Blind surfers
…one of the fabulous photos from Jamie Brisick's book, We Approach Our Martinis with Such High Expectations. | Photo: Jamie Brisick

Dead Writer Reads “The Blind Surfer”

Unexpected beauty and poignancy…

The surfer-marine Michael A Kocher, who was shot dead by police a couple of weeks back, reads “Justin’s Weird Act” from the Jamie Brisick book We Approach Our Martinis with Such High Expectations.

The story, about a surfer blinded in a ding-fixing accident, “goes to show us all that no matter what life throws in our way we can still surf, we can still feel stoke, and we can still enjoy life. Justin’s story is one of unexpected beauty and expected poignancy. I read it at least once a month and it has absolutely informed my life in numerous different ways,” says the narrator, Michael Kocher.

“I hope that you enjoy my rendition and my apologies to Jamie for the times I tripped over words. His words deserve the utmost respect and love.”

Buy the book here. (Click!) 

Is this not the most immaculate pirouette you've seen?

Watch: Jordy Smith’s New Movie!

Jordy's internal struggle between freesurfing greatness and competitive success wages on...

Progressive CT surfers are cursed. They retain the skills to tickle surfing’s realm of possibility, but are constantly reminded that they’d be better off sticking to the status quo. This becomes, I imagine, something of a gorilla on the backs of the Johns, Julians, and Jordies of the world.

Take someone less progressively-adept like, say, Ace Buchan. Ace is great surfer, but his skill set is designed to garner consistent scores within our current judging criteria. This means hard, critical turns in the steep section of the wave, along with some great forehand tube riding skills. Because he’s never been much of an “air guy”, Ace likely spends his freesurfs performing in exactly the same manner that he would in a heat.

So while Ace is doing that, Jordy goes into freesurfs with a major question in mind: To surf to win, or to surf to excel?

Even negating the injury factor, as I recognize that plays a major role in guys’ decision to go-big or not, progressive surfers are in a major bind. They could go out and freesurf the same way as Ace, which would likely lead to more heat wins (fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times), but they’d also be bored to tears and feel like they’re wasting away their talents.

Jordy has come out and said, on multiple occasions, that he’s going to forget about the freesurfing and put his focus solely onto winning a world title. That may be true in his mind, meaning that he’s not traveling the world between events to film with Kai Neville, but in reality he’s unable to tone his surfing down to CT-heat level. There must be thirty full-rotation airs in his new clip, Just Now, and I couldn’t tell you the last time Jordy did one of those in competition.

This is conflicting even for the viewers. We want to see our favorite surfers succeed competitively, but we also want them to push the boundaries of the sport. I guess John won a title last year while performing some of the greatest surfing ever  between heats, so it is possible, but damn hard I tell you.

As for this film, to me it’s a little… strange. The editing is choppy and the song choice is unique (mostly 80s rock bands), so probably not something I’d watch again, but there is plenty of quality surfing inside. It’s also Jordy’s first film since 2013, so stop contemplating and just give it a click.

Breaking: Florida is the scariest!

Without even including Pitbull!

Certain beaches in Australia and Reunion Island, of course, get the most attention when it comes to sharks and surfing. Oh it is not a distinction any location wants to have and the debate around how best to coexist rages. The steam coming from Kelly Slater’s Instagram account is just starting to dissipate. But while certain beaches in Australia and Reunion Island get more attention nowhere is as scary as Florida.

Watch below as two men pull a giant hammerhead onto the sand near Palm Beach. Florida has hammerheads and other kinds of sharks too. New Smyrna, half-ish way between Miami and Jacksonville is still officially the “shark attack capital of the world.”

But Florida has more than just sharks. Alligators roam around munching children, golfers, the homeless and the stray surfer. Cottonmouth snakes slither on the beach and sometimes the water. One bite can kill a grown man. Cottonmouth snakes are scared of snapping turtles, which lurk in puddles and rivermouths. One bite can snap a grown man’s foot right off.

Florida’s governor is a very rich man and doesn’t believe in climate change. He looks like this.

Miami is flooding, due to rising ocean levels (climate change), and bottom floors of new high rises are no longer being constructed as livable space. Kelly Slater is building a Surf Farm and the state’s most popular restaurant is Hooters.

Nice try certain beaches in Australia and Reunion Island but Florida wins.

Real life: “I deserted the US Navy to Surf!”

Navy stud splits military for a little self-awarded rest and recreation… 

I turned thirty this year. Had a bitchin’ birthday in the Basque coast of France, surfing Biarritz, Hossegor and anywhere I else I could find a wave.

First birthday I’ve spent not on a goddamn ship. After twelve years in the Navy, it’s been hard to get a birthday to myself. Or one of my kids’ birthdays. Or an anniversary with my wife.

That’s what we sign up for, right? See the world (it’s all water). Figure out who I am (an asshole, apparently). Protect the country (not once).

Hitting thirty really got me thinking. Twelve years of my life spent in servitude to the man. Answering the calls when they came. Leaving on a moment’s notice. It was time I packed my shit and did my own thing. Problem was, I had three years left on my naval contract. And I have bills to pay. Car, rent, all the normal suburbia bullshit. Not the most convenient time to chuck the deuces.

Things were pretty much normal for awhile. A port visit here and there, harassment from Russian fighter jets, missile scares from Syria. You know, the norm.

So my birthday came and went, and the time came for the ship to leave on another four month cruise (deployment). I said goodbye to the wife and kids for the fifth time in two years, crammed my boardbags into a corner on the ship and left our home in Spain to go give the world another dose of freedom (bullshit).

Things were pretty much normal for awhile. A port visit here and there, harassment from Russian fighter jets, missile scares from Syria. You know, the norm.

Then came our port visit to Marseille, France. I rounded up my drinking buddies (did I mention we like to drink during port visits) and told them, no worries, I learned some French this year on my surf trip (right).

When you visit ports with the Navy you have all sorts of restrictions, like having three people in a group at all times and one of the people can’t drink. Oh yeah, and a midnight curfew (I take exception to being thirty and having a midnight curfew).

So off we went into the sprawling projects of Marseille. Fistfuls of beer turn into whiskey, glasses of whiskey turn into more glasses of whiskey, and one thing leads to a blackout.

I wake up in a hotel room by myself. Awesome. I know I’m in deep shit when I get back to the boat so what better to do than to go tie one on again?

I get day drunk. I mean, for real day drunk. I get talking to the bartender at the Olympique Marseille official bar and I figure out the train station up the hill will take me back to Spain. To good old southern Spain: my house, the beach and far away from the boat and all the douche bags contained within. I try to shake the idea, cause its crazy, and I could go to jail. Military jail. Fucking military jail.

So I left. Well, almost. Its five and there aren’t anymore trains to Spain. There’s one to Biarritz, though. Tried to get a ticket to Biarritz, but either their machines were fucked up or I was too drunk to operate them. Got a hotel room, woke up early the next day, was back in Spain by noon. I didn’t make it all the way home until about midnight, however.

After three train rides and a taxi, still in the same clothes from two days prior, I rang the doorbell to my house. My wife answers the door, sees my face, and damn near faints. After a lot of crying and indiscernible yelling, I learn that there are multiple government agencies searching for me, from NCIS to the French Police, and they’re out in droves from Biarritz to trawling the surrounding waters in Marseille.

The night I didn’t return, they started to worry. It is no secret that our friends in that organization called ISIS, or something, are pretty active in the Marseille area. To make matters worse, since my cell phone had broken a few weeks prior, and I had been incomunicado for a few days, I checked my Facebook, and I had 40 messages from people trying to figure out where the fuck I was.

After talking to some friends after the fact, there were more than a few who figured there would be a youtube video of me losing my head being broadcasted sometime soon.

I called the captain of the ship, who just happens to be a great guy from South Africa (of all places), to let him know I was alive. We had a talk. He was really cool about the whole thing. I went back to the boat after about a month of paid vacation to face the music.

I got threatened with jail time and death penalties. I told them, fuck you I want out, and pretty much got out of the military that easy. In hindsight, they were probably a bit scared about keeping me around. None of the leadership on the ship had ever heard of anyone doing what I did.

Later, I was topside having a smoke and I crossed ways with captain. He told me he respected what I did and wished me luck.

If there is a moral, or some point to this story, it’s that no matter where you are in life, or how much bullshit you are in, if you don’t like where you are, roll the fuck out.

There’s always car payments, mortgages, and everything else to tie you down. But sticking around just because of those things will ultimately make you miserable.

To summary, fuck that. 

Look at this stud! Now listen to him!

Chris Coté’s Action Sports Podcast!

BeachGrit approved!

Chris Coté is something of a legend in the surf industry. Love him or hate him, you’d recognize his boyish and bespectacled profile just about anywhere. He’s like the white Masekela or the skinnier Drew Carey.

My introduction to Coté was through his work at Transworld Surf Magazine, where he helped build the most fun-loving surf rag in the States. I was pretty young at the time, but I vividly remember Coté getting grilled monthly in the Letters to the Editor section. He’d then reply with some sort of self-deprecating but inevitably victorious quip that would leave me rolling.

I don’t know this for sure but, based on his background in skating (and skating’s marvelous invention, King of the Road) Coté was likely the mastermind behind Transworld Surf’s Cali Rally — the high watermark in surfing extracurriculars.

But then Transworld went under in 2013 and Coté, the longtime Ed. in Chief, was without work. So what’d he do, sulk around aimlessly? Probably. Cry? Definitely. But eventually Chris recovered and leveraged his position in the surf world into a new profession: action sports broadcasting.

I use the term “action sports” because he covers both surf and skate, plus it’s in the name of his new podcast. I said his new podcast!

Monday M.A.S.S., or Monday Action Sports Show, although I’m fairly certain there’s an acronymical issue there, is the only podcast (to my knowledge) that offers weekly news on all things surf, snow, and skate. He’s currently five episodes into his new gig and, I’ll be honest, the first few aren’t so sexy but they’re getting better each time!

I’m particularly fond of Coté’s tone, which has the perfect blend of zest, ambivalence and satire. Much like anything written by Chas Smith, it’s hard to tell if Coté is praising or viciously roasting his subjects.

My favorite parts of Monday M.A.S.S include Coté’s downright assault on hi-perf longboarding (March 20th episode), his ongoing but unexplained feud with Robert Kelly Slater (most episodes), and his ability to lock in obscure sponsors like a standing-desk brand or a weed dispensary (every episode).

Peep it on iTunes!