Where have you gone Bobby Martinez?

Our surf nation turns its lonely eyes to you!

I’ve have just come up from underneath 300,000,000 lbs of American football and the fresh air smells sweet! No more (except Oregon later today and and Seattle vs. Arizona on Sunday)! For our non-US friends, this week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is crammed with football from sun up to sun down. I’ve watched bad teams and I’ve watched good teams and I’ve watched good teams play bad (Jimmicane, what happened to your ‘Noles?) but what I haven’t seen is any interesting interviews or post-game press conferences.

The NFL invented bland when it comes to serving up their personalities. Sideline reporters say into the camera, with a completely straight face, during some quarter of the game, “I just talked to coach and he says the team has to work harder at stopping the run.” Or. “Coach just let the players know that they need to stop the run.”

It is annoyingly bad, utterly drained of value or meaning. Isn’t this supposed to be entertainment? The same is true after the game. Players step to the mic and say, “Coach drew up a good game plan. He told us we needed to stop the run.” Or. “My teammates around me did a great job at stopping the run.”

Humility is a virtue on the American sport’s scene and especially so in football. The American, on the couch, wants his athlete humble and especially his football athlete. Apparently, he also wants to know nothing at all, no gossip, no insider news, from reporters during the game.

Surfing, with a number of employees coming over from the NFL and most notably CEO Paul Speaker, has seemed to adopt this ultra bland approach as its own. We still talk about Bobby Martinez lighting off on the tennis tour and that was so so so many years ago. Mason Ho is pure pleasure to watch surf, partially because when he wins heats he gets to talk and who on earth knows what will come of that man’s mouth? Entertainment!

I wish the product, out of the water, would be a little less NFL and a little more pro wrestling. I wish our heroes would call each other out, complain about the judging, make snide comments about their competition. I wish Pete Mel and Strider, though I love their work, would tease out some funny underlying gossip. I mostly wish the humble would get tossed. Humility is not generally part of the professional surfer’s DNA and when he puts it on for the camera it is ill-fitting.

Can a new Bobby Martinez rise this year and put on a show? Who might it be?


Filipe Toledo wins Quiksilver Pro
…a revolutionary, a poet, a mystic. "God helped me win the whole event!" says Filipe. | Photo: WSL

Remember: Filipe Toledo owned 2015!

Even if his year was forgotten amid a surprising world champ and Kelly Slater's pool fever… 

“I don’t care if he is a Brazilian; he’s the best surfer in the world.”

This, from a surfer wrapped in an Australian flag after seeing Filipe Toledo drive Julian Wilson around the hill in the final of the Quicksilver Pro, Snapper Rocks. Nineteen-year-old Filipe’s near-perfect 19.60 combo-ing Julian’s 14.70.

Do you remember that final? Filipe coming through the air and hitting and bouncing off lips as if he was weightless while Julian looked as if he was doped up, in comparison. Didn’t matter who surfed against Filipe in that final. He blew his cookie!

Do you remember that final? Filipe coming through the air and hitting and bouncing off lips as if he was weightless while Julian looked as if he was doped up in comparison. Didn’t matter who surfed against Filipe in that final. He blew his cookie!

Hit play!

A few months later in Brazil, Filipe beat Bede Durbidge with the same night stick he wielded on Julian. Almost same scores, too, 19.87 to 14.70.


Two wins from four events.

By mid-year, Filipe Toledo was an orange-hot sunbeam filtering down through a tour that had become repetitive and slow. How could you watch the little man surf a heat and not be struck by his bolts of lightening? Here, there, drool running down his chin, eyes bulging and crazed like a madman undergoing withdrawal symptoms.

Sure, there was the low moment in Tahiti when he became the first surfer in history to score a perfect zero heat in a WCT event. You can watch that below or you can read about it.

A month or so later, he was back dismantling the beachbreaks of Portugal for another dazzling win. Watch his 10-pointer here! Best surfer in the world? Yes!

But despite his game-changing performances in 2015, Filipe’s dazzling year has been lost in the smog of Adriano’s world title and Kelly’s wave pool video.

Ain’t it crazy? That this beautiful boy with skin the colour of buttered cocoa, eyes a soft clubhouse green, who brought holy terror to the tour in 2015, and who is the hottest thing since Kelly Slater in 1992, could be overshadowed?

Our memories are lousy like that.

But, remember, eight weeks until Snapper Rocks, 2016.

Filipe will re-take the spotlight, gloriously, divinely. He’ll entertain the crowd while his competitors  smile painfully as he shucks ’em one by one.

As the former world-number-one-rated surfer Brad Gerlach told me after Snapper when Filipe looked as he might win every event: “Filipe’s technically superior. And he’s not thinking. He’s surfing so spontaneously you don’t know what he’s going to do. He doesn’t know what he’s going to do. And that’s fucking awesome.”

Fucking awesome. Yes he is.

Mason Ho Post Heat Interview
Mason: “This is going to sound weird, but for a second, I think you took on the shape of a unicorn.”

Rory Parker’s Fond Memories of 2015

Freddie P melts down, Mason Ho is everywhere, the New Yorker loves BeachGrit and more!

Another year of living the dream gone for good, an ever dwindling number left. I always get a little maudlin on New Year’s eve, feel like I’m racing the clock to get in as much fun as I can until my body finally breaks down. Probably got at least another twenty good ones left, but I’ve noticed that life speeds up as you get older. Pretty cliché, that realization.

Lists are easy, end of the year lists are lazy. But like Chas mentioned yesterday, there ain’t a hell of a lot going on. But I don’t feel like dredging up a video and clamping a half-assed paragraph to it, so I’m gonna write one. Not for you, for me. I smoke maybe a little too much weed, it’s always good to write shit down so you can look back and manufacture the memory.

Here’s a few fond memories of 2015.

Freddy P’s retirement: His Snapper meltdown was legendary.

Going out on a ten at Trestles even more so.

Surviving: A skull infection came damn close to killing me in 2014. That sucked, rattled my cage hard. But that type of shit doesn’t happen often, once in a lifetime for most.

But I’m special, so this year I got to go under the knife for an infection in my shoulder, then spend a hellish week locked in the hospital while a series of nurses poked, prodded, and pumped me full of a melange of opiates and antibiotics. Pretty sure one of them caught me jerking off, late one night.

But I’m still here! Maybe immortal? Whatever the case, life doesn’t seem so crucial anymore, much easier to let the small shit go. After all, it could be lights out at any moment.

William Finnegan: This just happened, but did y’all hear Finnegan name check BeachGrit on Surf Splendor? 

Pretty cool, a New Yorker level scribbler reading our stuff, and liking it. Definitely gave me a little ego boost, even if the discussion centered around Chas and Derek. I’m a hard working part of this thing too, you know!

Oh well, maybe next year, instead of “Derek and Chas’s site” it’ll be “Derek, Chas, and some dude named Rory’s site.”

Mason Ho: Clip after clip after clip after clip. Each one different, magic, adorable. His post heat interviews, the best in the business. A semi-final finish at Pipe! Here’s to hoping we ain’t seen nothing yet!

The WSL: Plagued by bad surf, constant injuries, terrible calls, and a total inability to lock down sponsorships, 2015 was not good for professional competitive surfing. Which sucks for me, as a person who truly wants to watch the best surfers in the world go head to head. Bit it’s also great for me, as a person who loves to write critical shit on the internet that’s read by a handful of people.

Sustainable: Such a great buzzword! Sounds nice, but really just means that something can go on for forever. Like poverty, or American cops shooting unarmed black people. The Turtle Bay Resort scored a sustainable PR coup when they got permission to develop a parcel of pristine land, but spun it as a conservation effort. Well done, bravo.

#vanlife: Being a bum has never been hipper. Sure, living in a car sucks, and there’s a huge chance you’ll get robbed, maybe raped, definitely hassled by cops. But it birthed an entire group of people who will soon self destruct as they realize their terrible decision, and it lowers rental prices for those of us who enjoy hot showers, fast internet, and a place to shit that isn’t frequented by degenerate hobos.

Kauai: My first full year on the Garden Isle, and, man, do I fucking love it here or what? Best place on earth, my wife’s gonna have to drag me kicking and screaming if she ever wants to move off island.

Money: For the first time in my life, and all thanks to my lovely wife, I’m not broke as fuck all the time. It’s an amazing thing, paying bills on time, fixing your car when it breaks, buying food you want instead of what’s on sale.

And, yeah, I’m anti-capitalist, loathe anyone who self identifies as an entrepreneur, recognize I’d be among the first against a wall when the revolution comes. But I’m a creative type, so I’m sin free. I get to benefit sans accountability, and having your cake while eating it is a beautiful thing.

Beach Grit: It’s corny, lame, and more than a little self-congratulatory, but I’m so fucked stoked to be a part of this gig. When Derek asked me, out of the blue, to be a part of it I was pretty amped. The way it’s grown over the last year has been amazing. I think we’re making something special here, and we’ve somehow got a community of commenters who actually say intelligent shit. On the internet! And some of them are people who I grew up reading, sucking down every word, hoping to one day be a part of the pack. Fuck, Matt Warshaw sent me a complimentary Facebook message the other day, Derek hooked me up with Surfer’s Journal.  It’s, literally, a dream come true.

Twenty sixteen will be here soon, I’m gonna get drunk and light off some fireworks.

Ross Williams
"Happy New Years," writes the WSL's #1 commentator, Ross Williams, from the emergency ward of the Queens Medical Centre. "I dove head first after a wave into the toilet bowl straight into the reef." The net result? Eleven staples and eventual plastic surgery. What will happen to that little round mouth, the one invented for devouring hot fudge sundaes? Will he still glow under the WSL spotlight?

Just in: Ross Williams Cheats Death!

Your favourite commentator eats reef with face… 

If you saw Ross Williams waiting for a bus you’d never guess he used to be one of the best surfers in the world and, currently, is the best commentator in the surf game.

Forty-ish, a lazy hairline that barely holds a haircut like a dust-mop, a chubby figure that changes weight according to his mood. But watch and listen to Ross Williams on a  WSL broadcast and he… glows. Ross Williams slugs every other commentator out of the park.

One hour ago, your favourite commentator almost ended 2015 in a box. At ten-to-12-foot Haleiwa, the one-time Momentum star, “dove head first after a wave into the ‘toilet bowl’ straight into the reef. I cracked my head open and nearly ripped a piece of my nose off. Thankfully, the CT scan came back ok. I got 11 staples and will need plastic surgery. At least my New Years will be buzzy!! Thanks for the best wishes and have a safe night.”

The roll call of well-wishers on Ross’s Instagram account included Bede Durbidge, currently crippled with a broken pelvis, (“Wow! Not the way you want to finish the year”), the quadriplegic Jesse Billauer (“Sending you positive healing vibes. I’m glad you’re ok. Just stay positive and think about that sick barrel you got at Backdoor the other day”), world champion Carissa Moore (“Oh man!!!!!! Definitely not #warmingitup”) and his old sparring buddy Pat O’Connell (“Love you Ross boo”).


Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 11.37.05 am


Ross’ injuries complete a really bad Hawaiian season, injury wise.

Evan Geiselman was rescued from the brink a month ago by a big, beautiful angel and, during the Pipeline Masters, Bede Durbidge busted his pelvic saddle.


Mystery: C. Anderson in surf snuff film?

Is Dave Rastovich in it too?

Yesterday, I posted a fun li’l story about keywords you use to arrive at BeachGrit. One of my favorites, so very strange, was “Taylor Steele Tite Fuck Watch.” I could not even begin to fathom what it meant and it was funny but also mysterious.

Today, though, I see that surf film’s elder statesmen has a new one coming out starring Dave Rastovich and Craig Anderson titled This Time Tomorrow. Apparently they track one swell around the globe, surfing etc. etc. Normal surf fare.

Or is it?

Taylor Steele’s Tite Fuck Watch has been haunting me because I feel someone out there knows something that I don’t. Some big and heavy secret. They knew that Derek and I hawk our keyword searches and so they dropped a gentle hint? Some delectable morsel? Is this new film the “tite fuck watch”? Does a different film come out later?

If anyone has any information please share. Or drop another hint in the keyword search. Derek and I are watching.

Also, has any surf film been rated anything higher than PG-13 you think? Do you know of a dirty surf picture?