Gimme: Fabulous Bielmann t-shirts!

Brian and Brent Bielmann make their debut at the GAP!

If you have ever visited BeachGrit, even once, you will know how fond we are the of the Bielmanns. Brian and his nephew Brent are masters of the surf photography game. Living treasures.

I interviewed Brian, once. Here’s a snippet:

“I first started shooting water at Pipeline,” he says. “I remember moving out there in 1978. I surfed that Spring and thought, ‘ok next season I am going to be on every single swell!’ I was doing photography at the same time but I’d always say, ‘I’m gonna surf for an hour and then shoot. I’d never come in.’ And so winter came around and I paddled out on a bigger day at Rocky Point. I got pitched over and hit my head on the reef…basically almost died…and so I was sitting in the hospital with all these tubes coming out of me and that was it. It was gonna be photography.”

We are all better off for him hitting his head and almost dying and now you can own a piece of his archive! The Gap is doing a six shirt capsule featuring the Bielmann’s art that launches tomorrow May 23!

“The Bielmanns capture the spirit of surfing like no other photographer,” says John Caruso, vice president of men’s design at Gap. “Whether it’s the rush of catching the perfect wave or the peacefulness of being at one with the water, their images spark the kind of summer memories that we’re thrilled to celebrate in Gap’s collection of exclusive Ts.”

Brian says, “The best part is seeing my photos viewed by a much larger audience and I think a T-shirt is a great way to make a statement. Our surfing world is so small, comparatively, and there are a lot of people who don’t surf but still find the ocean fascinating, and that’s who I want to connect with.”

I say, “Gimme.” And also, “Thank you Gap for recognizing real, core talent and thank you for leaving Aaron Chang on the sideline.”

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Boozy surf comp saves marriage!

The noted Rory Parker's wife pushes him to the brink!

Every weekend morning I try to wake up an hour or two before my wife. Get my daily writing duty done before she’s up and moving. I get cranky when I’m staring at an open office doc, trying to think of words, and someone keeps interrupting my train of thought.

Usually not a problem. She keeps insane hours during the week. Heads to work at 4am because she’s

“more productive” before the sun rises. Goes to sleep around 8pm. Keeps farmer hours. It’s fucking bonkers.

She went out with friends last night, rolled into the house like a drunken hurricane. Passed out snoring on the couch after spending an hour ranting about how good the sushi is at Masa’s (it’s okay).

So I had a leisurely wake-up today. Figured she’d be bedridden until noon-ish.

She must have a stash of crank hidden away somewhere because she followed me out of bed chipper and chirping. Jabbering away at me like an angry squirrel.

Rewatched last week’s episode of Game of Thrones for the fourth time. Informed me of the myriad ways the show has departed from the book. Did you know that George Martin has stated that Daenerys Targaryen…

…isn’t supposed to be immune to fire? The dragon egg hatching scene was a one-off magic moment. Which makes last week’s fiery titty display totally unrealistic. And there’s speculation among the super nerds that Tyrion Lannister is the bastard son of the mad king which makes him a secret Targaryen, or something. So he’s gonna ride dragons. She’s very excited about it.

I hate that fucking show so much. The books were okay, and so were the first few seasons. But after a million forced views I’m one hundred percent over it. Not the wife, though. She studies this shit like it’s the goddamn Koran. Calls it “fandom.” Says it’s okay because a million obsessed dorks online feel the same way.

Now she’s got Spaceballs blasting at full volume. Driving me to distraction. She’s not even watching it. Just playing on her tablet while it roars in the background.

I’m either gonna lose my shit at her or just give up and throw out a lay-up. In the interest of marital peace I’m choosing the latter.

Kyle Thiermann has been wringing some amusing stuff from his trip down to Mex. Last month we got to watch him get beaten to within an inch of his life on a foamie.

This week it’s a boozy fins free surf comp in overhead storm chop. A bright point in a day that’s going down hill fast.

Need to go hide and do some breathing exercises. Calm down, don’t freak out. Definitely don’t heave this lukewarm cup of coffee in her face and remind her that I wish she were my size so I could challenge her to a fight.

Just in: Laird to live forever!

Laird Hamilton reveals his 10-point plan for eternal life here!

Students of history will fondly recall Richard “Dick” Nixon, if not for his near satanic obsession with power then for his near satanic obsession with power. Such comedy! Who could ever forget his “last” news conference? After losing California’s gubernatorial race, 7 years before being elected President, he let the sour grapes loose, sat down before the press corp and attacked them for fifteen minutes before ending, famously, with the line, “You don’t have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference.”

It literally does not get funnier. And the day he died, in 1994, was sad because it became less funny to make fun of him though Hunter S. Thompson tried, writing:

Richard Nixon is gone now, and I am poorer for it. He was the real thing — a political monster straight out of Grendel and a very dangerous enemy. He could shake your hand and stab you in the back at the same time. He lied to his friends and betrayed the trust of his family. Not even Gerald Ford, the unhappy ex-president who pardoned Nixon and kept him out of prison, was immune to the evil fallout. Ford, who believes strongly in Heaven and Hell, has told more than one of his celebrity golf partners that “I know I will go to hell, because I pardoned Richard Nixon.

Alright but not his best work. The foil needs to be alive for it to really pop. In any case, I was very much dreading the day Laird Hamilton dies because I feel he is the greatest punching bag the surf world has ever known. From Strapped to the hydrofoil to GolfBort the hilarious train just don’t stop!

So you could imagine my glorious astonishment when I read today that he is not, in fact, going to die. He is going to live forever!

And through reading today’s The Los Angeles Times’ story Surfing Icon Laird Hamilton Shares his 10-Point Plan to Live Forever maybe you and I can make fun forever too! Let’s tuck in:

Perpetual youth is a whimsical notion suited to screen writers and 16th century Spanish explorers but a career requirement for Laird Hamilton. In the ocean as many as five hours most days, the inventor of tow-in big-wave surfing, modern-day stand-up paddleboarding and hydrofoil surfing uses a unique diet and training regimen to maintain a chiseled fitness that astonishingly belies his 51 years.

Here, the father of three explains why he hasn’t had a drop of alcohol in a decade, heartily devours fat, hangs upside-down with regularity, pals around with an 83-year-old for inspiration — and keeps searching for the Next Big Thing.

1. Forget age. Just keep driving the car: I take better care of myself today not as an accommodation to age but to maintain continual high levels of performance and just to feel good. I have a friend, Don Wildman, who’s 83 years old — and the guy’s an absolute stud who works out with weights, mountain bikes, paddles, surfs every day. Don’s a living example of what it’s like when you just keep driving the car.

2. Take care of everyday priorities: The stuff you do every day — your sheets and towels, the food you put in your body — these are your priorities. Not a fancy car or fancy clothes or fancy watches. For instance, I used to drink red wine every day — nothing like a good Bordeaux — but haven’t had a sip of wine or beer in nine years and have no desire to. I realized that sugar is not good for your body and that alcohol is one of the biggest culprits.

The fact is that alcohol doesn’t taste good anyway. The reason people drink is to have some sort of sensation, right? So if you’re not into that sensation, it’s a waste of time. It’s a discipline thing too. My mom once said to me, ‘If you can’t be true to yourself, you can’t be true to anyone else.’ As proof to myself that I had the willpower, I don’t do it. Bottom line: If you want your rocket to fly, you put rocket fuel in it. I want to be able to do certain things at a certain level. I like the way I feel. On a daily basis, I feel better not drinking.


Uh oh…. I’m out. You can hit 3-10 here though and carry the baton for the both of us. To infinity and beyond!

Greg Webber and banana board
This is not a flat bottom. See the concave all the way through to the nose? Anti-conventional? Yeah, it is. Dimension-wise, it's 5'10", 12 and a bit in the nose, 18-and-a-half in the middle, and 14" in the tail. | Photo: Richard Freeman/@freemanphoto

Opinion: “Wavegarden will be redundant!”

The shaper and wavepool inventor Greg Webber on the inevitable demise of Wavegarden… 

On a recent Thursday afternoon, I visited Greg Webber, the fifty-six-year-old surfboard shaper and wavepool inventor. Webber lives around five kilometres from the beach in a small, but well-maintained, apartment on top of an animal surgery, with his eldest son Hayden, who is 21.

I had promised a story about Webber to The Surfer’s Journal and had missed so many deadlines that last week I just scooped up my things without really thinking and took the long drive across Sydney to visit him.

Webber wasn’t in the finest physical shape, a bulging disc had left him imprisoned on a microfibre couch in a sort of permanent crash position, but he still managed an easy good nature.

We spoke about many things over an hour or so, including Kelly’s persistence with his banana boards, how to ride one (stand in the middle), a five-foot-eight-inch-long and fifteen-inch wide board he’d built that had no planshape (“It was only by getting rid of the planshape completely that I was able to understand the core fundamentals”); how wavepools are poised to become a multi-billion dollar industry. Webber actually said “trillion” but that seemed too bullish to me. Also, why his pool, when it is eventually built in “two years” is going to better than Slater’s and why Wavegarden is doomed, despite opening the door to everyone else.

Pertinent quotes…

On why surfing addicts us so and how that affects wavepool design:

“What’s incredible about surfing is transitioning from being in the moment, projecting into the future and getting back into the moment and projecting into the future. There’s no meditation that achieves it. Probably no sex that achieves it.  And the longer you do it for, the better the healing and the stability you get as a human being. That aspect, therefore of customising waves (in a pool), is vital. If you don’t customise it, you start to take the wave for granted and you get irritated that it doesn’t change shape at all.”

On the Slater pool: 

“Kelly’s made a stunningly perfect tube. But the fact that there’s whitewash right at the back of the board when the surfers, some of the time, are not even in the tube at all and there’s whitewash wanting to push forward, well, that’s a conical tube. We can ride them…just. They’re a little bit hard to ride. A cylindrical tube will only be made using a kelvin wake (Webber’s technology).”

On the cost of riding a two-metre, ten-second tube at a Webber pool:

“Close to ten bucks. But it’s a cylindrical perfect thing like what Kelly made but with a trough and you’re able to get back in the tube. And guess what else? You started off at one metre and it gradually builds up to two metres so guys who’ve never surfed two metre tubes in their lives will be going, what the fuck…When I asked capable surfers how many five second tubes they’ve had this year, all three of ‘em looked at each other and went… none. I said, well, five seconds is nothing. You’ll get five second, two-metre tubes every time you go to my pool.”

On Wavegarden: 

“They proved it. Everyone loved it. But they’re hamstrung by the dynamic of a low wave-rate, which makes it viable on a day-to-day basis. The thing now is people have recognised that a wave of a certain quality can be made and so an industry is on the cusp of happening. But it’s only going to happen if each of these pools makes a lot of money. Not just a little, tiny turnover. And that’s directly linked to the number of people going through the gates. One hundred and twenty waves an hour is 12 dudes getting 10 waves an hour. No one spends 30 million dollars or more building a pool on the hope that’s going to turn a profit. Because it can’t. You can’t change $10,000 per session. I wouldn’t go down that path, ever. And they’ll end up being redundant.”

On Webber pools:

“Only one (pool) is going to make money. My one. There’s only one design. And it all revolves around using the kelvin wake. It allows us to do 500 waves an hour as a base rate. We have a ride rate of 5000 rides per hour. That’s fucked up. That’s proper money.”

Blood Feud: Joel Tudor vs. The World!

Revenge is a dish best served alongside a helping of warm, leftover DICK!

They say revenge is a dish best served cold but Joel Tudor didn’t get that memo and is ladling up a piping hot plate of BOOOYA this morning! The cheese on yesterday’s Blood Feud between the great Sunny Garcia and Surfing Magazine’s Brendan Buckley has not even begun to coagulate yet JT is back in the kitchen, slanging grits.

As a quick recap. BB (from Surfing) Instagrammed a picture of Gab Medina air and wrote “Power surfing makes heats. Progressive surfing makes memories.” Sunny Garcia called him a kook. BB wrote a story about how Sunny hated him. Sunny responded via Insta by posting the story and said, “I don’t hate you. You are a kook.”

Are you with me so far? Good.

Then on Sunny’s Instagram feed longboarder and martial artist Joel “Jitsu” Tudor came flying in from the sidelines writing:

@sunnygarcia I’ve hated everything about that magazine since I was a child – they have told myself and @vans that longboarding is not a legitimate style of wave riding to be in the pages of their magazine! That was straight from the editors mouth —- flame was notorious for being open about how much he hated longboards – THAT MAG CAN EAT A DICK

But that mag eating a dick was not enough! He wants them to eat a side of IN YOUR FACE! This morning he was back on his own Instagram feed writing:

If you are a longboarder — do not support @surfingmagazine//since I was a grommet these guys have consistently held up the standard started by Larry Moore — that longboarding was not a legitamite (sp) form of wave riding and didn’t belong in the pages of their mag! They still hold that standard today and have told my boss @vans this on a many of occaisions (sp)! Funny part is I blasted them via @sunnygarcia and now thy are trying to back pedal!!!! – if you think I’m kidding …. Ask yourself one question … When was the last time you saw a pic of a longboarder in surfing ????

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And would you permit me one moment of candor? One anecdote that I feel elucidates?

Surfing‘s grand photo editor and now creative director Pete Taras was at my house a few months ago for my three year old’s birthday party. There was a bouncy palace. A purple cake with a surfer on top. Pete’s daughter was here and we stood off to the side. I was certainly drinking. Pete may have been.

Now, Pete is a striking figure if you have never had the joy of meeting him, tall and darkly handsome. If he shed a few unruly pounds I could make a case that he is most handsome man in surf, Danny Fuller and Luke Davis and Luke Stedman included. As he is, though, he is totally the Belle of the Bear Ball, Matt Biolos and Maurice Cole and Jimbo Pellegrine included.

Sometimes, though, I like to make his handsome face twitch with rage for my own pleasure. So I say to Pete, “You know, between you and I, Surfing magazine is a has-been piece of trash. The sun has set on that clunky old thing and do you know what the problem is? Surfing has no point of view. It tries to be edgy but ain’t really. It tries to be funny but ain’t really. It tries to be insider but ain’t really. It is so scared of angering advertisers that nothing, absolutely nothing, can be published that is worth a damn. Surfing magazine is a nibbled bare husk. A spent cartridge.”

Oh how his handsome face twitched and even got red! Blood raced upward from his slightly padded heart to his temples. I could see them pulse! I didn’t really mean what I said. I always find the images Surfing uses to be the absolute best in the space without peer. Their photographers are second to none and they smell up and coming talent better than everyone.

Pete, in any case, fixed me in his eyes all twitchy and red and said, “Do you know what we are? Do you know what we’re about? We feature the most modern, progressive high performance surfing always. That’s what we do.”

And you know, he is right. The whole team there treats progressive surfing as a science. They study hand placement on airs, feet placement on turns, torso position in the tube. They stand around and pour over pictures always looking to push the definition of what high performance means at this very moment in time. Literal hours and hours and hours. They are heart surgeons puzzling out new innovative procedures. Mathematicians solving complex equations.

The sort of surfing Joel Tudor does is not that, which is not to say it is bad or wrong. It simply isn’t the most modern, progressive high performance surfing. Joel’s own argument began to fall apart in his own feed when others jumped in, very seriously, complaining about the lack of SUP and skimboard within the pages of Surfing.

But what do you think? And, more importantly, what will Joel serve up tomorrow?

P.S. Do you understand the picture he chose to illustrate his rage? It looks to me like he is angry that you maybe forgot Mothers’ Day. Is it a transgendered hand? Maybe?