Sockie, Biggie and Sabre Norris. Startling! | Photo: Campbell Brown

BeachGrit TV: Sabre Norris’ Sugar Dreams!

Come visit the family who defeated ordinariness!

It was two days before Christmas when an eleven-year-old girl called Sabre Norris gifted me the true nature of family. While my own house of cards was collapsing in a welter of sorrow, the foundations made rotten by poor husbandry, hers was exalting in each others’ complexities.

The mother of the four remarkable kids, Brooke, looked at me at one point, maybe we were talking about home-schooling or maybe it was when I walked into the backyard and was in the shadow of a mega skate ramp and three other smaller half-pipes, and said, “We’re actually very straight. We’re not alternative at all.”

In the surf, I’d asked Sabre, whom you’ve seen on Ellen, Today Show etc, what grade she was in.

“I don’t know,” she said. “I’ve never been to school. I don’t even know what it looks like in a classroom.”

For the Norris kids, Nazzie, Biggie, Sockie and Sabre, family is a shelter, the walls steeled with respect and love. Each kid has a role, each parent has a role (Brooke is the firm matriarch, pops Justin the juicy clown), and the pack just… succeeds.

My spirit was lofted into the air when Sabre wrote her own version of our day together. 

I figured a story on Sabre would make a slight diversion in our Like Bitchin‘ TV series. I brought along the director Luke Farquhar and photographers Stefan Hunt and Campbell Brown to spotlight, in documentary form, the path the family has taken, and Sabre’s virtuosity at everything.


Gerry Lopez: Rekindling the Flame at Uluwatu!

Thirty years later, a surfing legend returns to an entirely different Bali

Gerry Lopez is a living legend. He was a Pipe Master before that was an official title, was one of the first Americans to surf the storied Indonesian reefs, and he’s Bendier than a day-old Twizzler. That was an obscure dual reference to his yoga proclivities and current place of residence in Oregon.

Back in June of 2015, Gerry took a trip back to Bali — his first time in thirty years. As you can imagine, much has changed since his initial sojourn to the Spice Islands, wherein the Bukit Peninsula was only sparsely populated and surfers had just began to discover the wonderful waves on Bali’s southern tip.

Gerry’s return was sparked by a yoga convention that would be held atop the cliff at Temples and led by Gerry himself. The program was presented by Project Clean Uluwatu, an initiative that encourages local people to keep the sacred temple immaculate through proper sanitary and waste management techniques. So far, they’ve succeeded in construction bio-septic systems and creating wastewater gardens for the Uluwatu region.

The More Things Change (below) was made possible by Patagonia, a company that seems to do everything right — ethical manufacturing, maintaining stringent environmental standards, donating copious cash to charity and providing exemplary customer service — and still manages to stay afloat. I’m not sure how they do it, but more power to them.

The film is beautifully filmed and produced, and offers direct insight to the mind and body of a surfing hero. Take a half hour out of your day and give it a watch. Regret this you will not.

Question: Is WSL discriminatory?

Does the World Surf League reflect our diversity?

Let’s get right to the point today. Let’s not come in with some sort of pithy lead, some sort of vaguely clever, but only vaguely clever in the moment, introduction. Let’s just put our heads down and ask a very difficult question.

Is the World Surf League discriminatory?

Think of all the waves on tour and when they occur. Snapper (summer), Maggies (summer), Bells (fall), Rio (perpetual summer), Fiji (tropics), J-Bay (winter), Tahiti (tropics), Trestles (indian summer), France (fall), Portugal (fall), Pipe (Hawaii).

And how many of them are cold-ish?

One. Maybe sometimes Bells and Portugal too.

And how many of them are proper cold?


Does the league think that fine waves don’t break in proper cold water? Does the league believe that “surfing” only happens warm?

For shame. And let’s stand behind our brothers surfing in the upcoming Cold War in winter New Jersey. They say you will not experience a colder cold. Very freezing etc. Let’s stand behind them and glare at the draconian, discriminatory World Surf League. Let’s shout NOT MY PRESIDENT! I mean…. ummmmm GO TO HELL PAUL SPEAKER! Or….. wait. Something angry but pithy.

Crème: Noa’s Lost Archives

One last hurrah underfoot the fabled R Dot

Do you know what is probably the worst part of being a pro surfer? It’s not the airports or the reef rash or the inability to maintain any semblance of a normal relationship, but rather the putting on and peeling off of stickers.

Have you considered the density of modern pro’s quiver? It’s close to a million surfboards. Do you know how many sponsors they possess? If you’re Adriano or Medina, it’s about three hundred-thousand. And what’s three hundred-thousand stickers by one million surfboards by two sides per board? A fucking death sentence.

I actually heard that Gab’s boards come pre-rigged with laminated cut-outs below the resin. This means less drag in the water but more importantly, he’s not spending hours every week adorning his foamy crafts.

But what happens if he loses a sponsor? Does he throw the boards out? Or does he give them to a little favela fella, in hopes of inspiring a life-altering dedication to a far-fetched dream? Chances are he throws them out. Can’t risk spawning the next Gabriel Medina. Could be his competition in fifteen years.

Well, Noa Deane recently faced this conundrum with his shift from R Dot to V Stone.

The video below shows Noa flexing, hard, on some Rusty-nosed foam. He surfs a well-known set of points in Mexico, performing a series of tubes, carves, and very much only straight airs. Literally not a rotation in sight. He must’ve taken Christian Fletcher’s air-rev shots without a hint of lime nor a grain of salt.

But back to the point.

When 2017 came a-knockin’, do you think Noz spent the time to de-Rusty his bevy of sleds, or did he simply place Stone directly atop R Dot? These are the questions that addle my brain!

Deal: Let’s get some new-ish boards!

Life is a wonderful win-win with the Surfboard Broker!

Two years ago on the walk to Lower Trestles, I came across a sticker on the tracks that read #surfboardbroker and was curious to know who was worthy of such a title. Flipped through Instagram and found out there was a guy in Carlsbad, California who was changing the way people buy, trade, and sell surfboards.

Like all great business enterprises in their infancy, Surfboard Broker began out of a garage selling surfboards they procures from trips to the team houses on the North Shore as well as buying pro trade-ins direct from shapers. They post their live stock to Instagram and delete the board’s post once it sells; offering shipping for reasonable prices.

Last year, a giant purple bitch was flinging its sexy self into the shores of San Diego- thrice the size of a normal winter swell. In the back of my car, I had two boards. A 5’10 thruster, and a 5’4 Hypto Krypto. Neither would please her. I needed girth! I needed more foam.

The Hypto Krytpo I knew was like buying a Toyota being that it had high re-sell value so I set up a meeting with the Surfboard Broker and pawned it off with a set of fins for $400 dollars credit.

I went through the racks of boards and found a 7’4 Minigun hand shaped by Rusty Preisendorfer that had never been ridden. It was made for one of his employees so it already was discounted but by God was it beautiful! Double stringer, six ounce glass, five fin option, tinted a deep purple and with an 80’s beak for getting one down the face when it mattered most. The guy that it was made for thought it was a tad too narrow, so for a trade and $250 out of pocket, I was able to secure a board in time for the swell.

The SurfBoard Broker offers a service that is far better than dealing with randoms off Craigslist when it comes to buying and selling used surfboards. No price haggling or dings hidden by stickers and wax, just a very efficient way of consolidating a quiver to get what you really want/need. The young biz is booming having expanded to Hawaii and Australia.

This convenience of being able to swap and trade gives one the ability to rotate out surfboards and try a variety of designs and shapes without ever having to shell out for custom.

And here is an idea. Order a new board, ride it and if you don’t like it, instead of continuing to surf a dud, trade it in for something different until you find that magic sled. Or you can always rotate around the forecast. Trade a groveler for a step up when the swell calls for it and trade back when it drops.

Doesn’t hurt shapers either as many deal with the Surfboard Broker as a way to off set the costs of their surf teams. You see, a guy like Tim Stamps will make a batch of boards with back ups ranging in size for his team riders to travel and use in competition. But let’s say they only feel comfortable surfing on two of twelve, those other ten that have nothing wrong with them other than being dismissed by a hard to please pro, are scooped up by the Surfboard Broker and sold for a fair price.

Everybody wins.

Shapers keep progressing designs while pros and average joes get to experiment and know what it likes to ride boards with foam white as snow.