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Beach Grit

BeachGrit TV: Do you know what rocker is?

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Noted shaper Matt Biolos uses a "rock-o-meter" to explain the mysteries of… rocker!

I’ll be honest, I’m an absolute fool when it comes to engineering. My brain was not built to handle nuance, maybe, and so technical information gets stored in a giant confused mental warehouse. I don’t try and sort out what things really mean. I am satisfied simply knowing to what they generally refer and so the finer points are always and forever lost.

I suppose someone with my condition is generally called “retarded.”

And it was in this state that I waltzed into Matt “Mayhem” Biolos’s San Clemente shaping Mecca wearing Saint Laurent canvas sneakers done in a Bloods handkerchief motif, never-before-washed (1.5 years and counting) APC raw denim jeans with gorgeous marbling around the knee and crotch, a white Theory button up unfortunately browned at the neck, a Bread & Boxers wife-beater, Saint Laurent sunglasses (Classic 28 black w/gold lenses), a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust from 1971 and a Saint Laurent cross bracelet sent to me by our very own Derek Rielly. I love him!

Surfboard shaping is, of course, a fine science. The variables are close to infinite from length to width to thickness to…ummmmm…thickness. In the first episode of Like, Bitchin! Matt explained volume and how it relates to good overall surfing. He also explained (to me) which side of the surfboard is called “the deck.”

And now here we have him explaining rocker.

Do you know what rocker is? In my confused mental warehouse it was stored under “surf shit” in the same box as “bonzer” “potato chip” and “Nia Peeples.” I knew it had something to do with the way a surfboard curves but had no idea which part of the surfboard. The nose? The tail? From rail to rail?

Matt not only teaches us what rocker is (watch me sort of pretend to know!) but why it matters.

He is very smart. And now we are all very smarter too.

Parker: “I Love America!”

Rory Parker

by Rory Parker

There's never been a better time to glory in the gifts my country has given the world!

Oh, how I envy all you drunk lunatics Down Under! Thanks to the dimly understood wonder of the international dateline you get to celebrate the birth of America twice! First on the fourth by your reckoning, and also on the following day as dawn greets the birth of the greatest nation ever to blunder its way across the world stage.

There’s never been a better time to glory in all the gifts my country has bestowed upon the world. We look to a near future ruled by short-sighted, self-interested fascism, a mindset which dovetails perfectly into the typical surfer ethos.

Shout it loud and proud, “I love America!” Emphasis on loud. We’ll be taking notes. When Glorious Leader Trump takes the stage there will be hell to pay for any of you who don’t get on board but quick.

We gave the world surfing! When the Hawaiian natives were mostly dead by disease, the sport all but disappeared at the hands of mindless religious zealots, we saw the potential. “Let’s market it!” we cried. “Useless accessories, produced by slaves! Corporate profit! Let’s wrap in all in empty pseudo-spiritual rhetoric! That’ll sell!”

We invented the leash and fins and wetsuits. America defeated the Nazis and stole the secrets of polyurethane and fiberglass. The splendid US of A first dreamt up the notion of assigning points to a solo sport. Wrapped it up in a ugly little package and marketed it to the world. What would your professionals be doing without America? Working in mines? Wrangling kangaroos? Drinking themselves into oblivion while they rue the fact they were born in a second world penal colony formed to divest the UK of its criminal element?

We gave you beer and capitalism and modern standards of hygiene. We beat the King of England, so you didn’t have to.

Without the mighty USA the world wouldn’t have concepts of freedom, nor justice, nor equality. Our gracious hand has slowly but surely guided the rest of this hunk of dirt kicking and screaming toward progress.

We beat the communists by building world killers, bottled up the Japanese. Every day we heave expensive ordinance earthward. To protect your freedom! Do we get any thanks? No. But we don’t need it. Much like a parent loves an ungrateful child, we love you, Australia!

Today, and tomorrow, celebrate the United States the way your convict ancestors would have wanted you to. Get piss wasted, drive drunk. Oppress a minority. Blow something up. Rape your land of its wealth. Offshore production to an oppressive regime.

God bless America!

What it feels like to captain a submarine

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

It's like being in a perpetual barrel!

The sea is the greatest place to ply a trade, and professional surfing is a wonderful example, but for those whose top turns do not differentiate, substantively, from their bottoms, there are many other opportunities to toil with sun in the eyes and saltwater in the hair. There is the Steinbeckian longshoreman, hardy and stout. The city lifeguard watching over bronzed youth in the throes of summer passion. The rescue diver, pulling corpses from Davey Jones’s icy grip. There is the proud submarine captain. Very few have experienced gliding a giant vessel under the surface. I am one of those few.

The submarine voyage begins with the captain pushing a button that releases a whistle and a deep, baritone voice telling the crew to secure the ship for sea, single up all lines, cast off fore, cast off aft etc. then eases the boat out of its moorings. Passengers below see bubbles, as the dive begins, down to ten fathoms, and a veritable plethora of sealife right outside their small windows. Lobsters, crabs, sea turtles. These amphibian patriarchs of the deep are direct decedents of the dinosaurs and have changed little in the past 200 million years.

Here, the submarine captain can have the most fun. His vessel is out of view and so he can bump the sub in front of him, causing the passengers to smash their faces on their small windows or press the kill switch and break down the ride for four hours while small children wail.

The captain continues right, swinging past the Matterhorn. Below, the passengers see groupers, or giant sea bass and giant clams. They have fluted shells that can weigh over a quarter of a ton. The moray eel with its powerful tooth-filled jaws ambushes unwary prey from holes and crevices in the reef.

Next comes the cave, or “polar icecaps.” Below, passengers see a graveyard of sunken ships. A stronghold of lost treasure. Here, the submarine captain can have the most fun. His vessel is out of view and so he can bump the sub in front of him, causing the passengers to smash their faces on their small windows or press the kill switch and break down the ride for four hours while small children wail. But if he doesn’t push the kill switch, Atlantis, mermaids and an underwater volcano appear. It takes a deft hand to steer through this minefield. A googley-eyed sea serpent will appear last and the captain must make emergency maneuvers but does not put it in the official log because no one would believe it anyway. And then he eases the boat back into the dock.

I will always remember my time as a submarine captain with a mixture of pride and satisfaction. My white uniform gleamed. My aviator sunglasses reflected both the Southern California sun and the lusty stares from envious men and desirous women. I was a king of the sea.

Parker’s Picks for J-Bay Pro!

Rory Parker

by Rory Parker

They're terrible!

J-Bay is three days off. Forecast looks like it’ll kick off in some solid swell. Yippee skippee hooray!

And sharks! Sharksharksharksharksharksharksharksharksharksharkshark! Chompy monsters lurking below the surface, looking to nibble on your fave pros’ salty pink bits. So tasty! Like crispy brined pork belly. Can’t get enough of the stuff.

We’ll see a bullshit sonar buoy floating somewhere in the lineup. Does it work? Maybe? Basically a super expensive fish finder. Shows the people watching some squiggly lines. Which they claim are identifiable based on something or other.

What’ll happen? Will there be constant heat stops and starts when a pod of dolphin shows up? Will they just ignore the thing? Spout a bunch of feel-good nonsense about safety while secretly winking at the fact it’s an empty gesture meant to alleviate nonsense fears?

Maybe the world will learn the nasty fact that the sharkies are always there. Right below your feet. Spooky!

Here’s my fantasy surfer picks for the event. Use them as a guide. As a guide to who you should not pick, probably. My team has done terrible all year. I blame it on bullshit judging and terrible surf, but maybe I just suck. Probably the latter.

No goofy guys on this one. If it’s big and barreling they won’t be able to cookie cutter top turn to victory.

Tier A

Adriano de Souza: Power squat safety approach is what the judges want to see. ADS’ll give it to them. I figure there’s a decent chance he’ll lose to Kerr in round one, but he’ll make it through the next few.

John John Florence: I mean, come on. Can’t bet against JJF in big frontside tubes… is what I want to believe.

Tier B

Jordy Smith: The lanky hometown boy is an injury magnet, for sure. But he’s playing to a local crowd, and that shit totally influences scores. I picked Jordy because he’ll get the loudest cheers.

Conner Coffin: I just picked him because Gerlach did our BGTV segment. And he surfs real good. And he gets the Curren comparison enough that I figure it’s like picking Tom. I’d totally pick Curren if they gave him a wildcard slot, and this is the closest thing to that.

Dusty Payne: Total heart pick. I want Dusty to do well because I like how he surfs. At the same time, acting based on my emotions is usually a terrible idea. The type of thing that leads to me getting in an argument with some tourist at Costco because I called her lazy when she took a loaf of bread out of her cart and just stuffed it on a random shelf.

Mick Fanning: Yeah, his ankle may be wonky, but this year is all about special treatment for White Lightning. WSL is selling his shark encounter way too hard for them to give him an early round exit.

Tier C

Steven Sawyer: I just felt like picking a wildcard. Seems like they’ve been playing spoiler a lot this year. But I don’t know shit about the kid. Oops, just watched a video. He’s stands with his right leg forward. Scratch!

Jeremy Flores: I don’t know why. He’s a very good surfer, basically.

Kelly Slater: Reinvigorated drive, maybe? Did Fiji rekindle his competitive flame? Maybe, maybe not. But if the surf is big and good he’ll have fun. And when he’s enjoying himself he’s still the best overall surfer in the world.

Medina and his brave act of cowardice!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Featuring Jadson Andre and his brave act of cowardice too!

Do you remember, ten or such months ago, when Filipe Toledo refused to take off on a wave at Teahupo’o thus receiving the lowest heat total in professional surfing history (a zero) and cementing his place in the annals forevermore?

At the time, I wrote:

As the Brazilian bobbed in the water, not surfing, he surely must have known the haters were boiling in their tanks but he chose to bob, lonely against the steel grey sky, and brave. Yes, brave because I would, and will, argue that it is sometimes more difficult to not get smashed in order to prove a larger point, thereby getting smashed by public opinion.

And smashed he got and smashed he continues to get. So brave!

Well, two short days ago Filipe was joined by countrymates Gabriel Medina and Jadson Andre as the bravest cowards on earth! In an interview with his local Brazilian newspaper, first picked up in the English press by Surfline, Gabriel admitted to voting against the World Surf League returning to J-Bay after the Mick Fanning shark incident. He said:

I can’t help but think of the shark. I don’t even know how they got this stop back on Tour. What I know is that we are going, and I hope everything goes well. People told me there will be some kind of sensor, that the athletes are going to use, something that either scares the shark or tells you it’s coming. I’m going to keep my eye on the sensor. But my vote, when they asked me, I certainly said no — that they shouldn’t have the event. It’s going to be a little tense, but let’s go there.

Jadson also said he did not want to return to J-Bay. The only two. And just think about it for a moment. Think about staring down the rest of the championship tour stable. Think about looking Kolohe and Joel, Kelly and Jordy, Caio Ibelli and Conner Coffin, Wiggolly and Italo, Filipe Toledo, Julian Wilson and Mick Fanning in the eye. Think about looking at all of them and saying, “No.”

Brave!

No?

It is a human response to put oneself in the shoes, or boardshorts as it were, and ten or such months ago I put myself in Filipe Toledo’s Phantoms. Paddling off the cliff at heaving Teahupo’o? I wouldn’t do it either and so how can I fault him? But paddling out at gorgeous J-Bay, rifling down the line? Oh twelve sharks couldn’t keep me out of that water! And I must guess that you would want to paddle out too.

Gabs and Jadson are, therefore, probably also looking a good majority of the surfing population, even me plus you, in the eye and saying, “No.”

So much opposition! Thousands upon thousands of confused faces looking back, scratching heads, saying, “You really don’t want to surf J-Bay with one other man in the lineup?”

The bravest!

No?