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Just In: Puerto Rico To Ban Surfing!

Michael Ciaramella

by Michael Ciaramella

Uniformed cops may soon evict surfers during PR's dazzling hurricane swells!

You may have heard about Puerto Rico’s fight for, and loss of, the once natural reserve known as Playuela. This swath of land was a haven of ferna, fauna, and a several fun waves. According to local sources, development of this land has already commenced in order to build the Christopher Columbus Landing Resort.

This tourist center will take up 121 acres of the virgin soil, and the hotel plans to erect break-walls to create a sustained beach for its visitors. This practice has infamously ruined many surf breaks across the world, and locals fear it will do the same for Playuela.

But as of today, that’s the least of their worries.

Carlos Mendez, a Puerto Rican politician, has recently presented a law that would stop surfers from entering the water in cases of dangerous weather or waves, as dictated by the National Meteorological Service. The legislative measure would empower uniformed agents to evict surfers from the beaches when they think the weather conditions warrant it.

“When there’s a declaration of emergency due to atmospheric conditions, a lot of people jump into the ocean, putting at risk all the rescue teams, which are precisely for rescue purposes,” said Mendez. “There are people who are skilled at surfing, but they do not realize that they often endanger the people who have to watch over their security.”

Carlos Mendez, a Puerto Rican politician, has recently presented a law that would stop surfers from entering the water in cases of dangerous weather or waves, as dictated by the National Meteorological Service. The legislative measure would empower uniformed agents to evict surfers from the beaches when they think the weather conditions warrant it.

Local surfers were appalled by this proposed measure, citing the lawmakers’ ignorance of the ocean and those who frequent it.

“I understand that this is reasonable for tourists who are bathing on the beach, but for professionals like us, the most important moments of our career depend on these natural phenomena,” said surfer Gaby Escudero. “We always take care of each other in the water. The surfers who are chasing waves those big days are people who know what they are doing. They are not bathers who drown because they suddenly did not touch the bottom or because a current came. We do take risks, but they are calculated.”

Another Puerto Rican professional, Alejandro Moreda, shared Escudero’s sentiment.

“Apparently people who are running and making decisions in Puerto Rico are crazy. They are not taking into consideration that twenty-five percent of tourism in Puerto Rico is made by surfers. If they come now to arrest these people, all it will do is subtract tourism from Puerto Rico,” Moreda explained. “I will not miss the opportunity of getting incredible waves during those storms. We surfers live for that intensity and to catch those waves that our Island produces. And storms and hurricanes produce the best waves.”

Mendez insists that government resources take precedent over surfer’s rights and the Puerto Rican tourism industry. “If there is a statement from the National Meteorological System that a major meteorological system is approaching the country, we must reason with people that by going surfing or looking for waves, they are putting government resources at risk.”

In case you’re wondering what hurricane swells AKA major meteorological systems look like in PR, watch this.

Just in: Chas Smith kisses Kelly’s ass!

Michael Ciaramella

by Michael Ciaramella

Chas wants nuance? I'll give him nuance!

To: Chas
Cc: Kelly

Subject: Ass kissing

Oh I am sooooooo sorry for my sarcasm. For the thinly veiled jabs that would land upon Slater’s enlightened dome. For being the lucky fella who, despite his diminutive stature, needed not a ladder to indulge in this particular produce.

Chas believes insults should be cloaked by levels of irony so complex that only a Master of Applied Linguistics can comprehend. I’m sure Derek gets it and probably Nick C. and Longtom too but me not that smart.

So for the sake of avoiding further scrutiny, I’ll lay out some facts. Plain, objective truths that bear no malice or forethought. Try not to wince, fully or otherwise.

But before I rip this band aid, let me ask you a question:

Would you surf in Reunion Island? No?

What about Maui? Oh, yes?

Hmmm…

Facts:
Reunion Island population: 843,617
Maui population: 144,444 (as of 2010, probably higher now)
Reunion Island square mileage: 970
Maui square mileage: 727
Reunion shark attacks since 2011 – 20 (8 fatal)
Maui shark attacks since 2011 – 28 (3 fatal)

I present this data to demonstrate the power of the media and its trickle down effects on our culture, society, and beliefs.

Reunion Island has faced very many shark attacks in the past six years. True.

Maui, despite having a smaller coastline and a fraction of the population, suffered ~25% more attacks over the same period of time. True.

Kelly Slater has never called for a cull on Maui. True.

It must be noted that in 2013, Reunion instituted a swimming/surfing ban for more than half the coast. They continued this effort by providing nets around certain spots and employing trained divers to watch for sharks around high frequency surf zones. This should have a negative effect on the number of attacks in that period, thus skewing the data above, but it’s hard to know by how much. Alternatively Maui has opposed all types of shark protection, including nets and hunting.

Another major difference between Maui and Reunion is the number of fatal attacks, with 8/20 being fatal for Reunion versus only 3/28 in Maui. This could be related to the types of sharks involved in the incidents, plus a bit of luck in Maui’s favor.

Regardless of circumstance, Reunion’s near 50% mortality rate is highly disconcerting and the island has received a lot media attention because of it. And while it’s important that people are aware of societal issues, overexposure to the evils of a particular entity, especially a small faction of a particular entity, can lead to rash behavior. Think Muslim ban, cop-killing.

In the original post I noted my neutrality on this topic, but it’s important not to mistake ambivalence for indifference. I’ve pondered deeply over this issue, heard arguments from “experts” on both sides, and weighed the relative importance of current humans, future humans, sharks, and the environment in trying to pick a side. I just can’t bring myself to choose.

And apparently I’m not alone.

When interviewed about Western Australia’s cull in 2014, Slater had some interesting talking points:
– “I think it’s kind of silly, humans want to control everything. We try to control (beach) erosion, we try to control sharks … we just try to control everything on this earth and it’s just crazy.”
– “It’s like we’ve lost all feeling for other creatures on some level and I think that’s kind of sad.”
– “If I got eaten by a shark, I’d be honored.”

Here, Kelly seems to be thinking more about the animals’ rights (and feelings) rather than those of the people.

Alternatively, Kelly’s response to the Reunion crisis is an example of how regular exposure to and personal ties with a subject can tinker with one’s moral compass. I don’t know if Kelly had an individual connection with any of the Reunion victims, but his friendship with Jeremy Flores was likely enough to incite the knee-jerk response. Despite his good intentions, Kelly doesn’t know what a cull (isolated or not) would do to the ecosystem as a whole. Not because he’s stupid or uninformed but because its unable to be proven with conjectural science.

What has been proven is that we’re in the midst of the Earth’s sixth major extinction, and it’s no coincidence. Whether actively (Black Rhinos) or indirectly (Panamanian golden frogs), human beings have provoked one of the most all-consuming extinction periods in the history of the world. Thousands of species are falling off at unprecedented levels (for a period without a major natural catastrophe) because of our shitty practices. Don’t believe me? There’s a whole book about it, the author of which won a Pulitzer for General Non-Fiction in 2015.

So, is culling a few sharks wrong because it helps perpetuate the downward spiral of our natural world, as caused by humans’ inherently destructive existence? Or can it be justified in the name of saving a few lives today?

Big picture the answer is simple, but like Slater, I am not immune to the grief of others nor fears of my own. To put it simply – I don’t have an answer, but I still think Slater was wrong.

Nuanced enough, Charlie?

(Charlie: Yes!)

Alt-Right: WSL stokes nationalist fire!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

A new day has dawned!

With Marine Le Pen, Pooty-Poots, Trump, etc. all on the march rabid nationalism is on the rise! And while this development may strike fear into globalist hearts it is exactly what the World Surf League Samsung BOOM! Tour has been missing don’t you think?

The League today threw gas on the fire with a provocative piece titled European Pride Soaring Thanks to Rookie Trio. And doesn’t that sentence feel like it came straight out of the National Socialist style guide?

It sure as hell does.

Brexiter Paul Evans writes:

In the mid 2000s a surge of European surf talent swept onto the elite Championship Tour (CT), threatening a major sea change in Tour demographics. As the 2009 Tour began, six European surfers from four different countries set off to conquer the seven seas, buoyed by a wave of optimism not seen since the days of the great navigators. But since that year of promise, it’s been been eight long seasons since a European rookie arrived on the men’s CT, pulled on a competition jersey and paddled out to do battle against the best of the best.

But finally, the wait is over.

This year, a potent triumvirate of European rookies — consisting of a Frenchman, Joan Duru; an Italian, Leonardo Fioravanti; and a Portuguese, Frederico Morais — will lead their continent’s professional surfing renaissance. All three will all look to bring old-continent flavors to what’s promising up to be a stacked new world order.

Each word drips with England-for-the-English condescension while also dividing the tour along national, or at least regional, lines which is going to make 2017 the best year yet. Where we used to cheer for individuals I feel we will now be cheering for country. Some of us may even cheer for race. And while vile, in theory, it will create a boisterous new atmosphere.

But do you think the WSL will continue to stoke this fire from the commentary booth throughout the year?

Will Ronnie B. slip into talk about deconstructing the administrative state while lobbing softball questions to Pottz?

Will Joe T. say, “…little jam into the lip and, if you look at the lines of work, I would break it up into three verticals or three buckets. The first is kind of national security and sovereignty. … The second line of work is what I refer to as economic nationalism…”

Will Pottz say, “Yah Ronnie… The divide is no longer between the left and right but between patriots and globalists.”

Stay tuned!

The One Surf Visual to Watch Today!

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

Three pals travel to Cabo… 

Are you attracted to surfing because it hits pause on life’s grotesque absurdity? That it gives you the power to become something else, even for an hour or two? A private fantasy?

Today, I received an email from the filmmaker Joe Alani. It read: “My brother and I took a trip to Cabo with Cheeseburger and friends. We put out an edit. Do you think there’s room for it on your site?”

Yup, maybe. Let me watch.

I’ll be honest. I’m kinda done on surf shorts, most of which have descended into farce or at least shining examples of bourgeoise seriousness. Millionaire surfers carried to a wave. Closeups of the surfers suffering from a paralysing morbidity. A study, if you want it, of a good, or great, surfer’s technique. But it ain’t film.

This little five-minute short grabbed me a little because it claims nothing of cultural value.

It disregards many of the conventions of the modern surf short. It is low on moody atmospherics. There are no jazz or obscure eighties tracks. The surfers appear to be having a whale of a time.

It doesn’t pretend to channel Truffaut or Wes Anderson.

But it’s something. Surfing you can relate to. A couple of beers speared. A brilliant holiday mood.

…lost 

Kelly Slater gently scolds BeachGrit!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

And he is right! The low hanging fruit don't taste so sweet!

Kelly Slater is one of our favorite subjects. We have had his name in the title lock so often that a cursory Google of BeachGrit delivers a veritable treasure! Who could ever forget such classics as:

Opinion: The terrible legacy of Kelly Slater!

Kelly Slater: World’s worst pitch man!

Blood Feud: Kelly Slater vs. Decorum!

and

Just in: Kelly Slater swings at “next level dipshits!”

The man is our joy. And it my seem like we joke lots and lots because we do joke lots and lots but it is always with a hefty amount of goodwill. Public figures like Kelly Slater are wildly rare. Exceedingly rare. Scrutiny and trolls have rendered most to button their lips entirely. But Kelly keeps offering his thoughts, his feelings, his opinions and he keeps taking pokes for them.

Like when he Instagram commented on Jeremy Flores feed that the sharks of Reunion should be culled. It was a nuanced take on a very serious problem. Of course Kelly doesn’t wish for the death of sharks across the board but he recognized that a particular imbalance exists on the French isle.

But then our own dear Michael Ciaramella jumped in poking Kelly in the eye. I read his story and winced slightly. We tap dance here we try not to stomp and Michael’s bit of irony dripping with sarcasm was… heavy footed.

Kelly’s commented on our Instagram, graciously, “Tricky, touchy subject. But Reunion appears to be an anomaly when you consider attack rates across the globe. And of course @beach_grit would be the first to grab the low hanging fruit instead of consider(ing) the (emotional) context.”

Ooooh I winced again but this time fully. He is completely right. Nuance is slipping away in our increasingly polarized world. We should be encouraging non black and white responses to problems with our dance, not pushing readers, or Kelly Slater, into an either/or proposition.

And so for the second time in BeachGrit‘s wonderful history I’ll stand up and shout, “We were wrong!”

Long live nuance!