Wigg Dantas and poofs of spit! | Photo: WSL/Kelly Cestari

Fiji Pro, Day 2: “Poof of spit on doggy door!”

Bye-Bye Gabby, Bye-Bye Owen.

I clicked on this morning and got a nappy commercial. I think they are called Diapers in the US of A.

That was the first of many cognitive dissonances for the day. Cloudbreak was serving up another confusing mixed grill of over-cooked and under-cooked ingredients. Short-period waves that went nowhere, mid-period, west swell waves that closed out the lineup and the odd wide open one that steam-rolled the reef.

Not an easy read for anyone. The kind of surf that would see a boatload of aging alpha male dentists from Manhattan Beach back in the boat after one set to surf waist-high Restaurants. As a rec surfer you’d watch the boatmen deep-throat a few juicy peaches while copping donuts all day long.

Ace inexplicably dropped his bundle against the Italian Stallion, paddling around like a headless chook in the last ten minutes when he was well ahead. A series of blunders gave Fioravanti priority and he duly iced the heat for his first heat win of the year. It was a heat Ace should have won all day, every day.

Rosie spent most of the next heat between Kelly and Ethan Ewing bigging up Ewing, continually comparing him to AI. That hype eventually took on the dimensions of an entirely separate reality – Rosie’s World? – as Ewing surfed a heat I could’ve smashed him in. Kelly was just solid, without being amazing. It was a walk through for him. How did that idea that Ethan Ewing surfs like AI take hold?

And why did Volcom, flush with cash after the sale to Kering group, “let go” the Fiji comp after two of the most successful surf comps in history? Two thousand and twelve’s big-wave guerilla insurrection in twenty-foot tubes and Kellys 2013 masterclass back to back.

You’re flush with fashion cash and you let that go? Why?

Richard “Wooly” Woolcott, I spend the day trying to track you down without success. I know you are reading, so why did the Stone hit the eject button on Fiji?

Web journalism is a derelict little cubby hole to crawl down into. Web surf journalism might be the nadir of human creative endeavour. It could easily be.  I feel like a turd for insinuating that Joey Turpel might shuffle off and be a coach and spare us the verbal treacle. And he did. But his absence got me thinking: about the lack of a distinct lexicon related to pro surfing. Joey was inventing that for us. For good or ill. The sled reset euphemism for shark attacks, the high-line wraps and other linguistic treats he laid down for us. For a sport supposedly rich with it’s own inpenetrable jargon the cupboard can seem bare for commentators supplying colour.

As Owen got obliterated on the shish-kebabs section going for broke on a final manoeuvre needing a nine, Rosie came up with this piece of gold. “There is a little poof of spit as he finds the doggy door.” No further comment.

But I’m overjoyed to report that Rosie Hodge has made an incredible contribution to the pro surfing dictionary of phrases. Sometime during the Ian Gouveia/O-Dog heat, a heat that supplied genuine drama as Owen got obliterated on the shish-kebabs section going for broke on a final manoeuvre needing a nine, Rosie came up with this piece of gold. “There is a little poof of spit as he finds the doggy door.” No further comment.

Excuse while I clean up this little poof of spit on my computer screen.

Ian Gouveia looked like Italo did a couple of years ago when he beat Kelly. Totally at ease, frothing. He beat Owen easily, really. Owen carried on the Aussie goofyfoot meltdown that Ace had started. He fell when he should have been standing and ended up pasted and bleeding.  More cognitive dissonance.

It took the last couple heats of the day, with a few goofy foots led by Matt Wilko to really crack the day open. Wilko….sizzled.Then Italo stayed down the reef from Gabe Medina, destroying his tactical advantage and threading high tide shish-kebabs tubes all day.

Bye-Bye Gabby, Bye-Bye Owen. Weird though.

Barton asked Kelly about World Ocean Day, about what the ocean meant to him.

“Everything,” he said. But it didn’t ring true.

Not when you put Nick Carroll’s summation of the next moves for the WSL into the equation.

“This chunk of the main game is all about Kelly’s wave pool, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and the doors that the WSL board thinks will then open up to wave pools and associated events in both traditional and ‘new’ surf markets. By ‘new’ read places where there isn’t a surf culture yet – Korea, China and the like.”

So the ocean isn’t “everything” at all.

Even a day in Fiji at Cloudbreak now carries this haunting shadow with it.

What is the main game, if this ain’t it?

Outerknown Fiji Men’s Pro Remaining Round 2 Results:
Heat 2: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 10.66 def. Yago Dora (BRA) 10.33
Heat 3: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 18.43 def. Bino Lopes (BRA) 9.53
Heat 4: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 12.26 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.87
Heat 5: Kelly Slater (USA) 12.90 def. Ethan Ewing (AUS) 4.27
Heat 6: Joan Duru (FRA) 13.00 def. Conner Coffin (USA) 10.30
Heat 7: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 14.77 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 12.27
Heat 8: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 17.57 def. Nat Young (USA) 11.10
Heat 9: Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 10.74 def. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 9.10
Heat 10: Ian Gouveia (BRA) 15.10 def. Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 7.13
Heat 11: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 12.00 def. Jack Freestone (AUS) 9.23
Heat 12: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 13.10 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 9.90

Outerknown Fiji Men’s Pro Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Ian Gouveia (BRA) 15.66 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 15.26
Heat 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.04 def. Frederico Morais (PRT) 10.20
Heat 3: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 16.84 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 5.67
Heat 4: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 15.83 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.47
Upcoming Outerknown Fiji Men’s Pro Round 3 Match-Ups:
Heat 5: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Michel Bourez (PYF)
Heat 6: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
Heat 7: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Connor O’Leary (AUS)
Heat 9: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 10: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Bede Durbidge (AUS)
Heat 11: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA)
Heat 12: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Stuart Kennedy (AUS


Reno Abellira is one of my surf heroes. Reno, Jock, BK, Hakman, Nuuhiwa – my Big Five, during the formative years. I have style inflections to this day that come straight from Reno. There’s a Peter French shot of Reno at Ala Moana that is the backside bottom to which every one of my backside bottom turns has aspired. | Photo: Peter French

Warshaw: “Reno is my surf hero!”

Surf historian Matt Warshaw replies to Reno Abellira's Instagram tirade!

Reno Abellira is one of my surf heroes. Reno, Jock, BK, Hakman, Nuuhiwa – my Big Five, during the formative years. I have style inflections to this day that come straight from Reno. There’s a Peter French shot of Reno at Ala Moana that is the backside bottom to which every one of my backside bottom turns has aspired.

Reno and I met in person while I was at SURFER, probably in 1988. He is a chilled out motherfucker, intense and quiet-voiced and formidable, and I was so nervous just sitting across from him. But evidently I passed muster, as we worked together on two feature articles the following year: “Performance: the Hot Pursuit,” then “Whatever Happened to Hawaiian Style? The Rise and Fall of Surfing’s Aloha Spirit.” The second piece was especially good, with Reno lamenting the fact that modern Hawaiian pros seemed to be losing sight of their surfing roots. Read this, and see if it doesn’t move you the way it did me when it first came across my desk:

Someone forgot to pass the calabash. Others were no-shows at their own initiation. That scares and saddens the hell out of me, for within the calabash lie all the vital legacies and knowledge important to our great surf heritage. With a symbolic passing and receiving of the bowl from generation to generation, the connection stays alive—the connection which threads its way up from the days of the ancients—and with it, the meaning of Hawaiian Style.

Reno’s articles were clean, concise, delivered on time, easy to edit. He and I talked on the phone during the edit process, going over drafts. He was stoked on how they came out in print. We had plans to do some more pieces during the upcoming winter, but Reno dropped out of sight, or at least dropped off the media radar, and that was it as far as the two of us go. I left SURFER the following year, in 1990.

I tried no less than six times to get in touch with Reno in 2000 and 2001, while researching the print version of Encyclopedia of Surfing. I had a basic questionnaire that all the surfers in EOS filled out (all the living surfers): birth date and place, school, year started surfing, most notable accomplishment’s, etc. I couldn’t find with Reno. The number I had for him was disconnected, my emails got no reply. The fallback in such cases was to do research from sources at hand. For Reno, that meant about two-dozen magazine articles. I had a Duke Boyd profile on him from 1968, one from Drew Kampion in 1975, one from Phil Jarrett in 1979. Most of what’s in Reno’s Encyclopedia of Surfing page is taken from those three articles, including this bit from Kampion’s 1975 profile:

The year before [1965], Reno’s father was shot and killed in a pool hall fight. “Being a boxer,’ [Abellira said], “he had underworld contacts. He used to strong-arm gambling games in the downtown Honolulu environs.”

I had no reason to question this part of Reno’s bio. It didn’t come up in any subsequent surf mag interviews or profiles, and Reno and Drew connected again for a chatty Surfing conversation in 1979.

Reno’s Encyclopedia page has been out there, in print or online, since 2003. This is the first I’ve heard that he was unhappy with it. Attacked by my childhood hero. I won’t pretend it doesn’t hurt.


Blood Feud: Reno Abellira v Matt Warshaw!

Master shaper (and pals) kick head of beloved surf historian!

Do you love it when older men discover the inner teen and jump on social media to vent? It really is a beautiful thing to behold. To care after so many years!

Today, it is Reno Abellira, the former world number four, master shaper (Mark Richards got the idea for twin-fins from Reno) and one-time fugitive from US authorities (coke).

I like Reno. And I like Reno so much that when he was hiding from the cops for coke and weed dealing in the nineties and all the surf mags were advising readers to call the authorities if he was spotted, I wrote (in Australia’s Surfing Life back then) that ASL readers should give Reno a map, a change of clothes and a place to hide out for a few days.

As it turned out, it turned the key in Eddie Rothman’s heart and, subsequently, he was very kind to me.

Anyway,

Reno lit up today on Instagram about Matt Warshaw’s profile of him on the Encylopedia of Surfing.

This posting of my bio from the so called Encyclopedia of Surfing is still beyond annoying..but is now a personal affront to me …Matt Warshaw has for years touted himself as a surf historian but never made due diligence in his fact checking while compiling the book and instead left it to his inept minions to gather…the first duty of any encyclopedic work of any sort is to fact check not gather revised versions of former magazine articles and publish them as Truth…AUWE! (for shame) Matt Warshaw you made no real attempt at even the basic tenets of good journalism during your brief( thank Jehovah) tenure at Surfer Mag. and instead went into your literal diatribes of condemnation and the poorly disguised contempt you harbored for persons you profiled in pseudo hipster interviews..never a great surfer you chose to shoot them down willy nilly with Fascistic glee..still making royalties for published lies is disgusting and evil in my book…I am not the only one whose career and clear positive contributions to Surfing and the History you ruined or at the very least sullied with extreme prejudice….My father was never in a barroom fight in which he died..He was murdered in a downtown Honolulu pool room where he was employed by a faction of Korean gamblers as a stong arm…shot in the back with no witnesses to identify the shooter it is still an unsolved (as in cold case) murder on file…Stop hiding in your self-anointed ivory tower Warshaw and seek redemption for the sins of delusion you worship…

Reno’s IG pals joined in the head kicking.

sunrisesurfers: Fake News =The Encyclopedia of Surfing

mysticsurfboardseast: Reno- the “encyclopedia of surfing” is nothing more than a compendium of surf media bullshit, advertisements, and innuendo available in the last 50 years of surf print media, collated by a former surfer mag writer destined for literary glory. Parmenter @aleutianjuice flipped him off, very telling regarding authenticity. I.E.. If you weren’t there, you don’t need to know. I think Matts wife wants him to make a mortgage payment.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BU7Td9ulS6Y/?taken-by=renoabellira

Do you want to read Warshaw’s bio on the EOS? You can’t! Not unless you subscribe, a pinch at three bucks a month. 

For the sake of clarity in this little blood feud, and just this once, however, here’s the Reno bio on the EOS.

Stylish, enigmatic regularfooter from Honolulu, Hawaii; world-ranked #4 in 1977, and a central figure throughout the first decade of shortboard surfing. Abellira was born (1950) and raised in Honolulu, the son of a middleweight boxer who was shot and killed in a barroom fight. Abellira began surfing at age four in Waikiki, but didn’t get his first board until 11. He won the juniors division of the Makaha International in 1966 and 1967, and earned $200 for winning the 1966 Hawaiian Noseriding Contest, the state’s first professional surfing event.

Abellira was Hawaii’s juniors division champion in 1968, and made his international debut later that year in the World Surfing Championships, held in Puerto Rico. Although he placed sixth, many observers thought the small-framed (5′ 7″, 135 pounds) 18-year-old was the event’s most exciting surfer, as he consistently rode just beneath the curl on a stiletto-like purple surfboard. “It was a skateboard,” California surf publisher Dick Graham wrote, marveling at Abellira’s radical new equipment, “and he rode it like a god, because he is one.”

Abellira’s style continued to develop over the next three years. He rode in a low crouch, chin tucked into his left shoulder, arms extended, wrists cocked, each part of his body precisely arranged. Whether or not the streamlined stance added speed to Abellira’s surfing is impossible to say, but nobody in the ’70s—except for Australia’s Terry Fitzgerald—looked faster on a surfboard. Abellira also proved to be one of the sport’s most mysterious figures: he kept to himself for the most part, rarely smiled, and countered the scruffy surfer image with Italian-made leather loafers, pressed linen pants, and neatly coiffed hair. “He’s a bit of a dandy,” Australian surf journalist Phil Jarratt wrote of the dark-eyed Hawaiian, “and could teach most surfers a thing or two about color coordination.”

Abellira competed regularly throughout the ’70s, winning state titles in 1970 and 1972, placing fourth in the ’70 World Championships, second in the 1973 Duke Kahanamoku Classic, and making the finals in more than a dozen professional events on the North Shore of Oahu. He was also an Expression Session invitee in 1970 and 1971. In what many still regard as surfing’s most thrilling big-wave contest, Abellira beat fellow Hawaiian Jeff Hakman by a fraction of a point to win the 1974 Smirnoff Pro, held in cataclysmic 30-foot surf at Waimea Bay. Among the first Hawaiians to set out on the pro circuit, Abellira was world-ranked #4 in 1977, #8 in 1978, and #13 in 1979.

Abellira was also a first-rate surfboard shaper, learning the craft from boardmaking guru Dick Brewer in the late ’60s and early ’70s, then going on to work for the Lightning Bolt label; Abellira and Brewer together experimented with an early version of the tri-fin design in 1970 and 1971. Mark Richards of Australia later became an international surf hero while riding Abellira-shaped boards, and it was Abellira’s stubby double-keeled fish that inspired Richards to produce in 1977 the twin-fin design that swept through the surf world in the late ’70s and early ’80s.

While Abellira was for the most part removed from the surf scene beginning in the early ’80s, over the decades he has occasionally produced thoughtful and eloquent articles for the American surf press. Abellira made headlines himself in 1993 when he disappeared for several months after being indicted on cocaine distribution charges; he was later convicted and spent several months in prison.

Abellira appeared in more than 15 surf movies, including Hot Generation(1968), Sea of Joy (1971), Going Surfin’ (1973), and Tales of the Seven Seas (1981). In the late ’70s, Abellira lent his name to a short-lived surfwear company called Reno Hawaii. He competed in the 1990 Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau big-wave contest at Waimea Bay at age 40, finishing 24th in a field of 33.

Meanwhile, BeachGrit sources say Reno and another master shaper (yeah, there are a few of ’em) got into a little pushing game in San Clemente recently and Reno may have (or may not, we weren’t there) called a very influential pal on the North Shore to ensure the other shaper could never safely visit Oahu again.

So much beautiful passion. It keeps the testosterone surging! The elixir of youth etc.


Donald Trump makes resting surf face.
Donald Trump makes resting surf face.

WSL: Donald Trump buys surf event!

Will there be massive protests or will it be the greatest event ever?

And did you know it? Did you even know it? Totally true! Donald J. Trump in association with the World Surf League’s World Qualifying Series owns the title to the Trump Hyuga Pro The 1000 series event cranks to life this October at Okuragahama Beach in Hyuga Japan.

Brilliant.

But how much do you think the President of the United States of America bought Hyuga’s only professional surf event for? Do you think he paid….. 1000 dollars? 1000 yen? Do you think it was the best deal ever? A huge deal?

And how will the event be run? Like a well-oiled machine? Will the waves be the best waves ever at any surf contest ever and anywhere?

More importantly, though, will angry protesters demand a boycott against the World Surf League for taking Trump dollars?

The Inertia… this is your moment to shine! Organize a march from your Venice-adjacent headquarters that heads down Santa Monica’s Main Street, ending in front of the World Surf League offices. Have your fellow travelers carry signs that read NOT MY SURF CONTEST! and FEAR OUR MOUNTAIN CLIMBING THIGHS! or something like that.

Do it!


Is there anything you want more in life?

Opinion: You Gotta Treat Yo’self!

Motivation for a more radical yet stable existence!

If there is one thing that unites us on BeachGrit — from conservative to liberal, young to old, man, woman, etc. — it is the love, the undying passion of riding waves.

Am I wrong? Are we only here to prod and harass one another? Maybe yes, but I also think you could do that on Reddit or Pornhub if so desired. There are plenty of platforms for meaningful-leaning-deranged interactions with anonymous voices, but at the core of BeachGrit’s community are seeds of surf. It’s important to all of us.

And many of you, dear readers, are not young. I don’t have any statistics to lean on, but based off the content in the comments section, it’s clear that a majority of our regular visitors are adults — proper adults. Not twenty-something burnouts with jobs at the local surf shop.

Maybe that was life ten years ago, but now it’s all about babies, spouses, twelve-hour office stints and as a result, very little free time. You surf a couple times a week, but rarely during peak conditions. As the train of life trudges along, you are the willing but not-so-ecstatic passenger.

This is why it’s imperative, and I mean absolutely vital, to submit yourself to perfect waves at least once per annum.

That could mean skipping work or a familial obligation on a firing day at your local, or jumping on a plane to somewhere warm and uninhabited. The only requirements are: 1. you know it will happen sometime in the next 365 days, and 2. either the when or where is undisclosed.

Let me explain the second part.

For most working/family-oriented souls, it’s damn hard to drop everything and go. As a result, “vacations” are often scheduled months, if not an entire year in advance.

“We go to Cancun every January,” is a totally fine thing to say if your ideal reprieve is simultaneously contracting sun and alcohol poisoning in front of pasty Midwesterners. For a true surfer, though, and especially for a surfer stuck in the 24/7/365 cog of families and jobs and everything else that falls under the term real world, this sort of excursion only deepens the madness.

All year long we watch videos and scroll past photos of perfect waves breaking all around the world. Is it so much to ask that we get to indulge, if only once?

Absolutely not.

So here’s what you do: If you have job/family flexibility, pick a place in the world that you’ve been dying to surf all your life, watch the charts like a crackhead watches… anything, and pull the trigger when the right swell appears. Not only will this ensure a score, but the excitement that comes from checking the forecast every evening is incredible. Spontaneity breeds hope breeds positivity!

If you don’t have that kind of flexibility, take a week off from work a few months in advance and wait. Do not, I repeat do NOT fall into the trap of pre-booking a location that could be very good but could also be completely flat when your week of freedom finally rolls around. You have one chance at this, and to put that much faith in Huey would be foolish.

So you wait. Two weeks out, you begin perusing the long range forecast. Ten days, you start to build some confidence in storm systems around the world. One week, you focus your assault — pick two regions that look promising and start making phone calls. Find out how much it will cost to buy airfare, lodging, rentals, etc. See if surf camps have any openings. Three days out, pull the trigger. Forecasting is so good nowadays, you’re almost guaranteed to score at this point.

Now, there’s just one variable that I’ve neglected — money.

For many of you, the idea of a last-second surf trip seems impossible from a financial standpoint. Maybe your job doesn’t pay very much, or maybe you’ve got medical expenses or student loans hanging over your head. Either way, I have a solution.

First of all, start saving $100-150 per month. Pass up on the bars, the movies, whatever, just live humbly and make it happen. $1,200-1,800 is enough money to strike most places in the world, and with a tangible goal in mind, you’re more likely to make smart financial decisions.

Next is transpo. Airfare is what it is, so unless you have one of those buddy passes, you’re gonna pay to get where you’re going. That said, some research Re: bag fees is always key.

Where you can really save cash, though, is on the ground. And all it takes is a couple friends.

This can work two ways: either you travel with a few people and thoroughly cut the costs of transport and accommodation, or, if traveling alone, you find a way in with the locals. The second option takes some cojones, but it’s often the most resourceful and enlightening way to travel. Here’s how it works:

When flying solo, you’re perceived as 1. a motivated, self-sufficient, generally cool person and 2. non-threatening. This perception, when combined with a warm demeanor and maybe a few beers for the local boys, will almost always be met with hospitality. Maybe even an invitation to hang with them for the remainder of your trip.

My advice is to fly in without any long-term accommodation plans. Find a shitty motel the first night, and go surf the next morning. Approach the lineup with a smile and nod, be extra gracious when it comes to wave selection, and strike up conversation with the locals. Ask them about their country and home, where to surf, eat, sleep, and find a way to slip in your current situation. Traveling alone, nowhere to stay, looking to score. They’ll jump at the chance to help you out, and you’ll gain priceless local knowledge and save money in the process.

Traveling with friends may be the best thing in the world, but traveling alone will teach you about life, foreign cultures, but mostly about yourself.

For those of you wondering, I’ve taken this concept to the extreme by committing this year to travel the world. Considering my age, job flexibility, and not-yet-procreating status, I feel there’ son better time to explore the best waves on the planet.

It took a lifetime of saving, of passing on the movies, the bars, whatever, but the freedom and excitement that comes from chasing swells across the globe is genuinely priceless.

I’ll be broke soon enough, but for now I’m gonna ride this tube train into the sunset. I hope this manifesto motivates you to do the same. To treat yo’self to a life of exceptional surf.

Because otherwise, what are we even doing?