EDM scene

“I Gave Up Surf For EDM Dance Scene!”

Surfer gives up the ocean for the clubs and drugs of Colorado.

(Editor’s note: The writer M. Andrew K is a surfer who moved from the Californian coast to Denver, Colorado, to find himself in the electronic dance music scene. It’s a story with little to do with surf except to demonstrate, perhaps, that once you take yourself away from the ocean you lose more than just the sharpness of your skills, the sun on your skin, saltwater in your hair. This is part one of a series.)

The end of all things.

As the four detective vehicles pulled up behind me I knew this wasn’t a normal traffic stop. Samantha looked at me, with terror writ on her face, and squeaked at me that she had never even been in a traffic stop, let alone whatever this was. She asked me what to do, how to deal with this unexpected wrinkle, and my simple response was “keep your fucking mouth shut, let me the talking.”

We had been driving to Red Rocks, planning on attending a concert, carrying numerous different substances on us, both to sell and for personal use. I, a thirty-one-year-old man from Alaska, recently moved to Colorado, exploring the rapid downfall of a midlife crisis. My passenger, Samantha, was 18, blonde, beautiful, and would have more of an impact on my life than any person I had met before. She had been dating my friend Steven when we met but that fiasco was long since over. We spent every waking minute together to the point that she had to move 4 hours from Denver to try and get her life back on track. Being in my orbit during the hurricane of my downfall wasn’t the most mentally safe place to be. That morning we had made an expected stop at my sister Sally’s house, a house it later turned out was under surveillance, in order to receive a small number of necessary items. It was an unplanned stop, an unneeded distraction, and what would end up being the ultimate case of wrong place, wrong time.

As we left the house Sammy decided that she didn’t want to drive anymore. We had been on something of an adventure that morning and she had already driven the four hours from Gunnison to Denver. As I merged on to the highway I was almost immediately pulled over by a patrol car, followed by four unmarked detective vehicles, which leads us back to where we started. At the time I was in possession of a decent quantity of cocaine, ketamine, mushrooms, and molly. Most of the amounts were personal use amounts, everything but the ketamine was a Schedule I or II drug. The officer and detectives proceeded to search our vehicle, finding nothing in the car. It wasn’t until the routine search of me for weapons that they found the sundry substances and I realized just how fucked I was about to be. My only thought at that point was making sure that Sammy was kept out of trouble, her car was kept out of imbound, and that this wasn’t going to grow into a much bigger deal than it seemed like it would be. As they put the cuffs on me I could only stop and reflect on the road that had led me here, the decisions made, the substances used, and the actions taken.

My life began in a small town in Alaska called Eagle River. A wealthy town, a white town, and a town with a laughably low crime rate. Not the kind of place that people like me come from. Not the kind of place that heroin dealers spawn out of. You can’t go home again, but you can tell the story of how home stopped beinng home.

The Frozen North

I was born at 11:56pm on April 27th, 1984. The same day as Ulysses Grant and more or less no one else. I was the result of too much to drink in a small rail town, and the herculean effort of seventeen hours of labor. My father never wanted children, my mother was supposedly barren, and yet there I was, being born. There I was, coming into the light. There I was, starting on a path that would eventually lead me halfway around the world to Iraq and then back to the States for a life of jail cells, parties, and the most devastating and wonderful year and a half of my life. That was still far down the road, though. For now it was enough to be born, dragged screaming and yelling into existence. I didn’t ask to be born, who the fuck was going to pay my bills?”

(Do you want to read part two?)

cyber bully

Tears: “BeachGrit readers bullied me!”

Debut writer thrown to the electronic wolves!

Last Wednesday, I sent Derek a story I wrote about the one time I beat Dane Reynolds in an amateur surf contest. A couple of laughs, maybe some sort of accidental insight into your favourite surfer. A mostly meaningless pre-Christmas treat.

Life’s too serious, right?

I wrote it in one take, didn’t edit it, and knew it ran too long. To my surprise, he liked it. Too my surprise he hardly deleted a word. Too my surprise he said he’d run it live on Friday night to see what the BG readers thought of my work.

Right on!

Let’s just say the comments were less than nice. I had expected as much. BeachGrit commenters are  brutal. And many were still reeling from Rory Parker’s sudden departure.

Also, the piece ran over 1,500 words which rattled the short attention span of those looking for their usual bite sized dose of dirt, of gossip and grit.

A brief sample of the forty-six comments.

“This shit makes me want to kill myself!”

“Rory leaves and the comments turn to absolute fuckery, and the articles become even more so. Not so anti-depressive now. Just a bar full of angry drunks with no pennies left screaming at each other with spittle flying everywhere. Me included.”

It may shock those who described my story as “shite” and that my yarn added “zilch” and “nada” to the Grit, that I have been a surf journalist for over ten years. Print media. I’d been able to make some decent coin writing about surfing so I thought I wouldn’t  care as to what some keyboard warriors had to say about me and my story. Sure, I’m no Nick Carroll. But I’m having a swing, right?

I was enjoying the comments, laughing even, until I…was…triggered.

BG commenter “Chaz Michael Michaels” wrote, “This is like junior English essays I used to grade about ‘My Best Holiday’. You’re 1k words deep, they haven’t got off the fucking plane yet, and when they eventually do it turns out to be the dullest trip ever. Maybe you could try Granny’s Funeral next?”

A good point? Yeah it was.

Yet it brought back memories of my grandma’s funeral, which was recent enough to compel me lash out in the comments. Bad idea. One of my dear editors saw the comment and was kind enough to tell me this, “A lot of writers have a ‘never read the comments’ policy … it’s a rabbit hole!”

Unless, of course, the comments are coming from someone like Nick Carroll, “I’d write short on pieces like this. Too many words, not enough point.”

I’ll take that on the chin too.

Watch for me on slow news days.

Revealed: Music’s best surfer!

Jack Johnson rides a wave you wouldn't even paddle for!

A few months ago I wondered, out loud, who surfing’s best musician is/was. Do you remember that? I kind of don’t but mostly because it Christmas Eve night in Cardiff by the Sea and I am multiple tequila lime juices in and I googled “surfing music beachgrit” to try and remember but only came up with the 10 best surf songs you’ve never heard! by Derek Rielly which I never saw but totally loved just now and where did he find the time to listen to 10 surf songs and…. what was I talking about?

Jack Johnson!

I just now saw on Instagram a photo by the dear dear @laserwolf.photo and SON OF A BITCH!



(sorry I am multiple tequila lime juices in)

Jack Johnson wins!

He is music’s best surfer!

Dear Santa: Gimme a mobile KS wave pool!

That my friends can chill on while I'm rippppppping!

The sun is long up in Australia. Christmas day! And the sun is on its way down in America. Christmas eve! Oh did you get what you asked Santa Claus for? Will you?

I’m hoping, beyond hope, that when I rip down my stairs a Sea Ray SLX-W 230 is wrapped under the tree!

“What’s that?” you ask.

“A mobile Kelly Slater wave pool!” I shout while jumping up and down. “A mobile Kelly Slater wave pool!”


But, real quick, why is Josh Kerr the only person on earth who has made wake surfing look worthwhile? Is it inherently lame? Lame in its very DNA or… what?

What’s going wrong?


Revealed: Surf’s missing link!

The way to grow the money and shrink the crowd!

It is Christmas morn in Australia, eve in America, and good cheer trickles into the even crustiest of hearts. Do you feel joy? Merry? Oh but you should! A great gift has just been given to us by The New York Times! A key to surf industry growth that has eluded for years while not crowding lineups! A way for the World Surf League to reach CEO Paul Speaker’s heretofore absurd projections!

I was reading The Times, see, and stumbled on the story Surfing and Sondheim: What’s on Josh Radnor’s Mind. It intrigued me because I was once married to a musical theater actress. Stephen Sondheim is a big name in that world, having written the music to West Side Story, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, etc. etc. and I loathed it all. I despised both his rhythm and his rhyme. If a piece of Sondheim music comes on when I’m shopping, say, or out to eat I’ll start to sweat  and my eyes will twitch. I’ll feel murderous. Suicidal.

And I did not want his cursed name near the word “Surfing.”

Josh Radnor? I looked up at his picture and saw that he was this guy from that one show.


Anyhow apparently now he is in an Off Broadway production and blah blah blah and the article was a list of things he was interested in. I skimmed quickly to get to the surfing part which read:

William Finnegan’s “Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life”: Mr. Radnor tends to read many books at once, “which is actually a problem,” and he was still in the middle of this memoir. “It’s a lot about surfing, which I’m kind of weirdly obsessed with without knowing how to do it well at all.” He had to learn a few years ago for the Jill Soloway movie “Afternoon Delight.” Now, he said, “I just love to sit and watch. There’s something so meditative about it.”

And I thought “Here it is! The missing link!”

The industry/WSL should push surfing onto the masses like meditation! Self-help and not something you do but something you sit and watch. Beach mats would fly off the racks as the population runs to the beach looking for meaning! Surf watching shorts too with pocket zips that keep sand and pesky crabs away!

The WSL would have to change the programming a bit. Maybe score heats with Krishna Das music and lose the singlets and also maybe lose the entire commentary team besides Joe Turpel who’s voice is like warm honey dripped into an ear and as empty as the wind but Paul Speaker’s billions would tune in because of surf viewing’s restorative qualities!