10 surfers with the best senses of humor!

Surfing can be drab but to a brave few it ain't!

As totally silly as surfing is, most professional surfers are deadly serious about the craft. So serious, in fact, that they think of it as a “craft.” It is not funny, to them. It is not an utter waste of time while the world burns. It is not a less relevant version of synchronized swimming. But to a brave few it is! And without further ado, here are the top 10 surfers with the best senses of humor!

10) Kelly Slater: In a totally shocking move, Kelly Slater, the very face of professional surfing, has a wild sense of humor. It is totally bizarre and sometimes hard to codify but so was Andy Kaufmann’s! Andy wrestled girls and not that many people understood. Kelly does so many weird things and maybe he’s not trying to be funny but I think he is! I think Kelly is in on the joke!

9) Hector Santamaria: Hectorch is an amazing Puerto Rican who can see auras and also qi and also adds “ch” to the ends of many words. He is also hilarious. Brendan Buckley from Surfing magazine told about the first time he met young Hector. It was in the water at Lower Trestles, a not funny wave, and he heard a siren and he thought, “What the heck?” And so he paddled to the siren and saw Hector sitting in the line-up, without friend, throwing water on his head and howling. People were yelling at him to shut up. Hector would yell back, “You don’t pay my bill-ch!” Now that’s funny.

8) Taj Burrow: Almost as shocking as Kelly, Taj has been on the World Tour for 37 years and should be jaded and bummed and over worked. But he is a fresh little daisy. He is funny-ish and fun and a little uncomfortable around me because, like most surfers, thinks I am totally going to screw him somehow, but still smiles and still laughs and still makes jokes and still makes me smile. He just beat a 16 year old in Bali. And laughed!

7) The Hobgoods: Both CJ and Damo are very good people but also hilarious! Who would have ever guessed it, coming out of Florida but there you have it. They are my favorite people on earth, outside my own family, and have the seventh best senses of humor too. What a combo!

6) Kolohe Andino: You’d think Kolohe would be a wet rag! You’d think the weight of the world on his shoulders would bog him into a humorless existence but Kolohe is always hilarious and always self-aware and always goofy. He has a great sense of humor.

5) Danny Fuller: He shocks me. He is a model, artist, North Shore fixture. How do those things work together? I have no idea. He is also light and funny. For some reason, I run into Danny in the strangest places at the strangest times. I have run into him on Montauk. And at Disneyland. Each time we laugh. He is funny. And somehow a total tough guy. And model. And artist.

4) Luke Davis: If you only follow Luke on Instagram you think “Narcissistic pretty boy!” But he is completely aware of his own shtick and very funny about it all. Luke is good. He is great. And he is funny.

3) Peter Mel: Big Wave Pete is one of the funniest I have ever met. He came up to me, on the sands of Snapper Rock, many years ago and said, “I love what you do…the pushing buttons and the fashion…” Peter Mel should not have loved what I “do.” He should have hated, like his compatriot Mike “Snips” Parsons. But he is as light as air and wonderful!

2) Sterling Spencer: He is as witty, funny and funny. His comedy routine does not get old. It, in fact, ages like a fine wine. The surf world is better because of Sterling Spencer. We are all better, including Jeremy Flores.

1) Mason Ho: Just Google him. Naked and really funny! As far as BeachGrit is concerned, the funniest!

Help: Joe Crimo wants his face back

Surfing legend tires of the tattoos.

I once married an aspiring Broadway actress. It was not very fun. I had to go and watch many performances of Grease, Into the Woods, Funny Girl, The Marvelous Wonderettes and Twang!! It ended, mercifully, in divorce.

Joe Crimo once tattooed his entire face. It might have been fun at the moment because he was addicted to meth but, now it is not and he wants them gone.

In case you have never heard of Joe Crimo, shame. He is a pioneer who did all sorts of airs in the mid 1990s, long before airs were the norm. His were often tweaked and not because he was on speed, because he wasn’t at that time, but tweaked because they were inverted and wild. He also did pop shuv-its and other skatey things.

On land he lived fast and his fast living started very much earlier than yours or mine. He grew up in East Los Angeles and his brothers were in gangs and going to jail. “I started smoking lots of rock cocaine at age nine. It’s just what we did,” he says.

He got shot, at some point, and moved to the San Clemente, starting surfing and cleaned up. But the wheels fell off, eventually, and he traded rock cocaine in for meth and went to jail many times. He learned to tattoo, during the dark years, and tattooed his own face while looking in a mirror or sometimes not. “Sometimes I just did guess shots,” he says.

A tattooed face is a difficult cross to bear, more difficult than a Broadway wife maybe, but then again maybe not. In any case, Joe is trying to get them removed via a Gofundme campaign. “Tattoos on the face are not the best way to get a job, Joe has ben shut down to society, work, living and the way people judge him, any advice are help to get the tattoos removed from Joes face and hands will be highly appreciated, thank you,” the website says.

Have you ever made a bad decision? Have you ever had to sit through a Saturday matinee of Sunday in the Park with George while the surf is pumping? Help Joe here.


Bobby Martinez on boxing
"What's appealing, to me, about boxing is the heart it takes to fight," says Bobby Martinez. "It's such a hard, brutal sport and to have that grit to want to fight for a living is just crazy to me."

Bobby Martinez on Mayweather vs Pacquiao!

Nobody in surf knows boxing like the Santa Babs goofyfooter…

I’m guessing you might’ve slung your head into a bar yesterday to watch the Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao fight. Who was going to miss the “Fight of the Century”? Not me, and I don’t know a damn thing about fighting, at least this century. I’ve read Mailer’s The Fight. I’ve seen When We Were Kings. 

The purse was outrageous. Three hundred million split 60-40 to the American.

It was too difficult to squeeze inside the Sydney bar I’d chosen and so I watched from an outside window. I couldn’t hear the commentary but watched as the brave little Filipino crowded a noisy black man who seemed like a worn-out magician, waving his arms, shaking his head.

I imagined the black man tightening his rump and feeling rivulets of cold sweat trickling down his thighs. How could he stop the remorseless Filipino. The mostly Asian crowd was openly hostile to the black man.

After 12 rounds, the fighters were separated and the black man was announced the winner. The howls! I didn’t get it and so I called Bobby Martinez, Santa Barbara’s great goofyfooter, the former rookie of the year, winner of Teahupoo, Mundaka, a former world number five, to explain.

Why ask Bobby?

A few years back, I’d met up with Bobby at the Primo Boxing Gym in Santa Babs to watch him train. “He’s a natural athlete. When he wants to hurt you he can hurt you,” Joe Pommier, the formerly national-ranked boxer who runs the joint had told me. Joe said that Bobby, with just a little conditioning, could be a pro light-middleweight. “He’s 165-170 pounds (77 kilos) now. We’d get him down to 154 (69 kilos).”

And when you ask Bobby about the Mayweather v Pacquiao fight you know he’s serious about it. So serious that when he shells out the $100 to watch it on pay-per-view he doesn’t invite his pals around to watch.  “I hate being in an environment where people talk too much during the fight. All of a sudden there’s al these commentators who, all of a sudden, think they know boxing,” says Bobby. “I really have to watch it.”

Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao
Floyd Mayweather, left, is the 38-year-old American with 11 world titles and, at right, we see brave little Manny Pacquiao, 37, from the Philippines. He has 10 world titles and five years ago was elected to the Filipino house of representatives. Bobby Martinez calls him an “authentic, offensive fighter.”

BeachGrit: How would you describe the two fighters?

Bobby: Manny’s an authentic fighter, such an authentic fighter. He comes to fight, throws tons of punches, is always in great shape, has really good footwork and he’s just an… offensive machine. Floyd? Fuck, he’s just super defensive. He’s just… defensive. That’s it. He tries to make you miss and then make you pay. That’s been his whole career. Defensive genius.

BeachGrit: It doesn’t make for sizzling viewing, howevs, all that defence. 

Bobby: I like it, I like it ’cause I like to watch how he can do what he does. But it’s really boring. If you’ve seen one Mayweather fight you’ve seen ’em all. He does the same thing every fight. It’s definitely not my thing. He never goes and takes chances. He hasn’t knocked anyone out in a long time. You know he’s going to do just enough to win. A couple of punches to score rounds and that’s it. That’s how he’s always fought.

BeachGrit: How did you rate the fight? I found it stunningly dull…

Bobby: It was really boring, I thought. I liked it ’cause I’m a boxing fan but at the same time, I mean, what made it so boring was all the hype up to it: the amount you had to pay, the hype-up that was going on, you were going to think you were going to get fireworks and it was really a dull fight. Espe when it’s two best guys int hew odd you think that you get more than that. I kinda thought it was a dull right. Moments, third and the fourth round ,payqui looked like he wad figuring out floyd, getting closure, got him with a few shots that sutnn3d him, manny was ble to get some shots out on the ropes, a couple of rlurries, but then he never got close again. He figure out Paquio and readjusted and kinda just… ran away and sa couple of nice shots to win the round. ALl she wrote.

BeachGrit: How did you rate the fight? 

Bobby: Fuck. I’ve been talking about it a lot.  I’ve seen so many great fights, been to great fights in person. That fight last night is going to give boxing a horrible name. It was not action packed. There’s great fights in boxing every single year and it’s a bummer that so many people, who never watch boxing, bought the fight because of the hype. It sucks because has so much more to offer. There are so many better fights. I wouldn’t even rate that fight. I wouldn’t at all.

BeachGrit: Now here’s something? I was watching from a window without any commentary and it looked like Manny won easily? Why did Floyd get the decision? 

Bobby: You know what? (Former world heavyweight champ) Evander Holyfield thought that Pacquiao won. (Click here.) It all goes to what style of fighting you like. Some people will that the guy who won the fight was guy pushing the action, pressuring, always coming forward and making the other guy fight.  Pacquiao stunned Floyd and Floyd never stunned Pacquiao. It was Manny making the fight happen. So I can see how some people thought he won. It was obvious to me that Floyd had won but I can see how people hate that style of fighting. It’s hard to give a guy who rarely fights a victory. I can see how people find that hard because it’s so… boring. 

BeachGrit: Whats beautiful about boxing? What do you love about it?

Bobby: What I find most appealing about it is the heart it takes to be these guys. It’s such a hard brutal sport and to have that grit to want to do that is just crazy to me. They fight for a living. They’re willing to put everything aside just to fight even though so many guys in boxing have died or been punched in the head so much they have Parkinsons or can’t speak properly and are completely punch drunk. To see these guys just say, fuck it, I’m fighting cause I want to fight, that’s what I love about it. On top of that, it’s its own little art within itself. Two hands. That’s it. I love watching a fighter when their back is up against the wall and how they end up fighting. You can see the dog in them and you see how good someone is. I love everything about it. I respect it all.

Why Down Days Israel is Even Dumber Than You Think

And why clinging to your "ideas" is the work of fools… 

For the record, I found the latest episode of Down Days to be a naïve and boring. I didn’t see the whole thing through. The surf looked shit and I don’t care about whatever Israelis do for fun on the beach. Most of all, I don’t care what three professional surfers make of the Israel/Palestine question.

To me, the episode was a poor attempt at light-hearted, feel-good journalism/entertainment, with the underlying aim to sell shoes and that’s OK.

But what a storm it has elicited! I feel sorry for the Gudauskas brothers. Did they foresee the storm it would cause on BeachGrit?

A bitter war of words once again rages over that most long standing of international disputes. Shrill arguments and counter arguments fly freely. Accusations of anti-Semitism and ultra-Zionism ultimately follow, and then Godwin’s Law (Click here to read!) comes into play with mention of the Holocaust and the perpetrators of it.

The shit is complex: after two years of Middle Eastern politics, I walked away from it bored and well aware of the futility. I could talk, write, for hours discussing principles of conflict resolution, asymmetrical warfare and what not. However, at the heart of all of it is ideas, and it is ideas that you lap up and espouse as truths.

I say ideas because they are simply that… ideas.

I’m well-versed in ideas: I spent six years training in them. I make my living off them. Hobbes, Kant, Locke, Wittingstein and Chomsky, etc, I know them well. They’re ideas based upon observation and perceptions. Some are quite good at summarising situations, but they’re not truths.

None of them are truths.

We’re prone to ideas: they give us meaning. They help us understand our world. They are, however, limited. They’re easily deconstructed, laid bare and shown to be inadequate.

Human rights are my favourite. To have a right is for someone to have a corresponding duty. Human rights come from natural rights, which stem from natural justice and subsequently, natural law. Natural law works on the presumption of a higher being. In the case of natural rights, God guaranteed your rights. The problem exists that if there is no God, they’re void.

Human rights were meant to be a secular, universal solution to this with the state as having a duty to uphold your rights. The thing is, the state does what it wants and if decides to take away your rights, you’re fucked.

They’re not something that exists independently of a state just because you’re human. No one has a duty to you for that. You can cry all you like about your rights but they only exist at the state’s wish.

Yet, people still cling to ideas as if they were the very basis of their existence – and I guess that’s fair enough, though foolish.

Ideas are a foolproof way of getting yourself killed. And you may be one of these people, but I for one am not. I don’t believe in anything other than life, death, what is expedient and what is entertaining. And what is entertaining is your quaint and firm beliefs.

So please, clobber one another with your hifalutin ideals of human rights, justice, liberty and equality, I’ll giggle then pity you. And to the person who yells ‘Free Tibet’, or ‘Free Pussy Riot’, you’re fucking dreaming.

Filipe Toledo is coming to castrate you!

He has the sharpest beak!

Earlier today, the just-turned 20-year-old Filipe Toledo won the Oakley Pro at Lower Trestles. He beat Jeremy Flores and no one was surprised, least of all Jeremy Flores.

“Under three feet and no one in the world can beat him,” Jeremy had told me the previous week.

At the time, I’d asked Jeremy, in a strictly hypothetical sense, that if he were to ever confront Filipe in a final – although what are the chances! – what would his strategy be? How would he stop himself from being castrated by Filipe’s sharp beak?

Jeremy was lost. “Pheeeeeew… I’d probably try… uh… maybe… um… work on my power. Yeah, I’d over surf with big carves and stuff like that. He’d be doing big airs and I don’t think anyone does airs like him in the small stuff. If I had a heat with him three-foot waves, I’d pray for him to fall. And, if he did, I’d try and push every turn as hard as I can.”

Let’s examine a typical Toledo ride from the Oakley Pro final, in the eight-point range. As his tail lifts and he climbs to his feet, Filipe begins to shake and quiver. Tears stream from his eyes. God is with him and no one else, at least not now!

His legs come to life and his arms thrash at the air like the wings of a wounded bird gasping its last. His father looks out to sea, facing the west, towards his son’s special fury. Floaters extend beyond the normal boundaries, a tail drops… again… twice the manoeuvre is repeated… one atrocity after another. Darting. Dashing.

Jeremy watches and weeps.

Most incredible, still, the wave, two feet at best, would be a six under anyone else’s feet. Faith will move mountains!

All who understood gazed at the final in terror. Can you imagine what Kelly Slater, for instance, must be thinking? It’s impossible for him, and anyone else for that matter (John John doesn’t have that kinda gas in small waves) to beat Filipe. What if Kelly isn’t in the game for world titles anymore? What if the usual dish of small waves on the WSL just serves the Greatest Ever one embarrassment after the next? What future is there left to ponder?

Who would’ve thought that a wholesome 20-year-old from Brazil, and not Gabriel, would come upon surfing like some great natural disaster? On surfboards that weren’t from Biolos or Merrick, Handley or JS?

But now let’s imagine a rude awakening, a plunge into reality, with everyone caught in the soup.

Fiji. Tahiti. Jeffrey’s Bay. They fire. And Filipe smashes it to pieces.

Our little friend will twist the entire tour around his finger! What then?

But things haven’t gone quite that far yet. Soon, but soon…