Always the Vans never the Tevas.

5 (More) Surf Media Lies!

The second in an endless series!

Parents, politicians, coaches and teachers lie to protect their disciples from the harshness of reality and keep them interested.

Surf mags/surf industry are our surrogates.

Did you miss part one? Jordy v Dane, alaias, still shots of perfect waves, Van Life and Indo boards?

Click here. 

Today, we present,

(1) Wavepool perfection. The GOAT likens his wave pool to Wonka Land. He’s right. It is. But indulging in too many sweets has its effects. The lack of paddling, reduction of positioning for a peak and absence of whim from the ocean can dull the senses till you’re left with a puddle of empty candy wrappers and a waistline north of 40. Every time I see a pro cruise through one of those barrels I think two things: the first is jealousy, the second is that part from Willie Wonka where Augustus Gloop gets shot from the tube (no pun intended) after making love to the chocolate river. Billabong got this one semi-right: Only a surfer knows the feeling of being out on a shitty day when the front suddenly goes off, the sun comes out, the wind shifts and crumbly peaks become majestic pyramids.

It’s the closest you’ll get to God splitting the Red Sea for you. Something very unlikely to happen in Lemoore, California.

(Note: the editors disagree vociferously with Giancarlo’s posit about wavepools. A better analogy than Dahl’s Chocolate Factory would be the new generation of sex dolls. Even for girls!)

(2.) The Hot 100 (forced introduction of 12 year old surf studs): How many of these projected stars sparkle and fade? Some go the Justin Bieber route, maintain their fluidity, and discover their sexuality through pop songs and sleeve tattoos. Others transition into Lindsay Lohan facsimiles and become self-aware through faux lesbian encounters and Colombian imports.

This one is not the surf media’s fault. When sponsors come knocking with the promise of two-page ads paid upfront it’s harder to resist than a Golden Ticket. Every time a judging tower is stormed on behalf of someone’s kid, Little League dads are laughing as they fill ranks and branch out into differentiated franchises. Remember the evil shaman from Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom who enslaved those kids and kept them sweating in mines, searching for scared stones?… He called those serfs his Hot 100.

(3.) Nose Guards: Back when surfboards were the real weapons of mass destruction, they had noses sharper than an Orange County housewife post-surgery. There’s no doubt these rubber diamonds saved countless said moms from taking their kids to the ER. However, couple the nose guard with a pair of webbed gloves and a beaver tail wetsuit and you prove Charles Darwin’s (surf) evolution theory with a living, breathing, human, duck-billed platypus.

(4.) The NY Quick Pro: This was a QUIET lie. The surf media had to secretly support the Quik Pro. The real truthsayers of our industry (unhinged by any loyalty to the surf landscape), the message board and forum commenters, lit up their screens with justified venom (we all fear what we don’t know). New York has a way of bitch-slapping you if you fuck with it. This time it was aided by a curvy princess born in the Caribbean called hurricane Katia.

The end result? Four consecutive days of unprecedented four-to-six-foot waves peelers reeling down the sand. Every tourist leaves The City with some form of  I (heart) NY. Be it Times Square T-shirts, SoHo scandals or Long Beach lettering on enlarged checks with $300,000 spelled out on the amount  line.

(Editor’s note: Watch and laugh at Adriano’s nine-something in the following highlight reel.)

(5.) Teva Sandals: Sometimes, there is a crime within a crime. In this case, it’s wearing sandals, which leads to wearing sandals with multiple clashing colors on the strap in addition to a ‘support strap’ running across the side of your foot like a flatline on your EKG sexual barometer.

Redemption? Never underestimate the power and versatility of sockless Vans, no matter how bad the smell. They are the …Lost Quiver Killer’s of #shoe life.

Always the Vans, never the Tevas.
Always the Vans, never the Tevas.

Upvote: King of the Komments!

Are you popular or unpopular? Now there's a scientific way to know!

My sauvignon blancs from Negatron’s backyard have transitioned to vodka sodas from Vlad Putin’s backyard and ain’t Sunday’s grand? I know if you’re waking up in Australia right now it is Monday and you are not feeling grand but pour some vodka in your coffee and revel in how popular you maybe are!

Whilst doing some hard hard work, just a few minutes ago, I accidentally waved my cursor over the avatars in our comment section and saw, for the first time, that Disqus registers both comments and votes.

An unimpeachable popularity guide!

So who amongst you has the best comment-to-vote ratio? Let’s look at three recent posts and see!

Mattysez: 531 – 789

That Dead Whale at Trestles: 732 – 1697

Antipodes: 135 – 441

Dickie Toledo: 267 – 743

Audit in Progress: 1611 – 3519

Mariano Landa: 1468 – 2776

Ami Lost: 180 – 242

mullet: 1200 – 2709

bitter guy: 4009 – 7367

Nik Karol: 432 – 949

Dogsnuts: 302 – 703

Neal Kearney: 420 – 458

20 mule team: 95 – 411

german_ surfer_007: 338 – 686

Negatron: 2678 – 10637

DrunkenAngel: 1000 – 2024

Chazz Michael Michaels: 467 – 847

Noa’s last dart: 2194 – 7074

Bleach’d Git: 331 – 1083

Turd Ferguson: 1144 – 1551

Trogan Fan: 7455 – 11324

NUG: 83 -814

SharkAttack575: 75 – 56

J H: 1654 – 1726

Rory Parker: 660 -1700

And now my vodka has run dry… were you left out? Tell me in the comments and I’ll upvote you!

But in summary….

SharkAttack575 is the only one upside-down, and the clear loser, but that may only be a product of his general retardation so we shouldn’t make fun.

And is it any wonder that Negatron is King? That is a serious comment-to-vote ratio and why I was drinking sauvignon blancs from his backyard and not yours.

Jordy smith and South African friends wish this week could have been 10 days long. Don't you too?
Jordy smith and South African friends wish this week could have been 10 days long. Don't you too?

Review: The greatest week in surf!

Let's take a quick look back and appreciate!

I’ve had a moment now to cool down from the frenzy of the last few days. And as I sip a chilled Sauvignon Blanc from Negatron’s backyard I wonder, “Was this past week the greatest ever in BeachGrit‘s history?” If you are not feeling the same way, a recap is certain to refresh your memory. A chilled Sauvignon Blanc from Negatron’s backyard almost guaranteed to make you agree. Let us begin with the recap.

Seven(ish) days ago the world was reintroduced to Cocoa Beach’s own Sean Volland. The one-time professional surfer had called Kelly Slater out for the boards he was riding, saying they were impediments to victory. Kelly responded by calling Sean a “kook and wasted talent.” We proceeded to get acquainted Sean and it was only a preview!

Six days ago Michael Ciaramella writes his penultimate bit for BeachGrit about Kelly Slater breaking his foot at J-Bay. What a total bummer and even more a bummer in light of how absolutely divine the surf at J-Bay turned out to be. Best ever over the course of an entire event? I think, without fear of contradiction, yes.

Five days ago Steve “Longtom” Shearer adds another piece to what, in completion, became the greatest contest coverage ever. This particular segment spoke of all the 10s. There were so many 10s! That J-Bay contest made it hard to sleep, to eat but not hard to drink and Mr. Longtom captured the zeitgeist every single moment.

Four days ago the World Surf League announced a new CEO. Oh how we had kicked at the previous master. Kicked him where his balls would be every single day of the week. Did he ever respond? No. He was a giant chicken but there are bright days ahead for Sophie Goldschmidt and the WSL. I can feel it!

Three days ago Derek Rielly compared every 10 point ride at the just concluded J-Bay Open. It was analysis so good that it begged to be repeated. And it was! As Michael Ciaramella’s first piece for Stab! Nobody ever said the handsome little man didn’t appreciated good taste.

Two days ago Rory Parker swung back into our lives. The first time in well over a year! He explained the reasons he left BeachGrit, which mostly involved me being unpleasant and then Facebook messaged me, after I made his comment into a stand alone spot, to take his name off the byline. I responded by saying it would be wonderful if he invited me on his podcast so we could really air it out. He said, “Why would I do that?” I answered, “To get more listeners…” and he countered, “I’m happy with the listeners I have.” And that gave me a good belly laugh.

Yesterday we got to visit with Sean Volland once again. Remember him from seven(ish) days ago? Of course you do! Sean had been on the comment board throughout the week mostly threatening to rape Derek’s dogs and forcing his girl to watch. He went back this morning and deleted all of his comments but the responses are fun enough for a laugh. It was, anyhow, a wonderful conversation and ended with, “I don’t have voodoo dolls. I don’t stick pin in voodoo dolls. I’m not a black magic guru.”

And I literally can’t remember a better week on BeachGrit in my whole life and I’ve been here from the very beginning.

Can you?

Religion: “Surfing is a Zen metaphor!”

Or.... are people who say things like "surfing is a Zen metaphor" just buttheads?

Sunday morning is a wonderful time to sit down with a cup of coffee and read longer works, or go to church, or go surfing and pretend that surfing is spiritual, or read a longer work by a man who changed his name to Jaimal Yogis and asks, “Is surfing more religion or sport?” in this morning’s The Atlantic.

Let’s read some excerpts together!

One can make a good argument that surfers, or at least water lovers, have access to divine real estate. After all, Genesis describes how, “In the beginning … the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters”—not a volcano, not a canyon, not a tree. Muslims perform wudu, ritual ablutions, before praying. Buddhists offer bowls of water as a symbol of clear enlightenment. Baptism is a major component of many religions; converting to Judaism requires full immersion in a mikvah, a bath that must be connected to natural water. Surfing—immersion into the liveliest of waters—has spiritual roots that started well before hippie surfers were passing the peace pipe. Hawaiian chiefs demonstrated their clout by braving big waves. When the surf raged too big for humans, it was called ‘Awili, meaning the gods were surfing.

Identifying too closely with surfing—whether spiritually, athletically, or territorially—can also add to what many see as the sport’s dark underbelly. Surfers are famous for becoming like angry zealots when access to their god—the waves— gets obstructed by crowds, fueling gang-like turf wars in hotspots like Palos Verdes. Steven Kotler’s book West of Jesus captured this tension well: “The irony of it was that most of the people considered surfing a religious experience and that their religious experience was being ruined by all the others surfing for the same reason.”

So why does surfing appear to be so much more freighted with spiritual meaning than other water sports? One key distinction is the structure and pace of the activity. Yes, there are those brief adrenaline pumping moments of actually riding a wave, but in between sets are long lulls when the surfer is just waiting, bobbing, staring at a horizon—time in which there’s nothing to do but breathe and consider saltwater’s flirtatious dance with the sunlight and sky. So whether you’re spiritual or not, there’s still a need for a contemplative solitude in relative stillness. There’s also the constant paradox of having to exert great effort to paddle, while simultaneously surrendering to the power of a wave you’re riding (or falling into)—a Zen metaphor if ever there was one.

Well? Are you convinced? Has Jaimal Yogis got you re-thinking both what surfing is and your relationship to it? Zen etc.?


No. That Yogis asshole has written three pieces for The Inertia.

1) The Tube is the Magic; It’s the Answer

2) Listening to Jimmy; The Enlightening Experience of Facing Your Fears at Padang

3) Practicing Mindfulness and Meditation are Good for Your Health, Scientists Say

Gag me with a motherfucking peace pipe.

shark attack ballina
This is what a great white bite looks like. Leg belongs to Cooper Allen, a 17-year-old surfer from Ballina, on Australia's far north coast, who was hit by a 10-foot white last year. Locals call this a "Ballina hickey."

When Great Whites Take Over Your Beach

What happens when your sleepy lil town becomes a global hotspot for Great White attacks?

The day before Tadashi Nakahara was killed by a shark, I was surfing at the same location. It was late afternoon, the waves were small and the wind onshore.

Suddenly, I saw a school of large fish in the face of a wave. I pushed through the wave and sat up on my board, marvelling at what I had just seen. They were good-sized fish. I sat there for a little while and then it occurred to me that something might have been chasing them.

So, I turned to go in, but it was too shallow to paddle across the reef, so I started paddling around the reef to where I could access the beach. Then I noticed some turbulence about four metres in front of me. I paddled straight to shore and exited the water about five metres from where Tadashi died the next day.

A couple of months after the attack, I made an appointment with Ballina Council to ask what I should do after seeing a shark. Three times I had sat in my car wondering how long I should hang around in case anyone arrived ready to paddle out where a shark had just been seen.

I was told that electronic notice boards were being considered, even though Council was not actually responsible for what happens in the ocean. I don’t know what happened to that idea, but two years after the meeting, we still don’t have a reliable system in place.

Then Matthew Lee was attacked at Lighthouse Beach. I was surfing with a couple of guys at the north end when one of them paddled over to me saying that it looked like something was happening at the other end of the beach. I had heard a siren, but figured it was headed somewhere else, since everyone at the lookout was just staring out to sea like normal. They had obviously not noticed the commotion at the other end of the beach.

I ran down the beach to see what had happened, but was told tersely to go away. I can’t blame them for being blunt. They were dealing with a horrific injury. I guess I was only trying to digest what was happening. But, nobody had called us out of the water and a few guys were still surfing further north.

Ironically, news of the attack spread rapidly around the world. Journalists descended on Ballina and the mayor had to deal with what seemed like a real-life episode of Jaws. I already knew that bureaucracy was preoccupied with its own preservation. So, I set up a Facebook page called Ballina Shark Reports, which grew rapidly to 6,000 likes, half of them from the local area. Our local parliamentarian mentioned the page in state parliament, suggesting it was an indication of concern felt by the community. But the service itself was not supported by the government, despite numerous attempts by me to get the various authorities involved.

After five weeks and 35 shark reports, I deactivated the page because I was not sure if the service could be relied upon throughout the longer days of summer. Even with a few committed volunteers, it was difficult to monitor every daylight hour. Some people thought the page was bad for tourism. So I was also afraid I might be blamed if any businesses happened to fail, as they often do in a small town anyway. I was disappointed because I knew how much people valued the service. Within minutes of a report coming in, I could see the post being shared across the community. I don’t know how many of these people were surfers, but the number of middle-aged women using the page suggested that a lot of mothers were worried about their sons spending time in the ocean.

I gradually got back into surfing and tried to avoid the topic, especially on my way to the beach. But, you would feel sick every time you heard an ambulance. Then, Sam Morgan was attacked while surfing at Lighthouse Beach – the third attack that year, all within a kilometre of the rivermouth.

It was really difficult to keep surfing after so many attacks, but there were so many waves going unridden. People also tended to surf in groups, so even if it got semi-crowded at one location, the next beach was usually empty. You would feel courageous just paddling to the next peak. Another bonus was the abundant sea life. One day, a whale ploughed through a set as we duck-dived right beside it. Sometimes you get a fright when a dolphin suddenly pops up next to you or a stingray glides underneath. It is awesome to feel connected with nature. But I don’t like being part of the food chain.

Then Cooper Allen was attacked. I was standing in waist deep water, about five metres away, when I saw a shark in the face of a wave between me and three guys sitting further out. A few seconds later, I heard a shout, followed by the nose of a board sailing through the air. I thought the board had been snapped in half, but the back end was just hidden behind the wave.

As I paddled toward Cooper, I saw his mates, Tom and Jae paddle toward him. It makes me smile every time I think about that moment. Two young guys trying to protect their mate. How many times must that have happened in human history?

I jumped over the wave and looked over to where the attack happened, half expecting to see a dismembered body. What I saw was Cooper swimming backwards, away from the shark, which I then realised had swum away with the tail of the board in its mouth. The shark stopped about five metres from Cooper and was thrashing with the board still in its mouth, shuddering vertically in the water. As I paddled toward Cooper, I saw his mates, Tom and Jae paddle toward him. It makes me smile every time I think about that moment. Two young guys trying to protect their mate. How many times must that have happened in human history?

Once again, the media circus begins and as I see Tom and Jae being devoured by Channel Seven, I realise that I have to speak for them. When interviewed by The Australian, I made my position clear. I honestly couldn’t care less if these creatures went extinct. Just because they play a role in the ecosystem doesn’t mean that role can’t be played by other species of shark. At least two peer-reviewed academic papers make that case.

But the scientific community is too beholden to environmental ideals to share that information with the public, even when asked to make submissions to a Senate Inquiry debating the matter.

In my submission, I propose that the government withdraw from the debate by allowing interested parties to bid on the fate of dangerous sharks. If people want to protect sharks, they should demonstrate their commitment by spending their own money and not relying on taxpayers. Likewise, if surfers want to enjoy the ocean without the risk of shark attack, they should also pay up. Both sides of the debate should put their money where their mouth is. I can’t see any other way of settling the dispute.

Either you value humans or you value sharks. The middleground is an illusion.

The first hearing was held in Sydney, where a cancellation gave me the opportunity to address the committee. The mood was respectable, if a little self-congratulatory, with headstrong environmentalists speaking for the planet. I knew I was speaking for a section of the community, many of whom were reluctant to voice their concerns, for fear of copping abuse for not wanting to sacrifice their children to Gaia.

So, I focused on the issue of protecting children from predators.

It is a simple idea, but also symbolic of how we have lost our way as a culture. I am hoping that the silent majority teaches the Greens a lesson, because I think they have made a serious blunder on this issue.

It is a perfect example of why society must not give in to vocal minorities.

(Editor’s note: this story first appeared on Dan’s fabulous blog. Click here.