Kevin Reed pictured soaring.
Kevin Reed pictured soaring.

Breaking: Surf icon accused of murder!

The first man to do an air on a surfboard is awaiting trail in Santa Cruz.

Who is the first man to ever take to the sky on a surfboard? Michael Ciaramella? Martin Potter? Christian Fletcher? Larry Bertlemann?


All wonderful surfers, each a pioneer, but the first man to regularly and purposefully launch is named Kevin Reed and he lives in Santa Cruz. One of his punts can be seen gracing a 1975 issue of Surfing magazine (above) and can you imagine how difficult it would be to do on a weird heavy mid-1970s single fin?

Kevin, it appears, fell from the scene, changed his name to Kevin Callaghan and was living on the beach in Santa Cruz where he has just been convicted of murder. Let’s read in San Jose’s Mercury News.

Kevin Callahan, 58, known for most of his life as Kevin Reed, was arrested early Sunday morning, not far from the body of Steven Lee, 52. The two men had both been living near the seawall along Beach Avenue, according to police reports.

The allegations against Callahan came as a blow to friend and local surf legend Bob Pearson, owner of Pearson Arrow Surfboards on Mission. Pearson said that he still considers his friend Kevin “one of the most famous guys in the world.”

“He was the first guy to do the aerials. That’s a fact, and he did it five years before anybody else,” Pearson said Monday. He acknowledged that he had heard the murder allegations against his friend and hoped that they proved incorrect.

Pearson went on to say:

“You drive by homeless, you hear it a bunch of times: Don’t judge the people, you don’t know who he is, who she is, where they’re from, what happened to them and what’s going on in their life,” Pearson said. “I’m sure he has been judged wrong by a lot, a lot of people. It’s unfortunate, some people just fall through the cracks.”

And ain’t that the truth.

Is this you? Poor soul... | Photo: Brian Caissie/Getty Images

(It Sucks) To Suck at Surfing

Ability is relative, but sometimes not.

I like to believe that 90% of BeachGrit readers can complete a roundhouse cutback, have been tubed, are not virgins of (attempted) flight. How could one be enthralled by our blend of sado-masochism without having put in the necessary hours?

My logic? The stages of surfing!

Stage 1: It begins with the pre-engaged sentiment of: Surfing is a pointless endeavor, championed by hippies, derelicts!

Stage 2: These are the rose-tinted years of progression, wherein the prevailing majority screams: Surfing is the best! So beautiful, enlightening, sexy! Fuck me Laird!

Stage 3: Once plateauing/having kids/brain bleeding most of us arrive at the realization that surfing is, in fact, quite pointless. Fun, but pointless. Also we are often derelicts.

Occam’s razor cuts deep.

So, assuming BeachGrit has stage three locked down, and knowing that Surfline and the Inertia have an ongoing custody war for stage two, what do stage one-ers like to read? Maybe the New York Times!

I was recently sent a piece (thanks, Mom) in the Times about our derelict sport. The story is called (It’s Great to) Suck at Something and in it the author, Karen Rinaldi, revels in her kookdom! She writes:

Over the past 15 years, surfing has become a kind of obsession for me. I surf eight months a year. I travel to surf destinations for family vacations and seek (forgiving) waves in the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. I have spent thousands of dollars on boards of all sizes and shapes.

And yet — I suck at it. In the sport of (Hawaiian) kings, I’m a jester. In surfing parlance, a “kook.” I fall and flail. I get hit on the head by my own board. I run out of breath when held down by a four-foot wave. I wimp out when the waves get overhead and I paddle back to shore. When I do catch a wave, I’m rarely graceful. On those rare occasions when I manage a decent drop, turn and trim, I usually blow it by celebrating with a fist pump or a hoot.

Once, I actually cried tears of joy over what any observer would have thought a so-so performance on a so-so wave. Yes, I was moved to tears by mediocrity.

So why continue? Why pursue something I’ll never be good at?

Because it’s great to suck at something.

I was surprised to find Rinaldi’s writing incredibly stage-twoish in nature. How on earth could she, an adult woman, suffer such indignity with a smile on her face? She goes on to explain:

When I do catch a wave and feel the glide, I’ll hold onto that feeling for hours, days or even weeks. I’m hooked on the pursuit of those moments, however elusive they may be. But it’s not the momentary high that has sustained me. In the process of trying to attain a few moments of bliss, I experience something else: patience and humility, definitely, but also freedom. Freedom to pursue the futile. And the freedom to suck without caring is revelatory.

Think about how focused you become when you’re presented with something totally new to accomplish. Now, what happens when that task is no longer new but still taps into intense focus because we haven’t yet mastered it? You’re a novice, an amateur, a kook. You suck at it. Some might think your persistence moronic. I like to think of it as meditative and full of promise. In the words of the Zen teacher Shunryu Suzuki, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind, there are few.” When I surf, I live in the possibility.

Oh how I love Mitsubishi’s quote. It is so very true for multiple facets of life. Just this weekend I went to a dressage competition and after watching for ten minutes thought to myself, They could be doing such cooler maneuvers on these horses. Chop hops, fin blows etc. 

Yet when I brought this up with my dressage-savvy compadres, they scoffed at the concept. “Horses can’t do that. Horses don’t even have fins,” they snootily informed.

But the joke is on them! These folks have been around dressage for so long, have had certain practices ingrained in their minds for enough years that they’ve become incapable of peering outside the blinders. The world is not black and white but a million shades of gray! And horses do have fins, if you just believe.

But then I would never try my hand at dressage, because sucking at something sucks. You might think you’re having fun, but the world, it laughs!

I’m not sure about barn culture, but in my neck of the sea, rookies are treated with more disrespect than Kmart coupon-books. They are considered for one, maybe two seconds before being hurled in the metaphorical bin. Their offense? Paddling for waves. Getting in the way. Smiling.

Rinaldi’s failure to state this fact is grossly negligent and, in my opinion, deserving of one-hundred drop-ins, stink-eyes and paddle-arounds. Though that was probably coming regardless.

Who is more handsome and be honest. Prime Kaipo or last year's Ron Blakey?
Who is more handsome and be honest. Prime Kaipo or last year's Ron Blakey?

Just in: Let’s help Kaipo!

It's like crowdfunding without the money!

The World Surf League commentator with the biggest upside is one Kaipo Guerrero. He is the only one to have dated Madonna. He is the only one Hawaiian. And let us be very clear here. Ron Blakey is a handsome noodle. Joey Turps is trying as hard as he can. Pete Mel wishes he had Just Said No (to the WSL when they came calling). Strider lives in an architectural masterpiece in Malibu and doesn’t need this shit. Pottz has late stage Alzheimers and can’t remember yesterday let alone when he was a rock n’ roller with one foot on the gas pedal and the other out your girlfriend’s door.

Bt Kaipo Guerrero. There is potential! There is a future!

And today he reached out on Facebook asking for your help.

Hi FB friends, I need your help. Can you share with me any surfing verbs, nouns or adjectives you can think of along with a brief description. Trying to load more vocabulary in my mind before next WSL event in Rio. Mahalo.

So? I know you may not be his FB friend but you can still help. What should Kaipo say in Rio. This is your chance, armchair quarterback, to almost step behind the mic and shine! Write your suggestions in the comment section and I’ll pass them along!

Do you have what it takes? Help our Kaipo now! It’s like crowdfunding without the money!

Scottish surf (pictured) looks like Oregon!
Scottish surf (pictured) looks like Oregon!

Miracle: Man survives Scottish surf!

And then he survives a night floating on his board in the Irish Sea!

Once, many years ago, I paddled out to my hometown Bastendorff Beach near Coos Bay, Oregon for a lovely afternoon surf. The weather was a glorious freezing with a thick grey blanket covering the sky. The ocean was an even more wonderful freezing with giant storm fed chop heaving and lurching.

My board was a totally appropriate 6’1 Nev potato chip. I jogged to the shoreline, waded in, hoped on and began to paddle near a rock spit, dreading the upcoming ice cream headache from the upcoming 1001 duck dives. Soon, though, I was filled with an immense joy. I was halfway out to the “lineup” without having to duckdive once. What luck!

I smiled, broadly, until realizing that I hadn’t had to duckdive because I was in the world’s biggest rip. It was like a river, with rapids etc., sucking me out to sea. I paddled as hard as I could over to the rock spit and dug my fingers into its barnacles at the last possible point. My totally appropriate comp leash snapped and my 6’1 Nev bounced out to sea while I climbed the rock back to shore.

Some fish bandit Chinese is probably getting barreled on it right now.

And I only recount this story to say that rip currents are scary things! A Scottish surfer just got caught in one and ended up in Belfast, Ireland across the Irish Sea. Let’s read about him!

A SURFER has been found clinging to his board 13 miles off the west coast of Scotland more than a day after he vanished.

Matthew Bryce disappeared after setting off to go to West Port beach near Campbeltown for a day of surfing on Sunday morning.

The 22-year-old had last been seen yesterday morning about 9am in the St Catherines area of Argyll.

The alarm was raised after he failed to get in touch with family or friends since then.

Cops launched a search and urgent appeal for any sightings of the the keen surfer on Monday.

Cops confirmed he was found at around 7.30pm on Monday night and was taken to a hospital in Belfast to be checked over.

Chief inspector Paul Robertson said: “The response to our appeal to find Matthew has been outstanding.

“It has been a real team effort and I would like to thank everyone who offered their assistance.”

Belfast Coastguard coordinated the search and a large area of sea and shore was searched since lunch time on Monday.

Islay and Red Bay and Coastguard rescue teams from Campbeltown, Southend, Gigha, Tarbert and Port Ellen as well as the Coastguard Rescue helicopter based at Prestwick.

Dawn Petrie, at Belfast Coastguard Operations Centre, said: “Hope was fading of finding the surfer safe and well after such a long period in the water.

“But at 7.30pm tonight, the crew on the Coastguard rescue helicopter were delighted when they located the man still with his surf board and 13 miles off the coast.

“He was kitted out with all the right clothing including a thick neoprene suit and this must have helped him to survive for so long at sea.

“He is hypothermic but conscious and has been flown to hospital in Belfast.”

I wonder what Matthew Bryce was thinking about as he floated? Do you think he was thinking, “If this is it my surf bros better do a paddle out for me.”

When you die do you want a paddle out?

Here come the Chinese to eat the sharks' fishes leaving the sharks to eat us!
Here come the Chinese to eat the sharks' fishes leaving the sharks to eat us!

Shark attack: Let’s blame the Chinese!

Surf Website Calls for Genocide!

The recent spate of shark attacks, from Reunion to Australia to Southern California have left surfers around the world scared and angry. Who’s next? You? Me? What’s worse is there is no unified approach on to how to solve the problem, not even amongst surfers. Who could forget when Kelly Slater called for a cull and POW right in his kisser!

There is no unified problem solution because no agreed upon culprit. Are too many people in the water? Sharks over-breeding? Evolving a taste for human flesh?

What about the Chinese?

Sunday’s The Failing New York Times ran the story China’s Appetite Pushes Fish Stocks to Brink on the cover. Let’s read a snippet!

Having depleted the seas close to home, Chinese fishermen are sailing farther to exploit the waters of other countries, their journeys often subsidized by a government more concerned with domestic unemployment and food security than the health of the world’s oceans and the countries that depend on them.

Increasingly, China’s growing armada of distant-water fishing vessels is heading to the waters of West Africa, drawn by corruption and weak enforcement by local governments. West Africa, experts say, now provides the vast majority of the fish caught by China’s distant-water fleet. And by some estimates, as many as two-thirds of those boats engage in fishing that contravenes international or national laws.

China’s distant-water fishing fleet has grown to nearly 2,600 vessels (the United States has fewer than one-tenth as many), with 400 boats coming into service between 2014 and 2016 alone. Most of the Chinese ships are so large that they scoop up as many fish in one week as Senegalese boats catch in a year, costing West African economies $2 billion a year, according to a new study published by the journal Frontiers in Marine Science.

“Chinese fleets are all over the world now, and without these subsidies, the industry just wouldn’t be sustainable,” said Li Shuo, a global policy adviser at Greenpeace East Asia. “For Senegal and other countries of West Africa, the impact has been devastating.”

When it comes to global fishing operations, China is the indisputable king of the sea. It is the world’s biggest seafood exporter, and its population accounts for more than a third of all fish consumption worldwide, a figure growing by 6 percent a year.

Etc. Etc.

Read the rest here and you’ll likely be inclined toward depression but this is BeachGrit! It’s anti-depressive so let’s cheer the fact that we have a culprit to blame for our shark attack problem and maybe a solution.

What if we cull the Chinese?

Just kidding!

But do you think, by asking, BeachGrit can get smashed in a tabloid just like Surf Europe did?

I can see the headline now! Surf Website Calls for Genocide.

It’ll be my proudest day ever.