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Beach Grit

Créme: Nias Spills its Guts

Michael Ciaramella

by Michael Ciaramella

Is there a wave more serenely tubular?

Diego Santos is living the endless winter. He splits his year between archipelagos Hawaiian and Indonesian, clocking the majority of his water time between two unlike breaks: Off the Wall and Lagundri Bay.

Off the Wall is a brutally straight reef that forces a surfer to commit heinous maneuvers like the “doggy-door” to escape from its greedy clutches. The prize for a completed ride is 20 waves on the head and the opportunity to introduce yourself to a few rogue lava rocks. For every person that returns smiling from a session poor-man’s Backdoor, Beachgrit makes a dollar. Need I say more?

Lagundri is the anti-Off-the-Wall. The bigger, the souther, and the longer period the swell, the more uniform Lagundri becomes. When it’s on, every wave offers a clean entry and exit. There’s a channel. A real live channel where you are entirely safe from death and destruction. The crowd can be dense but does not elicit the chilling fear of bloodlines Rothman, Alexander. It’s also a cheap place to go.

Of course I’ve never actually been to Nias, so it could just be tube-is-always-greener syndrome.

Still, we can agree that Diego is one lucky motherfucker. His main sponsor is FreeSurf, a corny Brazilian beachwear brand that apparently rakes in enough real$ to keep his ass tubed 365.

Which begs the question: is corny Brazilian beachwear the surfing industry’s secret to revival? Will Diego Santos lead us back to the days of luxuriant prosperity by way of multinational sea-spelunking?

Probs not, but here’s a nice video.

Baywatch: The Rebirth of Kelly Slater!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Take those broken wings and learn to fly again!

How did I not know that Baywatch was being remade as a film? As a buddy comedy? Starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnston and Zac Efron? With all of the original flare?

Someone is going to get fired. Fucking fired.

But before I fire, Baywatch is being remade as a film! A buddy comedy! Starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnston and Zac Efron! With all of the original flare!

And this right here. THIS is the answer to the great Kelly Slater question. The “what will he do next?”

Because let us be very honest. The King will never even sniff a world title. 11th in the world is his absolute ceiling. John John Florence is only getting started and Gabi Medina is only getting smoother (skin and game). His wave pool is busted. Outerknow, while brilliantly designed, is never really going to be major and surfboard manufacturing is a straight margins play.

What will he do next?

Enter Jimmy Slade!

James “Motherfucking” Slade!

And if his agent is not on the phone, daily, with the Baywatch production team first begging for a walk-on, then pleading for a line, then asking nicely for a few lines, then a scene then maybe two scenes then his agent should get fucking fired too!

Imagine Kelly someday winning an Academy Award. Imagine him onstage accepting his little golden man. He will be accepting it for all of us. For surfers everywhere.

He just told Occy or Stab (I couldn’t quite tell due Stab‘s ongoing refusal to list sources and love of plagarism) that he was suicidal during Baywatch‘s first go around:

1993 was a rough year for me. I barely requalified after winning my first world title in ’92. I had a girlfriend, we were engaged, and then we broke up. At the same time I was totally broke, in debt, and then balancing both surfing and Baywatch. Basically everything went south for me at that point, and in the beginning of 1994 I was depressed and suicidal for a few weeks.

But I think it is time for him to get back on the acting horse. For surfers everywhere.

Take those broken wings and learn to fly again!

How to: land that first damn air!

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

It's easier than you think! Y'just gotta try… 

Cutbacks and swishing back and forth on a wave is, generally, the funnest thing in the world. At least it is until you discover the relative simplicity and ultra-satisfaction of regularly landing aerials.

Have you ever tried? Have you ever consciously forced yourself to not just throw your board away above the lip, but stay over the deck, land and ride out?

Probably not. It continues to amaze me how few surfers even try to lance the boil of monotony by taking their surfing to a different dimension.

You only need one good pump before you hit the section. And you want to be accelerating, you want thrust, when you hit it. So many people race, race, race, then slow down, and lose their pop when they hit the lip.”

We know you want to. And, so to further the cause, we’ve asked Josh Kerr, the almost thirty-three-year-old Australian surfer living in Carlsbad, California, rated thirteenth in the world, and a one-time aerial world champ, to talk you the through the mechanics of stomping aerials. This how-to is for the average and slightly-above average surfer.

First tip? “Stay in the top half of the wave and stall until you see the section. You only need one good pump before you hit the section. And you want to be accelerating, you want thrust, when you hit it. So many people race, race, race, then slow down, and lose their pop when they hit the lip.”

The pop! Listen to air guys and it’s a common theme. “It’s crucial,” says Josh. “If you use the right part of the wave, one pump and you can go from 10 clicks to 15 in a blink.”

A common mistake Josh sees is “people kicking their board out in front of them. They’re not staying over the top of their board and they’re putting their board flat to the beach. You’ve got to be committed to stay over your board. Don’t fall back when you’re in the air.”

And air reverses? If you’re a snowboarding kinda guy or gal, you already know what Josh is going to say. If not, add the word huck to your lexicon.

“It’s all about the huck. The main technique is swinging your arms and shoulders. It’s like a golf swing. You need to have full commitment to the swing and the follow through. Twist your shoulders, twist your head and your lower body will catch up.”

As for the semi-mythical full rotator, it requires an extra, conscious, and quite a physical huck. “The foreign part is coiling your body to get that extra part of the rotation.”

Feeling it? Go! Try! Blow a thousand waves. But that first big air you stomp?

Tell me you won’t be in a fog of ecstasy.

Créme: Mason Being Mason

Michael Ciaramella

by Michael Ciaramella

Alt-left Hawaiian demonstrates surfboard's versatility

There is no surfer more entertaining than Mason Ho. Everything he does is original, creative, skillful to the tenth degree. If surfing were politics, Mason would be the unequivocal leader of the alt-left. Ford Archbold weeps.

I get that Mason has a soft spot for competition. His uncle is a World Champ, his dad a Pipe Master, even his little sis has been on Tour for years. But that Mason continues to chase the QS brings sadness to my heart. Surf all the Hawaii events, win the Eddie or the Masters and have your name engraved into eternity, but do us a favor and skip the Aussie QS leg. Did you watch the Junior World Championships, Mase? Your star shines too bright to be doused by the hammering heels of Willian Cardoso or his likeness.

The QS is designed to mold talent into metronome, only those with the most monotonous rhythm being able to succeed. Up down up down tic tac toe, 8.5 and away you go! But your surfing is horizontal, diagonal, upside-down. No matter how hard you try, your crystalline structure will never fit into their perfect little parallelogram. Nor should you want it to.

Instead, focus on this. The videos. The finding cool waves. The pushing of limits that most of us didn’t even know existed. Hang with your friends, smoke a little weed, stay happy. Take the Rip Curl wildcards when they come and tear Parko a new one. Kidnap Turpell and commentate the final alongside Martin Potter. Just be you!

Bethany: Better Than You!

Michael Ciaramella

by Michael Ciaramella

What's not to love about Beth's technique, charisma?

If you don’t appreciate Bethany Hamilton, you are anti-anti-depressive and should probably leave right now. The shark attack survivor/mother/world class surfer personifies class in a sport defined by egotism and insouciance.

I once watched Matt George cry while reading, aloud, his profile on Bethany Hamilton. Dramatic, yes, but it is a wonderful piece that one would only benefit from reading. For instance, did you know that Uncle Laird put a price on the assailant’s head, leading to the culling of a fourteen-foot tiger shark whose jaws matched the markings on her board within two micrometers? Derek would be so proud.

This year I had the fortune of sharing a few sessions with Bethany while she was warming up for the Fiji Pro. Her athletic frame cruised the Cloudbreak lineup with just the right combination of force and attitude. People cheered her into waves as if she needed the extra boost. She didn’t.

Bethany has invented a crafty technique for wave catching, wherein she positions herself to the meet the wave at its near-breaking point, pulls the nose of her board back into the lurching wall, and uses the board’s buoyancy and wave’s momentum to sling herself over the ledge. If unable to position herself for that maneuver, she’s still able to out-paddle most of her peers — dare I say out-surf them, too.

This video features Bethany cauterizing the unsuspecting walls of Pasta Point in the Maldives. Is it her best surfing? The most stunning piece of film? Nay. But it forces me to remember and appreciate everything she’s done for surfing and those living with disabilities. Bethany Hamilton has singlehandedly changed our game for the better.