Imagine: A Future Where Pools rule!

Twenty years forward, are we going to be living in a fabulous chlorinated utopia?

Twenty Years After

An early morning sun danced off of the water as it bloomed over the horizon, and the empty San Clemente coastline sat idle save the folding of a crisp beach break. Three solitary figures crept through an overgrowth of shrubs along the forgotten path, unmolested since the Great Shift of 2016.

Kelly Slater, flanked by his two grandsons, slowly stepped to water’s edge. The boys, trembling, each took careful hold of his hands.

“Where are we, Grelly?” asked one of the boys nervously. “I think I’m sinking!”

“Relax. We’re on a beach,” Kelly chuckled.” “And you’re not sinking. This is sand we’re standing on.”

The boys’ eyes widened as a dark green wave stood up and peeled for yards in both directions. Pointing at the liquid phenomenon with one hand, with the other they tugged on Kelly’s hemp-organic cotton blend reverse printed short sleeve camp shirt with the other.

“Grelly, Grelly!” they shouted. “That’s one of your waves!”

Kelly looked down at the boys in delight. “Pretty close, I’d say.”

“Who put it out there? Someone stole it!”

“No, boys. It was created by Nature. By God.”

Slack-jawed, the boys shared a knowing glance, then gazed up at their grandfather in awe. “Are you God?

“Ha! Great question.” Kelly exclaimed. “Let’s just focus on these waves, OK?”

The boys, truly confounded by the sight, continued to pepper Kelly with questions.

“This doesn’t make sense. Where do you plug it in? Where’s the outlet?” they probed.

“There is no plug.” Kelly replied. “They run on their own power, kids. Whether we were standing on this beach or not, the waves come. No one controls them. ”

Frustrated at the explanation, one of the boys rebutted his grandfather. “So, you’re telling us that there’s no manager, no tickets, and no lines. This is just not right. And we’re supposed to believe that some unseen force can make these waves.”

“Yep. Nature.”


Jaw clenching, Kelly attempted to keep calm. “Nature.”

“Can we sue it?”

Kelly paused. Looking down at one boy then the other contemplatively, he responded, “Don’t you worry about things like that. Let’s just enjoy the spectacle of this beautiful swell for what it is.”

The boys, still unconvinced, proceeded with their interrogation. “Why would anyone want to go out there? How would anyone know where to stand? There’s no take-off pad. And is it deep? A person would drown, for sure.”

At this, Kelly smiled. “Yes, one would surely drown today. But, believe it or not, before the advent of my wave machines, we used to swim out there and catch our own waves,” he said.

“But that’s impossible. You couldn’t account for variability,” fussed one of the boys. “How did you program the waves?”

Kelly slowly raised his head and fixed his eyes beyond the waves.

“That’s a great question, son. The answer is: you couldn’t. But that’s the thing, you see. Before the Great Shift, we watched the ocean, read it, listened to it, built a relationship with it. Knowing the ocean and its gifts was true bliss.”

Kelly’s voice drifted.

“But then we abused it, dogged by greed. We took it for granted. Eventually, the masses started to suffocate it — those lemmings who clogged the waves with boards they didn’t know how to ride and water they didn’t know how to respect, buying unnecessary surf-gear and clothing…”

Kelly’s head suddenly shook awake.

“Well, the clothing part was OK, but the rest became a living nightmare. I saw the End and had to act.”

The boys stared admiringly up at Kelly. “So, you had to change things.”

Kelly breathed deeply. “Yes. Luckily, I dreamed up the wave pool. Now, just twenty years later, we’ve democratized surfing to the point that anyone can act like a jackass on our wave machines, anywhere in the world. There’s simply no need to come to a beach like this.”


“Yes, boys?”

“You’ve completely lost us,” they whined. “We want to go back to the wave pool.”

“Alright, alright. But before you go, you know the drill…”

Rolling their eyes, the boys sang out in unison, “We know, we know. A hug and a kiss.”

“And $54.99.” Kelly raised his eyebrows. “Each.”

As the boys ran back up the trail, Kelly carefully scanned the beach and walked over toward a single stone laid underneath a palm. He stooped down and dug deeply into the sand. Soon he felt the familiar edge of a 5’10” Merrick squash tail. W

ithin minutes, Grelly was out in the ocean, smiling wryly and paddling for a glowing six-foot peak.


(Editor’s note: this story first appeared in an issue of the oldest surviving paper surf magazine Surfer.)

Remember when Nike had a surf team feat. Kolohe Andino? My how the years have flown!
Remember when Nike had a surf team feat. Kolohe Andino? My how the years have flown! | Photo: Morgan Maassen

Rumor: Nike puts Hurley on the block!

Could the world's most popular surf brand be sold?

Long lay-offs from professional surf contest surfing do strange things to people. Just this morning you read that John John separated (maybe) from his old sponsor Monster. What’s he going to do next? Many of you feel SoBe! And wouldn’t it be wonderful if the lizard came roaring to life? (Wasn’t SoBe’s mascot a lizard? Did anyone ever drink SoBe? How did it taste?)

And now, a little bird has just told that Nike is either allegedly considering or allegedly has put Hurley on the block.


The current best and, I think, most successful brand in surfing!

I have many questions about this possibility, as I’m certain you do.

First, I wonder who would buy Hurley? Would Bob buy it back and return it to its roots? Would another multinational buy it?

Second, what would another multinational do? Pump lots of money in and put smiles on all of our faces with more BeachGrit x Hurley initiatives or send Phantom trunks to Walmart?

Third, what happens to Nat Young?

Fourth, how much do you think Hurley is worth?

Fifth, if you bought Hurley what would you do with Nat Young?

Sixth, I have reported, previously, that Nike is thinking about getting back into surf themselves. Would Hurley’s sale be a harbinger of Nike’s return?

Seventh, would Nike 5.0 2.0 vs Hurley be the greatest blood feud of surf industry history?

Eighth, it was Nike 5.0 right? Or was it Nike 7.0?

Ninth, what would Hurley’s sale mean for Former? (just kidding! I’m totally not wondering this!)

Tenth, Do you think Craig Anderson wishes he signed a Hurley contract no matter what happens with this alleged sale?

Eleventh, I want to buy Hurley. Would you loan me some money?

Twelfth, Craig Anderson also wants you to loan him some money too.

And what questions do you have? Don’t tell me that you don’t care. Just don’t even tell me. These surf industry rumblings stir your juices the way Monster Energy used to stir John John’s and if you deny then you can go to hell.

Thirteenth, just kidding about the going to hell part. I value your opinion even when it differs from my own. It is a hot afternoon here in Southern California and I need a drink.

Fourteenth, what should I drink? A vodka x berry la croix or a vodka x pamplemousse la croix?

Fifteenth, do you think that Dane Reynolds and Craig Anderson wish they had vodka x la croix cocktails instead of a brand called Former?

It appears yes.

Yes they do. But seriously come over to my house guys! I have enough for all of us!

John John Florence (pictured) allegedly stares into a Monsterless world!
John John Florence (pictured) allegedly stares into a Monsterless world! | Photo: Morgan Maasen

Rumor: John John drops sponsor!

What does the future hold for the world's favorite surfer?

John John Florence is the most marketable surfer on the planet. Do we all agree? His combination of skill, age, potential and professionalism make him a sponsor’s dream. Also, he is not cluttered with branding. Hurley, Nixon, Futures, Spy, Monster and Pyzel are the only marks that appear on his surfboard.

Well guess what.

The Monster claw is allegedly getting peeled right off!

No more John John x Monster Energy!

A cursory glance at Monster’s website reveals that the young Oahuan has been scrubbed leaving Jobe Hariss, Geroid McDaid and Owen + Tyler Wright in his wake.

Did John John choose to leave or did Monster push him out?

Oh, I know you. I know you are guffawing right now. You are saying, maybe even aloud, “Pssssssht. Why would you think I even care, man?” But you forget two thing.

1) We haven’t had a professional championship tour contest in eighteen months.

2) John John and Monster Energy purportedly parting ways opens up a whole world of wonder as to what the young man will do. Are you ready for your quiz? Let’s do this thing!

Will John John Florence…

A) Start a beer brand

B) Start a coconut water brand

C) Slide over to Red Bull

D) Other

If he starts a beer brand who will his cursory three partners be?

A) His brothers Nathan and Ivan plus Jamie O’Brien

B) Joe Turpel, Ron “Dawg” Blakey and Strider Wasilewski

C) Jobe Hariss, Geroid McDaid and Owen or Tyler Wright

D) Other

What will the beer brand be called?

A) St. Balter

B) Poof of Spit

C) MNSTR (pronounced “Minister” not “Monster” of course)

D) Other

Who will drink the beer brand?

A) You

B) Your dad

C) Joe Turpel, Ron “Dawg” Blakey and Strider Wasilewski

D) Other

If he starts a coconut water brand will it have a bit of sexual innuendo in its name?

A) Yes

B) No

C) Other

If yes will the coconut water brand be called…

A) Deez Nuts

B) Cream of Sum Yung Gai

C) Nut Juice

D) Other

If you're going to talk airs, who else y'gonna illustrate the story with? Here's another photo of Fizzy T from BeachGrit's trip to Mex in February that yielded a four-part video instructional series and a three-minute expressionist clip. | Photo: Jack Boston

Quiz: Why cripple yourself for an air?

Is the risk of injury worth the joy of soaring through the air? Our man says yes!

Thanks to a recent injury, I spent my day filming my friends from a channel-bound boogie board. Three hours of dodging kooks and diving under sets was more fun than I’d imagined it would be, but nowhere near the fun of riding waves for myself.

I must admit that, in a moment of weakness, I forgot about my crippled limb and pulled into one running double-up that slipped beneath the crowd. As surfers, there are some things we’ll never be able to pass up and a one-foot belly barrel is surprisingly high on my list.

Another, it would seem, is a perky ramp.

Ever since I was a kid, airs have been a source of excitement in my life. I’ve never been good at them, but in recent years I’ve made significant strides in technique and consistency. It’s still probably the weakest part of my game, but beyond threading barrels, airs are my favorite thing to do on (off?) a wave.

They’re also very dangerous.

Anytime your board loses traction with the water, the risk level increases exponentially. In a frictionless medium, there’s nothing to stop your stick from flipping over and exposing flesh-hungry fins. There’s also the nose, rails, and tail to worry about with even the slightest glitch in flight.

And even if you accomplish a flawless jump, terrible injury can occur when re-engaging with the wave.

Busted ankles and knees plague the world’s best surfers and it’s no coincidence. Considering the heights they regularly fall from and the uneven platforms they tend to land on, it’s a miracle they’re not injured 300 days of the year.

In the past five years, I’ve suffered three major surf-related injuries. A high-ankle sprain (air), a fractured vertebrae (attempted barrel, but technically just a failed drop), and now some sort of ACL tear (air).

I imagine the statistics of most aerially-inclined surfers would be similar. They probably have a higher injury rate than “big-wave” or “barrel  guys”.

Which raises the question: are airs worth it? That is, worth the risk of bodily harm, time out of the water, and the psychological trauma caused by serious injury?

I just can’t imagine soiling a perfect ramp with a layback or something lame like that.* Much like with barrels, some waves are truly made for flight. Avoiding an invitation to soar is only marginally better than dodging a tube.

My dad has a strong opinion on the matter. “You gotta stop with the airs,” he told me, after my most recent incident. “Just stick to riding the wave. Airs can’t be that fun.”

But aren’t they? I think they are.

At least I think I think they are.

I just can’t imagine soiling a perfect ramp with a layback or something lame like that.* Much like with barrels, some waves are truly made for flight. Avoiding an invitation to soar is only marginally better than dodging a tube.

So, readers, please help a young man in need. The day I can surf again, whenever that may be, should I earnestly avoid flight?

Do I banish airs once and for all in order to extend my body’s shelf life?

Or should I continue to bet against the house, if only for the sake of feeling God’s breath beneath my fins?

*Not all laybacks are lame, but mine definitely are.

Watch: Filipe Toledo get jazzy!

The most vital short film you'll ever see of Fizzy T!

Much earlier this year, I holidayed with Filipe Toledo at a Mexican beach town where takeaway chicken is home delivered in dripping plastic bags (three dollars, generous meal for six) and jetskis cost $US650 a day to hire (discounted price for BeachGrit.)

I’ve written about this special vacation so many times I thought my fingers might pop. 

The vay-cay was a stunning success (brown skin, golden sunsets, some late nights) and although I don’t believe I enter Filipe’s thoughts as often he enters mine, a connection was established.

This morning, the San Francisco-based filmmaker who cut the four films we made about the trip, emailed me a cut of Filipe’s surfing from the trip. I was slow to click on the link because, I felt, every wave worth something had been already been shown.

I’d composed a rejection letter in my head (too long after the trip, clips already seen) when I figured, as a pal, I should actually watch.

And, oh, Jackie, this is… jazzy.

You have to watch!