Pollution: “Bird poop, toilets and more!”

Which of California's beaches are the worst? Come get surprised!

The New York Times published a story this morning titled California Today: Surf, Sun and Bacteria which mostly seems like a rude and unnecessary east coast stone throw especially since there was no real new information inside.

Nearly half of California beaches earned grades of C to F during the wet weather, 12 percent more than the five-year average.

Sarah Sikich, Heal the Bay’s chief scientist, said solutions lie in programs known to mitigate runoff pollution such as increased urban green cover and projects to capture, clean and reuse storm water.

“It’s indicative of a water mismanagement issue in California,” she said. “If we were doing a better job of rethinking that runoff we could turn it from a nuisance into a resource.”

Blah blah blah. Am I right?

The fun part, though, comes when it is revealed which of California’s beaches are the worst according to Heal the Bay‘s annual report card. And guess which beaches were bad bad. Like the worst bad. Can you?


The worst worst is in Humboldt County!

Humboldt County’s Clam Beach, which is fed by two creeks, was named California’s most polluted beach by Heal the Bay.

The problem there has vexed local environmentalists who cite a panoply of possible causes: bird poop, campground toilets, old septic systems, livestock and more.

“There’s no shortage of theories,” said Jennifer Kalt, the director of Humboldt Baykeeper, an environmental group.

Bird poop, campground toilets, old septic systems, livestock and more! That’ll keep the crowds down, I bet. Which other beaches are in the bottom 10? Ladies and gentlemen without further ado I give you…

10) Salt Creek!

9) Mother’s in Marina del Rey!

8) Luffenholtz Beach in Humboldt!

7) Capitola!

6) Santa Monica pier!

5) La Jolla Cove!

4) Lakeshore park in San Mateo!

3) Cowell Beach!

2) San Clemente pier!

With Clam Beach, as previously noted, taking the top slot. I will say, it surprised me how many northern California beaches were shitty. Does that surprise you too?

Viva the San Clemente pier!

We'd be happy to fit half this turn onto twice the wave

Watch: Filipe Makes a Mess in Brazil!

More of the same but inspiring nonetheless!

What would you do if, like Filipe Toledo, you were banned from the Not-Half-Bad Fiji Pro?

A. Paddle from nearby Tonga and storm the judges’ tower, which conveniently sits in International Waters and therefore outside the WSL’s jurisdiction*.

B. Jump for joy, knowing that your tube prowess couldn’t be ridiculed until at least Teahupo’o.

C. Hang out in Brazil and practice more small wave surfing.

Let’s watch and find out!

So definitely C., B. is debatable, and sadly A. did not occur.

Lucky for Toledo, his small wave game is second best in the world and continues to thrill despite its market-place saturation.

We’ve always loved Fil for his airs, but the way he lays rail on a two-footer defies comprehension. His 2:14 turn caresses my thighs. The tow-ats twist my nipples.

But really, If I’m Filipe Toledo — the undisputed small wave/aerial master who stumbled into a two-month vacation — I’m gonna work on my flaws. The kid says he wants a title, yet I’ve never seen him take a “practice” (AKA do nothing but get barreled everyday) trip to Tahiti or Fiji.

He’s got the money, he’s got the time, and he’s apparently got the drive, so what gives?

Most pros have to be forced to practice in knee-high burgers, but it’s all Filipe seems to want to do. Alternatively, other CTers enjoy recon missions to Chopes and Cloudy while Filipe dawdles in San Clemente and Brazil.

And while I’m happy to gorge on Filipe’s small wave brilliance, I can’t help feeling empty in the afterglow. I feel this clip, from top-five film Good Will Hunting, epitomizes my feelings on the subject. (My role is played by Ben Affleck while Filipe is portrayed by a young and dashing Jason Bourne).

*Probably not international waters… definitely still within the WSL’s jurisdiction

What's it been? Two days? Three? Since a Great White story? Here, one of the better examples of the genre: murder, mystery! | Photo: Marine Dynamics

Mystery: “Murdered” Great Whites found!

Sharks washed ashore with livers, balls and stomachs "surgically" removed!

It ain’t easy being White. Nature’s friskiest animal, the Great White shark, is being targeted by “murderous” Orcas who, with “surgical precision” are removing the animals’ livers, balls and stomachs and then letting ’em bleed out on the beaches of South Africa.

According to a shark-diving company in South Africa called Marine Dynamics there are two kill-happy Orcas doing the rounds, killing sharks and, conversely, killing their shark diving biz.


Do you remember BeachGrit‘s number one favourite girl surfer after Lakey and Carissa, Ms Brinkley Davis?

As a newly qualified marine biologist she was working with a cage diving operation in South Australia that could you get close to Whites without having to bloody the water. Instead of the usual experience of Great Whites grabbing the cage with rows of see-sawing teeth and with eyes protected by their second eyelid (haunting!), the diver sees a relatively passive, inquisitive animal.

But then one day all the Whites disappeared.

Why? Orcas.

“We haven’t seen one in two weeks, ever since a couple of Orcas came through and killed a a big male behind our boat,” said Brinkley. “they take it down with their mouth or slam it with their body weight. After they kill, Orcas are picky eaters, so they’ll eat the liver and a few other things and leave the carcass. Right now it’s sitting on the sea floor. That’s why the sharks haven’t come back. Great Whites rock up to the Neptunes, think, What on earth has killed this other Great White? Obviously, no other sharks come in that area ’cause of the Great Whites so it’s a bit of a ghost town.”

And South Africa is now getting a taste.

“The pair of orcas believed to be responsible were sighted offshore of Danger Point then again in Franskraal today,” Marine Dynamics posted on Facebook. “Marine Dynamics cage diving boat tracked the pair. Subsequently, all cage diving boats failed to see white sharks today and it is believed the sharks may have fled the area once again.”

Orcas are, I think, the Vikings of the sea. They’ll herd a bunch of humpbacks, kill their babies and eat their tongues.

Or are dolphins a better example of those Nordic thugs?

They like “violent and coercive” sex, gang bangs, gang rape, they kill baby porpoises and enjoy, very much, infanticide.

Am I romanticising the ocean too much here?

Kaipo? Are you jealous? Here's Joe D!
Kaipo? Are you jealous? Here's Joe D!

Wow: Madonna boy toy starts surf mag!

And it's not even Kaipo!

Have you seen the most recent Aladdin? No? No one has. Who reads surf mags anymore? And who clicks magazines? You should.

Joe D. Foster is an old friend. He modeled with Cameron Diaz. He was Madonna’s boy-toy in the “Express Yourself” vid. He was the guitarist in Ignite. He was the 5th ranked bodyboarder in the world. He’s a surf photographer and a graphic designer. He has an online magazine, a surf publication, Aladdin Mag. It’s been around for 7 years.

The photography is brilliant, yet no one sees it. Timeless imagery, even if Ando has a Quiksilver sticker. Is this why has no one has clicked? Alas.

I worry about Foster. What does an artist do in this environment? He has gold to share.“Self-publish! Get the content out there. Build an audience. Monetization will come!” Yet, 7 years on and still nada.

I worry about myself. Scrolling Insta, while convenient, might be the worst platform to consume surf imagery. Overloaded with content, yet so little satisfaction. And here Aladdin sits, unmolested.

Let it sit no more. Let me introduce you to Aladdin. Nearly void of text, just ridiculous imagery. Click. Issue 18 just dropped here.

As a footnote, if you want to get to know Foster, here’s a 3 part documentary series I made about him in 2011.

(Part 1!)

Joe D. Foster (Surf Photographer?) from David Lee Scales on Vimeo.

Your favorite feminist!

Just in: Chas Smith Loves Women!

A beautiful moment in history!

When was the last time you read something by Chas Smith without a hint of sarcasm? Something truly earnest that poured from his heart to the paper? I cannot recall one thing ever.

That’s part of the reason we love Chas. He’s lighthearted, funny, and doesn’t allow the weight of the world to affect anything beyond his hairline. But sometimes you have to wonder what Chas is all about.

Because nobody is truly indifferent. We all have things that are important to us — like Derek and his sharks, JP and his Scotland, etc. — things that affect our everyday moods and emotions. But it’s often hard to pinpoint what really matters to Chas Smith.

Until yesterday.

Scrolling through The Book, I caught glimpse of Chas’s signature yellow profile picture with what appeared to be a novel beneath it. Considering his posts usually consist of BeachGrit articles, it caught my attention. I scrolled back to discover the most uplifting post of the week, and the first instance of sincerity from our old pal Charlie. It read:

Last night I sat in a movie theater and wept for the first time since 1982. Then I was six-years-old and E.T. was playing and I thought he was dead. Now I am forty and watching Wonder Woman with my four-year-old daughter on my lap.

And in the day and age of “grab-them-by-the-pussy” and Cliff Huxtable’s quaaludes watching a woman shred multiple battlefields of men while my little girl crosses her forearms in a defiant pose completely did me in.

At this very moment she is running around the house with a postcard as a shield, a necklace as a lasso, a colored pencil as a sword and a hand-me-down Super Girl outfit substituting for Wonder Woman’s. I’m taking her again tonight because she is begging. And because there is currently nothing better on this earth than empowering her.

To hell with Trump. To hell with Cosby. The future is hers.

This beautiful sonnet was reinforced in my mind when listening to NPR this morning. The station was talking about Kurdish women fighters who were part of the war against ISIS. Some of them were there because they loathed the Islamic State, but many were there as a means of avoiding and/or deconstructing a patriarchal society. One woman joined in order to flee from a marriage that her brother had arranged for her.

Very sad, but there was one instance of brilliance.

It turns out that under Muslim doctrine, being killed by a woman soldier blocks your entry to eternal bliss, virgins, etc. The Kurdish fighters, knowing this, use a loudspeaker to taunt the ISIS members, reminding them that if they die at the hands of a woman they will be eternally doomed. If that’s not empowerment I don’t know what is!

Anyways, back to Chas.

When researching the Panama story from last week, I stumbled upon an old essay he had written for Stab. It started:

Panama is an unshaved Hispanic pussy. Gently rolling folds covered with lush vegetation spill into endless pleasure of ocean. Or sea. Giant metal phalluses, captained by white men, enter her from the front and from the rear. It is almost always wet season.

Which led to:

I ended the evening with three underage girls, if memory serves, in a hot tub at the Courtyard Real Hotel. I was wearing a Tahitian Themed Jean Paul Gaultier swimsuit with a print of Tahitian boys. I was drinking a frosty sangria and the girls were nude.

One can’t help but think that having a daughter has had a profound effect on Chas’s outlook on life, if not his fashion sense.

So thank you Chas for showing us your heart — but mostly thanks to Hemingway for making it ten times bigger!