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Surf Journalism: BBC reporter gives lesson!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

On how to deliver the news on certain stories...

Let’s just take a few minutes to get real. Surfing is a very worthwhile thing to do but not all “surfing” is “surfing.” You know what I’m saying? Like, riding a SUP is not surfing. And wakeboarding is not surfing. And hydrofoiling across great stretches of ocean is not surfing. And riding an egg shape is not surfing unless it is foam. And dogs surfing is not surfing.

Things that aren’t surfing may still be fun but they are also not very worthwhile.

A BBC reporter understood this and delivered a story about surfing dogs with the appropriate amount of enthusiasm. Let’s watch.

Now, I bring this up because Surfer fawned over a recent clip of Gerry Lopez bodysurfing in a river. Let us watch then read.

Gerry Lopez has always been a trailblazer. When Pipeline got crowded, he bolted for Indonesia. When that got inudated with surfers, he headed for Oregon to snowboard. When river surfing got popular, he started bodysurfing in rivers.

Wait, what? Well, Lopez hasn’t stopped river surfing by any means. But he did just post a video on Instagram of him bodysurfing with a handplane in a river near his home of Bend, Oregon.

Lopez is no stranger to river surfing and displaying the possibilities of fun within them. A regular in the Bend, Oregon river surfing scene, Lopez recently told our own Senior Editor Jon Perino that river waves are perfect set-ups for bodysurfing.

So Lopez did just that. And as the timeless style master he is, Lopez did so while wearing a hat and sunglasses. Leave it to Lopez to introduce the world to river bodysurfing.

I understand that Gerry Lopez has earned the right to do whatever he wishes but large Germans have been doing this sort of thing for millennia. And calling Lopez’s hat/sunglass combo “timeless style” is sacrilegious.

We must be careful and deliver droll BBC style reports on news items that fail to clear our admittedly low bar lest we all become like The Inertia, which wrote:

Gerry Lopez knows water. He’s figured out a way to keep himself young, and it involves water, whether it’s in liquid form or frozen. He also knows surfing, and knows that surfing is all about having fun. Surfing doesn’t require a board–all it requires is a wave and a willingness to slide on it.

Fucking The Inertia

Winner: Surfing’s best video game!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

All bizarre but each captivating!

There is a new surf video game being released later this month for X-Box and Playstation called Surf World Series. It is described as:

An arcade-style representation of surfing, featuring monster waves to take on at a range of iconic locations.

These include places like Bell’s Beach, Australia and Waimea Bay, Hawaii, where you can tackle extreme waves, pulling off increasingly challenging tricks like kickflips, cutbacks and massive aerials, all while navigating towering tubes. Surf World Series features 44 solo challenges to complete, as well as online competition for up to 16 players in three different modes.

And looks like this:

Doesn’t the way the digital surfer slides around the wave seem so… typically odd? So… weirdly completely off? Like, the angle is all strange. Moving forward and sideways at the same time or something. How, in 2017, have video game makers not been able to capture even 3% of what surfing looks like?

Strange.

But it did make me wonder, what is the best surfing video game of all time? I offer the following for your consideration:

T&C’s Wood & Water Rage:

Kelly Slater’s Pro Surfer:

Transworld Surf:

Sunny Garcia Surfing:

Championship Surfer (for Dreamcast):

Which wins? Which is surfing’s best video game? And when BeachGrit releases BeachGrit Pro Shred Man! what features/waves/worlds/moves do you think it should include?

Vicious: Kanoa’s deadly shoulder!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Small Kanoa Igarashi lowers the boom!

If there is one thing we haven’t thought enough about over the last twenty-four hours it is the Kanoa Igarashi on Filipe Toledo interference call that tilted our entire globe on its axis.

How even could we even? There are enough storylines, enough subplots, enough twists and turns to fill an entire episode of Game of Thrones. Kanoa Igarashi, for example, is now $100,000.00 richer. Filipe Toledo now has an actual nemesis. A small, Huntington Beach-based Japanese boy.

If professional surfing was Game of Thrones who, do you think, would Kanoa Igarashi be? Would he be… Ramsay Bolton? Or… Joffrey Baratheon? Or… Missandei?

And who would Filipe Toldeo be? Would he be… Tormund Giantsbane? Or… Samwell Tarly? Or… Grey Worm?

He would totally be Grey Worm but let’s transition back to the interference call that tiled our entire globe on its axis.

I hadn’t seen it up close until I watched this:

Are you even kidding me? Brett Simpson’s father, you may or may know, played NFL football on defense, I believe, and regularly brought the hurt. Did you think small and Japanese Kanoa Igarashi had it in him?

Watch again. Watch how he lowers his delicate shoulder to pummel straight into Filipe. He wasn’t trying to surf the wave no. He was trying to take a man stone cold out.

And the plot thickens. This is reaching Laird x Menstruation levels!

Watch: Tom Curren rides finless in Hossegor!

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

Rescue board takeoffs to skim!

This is old. I ain’t gonna pretend. Made in February 2016.

It flew onto my radar just then by virtue of, I don’t know, my search history of old men roaming nude beaches?

Whatever it is, it’s a fine piece of short course cinema that documents the three-time world champion Tom Curren returning to the joint he made famous back in the eighties (took a wife there, too, Marie, their kid Leanne Curren rips) and sloshing around on ridiculous surf equipment. You know the sort, the busted-in-half rescue board Tom uses to catch the wave before abandoning and jumping into a deep squat on his skimmer. It’s all very kooky, but all very cool.

I mean, you’re mid-fifties, you nailed riding the usual sleds, why not shake it up? Tom is remarkably coherent in the clip, something that always surprises me, given the times I met him in the nineties and the most I ever got was a simian grunt and eyes so red I wanted to lick them back to health.

The waves, meanwhile, don’t it make you want to bivouac at one of these beaches for the summer?

Crime: Is Filipe’s season being stolen?

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Will the winner of 2017's WSL crown forever wear an asterisk?*

Could it be argued, right at this moment, that Filipe Toledo is the best surfer in the world? I think it could! Oh of course there is a possible hole in his game (plus-size Teahupo’o) but otherwise… what?

He was magnificent at J-Bay, surfing the best wave in competitive history during a contest that saw nothing but A+ swell. He was set to win Huntington in what would charitably be called “below average” conditions.

He truly seems unstoppable. Doesn’t even the great John John Florence seem kind of yawn at this very moment in time? Doesn’t the whole rest of the tour feel a touch outclassed?

And yet he has been stopped. By the machinations. By the structure. By the rulez.

Let us quickly rewind the tape. Filipe came out of the gate on Australia’s Gold Coast surfing poorly and netting at 25th. He turned it around at the Drug Aware Pro with a 3rd and backed that up with a 5th at Bells and onto Rio where he was totally going to win until the judges screamed interference and he was bumped to 13th and also cancelled from Fiji.

But let us say the judges didn’t ding Filipe on a technicality in Rio. Let us say he won the event like he was totally going to and then traveled to Fiji. The waves that came forth during the very slow OuterKnown Pro were custom made for him and just imagine if he would have surfed them like he surfed the following J-Bay.

He would have won. And he did win J-Bay. Which means his score line would read 25th, 3rd, 5th, 1st, 1st, 1st.

The young man could have refused to surf Tahiti just for fun and still easily win Trestles, France, Portugal and which point Pipe would be nothing but his coronation.

Just yesterday he really should have won Huntington Beach’s U.S. Open of Surfing and of course it is not a championship tour event but still. He was called out. Denied $100,000.00 (is the purse still $100,000.00?) on an interference decision the great Brett Simpson lambasted publicly. Kanoa Igarashi went on to win but examine his picture holding the trophy.

Those sad eyes hidden by sunglasses, a disingenuous smile pulled taut. One limp finger half-heartedly raised to the sky.

Kanoa knows he was not, in fact, number 1 this day. He knows he was only saved by rules and regulations.

His face is an asterisk.

And don’t you think whoever wins the title this year, if it is not Filipe Toledo, might also forever carry an asterisk?

Let’s wait and see but I think Kanoa’s asterisk face is a clear and present possibility for the winner of the World Surf League’s 2017 season.

Wilko should probably practice his.

*If the winner is not Filipe Toledo