Revealed: Surf agent has kink for Bieber!

Surf super agent Blair Marlin seen in the crowd of Justin Bieber concert.

Justin Bieber played San Diego last night and you could hear the screams from miles away. Teenaged girls danced to the world’s biggest heartthrob while their parents stood by maybe secretly enjoying, maybe counting the minutes until they could flee the madness. There hasn’t been this much energy around a young man since Elvis Presley.

It was a sold out house, of course, and if one would have studied the crowd, teenaged girls and their parents would have made up the majority. If one would have looked a bit closer, though, there would have been a handful of older women with girlfriends relieving the first time they saw Michael Jackson or Justin Timberlake. Closer still, one would have seen an adult man without a child. Zooming all the way it, it would have been revealed that that man was surf super agent Blair Marlin!

Mr. Marlin has the most envied roster in the game by far. Stars such as Dane Reynolds, Craig Anderson, Julian Wilson, etc. etc. grace his lineup. It is like a fantasy team of talent. But do you know what he doesn’t have? A teenaged daughter. Why then was at the concert? His Instagram merely says, “Pretty amazing to see this dudes powers in real life…”

Does Justin Bieber maybe surf really really good? Is Mr. Marlin thinking about signing him?

Or is there something darker at work? Slightly more kinky?

More as this story develops.


Surf Quiz: What Would You Do?

A shaper spits in your face. How do you respond?

You’re in the market for a new board, and even though you’ve got a guy who’s been working for years, you decide to try out a new kid you’ve been seeing all over your local Craigslist. Really low prices, $200 below your usual shaper, because he hasn’t been around long and is working cheap to build a client base.

You ask around, get decent reviews, and decide to pull the trigger on a custom job. Nothing fancy, just a funky little low rocker small wave sled. The type of board that’s damn hard to fuck up.

Roll by the factory one day after work, put down your deposit, drop off your dims, and get the standard, “See you in four to six weeks.”

Six weeks come and go, you call him up to see what’s going on.

“Yeah, sorry, our glasser went on a bender again, we’re a little backed up. It’ll be done in a week.”

Another week passes, still no word. So you swing by again on your way home from work. Figure you can get things moving a little quicker by putting in an appearance. No one’s home, so you try again a few days later.

“Just finished shaping it,” he says, pointing to a random board in the middle of a pile of finished blanks. “They’re all getting glassed tomorrow. Be ready in a couple days.”

Kind of annoying, but still pretty standard. Few people make a career of building boards because they’re hard workers. Skilled craftsmen, sure. Nose to the grindstone types, not exactly. You’re not even bummed he lied and blamed the glasser. That’s what they’re there for.

Another two weeks pass and you get a text. “Your board’s ready, come by whenever.”

Life happens and you can’t make it down for a few more days. But it doesn’t matter, because the surf is shit and the weather is terrible. And since your board was over a month late you aren’t feeling a huge obligation to pay the man.

On day two the texts begin.

“Hey, board’s ready.”

“What’s up? Come get your board.”

“Not a storage locker, you need to come by.”

“We need the space, please come tomorrow.”

Okay, whatever. Fucking shapers, am I right? You text him back, say you’ll swing by on your day off. 10am, cash in hand, you’re there. He’s not. Your calls go straight to voicemail, don’t hear back for another week.

“Sorry, something came up. I’ll def be in tomorrow.”

You swing by on your lunch hour, glory of glories, he’s there! Tells you to wait a moment, goes and grabs your board.

What the hell is this? Two inches longer than you ordered, half an inch narrower. A domed deck with super pinched rails, early 90’s elf shoe flip in the nose. FCS2 thruster setup, rather than the Futures five fin you wanted.

“Hey, I, uh, think you got the wrong board.”

“Nope, this one’s yours.” Points to your name on the stringer.

“This isn’t what I ordered, I…”

“Yeah, I know. This is better.”

Whatever, fuck it. This is what you get for being a cheap bastard. And, who knows, maybe it’ll work. The FCS2 thing sucks, since all you own are Futures, but you’ll make do with the plastics. Even if you hate it, you should be able to flip it online to someone without eating too much of a loss.

You whip out your wad of cash and hand it over. He quickly counts it out and says, “Oh, shit, didn’t I tell you? We had to raise our prices.”

He wants $150 over what you were quoted.

“Oh, and the fins will be $40 more,” he says, pointedly glancing at a hand written sign taped to the wall.

No refunds on deposits under any circumstances.

What would you do?

Just in: Shark Bites Surfer!

Surfer saves pal in attack at Bombo Beach on Australia's east coast… 

It feels like forever since Australia’s been whipped into a shark frenzy. Do you remember, and you will because it’s only a year or two ago, when Western Australia appeared to’ve become unsurfable, such were the numbers of great whites?

And then it was the stretch of coast between Ballina and Byron Bay on Australia’s east coast that became ground zero for great whites. Quiet there now, too, despite warnings earlier this year that further attacks were imminent. 

Maybe it’s ’cause everyone surfs in packs, avoids dawn and dusk, and maybe it’s ’cause of all those shark spotting apps that puts the fear of god into everyone, dramatically reducing numbers.

Anyway, 22-year-old surfer Brett Connellan just lost “three quarters of his thigh” in an attack last night at Bombo Beach, a couple of hours south of Sydney.

According to,

“A young surfer was lucky to survive a horrific shark ­attack last night after his left thigh was ripped off at Bombo Beach near Kiama on the south coast.

“It was only the heroic and quick-thinking actions of a fellow boardrider — who dragged his mate to shore and stemmed the gushing blood flow — that saved the 22-year-old’s life.

“As the victim lay barely conscious on the sand with deep puncture wounds, his friend used the leg rope of his surfboard to stop the bleeding.

“He was in a critical condition and his blood pressure was dangerously low,” ambulance Inspector Geoff Senior said. “The actions of his surfing companion kept him alive until our paramedics were able to perform a blood transfusion.”

“The victim, who last night was in a stable condition in St George Hospital, was surfing about 100m out to sea on the northern end of the beach — not far from recent sightings of large white pointers — when he was attacked about 7pm.”

Read more here. 

Suddenly discovered an interest shark repellants? Click here! 

Confession: I’m Mick Fanning!

The new WSL jersey spot inspires!

World Surf League – Mick Fanning from Tristan Houghton on Vimeo.

Can I be honest with you for one moment? Can I share a burden that weighs heavily on my heart? A dark secret? I’m a fan of the World Surf League’s jersey advertisement! I am really and not ironically! Look at how the sun shines on this beautiful mise en scene. Look at the happy, ethnically diverse faces. Look at the age range, from young to very old! Look at how enthusiastically Mick embraces them all at the end, with a warm, endearing smile. He’s an actor! A natural! If I was a casting agent and looking for the next rom-com or musical star I would look no further. He is the roguish chap with a heart of gold. A prankster who knows when it is time to hug.

Of course some religious groups might be underrepresented and also females but rude of me to even bring up because the piece is basically perfect. It represents a universe where professional surfers are bright lights. Where everyday people cheer for them like they do baseball, football or rugby teams and where that adoration is humbly returned.

Of course the jersey itself looks like abomination. A thick, lycra hideously draping piece of garbage that will only serve to gum up landfills and clog back pores but rude of me to even mention because the piece is an award-winner.

But, real quick, how is it supposed to be worn exactly? In the water? With jeans? Shorts?

But rude of me. I’m sorry. It really is an almost perfect advertisement for our Internet age. Digestible, sharable, understandable and bravos must be given where bravos are due. So bravo WSL! Bravo!

And what do you think? Are you inspired like me? Would you gladly trade in your jaded worldview for the one represented here?

Mason HO

Mason Ho: How to nail interviews!

“I got the censor button on a hundred million times…”

Who does a post-heat interview better than Mason Ho? No one, right? He vibrates like a little dog!

His shaper Matt Biolos describes him as “a saviour from the fucking corporate, straight-laced, uptight, fucking, pre-planned-interview-answer surfing world we live in today.”

So what’s the secret? What makes a kid who grew up at Sunset Beach so lucid when he gets a microphone jammed under his chin?

These, and more questions, I threw at Mason a few hours ago as he reclined, sipping tea, at his Bird Rock rental, near Bells Beach. It was a lay-day for the Rip Curl Pro, maybe the first of a few, and the interviewer finds his subject full of gusto…

BeachGrit: How do you make an interview good? 

Mason: If you want me to be completely honest, my sister scolded me pretty gnarly yesterday about my interviews so from what she said, I need to…answer… the questions. She told she saw a guy rolling his eyes behind me. I told her, “Coco, you must understand, I don’t care about the guy rolling his eyes. You must understand I’m just saying exactly what I’m thinking and I’m thinking a lot of stuff but I’m not saying all of it because I want to be a good role model.” I just want to be good. I want everything happy and good. Everything I’m thinking…is…happy and good but I don’t want to sound too happy and too good.

BeachGrit: Y’got a censor button? It don’t seem like it.

Mason: I got the censor button on a hundred million times. But then, I still want to express myself.

BeachGrit: Do you fizz with nervous energy when the microphone appears? 

Mason: No, I’m just so happy and trying to catch my breath. My dad was saying the other day, when you go into a heat, you’re like an artist and you get this little bit of time to out there and do all your paintings. Uh, oh… I’m doing exactly what Coco said. I’m not answering the questions again. Where was I going with that?

BeachGrit: I like it. When you surf a heat, you’re like an artist. 

Mason: You could liken it to a cooking show. The chefs have the hour to cook their meal with the certain materials. We go out in the water and our boards are our knives. And it is like painting. You paint whatever you want and then you show it to the judges. When I try to explain to my dad about the art on my boards, he always tells me not to forget the black pin-ines. It’s an analogy for surfing heats. Get arty but don’t forget the basic and fundamental things.

BeachGrit: Tell me something we don’t know about you and Bells…

Mason: Well, that first heat, I actually used one of  Dad’s boards. It was a four-fin and I’m…over… four fins and he only rides four fins. It was this funny little board he had. I barely squeaked through the heat and I didn’t rip it, I didn’t look awesome, but it was a big heat. Jeremy Flores is super gnarly, I have so much respect for him, but I squeaked through on Dad’s board. He was so stoked afterwards, “You made it through on my board! A four fin!” I said, “I will not ride that thing again.”

The next day he was, like, “I’m going to the surf shop to get you a board (the waves had doubled in size).”  He called up Neil (Ridgway, Rip Curl) and Neil said, go grab any boards you want, so Dad went in and grabbed a board off the racks. It was this six-o by 19, numbers I don’t use, got it all ready, he was psyching on it, and it was a really good board. I made the next heat and after that we were so stoked. It was such a team thing. I didn’t get to say that in any of the interviews. None of ‘em asked questions like that.

BeachGrit: I always feel like y’get wrapped up too quickly.

Mason: I think they’re saving me from myself. Sometimes I feel like I’m in a heat. You warm up, then the gold starts coming out a little later.

BeachGrit: Is there a pressure now to come up with something good? 

Mason: Nah, I mean, it’s cool when you get to, but I just try to get in and get out of here. It’d be a dream to sound more like uncle Derek (1993 world champ Derek Ho). One time we were at the bar after I’d lost a heat at the US Open, and some guy said, “Bummer you lost out there. Why did you lose?”

Uncle Derek looks at him and says, “You know what? We never lose, sometimes we just run out of time!” I was right there, bingo, and I instantly ironed that thing into my head!

BeachGrit: You’ve been in a few CTs now. What are you feeling? Is it everything you ever imagined? 

Mason: It’s not my biggest thing, sometimes, in the moment, when I’m in the contest and being interviewed and shit, it’s huge for me, which it is, but it’s not the top top top. The top priority is family. Competing’s a cool little thing to keep me healthy.

BeachGrit: Bells. Damn, that’s a tough wave. What risks will you take to win? 

Mason: The only risk is really trying to crank it harder, wrap it harder, and draw little different lines.

BeachGrit: Talk about different lines. 

Mason: At Bells, it’s part of looking at the whole. At every part of the wave there’s always the warbles. It’s fun to see these warbles all around, you’re bottom turning and stuff’s coming up and sideways. Sometimes you can connect ‘em all together, you see a little warble on the bottom and you crank it off that one a little, or softly go off it, one long line, then you’re up in the lip, there’s a cross wedge in the lip, a little tight pocket you see. If you’re an inch off it, you’re not going to do it as good as you want. When you’re into the little things, I feel like the surfing is sick. It’s sick you’re in the bubble, you’re gauging how much power you want.

And then, when you really really do it, dude, it looks… nice.