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?

I turned up for Owen's heat just in time to see him doing the death march under a blue-grey axe before being spat out of the gas chamber untouched, slouching. I scribbled 8.17 with a Bic Classic fine and the judges awarded 8.5. Fair enough. | Photo: WSL/Ed Sloane

Fiji Pro: “This dream’s too beautiful to die!”

Expert contest analysis, day one, OK Fiji Pro… 

Good afternoon in Australia, evening in America, middle of the night in Brazil and welcome to the Beachgrit coverage of the Pacific leg of the WSL.

I had a nervous bobble of a start this morning after a little DMT around a campfire last night. It was a very, very successful trip, believe me. Missed the opening exchanges and turned up for Owen’s heat just in time to see him doing the death march under a blue-grey axe before being spat out of the gas chamber untouched, slouching.

I scribbled 8.17 with a Bic Classic fine and the judges awarded 8.5. Fair enough. We are all hyper-vigilant now about being made a laughing stock by the judges keen to propel fairytale storylines as a way of propping up a title race.

Well, while the Grit is alive and publishing, they won’t. They won’t. Believe me.

Speaking of compliant media, wasn’t that the biggest own goal, ever, in sport’s history? I mean the way Speaker came in and tried to put a massive claim over every piece of WSL content.

“We own everything now!” he said, \alienating the greatest asset the ASP/WSL ever had, a tame surf media ready to cheer-lead until the crack of doom.

How could you fuck that up?

Second biggest own goal was disowning and turning away from the sport’s drug culture which spawned modern surfing. They tried to scrub it clean and sterilise it to capture middle Australia and America and in doing so forced it into a future of perpetual lies, confirmed it’s status as third tier sport doomed to mediocrity, constantly running in fear of it’s own shadow.

Speaker doubled down on the bland and made pro surfing as cool as tiddlywinks. Mainstream culture now makes pro surfing look hopelessly reactionary and conservative. You disagree Shaun Tomson, Fred Hemmings, Ian Cairns?

Come on down into the comments and prove me wrong. The false dawn and the slow fade out are the hallmarks of professional surfing and I say that with complete joy in my heart.

This dream is too beautiful to die.

I was watching JJF, looking for his ability to read the line-up. Multiple swell angles, too much west in most of them put clean makes at a premium. And we got dead air for the start of the heat. Not even a shot of Barton in the mother ship swaying to yacht rock, just an unidentified Fijian man cruising on the deck while head high Restaurants peeled off in the background.

When we got back to live action JJF had an 8.17 next to his name. Must’ve been good. They showed a replay…..a drive through a chandeliering section before a non make. That couldn’t have been it. But it was. Bizarre. That over-score was enough to distort the spread and keep him clear of his opponents. Still, it seems totally counter-intuitive but Cloudbreak remains a weak point in the JJF arsenal.

Jack Freestone flew the flag for millenial fragility in the heat before. Coming in from a good ragdolling and a snapped board Barton asked him if he was back out there with five to go.

“No more boards”, was his terse reply.

What? He only bought one board to Cloudbreak?

A long period of two or three heats of ratty Cloudbreak ensued. It’s like that. As a recreational surfer you surf it in long dream-like sequences covering four, five, six hours, shivering in the squalls getting swept up or down the reef trying to make sense of it before the wind clocks around behind the brown hills of the main island and the surf goes perfect again.

Which it did, for Julian Wilson who enacted the Michelle Obama doctrine, “when they go low we go high” or as Rosy put it, “ it’s so crucial to stay har.”

That 9.5 was the best wave of the day, up to that point.

It went dreamy for Bourez, Miggy and Ace. Gunmetal grey cylinders went glacial blue and they were threaded, first by Ace, then Miggy before Bourez locked them both out with a pair of nines.

Kelly was in the mothership watching on. Salivating no doubt. He paddled out with Fanning and Bede and it immediately turned back to mud. Could there be a clearer sign for a man who believes how you surf in heats is a kind of spiritual litmus test of how your life is progressing that maybe the tour has moved on from Kelly? That it just isn’t that into him anymore? I hope not.

It was disconcerting seeing Kelly in single figures at six-to-eight-foot Cloudy. He had nothing, a total absence of what Foucalt calls pouvoir-savoir-knowledge, power.

An almost make on a weird bulbous inside section that he tried to grope his way through before being roughhoused into the reef was about the best of it. They ran a heat of round two and Brother eliminated Fijian wildcard Tevita Gukilau, who looked deserving.

That was the day. It was OK, better than Brazil.

Are you with me on that, or have I read it all wrong?

Christ, I forgot Europe. Good evening Europe.

Enchanted: Slater’s OK Fiji Pro Gift Bag!

Includes Pulitzer prizewinning book!

Did you know that at every event on tour, each surfer is gifted a bag full of sponsor produce? Typically, items include a towel, sunscreen and so forth.

Of course, these gifts do lead to conflicts of interest. A Hurley towel, for instance, is of little use to a Billabong surfer, who might be fined for appearing in public wrapped in his master’s competitor’s haberdashery. Oh the daily headaches of the very best! Mostly, the items end up gifted to friends, occasional lovers etc.

Kelly Slater and his band at OuterKnown (John Moore, Zak Bush and so on), however, have curated a collection for their Fiji contest (watch now etc) that mixes practicality with promotion and all contained within an elegant valise.

Each surfer receives:

A copy of the Pulitzer prize-winning book, Barbarian Days by the heavyweight champion of surf writing William Finnegan. Did you know Bill was one of the first surfers to hit Tavarua? Oh you will if you read the best surf book ever written.
Fair Trade Certified Outerknown Lowtide Sweatshirt
Outerknown 100% organic pima Cotton Sojourn Pocket Tee
Outerknown It’s Not OK Towel (100% of profits of these go to support the Ocean Conservancy)
Electric Sunnies
Do these gifts make the minute hairs on your body bristle ever so slightly too? Does it make your innocent shanks tense with joy?
And, if you were given the job of curating a tour event gift bag, what would you include?

Help: The WSL judges needs us!

Bizarre scoring coming out of Fiji has only one remedy. Me! And you!

The Outherknown Fiji Pro is on RIGHT NOW and what a great joy it is. The waves are almost in the very good range. Martin “Pottz” Potter has found some sort of digital pen and can now draw on the webcast like the great John Madden used to draw on your TV.

And the judges! They still fucking suck!

I’m sorry to have to say it but at this point it is just plain self evident. Let us take heat 5 of round 1 as a very bland but standard example of their incompetence. Jordy Smith vs. Yago Dora vs. Jack Freestone. Jordy Smith caught a not very big wave in the first few minutes, threw a meaty turn and was scored…


One turn. Near the beginning. High-ish score. And the rest of the heat was fairly fucked though it didn’t really matter at the end as neither Yago nor Freestone did much.

But still.

I knew that 6.33 was too high for one turn at Cloudbreak. You knew that 6.33 was too high for one turn at Cloudbreak on a day featuring almost very good surf near the beginning of a heat. Which makes me think the judges need us! They’ve lost all touch!

And how easy would it be for the judging crew before locking in the final score to throw to the BeachGrit comment section real quick? Just a…

“Hey guys. We think Jordy got a 6.33 for that one turn. Yeah?”

And we’d respond…

“What the hell? Try no. It’s still way too early in the heat to score a one turn wave. Give him a 5.23.”

And all would be right with the World Surf League again. We’d even do it for like…. a case of whisky.

Am I right?

Hi li'l fellas!
Hi li'l fellas!

Fantasy Surfer: The impotent science!

Like standing in a baseball card shop at thirteen!

I remembered this morning that BeachGrit has a Fantasy Surf Club with some two-hundred some participants. The current winner, oceanyeti, has 3357 points. The current loser, chassmith, has 0. And where the hell is real surf gambling?

Oh I ain’t talking Fantasy Grudge where I might, maybe, could win a few thousand dollars over the course of a season. I’m talking Vegas-style over/unders etc. where I could lose my house over the course of a round.

And I’ve wanted this for such a long time and tried, for a brief moment last year, to pretend Fantasy Surfer was this. But doesn’t Fantasy Surfer feel… childish to you? Oh I know that all of surfing is childish but doesn’t Fantasy Surfer feel… childish and impotent?

To me, it feels like standing in a baseball card shop at thirteen. Like going to see a movie with your parents at fourteen. Like going to a dance with your own sister at fifteen.

Australian friends. You are able to bet the surfers. You are able to bet them like Americans can bet ponies. Do you? Do you win? Do you lose? Tell me what it feels like to really gamble on surfing. And if there are any Las Vegas casino owning BeachGrit fans reading right now, please tell me how we can host WSL Nite at your fine establishment.

Or maybe I’m wrong and should just play Fantasy Surfer. Maybe going to a dance with your own sister at fifteen feels awesome.