Back To Top
Beach Grit

banner

Did we track wrong Brazilian Storm?

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Look down to the WQS then batten down the hatches!

Have you been tracking these hurricanes, Harvey, Irma and Jose? Watching them form, bob, weave, dissipate and grow? It’s fascinating and what’s most fascinating is they way they defy prediction. The experts, weathermen, etc. can all postulate all they want but the storm decides what its going to do and only decides at the very last second.

Much like the Brazilian Storm!

Do you remember the predictions of Brazilian dominance from five or such years ago? They were going to win, win, win, win, win, win, win. There was going to be so much winning that the country of Brazil would be sick of winning.

Gabby won and it seemed on. Adriano won and it seemed go-ish time but then… stall. John John took the wind and it seems as if all the winning was overstated. I mean, I guess two out of three ain’t bad but it never seemed… dominant.

But maybe just maybe we were tracking the wrong Brazilian Storm? Maybe the Gabriel Medina led hurricane wasn’t the one?

For if you look down at the WQS all you see is Brazil.

Jesse Mendes

Yago Dora

Alain Delon

Michael Rodrigues

Willian Cardoso

Jean Reno

Tomas Hermes

Alejo Muniz

Jean-Luc Godard

Yves Montand

Bino Lopez

Crazy no? Most of these will be filling into the Championship Tour in the coming two years and then will a non-Brazilian ever win again?

Is this second Brazilian Storm an actual Category 5? Read about it here!

Revealed: “Easier to act than surf!”

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Actor/Director Simon Baker says its true! Which of our surf stars should head to the silver screen?

I have never read a Tim Winton book but I think he is kind of a big deal in Australia and writes about surfing… or… surf. Or… you know, something. His novel Breath might be his biggest hit. Should we read its back?

When Loonie and Pikelet started to surf, they cycled from Angelus to the beach with their styrofoam boards, buffeted by the wind and, when they finally get to the sea, the waves. They couldn’t help it: they were terrified; they were addicted.

Among the local surfers, one guy stood out. He turned up alone, when the swell was highest, and left the rest of them for dead. Gradually Loonie and Pike got to know this loner, Sando, who took them under his wing. Half a lifetime later, Pike can’t free himself from where the ride took him.

Does it make you want to purchase? Does it sound erotic? Well, famous Australian actor Simon Baker has turned the book into a film also called Breath so you can watch instead. Let’s quickly read about that now.

“What was I thinking?” jokes Baker, recalling the decision to make his directorial debut with Breath, which premieres in Toronto. The film, which Embankment is selling worldwide, is an adaptation of the 2008 novel by Tim Winton, a coming-of-age tale about teen surfers in 1970s Australia. The movie stars two non-actors in the lead roles, and Baker shot the whole thing in six weeks, mainly on location on Australia’s west coast.

“Here I am, never having directed a film before, dealing with kids who’ve never been on a film set before, and we’ve got the ocean — which can’t be controlled and is such a key factor in the story — and we’ve got almost no time to do it,” he recalls. “I thought, ‘I’m probably going to fail miserably, but I’m going to have a great time trying.’ ”

But Baker did have one advantage: He knew the world described in Breath inside out. Because he lived it. Like Pikelet, the film’s narrator and main character, Baker grew-up amid the “crass machoism” of 1970s Australia with the twin loves of surfing and the arts.

“I’ve been surfing since I was 10,” he recalls. “When I read Tim’s novel I found myself weeping out of empathy for friends I grew up with. I was living in America at the time, and his words evoked the things I missed most (about home), the everyday sights and smells of the growing up in Australia at that time, for those of us who discovered the ocean and surfing played a big part in the formation of our identity.”

For the leads, teen surfers Pikelet and Loonie, Baker cast Samson Coulter and Ben Spence. While neither had ever acted before, both knew their way around a board.

“I needed kids who can handle themselves in the ocean,” says Baker. “It’s a lot easier to act than it is to surf.”

Wait… what? It’s a lot easier to act than it is to surf? That just can’t be true. Simon Baker must never have seen In God’s Hands.

But let’s pretend it is easier to act then to surf. Which of our WSL heroes would you most want to see in a feature film? Gabby? Jordy? Who?

Sherm: “The best photo I ever shot!”

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Iconic surf photographer discusses the tragic death of Zander Venezia.

You have most certainly read about the very sad death of sixteen-year-old surfer Zander Venezia in Barbados by now. The young man was surfing the first bands of Hurricane Irma energy off the island country’s east coast with a handful of stars. According to Jimmy Wilson, who was there shooting, he caught a wave, made it out the back and then told people he was going in. His surfboard was later spotted tombstoning and he was pulled from the water unconscious. He was declared dead at the hospital from complications due to a broken neck.

Tragic and also part of this life we live. Shallow reef, slabs, giant monstrous waves, sharks, sandbars… our playground is littered with menace and it is a wonder more surfers are not brought low.

Steve Sherman, the iconic surf photographer, has been in the game for as long as anyone can remember and has seen much glory and much tragedy. He took the last portrait of Andy Irons and at the U.S. Open of Surfing he took the last portrait of Zander Venezia and I think he has a unique perspective worth sharing.

I met him two weeks ago doing assignment  for the WSL. Set up a studio down there to get portraits of all the WQS kids. Got portraits. I remember meeting him. Good looking kid. Real professional. I was shooting 128 portraits and he stuck out because he was wearing a Hurley shirt and because he photographed beautifully. Every shot was perfect. I didn’t put two and two together for a few days.

Jimmy shot his last. I had a conversation with him right after it happened. About a time we were surfing a slab in Bali and how crazy it was. I got caught inside and… its just crazy how close death is to surfing.

My emotion? Just… sadness. We’re a tribe and when a surfer dies everyone feels it. I’ve been around for too many of them. Shot all of them. Todd Chesser, Donny Solomon, AI…I’ve lost a lot of friends. There’s a lot more I worry about And it’s just this weird feeling of… fuck. To have photographic evidence, it becomes important all of a sudden. This photo of this kid shot becomes important. I got to celebrate his life by barely knowing him. and that makes it way better than anything I’ve shot.

In terms of dying, as a surfer, if you can go doing what you love then maybe that’s better than dying from a car wreck or cancer.

It’s death and glory.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BYrVppYgS82/?taken-by=jimmicane

Watch: Volcom’s Osmo Thrombo!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Visit the funhouse again!

I know this is a week old but sometimes it takes me a while to get around to things. You know? I get busy yelling at the neighborhood yard men for going on 45 minute leaf blower binges. Just sitting there with leaf blowers whining away. Just blowing stuff this way then that way then this way then that way.

You know?

So I miss things but late last night I finally got around to Osmo Thrombo, Volcom’s latest offering, and it is fun. It is fun in a classic Volcom kind of way. A kind of way that’s been missing for a while. It made me remember how much I like their team.

Do you like their team? Mitch, Ozzy, etc.? I think Noa Deane fits in real nice, say what you will cruel bastard.

Bruce should still be there.

Sabre Norris: “I just went snow surfing!”

Sabre Norris

by Sabre Norris

Tiny tot TV superstar takes surf game to the mountains…

I’ve always wanted to go snowboarding but I thought it would never happen because, uh, well, money. There are six people in my family and we only ever go on surf holidays because you don’t have to pay to ride waves.

Never did I expect, not even in my wildest dreams and I do have some wild dreams, that the Olympic gold medallist Torah Bright would invite me and my family to the snow for free.

So for the first time in a long time, I want to say ‘ever’ but maybe that’s being too dramatic our black Volkswagen van left our house without the usual smell of wee wafting thick in the air.

The wee smell is what evaporates off from the wetsuits that live in the boot of our car. But we were going on a holiday to Thredbo, in the Australian snowy mountains, to see snow for the first time and we had swapped our rubber wetsuits for warm snow gear.

The car trip down was filled with excitement, anticipation and sprays of vomit from my sister Naz who always gets car sick when she plays the iPad.

We had just counted our fifth dead kangaroo on the side of the road when I caught my first glimpse of snow. We screamed, clapped and bouncing.

A couple of minutes later we arrived at our accommodation. The car park outside our hotel was stuffed full with Porsches, BMWs and Audis. Rich people country.

Just as I started counting the Porsches I had this feeling that started at my toes and ended at my heart. I couldn’t believe people I’d never met before would pay for not only to come to the snow but to stay in the fanciest accommodation with all the rich people.

What did I know about Torah?

She had an Olympic gold medal and that was two shades better than the Olympic medal my Dad had won. Also, Torah’s medal was from a much cooler sport than the swimming medal we have at home.

The next day my brother woke me up at three am and we both couldn’t get back to sleep. I had the same type of excitement inside me that I get on Christmas morning, except instead of a lounge room full of presents we would get a mountain full of snow and a special gift of meeting Torah Bright.

Finally, the sun rose and sprinted to the free buffet breakfast with the mission of trying to stuff ourselves with that much food we wouldn’t have to buy lunch on the mountain.

Snowboarding vs surf? Hmmm. It’s super fun but it isn’t as easy as it looks. At the beach, I watch the people learning to surf and wonder how they could possibly be that bad.

But in the snow I was a beginner. And a bad beginner. My legs shook with worry. The reason Torah had asked me to the snow was because I can surf. I felt that once she saw me on a snowboard she’d lose all her respect for me.

Torah, of course, has the soul of a mother (and didn’t care if I was a kook) which is weird for two reasons.

Reason 1) She doesn’t have any kids.

Reason 2) Her cuddles feel firm instead of the usual soft fluffy fat feel that mums always have.

Torah’s one of those people that you instantly feel comfortable with and you can just be yourself around. She’s not a judgy person who would tell me that I’m not as funny as what I looked like on Ellen or anything like that.

Torah says she’s going to be more proud of becoming a mum than of her golden Olympic medal. That surprised me because it seems like it’s easy to become a mum. You see them everywhere and most people do it but it seems a fair bit harder to win an Olympic medal.

It wasn’t long till I had cleverly positioned myself right next to Torah on the chair lift. The chair lift was the perfect place to get to know someone as the person you are interrogating is stuck and unable to escape.

I told Torah I loved the picture on her snowboard. It was her own custom design that featured a deer and a bear. The bear’s head was on top of the deer and in the background there was snow glistening in the night time. The story behind it is that it represents her love for her husband Angus, she is the bear and her husband Angus is the deer. The animals represent their personalities. When you see Torah and Angus together it looks like their hearts are tied together with rope.

Torah spent the next couple of hours hanging out with us kooks on the  beginner slope called Friday Flats. Her happiness made me feel like hanging out with us on was not painful and that maybe it was even fun.

The day with Torah ended in a blink and so did our special holiday. Soon, enough we were in our black van heading back to Newcastle. In between counting the third and fourth dead kangaroo on the way home I was thinking about something Torah had told me.

Torah says she’s going to be more proud of becoming a mum than of her golden Olympic medal. That surprised me because it seems like it’s easy to become a mum. You see them everywhere and most people do it but it seems a fair bit harder to win an Olympic medal.

But Torah reckons medals don’t give you a kinder heart or make you a better person so they don’t matter that much.