Laird Hamilton
"Hamilton, who is fifty-two and bearish, with a freckly tan, grew up on Kauai in a house with no indoor bathroom. At the local pool, he liked to squat down in the shallow end," writes the New Yorker's Dana Goodyear. | Photo:

Laird: “Bearish with a freckly tan!”

The New Yorker goes extreme underwater training with Laird Hamilton!

There is no other magazine that has the ability to spellbound a reader with even the world’s dullest subjects as The New Yorker.

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve started a story about, I don’t know, a hospice nurse, or a mine in Peru or an obscure mathematician, and the 10,000 or so words have flown past.

A house style that allows only small variation means writers pour all their skills into the description of their subject, and to the build-up and release of tension. To compound the magazine’s superiority, there is little in the way of obvious political bias.

So what happens when a staff writer engages an already dazzling subject like Laird Hamilton and his wife Gabrielle Reece? Oh the sparks fly!

Her student complied, lugging the weights toward an underwater staircase, up which a man was sprinting with a huge dumbbell in each hand. The student, jumping, had the sensation of being a deranged pogo-stick rider, likely to drown.

In the September 5, 2016 issue, the writer examines Laird and Gabrielle’s XPT (Extreme Physical Training) that has lured celebrities to their pool for ice-baths, running with weights and soulful saunas.

Read? Yes!

“Hamilton, who is fifty-two and bearish, with a freckly tan, grew up on Kauai in a house with no indoor bathroom. At the local pool, he liked to squat down in the shallow end and then burst up through the water: the active boy’s version of an underwater tea party. To expand his lung capacity, he’d grab a rock and run along the ocean floor, holding his breath for as long as he could. Then he started exercising underwater, wearing a weight vest. One night a decade ago, he had a dream about jumping up and down in the water, breathing rhythmically, as he’d done in childhood. In the morning, he and Reece began to develop the routine, which they call X.P.T.—extreme physical training—and which, after years of testing on friends, they have begun to promote through retreats in Malibu and on Kauai, where they live during the big-wave season. Videos, apps, and books are in the works.”

“Gabrielle Reece snapped on a swim cap and held out a mask to an appropriately trepidatious visitor. “Take two twenty-pound weights and do some jumps,” she said, indicating a section of the pool floor that sloped downward. Her student complied, lugging the weights toward an underwater staircase, up which a man was sprinting with a huge dumbbell in each hand. The student, jumping, had the sensation of being a deranged pogo-stick rider, likely to drown. Piano music flowed through underwater speakers. A mermaid appeared out of the blue-green: Gabrielle Reece, with pointers. (“Try to go straight up and down.”)

In the sauna, which was heated to two hundred and twenty degrees, Randall Wallace (“Braveheart,” “Pearl Harbor”) chatted with Frankie Harrer, an eighteen-year-old professional surfer, about the state of her soul. (Solid.) Neil Strauss, the former rock critic and author of “The Game,” came in. He calls the sauna the “truth barrel”; he and Reece have used it as the location for a podcast about “life optimization.” More friends stopped by. John McEnroe, who had been cycling up the canyon, peeled off his shirt and made a beeline for the ice tub, where he lay palely for several minutes before bolting upright, re-dressing, and calling over his shoulder to Hamilton, “I want to talk to you about the breathing. I have a match next week.”

Read the complete story here! 

The Penis as Satirical Sledgehammer!

A replay of BeachGrit's finest cartoon-penis moments!

(Editor’s note: This story first appeared in December 2014. Given its timeless material, cartoon dicks, water as quasi-ejaculate, I felt it important to bring the story to a new generation of BeachGrit readers. For those who’ve seen it before, enjoy the nostalgia of a re-run.)

As a stay at home husband who suckles from the teat of a successful wife I have certain duties regarding the maintenance of our household. The responsibilities are hardly overwhelming, but I’m not very adept at cleaning, or caring, and our home degenerates, relatively frequently, into a state approaching squalor.

My wife’s approach regarding enforcement of my husbandly duties usually takes the form of a series of passive-aggressive hints over the course of a few days, a tact that is as ineffective as it is emasculating, finally switching into outright demands that I mop the damn floor and do some fucking laundry.

Fair enough, she’s the bread winner, I have ample free time. But I just don’t like cleaning, and no amount of persuasion, in whatever form, is going to change that.

I get a pass when I have writing work. Apparently not so much when I’m creating visual art.

It was a few days ago when the missus strolled into our cozy little two bedroom and surveyed the filth in which we live.

“What the fuck, Rory? I thought you were going to clean?”

“I know, sorry, I was busy working all day.”

“Oh, what did you write?”

“Nothing, I was making art.”

“What do you mean, art?”

“Here you go.”

“This is just a bunch of dicks. You spent eight hours drawing fucking dicks?”

“Well, twelve.  I started last night.”

“This isn’t fucking work.”

“Yes it is, it’s art.”

“How the fuck is this art?”


“See, you know it’s…”

“No, no, give me a second… It’s satire.”

“No it isn’t. It’s just a bunch of dicks and it’s copyright infringement anyway. You can’t use it for anything.”

“No, satire is protected. I’m making a statement.”

“No you fucking aren’t. You’re just drawing dicks. You’re going to get sued.”

“That’d actually be pretty cool, if I got sued for drawing dicks on pro surfers.”

“No, it wouldn’t be fucking cool.”

“No, don’t you see, I’m making a statement about the absurdity of taking surfing so seriously. It’s nothing more than playing in the ocean but it’s been turned into this super serious industry that generates millions of dollars. By putting dicks in their hands I’m illuminating the ridiculous nature of pro surfing as a whole.”

“You’re just making this up as you go along. They’re going to send you a cease and desist.”

“Yeah, but then I get to write about how the ASP is going after me for drawing dicks. Oh!  I could title it, ‘Why is the industry so scared of my cocks?’ That’d be awesome!”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re going to get sued.”

“No, look, I’ll just come up with some clever little intro showing how it’s satire and I’ll be fine.”

“Fuck…  I’ve had a long day. Just do what you’re gonna do and let’s talk about something else. And do some fucking laundry tomorrow, okay?”

“I promise I will.”


slater dickportugal dickmicrophone dick 2medina dickmedina dick 3medina dick 2Kolohe Andino - Can In Handkelly slater hose dick 2john john france dickgilmore dickcoffee dicksMick Fanning

Parker’s Terrible Fantasy Surfer Picks!

It's the I'd-suck-a-million-dicks-to-see-John-John-win edition!

Time for another amazing edition of Rory Parker’s Absolutely Terrible Fantasy Surfer Picks: I don’t care who wins edition.

As always, I’ll be using the WSL Fantasy model. The Surfer version contains too many numbers. Which I find mildly confusing because I’m a writer (not a fucking blogger, damn it!) and I don’t like dealing with numbers. In another world I understand them better, but in this one I stopped bothering with math when my 10th grade geometry teacher refused to recommend me for advanced classes due to poor citizenship grades.

I’d suck a million dicks to see an in-form JJ storm the field at rippable Lowers. Yeah, I know his knee is probably dodgy, reports to the contrary notwithstanding. But Florence is young as hell, heals quick, and delivered that monster ‘oop at Keramas with a fucked-up ankle.

Also because he claimed I assaulted him. I maintain that catching a pen someone threw at you and tossing it back is in no way, shape, or form, assault. Fuck you, Mr Ninnis.

Tier A:

Slater: He won Tahiti, so maybe he’s out of his slump. Or maybe not. It’s just that Slater is a mindless pick and I’m totally uninvested in results because I’ve been doing terribly all year. Which I’m gonna blame on the bullshit judging and absurd number of heats which were little more than wave catching contests.

John John: Sweet fake jeezus, I’d suck a million dicks to see an in-form JJ storm the field at rippable Lowers. Yeah, I know his knee is probably dodgy, reports to the contrary notwithstanding. But Florence is young as hell, heals quick, and delivered that monster ‘oop at Keramas with a fucked-up ankle.

I don’t remember how he did in the contest, though. I’ll pretend he won.

Tier B:

Filipe Toledo: Duh.

Parko: I’m still boycotting White Lightning because I don’t think he should be allowed to compete this year. And Parko’s always been the poor man’s Mick. Got that style on lock, knows how to win a heat. Hasn’t brought anything new in years but the same old same old is still damn nifty.

Italian Ferrari: Workhorse pick. The Ferrari sometimes surprises, but usually racks up a nice amount of points before he gets knocked out.

Kolohe Andino: I just felt like picking a local surfer who I know is going out in round three.

Tier C:

Simpo: ‘QS record aside, you’d have to be an idiot to put Simpo on your team. But he does surf real good, so maybe he’ll surprise everyone? Basically a hail mary I’m hoping will make up some points.

Jeremy Flores: It was either the Frenchman or Jadson Andre for this spot, based on absolutely nothing. I flipped a coin to decide and Andre won. But I’m always hoping for an entertaining Flores meltdown and, even though I know that has no bearing on Fantasy results, I gave Flores the nod.

Watch last year’s final here!


Poll: Surfing’s most principled stand?

It takes guts to stand, or sit, for what you believe in! But who is surfing's most conscientious soul?

Football season kicks off in America today which means summer is officially over. Goodbye beached days and mai tai nights. So long lazy afternoons and slow mornings. Arrivederci sun tans and sun block.

Hello Colin Kaepernick!


And have you kept up on the San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback? He has set the country on fire by refusing to stand for the national anthem! He says he will not stand until there is some improvement in race relations:

I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.

It sounds reasonable, no? Well, I was among the thugs in San Diego watching my most favorite Chargers a few days ago and the boos raining down upon Colin’s head were thunderous as he took his knee. He was called all sorts of nasty names with many “Fuck yous!” being thrown in for good measure.

Like it or not, approve or not, it takes guts to make a principled stand.

Which made me wonder… What was the biggest principled stand ever taken in our surf world?

Was it Bobby Martinez saying what he really thought about the professional surf tour?

Was it Mick Fanning refusing to refusing to speak with a certain surf reporter, before speaking to him, because he understood he worked for a magazine and that it had previously published articles which he believed were racist and anti-Semitic? By the way, he strongly objected to views, statements and comments of that nature…

Was it Dane Reynolds not surfing in contests and not making videos at the same exact time while getting paid lots of money?

Was it…

…Matt Warshaw? Are you there again? I need you!

Kelly Slater wavepool
"This is something I dreamt about as a kid," says Kelly. "Through rigorous science and technology, we’ve been able to design and build what some said was impossible, and many very understandably never thought would actually happen. I’m proud to say we took our time to get it right, and the first fully-working prototype of the wave now exists."

Opinion: “Wavepools Better than Ocean!”

In five fundamental ways! Let's count… 

Earlier today, this website posted a story with the title, Wavepools: “Investors Gonna Lose Their Asses!” It is an energetic piece that takes aim at a New York Times story on the on-again-off-again Wavegarden in Austin, Texas.

It’s author, the knuckle-duster-in-the-face Rory Parker, also recorded his doubts about the long-term viability of such operations.

I hear it. If you put a twenty-million dollar tank somewhere y’gonna need tens of thousands of pool jockeys, beginners, intermediates, studs, jamming this way and that, to cut any sort of profit.

A while back, I put the economic proposition of wavepools to Greg Webber, the shaper who’s been promising a pool that’ll shadow Kelly’s. And Greg says Wavegarden is doomed.

“They’re hamstrung by the dynamic of a low wave-rate, which makes it viable on a day-to-day basis,” he says. “An industry is on the cusp of happening. But it’s only going to happen if each of these pools makes a lot of money. Not just a little, tiny turnover. And that’s directly linked to the number of people going through the gates. One hundred and twenty waves an hour is 12 dudes getting 10 waves an hour. No one spends 30 million dollars or more building a pool on the hope that’s going to turn a profit. Because it can’t. You can’t change $10,000 per session. I wouldn’t go down that path, ever. And they’ll end up being redundant.”

So maybe Rory and Greg are right. Pools’ll appear and, eventually, crumble into their dirty brown water.

But what if, once we get a taste, we don’t want, or need, the ocean?

I’ve ridden a couple, one a piece of shit, and yeah if they were still like that, close the door. But the other was so sublime it still operates as a fulcrum for conversation between its participants. Therefore I believe that even a vaguely good pool is better than the ocean in five fundamental ways.

  1. You’ll never be dropped-in on again: You pay your five or ten bucks, and that wave is yours to destroy or to butcher. There’s no one to paddle up the face as you take aim at a lip. No one swinging around on the inside. You sit. You hear the whomp. The show’s yours.
  2. The concept of practice is real: We ran a little interview with our pals at What Youth a few weeks ago and there was a disappointment expressed at the lack of any sorta of surf-performance progression, at least in line with skate or snow. But, goddamn. How long does it take to get a cutback just right, or learn even the most basic process of an air? It’s such a battle to catch a wave and veer around the crowd to find that one inviting section, that most of the time we stick to what we know. Imagine a season pass at a pool, Wavegarden, American Wave Machines, KSWaveCo, whatever. Your world would…open.
  3. Disappointment isn’t even an option: In this big nasty world, we all gotta work. So most of us can only sling a few hours a week at the ocean. And if we get there and the tide’s wrong or Jesus ain’t delivering a promised swell? There’s not  a damn thing you can do. Unless a pool breaks, and yeah they do (but you’ll know about breakdowns before you get into your car), you’re gonna get waves. You’re gonna surf not matter what.
  4. You’ll actually enjoy a pal’s surfing: Every bomb set your pal gets in the ocean is a wave you missed out on, especially if you’re sitting side-by-side in the lineup. And, so, it’s natural to harbour a little hatred in the darker side of your soul for your surf buddy. At a pool? Equal shares. It’s the bright side of communism mixed with the perfection of free enterprise.
  5. It sifts the mystical bullshit from surf: What is surfing but a game of balance and identification of shapes, mixed with a sort of elevated swimming cardio? There ain’t no mystery to it. Cancer isn’t being cured. Unicorns aren’t being ridden across the sky. Do you think we really commune with nature on our petrochemical boards? Pools show up surfing for what it actually is – a frustrating as hell, but boundlessly satisfying… sport. A sport.