The day I fell in love with Joel Parkinson!

I finally get him and not in a homoerotic way!

It is a near spring day like any other in Los Angeles, California. Clouds speckle the warm enough sky. Cars drive down the streets going places. I check my phone. There is some fun news. The New York Times has a story on how Donald J. Trump cajoled his way into the Republican Party. He wanted to be accepted and so he spent a lot of money and was accepted. I post a picture on Instagram. Then I log on to the World Surf League and watch Kolohe Andino defeat Matt Banting and then I fall in love with an older brunette.

I remember when Joel Parkinson first came on to the professional surf scene. I am that old. He was a Coolie Kid, part of an exciting new Australian movement and even though I wasn’t Australian I liked what they represented though their spice soon wore off. I found the blonde one extremely boring. He called me a “fucking Jew.” I found the brunette very much more handsome but equally dull.

“How could people enjoy Joel Parkinson’s surfing?” I wondered to myself. And also out loud. “It’s smooth, whatever that means, but…what does that mean?” I didn’t really understand.

But today as I watch him surf ok on fairly fun Snapper and everything clicks into place. I totally get it. Every muscle of his body is perfectly aligned. Every sinew dropping, driving, spraying, reloading. His rail does not slide unless he wants it too. His arcs are clean. Consistent. He surfs absolutely beautifully.

Why didn’t I see this before? As a younger man I suppose my head was only turned by air and by power. As an older man my head is turned by grace.

Goddamn is Joel Parkinson graceful.


Speaking of Kerr, his IV preheat for “stomach flu?” Total violation of the WSL's anti-doping policy. I hate to shit on Kerrzy, but rules is rules. The WSL employs WADA guidelines, and they're pretty damn clear on the matter. “The use of IV infusions in place of or in addition to oral fluid intake, such as to relieve severe dehydration caused by gastrointestinal distress during travel, without hospitalization, is prohibited." Will the WSL enforce its own rules? | Photo: WSL

WSL Responds to Anti-Doping Violation!

Unscrupulous low-level media outlet speculates wildly!

It’s the story on everyone’s lips, Josh Kerr violates WADA guidelines. Small-wave legend, barrel slayer, big-wave victor, one of the proud few to spin a free surf career into World Tour success. A feat more difficult than transitioning from amateur porn to Hollywood stardom.

Unscrupulous low level media online outlets are speculating wildly, the mainstream men keeping lips tightly buttoned, lest they offend. And the fans wait with bated breathe, wondering, “What shall be?”

A tour without Kerr would be a mundane attack on our hearts and minds, a terrifying descent into sporting legitimacy that would lay waste to our proud tradition of free spirited blood stream alteration.

Unscrupulous low-level media online outlets are speculating wildly, the mainstream men keeping lips tightly buttoned, lest they offend. And the fans wait with bated breathe, wondering, “What shall be?”

Are we witnessing the end of a icon?

Will the WSL’s wrath fall with the fury of mighty Mjölnir?

Why the radio silence? Is it indicative of corruption, a behind the scenes campaign to temper the Brazilian storm with the power of intravenous infusions?

I reached out to Dave Prodan, WSL VP of Communications, to find out more. His response? Shocking revelations, sure to change the course of the world.

With regards to Josh Kerr’s treatment on the Gold Coast, a TUE was approved in accordance with the WSL Anti-Doping Policy and WADA International Standards. The certified medical staff on site were authorized to administer the treatment in those circumstances.


And that was it. Slater dead last in the first contest of the Year. Later, like Nick Carroll suggested, I listened to Kelly's post loss presser, prepared to take it at face value. He said he felt loosey-goosey and that you can't base anything on a contest result. But his eyes looked so sad. He looked done. Like he'd based everything on a contest result. Long way back at 44 from last place at Snapper with Bells , Margies and Brazil ahead. | Photo: WSL/Brett Skinner

Day 2, QuikPro: “Slater looked so sad!”

And Julian Wilson looked drugged and uninterested…

What if he’s right?

Nostalgia is a bitch, even in the great game of surf journalism, but things used to be looser.

Truly.

We’d cover events on the ground, not the webcast. Stab mag used to send two journalists to an event. This was before the WSL tightened everything up and made you sign your life away to write anything about anyone. To enter the contest area now you have to accept that “damaging the WSL brand” could see you evicted by hired goons.

Who the fuck needs that noise? Not this peacenik.

But I needed to answer a question and the webby wouldn’t do. To preface, like you, I like to mix my pro surfing with politics, especially the American presidential variety.

Now, doesn’t it seem sometimes like the schizoid polarised American debate deals with completely separate realities, different Americas? And hasn’t the commentary on pro surfing become captive to the same forces?

Even here, on our beloved Grit, there’s an orthodoxy that pro surfing is doomed to fail, the WSL is a heartbeat away from total business oblivion. And yet Paul Speaker is all over every mainstream business publication spruiking pro surfing as the great sporting success story of our era, at the vanguard of the online age. A live streaming miracle.

I woke in my car down by the railroad tracks in South Tweed, off Broadway, cheap bookstores, porn shop, few grimy ice addicts looking for a morning coffee. Grim. Less than a mile from the blue water and the Superbank.

Yes, in the words of economist JK Galbraith: “Out of the pecuniary pressures and fashions of the time businesses cultivate their own version of the truth…..with no necessary relation to reality”.

But fuck, I thought, as I heard an update of the QuikPro on national radio, what if Speaker is right.

What if he’s right. 

I woke in my car down by the railroad tracks in South Tweed, off Broadway, cheap bookstores, porn shop, few grimy ice addicts looking for a morning coffee. Grim. Less than a mile from the blue water and the Superbank.

Walked through the contest site unmolested, no pros fronted me. Watched Filipe Toledo walk out to the rocks. Online and in the latest Hurley ad he looks like the kid last picked for indoor soccer but he’s put on twenty pounds of muscle, on the legs and buttocks. He looks like a Romanian gymnast intravenously fed a diet of calf blood and pure Testosterone.

Out on the rocks near the jump off next to a weird gaggle of photogs. Non surfers. A guy in English premier league soccer kit, a sixties acid rock throwback who looked like Dennis Hopper in Apocalypse Now and a stunning red head in a cat-woman bodysuit.

The acid throwback was an old pro by the name of Tommy Campion. We exchanged business cards, as gentlemen do.

“What do you think of the health of this pro surfing thing Tommy? Ascending or descending?” I asked.

“It’s one of the most exciting sports ever, it’s so interesting. The talent is thick. It’s only gunna get bigger and bigger”. That’s what he said. Not on anyone’s payroll.

What if he’s right?

Cat-woman said she found the passion and the talent intoxicating. She loved to be close to the action. We got moved on by the drone operators, much to Tommy’s disgust.

The crowd thickened for Kelly. Sweat flowed freely down every cleavage, into every orifice. The surf looked better than it did on the webby. Kelly’s board looked as bad as it did on the webby. Worse. It looked as drab and depressing as an English winter.

I watched the heat beachside with Stuey Kennedy’s manager. Black clouds piled up against the Queensland sun. Rain mixed with sweat, no-one moved. Stu lives in a modest brick and tile house, where he can often be found mowing the lawn. He was riding a Slater design, well, Dan Thomson-designed Firewire.

The crowd thickened for Kelly. Sweat flowed freely down every cleavage, into every orifice. The surf looked better than it did on the webby. Kelly’s board looked as bad as it did on the webby. Worse. It looked as drab and depressing as an English winter.

“He needs to drop the hammer”, said Stu’s manager.

Stuey dropped the hammer. The live impact dwarfed the webcast, the intent was visceral. Bosoms and buttocks jiggled in pleasure, grown men threw their fists in the air.

“If they don’t give that a fucking nine, I’m going to climb that tower and rip their fucking hearts out”, said the manager.  They gave him a nine-five.

And that was it. Slater dead last in the first contest of the Year.

Later, like Nick Carroll suggested, I listened to Kelly’s post-loss presser, prepared to take it at face value. He said he felt loosey-goosey and that you can’t base anything on a contest result. But his eyes looked so sad. He looked done. Like he’d based everything on a contest result. Long way back at 44 from last place at Snapper with Bells, Margies and Brazil ahead.

At least he got a return on investment by having Stuey on the Slater designs – didn’t they look great under his feet Chas! – as his victor.

In pissing rain, I drove back to Byron Bay to get a conversation with one of the most knowledgeable people on both pro surfing and Stuey Kennedy, Lennox kingpin James “Taipan” Woods.

It went like this:

Taipan: “It’s very surprising Kelly didn’t ride that same style of board, that Stuey rode. You could see how lively that board looked for Stuey. That board he rode looked bad. I guess he feels something in it, something we can’t see.

Longtom: Is it time for Kelly to shuffle off stage?

Taipan: I don’t think so. I’m sure if we get some swell he’ll fire….last year was so bad.

Longtom: If your performance is reliant on good waves….then you’re cooked, right?

Taipan: It’ll be interesting to see if he even goes to Bells.

Longtom: Early Easter, almost guaranteed to be shit surf at Bells. Let’s be honest, unless the surf is pumping Kelly is looking ordinary.

Taipan: I think that’s due to what he’s riding, I really do. He’s trying to prove some kind of point, but he hasn’t ridden any Tomo’s in any events. I think he needs to try that, what he’s riding now isn’t working.

Longtom: Why wouldn’t he be on the Tomo’s though, that’s his board label?

Taipan: I know it’s weird.

Longtom: In terms of pressure, how did you think Stuey responded, he got kinda lowballed on his first two waves?

Taipan: He responded well to that, but that’s the type of character he is though. He can rise in those moments, he did at Sunset.

Longtom: How would you describe his character?

Taipan: Stubborn. He’s got belief. He’s unique, for sure.

Longtom: How do you think he’ll go against the Brazilians, cause they’ll be ferocious in the water?

Taipan: He’s pretty confrontational. He’s had blow-ups heaps of times on the QS. He won’t back down at all. He’ll tell you what he’s thinking. He’s very upfront.

And the rest?

Julian: Looked drugged and uninterested.

Jordy: Oops, there goes another year.

JJF: JJF and Bede Durbidge? Is that the best duo since Torvill and Dean?

Ryan Callinan: Did I tell you this kid was the best rookie on tour?

Conner Coffin: I was wrong, he looks so much better in the flesh.

As to the question, is Speaker right? Is Pro surfing on the ascendancy?

Heart says no, head says yes. At least in Australia, the heartland of pro surfing. Shit is more mainstream than tennis. Now, about these “athletes” who come out of the off-season looking like condoms stuffed with walnuts.


Parker on: Slater’s Boards! Dog Massage!

Also, musings on the sisterhood of girl scouts and creeps who hang around with kids… 

I’m not feeling great today. Went grocery shopping last night, the girl scouts were selling cookies out front. Had a bunch of cash on me, purchased a shameful amount, ate until I was sick.

I think the cookie sales are supposed to teach the girls about entrepreneurship. Or something like that. I wasn’t a girl scout, I don’t know much about them. Except that they’re not associated with the boy scouts. Where the boy scouts are all about facism and homophobia, the little girls are all about sisterhood.

I don’t trust men who enjoy the company of children that don’t belong to them. Weird shit, that. Don’t feed me a line about how children are surprisingly intelligent. They just don’t have a filter, but neither do I. Hanging around kids is suspect, watching them at play deserves an arrest.

Whatever, just give me the cookies. And, please, don’t make me buy them from your daughter. I have no interest in speaking with a little girl. I don’t feel like standing around while she stutters out prices and tries to count out the boxes I want.

I don’t trust men who enjoy the company of children that don’t belong to them. Weird shit, that. Don’t feed me a line about how children are surprisingly intelligent. They just don’t have a filter, but neither do I. Hanging around kids is suspect, watching them at play deserves an arrest.

Thirteen boxes, that’s how many cookies I went home with. Fucking shameful. My wife’s already eaten three entire boxes on her own.

She also wants to pay some lady to massage our dog. There was a flyer at the high end feed store where we buy his overpriced food. $60 an hour, that’s what the lady charges.

“Mr Debs would love it!”

“Of course he would. He likes it when you pay attention to him. I’m not paying some lady to pet my dog.”

“She doesn’t pet him, it’s a massage.”

“What’s the difference? It’s rubbing on a dog for money. She’s basically an animal hooker.”

“No, it’s different. It helps with joints and digestion.”

“It says that on the flyer, that doesn’t mean anything. What’s she basing that on? It’s not like a dog can tell her. I wouldn’t trust anyone who honestly considers dog massage to be a thing.”

“It says she’s certified.”

“By who?”

“What do you mean?”

“Who certified her? The dog massage academy? Where do they get their accreditation?”

“It doesn’t say, it…”

“It’s bullshit. The fact that someone claims to be certified in dog massage makes me trust them less. This lady’s probably a dog raper, or she’s gonna hurt him really bad because she’s a fool.”

“Well I think Mr Debs would like it.”

“Mr Debs like it when you kick him. He’s a fucking idiot.”

I’ve been getting really into chicken fighting the last few months. It’s a fascinating scene, one I’d love to write about. But it’s totally illegal, and the missus has outed me to the Kauai legal community, some of whom apparently read BeachGrit, so I can really only mention it in passing. Rest assured, it’s a very fun, if totally morally reprehensible, time. So I’m just gonna continue betting on bird murder and leave it at that.

Make that four boxes of girl scout cookies the wife has wolfed down. She just polished off another.

Slater’s new banana board, seriously? When are people gonna learn, if he’s riding it, you can’t. For all dear Robert has done for the progression of the sport, advancing board design ain’t one of them. I shudder to think about all the wasted sessions of the early nineties, back when I thought a 6’2 x 17″ x 1 ¾” elf shoe sled was the best equipment I could get. Fucking terrible. So much bogging, so much flailing.

The fact that he’s riding it in a heat doesn’t give me great confidence in his efficacy as a fantasy surfer anchor. Seems to me he pulls out the odd jobs when he’s not really feeling it, gets back on normal(ish) boards when he’s invested in a win.


Kelly lost in the second round to Stu Kennedy who was riding a Firewire. Kelly owns Firewire. Stu owned Kelly. And is it time for the man to make a Fred Pattachia and smash his Slater Designs on the rocks and step away? I think.

Retire: Kelly just lost to Who Kennedy!

Should Kelly Slater pull a Freddy P? (Hint: Yes!)

I am still a little confused about the World Surf League format. Like, when surfers lose in the second round they’re out of the contest right? The second round is not a no losers round right? I think.

And Kelly lost in the second round to Stu Kennedy who was riding a Firewire. Kelly owns Firewire. Stu owned Kelly. And is it time for the man to make a Fred Pattachia and smash his Slater Designs on the rocks and step away? I think.

It ain’t pathetic yet. Kelly still surfs but getting smashed by Stu does not really add much to the legend. So what do you think? Is it time for the eleven time world champ to hang it up? I’ll give you a hint if you want. Yes.

P.S. Matt Warshaw! I finally agree!