Jack Freestone
Jack Freestone loses hundreds of thousands of hypothetical dollars in two hours!

Wait! Billabong shares dive 300ish%!

How does it feel to be poor again?

Don’t the stock market work fast! Earlier today, maybe even two hours ago, or less, it was reported on this website that surf clothing icon Billabong was riding a wave of unprecedented share price growth. From forty-ish cents to well over one dollar apiece.

Millions made etc. Obviously, the website was very quick to point out that it’d advised readers to spend everything they had on Billabong shares in the middle of 2015, when shares cost sixty cents. 

It was like the glory days of the IPO when, soon after, shares hit sixteen-dollars and millionaires in Burleigh Heads were a dime a dozen. Well, as revealed in our comment pane minutes ago by BeachGrit reader Nick Carroll, who might be related to the two-time world surfing champion Tom Carroll and who is infinitely cleverer than the imbeciles who own this website, shares have actually swung hard the other way.

Down, down, down.

“Umm in case you didn’t notice, Bong did a stock merge in the interim. Your 5000 60c shares should now be 1000 $3 shares,” wrote Nick, “Except they’re not are they. No.”

To which I replied, quoting broadsheet newspaper The Australian. 

“The firm has since made great strides in its rebuilding process, with its share price more than tripling from 45c at the time of the GE Capital agreement.”

To which Nick revealed the true tragedy behind the story, and behind the average man trying to play the market.

“The Australian has fucked up,” writes Nick. “In May 2015, being an idiot, I bought six thousand Billabong shares at 71c apiece, i.e. about $4300 worth. Some time later they conducted their stock consolidation and briefly I had twelve hundred shares worth around $3.60 each. I now have twelve hundred Billabong shares worth $1.23 each, about $1480 worth. This is not a threefold increase I am sad to say. Indeed it is almost the fucken opposite. Now there are analysts’ projections out there suggesting that in the next two years or so, Billabong will turn its current quite negative balance sheet into an impressive positive. Perhaps one day those shares will eventually regain their lost ground. But in the deathless words of Aragorn in The Two Towers’: “It is not this day!””

Were you, like me, briefly rich? Did you examine the price of prestige cars? Maybe a little house by the sea?

How do you feel now that the cold wind of poverty whistles through your threadbare t-shirt, now that the long and gloomy night gathers around you, the ghosts of hope haunting you?

Jack Freestone
Jack Freestone loses hundreds of thousands of hypothetical dollars in two hours! | Photo: Billabong

Rich: Billabong’s Shares Up 300%!

Did you buy Billabong shares at our behest last year? You're rich!

Most stock-market advice is shaky as hell. Ask the real money and they’ll tell you not to jump in unless you have some kind of insider trading, illegal as that theoretically might be. ‘Cause if you don’t get in, or out, early, you can’t even get close to licking the spoon.

On behalf of our readers, last year BeachGrit sought advice on the likely trajectory of Billabong shares, then trading at what seemed a cheap sixty-ish Australian cents apiece.

As we wrote at the time: 

So why buy ’em now at sixty cents?

Billabong have halved the number of retail stores and sold off a few of their biz’s, reducing debt, but, tellingly, a couple of hard-nosed US private-equity companies have bought hard into Billabong.

And the CEO is Neil Fiske, who was instrumental in driving the fortunes of the king of US retail Les Wexner, turning Victoria’s Secret and A & F into the dirtiest of money spinners.

On the creative side, Billabong has hired Roxy’s head designer to help drive Billabong gals, RVCA is starting to soar and Tiger Lily is still an unfulfilled buy.

Most interestingly, Billabong’s founder Gordon Merchant recently dropped $2 million upping his share parcel from 8 to 10 per cent. It’s a move that hints that he is finding the price too good to refuse.

As soon as the market works out the new management with their PE Backers have a plan to restore their old margins and and with Billabong still turning over one billion a year hit makes a share price of little over a dollar likely.

Is it worth a punt? Yeah, if you’re going to stick around for a few years. It’ll jump around, as shares do, but don’t torture yourself by watching the share price on your phone every few hours. Take a long-term view.

Set, forget, and come back when it’s around a buck. Then sell.

Bullish? We weren’t bullish enough.

Today shares sell for $1.23.

You could’t turned that ten k into twenty, fifty-k into a hundred, five hundred into a mill.

And, if you’d got in a little earlier, say, late 2014, you would’ve made a 300 per cent profit.

Did you buy? Are you rich?

Kip Dynamite
I woke up super congested this morning. Gnarly sinus headache to boot. Fucking sucks, I really wanted to go dive. Try and kill some fish. But you can't do that shit when your head tubes are jam-packed with mucus. Or you can, but you'll only do it once. Sinus squeezes hurt like a son of a bitch.

Parker: “I’m taking to the hills!”

Two days left until the election. I've had enough.

I’m taking to the hills.  

Two days left until the election. I’ve had enough.

The first election I was old enough to vote in was Bush v Gore. Total shit show. Lies and fear.  Thought I’d seen the worst. Should’ve known better.

I highly doubt Trump will win, but nothing’s assured in this crazy, mixed-up world. People are sick of ‘PC culture.’ They want to go back to the good old days. When you could say ‘nigger’ without checking the room. When women who didn’t know their place were a non-issue because society denied them upward mobility. When you could be an idiot loser piece of shit with no skills or education or ability to reason. But so long as you were white you had a leg up.

I’ve got a cabin rented in Koke’e. No phone, no internet, no TV. Just silence and cool mountain air and a bunch of booze and some drugs. I’ll be back in time to cast my vote, just don’t want to spend the next couple days constantly checking election coverage. Poking at a gaping wound in my psyche. Reinforcing my natural cynicism.

They want to go back to the good old days. When you could say ‘nigger’ without checking the room. When women who didn’t know their place were a non-issue because society denied them upward mobility. When you could be an idiot loser piece of shit with no skills or education or ability to reason. But so long as you were white you had a leg up.

I feel like I’m in an out of control vehicle. Sitting in the backseat, spinning without traction towards a cliff’s edge. I’ve got no way to change the outcome. Rather than scream in terror I’m just closing my eyes and hoping things work out.

See you in a few days.

Until then, here’s a recipe for Vanilla Ginger Creme Brulee.


2 cups heavy cream

1 cup milk

1/2 cup sugar, plus a few more tablespoons for topping

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 egg yolks


Whisk together the milk, cream, ginger and vanilla, heat to just below a boil, then simmer for thirty minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit for fifteen minutes.

While the milk/cream mixture is steeping, use a electric mixture to whisk together the sugar and egg yolks until they are fluffy and light in color.

Using a strainer to remove solids, slowly add the cream to your eggs. Press down on the solids to squeeze out the delightful ginger flavor. Stir gently using a rubber spatula until well combined.

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.

Now pour your mix into ramekins, you should have enough to fill five, then place them inside a roasting pan. Allow mixture to settle, then either skim off bubbles or burn them off with your kitchen torch. Both options work fine, the second is more fun.

Fill the roasting pan with boiling water to midway up the sides of your ramekins, then pop it in the oven for thirty minutes.

You’ll know if your custard is done if it jiggles slightly when shaken, but is relatively firm. If it’s still too soft return oven at a lower temp and keep an eye on it.

When the center wobbles slightly if jiggled, remove from oven and allow to cool. Then place in your refrigerator for a couple hours.

When you’re ready to eat it, sprinkle sugar on top (use white sugar for best results). Use a torch to burn the sugar, then allow to cool for a few minutes.

Lacking a kitchen torch you can use your broiler to caramelize the sugar.

But a torch is much more fun, and should only set you back thirty bucks or so.

Kelly Slater Wave Pool

Texas Wavegarden Closed Indefinitely!

NLand Surf Park shuts for repairs one month after swinging open its doors.

Do you remember when, just one month after it opened in 2015, the Wavegarden in Wales had to be closed for “urgent repairs?” The Surf Snowdonia tank was closed ’cause of a ripped pool lining and, perhaps, a re-think of its economic viability when sixty casual workers and eight full-timers were sacked. 

In a mirror of the only other commercially operating Wavegarden, NLand Surf Park in Texas has been shut down almost exactly one month after loosing the plough that creates the rippable little swells.

A bummer since nearly every session y’tried to squeeze into had booked out, making a mockery of the naysayers who said they wouldn’t be able to find chumps willing to spend ninety bucks on a ten-wave session. For some visitors, the experience was… divine! 


As our pals at KXAN report:

Neighbors of a new surf park outside Austin say the park is making waves next door, spilling water into their neighborhood. On Monday, the park said they were closing for a week after finding damage under the lagoon. The park, which opened Oct. 7, said they would drain the lagoon and then make repairs.

The Austin Watershed Protection Department confirmed a release of water from the park spread onto nearby property.

“The Watershed Protection Department Spills Team investigated the site and found a discharge of clear water from the park, but they did not find any indication that the water was polluted or chlorinated,” wrote Scott Prinsen, a spokesperson for the watershed protection department. “The department can only enforce water quality issues at the site.”

“It was full of water, I couldn’t even walk through here,” said Patricia Garcia, referring to her driveway.

Garcia wants to make sure this doesn’t happened again and says it has happened before. NLand Surf Park also confirmed that it drained its lagoon Monday and the water ran off of its property.

“[The city] let us know about this and we immediately addressed the issue. We take every opportunity to be good neighbors,” wrote NLand spokesperson Chris Jones in an email to KXAN News.

And, in a poetic response from the pool:

President Theodore Roosevelt famously wrote, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means, effort, pain, difficulty . . . .” President Roosevelt, how prophetic you were, especially when it comes building North America’s first surf park.

The liner in our reef section has been compromised more so than expected by fin and nose cuts and we need to do more extensive repairs. Therefore, we will be closed through November and potentially beyond. If we open, we will personally rebook you.

The line, “If we open…” is a little haunting, don’t you think?

Dirty Nate's Teahupoo paddle-in from 2015 sure did the ring the bell that middle bro had arrived. | Photo: Tim Bonython/@tim_bonython

Nathan Florence: “I can’t do airs!”

Middle Flo don't have wings but watch his eyeballs oscillate when he sees big waves!

Twenty-ish years old and already the middle Florence bro has accumulated much street wisdoms. He ain’t one for getting looped but ain’t afraid of a beer or two either. And his eyeballs will protrude and oscillate wildly when he sees big waves.

BeachGrit likes! Let’s French!

What are your favourite sounds? 

I like the sound of the waves when I go to sleep. We grew up directly opposite the beach and it was always there. You don’t even realise that you like that sound until you stay the night somewhere where you can’t hear it. It’s an addicting sound. It’s a rumbling. There’s a constant static roar and then you’ll hear the sets break… purrrraaah… yeah, that must’ve been a big one. If it’s really big and you can really hear the big ones and the windows shake a little bit, that excites me. It’s a little harder to sleep when you know it’s going to be big in the morning and then it’s calming when it’s summertime and it’s just hitting the beach… super slow.

Tell me about where you live now…

We live directly next to the lifeguard stand at Pipe, right on the beach. My bedroom is in the middle. I share a bedroom with my younger brother Ivan. We have a bunk bed. He’s in the top bunk, I’m on the bottom bunk. It’s a little cave.

In your reading, what books have moved you? 

It’s hard to explain books because after you read one, you’ll always say that was the best book I’ve ever read. But then you read the next one and you’re, like… that one… was the favourite book I’ve ever read. Then you read another one and that is. As you read the next one you forget about the one before. I’ve never read a book I didn’t like ’cause after the first chapter, if I don’t like it, I just put it down. The ones that I finish are the ones that instantly drag you in. I read all the Game of Thrones books. I finished ’em a couple of months ago. Those things are… so… sick. I seriously finished them in a month, I read every one, there’s seven of ’em.

When do you read? 

Right before I go to bed or after surfing, whenever you have time to relax and lay down for a second. Especially in airports. That’s when you really fly through them. I get through, in a session, maybe a hundred pages. I never fall asleep reading. People say they get sick reading in a car but that’s my favourite time to read cause car rides are… boring.

What book inspired you to read when you were a child? 

The first book I read, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe when I was in third grade (six years old). Before that I hated reading. My teacher gave it to me and said, just read this book, maybe you’ll be more psyched on reading after this And I read it, and there’s like seven of those, and, she was right, I …so… psyched on it. And… boom… I read all that series. My grandpa reads a ton so he’s always sending me the books he finishes. He likes the same kinds of books that I like.

What is heaven for you? 

When the waves are firing at home in late winter. Pipe’s going off and everyone’s tired of surfing already ’cause it’s been, like, a week and it’s me and my friends cruising and we’ve surfed all day and relaxing, drinking a couple of beers. You look around, well, I do anyway, and say, yup, this is exactly how I want to live.

What is the most remarkable thing you’ve seen in big waves? 

I’ve seen some crazy stuff John’s done in person. John’s always blowing minds getting barrels. Koa’s last wave in Tahiti was pretty baffling. The Code Red swell (August 27, 2011) was the sickest thing I’ve ever seen in big waves. I love how they’re all eating shit on ’em. And these are the types of waves when people make ’em everyone says, “Oh, if you’d fallen you would’ve died for sure.” But, then, those guys were eating shit on the gnarliest waves possible and surviving perfectly. Nate’s (Fletcher’s) wave. Think about it. If he had made that wave, everyone would’ve said, “There’s no way you would’ve survived if you hadn’t made it. You would’ve died, f’sure.” But he ate shit in the gnarliest part and then…fucken… handled it. That’s the sickest part. When they get the bomb, travel, travel, travel and then… eat… shit. Wipeouts are my favourite.

Does it give you confidence in your own pursuit of big waves seeing guys eat shit and nothing happening? 

Definitely. Whenever you’re going into a big swell, your mind is…it’s a constant little stress case mind battle, I could die, I could die, I could die, but then the thing about those guys is that’s way gnarlier than anything I’ve ever surfed so it’s fate whether you die or not. You don’t have a choice. Those guys were surviving, so fuck…

How would you describe the hierarchy between the three brothers? 

We’re all even to each other. John’s obviously way ahead of me and Ivan performance-wise, I feel like. He has the super competitive drive. He loves the contests whereas I… hate contests. I can’t stand them. I’d rather chase a swell and surf by myself in bigger waves than go grind it out in the CT. Ivan’s the same way, kinda. But then, Ivan has a sicker style. His style is way sicker me or John’s. We each have our little pluses. John is a super human.

Describe Ivan’s style. 

I don’t even know how he’s so smooth, like, Tom Curren and then he has that little drop-knee like…that guy…that air guy… with the long, curly hair and he kinda drop knees…

Craig Anderson…

Yeah, yeah, yeah, he has a sick little drop-knee thing…

How would you describe the personality types of the brothers? 

Ivan is a serious little guy. Very serious little face. I’m more of the sarcastic one who’s making a joke out of everything and then John is just right in between. He can be super mature, just ’cause he has to deal with so many interviews and business-like stuff, but then at the same time he’s more immature than me and Ivan… especially when he gets drunk.

What does he do when he’s boozed? 

He looks like a little kid. He looks like a five year old.

When I was 10, John threw a rock at my face and knocked out all my front teeth. It was completely by accident. He meant to throw the rock at me but he didn’t mean to knock out all my teeth. He threw it from 50 feet away. He had perfect aim.

What’s the worst insult you’ve ever received? 

I’ve never been super super rousted or else I didn’t even take it to heart.

What’s the cruellest thing John or Ivan has said to you? 

I can tell you the cruellest thing ever done to me. When I was 10, John threw a rock at my face and knocked out all my front teeth. It was completely by accident. He meant to throw the rock at me but he didn’t mean to knock out all my teeth. He threw it from 50 feet away. He had perfect aim somehow. I was bodysurfing and he wanted to go up to the house and I said I wanted to stay bodysurfing and then he wanted to get my attention so he started throwing rocks at me. I remember, he was 50 feet away and he winged it, and I watched it arc up and I was looking at it and I was, like, ooh, that kinda looks like it’s coming at me and it was, like, shit, it’s going to hit me and before I could even try and dodge it the thing just smashed into my mouth. I was crunching and I thought the rock had broken on my teeth so I spit it all out and it was all my teeth. I ran up to the house…

What did Alex do? 

She was all pissed. We put ice on my teeth but all the nerves were exposed so the ice hurt super bad and then John got a spanking or something. He got rousted super hard for that one. I felt bad for him.

If you ever wanted to get under John’s skin, how would you insult him? 

Mmmmmm. Mmmmmm. By telling him he was cocky.

He doesn’t like that? 

No, he doesn’t like that. Telling him he’s number one, “Oh, sorry, sorry, John, you’re number one, you’re the guy, we’re sorry!” (Laughter) That’s upsetting to him. He tries to play it down, “Oh, you’re the guy, you’re the guy.” But he knows it’s half-true so he can’t deny it…compleeeetly… but he doesn’t want to be, he’s so modest that he gets super irritated that someone thinks he’s cocky.

What’s right with the world? 

I have no idea what’s right with the world? What do you think is right with the world?

I think what’s right with the world is that everyone is richer beyond their wildest imaginations and kids aren’t crippled with polio and there’s no world war…

…that’s true…

…and there hasn’t been a nuclear explosion in 80 years… 

Mmmmhmmm. Those are all pluses.

…and Obama’s president… 

You think so?

Oh, I do. 

I’ve never thought about presidents at all. I never focus on such things.

To me, it indicates the strength of American society when it elects someone as intellectual as Obama…twice…

I was actually thinking it would be sick if they chose the president by a Gladiator’s tournament. The guys have to be super smart but super good at warfare fighting stuff, too. Like they have to fight their way to the top. They put ’em through a maze kinda thing straight into a battle thing so that our president would be, like, the gnarliest fighter and (italics) the smartest. Then there’s not some guy just giving orders. He could go and destroy (italics) if he wanted to.

What do you like most about yourself? 

I seem to be able to get along with people. I guess that’s a plus.

What do you find hard? 

Airs. I can’t do airs, surfing.

At what level can’t you do airs. Can you land a straight air, a little air rev or are you bereft of wings?

I’ve landed three air reverses in my whole life.

Where does the problem lay, in the mechanics or the lack of desire?

First, I never thought of them. I didn’t care about ’em and then the way people started doing airs, like John, Matt and Albee, those things are actually nuts and then I started trying to do airs. And I just realised that I was a complete  failure at them. The mechanics are foreign to me. I can get myself in the air but no matter what, when I land on my board, I’m eating shit.

Is there anything you wonder about?

I wonder why I can’t be a super hero.

Do you want to be a super hero? 

Yeah. I would like to be Superman. I wonder why there’s none of those in the world. No straight super-humans. How sick would that be?

Oh, it would be a thrill!

I’m bummed I can’t be a super… human. Like the Spartans in Halo or straight Superman himself: laser vision, indestructible. How sick would that be? There’s nothing like that, there’s no way you could possibly beat that.

I wonder if life might seem unsatisfying without danger or fear.

I guess that’s true. There’d have to be some flaw involved. But I think it would be amazing, too. If you ever got frustrated you could destroy whole trees. You could destroy an entire village (with nobody in it).

That would be satisfying. 

Yes, that would be satisfying.

You are so wise for a professional surfer. 

(Mid-level shriek) Ha!

I don’t think I’ve ever encountered such wisdom…

Thank you, sir.

(Note: This story first appeared what feels like a zillion years ago here, hence the Obama refs. On the occasion of John John’s ascendency we reprint.)