Now meet a skater who's gifted his life to the joint!
I’ve never understood the appeal of Venice Beach. Filthy dirty beach hemorrhoid packed with freaks and junkies. Great place to buy a bargain price bong. Head down once a year and goggle at the lunatics running the asylum.
If you’re willing to pay the price it takes to live near the beach why choose the worst one in the South Bay? Littered with needles, garbage surf 360 days of the year. Tons of poor white people, which is the worst type of poor. If you think it’s hip to live where the struggle is real you should find a Mexican neighborhood.
When the gentrification began I was flummoxed. If you’re willing to pay the price it takes to live near the beach why choose the worst one in the South Bay? Littered with needles, garbage surf 360 days of the year. Tons of poor white people, which is the worst type of poor. If you think it’s hip to live where the struggle is real you should find a Mexican neighborhood. Safer, cleaner, make friends with scary looking tattooed dudes who are insanely friendly once they get to know you and their moms will cook you up heaven.
“Tienes hambre, mijo?”
Can’t deny the influence the coastal suburb had on skateboarding. Children run wild in the streets is a recipe for progression. Couple of old dudes looking to earn a buck from them exposes the scene to the masses. Stacey Peralta scams his way into history.
Here’s a great little video about Jesse Martinez. Skateboarding legend, Venice devotee. About the creation of the Venice skatepark, his efforts to keep it clean. Altruism’s reward in a me-first society.
Not because they're bad people but because they're just bad!
Is there any way? Any chance that our beloved surfing could get rid of judges and award victories based on something other than a ten point scale decided upon by faceless men in an ivory tower? (just kidding! They’re not faceless but beautiful!)
Nothing against the judges, of course. They have a herculean task and there is no way for them to please everyone, to get the score right 100% of the time. More importantly, though, judged sports are like totally UGH. They are little bastards. Dumb. Figure skating, gymnastics, synchronized swimming.
Is there any judged sport that rises to the heights like football, basketball, baseball, tennis, golf etc.? Each of those have thick rule books, sometimes referees, but points. A man or woman beats another man or woman by scoring more, or less, points.
Judged sports will always be arbitrary.
So how can surfing be judged? Could there be a system of speed, torque, amount of time in the air, number of spins in the air, amount of time in the barrel? Some way that would guarantee not only a good show but a true, undeniable winner?
Episode six of the series License to Chill! Hawaiian Hurricanes!
Maybe we’re overdoing the Mason Ho thing on BeachGrit. Do you think?
In our defence, or at least mine, the chief impression I get is that Mason occupies a role as surfing’s poet laureate. We need him to protect us, and in some cases free us, from the seriousness that swells our game.
And this series, made by Lost Surfboards, a sponsor of BeachGrit, and whom we adore and did so even before they agreed to pay us a small stipend, is the best surf web series I’ve ever become acquainted with.
Sure, some episodes are stronger than others, but as a momentary respite from work, the jerkiness of love and relationships, whatever it is that grinding you down, it is without equal. Better than Coke, Acapulco or Fleetword Mac, as the slogan goes.
This episode, number six of eight, was filmed a little under two years ago when Hurricane Iselle belted Hawaii’s Big Island. Strongest tropical cyclone ever to make landfall there. Two-hundred k’s an hour wind. Flooding. A hell of a thing.
For Mason Ho, and pals, on Oahu’s North Shore, however, it stirred up dormant reefs that wedge and double-up and perform all sorts of calisthenics.
While I’m not running out to buy a new home with the paycheck I’ve certainly done a hell of a lot more for a hell of a lot less. And I was given total control to write whatever I want. Which I warned them was a terrible idea, but in the end worked out okay.
Le Mans puts on a stunning show. Rather than deal with the hassle of finding a pirate stream I shelled out ten bucks for the official site. And it was worth every penny. Constant updates on placement, running stream on the sidebar regarding which team was pitting, struggling with malfunctions, being handed penalties for various infractions. And the commentary! Oh my god!
Two man talking teams doing six hours shifts over a twenty-four hour period. You’d think they’d run out of shit to yammer about. But the guys did their research. Constant delivery of analysis of tactics, explanations of equipment, interesting stories regarding drivers and teams and the history of the sport. During the overnight slow moments they answered questions from viewers, explained the more confusing aspects of the competition.
Managed to keep me engaged nearly the entire race, even though I’m definitely not a real fan of the sport. Even towards the end when I was running on three hours of sleep over 48 I kept watching. Kept listening to what they had to say. Things I’d’ve found mind-numbingly boring sans context held my interest because they told me why it should.
They made the surf guys look like chumps. Like half-ass talking heads. Shameful, shameful, in a sport that’s purportedly looking to pull in a non-surfing audience.
Two women in the race. Christina Nielsen and Inès Taittinger, both of whom are smoking hot. Neither came close to winning, but merely finishing Le Mans is a victory in itself. Simply trying is a triumph.
Check out an onboard video of a single lap. Keep in mind the drivers do this for up to four hours straight while dodging cars from slower divisions the entire time.
I mention women in racing because it came up in a failing email exchange I’ve been trying to do with Paige Alms over the past month. She hasn’t responded in ten days, I’m giving it up for dead.
Our back and forth has been going poorly. Largely due to Paige’s refusal to answer questions with anything other than vague fluff responses and my somewhat combative approach. I’m not into the idea of promoting someone who won’t actually engage me.
Paige challenged me to name a single sport where both sexes compete side by side.
Sailing, auto racing, and equestrian events came to mind. Which she thinks don’t count. “Ya but those are all sports that rely on a vehicle, boat, horse. Surfing strictly relies on you, your ocean knowledge, wave selection, board, and Mother Nature.”
That logic falls far short of truth. A surfboard is a vehicle. Sailing and auto racing both depend on dialing in equipment, knowledge of and reaction to shifting conditions. I don’t know shit about horses, other than that I don’t care for the stupid animals.
Her stance also possesses a fatal flaw. If she doesn’t want to compete with men, then she really doesn’t want to compete at all. WSL is only running a single BWT event for ladies, and their sanctioning policy will bar invitees from giving it a shot elsewhere.
A truly shitty arrangement. One I’d never find acceptable, if it were applied to me.
By the end of the race I was ruined. Twenty-four hours awake, the entire time spend trying to make sense of what was going on.
But the final moments were magic. After leading nearly the entire race, a full day spent hammer down balls to the wall, Toyota had it sewn up. Win was in the bag. Second Japanese team to claim victory, first was Mazda in 1991. Three minutes left in the race, on the home stretch.
Then failure. The leading Toyota broke down, couldn’t finish the lap. Porsche blew by, took the win. Toyota pit crew went from joy to despair. Porsche went from second place happy to first place joy. It was an amazing moment, one that reached into my exhausted and by that point kind of disinterested mind.
I don’t know if I’ve turned into a racing fan. Probably not. Got some appreciation for it now, but I’ve put too much into this surf gig. Don’t relish the idea of relearning a new sport. The arcane details of prototype racing are better suited to an engineer than weirdo creative type.
But I’ll probably pay attention next year. Watch some parts, if not the whole thing. And if someone offers me money to write about races again I’ll happily jump at the chance. It’s a grind, sure, but way fucking better than a square job.
I passed out around four am Sunday morning. Eyes burning from staring at various computer screens for twenty four hours straight. Fingers sore from typing out the long rambling screeds I produce when given free rein. Got a phone call from a dear friend two hours later.
Dearest Ryan, I live in a different time zone. If you ever forget that again I’m gonna fly to LA and fucking murder you in your bed.
Kelly Slater lashes out at Brazilian for "utilizing tactics over talent!"
When you think of great surfing tacticians who comes to your mind? Tom Curren? Andy Irons? Lisa Andersen? Kelly Slater?
Yes. Kelly Slater. He has spent his 43 years in a contest singlet out-witting, out-maneuvering, out-planning, out-thinking, out-foxing, out-distancing, out-suckering, out-vibing, out-wiggling, out-tacticianing the competition. No one plays the game from start to finish like our Great One. He loves to get into other surfers’ heads. He loves to make them think he is going to paddle for this wave or that. He loves to look off frothy ones but then spin and somehow find blue caverns growing magically on the inside reef.
Kelly Slater is a tactical surfer and one of, if not the most, talented ever.
So it was with mild amusement that I looked upon Kelly’s Instagram feed this morning and found him criticizing Wiggolly Dantas for “utilizing tactics over talent.”
“Honestly it was probably a little cocky on my part…” he said, responding to one of his followers about an small incident between Wiggoly and Conner Coffin (I think. Or maybe there was another that I missed.) “…I got caught up in the moment and although I really like Wiggoly as a friend and a person I dislike his approach to surfing heats, utilizing tactics over talent which he has plenty of. It’s rare to see two interferences in as may events and unprecedented to see a guy do it twice in one event. Poor sportsmanship but my comments were probably slightly irrational also. But also kinda funny :)”
And hmmmmmm. This smells like a tactic to me! Wiggolly is currently 13th in the world and Kelly is 26th. I wonder what his plan is? To take down Wig, emotionally, by calling him out while misspelling his name then Caio (referring to him as Ciao) then Italo? To carve out Brazil’s heart before lopping off its head (Gab Medina)? There’s got to be a play here. But what? What could it possibly be?