Conspiracy: All Brazil in stunning final!

What a final day of surfing at the Rip Curl Pro Portugal! Wait, did you not watch?

This is the Age of Conspiracy Theory. Events accelerate away from human understanding, as they did in Portugal, and we seek the surety of an unseen hand in the narrative. Wouldn’t you, if the WSL was a quisling under your command, seek the drama of a mad Pipe showdown and engineer, any way you could, results to favour that outcome? That’s what Kelly thought when Fanning was denied the chance to clinch the Title on Portugese shores by a local wildcard and thus make Pipe a dead rubber.

The wildcard keeps the locals on the beach, grows the sport locally and the showdown moves to Pipe. Here’s another, shocking, giblet of conspiracy theory to chew on as we digest both the Portugese result and the much bigger implications for Pro surfing and world sport.

“My Doctor thinks I’m a parasite.” That’s not some horrific nightmare visited upon me after twelve days of relentless late night nightmare close-outs but an actual newspaper headline. You can read it here. The translation from Portugese super journalist Sara Sanz Pinto concerns none other than Robert Kelly Slater who dropped the bombshell that he may have parasites that are affecting his testosterone production. Doesn’t that explain everything? Really and truly. The weird little flame outs and flat spots. The slow decline down the ratings. Frantic emails to both Sara and King Kelly for clarification on the parasite issue have gone unanswered at time of writing. It does provide some comfort for fans struggling to come to terms with the fact that for the first time, well ever since he came on Tour, Slater is going into Pipe with zero chance of winning the Title. All because of a little fucking bug freeloading off his testosterone. What an ignominious end to the Age of Slater.

Pro surfing abhors a fairytale: normally the house wins, the little man gets his dream crushed. Not this time. I would have bet the house I don’t own on Medina winning both his QF against Ferreira and the whole comp. It looked destined, baked in to the theory. Medina had him comboed after 5 minutes with a pair of sixes. The sound of dogs barking came through the webby, a clear sign. But of what? Italo speared a hollow left in the throat then dissected a right to throw the combo right back at Medina. He finished Medina off with a wild tail high spin into the onshore. Somehow I’d written off Italo based on a dim view of the Aus and American rookie talent. Bad call. Italo personifies the current reality of catastrophic victory for the Brazilian storm. They’ve stormed the citadel and found nothing there except aging stars and a few straggling journeymen; their western peers constructing Instagram careers well out of harms way.

Lets zoom out and widen the frame. Nostalgia is a bitch teat I try not to suckle on too often but five years ago to the week, Nov 2010 was the great turning point in modern professional surfing. It was the last week alive for Andy Irons, the height of Dane, Slater about to ice Title Ten. On the shore of Puerto Rico the sport was delicately poised. It had enlarged it’s conceptions to accommodate Dane; artistic and jock elements had reached an unlikely equilibrium. What we were seeing live was the true state of the art. It could have gone either way. The companies crumbled and ZoSea pounced with a total jock vision; once more the old whore would get a fresh coat of makeup and be wheeled out to middle America to face rejection, yet again. The last best hope for Pro surfing to become a performance art collective, something like seeing the best musicians at their peak live, was lost. When AI died the music died with him.

Doesn’t the current status of JJF prove that point? While we watch him sit and wait, neuteured by format and sub-par surf a trailer was released showing him at full potential. The fact the sport can’t extract and showcase pinnacle performances from Dane and JJF is the ultimate rebuttal to Speakers NFL vision for surfing.

The Final was the direct result of the WSL/Speaker model. They created a sport and seeing a dissipated American response and an aging or overrated Australian hierarchy the latinos simply reached up and picked the low hanging fruit on offer. There was no bipolarity in their thinking, no hesitation in the action. Hence two twenty year old Brazilians fighting it out in the Final in scrappy beachbreak. No conspiracy theory needed.

Did you watch the Final? Or did you boycott because it was two Brazilians? An existential question for the WSL. 7 am Hawaii, 10am LA, 1pm NYC, 4am Sydney. Judging waves is nothing like an objective science, more a voodoo mix of emotion and groupthink and the effect of the unseen hand but you’d be a cold fish in a wet sock if you didn’t give Toledo’s opening wave a Ten. Ferreira lofted high into the golden heavens and was robbed of a ten for the biggest air of the year, or ever. Toldeo kept boosting, Ferreira refused to submit. It was the best Final of the Year, the first time a dominant performance hadn’t seen an opponent buckle. By the time it was ended the high water mark of Dane, of Slater had been washed away. If you missed it, you blew it.

Should Portugal be iced? No. It’s the perfect litmus for where the sport is at. Portugal makes sense, Portugal is the future. The dogs have stopped barking and the caravan rolls onto Pipe, last chance for aging heroes to exit with dignity intact.

World Title Scenarios
* If Mick Fanning finishes 25th/13th
Owen Wright & Julian Wilson will need a 1st;
Gabriel Medina will need a 3rd or better;
Adriano de Souza will need a 9th or better;
Filipe Toledo will need a 13th or better to clinch the World Title;


* If Fanning finishes 9th
Medina will need a 1st;
De Souza will need a 5th;
Toledo will need a 9th;


* If Fanning finishes 5th
Medina will need a 1st;
De Souza will need a 3rd;
Toledo will need a 5th;


* If Fanning finishes 3rd
De Souza will need a 2nd;
Toledo will need a 3rd;


* If Fanning finishes 2nd
De Souza will need a 1st;
Toledo will need a 1st;


If Mick wins the event he will clinch the World Title.

Typical Swamis scene.
Typical Swamis scene.

Just in: Surfer body found at Swamis

North County surf spot wakes to an unpleasant surprise.

A surfer’s body was found next to a broken surfboard this early morning at North County San Diego’s Swamis. Nothing much is known yet. Police responded to a 911 call that said a man was laying, in wetsuit, face down next to his broken board. When paramedics arrived he was pronounced dead at the scene and not taken to the hospital.

We have been having a run of very fun surf and it has been a touch bigger than normal but not, like, crazy big. Odd to think, for some reason, that surfing can lead to death. Of course there are sharks and those who conquer massive waves have a different set of dangers but for the every day man, or at least to me, it feels odd. One minute motoring down the line, the next getting smashed and drowning.

The news report is here…

JOB on America's board!
JOB on America's board!

Rad: Best-selling surfboard in America!

Biolos? Merrick? Mr. Hayden Shape? Pyzel? Maurice Cole?

America is in a surf renaissance for certain. Minus a viable star on the World Championship Tour and Quiksilver going bankrupt/moving to France and sharks waiting to eat/eating lots of people in Hawaii, California, Florida and nuclear waste being stored, indefinitely, right next to Lowers things are looking bright!

And, today, it has been revealed that the best-selling surfboard in the United States comes from none other than the esteemed shaper AGIT Global, manufacturer of your very favor Wavestorm! The ubiquitous blue and white 8-foot foamie can be seen ripping at most beaches and can be purchased at core retailer Costco.

Fortune reports that 500,000 have been sold so far with another 100,000 set to sell this year at between $100 and $180 a pop. Like most shapers, AGIT Global admits that profit is slim. Like Matt Biolos, it appears to be more about love than money. (READ HERE!)

Yes, a surf and skate renaissance too. Costco + surf and Tony Hawk’s new shop sponsor Walmart. Rad!

couple on the beach by josep de toggeries

Culture: Surf Art History!

A high-culture romp through nineteenth-and twentieth-century art history… for surfers.

As realists and romantics appreciative of aesthetics, no surf media audience is as astute and learned as that which congregates here at BeachGrit. Case in point? Mariano Landa’s transatlantic high-culture romp through nineteenth-and twentieth-century art history… for surfers.

5. Josep de Togores (Cataluña), Couple on the Beach (1922)

couple on the beach by josep de toggeries

Every surfer who’s filled a passport or two knows that only one surf trip happening is as memorable as scoring bombing waves halfway across the world: that raunchy tryst with a total stranger after the swell dies down. Son of the President of the Barcelona Association of Football Clubs (later FC Barcelona), Togores uses a neutral palette to capture the essence of such an encounter, embodied by our lady — is she a French ripper? — whose round curves complement the bronzed brawn of her surfed-out lover. The flatness of the waves reminds the viewer, “Everything has a time and a place. Don’t be that guy who misses the swell trying to find a fuck.”

4. Joaquín Sorolla i Bastida (Valencia), The Arrival of the Catch (1889)

The Arrival of the catch

Orphaned at two years old, the post-impressionist Spaniard Sorolla knew a rippable little left when he saw one. The stiff sails in the background indicate that there’s a nice little side-onshore air wind running, the fishermen’s bare feet tell us that the water’s trunkable, and the left off the banks looks apt for two pumps and a jump. The young girl’s dismissal of the surf, perhaps turned off by the breeze, causes her father to comment, “Honey, it’s better than it looks out the back. Be glad you don’t live in Florida.”

3. Darío de Regoyos (Spain)– The Basque Coast, Morning (1895)

cote basque

A century before the WSL even thought of a European leg for the tour, Regoyos was dropping clues as to the temperamental nature of the waves in the Bay of Biscay. The heaving shorebreak barrel is deceiving. As the headland provides scale, it’s bigger than it looks, and the left seems the natural option: it’s overhead for sure. But seeing the left clamp as it runs into the corner, the viewer thinks, “If only there was more west in the swell, the point might be firing!”

2. Daniel Vázquez Díaz (Spain) – The Sea (1908-1914)

El Mar

Vázquez reminds us that everything is derivative. Acclaimed as a rip-off of his Golden Age predecessor Zurburán, DVD was more Kai Otton than Kelly Slater. But he brings us into the fore of our present debates of surf and sex. What you don’t see is that the two naked dudes — literally riding bareback — have stashed their fresh 28L Sharp Eye’s in the bushes before crossing the rivermouth for a surf check. As the seated figure leans back to get a better angle on the swell filling into the right, his rippled back reminds us that he’s not posing for you or for me, he’s posing for himself. “We’re out there,” cries his companion.

“More horses,” cries a Roxy ad exec.

1. Ignacio Merino (Peru/France): Pizarro Taking Possession of the Pacific in the Name of the Spanish Monarchs (1850)

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 3.25.47 pm

Merino was a true G. Born to parents so wealthy that they make Dane’s contract look like pocket change, he grew up within a stone’s throw of those famous Peruvian pointbreaks between Piura and Trujillo before being educated in France, rubbing elbows with big guns like Franky Goya, Eugéne Delacroix, and Paul Delaroche. After a back-and-forth between Lima and Paris, he pumped out this image of a disputed conquistador— Pizarro or Balboa —who throws a claim worthy of imitation by any competitive surfer or layman barrel-dodger. Chucking caution to the wind in a shorebreak that looks worthy of a WSL contest, his costumage reminds us just how far back retro-revivals can still go.

Just in: Surf season is here on the North Shore!

Hawaii has some of the best local news ever. Come feast!

“Surf season is here and the North Shore is up to the challenge. Way up!” And thus Hawaii’s KITV 4 tackles, in amazingly nonsensical fashion another winter on the North Shore! This one is going to be the best ever, maybe. “It’s considered the most wonderful time of the year…” reporter Brenton Awa tells the viewer. And if you don’t live in Hawaii you should find some way to watch their local news. It is always a joy. Like, some of the best television going anywhere outside HBO. In this episode we have guest appearances by Danny Fuller and Susan + Bob Friend.

“Business is gonna get mo betta!” Awa tells the viewer as high surf starts cruising in and, yes it will. If you live in Hawaii which is your favorite local newscast besides all of them? Rory Parker, which one is yours?