Hollister Ranch

Hollister crushes workers’ rights!

Don't think a job at the Ranch is gonna gift you waves… 

The private ownership of beaches is a helluva vexed issue. You know how your beach looks. There’s a road, a carpark, a cafe or maybe five, houses, crowds. Every major coastal town in the west, from San Clemente to Hossegor to Narrabeen is filled to the gills.

And then you have the Hollister Ranch in Santa Babs County. Fourteen-and-a-half thousand acres of unmolested Californian coastline. It’s hard not to drop your jaw at secluded beaches where whales roam in the sparkling Pacific, the grassy hills, the sage scrub, mountains, valleys.

It’s gorgeous! 

And there are waves too! Real good waves, in summer and winter swells.

Of course, the downside is unless you own a piece of land (The Ranch has been cut into 136 “parcels” of 100 acres each) or y’got a boat (the state constitution grants “the public the right to use the beach up to the mean high tide line”) you ain’t getting a piece of its surf.

And don’t think doing a little labouring at a farm’s going to open the door.

According to Ranch Rules as determined by The Hollister Ranch Owner’s Association, “Day Workers have no guest privileges and no right to use the Beach Recreation Common Area.

Go for a surf and your master will be slugged $250.

Ride your moto down to the beach faster than fifteen miles an hour, forget to slow down to five miles an hour for a pet dog crossing the road, got for a surf, and it’s seven-fifty.

In other words, own a farm and you’re welcome. If you don’t, you’re not.

It isn’t cheap to buy, but  part-ownership is a thing at the Ranch. A one-twelfth slice sold last June for half a mill. A one-third interest in a little guest house with views, a little under three mill. 

But it works, right? The Ranch is a rare hunk where the environment reigns supreme. Where man and dirt live in harmony. It’s everything the Supa Bank ain’t.

Which do you prefer?


Gold Coast crowds
Getting real close to your surf brothers on the GC!


Hollister Ranch
The Ranch’s gilded cage?

(Read the complete rule book here.) 

Dane Reynolds
The first person to do 540s regularly, expertly, perfectly… Dane Reynolds. | Photo: Transworld Surf

Watch: A History of Full Roters!

How Kalani Robb, Dane Reynolds and Filipe Toledo redefined space… 

The big full-spin huck. Who did it first? Who did it consistently?

Who has it so perfected he can turn four-point waves into instant tens?

Last week, we released part one of our Girl Goes Into Orbit series.

The premise is simple, if ambitious. BeachGrit takes the Santa Babs tour surfer Lakey Peterson into Mexico and, with coaching by Filipe Toledo and Brett Simpson, attempts to coax her into a full-rotation air.

Yeah, ambitious.

“I fell trying ’em for two years before I landed one,” says John John Florence in a video message to Lakey. “But I’m sure you’ll get it first try.”

Before we land in Mex, howevs, allow us a little side detour into the history of the manoeuvre called, variously, the full-roter (a coin termed by the filmmaker Kai Neville) or, by skate and snow jocks, the 540.

Me? If you want to forget the skate and snow influence for a moment (and remember, these are both surf-derivative sports), how about we call it what it really is, a 450. Since the lip is hit parallel it’s 90 plus 360, which equals 450.

Sexy? Not so much.

In this episode, which is anchored by the American Chris Coté who edited Transworld Surf back when it owned surfing above the air, Julian Wilson, Kolohe Andino and Kai Neville talk you through a history, a brief history, of the full-rotation air.



Official: Ross is John John’s coach!

The super team is ready for action!

The rumor first broken on Surf Splendor, surfing’s best podcast (not about Cori Schumacher), a few days ago is now official. Ross Williams is leaving the booth for an exciting new career as John John Florence’s coach!

He spoke in length about his decision on the World Surf League morning show. Ronnie wore sensible black jeans and a black button-up. Peter Mel threw sartorial caution to the wind by pairing black shorts with black shoes/socks. And Ross? He looked the “coach” part with a breathable polo.

But oooo-ee… I do not envy the man. If John John is unable to snag his second title all eyez will be on Ross. Don’t you think? Angry abuse raining down from the peanut gallery.

Or maybe is there no pressure? Is John John so far ahead of the field that title no. 2 is a fait accompli?

Ross makes it sound like there is no pressure. Just two neighbors, traveling the world, learning, having some fun. But oooo-ee… coaching a professional surfer would be a nerve racking game. Nerve wracking too.

Do you think every surfer on tour will soon have a coach? Is it a necessity now?

More importantly, do you think Peter Mel will continue to wear black shorts with black shoes/socks or will he, at some point, transition to black shorts with sport sandals/white socks?

More on this story as it develops.

Watch: Conner Coffin’s ‘Year One’!

Sophomore powerhouse tells all!

I just finished a multi-part series about the seven incoming rookies and how a majority of them will thrive. This is of course highly unlikely but what is BeachGrit if not a bastion of optimism?

Conner Coffin’s rookie season began with this exact type of positivity. Two solid results at Snapper and Bells placed him at second in the world. A dream run for the Cali kid.

Then horror struck. Five bad results in a row, leading to a downward spiral of negative emotions and existential questions.

Do I even want to compete, or should I just be a soul/free/still paid surfer?

Maybe if I add an extra fin on the toeside rail…

Are these chia seeds even working?

But like any working-class hero Conner picked himself by the bootstraps and rebounded, making the final in Portugal and earning himself a spot on the 2017 Championship Tour. Just like that his year went from heartbreak and disillusion to WSL fuck yeah! 

The thing that stuck out in this movie, besides Conner’s very handy railwork, is surfers’ desire to determine objective reasoning behind their good and bad results. Instead of realizing that competitive surfing is inherently random, considering the biggest piece of the puzzle is the ever-dynamic ocean, surfers attempt to boil results down to petty minutiae like “bad vibes” or a lucky pair of boardshorts.


Good results happen, bad results happen. There can be external forces like your skill set at a certain venue or that elusive serpent called “confidence”, but the only objective way to explain ten consecutive losses is that you surfed worse than your competitors in every half-hour bout. Kelly and Mick win more often because they are better surfers, better competitors than the majority of their opponents.

Meanwhile “streaks” can be one of two things: either a statistical anomaly, or a psychological invention to help humans further categorize, and thus understand, the world around them.

Once this knowledge is accepted, the idea of a losing streak should have no effect on the mind of a professional athlete. A winning streak can help, but only in the sense that the surfer is made to feel like he won’t fall off his board, not that he’ll necessarily win the match.

Got it, Conner Coffin /Julian Wilson / Kolohe / Gab / John / everyonefuckingelse? None of this extra shit plays a role, really. So less thinky, more surfy!

BeachGrit’s Rookie Rankings Part 2!

Did we get it wrong? Of course not!

Snapper could start in… like…. five minutes so let’s jump straight back into it! (Part 1 here)

4. Federico Morais

I’m not a huge proponent of Fede’s surfing, but damn if he doesn’t fit the WSL’s judging criteria to a T! Over the past couple years, we’ve learned exactly what wins heats – big turns on big waves. This is Federico’s specialty.

The handsome European is like an adult version of Caio Ibelli. He’s steady on his feet, willing to hit big sections, and has a knack for progression when necessary. It’s this type of surfing that led Fede to second place finishes at both Haleiwa and Sunset this year. He also made the quarters in the Portugal CT in 2015 and round three in 2016 as an alternate.

Federico will shine when there’s a bit of size and power on offer, like Bells and Margies and J-Bay. The man displaces ample water and rarely if never trips. When it comes down to it, Fede is the second-coming of Bede Durbidge. Nobody wants to watch him, but nobody wants to surf against him either.

3. Ian Gouveia

Ian’s surfing is like a severed telephone wire – swinging wildly out of control but fucking fun to watch! He’s quite similar to Italo Ferreira in his stocky, square, aerially adept approach. But aside from his ability to go upside-down and willingness to jump off watery cliffs, Ian’s a downright charger!

Being the son of Brazilian surfing royalty Fabio Gouveia, Ian was afforded the ability to travel the world at an early age. I remember seeing him at Pipe, maybe eight years ago, and sixteen-year-old Ian was carelessly charging. It was clear he had that innate go-for-it attitude, which has only driven him into bigger, meaner waves in recent years.

Basically, his backhand is a weapon, his air game is tight, and he’ll feel right at home at Chopes, Cloudy, and Pipe. This is the recipe for goofyfoot success on the CT, which gives me a lotta faith in the lil’ guy. I’m telling you, kid is the next Italo.

2. Leonardo Fioravanti

Was he bred into success? Sure, but who isn’t these days? At nineteen, Leo has done pretty damn well for himself. He’s got a World Junior Championship, has won multiple divisions in Surfing’s esteemed Peer Poll and is 2-0 against the GOAT in head-to-head competition.

Leo is a contest machine and has been for some time. This likely began when he inherited Kelly’s notorious caddy, Stephen “Belly” Bell, as a step-father and coach. From that point, Leo became a student of the game and transitioned from moderately talented grom to score-seducing powerhouse. Leo’s success lies in strength and consistency, but will this be enough to make a career on the CT?

Historically, and even presently, yes. But with the progression of our sport comes the loss of “weak spots” in one’s game. Mick Fanning won three world titles without any help from aerial maneuvers, but this likely won’t be possible in five or ten years’ time. If Leo wants true success, he’ll have to maintain his level of consistency and rail surfing while continuing to evolve in the air. Based on his past, I see him succeeding in this endeavor and creating a decade(plus) home on the CT.

1. Ezekiel Lau

The thoroughbred of the rookie class comes in the form of a 6’2”, 200 pound Hawaiian-native named Zeke. Growing up under the roof of a football coach father, Zeke was allowed to pursue his passion of surfing but only if it was done the “right” way. That meant training hard every day in a time before training was even a thing in professional surfing, let alone in twelve year olds.

A combination of genetics and hard work led Zeke to appear more imported-LA-bouncer than surfer-extraordinaire, but let me assure you this kid can wiggle. In bigger surf, especially the sprawling walls of Sunset or J-Bay or Bells, Zeke is top-five in the world. He’s bigger and stronger than anyone on tour, and his board control is immense. In the small stuff, well, he’s no Filipe, but I’ll be damned if he don’t impress with speed and flair and full-rotation clicks.

I was hesitant of putting Zeke in the number one spot, as he could always fall victim to Dusty Payne syndrome – unbelievable talent with a knack for doing all the wrong things in competition — but I decided to go with my gut and give Zeke the benefit of the doubt. In my eyes, he’s got the best chance in this group to vie for a title.

Though, if I’m being honest, I wouldn’t bet on any of the 2017 rookies to win a Crown.