Mick Fanning JBay
Mick Fanning rides J-Bay again!

Fanning: “It was a one off…hopefully!”

Mick Fanning and his first surf since the Great White Incident of '15!

Mick Fanning has gone to South Africa early, a few days ahead of the first day of the J-Bay waiting period to tune up, get a few waves, eat exotic bbq, etc.

It was just last year that he became a household name by fending off a great white shark while Julian Wilson rushed to his side. As dramatic as it was thrilling especially seeing no one was hurt. But a thing like that must stick in the brain, no?

Maybe no. Or maybe yes. Mick says, “…a little bit of anxiety sort of came up…” before his first surf but paddled anyhow. And how moody is that sky? The way it is filmed and edited he looks like the only man in the water. Very brave.

“Moody” anyhow must be the word tacked to the great white creative boards from Rip Curl HQ over to the World Surf League’s Santa Monica campus. Did you watch their “We were always coming back…” spot that ran during Fiji? I loved everything about it.

The moodiest!

And what would it take to end your surfing career? A brush with great white death? An extra long hold down? Ellie-Jean Coffey?


Meet: The Kardashians of Australian surfing!

Move over Kim and Kanye...the Coffeys are here!

Two years ago-ish I traveled to Hossegor, France to call the Swatch Pro alongside Paul Evans, Brodie Carr and a host of wonderful friends. The surf was zero but the talent was impressive. I got drunk in the booth and maybe banned from calling future WSL events.

Two of the five Coffey sisters were there and both surfed well. Holly-Sue and Ellie-Jean. Their dad was also there half coaching half managing impressive social media accounts. I saw him telling one of them, hopefully the older of the two, to get more sexy for the cam, like to fluff up her cans or something, which was strange but also sensible.

He had longer hair and wore leather. Paul and I made many jokes but I can’t remember any of them now. Paul do you remember any? Did we call him Billy Ray? Something like that but funnier. I spoke with him, anyhow, and he seemed alright. There had been some tragedy and he had packed his entire family up and traveled Australia in a van just surfing and Instagramming. It seemed strange but also sensible.

And now it appears all his dreams have come true. The Daily Telegraph just bestowed the highly sought after name “Kardashians of Australian Surfing” upon the family! Lets read:

They’ve been dubbed the Kardashians of Australian surfing. 

And now the Coffey siblings – Jackson, Holly-Sue, Ellie-Jean, Bonnie-Lou and Ruby-Lee – are riding the wave of success thanks to social media and their followers who want to see them live their sponsor-paid lifestyle.

The bronzed family’s success has been driven by pro-surf sisters, 21-year-old Ellie-Jean and Holly-Sue, 18, who are paid share bikini-clad photos to Instagram.

Although there are some differences between the Sydney siblings and the Los Angeles icons, their father Jason said they embrace the comparisons to the first family of reality television.

‘Say what you like about the Kardashians, they may not be very talented but at the end of the day they’re a big strong family unit,’ Jason told The Daily Telegraph

‘We’re more like the Kardashians in that sense than anything else.’

Combined, the five siblings from Sydney’s Northern Beaches have more than 900,000 followers on Instagram.

‘Free surfer’ Jackson, 21, has reached 100,000 followers on the social media while younger sisters Ruby-Lee, 16, and Bonnie-Lou, 13, boast 160,000 followers between them.

With Ellie-Jean and Holly-Sue competing on the second-tier Women’s Qualifying Series, they still acknowledge what a place on the pro-circuit would do for their profiles. 

‘If both of us were to make the tour it would be amazing for social media,’ Holly-Sue said.

And ok ok ok. Real quick, there are two things I absolutely love about this bit.

  1. Jason admitting that the Kardashians are not very talented but, apparently, have a strong family bond. I am not being ironic here. Talent is great but look at the mighty empire Derek Rielly, Rory Parker and I have built without any at all. Talent is overrated!
  2. Holly-Sue admitting that the world tour would be amazing for social media. That social media is valuable and the world tour is not. Very funny!

I wish the Coffey family nothing but wild success moving forward.

Correction: After perusing the Daily Telegraph piece I realize there are four sisters and one brother.

Correction: Coming on the heels of the sexless ESPN nude this story smacks of severe sexism. Just pretend it doesn’t when you are reading though, ok?

Chris Ward in Prison

Surrenders to authorities after violating probation… 

Ward Stories takes another sordid turn as Mr Christopher Will Ward once again finds himself behind bars.

(Many thanks to @mystomane for tweeting us the tip. Everyone else do the same. Let’s rake us some muck! This is BeachGrit: Where no standard is too low!)

Following the breadcrumbs leads us back to early last year, when the couple made quite the splash on social media. His wife, Michelle Marie, used her access to the surfer’s instagram page to post a picture of her bruised and battered face, along with text that read, “I’m a professional athlete. I love my wife. But I spread lies about her. So here’s the truth. This is how I love. Truth is here. “

battered wife

A tempestuous online presence followed, but the two soon reconciled. 

Unfortunately for Chris, marital bliss doesn’t disappear criminal charges.

Though the incident in question took place in February of last year, proceedings weren’t finalized until this past April 7th, when Ward plead guilty to inflicting corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant, a felony.

(If you’re curious about what constitutes corporal injury under California Penal Code 273.5 you can learn more HERE. In short, it consists of violence creating a “condition of the body, such as a wound, or external or internal injury, including, but not limited to, injury as a result of strangulation or suffocation, whether of a minor or serious nature, caused by a physical force.”)

Ward was sentenced to three years probation, 60 days in Jail, eight hours of community service, enrollment in a “Batterers’ Treatment Program,” restitution, and required to make a contribution to a Victim Witness Emergency Fund.

Assuming Ward went directly to jail, and served the entire 60 days (unlikely due to California penal system overcrowding), he was released in time to commit a probation violation on June 10, the exact details of which are unclear.

His lawyers met with a judge on June 15, and on the seventeenth he surrendered himself.

Ward currently resides at the Theo Lacy Facility, a maximum security jail in the city of Orange.

But possibly not for long.

Two days ago his wife posted “So much love to you my husband, so excited for this new chapter in our lives!” on her own instagram account. Likely guaranteeing we haven’t seen the end of the saga.


Chris Ward

"What you tend to hear from a lot of these surfers is, 'I’ve been working really hard.' Working, working, working, working, working. Have they ever considered that watching someone…work…isn’t that much fun? We don’t want to watch you work, we want to watch you defy gravity." | Photo: Richard Freeman/@freemanphoto

BeachGrit TV: “Surfing is play, not work!”

Brad Gerlach on why Conner Coffin will be the world's best in two years!

For regular readers of BeachGrit, Brad Gerlach needs little in the way of introduction.

But, if you need a taste.

Click here for “How I Fucking Smashed Pottz” or here Five Mistakes You Make Every Time You Surf” or maybe even here “Gerr: What I learned Watching a WQS!” 

Our feelings toward Gerr veer dangerously close to a crush and, therefore, when he was transiting overnight in my neighbourhood, I moved the heavens and earth to get him in front of a camera to talk about his coaching of Conner Coffin, what he thinks of Kelly Slater in 2016 and the tendency in pro surfing circles to “work” on your surfing.

On Conner, whom he believes can be the best surfer in the world in two years: “He’s technically and intellectually ready to be the best surfer in the world. You haven’t seen the turns he can do. There’s a turn that we worked on during the off-season that nobody else can do. If he does it right, he’ll rewrite the judging criteria.”

On critics of Kelly Slater: “All these stupid fucking people out there, going, ‘Aw well, he’s lost three heats in a row. He sucks and he should fucking kick out and he’s not surfing as good and those boards look shitty… fuck you and your stupid dumb… you have no technical eye whatsoever. He’s fucking shredding!”

On working on surf: “There’s work and there’s play. What you tend to hear from a lot of these surfers is, ‘I’ve been working really hard.’ Working, working, working, working, working. Have they ever considered that watching someone…work…isn’t that much fun? We don’t want to watch you work, we want to watch you defy gravity. (But) Adriano de Souza worked his ass off! There you go, hard work won the world title. Am I impressed? I’m impressed? Do I want to watch him surf? No. Sorry man. I don’t want to watch somebody work on a wave.”

Watch here!


Courtney Conlouge featuring a profound lack of sexy.
Courtney Conlouge featuring a profound lack of sexy. | Photo: Steven Lippman

ESPN and the sexless nude!

The sporting behemoth has robbed us of our lust!

It is the time of year when ESPN’s Body Issue comes out and, I’ll be honest, I wish they would stop making it.

I assume that the sporting behemoth launched the idea back when they were competing with Sports Illustrated for print magazine market share. Do you remember the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition? It dripped with PG-13 sex. Oh it had nothing to do with sports at all and oh completely objectified women but my young self didn’t care. It was legal Hustler. Do you remember print magazines?

In any case, the Body Issue has taken on enough cultural weight to be featured on daytime talk shows, etc. The media thrills at seeing professional athletes ripple. How magnificent! How stately! And it generally includes one or two surfers. Who could forget Kelly Slater or Coco Ho? What about Laird and Gabby Reese?

Theoretically it is all very titillating except do you know what ESPN has stripped away along with the clothing? Any semblance of sex! The athletes, standing proud in their birthday suits, have as much sexual fire as a race horse, gleaming in the sun. As much carnal stir as a well-polished bicycle.

Just look at Courtney Conlogue, pictured above. She surfs very well and may be interesting but…but… I’ve got nothing! I’ve been visually neutered!

Maybe it is just my Judeo-Christian values, or the fact that I am not French, but nudity = mmmmmm. Equating nudity with machinery is an unnecessary bummer. Especially when the world is going to hell and all we have left are dreams.

Give us back our mmmmmm!

Who knew the king had so much junk in the trunk?
Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 11.45.57 AM
I love Coco but this picture is the dictionary definition of dull.
If these two titans invited you over for a swinging eve then showed you this picture I would hope “No thank you” would be your answer.