John John Florence portrait
John John Florence doesn't cut himself up in the gym and he's the best surfer in the world. And how about if we told you that if you can get hold of your mind, you'll never feel tired in the surf again? | Photo: Morgan Maassen

Mind Games: Get better at surfing instantly!

Feeling tired after that paddle out? You ain't even close to being cooked says new study… 

Let’s get one thing straight. BeachGrit isn’t of the belief that going to the gym can make you a better surfer. You think John John and Dane lift and squat and shake ropes to make their turns sharper and their oops’ higher?

But what about… fatigue? That’s different to strength. It eats me alive, probably does you too. After a couple of consecutive waves, after a difficult paddle-out, we’re off our game. We squeeze in two turns instead of four, we fall off in the shorey.

And therefore should we train?

According to a new study about fatigue, it turns out we’ve got a ton of gas left in the tank, even after that paddle out, even after catching four waves in a row.

And that whole thing about lactic acid? The juice actually… helps. 

The New Yorker reports, “The study, which was published last month in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, by Samuele Marcora, who heads the University of Kent’s Endurance Research Group, and two of his colleagues at Bangor, Anthony Blanchfield and James Hardy, is the latest salvo in an ongoing debate about the very nature of fatigue. According to one study fatigue is ‘the inability of the contracting muscles to maintain the desired force.’ But what causes it? Physiologists in the early twentieth century studied exhaustion by cutting off the hind legs of frogs and electrically stimulating the muscles over and over until they couldn’t contract anymore. In 1907, the Nobel Laureate Frederick Hopkins and one of his colleagues showed that the depleted frog muscles were bathed in lactic acid. Their experiment gave rise to an enduring—and incorrect—explanation for muscle failure; scientists now know that lactate, the form in which lactic acid occurs in the body, actually fuels muscular contraction rather than inhibiting it. Nevertheless, the view of fatigue as a mechanical breakdown has persisted. You max out your ability to pump oxygen, the acidity of your blood creeps up, and the neuromuscular signalling between your brain and your muscles gets weaker: one way or another, you hit a limit.

“Marcora believes that this limit is probably never truly reached—that fatigue is simply a balance between effort and motivation, and that the decision to stop is a conscious choice rather than a mechanical failure. This, he says, is why factors that alter a person’s perception or motivation (monetary rewards, for example) can affect performance, even without any change in muscle capacity. In the subliminal experiments, the cyclists’ heart rates and lactate levels rose at the same rate no matter which faces they saw, indicating that nothing had changed from the neck down. Considerations like heat, hydration, and muscle conditioning, Marcora says, ‘are not unreal things, but their effect is mediated by perception of effort.’

“In other words, they don’t force you to slow down, as happens with the failing frog muscles in the petri dish; they cause you to want to slow down — a semantic difference, perhaps, but a significant one when it comes to testing the outer margins of human capability. Marcora calls his theory the ‘psychobiological model.'”

What’s it all mean for you and me? That you’ve got a ton in the tank. Those eight-hour surfs and open-ocean reef paddle-outs (think Teahupoo) you think are beyond you? They ain’t.

Read the rest of the New Yorker story here. (Just click!)

Gimme: this $US4.8 million Pipe House

Got a few extra shekels rattling around in your trunks? Throw em at this! And evict Taj Burrow and Parko!

You want to be the number one Pipe local? It’s so easy! And it’s even easier ever since John John Florence bought himself and his fam a sprawling estate up the road at Log Cabins. Even Jamie O ain’t beachfront any more.

This four-bedroom, three-shitter at 59-385 Ke Nui Road, Banzai Pipeline, fulfils every North Shore dream. It’s the smaller of the two houses the Billabong team inflates every year and is where Taj Burrow and Joel Parkinson rest weary heads.

Recline in beige suede couch while the agent whispers in your ear, “This house effortlessly blends island style with indoor outdoor living, this home, perched on the beach above the World Famous Pipeline, is a treasure. Architecturally crafted accents combined with a contemporary aesthetic make this 4 bedroom residence, on 100’ of sandy beach overlooking the beautiful blue ocean, a one of a kind property. With its iconic wave inspired design, this home is known as the the Blue Wave House€. Quality finishes, outstanding design and the absolute best North Shore ocean front location.”

Ask real nice (or just tell ’em it ain’t a sale unless it’s yours) and hang onto that Bruce Irons’ gun that hangs in the upstairs master bedroom.

Contact the agent here! 

House for sale Pipeline Hawaii
Pipeline house for s ale
Pipeline house for sale
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Unidentified at Pipeline
The issue of contests on the North Shore is just so vexed. Who doesn't wanna see the very best at the peak of their game in the world's best waves? But if you live there and every weekend during the winter season sees another event? Yeah, you might be a little bummed… 

Is the Pipe Masters being run illegally?

North Shore locals sue ASP-Hawaii over "multiple permit breaches"… 

I’m watching Pipe, you probably are too. And it’s great. Dudes are ripping, my Fantasy Surfer team is doing well (despite Melling Slater-ing Slater in Round One), but there’s a problem…

If you’re a fan of pro surfing you might be familiar with how, in previous years, the early rounds of the Pipe Masters were run concurrently; meaning two heats overlapping in the water, priority going to the first heat.

And that’s cool, the point was to ensure that minimal days on the North Shore were privatized and that the poor souls who dealt with the insane cost of living and low wages in Hawaii actually got to benefit from the the aloha tax reality of life in the islands.

Something strange is going on this year. Despite regulations that are clearly stated:

(d) Except with special permission from the Director and as noted on the permit, surf meets may not be held for more than four days. No heats shall be structured with less than four surfers, and man-on-man or one-on-one heats shall not be allowed (includes trials).

…the first round was run with only three guys in the water at a time. Now, government wording is always confusing so I’ll distill the essence. Four guys in the water, no exceptions. You might be able to hold a contest for more than four days, with special permission. But in no case can you run heats with less than four people. That period is important. Shit, even the overlapping heat format violates the letter of the law (though it, admittedly, conforms to the spirit.)

Yeah, but it’s no big deal, right? Except is is, read a little further and there’s this brilliant little sentence:

(17) Any permittee who knowingly and wilfully violates these rules and regulations shall not be allowed to apply for another permit for a one-year period.

At 15:30 in the Pupo/Monteiro heat, Peter Mel said, “The North Shore community has decided they have to have four surfers in the water and this is the way to keep it that way.” Sounds like “knowingly and wilfully violates these rules and regulations” to me.

The former tour surfer Pancho Sullivan is part of a coalition of residents who’ve taken it upon ’emselves to get ASP Hawaii to conform to the letter of their permits. And six weeks ago, they took ’em to court.

“The court case was to ensure that the rules are upheld, to get a temporary restraining order or injunction against the Pipeline Masters,” says Pancho. “That wasn’t the desired outcome but we were hoping that the ASP would adjust the format to make it work with a four-man priority system. They came in with economic statements they had some kid at NYU come up with waving around all the money they generate instead of, I guess, finding a way to adhere to the rules.”

Pancho emphasises that they weren’t trying to shut down the event but they did want an unambiguous ruling that states that you cannot knowingly break rules designed to protect local residents.

“We wanted the Triple Crown and the ASP to recognise that this is a community  and it’s questionable how much money stays on the North Shore. Most of the team houses are owned by people who don’t live on the North Shore and most of the winnings go back to other parts of the world.”

What does this mean? No Pipe Masters next year? The WSL doesn’t need to follow the law in Hawaii? The “economic benefits” outweigh the cost to local residents so much that the City and County of Honolulu doesn’t feel it’s necessary to enforce their own laws?

I don’t know. According to the regulations currently available online, the law is being broken.

Pancho and his coalition aren’t anarchists. They don’t want to smash the system. But on a stretch of magical coastline that breaks for roughly five or six months of the year, and when most weekends have some kind of contest running, whether it’s surfing, bodysurfing or bodyboarding, there comes a point when it doesn’t feel so groovy any more.

“I live on both sides of the issue,” says Pancho. “I’ve been a competitor, I’ve been in a position where those events helped support me financially. But at the core of my belief system, this issue is bigger than just me. There’s a whole group of people who don’t benefit at all. They live out here because they love the beauty of the coastline, they love to surf and they want to have access to it. People tolerate it but not everyone’s thrilled about what goes on. If (the contests) become a platform for these multi-million dollar corporations to benefit and use the resources and the people don’t see a direct positive impact, then obviously some rules are good to have in place.”

When I emailed Dave Prodan, ASP VP of communications, he replied with: “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. ”



Travis Rice portrait
The snowboard legend Travis Rice also happens to be a hungry surf fiend who just can't get enough! | Photo: Cole Barash

This year’s greatest surf explorer is…Travis Rice!

What do the waves of Russia, the Galapagos, Panama and even North Korea (almost!) have in common? Travis Rice!

The snowboard legend and all-around good guy also happens to be a hungry surf fiend who just can’t get enough.

Travis sits, sipping coffee pressed from a new-fangled gizmo, looks wistful.

“My greatest regret? That I didn’t have two bottles of vodka to trade for the bear pelt. Only two bottles! But I had none….”

He was in Kamchatka, a phallus that protrudes from far western Russia into the sea of Okhotsk, and he was surfing. Not just surfing either. Surfing a never before tested pointbreak that barrelled and spat. A never-before tried wave so far off the beaten path that only the most intrepid could taste her glory. He should have been snowboarding, probably. It is his job and he is one of the best in the world. But he was not. He was surfing.

A Russian trader on a beach closer to North Korea than to Moscow was the only witness. He and his bear pelt. And he was so thrilled by what he saw that he offered to trade it, his only friend, for two bottles of vodka, which Travis Rice did not have. The horror, the horror!

And it would have been wonderful to have that bear pelt but at least he had the wave. He has had many waves. Waves in the Galapogos, secret waves in Panama and around the San Blas islands. All over the Caribbean but mostly the Bahamas. The Tuomotus. And Tahiti. He even sailed his catamaran, the Falcor, from North Carolina to the land of iron warriors this summer. Surfing the entire way.

Yes, he should have been snowboarding, maybe.

But he was sailing. And surfing. And drinking rum from an old coconut husk. Travis Rice is this year’s greatest surf explorer and, now, he can always be found with two bottles of vodka.

Dion Agius and Kelly Slater, 2014 Surfer Poll
When the Strange Rumblings in Shangri La crew took the stage to accept the award for Movie of the Year, did their antics seem a little contrived and unnecessary? Perhaps. But if they set out to make a mark on the evening, then mission accomplished. Perhaps the most ironic consequence of the night was the assistance that the boys gave to the recent rebranding strategy of the ASP. Noah Deane caught a ton of shit for his profanity laden quip, but after all, he did say “Fuck the WSL”. Clooney and Nicholson pounding gin at the Golden Globes is charming, but apparently referencing prescription meds in front of a surf crowd is strictly verboten, Dion. Live it. Learn it... Later backstage, Australia's favorite track-suited aerialist got a friendly but firm talking to from surfing’s Cool Dad. | Photo: Justin Jay/IG @justinjayphoto/

Essential: Justin Jay on the North Shore

You want to see what happens when one of the best shooters in the world goes to the North Shore? Photos so fresh!

New York City’s Justin Jay is a photographer who takes his work extremely seriously.  Every year when he flies to the North Shore to independently cover the contest season, he carries a box of prints in his backpack to give to surfers he’s previously shot.

“I think it’s the right thing to do,” says the 41 year old from the Lower East Side, who has previously shot Jay Z, Outkast and P Diddy. “A picture does take a little bit of your soul in a sense, it’s why famous people wear sunglasses all the time. So if you take someone’s photo, you need to give something back, you have to make sure they get a print. Everyone has a fucking iPhone and no one has any physical prints any more. When you give someone a print from a year ago, they feel amazing.”

Justin’s game is simple enough.

“Whether I’m shooting Diddy or Jay-Z or Kelly or Joel I put myself in the eyes of a 13-year-old fan,” he says. “What would they like to see? There’s plenty of photos of Dane and Kelly ripping, but that’s not my game. I want to see the surfers before and after they surf, getting in fist fights, partying, eating breakfast.”

Justin says his game works ’cause he’s an outsider, because hasn’t been in the industry for so long that his eyes cloud over the minutiae of this awesome multi-generational gathering of the world’s best surfers.

The photos that are follow are from Justin’s sixth trip to the North Shore, most are only a few days old, where he is shooting for a photo book called Beach Access, although he ain’t in no hurry to get the thing on the press.

As he says, “my style of stuff lends itself to ageing. These are historical shots, rather than standard portraits. Plus, going back each year is like going to summer camp or winter camp, in this case, all the same faces, this great fraternity.”

See more of Justin Jay’s work here (Click!) and follow him on IG at @justinjayphoto

John John and Alex Florence 2014 Surfer Poll
In most award shows, the main focus is the announcement of the final award. At Surfer Poll however, there were two surfers who so unequivocally occupied the top two places that the unveiling of the number two spot became a de-facto crowning of the winner as well. All eyes were on John John. Number two was finally revealed and it was Kelly. A new King was crowned. Not a single person in the room could muster a justification to argue against this year’s winner. Well deserved. A class act. Period.
mick fanning and occy surfer poll 2014

Mark Occhilupo presented several awards at Surfer Poll in front of a crowd of his fans and peers. Mick Fanning was certainly more at ease receiving an award than a visibly nervous Occy was at being on stage and handing them out.
Lyndie and Axel Irons
Lyndie Irons embodies all of the glamour, allure and tragedy of the Andy Irons legacy. She is essentially the Jackie Kennedy of surfing. Stunningly beautiful. Graceful and radiant. She’s also the widow of a larger than life figure and mother to the Irons successor. Watching Axel playfully run around backstage, I couldn’t help but think about all of the opportunity, the baggage, the love and the extraordinary genes that he must posses.
Michael Ho anxiously watches Mason Ho’s Pipe Masters trial heat from the porch of a nearby Pipe patio.
Proud father and Pipeline elder statesman Michael Ho anxiously watches Mason Ho’s Pipe Masters trial heat from the porch of a nearby Pipe patio. Mason made it to the semi’s, just missing out on a spot in the main event.
Mick Fanning and Taylor Knox
The current world champ jokes around with close mate and master of the rail Taylor Knox at the Rip Curl House.
Jack Robinson, Reef House, Oahu
Jack Robinson, just two weeks off turning 17, dropped by the Reef house unexpectedly. This permanently stoked grom was on his way to surf Jaws for the first time the following morning. With casual excitement, he asked Billy Kemper if he could borrow a board. His demeanor was similar to one neighbour asking another neighbor if they could borrow a cup of sugar for a cake that they were baking. Except in this case, the proverbial cake is one of the meanest waves on the planet and it could easily end his life.