Noa Deane
North Point is very very good for anyone capable in the discipline of high jumps. Noa Deane, here, won't be there, but…John John, Filipe, Gabriel, Italo…  | Photo: Bosko/@boskophoto

Just in: North Point added to WSL Tour!

But only change to 2016 schedule… 

It’s a small tweak, but significant enough. The Margaret River event, number three on the schedule, now has the ability to move, not just to the Box, as we saw last year, but to North Point.

In case it doesn’t ring bells, here’s what North Point looks like from the world’s tiniest helicopter.

North Point Drone from Taj Burrow on Vimeo.

Makes Main Break, Margarets, look like the superseded wave it is, don’t it?

Apart from that, the rest of the tour stays the same, including Jeffreys Bay, which is really seizing the day, I think.

Will there be a terrible anxiety among the surfers? Maybe psychologists and chaplains to deal with any not-so-unexpected consequences?

Will the WSL employ Reunion Island’s vigie requin to patrol the Great White-infested lineup, as I suggested to the WSL’s media guy Dave Prodan?

From the WSL Commissioner Kieren Perrow: “Athlete safety is a top priority for the League. We have been in constant discussions with our athletes, event organizers and administrators regarding the future of this event. The WSL has made significant investments in the areas of surveillance and response for all current and future Tour spots, and we are currently working with a number of firms specializing in mitigation technology that focus on both athlete safety and the safety of the marine environment.

“The strides we’re making in the areas of surveillance and response are significant, but there presently exists no technology that has been proven to be 100% effective. Our athletes are aware of this, as they have always been.”

In other words, we’ll have a swing at keeping the sharks out but, really, we ain’t superhuman.

And life’s about taking chances…

2016 World Surf League (WSL) Samsung Galaxy Men’s Championship Tour
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast – March 10-21, 2016
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach – March 24-April 5, 2016
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro – April 8-19, 2016
Rio Pro – May 10-21, 2016
Fiji Pro – June 5-17, 2016
J-Bay Open – July 6-17, 2016
Billabong Pro Teahupo’o – August 19-30, 2016
Hurley Pro at Trestles – September 7-18, 2016
Quiksilver Pro France – October 4-15, 2016
Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal – October 18-29, 2016
Billabong Pipe Masters – December 8-20, 2016

Strider to WSL: “Give Bruce the wildcard!”

WSL commentator Strider Wasilewski agitates for Bruce Irons to surf the Pipeline Masters!

The wonderful Strider Wasilewski, 1/5th of the World Surf League’s commentating team has come out swinging, this morning, for Bruce Irons! Instagram, if you haven’t noticed, is awash in Japan’s imperial flag and the younger Irons brother tossing two shakas. Underneath it reads #BRUCE4PIPEMASTERSWILDCARD.

If you click on the tag, much of the discussion sounds like this. “WSL…pull your fucken heads out of your asses and give Bruce the wildcard…” or “It’s the right thing to do @wsl you know it, we know it, let’s do it” or “I don’t want to go another season where Bruce is missing from the event.”

The World Surf League, when it was called the ASP, left Bruce off last year’s roster even though the event is held in honor of his brother. Much well-deserved rage ensued.

And we’re back! Strider’s voice, though, is maybe the most powerful not only because he is 1/5 of the World Surf League’s commentating team but because he is very thoughtful, writing:

Death brings so much emotion, when it’s a family member it brings even more. People deal with in in different ways and take time to get through it. Bruce Irons took his time to deal with his brother Andy Irons passing and is no surfing better than I have ever seen him surf…This post is a call out to the @WSL and @billabong to give @bruceirons a wildcard into the Pipeline Masters to surf in his brother’s honor. #bruce4pipemasterswildcard

Will the WSL do the right thing or will there be a mass revolt? Also, where would BeachGrit find the non-rumor half of its news if Instagram didn’t exist?

UPDATE: The WSL just responded to the hashtag barrage raining down upon them, issuing a Tweet:

We’re pleased to see Bruce Irons in the Pipe Trials, where the sole 2 wildcards at are awarded to the top 2 finishers.

Will this satisfy the masses? Also, does the Tweet read passive-aggressive or is it just me?


John John getting filmed!
John John getting filmed!

Rumor: John John Florence fires agent!

Is the world's favorite surfer becoming a prima donna?

I finally finally saw the masterwork View from a Blue Moon last night, on a biggish screen with wonderful sound, and it is everything already written. Gorgeous. Stunning. Jaw-dropping. Bravo to all.

The only issue I had was with the title lock. View from a Blue Moon hovers mid-top screen in a perfect font. Design team Wedge & Lever delivered a spectacular look/feel though out and should be applauded. Below that and smaller reads “A film by John Florence and Blake Vincent Kueny.”

John John is, of course, the star and I’m certain very involved in the production but it is a story about him more than it is a story by him. Mr. Kueny bobs and weaves through a chronological narrative, banging to snatches of culture, segueing to surf porn with such a deft hand that his name should stand alone. He is the film’s director and John John would have done better to leave his own name out of the slot where a director’s goes. If John John wants to direct he can and should but maybe in the vein of Dane Reynolds who directed a film about someone else, namely Craig Anderson.

John John is magnificent but has being so magnificent maybe gone to his head? An industry source (not Hurley) tells me that the world’s favorite surfer parted ways, allegedly and recently, with super agent Terry Hardy. Terry has represented Kelly Slater forever, guiding him to unprecedented success, making him as close to a household name as a surfer can be. It seemed a match made in heaven but apparently not? Before Terry, John John rested in the stable of other super agent Blair Marlin who represents Dane amongst others but those two parted ways two-ish years ago.

Again, only a rumor and, if true, maybe justified but swapping personnel frequently ain’t a good look in sport or show biz. It smacks of perpetual dissatisfaction and dear John John should not be dissatisfied. His career is a speeding freight train, fueled in large part by those around him, and only he can derail it.

The Surfer Drug Fuelling ISIS!

Turns men into remorseless killing machines…

Before over-the-counter Viagra and Xanax became the drugs of choice for surfers in Bali, a popular buy was the drug Captagon.

Caps! Do you remember?

I do. I was a little boy of seventeen, first trip there, and one night some older men I had attached myself to tapped out pills from a yellow bottle into my palm.

“Try these,” they said.

I danced all night! I had no need to eat and boy could I drink! Glory days etc.

In case you don’t know, Captagons are a relatively weak amphetamine, a mild version of speed. If you’ve ever thrown Ritalin or Adderall down your throat, you’ll know the buzz.

Which is why it surprised me to read today that Captagons were “fuelling Syria’s civil war,” according to The Guardian.

Let’s examine the breathless copy.

“Separate investigations by the news agency Reuters and Time magazine have found that the growing trade in Syrian-made Captagon – an amphetamine widely consumed in the Middle East but almost unknown elsewhere – generated revenues of millions of dollars inside the country last year, some of which was almost certainly used to fund weapons, while combatants on both sides are reportedly turning to the stimulant to help them keep fighting.”

And if we jump over to Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald, the 18-month-old story has been re-purposed with the catchy headline: TINY PILL CREATES SUPERHUMAN SOLDIERS.

“A powerful amphetamine tablet based on the original synthetic drug known as ‘fenethylline,’ Captagon quickly produces a euphoric intensity in users, allowing Syria’s fighters to stay up for days, killing with a numb, reckless abandon.

The story reads, in part:

“A powerful amphetamine tablet based on the original synthetic drug known as ‘fenethylline,’ Captagon quickly produces a euphoric intensity in users, allowing Syria’s fighters to stay up for days, killing with a numb, reckless abandon.

‘You can’t sleep or even close your eyes, forget about it,’ said a Lebanese user, one of three who appeared on camera without their names for a BBC Arabic documentary that aired in September. ‘And whatever you take to stop it, nothing can stop it.’

‘I felt like I own the world high,’ another user said. ‘Like I have power nobody has. A really nice feeling.’

‘There was no fear anymore after I took Captagon,’ a third man added.

“According to a Reuters report published in 2014, the war has turned Syria into a ‘major’ amphetamines producer – and consumer.

“Syrian government forces and rebel groups each say the other uses Captagon to endure protracted engagements without sleep, while clinicians say ordinary Syrians are increasingly experimenting with the pills, which sell for between $US5 and $US20,” Reuters reported.

“Captagon has been around in the West since the 1960s, when it was given to people suffering from hyperactivity, narcolepsy and depression, according to the Reuters report. By the 1980s, the drug’s addictive power led most countries to ban its use.

Do Caps really enable you to kill with numb reckless abandon?

Did I get bad batches in Bali?

Have Arab fighters tried MDMA?

WSL drones
If you've been around the Haleiwa Contest site at Ali'i Beach Park (not to be confused with Haleiwa Beach Park, across the harbor, fronting Pua'ena Point), you may have seen the signs the WSL has decided to post. | Photo: @joeseegs

WSL Tries to Own Hawaiian Airspace!

…but maybe they don't have permits. Uh oh!

Aren’t unintended consequences hilarious? When you come across, say, a fun story about how the WSL is attempting to flex its muscle and keep outside sources from flying drones during the Triple Crown, so you call up the Hawaii Film Office with a few questions, only to have things kind of run away from you, and end up setting in motion what looks to be a clusterfuck on their end. Utter comedy.

Which is exactly what just happened. Literally. Like, five minutes ago.

If you’ve been around the Haleiwa Contest site at Ali’i Beach Park (not to be confused with Haleiwa Beach Park, across the harbor, fronting Pua’ena Point), you may have seen the signs the WSL has decided to post.


Something smelled fishy. Obviously the WSL is not a governmental body. To suggest that they have the authority to vet applicants and approve or deny permits is a power move, meant to intimidate people into compliance with their desires.

Which, you know, annoys the hell out of me.

Especially considering the ridiculous amount of special treatment they get from the Honolulu Dept of Parks and Rec in the form of the illegal variances granted for the Pipe contest every year.

Somewhat surprisingly, given the snail’s pace at which Hawaiian bureaucracy typically crawls, a quick call to the Hawaii Film Office got me a very friendly, and very helpful, person who requested I not use her name in this story, but was more than willing to shed some light on the situation.

“Are they using a drone? They’re supposed to get a permit from us. They probably have the drone insurance, whatever the FAA requires, but to film you need to have a permit with us. I do all the permits and I have not issued a drone permit to anyone.”

My suspicion that they could not have sole right to the airspace around the contest proved to be possibly unfounded, then the conversation took an interesting turn.

“Are they using a drone? They’re supposed to get a permit from us. They probably have the drone insurance, whatever the FAA requires, but to film you need to have a permit with us. I do all the permits and I have not issued a drone permit to anyone.”

When asked whether they had the authority to require permits be submitted to them, “I would say no. I’m not sure what they did with the FAA. The FAA might have given them a ‘certificate of authorization,’ and that’s to operate your drone and do all that, but once the footage becomes commercial, and I’m pretty sure that’s commercial, they need to acquire a filming permit from us.”

When asked whether they had the authority to enforce the “No drone zone” policy, she speculated that they might. Kinda.

“If they got a permit from the FAA it’s like getting a permit from us. If you apply for it first you can say that, ‘I have a permit here, I have the right to say no shooting here or whatever.’”

However any violations would fall to the FAA to enforce, meaning the WSL would need to contact them, after which the FAA would go after violators.

So while they may have the permit to fly the drones, the question remained, do they have permits necessary to use them for commercial filming?

“I am positive that they do not. The FAA would not get involved because they probably have all the necessary certifications with the FAA, it’s more our film permits that they would need to acquire. Do you have a contact number I can call?”

Uh oh!

And, you know, what could I do but give one to her? After all, she was very nice, and is only trying to do her job. Which, in this instance, seems to be shutting down the WSL’s ability to film with drones while in Hawaii this year.