Shane Dorian Maldives
Dorian beats Rasta to win in 2015, automatically generating an invite to this year's contest, as well as ten thousand dollars prizemoney. | Photo: WSL

Soon: “World’s Most Luxe Surf Contest!”

Be front-row for a dazzling showcase of elderly surf talent!

Coming this August is the Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy, a WSL-sanctioned speciality event it calls the “world’s most luxurious surfing contest.”

Better than, say, Fiji, where an inexhaustible fountain of booze flows and where the strongest men you’ve ever seen (husbands are advised to cover their wives’ eyes) will carry your suitcases and surfboards from boat to cabana, or bures as they call them in the Mamanucas, and where helicopters can be beckoned to take you golfing on flat days?

It’s a hard call although the Four Seasons’ 96 thatched huts, including some with “a sexy glass-walled pool” do sound like a stimulating pleasure.

The Four Seasons Maldives etc is an invite-only event, has been running for three years, features heats on singles, twins and thrusters, and was won by Rasta in 2014 and Shane Dorian last year.

This year’s invitees are: Shane Dorian (as last year’s winner), Jamie O’Brien, Travis Logie, Taj Burrow, Rob Machado, Bethany Hamilton and local surfer Abdullah ‘Iboo’ Areef.

There is a total of $US25,000 in prizemoney and, oddly, the older you are the longer your heat. Shane Dorian is almost forty-five, Machado is forty-three (in October), Taj Burrow just turned thirty-eight and therefore will be given, relatively, almost twice the game time of one-armed surfer Bethany Hamilton as there is no provision for surfers with a disability.

Want to go and watch it? Packages range from $US7695 (five nights, beach pavilion with pool) to $US10,93o (seven nights, beach bungalow with pool). Add a 23.2% service charge and you’re in business. From the press release.

Indulge in the ultimate private group experience with daily eight-hour surfaris with expert Tropicsurf guides. Sail to the best breaks of the day in remote, awe-inspiring surroundings. Then return to luxurious oceanfront accommodations and unlimited full board dining in four world-class restaurants. To further heighten the experience, book to stay at Kuda Huraa during the Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions (August 8 to 14, 2016) and get right on top of the action with competition day passes aboard Four Seasons Explorer and rub shoulders with the competition’s World Champion contestants over sundowners on the beach.”

And this:

“Places are granted by invitation-only to six world champions…”

World champions? Travis? Taj? Shane? Bethany? Machado? Jamie? Abdullah?

Is this a profound overstatement? Will anyone notice?

Opinion: “Kid Diddlers Play Pokemon!”

Do you play Pokemon? Do you diddle kids? There's maybe a link!

I was a young adult when Pokemon was first released. I’m aware of what it is, a form of pseudo-gambling marketed to stupid children that turned into a successful video game franchise.

But I’m not into it. Too old when it started, no interest in that kind of thing once I had access to booze and drugs and pussy. I was into Magic: the Gathering for a minute. Because I was thirteen, have always been a huge fantasy dork. It had cool pictures of unicorns and wizards and shit on the cards, was ostensibly a game of skill.

Traded a bunch of my comic books to the local nerd store owner for a deck. Got hideously swindled in the exchange. Immediately learned that the kids whose parents would dump ridiculous amounts of money into their offspring’s dumb hobby were always going to win no matter how hard I tried.

Or, like, some middle-aged childless guy who likes to hang out at the playground and watch the children. Super innocent, right? Wrong! Super weird, total molester move. Kid’s are terrible, unsocialized, monsters. Nothing innocent or fun about them.

So I stole a bunch of shit from the comic store as revenge for ripping me off, then never played again.

On the subject of comic book stores, as an adult I immediately distrust anyone who creates a business built around luring in awkward, friendless, unsupervised, children. It’s weird. Sordid. I can only assume he’s lookin’ to get diddlin’.

Or, like, some middle-aged childless guy who likes to hang out at the playground and watch the children. Super innocent, right?

Wrong! Super weird, total molester move. Kid’s are terrible, unsocialized, monsters. Nothing innocent or fun about them. Parents spend the first eighteen years trying to beat decency into them, then hope for the best. Watching little kids play is like watching a pack of wild dogs fight over a scrap of rotting meat.

What’s the point here?

If you’re an adult playing pokemongo you’re probably a child molester.

Look at these straw-sipping freshwater trash, lounging lakeside while playing on their phones. No doubt trying to convince some hairless little boy to hop a plane out to their awesome beachfront party mansion. All sorts of candy and giggle juice just waiting to be had. Sometimes the giggle juice makes you sleepy, then your bottom feels sore.

One of them is even dressed up like a girl, no doubt so he can sneak into public toilets and watch ladies go pee. True perversion.

Get high...
Get high...

Let the bad times roll!

Advice for our terrible present!

Sometimes we go on surf trips and our flights are all on time, our boards arrive un-dinged, the sun shines, the waves barrel just barely overhead and the locals smile at us while we are weaving through their barrels. When we come home we tell our friends and lovers all about it. We say, “Oh boy did I ever score. And the stewardess on the way home, she was brunette and leggy and wowza honk honk aaaahhhoooogaaahh and she made eyes at me the whole flight long.”

And they listen, half interested, until the bit about the stewardess and then they roll their own eyes deep inside their skulls. Perfection, you see, is boring. Perfection is fun in the moment but not a good story afterward and not even particularly memorable.

Because sometimes we go on surf trips and our flights catch fire and divert to Panama City, our boards don’t arrive, the sun either sizzles like the heat of hell or stays completely hidden, the waves tower and eat us alive or don’t show up and the locals pull machetes on us or try to shoot us, as we camp on the beach, because they know that white people turn into devils at night.

And the stewardess on the way home is a fat man from Djibouti who insists on wearing shorts well above the knee. When we come home and tell our friends and lovers about it, when we say, “I spent seven days in a Balinese hospital because little amoebas decided to eat my intestines” their eyes go wide with fascination. Hardship, you see, is the stuff of legend. Hardship hurts in the moment but is a wonderful story afterward and will be remembered forever.

And so, on your next surf trip, don’t always take the easy way. Keep your eyes wide, looking for possible adventure. Is there a one legged man who tells of a secret wave far in the distance? Go to that secret wave. Is there a border to sneak across to get into a forbidden zone? Sneak. But don’t and I mean DO NOT try to create some hideous cliché and pass it off as amazing. Like, do not stay in a hostel and sit up smoking weed all night with the Danish bar manager. Do not drink the magic mushroom milkshake and dance under the moonlight.

Do not go to a native village off the beaten path, come home and tell your friends and lovers, “The natives live so much more simply and, by extension, they are so much happier.” That is the most hideous of clichés. The natives are not happier. They yearn for high definition and paper money pegged to the U.S. dollar with a narrow band.

moments before the almost disaster...
moments before the almost disaster... | Photo: Pete Taras

The day BeachGrit almost killed me!

I've just realized what evil lurks herein.

The other day we republished a Robert Fazio piece (5 things you need to stop doing (now)!) that made people (rightfully) livid!

To be completely honest, I didn’t read it when it went up, though I skimmed, and I didn’t read the comments, though I should have. It was one of the best feeds we’ve ever had with discussion of circumcision, Baroque art and Evangeline Lilly. It is totally worth going for a read.

In any case, in my skim I thought Mr. Fazio had written something about wrapping a leash around a board being uncool. I never do that except for when I ride my bike to the beach.

And today with Mr. Fazio’s advice in the back on my mind I got lazy and did not wrap the leash tightly at all. Instead, I lazily pitched it around the racks then took off.

I peddled lazily up the Pacific Coast Highway while cars whizzed by. As I continue to be completely honest, I was white wine drunk. Swerving a little. Not paying attention. Getting internally angry at people who put Hawaiian island stickers on their motor scooters. Etc.

Next thing I know, a man is screaming at me from a Jeep with probably a Hawaiian island sticker on its bumper. He’s screaming, “Your leash!”

I look back and he’s right! My leash is dragging far behind almost getting clipped by cars, almost snagging on guard rails. Etc. I swerved when I looked, a lot, and a car almost hit me.

I almost died because one of our fucking things.

Now I know how WSL CEO Paul Speaker feels.

P.S. I just read it and Mr. Fazio never wrote anything about wrapping a leash around a board. Where did that even come from?

WSL commentary
Does it feel to you, as it does to me, that this four-pack has started to hit some beautiful notes? (From left) The provocative Ron Blakey with the black wavy hair combed severely back from the forehead. Strider Wasilewski, the fiery red, the honest countenance of Ross Williams and Peter Mel, who might be considered, in impolite company, as Ron Blakey's less attractive twin. But where's Pottz? The only commentator to've won a world title?

J-Bay: Where was Pottz?

Has Martin Potter been disappeared like the once-everywhere Chelsea Cannell?

The commentariat hit beautiful notes during this year’s  Jeffrey’s Bay contest. This is, I believe, an opinion that is difficult, perhaps, impossible to argue against.

Ross Williams looks as if something otherworldly is feeding his vitality. Like an octopus he throws out a first, a second, a third tentacle, fastening it onto every technical aspect of a surfer’s game.

Is it because he once surfed a J-Bay final (against a teenage Joel Parkinson) that made him convulse with information? Or is all that practice in the shower paying off?

“I’m absolutely in love with what I do,” says Ross. “It’s a total privilege to be a retired pro surfer and, then, suddenly, be gifted the chance to relay all the information I have logged in my head. I love it. I love it.”

The big-wave champion Peter Mel, who let’s be frank is the provocative Aaron’s Blakey’s less attractive twin, has become so prolific with opinion, sound bites of board design and passing quips, that the viewer looks forward to gazing at him dreamily.

Strider Wasilewski? Even if it looks as if some evil spell has transformed his famous attack dog tits into something that would make even a  seasoned whore shudder, his work is candid.

Rosie, of course, is a voluptuous pleasure. 

But where was Martin Potter, the former world champion whose stern countenance harnesses entire events? Whose elegnant, and non-specific accent, marks his refinement among a group, who let’s be frank again, are marked by their very provincial tones.

Was he sacked for his frankness? For his ability to cut through the haze and deliver simple, yet cutting, commentary?

Had he disappeared into the same secret garden as the once-everywhere Chelsea Cannell? 

According to the WSL, Pottz is “still very much on the A-team. Mr. Potter shall return for Tahiti. The team take some events off to recharge and hang with family.”

The deal is, commentators take one or two events off per year, which is arranged with the head of programming. Ms Cannell, says the WSL, is “still part of the WSL Broadcast Team. She took some time off of traveling to spend with the family, but has been contributing to the studio side of things.”