Brett Simpson wins title!

And Huntington Beach rejoices.

Five-thousand people flocked to Huntington Beach, home to underaged drinking and What Youth‘s Travis Ferre, in order to witness history. Brett Simpson and sixty-five of his closest friends jammed themselves on a 42 ft 1,300 lb Nev surfboard and rode straight into infamy. The most people ever to surf a wave!

The total shattered the previous record set in Queensland, Australia where a mere forty-seven people surfed a wave for ten seconds. How did Nev feel about being a turncoat? “It’s all about fun. Surfing is fun, here we are just emulating surfing on a grand scale,” he told the Orange County Register. “This is the heart of surfing, globally. Everyone known in professional surfing has made their mark in Huntington Beach.” Sorry Queensland!

As the board was pulled out to sea by a PWC people were scared and nervous but once whipped in everyone was thrilled! The surfers bent their knees and nobody fell off as they shredded for twelve seconds. Sorry Queensland!

At the end, Huntington Beach’s mayor said, in regards to the board which will be housed permanently in the Surfing Museum, “This is the new statue of stoke in surfing.” and maybe continued, “Come to Huntington for the statue of stoke but stay for the underaged drinking and Travis Ferre.”

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surfing orca
"My masochistic sense of recklessness aside, I was relaxed about the orcas," writes Mr Beau Andrews. "After all, they’re meant to be fussy and discerning eaters. Some pods will only eat salmon, others, herring. Others will kill a whale just to eat its liver. A sinewy 64 kg Beau Andrews is probably not a good meal to an orca." | Photo: Bali Sharks

Candid: I was nearly eaten by Orcas!

They kill dolphins and seals for kicks, don't they?

I was nearly eaten by orcas a week ago. At least that’s how the public perceived the situation.

Defying my deeply held scorn for dawnies, I found myself sitting in the low light of dawn, immersed in frigid water, surfing a backwashy right at a central city surf spot. It was already crowded and I was cold, blowing waves and wondering why I even bothered.

The beachfront was full of busy-body dog walkers and lycra-clad middle-aged women pacing the sand, trying hard to achieve whatever it is that is relevant to their dull, chardonnay (possibly pinot noir, probably sauvignon blanc) sipping lives. I still sat cold and disgruntled.

Then the beach erupted with screams of “Get out of the water!” as six orcas came charging in to within 20 metres of us.

I looked at the beach, “What’s the racket for I asked myself?”

A guy turned to me and said “Did you see that?”

I didn’t, they were gone fairly quickly and I was too absorbed in loathing the cold and back-wash. A photographer I knew looked like he had seen a ghost as he sat there bobbing about amongst us.

“Oh well,” I thought and surfed on. I’d shared the line-up with orcas before.

Drawing upon my lack of self-respect and the respect of the judgement of others, I’d had a similar situation as a grom when blue sharks invested my local for a summer. My 14-year-old self and 11-year-old mate sat there stoked on the glassy two-footers as two-metre blueys swam by.

The middle-aged people stood on the breakwater yelling at us to get out. We smiled and waved politely. They continued to yell until my friend lost his temper and yelled “Fuck-off, we know there’s sharks!” He went on to do a great many punk things.


Possibly, but I had a father who told me that if I wanted to be a surfer, I had to face the fact that I may be eaten by sharks. Young and impressionable, I took it a little bit too far.

My masochistic sense of recklessness aside, I was relaxed about the orcas. After all, they’re meant to be fussy and discerning eaters. Some pods will only eat salmon, others, herring. Others will kill a whale just to eat its liver. A sinewy 64 kg Beau Andrews is probably not a good meal to an orca.

But what’s stopping them? They kill seals and dolphins for kicks. Why not awkward rubber clad gimps with dick-headed opinions? A pod of orcas could single-handedly make surfing unpopular again, wreaking more havoc than any shark could. But they don’t.

Some would say that they’re too intelligent to do that. I say bollocks. We kill for fun, even if we know it ain’t for food or any real reason other than we can.

Then again, they may have a point. I’ve developed a theory that orcas don’t attack surfers because we carry with us the great stench of petro-chemicals. We’re literally clad in the stuff while sitting on the stuff… repulsive.

It’s just a theory though, and a ridiculous one. However, if true, the joke’s on them. They turn their noses up at us while they gorge themselves on fish, accumulating dangerous levels of mercury and DDT from our polluted seas.

So much for discerning.

Join me next week when I theorise how babies are made and why.

Blind surfers
…one of the fabulous photos from Jamie Brisick's book, We Approach Our Martinis with Such High Expectations. | Photo: Jamie Brisick

(Audio): The Blind Surfer

A surfer is blinded in a ding-fixing accident. But life goes on in this moving story by Jamie Brisick …

The surfer-marine Michael A Kocher reads “Justin’s Weird Act” from the Jamie Brisick book We Approach Our Martinis with Such High Expectations.

The story, about a surfer blinded in a ding-fixing accident, “goes to show us all that no matter what life throws in our way we can still surf, we can still feel stoke, and we can still enjoy life. Justin’s story is one of unexpected beauty and expected poignancy. I read it at least once a month and it has absolutely informed my life in numerous different ways,” says the narrator.

“I hope that you enjoy my rendition and my apologies to Jamie for the times I tripped over words. His words deserve the utmost respect and love.”

Buy the book here. (Click!) 

Cyrus Sutton surf van
…here's the 2003 Ford E-Series Van E250 Cyrus just threw up on eBay. Couple of hundred thousand miles on the clock, a big ol V8 and you can sleep three! Five if you wanna menage!

For sale: Cyrus Sutton’s Iconic Surf Van!

This Ford camper has seen North America's best waves and wants to take you there too!

How about this? If you’ve got seven gees or thereabouts you’ve got enough shekels to buy the world’s coolest surf van!

Cyrus Sutton, as if I even need to tease the keys, is the 33-year-old pro-surfer filmmaker-traveller who made such DIY-retro classics and Stoked and Broke (2011)…

…and Compassing (2013), a movie that details the customisation of the van you might wanna buy as well as its debut journey.

“I’ve been from Washington to Mainland Mexico in it,” says Cyrus. “My most wonderful surf experience was camping at Pascuales for a month. It was hot but the waves were great. This van and I go way back. It’s my first home. So it will be sad but all good things come to an end. Whoever gets has to let me drive it around their block once a year…ha!”

Set your bitch free! Bid here!

Chelsea Cannell
Strider, spellbound, love drunk, drowns in Chelsea Cannell's gift-wrapped expertise.

My Secret Garden: Chelsea Cannell on WSL life!

Get love drunk on the WSL's prize commentator… 

She came into our lives just this February, a thirty-something, almost six-feet tall balayaged dreamboat, so able with a microphone… so confident and so wonderfully funny.

Chelsea’s lineage is pure television royalty. Her pops Stephen J. Cannell was an Emmy award winning producer of dozens of television series including The A-Team and 21 Jump Street.

Do you even remember time pre-Chelsea Cannell? Look at the photo above and tell me every single man isn’t in thrall to California’s finest export since the Tesla electric motor car.

BeachGrit: Where did you spring from? Surfing webcasts were so dreary until you came along! Actually, they weren’t. But you make the sublime divine!

Ms Cannell: Awe,Thank you! I was actually a big fan of the webcast last year and have been really fortunate to join the team this season. I’ve been working on a variety of projects over the past few years, one minute I’m covering the BCS National Championship at the Rose Bowl, the next the Billboard Music Awards. So I think the least complicated answer, would probably be to say, Fox Sports. I spent 3 years there and it’s where I think of myself as being “from.” I was surrounded by some of the best in the biz and learned a lot during that time. I even got to cover the 2012 Olympics in London, which is definitely a career highlight so far.

 What is your official role on the webcasts? Color, expert commentary? Anchoring? 

My official role is as a sideline reporter which, as I’m sure you’ve seen, really revolves around the post heat interviews, injury updates and interesting storylines that might happen during a heat. Not a bad gig, in my humble opinion.

 Tell me, what techniques do you employ to appear so natural, so at ease? 

 That’s very kind of you to say. I’m not sure I have a technique other than just wanting to connect with whomever I’m interviewing, listening and reacting to whatever is being said, and then just following my natural curiosity. I think whatever ease you may be referring to is really just a testament to the surfers on tour and the general vibe at the contest sites, everyone has been really welcoming and that definitely helps.

Who did you fall in love with, instantly, among the boy commentators? My personal favs, among the boys, is Ron (for sheer beauty and skin tones), then Ross (for his mind). 

Ha ha, how could I pick? I will admit that I have fallen in love with the entire commentary team, all for different reasons. There’s no denying that they are the very best at what they do, and as a result, there’s a unique level of insight I’ve been able to gain as a result of working alongside them. They are quite possibly the most talented, fun group of people I’ve had the pleasure of working with in quite some time. I feel pretty lucky to be a part of the group, both on the broadcast, and off.

Do you love Joe’s voice, like me? He defines surf commentary for me. Does he dazzle you too? 

Joe is really incredible. I do love his voice, but what I think really strikes me about Joe is how much passion he has for the sport and the work that he puts in to really knowing every last detail. Joe has so much knowledge and experience, and it really comes across in his commentary. That, and the kind of guy he is. When I hear him talk about the surfers and say “they have time for everyone” it always strikes me, that’s actually the perfect way to describe Joe.

Who’s your favorite guy and favorite girl on tour to interview and why?

Essentially every interview, in that moment, is my favorite because I never know what the surfers are going to say and I love having the opportunity to get their reactions immediately after a heat. When covering any sport, it’s your job to remain unbiased and unemotional so that you can cover the sport fairly and from all angles and because of that, I really resist having favorites. That being said, and because I realize that’s a bit of a boring answer, I will say, both Tyler and Owen Wright have both been on the receiving end of some of my more “creative” interviews and I always really appreciate their willingness to humor me.

Is Kelly Slater everything you ever dreamed of, and maybe more, or did you know him before you joined the tour? 

Of course he is, he’s Kelly Slater! I have so much respect for him, his career, his character, and what he’s accomplished. It’s pretty special, and such a rare thing to be able to experience someone of his caliber in their element. Seeing Kelly surf is not something I will ever forget in this lifetime, that’s for sure.

What has been the most thrilling thing you’ve seen on the tour? 

I’d say all the heats at the Box at Margaret’s were really thrilling for me because I’ve never seen anything like that up close. That place is just breathtaking. It’s absolutely impossible to explain in words if you haven’t been there, and the photos just don’t capture the raw beauty. Everyone told me I’d love it, and it did not disappoint.

Are you emotional sorta gal? Do the highs and lows of sport really work you? 

I’m not typically an emotional girl, but there have been definite moments this year and during the end of last that have caught me off guard. When I interviewed Stephanie Gilmore right after she found out she’d won her 6th title, she started to cry and I thought oh lord, here it comes, this is going to be embarrassing if I get emotional too, but luckily I was able to hold it back. That moment was really moving for me.

I’m so Brazil, Brazil, at the moment, do you feel it? Do you feel the Brazilian surge on the frontline? Can you describe? 

Hard not to be, right? I think what you can definitely feel, is the support the Brazilian surfers all provide for one another on tour. It was really apparent on the Gold Coast when Filipe won, they were sitting together, really cheering for him, and cheering almost as loud as the fans on the beach below. In those moments you can definitely feel their momentum, and desire to bring home another Brazilian World title.