Happy Father’s Day from BeachGrit!

Too much sentiment? Probably!

It is a beautiful southern California morning and I am up early because my 3 year-old daughter is cranky and wants Figgies and Jammies and cartoons in bed with only mama. I was, therefore, kicked to the kitchen, literally with her tiny foot, in order to fetch them.

I did then returned back down to my perch at the corner of the kitchen’s island that I insisted we cover in zinc so it would be like a grand Parisian zinc bar. But do you know what zinc does near the ocean? Like, do you know how zinc is used on a sailboat? It is used to draw corrosion away from important parts because salt loves to eat zinc. Thus, our island is a pocked mess. An eight thousand dollar disaster born out of my cancerous Francophilia.

Figgies and Jammies are, in any case, the gluten free version of Fig Newtons but somehow and magically twice as good.

And it is, of course, Father’s Day. Before becoming a father myself the day would hold no special meaning. I would call my dad, sure, and we would chat but I chat with him often so my Father’s Day call always felt artificially forced.

Then I had a daughter.

I was talking about it with Matt Warshaw the other day and he said, “Having a child will instantly bond you to all other fathers.” And this is totally and completely true. It is not magical, not like Figgies and Jammies, but something about the ins and outs of raising a baby, watching her grow, feeding her, bathing her, getting kicked by her and receiving the brunt of her cranky attitude fires strange connections with other men who feed, bathe, get kicked and field grumpy.

And this is far too sentimental, especially on your third favorite surf gossip website, but today I would simply like to give a small nod and knowing wink to BeachGrit‘s dads.

That’s all.

Matt Wilkinson Gabriel Medina
I enjoy this photo very much for it shows two surfers at the peak of their game, illuminated by the dazzling Fijian sunlight. | Photo: WSL

Prediction: Shameful World Title Thoughts!

Dark horses and a yellow jersey holder like a woman's breast!

Do you ever reflect on the brevity of fame, or of a surfer’s reign as a contender? Was it only a year or two ago that we still expected Taj Burrow to collect a trophy that was his to take since 1998? Or Jordy Smith, for whom multiple crowns awaited? Fanning, the three-timer, now a part-timer?

If we’re to study the WSL ratings after five events (the tour comprises 11 events), we find four surfers likely to challenge for the title, with two very dark horses, whom we’ll discuss in a moment.

The ratings, after the Fiji Pro, are follows:

  1. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 32,500 pts
  2. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 24,000 pts
  3. John John Florence (HAW) 23,900 pts
  4. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 20,500 pts
  5. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 20,400 pts

I’m inclined to dismiss the current world champion Adriano De Souza from contention because I believe judges are human and will instinctively recoil from another beige world title. As Brad Gerlach told me during filming for an upcoming Like Bitchin episode, and I paraphrase here, “Do I admire the hard work it took for Adriano to win a world title? Yes. Do I want to watch him surf? No.”

Which leaves us with Wilko, Gabriel, John John and Italo.

  1. Matt Wilkinson was once as soft as a woman’s breasts, his preparation for events as thorough as a spontaneous uprising by enraged peasants. This year Wilko, with his peeling nose and little blue eyes, has become a competitive monster helped, in no small part, by his coach Glenn Hall. Throw away Wilko’s two worst results (a ninth and a twenty-fifth) and he sits on an almost perfect, 1, 1, 2. And yet his heat average is an unimpressive 13.50. Do world titles come with under 14 point heat averages? World title odds: four-to-one.                                                                                  
  2. Gabriel Medina is a beautiful, perfect genius person with eyebrows that require daily attention. Gabriel surprised no one when he won the Fiji Pro. His low-rockered Johnny Cabianca-shaped surfboards support a simple and pleasing approach that even a non-surfer can understand. Tube, turn, air. Convinced of his own righteousness (tears!), Gabriel is cowed by no one. Heat average? 14.71. More than a full-point better than Wilko’s. World title odds: two-to-one. 
  3. John John Florence, with that sulky face and hair that will redden with age, is the best of all. Never coached but infused with the history of every great surfer before him, his genetic code rewritten in the North Shore lineups by a who’s who of modern surfing. A heat average better than Gabriel. (14.80). An ability, a likelihood, of winning at Teahupoo, Trestles, Pipe. Surfing that is lucid, elegant and individual. A world champion, unlike Adriano or Gabriel, who would alienate no one. World title odds: Even chance. 
  4. Youth has its dreams and, therefore, let’s dream that Italo Ferriera shows a royal flush in the back half of the season. The ability to soar is the richest of language and three of the final six events reward the vocabulary of above-the-lip surfing. And, still, Italo has the basic structure to fare well at J-Bay, Teahupoo and Pipe. World Title odds: six-to-one. 

And the dark horses? Oh these are as dark as they come.

Filipe Toledo. Can you imagine it? Out for two events. Unimpressive in Fiji. Seventeenth in the world. But with a heat average only 0.7 under that of the yellow jersey holder, I envisage a three-pack of wins (Trestles, France – if smallish, Portugal) and surprisingly robust performances at J-Bay and Tahiti. We must remember, even those famous reefs sometimes fail to gleam. Four foot Jeffreys? Five foot onshore Teahupoo? World Title odds: ten-to-one. 

Now, Kelly Slater. Do we dare dream? Does Kelly still dream? What if his mysterious malady disappears? What if the back half of the season is rich with swell. What if he wins J-Bay, backs it up with Teahupoo, then France, fights to a semi in Portugal and then snatches his famous old shotgun and wins Pipe? World title odds: twenty-to-one.  

How to be a man with Shane Dorian!

It is Father's Day (depending on where in the world you live)! Let the world's most fabulous dad give you some advice!

When I go drinking I need to have a max drink number in mind. Usually if I go over that number I regret it. This is especially useful when you are single.

Hawaii is where I want my kids to grow up. In Hawaii if you show respect you tend to get it back.

Marriage is THE most important decision you will ever make in your life. Don’t take it lightly. Ninety per cent of your future happiness will depend on who you choose, and 99% of your future misery, so choose wisely. Figure out if she is an evil bitch BEFORE you take the plunge! Hint: you don’t know anyone until you’ve lived with them for three-to-five years and you share expenses.

As far as ageing goes, my outside ain’t that pretty these days so I am working on the inside.

I am glad I am a man, as we are totally exempt from pressure to get plastic surgery “done”.

Hollywood is not for me.

Women? About or from? Oh gosh. I have learned to hold my tongue.

Fear can equal fun if you allow it to.

Eyebrows. I have not learned much about eyebrows, fortunately.

Hair is fleeting. And my wife likes my shaves head, lucky for me.

Friendship is just as important as family to me.

Money is useful but can cause more problems than it solves if you are not careful.

I love fashion on women. Lucky for me, Billabong makes something for all occasions.

I have learned about boats, rent don’t own, no matter how much dough you got.

Fish are tasty. Not as healthy as I thought.

I surf more when I have a great surfboard.

Jared Mell Ozelm Esen Mell
"A marriage doesn't begin with a proposal. It begins far earlier, when the idea of love is born, and more specifically, the dream of a soul mate." Here we study Jared Mell, from that school of hip that makes longboarding look very cool, and his fabulous-beyond-measure DJ wife Ozlem Esen Mell.

Jared Mell is a F#*king romantic!

Who is not a piece of shit? Your favorite soul man Jared Mell!

Oh marriage can be such a many splendored thing! A good husband or good wife is worth her weight and so much more fun than a good boyfriend or girlfriend. I have, frankly, never understood the reticence to walk down an aisle. Why? For what? If you love the one you’re with, really love, then why not? Being an ex-husband or an ex-wife is far superior, literarily, to being an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend should things go sour.

But you are worried about money? About the money you’ll lose if you divorce?

Pshaw. You are not a romantic. You are a clanging gong. But a piece of shit.

But do you know who is a romantic? Who is not a piece of shit? Your favorite soul man Jared Mell!

I met with Jared so many months ago in a Newport Beach dive bar. We were supposed to be shooting the very first episode of Like Bitchin! except a cameraman never showed. I tried to shoot on my iPhone (sorry WSL x Samsung…your marketing falls upon deaf ears!) but it was impossibly dumb.

We talked, anyhow, of many things. Of surfing, shaping, booze, clothing and women.

Of women! 

Jared was with one he loved very much and his eyes sparkled as he told me her story. She had an exotic name, a beautiful smile, a fantastic Instagram feed. She was someone, it was clear. And his eyes sparkled as he told her story!

Jared Mell Ozlem Esen Mell
From a meet on a photo shoot to a majestic and substantial conclusion as man and wife!

It involved subterfuge, sexy rendezvous, possible fisticuffs. The stuff of Shakespeare! As I listened I also hoped that it would end cinematically. Not in a whimper. Not in a breathless gasp.

And now they are married! Jared Mell took the plunge with his paramour almost two years ago in Las Vegas, Nevada where all true love stories begin. You think I joke but that’s where mine began. They booked a small chapel and were married by Elvis Presley himself in front of five friends. Elvis’s favorite number was eight but I imagine there is a way to add the extra three somewhere.

Jared, anyhow, tells me, “We had one friend each and then happened to run into three more friends out there so that was it. And then we went to the Beatles Love show that is playing out there…”

I went to the same with my wife before we got married. If you are in Las Vegas it is worth catching.

“…and then I had a full on asthma attack in the casino. I was so happy I couldn’t breathe anymore!”

I laugh and ask him if he thinks marriage is good. He laughs because his new wife is sitting right next to him and says, “Oh totally! Marriage is amazing as long as you find that perfect person and as long as they find you…”

I know his eyes were sparking when he said that. I could feel it through the iPhone and nothing but nothing could make me happier. A good husband or good wife is worth more than its weight. If you don’t believe me go and try it. And if it involves musical theater divorce and try again!


Another modest proposal!

For preventing the lineups from becoming overcrowded. Let's eat the children of kooks!

It is a melancholy object to those who surf at their local breaks or travel so surf far off exotic waves, when they see the lineups crowded with the bikini clad female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in shitty wetsuits and dropping in willy nilly. These mothers, instead of being able to scold their charges, are forced to employ all their time trying to look hot for their helpless infants: who as they grow up either turn into massive snakes or leave their dear native country and become massive snakes abroad.

I think it is agreed by all parties that this prodigious number of kooks in the lineup, or on the backs, or at the heels of their mothers, and frequently of their fathers, is in the present deplorable state of surfdom a very great additional grievance; and, therefore, whoever could find out a fair, cheap, and easy method of making these children sound, useful members of the surf brotherhood, would deserve so well of the public as to have his statue set up for a preserver of the nation.

My intention is very far from being confined to provide only for the children clogging lineups; it is of a much greater extent, and shall take in the whole number of infants at a certain age who are born of parents in effect as little able to teach them proper surf etiquette.

I am assured by our Australian surfing family, that a boy or a girl before twelve years old is no salable commodity; and even when they come to this age they will not yield above three pounds, or three pounds and half-a-crown at most on the exchange; which cannot turn to account either to the parents or kingdom, the charge of nutriment and rags having been at least four times that value.

I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection.

I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in Tahiti, that a young healthy child of surfers well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout.

I do therefore humbly offer it to public consideration that of the hundred and twenty thousand children already out in the lineup, twenty thousand may be reserved for breed, whereof only one-fourth part to be males; which is more than we allow to sheep, black cattle or swine; and my reason is, that these children are seldom the fruits of marriage, a circumstance not much regarded by our savages, therefore one male will be sufficient to serve four females. That the remaining hundred thousand may, at a year old, be offered in the sale to the persons of quality and fortune through the kingdom; always advising the mother to let them suck plentifully in the last month, so as to render them plump and fat for a good table. A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends; and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter.

I have reckoned upon a medium that a child just born will weigh 12 pounds, and in a solar year, if tolerably nursed, increaseth to 28 pounds.

I grant this food will be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for the most seasoned, crusty locals, who, as they have already devoured most of the parents by barking them off waves or threatening well-being, seem to have the best title to the children.

Infant’s flesh will be in season throughout the year, but more plentiful in winter, when the waves are generally best and a little before and after; for we are told by a grave author, an eminent French physician, that fish being a prolific diet, there are more children born in Roman Catholic countries about nine months after Lent than at any other season; therefore, reckoning a year after Lent, the markets will be more glutted than usual, because the number of popish infants is at least three to one in this kingdom: and therefore it will have one other collateral advantage, by lessening the number of papists among us.

A very worthy person, a true lover of his lineup, and whose virtues I highly esteem, was lately pleased in discoursing on this matter to offer a refinement upon my scheme. He said that many gentlemen of this kingdom, having of late destroyed their deer, he conceived that the want of venison might be well supplied by the bodies of young lads and maidens, not exceeding fourteen years of age nor under twelve; so great a number of both sexes in every country being now ready to starve for want of work and service; and these to be disposed of by their parents, if alive, or otherwise by their nearest relations. But with due deference to so excellent a friend and so deserving a patriot, I cannot be altogether in his sentiments; for as to the males, my American acquaintance assured me, from frequent experience, that their flesh was generally tough and lean, like that of our schoolboys by continual exercise, and their taste disagreeable; and to fatten them would not answer the charge. Then as to the females, it would, I think, with humble submission be a loss to the public, because they soon would become breeders themselves; and besides, it is not improbable that some scrupulous people might be apt to censure such a practice (although indeed very unjustly), as a little bordering upon cruelty; which, I confess, hath always been with me the strongest objection against any project, however so well intended.

Some persons of a desponding spirit are in great concern about that vast number of kooks who are aged, diseased, or maimed, and I have been desired to employ my thoughts what course may be taken to ease the nation of so grievous an encumbrance. But I am not in the least pain upon that matter, because it is very well known that they are every day dying and rotting by cold and famine, and filth and vermin, as fast as can be reasonably expected. And as to the young Hurley-clad shredders, they are now in as hopeful a condition; they cannot get work, and consequently pine away for want of nourishment, to a degree that if at any time they are accidentally hired to common labor, they have not strength to perform it; and thus the country and themselves are happily delivered from the evils to come.

I have too long digressed, and therefore shall return to my subject. I think the advantages by the proposal which I have made are obvious and many, as well as of the highest importance.

For first, as I have already observed, it would greatly lessen the number of kooks, with whom we are yearly overrun with especially during the summer months when the water is warm.

Secondly, the kook parents will have something valuable of their own, which by surf law may be made liable to distress and help to keep their place in the lineup. If they sacrifice one or two of their kook children then they can stay.

Thirdly, The constant kook breeders, beside the gain of eight dollars sterling per annum by the sale of their children, will be rid of the charge of maintaining them after the first year.

Fourthly, This food would likewise bring great custom to surf clubs and bars; where the vintners will certainly be so prudent as to procure the best receipts for dressing it to perfection, and consequently have their houses frequented by all the fine WSL stars, who justly value themselves upon their knowledge in good eating: and a skilfull cook, who understands how to oblige his guests, will contrive to make it as expensive as they please.

I can think of no one objection, that will possibly be raised against this proposal, unless it should be urged, that the number of people will be thereby much lessened in the lineup and surfers will completely disappear in the future but that is the perfect outcome, no? And who cares if there are no surfers in the future. We are a barbarous people. As evil as we are worthless.

I profess, in the sincerity of my heart, that I have not the least personal interest in endeavoring to promote this necessary work, having no other motive than the public good of my surf brothers, by advancing our trade, providing for infants, relieving the poor, and giving some pleasure to the crusty local. I have no children by which I can propose to get a single penny; the youngest being too skinny and my wife past child-bearing.

The End