World-record: “The Circle of Honor!”

Huntington Beach seeks to smash the previous paddle out record!

Oh I’ve written about paddle outs before, here, though I can’t recall if we have come to a consensus on their relative merit. Like, do you want a paddle out when you die? How many people? Will I be invited? What sort of board should I bring?

While you are deciding, Huntington Beach today is attempting to host a Guinness World Record paddle out today at the pier to honor International Surfing Day even though it is dumb and already past. It is also to thank the International Olympic Organization for including surfing in the Olympics. It is also to show the International Olympic Organization that lots of people in southern California like to paddle surfboards (even though StabStitch says surfing is dead here for the foreseeable future). It is also to tell Los Angeles that if the city snags the 2024 Games it should hold its surfing in Huntington Beach.

The “Circle of Honor” paddle out is hoping to attract 500 surfers.

But real quick, if Los Angeles snags the 2024 Games where should the surfing be held? Certainly not Huntington. But where? Trestles? Malibu? Maverick? Botany Bay?

Read more about the “Circle of Honor” here and you can go and report if you live in Huntington.

Also, have you decided yet what sort of board I should bring to your paddle out?

From another planet...

Watch: Surfing’s Small Wave Savant!

Like nothing you've seen before!

Have you heard of Puerto Rico’s Hector Santamaria?

I mentioned him not three days ago and isn’t it crazy how the world works? I sent Hector’s name into the universe and two days later POW!  We get this clip.

Now, there are many talented wave-riders in this world, but very few surfing savants. Before we go any further, I want to clarify what I mean by that.

There is a gray area, at least in my mind, when it comes to defining a “savant”. According to Merriam-Webster, the undisputed power-couple of English vernacular, a savant is:

1: a person of learning; especially : one with detailed knowledge in some specialized field (as of science or literature)
2: a person affected with a mental disability (such as autism or mental retardation) who exhibits exceptional skill or brilliance in some limited field (such as mathematics or music);

In my world, savant is more often used to describe definition number two. Definition one is just a nerd.

That said, not all the people I’d determine as a surfing savant have a mental illness. They were just born with incredible natural talent and an unmatched understanding of the ocean. That characterization relates to neither definition one or two but it’s enough, in my mind, to justify giving them a special label.

So maybe savant isn’t the technically correct word, but it’s the word I’m gonna use to describe a person who demonstrates an unfathomable connection with their surfboard and the sea. A person who was well and truly born to surf.

So, who’ve we got?

Clay Marzo, Kelly Slater, John Florence, Stephanie Gilmore, Tommy Wit and now, in waves that slap just above the pecker, Hector Santamaria! The world’s superior small wave surfer!

Please watch the following video for evidence. Specifically, pay attention to the elasticity of his forehand whip, the cutty-to-air-rev on a legit one-footer (0:50), and the stoopid loops at the end.


Now take a moment to soak it all in. Rewatch if necessary, and really try absorb what you just saw. Hector’s surfing is unmatched.

In a wonderful twist of fate, the above filmmaker included snippets of mortal surfers for reference. Notice how much less connected to their boards, and to the waves themselves, that these poor blokes appear to be. They’re not even bad surfers, but the contrast between their forced completions and Hector’s artistry is striking.

Dare I say that no one, and I will look Filipe Toledo square in the eye when I say this, is more dexterous and innovative in waist-high surf. Hector is a small wave savant and a chi-infused alien.

Kelly Slater, when visiting for the Rip Curl Search event in 2011, allegedly described Hector as, “one of the best surfer’s I’ve ever seen.”

Savant recognize savant.

Would you look at these studs? Man (and woman) held together by the glue of survival!

Adventure: Here comes the Hokule’a!

This ancient canoe just traversed the globe for three years! Raw!

Yesterday the double-hulled, replica Polynesian canoe, the Hokule’a, made its triumphant return to Honolulu after a three-year global voyage. Sixty thousand miles, navigation by the stars, movement of the clouds, the waves etc, exactly how the ancient Polynesians did it three thousand years ago.

Raw and spirited. A formidable achievement etc.

Click on here to discover adventure. 

But that name, the Hokule’a.

It ring a bell don’t it. Don’t it?

It does if you know even basic surf history.

Let’s peel open the Encyclopedia of Surfing just briefly (its owner Matt Warshaw correctly expects readers to subscribe to penetrate the sanctum to read these stories. Click here to subscribe).

In 1978, Aikau gained a berth on the Hokule’a, a replica of the double-hulled canoe used by ancient Polynesians to sail between Hawaii and Tahiti. On March 16, Aikau and 15 other Hokule’a crew members left Honolulu for a 2,400-mile voyage that would reenact the midocean crossing; five hours into the trip, the starboard hull sprung a leak and the boat capsized, leaving the crew hanging on to the port hull. At 10:30 the following morning, Aikau took a life vest, rain slicker, knife, and strobe light, and set out on a 10-foot surfboard for the island of Lanai, 12 miles to the east. Later that day the Hokule’a crew was picked up by a rescue team. Coast Guard rescuers searched for a week, but Aikau’s body wasn’t found.

Did you know Hokule’a also means Star of Joy?

And did you know it was how the Polynesians, the most fierce and wonderful and bloodthirsty of warriors, like monochromatically inverse Vikings, came to own the Pacific?

And do you think, as you look at your iPhone, reading, maybe you’re on a bus or a train surrounded by people with their heads bowed, that you need a little adventure in your life?

That it might just be a wonderful thing to get your head out of computer screens, off the drip of Instagram, and to be on the ocean, staring at a canopy of stars, your body moving with the swaying of the hull, your skin tattooed a pleasing brown and so forth?

Would it be lovely?

Or would you find it all an uncomfortable inconvenience?


StabStitch: Surf over in foreseeable future!

Australia's one time leading surf retailer says the dream has died!

Oh you have thrilled and cried with each wrinkle in the grand SurfStitch drama. Do you remember when the Australian online surf retailer was valued at tons of dollars, maybe even multiple millions, and bought Stab for 10 million?

The highest times!

Sure there were some who questioned the move and even wondered if SurfStitch was buying Stab for such a premium in order to mask operating losses and keep share prices higher and drain cash from company which could then be used to co-fund the bid to re-privatise — wash the money and put it toward repurchase.

But those were just haters!

SurfStitch only had the purest of intentions on their buying spree. Stab is totally worth 10 million! Probably more! In any case, SurfStitch has fallen on the hardest times back home in Australia and has closed down its north American operations entirely. Should we read a quote from a SurfStitch executive?

“The work to transform our business model; through improved operational capabilities, enriched customer engagement and a reduced cost base; is going well. However, the retail environment has made it difficult to deliver the planned sales and gross margin improvements as quickly as we would like, resulting in the revised forecast for the group’s underlying EBITDA.”

The company also announced it would be closing its North American operations by January 2018, noting the region…

“…continued to be unprofitable for the foreseeable future”.

Well hell.

I live in North America. Is surf officially done forever here? Will we all have to hang up our tools and head back into the salt mines?

Hell. That doesn’t sound very fun.

But, when I die, can you please ensure that “unprofitable for the foreseeable future” is chiseled into my headstone?


Breaking: ISA seeks to destroy surfing!

The International Surfing Association just became enemy number 1!

The International Surfing Association, founded in the middle 1960s, is the “world governing body” of surfing according to the International Olympic Committee. You may recall earlier this year when the ISA won surfing’s acceptance into the 2020 Tokyo games. Much back slapping and guffawing. I’ll even admit that, while on the surface I pretended surfing in the Olympics was super dumb in my heart I cheered. Surfing in the Olympics will provide at least three laughs here on BeachGrit.

At least!

And so I made emotional peace with the ISA and its bow tie wearing president Fernando Aguerre … until this morning.

The Association, you see, is currently in a protracted fight with the International Canoe Federation to keep stand-up paddleboarding.

You read that right! Fighting to KEEP stand-up.

The Associated Press reports:

The governing bodies of surfing and canoeing will go to court for control of stand up paddle boarding, a sport that is seen as a future candidate for the Olympic program.

The International Surfing Association says the Court of Arbitration for Sport has been asked to mediate in its dispute with the International Canoe Federation. No timetable for a ruling was suggested.

Stand up paddle blends elements of surfing and kayaking. Athletes stand on a board and generate speed by powering a paddle through the water.

The dispute continues a trend of established Olympic sports bodies seeking control of newer, youth-focused disciplines.

The world gymnastics body has been trying to incorporate parkour, which combines running, climbing and acrobatics across urban architecture.

This is our chance to rid ourselves of this hideous curse Laird Hamilton wrought. It is our chance to be forever done with the SUP and it boils my blood, just boils it all the way that the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is being squandered.

Give that shit to International Canoeing! Pay them to take it!

Oooooooh I’m mad. So mad that if I was at an International Surfing Association banquet right now, or like the Surfer Poll awards, I would go to the stage, drunkenly sway from side to side, then lean into the mic and say, “Fuck the ISA.”

That’s how mad I am.