Looks at all the pretty colors!

The Perils of Chasing a Swell!

Apologies to the reader/boss/girlfriend etc.

If you’ve felt neglected and abused, loyal BeachGrittians, I understand. You’ve been handed rubbish lately. Of course Chas flips trash better than your average hobo, and Longtom’s musings have helped soothe the dumpster-fire burn, but the fact is we (emphasis on me (and Chas and Derek)) haven’t written much of value in the past…. mmmmmm…. four-ish days.

But we have excuses!

As you know Chas is busy with cocaine. As you may not know, and as I’m writing this I’m not sure if you’re supposed to know (?), Derek is also busy with something bound and verbose. He’s so busy in fact, that he asked me to curate two (2) articles a day for a nine-day span, while he finishes a project that will someday make a great coaster.

I agreed to his request but did so with a slight reluctance. Y’see, some days surf writing is easy. Kelly calls for a cull, Robbie Maddison acts like a wealthy bellend, etc. But others days it’s hard to find something noteworthy enough to pass off as news… so we fake it. We flip and spin and jump through hoops in an attempt to amuse our wonderful readership. To do that twice in a day is not only painful for us, it’s unfair to you.

This is not where I offer some wonderful solution to an apparent problem. This is where I make further excuses on my own behalf.

Three days into my nine-day sentence, a swell popped up. Actually it was two swells — forming back-to-back in the vivacious Southern Ocean. My initial plan was to meet them in Fiji, where a wonderful local (albeit American) family has offered me their couch in exchange for… friendship? They are incredibly gracious.

I then contacted an Aussie mate, who I’d met in Panama, to see if he’d like to join. He declined, citing work and a three-week trip to South Oz in his near future, but mentioned that the Fiji swells would first make landfall at his local, and they looked good.

A few chart-checks, phone calls, and one seriously disgruntled girlfriend later, I had a return ticket from LAX to Melbin with a seven-day layover in Fiji on the way back. Two trips for the price of one, four swells in the space of two!

I took off Monday night and have been pretty non-stop ever since. As a result, I’m not only slightly behind on my quota (thank you Chas for picking up the slack!), but 90% of my posts have been blasé video garbage, which is less fun for me to write than it is for you to read.

But I finally have a lay-day, so hopefully something interesting happens in the surf world!

Oh and, you’ll hear more travel tales shortly. I promise not to follow Chas’s advice this time.

Gimme: More sharks! More wipeouts!

Two things the world can't get enough of!

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it many times. The general non-surfing public will click on two things when it comes to our favorite dance.

1) Shark attack.

2) Big wave wipeout.

The World Surf League short film “Shark attacks Mick Fanning at J-Bay Open” has been viewed over 24 million times on YouTube. That is, like, 24 million times more than the next WSL production.

In second place is the wipeout reel. The Big Wave Awards just released this year’s and it has made the USA Today and Bleacher Report. Let’s watch!

Bleacher Report writes:

Those of you who enjoy surfing as a hobby may want to think twice about viewing the video above.

As Hemal Jhaveri of USA Today’s For the Win explained Wednesday, the World Surf League recently announced its nominees for the 2017 Wipeout of the Year award, which it will hand out at the Big Wave Awards in Huntington Beach, California, on April 29.

In anticipation of that event, the WSL released a video of the nominated spills, and the footage is jarring.

Truth be told, we’re not sure if it would be worse to be the person who fell from the very top of a wave or the individual swallowed by the water near the base.


Anyhow, when Mick Fanning got bumped by a shark it got 24 million views. When he got bumped yesterday by Kanoa Igarashi it got 152 views. Let’s post that too and try to grow its numbers so Kanoa feels more valuable than a shark.

Not champagne, and a Sunbeam Alpine, but close enough...
Not champagne, and a Sunbeam Alpine, but close enough...

Update: “I was wrong!”

Keep surfing on tour Kelly Slater!

I’d be the second person, after my ex-wife, to tell you that I am not perfect. I sometimes make mistakes. Sometimes speak without really thinking. Sometimes forget to weigh all the possibilities in a scenario. Sometimes get re-married before being officially divorced thus getting to be, all too briefly, a fabulous bigamist.

Or like this morning, I wrote a bit about how age catches us all and it seems like it might have just caught Kelly Slater, a man who appeared to defy those very odds. I wondered if it was time for him to figure some thing to do with his time other than get embarrassed by young boys.

But thank God for you. Because when I do make mistakes you are there to gently correct. To set me back on the correct path and this morning my dear Negatron did just that. In the comments underneath the Kelly Get Lost bit he wrote…

Kelly phase 2, please…. quits competing, stays on tour as a total boss… commentating, interviewing, scaffolding supervisor… hopefully turning up two weeks early and staying on a week post comp, dropping edits and embarrassing tour surfers with his performances for another decade {or two}
No disrespect, but he reminds me of a scarf wearing middle aged man driving a champagne coloured convertible Porsche. Sure, it’s the fastest car when the lights go green, but Dude, the colour! and that flowing scarf?

A scarf wearing middle aged man driving a champagne coloured convertible Porsche? There is, honestly, no aesthetic vision that appeals to me more. That, and precisely that, is what I will someday be (maybe in five years fingers crossed on book sales etc.).

Thank you Negs. Thank you for setting me straight.

And Kelly? Stay right where you are, gorgeous!

Real talk: Age is a cruel mister!

But the sun also sets!

Few things give me as much pleasure as reading Longtom’s analyses on BeachGrit. Matt Warshaw and Derek Rielly’s conversations, when Mike Ciaramella calls me a kiss ass, when Ian Kanga Cairns calls me a gutter writer. Those things, maybe, but Steve Shearer sure does know how to keep me giggling.

And, very quickly, what is protocol with handles? Am I supposed to use Longtom only or is it ok to also use Shearer? I’ll defer to his judgement.

In any case, Kelly Slater. Steve wrote:

For now, lets look at Kelly’s numbers. They’re bad, man. How bad? Real bad.
Kelly rode 44 waves for an average wave score of, what? Take a guess. Five? Six?

Under four in surf that was mostly good to great Snapper Rocks, one of the most rippable waves on earth. Only one of those 44 waves (2.27%) made the excellent eight-plus range. A perfect wave he flubbed so badly it should have been a 10. That wave was the source of the awks Fanning locker-room, bun-in-the-oven exchange (more on that in a minute.)

His average heat score after seven heats including today is a princely 12.57. It’s a miracle Kelly made the quarters at Snapper. His is a surfer in steep decline, according to the numbers.

Normally I would mock, for fun, and offer some anecdotal evidence to Kelly Slater being different, better. Him lulling the competition to sleep with poor performance only to wack on the head with an unprecedented dance at Bells, or something. Except I was just with my favorite ever surfer, the great Michael Tomson, and we were talking about Pipeline. I asked if he still surfed out there and he said:

Never! Wouldn’t even CONSIDER it. It is terrifying, man. There comes a point in time when it doesn’t matter how hard you’ve trained, how fit you are, how many hours you’ve put in, how good your equipment is. Fuck all. you’re still not going to make that drop and it’s because reflex. You don’t have that reflex. At the time you’re not thinking. But thinking can get you caught from behind.

That point in time comes for everyone. Has it officially come for our Kelly?

Santos is a man possessed!

Watch: Bruno Santos Is My Hero!

The man has it all!

We can’t all be John John. Most of us can’t even be Cheyne Magnusson. But if I could be one surfer, any surfer at all, it’d have to be Brazil’s Bruno Santos.

Y’see, Bruno’s got it made. Family man, tube fiend, world traveler on Rip Curl’s dime. There’s no pressure on contest results (though he wins the Teahupo’o trials like… every year, and even dominated the whole event once), nor is there need to launch himself off ankle-breaking sections. The big tube gig can be very scary, true, but when you’ve got the best technique in the biz it’s child’s play!

For the self-help type, Bruno’s tube mastery can be achieved with this simple eight-step system: Feet flat, bend at the knees, ride on the middle of the board lengthwise, but feet slightly toward the inside rail, don’t blink, head and weight centered, arms point towards the channel, fart for exit speed.

Watch as Bruno completely embarrasses Guillermo Satt at a few anonymous ocean slabs, in this installment of The Search. If Bruno’s technical ability and general derring-do don’t get you off, try tightening that belt a bit! If your face hasn’t achieved a hint of periwinkle, it can hardly be called auto-erotic.