Julian Wilson: “This mad bloke!”

A true hero set to win it all!

The World Surf League’s J-Bay competition is on the boil, presented by Corona, and do you think Corona will try to Mexicanize South Africa? Burritos in the competitor’s tent? Sombreros on the beach?

Oh I hope so. It would be the grandest surf competition since Barra de las Cruz. Professional surfing really does need to return to mainland Mexico but in the meantime, how good is rum?

The alcohol is made from sugarcane byproducts and distilled in oak barrels and adds the essential kick to cocktails from the daiquiri to the piña colada.

Cuba is very famous for rum, though they call it ron. Australia is, inexplicably, famous for it too. And let’s watch a spot from Bundaberg Rum as they immortalize the J-Bay competition from two years ago. The grandest surf competition since Barra de la Cruz.

Mexican beer, rum, ron, whatever. I can’t wait for J-Bay. And is this the year that Julian Wilson, currently hovering at world number 8, wins it all?

Clip: Jared Mell in Costa Rica!

The Californian retro-ish stud glitters at a Central American righthander.

For obvious reasons, I’ve never courted professional surfers as pals. I’ve seen it up close and it ain’t real pretty.

The rules of engagement include an absence of criticism, always walking a step or two behind lest you shadow the star, watching as pretty girls totally bypass you for your otherwise unattractive famous pal, compulsory airport pickups, having to drop all work and personal commitments when pal has an en-route to South Africa/LA/Fiji or wherever layover and so forth.

I think there was a time when Andy Irons fluttered, briefly, through my life, but his inherent insecurity gave him a lovability I haven’t seen or noticed since.

The surfer in this clip, Jared Mell, who divides time between Los Angeles and Bali,  I first met in Bali.

This was some years ago and I’d been employed by Insight to drive a jetski and whip Jared (and Kai Otton and Warren Smith) into waves for a clever advertising campaign. On his way from California, however, Jared had become gravely ill from a virus he’d picked up in Central America and throughout the entire week couldn’t speak or he could speak, but in a mangled drawl.

A pro surfer who couldn’t complete a cohesive sentence was hardly news to me. I just thought he was another retard.

It wasn’t until the following year that I discovered he is a boy who is bright as a button and as funny as a lark. And his surfing, riding surfboards first designed in the nineteen seventies, I’ve always found attractive.

Today, his masters at Banks sent me this three-minute clip of Jared surfing in Costa Rica. I don’t believe it will change the world.

But as surfing in waves we can all relate to, or would like to relate to, it works.

Jared Mell Volume 5 from BANKS JOURNAL on Vimeo.


Podcast: “Chas is that little creature!”

"...who is just antagonizing the FUCK out of everyone!"

We live in the golden age of surf journalism, and I certainly don’t need to remind you, but we live in the golden age of surf radio too. It is totally true and where would we be without the glorious podcast? We’d be sad is where. Especially Occy. He’d be sad and sitting alone in his closet with an unplugged microphone and list of anecdotes that no one would ever hear.

But we do have many podcasts and we know Occy’s stories and the world is right.

One of my favorites is Ain’t That Swell with Jed Smith and Vaughn Dead. The two have been at it as long as anyone and have a wonderfully light rapport, easy-listening yet still bawdy voices and a command over the subject matter.

In their latest episode, featuring guest Danny Johnson from Surfing World, there was a segment called Under or Over wherein the three discussed if certain topics were under performing or over performing.

Surf journos turning on each other was brought up and Vaughn declared it “under performing” saying, “Who fucking cares, mate? Arrrrgh!”

Jed added, “This is the thing. This is what makes it worth ripping into other surf journalist because at the same time who fucking cares?”

Then Vaughn said, “Let’s rattle off a few examples of what we’re talking about.”

Jed picked up the thread and declared, “Alright so we had Charlie Smith vs. The Inertia, Charlie Smith vs. Stab magazine…”

Vaughn interjected, “He’s on a fucking roll!”

While Jed continued, “Charlie Smith vs. Mick Fanning, who admittedly isn’t a journalist. Who else has Chas taken on?”

And then either Vaughn or guest Danny Johnson (forgive me… the lack of visuals is the downside of a podcast) yelled, “Everyone! Well he did an episode of Surf Splendor during the week but uh he just seems like he is that little creature who is just antagonizing the FUCK out of everyone just desperate for a response and when he gets it it’s a little victory to Chas but I think everyone else just seems to be terrified of him. That’s how it feels. People just have their fingers crossed, please don’t talk about me, please don’t have a go at me, I don’t want to get involved in this shit and… I don’t know. I don’t know whether people are intentionally flagging him because they can’t be fucked or whether they’re too scared or what’s going on but, yeah he’s going after everyone, man and… I guess he said it best himself. He’s lobbing grenades and he’s not getting any thrown back at him because either a) they’re scared or b) they don’t give one flying fuck but I have a feeling it’s a bit of both.”

Such a wonderful exchange but if I may add my two cents. The general tone of the discussion (listen below around the 28 minute mark) is that surf journalism is absurd and that throwing stones, or grenades as it were, is pointless and dumb. I whole-heartedly agree with one caveat. Having dabbled in war journalism, political journalism and fashion journalism enough I can say that those are utterly absurd too. No more and no less absurd than surf journalism.

Which is why I do what I do. Surf journalism, as absurd and pointless as it is, is also much more fun. The stories are fun, the the excesses are fun, the rumors are fun and the “fights” are fun.

We really do have differences of opinions. I think The Inertia is a giant piece of shit. I think Stab is embarrassingly derivative. And I write about these two, any anyone else in my way, because it’s fun. Why are they too chicken to respond? Vaughn/Danny thinks they’re either scared or don’t give a flying fuck.

I know they’re scared and that is why I’ll continue to lob my grenades.

We’re all yellow journalists, after all. I’m just Hearst looking for my Pulitzer.

Kelly Slater Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc
Kelly Slater dives at the gorgeous, and very, very famous, Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes on the Mediterranean. A former Napoleon III chateau turned hotel, known for its dazzling parties (Vanity Fair and so forth), glittering guests (Hemingway and F Scott Fitzgerald both adored the joint) and, until very recently, its no credit cards policy. Kelly's lover Kalani captions this photo simply: "Flying squirrel for the win."

The other half: Kelly Slater in Cannes!

The world's greatest surfer living the world's greatest life!

Donald J. Trump gave a speech yesterday to a mob of blue collar midwestern corn farmers where he said, “So, somebody said, ‘Why did you appoint a rich person to be in charge of the economy?’ … I said, ‘because that’s the kind of thinking we want.’ And I love all people, rich or poor. But in those particular positions, I just don’t want a poor person. Does that make sense? Does that make sense?”

It does make sense and I feel the same way about the best surfer to have ever lived, Robert Kelly Slater.

Just think if Kelly, being the greatest surfer to have ever lived, was poor or struggling. Just think if he had, like, a pretty ok condo in Cocoa Beach and a plaque commemorating his achievements on the wall of his local Hooters.

That would be a compete disaster because if the 11 x world champ could only make it into a condo and Hooters what hope would there be for me? For you?

Thankfully Kelly is spending his weeks between Fiji and South Africa rubbing shoulders with 200 other notables at a private French chateau. Let’s peek in on his Instagram!

Amongst 200 people at a private estate on a hillside above the French Riviera listening to #EddieVedder and #GlenHansard just after sunset on the #SummerSolstice2017 is a pretty good way to spend an evening, I’d say. Sounds more like a hypothetical (and a run-on sentence) than my past few hours. We were supposed to go see #ChakaKhan just before that but I think that would’ve officially been overload. Thanks, gentlemen. #ShakaCannes!

And piggy backs with Kalani!



Keep living the dream, Kelly! I’m right behind you! As soon as I get my wings from Hooters!

MR knows a thing or six about the merits of honeybees!

The Secret Life of Bees (and Me)!

The best thing I've done all year!

It was mentioned earlier that I had picked up a secondary job but that is simply not true.

In reality I picked up a primary job, in the sense that it will be my main form of income. Turns out BeachGrit can’t compete with bees.

That’s right folks, I’ve taken up the practice of live bee rescue, or ethical excavation if you’re into illiteration. It’s a wonderful job and Derek wants me to tell you about it.

I have a friend, Jeff (who’s been mentioned here), that singlehandedly runs and operates a bee excavation service. It is called Bee Removal and functions primarily in the San Diego region. It’s one of the only services in the region that doesn’t kill the bees, which, if you haven’t heard, is a problem for the future of the world and also hungry bears.

And the bees? They’re credible creatures. Allow me to share some knowledge from my first days of work:

  • Swarms of bees are (mostly) not dangerous. If you see a mass of bees moving in a certain direction, it’s because they’re migrating to a new home. Because they have nothing to protect at this time, they have no reason to attack you. However, if you witness a swarm approach your home and focus around a roof, tree, etc., call an excavator immediately. This is the best way to avoid an infestation.
  • Bees have particular jobs. There are scout bees, whose job it is to locate potential homes. There are forager bees, whose job is to collect pollen. There are worker bees, whose job it is to build and maintain the hive. There are drones, whose job it is to impregnate the Queen. The Queen’s job, of course, is to lay the eggs (up to 1,000 per day).
  • Male bees are essentially sperm donors. The males, also known as drones, have but one job and that is to fuck. I don’t know how bees fuck, but I imagine it’s something of a gangbang with the honey-lubed Queen acting as a receptacle. Once they’ve delivered their seed, the males are kicked out of the hive and left to die.
  • Bees are mostly non-confrontational and easily manipulated. My boss often goes into hives wearing nothing more than a vail (hat with a protective face covering). No gloves, no suit, nada. This speaks both to his and the bees’ general tranquility. Further, it’s incredibly easy to transport bees to a cardboard box (for eventual drop-off to a beekeeper). All you gotta do is find the Queen (easier said than done), toss her in the box, and watch them flock to her. If you can’t find her, no worries, just toss the bees into the box with your hand, or guide them with a smoker. You are the General and they are your little soldiers!
  • Killing bees doesn’t do shit. If you’ve got a bee problem, never call an exterminator. They’ll kill the the fuckers with a lethal spray and plug the entryway, but that only works for so long. Because the exterminators fail to remove the honeycomb, another bee colony will smell the honey and find another way to reach it. In order to truly rid yourself of the infestation, someone needs to remove the the hive and clean the area thoroughly by hand.

And that’s after just two days! Imagine what I’ll learn in a week…

This job is built for me with its flexible hours, dynamic office space, and solid earning potential. That said, I haven’t been stung yet, so who knows how I’ll feel after an encounter with an aggressive hive.

I’m just happy to be learning every day and utilizing of those would-be-lounging hours.

BeachGrit is fun but can lead a man to idle. Bees give me reason to wake up at dawn and return home sweaty and exhausted.

Is this what being a man feels like?