Breaking: Bells Beach is sexy too!

The Jewel of Torquay was left off National Geographic's list but huzzah! Vogue!

You have, of course, read National Geographic‘s list of the world’s top 20 surf towns and maybe you’ve read it twice. Those in Tel Aviv, Raglan, Queens New York, Cornwall and Tofino are cheering wildly. Throwing their arms in the air like they just don’t care. “We matter!” they chant in unison. “We really really really matter!”

Those in Encinitas, Santa Cruz, Bondi, Coolangatta and Torquay, on the other hand, are weeping. Weeping hot tears into lukewarm beers and mumbling, “What have we done? What have we done to be thrown from the light to outer darkness?”

Well Torquay, home to the famed Bells Beach, you can stop crying! Vogue magazine says you sexy too! Shall we read?

As the April sun rises on Bells Beach, Australia, barefoot locals descend on the renowned surf spot by the hundreds. City kids load up their parents’ Kombi vans with friends and boards and head for Great Ocean Road; residents of neighboring Torquay and Jan Juc push signs on their front yards pledging support to surfers Nikki Van Dijk, Tatiana Weston-Webb, and Courtney Conlogue; cafés turning out caffeine to bleary-eyed athletes set their televisions to the Rip Curl Pro Tour, the country’s version of the Super Bowl. One of two locations the World Surf League visits annually in Australia, this beach that sits on the Victoria coast is legendary for its early autumn point break and seemingly endless lineup of crisp and long hollow waves. As a reference, this is the site of the last scene in Point Break when Bodhi tells Johnny Utah that his “whole life has been about this moment.” Surfing here is not just a novelty or a sport, it’s a way of life.

The pictures that follow exhibit Torquay, and her Bells, in all glory. I’ve spent much time there and while the company was grand the sky was always grey. The breakfast was good though. And Neil Ridgway’s (Rip Curl’s marketing guru) benevolent charm can be felt everywhere. It infects the town like some beautiful virus. Like good AIDs.

Click here for more from Torquay!

Revealed: Best surf towns in the world!

National Geographic says "yes" to Cornwall but "no" to Bondi!

I think almost every surf magazine, both living and dead, has done a “top surf town” feature at least once. In 2009, for example, Surfer magazine included, Santa Cruz, Haleiwa, Montauk, New Smyrna, Encinitas and, San Clemente amongst a few others, in their list.

All fine and good but what does a real magazine consider the top surf towns in the world? Have you ever wondered?

Well today is your lucky day! The most revered National Geographic has definitively, and without fear of contradiction, laid down the top 20 in the world with a description as to why.

Is your surf town included? Let’s look!

Hossegor: Hossegor is the best of France, the U.S. East Coast, and California—all in one place.

Tel Aviv: In the summer, the sand is packed with pop-up bars, bronzed babes, and parties that don’t start until long after sunset.

Hainan Island, China: Hainan is like the Waikiki of China, with endless hotels. The bigger ones tend to have English-speaking staff.

Bali: Learning to ride a motorbike while holding a surfboard is a rite of passage.

Maresias, Brazil: Home of Adriano de Souza!

The Algarve, Portugal: Get ready for some of the best waves of your life, and the most fun finding them—that is, if you get out of bed before noon!

Waikiki: Despite the bad rap the “town” gets from surfing’s hard-core, the delight of Waikiki’s long, slow-breaking waves and abundant nightlife make it a must for any surfer, from the neophyte to the seasoned professional.

Cornwall, England: Along with having nearly every type of wave, Cornwall is home to almost every kind of cold-water surf hazard—rocks, rips, and currents. Make sure you surf at beaches with lifeguards.

Margaret River: Despite its dreamy aesthetic, surfing here is not for the faint of heart.

Muizenberg, South Africa: The attitude in the water is also super mellow, with a general acceptance of all watercrafts and abilities.

Las Salinas, Nicaragua: Without guidance, says Two Brothers’ Robert Gregory, “If you’re coming to surf, you might miss it.”

San Clemente: San Clemente can be crowded and full of professionals. Beginners should stay at San Onofre, where dozens of peaks provide plenty of room to play.

Queens, New York: “Look for ‘kook camouflage.’ You’ll think it’s really crowded, but then you get there and realize most don’t know how to surf.”

Raglan, New Zealand: Raglan has a throwback surf vibe and grassroots cultural scene, along with craft stores and a farm-to-table culinary ethos.

San Sebastian, Spain: Speaking a little Basque goes a long way: kaixo means “hello” and agur means “see you later.”

Narragansett, Rhode Island: If a sign says don’t park there, don’t do it.

Sayulita, Mexico: The beach’s lineup is a mix of first-timers at the sandbar, longboarders at the rock-bottom point, and the occasional local professionals when the waves are good.

Taghazout, Morocco: This ancient Berber encampment became an outpost for European adventurers trekking into Morocco in the 1960s.

Tofino: Surf travelers who want to trade the surfer dude vibe for something more earthy … and don’t mind wearing a bit of neoprene.

St. Barthelemy, Caribbean: If you aren’t distracted by the sugar-fine sand, topless beachgoers, or smell of money, two of the main surfing beaches are Toiny, at the southeast end, and Lorient, to the north.

Well? Did your town make it? Are you celebrating or weeping in your warm beer?


I’m booking my ticket to Cornwall!

Abuse of power has never looked so innocent!

Streak Alert: New Jersey Does it Again!

This fruit is ripe!

You’ll remember, just one day ago, when Chas Smith berated “overly-aggressive and belligerent teenagers” who hindered a New Jersey-based, Autism-relief surf event on account of beach permits (which they had). And then when I continued to berate the lowly New Jersey beach tagger, here.

Well, the Garden State ain’t done yet.

Perhaps, like me, you were unaware of New Jersey’s current government shut down. Something about Governor Chris Christie (Republican) and speaker of the State Assembly Vincent Prieto (Democrat) having a state budget dispute, the results of which have been disastrous. On top of other things, there’s the closing of Island Beach State Park — a major tourist destination — over July 4th weekend.

You can imagine the loss in beach tag revenue.

But the story doesn’t end there. Just today, through what appears to be drone-related photography, the people of New Jersey received evidence of a blatant abuse of power.

In a series of revealing photos, Gov. Christie was caught spending his morning on the publicly closed sands of Island Beach State Park. Internet outrage commenced.

And a personal fave…

If you don’t recall, Chris Christie was the alleged perpetrator of Bridgegate, a scandalous political maneuver in which Christie blocked certain lanes of the George Washington Bridge (a connection point between New Jersey and New York) as an act of retaliation against Fort Lee mayor, Democrat Mark Sokolich, who refused to endorse Christie for re-election.

This past January, Christie’s alleged co-conspirators, Bill Baroni and Bridget Ann-Kelly, were sentenced to a combined three-and-a-half years in prison for their actions. Despite their testimonies against Governor Christie, the Republican leader got off without so much as a slap on the wrist. This is one of many reasons that Christie holds a 15% approval rating, according to one poll.

It would appear as though he’s trying to reach the single digits.

Excited to see what’s next!

Rumor: Big plans for Slater Wave Ranch!

Bigger than even allegedly hosting a WQS contest!

I was under the very distinct impression, when Kelly Slater revealed his Surf Ranch in Tulare County, California, that it was a prototype. My ex-wife, you see, is from Tulare County, California and I had to visit that region many times. Many many times. The place stinks of cow shit and depression. The whole place.

It has been forsaken by God and I hate it. And I hate her (read Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell)! But Kelly. There is no way he, the greatest surfer of all-time, and my ex-wife have similar taste. She loves musical theater and crowdfunding. Kelly Slater loves Gisele Bundchen* and tropical barrels. His Wave Ranch was a prototype and he was going to transport his trough-less wonder to Los Angeles. Or Las Vegas. Or somewhere that doesn’t stink of cow shit and depression.

And maybe. But also the Surf Ranch is here to stay. A very very inside source tells me that Kelly Slater, aside from the rumored upcoming WQS event, is planning on “…hosting music concerts and festivals with the surf contests. Sounds similar to the Wave House in San Diego.”

Well awesome.

Fucking ex-wife.

But maybe it is awesome? Maybe people from Visalia and Fresno and Bakersfield and Tulare and Dinuba and Hanford and Corcoran and Earlimart and Lemoore will never ever ever ever go to the beach again because they have Pearl Jam concerts and barrel in their very own backyard?

Thank you, Kelly Slater! I always knew you were a genius!

*I ate dinner right next to Gisele Bunchen’s post-Kelly flame Tom Brady two nights ago. He looks so handsome in person. And so dumb. Kelly and Gisele would have cut a finer figure. How did this never formalize properly?

Would you look at these assholes? Picking on the elderly in a pair of sand moccasins!

Rant: Beach Taggers Must Die!

Bullies and thieves, the lot of them!

I know I’m a bit behind on this story but you’ll have to forgive on account of Central American internet connection (we are generally 1.5 days behind the real world) and my subsequent alcohol consumption (which is 2.5x it’s standard rate).

Anyways, Chas can fuck right off because if anyone is gonna talk shit about New Jersey (read here), and specifically its overzealous teenage beach taggers, it’s me.

If you don’t know, New Jersey law mandates the purchase of a beach tag for people over the age of twelve visiting the beach between the months of June and September.

After reading Chas’s piece chastising the “aggressive and belligerent teenagers”, I feel obligated to add my thirty-two cents on New Jersey’s omnipresent beach taggers.

First of all, fuck New Jersey and its beach tag laws. If you need to charge the shoobies to access the beach, fine, but don’t charge the people who live there full time, who pay taxes, who feed local economies on a daily basis to walk on the fucking sand. The beach is the only reason we live there, so to charge us extra money to attend our own public commodity is ludicrous.

Now, on a more optimistic note, I’d like to share a fun fact: after living in New Jersey for six whole years, I never bought a beach tag. This was my biggest act of rebellion as a young’n and boy did it feel good.

In order to avoid payment, I’ve actively participated in practices such as: fleeing the scene (off the beach), fleeing the scene (to the water), befriending beach taggers (many of them went to my high school), seducing beach taggers (some of them males), and going on all-out tirades of Chas Smithian proportions. I had the cops called at least thrice but was acquitted each time.

Mostly, my opposition to the system came from points of entitlement and pride. I acted like an asshole because it was, in my mind, every bit of justified on account of my local status. I surfed there all year long, so who the hell was this kid (who didn’t set foot on the beach once September had gone) to dictate my beach usage in high season?

In the case of helping autistic kids learn to surf, I can’t imagine the lengths I would have gone to ruin the lives of these overly-empowered, sometimes-attractive high schoolers.

It’s funny, when you give someone a taste of authority, they tend to feel justified in abandoning all previously learned concepts of morality.

That’s why we must fight back with an iron fist.