Keala Kennelly
Here we see the surfer Keala Kennelly and her actor girlfriend Nikki DiSanto lock-in surfing's first on-screen queer kiss. The coolest thing ever at a surf awards show? Maybe. Half an hour later, the ancient big-waver Greg Noll would tell a story about a pal who was hospitalised with a possible throat tumour. Turns out it was a hairball from "eating too much pussy."

Big Wave Surf’s Great Queer Moment!

Keala Kennelly wins Big Wave Barrel of the Year award. Celebrates with dazzling kiss!

If you’re kicking around on a computer right now, y’might be watching the WSL Big Wave awards.

And what could’ve been a low-rent show of B-graders ramming their “humble” sentiments down our throats has so far turned out to be the coolest thing the WSL has ever put its name to.

Rowdy crowds, Strider Wasilewski and Dave Wassel in brilliant form. A fine tribute to Brock.

And, half an hour ago, big-surfing, wait…surfing… got its first great queer moment.

Announced as the winner of the barrel of the year award, the 37-year-old surfer Keala Kennelly whipped her arms around actor girlfriend Nikki DiSanto and drank her kisses with gusto.

And on stage, Keala delivered a speech that could form a text for all those girls who live to confirm to the male ideal.

Let’s examine.

“They say behind every great man there’s a great woman,” Keala said. “But sometimes behind a great woman there’s…a great woman. I have the most extraordinary woman behind me, on my my  side. Nikki DiSanto.What I lack in sponsorship dollars, you make up for in love and support.

“When I was a little girl I didn’t want to be a little girl. I kept hearing I couldn’t do all things because I was a little girl, because I was a woman, woman can’s surf… ok, woman can surf but… women can’t get barrelledwoman can’t surf big waves… woman can’t surf Pipeline… and women can’t surf Chopes…women can’t paddle Jaws… woman can’t get barrelled at Jaws… so who I really, really want to thank is everybody in my life who told me you can’t do that because you’re a woman. Because that drove me to dedicate my life to proving you wrong…

“And it’s been so damn fun…”

More on the awards later…

Parker: “Money is everything!”

Just as likely to destroy your life as make it better…

Money’s a crazy thing. Just as likely to ruin your life as make it better.

I once knew a woman, very advanced alcoholic. Talented artist, but hellbent on drinking herself to death. Thought she was in her late forties/early fifties. Turned out to be early thirties. Wretched, haggard, pathetic.

She got her foot run over by her elderly landlord. Don’t know who was at fault. He was a doddering old man on the verge of dementia. She was a stumbling slurring mess of a human ninety percent of the time. A true gem that remaining ten, though.

She came into work limping. That’s how I learned about her foot. Told me what happened, but she was fine. Foot was just bruised, no big deal. Lots of little bones in there, better go to a doc. But she wouldn’t. Because she was in the US illegally, wanted in her home country for some crime she wouldn’t explain but sounded pretty sordid, and didn’t have insurance anyway. Which was fucked, because she was essentially a full time employee. Real easy for employers to dangle 1099 status, or cash under the table, and make people think it’s to their advantage. Which it almost always is not.

She shambled along drunkenly for weeks, foot never got better. One day I noticed a dirty bandage on it.

What happened? Hurt your foot again?

Not a surprise. Drink that much, as in all day every day, you fuck yourself up. Even us junior alkys in training wake up with mystery injuries.

Nope, still from the car. Foot’s not healing, there’s a little cut on it now.

She peeled off the bandage and exposed horror. Purple green sausage toes, wide open weeping wound. It fucking stank.

You have to go to the hospital.

I can’t. I don’t have any money.

You’re gonna die. Get in my car, we’re going now.

I can’t afford it, Rory.

It doesn’t matter. Get in the fucking car.

I took her to Wahiawa General, closest ER on Oahu. Not ideal, but you deal with what you’re served.

Turned her over to the doctors, sat out front and waited.

An hour later got pulled aside. Fucking gangrene, about to lose her foot. Checking her in now, don’t know when she’ll be free to go.

They discharged her a month later. They saved the foot. The period of forced sobriety knocked a decade off her appearance. Lucid, intelligent. This was a woman I’d never met before. But she was pissed. At me! Huge amounts of hospital debt, no way she could ever pay. Couldn’t exactly understand why she was concerned. When you’re in the country illegally, don’t have a pot to piss in, receive most of your wages under the table, large amounts of debt aren’t exactly a problem. Just don’t pay. What’s gonna happen?

Hit up your landlord’s insurance, I told her. That’s what it’s for. They’ll pay your bills. Maybe even toss you something extra.

She did, and a few weeks later came up to me smiling. The insurance company had paid off. Worryingly quickly, from my point of view. Ever tried to recoup cash from an insurance company? Those fuckers will drag their feet forever over a pittance. So I kinda knew the answer, but asked anyway.

How much’d they pay you?

Ten thousand dollars!

Oh, no.

Ten thousand dollars ain’t nothing, in the larger scheme. Wouldn’t zero out her hospital bills. You can’t do much with ten grand. Not enough to really improve a life. But sure as hell enough to totally ruin one.

Flush with dough she began living large. El Patron tequila and fruit punch became her go-to drink. A stupid choice, made more so by her inclination to buy in mini bottles at the local liquor store. Picked up a crew of addict friends. Like coyotes, those people. Sniff out the weak, drag ’em down as a group.

She was back on the bottle immediately. No surprise. Kind of sad, but what’re you gonna do?

Flush with dough she began living large. El Patron tequila and fruit punch became her go-to drink. A stupid choice, made more so by her inclination to buy in mini bottles at the local liquor store. Picked up a crew of addict friends. Like coyotes, those people. Sniff out the weak, drag ’em down as a group.

Turned out she had a taste for meth, kept in check previously by poverty. Given the choice between booze and crank she went with the former. But now that she was flush it was game on. She stopped coming in to work, when she showed up she’d be hammered. Was always drunk before, totally incapacitated now. Covered a dozen freshly shaped blanks in pink spatters one day. Came in sloppy, ended up slathered in pigment. Somehow managed to transfer it to nearly every surface in the factory.

The money lasted two weeks. Pissed most of it away partying, was robbed of the last couple thousand. Some of her new friends held her captive and forced her to drain her accounts over the course of a few days. She ended up homeless, playing hide and seek with security at the sugar mill where she’d bed down in the bushes at night.

The last time I saw her she was sitting on the ground surrounded by her remaining possessions. What little she had left fit in a few plastic bags. She was bawling her eyes out.

I said hi, talked for a minute. Lied and told her things would get better. Handed her the remainder of a pack of smokes, the fifteen bucks I had in my wallet. Gave her a hug, wished her good luck. Then said goodbye.

Who is Richie Collins? Let's ask the custodian of surf history, Matt Warshaw: "Emotional and eccentric regularfoot pro surfer from Newport Beach, California; world-ranked #8 in 1989 and 1990; as famous in the surf world for his oversize, trash-talking personality as for his inventive high-speed floater maneuvers."

Blood Feud: Richie Collins v LGBT Rights!

Bible-thumping former world #8 says no to transgender bathroom rights!

Gotta love social media! Decades of surf media silence kept personalities secret, now everyone can say whatever they want! And do!

Today’s installment of Blood Feud™ brings us Richie Collins, temperamental bible thumping former world number eight, checking in to make sure we know he’s sitting firmly on the wrong side of history.

richie collins 1

Sin, eh? Let’s see what the bible has to say about it.

And Jesus did say, “You totally can’t let trannys into bathrooms because they’re just trying to catch a glimpse of your shit. And they’re really weird and make me super uncomfortable because of this thing that happened when I got really drunk one time that I don’t like to talk about.”

It checks out.

I’m aware that “tranny” is an offensive term, but the book was written a million years ago. It was a different time. You could own people, rape wasn’t a crime. Don’t hold me responsible, please.

To be sure, perverts hiding in toilets is a thing. A two second internet search turns up a few stories.

Like this guy in Colorado who hid in a port-a-potty to watch people poop. 

Or this lovely fellow in Oklahoma who did the same. 

Here’s a dude in New Hampshire.

Seems to be a uniquely American phenomenon.

Richie goes on to further defend his position.

richie collins 2

Makes sense. Nothing wrong with standing firmly behind your religious beliefs. Nothing wrong with wanting to punish people for violating them.

I feel the same way about miscegenation. Sure, all those other races look good, and there’s nothing better than introducing some color into your milky white gene pool. Richie gets that, he’s got a posse of good looking hapa kids of his own.

Only… the bible ain’t into it. Plenty of scripture you can cherry pick to illustrate the point.

Richie’s got more to say…

richie collins 3


I kind of get what he’s saying. I’ve got no problem sharing a bathroom with trans people. No big deal. Caught plenty of dudes trying to catch a peak at my junk while we’re lined up at the urinals.

I just handle it with an “Eyes forward, buddy,” and leave feeling a little flattered.

But I’ll be damned before I share public toilets with ladies. Women’s restrooms are gross as hell.

City Wave Munich
You could pop your libido on this thing!

How good is this German Wave Tank!

Tell me you couldn't get whipped out on this thing!

Earlier in the week, it was announced the German wavepool company City Wave had hired Shane Beschen to help sell a bunch of pools in Florida. 

A former world number two,  you might remember Shane Beschen as the occasional foil to Kelly Slater in the nineties and as the only surfer to score three perfect tens in a heat. Lately, he’s been orbiting the globe with his two dazzling boys, Noah and Koda.

For the past three years, the gang have been hitting the Surf Style event in Munich, Germany, to ride that country’s own kinda wavepool, one that was built on the same principals that drives the Eisbach river wave in the same town.

Right now, there are  lot of wave pool companies hawking their wares to investors and various governments. We got, Wavegarden. Kelly Slater Wave Co. Greg Webber Wave pools. American Wave Machines. 

If you’re in Orlando, Florida, in September, and wavepools turn you on, visit the second annual Surf Summit. Listen to the president of the International Surfing Association Fernando Aguerre, the WSL’s Graham Stapelberg, former world number two Brad Gerlach and a dozen or so pivotal names in the pool game “discuss the opportunities and challenges related to the development of man-made surf destinations.”

Did you ever think, when all these tubs come to life, what’s the experience going to be like?

Are we going to be standing in lines of longboarders and pool jocks waiting for our one shot every twenty minutes, the idea of perfecting a manoeuvre on these identical waves moot as we strive to maximise our spend?

Will the surfer lose his sense of identity as suburban kids with season passes surf the pools with the slickness of eels, dropping multiples of shuv-its and whatever else?

I’ve ridden a few pools, and I like the pool here, the City Wave, for a few reasons.

One, it’s small so it ain’t a reach for a park to actually buy one, not just talk about it.

Two, it’s a stationary wave deep enough to ride boards with fins, unlike the classic Wave Lochs that demanded little finless discs.

Three? The intensity of the experience. Everything is right… there.

Tell me this wouldn’t be fun.


Warshaw: “The internet saved me!”

My career was dead. Now I earn 34k a year, says custodian of surfing history!

Yesterday, when the diminutive popster Prince Nelson evaporated himself from this mortal coil, the world weeped.

Me? I figured, another unhappy rich guy done in by legal meds.

Am I right? Am I wrong? The coroner will tell us death-porn addicts next week.

Anyway, this started a little back and forthing with the surf historian Matt Warshaw, provoked by Prince’s quote from 2010 when he said the internet was “completely over.”

Was it, is it?

And what does that mean to guys like me and Warshaw, who both have businesses based around a tiny subset (surf) of a game one of the great icons of music had said was dead?

BeachGrit: Personally, I couldn’t give a fuck if a sixty-year-old billionaire did himself in with oxys, but I guess I’m alone. However,while reading the obits, I hit one where he said that the internet was “completely over.” Said it was like MTV. That it would become outdated etc. Two years ago, he clarified. “What I meant was that the internet was over for anyone who wants to get paid, and I was right about that.”

Oowee, that chills me to the bone. Are we making money? Are you making money as the custodian of surfing’s history? 

Warshaw: Thirty-four thou a year, Derek. Prince’s guitar string budget for the week, probably. I make less money at 55 than I did at 25. You?

Every piece of pie I get I throw back into BeachGrit, chasing eyeballs. Therefore, less than I did when I was 15 gutting chickens.

That tells me you married well.

You too!

Praise be.

Tell me: what’s the secret to making the internet pay?

I just said I’m making intern’s wages. How the fuck would I know?

You’re making something at least. 

Yeah, Lewis did PostSurf that whole year for nothing. Nobody’s making any money on the internet. Surfers especially. On the other hand, this job’s the best I’ve ever had, and that has everything to do with the medium. So I love the internet. Isn’t BeachGrit way more satisfying than anything you did in print?

I hate, hate, hate print. Glad it’s gone. You write something, takes weeks to be designed, a month to get printed and another month to hit the stands. Then nobody says a damn thing. Maybe a letter to the editor if you’re lucky. Contrast that with the online experience! It’s a sharper, better, faster game..

Agreed. On the other hand, my best paydays are still with print. Just did a revision on one of my old books. Two weeks’ work, tops. Ten thou. Anything I do for the mags, same thing, the money’s pretty good. Don’t you miss that?

Not as much as I love the internet. 

Yeah, I never take a print job if it’s going to get in the way of doing the site. But again, like I said, I have that luxery cause I’m basically in charge of waking my kid up and getting him to and from school, and as long I don’t mess that up my wife lets me do my hobby website. She’s making the money and keeping the family insured. I get to be the principled guy who turns down the ad money. Easy to have high standards when it ain’t costing you anything.

So if she threw your goldbricking ass out?

I don’t know. I really don’t know. I was pretty frugal as a bachelor, so I’d like to think I’d take my box full of clothes, find a one-room apartment, flip open the laptop and keep doing it like I’m doing it. But I’m used to the new car, triple-diget thread count sheets, all that. I’ve gone pretty soft these last 12 years. Maybe I’d look into pop-up ads. Speaking of which . . .

Jesus, don’t you even start. 

Sorry, sorry. You’re right. We’re all hustling. Keep those ads popping.

So is Prince right? Is the internet dead? 

MW: Of course not. For me anyway, it’s like . . . my career was dead. The internet saved me. God bless the internet.