Pure sunshine!
Pure sunshine! | Photo: Brian Bielmann/brianbielmann.com

Just in: Mason Ho to surf Bells!

The one and only Mason Ho and also Dusty Payne. But Mason Ho!

Do you love that Rip Curl has an event if only because Mason Ho gets to wildcard? Thank you Claw Warbrick for starting your wetsuit brand in an austere land and thank you Jack Freestone! It is due his injury, or maybe Filipe Toledo’s, that Mason gets to do post heat interviews on the bleak sands of Torquay, Australia. Have you ever been there? Have you ever scanned the depressing bluffs with your sad eyes and felt even more sadness actually seep deeper into your very soul? Mason Ho is exactly the sunshine Victoria needs!

Dusty Payne is surfing too. #shrug.

But Mason! Mason Ho! Read his hilarious 10 worst here and laugh and put him on your Fantasy Surf team straight away. How did you do after Snapper by the way? I did poorly. Does it mean I don’t know professional surfing? Probably.

Just in: WSL partners with Satan?

Many questions about a very shady deal.

Remember one year ago when the World Surf League signed an exclusive deal with Monster Energy drink to be the Official Energy Sponsor™ of Professional Surfing™? It cost a rumored $2,500,000.00! Red Bull hats were banned, rage was internalized, etc.

And that was that. I don’t recall seeing the Claw™ much on WSL broadcasts though either this year or last and part of me wonders if the deal was fake, like the amount of viewers that watch WSL webcasts. Or if the deal was contingent upon delivering actual eyeballs. Or, maybe, if Monster doesn’t care because because they bought something much more valuable than piddly little Internet numbers.


Did you know that Monster Energy might be Satanic? Watch and learn just like Kelly Slater watched and learned about chemtrails!

And oh, you’ve read the Legend of Robert Johnson. You know that the Devil pokes around making strange deals for strange things. Would it be so wrong for him to want to own surfing? And what do you think, exactly, he got for 2.5 million dollars? Did he get all the announcers and Taj Burrow or does Taj get to opt out because he is retiring? Did he get the Red Bull athletes too? Did he have to take CEO Paul Speaker and Graham Stapelberg and was he all bummed, telling anyone who would listen, “Yeah I don’t know who those guys are…look! There’s Kelly!” Does Joe Turpel have to follow him around in hell doing play-by-play when he is not at events? “Satan gets on his throne and resets…”

Many questions.

BeachGrit surf trunks
If you want something a little different, a little shorter, something that'll turn a gal's head, these four-inch leg trunks might be for you. Note: must be worn with the most arrogant expression!

Buy: Sophisticated Surf Trunks!

Slim, short-leg surf trunks for… fifty dollars! Delivered anywhere in the world!

When BeachGrit started a little over a year ago, we figured it’d make sense to leverage our design contacts to make our own surf trunks. Chas and I had both fallen into the hole of buying Orlebar Browns and whatever else, just so we could wear something a little slimmer, a little shorter (yeah, I know, ripe for parody etc. Maybe slip a reference to gay saunas here.) The kind of surf trunks most surf brands miss.

But who wants to spend two or three c-notes on a pair of trunks? We all know they cost maybe twenty bucks to make.

So we got our pal Rama McCabe, who’d won back-to-back surf trunks of the year awards for TCSS, to design our first range. They came, they sold.

This year, we went slightly shorter, slightly slimmer and instead of cotton figured we’d swing with nylon.

Still with the four-button fly and the back pocket and the inner lining, but this time in the most spasmodic and convulsive colours.

Fifty bucks, delivered airmail anywhere in the world.

And only in 30s and 31s. (Ignore that little drop-down menu.)

Click here to buy. 

Long read: The Secret of Wave Pilots!

So good you'll weep!

Open ocean navigation fascinates me. Have you ever been far out to sea, playing against wind, tide and swell, pointing at some dot on a computer screen and trusting that it is your port? It always feels amazing to actually arrive. To have beaten back expansive uncertainty and be where you set out to be.

But do you know what astounds me? To do the same thing using only stars, sun and moon. Have you heard of the Hawaiian vessel Hokulea? They are doing the almost unthinkable by sailing without modern instrument around the entire world. It is a story that brings a gasp to even the most hardened cynic’s lips.

I read one better today though. The story of the ri-meto from the Marshall Islands. Pour a drink and enjoy.

At 0400, three miles above the Pacific seafloor, the searchlight of a power boat swept through a warm June night last year, looking for a second boat, a sailing canoe. The captain of the canoe, Alson Kelen, potentially the world’s last-ever apprentice in the ancient art of wave-piloting, was trying to reach Aur, an atoll in the Marshall Islands, without the aid of a GPS device or any other way-finding instrument. If successful, he would prove that one of the most sophisticated navigational techniques ever developed still existed and, he hoped, inspire efforts to save it from extinction. Monitoring his progress from the power boat were an unlikely trio of Western scientists — an anthropologist, a physicist and an oceanographer — who were hoping his journey might help them explain how wave pilots, in defiance of the dizzying complexities of fluid dynamics, detect direction and proximity to land. More broadly, they wondered if watching him sail, in the context of growing concerns about the neurological effects of navigation-by-smartphone, would yield hints about how our orienteering skills influence our sense of place, our sense of home, even our sense of self.

When the boats set out in the afternoon from Majuro, the capital of the Marshall Islands, Kelen’s plan was to sail through the night and approach Aur at daybreak, to avoid crashing into its reef in the dark. But around sundown, the wind picked up and the waves grew higher and rounder, sorely testing both the scientists’ powers of observation and the structural integrity of the canoe. Through the salt-streaked windshield of the power boat, the anthropologist, Joseph Genz, took mental field notes — the spotlighted whitecaps, the position of Polaris, his grip on the cabin handrail — while he waited for Kelen to radio in his location or, rather, what he thought his location was.

The Marshalls provide a crucible for navigation: 70 square miles of land, total, comprising five islands and 29 atolls, rings of coral islets that grew up around the rims of underwater volcanoes millions of years ago and now encircle gentle lagoons. These green dots and doughnuts make up two parallel north-south chains, separated from their nearest neighbors by a hundred miles on average. Swells generated by distant storms near Alaska, Antarctica, California and Indonesia travel thousands of miles to these low-lying spits of sand. When they hit, part of their energy is reflected back out to sea in arcs, like sound waves emanating from a speaker; another part curls around the atoll or island and creates a confused chop in its lee. Wave-piloting is the art of reading — by feel and by sight — these and other patterns. Detecting the minute differences in what, to an untutored eye, looks no more meaningful than a washing-machine cycle allows a ri-meto, a person of the sea in Marshallese, to determine where the nearest solid ground is — and how far off it lies — long before it is visible.

In the 16th century, Ferdinand Magellan, searching for a new route to the nutmeg and cloves of the Spice Islands, sailed through the Pacific Ocean and named it ‘‘the peaceful sea’’ before he was stabbed to death in the Philippines. Only 18 of his 270 men survived the trip. When subsequent explorers, despite similar travails, managed to make landfall on the countless islands sprinkled across this expanse, they were surprised to find inhabitants with nary a galleon, compass or chart. God had created them there, the explorers hypothesized, or perhaps the islands were the remains of a sunken continent. As late as the 1960s, Western scholars still insisted that indigenous methods of navigating by stars, sun, wind and waves were not nearly accurate enough, nor indigenous boats seaworthy enough, to have reached these tiny habitats on purpose.

Archaeological and DNA evidence (and replica voyages) have since proved that the Pacific islands were settled intentionally — by descendants of the first humans to venture out of sight of land, beginning some 60,000 years ago, from Southeast Asia to the Solomon Islands. They reached the Marshall Islands about 2,000 years ago. The geography of the archipelago that made wave-piloting possible also made it indispensable as the sole means of collecting food, trading goods, waging war and locating unrelated sexual partners. Chiefs threatened to kill anyone who revealed navigational knowledge without permission. In order to become a ri-meto, you had to be trained by a ri-meto and then pass a voyaging test, devised by your chief, on the first try. As colonizers from Europe introduced easier ways to get around, the training of ri-metos declined and became restricted primarily to an outlying atoll called Rongelap, where a shallow circular reef, set between ocean and lagoon, became the site of a small wave-piloting school.

In 1954, an American hydrogen-bomb test less than a hundred miles away rendered Rongelap uninhabitable. Over the next decades, no new ri-metos were recognized; when the last well-known one died in 2003, he left a 55-year-old cargo-ship captain named Korent Joel, who had trained at Rongelap as a boy, the effective custodian of their people’s navigational secrets. Because of the radioactive fallout, Joel had not taken his voyaging test and thus was not a true ri-meto. But fearing that the knowledge might die with him, he asked for and received historic dispensation from his chief to train his younger cousin, Alson Kelen, as a wave pilot.


Parker: Broken Dicks and Broken Hearts!

An inauspicious start to 2016…

I woke up to a message from my mother-in-law this morning. “Happy Four Year Anniversary!”


We don’t really celebrate, the wife and I. Dated for eleven years before tying the knot, really only did it for insurance and tax purposes. We don’t wear rings, she didn’t take my name. Lobbied hard to make me take hers, though.

Other than the aforementioned tax and insurance implications, marriage is largely bullshit. Doesn’t change nothin’. Unless you’re a member of some weirdo cult and never got in each others’ pants. Then I’m sure it comes with a bunch of awkward fumbling, sexual malfunction, and eventual divorce. I only ever fucked one virgin, and it was terrible. Swore I’d never do it again, only skeevy sluts from thereon out.

While I had no idea that today’s our wedding anniversary, I’m not about to miss a chance to win a marital battle.

“Happy Anniversary, baby?”

“What are you talking about?”

“It’s been four years! Don’t tell me you forgot?”

Got inside her head for a minute, but I forgot to delete the text. It was on her phone, since I’ve still never owned a cell. Totally blew it, could have used her supposed insensitivity for all sorts of leverage.

Fun Fact: Our dog died the morning after we married. Very auspicious.

Good thing I don’t believe in that stuff. Yeah, I spout plenty of colloquial nonsense about luck or karma, because it was beaten into my head by society, but I’m aware that life just happens, not much you can do to control it.

Which is too bad, life’d be a lot more fun if magic really existed. Every time something bad happened you’d be thinking, “Who’s responsible for this? Did someone put a hex on me?”

The investigation into Phil Toledo’s broken dick would be a treat. Especially when the WSL discovered it was ADS who hired some brazzo witch doctor from the deepest darkest to conjure up a dong curse.

But life is boring, the mundane reality most likely involved lurking on the wrong side of the official WSL Competitor Area glory hole with a hammer in hand.

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