Gabriel Medina wins Quiksilver Pro France

Sweet science: Gabriel Medina wins Quik Pro!

And the world title race tightens up!

The Quiksilver Pro ended moments ago with your champion, Gabriel Medina, being walked up the beach atop a throne built of countrymen. They shouted, “Long live the champ! Long live the champ!” it can be assumed, in Portuguese.

The final pitted Medina contra Bede Durbidge and it seemed a touch unfair. Bede found himself an alien-resident in the bleak country known to WSL announcers as “Comboland” from the start. At the end he tried to punt and flopped, helplessly, into the lip.

Gabriel caught the next wave of the set and boosted, effortlessly, into a hands free full rotation and landed like he never even took off, twisting the knife as it were. Was Bede, bobbing in the whitewash, totally gutted or relieved do you think? Did he feel, “Whew. I never even had a chance. I am a yeoman and fought the good fight and now, mercifully, it is over…”? Or did he feel, “Shit…”?

Whatever the case, the changing of the guard is well under way except maybe it is not. Michael Eugene Fanning still holds the number one spot with just two events remaining. Adriano de Souza is hot on his heels, only 450 points behind and both come from a different era. They come from Bede’s era.

Let the generational struggle continue!

(Watch the final here!)

(And final’s day highlights here!)

WSL Men’s Top 10 (after Quiksilver Pro France):
1. Mick Fanning (AUS) 49,900 pts
2. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 49,450 pts
3. Owen Wright (AUS) 43,600 pts
4. Julian Wilson (AUS) 41,450 pts
5. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 40,650 pts
6. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 40,200 pts
7. Kelly Slater (USA) 34,150 pts
8. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 34,100 pts
9. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 33,000 pts
10. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 31,200 pts


Dustin Barca and the absurdity of Kauai!

It is the stuff of legend. I mean wonderful amusement.

My favorite place to get the down and dirty on Kauai’s often absurd small town political dynamic, as well as the myriad movements constantly sweeping a minuscule island full of people with too much time on their hands, is Joan Conrow’s Kauai Eclectic.

Packed to the rafters with delicious snark and a spare-no-feelings honesty, Conrow addresses everything from the millionaire bleeding heart morons feeding feral cat colonies on the North Shore, to our very zealous but poorly informed local anti-GMO movement, to the hotel funded battle against the construction of a local dairy. It’s all great stuff, even when I disagree, and in a place where you’ll undoubtedly run into anyone you piss off, she exhibits a remarkable amount of don’t-give-a-shit.

Today, on Kauai Eclectic, she addresses an article posted on Stab yesterday, by none other than the glorious Jed Smith. Titled The Lost Coast: The Deep Lines of Kauai Localism, Smith’s piece focused on the Garden Isle’s rampant localism.

Which I can vouch for. This place is terrifying, stay the hell away. The only reason I’m not treated like an outsider is because I moved here an entire year ago, and am therefore pretty much local. And I truly support any and all xenophobia that exists. I got mine, now y’all need to stay the fuck away.

Conrow’s piece starts off guns blazing, and takes no prisoners.

“I’m not sure when Jed Smith, the guy wrote the piece, actually came to Kauai. It sounds like maybe 40 years ago, given his fantastical accounts. Still, I can see why Jed ran into trouble. It’s because he quotes only Dustin Barca, who, to put it kindly, is factually — not to mention historically — challenged…”

This isn’t the first time Conrow has tangled with Barca. They stand firmly on opposite sides of the battle over local ag law and land development, with Barca striving to shut it all down and Conrow struggling to inject facts into dialogues built almost exclusively around emotional appeals and misinformation.

“The writer then goes on to claim that Dustin and the boys are ‘maintaining constant vigilance in the face of not only disrespectful surfers but also development proposals, as evidenced by the recent defence of Hanalei Ridge.’

‘We had 500 people in a room raging against it and it never happened,” says Barca of the successful campaign to defeat the proposed developments overlooking the wave which he, Andy, Bruce and many more cut their teeth on.’

Uh, you mean it never happened yet. That project ain’t dead. (Read here!)

Can you say blowhard?”

After taking a shot at Barca’s legitimacy as a Kauai spokesman:

“I just love, though, how Dustin, who isn’t even kanaka, establishes himself as the arbiter of cultural mores…”

She goes on to link some of the more hilarious comments from the Stab article. Which are worth reading, because they are an amusing blend of self righteous indignation and racism. Which, I suppose, is nothing new on that front.

However you feel about Conrow’s opinions, I suggest making her blog a regular stop on your internet time wasting schedule. We’ve got an acrimonious local election coming up, and things are already getting ugly. I’ve been privy to a few of the scandals about to make their way into our public discourse, and it’s sure to be an exciting romp in the world of medium fish in a tiny pond battling to see who gets to on the receiving end of whatever bribes the rich fuckers who control this place decide to kick down to their running dogs.

I may even decide to write about some of it myself, though I do need to consider the fact that it’s small island, people hold grudges, and my wife needs to stay employed so I can enjoy this glorious lifestyle to which I’ve become accustomed. In the meantime, an article about an article about an article will have to do.

Quiksilver Bankrupt

Rumor: Dane Reynolds to leave Quiksilver!

When God closes a door he opens a window.

BeachGrit’s desks in both Bondi and Cardiff-by-the-Sea have been humming lately. The phones ringing non-stop with substantiated rumor! The MacBook Airs on fire! The latest? Dane Reynolds will no longer be surfing for the greatest brand in the history of action sport. That’s right. No more Dane Reynolds x Summerteeth Quiksilver.

If you have been following the news, and of course you have, you are aware that Quik has entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. As such, contracts etc. are all revisited and, possibly, downsized. Dane signed a massive twenty-some-million dollar deal a few years back. Was he asked to take a cut? Who knows! But it seems, for whatever reason, he is headed out the door. Say hello to my big back porch!

Should Quiksilver be happy? Maybe. Dane is one of the greatest surfers of the decade, possibly the greatest, but the money could be spent developing hot youth like Mikey Wright. Does Mikey surf better than Owen? Maybe. He has long hair. He doesn’t care.

Stab reported yesterday that it would be “unlikely” for Dane to split. BeachGrit takes pole position in the race for surf journalism’s first Pulitzer Prize!

Dear WSL: Run events like God intended!

It is time for the lay day to go away!

We are smack dab in the middle of the “most exciting time in the history of professional surfing” and you know what? Yawn. Because lay day. Because the waves are zero feet zero zero inches. Because there is no swell left in France. Because the fucking swell ALREADY CAME AND WENT AND NAT YOUNG SURFED IT AND GOT A 4.67!

Now, I ain’t a real businessman but I am an Internet one (hello, BeachGrit visitors!) and if I have learned one thing it is that the people must be entertained. When we do not post things, or post bad things (hello, Sweet Sugar: The Inertia Describes New York!), our traffic wanes. It is digital law.

The World Surf League may think of itself as a “league” but it, like BeachGrit, is merely an Internet business. Revenue and growth depend almost solely on unique views/hits/likes/blah. And, as such, it depends on a regular and steady stream of measurable eyeballs. When events don’t run for a day, or six, those eyeballs don’t stay. Eventually they won’t even come. Certainly there are weeks between events but those weeks could actually be filled with consistent programming. Interesting interviews, behind the scenes, set ups, etc. And then the event comes and it builds to a crescendo that satisfyingly delivers a champ within 2.5 days.

Lay days let the air out of a narrative balloon completely. Exciting performances, upsets, big moments are forgotten and lost. The whole event must, from a story-telling perspective, start over in the quarters. That isn’t enough time to get weirdly and embarrassingly thrilled.

How can the WSL accomplish this? Cut down the number of surfers (goodbye, Nat Young!). Do away with meaningless no-loser heats. Done.

And you are welcome Graham Stapelberg!

Laird Hamilton push up
What sort of work-out does Laird Hamilton employ to balloon like he has?

Who’s the world’s most overrated surfer?

Can you guess?

Last Monday, the excellent website Surfline published a list of the “10 Best Power Surfers of All Time.” It was written by Sam George, and you can read it here.


San Francisco’s Matt Warsaw, the self-appointed bearer of the sport’s history, however, was made furious by the list and published his own list of power surfers on Surfer.

(Click here.)

Warshaw then contacted BeachGrit with a proposal.

Warshaw: Much hullabaloo online about both lists. Ian Cairns was pissed off at Sam and Surfline; Nick Carroll called me out for not including Dane Kealoha. Various and sundry power-list-related pissing matches went on for three days. Therefore, should we have a little rave about the ridiculous and irresistible draw of list-making?

BeachGrit: I want to ask you about your power list. Where’s Sunny Garcia? The most powerful surfer of all time. Surfing’s greatest icon! (Hello Sunny, yes I’m coming to the North Shore this season…)

Warshaw: Sunny would probably be on my list for Best at Backdoor and Most Compelling World Champions. And yeah, you know, he’s powerful as fuck, but I only had five slots!

BeachGrit: Here’s a list topic. Most Overrated Surfers. 

Warshaw: No way.

BeachGrit: Got anyone in mind? I’ll touch if you touch.

Warshaw: Everybody’s got a guy they’d put on that list. You know why you can’t do it, though? Cause that guy, whoever he or she is, is going to win the next contest, or post some batshit crazy clip, and you end up being the idiot who had him on the Most Overrated list. And you wear that forever, like a tattoo.

BeachGrit: Okay, okay, wear this. I can’t say I was surprised when Quicksilver collapsed shortly after nominating Matt Banting as their most marketable surfer. Who kills you? 

Warshaw: You’re calling out Matt Banting? That’s not going out on a limb, really, Derek.

BeachGrit: Tough guy, huh? Who you got?

Warshaw: I’ll tell you this. I remember at the beginning of the year, at Snapper, when all the guys in the booth were squealing on about Italo Ferreira, and how good he was, and I watched and was incredibly unimpressed. Same at Bells and Margarets. I would have gone public with that too! But after Cloudbreak and Tahiti, I’m Italo’s biggest oldest fan. Putting on some chub around the waist in homage! What I’m saying is, it’s a risky game, making those calls.

BeachGrit:  Didn’t Sunny call you out?

Warshaw: I said he wasn’t going to win a title when I was at Surfer and he promised to bitch slap me at the soonest possible opportunity.

Derek: Did he slap?

Warshaw: What he did was actually way better. A year or two later, at Huntington for the Op Pro or US Open or whatever it was, Sunny saw me at the event walked over to me with death rays coming out of his eyes, and just before I wet myself he veered off without saying a word. Then of course a couple years later Sunny did in fact win the world title. Sunny will always get the last laugh. Always.

BeachGrit: Do you think Kolohe Andino is the most underrated surfer on tour? I certainly do. 

Warshaw: Dino is and always will be my favorite Andino. Kolohe’s dad was an amazing surfer in his day. Kolohe himself . . . I don’t know. His magic hasn’t yet worked on me. So yeah. Opposite of underrated, if you’re going to twist my arm. Now watch! He’ll win Portugal!

BeachGrit: Tell me, do your eyes light up at the thought of Matt Banting getting the injury wildcard? 

Warshaw: Honestly Derek, I can’t even work up a visual of Matt Banting. I like his name.

BeachGrit: Do you have a visual of Glenn Hall? No one could accuse that brave little man of being overrated… 

Warshaw: The little Irish pug. Micro is so much the total opposite of a guy you’d build your new marketing campaign around that you have to love him. Somebody is going to make a heart-warming documentary about Glenn Hall, mark my words.

BeachGrit: In history, and according to your readings, who is the most overrated surfer of all time? 

Warshaw: Not a chance

BeachGrit: When were you neutered? 

Warshaw: Third or fourth grade, around there.

BeachGrit: Unlike you, did any surf writers escape the knife? Lewis Samuels? My own Chas Smith?

Warshaw: Chas says you keep his boys in a small velvet clutch on your desk. Lewis is intact, but the Google blade is parting his scrotal fur as we write. Tell you what. You tell me who the all-time most overrated surfers is, and I’ll render judgement.

BeachGrit: Rob Machado? The contest-hungry kid who split the tour to create faux-soulster meme? 

Warshaw: Machado is verging on becoming a caricature of himself. Or no, actually he passed that station 10 years ago. But he’s a triple-blackbelt flowmaster. Craig Anderson’s white robes could use a little dirtying up, though.

Laird Hamilton is our very own Rod Stewart. Has become such a laughing-stock, that you forgot how amazing he was. Laird in the ‘90s was so far ahead in the big-wave game, so creative and powerful and balls out, that basically there was nobody else on the field.

BeachGrit: …you leave Craig alone. Number three in the world, behind Dane and John John…

Warshaw: Rob Machado is Gerry Lopez for the Momentum Generation.

BeachGrit: Craig Anderson is Wayne Lynch for beautiful people. Tell me about Laird Hamilton. 

Warshaw: Kind of our very own Rod Stewart. Has become such a laughing-stock, that you forgot how amazing he was. Laird in the ‘90s was so far ahead in the big-wave game, so creative and powerful and balls out, that basically there was nobody else on the field.

WSL is producing a Laird doc. Which I first read about in one of Chas’ BG pieces, actually. They called me week before last and to get the Great Surf Historian’s rapturous take on Laird. Which I kinda did, but when I started talking about what he’s become, and what tow surfing has become, and how Shane Dorian in a lot of ways is the more interesting and ballsy big-wave surfer . . . it was pretty much “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

BeachGrit: I know you’re sceptical about Tom Blake. Tell me more. (Click here for a little historical background.) 

Warshaw: Tom Blake is overrated. The hollow surfboard, his baby, was a bigger design mistake by far than those narrow flip-tip pieces of shit we were riding in the ‘90s. I also get the feeling that Blake was the most depressed of all surf icons, which doesn’t necessarily mean he’s overrated, but it does make me think he shouldn’t be wearing any Surf Lifestyle Pioneer laurels. Which, to be fair, he never asked for.

BeachGrit: How about Duke Kahanomoku? Overrated? Fine swimmer and nailer of gals but given too much credit as the daddy of a sport? 

Warshaw: A long time ago The New York Times eye-rolled the Boss, saying something like “If Bruce Springseen didn’t exist, music critics would have made him up.” That’s how I feel about Duke. He’s the perfect guy for the Father of Surfing job. He’s Hawaiian, has a half-dozen Olympic medals hanging round his neck, he’s big and good-looking and friendly, no dirt on him whatsoever. I read somewhere that one of his brothers, maybe Sam, was actually the better surfer. But Duke is perfect. He’s the guy you want up on that pedestal.

See Matt Warsaw’s latest list here! (Click!)