A screen grab from Stab's Pop Rocks. The high water mark of surf journalism.
A screen grab from Stab's Pop Rocks. The high water mark of surf journalism.

Time: “A merciless mauling awaits!”

A forgotten issue of Time magazine from 1963 challenges perceptions!

And I have written it more than once, here, that we are in a golden era of surf journalism. Don’t you agree? Warshaw’s historical surf empire has wings, Doherty and Longtom are trading gorgeous swipes. Finnegan won a Pulitzer for the tales of his surfing life, Carroll’s work in both longer form and shorter comment section blurbs is near art, etc. etc.

I am happy to be alive to witness this epoch, this gorgeous epoch, but just moments ago I saw a Time magazine feature from 1963 on surfing in Hawaii. Should we read together?

The men who ride the big ones in Hawaii actually ski down the shoulder of a wave away from the curl… They call the first breathtaking schuss ‘taking the drop.’ Their boards accelerate up to 35 mph so rapidly that they kick up waves like speedboats. And a merciless mauling awaits the unfortunate who doesn’t complete his ride. He is driven downward by the appalling maelstrom, tossed around, sucked back down and frequently, after fighting up for a desperate gulp of air, hammered down again by the next wave.

The pictures that accompanied (here) were fabulous but that writing. It sings and is maybe better than anything I have ever written in my whole life. Maybe better than anything that has been written in the last ten years.

And all of a sudden I felt sad.

Is this not the golden era of surf journalism? Did I miss the high water mark and am I merely splashing in dirty puddles with other grown men who only write in surf because we are entirely unemployable elsewhere?

So sad.

But then I re-read Stab magazine’s Pop Rocks from 14 months ago…

Malia Ward and her Moms Jacqueline Miller lead a truly fabulous existence. After parting ways with San Clemente surf royalty baby-daddy Chris Ward, Jacqueline entered a relationship that saw her and Malia living in a five storey house with a private beach in Corona Del Mar, California. Malia and Moms are bff’s and spend their time travelling in style (private jets, limos, for real!) to the Pro Junior contests at which Malia’s continuing the Ward surfing legacy. We thought it’d be totally cute to shoot a girls day at home, and pay tribute to the neon-saturated nineties when Jacqueline was Malia’s age (18!) To capture the ‘pop’ of this cheeky duo there was only one man. The CobraSnake. The Cobra likes it straight up. No airbrush, no photoshop. Raw. Come and sniff the sweet smell of perfume, the other half sure knows how to live!

I re-read it and knew for a fact, for an indisputable fact, that we are in a golden era of surf journalism.

Suck a fat one 1963.

No matter what! | Photo: WSL

It’s International Surfing Day!

Bah Humbug! I am the Ebenezer Scrooge of surf!

It is either a very good or very bad thing when you wake to an email from the WSL. Messages involving #ItsOn or Paul Speaker has resigned are met with a smile, while Outerknown Fiji Pro Day Eleven Replay – It’s ON makes me want to stab Dave Prodan with a dull pencil.

Who the fuck watches full-day replays? Anyways.

Today’s message was a somewhat welcome surprise. I’ll soon explain but first just look!

And did you have any idea? I didn’t. For some reason I thought that ISD fell on a hard date, like June 20th, but it turns out I was very wrong. A Wikipedia search set the record straight:

International Surfing Day, held annually on the third Saturday of June is an unofficial, environmentally conscious sports-centered holiday that celebrates the sport of surfing and the surfing lifestyle, and the sustainability of ocean resources.

I continued reading and came across another fun fact.

International Surfing Day was established in 2004 by Surfing Magazine and The Surfrider Foundation.

The things you learn! I genuinely had no idea that ISD was a product of Surfing Magazine. The legacy thrives etc.

Anyways, the WSL’s announcement hit me in the gut. Due to certain familial obligations, I’ll be unable to surf today. Which is really a shame, because as I drive toward LA on I-5 North, a blaring sun illuminates the right side of my face. This is rare for mornings in SoCal, especially in a month whose name is haphazardly rhymed with gloom.

The light not only makes it difficult to see but also creates a longing for the beach. For the sea. For a neoprene-free wiggle on my 5’6 single fin. The waves may be gutless but the warmth of sun and sand compel me to shred.

Sadly, I will not.

BeachGrit readers, I implore you to get out there today. If not for an obscure sense of obligation to the greater surfing community, then out of respect for those of us who can’t. It’s a beautiful thing we do, and today is the day to celebrate!

Also keep in mind that proof of surf (neck tan, pterygium, wax stuck to car seats etc.) gets you a military discount at most retailers today. We are big time!

And to hell with Chas! (see below)

Subliminal: Kelly Slater stressed out?

Is the world's greatest surfing feeling the pressures?

As Kelly Slater has chosen to fade away, instead of burn out, veteran Slater watchers are having a golden era. What is going on in the mind of the world’s greatest surfer? What thoughts are bubbling in his magnificent head? Is he satisfied with one of the most impressive athletic runs in history? Is he left wanting more? How is he feeling?

Maybe stressed out!

The World Surf League released a video for today World Go Surf Day or whatever it is called and subliminally flashed the words “stressed out?” before a picture of Kelly Slater standing in Fiji with a look of sheer consternation on his face?

Let’s watch!

And now let’s discuss! Do you recall when the World Surf League fat shamed Jordy just two months ago, calling him “194 pounds of boom” in a video montaj? Well didn’t Jordy show up in Fiji looking almost svelte? He sure did! The shaming worked!

But what is the League prodding the King toward? Do the powers want to see a more relaxed Kelly Slater jokin and a laughin? Goofin around? A sort of Charles Barkley character? Shaqtin a Fool?

Veteran Slater watchers? Help!

Also, World Go Surf Day is the worst idea ever. At BeachGrit we celebrate World Don’t Go Surf Day (then sneak out when no one is looking).





Michael Phelps (foreground) plays "shark" with pal.
Michael Phelps (foreground) plays "shark" with pal.

Michael Phelps: “The shark is my bitch!”

The world's fastest swimmer set to take on the world's meanest swimmer!

The world’s most decorated and maybe fastest swimmer has stepped into the ring for surfers everywhere in order to challenge the supremacy of the Great White Shark.

That’s right!

When the World Surf League heads to J-Bay, site of Mick Fanning’s love tap from the ocean’s most feared predator, Michael Phelps will be heading to… somewhere to swim against a great white. The press release tells us:

They are one of the fastest and most efficient predators on the planet: Sharks. He is our greatest champion to ever get in the water: Michael Phelps. 39 world records. 23 Olympic golds. But he has one competition left to win. An event so monumental no one has ever attempted it before. The world’s most decorated athlete takes on the ocean’s most efficient predator: Phelps V Shark – the race is on!

I have no idea how this will work. Will Michael Phelps and Great White Shark be in a swimming pool together? Maybe the salt water pool in Bondi? Will Michael Phelps swim in a cage? Should we watch a monotone news thing?


Who is your money on? Mick Fanning or Connor Leary? I mean Evel Knievel or the Grand Canyon. I mean Floyd Mayweather or Connor O’Leary. I mean…. sorry. I’m drunk.

Nuclear: Surfrider’s deafening silence!

Does Surfrider Foundation think nuclear waste is good for surfing? Let's wonder!

A month ago I drove the thirty minutes north from my bucolic north county San Diego home to San Clemente’s city hall. Traffic was unexpectedly light. There was set to be a vote or discussion, I cannot quite recall, on the mostly approved plan to store millions of tons of nuclear waste in the sand just yards from San Onofre.

Literal yards.

Now, I am neither a lefty nor an activist and am skeptical of those who put their faith in politicians but was implored to come by the great Ian Cairns. He and I had traded blows over Facebook. He called me a gutter writer. I made fun of his SUP camp. Then he said, “It’s a fine Australian tradition to joust but this nuclear thing is serious. There’s a gathering at City Hall this evening. Come.”

So I went.

The sun was setting when I arrived, casting a golden tone over the little crowd. A lawyer spoke of the horrors of the plan. Nuclear waste right there in the sand with no real plan on what to do with it next and no contingencies if things went sideways. Earthquakes, storms, surges, etc.

Partisan politics, feelings on the value of nuclear energy, belief on why/if the globe is warming not withstanding, it seems like not burying nuclear waste in a spot that could potentially destroy surfing from Huntington Beach down through San Diego would be an issue all surfers could back.

And a few surfers were at the gathering. Greg Long, Mr. Gudauskas, father of the famed brothers.

Surfrider Foundation, though, was entirely absent.

In case you are unaware, Surfrider Foundation is the biggest, most powerful non-profit that deals with surf-based environmental issues. Its website reads:

Our ocean faces growing challenges from pollution, offshore development and climate change. At the same time, expanding industries, such as offshore oil drilling, threaten to crowd our ocean and degrade its health (and those who call it home!).

Every day poses new threats to our oceans and beaches. Our ocean and special places must be proactively protected before they are threatened and stem the tide before further damage is done to the ocean’s health.

There are 25 active campaigns the Foundation is engaged on in California from trying to preserve the Gaviota coast up near Santa Barbara to saving the wave at Surfside Jetty. You can read about them here.

The one thing there is not a campaign to counter, and/or any mention of on Surfrider’s website, is burying nuclear waste in the sand at San Onofre.

Doesn’t this strike you as the oddest? What, do you think, is the reasoning for the foundation’s invisibility on this issue? You think the board of directors is pro-nuclear sand? Anti-Lowers? I am going to call the offices next week to find out but in the meantime let’s speculate!

It’s the BeachGrit way.