Back To Top
Beach Grit


Jordy Smith: “Tour’s #1 safety surfer!”


by Longtom

Writer analyses every single scoring wave of Jordy Smith at J-Bay. The results will shock!

This was supposed to happen the next day but I ran into an old friend in the carpark and a few shots of spiced rums later there we went again, no sober analysis.

Then, the local point was falling out of the sky over the weekend and the sober analysis got kicked to the kerb.

But this one is real.

Straight up, there were five or six surfers in the draw who, theoretically, could have done what Filipe did. And I include Italo, Gabby, and reluctantly Kolohe in that list, but only one other likely to do it in a heat, that being John John Florence.

But while John could have done it but didn’t, Filipe did. Not once, but twice.

John didn’t because he has been trained, both by his own hand and by his coach, to restrict the performance envelope. This is what pro surfing does. It penalises mistakes so heavily because of the format that a certain amount of conservatism is mandatory. John has learnt to surf at a lesser level than his peak best, as has every other member of the top ten. The only exception to this rule being Kelly Slater, who has learnt to surf better in competition than he does in free surfs.

Or had.

Any quasi-competent recreational surfer could ride J-Bay as beautiful as it gets and stitch together a pair of threes on best-ever rides. Any competent pointbreak surfer can ride the tube at Supers. The pro’s are expected to exploit that canvas to reach hitherto unseen levels of performance.

That is what makes Filipe’s wave, his overall performance, despite some stylistic flaws, the best in pro surfing history. The fact that he was so easily able and willing to overcome the inherent conservatism of a man-on-man heat and the pro surfing format in general.

Mick Fanning said the wave (J-Bay) is the star and we are just here to do nothing and make the wave look good.

Au contraire Michael.

Any quasi-competent recreational surfer could ride J-Bay as beautiful as it gets and stitch together a pair of threes on best-ever rides. Any competent pointbreak surfer can ride the tube at Supers. The pro’s are expected to exploit that canvas to reach hitherto unseen levels of performance.

And, by and large, they didn’t.

When you consider Andy Irons opened the final at Barra in Mexico in 2006, more than 10 years ago, with a lofty straight air as an opening move. A section connector. And you consider what Filipe did, you realise how much music has been left unplayed.

Jordy Smith is the worst safety surfer on tour. Did you notice after the Grit bought numerical analysis to the game that the WSL cribbed it? I did. This time an analysis of Jordy turn-by-turn was done. I went through every single one of his scoring waves and gave every turn a number from 1-10. Ten was the highest-risk turn, the most radical and zero was, well, falling off or doing nothing.

Jordy’s camp can rail against this and shoot the messenger or they can do the analysis themselves and face the reality. Absent an angry, belligerent Jordy, what we get is safe, low energy surfing.

As a reference point, Jordy’s standard top-turn wrap, a turn he can do with zero risk 99.99% of the time, was assigned a five. This was painstaking, tedious work. Out of 85 counted turns, 17 scored in the excellent range (eight and above) and eight of those came in a single heat (round five resurf against Conner Coffin, Jordy’s best heat by a mile).

Jordy’s average turn score came in at a very safe 6.22. That is, safe surfing.

Jordy’s camp can rail against this and shoot the messenger or they can do the analysis themselves and face the reality. Absent an angry, belligerent Jordy, what we get is safe, low energy surfing.

Sad, yes. Inevitable, no.

Nothing lights up the proud surfwriter more than going sloppy fourths on a subject. On the tens there is only one conclusion we can reach and it is well supported by the science of psychology.

A mass abrogation of executive function bought on by a sustained period of emotional over-excitement and subsequent discharge.

Translated: Judges lost their marbles after viewing too many perfect waves. You can Google all this Richie Porta. Type executive function, human decision making, effects of emotion, cognitive bias, flaws in decision making etc.

It’s all there. No blame, no judgement. What’s astounding is not when judges freak out but how often they get it right. We can wait until the next iteration of pro surfing before judging changes.

We can wait.

Until then, see you at Teahupoo.

Shark race: “TVs most hyped flop!”

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Who has better shark ratings... 24x gold medalist Michael Phelps or Mick Fanning?

A few nights ago, or maybe it was last night, the world’s greatest swimmer, Michael Phelps was supposed to race a great white shark to see which was faster. The program had been pumped for months. Phelps vs. Shark etc. Many people wondered how this would happen. Would Phelps swim in a cage maybe? Would there be some sort of fence?

The day finally came and the main event built up for over an hour until the very end when Michael Phelps ended up racing a computer generated shark.

Many people became very angry and put their anger on Twitter.

“Call me crazy but I thought they were gonna put Phelps up against a real shark not a simulation. I feel robbed.”

“Should’ve called it Michael Phelps vs a Computer Generated Simulation. Huge letdown.”

“Waited an hour for Michael Phelps to race a CGI shark. Discovery is receiving a strongly worded letter fur sure.”

“IT WAS A FAKE SHARK. Phelps raced a fake shark….and lost. I feel cheated.”

“#Spoiler #PhelpsVShark was essentially 58 minutes of fishing for sharks & 38 seconds of #Phelps in the water LOSING to a CGI #Shark.”

“Michael Phelps has been hyping up that he’s going to race a shark for months now. He did it tonight and it was a damn CGI shark #FakeNews”

“Phelps racing a fake shark is like when ur teacher says there’s gonna be a sub but shows up the next day”


These go on forever and Discovery is very embarrassed but shouldn’t be. Not everything is the World Surf League and not everyone is Mick Fanning. Am I right or am I right?

You Can’t Script This™

It Takes a Shark to Make a Tour™

Science: Grit gives “sense of purpose!”

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Sydney Morning Herald waxes eloquent about your third favorite surf website!

I must admit, as we sit on the precipice of a brand new week, that sometimes doubt creeps into my heart. Oh we, Derek and I, try to be anti-depressive each and every day. To put smiles on faces while informing, sharing, elucidating, rumor-mongering. We try to be fun but are we? Or are we just mealy-mouthed and unpleasant. Do we just rape corpses and run around with nooses.

And that doubt blossoms into depression.

But today, the august Sydney Morning Herald came to my soul’s rescue! Australia’s best, most important and oldest news source published a whole piece on The Importance of ‘Grit’ and Why Surfing is One of its Best Teachers.

I couldn’t believe my eyes as I read paragraph after paragraph of the qualities this little surf website brings to the entire world! Shall we read a few paragraphs together?

Grit describes the ability to persevere with long-term goals, sustaining interest and energy over months or years. For Joe, this meant struggling through arduous physiotherapy exercises and remaining engaged and hopeful throughout his recovery.

Research suggests that gritty people are more likely to succeed in a range of challenging situations. Grittier high school students are more likely to graduate. Grittier novice teachers are more likely to remain in the profession and gritty military cadets are more likely to make it through intense mental and physical training. The secret to this success is found in the ability to keep going when things get tough. Gritty people don’t give up and they don’t get bored.

Research also suggests that grit can be learned. Certain conditions can foster grit, allowing grit developed in one domain to transfer to other, more challenging, situations. Surfing is a good example of how grit can be gently cultivated, strengthened and then honed.

The final grit-honing element of surfing is its ability to provide a sense of purpose. Feeling purposeful – a state psychologists describe as a belief that life is meaningful and worthwhile – involves doing things that take us closer to our important goals. It usually means acting in line with our values and being part of something bigger than ourselves. This could refer to religious practice, connecting to nature or simply helping other people.

Research suggests that as levels of grit increase, so does a sense of purpose. But this doesn’t mean that gritty people are saints – just that they have an awareness of how their activities connect to a cause beyond themselves, as well as their own deeply held values.

I will carry the responsibility of giving your life purpose with honor and dignity. Thank you for trusting us.

5 (More) Surf Media Lies!

Giancarlo Guardascione

by Giancarlo Guardascione

The second in an endless series!

Parents, politicians, coaches and teachers lie to protect their disciples from the harshness of reality and keep them interested.

Surf mags/surf industry are our surrogates.

Did you miss part one? Jordy v Dane, alaias, still shots of perfect waves, Van Life and Indo boards?

Click here. 

Today, we present,

(1) Wavepool perfection. The GOAT likens his wave pool to Wonka Land. He’s right. It is. But indulging in too many sweets has its effects. The lack of paddling, reduction of positioning for a peak and absence of whim from the ocean can dull the senses till you’re left with a puddle of empty candy wrappers and a waistline north of 40. Every time I see a pro cruise through one of those barrels I think two things: the first is jealousy, the second is that part from Willie Wonka where Augustus Gloop gets shot from the tube (no pun intended) after making love to the chocolate river. Billabong got this one semi-right: Only a surfer knows the feeling of being out on a shitty day when the front suddenly goes off, the sun comes out, the wind shifts and crumbly peaks become majestic pyramids.

It’s the closest you’ll get to God splitting the Red Sea for you. Something very unlikely to happen in Lemoore, California.

(Note: the editors disagree vociferously with Giancarlo’s posit about wavepools. A better analogy than Dahl’s Chocolate Factory would be the new generation of sex dolls. Even for girls!)

(2.) The Hot 100 (forced introduction of 12 year old surf studs): How many of these projected stars sparkle and fade? Some go the Justin Bieber route, maintain their fluidity, and discover their sexuality through pop songs and sleeve tattoos. Others transition into Lindsay Lohan facsimiles and become self-aware through faux lesbian encounters and Colombian imports.

This one is not the surf media’s fault. When sponsors come knocking with the promise of two-page ads paid upfront it’s harder to resist than a Golden Ticket. Every time a judging tower is stormed on behalf of someone’s kid, Little League dads are laughing as they fill ranks and branch out into differentiated franchises. Remember the evil shaman from Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom who enslaved those kids and kept them sweating in mines, searching for scared stones?… He called those serfs his Hot 100.

(3.) Nose Guards: Back when surfboards were the real weapons of mass destruction, they had noses sharper than an Orange County housewife post-surgery. There’s no doubt these rubber diamonds saved countless said moms from taking their kids to the ER. However, couple the nose guard with a pair of webbed gloves and a beaver tail wetsuit and you prove Charles Darwin’s (surf) evolution theory with a living, breathing, human, duck-billed platypus.

(4.) The NY Quick Pro: This was a QUIET lie. The surf media had to secretly support the Quik Pro. The real truthsayers of our industry (unhinged by any loyalty to the surf landscape), the message board and forum commenters, lit up their screens with justified venom (we all fear what we don’t know). New York has a way of bitch-slapping you if you fuck with it. This time it was aided by a curvy princess born in the Caribbean called hurricane Katia.

The end result? Four consecutive days of unprecedented four-to-six-foot waves peelers reeling down the sand. Every tourist leaves The City with some form of  I (heart) NY. Be it Times Square T-shirts, SoHo scandals or Long Beach lettering on enlarged checks with $300,000 spelled out on the amount  line.

(Editor’s note: Watch and laugh at Adriano’s nine-something in the following highlight reel.)

(5.) Teva Sandals: Sometimes, there is a crime within a crime. In this case, it’s wearing sandals, which leads to wearing sandals with multiple clashing colors on the strap in addition to a ‘support strap’ running across the side of your foot like a flatline on your EKG sexual barometer.

Redemption? Never underestimate the power and versatility of sockless Vans, no matter how bad the smell. They are the …Lost Quiver Killer’s of #shoe life.

Always the Vans, never the Tevas.

Always the Vans, never the Tevas.

Upvote: King of the Komments!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Are you popular or unpopular? Now there's a scientific way to know!

My sauvignon blancs from Negatron’s backyard have transitioned to vodka sodas from Vlad Putin’s backyard and ain’t Sunday’s grand? I know if you’re waking up in Australia right now it is Monday and you are not feeling grand but pour some vodka in your coffee and revel in how popular you maybe are!

Whilst doing some hard hard work, just a few minutes ago, I accidentally waved my cursor over the avatars in our comment section and saw, for the first time, that Disqus registers both comments and votes.

An unimpeachable popularity guide!

So who amongst you has the best comment-to-vote ratio? Let’s look at three recent posts and see!

Mattysez: 531 – 789

That Dead Whale at Trestles: 732 – 1697

Antipodes: 135 – 441

Dickie Toledo: 267 – 743

Audit in Progress: 1611 – 3519

Mariano Landa: 1468 – 2776

Ami Lost: 180 – 242

mullet: 1200 – 2709

bitter guy: 4009 – 7367

Nik Karol: 432 – 949

Dogsnuts: 302 – 703

Neal Kearney: 420 – 458

20 mule team: 95 – 411

german_ surfer_007: 338 – 686

Negatron: 2678 – 10637

DrunkenAngel: 1000 – 2024

Chazz Michael Michaels: 467 – 847

Noa’s last dart: 2194 – 7074

Bleach’d Git: 331 – 1083

Turd Ferguson: 1144 – 1551

Trogan Fan: 7455 – 11324

NUG: 83 -814

SharkAttack575: 75 – 56

J H: 1654 – 1726

Rory Parker: 660 -1700

And now my vodka has run dry… were you left out? Tell me in the comments and I’ll upvote you!

But in summary….

SharkAttack575 is the only one upside-down, and the clear loser, but that may only be a product of his general retardation so we shouldn’t make fun.

And is it any wonder that Negatron is King? That is a serious comment-to-vote ratio and why I was drinking sauvignon blancs from his backyard and not yours.