Surfers more smart than academics!

A new article points to a troubling trend in higher education. Don't worry boys! It don't effect us!

Would you like to know the best part about co-owning a li’l surf website with the great Derek Rielly? Lazily passing along unsubstantiated rumors! Would you like to know the second best part? Reading something amazing that is only very tangentially related to surfing yet posting about it anyhow!

There is, you see, an amazing article that just came out in The Atlantic called The Coddling of the American Mind (give yourself a gift and read here). It begins:

Something strange is happening at America’s colleges and universities. A movement is arising, undirected and driven largely by students, to scrub campuses clean of words, ideas, and subjects that might cause discomfort or give offense. Last December, Jeannie Suk wrote in an online article for The New Yorker about law students asking her fellow professors at Harvard not to teach rape law—or, in one case, even use the word violate (as in “that violates the law”) lest it cause students distress. In February, Laura Kipnis, a professor at Northwestern University, wrote an essay in The Chronicle of Higher Education describing a new campus politics of sexual paranoia—and was then subjected to a long investigation after students who were offended by the article and by a tweet she’d sent filed Title IX complaints against her. In June, a professor protecting himself with a pseudonym wrote an essay for Vox describing how gingerly he now has to teach. “I’m a Liberal Professor, and My Liberal Students Terrify Me,” the headline said. A number of popular comedians, including Chris Rock, have stopped performing on college campuses. Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Maher have publicly condemned the oversensitivity of college students, saying too many of them can’t take a joke.

In short, it discusses the fact that college students in the United States have turned into giant sissies, vindictively lashing out at concepts they disagree with and, at the same time, wanting to be protected from them by their complete removal from the public sphere. The authors of the piece, Greg Kukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, give an exhaustive account of this phenomenon and attribute some of its birth to kids, now college-aged, who grew up as “natives” of social media where, “(It) makes it extraordinarily easy to join crusades, express solidarity and outrage, and shun traitors.”

This social back and forth has been a part of surf media since the very first message board popped up and has continued, unabated across multiple platforms like FaceBook, Twitter and below BeachGrit’s always fascinating posts. What was refreshing to me, though, as I read, was surfers still feel ok about being racist, sexist, misogynistic, homophobic, jingoistic, small-minded, prejudiced, awful across these multiple platforms. We lob grenades back and forth all day long. Brazilians vs. Australians, old vs. young, fans of the WSL vs. detractors, Adriano de Souza haters vs. Other Adriano de Souza haters etc. And while the discussion is often base, it is very fun, no? And maybe closer to some kind of meta-truth than a clean scrubbed utterly inoffensive narrative. The Atlantic article points out that the way college students think today mirrors patterns that cause depression and anxiety. As shit as surfers can be, we ain’t that and I hope our dialogues stay loose, fast, generally uneducated, ill-informed, wildly opinionated and, above all, fun.

Hawaii’s Refugee Crisis!

You want to be a refugee in a tropical paradise? First, you gotta learn some rules.

How fucked is this photo? Mooching off aloha, living true to the stupid fucking haole stereotype.  Come to our islands (I’ve lived here for eights years! Super local status! You should hear my affected pidgin!), take take take, then bounce back to the mainland when you’re done taking advantage.

I get the desire to live the hippy trip. I really do.

I love being naked. Drugs are great. Anonymous sex is the tits.

And you can make it work. I’ve met more than a few spacy weirdos who get along just fine. Work some menial part-time job, spew a lot of spiritual mumbo-jumbo while sipping kombucha at the beach park.  It’s not for me, I like hot water and fast internet and enough money to pay my bills on time. But shine on you crazy diamonds! If you can follow a few rules we’ll get along just fine.

Wash yourself: Even raccoons wash their hands, and those fucking trash pandas are filthy by nature. When you’ve got a million streams, the ocean, and a multitude of public showers available to rinse the dirt off your greasy body there’s no excuse for hands so grungy it looks like you’re wearing a pair of gloves. This is basic fucking hygiene we’re talking about. The type of stuff that should come standard with a pair of opposable thumbs.

White people dreads are disgusting at the best of times, in humid tropical weather they’re little more than fetid petri dishes hanging from your scalp. You may as well collect a pile of cat shit and staple it to your dome. Equally fashionable, equally disgusting.

Wear deodorant: I don’t care if you think it’s unnatural. Get one of those crystals to run on your pits, I’ve heard they work. Smear berry juice on yourself, or mud, or whatever. I don’t really care.

If you think you can rock up smelling like a pile of onions and be treated decently you’ve got another thing coming. Yes, I know, if everyone smells then no one smells. But that doesn’t change the fact that you fucking stink.

Cut your hair: White people dreads are disgusting at the best of times, in humid tropical weather they’re little more than fetid petri dishes hanging from your scalp. You may as well collect a pile of cat shit and staple it to your dome. Equally fashionable, equally disgusting.

Cut that shit, shear it short. Stop pretending that smearing patchouli in your shit-locks is the same as a proper wash.

Don’t beg: Sharing means giving as much as you take, maybe more. If you have no job, no money, are always bumming rides and not contributing you’re a leech. If you beg and borrow but have a safety net in the form of mommy and daddy back home you’re an actual thief.

You see these fuckers on a semi-weekly basis slouching through the streets of Kapaa. They hitch a ride down from Princeville, where they live illegally in the bush. Act like they’re a part of nature rather than the environmental scourge they really are.

Shit on the ground, steal fruit from real humans.

Worse than the feral cat plague, fed by the same type of moron.

Just in: Energy drinks really work!

Boom boom boom!

It has been a long time coming but, alhamdulillah, science has finally handed down an opinion on this decade’s hottest trend. Energy! Researchers from the famed Mayo Clinic, one of America’s finest clinical institutions, assured a restless population that Rockstar, at least, really works.

According to the Los Angeles Times, a team of cardiovascular researchers tested sixteen ounce cans of Rockstar and a placebo on 25 healthy volunteers aged 25-29. They had their blood pressure and heart rates measured before sucking both the Rockstar and the placebo (they had no idea what they were getting) and also allowed the researchers to nip a little blood. The tests were repeated 30 minutes after the cans were consumed. And guess what?

The volunteers started out with heart rates and blood pressure readings in the normal range. After consuming Rockstar, their systolic blood pressure rose about 6%, from 108.4 millimeters of mercury to 115 mmHg, on average, and their diastolic blood pressure rose nearly 7%, from  64.3 mmHg to 68.5 mmHg, on average. By contrast, systolic blood pressure rose just 3% and diastolic blood pressure was flat after drinking the placebo beverage.

But better even:

The biggest difference was in blood levels of norpinephrine, a precursor of epinephrine (a.k.a.  adrenaline). After consuming the real energy drink, the average amount of norepinephrine rose from 149.8 to 249.8 picograms per milliliter of blood. That compares with an increase from 139.9 to 178.6 pg/mL after finishing the placebo drink.


According to the LA Times, the findings caused the researchers to “fret” because the people may later develop cardiovascular problems due to spiked levels of boom boom boom.

Have those researchers ever danced with the devil under the pale moonlight, though? Have they ever gotten really super barreled? Have they ever had to drive from Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California to Phoenix, Arizona after just a few hours sleep because a certain two-year-old insisted on getting up at 5:00 am? Give us us norepinephrine!

Sam Morgan Ballina
Ain't no happy endings in Ballina. Here's Sam Morgan, 20 years old, who was hit by a shark, abruptly, late yesterday afternoon.

Ballina Pro Surfer Attacked by Shark!

Sam Morgan in induced coma at Gold Coast Hospital after being hit by a 10-footer… 

Do you remember when shark attacks were one-offs? Curios?

Not so much anymore. And Ballina, on the North Coast of NSW, and part of the zeigeist-y Byron shire, has become the epicentre of shark strikes.

Late yesterday afternoon, the pro surfer Sam Morgan, 20, was hit on the thigh by a Bull shark at Lighthouse Beach, Ballina.

Richmond LAC Inspector Nicole Bruce said Sam was in the water alone at Lighthouse Beach when the attack occurred at about 6.20pm.

“A person on the beach heard him scream and saw him stumble out of the water,” she said. “He’s come out of the water with a large bite wound to his left thigh. A passerby has administered first aid, ambulance and police were on scene soon (after). It was quite a large bite, but at this stage he seems to be stable, so hopefully he will be okay. “

Sam is currently in an induced coma at Gold Coast Hospital.

I was surprised when I heard about the attack. Not cause of sharks. Those sons of bitches ain’t leaving. I just didn’t know anyone surfed at Ballina anymore. Everyone I talk to up there has pretty much shelved their boards, surfing only when the sun is high, and there’s enough of a crowd to reduce what have become high odds.

Four months ago, bodyboarder Matt Lee was hit by a 15-foot White.

In 2008, another bodyboarder was killed there.

In February this year, the Japanese surfer Tadashi Nakahara died when he was hit by a suspected Great White at the next beach.

Last September, a swimmer died in waist-deep water when he was hit by a suspected Great White just near the Pass in Byron.

Anyway, I received this email from a local surfer and surf industry worker Shayne Banks last night. Seems to sum up the mood. He gave me permission to reprint below.

Hi Derek,

You may have already heard but there has been another shark attack at North Wall, Ballina late this afternoon. The victim was young local guy Sam Morgan.

I am feeling sick and wanted to write something so here you go; even before this last attack, twice on Saturday 7th November the North Wall crowd was sent in due to a 3-4 meter Great White swimming under people.  

I work at Alkali Fins in Ballina and had my life all set up around surfing, now it centres around work. I knew and surfed with Tadashi and we fixed his dings at Alkali. I have known Matt Lee for 15 years and spent countless hours surfing with him and many couch session with his solid crew of mates. While he was a bodyboarder at heart he stood up on fibreglass and surfed pretty well whenever the waves were not slabbing.

Leelee’s attack really rattled me; the last surf I had had before that happened ended with me being chased in at Broken Head. A shark fin appeared in the wave and was moving very aggressively left to right and then right again about 20  meters in front of me. By the time I had processed what I had seen the wave was on me. I turned and rode that sucker to the beach. The next day I was on my way to surf fun little lefts at Sharpes, I was just out of Lennox when over Triple JJJ I hear that there has been another attack at North Wall. Sharpes is looking really fun as I drive past but is completely empty with only two guys looking like they are about to paddle out. I drive to work and don’t even stop. At work I learn that the victim is Matt Lee and that he is critical. 

Seeing him at the pub the other day for his fundraiser was great but also pretty confronting as I could see first hand tooth mark scars on his legs.

I have surfed twice since Matt got bitten. Once was when my dad was up from South Oz and keen to head out for a wave. It was a full-moon and we surfed in a sea of bait fish and dolphins. One other day at Broken Head I got a few fun little peaks but it was still spooky. I don’t even know how long it has been and I don’t care to count. After living at North Wall for 5 years and surfing it pretty much every single morning that I could between 2001 -2006, surfing in Ballina may well be over for me.   

I don’t know; I could write more but I am kind of trembling as I type. Please feel free to contact me if you want to talk further about the situation here and the atmosphere among the surfing community.


Read more about the attack and the council’s response here. 

Sam Morgan – Far Nth Coast from Webster Surfboards on Vimeo.

“That shark fucked Julian up…”

This was his year. But maybe next year is his year too!

How wonderful is an older brother? I am one so I know. We are the best thing on earth. Founts of knowledge. Rocks on which to build. I ran into Julian Wilson’s older brother Bart today and we had a nice, if short, chat. Bart is a good man. Extremely funny, mischievous and quick. I have always liked him very much.

Bart (on Julian's right) is a wonderful growling wolf and the maddest hui a brother could ever have!
Bart (on Julian’s right) is a wonderful growling wolf and the maddest hui a brother could ever have!

Anyhow, Bart said, “That shark fucked Julian up….” and I cut him off, asking, “His emotions?” but no. Not his emotions. “…his world title run.” Bart continued. And wow. I had never thought of the enormity of it.

I had picked Julian Wilson to win it all this year. His surfing was sharp, building to a crescendo. The South African final against Mick he was really set to dig a heel into the neck and proclaim his arrival. But that damned shark came and tickled Mick and instead of first, Julian was handed and equal second. And even though he still has a mathematical shot at winning being crowned champ, the prettiest boy on tour lost his momentum. He started the year with a 2nd at Snapper, scored a 5th at Margies, another 2nd in Fiji and, bam, was ready to explode!

He raced into the final at J-Bay, scored an fine first wave and then……sharknado. Two 13ths a 3rd and a 25th later he is 7th. Mathematical but…you know.

Julian is still a fresh 27 years old. Entering his competitive prime. And maybe next year he will, in fact, win it all. But that damned fucking shark, no? Do you think he would have won it all this year? I did. And I do.