Filipe Toledo smashes board
Filipe Toledo winning the US Open of Surfing at HB is pretty much a given after last year. Ain't nobody able to connect the languorous dots of that beach like the world number four. So when he lost his semi-final against Maui's Tanner Hendrickson he, to quote the photographer, "Killed his board. Dead. This shot reminds me of The Clash's London Calling cover shot by Pennie Smith," says Sherm. "In that shot, Paul Simenon smashed his prize Fender bass when he wasn't getting the sound he wanted." | Photo: Steve Sherman/IG @TSherms

Gallery: Backstage at the US Open of Surfing

…with the one, the only, the incredible Steve Sherman…

It’s abundantly clear that without the photographer Steve Sherman backstage at a surfing event, the results will be vulgar, anarchic, hopeless. We might sentimentalise the low-fi photo but the results, on close inspection, are often clumsy and ignorant.

What could be more depressing than having such a tight collection of surfing greats and none of those wonderful behind-the-scenes moments are stolen?

At the recent Vans US Open of Surfing, the San Diego photographer Steve Sherman penetrated everything, and everywhere.

His photos, I believe, have a commercial, contemporary theatre.

Johanne Defay wins US Open of Surfing
Ain’t it just sweet how Johanne Defay won the US Open of Surfing against super talents like Carissa Moore? A lil gal from Reunion Island (now overrun with sharks thereby making surfing an act of faith) swinging her jams in front of the biggest surf audience on earth.
Ricardo Toledo
Filipe’s dad, Ricardo, a three-time Brazil surf champ and king of Instagram! Who can forget his online feud with Californian twink Alex Gray. “hei alex gay…sorry, gray, I think you this wanting suck my dick! sorry but will not give, I am well settled sexually, and besides, my wife will kill you!!! Fuck yourself…” BeachGrit adores the spirit of Ricardo for without Ricardo, or his little panther of a son, surfing would dissolve into a world of beige.
Mounted police
Who doesn’t love mounted police, a world away from their belligerent, suspicious and brutal car-bound colleagues? Is it their love of horses that, ironically, humanises these men?
Jesus surfs
It always feels, in least in my opinion, that proselytisers for Christianity in this part of southern California are preaching to the converted. Think of all those beautiful coffee-coloured Catholic Mexicans who see these sorts of signs and think, yeah, is true. And as a base rule, most Californians do seem at least mildly Christian. So why bother beating the drum?
Hiroto Ohhara
Why glorify youth? Because Japanese teen Hiroto Ohhara is representative of the Glorious Youth legend. Such splendour! He wins contest and says, oh man, now I buy cars! What a cool wave of sanity he is.
Filipe Toledo surfboard
Catholic Filipe Toledo with his hyper colour surfboard featuring the Blessed Virgin Mary, the semi-deity who miraculously conceived Jesus through the Holy Spirit and without her husband’s seed. Apparently, she was at Jesus’ crucifixion too. So, quite the historical artefact.

surfing alligator

Nature at best: Alligator goes surfing!

And is trapped, fate unknown, thereby raising profound question: whose domain is it?

Yesterday on idyllic Pawley Island, in beautifully progressive South Carolina, a seven-foot alligator was seen casually riding waves, frolicking in the water’s balmy August warmth.

According to The Daily Mail, “Police officers who were called to the scene followed the amateur four-legged surfer for two hours as it unhurriedly made its way a mile up the shore.”

(Most likely) the gator took a few lefts on the inside sandbar, favoring his left hand approach in the small, glassy peelers. Then he took a look at a couple corners outside, made his way up the coast slowly, patiently waiting for sets.

Basically, enjoying a Monday afternoon bodywomp!

And fuck if South Carolinians aren’t harsh on outsiders picking off peaks! A pack of “professional gator trappers” (imagine! The life!) eventually got close enough to lasso it and drag it from the water. Like fucking coastal cowboys!

surfing alligator
And fuck if South Carolinians aren’t harsh on outsiders picking off peaks! A pack of “professional gator trappers” (imagine! The life!) eventually got close enough to lasso it and drag it from the water. Like fucking coastal cowboys!

Now, alligators are for me perhaps the only animals scarier than sharks. Being from Florida, I’ve witnessed attacks from both. Sharks are quick, their attacks chaotic bursts from below. But alligators are monsters. They are scrappier, uglier, and just as fast on land as in the water. They can torque off an appendage with one dramatic twist.

But part of me thinks, That poor reptilian man-eater! Literally dragged from the water! The fucker commenced “about 20 Death Rolls” before trappers got a good handle on him, taped his trapped-door of a chomper shut, and dragged him away.

What do you think? Should the beast have been allowed to cruise the coast, sliding summer shorepound as he made his way north?

Kelly Slater teahupoo
It seems like Kelly's been this grizzled old vet for ages. With his peanut-brown dome and weathered good looks, he's an elder gladiator, older but no slower, more cunning, maybe slightly less motivated. But he was a young man once. Not too long ago he was a Baywatch starring ground breaker who was plastered on my walls. | Photo: Miles Pitt/ casteyewear

“Screw you Robbie Maddison!” says Slater

Actually no, he don't! Instead, twenty five years of Slater… condensed!

The Kelly Kut, a “borrowed” footage edit of Mr Slater’s decades-long run at the forefront of performance surfing is a trip to watch if you were alive and cogent during the early years of his reign.

It seems like Kelly’s been this grizzled old vet for ages. With his peanut-brown dome and weathered good looks, he’s an elder gladiator, older but no slower, more cunning, maybe slightly less motivated.

But he was a young man once.

Not too long ago he was a Baywatch-starring ground breaker who was plastered on my walls.

Watching the old footage, juxtaposed with the new, it’s striking how little he’s improved over the years. His boards are different, his style a little more perfect, but it’s unreal to ponder how far ahead of the pack he was, and how long it took everyone to catch up.

If anyone even has.

Some kids may come close in certain aspects. It’s hard to beat a teenager’s air game, what with their bendy bones and hyper-flexible ligaments.

But no one else is the total package, it’s doubtful anyone ever will be.

This is a killer video, give it a watch. And soon.

‘Cuz there’s a whole lot of sampled content on there, I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t get yanked from the web post-haste.

Even if Kelly is stoked on it and posted it to his instagram page. What does he care? He don’t own the footage.

Excerpts Courtesy Of:

‘Flow – The True Story of a Surfing Revolution’
Director: Josh Landon
Koastal Media

‘Blue Horizon’
Director: Jack McCoy
A Coastrain Production

Director: Taylor Steele
Poor Specimen Productions

‘Good Times’
Director: Taylor Steele
Poor Specimen Productions

‘Cypher Vision’
Director: Jamie Tierney
Quiksilver Films

‘Kelly Slater: In Black and White’
Director: Richard R. Woolcott
A Pavillion Film

‘The September Sessions’
Director: Jack Johnson
Jack Johnson Films

‘Letting Go’
Director: George Opadchy & Jamie Tierney
A Pavillion Film

‘The Dream Tour 2005’
Director: Matt Gye & Shagga
ASP International/Mutiny Media

‘Young Guns 3’
Director: George Opadchy & Jamie Tierney
A Pavillion Film

Director: Taylor Steele
Poor Specimen Productions

‘Campaign II’
Director: Taylor Steele
Poor Specimen Productions

‘Days Of Strange’
Director: Ivan Tanjung & Kai Neville
Poor Specimen Productions

‘What’s Really Goin’ On’
Director: Jason Kenworthy Ryan Ray
Mike Reola
Lost Enterprises/Snapping Turtle Productions

Web Excerpts Courtesy Of:

‘Kelly Slater Afternoon Interview’
What Youth

‘Human To Hero’
Cable News Network/Turner Broadcasting

‘Kelly Slater in West Oz 2015’
Geordie Tarren
DZH Digital

‘Final Day Highlights’
2011 Quiksilver Pro New York

‘Throw Back Thursday: Quiksilver Pro France’

‘Day 3 Shot On Red’
Volcom Pipe Pro 2014

‘Men’s Final Heat’
2012 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach

‘Final Day Highlights’
2011 Quiksilver Pro New York

‘Slater’s Backside Barrel Tutorial’

‘Kelly Slater’s Urban Jungle’

‘Massive Swell Continues’

‘Kelly Slater’s 540: Red Camera Footage’
Noah Alani

‘Kelly Slater 15 Foot Drop’
Billabong Tahiti Pro

‘Shane Beschen vs Kelly Slater: 1994’
Encyclopedia Of Surfing


Steve Sherman

Edited By:
J. Patrick Stublen

Motion Graphics By:
Jason Stublen

Music Courtesy:

Sleep Forever
Fat Possum Records

‘I Wanna Destroy You’
Uncle Tupelo
Still Feel Gone
Uncle Tupelo Partnership

‘Tiny Birds’
Yo La Tengo
Summer Sun
Sire Records


Outerknown John Moore
This is Outerknown's John Moore and the Japanese photographer Akira Kobayashi whose photos of Venice in the sixties are currently being exhibited within GA.

Wow: South African takes over Venice!

Damien Fahrenfort used to be a pro surfer. Now he is rich.

If you know anything about anything, you know Venice, California is the world’s hottest locale. Who doesn’t want? There is very delicious food (hello, Flake!), the sun shines constantly and the people get more beautiful each and every day. Some try to complain. “Oh…” they moan “…Venice is soooo over…” while glaring from the corner of their eyes at people more beautiful than they. Jealousy is ugly!

As you can guess, it is hard to establish in Venice, California and that is why South Africa’s Damien Fahrenfort becoming a commercial kingpin is beyond amazing. Over the weekend he opened the magnificent store General Admission. They sell exactly what you want, publish a journal, curate your lifestyle and all on Brooks Ave which, if you know anything about anything, turns into Abbot Kinney.

Damien (tallest and best looking) stands in his store.
Damien (tallest and best looking) stands in his store.

Damien Fahrenfort used to be a pro surfer. Now is he is a financial heavyweight and it is definitely worth going to his store because, also, the t-shirts and pants are spot exactly right. Shawn Stussy, Danny Fuller, John Moore and Rick Ross went to the opening party. You should go too, but not to the opening party. It’s over. Also order here.

Robbie Maddison teahupoo
Robbie Maddison taking his moto to Tahiti isn't what you'd call sublime or gentle or treading gently but it is beautiful in its absurdity.

Revealed: Robbie Maddison’s Teahupoo Moto!

Did you wonder how a 100kg machine stayed afloat long enough to conquer Teahupoo?

Yesterday morning, shortly after we posted Robbie Maddison’s Teahupoo clip, I got a droll phone call from the most practical man I know.

Miles Pitt builds movie sets for a living and is responsible for a ton of similarly gimmicky surf shoots (flares on Bruce Irons and Jordy Smith’s boards, laser lights in a wave pool). He also owns a sunglass label that is stupidly successful (Rihanna and Lady GaGa wear ’em.) Click here etc. 


He said, “You know this is fake don’t you?”

I didn’t.

When he explained all the physics behind keeping a motorcycle afloat, I felt quite dense that I hadn’t even questioned it. We soon realised that the curtain was going to be lifted on this elaborate prank at the world premiere, Wizard of Oz-like, that was happening… now!

I immediately called Chas Smith who was at the premiere. Chas spoke to his old friend Raimana Van Bastolaer, who was the Tahitian fixer behind the shoot, inspected the motorcycle, and called back.

“It’s real,” he said.

And so it was.

The bike is a  KTM250 SX modified with skis that have little fins at the bottom to act as rudders and a paddle steamer-like back tyre. Maddison chose a two-stroke ’cause it was less likely to freak out in the water as opposed to a four-stroker.

The bike was first tested on an eight-mile ride in San Diego’s Mission Bay. But San Deigo ain’t Tahiti and Mission Bay ain’t Teahupoo.

At one point, Maddison hit a west bomb, one of those kinky straight-into-the-barrel waves only the best surfers dare challenge, and nearly died. Maddison told Rolling Stone, “There I was on a motorcycle, with the worst thing that could possibly happen… My friends and crew were completely rattled, having thought that I had drowned in the wave. It’s the gnarliest thing I have ever been through.”


Robbie Maddison Tahiti
Robbie’s modified KTM250, with skis and a paddle-steamer back tyre.