Back To Top
Beach Grit

BeachGrit TV: “Tired of being told NO!”

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

In this latest episode we have the gorgeous founders of What Youth!

Have you ever left the safety, the comfort, of a sure thing and launched into the dark unknown? Did you wake each morning in a cold sweat? Did you wonder if your plans, maybe hatched during a drunken hour, would actually pan out? Could actually pan out?

Oh how easy it is to sit on the sideline and snipe. Creating something though, anything, out of scratch takes all kine moxie. It takes a strong backbone and a stronger pair of Ray Bans. It takes a teflon coated spirit. It takes guts.

And here we have two of the three founders of What Youth, Travis Ferré and Scott Chenoweth looking like the coolest jazz cats on earth and talking a little about what it feels like to build something.

What Youth has become a necessary component of our surf universe. The profiles, direction, art and spirit define what is coming next rather than what has been. Without it none of us would have anything to bounce off. They define the borders of our frontier.

This interview here is not deep but it is fun… or was fun for me. I got to drink many spicy pineapple margaritas with two of my favorite people on earth!

Fab: Tay Steele and his 25th film!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Feat. bonus game! Is it Rob or is it Craig?

Did you too come of age in the 1990s? Did Taylor Steele direct every surf film you knew or cared about? Can you believe he is on his 25th?

25th!

It is a miracle that a man can make a living doing surf film. An absolute miracle. But Taylor Steele, our Brent Bolthouse, our Bruce Weber, our Neville Chamberlin deserves the miracle and now his 25th and now it is called Proximity.

Oh how retro meets today! How Rob actually and physically surfs with Ando!

The movie isn’t out yet but come whet your whistle here on a making of feat. Rob and Ando.

Who is that in the first frame? I dare you to guess!

More importantly, though, is Alejandro. He is featured in this “Making of…” and shines. He makes me want to see the finished product.

Is it Rob or is it Craig? Who cares! We all win!

Warshaw: “Surfing’s biggest Turkey!”

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

Surfing's most shameful episode!

When I was a kid, sitting at home there in a gloomy suburb hours from the beach, I’d get my surf kicks via TV. One day, mid-summer, midday, no parent around to deliver me to the water, an old Hollywood surf movie called Big Wednesday came on.

I knew nothing about it. Didn’t know the hype. Didn’t know the praise (not much) nor the criticism (much). And it swallowed me completely into the romance of three men growing up, on the beach, as surfers around Malibu.

I ain’t the only fan. On the new Anderson Paak album Malibu, if you listen between tracks you’ll hear samples from this epic. 

The great surf historian, Matt Warshaw, has a totally different take. Matt regards it as one of the most shameful episodes, ever, in surfing.

BeachGrit: When I saw this, on TV, as a kid, it painted the surfer’s life, for me, poignantly, beautifully. Better than anything before or since. What’s your take? Did John Milius nail it for you too?

In the surf media, the Big Wednesday built up was like nothing you’ve ever seen. Cover stories, making-of features, endless gossip and chatter. This was going to be the one! John Milius gets it! He surfs! Greenough was onboard, Bud Browne, PT, Ian, Bill Hamilton, Greg MacGillivray, on and on and on. This movie could not fail! And it was a piece of shit. Worse than Gidget. Worse than Ride the Wild Surf. It was a message film. Some heavy-handed bullshit about friendship, and growing up, and blah blah.

Fuck you. You crazy!

No, actually the first 20 minutes were good. The party scene. The part where LeRoy makes that kid at Malibu give his board to Jan-Michael Vincent, who’s too hung-over to walk. “I’m going to drown, and all you’re going to find is this shitty board.” That was a great line. Most every scene with Gary Busy was worth watching. Did you know he made The Buddy Holly Story the same year he made Big Wednesday?

Got an Academy Award for that one, didn’t he?

Nominated, but didn’t win.

It was a piece of shit. Worse than Gidget. Worse than Ride the Wild Surf. It was a message film. Some heavy-handed bullshit about friendship, and growing up, and blah blah.

Didn’t the surf media shit on Big Wednesday when it was released? 

They lined up and took turns, yeah. Surfer called it “mediocre” and “self-indulgent” and “embarrassing.” And said Jan-Michael Vincent was horribly miscast as a drunk, which is sad and ironic but also kind of funny, given that he was on his way to becoming a total crash and burn alcoholic. Surfing said the only good thing about Big Wednesday was that it sucked so hard that Hell would freeze over before Hollywood touched surfing again.

Paint the narrative arc for me…

Three friends rule the Point, grow up, grow apart. One of the friends gets punched in the face by another one of the friends. Vietnam brings comedy and tragedy. There is a lemon next to a pie — I’m not sure what that means. In the final act, the ultimate big swell comes, and Gerry Lopez is there, and the three friends reunite at the Point, Lopez gives LeRoy a knowing smile, and the friends charge forth. Matt takes a header on the reef, the other two save him. Back on the beach, there is hugging, and vague promises to keep in touch. Cut.

Tell me the back story of Big Wednesday. It’s Lance Carson and so forth, yeah? The Malibu gang?

The party stuff in the beginning came from “No-Pants Mance,” a great short story written by Denny Aaberg, brother of California point-surf style king Kemp Aaberg. Lance was the inspiration on that one, yeah. Denny then wrote the book version of Big Wednesday, along with John Milius, and apart from the party stuff I don’t think there was much back story. Mostly just Milius having a sentimental wank about his days at Malibu. Before he went full fascist with Red Dawn and Conan the Barbarian.

Oh, the tragedy of the scene where Matt, now just slightly over the hill, takes his daughter to see him in a movie and the crowd quiets during his section and then lights up during the new hotshot Gerry Lopez part.

Yeah, the backside of the mountain. Tough. Five years later, it’d be Lopez in the theater looking noble and deflated as Tom Carroll comes onscreen and drives ‘em wild.

Y’got a favourite scene? 

LeRoy during his military physical, playing the nutcase, bumming cigarettes from the shrink.

Tell you though, I hated, hated, hated Jack. Reminds me of every teacher, every lifesaver, every cop. Goes to fight yella man in Vietnam, becomes a lifeguard, a ranger.

Jack actually makes all the right choices, the sane choices, but yes he is mouthful of castor oil.

Jan-Michael Vincent. God I wanted to be that stud with his freewheeling harem. How’s he doing these days? 

Drunk, broke, angry, and missing a leg. Don’t watch the video interview with him from a couple years ago. He was a bastard back in the day, I’ve heard, but jeez nobody deserves to be in the shape he’s in. Big Wednesday was Jan Michael Vincent’s greatest moment. He never looked better, and was still on his way up.

Were you surprised when the movie became a cult favourite?

Never underestimate the power of Baby Boomer self-regard. Big Wednesday was retro when it came out, and ten years later when it went big as a rental, it was retro-retro. Double-dipped nostalgia. Boomers wore their VHS machines out playing that turkey, wallowing in their imagined past. But at the time, yeah, I was surprised.

It’s morning again in the surf industry!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Feel that heart beat!

It’s morning again in the surf industry. Today more men and women will paddle out than ever before in our country’s history. With interest rates at about half the record highs of 1980, nearly 2,000 families today will buy new surfboards, more than at any time in the past four years.

This afternoon 6,500 young men and women will watch the U.S. Open of Surfing, and with the surf at less than half of what it was just yesterday, they can look forward with confidence to making out in the toilets instead.

It’s morning again in America, and under the leadership of Kelly Slater, our country is prouder and stronger and better. Why would we ever want to return to where we were less than four short years ago?

But also…

There is a shark in the water. For some people, the shark is easy to see. Others don’t see it at all. Some people say the shark is tame. Others say it’s vicious and dangerous. Since no one can really be sure who’s right, isn’t it smart to be as strong as the shark? If there is a shark.

Swing your mood from shit to shine!

Rory Parker

by Rory Parker

With this dazzling clip from Alana Blanchard and Leila Hurst in Mex… 

I slept terribly last night. We don’t have A/C and it was of those situations where the fan is just pushing around hot moist air. Toss in my wife’s snores and my dog’s farts and you’ve got a recipe for tossing and turning.

Felt a little slow all day. Went for a bodysurf, got some sun, drank a beer, put on some Fleetwood Mac. Feeling much better.

It’s nice when you can swing your mood from shit to shine. I think Alana Blanchard’s newest edit helped.

I’ve been tempted to take shots at Alana in the past. I try to refrain. There’s nothing wrong with her gig. I suspect all the judgment I dredge up was socialized into me.

Her bikini shopping livestreams are pretty brutal, but everyone’s gotta earn a buck. I’d probably roast a guy for doing it. But she’s a woman and I have different standards because we live different realities.

It’s nice when you can swing your mood from shit to shine. I think Alana Blanchard’s newest edit helped.

I’ve been tempted to take shots at Alana in the past. I try to refrain. There’s nothing wrong with her gig. I suspect all the judgment I dredge up was socialized into me.

It’s a very good clip. Gorgeous colors. Minimal model lifestyle lifestyle shots. Mostly just damn good surfing, and that is sadly rare on the female side of the sport. 

Blanchard and Leila Hurst are straight ripping Salina Cruz. It’s gotta be the best I’ve ever seen Alana surf. I’m sure some people will try to shit on it because the ladies aren’t John John. But who really is?

It’s more than good enough to be very entertaining. I wish I could consistently surf as well as either of them.

There is a lot of flesh on display. Resist the temptation to talk shit. Telling a woman to cover up her body is not a road you should start down. Remember to admire, not creep.

I wonder how many stalkers Blanchard has. Gotta be a shitload, right?