Dawn Patrols Suck!

The most over-hyped ritual in surfing… 

I opted to sleep-in today instead of hunting waves at dawn. I feel it was justified… I was on airport duty this morning and even if the airport is right next to the beach, it was a good enough excuse. When I did get to the airport to pick-up my lady, it was knee-high and full of SUP-pilots.

My decision was based on yesterday. I was also on airport duty yesterday morning. I decided to pack my boards and go for a dawnie once I dropped my lady off for her six am flight. The surf was one-foot, onshore.

Pissed-off and sleep deprived, I woke-up my mate who lives above the bay. I got him to make me a cuppa and then got him excited about a surf with promises of an increase in swell. Checking the conditions again, it was still one foot. At that point I fucked off home, leaving him to try his luck and curse my name for waking him up.

After some coffee and WSL action, I went back in the arvo and got fun three-foot lefts with only five of us out. I was no longer tired and I felt pretty loose… I had a good surf.

The point is, dawnies suck.

You cut your sleep short to wake up to cold air temperatures. Your body is stiff, even after 15 minutes of stretching and a litre of black coffee. You paddle out in the dark and it’s already crowded. You instantly become more likely to be bitten by a curious great white. You get cold and surf shit because you’re tired and still stiff. You then come in angry and smelling of piss with strong overtones of coffee because of the 12 coffee and cold induced wetty-warmers you did…

Fuck the dawnie!

I’d much rather sleep a little longer, wake up and spend an hour reading BBC news while drinking a litre of black coffee. I’ll make a nice breakfast for the missus, enjoy the benefits of that act of attentiveness and then saunter down to the beach feeling awake and loose. Subsequently, I’ll have a much better surf.

It can be small, onshore and crowded. However, in the afternoon, I’ll still have a better surf than if I had got up at five am on the best day of the year and went straight to the beach.

If I’m loose and awake, I’ll get any wave I like. I’ll out paddle the crowd and use Machiavellian means to cause confusion among the mals and SUPs. When I’m awake, I can be cunt without looking like a cunt. In the mornings, I just look ham-fisted.

In the afternoons, I am able to feel my boards out better and generate more speed, which makes small onshore days much more fun. In the morning, I feel like an uncoordinated dead weight.

If I’m loose and awake, everything in my day is better.

Dawnies are sometimes a necessity, I admit that, and I’ll still occasionally go for one.

But for the most part it’s an over-hyped ritual which others can keep. Maybe, I’m becoming what I fear… a rarefied, middleclass urbanite.

But I’d forgo the early starts, active sharks and crowds for sex, sleep, coffee and a limber body any day.

Exclusive: 108 ft wave forgotten by panel?

Hurts worse than mulit-wave hold down.

The nominees for all categories in this year’s WSL Big Wave Awards are in and the standard bearers are well represented. Shane Dorian, Twiggy Baker, Jamie Mitchell, Ross Clarke-Jones. Some surprising but welcome new additions too. Damien Hobgood, Dingo Morrison. But there is one glaring omission. The biggest wave (maybe) ever ridden.

Benjamin Sanchis, handsome Frenchman with a chipped-tooth smile, towed into a Nazare monster one windy December 11th day and skittered down what many believe to be a 108 ft wave. He fell off somewhere ¾ of the way through but wow. Big. But not included in either the Biggest Wave or Ride of the Year category. Bill Sharp and the powers that be would be forgiven if they had simply deemed the wave uncompleted, and to be fair, Mr. Sharp did go on record to the Inertia, surf website for geriatric shut-ins, in January saying, “The rider must complete the meaningful portion of the wave and Sanchis fell on his…It would idiotic to encourage someone who is a total kook to try to go on a 200-foot closeout he has no chance of surviving and will get a posthumous award.”

But! BeachGrit’s exclusive insider tells us that when it was time to actually choose which waves go accepted and where they went, Sanchis’ wave was not deemed uncompleted. It was not deemed anything because the committee totally forgot about it! Like, literally forgot it happened and when they were eventually reminded, it was slotted in as the last in the Wipeout of the Year category. Maybe it deserves to be there but to be forgotten about? At (maybe) 108 ft? That must hurt worse than 200,000 tons of water on the head.

Exclusive: WSL to ban US Open of Surfing?

Hundreds of thousands of twelve-year-olds weep.

You know the Vans US Open of Surfing as a pedophile’s dream. Professional surfers know the Vans US Open of Surfing as a place to Huntington Hop their way to $100,00.00. The World Surf League used to know the Vans US Open of Surfing as a place to give Brett Simpson 6 stars worth of points but maybe not anymore!

BeachGrit’s exclusive insider tells us that the World Surf League is busy making a new enemy with the Vans US Open of Surfing’s rights’ owner IMG!

IMG, a “…global leader in sports, fashion and media operating in more than 25 countries around the world…” has owned the event for some time and last year was acquired by the agency William Morris Endeavor, or WME. You know the Endeavor part as the agency helmed by Ari Emanuel, played lovingly by Jeremy Piven on HBO’s Entourage.

In any case, the WSL, according to our insider, does not like anyone else owning a professional surfing event. IMG/WME thinks the WSL is goofy and won’t sell its stake for the $7.86 that Graham Stapelberg has in his bank account. So there they stand, glaring at each other. The WSL has even launched the first salvo on its website, calling the event the “US Pro” and listing it as “tentative.” In your face Ari Emanuel!

If the WSL pulls its sanction then professional surfers trying to Huntington Hop their way to $100,00.00 could get kicked off tour. Such power mongering! Who do you think will come out on top? Will Ari scream at Lloyd? Will Paul Speaker scream at Graham? Will Lloyd and Graham fight? Who would win? Let’s wait and see.

The US Pro? Tentative? Such a slap!
The US Pro? Tentative? Such a slap!

"I'm so afraid of big waves," says Poopies. "And everything got really scary on the show. We were going to big-wave spots and I'm not a big wave surfer. Jamie is, but for me it's terrifying. I just try and make the best out of it and charge as hard as I can."

Candid: My Dangerous Friendship with Jamie O’Brien

Jamie O'Brien's fall guy Sean "Poopies" McInerny on surfing 10-foot Pipe tandem on a soft-top… 

If you had the good fortune to be on the North Shore yesterday you would’ve seen, and maybe ridden, an eight-foot spring swell. A lot of sand around, sure, so there’s that summertime backwash feel about it, but relatively uncrowded Pipe was yours for the snatching.

Sean “Poopies” McInerney, Jamie O’Brien’s  crazy sidekick in the Who is JOB series, celebrated the surprise arrival of a big swell by paddling out, with Jamie, on an eight-foot Catch Surf board, both in speedos.

Their goal? To catch a set tandem. If anything they figured they’d get some dazzling footage for the new 10-episode season of Who is JOB 5.0, premiering May 1.

“It was bombing,” says Poopies. “It was eight-to-10-feet, coming from Second Reef and just… flexing… right on the reef. We wore Speedos. I finally got Jamie to wear some cheetah Speedos and then we charged it. He was in the back, I was in the front. My legs were spread and he was up in my…uh… butt area. He said, ‘Don’t fart! If you fear it’s over!’ I had three foot of surfboard in front of me to work with. We both paddled super hard and we had four arms so it was good getting into the bombs.

“We caught a couple and the tandem thing was working out okay so we said, let’s wait for a bomb. Forty-five minutes later, it came. We started paddling for it and we got stuck at the top. We were both standing up, grabbing rail. I call it synchronised surfing. So we get stuck at the top. I’m trying to stick the rail into the face and get down the wave. It was a really, really good wave and we tried to make it and then Jamie jumped off. I was still grabbing rail and got super sideways and fell off.

“I got so pounded it was gnarly. I got pinned against the reef. It wouldn’t let me up. I got pounded every time I tried to get to the surface. The lifeguards, I heard later, were tripping! It was nuts! I popped up 50 yards down the line. It was definitely one of the best waves I’ve ever caught at Pipe. I wish we’d made it. In the end it was the wipeout of the winter.”

In case y’didn’t know, Poopies is originally from Carlsbad, California and earned his nickname as a 13-year-old after a Jackass-inspired stunt where he evacuated his bowels at a busy intersection (he was arrested). Poopies moved to the North Shore six years ago, rented a room from Jamie O, got pall-y with Jamie, and he soon became the second-biggest star of Who is JOB.

It’s a dangerous friendships, howevs.

“I’m so afraid of big waves,” says Poopies. “And everything got really scary on the show. We were going to big-wave spots and I’m not a big wave surfer. Jamie is but for me it’s terrifying. I just try and make the best out of it and charge as hard as I can.”

Still, Jamie is there with the tools to keep his pal alive. “He puts a flotation vest on me and says, ‘Poops, dude, this thing will let you pop to the top no matter what’.”

Pals 4 life!

Micro Hall and Kolohe Andino
Micro and Kolohe kick for safety, round two, at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro 2015. A very not high-scoring heat, Micro's 5.94 points to Kolohe's 4.90. The lowest heat total this year, maybe ever. | Photo: Morgan Maassen

Kolohe: “Let’s hear what you gotta say now, haters!”

The sun will shine on you once again, Kolohe Andino...

There was once young man alone in a foreign bed in a foreign country. Salt water and kangaroo droppings burned his eyes and sleep was nowhere to be found even though the digital bedside clock read 1:37 am. He flipped the pillow then flipped again but it did not help. The sleeplessness was born of frustration, you see. Frustration and an Australian by way of Ireland who sounded like a Muppet.

His phone, next to the digital clock, buzzed. It buzzed again. He picked it up and looked at the glowing screen and saw an average assortment of messages, emails, missed calls. Nothing inspiring.

He scrolled onto Instagram and still nothing inspiring. Nothing inspired. His frustration bubbled. It was turning into a volcano and soon and his thumbs began to fly across the sapphire glass, posting a message to his followers but mostly to himself.

“onward and forward?” It began. “no. i aint happy with my results. i dont feel good about them. i hate losing. some things have gotta change. i gotta build better habbits. work harder. simplify my damn life. lets hear what you gotta say now haters. nothing i haven’t already heard. never did it for you anyways. did it cause i love it. 1:37am here and i cant sleep. leave me alone while i work. i can do all things through christ who strengthens me. and i will.”

He put his phone back, lay down and stared at the ceiling waiting for sleep. Waiting for morning so he could begin again.

And I wish I could have been hovering in the bushes outside his window, maybe a bouquet of wilted daisies in my hand, because I would have whispered “Buck up!” through the venetian blinds. I would have whispered, “Few have carried such a burden of expectation so lightly and so easily as you. Few have remained both hungry and unaffected. The throngs will, no doubt, have advice. ‘Don’t try so hard!’ They will tell you or ‘Don’t worry!’ or ‘You’re great just the way you are!’ But you know better than them what you need to do. Fire Mike Parsons! He seems like a tool. What? You already did? Great! Then you’re well on your way. Goodnight sweet Kolohe. May Rio de Janeiro bring glory.”