Minutes after I poke at his surfboards! This one's for you Nick Carroll! It's a trilogy!
I pressed publish on BeachGrit’s newest feature Real Talk not ten minutes before Kelly Slater won the Pipeline Pro a banana surfboard beating Jamie O’Brien, Bruce Irons and a gorgeous little McNamara.
Real Talk talks real and I had written that Slater Designs surfboard are very ugly and they make me not want to surf them and they are poor. And then Kelly Slater won, surfing like a demigod, top turning like Tom Carroll.
Nick Carroll wrote:
Real Talk: That’s about enough Kelly for a while. I mean fucken hell, just this week you’ve had him saving a (non) doomed family, going on about 9/11, and lying next to his wacky quiver for the second time in a row. How much attention does he need?
Christ now there will be another KS feature won’t there. at least this time it’ll be about his surfing.
Nick Carroll is right! Kelly Slater won and won convincingly and won smoothly and won in my face. Such Kelly style. A master of rubbing a man’s nose in his own excrement. But I still don’t want to ride one of them. Do you? Really? Do you really?
Let's be honest. Just for once. Or maybe even twice!
I will tell you firsthand. The surf industry loves more than anything to pat a back whilst, at the same instant, gossiping feverishly. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done the same. Written glowingly about something I just, minutes before, gagged over. I’ve done it so many times, in fact, that I forget when I loathe and when I love. Which is why BeachGrit‘s newest feature Real Talk is so imperative. We, for the first time ever, are going to call it like we see it. Maybe we’ll be totally wrong but we’ll, at least, be totally honest and dignity may, in some distant future, come crawling back through the door!
Our first offering is Kelly Slater’s new surfboards. Surfing magazine wrote glowingly about them many weeks ago and Stab, as is its wont, just reprinted the same review today. I’m sure I’ve said they look sick to someone but I lied! Study them! I am no shaper, no surf design expert, but every time I see a picture of one of those boards I think, “UGH!” I think “My surfing would be set back 15 years!” I look at the weird Tomo one and think. “No. I’d embarrass myself badly both through the parking lot and on the wave.” I look at the one that has multi steps in the tail and think, “Why the hell does that board look like that?” I look at the one that is maybe supposed to be the high performance shortboard and think, “I don’t need any more potassium in my diet.”
I see many boards that make me want to grab their besotted rails straight away and dance them through a ten point wrap-around carve. I see Slater Designs and think, “If those were the last boards on earth I’d quit.”
But why? What about them disgusts? I don’t quite know. Something visceral for me, maybe, combined with Kelly’s boggy-turned World Tour effort last year. I reached out for expert advice from one of the world’s best shapers but was rebuffed. “I am not going to get suckered into any of that type of stuff right now. The boards are a bit out there, but if he proves successful on them, opinions may change…” he said. But I will say right now. UGH!
Now that’s real talk. Do you disagree? Are you dying to spend dollars on a banana? Are you begging to surf just like you did in the early 1990s?
Kelly Slater talks politics, Ralph Nader and conspiracy!
Last night was the official grand opening of the United States of America’s 2016 presidential election. The Iowa Caucus! And if you are not from the US/don’t understand what a “caucus” is that’s ok! Nobody does! Quite basically, both Democrats and Republicans go state by state winnowing their fields to get down to one candidate each and then those candidates bash into the general election and voila! A president!
I was glued to the television all night watching the returns. Politics is a fascinating game. I love each and every nuance, each and every turn of that damning page. Will Bernie Sanders smash the Clinton powerhouse? How far will Donald J Trump ride a wave of populist rage? Can Ted Cruz tuck any more smug into his cellulite? All of it. Every jot.
Of course the country should have something bigger/better/funner than a simple two-party system but it don’t, much to Kelly Slater’s chagrin. Listen to the man talk politics here and also about the global cabal! Do you agree with him? Do you agree with his nod toward a broad conspiracy? Would you vote for his presidency? Since he is not running, though, who would you vote for? Are you a Marco Rubio gal? Do those ears stir your loins?
It is great to watch Kelly talk politics but my favorite part of the clip is when his interviewer tells Travis Lee (I presume), “We’re in Hawaii. You can do what you want. It’s a free place. That’s what I love about this place here. It’s kind of very easy going.”
BeachGrit:I’m pretty numb to people I don’t know getting cancer, dying etc, but for some reason hearing that it was Brock, the ultimate big-wave stud, shook me. Why do you think that is?
Matt Warshaw: The Instagram photo, maybe? I found out he was sick three or four weeks ago, but when I saw the picture yesterday it just buckled me. The shock of the photo, then Brock saying “I have cancer, it sucks,” which is such a total Brock thing to say. So the two things together, the awful photo and the totally normal voice . . .
When he rode for Gotcha in the ‘80s, he’s drive up at my house in San Clemente and pull two huge cardboard boxes of free gear from the back seat, dump it all in a huge pile and just crack up, all these free clothes when he just cruised around all day in trunks and no shirt. Michael Tomson was a fuckin god back then, terrifying and all-powerful, and Brock would come back from a meeting with Michael and do this wicked imitation of him and all his kowtowing minions, and it was just blasphemy.
Yeah, agreed. But it’s more than that…
He was indestructible for all those years.
More than that.
He laughs at everything. How serious all the big-wave guys are. The idea of getting a paycheck for surfing. All the bullshit surf industry politics. He laughs at it and loves it at the same time, which is the perfect attitude. Brock loves being part of it all, lives for gossip, puts himself in the middle of everything. Then he’ll step outside of it and make fun of it all. When he rode for Gotcha in the ‘80s, he’s drive up at my house in San Clemente and pull two huge cardboard boxes of free gear from the back seat, dump it all in a huge pile and just crack up, all these free clothes when he just cruised around all day in trunks and no shirt. Michael Tomson was a fucking god back then, terrifying and all-powerful, and Brock would come back from a meeting with Michael and do this wicked imitation of him and all his kowtowing minions, and it was just blasphemy. And hilarious. But anyway, for some reason, apart from him being a friend, the idea of a guy with that perfect of an attitude getting cut down by cancer just seems especially cruel and wrong.
Years back, I was doing these ads for Surfing Life where I’d get famous surfers to talk about why they read the mag. You know, I read ASL because… Brock said, “because it doesn’t take surfing seriously.” Ever since, I felt he rode a similar wavelength and I’ve based my career on that quote…
That’s it exactly.
The idea of a guy with that perfect of an attitude getting cut down by cancer just seems especially cruel and wrong.
And so damn good looking. The sorta guy I’d keep real far away from my gal. A little busted, a brutal handsome edge.
After Chas did that little piece for you about Balaram Stack and Christie Brinkley, I followed with a 10 Most Glam couples involving a surfer. Brock and Kate Bosworth came in #8. She flew to Hawaii to do Blue Crush and the producers handed her off to Brock to show her the island, teach her a little about surfing, and he got the gig was he was the “responsible” surfer on the set, right? She was like 19 at the time. Look at the two of them! Brock said they kept it platonic for a couple of weeks. I cannot imagine the willpower involved. The pheromones just filling the air. They should have bred. The word would be a better and better-looking place.
And you know, while yeah, women threw themselves at Brock, he also had the worst luck with love. Heartbroken more often then not, which is how we bonded in the first place. For 10 or 15 years, one of us or both of us was needing to spill guts about the latest love disaster. The night of the 1990 Eddie, when he got second, he called me and spent like 10 minutes on the contest, then sighed and got to the real point of the call, which was that his recent ex-girlfriend was dating a lifeguard. He always wanted to be married, and he always wanted to start a family, from way back.
The hardest part of pumping out a constant flow of words about surfing is coming up with ideas to write about. There are periods when it feels like there’s nothing to say, beyond, “Hey, check out this radical three minute web clip.”
And I can only take serving up so much pablum before I get bored with what I’m doing, and if I’m not enjoying writing there’s really no point. There definitely ain’t much money.
Like, Mick’s getting divorced. Ugh, such a non-story. If it were contentious, if he was whomping on her or she were claiming he brought home the clap after after some filthy top ten group grope-and-poke, then right on, let’s go full media feeding frenzy.
Should the world title be decided at Jaws? Of course not, that’d be a terrible idea. Getting A+ quality swell for big wave events is more difficult than herding cats, and the vast majority of the ‘CT would just struggle and fail. Maybe die, more likely dodge sets and basically waste a million quality waves.
But normal divorces are boring, and kind of sad. Absolute terror if you’re the primary breadwinner. Or so I assume. I’m not too worried about a divorce in my future, the wife and I have been together since we were kids, got no pre-nup, and I’ve made it very clear I’d expect her to keep me in the lifestyle to which I’ve become accustomed. I feel I am due, nay, am entitled to, half. If the missus thinks she’d be getting an amicable dissolution she doesn’t know me at all. God bless gender equality.
When it’s slow, and I’m struggling, Derek’ll gift me a little prompt and that’s usually enough to spark some inspirado. Because there’s always something to write about, and a good suggestion is enough to get the words flowing. I don’t think the actual act of writing is that difficult, especially considering the relatively low standard to which the surf media is held.
Like juggling, once you’ve got the knack it’s easy to keep things moving. And once you get me started I’ll happily blather on for hours.
Today’s suggestion was, “Should the world title be decided at Jaws?”
Of course not, that’d be a terrible idea. Getting A+ quality swell for big wave events is more difficult than herding cats, and the vast majority of the ‘CT would just struggle and fail. Maybe die, more likely dodge sets and basically waste a million quality waves.
I’ll admit that watching the beachbreak killer contingent endure white knuckle heats could be entertaining, but not enough to fill 24-ish hours of webcast.
I do think that the tour could benefit from including at least one deep water power wave. Something that requires thick, seven-foot plus, sleds. Holds you down, beats your ass, leaves you wrecked and ruined on the inside gasping for air staring down a looming set.
Sunset is an obvious choice. The spot has a legacy, already got the permits and infrastructure in place. Seeding 44 guys into the HIC Pro would be relatively easy, and it’s a consistent enough wave to count on.
I’ll admit it’s an often boring event, but it manages to produce at a few moments of brilliance every year. And while it doesn’t make for great video it does produce killer stills. And injecting a bit of the ol’ waterman spirit back into the tour would be nice.
Although, man, the word waterman…
Talk about taking a good term and marketing it into the ground. Always something to aspire to be, but not a label you get to bestow on yourself. You know, you spend a lifetime learning to surf, paddle, dive, fish, play in a swirly wet hell that’ll kill you without caring.
Then other people call you a waterman, you downplay your ability, but smile inside because it means you’ve accomplished something. Something that’s kind of narcissistic and comes at a heavy price and doesn’t really make you a better person or more successful at real life, but is still worth feeling proud about. Like owning a big thick cock, if it’s true you don’t need to talk about it.
I blame the SUP crowd.
They’re the ones who emblazoned the term on every epoxy import piece of shit they could get their hands on, silk screened it on t-shirts they flipped for $50 a pop to spare-tired-middle-life-crisis cases looking to sweep their way into a lifestyle that’s slightly less meaningless than however they wasted the last few decades.