Mick Fanning of Tweed Heads, NSW, Australia (pictured) has won the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach for the third time in his career defeating Taj Burrow (AUS) in the final in Australia on Wednesday April 23, 2014. Fanning defeated Burrow by 16.83 to 13.46 (both out of a possible 20.00). | Photo: ASP

Candid: A Love Letter to the World Number Two!

Mick Fanning! This samba is for you!

My dear Mick Fanning,
Oh how we have just entered a brave, new world. The cutest little man from a country called Brasil is now surfing’s champion and what a fine champion he is. Undeniable!
But can I take a few moments, before caipirinha burns my eyes, and just say how much you mean to me? You fought like a gladiator this year. Like a blonde Vandal swinging a battle-forged axe. I used to think you were boring. Remember that? Remember how it pricked your heart and forced troubling words from your mouth?
Well it turns out I was the prick. Yes, the years have treated you so well. The hardness, the angularity, of your face screams “Daniel Craig!” And while I really despise him as James Bond, he makes for a wonderful surf champ.
Mick Fanning and Chas Smith
And here we are presented with two great champions, one a master of the ocean (Mick Fanning, left), the other of keystrokes. (Chas Smith, right). “The friend in my adversity I shall always cherish most,” says Chas. “I can better trust those who helped to relieve the gloom of my dark hours than those who are so ready to enjoy with me the sunshine of my prosperity.”
You ride the barrel without fear and, of course, with a slight hunchback. But maybe it is hunched with the weight of expectation? With the hopes of a nation?
You surf with a working class ethic that is missing in today’s spoiled youth. Kolohe Andino, is that you looking over my shoulder? I can smell the champagne, caviar and Pizza Hut on your breath. Could you do me a favor and be a touch more like Mick? It is scary out there, what with North Korean agitation and all and we are in desperate need of brave and tough heroes. Kim Jong Un is that you peeking into my private correspondence? I can smell the kimchee and soju on yours. Beware! The man to whom I am writing may be down, but like free market capitalism, he is never out.
What I didn’t know, couldn’t know, during your initial Micktory, I learned when Lightening Struck Twice and Thrice. You are worthy. You are more than worthy. And so, as the earth sambas tonight, and as I samba too, know that part of me sambas for you.
Here is to 2015. Here is to revenge.
Your friend Chas Smith

Kolohe Andino frontside finner
"I like when they come deep off of the bottom. Dane does that real good," says Kolohe. "Always have a wide stance when going into this. It gives you more control over your board. About three-fourths of the way up, start your pre-twist." | Photo: ASP/Kirstin

Technique: How to punch out a frontside finner

This holiday season, learn a new trick with Kolohe Andino!

Try to picture a modern world without the frontside finner. It ain’t easy. Can you imagine Ev Gieselman’s game if he wasn’t a master of kicking out the jams? Marzo? Or Reynolds? Our favourite exponent of this particular innovation, however, is Mr Kolohe Andino, the son of ’90s pro Dino. Watch his frontside kicks at Trestles and beyond for a textbook how-to. Ain’t no creased face or fixed jaw in Kolohe’s sublime fin toss. Perfect timing. Perfect placement.

Now, let’s set our own faces to crease and learn the why, where and how of the frontside finner.

BeachGrit: Who was the very first person you saw stomp a frontside finner?

Well, the first movie I ever fell in love with was Montaj (Released in 2002. Kolohe was eight). I can’t really remember if he was really kicking the fins all the way around into the flats or not, but I just loved it. The first person I saw do a proper nose pick was Clay Marzo. It was in 2005 at the NSSA Nationals open men’s final. Remember when he got two 10s and shocked the world? Yep, one of those 10s he does one. I was 11.

What effect did this have upon you?

I had just came out of my open mini-groms final, my first-ever national title. I felt on top of the world. But, then I see Mason (Ho) and Clay and these kids paddling out for their open men’s final. And, you know when you are like in first grade and you see a fifth grader and think they look like giants?. That’s how I felt looking up to them. I was in awe. They seemed so pro, with everything dialled. I wanted to be just like them. Really, they were only 16, 17 years old. When I sat on the point after watching Clays 10s, I just remember thinking to myself, that looks really fun and I want to do that.

Did you mention what you saw to Dino? What was his reaction?

My Dad was down at the contest at the time. He thought Clay’s surfing was incredible. Some years ago, we went on a Super surfboards trip to the Mentawai islands with Clay and my Dad said that’s the best surfing he has ever seen in real life. But, at the time, when I was 11, if I had tried one of those in front of him, he would’ve  been, like, “What are you doing? You cant even do a turn yet?”

Were you initially confounded by the mechanics of the turn?

Yes, at the time it seemed very difficult to me.

How long did it take you to decipher the mechanics of the turn?

I’m not really sure. When you are only 18 years old you really have spent only maybe three years of your life knowing what’s going on in this world. I just remember thinking that it looked so cool that he could throw his board into the air and catch it on the nose with his feet, turn-spin around, then shuffle back. At the time it seemed like acrobatic shit.

Did anyone help y’out, advice wise?

Yeah. I mean, I don’t really remember my Dad helping out with that particular thing. But I know he did. He helped with everything.

For people with real basic skills, can you give a real basic (but profoundly helpful) description of the mechanics?

I like when they come deep off of the bottom. Dane does that real good. Always have a wide stance when going into this. It gives you more control over your board. About three-fourths of the way up, start your pre-twist. I was always taught to really twist like Mick Fanning on every turn. So, if you look at mine I’m twisting way too much. Okay, then stomp on your front foot and let that back foot hang loose. It’s almost like throwing your board out the back but then catching it with your feet on the nose. Once you’ve caught your board, keep the pressure on your front foot and spin down the wave backwards. Then, when you’re down the wave,  slowly release the pressure, like the clutch of a car. Now the fins do the work and the board spins around. Shuffle back and go into your next turn.

 Who’s got the best frontside finner in the biz?

Dane, Clay, Dusty, Taj, John, Medina.

Wade Goodall in a barrel
"Drugs are bad shit. Changes people. Drugs can make you like, and your body to respond to, electro music," says Wade Goodall. "Ain't nothing good about that." | Photo: Courtesy Vans

Wade Goodall on drugs, the tour, the brevity of fame

The sweetest and brawniest of pro surfers. A little bit Ozzie Wright, a little Dane Reynolds… 


Teahupoo when it’s big is a siren of sorts. It lures you in. It must be a woman. When you see it, you want it but it scares you. She will either give you the ride of your life or kick you in the nuts. My favourite wave in the world for sure.


I haven’t had it too bad so far. I can’t hold my breath for very long at all so I’d be in a bit of trouble if I had to spend some time at the bottom of the sea. I’m a catch-and-release fisherman  80% of the time so if it did seem like I was staying down for good I would just relax and wait for those fish to repay the favour and return me. What goes around comes around.


The Tour de France is boring. I don’t like cycling. I get nervous when i have to pass a cyclist. One time I was walking home after a night of leisure and a flock of about 100 cyclists came riding down the road towards me. The leader hit a rock and flipped. Then it was just stacks on. Or would it be spokes on. Whatever, not into it.


Amazing creatures. Seeing my girl make a baby human has been unbelievable. What their body goes through in the process is just incredible. I can’t imagine having to do all that. The makers of life. You go, girls.


When it comes down to it they are bad. But every now and then I have one. With coffee or wine. After a few drink, sure. But I don’t like them. I find the action of smoking is what allures me. I just like blowing smoke out.


Fame is something I don’t think about. Unless I see someone famous and I feel nervous and do something awkward even when I really don’t care that they were in some movie I can’t remember. That feeling of thinking you know this person but in fact you have never met is strange. I don’t know why it happens. If fame is brief then I bet some people are stoked. Finally some guy isn’t coming up to them in the street and pointing saying Eyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy (insert catchphrase from that show they did here).


Bad shit. Changes people. Drugs can make you like, and your body to respond to, electro music. Ain’t nothing good about that. Drugs that are beneficial in a medicinal way are good. Drugs may cure cancer. Drugs as a whole are both helpful and devastating to the human race. Please use responsibly.


The shittiest. I don’t know why I have broken both my legs in the last two years on the same beach, surfing with the same crew, driven to the hospital by the same ambo and operated on and cared for by the same doctors and nurses. Maybe I have gotten away with a lot of things in my life and my luck is running out or maybe I was Hitler or a termite in a past life and I’m getting what I deserve. But it’s not terminal. Time heals and I’ll be surfing again.


Inevitable. Doesn’t bother me in the slightest. Actually, going bald is a bit scary. I know it’s in my future. Let’s just say my Dad isn’t rocking an afro. But he’s a legend so I don’t care and I love hats.


It looks fine to me. I feel I can embrace change a lot better. I’m more comfortable in myself and am learning to back myself in new things. Having a go instead of not trying because I’m shit at it due to my non experience. I don’t feel like I am in some mature club now though. I’m definitely not getting one of those OK over 25 stickers for my car like those youth-hating lemons. I will try to stay young at heart forever.


I don’t mind the Instagram, especially when I’m injured. I like to see my friends doing cool things and I follow artists I like. I have been hitting it pretty hard while I’ve been laid up. It’s been nice to live through my friends. I like photography more then rants or sentences stating current moods so that’s why I use Instagram and think Twitter and Facebook are dumb.


Who cares? I don’t give a shit about staying relevant. I surf because I love it. If your main concern is staying relevant then you’re on the cow’s tit and milking it hard. I don’t want to do that. Even though more milk would be good for my bone strength.


Good and bad. It’s a bummer the true quality films that come out on the web are forgotten extremely fast because of the constant uploading of fresh content. It’s cool, though, to see things not long after you heard they went down. Web photos as well as print photos and web clips all come out simultaneously, which is cool. But I like the idea of having a hard copy of something. I loved watching Dad’s Mad Wax or Rad Movez VHS tapes everyday when I was little. An MP3 download doesn’t have the same appeal to me.



Will be a learning curve. I don’t think I’m better then anyone for being a sponsored dude or feel I’m above working. When it comes time to move on and get a normal job I’ll do what I have to do to support my little family. The world will be my oyster, really. Fresh starts aren’t a bad thing.

Masatoshi Ohno surfing Pipeline
Masatoshi Ohno, freesurfing at Banzai. "The heart of the matter is relatively simple to grasp," writes Rory Parker. "In the late 70's, and again in the early 90's, the North Shore community fought for regulations that would minimise the impact that the competitive season has on a tiny community with a startling primitive infrastructure. " | Photo: Morgan Maassen

Update: Is the Pipe Masters running illegally?

The vexed issue of contest permits and a community chasing a little breathing space… 

The heart of the matter is relatively simple to grasp. In the late 70’s, and again in the early 90’s, the North Shore community fought for regulations that would minimise the impact that the competitive season has on a tiny community with a startlingly primitive infrastructure.

The regulations are clear, not particularly onerous, and the WSL has decided that they don’t need to follow them.

Recent attempts have been made to amend the present regulations, inserting language which more or less de-fangs the community’s past efforts to limit the impact of contests.  In the proposed amended regulations language exists which allows for exemptions to some requirements for contests on the North Shore, exemptions which would allow for man-on-man heats and define contest days in eight-hour increments.

According to the amended regulations, and provided they received the exemptions (which I think we can safely assume would be the case), the WSL would be in total compliance this year.

However, the aforementioned amended regulations have repeatedly failed to be approved, as confirmed by John Blewett of the Honolulu department of Parks and Recreation:

“There’s new ones that have gone out for public comment three times, (but) the old ones are still in effect.”

An interesting development, considering a statement from Dave Prodan, ASP VP of communictaions:

“All ASP events are conducted in compliance with state and local regulations with the appropriate permits obtained, which includes all events in Hawaii and on the North Shore.  For reference, we’ve been running man-on-man heats at Pipe consecutively since 2008.”

Rather than demonstrating compliance, Mr. Prodan indicates that the ASP (now WSL) has instead repeatedly violated the existing regulations.  There is no situation in the current system that allows for man on man heats. No exemptions, no special circumstances, only special treatment or, at least, a failure to enforce regulations.

(Mr Prodan failed to respond to follow up requests for clarification regarding any potential exemptions.)

Furthermore, the current rules do not allow for running half days and banking the remaining hours to be used later, an approach the WSL obviously plans to use, considering Kieren Perrow’s statements regarding having “one and a half days left” to run the contest.

Of course, there’s no real reason why enforcement should be necessary.

“There are so many contests on the North Shore,” says Pancho Sullivan, “and they all follow the rules. Except for the ASP.  And I don’t know why that is. The point of the rules is to make sure they run the contest as quickly as possible. If they’re running four-man heats there’s no reason they couldn’t finish it the first day, or take two at most.”

As a fan of surfing, it may be difficult to understand the impact that large scale contests have on the area. Because everyone loves the Pipe Masters. And rightly so. It’s nearly always one of the best contests of the year and it’s in a venue that provides a unique opportunity to be closer to the action than almost any equivalently heavy and spectacular spot.

But you need to remember, not everyone on the North Shore is a surfer, and even though the majority of spectators and athletes have nothing else to do, people still need to live. They need to go to work, they need to buy food. In order to accomplish almost any of the requirements of actually surviving in a remote community on an even more remote archipelago they need to be able to leave. Something which is a hellish undertaking when your only road in or out is packed to the proverbial rafters with rubbernecking rental cars.

The only defense the WSL, or their supporters, are able to trot out is regarding the economic benefits of allowing unfettered exploitation of the area’s resources.

“The ASP plays by their own rules,” says Alan Lennard, the man responsible for running the North Shore Bodysurfing Classic, the first contest ever run at Pipeline. “But Randy Rarick is on the North Shore Chamber of Commerce…”

Of course, economic benefits are difficult to prove or disprove. Does the money brought into the community offset the amount of man hours wasted by the difficulty of leaving or entering the area during the event?

Do the supposed benefits take into account the damage done to the primitive and poorly maintained infrastructure, one designed to support a tiny bedroom community, by such a huge influx of visitors? And let’s not ignore the fact that the WSL is a for-profit company run by non-surfers. The laws of capitalist enterprise state that their ultimate goal is to suck as much profit from the event as possible, only contributing the bare minimum to keep outrage at bay,

The WSL is conducting itself like a rude house guest; tracking mud across your carpet, eating all the food in your fridge, leaving dirty dishes to rot in the sink, being kept up half the night listening to him bang some rotten slag on your couch only to drop a fifty on your kitchen table and peace out with a nonchalant, “See you next year.”

And when he calls up the following year you say, “Hey man, you kind of wore out your welcome last time, maybe you should find somewhere else to stay.”

“What?  C’mon, I gave you fifty bucks.”

“Yeah, that doesn’t go very far.  Sorry.”

“Well, I talked to your landlord and he said it was okay and gave me a set of keys.  So I’ll be there next week.”

“Fuck… well, at least be more considerate this time.”

“Nope, I’m gonna do what I want.  And you can go fuck yourself.”

No one wants the Pipe Masters gone, they just want the organizers to follow the rules.

Unfortunately, this will only happen if they take it upon themselves to do so. The nature of contest permitting on Oahu means that, even should the permit applicant be denied for violations, the permit follows the person, not the contest. So you can rest assured that it will run in the foreseeable future, though potentially with a different name on the permit.

Watch the plagiarism
Watch the plagiarism

Surfer Magazine caught with pants down

Plagiarism may not be a real crime, but it is so embarrassing!

Transworld Surf magazine went through one of the best re-designs ever before falling to the economic realities of print media in the modern world. Its covers, colorful and fun, stopped kids in the grocery store aisles. Its stories, written under the axe of impending doom, showcased the absurd and the grand of the surf life. It had just reached its zenith and then, like that, it was gone.

Still, its spirit and legacy live on, most recently on the cover of the newest issue of Surfer. The original surf magazine “borrowed” the same surfer (John John Florence), the same general concept and the same title, recreating, essentially, the same magazine.

To be fair, Watch the Throne is one of the greatest albums of the decade and Niggas in Paris one of its greatest songs but maybe that makes it worse since Transworld’s cover came out in early 2013 (the album came out in late 2011). Not a long enough time ago for Surfer’s issue to be homage. Not a short enough time ago to be “we thought of it first just printed late.” Just the right amount of time ago to be uh oh!

What do you think? Should Surfer be embarrassed or proud that they got to take a whole month off of work? Should they be forced, by law, to re-name the magazine Transworld Surfer?

The original (at least as far as cover messaging goes…)