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The Inertia: “BeachGrit is a bad dog!”

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Venice-adjacent mountain website, The Inertia, founder Zach Weisberg finally speaks his mind!

I went to a surf party last night in Laguna Beach and guess who was there? The famous cinematographer Eric Brandt. And guess who else? The Inertia founder and creative head Zach Weisberg.

The Zach Weisberg! From The Inertia!

And what are the odds? He came marching up to me with a forced smile on his face, stuck out his very small hand and said, “I’m Zach Weisberg.” And my heart soared. It is generally rare for people, and especially people in the surf industry, to directly approach their nemeses and I told Zach how happy I was at this chance meeting.

He had a photographer there with him and I said, “We must document this historic event.” He demurred with hurt feelings written on his face and sadness in his eyes, telling his photographer, “No. No pictures.”

I said, “Zach, this is your problem. You don’t have any fun. I am very sorry that I am not at all sorry that I make sport out of kicking your Inertia in its goads every chance I get but if you would just respond we would all have a lot more fun.”

He said, “What would we stand to gain from that? We would get nothing out of the exchange.”

And this greatly confused me. “You would get fun!” I responded though it was very clear our idea of fun was different.

The photographer stood to the side holding her camera with a crestfallen half-grin on her face. I couldn’t tell if she felt sorry for Zach or thought I was a dick but biting her tongue.

I continued, “Who do you think you are? The Washington Post? The Inertia may be bigger than BeachGrit but we are all tiny.”

He said, “But it would be like rewarding a bad dog… I’m sorry you’re not a bad dog but…”

And I said, “Yes! I’m a very bad dog. Incorrigible even. Responding may be the only thing that stops me though.”

He hemmed and hawed while I told him people don’t like The Inertia because it is like rocking up to your favorite surf spot and seeing a 30 student strong surf school on the sand doing their warmups ready to paddle out on the back third of their foam boards.

He seemed sad about this but then shared the most enlightening thing, saying, “When I was at Surfer, The New York Times was doing some stories on surf and it made me frustrated because some of the information was off. I thought, ‘If they’re going to do this they should do it right.’ So I called the Times and got to an editor and told him that I was with Surfer and they should use the magazine as a resource. The editor, though, told me, ‘Who are you to define someone else’s surf experience?’ And that was a great epiphany for me.”

I shrieked in horror. If a New York Times editor would have asked me, “Who are you to define someone else’s surf experience?” I would have slammed the phone down, gotten a plane, flown to JFK, gotten in a cab and gone straight to the paper’s Manhattan office. Once there I would find the editor, march up to him, show him my neck tan and my baby pterygium and said, “I’m Chas Smith. Who the hell are you?”

Surf culture is wonderful precisely because of its rigid definitions. Its archaic rules. It bizarre nuance that we learn over time. Its lineup etiquette. Its vocabulary. Its strut and its silliness. Its hours and hours, years and years, spent sitting in water. Paddling out in wind blown slop and pulling in to closeout tubs. Everyone is invited but, like Hell’s Angels, everyone has to get jumped in. We may be dumb, pointless, selfish, shallow and generally worthless but we have spent our lives becoming these things.

By removing any barrier to entry, by defining “surfer” as broadly as “someone who has, at least once, either ridden something in a body of water and/or thought about it” The Inertia takes the joy out of belonging.

That’s why it is a piece of shit and Zach Weisberg knows it. An indefensible piece of shit but God bless the man for having enough intestinal fortitude to shake my hand.

Watch: Goofies Fight to the Death!

Michael Ciaramella

by Michael Ciaramella

Survey at the end!

Do you like to frontside or backside?

I’d say the vast majority, maybe 80% of surfers worldwide would prefer to be on their forehand. It makes sense — you can see the wave better, there are more options in terms of maneuvers and, if you’re that type of gal, the frontside bottom turn allows one to show off her assets. Her Alana Blanchard!

But the backhand, oh she’s a dark power. More grunt than grace but beautiful it’s nonetheless. All it takes is one heelside hanger to make a believer out of me. In fact, I find it difficult to imagine a simpler, more appealing turn than a backside vert. And boy do the CT judges agree!

Recently Clay Marzo and Ramzi Boukhiam, two talented goofies from half’a world apart, showed their hands.

Ramzi, hailing from Morocco, is a real motherfucker on the backhand — like a tall Tom Carroll or a caramel Wiggolly Dantas. This winter North Africa was hit with a few behemoth swells and Ramzi shut the joint down. No-grab tubes were his go-to, but a few of the turns in between will make you squeal like a pig. Please, indulge!

Up next is Marzo. Maui’s greatest enigma is currently filming for his second profile film, This Is Clay, which means these clips are likely throwaways. Because of Clay’s immense talent, the reel remains totally bonkers despite its B-grade nature. Clay sticks to his beloved left-handers and gorges on a platter of tubes, turns, and the odd slob. Watch!

Now the question: who did it better? Backside or front? Dark or light? Quiksilver or JSLV?

I think Ramzi took this one, but only with the advantages of wave quality and not withholding A-clips.

Grom Abuse: Christian Fletcher Speaks!

Michael Ciaramella

by Michael Ciaramella

SoCal is hot right now!

After the whole London incident, there’s been heaps of chatter about grom abuse. What is acceptable, what isn’t, and why are these goddamn kids so disrespectful?

Most people over forty believe that the hardened, hierarchical surf culture of the seventies, eighties, and nineties bred fairness and respect. Today, they argue, the promotion of lineup equality has wreaked havoc on surf spots all around the world, most notably Salt Creek and Lowers.

I took a stance that doesn’t quite refute their overarching sentiment, but more or less scolds old men who think it’s cool to physically or emotionally assault a kid. Even if he’s being a shit-head.

However, one voice has stood out above the rest, and it’s not just because all his letters are big. The following has been attributed to Christian Fletcher and reposted onto FB from somewhere. Maybe the Stab comment section!

I FUCKING LOVE THIS!!
MY NAME IS CHRISTIAN FLETCHER AND SORRY ABOUT THE LANGUAGE AHEAD OF TIME BUT THIS HAS GONE ON TO LONG AND IF YOUR OFFENEDED BY IT GOOD YOU SHOULD BE CAUSE YOU ARE THE PROBLEM!!!
FUCK LONDON FUCK HIS MOM AND FUCK IAN CAIRNS THEY CAN ALL EAT A BAG OF DICKS.
IM SO TIRED OF THESE ENTITLED LITTLE LIMP WRISTED FUCKING PUSSIES THEY DROP IN ON ME CRASH INTO ME AND THEN TELL ME “FUCK YOU LEAVE” AND THEN I GO TO GRAB THEM AND THERE FRIEND START YELLING “FUCK YOU HE IS ONLY 17 “SO I SAY “FUCK YOU I DONT GIVE A FUCK” AND THIS HAPPENS KINDA REGULARLY TO ME AT MORE PLACES THAN JUST SALT CREEK
MY DAD HAS DROPPED IN ON ME AND RAN ME OVER MY WHOLE LIFE AND IF HE DIDNT RUN ME OVER ON THE WAVE HE WOULD RUN ME OVER WHILE I WAS PADDLING OUT AND I THANK HIM FOR THAT CAUSE HE TAUGHT ME HOW TO SURF WITH ANY CROWD
THEN GUYS LIKE Q -TIP WOULD BE YELLING BEAT IT GROM FROM THE WATER WHILE I WOULD BE WALKING DOWN THE SAND DUNES THEN DROP IN ON ME AND DING MY BRAND NEW BOARD AND YOU WHAT I DID ABOUT IT, I DIDNT DO SHIT CAUSE THATS THE WAY IT GOES I WAS A KID AND I LEARNED RESPECT AND THE KIDS NOW HAVE NONE SO FUCK THEM FUCK THIER PARENTS AND FUCK THE POLICE FOR WASTING OUR HARD EARNED TAX DOLLARS THE MOM AND KID SHOULD HAVE BEEN ARRESSTED FOR MAKING A FALSE CALL AND HAVE TO PAY RESTITUTION FOR FOR IT AND IAN HAS DONE NOTHING BUT HOLD SURFING BACK FOR THE LAST 30 YEARS ATLEAST HAHAHA HAVE YOU EVER SEEN HIM TRY TO SURF IN THOSE 30YEARS WHAT A JOKE BIGGEST KOOK IN THE WATER MY GRANDPA IS 85 AND STILL SURFS BETTER THAN IAN AND IAN IS YOUNGER THAN MY DAD!!!
SO IM SORRY BUT ABOUT THE LANGUAGE BUT BUT ITS THE ONLY WAY PEOPLE WILL UNDERSTAND HOW SERIOUS THIS PROBLEM IS, EVEN AT TRESTLES THERE IS PARENTS PUSHING THEIR 5YEAR OLD KIDS INTO WAVES IN FRONT OF PEOPLE WHEN I WAS YOUNG KIDS WERE NOT ALLOWED TO SURF TRESTLES JUST LIKE THEY SHOULD NOT PLAY KICKBALL ON THE FREEWAY
SO I SIT ON THE INSIDE AND DROP IN ON THEM SOMETIMES AS WELL BECAUSE THIER PARENTS ARE TEACHING THEM WRONG FROM THE START SO I FEEL INCLINED TO COUNTER ACT THAT BEHAVIOR RIGHT WHEN IT IS BEING LEARNED!!!! GOOD JOB DIVEL AND I JUST MIGHT NEED SOME OF THAT INSURANCE YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT CAUSE IM NOT PUTTING UP WITH IT AND JUST SO HAPPENS IANS KIDS FAVORITE SKATEBOARDER IS MY SON HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA THATS WHAT I CALL KARMA

My ears are ringing but it’s imperative we analyze this masterpiece!

First of all, poor Ian Cairns. “You surf worse than my grandpa” is a pretty hard one to come back from. Maybe he just needs a coach? What do you guys think? We could crowdfund and get him surfing under Micro. They’ll be called Freak the Mighty and will take the WSA Super-Senior division by storm!

Then there’s this quote:

MY DAD HAS DROPPED IN ON ME AND RAN ME OVER MY WHOLE LIFE AND IF HE DIDNT RUN ME OVER ON THE WAVE HE WOULD RUN ME OVER WHILE I WAS PADDLING OUT AND I THANK HIM FOR THAT CAUSE HE TAUGHT ME HOW TO SURF WITH ANY CROWD

Having recently watched the greatest surf film, Surf’s Up, Christian’s anecdote couldn’t be more hilarious. If you haven’t seen (and you must), the movie’s antagonist is an impeccably skilled, exceptionally douchey surf-penguin named Tank “Shredder” Evans, and one of the movie’s best scenes has him pulling a “Herbie”! Please watch:

Then, maybe the best part of Christian’s whole spiel comes out:

EVEN AT TRESTLES THERE IS PARENTS PUSHING THEIR 5YEAR OLD KIDS INTO WAVES IN FRONT OF PEOPLE WHEN I WAS YOUNG KIDS WERE NOT ALLOWED TO SURF TRESTLES JUST LIKE THEY SHOULD NOT PLAY KICKBALL ON THE FREEWAY
SO I SIT ON THE INSIDE AND DROP IN ON THEM SOMETIMES AS WELL BECAUSE THIER PARENTS ARE TEACHING THEM WRONG FROM THE START SO I FEEL INCLINED TO COUNTER ACT THAT BEHAVIOR RIGHT WHEN IT IS BEING LEARNED!!!!

Is this not the greatest image your mind has endeavored to conceive? A forty-something Christian Fletcher — covered tip-to-tip in tattoos and riding a fluorescent dildo of a surfboard — purposefully sitting on the inside-third of a world class wave with the sole intention of snaking five-year-olds? Is there anything more Fletcher?

Now a word on Christian…

By legitimizing airs in the competitive spectrum, Christian Fletcher altered our sport’s trajectory both literally and metaphorically. In that sense, I appreciate what he’s done for surfing.

But does that mean I have to respect him as a person, or give credence to his middle-aged immaturity? Of course not!

If Christian believes that his abusively-depicted upbringing has led him to become a role model for groms then, holy shit, that’s actually fucking crazy. I can’t imagine someone I’d less like to share a lineup with, let alone influence my nonexistent children. Maybe Wardo. Maybe.

So while he’s right that kids are becoming less respectful in lineups, it’s important to consider the flip side. Many of the grumpiest, least tolerable people in lineups grew up in Christian’s dystopian/utopian era. So did it actually do them any good?

One of the most overlooked aspects here is first-child syndrome. Parents are typically extra-careful with their firstborn — something about the evolutionary drive to pass on their DNA to future generations — but by the time the Kid Two comes around, they usually realize he’ll be fine with a little less “parenting”. The end result is Kid Two gets to attend parties, watch rated-R films, and have more fun.

Naturally, this causes jealousy in Kid One. “Why can Tommy go to concerts? He’s only fifteen! I had to wait until I was seventeen!” he can be heard shouting from community college.

Maybe old guys are just jealous they couldn’t catch set waves when they were fifteen?

Rea Part 2 of the saga, here

Dear Australia: Please help us!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Southern California needs you, oh Lucky Country, to navigate this brave new world!

And oh my goodness. Southern California is not used to this sort of shark activity. First a lady gets her leg ripped off at Church, then a bunch of whites frolic at Lowers and now a shark has chased the Seaside, in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, lineup straight to the parking lot. Seaside! The only shark Seaside usually has is the elusive tan shark (Rob Machado).

Australia, please help! You have massive shark populations both east and west. You know how to work it.

I think we especially need help with the aesthetics here. I think they’re called “optics” in politispeak. What are the proper optics around a shark invasion? What are we supposed to do in order to be safe and cool? I’ll list my questions succinctly.

  1. When a shark comes into the lineup do you yell “shark” in a low voice, a high voice or not at all?
  2. When paddling in do you make funny jokes about getting chomped or keep a somber quiet tone or do you not paddle in?
  3. Is it uncool to say, “I hope a shark eats you” to a person that just snaked or burned?
  4. If a shark swims close but doesn’t show its teeth is it ok to pet?
  5. If a shark’s tail is between its legs does it mean it is afraid and you can tell it to shoo?
  6. If a good wave is coming in but you are not in position is it ok to yell “shark” in order to get position?
  7. If you are hazing a grom by holding his head under water and a shark bites it off are you liable or does this sort of thing just fall under the “grom had no respect” rule?
  8. If you are in position and a bomb is coming but a shark is ready to shoulder hop do you hoot it off or just let it take the wave?
  9. If you see a shark heading straight for a SUP do you say anything?
  10. When on the beach, or parking lot, after getting chased in by a shark is it cool to leave your wetsuit on all the way or better to strip it down to waist?
  11. When chased in by the elusive tan shark (Rob Machado) is it cool to get a tattoo commemorating the event?

That’s all for now but I’m sure I’ll have more after a few drinks.

And thanks, Australia.

KIT

BFF

XOXOX

Rip Current Rory: “I’ll never surf again!”

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Scottish man survives 32 hours floating in the Irish Sea then quits!

Do you recall the thrilling tale of the Scottish surfer who survived a mid-morning session at his local Scottish break and then got in a rip and sucked all the way to Ireland? 32 hours bobbing and paddling and thinking he was going to die.

But he didn’t die!

He was saved and it is truly a beautiful story. Let’s read from the BBC:

The 23-year-old told BBC Scotland’s Jackie Bird how it had started as “just a normal day”.

He said he had driven to Westport car park in the Kintyre peninsula on Sunday morning, waxed his surfboard then gone into the sea about 11:00 to catch some waves. The day soon turned into a nightmare and he began to panic as tides and winds carried him out to sea.

“The wind and water was just relentless,” he said.

At one point he got back to within about a mile of land, only for the tide to change direction.

“It got to the point where my paddling was ineffective, but I was doing it to keep myself warm.”

If he had been surfing he said he might have stayed in the water for about four hours, but now the sun was setting and he was carried further out to sea. He described how deep fear set in when night fell. “It was incredibly lonely and quiet because there was just nothing – just waves,” he said. “I hadn’t seen any helicopters.

“I was thinking I was going to die – I was almost convinced. “I didn’t think I would see sunrise.”

Mr Bryce said he then saw ships, and since he was well out of the coastguard search area, he decided to try and get into a shipping lane in the hope someone might see him.

He continued to paddle towards the ships through the night.By daylight he was starting to pass out and fall off his board.He continued to drift through the day and as night approached again he said he was resigned for death.

“I knew I wasn’t going to make another night, so I was watching the sunset,” he said. “Then a helicopter flew over me.”

He says it was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen and I can just imagine! His mother was, of course, beyond thrilled. She told the BBC that discussions had already started within her family as to who would go identify the body when the call finally came. When it did come, and it was revealed her boy was alive, she was overcome with the most wonderful emotion.

He also told his mother, when she came to visit his Belfast hospital room, that he would never surf again. Do you think that’s just the hypothermia talking? It is rare in these sorts of surfing survival stories to hear the victim claim that they’re giving up the Sport of Kings. I mean… what would it take for you to stop surfing? I’ve been thinking about this lately and I can’t really imagine a thing. Oh, I don’t write this to point out my superiority over dear Matt Bryce. If anything it is a major problem for me and you too.

We are rotten addicts and we act like it.

The thing I wonder most, though, is what wetsuit he was wearing. It wins BeachGrit Wetsuit of the Year even if it’s Rip Curl! The brand could start a new line called Rip Current for those most likely to get sucked out to sea!