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Introspection: The marine at the airport

Michael Kocher

by Michael Kocher

In between sweeping up the detritus of suicide bombers, the writer ponders… 

I sit here in the airport and I’m forced to wonder if anyone here is even noticing me. I look around and I see these faces. Pretty faces, ugly faces, fat faces and thin faces, but everyone moves with a glazed-over look and you’re forced to wonder if they even have any idea what is happening around them or who the people are they are so casually dismissing with their non-caring eyes.

Through all of this you’re observing intimate moments. The father coming back from Afghanistan to his four young children, the joy so palpable, so real and so close to home that it reduces you to tears; the scorned lovers who manage to reclaim what they’ve lost for that one fleeting moment when she comes through the gate and sees the man she loved before the moment that she remembers, or maybe realises for the first time, how dead that man really is.

All of this, I sit here observing. They say we’re always in motion, always changing, always affecting everything around us. That it’s impossible to be a non-interfering observer, that the fundamental premise of science (that we can observe and learn without affecting or changing) is blatantly without merit or worth.

Yet I know that these people aren’t noticing me.

Why would they? I sit in a nondescript black chair with a nondescript laptop, a plain backpack,  generic clothing and my height is hidden by my slouch. There is nothing special here and the brains around me understand that. They absorb their surroundings, their quest for the gate, the flight, the adventure (but, more likely, the mundane business of life) and discard those things that are unimportant.

So the question is, am I truly in motion? Or is the world just moving around me? Am I affecting things or just being affected?

Then it happens… a child wanders by. A child who has not yet learned that it is not acceptable to stare. But stare this child does. A stare born of amazement with all that is occurring around them. A first trip the airport? Maybe not, but definitely the first they will remember. And what is this child, this little girl, doing? She stares at me as I stretch. Because children see all. They don’t have the fine-tuned apathy and discomfort that develops in our brains later on. They can’t control the human curiosity that should define us all. They want to see all, and know all, and hear and feel and drink and eat and learn and, though they don’t know what to call it, love all.

They want to experience everything. They have not yet been broken of that most amazing of things… the human spirit.

Then it all flows in at once. I try to be invisible again but it doesn’t work. Suddenly, I feel not just her eyes on me, but notice the quick and hurried glances of the people as they move by me, occasionally holding my return glance for a moment, as if to say, “Yes, even in this hurried modern age, we are still connected, we still belong, and we are still all human.”

And so I realize, as hard as I try to avoid it, I’m just as much in motion as those around me. I sit and I try to let my life pass me by, try to avoid making the decisions that need to be made, ignore the problems that I need to solve. All in the hopes that life will pass me by and I won’t need to make any decisions at all.

And, yet, all I really want to do is be a vulture. I want to sit here and feed off the happiness of these people, the people seeing their loved ones, the people marching towards a flight with a sense of hope and desire, a poignant sense of what is to come.

And, yet, they are all tinged with sadness. Because all of them, all of us, even me, leave a little bit behind in every airport, every plane, that they visit. I sit here still, the odours, images, tastes and sounds passing by me, and know that as much as I wish I wasn’t, and as hard as I try not be, I am indeed part of this chaotic motion, not an observer, taking a little from each experience I share, even if from a distance.

This is what it means to be human.

And it exists in every airport, in every country, in every city. And it’s fleeting, though, because it only exists in those moments.

Editor’s note: Of course, as fate would play these things, Michael Kocher is seriously ill and maybe he won’t be tap-dancing on those keys for long. Malignant tumours. He’s in chemo. If you want to help a brother out, as in America ain’t so great with picking up the tab for its dying vets, click right here. 

revealed: what gabs actually says

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

You've already seen the video (on Stab), now Sterling Spencer helps us understand.

World #2 Gabriel Medina explains from SterlingSpencer on Vimeo.

 
You’ve already seen this video on Stab, if you live in Australia or the United States, and they rushed to market because…well…obviously. But in their haste, you were tossed to the linguistic wolves! Gabriel Medina is speaking Portuguese and it is subtitled in Portuguese. Worthless! (if you live in Australia or the United States).

Thankfully, BeachGrit has Sterling Spencer. He is the number one surfer in the world and also an expert translator. Here he walks us through what Gabriel Medina is actually saying whilst shaving his supple in a language we can all understand. English.

Do you like shaving? If you were spending a night with Gabriel Medina and forced to share a bed because only one room was left in the hotel and the floor was covered with mites would you be happy that he shaves?

Exposed: Professional surfers are poor

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Sports Illustrated uncovers the truth!

Sports Illustrated just did a story on how little money action sports stars make. (Read it here!) It is sad. Professional mountainbikers, for example, only make 50k to 200k a year and usually only win 25k in their competitions.

Sports Illustrated says, “The yawning pay gap between action sports athletes—and their mainstream rivals—is rarely discussed publicly. But among themselves, over beers, extreme athletes ‘talk about it all the time.’”

There are many tears in those beers.

Not as sad as professional mountainbikers, but still really sad, are professional surfers. Sports Illustrated says, “Just ask 21-year old Gabriel Medina, Brazil’s first surfing champion, who struggled for years before winning the 2014 ASP World Tour title.”

But then Sports Illustrated doesn’t ask him so I don’t know what they mean. Do they mean Gabs is Brazilian?

John John Florence makes 5 million dollars a year (number 1 on Stab’s “Rich List” in 2013) but he is poor because Floyd Mayweather Jr. makes 108 million dollars a year. Also, the PGA Tour offers a yearly purse of $314 million dollars while the World Surf League offers $5.8 million. The NFL makes 10 billion dollars a year. The WSL sometimes thinks it does too because it is bigger than the NFL (see here) but really makes negative hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

Professional surfers should have maybe played golf or football instead of professional surfing.

What sport do you think professional surfers should have played? If there was a Kickstarter for professional surfers how much would you give? Can you maybe make a Kickstarter for professional surfers?

What your Surfboard Says About You!

Steve Nug

by Steve Nug

Are you a Weirdo Ripper, Sub-Scorcher or a Hypto kinda gal?

A surfboard is the most important component of any surfer’s arsenal. Surfboards are conduits that splash brushstrokes on saltwater canvases. They are extensions of our souls. They are muses and swords, trophies and brothers. We give them names like Black Beauty, Mother of Pearl or the Egg. We protect them like fragile infants. When everything goes right, they are magical. Like it or not, the board you ride says a lot about you.

Channel Islands: You are a classic front-runner with no taste. You have been married at least twice. You live in the suburbs; have 2.5 kids, a golden retriever, a mistress and a $1000-a-week cocaine habit.

…Lost: You’ve never had a job that requires a W-2 form. You have a minimum of 12 tattoos. You root for the bad guys in westerns. Idols include GG Allin, Johnny Cash and Aaron Cormican.

JS Tractor: You aren’t exactly gay but would snuggle up with Occy like a koala bear in heat if given the opportunity.

Firewire: You are well-to-do stay at home dad, watch the Oxygen network and fantasize about Oprah wearing black leather. You have It’s Raining Men on your iPod.

Superbrand: You’re an aspiring artist who wears designer T-shirts. You pay the bills by DJing weddings and Bar Mitzvahs. You can’t execute a simple cutback but you attempt an air on every wave. One day you will pull one off. You have an Andy Warhol shrine in the basement.

T. Patterson: You have a permenant tan line where your state-mandated ankle bracelet used to be.

Velzy: You don’t surf anymore and but still buy boards at collectables auctions.

A Kneeboard: You’ve never been past second base with a girl.

Santa Cruz Epoxy: You belong to a food co-op and are attracted to European women who don’t shave. You smoke speed on weekends.

Tropical Brazil: Your interests include soccer, Carnival and milking two-foot mushburgers to the beach.

Surftech: You conceived your first child at a Radiohead concert and your wife/girlfriend thinks iPhones are more addictive than crack.

An Alaia: Your’re a disgruntled former pro still cashing checks from a third-tier clothing company. You have a fugazi Jackson Pollack in the living room and dream about opening an Asian fusion restaurant.

Chilli: Your ancestors were petty thieves and grifters before they were and shipped Down Under by the British.

Xanadu: You are a strip club DJ in San Diego. You drive an aftermarket Honda and eat sushi 4 nights a week.

T&C: You went to Hawaii last summer and got a surf lesson at Waikiki.

Kechele: You drive a monster truck. You think Todd Holland was the greatest surfer of all time (besides Slater of course…amen). You have an enormous case of West Coast envy, but routinely tell your friends the East Coast is way better. Your great-grandfather was in the KKK.

Robert August: You are a construction contractor. You sold your Harley Davidson on eBay. You struggle to fit into your 20-year-old Aleeda wetsuit.

Patagonia: You sell Mona Vie acai juice for a living. Someday you will achieve your dream of riding along with the Sea Sheppard crew. You drive your wife’s Subaru station wagon.

Wave Riding Vehicles (WRV): You think Ron Jon is core surf shop and get a 10% discount.

A self-shaped board: You excel at making “will work for food” signs and your current address is under a freeway overpass.

Hayden-Shapes: People who wear Kanye West’s signature shoes as booties.

A SUP: You own a dozen Ed Hardy shirts. You want to commit suicide but don’t own a shotgun.

Exclusive: Kelly Slater on/in Volcom!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

We love him. Who doesn't?

We all love Kelly Slater. Nobody doesn’t. And so we hang, like breastfeeding children, on each of his moves. We look for clues. He is our Vladimir Putin. We are his Russian citizenry. And look at the above picture (as seen on Volcom’s Insta). Kelly is wearing Volcom trunks. He is wearing them and totally shredding. Might the King have jettisoned OuterKnown and ended up on Volcom? What a delicious combo that would make! Youth Against Authority and the Perpetual Youth. I love this and I hope it real.

Wooly, do you read BeachGrit? Make this real. Kelly, I know you must read BeachGrit because one time you commented on my Instagram account and it made my heart flutter. Would you please ride Volcom trunks? And if not Volcom, BeachGrit makes the best in the biz. I just rocked them real hard at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Nobody of note goes there anymore because it is owned by Bahrain and they are totally anti gay. I love gay and wearing tiny BeachGrit trunks poolside is my middle finger.

What is your middle finger? Do you want Kelly to ride for Volcom? If not Volcom and if not OuterKnown then who? BeachGrit? Do you really think it is possible?