Environment: WSL’s new gold mine!

The WSL unveils another get rich strategy but this one will totally work!

The difficulty in being both a surfer and an environmentalist has been discussed here before. We are in the ocean every day, of course, and love it so but also travel on fossil fuel sucking jet liners, ride poisonous planks and demand an ultra low price point for our goods. We are, let’s be honest, gross polluters.

And what to do with these two sides of our nature? Give up entirely and embrace our nasty? Stop surfing? What about if make tons of money and keep surfing and also help fishes? Does that sound like a win-win-win?

The World Surf League has discovered the magic bean and plans on doing just that. Welcome to WSL PURE, a new environmental collaboration with Columbia University. So Ivy League! Should we read the press release?

The World Surf League has announced the creation of WSL PURE (Progressive Understanding and Respect for the Environment), its philanthropic initiative dedicated to supporting ocean health through the key areas of research, education and advocacy.

In its first initiative, WSL PURE is launching a unique partnership with Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, one of the leading Earth science centers, to fund critical research into ocean health. In addition, WSL PURE is helping to create the curriculum for programs in ocean studies to be offered for students at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies.

This partnership illustrates the World Surf League’s commitment to join forces with world leaders in ocean research and create funding mechanisms for ocean health at a time when the marine environment is at a critical juncture, with rapidly growing issues of pollution, climate change, and overfishing, but diminished government funding for ocean research and little global representation for the oceans themselves.

WSL PURE has contributed an initial $1.5 million in funding that will support Lamont-Doherty scientists as they lead pioneering research in ocean health & ecosystems, ocean acidification, sea-level rise, and the role the oceans play in climate change. All of the scientific findings will be shared publicly and transparently, as is standard practice.

“The WSL PURE and Columbia partnership is a unique way to marry research, education, and advocacy in a way that can bring powerful studies to the global community,” said Greg Muth, director of WSL PURE and a member of the graduate school faculty at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies. “This collaboration incorporates traditional philanthropy as well as a hybrid reinvestment model into research and education. Over time, we expect this will create self-sustaining funding for research.”

Wait! Let’s stop for just one second. Did you catch that last sentence? Did you read, “This collaboration incorporates traditional philanthropy as well as a hybrid reinvestment model into research and education. Over time, we expect this will create self-sustaining funding for research.” ?

Ding ding ding ding! Can you see the dollar signs between those lines? Traditional philanthropy $$$, hybrid reinvestment model $$$$ self-sustaining funding for re$$$$$$$$$$$$earch! The WSL gonna make it rain on this one and I completely doff my cap in WSL CEO Paul Speaker’s direction. A very smart financial play. I bet that WSL PURE will have lots more money than WSL by this time next year, Caio Ibelli jersey sales notwithstanding.

WSL Pure / Columbia University's Earth Institute Partnership Announcement – LDEO Scientists Speak from CUSPS on Vimeo.

Bethany Meilani Hamilton-Dirks, front, and husband Adam Dirks, a template of surf marriages that work! | Photo: Bethany Hamilton

Parker: Surf Trips with my wife!

Rediscovering marital love through shared interests!

I had a ton of fun during my trip to Nicaragua this past November. Drugs and surf and sexy children galore! Cost of living is cheap down there, pennies on the dollar compared to Kauai.

“Let’s go back,” I thought. “Bring the wife this time, live it up. Lap of luxury, colonialist class!”

If only it were so easy. Been down this road before, planning with the wife. Every time the same, doing the marital power struggle dance. I want, she wants. Neither of us does compromise well, there can be only one victor.

Stage One: Free Reign

“Hey, want to go to Nicaragua later this Summer? It’s cheap, we can live like kings!”

“Yes! That sounds awesome.”

“Great. I found a neat little place, saw it last time I was there. Fun surf out front, they offer horse back riding and massages and have a bar on the beach. And they’ve got a bunch of shitty rental boards, so I don’t need to lug one down with me.”

“I thought you hate horses.”

“I do. Terrible animals. But I figured this would be perfect for you. If there are waves I can paddle out, you can ride horses or get drunk at the bar or pay some lady to rub on you while I do it. Close to town too, so we can go party or eat or whatever.”

“Oh, that sounds nice! I’m in.”

“You want to see where I’m talking about?”

“No, no big deal. Just figure it out, sounds perfect.”

Stage Two: Input

“So, I checked out that place you were talking about. It looks cute…”



“I feel a ‘but’ coming. It looks cute, but…”

“Well, I thought we were going to stay somewhere nice.”

“We are. It’s an an awesome spot, bar’s right there. Plenty of young trim hanging around out front, maybe we can lure some unexpecting young thing back to our room.”

“It doesn’t have a pool though.”

“It’s beachfront, why would you need a pool? Besides, you hate pools. You always complain about the chlorine and refuse to swim in them.”

“Yeah, but they look nice. I want to sit next to a pool.”

“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”

“You’re such a dick. Can we at least stay somewhere really nice the last two nights?”

“Ugh, fine.”

“Can I pick it?”

“I thought I was in charge.”

“Come on, don’t be an asshole. Let me pick.”

“I knew you were gonna do this. Fine, you pick the nice place.”

Stage Three: Encroachment

“I’ve been looking online, I found a couple really nice hotels.”

“Okay, let’s see ’em.”

“Look at this place, it’s super cute. There’s a pool in the courtyard, they bring you breakfast each morning on your private veranda…”

“That’s a balcony.”


“It’s a normal little shitty balcony. Veranda sounds all open and cool, that’s a cramped-ass little balcony.”

“But we can eat breakfast on it each morning. It’ll be romantic.”

“Since when do we do romantic shit?”

“Look, I like the place. This is where I want to stay.”

“Where is it?”

“What do you mean?”

“You know what I mean. Where is it? That looks like it was built a long time ago, everything near the coast is new.”

“Well, it’s not that far from the beach.”

“Where is it?”


“Oh, fuck you. ‘Not that far from the beach.’ Granada’s a three hour cab ride from San Juan Del Sur.”

Stage Four: Argument

“You never let me do anything I want.”

“Don’t feed me that bullshit. You said I could plan the trip, now you want to go to a totally different city on the opposite side of the fucking country.”

“It’s not on the opposite side of the country. It’s on the way to the airport.”

“It’s three hours from where I want to go. What am I supposed to do in Granada?”

“We can take a trip to Monkey Island. Look, you can hire a boat for a day trip.”

“I don’t want to go to Monkey Island. Monkeys are fucking mean and dirty.”

“Monkeys aren’t mean.”

“Yes, they are. A fucking monkey is going to attack you. Why do you really want to go there?”

“I thought you’d be stoked on Monkey Island.”

“No, you didn’t. You know how I feel about monkeys. You’re just trying to sell me. Why do you want to go there? What are you planning to do?”

“It’s just such a cool city. All the architecture…”

“It’s the fucking doors and windows, isn’t it?”

“I, uh…”

“It is. You’re planning on making me walk around a filthy fucking city in the scorching heat all day while you take pictures of fucking interesting fucking doors and fucking windows.”

“So what if I am? I’m going too. I should be able to do what I want.”

“I don’t want to take a fucking trip around Nicaragua goggling at fucking doors and windows. It’s stupid and boring. You’re an idiot.”

“Fuck you, you fucking asshole. Get some culture for once. All you do is play in the ocean, why do we need to take a trip so you can do it?”

“I like the ocean. I don’t like fucking doors and windows. And how is that even culture? Everywhere has fucking doors and windows. It’s so fucking stupid.”

“Fine, god, you’re such a fucking asshole. How about this place?

“It’s five hundred dollars a night.”

“So? You said we were going to go all luxury.”

“We still can’t afford five hundred bucks a day. That’s absurd, it’s a third world country.”

“But it’s so nice. Each room has a yoga platform…”

“What the fuck is a yoga platform? No, wait, it doesn’t matter. Because neither of us does fucking yoga!”

Each room has a private pool.”

“Again with the pool. You’re not going to swim in it, why the fuck do you want a pool.”

“I’ll swim in it. They don’t use chlorine in them.”

“Show me where it says that.”


“Show me on their website where it says they don’t put chlorine in the pool.”

“Well, it’s an eco-villa. I just assumed…”

“Jesus fucking christ… You’re so full of shit.”

“I hate you.”

“The feeling’s mutual..”

Stage Five: Acquiescence

“Look, okay, fine. I don’t want to fight about this, it’s supposed to be fun. We can go to Granada for two days.”

“No, we’ll go where you want. I don’t care.”

“God damn it, you do this every time. Push and push and push, and when I give in you back off. You just want me to come to your side so you can say you did what I wanted. I’m not gonna do that. But if you really want to go to Granada we will. You win.”

“It’s not about winning. You’ll have fun, you’ll see.”

“Whatever. Just pick a spot, we’ll stay there.”



“Yay! Okay! So, we’re gonna go to Monkey Island one day, and there’s this Sandinista Museum that’s super awesome. And I found a different hotel, it’s perfect. It’s new, this gay couple from New York just opened it. The rooms are decorated really nice. They have a three night minimum stay, so we can’t be near the beach as long, but I was thinking, if we’re going all the way to Granada, maybe we should go to León instead…”

Jack Robinson
"I first became aware of him not as small-wave guy, the way I did with Filipe, Gabe, Kolohe, and every other young pro, but as a fully-formed charger in heavy waves," says Matt Warshaw. "You see that every now and then, and it’s almost supernatural. Jeff Hakman was like that. Kong was like that. You know they put in all the hard hours to get there, but on some level its eerie to see a kid, like 16, 17 or 18, surf like a cool old vet in gnarly conditions. You expect the crazy air game. You don’t expect perfect fading bottom turns at max Sunset." | Photo: WSL

Warshaw: “Jay Davies v Jack Robbo final!”

An all West Australian, all wildcard final at Margaret River, says Matt Warshaw… 

Did you hear? Eighteen-year-old Western Australian surfer Jack Robinson will be a wildcard at the Margaret River Pro, which may or may not start in two days.

Do you remember when Jack won the Pipeline Trials last year, beating the fleshy but not fat Jamie O’Brien, and the perfect Mason Ho? The boy with the hacksaw haircut and who wasn’t even at the gate of adulthood had two of Hawaii’s best surfers scrapping for second.

I believe Jack Robinson will win Margaret River and would’ve taken the WSL’s advice to use the betting agency Ladbrokes to secure a wager, but Jack is yet to appear on the form.

Depending upon the results of the locals trials event, Jack will either have Gabriel Medina and Davey Cathels in Heat 5 or Adriano de Souza and Keanu Asing in Heat 6.

In the meantime, I asked former pro, former Surfer editor and Encyclopedia of Surfing maven Matt Warsaw for his opinion of Jack, and more…

BeachGrit: You saw Jack during the Pipe Trials? You like?

Warshaw: He was amazing at Pipe, yeah. There was a heady moment early in the Masters where I thought maybe he’d go all the way. But even more impressive to me was how well Jack rode Sunset a couple weeks earlier, I think it was the HIC Pro. Smooth as silk, patient with the bottom turn, big flexing Andy Irons carves, super comfortable with all the wobble and lurch Sunset throws as you. Awesome stuff for an 18-year-old, especially when Sunset is such an afterthought for most young pros.

I first became aware of him not as small-wave guy, the way I did with Filipe, Gabe, Kolohe, and every other young pro, but as a fully-formed charger in heavy waves. You see that every now and then, and it’s almost supernatural.

What did you think of his Hawaiian debut?

Was that his first year in Hawaii?

Actually, no. First time in the Triple Crown, maybe.

Twenty years from now he’ll have enough Triple Crown trophies to make a suspension bridge.

Is Jack the most promising teen you’ve seen since Gabriel and Filipe?

Without a doubt. Maybe because I first became aware of him not as small-wave guy, the way I did with Filipe, Gabe, Kolohe, and every other young pro, but as a fully-formed charger in heavy waves. You see that every now and then, and it’s almost supernatural. Jeff Hakman was like that. Kong was like that. You know they put in all the hard hours to get there, but on some level its eerie to see a kid, like 16, 17 or 18, surf like a cool old vet in gnarly conditions. You expect the crazy air game. You don’t expect perfect fading bottom turns at max Sunset.

And the hair. Does Jack have the best hair since… who?

George Greenough. Surfs like Andy, grooms like George. Which just feels so perfect for right now. In terms of lovability, Jack, for me, is the shining opposite of Julian Wilson.

 Margarets starts this week; can you imagine what he’ll do in his home town? 

It’s the hardest event on the schedule to predict, but Jack would have to be among the favorites.

If it’s Box, he’s unbackable, I believe. Tell me your thoughts.

I wonder if Jay Davies is getting a start this year? If its Box and North Point, and those two are on opposite sides of the draw, it’s be pretty reasonable to pick them both for the final

Did you hear the story about Gabriel not wanting to surf Box last year and having to be coaxed out by the Renato Hickel? 

What I like about that story is Renato said “Look, you’re the Champ, you have to go out,” and Gabe basically grit his teeth, nodded, and gave it a shot. It wasn’t Filipe sitting at Teahupoo and not taking off. Gabe gave it a real dig. Lost to Jay Davies, so no shame there at all.

Wilko, tell me, is it ridiculous to call him a title contender?

It seems ridiculous, but who’s going to take him down? Mick’s out. Gabe’s already got a pair of 13ths. Filipe’s gonna be holding a third and two missed events. Adriano’s going to pick up a bunch of fifths and a couple thirds this year, but probably won’t get a win. Conner, maybe? I think he’ll hit a rough patch at some point, but who knows. Italo and Caio, from what I’ve seen, have the best shot at catching Matt. Of the nine events left, Margarets seems like the place where Wilko could stumble. Maybe Rio. But rest of the schedule looks good for him. If Micro can keep Matt on a precise methadone level of beer, not too much, not too little, and keeps his confidence up, then it’s Wilko’s title to lose.

The Devil Wears Mada!

Chapter I

The continuation of an epic unfinished surf novel! Catch up on the prologue here!


Branno sat slumped into a semicircle vinyl booth, head down, not paying attention to the brunette across the sticky Formica table. A pitcher of half-finished margarita hovered silently between them next to the memory of chips, guacamole and a wet California burrito. She was talking about something. Justin Bieber’s new music video? An emoji misunderstanding among her group of friends? He didn’t know or care because he was scrolling through Instagram and had stopped on a picture that was good. The best of the day and maybe even week. A perfect, quivering pair of tits framed just right against a messy, flowery bedspread with a rose gold iPhone 6s off to the side. Hers, no doubt.

He couldn’t see a face, the boys did a good job cutting it out, but she was for sure super wasted. Maybe even mouth breathing. He chuckled. They used to show the face too but then someone threatened a lawsuit, or some shit, so they all decided better just to focus on bits anyone cared about.

The multi-colored glass star lights twinkled above the table and a mariachi cover of Sweet Child O’ Mine floated through the air. It smelled like onions.

He and his two friends had started the account @canznthingz a few months ago as a laugh, each taking and posting photos of chicks they had brought home and in various states of blacked out undress. It was private, just for other friends, but had become something of a surf industry sensation. A bro over at SRF N TRF had even done a run of t-shirts and hats with their logo, a drunk chicken with pink panties around her ankles and a paper bag over her head.

Its popularity, though, brought problems. Someone showed someone showed one of the girls and she had gotten all lame and told someone who told someone who told Hedgy that her dad was a judge or prosecutor. Nothing came of it but now they were careful. Or more careful.

He chuckled again.

“You think that’s funny?” the brunette asked and her voice sounded hopeful.

“Ummmm, yeah babe.” He responded, knocked back into the present, and looked up for the second time since they’d been there. “Yeah. Super funny.”

She was cute enough. Maybe a six but her rig might even be a seven plus. He’d have to get through that baggy H & M sweater to know for sure. It said PEACE OFF.

She sighed, relieved, “Oh good. I thought I was boring you there for a minute.”

“Fucken needy girls…” he thought but whatever. All girls were needy some just pretended better than others that they weren’t. “Yeah funny. Rad…” he said and then put on a smokier voice. “Hey, babe, why don’t you finish that margie and then let’s go back to my place.”

He wanted to get on with his night and if he could smash this early it’d be sick because he had a thing later.

“But I was just telling you about that hot yoga class that I’ve got to go to after this and how drunk yoga should be, like, a thing too and, like…” she answered.

Fucken needy girls.

“Yeah yeah cool. Hot yoga… “ he cut her off before he had to listen to any more. “…Drunk yoga. Funny. I’ve gotta bounce anyhow. Fouled Anchors is doing a pop-up tonight and I told the bros that I’d rally soooo…”he looks over the shoulder for their waitress, or any waitress, “…rad.”

“Ummmmm, cool?” She responded, slightly confused at his instant cooling.

“…But AGENDA. You’re going, yeah?” he asked changing tact in direct response to her confusion, “I’ll be in booth F30 starting tomorrow and you should come by or whatever. It’d be cool.” It was never cool to completely jettison a six to possible seven plus.

Her face brightened. “Yeah, I’ll totally be there! I’m working the DESTROYR booth early but will defs swing by after.”

He nodded turning the temperature down, slightly, once again. “Sick.”

The waitress finally found him even though he’d had his hand in the air for an eternity and brought the bill, laying it down on the table. “Gracias” he said, ironically, though he was not sure how Mexicans did irony and shoved a twenty into the vinyl booklet. He looked at the brunette. She fished a twenty out of her Tory Burch handbag and put it on the table too. He shoved it into the vinyl booklet alongside his own. Forty dollars meant an 8% tip but whatever. The service was shit. A mariachi cover of Free Bird had just kicked on.

“Cool then…” he said hauling himself out of the booth. “See you tomorrow.”

He walked toward the door, brushing past too many succulents, without looking back to see what expression dressed her face. It wouldn’t matter. She was his now, hot yoga notwithstanding. It was just a matter of when.

Heartfelt: Refugees learn to surf!

The anti-depressive refugee story you've been waiting for!

The world’s refugee crisis is staggering. Opinions fly from both left and right about what should be done, how to stem the flow, where the souls should go and what they should do. Political ideology aside, though, it is all very sad. Very, very sad.

But this is BeachGrit and you come to be anti-depressed so guess what? Here is an anti-depressive refugee story! The Associated Press ran a piece this morning about how asylum seekers are learning to surf in Bondi, Australia. Many refugee journeys involve the ocean and not in a good way. Cramped rotten boats get tossed this way and that way by unforgiving waves. Death, fear, sadness etc.

Kind Australians teach them that the ocean is fun and they can enjoy it just like Filipe Toledo once did. Bon appétit.

They gather under the blazing sun and blue skies of an Australian beach, looking out at the water that once symbolized so much misery: Terrifying boat trips marked by sickness and death and the constant dread that their own lives might be nearing the end. But today, the sea will become their unlikely savior.

For these five asylum-seekers, a novel program introducing them to the iconic Aussie sport of surfing is helping to transform both their feelings toward the ocean and their lives and allowing them, at least for a brief time, to forget the pains of the past.

“We know that getting into the ocean and surfing makes everybody feel good,” says Brenda Miley, surf school director at Let’s Go Surfing, which is providing the lessons. “… I just think it’s a win-win because it helps build confidence, they learn some skills, they learn about being a local Aussie.”

There is a rush of nervous laughter and chitchat as the men file into the Let’s Go shop at Sydney’s famed surf haven, Bondi Beach. Inside, instructors Conrad Pattinson and Will Bigelow demonstrate how to put on wetsuits.

Amin, an asylum-seeker from Iran, flexes his muscles under the neoprene and chuckles. He has been urging his fellow Surfing Without Borders buddies along all morning, eager to get on a surfboard for the first time. But he admits his excitement is tinged with anxiety.

Like the tens of thousands of asylum-seekers who have fled to Australia in recent years, Amin’s trip involved a harrowing ocean crossing that began in Indonesia, where smugglers pack migrants into rickety boats that frequently break down or capsize. Those who survive the journey are often scarred by it.

 Amin’s memories of that trip and the relentless seasickness that came with it are dark. Today, though, he hopes to forget all that.

Down on the beach, Pattinson and Bigelow give the men a pep talk. They explain how the current works and the different parts of the surfboard.

“We’re going to make a plan to keep it safe and get heaps and heaps of waves,” Bigelow says.

Amin eyes the turquoise water, where the swells are gaining strength. He asks how far out they will go. “Not deep,” Bigelow assures him.

The students practice standing on the boards from the safety of the sand. Pattinson warns them that if they don’t use proper form, they’ll lose their balance and “do a helicopter.” At this, he circles his arms wildly. The men crack up.

Finally, it is time to hit the water. The men slide onto their boards and paddle toward a sandbar where the waves are breaking. There, the instructors help maneuver the students’ boards into the proper position. And when Amin is ready, Pattinson pushes him forward onto his first wave.

Amin presses himself up with his hands, pops into a brief, unsteady crouch and…


“Fell down, no good!” he says. Undeterred, he wipes his face, grabs his board and paddles back out.

One by one, the men make their first shaky attempts as Pattinson and Bigelow whistle and cheer. Flanked by other student surfers, they are largely indistinguishable from the rest of the rookies: Their hips wobble, their arms “do the helicopter,” they occasionally collide, and they belly flop more than they stand. But more than anyone else in the water, they laugh.

This kind of joy is exactly what the staff at Settlement Services International hoped to achieve when they launched the surf program last year. They knew their clients were grappling not only with the trauma associated with their boat journeys and the wars and persecution they had fled, but also with the anxiety of settling into a new country.