Just in: Nathan Fletcher Biopic Heavy Water!

It's sexy as hell, and maybe just a little melodramatic… 

Michael Oblowitiz is a director I met several years ago at a surf film festival in San Sebastian. He is a man of the most theatrical looks (brooding pouts, dinner plate sunglasses) and Hollywood tastes (we danced all night!) and he once made a movie in Bulgaria, I think it was, with a very over-the-hill Val Kilmer.

Olowitz won that year’s festival with the never-released, but maybe soon, or never, Sea of Darkness, a documentary on drug trafficking within surfing that contained some references to Quiksilver.

Sea of Darkness was the best thing I’d ever seen about surfing, even if it had this weird spin at the end about Quiksilver’s global circumference on the Indies Trader called The Crossing. I figured the little PR hit at the end was to repair the damage to the (then) clothing giant from some of the earlier scenes.

I always wanted to watch Sea of Darkness again (I saw it twice during the festival) and, as fate’s hand would play it, a download of it fell into my computer last year. It was every bit as good as I remembered, although the end felt even more incongruous.

After Sea of Darkness, Oblowitz chased Sunny Garcia hither and yon for a documentary. That, too, as far as I know, has never hit a screen.

Did anything he make ever hit a screen for public viewing?

Now, yes!

Heavy Water, a film about Nathan Fletcher, once the cutest little blond boy in the whole world now a taciturn 40-something, and his predilection for big waves, is premiering in San Sebastian on September 25 (#savagecinema), with general release shortly after. Lets examine the press release:

“From his first sorties at big Waimea at 11 years of age, Nathan Fletcher showed a prodigious aptitude to big wave surfing. He grew into a professional surfer following in his father and grandfather footsetps, trying to conquer the giant surf of the Hawaiin Outer reefs. In Sion Milosky, Nathan found an equally driven peer. Together they reignited the “big gun” style of paddle in surfing. Our story follows our modern day Big Wave adventures as they live out the drama in an
arena that encounters life and death.”

Mix Michael Oblowitz and big waves and you do get melodrama.

Willing to pay the ultimate price.

A brotherhood.

Gnarliest big-wave charger anyone had ever seen.

But who doesn’t love a little blood in their phallus?

Watch the trailer here!

(Please forgive an early posting of this piece with Sion Milosky’s name misspelled.)

Exciting: Surf a Tsunami!

It comes to California in a few hours (I think. I'm in Rome.)

A massive 8.3 earthquake rattled the Chilean coast last night, forcing Santiago’s skyscrapers to dance and sending over a million people out of their homes. Thankfully the death toll has been relatively low and a tsunami is on the way to Hawaii and Orange County, California. The first waves are supposed to arrive at 4:46 am west coast time. Dawn patrol!

The Huntington Beach Police Dept. issued a tsunami advisory saying:

• The impact of this tsunami will be stronger than normal currents and possible higher than normal tidal surges along the beaches.  Stay out of the water.

• There will be a strong outgoing tidal current at the same time the tsunami arrives.  The combined effect could produce very strong currents in harbors and bays.

• A Tsunami event is a series of waves that can last for several hours.  The first wave is usually not the strongest.

Local Coastal Officials are monitoring the situation and directing all persons to be advised:

• Beaches, harbor and marina will be closed starting at 4 AM.
• Local officials will determine when areas are safe to open.
• Contact your local jurisdiction for more specific information.

Of course it’s a horrible idea but would you like to surf a tsunami? Would it be fun or a let down? Like visiting the Sphinx in Egypt? (It is real small, fyi.)

A Punic Celebration of the Hurley Pro!

Literature or cruel, child-like poems?

Emily Dickinson once commented, “If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.”

In this interlude between Hurley Pro lay-days, new guy to the BeachGrit scene and aspiring poet laureate, Mr. Mariano Landa, has a go at rhetorical decapitation.

Those riding the swells of Lake Trasimene:

Julian Wilson:

Ever you fail us,

dashing golden-locked man child.

Caught more gash than waves.


Taj Burrow:

Flick, flick, smile, flick, flick!

(Johnny Gannon chokes on his

voluminous lips).


Bede Durbidge:

The commoner’s champ:

Father, fisherman, tall guy.

Hype? Longevity.


Miguel Pupo:

Pete Mel claims your flair

for smooth heel whips is his own.

Erudition weeps.


In anticipation of a lone Carthaginian:

Filipe Toledo:

CA surfing died

upon relocating there.

Dino cries feebly.


Joel Parkinson:

Written off, jokes made

about his title laurels?

Beseech overhead waves.


Adriano de Souza:

Australia hates you?

So do I if you triumph

over Wiggolly.


Wiggolly Dantas:

The formidable

right-footer displaces storm clouds,

adroitly brilliant.


Adrian Buchan:

Wait a hot minute!

It’s 2015? Aghast

that you’re still standing.


Mick Fanning:

The Tweed River has

more melanin content

than your heat pairing.


Gabriel Medina:

Thoroughbred glutes, ‘midst

a marvelous boxer’s chin,

alas, all business.


Nat Young:

Chopes or Lowers,

Actinic Keratosis

threatens your success.

Tomoz, or maybe the day after, Filipe, here, is going to swing his blade to a real impressive, if unsurprising, win at the Hurley Pro.

How to Win Trestles Without Trying!

Want to know why Trestles is a skate park one day, a burger drive-through the next?

I’m not even going to try and shit you. I wrote this a year ago.

But the knowledge contained herein is timeless and, I maintain, even now, useful. It features, as most things I do about Trestles or even vaguely mainland America, the quotes of Matt “Mayhem” Biolos, a shaper who stole my heart a sixteen years ago with a round-nose fish I scooped out of the racks at Pukas in Spain.

Matt, as you might know, has been living in San Clemente and surfing Lowers since the eighties. Half the tour grabs a Mayhem pre-Hurley event.

And, with the finals maybe tomoz, or the day after, I figured, how about a little stroll down memory lane? It’s not as if the physics of the wave have changed.

BeachGrit: Who owns the lineup outside the contest?  

Mayhem: As with any spot that is easy to surf, you have a crew of older, respected, average-ability guys that kinda rule the outside sets. Most the sets get ridden by average skilled surfers actually. Then there is the mid-pack and you have a revolving door of regular rippers there: Yeomans, the Gudangs, Ian Crane, Jer Carter, Jeff Lukasik. Theres an old guard of great surfers like Cordell Miller, Kenny Caldwell and Robo type guys. Kolohe is the best surfer every time he paddles out. He catches bombs, insiders and mid sets. He surfs it as good as anyone alive. Then on the inside you have the super groms. Griffin Colapinto is prob top dog right now. There’s too many of them to even list. It’s crazy how many good 11-to-15 year olds there are in town right now. After all that, you have Chris Ward. He is the one who really owns the line-up. He has special contact lenses that make everyone else in the line up disappear. I think he gave a set to his daughter as well.

BeachGrit: Describe the effect on the wave of the different swell and wind directions, this time of year? Sometimes it’s burger-y; sometimes it looks like the most appealing of skate parks. 

Mayhem: A pure solid, long-lined south swell is best. Super sharp hurricane-angled south-easters are sectiony and closed out. The more west it gets, the mushier the right gets and the left gets shorter. Broken-up swells are not good. Too peaky, makes the waves soft and broken up. The wind is pretty mellow. The only truly bad wind is a south wind. It’s like the Devil Wind at J-Bay. Unless you have full-on storm condition, of course, then west and northwest wind is bad too. We actually like a little onshore ripple, it holds you in the wave. Offshores look pretty but they limit the variety of moves the good surfers can do on the waves.

BeachGrit: Why does Kelly win nearly ever year?  

Mayhem: If he isn’t the best surfer at any given time, he makes up for it by being  the best competitor.

BeachGrit: Brother’s been surfing the joint for a doz years. Is he ever likely to win? 

Mayhem: Some day he will.

(And here are the quarter-finalists!)

Strong: Coco Ho Displaces Water!

Take a look at Coco blowing up Lowers during yesterday's lay day… 

Yesterday was about Mason, today let’s take a look at Coco blowing up Lowers during yesterday’s lay day. Waves look super fun, wonder why it didn’t run?

Oops, unintentional couplet.

Anyway, hot damn, does she rip. None of that backing-off-at-the-apex-of-your-turn girly-girl style, Coco manages to displace a fuck-ton of water considering the fact she’s all of five-feet tall and probably weighs in around 100 pounds. I don’t know how many kilograms that is. Like, 30?

I’ve mentioned the time she made eye contact out at Lanis, that was pretty great. I felt like I was surfing really well, so in my mind her gaze held a nod of approval. There was another day, at Ehukai, when I saw her paddling out and tried to lay every ounce of my fat ass into a backside gouge so I could show her how good I surf and…

I don’t know what my plan was. Leave her in awe of my ripperness, ditch my wife, and make a bunch of adorable babies?

What was supposed to be some super sick power hack instead turned into a full speed, no traction, shins slamming into my rail, belly flop. I heard someone laughing at me. I really hope it wasn’t her.

Whenever I watch women surf, two questions spring to mind.

Why isn’t there a female with a killer air game? It’s gotta happen eventually, the current crop has the skills. Very strange.

Why don’t they get horrible wax chaffing on their butts? It seems like you would. I’ve worn speedos surfing a number times and I always end up with a gnarly thigh rash. Which I assume is from sitting on my board. Unless it’s indicative of some sort of surf triggered STI.

How obvious is it that the guy on the longboard is just staring at her butt the entire wave?

Okay, I guess that’s three questions.

Give me a break, I’m a writer, not a mathmagician.