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Don’t Weep: Bede Durbidge retires!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Stave depression off and remember the good times!

Fiji’s greatest ever World Championship Tour surfer, Bede Durbidge, announced his retirement over the weekend in order to pursue his other great love, coaching. His hometown Gold Coast Bulletin reports:

Today, Bede is embarking upon another battle — that for Olympic glory — after being appointed as Surfing Australia’s elite program manager for the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games.

He will take up the role in early 2018, when he officially retires from competitive surfing at the end of the Australian leg of the World Surf League tour at Margaret River.

Announcing his retirement at Snapper Rocks today, Durbidge said he was stoked to take on the new role with Surfing Australia, albeit earlier than he had initially planned.

“I thought I would stay on tour for a few more years but this opportunity arose and I had to go for it,” Durbidge told reporters.

“It is a perfect transition for me to retire and move into that role.”

And while it is easy to fall into a massive depression with this news let’s not think about how much we will miss Bede on tour. Let’s think of all the good times we had together

And now, in honor of Bede, let’s also read a passage from the award-nominated book Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell (buy a second copy here please). This scene takes place as the author is approaching the Turtle Bay resort compound on Oahu’s famed North Shore.

And I continued walking while my heart beat harder. Faster. Had I manifested a riot? And it was so cold that I lit another Camel Red. I saw Bede Durbidge standing just inside the entrance talking on a cell phone bouncing his adorable new baby. Bede is a rangy, tall, blonde Australian with a smile as big as the moon. He is friendly and well liked and I once wrote that he is so bland that when he paddles out for competitive surfs everyone leaves the beach and goes for champagne brunches instead. Or at least I do. He looked at me and grimaced. His baby was beautiful and I felt bad for what I wrote and for smoking near her and for smoking in general and my soul was dark. Fox, Bede’s main sponsor, pulled all their ads from Stab because of the story.

Let’s remember Bede like that. Ok? Can we promise each other we’ll read this passage at this same time every year?

Watch: Mikey Wright’s Root!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Australia's favorite surfer goes and gets it done in Western Australia!

Ain’t life a wonderful surprise? Some mornings you wake and are dealt very much bad things. Like… mid-2000s dubstep and lady folk. But then other mornings you wake and are dealt very much beautiful things like… Turbonegro and Motörhead.

Like today!

Mikey Wright just dropped a wild n wooly masterpiece from the western half of Australia where it is said he filmed for two-ish weeks.

Do you love the way Mikey surfs? Does it inspire you to go out and surf the same? Do you think some day he will tone it down, slightly, and join the tour? Do you think his frontside air is better than Dane Reynolds’ frontside air? Be serious. Do you?

The clip is called ROOT and when I first moved to Australia, many years ago, I would ask people which Aussie Rules team they rooted for and they would look at me strangely while responding, “You mean barrack?”

Root in America means “to cheer for.” Barrack in Australia means “to cheer for.” Root in Australia means “to have sex with.” Barrack in America is the first name of our ex-President Obama.

And without further ado…

Get Rich: Teach surf in Norway!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

The "learn-to-surf" economy is booming up north!

Has your life plan stalled? Looking for a change? A way to maybe even get rich? Well look no farther than Norway! Scandinavia’s crown jewel offers stunning vistas, universal healthcare, zero “immigrants” and surf instructor jobs that pay $128 per lesson.

That’s 50% higher than the closest competitor! Or something. I failed math!

But how do I know what the various worldwide surf instructor rates are? Oh, well, surfholidays.com just released their patented Surf Lesson Price Index™ and let’s briefly scan the whole list.

It would be hard to make a fine living in even Ecuador for $22. Australia’s paltry $49 per lesson is not enough to buy an avo toast + long black. How many lessons do you think Rihanna has taken in Barbados and did she get a discount or pay the full $77? Sitting in Cornwall’s freezing cold stew does not seem worth $39 and while it is cute that Puerto Rico considers itself a first world country, I can’t imagine anyone there having $80 let alone paying that much for a surf lesson. It seems like a scam.

Many questions and thoughts but Norway. Will you quit your current job and move to Norway? I feel it would be a power move. A good look for you.

And now let us listen to Norway’s other best thing… Turbonegro.

Breaking: Night surfing makes news!

Steve Van Rees

by Steve Van Rees

Does this look fun? But what if you had MDMA?

According to a recent CBS news report, a New Breed of “daredevils” attempt to avoid crowds by surfing at night. Oh, how inventive.

Watch the clip here!

Night surfing. So what, right?  We’ve all had our fun without the sun. But watching this got me thinking. These guys are a little too stoked to be fumbling around in the water at night.  What might their motives truly be?

I’m guessing they are all playing a little unfair game of “Did you see me on that last wave?”  (Answer: Of course not.)  In fact, a night surfer could claim just about anything without the slightest detection of a blind audience, yes? Flailing arms, stink bugged legs, and an all around kook-style become irrelevant.

After all, something tells us that the New Breed is not much concerned with the particulars of a sharp rail game when their number one priority is having florescent lights inserted into the back half of a surfboard.

Just a hunch.

But do you night surf Malibu? Are you a daredevil?

Carroll: “Put surfing in Special Olympics!”

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Venerated surf journalist has greatest idea of last decade!

You don’t get to be a venerated surf journalist by being just any dumb asshole. No. It takes work. Precision. Dedication. A lifetime of watching men in neoprene pantsuits, or virtually naked, dance upon the water.

The few who last a decade plus in this profession are uniquely qualified to weigh in on this or that. To truly call themselves “surf journalists.” I barely qualify even though I have spent the past fifteen years talking to Dane Reynolds et. al.

And I am very much put to shame by Nick Carroll, the most venerated surf journalist of all and maybe of all-time. He just weighed in on surfing’s inclusion into the Olympics, writing:

Surfing shouldn’t be in the Olympics, just in the Special Olympics.

The simplicity, beauty and truth of that one sentence is almost more than I can take. More than I could ever create. Also, an unsurprisingly, Nick Carroll is totally right.

Surfers are special. We think of ourselves as special, act special, want to be treated special, do special things. We belong in the Special Olympics.

For those unawares, the Special Olympics were founded by John F. Kennedy’s sister Eunice in 1962 in order to bring the wonders of athletic competition into the lives of the physically and intellectually disabled.

The organization has since grown into a gorgeous representation of humankind at its best. Its website reads:

Special Olympics is a global movement of people creating a new world of inclusion and community, where every single person is accepted and welcomed, regardless of ability or disability. We are helping to make the world a better, healthier and more joyful place — one athlete, one volunteer, one family member at a time.

And just think what magnificent social reverberation would occur if the International Surfing Association informed the International Olympic Committee that we surfers chose to be with our peers. That we chose to be Special Olympians.

It would be a better Olympic story than Cool Runnings! A better Olympic story than the Miracle on Ice! A better Olympic story than Eddie the Eagle.

The best Olympic story of all time.

And thank you Nick Carroll.

ISA? Let’s do this thing!