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Yesterday’s news: An ocean kayak, or an Airbnb listing?

Tom Hoffarth / FartherOffTheWall.com

One sure-fire way to get from San Francisco to Hawaii:

Cannon-ball onto kayak.com, winnow it down to an agreeable direct flight (keeping in mind few exist with a change of planes on some pontoon out on the open Pacific), decide if you want the cheapest/best/quickest trip, get a COVID test, then buckle in for a five-and-a-half hour nap/ride in a reverse time machine.

Or, pile into the rumble seat of Cyril Derreumaux’s maxed-out supersonic kayak

Derreumaux just took the 2,400-mile distance with many layovers — 91 days and nine hours in fact. All in all, the San Francisco Chronicle declared him to be “the first kayaker ever to travel alone from California to the islands under his own power.” He clarified and amplified on his website: “This is a solo, unsupported, and 100% human-powered expedition, the first of its kind crossing this ocean!”

The 46-year-old was obviously having a mid-oceanic midlife crisis. Yet, he called it a “spiritual experience” of a lifetime.

When we first read about it, we prayed, too – that this wasn’t someone who fell asleep in McCovey Cove trying to snag a home-run ball and woke up in the mouth of a whale near Waikiki.

Not only did Citizen Cyril do it all intentionally, but he apparently completed his own nautical home run without the aid of BALCO labs.

Or, when you really look at it, was this actually performance enhanced?

Naturally.

Not to split oars over all this, but before we call the record-keepers at Guinness and raise an foggy Anchor Steam in his honor, read the details about Derreumaux’s kayak. This wasn’t something he pulled off the discount shelf at Big 5 and strapped onto the top of the Karmann Ghia.

It may have been just two feet wide, but from the travelogue photos, it looked more like something he airlifted out of the Disneyland pond from the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage ride.

It measured 23-feet long. It included a sleeping cabin, state-of-the-art GPS, a mini-desalinization machine to provide drinking water, and a sea anchor, reports SFist. Derreumaux also had the capability, and presence of mind, and technology, to compile a daily online journal about the whole thing.

Spell kayak forwards or backwards, but if it’s all the same to you, most Airbnb listings aren’t this accommodating. Derreumaux’s vessel is as much a modest kayak as a top-of-the-line Toyota SUV hybrid is really the same as a used Prius.

Continue reading “Yesterday’s news: An ocean kayak, or an Airbnb listing?”

Yesterday’s news: The audacity of Bill Walton (San Diego mayor, ’24)

Tom Hoffarth / FartherOffTheWall.com

As a general rule, retired sports-folk who still have celebrity draw shouldn’t assume that makes them a qualified candidate to run for political offices.

Herschel Walker and his clumsy pursuit of Georgia’s U.S. senate seat running on the platform that he’s a former Georgia Heisman Trophy winner and has all the endorsement entrapments that come with it could end up as lasting teachable moment.

Tommy Tuberville, the former Auburn football coach and now senator in Alabama, has become a symbol of corruption and self-interest. He’s no Tom Osborne.

Bill Walton, on the other hand, could tap into his UCLA social justice roots and manage some major mayhem as the mayor of his own San Diego — and perhaps school others how this kind of thing can activate community support.

The Voice of San Diego – that’s a publication, not a new nickname for the Big Red Head — recently explained how Walton has been so upset with the homeless crisis in his neighborhood that he’s been sending missives to current San Diego mayor Todd Gloria.

He feels betrayed. He feels the mayor has failed the city, and himself.

An Instagram post shows a collection of those who appear homeless with the text: “@toddgloria please give us our park, our bike paths, our neighborhood, our community and our lives back …”

He has followed up: “Sadly, and with a broken heart, I can no longer say that my hometown of San Diego, is the greatest place in the world, I can no longer say that SD is a safe, healthy, clean, and beautiful place, I can no longer urge my family, friends, tourists, and businesses to come to SD to live, work, and play … I can no longer say that our neighborhood for the last 43 years is still my dream, I am brokenhearted, Mayor @toddgloria —clean up our city, and let us reclaim our lives, we must fix our homeless crisis, we need engagement, rehabilitation, and constant enforcement, and we need it now.”

The Voice of San Diego followed up after Gloria responded on Twitter with a long list of posts, claiming progress has been made “the last few days.”

The VOSD original story explains that when Bob Filner resigned as San Diego mayor under a scandal in 2013, there was an undercurrent that Walton might consider challenging for his seat. He instead supported Gloria, a third-generation San Diegan who eventually left his seat in the state assembly and became the city’s 37th mayor in 2020.

The latest San Diego homeless count has surpassed 1,600. It seems there was about that number of folks predictably responding on social media with claims Walton is showing NIMBY tendencies of the out-of-touch privileged elite.

They don’t know Bill Walton.

“It’s easy to say that Walton is wrong for devaluing the situation that homeless people are in,” writes Sean Keeley for The Comeback, “and it’s easy to say that Walton is right and that the homeless should be shipped out of town to … wherever. Somewhere in the middle is an honest and ongoing conversation that many major cities are having about what to do about this complicated issue.”

A conversation we’re sure Walton would be ready, willing and able to lead.

Continue reading “Yesterday’s news: The audacity of Bill Walton (San Diego mayor, ’24)”

Yesterday’s news: Surf Coachella and catch a wave of environmental outrage

Tom Hoffarth / FartherOffTheWall.com

If every desert had an ocean
Across the U.S.A.
Then everybody’d be surfin’
Like down La Quinta Way
You’d see the hippie-weed baggies
Hibachi hashish, too
A bushy blushy blonde pale ale
Surfin’ Coa-chell-a


If you’re planning out a route to a) keep the Colorado River flowing, b) the residents of Riverside County easy going, and c) divert the Hang Ten-induced traffic from Interstate 10 so it’s never slowing, help drown out an array of proposed surf resorts that are about to redefine how the world might view a Southern California endless summer.

A place already awash with about 150 days now of temps that exceed 100 degrees has something new to get a little hot under the collar-less shirt.

An artists rendition for DSRT / Surf near the Desert Willow golf courses.

Just look at what’s planned at the base of the Coral Mountain in Palm Desert – no, not another luxury golf course or minor-league ice hockey rink, but try 16 football fields of land filled with 22 million gallons of precious potable water — until it evaporates into the dry heat.

As John Oliver said on his “Last Week Tonight” show, the idea of four new surf parks in this region is “just monumentally stupid.”

And it’s stupendously stupid enough to work.

What better place to revive the 1960s lifestyle craze of beach blanket bingo than among the dust devils, scorpions and Indian casino slot machines. It’s all baked right into the idea that the Coachella Valley Surf Club can thrive with a mission to promote, educate and enjoy “all the surfing possibilities that wave pools bring to the inland.”

They’re behind a vision by 11-time world champion surfer Kelly Slater and his wave company to manipulate an otherwise unusable 400-acre swatch of land that hasn’t be compromised into a solar farm and giving guests access to the “largest, rideable open-barrel, human-made waves in the world.”

Roll out the barrels, stay for Octoberfest. As long as there is a pickle ball complex nearby.

At a time when celebrity residents of Benedict Canyon are pushing back on developers who want to build them a luxury hotel, and all sorts of homeowners/renters/squatters in Venice and Santa Monica gripe about more affordable shelters to address the current homeless, there’s gotta be a way for the Coachella Valley-ites to stop getting their NIMBY board shorts in a bunch and pool their creative resources.

Make this the ultimate retirement village for burnouts avoiding income taxes and all sorts of bikini waxes.

Continue reading “Yesterday’s news: Surf Coachella and catch a wave of environmental outrage”

Yesterday’s news: Getting too judgy in the Ohtani-Judge discussion

Tom Hoffarth / FartherOffTheWall.com

Come Judgement Day 2022, when the Baseball Writers Association of America voters attempt to separate the G.O.A.T.s from the unicorns, Aaron Judge will be the chosen one for the American League’s Most Valuable Player Award.

New Yorkers won’t have it any other way.

Anaheimers know better.

Shohei Ohtani, who has somehow put together a more stunning resume than last year’s AL MVP season, appears to have set a bar far too high. Others are under duress trying to quantify what is normally thought of superior greatness when put up against unworldly achievement.

The social-media banter starts civil and devolves into something logic can’t always appropriate:

Ohtani is not only the game’s most valuable commodity, but also its most invisible. He is the greatest influencer as well as the sport’s most cost-effective player. A meager $5.5 million stipend from the Angels’ payroll — or what it costs for a 30-second Super Bowl TV ad — equates to what Justin Verlander ($28 million this year) and teammate Mike Trout ($37.2 million this year) are both doing right now.

How do you reward him, if not with cash, than with proper recognition?

Continue reading “Yesterday’s news: Getting too judgy in the Ohtani-Judge discussion”

Yesterday’s news: Just try to top Topgolf for self deprecation

Tom Hoffarth / FartherOffTheWall.com

Shot a respectable 176 playing Pebble Beach Golf Links the other day.

Pounded down a couple of George Lopez brews, tipped the valet and got home in time to take a nap before the Chargers-Chiefs game.

Thanks, Topgolf.

If you’re driving toward, away from, or involved in a police pursuit near from LAX on Pacific Coast Highway, and this magnificent black-and-gray kingdom East of El Segundo’s landmark Chevron Oil Refinery catches your attention, perhaps you’ve reached your unintended destination. Proceed with caution.

One must be prepared there is a seduction into believing a) golf really isn’t all that challenging, demanding or demeaning, b) you’ve got time to prove that theory and c) your credit card limit can be extended in emergency circumstances.

Or, just leave your wallet in El Segundo and pursue another quest.

For the last 20-some years, Topgolf has become this bedazzled and beguiled business model on how to successfully spray tee shots to all corners yearning for legalized torture chambers under the ruse of an entertainment venue.

Sparked by its successes in Las Vegas, Austin, Scottsdale, Nashville and all the other up-and-coming 21st Century upwardly mobile resorts, Topgolf somehow seizes onto one of God’s historically problematic endeavors — as in, “G-D-it, I just lost another $5 Top Flight in that ditch” — and dupes all comers into considering this could be as recreational enjoyable as when their grandparents ran off on Saturday nights for their bowling leagues back in the ‘60s and came home smelling like a carton of Lucky Strikes.

There’s crying in golf. Tears, and fears. And no bumpers in the gutters. It spares no one.

Topgolf is stimulation through simulation. A grip-and-rip, multi-tiered launching pad that makes you forget it’s a multilevel marketing scheme.

It took until last April before getting this escape room pried opened in Southern California (after one was strategically planted first near the Ontario Airport). Airport-adjacent sites seem to be targeted now in Southern California where property can be easily transformed. It’ll only get worse if California passes sports betting legalization.

This one here in L.A. non-proper came after years of resistance from the local neighbors, led to believe this would attract the most undesirables elements. You know, the Bogey-Man Syndrome.

Now, look at the parking lot, on any day, any time. It looks like a new Carvana just set up shop.

For the uninitiated and somewhat inebriated, think of a typical mundane golf driving range now amped up with an assortment of bells, whistles and cart girls hustling over a range of food and beverage — and advice — that will push you down a path of ego punishment.

They provide the clubs, an arsenal of Callaway drivers, hybrids and wedges, all compliments of Topgolf’s new parent company. The have the balls, filled with electronic diodes, for you to whiff over, top, slice, hook and fade, by accident or on purpose. The fake grass and the rubber tees are standard. Now add in more flatscreens than the video section at Costco that tell (or mock) you, upon impact, just what your recorded as far as trajectory, speed, arch and landing spot. It’s as if you’re on a CBS telecast, the celeb partner of Phil Mickelson’s at the AT&T Pro-Am.

(Maybe a poor choice of PGA Tour pro to use here, since he’s taken his talents to that farcical Saudi league to pay down his latest gambling debt.)

So, yeah, that’s a faux Pebble Beach Course, all right. One of four in the simulator’s evil storage unit. You trust it is telling you the truth on where to aim and, when you’re a decent distance from the pin, how to chip toward the 57-yard target, make it in the middle part of the netting, and somehow accept responsibility for a triple-bogey. If at any point you use more than 10 swings, an alert pops up — you’ve exceeded your limit — so you’re stamped a certified loser and ushered ahead to the next hole. By the time you’ve taken the walk of shame to the Famous No. 18, the phony Pacific Ocean on the left and the phony sea lions barking at you is a welcome relief.

But wait, there’s more.

Continue reading “Yesterday’s news: Just try to top Topgolf for self deprecation”