Cast of Napoleon Dynamite
"The system is made for you by you," says Beau Andrews. What soaring privileges you enjoy!

White Men Own the World

I enjoy white heterosexual male privilege and if you are reading this, then it is likely that you do too.

Let me guess. You grew up relatively well off, were told you could do anything, got a good education and most likely, got a decent paying job. You might have endured some casual bullying, but no one picked on you because of your race, gender or sexuality.

Similarly, when interviewed for your job, you were probably deemed more competent and reliable candidate because you don’t have a vagina and dark skin. Statistics say that you are probably paid more thanks to this fact. The system is made for you by you, but you fail to realise it, because you have blindly gorge yourself from the trough, nor have you been the one missing out on the good times. You think those dissenters are just screwballs. More so, since you are reading this, you are likely to be a surfer. Therefore, you enjoy white heterosexual male stand-up surfing privilege.

Surfing is a white man’s game. Yes, we had a Brazilian world champion last year, a couple of Hawaiians of indigenous stock, and who can forget Felipe Pomar who won the ISF World Championships in 1965? This leaves the rest, and these fellows are all your archetypical white males.

Yes, you will go to Hawaii and watch indigenous surfers rip. They are still likely to be less well off in life as you. Your slightly above average white kid in Australia or California is more likely than them to get sponsored based upon marketability (Eddie Rothman is right to a degree) and their white privilege.

Afterwards, they are less likely to do as well as their white counterparts. Go anywhere where there are indigenous people who have been colonised, and the results will be the same. Furthermore, if you are dark skinned, stand with a wider stance, and don’t speak English well (in short, you are Brazilian), then you are likely to be vilified with a religious fervour.

The absence of vaginas on the above white world champions means that they don’t have arm chair commentators belittling them for their well-developed upper bodies, or their appearance in a bikini and how unbelievably boring their surfing is. No one calls them lesbians just because they are audacious and assertive. They don’t have to live up to the impossible standard set by others, they set the standard. Collectively, we then pressure those who are not them to try live up to that standard while cutting them down in the process.

Grommet abuse you say? Of course, you were pissed on and thrown down hills while strapped into deck chairs. However, as you grew older and gained the respect of your fellow white heterosexual males, you became one of them, they accepted you until you were the one dishing out the abuse. No one called you dick dragger, cripple or goat boater and burned you for your existential sins. No, you sir, have lived the privileged life.

“So what of it?” You ask. “You are just a self-hating man who can’t surf.” You say.

No my friend, it is great. It means I can do almost anything in the line-up. It means that you, my fellow middle-class white heterosexual male stand-up surfer can do anything you wish to do too.  You can paddle around the middle-aged woman on a mal and take the inside. You can drop-in on the gay Brazilian body boarder without anyone flinching. Just ogle that cute girl’s bikini clad arse as she paddles in front of you if you want. After all, it is her fault for wearing such clothing. That trans-gender surfer? Unless it is Westerly Windina (And I am not sure that even then it would matter), no one is likely to tut-tut you. That knee-boarder? Fuck him and his crippling disability, burn him and make him know that he is inferior to you and your virile manliness.

Do as you please my fellow middle-class white heterosexual male stand-up surfers for there are no bleeding heart liberals in the sea. The laws of land do not apply here so while you are at it, purge the seas of all traces of those despicable SUPs. Your domination is under siege, so make the most of it while you can.

Just do not, and I repeat, DO NOT drop-in on your fellow middle-class white heterosexual male stand-up surfer! Because that is against all decency and is not in the spirit of liberty and you will be sent to hell for such abominable behaviour. Just kidding! Prey on the weak and engage in a war of all against all, so that if Thomas Hobbes were still alive, he would make you the basis for the Leviathan, because that is the white male way.

Picture yourself as the meat in this vocally inspiring sandwich. Such fun!
Picture yourself as the meat in this vocally inspiring sandwich. Such fun!

There’s room for one more. You!

The WSL is hiring another inspired voice! Do you have what it takes?

Do you dream of being very dull? Does not getting paid inspire? Is Pat Parnell a personal hero? Than I have a job for you!

The World Surf League is hiring voice over artists! Girls, stop reading NOW because the WSL is only looking for a Todd Kline aged 21-40.

“The perfect candidate will have strong experience in sports voice over and be able to handle the highs and lows of the sport through dramatic and articulate storytelling, we are searching for a Los Angeles based youthful voice that can exude fun, drama and excitement.”

Hello future!

Just record yourself reading in an overly excited voice (hint: don’t move any part of your body while speaking!)…

ACT 1:


The Men’s 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour saw a season filled with outstanding victories.

(Announcers / footage)

Bitter defeats.

(Announcers / footage)
And some of the best competitive surfing ever witnessed.

(Announcers / footage)

34 of the worlds best male surfers, from rookies to World Champs, representing nine different countries, traveled to some of the most exotic and legendary surf breaks the planet has to offer with one goal in mind… to become the undisputed ASP World Champion. 


In 2014, the Association of Surfing Professionals took the top Men’s competitors on the planet to eleven iconic locations to crown the best surfer in the world. At each stop, every competitor had the chance to earn up to 10,000 points for a contest win. Those points would continue to build with each event, and at the end of the tour the surfer with the highest point tally would win the title of ASP World Champion. Every event, every wave and every point is important. 

In the hunt, top ten ranked surfers Adriano De Souza, Michel Bourez and 2012 World Champion Joel Parkinson returned to stake their claim amongst the best in the world.

And then email it to Graham Stapelberg! You’ll have to buy your own ticket to events, pay for your own room/food and pay your own salary but you’ll get to watch Occy sing lots of karaoke. What could be better than that besides everything?

Don’t hesitate. Todd Kline is lonely.

Kelly Slater, Shane Herring, Kalani Robb and rest of Momentum Generation portrait
"I shot the defining New School photo on the North Shore 1993 that showed who was in the movement," says Mike Balzer. | Photo: Mike Balzer

Just in: Surf photog Mike Balzer’s fatal strike!

Photographic proof, compelling argument, in ongoing IG battle with Steve Sherman… 

“What a cruel thing war is. To fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors.” 

The great confederate commander Robert E Lee’s words still ring true, even 150 years after the south’s capitulation. Yesterday BeachGrit reported on the ongoing Instagram feud between surf photographers Steve Sherman and Mike Balzer, both Californians, over who shot the cover of Focus (it was Balzer).

(Read it here)

Mike Balzer was keen to clarify the record today, and included photographic evidence of his claims.

From Mike: 

“Not really wanting to continue the social media pissing match but let me lend some facts to this fire. The reason I call “Fraud” on this is the quote by Steve himself see below. “He then used it for his Focus video cover”.

Steve Sherman's not-Focus cover
“Is that a true statement?” asks the Hermosa Beach photographer Mike Balzer. “Is this photo the actual photo used on the Focus video cover? No is the answer to both. So why is Steve lying about this? Is it because he wants his T-shirts to sell at any cost? Will he say anything to sell those T-shirts? It appears so. Why else would this start off with “Decisive moments in T-Sherms history #8”. It’s bullshit. “

Is that a true statement? Is this photo the actual photo used on the Focus video cover?  No is the answer to both.  So why is Steve lying about this?  Is it because he wants his T-shirts to sell at any cost?  Will he say anything to sell those T-shirts?  It appears so.  Why else would this start off with “Decisive moments in T-Sherms history #8”.  It’s bullshit.

The real Cover of FOCUS has a photo of Shane Dorian @ Puerto Escondido, Mexico doing a backside air.  Did Steve shoot that photo?

Focus cover
“The real Cover of FOCUS has a photo of Shane Dorian @ Puerto Escondido, Mexico doing a backside air,” says Mike Balzer. “Did Steve shoot that photo? No. All I am doing is calling bullshit on him with facts and proof. Go ask Steve yourself about this and ask him if he was on any of the New School trips. He wasn’t.”

No. All I am doing is calling bullshit on him with facts and proof. Go ask Steve yourself about this and ask him if he was on any of the New School trips. He wasn’t. And by the way Taylor never employed me I gave him the photos to use back then. So if you want to find out any more truthful info about those times let me know. I am not hard to find.

And for more proof that I was there to document the New School/Momentum crew my photo of Slater on the Cover of MOMENTUM.

Kelly Slater on cover of Momentum
“And for more proof that I was there to document the New School/Momentum crew,” says Mike Balzer, “here’s my photo of Slater on the Cover of MOMENTUM.”


I also shot the defining New School photo on the North Shore 1993 that showed who was in the movement. (Front page shot.)

As with all things like this the Editor, YOU, have the last word and can make a person out to be a jackass. I hope you can see that my attempt here is to suss out Sherman and make him tell the truth and not bullshit at the cost of his integrity to sell some T-shirts.

Hope you understand.

Mike Balzer the less sexier human than Steve as you like to put it.”


mason ho at snapper rocks
Mason Ho? He's the best! Look! Here! Snapper Rocks! | Photo: Craig Bessant @foamballs

Mason Ho Vs Kirra!

Mason talks MP, gals and maybe the roundest Kirra tub ever! Even Mick Fanning said so!

The Hawaiian surfer Mason Ho, 26, recently concluded his 24th trip to Australia. Although he failed to win either WQS event he entered, indeed, the first time he hasn’t stepped on a podium in months, his days were filled with love, laughter and tubes. Mason Ho is a supplicant to good times and Australia fulfils his most profound needs.

“I first came there when I was 14,” says Mason, adding it was a solo trip after his Dad, the famous surfer Michael Ho, “had this huge, gnarly… ah… it’s an R-rated story… but he could’t make it. I was crushed, I was traumatised. I’d been wanting to go my whole life.”

Fate stepped in when Dino Andino, father of Kolohe, told his old pal Mike he’d look after the kid. That was a dozen years ago and Mason has visited Australia twice a year since.

“Frick, Australia’s like the closest place to me besides Hawaii,” says Mason. “I love every single thing about it.”

BeachGrit: … let’s talk specifics, what turns you on about Australia?

Mason: I love it how all the people are so funny, so polite, but they’re bad-ass and screw with you and help you at the same time. It’s funny and it’s… weird. Everyone’s weirdly nice even when they get mad. Over here in Hawaii, when someone gets mad… whoa, that’s evil. But in Australia, everyone’s a comedian. I also like how you can order a healthy juice anywhere, how you have the best waves in the world along with Indo and Hawaii. And then there’s the leniency on the whole fun thing. In Bali, you can get killed if you get caught with a mushroom. Australias the coolest place ever.

What’s your favourite place to visit? 

I’ve always said, West Oz my whole life but after this last trip to Snapper, that’s right there too. Right under West Oz. West Oz ’cause it’s a little less people, you can go get your slabs and the do what you want on the beach… I loooove that place. West Oz, still, by a hair. But that Kirra thing blew my mind just now.

What’s your favourite wave and why? 

Oh! Snap! Damn! I can give you four waves. Yeah! Okay! F’sure! The Box, North Point, Snapper Rocks, Kirra. Boom! I haven’t done too much adventuring, like, deep adventures, haven’t been to the mysto ones, only the commercial ones. I love ’em! Oh my god, I love The Box. My Dad gets bummed on how much I love The Box. One year, (Chris) Ward was out there at dark every morning. I didn’t have my own car and I was a little scared of The Box and Ward being out there every mounting was the coolest thing I’d seen in my life. So as soon as I was able to rent my own car, I was the guy out there in the dark. Two feet or 10-feet, there at dark.

Tell me about the best wave you’ve ever caught in Australia

Oh my god! This latest wave! But I’ve had a lot of waves in Australia that I dream about. Australia has these weird little sparkles to the waves. But my latest one, this one wave at Kirra, this crazy double up… okay… let me say something about Kirra. I’d always heard stories about Kirra from my Dad. I’d always heard stories from other people about Kirra. And I’ve surfed solid Kirra before, but this was nuts. Mick had his ski and he dropped me off and then I got swept down and this wave doubled up. A weird double-up. I got to the bottom and I could see the sand. I was telling Nathan (Fletcher) that I don’t know if I’ve ever had a barrel at Backdoor that was as round. It was the biggest barrel I’ve pulled into, no back, and there was a two-foot barrel on top of the wave. I want to say that it was over a 10-foot face… easy. Twelve-foot face! Thirteen feet! No back! And there was that two-foot barrel on top of the back of the wave trying to crawl into my barrel to screw me up. I pushed through the whitewater, this 10-to-15-foot chandelier, punched through it, got into the clean spot, maybe one or two pumps, no more speed from the chandelier, the wave sucked up, I did a barrel roll, ate shit and got slammed. The part that tripped me out was all the groms and Mick told me, ‘Brah, that was the thickest wave we’ve ever seen go through here!’ I’ve had a few at The Box that I got blown out of but I remember this Kirra one because I was, like, thinking a million things at once. I was getting flashes of MP (Michael Peterson) in my head.

MP’s your favourite Australian surfer, yeah?

Oh yeah! F’sure my favourite Australian. I think of that guy all the time. Anytime I drive on that road going up to Kirra or Snapper I remember when I went with my Dad for the first time. Kirra was gone (because of the sand-pumping that created the Super Bank) and my Dad was freaking out about it, just snapping. I was, like, almost scared, saying, ‘C’mon Dad, it’s okay.’ He was, ‘No it’s not!’ Now he just loves Greenmount. Now he’s forgotten about how mad he was. Anyway, my Dad used tell me all these stories about MP, always these cool funny stories, stuff that I admired when I was little, about how competitive he was, how he did his own thing. Somehow he’d hang out with Dad so he felt like an uncle I didn’t get to hang out with. I read a lot, just not books, but I was reading his book (MP: The Life of Michael Peterson… click here… ) when I won a little contest at Bells with Wilko and Jordy in the final.

What perplexes you about Australia? 

Everything makes sense there! The car thing, sometimes. I’ll go on the right side of the road and I’ll hear, ‘You little punk!’ and I’m, ‘I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry!’ You don’t seem to have Tylenol or ibuprofen easily available either. I was looking for ibuprofen everywhere in the whole town. But, then, I like that you can’t buy it everywhere.

What sucks about Australia? 

I hate to say it but there’s nothing! It’s like a huuuuuge Haewaiian island. I love it how everyone lives on the coast. And everyone’s so cool. I even burned a bunch of guys this trip and they were psyched… psyched! I got burned a bunch too, of course. But I was, like, pleading with them, ‘I’m so sorry!’ And they’re, ‘No, I’m psyched!’ You don’t get that anywhere.

Where would you find the cutest girls in Australia and how would you describe them? 

Oh the cutest girls! that’s another thing! I like the Australian girl because they’re a little bit like us, actually not like us guys ’cause we’re pretty bad, but they have more of a guy’s confidence. They just put it out. Everywhere else girls are conservative. No girls make me laugh more than Australian girls. Those girls crack me. I’d marry an Australian girl but none like me.

I’m reasonably positive y’might’ve sourced a couple…

Oh, I met one or two.

The Momentum Generation
The photograph that so infuriated the photographer Mike Balzer. When it appeared on Red Bull's Instagram feed, @balzerphoto wrote: "Fraud: An act of deceiving or misrepresenting. The FOCUS Cover was shot by Mike Balzer in Puerto Escondido of Shane Dorian doing a backside air. Steve was not even there to shoot any of the action that went down. Someone needs to tell the truth hear. What other make believe stories will go on his gallery? Bullshit!" | Photo: Steve Sherman

Top surf photogs in online fight to death!

Americans Mike Balzer and Steve Sherman draw swords in pitiless Instagram duel… 

The surf photographer is un paradoxe éternel. All have the faith of poets, working for nothing, but doing what they love in the hope that, one day, their work will be acknowledged as markers in the culture of surfing. But, and here’s the paradox, inside their hearts is a dark dank land. A chemical cesspit where praise of others is impossible; a carbonic plague of hate. You awaken this side at your peril.

Personally, I have fielded threats from Steve Sherman and Dustin Humphrey, although both fuses were snuffed out with email diplomacy and now we all laugh at our immaturity and fiery spirit.

But to the matter at hand.

Steve Sherman is a favourite photographer of mine, maybe the favourite. His work around surfing events catalogues, with subtlety, love, and expertise, the icons of a sport I regard as great. If you wanted to create a top-shelf book on Kelly Slater, of whom Sherman counts as a dear friend, you would call Sherman first. All those photos of Kelly holding his fingers up to indicate the number of world titles (four, five, six, seven etc) are, generally, by Steve Sherman. As I said, he is the best in the game.

Mike Balzer, I used to be aware of, as the surf photographer who shot stills around Taylor Steele’s early movies. His recent work appears sporadic according to the internet although it says he has a studio in Hermosa Beach, California.

This week, the energy soda company from Austria, Red Bull, ran a story on a photo that Sherman had taken, ostensibly,  for the cover of Taylor Steele’s 1992 surf film Focus. The surfers included Kelly Slater, Shane Dorian, Rob Machado, Donavon Frankenreiter and Ross Williams.

“I shot this for @taylorsteele in 1992, for the cover of his video Focus. My idea was to make it look like a band photo so I had all the boys come to an alleyway in Solana Beach, California. I was blown away how they all showed up right on time and gave their all,” said Steve Sherman.

You can’t beat it, right? Ain’t no controversy!

But after the photo and a quote from Sherman appeared on Instagram, Mr Balzer withdrew his sword from its scabbard and lost his fucking shit.

Steve Sherman and Mike Balzer
Steve Sherman (left) and Mike Balzer (v for victory!). If it was a game of who’s sexier, it’d be a Sherman whitewash.

The following exchange ensued:

@balzerphoto wrote:

Fraud: An act of deceiving or misrepresenting. The FOCUS Cover was shot by Mike Balzer in Puerto Escondido of Shane Dorian doing a backside air. Steve was not even there to shoot any of the action that went down. Someone needs to tell the truth hear. What other make believe stories will go on his gallery? Bullshit!

@tsherms replied: 

It was FOR the cover , but it didn’t make it to it Kaipo( I mean @balzerphoto ) Why in the hell get so petty Mike? I would never claim your precious video cover. “Fraud” really ? I guess your blogger alias Kaipo Gomes must know a lawyer!! He tagged @shanedorian @taylorsteele for good measure.


Read your own quote Sherwank and retract it. How am I in the wrong?!


I did shoot it for the cover Kaipo.. Just ask @taylorsteele but your brilliant , cutting edge surf photo made it.. How else would Taylor get me , or all those guys together down here.? Why do u hate me soooo much Mike? I’ve done nothing bad to hurt your career ( unlike u with your alter ego Kaipo Gomes blogger crap) You really hurt my feelings with all the shit you said under the Kaipo veil. This will be last time I respond to you . I’m off to Oz hard feelings… @balzerphoto @taylorsteele @taylor_knox @shanedorian @kellyslater @rosswilliamshawaii @thebarn808 @rob_machado @petertaras


Your ego is sooooooo big you can’t see what you have done. You insinuated that you shot the group photo “for” the Cover of Focus without saying that your photo was not the actual Cover. As Kaipo and many others pointed out to you it is not about You. You need to check your ego at the door if you don’t get that then perhaps you never will.

The fight was only hosed down when Taylor Steele, who briefly employed both men almost 25 years ago, wrote:

@balzerphoto @tsherms I’m thankful for all your contributions over the years. It’s been an amazing journey. Thanks @redbull_surfing for posting.

See it here! 

The original story is here!