photo blog

Illegal U-Turn

Peter Mendia runs from the law at a Taiwanese reefbreak

| posted on August 28, 2013
Peter Mendia, on a crime spree in Taiwan. Photo: Gilley

Peter Mendia, on a crime spree in Taiwan. Photo: Gilley

Sometimes what looks like your standard surf shot is actually anything but. Take this image for example: a Peter Mendia speed gouge, the signature hook turn he’s done thousands of times at thousands of breaks.

This particular turn was a little different, though. It was different because it broke the law.

That’s what the Taiwanese official on the beach was trying to say anyway. The official had walked to the water’s edge in a bright orange jump suit and a matching helmet and was blowing a whistle while shaking his finger at Peter and Dan Malloy.

Apparently when a typhoon gets anywhere near the coast and the surf comes up, they “close” the ocean in Taiwan. Everybody has to get out. It’s against the law to be in the water.

But that’s right where the boys wanted to be, and that’s where they were going to stay. They had just found a firing, untouched lefthand reefbreak and they weren’t about to leave a virgin lineup that was just starting to turn on.

Plus, what was the guy going to do? Swim out and arrest them?

Seeing the futility of his efforts, the Taiwanese man went back for reinforcements and eventually returned with a full-on Devo parade—ten more jump suits all walking towards the ocean, shaking their fingers and blowing whistles.

Things were getting a little serious, but Peter and Dan didn’t look too concerned. Even though the officials were starting to spread out along the beach to intercept them when they paddled-in, Peter and Dan still looked relaxed. They were relaxed because they now had a bunch of waves under their belts, but also because they had done the math: A ten-knot, typhoon current plus a long left equaled a way-down-the-beach ride to an easy, unreachable escape.

Exit, Stage Left.

So, with a bunch of perturbed Asian men staked out and waiting to arrest them, Peter hooked into one last left to wave goodbye.

  • Gon Na Ge Hu

    Thanks to this post they won’t have to figure out who they were.

    • dang3rtown

      Good point, now all the Taiwanese ocean monitors who read Surfer Magazine can just call up Uncle Sam and have them extradited on the charges of “international wave terrorism”.

  • chrisp

    video or it never happened.

  • 20ftat20seconds

    Rules like this are indicative of living in what is not a free society. What a waste of resources and manpower for what clearly was not necessary. New York operates in the same police-statish manner on really good swells with their gestapo helicopters hovering over the lineups..

    • Veebis

      That’s bullshit. New Yorkers need to demand their freedom back, grow some balls, and take it back..

    • twmonkeyboy

      As an American expat who has lived in Taiwan for the last 14 years, I have to point out that “not living in a free society” stuff is complete b.s. Taiwan is one of the freest and most democratic countries in East Asia. Sure, there are a few local laws that don’t make much sense for foreigners, but its hardly North Korea, China or even Singapore we are talking about. If you are visiting and enjoying the waves, is it really necessary to completely thumb your noses at the local authorities?

  • asdjlkj

    “Perturbed asian men” -> is that really necessary?

    • surfedthesametyphoon

      Agree. Not sure why it matters whether the men were Asian or not. We already know it’s in Taiwan. Not sure why he needs to stress Asian again in the end…

  • Cherry Grove Bomb Squad

    Similar thing happened here in SC when hurricane Sandy came through last year. Some of the local boys got $350 fines. We wrote a song about it, “Cops Be Trippin”, here is a link to the music vid:

  • jefloren

    its just tough to draw the line between those who know what they’re doing in the ocean, and those who don’t, so I guess they just have to enforce the rules on everyone…

  • Ken_

    Ya’ll could have left that “Asian” thing out of it. What did you think we expected from Taiwan? Perturbed “white” or “black” or “mixed race” men?

  • Yoda

    “a full-on Devo parade”…I LOL’d at that one.

  • Surferjames

    Happened to me in South Korea, up near the border on their east coast, except it was military police and a whole host of emergency vehicles. Mates surfing the same coast have had similar experiences.

  • middleWave

    We deal with this on every major typhoon swell in China. Ironically it almost never happens on a groundswell when the waves are just as big.

  • russ

    When in Rome, do as the Romans do. The phrase “ugly Americans” applies to Peter and Dan. In a Hawaii, we say “typical” haoles. Respect the culture.

    • Jason

      “Ugly Americans” usually behave offensively towards other people. I’m not sure how that applies to two guys who traveled abroad to score good waves…unless they were dropping in on everyone. oh wait…they were the only ones in the water.

      • russ

        Ugly Americans: a term used to refer to perceptions of arrogant behavior by Americans abroad.

        According to the articles author, Rob Gilley, It’s against the law to be in the water.

        I’m just saying whenever travelling abroad, respect the local laws and culture. Whenever I travel, I try to be a “Good American” and respect the local laws and culture.

        When in Taiwan, do as the Taiwanese do. When in Hawaii, do as the Hawaiians do.

      • t

        Where is the “like”??

    • taiwansurfer

      The law is not Taiwanese culture. It is unfair to the surfers in Taiwan too. Why should people who don’t know anything about the ocean dictate when it is too dangerous for surfers to surf?

      • Russ

        Aloha Taiwansurfer. I apologize as I know noyhing about your culture. If the majority of Taiwanese surfers think the law is unfair, start working to change the law. My point is outsiders like Pete and Dan not respecting the Laws of the foreign country that they are visiting. They are visitors and are being rude to their host. Enjoy surf trips responsibly. Leave the area cleaner than when you arrived, smile, share Aloha, be kind….

  • Spy surf

    Pretty funny and sooo surfer mentality, Remember surfing Trestles when the Marines owned it? Land locked people just don’t understand us!

  • tpe

    When you live in Taiwan like I do you learn to just ignore the Coast Guard because they don’t have any real authority. If they catch you on the way in no worries most don’t speak any English.and with some hand gestures thank them for shark spotting and its over.

  • xlnt

    Rob Gilley, why are you so racist? Do you need to put nationality or color to any idiot you describe? Would you write an article about Californian surfers stating “perturbed white men”?

    • mj

      jajaja perturbed white men! thats funny…

  • skates

    Mendia is the man!

  • john

    Same thing happens in NJ- only you will get
    thrown in jail if you don’t do what the police say. Gov Christie touts on the
    news to get the hell off the beach now when a hurricane approaches because we are
    endangering ourselves and the brave men and women who will need to rescue us,
    yet he can eat all the fried fat food he wants with no consideration for the
    brave men and women who will need to rush him to the hospital when he has a
    heart attack.

  • Yurik_Hunt

    That “untouched” wave is hardly untouched. It’s called Chenggong by the locals and Palm Point by the foreigners in Taiwan. It’s been surfed for decades and is a fickle, but damn good wave when it’s on.

  • jb

    i don’t see any racism here. that word is hurled way too often and means nothing except “stop talking”. Taiwan rocks and the waves are good, people are nice and the last few typhoon swells weren’t as policed as in the past – see a wave, catch it!

  • albrecht

    It’s easier to beg forgiveness, than ask permission. They knew: bright orange suit, whistle, wagging finger-that’s the dude that is going to deny you permission! You are in your baggies, nothing to be mistaken for a firearm. You could always play dumb, ” We thought you were wave guides shouting us into the best waves”…nah, they’d never go for it. Hmmm. Since, they won’t shoot us, let’s just show them how it is done…then go face the music or current whichever wins.