An Open Letter To Mick Fanning…

From one grieving brother to another… 

(Editor’s note: This letter appeared on the Facebook of the Australian football player Cameron Cullen whose own brother died on a surf trip earlier this year…)

“An open letter to Mick fanning from one Aussie to another! Hi Mick, I am Cameron Cullen a 23 year old footballer playing for the Burleigh bears intrust super cup team chasing my dream of playing nrl !

In 7 days I will become a father of a little daughter to my amazing girlfriend ! This may never get to you but the reason I am writing to you is because what I witnessed today has absolutely stunned me and I cannot stop thinking about it ! About 5 months ago my brother passed away on a surfing trip in the Maldives he was my best mate and it absolutely ripped me apart !

3 days after his funeral I played a game of rugby league against tweed heads! On the field I could not stop thinking about him about the last day we spent together the last phone call we shared the picture of his body in the coffin at the viewing I cried on the field in the sheds at halftime at half time, full time I was a mess !

3 days after his funeral I played a game of rugby league against tweed heads! On the field I could not stop thinking about him about the last day we spent together the last phone call we shared the picture of his body in the coffin at the viewing I cried on the field in the sheds at halftime at half time, full time I was a mess !

And I consider myself to be pretty mentally tough I have done 3 nrl pre seasons 2 with broncos 1 with cowboys and been put through some brutal stuff but it had nothing on this ! We lost and I can’t even really remember what I did in that game! I can remember having all my family and friends on the hill supporting me but I just felt numb I was and still am struggling to cope with the fact he is really gone ! I find it hard at the moment to be motivated and inspired I find it a hard enough task to be the happy out going person I once was ! But seeing what you did today lifted me !

Not only have you been through this pain before losing a brother but to have to go through it again and find out the morning of one of your most important competitions of your career chasing a 4th title win is just unfair ! Many men tough as nails including my self would fall in a heap…

Not only have you been through this pain before losing a brother but to have to go through it again and find out the morning of one of your most important competitions of your career chasing a 4th title win is just unfair ! Many men tough as nails including my self would fall in a heap !

You went out and surfed one of the best heats at the pipe masters and won ! Keeping your title hopes alive ! You are an absolute inspiration not only to me but many people in Australia and across the world ! Thank you so much for the strength and courage that you showed today it gave me hope that I can push through this !

I’m writing this today because regardless of where you finish your world champion in my eyes !”


Conspiracy: WSL robs Mick Fanning?

Because Brazil is financing the World Surf League?

There is a particular strain of conspiracy bubbling in various surf website comment boards and it is that Brazil is the future of the World Surf League and, therefore, gifted a world champion to keep the country glued to its screens. That Gab Medina’s air, in the dying minutes of his semifinal over Mick Fanning was purposely overscored as to dash Mick’s title run and put Adriano de Souza in the driver’s seat.

I generally loathe conspiracy theory but this one is particularly egregious because it is flies in the face of logic in so so so so many ways.

A) Just imagine had Mick won. With his year he would have been invited onto every television talk show, big powerful monied holiday party, etc. It would have been free advertising for an entity that is in financial trouble. It would have put the WSL’s product in front of people that, otherwise, do not care. He was the story of the year but not really anymore because that story doesn’t have an easily digestible ending now.

B) Brazil is in even deeper financial trouble than the WSL. Its economy is crumbling under a variety of weights and the upcoming summer Olympics will steal any extra potential dollars/limelight. As a country, it is in absolutely no position to float professional surfing even with a Brazilian storm blowing at gale force.

C) The commentators’ faces when Adriano was being chaired up the beach.
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And that, conspiracy theorists, is really all you need. A) and B) were just for kicks! C) is the proof! Now there is a picture worth 10000000 words!

Adriano de Souza, no matter what you feel, won the crown fair and absolutely square. What is more, the fact that he won also suggest that the judges went against the league’s best interest to be fair and absolutely square.

So I doff my gargantuan white Purps chapeau toward Santa Monica, home of the World Surf League. They got it right.


Kelly Slater, in trunks, at this remarkable Lemoore, CA, wavepool. Did you know the twenty acres, with lake, cost $575,000 to buy exactly two years ago? But why trunks? Has he been surfing it since summer?

Mystery: Kelly in trunks at wave pool!

Thumbnail photo on Slater wave pool movie sows new drama!

Watching website traffic at the back end of BeachGrit is like being on the spike. When it’s roaring, colour creeps into your face. Your hips twitch. A spreading wave of relaxation slackens the muscles away from the bones so that you seem to float without outlines, like lying in warm salt water.

…oh, it’s good.

Therefore, can you imagine our highs when the Kelly Slater wave pool story broke yesterday? Records smashed, our server trembling under the weight of eyes, new viewers, new countries (Yes! Hello Syria! Hello Afghanistan! True).

From Brazil and the US came the online detectives. Permits arrived. Satellite photos. And, here, maybe the second greatest mystery after where the Slater pool is…

Our theory is than kelly is surfing since june, and he make it public now to put in shame adrianos win, at the end of the day, even the brazilian are speaking about kelly’s wave.

Why is Kelly Slater wearing trunks? 

Marcelo Matos from Costa Rica writes:

Our theory is than kelly is surfing since june, and he make it public now to put in shame adrianos win, at the end of the day, even the brazilian are speaking about kelly’s wave.
i love your web, even when is kind of hard for me to read! but i like the fact that the editors dont kiss asses. Congrats , this is truly love for the truth, fuck sponsors.
We were the first on see kelly is no wetsuit on the picture.

Doesn’t the little movie clearly show a cold December morning in Lemoore California? With Kelly trussed in steamer, booties and gloves

And yet the thumbnail photo for the film has Kelly in trunks, a wave that doesn’t appear in the short?

Let’s watch!

What do you make of all of this?

Has Kelly been surfing the wave for six months?

Or did the water temp suddenly bounce upwards later in the day?

Oh, and if you want to see the joint before the pool, click here. 


Buy: $155,000 inland dream home!

Near shopping, schools and a wave that barrels every day of the year!

Democracy is the most wonderful thing on earth. The Arabs, Russians, Chinois and French have no idea what they’re missing out on! Like, Democracy allows for Donald Trump to become president with access to a massive nuclear arsenal or for a quick call to Kings County Community Development Agency to pull the permits for Fish Pond LLC on 18556 Jackson Avenue, Lemoore, CA 93245.

Lemoore, in case you’ve never heard of it, is a quaint agriculture town located in the San Joaquin valley some three hours north of Los Angeles on the I5 freeway. It boasts foggy winters, the Sarah A. Mooney Memorial Museum and a wave that barrels for maybe a whole minute.

That’s right! Kelly Slater’s Wave Company!

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You can read everything yourself, with your own democratic eyes, and it is quite insightful but the most interesting part, to me, is that the permit was filed, or executed at least, on September 21. 3 months ago. That means it took Kelly’s team 3 months to slot the machinery in place to make that dreamy chocolate barrel. 3 months.

3 months.

Three months.

How long did it take to build that Wavegarden?

So Kelly and Co. can smash these things out in their warehouse, I assume, go find a body of water and within 3 months have a wave better than anything that has ever broken in Huntington Beach.

Should they put one in Huntington Beach?

If they really have the thing that dialed and the movie we saw was not like the green-screened moon landing then the future truly is here.

But in case you want to get in on the present, check this house just 3 miles from that wave. It is in foreclosure so can be had for the low low price of 150k.

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Calling all Investors! the real estate brochure reads Come checkout this 3 bed 2 bath home, which features a huge lot, work shop and plenty of space for RV parking. With a little TLC it will be a great investment. It’s priced to sell, so don’t wait!

Yeah. Don’t wait. Lemoore, California is now officially Surf City, USA. Sorry again Huntington.


“Wavegarden just went Betamax!”

Are Wavegarden execs really standing on building ledges, crying?

Earlier this morning, the Seattle-based surf historian, former Surfer editor and once-a-week-lovemaker, Matt Warshaw, wrote me a short email.

“We need to do a back and forth on Kelly’s wave machine. I feel dizzy.”

I replied, “Matt I feel dizzy, too, maybe a little chilly. Do you see a dystopian future? ”

The following back and forth ensued, with Warshaw even suggesting the desirability of the Slater pool as a WSL event. After all, said Warshaw, “If you had a choice yesterday between Pipe or Kelly’s wave, world title on the line, you’d take Kelly’s wave.”

The bit at the end of the vid where Kelly parks in the tube, all I could think of was, I’ve never seen anything like that except maybe Barra. And Barra is hot and sticky and crowded, and where’s my passport, and where do you stay, and who’s renting the car, while this wave . . . fuck! I don’t know. Do I want to surf it? I don’t know. Yes. Yes, of course I want to surf it!

BeachGrit: How do you think Kelly’s wave compares to Wavegarden?

Warshaw: Wavegarden just went Betamax! Wavegarden execs are standing on office building ledges, crying, looking down at the sidewalk! How does it compare to that pool you surfed in Dubai?

BeachGrit: Not Dubai, but Malaysia and the Canaries have felt my touch. Malaysia was terrible, Tenerife was something else. Do I want to surf Kelly’s pool? I’ve never wanted anything as much…how about you old man?

Warshaw: There used to be this place called Big Surf, in Arizona, this big toilet-flusher of a wavepool. Maybe its still there. This huge three-story tank filled with water, and somebody would press a button, and water gushed into a pool and made this rolling shitwad of a wave. Big Surf was in a couple surf movies in the early ‘70s, and the whole point was to laugh at it. Nobody wanted to actually ride it. Same deal with the FlowRider. Then the pool in Japan, Ocean Dome I think it was called, that was better, then a few pools after that were crap, then the early Wavegarden clips, I remember thinking, Ohhh, they’re getting closer. But not until 10 minutes ago have I ever actually wanted to surf an artificial wave. The bit at the end of the vid where Kelly parks in the tube, all I could think of was, I’ve never seen anything like that except maybe Barra. And Barra is hot and sticky and crowded, and where’s my passport, and where do you stay, and who’s renting the car, while this wave . . . fuck! I don’t know. Do I want to surf it? I don’t know. Yes. Yes, of course I want to surf it

RonJon_wavepool

BeachGrit: Surfing just changed, you think?

Warshaw: I do. Absolutely. Like, put a big red before-and-after mark in the timeline. For starters, just to take the easiest topic, since we’re all thinking about contests after yesterday— do you put a wave pool on the WCT schedule?

Kelly Slater wave pool
Kelly Slater at the Ocean Dome wave pool, Miyazaki, Japan. Closed since 2007 due to inflated operating costs.

BeachGrit: Do you?

Warshaw: Wavegarden just went Betamax! Wavegarden execs are standing on office building ledges, crying, looking down at the sidewalk!

Warshaw: How do you not? If you had a choice yesterday between Pipe or Kelly’s wave, world title on the line, you’d take Kelly’s wave. But its making me a little crazy thinking about it.

BeachGrit: What about the idea that this is the opener for a dystopian future of inland jocks finally putting paid to the myth of surfing being for evolved souls?

Warshaw: Twenty years ago a lot of people were saying, and I was in this camp myself for a year or so, that surf-cams and high-tech forecasting were about to suck the magic out of the sport. But that was nothing compared to what Kelly just did. Wow, Kelly just kicked surf forecasting in the nuts! We praise the adventure and exploring and culture and things that come with wave-hunting, but those are cheap virtues, when there’s no option. What we all want, first and foremost, is the good wave. Now there IS an option, or will be soon, are you still going to go halfway around the world to chase a swell, and risk a surprise crowd, or a rogue bit of shitty weather, or 10 other things that’ll mess the surf up? Or you going to book your time at the pool? I’d still probably choose travel but I’m not as sure about that as I was when I woke up this morning. And probably a majority of surfers just flat out will take the sure thing and go to the pool.

BeachGrit: Did you like the timing of the release? Our little buzzy bee world champ and Pipeline Master enjoys limelight for exactly…one day.

Warshaw: Nah, I don’t think that has anything to do with the timing. They filmed on December 5, and Kelly’s been sitting on it since then. He would have been dying to drop it. Anybody would. Nice of Kelly to wait until Pipe was finished, actually.

BeachGrit: Where do you think it is? Real cold, near a major road, you’ve got a handle on US geography?

Warshaw: Not a clue. I was thinking it was some other country. I’m sure we’ll know by tomorrow.

BeachGrit: Where’s it gonna be in a year? In 10 years?

Warshaw: One year from now, my guess is they’re going to be programing variations and even flaws into the wave, so it doesn’t look so antiseptic. Then I guess the biggest thing is figuring out the economics and scalability. Ten years from now 90% of us will be within a half-day’s drive of a Kelly Slater signature wave. Fuck, I’ll be to old for the Barra model.