Rumor: Slater wave pool disappointing?

Is Kelly Slater's magnificent creation maybe not so magnificent?

Maxim magazine (do you recall the lad craze?) just published a wide ranging profile on our cherished treasure, Kelly Slater, and it might be worth your reading! Oh you’ll know most of the information already. Like:

At 18, Slater turned professional and quickly won his first pro contest, the Body Glove Surf Bout, at Lower Trestles in California. He signed a six-figure deal with Quiksilver. Two years later, he claimed his first World Championship, the youngest surfer in history to do so. Slater mania was born. He was a regular on Baywatch and dated celebrities like Pamela Anderson and Gisele Bündchen. He modeled underwear for Versace and opened for Pearl Jam with his own band, the Surfers.


For the past few years, however, the greatest surfer of all time has sought more than great waves. “He’s trying to do some good in the world,” says Pete Johnson, an Oahu, Hawaii, native who’s been friends with Slater for 30 years. “He’s passionate about other things and aspires to be a better man.” Slater is a voracious reader, whether the subject is business, nutrition, or cancer, the disease that took his father in 2002. He’s hands-on with the Kelly Slater Foundation, which has supported the fight against cystic fibrosis and melanoma. He’s become more conscientious, making sure to take time to call friends going through hard times. He’s expanding his horizons. Evolving. “I strive to be better and better in all aspects of my life and to learn as much as I can about the things that interest me,” Slater tells Maxim.

But worth your reading because there might be some hidden nugget, some clue as to the actual quality of Kelly Slater’s wonderful wave. You remember him releasing that video of it 20 minutes after Adriano de Souza accomplished his life goal and hoisted the WSL cup as high as those tiny arms could?

It seemed a fantasy! Too good to be true! Wait. Was it too good to be true? Theories rumbled around about how it would take 4 hours between waves for the water to clean up. Or was it 30 minutes? About how there was no actual trough on the wave. About how the barrel was only an illusion when shot from certain angles.

Since the video’s release a good number of people have surfed it though the fog of misinformation still hovers, leaving the rest of us to parse reactions. And there is an interesting one in the Maxim story!

Pete Johnson, Slater’s friend for 30 years, recently surfed it and said:

“It didn’t disappoint but Kelly’s always seeking to improve it.”

Whoa! Does that mean it kind of did disappoint? What do you think?

Kelly Slater with hair
To avoid ruination, experts say the surf industry should "hitch their brands to the wellness trend." An atrocity, yes? Like Kelly Slater with hair! | Photo: @kelly_slater_with_hair

How yoga pants can save surf!

Why the surf industry should forget surf and get into wellness, say experts.

The surf industry, like skate and snow, rides the boom-bust cycle with precise timing. One year it’s up, the next it’s down. Up, down, up down. It’s a roller-coaster. Always has been, always will.

Wanna know why? Because it’s a sport.

And some years the kids are riding scooters, sometimes it’s skateboards, sometimes it’s a surfboard. But there’s a base level of surfers, millions of us, enough to keep the meters ticking, the tills buzzing, the websites clicking. It’s only when companies go public, and they become beholden to the mantra of perpetual profitability, and they suck and suck onto a rapidly withering teat, that panic buttons are pushed. Non-surf CEOs hired; entire boards sacked.

You know the stories:

Quiksilver, six hundred mill and debt and thrown into Chapter 11. 

Billabong, saved from the brink. 

Surf Stitch, worst performing company on the Australian Stock Exchange. Sued by the very people trying to buy it. 

The need to feed shareholders’ expectations and dumb acquisitions brought ’em all to the point of ruin.

Anyway,  retail analysts interviewed by The Sydney Morning Herald in a story called How the Surf Brands Missed the Wellness Wave say all the misery of sackings and restructuring could’ve been avoided if they’d just started punching out yoga pants. One point five bill a year in “wellness” biz in Australia alone.

Let’s examine etc.

Retail analyst Steve Kulmar said the proliferation of the major surf brands ultimately undermined the integrity of the labels and robbed them of their unique value but he said they also missed the chance to hitch their brands to the wellness trend.

This created a chance for the active wear sector and he said this slice of the apparel market was growing exponentially.

“All the growth in apparel is in active wear; it’s trans-seasonal and people are prepared to pay for it” Mr Kulmar said.

He said wellness had been identified as one of the key growth areas in retail and this was in stark contrast to the “macho, extreme sports profiles” of the big surf brands.

“It’s just another chapter in the pretty sad state that the surf industry is in at the moment,” one analyst said.

Meanwhile, the wellness titan and bullishly expansionist Lululemon has moved into surf. 

What’s the greater atrocity? Lululemon Surf or Billabong/Quik Yoga?

Olympics: Surfing site just announced!

Get ready for Kelly Slater, John John Florence, Mick Fanning etc. to rock some hot beach break!

Remember when surfing was officially included in Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic Games? I do like it was yesterday! Tears of joy streamed down my cheeks as I furiously dialed World Surf League CEO Paul Speaker so we could share the moment together.

He didn’t answer and I’ve been so hurt ever since.

I mean, not hurt. I’m totally over him now. Like, whatever right? There are plenty of CEOs in the sea. Yeah?

Whatever. And today the International Olympic Committee officially announced the surfing venue!

Kujukuri Beach in Chiba prefecture some 100 km east of Tokyo!

And not Kelly Slater’s Ranch 10000 km east of Tokyo!

Have you been there? Have you surfed?

Here’s a video posted by Olympic hopefuls so you can start training.

The Inertia: “Dane hypocritical as fuck!”

Venice-adjacent sometime surf website gets mad!

If you have ever visited li’l old BeachGrit on consecutive days then you’ll know how much I love to kick against The Inertia’s goads! I feel the crew operating out of a second story Venice-adjacent office mostly deserves. The Huffington-esque brand of socially aware identitarianism they peddled is worthy of ridicule.

But this morning writer J.P. Currie stepped up to the tofu-scented mic and got very angry whilst calling out Dane Reynolds!

Very pointed!

Very personal!

Shall we read an abridged version? Well it wouldn’t be BeachGrit if we refused!

Firstly, and screamingly obviously, is that everything Dane says in Chapter Eleven – especially with regard to his disillusionment with tying capitalism to surfing and benefiting immensely from that arrangement – is totally undermined by advertising his new brand “Former” at the end of the piece. Did nobody really realize that Chapter 11 is actually just a commercial? Ironic, huh. It’s akin to having an AA meeting then all going out afterward to smash some shots in celebration of the meeting. It’s short-sighted at best and hypocritical as fuck at worst.

I also take issue with his little dismissive diatribe about who to thank. As he says: “I feel like I should thank Quiksilver…but who is Quiksilver? Who do I thank? Everyone I knew that worked there is gone.”

Well, Dane, unless you mean “gone” as in dead, then presumably there are human beings who helped you that you could still namecheck, whether they work for Quik or not anymore. And failing that, how about you just give a nod to the fans? An acknowledgement to the surf fans of the world who gobble up every meager scrap of surf meal that you deign to throw them like desperate, pathetic little chickens. These people have made you a millionaire because they like watching you ride a surfboard. They deserve a little credit.

Surely the noble thing to do (if Dane truly has a deep personal conflict with the idea of attaching surfing and his likeness to a commercial enterprise) would be to disappear altogether. To walk away. Get rid of that corporate monster called Vans and the other patrons who supply that sweet surfin’ cash. Ditch it all, look after your family, surf. Be grateful that you made millions of dollars from surfing when you felt like it. Be grateful that you are a rich, white man living in an affluent coastal suburb. Be grateful that you traveled the world to surf and have had incredible experiences. But most of all, stop pimping yourself out in order to try to sell us stuff. If it’s truly so conflicting, then it’s disingenuous. Better yet, why not do your part to fundamentally change the tie between your profession and your artistic integrity and hold your head high?


But refreshing? And I must tip my pretend fedora Venice-adjacent’s way! Oh it’s not that I agree with Mr. J.P. Currie. The issue of “selling out” in the arts has been debated for so many ages. I harken back to Nirvana, who I loved so dearly as a weird Oregon youth. The band’s juice came from being weird, from being outcasts, but then fame and fortune and the outcasts who felt kindred all of a sudden felt burned. And Nirvana wrote Rape Me.

I think Dane is also a particular sort of outcast artist and his seemingly genuine struggle with how to marry beauty and commerce is real. He is part of a noble history stretching from Leonardo Da Vinci to Bobby Dylan to Zach Weisberg to Basquiat to Albert Camus. He was lucky enough to make money and unlucky enough to not really want it so crazy bad.

So no, I don’t think Dane is any more hypocritical than you or me. But The Inertia throwing a grenade up toward Ventura for no real reason is almost fun.

Throw one down to Cardiff-by-the-Sea next!

Science: Cori Schumacher is dull!

It's an undeniable truth! A proven fact!

Oh how I have come to love the internet or rather internet writing. I used to pen bits trying only to think down the road. Would it be relevant in three weeks? A month? Six months? Such a headache because we exist in surf.


Now I only think, “Will this be funny for 15 minutes?”

Relevancy has been tossed out the window and good riddance!

Which brings us to Rory’s Wife.

Do you recall yesterday when she wrote a piece in defense of Rory’s podcast interview with surfer cum politician Cori Schumacher?

I don’t but let’s go over the details here!

Derek Rielly refused to post Rory’s recording because he found it:

soft, predictable, conformist, complainist, her life story dull and her stories anything but spectacular enough to warrant asking our readers to give it an hour of their lives. I know you dig her stuff, and that’s cool, but I couldn’t find one moment that might lift the interview from complaint-fest to… 

how to change the world. 

If that’s what she’s trying to. 

I felt like I was stuck at a party in Portland listening to the same old tired tropes, getting drunker and drunker trying to drown out this grim women burning my ears. 

But, above all, it has zero relevance to our readers. 

And did that ever rankle Rory’s Wife! She wrote, in response:

I could not disagree with Derek more. I found Cori to be intelligent, articulate, and downright inspiring. We all bitch and moan about shit that goes down in our respective communities. Cori not only successfully defeated a giant shoreline development, she one up’d herself and ran for local office.

She proceeded to berate him in the most passive aggressive way and continued to gloat today apparently buoyed by the comments underneath the story. Except comments are wonderful but science is science and would you like to know how much Rory’s Cori Schumacher interview was viewed/listened to?


Yeah that’s 500+ next to 10k-ish for pedestrian stories about Gabi’s daddy. A lead balloon even by BeachGrit‘s lowly standards.

Which says nothing about Rory and Rory’s wife. Their attempted bedding of an unwilling participant has been our artistic high water mark.

It just proves Derek was right. And God bless him. And God bless Rory and Rory’s Wife for continuing the happy tradition of allowing me to squeeze tons of juice off one fruit!