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Finale! Girl Goes Into Orbit!

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

Can Filipe Toledo teach Lakey Peterson how to nail a full-rotation air in four days? Watch!

If you’ve followed this four-part Girl Goes Into Orbit series you’ll know where we’ve been and what to expect in the final episode.

In case you’re new to the game, here’s the story: one month ago, BeachGrit, took the pro surfer Lakey Peterson to Mexico with one goal – to land a four-foot-above-the-lip full-rotation air.

Call it a 540 if you want. Call it an air 360 if that thrills too.

It’s been a pet project of mine to push women’s surfing beyond what is, mostly, a series of often stylish, often not, top turns and cutbacks. Why don’t girls do airs? Why should they? Only reason the men are doing ’em in competition is because of Gabriel, Filipe, Jordy, Julian, Josh Kerr and John John.

My theory is girls surf alongside boys until their early teens, and since it takes a fair bit of guts to get out there among the boys, the girls are usually among the best. Then, instead of improving alongside the boys as they get older, they plateau as they surf in girl-only competitions.

List the excuses you hear about girls and airs. They don’t have the physical strength. They don’t have the ability.

It’s all one big misconception.

Kids do ’em. Kooks can do ’em.

Why not girls?

My theory is girls surf alongside boys until their early teens, and since it takes a fair bit of guts to get out there among the boys, the girls are usually among the best. Then, instead of improving alongside the boys as they get older, they plateau as they surf in girl-only competitions.

And, since being a pro is such a thing, they train with coaches, but instead of growing into great surfers they turn into great competitors.

So let’s work on it.

To accelerate a process that John John says takes a couple of years, and compress it into four days Filipe Toledo and Brett Simpson joined Lakey as tutors. She’d surf. Come in. Swipe back and forth with the Hurley Surf Club app that gives a split-screen, side-by-side comparison with two surfers. In our case, Filipe’s airs and Lakey’s air attempts.

Cruel? Not as much as you’d think. Because Lakey can surf.

How’d it play out? Watch!

And, if you missed the other three episodes, watch those here.

Ouch: Dane Breaks Back at Pipe!

Michael Ciaramella

by Michael Ciaramella

Rushing though...

As reported by Australia’s Surfing Life and witnessed in the video below, Dane Reynolds has apparently fractured a vertebrae after a fall at Backdoor. Please watch and wince with me!

Few things to discuss here.

1. What a beast! That wave was throatier than a sophomore cheerleader. The fact that Dane attempted, and nearly made, a wave of such grunt and gristle is commendable in and of itself.

2. Ow! Back injuries, as I’d imagine is true for most injuries, are no damn good. I fractured a vertebrae last year and despite only missing two months of surf, I still feel the effects today. My body is stiffer, slower, and more sore than it ever has been, like the whole ordeal set me forward ten years. Every fracture is different, so Dane’s could be better or much much worse. We shall wait and see.

3. Is anyone else sick of the Former editing style/song choice? Puts a real damper on their mediocre clothing line.

And just wondering, what’s the worst surf-related injury you’ve had? A dislocated shoulder in Durban? A filet-o-face at Deserts? Do tell!

True: Surfline Is Following Me!

Michael Ciaramella

by Michael Ciaramella

BeachGritto before you go!

Have you ever felt like you were being followed? Downtown after bar close and the shadows haunt your every step? Being a mother duck in general?

Surfline is doing that to me, like, right now.

If you’ve been following along with my recent escapades, you’ll know that after a trip to Panama one month ago, I left for Australia and am now posted in Fiji. It’s a hard life but somebody has to do it.

And it turns out I’m not the only one!

An explanation: a few days into my Panama trip, I saw an IG post by none other than Luke Davis, in which he was surfing Bocas Del Toro’s premier wave. The caption read: (palm tree emoji) @surfline #ShadowCompany

This made me think that he, and Surfline, were headed my way for the peak of the swell. My suspicions were quickly confirmed when I heard through Hookers and Cocaine Wireless that not only Luke, but also Koa, Billy, and Nathan were headed to the islands.

I never saw the boys over there, as they had their sights set on a particularly hairy beast, but their presence was felt nonetheless.

Then, just two days into my Fiji trip, Koa Rothman posts this picture. Suspicious, but not surprising. Pros love Cloudbreak too.

Then the swell showed up early. Wasn’t supposed to be solid until the evening, but Tuesday morning provided some of the cleanest, most impeccable four-to-six footers anyone could ask for (more on that soon). Harry Bryant got a looney double-drainer that you’ll probably see soon.

Because it started pulsing earlier than expected, the morning was relatively uncrowded. I got three fun ones and called it a session as the tide was beginning to swamp. As I climbed aboard our boat, Tavarua II rolled in ten people deep. Luke Davis, Koa Rothman, Billy Kemper, Nathan Florence, Koa Smith, Alex Gray plus a few filmers.

Once everyone hopped in the water, I asked the Tavi photog, “Those boys here with Surfline?”

“Just kind of on their own trip, I think,” he told me. “But yeah the story and photos will probably go to Surfline.”

Oh those bastards! Do you think they read our site and picked their destinations off of it? And the only reason they didn’t come to Oz was the vagueness of my prose?

That would make BeachGrit the new forecast leader in surf! Who knew!

Duh: Owen Wright Is a Brave Man!

Michael Ciaramella

by Michael Ciaramella

Oh to be freed from the shackles of fear!

Some days ago in his round one Margie’s analysis, Longtom wrote this:

Owen Wright made the millions watching online all over the world wince when he wore a sledgehammer lip to the head. He paddled away. Is that a successful stress test of the brain? I say yes.

I did not see the incident and wasn’t about to scour the WSL site to find it, so I took Shearer’s word. But it turns out he was half-wrong. There were b- trillions of people watching online all over the world.

As for the Owen part it’s safe to say Sheaerer slammed it on the noggin. Here’s an Instgram-turned-Facebook post from the Avatar himself, agreeing wholeheartedly with ol’ Longtom.

And… ouch! Have you ever been pelted by a wave with such mass and acceleration? Otherwise known as force?

Me of course yes because I charge the biggest waves Swamis has to offer but you, dear readers, may not know the feeling. It is cold, dark, violent. Enough so that, in the case of Owen’s 2015 Pipe beating, the result was a mature case of shaken baby syndrome.

But what have we learned? After a year plus of rehab, Owen is ready to handle a proper skull-shaker — both physically and mentally. That’s a huge step for world number one.

I really liked what he said, by the way, about emotional scars being just as important as the physical ones. I was once run over by a scooter kid in the skatepark, leaving me with a bruised knee cap and a fist full of anger. My leg hinge was fine seven minutes later but to this day I still yell “Fag!” every time I see one of those handlebar douches. And I don’t even use ‘fag’ as an insult anymore! Old habits die never.

Oh and, would you look at that… O Dawg has made it all the way to the quarters. Could we have a title contender or just an elongated Wilko on our hands? Will he go at massive Teahupo’o?

Only time will tell, but I think yes because Owen is a brave man.

The Joys of Chasing a Swell!

Michael Ciaramella

by Michael Ciaramella

A feel-good story...

Picture your local highway on any given day. If you live somewhere with a relatively dense population, this means lots of people in lots of cars — all of them headed somewhere that, while important to the occupants of each vehicle, is completely irrelevant to everybody else. We only care about those inside our own automobile.

Humans live on the same plane, but mostly remain within their own personal bubbles. It’s safe, comfy, and easy to do so.

Yet, when traveling solo, this is not the case. We’re forced to seek out new relationships in order to live and prosper in a foreign land. I did this in Panama with the Aussies, and as a result I was invited to their home for a swell. Here’s why that’s so valuable to me…

I arrived in Melbin, Austrahlya with high spirits and low expectations. Despite the promising forecast, I wasn’t putting much pressure on the waves to produce. This part of my trip was a bonus. The contemptible cookie before my steak and potatoes.

Out of respect for the locals, I’d rather not divulge much, or anything, about the wave I surfed. All I’ll say is that despite conditions not being quite ideal, it was clearly a world class setup. I had a number of exciting rides and saw many dreamy numbers go unridden. It was challenging and scary and wonderful.

So yes, the surfing was good. But that’s not what this segment is about. The real subject of this story are the people.

From the moment I was picked up at Tullamarine, I was meant to feel welcome. Not in the way that rich people tell you to please, feel at home!, while you sit on their imported sofa and attempt to dissuade your lemonade from inching off the coaster. A droplet on the mahogany would be in bad taste.

No. It was a throw your boards here, flop a mattress there, and take this beer you wild cahnt!

The Aussies did make me remove shoes off at the door, though. The carpet had recently been steam-cleaned.

My Panama pal lived in a woodsy cabana with three of his mates. One was a brother-by-blood, the other two were lifelong friends who happened to be phenomenal surfers. All of them affable as aardvarks.

When not chasing waves, we spent our time sinking beers, watching Margies and partaking in randomly amsuing activities like fishing and golf. I find Aussies to be delightfully wanton in every aspect of their lives.

Despite being halfway around the world in a place I knew nothing about, I felt like I could’ve lived there my whole life. The housemates made me food, showed me their town, and even rousted this little Seppo like I was one of their own.

This type of experience isn’t exclusive to surf, but it sure seems to happen a lot within our saline society. The reason is simple: there are waves we strive to ride all around the globe, but without loads of cash, seeing most of them would be unattainable. In order to offset the financial burden, we create a network of people across the world with whom we can trade waves, knowledge, and sparkling ales.

Then that carbonation leads to gaseous pressure and… boom! Bubble expanded!