Reading: Five Breezy Escapist Books!

Who needs serious or wrist-slitting depression? Elevate!

I like to read, and if you enjoy BeachGrit, which is more than a little text heavy, I can only assume you do too. Here’s a list of a few of my favorite books. Good books, to be sure, but not heavy reading by any means. Reading should be fun, provide escapism, make you laugh.

There’s a place for seriousness, but we don’t all have the fortitude to slog our way through Joyce, or try to understand what the fuck Pynchon is talking about, or deal with the wrist-slitting depression Bukoswki brings to the table.

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#1 Youth in Revolt by C.D. Payne

What begins as a funny but relatively realistic bildungsroman slowly but surely moves into the realm of the absurd. This might be my favorite book of all time. It follows Nick Twisp, a no more than averagely horny fourteen-year-old boy, through a series of increasingly serious and ridiculous misadventures, all motivated by little more than his desire to get his dick wet.

 

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#2 Dune by Frank Herbert

You’ve probably read Dune, it’s one of the most famous and critically acclaimed scifi novels ever written. Herbert manages to tell an exciting tale of space wars, knife fights and giant sand worms, all wrapped up in an allegory about the danger humanity faces every time they lift someone to the status of “hero.”

The first book in the series is the easiest to swallow, as it progresses it wanders into philosophically strange territory. I love them all, but the later installments aren’t for everyone. But Dune... anyone who says they don’t love it is a filthy liar.

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#3 Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Robin Hobb is the second nom de plume of Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden, one of the most hyper-prolific and soul crushing talented writers in the world.  Each year she drops a new book, each year it is absolutely superb.  Assassin’s Apprentice is the first instalment in her Realm of the Elderlings series, which currently numbers fifteen novels. It’ll suck you in and leave you crying and she manages to make you love her characters, then subjects them to utter anguish.

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#4 Tapping the Source by Kem Nunn

Set in a pre-gentrification Huntington Beach, Tapping the Source follows Ike Tucker, a desert rat turned surfer in an attempt to find who is responsible for his sisters death. It doesn’t wax poetic about ersatz soul, it portrays surfers as they generally are, self-involved hedonistic scumbags.  Violent, cruel, graphic. It is, in my opinion, Nunn’s finest work.

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#5 Can’t You Get Along With Anyone by Allan Weisbecker

Just kidding, this book fucking sucks.

Like most, I was a huge fan of In Search Of Captain Zero. Great story, especially if you take the author at his word and assume it’s all true. Which it, of course, isn’t. Writers are, by nature, professional liars and you shouldn’t trust a word they say.

I’ve got a longstanding personal beef with Weisbecker, and by all indications I’m one of many.  CYGAWA is, ostensibly, a memoir, but is in reality a pile of self-indulgent garbage penned by a misanthropic prick with little to no personal insight.

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The following Amazon review does a good job of explaining the situation:

My biggest beef, I suppose, is this: Weisbecker makes a big deal–A REALLY BIG DEAL–about the ins and outs of good writing. Talks a lot about building suspense, carrying the reader along, giving the reader a pay-off at the end. He talks about his obligation to the reader. And yet, when it comes to executing those very things he preaches (in a manner so pompous I can only assume his picture is used to illustrate the entry for “blowhard” in Wikipedia), he completely drops the ball.

About half way through I got sick of his mewling self-pity. About three quarters of the way through I decided to stop reading. At the end, with him curled in a ball, unable to confront his toxic, two-timing lover, I all but threw the book across the room shouting “That’s it? That’s it, you complete pussy?” 


CJ Hobgood, simple, sober, original against Nat Young. A classic!

Miracle: Simpo, CJ, win heats, Billabong Pro, Tahiti!

Notorious last-placers storm to guaranteed second-lasts at Teahuoo!

It is a gruesome business, this hacking away at heats in waves that look like ashtrays, just to whittle it all down to a workable dozen or so. When might sanity prevail, when might sentimentality be thrown out the door, so the surf fan might be spared the long and mentally costly grind of rounds one, two and three?

A two-day contest would instantly turn a shabby, cross-your-fingers event into something extravagant and representative of surfing. You can’t count on a friendly shark at every surf event to stir up the internet.

If the business of the WSL is to sell the game to the fabled football fan, too dumb mostly to care what appears on his television screen, what might he make of thirty-minutes of Bede Durbidge and Glenn Hall, scrubbing for fives, in rain-soaked inconsistent waves?

But for the surf fan, for you and me, even on these bleak days, though not, let it be said, as bleak as yesterday, not as threadbare and despairing, there are highlights to be found among the long hours staring at a computer screen, eyeballs drained of essential moisture.

Brett Simpson won a heat? And he beat Taj Burrow? And he beat him well? For Brett it was like a man bursting out of a loveless marriage and straight into glorious infidelity!

CJ Hobgood, an excellent craftsman if there ever was one, has been disregarded by everyone including and has announced his retirement from the tour. Would he drift off the scene, crumbling, plucked?

Today new eyes grew in a new head. A nine and a bit! He sent Nat Young straight back to Santa Cruz in last!

“I could not be more astonished than if you told me the Turin Shroud was a fake,” gasped CJ.

I also enjoyed Adam Melling wrestling a foam ball at one point in his heat against Ace Buchan, though he eventually lost. Kolohe Andino, outstandingly brilliant at everything it seems except surfing heats, scored less than five against Wiggolly Dantas. Perhaps he can raise poultry with his millions.

Watch it all here, condensed form.

 

Billabong Pro Tahiti Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.10, Jadson Andre (BRA) 8.23, Brett Simpson (USA) 4.70
Heat 2: Owen Wright (AUS) 11.67, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.50, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 9.67
Heat 3: Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 13.10, Keanu Asing (HAW) 7.16, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 5.37
Heat 4: Julian Wilson (AUS) 10.66, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 9.00, Garrett Parkes (AUS) 1.30
Heat 5: Mick Fanning (AUS) 12.17, Adam Melling (AUS) 6.26, Taumata Puhetini (PYF) 1.33
Heat 6: Bruno Santos (BRA) 8.67, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 5.30, Michel Bourez (PYF) 2.44
Heat 7: Dusty Payne (HAW) 10.00, Nat Young (USA) 5.14, Kai Otton (AUS) 1.30
Heat 8: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 10.83, Taj Burrow (AUS) 4.77, Glenn Hall (IRL) 2.96
Heat 9: Josh Kerr (AUS) 17.17, Kolohe Andino (USA) 12.80, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 9.00
Heat 10: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 14.43, Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.47, Ricardo Christie (NZL) 5.73
Heat 11: John John Florence (HAW) 17.96, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 13.83, Bede Durbidge (AUS)11.43
Heat 12: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 14.90, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 12.34, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 12.27

Billabong Pro Tahiti Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 16.26 def. Taumata Puhetini (PYF) 8.44
Heat 2: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 8.57 def. Garrett Parkes (AUS) 8.23
Heat 3: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 18.13 def. Nat Young (USA) 16.66
Heat 4: Brett Simpson (USA) 16.50 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 10.23
Heat 5: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 14.36 def. Glenn Hall (IRL) 9.44
Heat 6: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 10.83 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 4.47
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.67 def. Ricardo Christie (NZL) 12.44
Heat 8: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 12.50 def. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 10.96
Heat 9: Kai Otton (AUS) 14.66 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 5.54
Heat 10: Jadson Andre (BRA) 17.10 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 10.60
Heat 11: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 16.40 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 15.27
Heat 12: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 14.60 def. Keanu Asing (HAW) 14.07

Billabong Pro Tahiti Round 3 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 2: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Kai Otton (AUS)
Heat 3: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 4: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 5: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Gabriel Medina (HAW)
Heat 6: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Bruno Santos (BRA)
Heat 7: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Aritz Aranburu (ESP)
Heat 8: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) vs. Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 9: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS)
Heat 10: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
Heat 11: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Joel Parkinson (AUS)
Heat 12: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. C.J. Hobgood (USA)


Shadowed and sad: Day one, Billabong Pro, Tahiti

I see nothing but boredom, everywhere. But, wait, Kelly!

Tahiti, as in the island in French Polyneisa, is the most beautiful of its sort on earth. I must confess that every time I sort myself out and land in Papeete and make that two-hour drive to the perfectly named End of the Road, where one finds the wave hosting the Billabong Pro, I lose all my gloomy apprehensions.

I doubt there is a greater joy on earth than being met at the airport in the early evening and driving toward Tahiti-iti, little Tahiti, in the bed of your accommodation’s pick-up; you, gazing at a Pacific sky knitted almost solid with stars.

There are no objectionable hotels or sweeping estates of billionaires who are never to be seen. Instead, at the End of the Road we find clusters of modest home-stays, whitewashed, air-cooled houses that take in anyone who wants to surf Teahupoo or the other couple of reefs nearby for a hundred US or so a night.

And therefore, during the Billabong Pro, instead of 34 surfers and their various entourages spread out over a dozen hotels we have surfers living cheek by jowl, sometimes literally. And the mood is elevated. Dinner and breakfast is taken on long narrow tables, a dozen surfers crowded around the poisson cru and french fries and cans of beer, sometimes wine. Staying at the End of the Road during the event is both an education and an inebriation.

Today the waves were very poor at the Billabong Pro, three-to-six feet, and dulled by an onshore wind, as appealing as communist architecture. Kelly Slater was marvellous, Fanning was revived by the #IMWITHMICK campaign enough to paddle out and, in total, eight heats ran in waves so ugly I’m guessing most of us averted our eyes in shame.

Get debriefed here.

Billabong Pro Tahiti Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.10, Jadson Andre (BRA) 8.23, Brett Simpson (USA) 4.70
Heat 2: Owen Wright (AUS) 11.67, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.50, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 9.67
Heat 3: Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 13.10, Keanu Asing (HAW) 7.16, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 5.37
Heat 4: Julian Wilson (AUS) 10.66, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 9.00, Garrett Parkes (AUS) 1.30
Heat 5: Mick Fanning (AUS) 12.17, Adam Melling (AUS) 6.26, Taumata Puhetini (PYF) 1.33
Heat 6: Bruno Santos (BRA) 8.67, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 5.30, Michel Bourez (PYF) 2.44
Heat 7: Dusty Payne (HAW) 10.00, Nat Young (USA) 5.14, Kai Otton (AUS) 1.30
Heat 8: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 10.83, Taj Burrow (AUS) 4.77, Glenn Hall (IRL) 2.96

Upcoming Billabong Pro Tahiti Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 9: Josh Kerr (AUS), Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Kolohe Andino (USA)
Heat 10: Italo Ferreira (BRA), Gabriel Medina (BRA), Ricardo Christie (NZL)
Heat 11: Bede Durbidge (AUS), John John Florence (HAW), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 12: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Miguel Pupo (BRA)


Style: The WSL Haircut Power Rankings!

Who has the best hair on the WSL!

Carine Roitfeld is the style icon famous, among other things, as the editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris. Her opinion on a man’s hair bears retelling.

“The true test of a man’s style is the haircut. There are some men who look good no matter how their hair is styled, whether it’s trendy or not. A man can change his haircut many times, but to pull off any haircut, you have to be very chic.”

In the spirit of Roitfeld, the newly minted BeachGrit writer Negatron has created a power rankings of the best hair on tour…

 

#1 Ricardo Christie 

WSL ranking 29th


What’s not to like? Golden Shirley Temple curls with a touch of the Caribbean. So “surfie” to the mainstream. But to me, a nod to the era’s past yet individual and contemporary at the same time. Even your girl looks at his hair with glaring green eyes. Unfortunately for Ric, it may also cost him his spot on tour this year. Too many times I’ve seen him brushing his hair out of his eyes while riding a wave… scoring an 8.75 when he needed a 9. The most respected rookie on tour. He needs to lose those locks as at this level a one millisecond delay from a swipe of the hair is enough for another undeserved 25th placing.
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(Here we see the hair swipe in action)
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#2 Josh Kerr 
WSL ranking 9th
 
California has  ego-inflated population base. If you don’t look good you ain’t good. Hair dressers from across the States go there to find fame and fortune only to end up homeless on the streets. Only the best survive and the Australian ex-pat has tapped into that source. Just the right mix of tradition, taste, function and form to match his expanding business empire.
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#3 Taj Burrow
WSL Ranking 8th
Mr Burrow doesn’t give a shit about how his hair looks, but two decades of hanging with models on his arm has his cellphone contacts brimful with top hair stylists from around the world. In the long term this could mean more than any World Title. Burrow strikes me as the sort of man that doesn’t blink an eyelid at paying $400 for a trim, only to walk out the door without even looking in the mirror and straight into the ocean.
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#4 Bebe Durbridge
WSL ranking 11th
Just natural surf hair. Timeless and honest. Gets haircuts from his aunt, out on her back lawn when he’s back in town. Has a gruff curl that just screams, I could tile that patio in under three hours.
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#5 Nat Young
WSL Ranking 7th
There’s something bad-arse about letting your mum cut your hair. In a perverse way it’s… gangsta! No nonsense, no fuss and definitely no frills. Much like his approach to surfing waves in competition.
Luckily for him, he’s a top 10 pro-surfer as in the real world no woman under 45 would even look twice at that mop. Ain’t no shame in winning heats though!
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#6 Kelly Slater
WSL Ranking 6th
The King actually isn’t bald. The brave decision to pretend to be bald  has him here in the top10. Being the mastermind competitor, back in 03 he worked out that if he shaved every hair off his head his opponents would be drawn faster into his laser like hypnotic eyes, rendering their competition savvy useless. Leaving them flustered and foundering around for scraps while he takes the best waves of the heat. Luckily for the younger generation, they have grown up with his dome and don’t seem to be as affected as those in the dark years gone by.
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#7 Keanu Asing
WSL Ranking 21st
For the life of me, I can’t remember how Keanu surfs. But that boy-next-door short back and sides cut! With that cute little spiky quiff on-top. Any parent would be happy to see him walk though the door with their daughter.
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#8 CJ Hobgood
WSL Ranking 36th
Nothing but respect for a dude who’s thinning out but owns it. Cool, calm.”It don’t matter” his hair laughs!  CJ ain’t gonna fall into the shaven head, club bouncer look like his tour contemporaries Freddy P and Slater. On a side note, it looks like a couple of  up and coming bouncers are looking to join the ranks in the coming years: JazzHands Jadson, D-Pain and my man Wiggolly.
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#9 Glenn Hall
WSL Ranking 32nd
Micro has hair like my accountant, A simple side-part that says, listen to me… I know… just relax. I trust my accountant. He makes me money. I like this, therefore Glenn’s just’s slipped into the top 10 for the first time in his career.
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#10 Michel Bourez
WSL Ranking 25th
The Spartan is a name an urban myth mobster would have on the streets of New York in the 50’s. Michel’s wise-guy hair demands respect and respect is not given lightly by the Spartan.
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#11 Julian Wilson
WSL Ranking 3rd
Look he’s perfect all-round, so of course his hair is fantastic. Usually I punish people like him out of bitterness and resentment. But I really don’t want to endure relentless badgering and trolling in the comments from his legion of pre-teen fan-girls.
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#12 John John Florence
WSL Ranking 14th
JJF takes surf hair to the next level. Anyone’s who has spent a month surfing non-stop knows the feeling, hardy, stiff, salt encrusted tufts only a surfer could love. Imagine surfing non-stop for pretty much your whole life. I’m guessing his hair is pretty much 85% salt. But I do get a sneaking suspicion that some yucky little pillow dreads may be lingering around the base of his neck. If anyone can prove it, Wilko and his mangey mop is taking JJF’s spot.
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#13 Mick Fanning
WSL Ranking  2nd
Ricardo should take note from his old Rip Curl stablemate. Short, sharp, concise and to the point. Not an ounce of vanity or emotion. It’s the hair of a man that wins heats, titles, fights sharks. A buzz cut that the common man can identify with. I am Mick Fanning, give me the trophy.
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#14 Gabriel Medina
WSL Ranking 15th
 
The Brazilian Storm doesn’t seem to be translating too well into a well groomed headpiece. Sure they are a good-ish looking bunch of cats. But I identify more with an ugly man with a brave haircut.
Anyway, Gabriel just beat Pupo to make the list simply for the pure potential his hair has… so thick. Such body.
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#15 Jordy Smith
WSL Ranking 22nd
The man with the most potential of them all! Oh so close he gets. Such height and combinations! He just doesn’t know what to do and when to do it. I feel the frustration within him building and growing every month. I know he struts the mirror like Mick Jagger but the self-doubt and inner-rage once he hits the catwalk cripples him. I have a solution. Jordy, with a forehead of that size you need a long straight fringe to put the focus back to the hair and your eyes. Half Emo, half 80’s styling. Covering one eye, with it short at the back but lightly layered. Dyed black of course.
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#16 Owen Wright
WSL Ranking 5th
Owen knows it’s going. Every death pit he gets spit out of (while lesser men quiver on the shoulder) shoots a few more strands off the top. Wave by wave it going. Like CJ he’s owning it. With a nod to the late 60’s songwriters he looks like he could be playing bass guitar along side Neil young. But caution must be taken as it’s a fine line. One minute you are playing with Neil young and the next you are in a Michael Bolton cover band playing the sax solos.
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Big time: Surfing in Sports Illustrated!

It's sex, lies and Mavericks!

Sports Illustrated is, of course, the grandaddy of athletic magazines. I used to subscribe and liked Michael Jordan’s tongue and thought Larry Bird would look better without a mustache but then he shaved it and I realized his upper lip actually was a mustache. Surfing didn’t usually feature maybe because it is not a “sport” but yesterday it did and wow!

The author, Joe Carberry, wrote a compelling piece on the battle over Mavericks. In case you don’t know anything about it (and you shouldn’t because surfing turf wars are generally exhausting and not very interesting. What is more, big wave turf wars are worse because they lack both money and accessibility making the scrap over peanuts confusing. What is most, northern California big wave turf wars are the worst because the cold water numbs the tongue the fog makes it impossible to tell who is actually fighting who so people stand around shouting unintelligible nothings into the air.)

What was I saying again?

Read The Battle for Mavericks: Money and Power Churn up the Surfing World here