I was once married to a woman whose mom dated a crackhead. He would spend many hours talking, to whomever would listen, about his affliction, his very sad reasons for hurting the ones he loved etc. It bored me beyond anything that I had ever even imagined.
And I feel the same about Michael Kocher. Whether he is a good guy underneath a series of bad decisions or an ugly manipulative sort or a serial liar or a man on the path toward redemption it is all dull. Tortured, public self-reflection with heavy doses of narcissism is, in fact, just torture and especially when it comes fresh on the heels of being outed for some pain caused to others.
Remember when Derek and I had a disagreement about running a story on Mick Fanning’s brother (here)? I loved that more than anything we have done because we got to have a fluid, realtime discussion about ethics and journalism. This ain’t that. This is just me saying I don’t do tortured public self-reflection with heavy doses of narcissism and, therefore, BeachGrit doesn’t either.
But if you like I’ll bring the Kocher piece back. Just let me know. We are, at the end, a wonderful and glorious plutocracy!
Plus, Kelly's boards are horrible and ugly, says What Youth's Travis Ferré
I was once told that exclamation points should never be used (what a crock of shit!). I also once called BeachGrit’s very own Chas Smith the modern day Lord Henry Wotton(from The Picture of Dorian Gray). And since then I’ve had a fantastic relationship with exclamation points and with Chas and Derek and I think that is because Chas and Derek are living, breathing exclamation points and I tend to thrive on enthusiasm.
I once purchased a used and very rare hardback edition of The Galleryby the fantastically gay and fantastically dead (at his own hand) John Horne Burns at the recommendation of Chas (“that’s how you know it’s good!” he exclaimed! ).
I bought it from the The Strand (18 miles of books!) in New York and I bought it on the same trip in which Rob Machado and I began our decade-long and apparently somewhat ongoing feud (you know there will be more on that later Blood Feud! etc.).
That book was a fantastic recommendation and the copy I have smells not unlike the inside of a 1987 Saab with leather interior. I’d like to take this moment to urge you to purchase a copy yourself and see what went on inside Galleria Umberto, which according to the book jacket is “a bombed-out arcade where everybody in town comes together in pursuit of food, drink, sex, money, and oblivion.”
Sounds like the World Tour circa ’89!
So what the hell am I doing here? I suppose I should get to the point.
Well, Derek sent me some fantastic watermelon-rind green swimming trunks and I thought it would be a neat exercise to participate in the sweaty Caribbean dance floor of journalism they’ve created over at BeachGrit. So much gossip! So much fun! So loose! Who cares about tomorrow! Who cares about yesterday! We have today. And this rum and this sticky dance floor. Fuck art, let’s dance and all that jazz.
As you may or may not know by now, I do What Youth. We do surf and we do some skate and some living and we do music and we do youth. But we also do not youth too. But who’s to define that word anyhow. I get carded every time I buy my Heinekens despite inhabiting earth for more than three decades. And I’ve recently noticed the great and entertaining work of Chas and Derek and Rory and all the characters here and I wanted to play.
But where to start! My cup runneth over. I ran through so many topics.
Kelly Slater is riding boards even more horrible than his last ones (I haven’t loved the aesthetics of Kelly’s surfboards since they were all-white 17-inch wide blades with black Quik stickers on the nose and one clean “Shaped by Al Merrick” logo laminated ¾ of the way down the deck).
But until recently, he was always able to manipulate those ugly boards into perfect surfing and I would be forced to eat my words and watch surfers at home try to ride them and fail. Now they are ugly and he is unable to manipulate them and they look as though they cannot defend themselves against any form of whitewater. I worry for him. And I worry for all the poor kids who will end up buying them. At least when his boards were 17-inch wide sexy blades we all looked cool. Now we look Costco.
I have also long disliked Rob Machado for embarrassing me with a back of the head tap at an XXL Awards show that was apparently prompted by my refusal to remove a story I wrote called “A Moment Among the Famous.”
I am so bored by WSL and “Margie’s” and Pottz’s commentary makes me sad because he loves conservative surfing so much. I love Taj Burrow and Benji Weatherly with all my heart and was once married to Benji by Taj underneath a full moon at a post-Lowers victory party and that stands as a career highlight.
Consider this a prologue. With many more exclamation points to come!
Kieren Perrow has just called the action off. Let's fill our time productively!
Today’s hot professional surf action has just been called off by Kieren Perrow and why does he look so impish when he makes his call? Why does he look like he’s pulling one over on the viewer? Does he know something we don’t? Maybe that the World Surf League is partially funded by a great barrier reef oil concession that is slowly murdering the planet and it is doomsville for all of us? Well, whatever, we have nearly 24 hours to kill until the contest is called off tomorrow too.
And you’ve played that wonderful time killing game shoot, fuck, marry have you not? The rules are simple. Three people/things are presented. You must shoot one, fuck one and marry one. Got it? Good. So let’s play a special World Surf League edition!
Joe Turpel’s hair, Martin Potter’s neutered personality, Pete Mel’s downward gaze.
Margaret River’s Main Break, the Box, North Point.
Round 2, Round 4, the finals
a little jam, a carve off the top, a little air reverse
Ronnie Blakey’s sexual charisma, Strider’s boyish enthusiasm, Ross William’s metaphors
I’ve been watching the Florence/Ibelli heat on repeat, trying to figure out how the hell it makes me feel.
Tough call, definitely a close one. I really want to say the judges got it wrong. JJ’s coping clicker frontside three got my panties wet. Such a cool approach to a wonky section. Lickety-split rotation, right into a steezy layback into the pocket. Different, stylish, loose limbed beauty. Gotta love it. Should’ve scored higher, right?
But Caio… he done good! Went for risk in the dying moments. Pretty big rev, but not backed up by a heck of a lot. Judges gave him a hair too much credit, we’ve been there before.
JJ deserved a bit more, Caio a tad less. Would it have changed the result? I dunno.
It was enough to make me pay attention to the new Brazzo, though.
Went back through his heats, I like what I see. Don’t know what to call his approach. Aggressive-conservative seems good. A lot of commitment behind that wide stance. Sits somewhere in the middle. Dazzles better than De Souza, makes heats better than JJ. He kitesurfs, apparently.That’s weird.
Probably makes me racist, wrote him off without really looking. Figured he was a ‘QS type cat, bring some strong tactics, nothing fancy. But some of my best friends are Brazilian!
Not true. Even if it were, saying so would definitely make me racist.
How dare he? Just because he has decades more experience behind him, knows more about pro surfing than anyone else on Earth, the guy thinks he has the right to provide a rational, thoughtful, view that differs from mine? Makes me angrier than a cat in a sack!
But maybe he’s right, maybe things are getting better.
Maybe the problem’s the old guard, the decrepit fuckers in their thirties and onwards that have had a stranglehold on competitive surfing for the last decade plus. Taj, Mick, Parko, Kerr, Slater, et al., have been destroying rookie dreams for far too long. Once they’re all gone, exploring life post-tour, selling real estate or shilling soft goods or drinking themselves into oblivion, the young guys will finally get a chance to come into their own.
A team sport gives rookies time to transition. Sit the bench a bit, figure out that performance bump from really good to best in the world. Tack some muscle onto a pubescent frame. But surf is do or die, sink or swim, a weak first year can kill a promising career.
Don’t get me wrong, the judging still sucks, and the word “jam” is the worst. But maybe I should ditch the doom and gloom and appreciate potential, instead of lamenting reality.
Whatever the case, the first four events are almost always a drag. Tapping my feet, impatient.