The surf journalist and CEO discuss very secret and important things.
The surf journalist and CEO discuss very secret and important things. | Photo: Nate Lawrence

How to: Be a brilliant surf journalist!

It is better than you could ever imagine!

Have you ever wanted to be a surf journalist? To travel the world filling notebooks with fascinating insights from our best and brightest? To uncover stories that make readers both laugh and think? To dig deeper and shine a light on real but sometimes uncomfortable truths?

Well now you can learn how at the University of Southern California!

The school’s newspaper, The Daily Trojan, features this new course offering and let’s read about it!

Standing on the sand at Venice Beach, Soraya Simi knew her best view of her subject – a stand-up paddleboarder – would be from the water.

So she grabbed her wetsuit, fins and GoPro and jumped in. This is the life of a surf journalist.

Simi, a sophomore at USC, is in Keith Plocek’s class, “Shoot the Curl: Digital Storytelling and Surf Journalism,” the first surf journalism class to be offered at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Plocek, a surf journalist and the former head of digital for Village Voice Media, is giving undergrads the chance to, ahem, get their feet wet in the world of surf journalism.


But do you want to know something even better?


Zach Weisberg, THE Zach Weisberg, is a guest speaker!

A core component of Plocek’s class, which is a new offering this spring, is guest speakers. One was 31-year-old surf journalist Zach Weisberg MBA ’13

Weisberg, a former editor for Surfer magazine, now runs a surf and outdoors website called The Inertia, based in Venice (adjacent). He answered questions from students about everything from advertising to what makes a good story.

When it comes down to it, it’s about telling a story anyone can relate to – surfer or not, he said.

“We approach stories from a very human perspective,” he said of The Inertia. “We care about action and getting barrels and the waves getting big – but I think it’s really about relating to people at a personal level and that comes down to storytelling.”

Weisberg applauded Plocek’s multimedia focus. Beyond writing, students are tasked to shoot photo essays and create videos with GoPros. They even got a day at the beach to work with a drone.


I have written a little something about being a surf journalist is the upcoming book. I’ll give you a little taste here from Chapter 2 which is titled Refusal of the Call!

There are more unwritten rules than there are Hindu gods and the sum of these subtleties, utterly devoid of any real value, is what make up the surfer’s mind. It is why he is so oppressively shallow because his mind is stuttering over things like this, over where to put his hands in the lineup, how to put his boards on his car, if his neck tan is as delineated as it should be for the better part of each day.

And it is the surf journalist who takes it all one step further by contextualizing this utter vapidity. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine writing about it? Can you imagine writing about how a grown man wears his surf trunks? Thinking about it even? Well, I’ve been doing for the better part of my life now. Penning such instant classics REVEALED: LAIRD HAMILTON’S SECRET UNLOCKED! and DECIDED: THE SEXIEST VOICE IN SURFING! and HOW TO: WEAR SURF TRUNKS!

Nobody dreams of becoming a surf journalist. Nobody ever.


What if I told you Martin Jeri survived this elevator crash?

Watch: No-Namer Drops Jaws in HI!

Let this firecracker blow your mind!

Are you ever surprised by how well someone surfs? Like when the 50-year-old dreadhead does a mean layback, or the 13-year-old girl does a serious lipper, or Adriano stomps another wide-kneed rotation? Same same.

My most recent case of astonishment was delivered in the form of a Peruvian man, Martin Jeri. His clip starts with a profound quote, which goes exactly like this: “The ocean has taught me that, no matter how sketchy the surface is, we have to be calm like under the sea.” I think that’s nice.

The Martin goes fuckin’ loony! The biggest elevator drop I’ve seen by a backsider at Backdoor, followed by some oversized right where he survives a brutal drumming from the foam, and then a flurry of small wave magic. Of course he’s not the only guy to excel in all facets of the sport, but… he just doesn’t look like he should be that good!

Because his stance is boxy and style is strange and, I don’t know… it just doesn’t add up. Then he again he’s sponsored by Hurley and lands several impressive airs and one especially good turn (2:18), so I guess my judgement is way off. Good on ya Martin, keep ripping.

P.S. Gritters, who is the most underrated shredder you know?


The stairway to hell beckons!

Watch: Pat G Explodes Under Equatorial Sun!

Who knew surfing could be so... jazzy?

I’ma be honest with you. I’ve gotta run out the door in like… ten minutes so this will be brief.


I saw this video and thought of you, loyal readers!

Here’s what’s up: The opening scene put me in a great mood. Upbeat music, fun animations, and the distinctive turquoise brine of that blessed Caribbean Sea!

Some highlights include: the quick and vicious combo at 1:28 and the tube from hell at 5:30. I cannot, for moral reasons, declare that Pat G has been gifted with flawless fundamentals, but he makes up for his shortcomings with a spring and zest that is truly contagious.

Short story short, this clip will make you want to surf more than anything I’ve seen in the past week. That’s especially counting Jordy’s Just Now.


Will you have Julian Wilson on your team? Me yes! | Photo: WSL

Fantasy: Who’s Hot in West Oz?

Secrets of the game revealed...

I don’t know about you guys and gals, but I don’t fux wit the WSL Fantasy League. Maybe I’m just old fashioned, but has always been my bread and butter. I actually placed 33rd in the world at the end of the 2015 season. (Still bitter about that misplaced prize pack too, Negs. I yearned for those woolen socks you had so carefully knitted.)

Anywho, this fantasy discussion will take place in the realm of fantasysurfer If you don’t have an account, make one. I actually think there’s still a BeachGrit club. Maybe let’s reinstate that bad boy, Negs?

1. John Florence: 12.5 mil

WA’s raw power and offshore-turning sideshore winds suit John to a T. Whether it’s Box, Main Break or North Point, it’s safe to say JJF’s the favorite in the field. John also loves being in WA. It’s one of his favorite places in the world thanks to the surplus of surf and relative dearth of humanity. My only concern is that he’ll lose focus on the event thanks to all the nearby distractions. Kid-in-a-candy-store syndrome.

2. Julian Wilson: 8 mil

You didn’t listen, did you? You fell for the hypebomb that was Wayward and threw Julian on your Snapper team. But I warned you. Jules doesn’t do well at Snapper because his wide-stanced, rounded-out surfing doesn’t fit the wave’s steep transitions. But if Julian and Snapper are oil and water, Julian and WA are peanut butter and bananas. Much like John, Julian’s surfing is built for WA’s open-faced, delightfully wooly surf. Box, Main Break or North Point, Jules will succeed.

3. Michel Bourez: 8.5 mil

Strong wave need strong man. Big wave come. Michel break wave in half. Grrrrrrrrrrrr. Also he’s a past winner here, which shouldn’t really matter, but it kind of does.

4. Mick Fanning: 5.25 mil

For that price, I’d take Mick in a skimboard comp. With how fantasysurfer is structured, you’re able to keep guys at their starting price for the whole year if you hold onto them. It’s kinda like stocks, except you can’t sell them for a profit once their worth increases. Either way, I’ll have Mick on my team for all eleven events this year. Probably the best 5 mil I ever spent.

5. Wiggolly Dantas: 4 mil

I basically have Wigs on my team thinking that the comp will move to Main Break. Of course I don’t want to watch Main Break, but it’s a probable outcome. Wigs loves bigger surf and his backhand lipper is so damn powerful, I could see him breaking into the quarters or semis with ease. Plus he fulfills my fantasysurfer diversity and equity requirement.

6. Frederico Morais: 3.75 mil

Remember that massive turn he did at Snapper? The one that had him beat contest-favorite Filipe Toledo? Now imagine that on a six-footer at Main Break. I’m a firm believer that big men excel in big surf, so I’m giving Freddy the green light in this one.

7. Ezekiel Lau: 3 mil

The big-man theory also applies to Bruddah Zeke. But aside from his obvious physical advantages, Zeke proved his worth against Filipe and Jordy at Snapper, which is not somewhere I’d have expected him to succeed, so I have full confidence in his ability to produce a result in WA. Let’s hope his surfing loosens up and he shows the top dawgs what he’s all about.

8. Jeremy Flores: 3.25 mil

Did you love Jer’s performance at Snapper? I did. Round one was a masterclass in railwork, while round two showcased his skills in and around the tube. Jeremy could be the most valuable pick in this entire event. If he gets the confidence rolling, he could easily win the whole damn thing.

Post script: With some basic arithmetic, you may realize that I didn’t utilize my entire salary limit of 50 mil. This is unusual for me, but I also think competitive surfing has been completely random over the past couple years, so I say fuck it! Throw caution to the wind and see what sticks. Wait, was that a mixed meta — nah fuck it!

Western Oz Descends into Madness!

Beaches around Perth are being infected with rage! Yelling! Surf skis!

Oh of course you’ve been on the edge of your seat keeping up with the melee/fight/scuffle/kerfuffle in Huntington Beach, California. It is Riot City, USA! But if you live in Perth you shouldn’t be laughing too hard because you, dear Western Australian, are dealing with a surf rage epidemic (apparently).

And right when our boys are ready to head over to the nearby Drug Aware Pro. Could the timing be any worse? Should we read a little passage from Perth Now’s Sunday Times?

SURF rage is so out of control at one of Perth’s most popular beaches that board riders are calling for surf etiquette signs to be installed at popular breaks.

The Cottesloe Longboard Club has written to Cottesloe Council asking for “surfers’ code” signs — which explain the rules of the waves and encourage respect — to be erected at breaks including Isolated, The Cove and Dutch Inn.

(There’s a longboard club?)

Former club president Ken Hall said the surf breaks, all south of the Cottesloe Surf Life Saving Club, had experienced a huge surge in surfers of “varying capabilities” and riding diverse craft, including stand-up paddleboards and surf skis.

“The increase in the breaks’ use from all abilities and surf craft of the sport has seen some varied interpretations of the surfing rules resulting in physical injury, confrontation and verbal abuse,” Mr Hall said.

(Wait. What are surf skis? Are they…. jet skis? Or…. actual water skis that can be surfed on? How do you paddle? With a paddle? I’m sorry. I am going to have to press pause until I get some more information on surf skis. BRB)

(Ok. One Google later and I’m back. A “surf ski” is like an even deadlier version of a kayak. What would possess a man to take a surf ski into a lineup? Madness is right!)

He said the surfers’ code signs, which are used extensively at other surf beaches in WA and around Australia, clearly outline the rules of surfing to help reduce violent confrontations in the waves.

(Do you think, generally, this is true? That surf rage happens because people don’t know the rules or because people purposefully flaunt the rules? And, let’s be serious, if there is a beach with a longboard club, SUPs and surf skis what hope is there at all?)

Peter Dickson, a veteran Cottesloe surfer and editor of international surf travel magazine Longbreak, said fights were rare but tensions were always high at Cottesloe’s breaks.

“I wouldn’t take my son out there — it’s too crowded and too dangerous. There are people everywhere and the etiquette goes out the window,” he said.

“The surfers at the top of the food chain get all the waves and the poor beginners don’t get anything. What we really need are more artificial reefs to spread the crowd.”

(I thought artificial reefs were proven failures. Is there some new tech I’ve missed? Some barreling success?)