So tired! Just. Caught. So. Many. Waves...
So tired! Just. Caught. So. Many. Waves...

Report: What “true surf fans” want!

Do you consider yourself a true turf fan? Guess what you love!

How good is it when Bloomberg gets its hands on the surfs? I think very good. The straight business reportage always reads amazingly surreal when rubbing up against our favorite lifestyle. One can guarantee metaphors like, “Riding a wave of…” “…salty…” and “…fiduciary wipeout.” But there is also great truth hidden in the financial folds.

Recently, the publication turned its eye toward SurfStitch. Of course you remember reading about it right here as a blood feud and what was not to love? A gorgeous blonde locked in vicious battle with a frumpy brunette!

Bloomberg, of course took a more prosaic, yet metaphorically gorgeous, take with Surf’s up, again, if this Aussie outfit has its way…but what’s with the vanishing CEO? Let’s read the start:

If the surfwear business were a streaming soap opera, it would go like this.

Shares of Billabong and Quiksilver, the industry’s biggest labels, surge to records in 2007, then crash. Gone are the days when high schools were flooded with bright graphic tees and baggy pants, and Matthew McConaughey could be seen catching a wave at Malibu Beach in knee-length board shorts. In 2011, Cali-cool surf seller PacSun begins closing down 200 stores. In 2015, Quiksilver slides into bankruptcy court.

Enter a young, ambitious player with hopes of reviving the salty dream. Australian retailer SurfStitch goes public in 2014 and quietly sets out on a rad acquisition spree, snapping up online retailers Swell and Surfdome, gear manufacturer Surf Hardware International, surf magazine Stab, forecasting service Magicseaweed, and sports video studio Garage Entertainment and Production. Suddenly, SurfStitch has global reach, revenue of A$145 million (US$109 million) in its latest fiscal half, and a grand vision  — a $1 billion surf empire united next year as Swell.

Etc. You’ve read the “grand visions” before. The best part, though, is when Bloomberg goes on to describe the pieces of SurfStitch’s surf empire. There is which, “…is for surfers who need to check the webcams to see if their local beach is pumping.” And Stab which, “… is geared to true fans interested in reading about an Australian who caught 152 waves in one seven-hour session.”

Does it get better than the true fans interested in reading about an Australian who caught 152 waves in one seven-hour session?

I think no.

Comedy: Lunada Bay Locals Parody!

Humour and surfing? Yes! It exists!

I just sent an email telling Derek I’m taking the day off. The wife’s playing hooky from work, and I just can’t get anything done while she’s around. Not that what I do is particularly difficult, it’s just hard to string together a coherent thought while your life partner is chattering away in your ear like a magpie.

Then I saw this video, and, wow, it’s funny. Not very much good surf related humor floating around. Surfing is serious business, people get upset about everything. Companies in decline, the dying vestiges of the Momentum/post-Momentum Gen guys looking at the rapidly approaching end of their careers. Everyone is very touchy.

Recently cost us some ad revenue, though I’d argue that bitching about content then pulling a purely theoretical ad campaign, one that hasn’t been run or been paid for, is just a means to manipulate editorial without actually coughing up any cash.

Then I saw this video, and, wow, it’s funny. Not very much good surf related humor floating around. Surfing is serious business, people get upset about everything. Companies in decline, the dying vestiges of the Momentum/post-Momentum Gen guys looking at the rapidly approaching end of their careers. Everyone is very touchy.

My dad did something similar when my brothers and I were fighting like wildcats during a car ride. “We were going to go to Disneyland, but now we aren’t, because you’re bad!”

We were never going to Disneyland.

Anyway, again, this is funny. And since it’s only got 1000 views at the moment, maybe they’ll be stoked we share it, rather than threaten legal action.


Blood Feud II: Wilko v Murdoch!

Should Fred Pawle be bashed, raped and killed? Wilko supporters say yes!

Do you remember yesterday when Matt Wilkinson called for the inclusion of sharia law in our judicial system?

The Quiksilver Pro champion become overheated when he was called a “yobbo” and “not pretty” in a headline in the sports section of The Australian newspaper and said, “Who thinks this guy deserves a flogging?”

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Wilko’s pals, which include the former ASP chief Brodie Carr, surf journalist great Tim Baker and ASL editor Wade Gravy who included a photo of the writer of the story, were universal in their condemnation of the headline and the story contained within.

Their case stuttered when it was revealed that if you moved beyond the headline (which was written by a sub-editor) the writer had actually called Wilko’s surfing “the most beautiful in the world” and “fast and brutal…a refreshing alternative.”

A few minutes ago, the writer responded in The Australian with a piece called The Day a Pro Surfer Wanted Me Flogged

Let’s examine.

Yesterday I became the target of a social media mob who called for me to, among other things, be bashed, raped and killed.

“Nothing new or, to be honest, disturbing about that. Keyboard warriors are as ubiquitous and harmless on social media as cockroaches on a balmy night.

“What was unusual, though, was that I was being pilloried for saying something nice. If vitriol and incitements to violence can now be triggered for expressing compliments, then, at the risk of sounding grim, free speech in this country is in serious trouble.”


“Why was he offended? Did he actually read the story? Or did he think I’d called him “not pretty”? His followers certainly thought so. Amid the hundreds of messages telling him how pretty he really is were other messages vehemently agreeing with his opening conclusion, which soon degenerated into suggestions of rape and murder. Lovely people, Wilko’s followers.

“All harmless fun, of course, to which I was oblivious until my 17-year-old son, who has the same name as me, contacted me to ask why he was copping abuse on Instagram.”


“We are living in increasingly intolerant times. Wilko’s instinctive response to an imagined slight was to incite a mob into a frenzy of fury.

“The right to be offended now extends to words intended as compliments, and the mob responds like an overcrowded cage of rabid Pavlov’s dogs. We are facing a generation of young adults to whom opposing arguments are not ideas to be contested, but justification for two dismally immature emotions: fleeting moral vanity and raging hatred. Neither of these emotions is essential to a normal, healthy life, or society, for that matter.

“More disturbingly, among the mob were three surf journalists. One of them, Nick Carroll, whose recent biography of his former-world-champion brother Tom describes him as the “world’s best known surf writer”, ignored the obviously dark, anti-journalistic forces at work and instead posted a sycophantic message to Wilko: ‘I think you’re pretty.’

“When even journalists run with the bloodthirsty pack, we are in a dangerous situation. When the pack is responding to an imaginary slight, the danger becomes ubiquitous. Who will they turn on next?

“Does Wilko think he made a mistake? Was it an impulsive act that he now realises was unwise and even a bit uncool? He won’t tell me. I messaged him last night, then again this morning, asking if we could talk about the storm he unleashed. I also left a message with Neil Ridgway, the marketing manager at Rip Curl, Wilko’s main sponsor. Neither replied.

“When I woke this morning, I noticed that Wilko had taken down the offending post from Instagram.”

Read the full story here (I didn’t cut and paste it all. She long!)


Mick Fanning Kolohe Andino
“You tell him for me: if he fucks with you, if he lays one Russian knuckle on you, your buddy is coming after him and someone's gonna need a screen door to fish out the pieces.” Now go get 'em, tiger. | Photo: WSL

“Filipe makes Kolohe look soft-cock!”

And other possibly unwarranted observations by Matt Warshaw from the Quiksilver Pro… 

You know perfectly well who Matt Warshaw is. Former pro surfer, former Surfer editor turned author turned surfing historian. 

Often, we’ll have an email back and forth about whatever is making noise. Do you remember when he called Pottz a “bully” and Joe Turpel “blank?

Or when Kelly revealed his pool and he said, “Wavegarden just went Betamax! Wavegarden execs are standing on office building ledges, crying, looking down at the sidewalk!”

I was interested, therefore, what Warshaw made of the Quiksilver Pro, given his prolific tweeting and his loose mouth.

BeachGrit: I felt like Snapper went perfectly to script: eye-glazing early rounds, dazzling later rounds and quarters and semis, then a final where it felt like everyone was pretty over it, including the organisers and the waves. What impressions were you left with?

Warshaw: Crushed at Filipe’s bad luck. Elated that a doofus like Matt Wilkinson can win at the CT level. Impressed but not overwhelmed by Stu Kennedy. Terrified at the WSL’s Stalinist tactics against our free press. Where to start?

BeachGrit: What’s your take on Stu Kennedy. Snapper is one wave where glitches in technique aren’t immediately apparent. Do you think that he’s a victim of market forces/surf industry conspiracy, as was the line in our contest report, or that he had a very good run, one unlikely to be repeated?

Warshaw: I’ve seen a couple of impressive vid clips of Stu, and was amazed at how steady he looked up against that murderer’s row he drew at Snapper. But for the moment, to me, he’s just a huge question mark. Seems like his Tomos will go well at Bells, and he’s a game little fucker from what I hear. But the Box, or North Point? Or Teahupoo, Cloudbreak, Pipe? Who knows? And that’s the great part. If he gets a start in all the events this year, it’ll be worth tuning in just to see how the kid from the sticks does against all that hardened talent, at all those spirit-crushing breaks. Snapper no doubt was the easiest possible entry point for Stu. I’d bet he has the talent to back it up from here to Pipe, but maybe that’s coming from just so badly wanting to see things get shaken up. Did your heart break a little when Filipe went down?

BeachGrit: Did my heart break? Everything broke. Filipe held the event in his hand. Do you like Rosy calling him Phillip Toledo?

Warshaw: Rosy could read the latest Donald Trump latest poll numbers and I’d still like her.

BeachGrit: How about Wilko winning?

Warshaw: Watching Wilko get the result as he was leaving the water, it was like Christmas morning. The joy and relief on his face. I could not stop smiling. Wilko gets to slide his hairy softness into the yellow jersey at Bells, and pro surfing at this moment is so great.

BeachGrit: Wilko for the 2016 world title?

Warshaw: Longshot, but not impossible! Bells suits him. J-Bay suits him. Big, hollow lefts. Lowers is Snapper-like enough that you’d give him a shot there, too. I don’t think he has the head for a year-long campaign, but who knows? Potter fucked off a bunch of years on tour drinking and drugging than went on that crazy world title tear. Wilko could do the same.

BeachGrit: Could Wilko be surfing’s first great gay icon? Is he big in San Francisco, you think? Among the bears? And while we’re on gay types, who is a cub, an otter, a jock, a panda, a Koala Bear, wolf, a twink and a mink? Am I obsessed? I feel like I’ve wandered down this path before.

Warshaw: Stoners, frat boys, Newport Beach single moms – honestly, there isn’t a demographic out there that doesn’t love Matt Wilkinson. Let’s change topics. WSL put a hit on the BeachGrit Facebook account? Can we talk about that?

BeachGrit: …oh, that! I was under the impression that if a post was left intact, with commentary, no added music, and maybe a positive comment, we could run it. I’m a fan! I love pro surfing! Filipe gets a ten! Of course I want to run a clip of it. Boom. Down comes the hammer. Three days suspension from FB. Catastrophic, traffic-wise. But, I do understand the reasoning. It’s why websites have private video players. If you want it, you only get it from one source. …but it did make me very sad. The WSL’s Dave Prodan, whom I love to bits, apologised but rules are rules etc.

Warshaw: If I may translate. This was a petty, counterproductive, horseshit move by the WSL. Derek, apparently you’ve lost the will to fight. But Chas and Rory, I trust, are at this moment sharpening their pitchforks, and I eagerly look forward the two of them rushing the WSL Fortress of Doom.

BeachGrit: You were so cruel to Brother before this contest, and over his career. I’ve never fallen out of love with him. Am I vindicated?

(At this point Matt sent one of his Tweets.)

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Warshaw: Although, in truth, I was not greatly impressed. Little more muscle this year, but still flicky for my taste. In waves like Snapper, everything about Filipe makes Kolohe look kinda softcock. To use Kong’s timeless expression. Kolohe I bet would be the first to say that to one degree or another, in CT level competition, he checks all his turns. Not a lot, but enough to see with the naked eye. Filipe and Stu both kept the rail buried longer. “Softcock” is too harsh for what Kolohe was doing. Kong invented it I believe for Mike Parsons.

BeachGrit: So quick to prostrate yourself! Like me and the WSL! Tell me, were you enchanted by Matt Wilkinson’s backhand? I believe, his top to bottom, is superior to Gabriel’s. Do you agree?

Warshaw: No, but you couldn’t live on the difference.

BeachGrit: Tell me, five things good, five things bad about the Quiksilver Pro and any portents for the 2016 season.



– Stu Kennedy and the return (or invention of?) the blue-collar shitkicking WCT surfer

– Steve Shearer and Sean Doherty’s fast, funny, smart analysis

– Twitter banter

– Tyler Wright’s silk-over-brick abs

– improved camera work from WSL


– Filipe’s injury

– those post-victory shots of Tyler Wright, when she was hugging Owen. He looked thin and frail, and it was heartbreaking

– continued WSL employment for Strider, Turpel, Potter

– Filipe and two or three others aside, the performance level unimproved from last year

– the shadow of Bells a-creeping

– WSL bitches be snitching


– Slater being cast, inch by agonizing inch, from the world tour spotlight

– Adriano in the driver’s seat for another world title

– Wilko in yellow through Margret’s.

– four-woman race for the world title

– a quick and deserved return to the void for the banana board


Blood Feud: Wilko v Rupert Murdoch!

Quiksilver Pro winner Matt Wilkinson calls for sharia law!

The almost 28-year-old Matt Wilkinson, from Australia’s Central Coast, is a one of a kind. The salty savour of the brunette tipped onto a bed of vice and mitigated with a tapestry of humour.

I couldn’t be a bigger fan of Wilko’s surfing and would happily debate that his top-to-bottom combos are superior even to those employed by the 2015 world champion, Gabriel Medina.

The loyalty he inspires among fans and friends is well-known and understandable. This was shown in great measure when The Australian, Rupert Murdoch’s national broadsheet, ran a story by its surf writer Fred Pawle. The sport section’s headline, SURFING YOBBO: He’s not pretty but this is Australia’s latest king of the waves, drew fire from Wilko and his myriad fans.

On Instagram, Wilko called for Pawle’s whipping. Sharia! Post below. 

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Let’s examine the response from his 117,000 fans.

filthy_clean What a kook, you’re pretty enough Wilko! I bet he’s got a small dick and rids a lid

charlesswild You are so pretty babe.. Don’t listen to the jealous cunt

chad_n@mattwilko8 Its simple. Take some of that 100k. Buy the biggest advertisement slot on the front page and go ham on the writer with his worst picture on facebook. Haha

matt_h1ll@mattwilko8 you’re a Fucking stud let that pussy sit in his office and express his opinions

sillycharleswillie Poor guy! Just wins the biggest event of his life and gets savaged by some inconsiderate hate monger!

kaneo23 What a shit cunt

On Facebook, Wilko’s close friend Adam Robertson wrote: @fredpawle. I hope this gets to you. Your name = AIDS. 

Soon, a photo of the writer (posted by Surfing Life editor Wade Gravy) appeared on Facebook as well as a furious commentary. A screenshot appears below.

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Of course, as in most things people get wound up about, if the IG jockeys pounding their little telephone buttons had read The Australian‘s report, they would’ve found this: “His wide-kneed bottom turn is as refined as a nightclub dance move. His approach to the lip looks as graceful as a suburban front-rower’s shoulder charge. And his descent back down the wave sometimes features comically flailing arms, like Wile E. Coyote when he realises he’s just overshot a cliff.

“But yesterday, when Wilkinson won the opening event of the 2016 world tour, the Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast — his first tournament victory — his surfing style fittingly became the most beautiful in the world…

“His surfing was fast and often brutal, a refreshing alternative to the clinical precision that most competitors favour.

The most beautiful in the world.

Fast and often brutal…a refreshing alternative… 

Of course, a blood feud wouldn’t be complete without swings from both sides.

Let’s ask the writer Fred Pawle for his response:

Watching an online mob devour some unsuspecting schmuck has become so common these days, you can become anaesthetised to the vitriol and incitements to violence.

Until it happens to you.

Yesterday I wrote a piece for The Australian heaping praise on Matt Wilkinson for winning the Quik Pro. I called his style “the most beautiful in the world”. I described him as a “refreshing alternative to the clinical precision that most competitors favour”. I said the best surfer won the contest, and the result was testimony to pro surfing itself.

The opening sentence, written with deep affection, said he “surfed like a yobbo”. Read it here.

This morning, Wilko posted a photo on Instagram of the paper’s back-page pointer, which I didn’t write, calling him a “surfing yobbo” and “not pretty”.

Wilko’s caption: “Who thinks this guy deserves a flogging?” He didn’t identify me, so I’ve been spared the direct messages and threats of friendly visits that are customary in such situations.

But Wilko’s question was not intended as an invitation to debate. Anonymous social media users respond to such questions like flies respond to the pungent odour of a fresh turd.

The answer, from an army of morons who hadn’t even read the story, was a resounding Yes! Well, if by “this bloke” Wilko meant me, then his followers will need to get to the back of the queue. There are already many people who have been waiting a long time to give me a “flogging”, most of them passionate advocates of increasing the number of sharks at our beaches. But I digress.

One of the reasons I wrote so affectionately about Wilko in today’s paper was that, although I’ve never met him, he’s always struck me as a cool, ordinary bloke who’s kept the fun of surfing alive on tour, not the sort of over-sensitive prima donna that the pro tour has routinely produced over the past decade or so.

Despite his faux pas this morning, I still reckon he’s probably a half decent bloke. But bloody hell he’s sensitive.

Oh! And just in, a new post from Wilko’s IG. Click here to read the accompanying comments, including: “What a beady-eyed cunt waffle” and “come over so we can tie you up and root ya xx”.

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