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…

Which is Surfer and which The Inertia?

Opinion: The WSL could sure use some cheerleaders

The WSL would be vastly improved with the addition of professional dancing girls (and maybe boys!) … 

I was attending college in Encinitas, California, when I heard my destiny calling.

An Israeli national on my college surf team invited myself  and an Australian exchange student named Sam to accompany him to his home state of Florida for Passover.

Sam and I exchanged worried looks. The weekend coincided with Coachella and the idea of spending our spring-break eating challah bread sounded stale. Just as the Israeli national, a Jew named Yehuda, could hear our clumsy excuses, he informed us that this weekend was the National Cheerleading and Dance championships held at his local beach.

Seven thousand and five hundred college cheerleaders, the best of the deep south and Bible Belt.  Each spring they came to the dirty shores of Daytona beach for their annual “stunt fest”. Our desires turned from the desert in the west to the swamps in the east.

Sam and I finished our drinks in an audible gulp, tipped the bartender for her good service, and said “Fuck Yeah” as we  strolled into the cool desert night. We booked our tickets an hour later. It ran us $400 round-trip: San Diego to Phoenix and then on to Orlando. From there, it would be an hour or so drive to the shores of Daytona where Yehuda’s mother had arranged a condo in our honor.

It was a strike mission, get in, screw with an epic grandeur and get out. Yes, we were traveling with surfboards, but our hearts desired something more glamorous then the Floridian surf.

If you are to follow me next year to this weekend of indulgence, remember this: bring a soft board with you. Yehuda had it all figured out. I mean, he is the “Duke of Daytona” after all.

Surf lessons. 

Surf lessons for all willing women who don’t mind getting their  primed hair salty. Make a sign like we did:

Three Mates Surf Dates. $5 dollars for 10 waves.

Charge them minimally. To offer surf lessons for free would be sleazy and sleazy was too common in Daytona. We achieved legitimacy through the beauty of capitalism.

Most of these girls had never seen surfing before. The springtime banks of Daytona coupled with your soft board will make you a God in the eyes of these Southern Belles. Now, back to my story.

We were making a killing. It was impossible to meet demand. Clean twenties and fifties filled our backpack. Numbers filled our phone books, hints at nightly whereabouts were confirmed, and hotel addresses took precedence in our memory over our own. There was a ubiquitous answer among the smog of women. Rummels was where the cheerleaders were going or “stunt sluts” if you will and the delectable dance team girls were headed to 509’s right next door. With the ratio bordering 75:1, we knew we were in the running.

Attention deficit disorders fire when surrounded by this many women. Communication skills go haywire. Attempting to stay focused on one girl is like trying to maintain conversation with a passing car on the freeway. They were everywhere, coming in all shapes and sizes. Our standards rose to all-time highs.

After hours of pushing girls into knee-high waves, it was time to try another tactic. I shed my surf trunks for a more formal button up and black denim jeans. I had come here to Dayton for one other reason. I was on assignment for BeachGrit (You were? – The Bitchy Crab) in to which I was to pose the question, Does The WSL need cheerleaders?

I went to see the Georgia University Bulldogs. I asked a team mom if I could have access to her girls for an “interview.” She obliged with an ominous smile, asking me if I was with ESPN. I told her that I was a literary surf journalist.

The three girls I spoke too thought it would be an interesting change of pace moving from football fields to the beaches. That the exotic locations sounded more enticing then cities like Chicago and Cleveland. They were confused as to the whole prospect, however. Cheering for one surfer rather then a team didn’t make much sense to them.

So I broke down my reasoning. The Quiksilver Pro (Snapper Rocks) had just concluded in lacklustre conditions. Long lulls of no action plagued the viewing experience, dreary commentary put many to sleep.

I told the girls, whose attention was drawn inward with lack of understanding, that the newly minted governing body of surfing was hoping its large grandstand infrastructure would have people flocking to the beach. It was apparent that they wanted to have an audible cheer after the completion of a ride, that it gave the creative expression a more sporty feel.

The girls began to catch my drift.

“So if the WSL hires us, then they can have their contests where there isn’t a lot of people and entertain the audience when waves aren’t coming in”

“Yes!” I roared.

“And if they had us girls cheering on the beach, they could have their contests wherever they wanted”?

Yes! Sexy places like Indonesia and the Caribbean.

“We would all go together of course!”

They laughed at the notion, but the seed was planted, so to speak.

We went to Rummels and to 509’s as any opportunist would in our situation. It was a scene. Free drinks till 12 coupled with the return of the early 2000’s grinding fad.

I stand before you today, and with honesty in my heart, say that you haven’t lived until you’ve felt  hundreds of collegiate asses trying to frottage you simultaneously. It was a conga line of writhing bodies. Flesh gripped in gentle frenzies and subtle raptures. On every face, eyes closed, the same smile, calm and blissful.

I write this lengthy preface to explain my position and show that the idea of WSL cheerleaders is no wild-eyed dream; that even if the specific action, symbolic as it is, may seem farfetched, the fact remains that we are inevitably heading for something of the sort.

We need only glance at the less-than-awesome crowds on the beach to realise something needs to change.

I surf in the future

It is a bright place filled with hope and massive carving 360s.

I was at Disneyland a few days back because I am involved in a particular genre of dad porn and also because I have a 2 year-old daughter. We rode Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, ate corndogs, took pictures with Princess Jasmine and watched an extended preview of Disney’s upcoming feature Tomorrowland. It was a wonderful breath of fresh air because what I saw on the screen was a hopeful vision of the future. It was not all black and zombie and dystopian like most movies set in the coming age.

Afterwards we rode Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, bought a personalized parasol with my daughter’s name and pictures of Princess Elsa and saw Danny Fuller. He was with his wife and 2 year-old daughter as well. We shared some laughs and I wondered if he is secretly involved in the same genre of dad porn as me.

Yesterday, I picked up a brand new, hand-shaped surfboard called the Bullshark. It is a 5’4 ¼ 19 5/8 2 3/8 vision of the future. Shaped by the quiet genius Dane Hantz, who carves under the name Vulcan Surfboards, it makes me so excited it is hard to think about anything other than surfing.

I first saw a Vulcan Bullshark on @boardporn’s instagram feed. If you do not follow it is well advised. Picture after picture after picture of gorgeous, non-standard sleds. I normally window shop except when I saw the Vulcan Bullshark I dropped my day’s plans and figured out how to get my hands on one.

Dane met me for coffee the very next day and we chatted about my progressive surf style. Progressive in that my shoulder pops out of socket all the time so I can’t really paddle and I am tall so I can’t do anything other than gentle turns off the top. He took notes and gave me a loaner to try.

It was unlike anything I had ever ridden. A “planing hull” I believe he called it, sort of like what Tomo and others are doing. I have never ridden a Tomo but wow. The Vulcan was a dream. I was catching waves and almost shredding them. So fast, so light, so shreddy.

And, yesterday, I picked up my own. It is sparkling white and pretty. It is hard to take my eyes off of even when my 2 year-old daughter is playing dangerously close to the street and I should be looking at her instead of my new surfboard. And it surfs so well I’d think about getting in the World Surf League if it wasn’t quickly going out of business. Dane says, “Good shape is important but also good construction. We are expanding the reach of what materials can do. With more people being receptive to ecological solutions we are able to keep trying different constructions. Like, wood is not as renewable so we took out the stringer and added the Convex (read about here!). It is stronger, more efficient, adds strength and loses weight…”

I paddled straight out after our conversation on my new board and ruled the lineup. I now surf in the future. It is a bright future, just like Tomorrowland, and everything is possible. Even massive carving 360s.

Order your own piece of the tomorrow here.