Dueling Keyboards: Laird’s TMZ Rant

posted by / Blogs / May 23, 2013

Laird Hamilton, Teahupoo. Photo: Domenic Mosqueira
Laird Hamilton, Teahupoo. Photo: Domenic Mosqueira


Dueling Keyboards

Laird Hamilton appeared on TMZ on Saturday and was angry about Teahupo’o being over-run during this past swell. He said the surfers “…are so much more concerned with catching the next wave than with other surfers.” And “The chaos of the Jet Skis’ movement has a circus-like aspect. Some behaviors were borderline clownish.” And “They’re all wearing a bunch of cameras, taking off on waves they have NO chance of making. They drop in just so they can have a photo of themselves … ‘Wow, look at me!’”

Is Laird right? Chas Smith and Brendan Buckley discuss.

Chas Smith, Pro:

I miss Laird. He used to be on magazine covers and in our dreams. His physique, cut from stone, made us stop and ooooooooh. His big waves made us shout, “Oh my!” He is mostly gone now, but not forgotten, and when he shows up on TMZ bemoaning the “circus-like” atmosphere of Teahupo’o I stand with him and say, “You go, boy!” I mean, how do the surfers decide who gets to go on a wave? There are so damn many of them. And why are they taking photos of themselves? That is someone else’s job. Someone like Tim McKenna who took the famous “Oh my!” picture of Laird surfing Teahupo’o all strapped in and about to get sucked up over the face but not and booooooooom killing it.

Laird should always go, boy. His physique, still cut from stone, makes sense on a boxy, thick, beefy, muscular wave like Teahupo’o. He fits like computer-generated Gerard Butler fit in 300. He fits better than Wade Goodall because Wade has the skinniest legs. “Make way for Laird!” is what I say. “Clear the line-up for Laird!” He is right.


Brendan Buckley, Con:

Humans, by nature, are geniuses of imitation. Like our hairy parents of evolution, we see and we do. That’s how we learn and that’s how we build upon what has already been laid out for us. This has propelled us to be all-stars of anthropology and it has propelled Laird Hamilton’s mouth into a grumpy gibberish machine.

A couple decades ago, Laird and Buzzy Kerbox bought a zodiac and built on the premise of wakeboarding by whipping each other into some bombs around Hawaii. (Plus, wasn’t Herbie Fletcher towing in like 10 years before?) Their feats gained the world’s attention and Laird loved every minute of it. Soon enough, their idea was imitated by some of their most respected peers. More attention, and a couple of bad big-wave surfing films later, there were more who sought a piece of the pie. Then more, more and more until finally some bold men pushed the limits of paddling and their panache inspired a paddle, paddle revolution. Still, some waves simply disallow entry via arm strength. Last week at Teahupo’o was such a case.

Laird’s comments on TMZ are not just hypocritical, they are flat out foolish. He started all of this! Laird literally built the foundation for this to happen. I’ve never read the bible, but I haven’t yet heard of a verse in which Jesus clowns on his disciples. I’m pretty sure that the ghost of Benny Franklin isn’t choke-slamming the ghost of Stevie Jobs for taking the idea of electricity and running with it. And I still have faith in Laird, but I’d like to see him be a better father. If this is such a mess, it’s Laird’s mess. Instead of bitching, why don’t you clean up after yourself? The paper towels are right there, next to your “Oh My God…” cover from ‘04.

For a more relevant outlook from a more relevant surfer, see Peter Mel’s explanation of the Jet Ski party at Teahupo’o here

Tags: , , , ,

Related Posts:

  • rogermeras

    wow what a waste of time reading this was. chas really needs to follow his heart and manage male strippers

  • rogermeras

    buckley was at least coherent when he wrote his reply, with which I agree..


    Chas, stop relying on your tired bag of “tricks” and try actual writing sometime.

  • Billy Dora

    The funny thing about Laird is he’s king of the photo sluts. He doesn’t do anything without it being filmed. He needs to cash in on his exploits by selling these images to sponsors and anyone else who will pay him. He is the worst kind of surfing exploiter and attention seeker. He does interviews, he’s in magazines, he’s on TMZ for god sake! If he would have just kept his mouth shut, enjoyed his sport without trying to cash in on every bottom turn he does he wouldn’t have anything to complain about. But instead we have SUP’s and jetskis polluting our line-ups world wide and it’s all because of him, his attention seeking crew and all the surf paparazzi that follow him around like he’s god. He’s not god he’s the anti-christ and it’s a beautiful thing that this is all coming back around to him and now even he gets to wallow in the shit pile he’s created. Here for all to see is a gleaming example of why a sell-out is the most dangerous person in surfing. No matter if your Laird, a surf magazine editor, a photographer or a pro surfer if your goal is to exploit the sport of surfing for your own financial gain then you are a sell-out and a cancer to our sport and your shame will be your undoing. Thanks Laird, I hope your big house and all your cool pictures will give you comfort in your later years as you look back at all the mayhem and destruction you brought to the worlds line-ups with your search for personal glory and fame.

  • PassingTurdsForDiamonds

    Worse shit I have read in awhile on Surfing Mag. It happens I guess.

  • Adam

    Its Lairds fault. He created it.

    Anyone seen this ad that just recently came out by the way?

  • Steve

    Any Hawaiian that gets pissed off cause they can’t get waves is a pleasure to hear about. They are pigs and seem oblivious to the fact they take every wave and paddle inside whoever they want despite the location. the more you hear about them or talk to others the more this opinion is confirmed. Perhaps they think because they are lucky enough to have the experience in large waves they deserve to get every one of them. Aloha

  • Hollywood Laird

    So Laird complains about the beast he arguably created and chooses to talk about it with TMZ? This guy is something else…

  • Trevor

    Well said Billy Dora. Wish Laird would read your comment!

  • SCH

    King Laird was once behind the ski, but now in front of it. A painful position to be in.

  • ColdWaveTim

    You will never ever see a lineup like that at Maverick’s

  • Rob B

    In the past, Laird used to be the one riding the tow-board behind the ski, getting all the attention. Now he’s in infront of it which must be hard for him.

  • tony ty carson big island

    Billy Dora, well said- you summed it up very well. Just the fact that laird helped to bring sups into the line up -is enough shame for anyone.

  • Tom

    The harder they come, the harder they fall

  • cardiff by the sea

    Holly sh*t! this wannabe movie star, high school dropout, form San Fran who blew up chopes and is credited for starting tow ins sure is a hypocrite.

  • tkk

    Jesus vs. Judas. Sad. But come on–a little respect guys. It’s a sad day when great surfers reduce themselves to this kind of crap.

  • Mik

    Whoa… I do not get the hate on Laird Hamilton. He’s still Alpha, and if you look at footage of his tow surfing anywhere, it is still at the top. If he is criticizing the zoo-like conditions at Teahupo’o, who can argue with him?

    Someone is going to get killed by a boat or jetski there, in that chaos, never mind the wave.

    Personally, when Laird talks, I listen…

    And I sure am not listening to that rant by Brendon Buckley.

    Jetskis are cool when used respectfully, and boats are cool, but not when packed together in a party in a danger zone. Laird uses jetskis, but he for sure doesn’t advocate 80 skis at once, and 30 party boats full of people who have no idea of the danger they are in.

    As for Chas, yeah, a formulated comment. He’s right on, but the style seems too much of the same.

    As for the haters, do something at Laird’s level, anything, then speak.

  • Mik

    BTW: “Billy Dora”.


    As if.

    If someone excels at something, they attract media attention. There’s zero difference between Laird, Kelly, Michael Jordon, or Jack Keroac…. Do something rad, and you might get paid. SInce when is that Judas-esque? Your ideological boundaries suggest too much pot smoking.

  • kingneptune


    No one is saying Laird didn’t do some gnarly sh-t in his time.

    That’s pretty obvious.

    The displeasure over Laird’s comments comes from the following:

    1. The guy basically introduced jet skis into the line-up, and he complains about it now? It’s beyond hypocritical: “Me Laird. I started all this! But I don’t like it anymore because I don’t get as many waves as I used to”).

    2. In the 90’s and early 00’s Laird helped overexpose the sport and reinforce the mainstream media’s hokey ideas about big-wave surfing more than ALL THE OTHER BIG WAVE GUYS COMBINED. He sold us out a long time ago. (And he hocks nutritional supplements now).

    3. Of all the media outlets available to express his displeasure over the Teahupoo “situation,” he went to TMZ. Not Surfer or Surfing or even STAB. No. TMZ. It was the epitome of passive-aggressive, attention-whoring douchebaggery.

    4. The real surf media respects and praises the well-spoken, intelligent, community-minded watermen like Greg Long. Whereas guys like Laird Hamilton? Not so much. There’s a reason for that.

    4. The guy is an aging egomaniac, desperately trying to hold on to some kind of relevance. It’s sad. Beyond that, he’s dumb as dirt. And kind of a dick in real life, too. And he simply no longer speaks for the big wave community.

    5. And compared to this current generation, he can’t paddle into big waves for shit.

    Sorry to burst your bubble, Mik.

    You can keep kneeling at The Laird’s hairy feet, but you’re worshipping a false god.

    There’s a reason why so many people (and most legitimate surf journalists) don’t respect him.

    The guy is an asshole.

  • Tom

    BURKHART….you bastard!!!!!!

  • tony ty carson big island

    Right on Neptune, I’m glad some people still have enough guts to speak their minds. Peace

  • Mik


    i’m not worshipping anyone.

    I’ve seen Laird tow surf big waves at a level very few have emulated. including EVERYONE.

    and I hung out with Laird once, at a restaurant on Maui, and he was cool. i was with a group of people and he joined us. no ego, just an amazing presence.

    whether he’s intimidating or not is up to each of us, because Laird is an imposing guy. no question. but to attack him for saying he was bummed by the circus at Chopes? sorry. it was dangerous. his view is valid, doesn’t matter if he pioneered towing. it looked crazy out there.

    and as far as attacking him for his age, and his nutrition products? we’re all going to be old, and I admire him for being into nutrition. and still charging in Tahiti.

    so no, i’m not buying your rant.

    and as much as I respect Greg Long, and Shane for their humility, that doesn’t mean I cant respect Laird whose tow surfing at Jaws is off the scale.

  • chameleon

    You guy’s bashing on Laird are right, he is an idiot. I’ve been surfing for 39 years and I’ve seen it all. Hamilton has single handedly caused more harm to our sport and lifestyle than any other person. S.U.P.’s are boats -all should have hull registration numbers, and be kept 50-100 yards outside the breakline. One single waverunner can distress an entire ocean area environment as it zips along on the surface wreaking havoc and spewing pollution. I still surf my home beachbreak without a leash, cause swimming is good for you, think of all the kooks who would quit surfing if they didn’t have a leash. (kook cord) It’s a sad state of affairs kids.

  • Dabraat

    Sorry, I am lost… if you invent something cool and bring it to the public, you can’t complain when people start to do stupid stuff ? How does that follow? I have never heard anyone say Laird was anything but a great waterman… just because people imitate his surfing technique doesn’t mean they have manners or behave properly.

    Is anyone arguing the point, that it was overcrowded and many surfers were behaving stupidly and dangerously.

    Just because you invent the car doesn’t mean you are to blame for drunk driving… Jeez. If you don’t like Laird, fine. He is not to blame for people’s behavior.

  • theduder

    – Laird made himself sounds bitter and hypocritical with these comments.

    -SUP’s are totally awful and I wish they would cease to exist in line-ups. Greedy people taking more than their share of a limited resource can EFF RIGHT OFF.

    -I like Chas Smiths’s cocky entitled schtick. I suspect that some of his haters don’t get that he writes like that on purpose.

  • Z

    I’m pretty sure Laird isn’t actually bashing tow-in surfing itself, you guys are taking this completely in the wrong direction. He’s obviously addressing the dangerous and clown-like behavior of the surfers and tow guys. If you even watched any of the footy from those 3 days you’d see it: guys whipping in on eachother and a complete lack of respect. He wouldn’t have said anything if the conditions weren’t so life-threatening.

  • NIC