I was redeemed in Panama part 1!

The surprising end to a fabulous journey!

You can’t make this shit up!

After the whole housing debacle, I was afforded a safe place to sleep by the same three Aussies who had previously given me a ride home from the surf, erstwhile divulging the best job for the aspiring travel surfer.

We spent our last night bar-hopping around Bocas, the two of us with girlfriends dutifully wing-manning our single compadres into a bevy of belligerent broads. After we had drank and danced and successfully paired off our pals with a couple of bar-light sixes, Matt and myself decided to call it a night. This was around three AM.

It was pouring outside, so all the bar patrons who’d decided to pack it up for the night were waiting for cabs under the same small overhang. With about 20 people in queue and no cabs in sight, we realized the odds were not favorable to catch a ride in the next hour. We scurried down the sidewalk in search of a new spot from which to hail a taxi.

That’s when I heard, “Hey Mike!” in heavily accented English.

I turned around and much to my disbelief, I’d just walked past that god damn C-tier hooker! Belly shirt, paint-a-brows, cigarette and all!

“Uhhhh hey…” I replied, still irked at her general existence.

“Timmy go kaled,” she told me, while crossing her wrists in an X formation.

“Timmy got killed?” I asked, bewildered.

“No, no. Timmy go kale… gail, gail!” she screamed, waving her crossed wrists in my face. The gesture was supposed to symbolize handcuffs.

“Timmy went to jail?”

“Sí! Four years! He get cot steal sumting.”


“En serio? He robbed me too!”

“Yes I am happy he go jail. Fuck dat guy.”

“Me too” I said, as I motioned toward the street. Our cab had finally arrived.

And this was maybe the perfect ending to my less-than-ideal, if highly enlightening trip to Panama. It took ’til three AM on my last drunken evening in Bocas Town, but I finally got the closure I was looking for. I would never see my pilfered cash or possessions again, but knowing that karma or justice or a statistical likelihood had ultimately prevailed was good enough for me.

Have fun in jail, puto! Y viva Panama!

Hayden x Wang
Hayden x Wang

Just in: We are fucking back!

Vogue magazine declares that surfing is at its apotheosis!

Oh oh OH how we’ve been wandering the desert for the last, like, fifteen years. “Surf is dead!” they say before shutting down our Pac Suns and our Tilly’s and our Depactuses and our ummm Surfing magazines. “The kids don’t want the surf.” they say while tears bubble in our eyes, waiting to pour down our cheeks. “The kids want lifestyle and Bubble Guppies.”

Well you know what? Fuck they! Because today TODAY the bible of fashion said that we WE are cool once again!

Yes, Vogue magazine, fronted by Anna Wintour and never ever to get folded like that lily-livered Surfer just published a story that recognizes our second coming. And let us read:

That surfing has reached its pop culture apotheosis is no secret. Alexander Wang based his entire spring collection off romanticizing the look and feel of sun-bleached surfers; February’s most Instagrammed museum show, “Raymond Pettibon: A Pen of All Work” at the New Museum, featured small, willowy figures bracing themselves in downward diagonals across the face of canvas-sized waves, and this season’s premiere of Girls pivoted around Hannah’s flirtation with the sport, when her editor sends her on assignment to a surf camp in Montauk. Which is to say: Surfing is everywhere and everyone is doing it.

The sport’s sudden surge in popularity means that even far-flung, warm destinations like Sri Lanka, Bali, and the Maldives are becoming nearly shoulder-to-shoulder in daily lineups, pushing the most devoted athletes into inhospitable, chilly territory to avoid bumping their boards against clumsy newcomers. What’s more: Winter is storm season, stirring up activity in the ocean resulting in the most consistent and biggest waves. Serious surfers are after an endless winter, and thanks to leaps and bounds in wet-suit technology—which provides the kind of comfort and mobility in frigid temperatures that was unfathomable even five years ago—they can chase it into colder waters than ever.


Wait. What was I writing about? Did Surfer have anything to do with it?

Fuck they!

BeachGrit TV: Girl Goes Into Orbit!

Episode one: how to build a surfboard that flies!

One month ago, BeachGrit stole away to Mexico, near enough to Guadalajara in Jalisco on the mainland there, with a very specific idea. To determine if it was possible to teach a girl to ride out of a full-roter air (a 540 to the skate and snow jocks), if you had the best air surfer in the world, which is Filipe Toledo, doin’ the tutoring.

As I wrote in Mex, 

“Women’s surfing fascinates me. When it’s good it draws blood. Carissa Moore’s slices, Lakey Peterson’s grab-rail tail throws, the impeccable style of Stephanie Gilmore. It’s damn rich.

But does it strike you as odd, as it does me, that there ain’t a gal on tour who has an air-reverse on tap? Silvana Lima showed promise and disappeared (back this year on tour). Even half-way good twelve-year-old boys can throw ‘em as an afterthought on a weak end section.

“So why not the girls?”

Along with another coach, Huntington Beach’s Brett Simpson, and iPads with the Hurley Surf Coach app, and GoPros affixed hither and yon, and patrolling the sky, we had four days to coach, and coax, Santa Babs’ Lakey Peterson into the biggest huck ever by a girl.

Did it work? Did she orbit the Pacific?

How about we take you on what is referred to as a… journey.

We made a four-part series on the process. Part one, below, is the construction of a board that goes pop.

Owen Wright
"To realise how much love is out there… it pushed me through that time. I’m stoked to realise how much love there is.” | Photo: WSL/Robertson

Now: Owen Wright Gets Injury Wildcard!

Not unexpected, but still… 

Two weeks ago, the surfer Owen Wright competed in his first contest in a year and a half.

Owen, who is twenty seven years old, suffered a brain injury in Hawaii shortly before the 2015 Pipeline Masters, where he was an outside shot for the world title, and hadn’t surfed a contest until this year’s Newcastle QS6000.

Owen waltzed through his first heat with high sevens, but lost in round three.

And, now, Owen will carry the injury wildcard through the 2017 season.

“Owen Wright is one of the most electric and powerful surfers to ever grace the tour,” Kieren Perrow, WSL Commissioner, said. “Following his injury in December of 2015, the WSL’s priority was Owen’s well-being and, if he were to return to competition, a healthy return to the sport. After assessing his performance and health after a QS event earlier in the season, Owen has accepted the WSL Wildcard for the 2017 season. We’re happy to have him back.”

Owen Wright Tyler Wright
Owen and Tyler after his lil sis won Snapper last year.

His little sister Tyler, who is the women’s world champion, and his littler bro Mikey, who is the Quiksilver wildcard, will make it a Wright three-way at Snapper, which begins, waves willing, on March 14.


Will she live to see the light of day or be culled mercilessly by a coat-hanger abortion?

Wow: Man catches 65 waves in one hour!

New Wavegarden promises untold riches (and barrels)… 

How many waves can you catch in an hour? Like, if you really try, head-down, no talkies, paddling here and there, and there ain’t much of a gap between sets?

Ten, twenty?

If you’re the banker-turned-surf entrepreneur, Andrew Ross, the man behind the promised proliferation of Wavegardens in Australia, and you just rode the new version in Spain (made to fend off the Slater pool), it’s an impressive wave every fifty-five seconds. Can you imagine such a thing?

“I had 65 waves in about an hour with a few other guys – was hard to walk afterwards,” Ross told Surfing Life. “One of the wave types includes a true barrelling wave, with a trough and a concave shape, that means the wave wraps back at you like a point break. This is different to the current wave foil tech where the wave is somewhat convex shaped, in that it bends back away from you as it breaks. I surfed the new full-scale ‘Cove’ in December, and it is awesome!”

Wait. I’m paragraphing another magazine’s website? Has it come to this? Reporting on an emailed, quasi-press release?

Oh, yes. But it wasn’t always this way.

When Ross, who is a former lawyer and investment banker appeared on the scene with his noble plan to seed Australia with ten wavepools, I made a phone call and reported, faithfully, what he said.

I think, and I know the feeling because I’ve been dumb enough to talk to the press, what he said and what he… thought… he said were two different things.

The line, “I’ve never been associated with the surf industry. But I’m a 35-year hardcore surfer, all my mates, we know what surfing is about, we all go to the Ments each year” looks more awkward in print than it felt coming out of his mouth.

And, therefore, repeated requests to re-interview have hit a wall. Which is a bummer. I like pools. I like Wavegarden. And I’ll melt whatever plastic it takes for a season pass, old version of the pool, the new  Cove shape, whatever.

Reaching back around to the Surfing Life interview, Ross also likened the current epoch to skiing in the nineteen-forties and wavepools to chairlifts.

In response to the question if he believed surfing’s future growth will rely on wavepools, he replied:

If by growth you mean growth in total participation in the sport, then absolutely. And by total participation, I mean getting more people into surfing for the first time, getting former surfers back into surfing, and by giving existing surfers more opportunity to increase their overall wave count per year and simply surf more.

A good analogy is the chairlift – no-one really undertook skiing prior to the late 1940’s because you had to trek up a snow-covered mountain to do it. With the invention of the chair lift though, it opened up winter sports to the general public by making it convenient, accessible and safe. From a relatively small base, the winter sports market has grown over the past 60 years to about 2,600 ski resorts, 24,000 installed lifts and about 400 million participants a year. 

More people ID-ing as surfers means more website clicks. BeachGrit soars. Revenue pours. I’m thrilled.


Read the full interview here.