The world is in a tailspin after the UK votes to leave the EU. But who cares! Surf! Pumping!
Oh how the entire world just went into a massive, puke-inducing, face-peeling tailspin! The British people voting to brexit the European Union just slaughtered global markets! The Pound Sterling is at a 30 year low against the dollar! Prime Minister David Cameron is alternately weeping and shopping for property in Sydney that he can no longer afford.
But guess what?
The Mexican Pipeline is puuuuuuuuuuuuumping right now! The Big Wave World Tour stop number who cares is running and Prime Minister of Stoke David Stanfield is going absolutely bonkers!
“There are some mondo sets out there guys and gnarly and regular goofy big time surfing!”
It’s a funny thing. Our little surf bubble is so untethered to the rest of the world that it doesn’t even react to major international events.
“AND THERE UUUUUGGHHHHHH AWESOME! SO SURF! SHRED! HARD CHARGER!”
I have made no secret of my great love for Hector Santamaria. He is different. He looks different, talks differently, acts differently, sees the world differently and surfs differently. And in our monochromatic surfing world different is gold.
In his new film, The Dimitri Project, I am specifically impressed with how the young Puerto Rican weaves the tube. So much slide! So much vision! I watch and am mesmerized. Mesmerized enough to include Hector Santamaria on the shortlist of surfers to be invited to BeachGrit’s upcoming Revel Tour™ (shhhhhhhhhhh it’s happening later this year and the WSL is gonnnna be sooooo maaaadddddd)!
Watch though for yourself and see. See the wonders and if you disagree with me then….ummmmm….fuck you. Just kidding.
But seriously. Fuck you.
But seriously kidding. I love you. And you are entitled to your opinion.
P.S. WSL CEO Paul Speaker would really like to try surfing one day but is afraid that a wetsuit would less-than-flatter his winter tummy and BeachGrit doesn’t sell boardshorts in a size 42!
Your favorite hip surfer used to dine on the flesh of vanquished foes!
Who is your favorite favorite favorite hip surfer? Is it…. Noa Deane? Creed McTaggart? Ozzie Wright? Ozzie Wrong? Dane Reynolds? Dane Reynolds? Dane Reynolds?
Or is it Craig Anderson?
Part of the hip surfer creed (not McTaggart) is to NOT do contests. The statute is enshrined in the rule book How Thusly to Be a Hip Surfer and Not a Tool of Da Man n Lame n Shit written in 1966 by Miklos Dora.
Article 3: Resolved, that section 1.4 pertaining to being a tool of da man n lame n shit is hereby amended to read as follows:
Section 1.4 It shall be established from hence forth that putting on the singlet of a contest, defined hereafter as any professionally organized surfing event wherein there are winners (i.e. losers) and losers (i.e. hodads) judged by da man, will be lame n shit evermore.
But guess who broke this rule. Guess who was once a contest god.
I wrote this a few years back but kept it well hidden so as not to endanger Ando’s inclusion in the hip surfer clubhouse. But I feel it is time that he own his status as, also, a contest god.
Without further ado…
The sun isn’t up yet because it is 5:30 am near Margaret River and cold. An offshore winds whistles cold. The air is cold. Craig Anderson is waxing up his closeout barrel board. 6’2. Nate Lawrence, photographer, is checking his water housing. The swell is supposed to be very nice. Substantial. Rat-a-tat remixes play. Jay-Z and Biggie. So good so good.
The call comes in from Anthony Walsh at 6. Booj. We leave. It is dark and so cold.
That damned Booj, or Boodge, or whatever is totally a short drive but totally a long cold walk. Craig complains of freezing feet. The sun is peaking from the east, illuminating various beach grasses and clumps of sand, but there is no warmth. But the sky is baby blue.
And square kegs are detonating straight on shore. Thunderous! Craig has been rapping, “We gots to get paaaid.” Then says, “Oh fuck, they’re breaking right on shore.” Nate Lawrence says, “There are guys pulling into closeout barrels without photographers. That is what West Oz does to you.” Two of them are Kai Otton and Dayyan Neve (remember him?).
We post up on the sand and watch. Kai Otton takes off on a bomb, goes straight and breaks the nose off his board. Craig says, “He went straight and his board broke. Imagine if he would have pulled in? Neck break.” When he comes in Craig asks, “What were you thinking Otts?” Kai answers, “Ahhh it looked like it had a corner.”
Craig watches for a few more minutes. “It ledges up real quick. I’m probably going to go over the falls a few times.” “Look at this one. Neck snapper.” “That bit ahead…I’d reckon you’d come up with no neck.” “Why do people do this to themselves?”
An oldish man trots down to water’s edge and starts stretching. More than stretching. Yoga. Craig says, “This guy is stretching! What a fucking idiot! He knows he’s going to get bent in half, that’s why.”
Kai breaks his second board in three places. No one had ever seen that before. Craig says, “Three pieces, wow. That is the first time I’ve ever seen that.” Kai says, “It’s fucked out there.”
Craig suits up and gets ready to paddle…but then there is a zipper malfunction on Nate Lawrence’s wetsuit. He quickly runs back to apartment to repair. Craig and I sit on the sand and watch. Dede from Indonesia comes and sits nearby. Craig says, “Kai broke his board in three places.” Dede says, “Oh shit.”
The waves are getting bigger. More square. Filled with sand and death. Anthony Walsh takes off on an absolute bomb that explodes up to the heavens around his corpse. Anthony Walsh is a man’s man.
Craig’s phone rings. It is someone asking if he wants to be in the competition today. The six star prime Margaret River Drug Aware Pro. What heat would I be in?” he asks. “Ten? I should do it, eh?” He accepts the offer.
Craig laughs. “That is the funniest stuff ever! They said I could have been in the trials with 45 guys and I said no chance.”
Dayyan walks by and Craig tells him he is in the comp. Dayyan says, “How’d you manage that?” Craig answers, “Craike’s foot is still buckled.” Dayyan says, “Good on ya then. Go right. There are these big macky rights.” Craig says, “You haven’t seen me surf, have you.”
Nate Lawrence comes back ready to shoot. Craig tells him he’s in the comp, laughs again and says, “At least I’ll get a little paper today.” Nate asks him what he’s going to ride and Craig answers, “My biggest is this 6’2 closeout barrel board.” He laughs again again and the two head out to grab a few closeouts. Craig sort of wants it to break so he can ride his shorter shortboard in solid 6-8 foot Margs.
The board doesn’t break. In the car on the way to the comp site I ask who he is going to surf against in heat ten. Craig answers, “It’ll be the best surfers in the comp. The wildcard always gets shafted because he doesn’t deserve to be out there anyway. Thanks Craike, ya legend.”
We stop and get some pies. Craig nibbles on Tim Tams. “That’s two wildcards in a month. I must be doing something right.”
We arrive at Margaret River and look at the thick thick far out to sea thick surf. The day earlier I had asked Craig to describe this same, famous wave. He answered, “I’d reckon it’s shit. One word shit. But if I had to give an in depth description I would say a fat left and right. Depends what your after. If you’re after doing cutbacks on a fat wave then it is your wave. I have surfed there a bunch of times and not once have I had any fun. I’d reckon it’s absolutely fucken shit.” Dion Agius had said, “It usually cops all the swell so it is gigantic. Cops all the wind so it is gigantic and messy. Breaks halfway out to sea, breaks fat, and is surrounded by sharks. So it is a fat, messy gigantic wave surrounded by sharks and halfway out to sea.”
The wind is just starting to come up. It is big and far away. Craig says, “I don’t want to surf that! It’s almost not worth $500!” Nate Lawrence says, “You have to pay?” Craig answers, “No, I get paid. If I get a 6 footer on the head I’ll turn around and come right back in and say 500 dollars please.”
We all look back out to sea. Craig says, “Look at how big that wave is. I don’t surf big waves. I’ve got a 6’2 that goes like shit.”
We start walking toward the competitor check-in area. Craig says, “All I want to do is a big carve with my arms behind my back. Like Occy or Matty Hoy. Except not a hack, a carve.”
He checks in and we move over to a tent before he paddles. Craig says, “The first time I surfed in the QS they made us surf that wave…South Side.” He points a tanned finger to the left. “It was 1000 knot onshore and 1000 foot. It was the worst time I’d ever had.”
We watch a stand-up paddle boarder get chewed alive by a giant white wall at South Side.
Craig leaves for the marathon paddle out. Ben Dunn, Heitor Alves and Nat Young are in his heat.
The horn sounds at 11:30. Beeeeep. The announcers say, “It is a real shame that Craiky isn’t in. He is a Western Australia air specialist. Craig Anderson, who is taking his spot, better boost.” The waves are still 6-8 foot and thick.
On his first wave, Craig drops into a heaving bomb completes a mid-face cutback, then wipes out incredibly on the inside section. Totally upside-down. One announcer says, “Craig is hurtling himself in the wave like a rag doll.” The other announcer says, “He got done and dusted for sure.” When the replays are shown everyone in the tent moans. He gets a 2.00
Later Craig gets a 4.33 and 3.67 for a total of 8. He had guessed his heat total would be 8.2 earlier. He got 4th in his heat.
On the way out he picks up the collection form for his money. No broken neck. Paper. And not having to surf Margarets maybe ever again. How fantastic!
“Today was not fun, but it was funny,” says Craig Anderson.
Rough-housing martial arts stud meets big-wave starlet!
Joe Rogan is a funny-guy, UFC commentator, rough-housing martial arts stud and actor from New Jersey. His podcast The Joe Rogan Experienceswings 11 million downloads every month.
Rogan sure is prolific. In two years he’s punched out 300 podcasts.
Yesterday, it was the “surfer and bow-hunter” Shane Dorian who provides entree, main and sweets for Rogan in this two-hour interview.
Wait, two hours?
Shane begins nervously, smacking his lips over and over in the same manner a lost man in the desert might with a pebble, searching for a little saliva to wet the gums.
Joe soon warms Shane his over with his own hunting anecdotes and talk of animals with “fucking spears coming out of their heads.”
I like this story Joe tells Shane.
“Did you see the video of the lady at Yellowstone that was, like (in soft woman’s voice), ‘Hello elk! Hello! Hello my friend! I’m your buddy!‘ And this elk just fucken headbutts this bitch… she went flying! She went flying!”
BeachGrit: Tom Blake is a precious ruby from the jewellery box of surfing culture, and I want to talk more about that in a moment. But first . . . the man had such a great ass! Am I allowed to say that? I believe Michelangelo would’ve been hard-pressed to’ve sculpted such perfection!
Matt Warshaw: Okay.
So . . .
I heard Tom Blake was our first and greatest gay surfer. True?
Gary Lynch, Blake’s biographer, says No.
Maybe Lynch swore to keep the secret.
Maybe you’re getting off in a huge way on putting “gay” in the same sentence as “Tom Blake.”
Is there any modern interest in Tom? Movie, books, that kinda thing?
Not that I’m aware of. He’s a hard guy to get a feel for. Such a horrible childhood. Born in Wisconsin, mom died when he was a baby, he got kicked around like a football from relative to relative. Something happened back there that Blake mentioned but never talked about it detail, some “fall from grace,” whatever that means. The big flu epidemic shut down his high school so he never graduated. After that he rode the rails for a couple years, landed in Los Angeles when he was I think 19, became a swimming champion, and finally ended up on the beach where he learned to surf. It’s an amazing story, just up to that point, before Blake even gets to all the stuff he’s famous for, the hollow surfboard and inventing the fin and all that—going from freezing winters on Lake Superior to sunny afternoons on the beach Santa Monica. But Blake himself is such a strange, isolated person. In a way, I don’t know if could actually carry his own story. You admire him, respect him, cheer for him, but never feel warm toward him. He’s just too shut off, too unknowable. That’s how I feel, anyway.
“Even deep water supports a rebel, if he has the will and the ability to swim.” I love Blake for that quote alone. And the other one, “Surfing puts you in the greatest church of all, the open sea and the open sky.”
He pushed the sport along on just about every level. Board design, photography — he was great with a camera — writing. Great fashion sense, great style. He was among the first, maybe the first, to go all-in on what I guess we have to call the surfing lifestyle. Surfing took him in, it was his great comfort, and he built a life around it. I wouldn’t say surfing healed Blake. He was too damaged. But surfing, the ocean, I think made him the best possible version of himself. “Even deep water supports a rebel, if he has the will and the ability to swim.” I love Blake for that quote alone. And the other one, “Surfing puts you in the greatest church of all, the open sea and the open sky.” There are people out there who believe in Blake more than they believe in God.