Just in: Worst Surf Photo Ever?

The surf photo can be the cruellest of masters.

Five days ago this website wondered aloud if a BeachGrit reader could win, perhaps very easily, the Indian Open of Surfing. The two-day event, which began on Friday, featured the best surfers on the sub-continent, as well as Maldivian Ismail Miguel.

As Chas Smith wrote:

“Be honest right now. Be way super honest. If you happened to be in Mangalore with a few hours to kill and, inexplicably, your favorite surfboard do you think you could take the Indian Open of Surfing?

Are you racist for feeling that way?


But also, I think I could. Chas Smith surf champ!”

Of course, the posit was racist to the bone. Just as eating a delicious fish curry is an act of imperialist cultural appropriation.

Or at least it was until this photo was splashed across India’s Deccan Herald, an English-language paper read by half-a-million people every day.

“Austin from USA displays his skill on waves,” reads the caption.

Oh, I know, we’ve all fallen victim to inflated expectations of a surf photograph. Many years ago, one of my dearest friends came back to our North Shore rental breathless that he’d just been photographed taking off on a ten-foot Sunset peak.

This was pre-digital and a week passed before the photograph was revealed. The sheet of transparency film was ripped out of the paper bag, thrown on a lightbox and…

… the friend, a good enough surfer, was captured in a deep squat, a sprawling, droopy, dopey-eyed style, on what appeared to be a still ocean.

Cue whimpering.

I’ve worked in the magazine game long enough to’ve seen bad photos of Jordy Smith and co. (Oddly, never of Dane Reynolds.)

And what I’ve learned is, you have to turn harder than you’ve ever turned, in the most critical part of a wave you’ve ever visited, swish your arms and hips around and then, only then, might you get something that isn’t embarrassing.

As for this,

I wonder,

Did Austin from the USA, read Chas Smith’s story and think, goddammit, I’ll drive those Indians into the dirt and be a one-in-a-billion surfer, the best on the sub-continent?

Maybe he did!

Follow the Indian Open of Surfing here.

Lena Dunham: “I forgive Laird!”

Alt-feminist Lena Dunham stands by her man!

I am now in clearly uncharted waters. Day Four of Laird Hamilton and Menstruation. No one has dared sail this far without turning back and I am alone.

Alone with alt-feminist Lena Dunham!

Common sense would have had her raging against Laird’s proclamation that sharks eat girls who are undergoing uterine rejuvenation. That she would have stomped her feet at a caveman spreading unkind rumors about lady parts but Lena has more balls than The Inertia and don’t care!

“Y’all I know Laird Hamilton shouldn’t have said sharks eat ladies with periods but he did once literally save me from drowning so I forgive!” Dunham posted on Twitter on Friday.


Dunham, 31, recounted the 2015 paddleboarding race ordeal in the Hamptons, when she “got off course and [Hamilton] somehow appeared as I was alone and panicking and dragged me to shore!”

A spy at the Hamptons Paddle & Party for Pink charity race told Page Six at the time, “It was a tough paddle … Windy and harder than expected.” Dunham ended up drifting into Mecox Bay.

Hamilton even left Dunham with some motivational words: “Then Laird Hamilton said to me ‘you may have finished last, but you never gave up so in my book you finish first.’”

Let’s read the rest of the Page 6 story here!

And how’s about that.

Before reading this piece I found Laird a goofy clown and Lena totally disgusting. After reading this I find them both heart-warming.

Or am I wrong? Has Day Four blunted my senses?

Ummmmm which side do we take?
Ummmmm which side do we take?

Breaking: The Inertia totally pussies out!

New levels of spinelessness achieved!

I wanted to do one full week of coverage on Laird Hamilton telling TMZ that sharks attack because women are menstruating but I only made it for two days. Long enough to be able to write menstruating without having to Google its spelling but not long enough to set any tangible record.

Still, pretty good. But really, more than anything, I have been waiting patiently for The Inertia‘s take on the incident. Venice-adjacent sometime-white water rafting blog has a totally un-ironic lefty streak and I was dying for them to jump in all indignant and shred dear Laird for being a misogynistic creep.

But then again, would they? Laird Hamilton and his hydrofoil/SUP/super food non-dairy creamer represents everything The Inertia holds dear. Would they, instead of castigating their hero blame TMZ for misrepresenting an honest, albeit naive, opinion?

I waited and waited and waited and then just this minute right now found their take on Laird-gate buried deep in their feed. It read:

The World According to Laird: Women Experiencing Menstrual Cycle Could Be Shark Bait

We’re not quite sure where this came from, and TMZ has a reputation for pulling out the worst quotes when its reporters stick mics in people’s faces, but this nugget from Laird Hamilton on how woman experiencing their menstrual cycle are at a greater risk of being bitten by a shark is a head scratcher. Hard to find any evidence to back that up. So we’ll just leave this here.

That’s it and I haven’t been this let down since thieves broke into my family home when I was eleven years old and stole most of the presents from under the Christmas tree.


I mean, I knew Zach Weisberg and crew were spineless and I guess I knew they were pussies but COME ON! For once, just once, grow a fucking pair of BALLS. Pick a FUCKING side!

One of you Inertia bastards better explain how you let this story fall so flat or I’m storming the office and NOT bringing any paleo granola bars with me.

You don’t deserve them.

None of you do.

The face of a man who's been inside things.

Watch: Harry Bryant Penetrates Fiji!

Join him in the crystal waters of Cloudbreak!

And do you recall, just two months ago, when I told you that I surfed perfect Cloudbreak very poorly but witnessed a young Harry Bryant break his hymen in heroic fashion?

No? Well it happened. And finally the proof has surfaced.

Let’s indulge!

If you’ve ever surfed Cloudbreak, you know how difficult of a wave it is. The good ones look like closeouts, the closeouts look like closeouts, and the bad ones look like the wave of your life. It’s confusing as hell, but somehow, on his maiden voyage to Fiji, Harry Bryant was baking cakes in industrial-sized ovens.

His last wave I saw from our boat. I even have a shitty iPhone clip of the damn thing. Seeing a wave like that in real life is pretty surreal. After a certain point, generally around the eight-second mark of the barrel, it seems simultaneously impossible and inevitable that he’s gonna come flying out the end of it.

The big day was pretty hit-or-miss, but Harry handled himself with courage and aplomb. Often picking off waves down the reef, the out-the-back crew would collectively shake its heads every time a cheer from the channel was matched with a blonde-dyed-pink head flying over the shoulder.

Amongst a healthy crew of pros and Cloudbreak specialists, Harry owned that swell. As Ryan Hipwood called it, “I don’t think the kid’s fallen off his board all day.”

Which leads me to this question, readers:

Have you ever been THE guy? The one who gets all the best waves in a premier session and is lauded by the crew for a week straight?


Malibu: “Such corporate surfing!”

Did you know everyone is sponsored in Malibu? Me neither!

So guess what Laird Hamilton has done NOW?

Just kiddin! But I am proud of how tightly I grabbed him by the pussy and how absurdly long I held on. That was, like, two full days of nothin but Laird. A personal best and it will be difficult to surpass even by sometime yoga instructional website The Inertia.

But let us move away from Laird’s doctoral thesis and into his home town of Malibu! There is a new YouTube serial called Malibu Surf which… ummmm… I’ll let the show’s creator tell you.

“Imagine a world where 4 beautiful boys, 4 beautiful girls, surf, sand, drama and romance are the norm! This is real life for Rio, Joey, Ally, Jacob, Keaton, Courtney, Sofia and Sean. They all live in Malibu, CA and spend their days lying on the beach or surfing and their nights causing mischief in Malibu or going to parties. Some of them are friends…some of them are frenemies… but all of them live in a world where it’s a surfers paradise!”

I’ll admit I was slightly confused when I first read because it is not Surfers Paradise and has nothing to do with Australia’s Gold Coast. It is Malibu. And it opens with one girl asking another girl, “What’s Maui like? I’ve never been there.” And her answering, “It’s so different than here. Like, it’s kind of the same how everyone knows everyone here but the surfing is so much more corporate here.” And the the first one says, “Yeah, if you don’t have a sponsor you’re kinda out.”

Fucking corporate Malibu surf scene with all its sponsored groms.

Lame. Where’s the soul n shit?