame. Not a bad time to be sitting on cash or Treasuries, frankly. Get that credit repaired, pay off your debt and hopefully get back in at the bottom.

What do his co-workers think of the site?

Most everyone I work with reads and enjoys it.

And his wife? Though he’s mentioned numerous occasions how she puts up with it, or how the boyos are an excuse to getting away from her now and again, his new Venice Beach lifestyle doesn’t seem to mesh with hers. He wouldn’t be the first surfer boy who’s lost a relationship over his calling. Last time I spoke with him he said they were getting divorced.

And besides losing a wife and making the transitional move to sunny So. Cal, how has surfing changed him?

So much for the better. I live to surf now, basically, have made so many cool friends and know that no matter what, whenever I meet a fellow surfer, that I have more in common with him/her than I do with my own brother. It’s a club that money can’t get you into, you know?

* * * * *

waves at the pier

Yeah, despite the oft cocky attitude, DTS isn’t scared to express his sentimental side. What exposes it best might be an excerpt from piece he wrote for a contest on Surfline, about what got him into surfing:

Thirty eight.

That’s how old I was when I first grabbed the 8 ft piece of orange fiberglass, which, at the time, I thought was just an old surfboard. Having earlier wriggled into a brand new wetsuit that fit my chunky 6’5” frame I headed to the beach, board in hand, firm in my resolve to finally do what I had always wanted to: surf.

It wasn’t until much later that I learned that what I had grabbed that day was not just a surfboard, it was a ticket of admission to a sport – no, a lifestyle – that would be more challenging than anything I had ever tried, something that would test the limits of my endurance and patience, pushing me to extremes I did not know I had inside me.

Venice PierBut they say that you don’t choose surfing, it chooses you, and by the time the first month was over I knew I was hooked forever. Just the thought of moving back to the godawful state in the Deep South from where I had come was enough to set me off for days, causing fights with my wife and family, all of them worth it as I found a way to stay in California.

Because eventually that day came – the day when I got up on that board, made a bottom turn and moved across the water propelled by nothing more than my desire and a 3 ft. swell generated thousands of miles away by a storm I would never see or feel. What I would feel, though, was the immense and humbling power of the ocean in head high beach break… Even as I write this the memory of that day, and that wave, puts a smile on my face that leads my co-workers to, most likely, question my sanity.

Like I said, you don’t choose surfing, it chooses you and my life is far, far better since I finally picked up the board, paddled out and answered that call.

* * * * *

Yeah, every surfer can relate.

So if you’re ever down by the Pier, checking out the surf, don’t forget to stop by and give a shout out to the boyos, or better yet, buy them a beer, or even better yet, a malt liquor, something with High Gravity; who knows the misadventures you may find yourself involved in. And if you can’t make it, indulge in a visit to venicesurfreport.com, with your morning coffee, and enjoy some of the day’s highlights of the Venice Beach boyos and some random thoughts of a surf forecaster….

addendum: RIP Dogtown Surfer. no doubt you are missed.

Read Full Post »

element cycleI’d been enjoying some extra bed time while getting over a bug, when I had this annoying nightmare. In it my MacBook was catching viruses off the internet. Could have been guilty download conscious, but I balance out such thievery with the reality that I wouldn’t buy any music even if I didn’t get it free. Suppose I was too spoiled receiving a never-ending supply of LPs and CDs for review during my music critic days. But as for movies, I have no excuse but boredom. Though I like animation, it’s highly unlikely I would have paid to see Happy Feet in the theater – unless I had some friend’s kids to take. And the lowly street or swap meet vendor is not losing out on my money either, ’cause doubtful I would ever purchase the Seinfeld-style “filmed in the audience” version from them. But there it was, the only full-length feature flick that didn’t stop half way whining “need more sources”; a low res Happy Feet inserting its avi self into the “shared” folder on my laptop. Shot by someone less artistic than Kramer, who didn’t even bother sitting front and center, or worry if his jacket might be covering the lens for a few minutes, and hand-held the thing – shaky-cam late ’90s style – for the full 98 minutes.broken surfboard

I know my dilemma – this fear of infliction – has less to do with guilt than it has to do with solidity. Living away from family, without a real permanent home, flowing through life, “riding the waves” so to speak, you have a tendency to utilize whatever is around you, to create structure; a sense of grounding. And I know it sounds silly perhaps, but my Mac has somehow become a symbol of such. Sure it’s not without its foibles, like any close friend, boyfriend, (in)animate object, but point is that I need to feel as though I can count on it; that it’s dependable, reliable. Yes, even though I know it can go at any time…it’s like one’s life, solid yet still vulnerable. Maybe that’s why when anything happens to my computer I get emotionally stirred. I count on it too much, to hold my thoughts, my dreams, facilitate my ability to work and create; a conceptually steady entity in an all-too fluctuating world.

Part of this sentiment is that when it’s healthy and working at its best, I work at mine. The flipside, the one I dread, like when the body breaks down and you end up lazy with sniffle-itis, is a fear of my Mac crashing, bringing up unhappy memories of lost files, documents, recalling the hours and weeks of work -poof- disappearing….

solid molecular structureEmphasizing these moments, of a pondered stability, I’ve had equally traumatizing dreams of grabbing my surfboard and at first it seems solid, and then it kinda flops and folds and doesn’t keep its shape. My last nightmare of that sort was disturbing, as I tried hopelessly to mold the board, as if it was Play-doh, into something ridable so I could paddle back out. Those who surf (more than they work ;) ) understand the trauma of anything bad happening to their board, particularly if they can’t afford to just go out a buy a new one. Yes, almost like an addict not able to get their fix, or someone living in the outskirts having their car break down, or an earth sign unknowingly being dosed with acid – you lose the thing you depend upon so much. Things that offer continuity, solid ground; the anchor that keep one from blowing in the wind, or getting lost out at sea.

Surfers can be such a scattered breed, as we indulge to no end in the water element, it’s important to keep such cogent things about us. In the water, our foundation comes in collective and varying forms: our health and fitness; the strength we feel as we killed that last wave; of the fact that there is land that we can see; G-d we can feel; spiritual renewal that we experience; that we have our families, loved ones, pets waiting for us; a nice home…to go home to. Even a job or an appointment or somewhere to be after our session offers up some structure to our daily lives. But otherwise, it is the surfer’s gear that is the actual physical components that enable ourwater element adrenaline-based liquid reality: surf shorts, bikini, wet suit, surf wax, sunscreen, leash…and most importantly our surfboard. And that board, it really needs to be solid. It’s gotta float! So, to end up with a board that’s acting more like water…doesn’t work! Water won’t float on water…it disperses into itself.

The whole fear of the mutability of the surfboard, and I believe initial cause for such nightmares, first began while trying to support a local, East-side, Big Island shaper we’ll just call “escobar”. I purchased a couple of his boards. He seemed to be getting them out on time (a big deal in Hawai’i!) and I liked the shapes. Unfortunately what I didn’t pay enough attention to was the reason why all the kids who had his boards had them duck-taped around the edges and why they were flooding the used surf board racks in town; guess he hadn’t mastered a little thing called the glass job (for those unknowing souls that’s the coating -fiberglass cloth plus resin- that seals in and protects the foam and gives the board its “glassy” finish). Problem is, what’s the use of a good shape and getting the board in the specified time frame when the glass job sucks!

It had barely been a month since I’d had the board and the rails were already crumbling like old feta and on top of that there were tiny pookas covering the bottom from not saturating the cloth enough. But the one moment that still shakes my core to this very day was when I was putting my board into the back of my car and as I was sliding it over the seat, pushing it in, my thumb actually went into it! It was as if the molecular structure altered. My reliance on the congruity of the object shocked my system. Buuuut… if my surfboard is not a solid, what is? Ah, okay, I’m being dramatic you think, but honestly, for a broke-ass surfer, the incident was a true rug-pulled-out-from-under-you moment. When all is not what it seems and you have no control. Besides being physically injured and unable to surf, it’s those times when there are waves but you don’t have a board when a surfer comprehends his or her true dependence and vulnerability.patched mac

There I was, sent adrift, having spent my surfboard fund on something that was carelessly created and disintegrating before my eyes. My season of winter surfing – my exercise, my challenge, my release, my daily opportunity to clear the mind, focus, renew – potentially ended just as it was beginning. Aren’t there any guarantees in life? At least those things for which I pay my hard-earned bucks should supply to me the illusions of solidity that they are intended on providing; from surfboards to Apple computers.

Macs never really had viruses. Well, Apple may have had the first official wild viruses on their floppy bootable antique Lisa machines, and that one the Mac publisher released as a prank on its own readership to prove viruses could happen, but most of the Mac viruses were really just weirdnesses. Like the altered date setting that was actually some Apple programmer embedded issue, which surely made sense to them somehow but I still don’t understand why I needed to be bothered with wasting time struggling to find the most current version of a document because they were all mixed up with 1904 dates; fooooey! The Finder might get corrupt, or the system would need to be reinstalled, or SuperClock would go koo-koo. I recall many font conflicts, renumbering fonts, and having one Helvetica that would print and another that wouldn’t. But they weren’t really viruses, more like corruptions. Besides minor inconveniences, usually at the output place, it’d be fine.Mac vs. PC guy

Today most of these Mac “viruses” are mainly vulnerability issues (often for Microsoft software – and for which we get regular automatic updates). Still, from alarmist articles (written by PC users) to conversations (with PC users) they always like to inform you, “Well, they’re coming.” The viruses for the Mac are coming. Ergo, why use a Mac because you only think they are safe. Ergo, I will stay sick and infected and fighting off viruses with my Windows machine ’cause at least I know what I’m dealing with (it’s kinda like an unhealthy person using the “Well, we’re all gonna die anyway” as an excuse for bad lifestyle choices). Yet, they have been saying the same thing for years. It’s not that I don’t understand the potentiality of infliction some day, that I should use protection, especially as Mac market size increases and as Apple keeps egging hackers on with their superior “we’re impenetrable” verbiage, but do I really need to live with that problem now? Do I need to add any instability to my day-to-day life? As the headline of one article stated: “Windows vs. Linux vs. Mac OSX – Ignorance is Bliss” … it is bliss. It’s also nice that I never have to reinstall my system, wonder why I can no longer print or connect to the internet, or have to bring my machine in for regular antibiotic treatments like most of my PC-using friends.

On Apple’s web site they boldly state:

By the end of 2005, there were 114,000 known viruses for PCs. In March 2006 alone, 850 new threats were detected against Windows. Zero for Mac. While no computer connected to the Internet will ever be 100% immune from attack, Mac OS X has helped the Mac keep its clean bill of health with a superior UNIX foundation and security features that go above and beyond the norm for PCs. When you get a Mac, only your enthusiasm is contagious.

Drew Barrymore Mac Guy Justin LongMacObserver explained away much of the “Big Mac Attack” articles and these so-called Mac viruses in a piece, dated in computer world terms, but still holding true: Mac Viruses By the Numbers – Word Macro: 553, Classic Mac: 26, OS X: Zero. And of course, there are the commercials that explain Mac vs. PC in a more simplistic symbolism: of the kinda geeky but casually hip creative guy (played by actor Justin Long – Drew Barrymore’s new boyfriend) vs. the repressed conservative nerd business man. (What, you didn’t really think Drew was going to date the loser using a cheap clunky bug-ridden Dell?!?). Sure, in this “PC” world, I also am more apt to naively trust in the Mac guy….xo one laptop per child computer

Hey, it’s not that I don’t have my problems with Mac (see article “Apple Computers: My Long-term Love/Hate Relationship” – and I’ve had a few more since then, that keep me on the edge of nervous [still confident a few pow-wows with Steven J. we could clear this all up! Honestly, I don't know why he still won't take my calls!]). And I can only imagine most surfers – with their sun, sand, wet lifestyle – would only feel completely secure the day they invent the 100% waterproof, sand-resistant, ding-proof version of their laptop (maybe a fully loaded “sports” model? Perhaps once they start some healthy competition with XO in the “One Laptop Per Child” campaign they’ll put more cash back into “rugged, durable, child-friendly” adventurer model).Intel Tablet Surfboard

I want my MacBook to thrive amongst a little sand and sea, as it does while rummaging through Limewire. Ultimately, I feel more safe on a Mac – not having to worry that my new ridiculous version of Happy Feet is the idiocy that might render my computer and I terminally ill. And though I’m all about supporting the local shaper, I need to find the ones that also support me. My surfboard must keep me afloat and enable many many awesome surf sessions, as well as handle simple events such as being slid into the back of my car. And just as I don’t want to deal with virus protection software that requires me to approve every move I make on the internet, I don’t want to have to ride a too thick ‘n’ floaty epoxy in order to avoid dings. I want that feeling of security while not being confined by it… or compensating performance. Enjoy the water without overindulging and becominghappy feet waterlogged. Appreciate the comfort in structure as much as I relish absolute freedom. I know I have vulnerability issues – we all do – but I don’t want to let my need for feeling safe and secure keep me from expanding into the unknown or leave me fearful of jumping into the abyss.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Read Full Post »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 115 other followers