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Blood Feud: Reno Abellira v Matt Warshaw!

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

Master shaper (and pals) kick head of beloved surf historian!

Do you love it when older men discover the inner teen and jump on social media to vent? It really is a beautiful thing to behold. To care after so many years!

Today, it is Reno Abellira, the former world number four, master shaper (Mark Richards got the idea for twin-fins from Reno) and one-time fugitive from US authorities (coke).

I like Reno. And I like Reno so much that when he was hiding from the cops for coke and weed dealing in the nineties and all the surf mags were advising readers to call the authorities if he was spotted, I wrote (in Australia’s Surfing Life back then) that ASL readers should give Reno a map, a change of clothes and a place to hide out for a few days.

As it turned out, it turned the key in Eddie Rothman’s heart and, subsequently, he was very kind to me.

Anyway,

Reno lit up today on Instagram about Matt Warshaw’s profile of him on the Encylopedia of Surfing.

This posting of my bio from the so called Encyclopedia of Surfing is still beyond annoying..but is now a personal affront to me …Matt Warshaw has for years touted himself as a surf historian but never made due diligence in his fact checking while compiling the book and instead left it to his inept minions to gather…the first duty of any encyclopedic work of any sort is to fact check not gather revised versions of former magazine articles and publish them as Truth…AUWE! (for shame) Matt Warshaw you made no real attempt at even the basic tenets of good journalism during your brief( thank Jehovah) tenure at Surfer Mag. and instead went into your literal diatribes of condemnation and the poorly disguised contempt you harbored for persons you profiled in pseudo hipster interviews..never a great surfer you chose to shoot them down willy nilly with Fascistic glee..still making royalties for published lies is disgusting and evil in my book…I am not the only one whose career and clear positive contributions to Surfing and the History you ruined or at the very least sullied with extreme prejudice….My father was never in a barroom fight in which he died..He was murdered in a downtown Honolulu pool room where he was employed by a faction of Korean gamblers as a stong arm…shot in the back with no witnesses to identify the shooter it is still an unsolved (as in cold case) murder on file…Stop hiding in your self-anointed ivory tower Warshaw and seek redemption for the sins of delusion you worship…

Reno’s IG pals joined in the head kicking.

sunrisesurfers: Fake News =The Encyclopedia of Surfing

mysticsurfboardseast: Reno- the “encyclopedia of surfing” is nothing more than a compendium of surf media bullshit, advertisements, and innuendo available in the last 50 years of surf print media, collated by a former surfer mag writer destined for literary glory. Parmenter @aleutianjuice flipped him off, very telling regarding authenticity. I.E.. If you weren’t there, you don’t need to know. I think Matts wife wants him to make a mortgage payment.

This posting of my bio from the so called Encyclopedia of Surfing is still beyond annoying..but is now a personal affront to me …Matt Warshaw has for years touted himself as a surf historian but never made due diligence in his fact checking while compiling the book and instead left it to his inept minions to gather…the first duty of any encyclopedic work of any sort is to fact check not gather revised versions of former magazine articles and publish them as Truth…AUWE! (for shame) Matt Warshaw you made no real attempt at even the basic tenets of good journalism during your brief( thank Jehovah) tenure at Surfer Mag. and instead went into your literal diatribes of condemnation and the poorly disguised contempt you harbored for persons you profiled in pseudo hipster interviews..never a great surfer you chose to shoot them down willy nilly with Fascistic glee..still making royalties for published lies is disgusting and evil in my book…I am not the only one whose career and clear positive contributions to Surfing and the History you ruined or at the very least sullied with extreme prejudice….My father was never in a barroom fight in which he died..He was murdered in a downtown Honolulu pool room where he was employed by a faction of Korean gamblers as a stong arm…shot in the back with no witnesses to identify the shooter it is still an unsolved (as in cold case) murder on file…Stop hiding in your self-anointed ivory tower Warshaw and seek redemption for the sins of delusion you worship…Waves of Truth, Reno D. ABELLIRA

A post shared by Reno Abellira (@renoabellira) on

Do you want to read Warshaw’s bio on the EOS? You can’t! Not unless you subscribe, a pinch at three bucks a month. 

For the sake of clarity in this little blood feud, and just this once, however, here’s the Reno bio on the EOS.

Stylish, enigmatic regularfooter from Honolulu, Hawaii; world-ranked #4 in 1977, and a central figure throughout the first decade of shortboard surfing. Abellira was born (1950) and raised in Honolulu, the son of a middleweight boxer who was shot and killed in a barroom fight. Abellira began surfing at age four in Waikiki, but didn’t get his first board until 11. He won the juniors division of the Makaha International in 1966 and 1967, and earned $200 for winning the 1966 Hawaiian Noseriding Contest, the state’s first professional surfing event.

Abellira was Hawaii’s juniors division champion in 1968, and made his international debut later that year in the World Surfing Championships, held in Puerto Rico. Although he placed sixth, many observers thought the small-framed (5′ 7″, 135 pounds) 18-year-old was the event’s most exciting surfer, as he consistently rode just beneath the curl on a stiletto-like purple surfboard. “It was a skateboard,” California surf publisher Dick Graham wrote, marveling at Abellira’s radical new equipment, “and he rode it like a god, because he is one.”

Abellira’s style continued to develop over the next three years. He rode in a low crouch, chin tucked into his left shoulder, arms extended, wrists cocked, each part of his body precisely arranged. Whether or not the streamlined stance added speed to Abellira’s surfing is impossible to say, but nobody in the ’70s—except for Australia’s Terry Fitzgerald—looked faster on a surfboard. Abellira also proved to be one of the sport’s most mysterious figures: he kept to himself for the most part, rarely smiled, and countered the scruffy surfer image with Italian-made leather loafers, pressed linen pants, and neatly coiffed hair. “He’s a bit of a dandy,” Australian surf journalist Phil Jarratt wrote of the dark-eyed Hawaiian, “and could teach most surfers a thing or two about color coordination.”

Abellira competed regularly throughout the ’70s, winning state titles in 1970 and 1972, placing fourth in the ’70 World Championships, second in the 1973 Duke Kahanamoku Classic, and making the finals in more than a dozen professional events on the North Shore of Oahu. He was also an Expression Session invitee in 1970 and 1971. In what many still regard as surfing’s most thrilling big-wave contest, Abellira beat fellow Hawaiian Jeff Hakman by a fraction of a point to win the 1974 Smirnoff Pro, held in cataclysmic 30-foot surf at Waimea Bay. Among the first Hawaiians to set out on the pro circuit, Abellira was world-ranked #4 in 1977, #8 in 1978, and #13 in 1979.

Abellira was also a first-rate surfboard shaper, learning the craft from boardmaking guru Dick Brewer in the late ’60s and early ’70s, then going on to work for the Lightning Bolt label; Abellira and Brewer together experimented with an early version of the tri-fin design in 1970 and 1971. Mark Richards of Australia later became an international surf hero while riding Abellira-shaped boards, and it was Abellira’s stubby double-keeled fish that inspired Richards to produce in 1977 the twin-fin design that swept through the surf world in the late ’70s and early ’80s.

While Abellira was for the most part removed from the surf scene beginning in the early ’80s, over the decades he has occasionally produced thoughtful and eloquent articles for the American surf press. Abellira made headlines himself in 1993 when he disappeared for several months after being indicted on cocaine distribution charges; he was later convicted and spent several months in prison.

Abellira appeared in more than 15 surf movies, including Hot Generation(1968), Sea of Joy (1971), Going Surfin’ (1973), and Tales of the Seven Seas (1981). In the late ’70s, Abellira lent his name to a short-lived surfwear company called Reno Hawaii. He competed in the 1990 Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau big-wave contest at Waimea Bay at age 40, finishing 24th in a field of 33.

Meanwhile, BeachGrit sources say Reno and another master shaper (yeah, there are a few of ’em) got into a little pushing game in San Clemente recently and Reno may have (or may not, we weren’t there) called a very influential pal on the North Shore to ensure the other shaper could never safely visit Oahu again.

So much beautiful passion. It keeps the testosterone surging! The elixir of youth etc.

WSL: Donald Trump buys surf event!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Will there be massive protests or will it be the greatest event ever?

And did you know it? Did you even know it? Totally true! Donald J. Trump in association with the World Surf League’s World Qualifying Series owns the title to the Trump Hyuga Pro The 1000 series event cranks to life this October at Okuragahama Beach in Hyuga Japan.

Brilliant.

But how much do you think the President of the United States of America bought Hyuga’s only professional surf event for? Do you think he paid….. 1000 dollars? 1000 yen? Do you think it was the best deal ever? A huge deal?

And how will the event be run? Like a well-oiled machine? Will the waves be the best waves ever at any surf contest ever and anywhere?

More importantly, though, will angry protesters demand a boycott against the World Surf League for taking Trump dollars?

The Inertia… this is your moment to shine! Organize a march from your Venice-adjacent headquarters that heads down Santa Monica’s Main Street, ending in front of the World Surf League offices. Have your fellow travelers carry signs that read NOT MY SURF CONTEST! and FEAR OUR MOUNTAIN CLIMBING THIGHS! or something like that.

Do it!

Opinion: You Gotta Treat Yo’self!

Michael Ciaramella

by Michael Ciaramella

Motivation for a more radical yet stable existence!

If there is one thing that unites us on BeachGrit — from conservative to liberal, young to old, man, woman, etc. — it is the love, the undying passion of riding waves.

Am I wrong? Are we only here to prod and harass one another? Maybe yes, but I also think you could do that on Reddit or Pornhub if so desired. There are plenty of platforms for meaningful-leaning-deranged interactions with anonymous voices, but at the core of BeachGrit’s community are seeds of surf. It’s important to all of us.

And many of you, dear readers, are not young. I don’t have any statistics to lean on, but based off the content in the comments section, it’s clear that a majority of our regular visitors are adults — proper adults. Not twenty-something burnouts with jobs at the local surf shop.

Maybe that was life ten years ago, but now it’s all about babies, spouses, twelve-hour office stints and as a result, very little free time. You surf a couple times a week, but rarely during peak conditions. As the train of life trudges along, you are the willing but not-so-ecstatic passenger.

This is why it’s imperative, and I mean absolutely vital, to submit yourself to perfect waves at least once per annum.

That could mean skipping work or a familial obligation on a firing day at your local, or jumping on a plane to somewhere warm and uninhabited. The only requirements are: 1. you know it will happen sometime in the next 365 days, and 2. either the when or where is undisclosed.

Let me explain the second part.

For most working/family-oriented souls, it’s damn hard to drop everything and go. As a result, “vacations” are often scheduled months, if not an entire year in advance.

“We go to Cancun every January,” is a totally fine thing to say if your ideal reprieve is simultaneously contracting sun and alcohol poisoning in front of pasty Midwesterners. For a true surfer, though, and especially for a surfer stuck in the 24/7/365 cog of families and jobs and everything else that falls under the term real world, this sort of excursion only deepens the madness.

All year long we watch videos and scroll past photos of perfect waves breaking all around the world. Is it so much to ask that we get to indulge, if only once?

Absolutely not.

So here’s what you do: If you have job/family flexibility, pick a place in the world that you’ve been dying to surf all your life, watch the charts like a crackhead watches… anything, and pull the trigger when the right swell appears. Not only will this ensure a score, but the excitement that comes from checking the forecast every evening is incredible. Spontaneity breeds hope breeds positivity!

If you don’t have that kind of flexibility, take a week off from work a few months in advance and wait. Do not, I repeat do NOT fall into the trap of pre-booking a location that could be very good but could also be completely flat when your week of freedom finally rolls around. You have one chance at this, and to put that much faith in Huey would be foolish.

So you wait. Two weeks out, you begin perusing the long range forecast. Ten days, you start to build some confidence in storm systems around the world. One week, you focus your assault — pick two regions that look promising and start making phone calls. Find out how much it will cost to buy airfare, lodging, rentals, etc. See if surf camps have any openings. Three days out, pull the trigger. Forecasting is so good nowadays, you’re almost guaranteed to score at this point.

Now, there’s just one variable that I’ve neglected — money.

For many of you, the idea of a last-second surf trip seems impossible from a financial standpoint. Maybe your job doesn’t pay very much, or maybe you’ve got medical expenses or student loans hanging over your head. Either way, I have a solution.

First of all, start saving $100-150 per month. Pass up on the bars, the movies, whatever, just live humbly and make it happen. $1,200-1,800 is enough money to strike most places in the world, and with a tangible goal in mind, you’re more likely to make smart financial decisions.

Next is transpo. Airfare is what it is, so unless you have one of those buddy passes, you’re gonna pay to get where you’re going. That said, some research Re: bag fees is always key.

Where you can really save cash, though, is on the ground. And all it takes is a couple friends.

This can work two ways: either you travel with a few people and thoroughly cut the costs of transport and accommodation, or, if traveling alone, you find a way in with the locals. The second option takes some cojones, but it’s often the most resourceful and enlightening way to travel. Here’s how it works:

When flying solo, you’re perceived as 1. a motivated, self-sufficient, generally cool person and 2. non-threatening. This perception, when combined with a warm demeanor and maybe a few beers for the local boys, will almost always be met with hospitality. Maybe even an invitation to hang with them for the remainder of your trip.

My advice is to fly in without any long-term accommodation plans. Find a shitty motel the first night, and go surf the next morning. Approach the lineup with a smile and nod, be extra gracious when it comes to wave selection, and strike up conversation with the locals. Ask them about their country and home, where to surf, eat, sleep, and find a way to slip in your current situation. Traveling alone, nowhere to stay, looking to score. They’ll jump at the chance to help you out, and you’ll gain priceless local knowledge and save money in the process.

Traveling with friends may be the best thing in the world, but traveling alone will teach you about life, foreign cultures, but mostly about yourself.

For those of you wondering, I’ve taken this concept to the extreme by committing this year to travel the world. Considering my age, job flexibility, and not-yet-procreating status, I feel there’ son better time to explore the best waves on the planet.

It took a lifetime of saving, of passing on the movies, the bars, whatever, but the freedom and excitement that comes from chasing swells across the globe is genuinely priceless.

I’ll be broke soon enough, but for now I’m gonna ride this tube train into the sunset. I hope this manifesto motivates you to do the same. To treat yo’self to a life of exceptional surf.

Because otherwise, what are we even doing?

Fiji Pro: “This dream’s too beautiful to die!”

Longtom

by Longtom

Expert contest analysis, day one, OK Fiji Pro… 

Good afternoon in Australia, evening in America, middle of the night in Brazil and welcome to the Beachgrit coverage of the Pacific leg of the WSL.

I had a nervous bobble of a start this morning after a little DMT around a campfire last night. It was a very, very successful trip, believe me. Missed the opening exchanges and turned up for Owen’s heat just in time to see him doing the death march under a blue-grey axe before being spat out of the gas chamber untouched, slouching.

I scribbled 8.17 with a Bic Classic fine and the judges awarded 8.5. Fair enough. We are all hyper-vigilant now about being made a laughing stock by the judges keen to propel fairytale storylines as a way of propping up a title race.

Well, while the Grit is alive and publishing, they won’t. They won’t. Believe me.

Speaking of compliant media, wasn’t that the biggest own goal, ever, in sport’s history? I mean the way Speaker came in and tried to put a massive claim over every piece of WSL content.

“We own everything now!” he said, \alienating the greatest asset the ASP/WSL ever had, a tame surf media ready to cheer-lead until the crack of doom.

How could you fuck that up?

Second biggest own goal was disowning and turning away from the sport’s drug culture which spawned modern surfing. They tried to scrub it clean and sterilise it to capture middle Australia and America and in doing so forced it into a future of perpetual lies, confirmed it’s status as third tier sport doomed to mediocrity, constantly running in fear of it’s own shadow.

Speaker doubled down on the bland and made pro surfing as cool as tiddlywinks. Mainstream culture now makes pro surfing look hopelessly reactionary and conservative. You disagree Shaun Tomson, Fred Hemmings, Ian Cairns?

Come on down into the comments and prove me wrong. The false dawn and the slow fade out are the hallmarks of professional surfing and I say that with complete joy in my heart.

This dream is too beautiful to die.

I was watching JJF, looking for his ability to read the line-up. Multiple swell angles, too much west in most of them put clean makes at a premium. And we got dead air for the start of the heat. Not even a shot of Barton in the mother ship swaying to yacht rock, just an unidentified Fijian man cruising on the deck while head high Restaurants peeled off in the background.

When we got back to live action JJF had an 8.17 next to his name. Must’ve been good. They showed a replay…..a drive through a chandeliering section before a non make. That couldn’t have been it. But it was. Bizarre. That over-score was enough to distort the spread and keep him clear of his opponents. Still, it seems totally counter-intuitive but Cloudbreak remains a weak point in the JJF arsenal.

Jack Freestone flew the flag for millenial fragility in the heat before. Coming in from a good ragdolling and a snapped board Barton asked him if he was back out there with five to go.

“No more boards”, was his terse reply.

What? He only bought one board to Cloudbreak?

A long period of two or three heats of ratty Cloudbreak ensued. It’s like that. As a recreational surfer you surf it in long dream-like sequences covering four, five, six hours, shivering in the squalls getting swept up or down the reef trying to make sense of it before the wind clocks around behind the brown hills of the main island and the surf goes perfect again.

Which it did, for Julian Wilson who enacted the Michelle Obama doctrine, “when they go low we go high” or as Rosy put it, “ it’s so crucial to stay har.”

That 9.5 was the best wave of the day, up to that point.

It went dreamy for Bourez, Miggy and Ace. Gunmetal grey cylinders went glacial blue and they were threaded, first by Ace, then Miggy before Bourez locked them both out with a pair of nines.

Kelly was in the mothership watching on. Salivating no doubt. He paddled out with Fanning and Bede and it immediately turned back to mud. Could there be a clearer sign for a man who believes how you surf in heats is a kind of spiritual litmus test of how your life is progressing that maybe the tour has moved on from Kelly? That it just isn’t that into him anymore? I hope not.

It was disconcerting seeing Kelly in single figures at six-to-eight-foot Cloudy. He had nothing, a total absence of what Foucalt calls pouvoir-savoir-knowledge, power.

An almost make on a weird bulbous inside section that he tried to grope his way through before being roughhoused into the reef was about the best of it. They ran a heat of round two and Brother eliminated Fijian wildcard Tevita Gukilau, who looked deserving.

That was the day. It was OK, better than Brazil.

Are you with me on that, or have I read it all wrong?

Christ, I forgot Europe. Good evening Europe.

Enchanted: Slater’s OK Fiji Pro Gift Bag!

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

Includes Pulitzer prizewinning book!

Did you know that at every event on tour, each surfer is gifted a bag full of sponsor produce? Typically, items include a towel, sunscreen and so forth.

Of course, these gifts do lead to conflicts of interest. A Hurley towel, for instance, is of little use to a Billabong surfer, who might be fined for appearing in public wrapped in his master’s competitor’s haberdashery. Oh the daily headaches of the very best! Mostly, the items end up gifted to friends, occasional lovers etc.

Kelly Slater and his band at OuterKnown (John Moore, Zak Bush and so on), however, have curated a collection for their Fiji contest (watch now etc) that mixes practicality with promotion and all contained within an elegant valise.

Each surfer receives:

A copy of the Pulitzer prize-winning book, Barbarian Days by the heavyweight champion of surf writing William Finnegan. Did you know Bill was one of the first surfers to hit Tavarua? Oh you will if you read the best surf book ever written.
Fair Trade Certified Outerknown Lowtide Sweatshirt
Outerknown 100% organic pima Cotton Sojourn Pocket Tee
Outerknown It’s Not OK Towel (100% of profits of these go to support the Ocean Conservancy)
Electric Sunnies
Do these gifts make the minute hairs on your body bristle ever so slightly too? Does it make your innocent shanks tense with joy?
And, if you were given the job of curating a tour event gift bag, what would you include?