Wiggoly Dantas
It's easy to roll our eyes at two-dollar surfboard sob stories and starving families in favelas when your quiver runs from a fish to a step-up and hits Craigslist after two pressure dings. We will never know, to quote one Brazilian Pro, "The sound of my father crying because he could not buy me a soccer ball." And, contrary to western belief, a favela does not constitute a third-floor walk-up with only two flat-screen TV's, a paltry 200 channel selection and wall unit ACs that you have to get up off the couch to turn on. | Photo: WSL

How Afro-Studs Cuckolded Surf!

Three reasons why Brazilians own the tour…

(Editor’s note: Travel with a Brazilian troupe and you’ll be privy to the secret of their success. Every wave, every sunset, every afro-beat is celebrated as if they were starving men chewing a crust of bread. For the past week, I’d travelled with Filipe Toledo and his filmers Bruno Baroni and Erick Proost through Mexico and was continually saturated in their awesomeness. In the water, Filipe broke into applause at the tomato sunsets. After dark, MC Delano got ’em all dancing. This morning when I landed back home, I woke to an email from the writer Giancarlo Guardascione who must’ve read my mind. Why does Brazil own surf? Three reasons.)

1. We (you) Will Never Know Paris (Brazil)…

Henry Miller wrote Tropic of Cancer (originally called Crazy Cock! ’cause he, was, like, having sex with everything in The City of Lights). He was living in Paris when his girlfriend came to visit him. She told him, “Show me the Paris you write about.” His answer? “It was impossible. It is a Paris that has to be lived. That has to be experienced each day in a thousand different forms of torture. A Paris that grows in side you like a cancer, and grows and grows until you are eaten away by it. ”

It’s easy to scoff and roll our eyes at two-dollar surfboard sob stories and starving families in favelas when your quiver runs from a fish to a step-up and hits craigslist after two pressure dings. We will never know, to quote one Brazilian Pro, “The sound of my father crying because he could not buy me a soccer ball.” And, contrary to western belief, a favela does not constitute a third-floor walk-up with only two flat-screen TV’s, a paltry 200-channel selection and wall unit ACs that you have to get up off the couch to turn on. Ever ask a war veteran to describe his time in battle, a mother what it’s like to birth/raise a child or a Kardashian to explain long division? Like explaining life in Brazil to someone who doesn’t live it. Incomprehensible.

2. Dance (airs)

Show your typical white guy a dance floor with a thumping techno track in the background  and watch him wilt like Trump at a Cinco de Mayo party, desperately praying that the fist-pump corner is alive and pumping. Just mentioning Samba, Carimbo or Capoeira is enough to make a stiff pale man from the north shiver in nervousness. Does this confidence and sexual self-awareness translate to surfing? Look at Filipe shoot the stars. Sexy as hell.

3. Celebration! (Claims)  

Ever been to Carnival? Colors that could blind a rainbow goblin, outfits that’d make Ron Jeremy blush and a horny beat that’ll coerce a Nordic grandma in a walker to swing her hips. We have parades with bagpipes that induce walking comas and ticker tape like candy from a broken piñata to distract us from the sad truth that we’ll never gyrate our midriffs. Consequently, every claim and fist pump is a whip-crack at the desperation and poverty wolves snapping their teeth at every Brazilian pro’s heels. One point of Brazilian culture is a powerful sense of camaraderie built around the fact of just being Brazilian. In America, we build fences around our property lines and make sure our neighbors are at least three football fields away from our front door.

Americans’ IQ about other cultures could be rounded to the nearest single digit number, as long as it doesn’t go above ten. And that’s fine with Brazilians as they have plenty of tens coming their way…

Obama: The New Laird!

Ex-POTUS discovers new thrill-seeking passion

Being Pres ain’t easy. You’ve gotta wake up early, sign hundreds of executive orders every single day, and work tirelessly to appease and unite 300 million people, most of whom hate each other more than they love guns and socialism, respectively.

This means little time for hobbies — besides like 300 rounds of golf but who’s counting?

Since his tenure came to a close, Obama has taken a much-needed vacation to the British Virgin Islands, a small Caribbean archipelago known for it’s cerulean waters and yummy rummy cocktails. But between the Man Tais and family time, Bruddah B has taken up friend Richard Branson’s offer of kitesurfing the equatorial gales. And I’ll be damned if our ex-Pres doesn’t show a little Hawaiian know-how!

With his back straight and knees creased just so, Barack looks on course to become another unwanting Technique Critique recipient in short time. Plus, if he’s got this much ability in his first go, imagine what he’ll be doing with a few years experience under his Beach Grit boardies (Derek, get this man a pair. He rocks ’em short!). I reckon he’ll be whipping into solid swells, perhaps on a foilboard, perhaps in the tube, perhaps getting super duper ripped and nutritional and perhaps eclipsing Laird Hamilton as surfing’s one true leader.

At just fifty-five, B’s got almost half a lifetime ahead of him. And wouldn’t it make sense for him to dedicate the latter stages to surf? It’s a healthy, anti-depressive activity that brings out the best in everyone, proven especially by the Beach Grit commentary section. Hell, maybe Obama’ll even start reading the site. That’d be something!

Nothing more absurd than surf journalist!

I get back into a surf event broadcast booth! Kind of!

I was once allowed into a World Surf League booth to call live surfing action. It was also, and maybe coincidentally, the last time. My memories are fuzzy but there was much early morning beer and many swears. And heavy reprimands later. But oh it was the time of my life!

Two-ish days ago I got to relive thanks to Red Bull.

And have you been listening to The Other Guys on the Volcom Pipe Pro broadcast? It is such a wonderful thing! Red Bull has the main booth feat. standards Sal Mas, Ross Williams, etc. They call the action normal. But if you ain’t in the mood for normal you can click to another feed which matches the action but has a freer format.

Chris Binns and Taylor Paul host and it is fun, interesting, good. Like chatting with pals!

And somehow I got to chat too. I was told by a wonderful friend at Red Bull that I was going to get called in. I chuckled and said, “Sure.”

It took some days and then 4 extra hours to convince the powers that I wouldn’t get everyone fired/sued/slapped/killed but he did it and I was called in! 4 hours later than scheduled. I was not drunk but at Legoland with a 4 year old which is very similar.

In any case, you can listen here, at the 1:00 mark or something middley, but more importantly it is a really great idea, don’t you think, to have separate audio feeds? Where if Joe Turpel is dripping too much honey in your ear you can flip over and get someone else? Maybe someone like Steve Shearer or Nick Carroll? And if the World Surf League was as smart as Red Bull they would hire Steve Shearer and Nick Carroll to be their other guys.

Mason Ho Keeps His Promise!

Young Hawaiian learns the true meaning of capitalism

I’d never been to the Surfer Poll Awards before this year. I rode there in the back of an old pick-up, beer in hand, wondering what it’d be like to sit in a room full of my heroes.

The night was mostly underwhelming, except for Mason Ho.

During the ceremony Mason won a couple awards: “Best Series” and the “AI Breakthrough Performer”. After receiving two rounds of congratulatory hugs and symbolic plastic surfboards, Mason took the mic to thank those who have inspired and helped him along the way. This of course includes his sponsors Rip Curl, …Lost, and — I’ll let him explain the rest.

The comedy! The candor! For those of you who can’t/won’t watch the clip, here’s the rough transcript:

I’d like to thank my sponsors again: Rip Curl — I never do that, ever, so it’s pretty cool — ummm Rip Curl and …Lost and Arnette and Etnies… but those two need to work on the contracts ’cause I’ve got other cooooool, super cool companies lookin’ for me. And then ummm, yup. So you better get that contract through, I know you seen my email this morning.

Now that I’m looking at it, Mason’s speech comes off a bit… Trumpish. Not in the overwhelmingly ignorant sense, but that his mind is spinning three times too fast, rendering him incapable of formulating a single, cohesive thought. But hell, it made perfect sense in the moment and was easily the highlight of the event. Also Mason wasn’t kidding!

Just one hour ago, Mr. Ho released an IG post announcing his inclusion to the Reef team. AKA buh-bye Etnies! AKA hello beer-popping slippahs!

This announcement filled me with joy, for the fact that we’ll be seeing even more of the globetrotting Hawaiian in 2017. When you combine Reef’s slogan of Just Passing Through with Rip Curl’s biggest property The Search, it’s fair to assume Mason’s year will be spent anywhere and everywhere waves go boom.

Start stocking up on bandwidth, the edits are coming!

Laird Hamilton Anthony Walsh
You can fairly claim to've developed fine tuberiding skills when you're employed to get barrelled behind Laird Hamilton at Teahupoo. | Photo: Anthony Walsh

How to: Make Cash Getting Tubed!

Anthony Walsh earns a fine living chasing go-behind tubes!

There are two reasons why Anthony Paul Walsh impresses the hell out of me. First, he’ll have a swing at anything that barrels. His caves at Namibia, Pipe, Teahupoo and Mexico are scarcely believable.

Second: through a work ethic that belies his messy sun-wracked hair and gorilla chest and outfits of boxy tees and trunks that disappear the shins, he’s created a career that revolves around snatching point-of-view angles of his, and others’, tubes.

Let’s reminisce a little. Here’s Namibia.

And this, shot with a backpack cam at Teahupoo five years ago with the then revolutionary GoPro Hero3. It was the first time a tube had been captured underwater and above water on the same camera. “That was what was crazy, the focus underwater and above water. I remember, sitting down with Brad Schmidt, watching the footage in a mosquito net in Tahiti, and we yelled so loud, people could hear us next door screaming. Kelly Slater was on that trip too. He didn’t want to use the backpack mount and that night we showed him the footage and he said, ‘Ok, you gotta set it up for me now!’ The next day the swell died, and he never got a good shot.” Images pulled from the sequence became GoPro billboards worldwide, including at Los Angeles International Airport.

Even better, ever since he started shooting point of view in 2007 because no photographers lived in his home town and him and his brother wanted to get shots for their sponsors, he’s made himself one of the few experts in the game. Brian Coneley, the American surfer whose lipstick cam and hand-held camera barrel shots redefined the POV game with his movies My Eyes Won’t Dry (1, 2 and 3), is the pioneer of the genre, and it was Coneley’s work that convinced Walsh to build his own water housings. He would run a cable from the housing, to his hand and tape it to his finger to fire the camera.

But from GoPro 3 onwards, Walsh, who is thirty-three and a veteran of seventeen Hawaiian winters where he now lives, became GoPro’s star Research and Development guy and an essential ingredient in surf trips involving the company’s surfers. On BeachGrit‘s little run down to mainland Mexico to accelerate the progression of women’ surfing by ten years in four days, he was a magic show of Gimbals, drones, virtual reality and GoPro5’s.

What the rest of the freakshow don’t catch, he gets. He’ll surf behind, above, get tubed, whatever it takes.

“It’s so funny,” he says when we talk about the absurdity of a job that requires him to monitor swell forecasts and to find places to get tubed. “I sit there when I’m on on my surf trips, and I’ve got a GoPro on, and I just laugh to myself. I get to go where I want to go, when I want to go and get barrelled. It’s as fantastic as it is ridiculous.”