Luke Munro pictured here in real time not being afraid of the Internet.
Luke Munro pictured here in real time not being afraid of the Internet.

2016: The year print officially died!

Or how I learned to stop worrying and love the net!

I remember so many years ago when I was a young pup in the surf game. Green as a Bay Packer. I remember writing my surfing stories and sending them via Netscape to Derek Rielly all the way across the ocean in Australia. Stories about hot up and coming pros like Nathan Webster and Luke Stedman and Luke Munro!

And then I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Until three months passed and there, in the mailbox, was my issue of Stab magazine!

Oh I would rush it inside and flip through its pages, re-reading my work and sometimes so much time had flowed by between the writing and the publishing that various subjects were either dead or irrelevant or both.

But still. The thrill!

Yet even in those early years Derek Rielly was not impressed. “Print. Ugh…” he would tell me via fax machine. “It is going away and good riddance.”

But I didn’t believe him. I believed in the tactile quality of a magazine. The way it felt, looked, could be saved and loved.

Magazines forever!

Fast forward to 2016 and Derek Rielly is, officially, right. This is the year that Surfer went quarterly and Stab went bi-curious and the rest folded or faded away completely aside from Surfing which won the print wars by lasting as a monthly-ish the longest of all even though rumors swirl about its future altogether.

The Surfer’s Journal? Oh that has always been a book, each issue to be treasured and passed from generation to generation.

And do you know what? I thought I would be sad. I thought I would miss the feel and look. The saving and loving. But in reality I could not care less. I was sent a very thoughtful care package of surf magazines recently. I flipped through the first one and do you know what it smelled like?

Death and irrelevance.

The rest went straight into the recycling bin and my heart soared. We are now untethered!

We are free!

Luke Munro exists in real time not in some stifled version of three months ago.

Luke Munro forever!

Rory’s Repeats: “Crack is Awesome!”

Come revisit Rory Parker's best stories for BeachGrit!

“I used to do drugs.  I still do, but I used to, too.”

A great man once said that, and it’s as true today as ever. Drugs and surfing go together like peanut butter and bananas and while we like to pretend we’re a culture of hard-body vegan sun worshippers the truth is that more than a few of our heroes have hoovered enough illicit substances that a simple blood test would earn them a Balinese death sentence.

We acknowledge the hard partying eighties, but the notion that drug use on tour ended the day Kong became Elko is about as realistic as the belief that Volcom’s B-team house is the safest place for a single woman on Oahu’s North Shore.

Now let’s discuss.

Opiates: Oh, opiates, the silver lining to injury’s grey cloud. I should write a love sonnet expounding their merits. They’ll make you feel motivated, euphoric, and popping a 5/325 Norco first thing in the morning will alleviate those early morning aches and pains that are a result of a childhood spent eating shit on your skateboard. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last. Soon enough you’ll develop a healthy tolerance, start upping your dose, and end up a bloated waste of space with a clay filled colon.

A little known fact: the proper dose of hydrocodone will give you a semi-numb, rock-hard boner that’ll leave your girl limping.

 Mushrooms: Best served with a summer bodysurf, mushrooms are the greatest thing to ever sprout from a pile of shit. Of course, psychedelics aren’t for everyone. If you’re battling personal demons there’s a good chance they’ll bring ’em to the forefront of the ol’ psyche and you’ll spend the rest of the day curled up in a corner reliving that time you asked Kim Peterson to the fifth grade sock hop and she said, “Ew!’ and all her friends laughed at you. Fuck that chick.

But most of the time they’re a blast. Just be sure and avoid the dreaded double dose. Just because they haven’t kicked in yet is no reason to take more. Unless, I guess, you want to experience a hellish polygonal reality that seems profound but is really just empty nonsense.

Weed: Marijuana is great, but I’ve never understood the guys who get lit before surfing. Weed makes me lazy, slow, and fearful, a terrible combination in anything but gutless burgers. It’s great for, literally, everything else though.

Coke: I hear that blow was great back in the eighties, but I’ve never really understood the modern day appeal. It’s a great way to trick yourself into thinking you’re sober enough to drive, and you can use it to lure a certain type of slag back to your house when the bars are closing, but it’s otherwise useless. It’s a once-or-twice-a-year drug, when you’re drunk enough to think a bump is a good idea, only to quickly realize that all it does it cancel out all the good downers you’ve already taken.

Crack: One time when I was in college a guy I knew came over and asked if I wanted to smoke some opium with him.

“Of course,” I replied, soon followed by, “This is fucking awesome!”

I felt so alive!  I immediately grabbed my board, drove to the beach and had the best session of my life in overhead closeouts. The next day I asked him if he could hook me up with his opium guy.

“Dude, that wasn’t opium,” he said, “That was crack.”

In summary: Crack is fucking awesome.

Meth: Like coke, I just don’t get the appeal of meth. It burns like a motherfucker, turns you into a sexual degenerate and leads to hours long conversations with skin-picking shitbag losers about nothing at all. But an entire generation of Santa Cruz surfers put it to good use while heaving themselves over the Maverick’s ledge and into the history books, so there’s gotta be something to it.

Alcohol: Booze makes you more clever, more confident, and better looking. It greases the wheels in awkward social situations and lowers your standards enough to make sexual conquests far easier. It also made me fat so I don’t get to drink anymore for a while.

Benzodiazepines: Better known by their brand names, Valium, Xanax, Klonopin and Ativan- benzos are a must have for any international surf trip. A couple of Xanax before boarding is like flipping your mind’s off-switch, making a six-hour coach-bound hell flight feel like a ten minute nap.  Beware. Mixing them with alcohol dangerously lowers inhibitions. So, unless you feel like showing the flight attendant your dick, it’s probably best to skip the pre-flight cocktails.

Heroin: A drug dealer I befriended while in Egypt offered me some heroin one night and, well, I didn’t want to be rude.

Heroin is the best thing ever. Better than sex, surfing, or a mother’s love. Dangerously so, in fact.  Stay the hell away from heroin. Unless you don’t plan on living much longer, then I say go right ahead. I know that, if I somehow make it into my seventies, I plan on riding that horse straight into the grave.

Hashish: On an somewhat related note, did you know that Egypt has killer hash? The stuff is everywhere and Egyptians are more than happy to share with their visiting American friends.  There’s not much better than sucking down a huge spliff and going for a freedive in the Red Sea. I’m not really sure what BeachGrit‘s stance is on the country, because of, you know, the whole Israel thing, but I fucking love the place. Morocco sucks though, nothing but a bunch of underemployed Berber thieves. I don’t get why Chas loves it so much.

LSD: I’ve never taken acid, the opportunity never presented itself. But I recently officiated a wedding and was paid in a couple hits of what is supposedly some super high grade stuff. It’s in a plastic bag, stuck to my fridge with a magnet, calling my name.

In conclusion, drugs are great, and you should take them. Just don’t get caught and for the love of god, don’t try to smuggle them into any third world countries.

Dane and backpack
Are you convinced you have the gun and the ammo to be a prolific surf writer? Are you unafraid of the telephone? Do discussions involving new season backpacks thrill you beyond measure? Yes? Well come inside! | Photo: Morgan Maassen

Advice: So you want to be a surf writer?

An Open Letter To Applicants For Rory Parker's Job.

Dear Bros, Dreamers, and everyone currently spunking pretty pastiches into Chas’ inbox,

Let me save you some time.

You know why there aren’t many great surf writers? Because it’s hard as fuck to be good at writing and surfing. Both involve lifelong learning. It’s not enough to love surfing, you need to love language as well. You need to put in the hard yards among the pages and the seaweed.

I know you think “I got 19 upvotes one time, I can do that!”

But you can’t.

You really can’t.

You may think you can do what Chas does. You may think you can replicate his Jackson Pollock approach to sentence structure, but I’m afraid you can’t. Not convincingly. If you can’t appreciate language in the first place then you can’t appreciate the craft of linguistic fuckery either.

I don’t care how well you surf. Doing surfing a bit good doesn’t mean you have worthwhile things to say. I’ve spent time in classrooms and jail cells. I would consider myself to have done solid work in each, but I sure as fuck don’t think I can be a teacher or a copper. Good surf writing is about writing, not surfing. If all you’ve done is surf then you’re wasting your time trying to be a writer.

You may think you can do what Chas does. You may think you can replicate his Jackson Pollock approach to sentence structure, but I’m afraid you can’t. Not convincingly. If you can’t appreciate language in the first place then you can’t appreciate the craft of linguistic fuckery either.

On recent evidence, a failed pro career and a SoCal address should actively discourage you from writing about surfing. You’re already a failure. The ship of language and literature has definitely sailed, my friend, and you’ll probably never catch up. Come back when you’ve served your time in life’s library. See you when you’re 50, maybe. You still won’t be fit to lace Matt Warshaw’s boots.

If all you’ve ever read is “surf journalism” (and Barbarian Days) then you’re not a writer. Maybe you once made it through a whole issue of The Surfer’s Journal as well. Wow.

If you’ve habitually disregarded other forms of art and literature then you’re not worth listening to. Watch a play, read some poetry, listen to rap.

If you think being able to identify an adverb is deeply wanky, then you’re not a surf writer. If you don’t understand structural features like listing, repetition, or rule-of-three, then you’re not a surf writer. If you can’t explain to me what a semi-colon does; then you don’t have the right to never bother using semi-colons. And if you don’t know what a rhetorical question is then you’re definitely not a surf writer, are you?

What about imagery? Do you see images made of words like Neo sees The Matrix? Can you weave language like silver ropes, and bind mingled swirls of fiction and fact? Your words should come back to the reader like hoisted water ravelling off a bucket, just like the singing of Heaney’s blind neighbour in At The Wellhead.

You should understand that story, narrative, is the single, defining factor that steered the evolution of human beings and captains our will to carry on. Be aware of everyone from Hans Christian Andersen to Nasir Jones.

Be purposeful when you write. Don’t be faux anything or evangelistic anything else. Understand irony. Be learn’d. You don’t exactly need a foundational knowledge of Greek philosophy but you should have something interesting to say. “One original thought is worth a thousand mindless quotings”. (Diogenes.)

Acknowledge those who laid the flagstones of your passion. I’d be willing to bet the sharpened edge of surf commentary was forged by the whetstone of literature. I’d bet Longtom has a working knowledge of the works of George Mackay Brown. Sean Doherty has read more books than you’ve had hot cocks. Finnegan’s a straight up scholar in mullet’s clothing.

Make your reader work but don’t fucking insult them. It’s your duty to stitch and to sew, and to make your words glow. Don’t ever submit without editing. Edit then edit again. Weave, scrub, buff and shine. And remember: economy of words, not economy of language.

And finally, if you think that the digital spunk-bubble generation has the capacity to appreciate anything over 600 words you’re dreaming…

Debate: Is Nazaré now equal to Jaws?

Did you once snigger? Do you now gasp?

Is it just my faulty memory or is it true that when Nazaré burst onto the scene it was considered an optical illusion? An oversized bunny hill? Not too tough? Teeheehee?

I dug into the archives and found this piece from Derek Rielly from two-ish years ago…

As the UK’s Daily Telegraph reported, “It’s the world’s most powerful and monstrous wave – yet it didn’t put daredevil surfers off showcasing their skills.”

I can hear you laugh! Me too!

Derek then goes on to quote the great Shane Dorian who says:

The place is a logistical nightmare. We lost a couple of skis. And, it’s really hard to do rescues there, really really hard. Each surfer needs his own water rescue guy on a ski. At all times. It’s really super dangerous. There’s a cliff there. All that shit.

Scary! And whispers of Naz not being up to standard faded. Right? Is my narrative correct? Is Nazaré now accepted on equal footing with Maverick and Jaw?

Is it world-class?

Watch these gorgeous new angles from RED BULL (suck it WSL!) and debate!

Daddy wants me to pave paradise and put in a parking lot!
Daddy wants me to pave paradise and put in a parking lot!

Just in: Ivanka Trump blesses Hawaii!

She is Making Hawaii Great Again!

How many times have you watched the video clip of Mason Ho weaving that Pipeline monstrosity on Christmas day? Seven times? Eleven? I will cop to a full fifteen and counting.

It is magnificent!

But how did that wave arrive? Where did it come from?

Now that Rory Parker and his toothless but so angry liberalism has left the building we can tell you.

Ivanka Trump!

The force of nature arrived in Hawaii for the holidays (her husband is Jewish so we call them “holidays” not “Christmas”) and Made Hawaii Great Again by bringing sexy beach lingerie along with a heap of PUMPING SWELL!


Did you even know sexy beach lingerie existed?

And you still don’t believe me?

Watch this! Then watch it again and again and again and Make Hawaii Great Again!

Ooooooooeeeeee! Does it get any better?

Could it thrill you any more?

And do you remember the final day of the Pipeline Masters when… who won again… won? It was slop! Piddly! Kanoa Igarashi! But that is because Ivanka Trump wasn’t there yet.

Oh sure the angel’s father doesn’t believe in global warming and soon half of the ocean will be floating with plastic and nuclear holocaust etc. etc. etc. but look at this wave!

Look at this WAVE!

It is a wave I would suffer nuclear holocaust for!

Wouldn’t you?