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Just in: Surfing Needs Our Help!

I'm doing this for all of us!

John John Florence is surfing’s greatest talent.

An opinion, maybe, but it’s an opinion shared by most observers, and even ESPN — the American leader in sports broadcasting.

Sometimes a surfing maneuver will make its way onto SportCenter’s Top 10, but it’s usually some throwaway air from the U.S. Open. Point being, ESPN doesn’t generally show more than casual indifference toward our niche sport.

But have we made progress?

Every year, ESPN has an awards show called the ESPYS. This annual gathering celebrates the world’s top athletes across a myriad of disciplines, and this year, surfing is not excluded.

Where do we fit in? Well, there’s a Best Male Action Sports category and it looks like this:

As far as I can tell ESPY awards are decided on a fan-voting basis. Therefore we, as raging surf fanatics, can use our autonomy to sway the results in a direction that will affect us favorably. For the sake of surfers everywhere, I implore you to vote for anyone other than John John Florence.

Counter intuitive? Maybe not. Here’s why:

1. John Florence is good at many things but public speaking ain’t one of them. Can you imagine his acceptance speech to the greater athletic community?

“Woooow… can’t believe I won this award. Super stoked. Last year was really fun, waves were so fun, so I’m just really stoked. Can’t believe I beat these guys, they’re so sick haha. Thank you everyone!”

All of this in a two-sizes too big suit. Surfing don’t need that stigma.

2. ESPN is watched mostly by non-coastal, meat-and-potato Americans. They don’t care about surfing, and that’s a good thing. Unless you’re building a wave pool or own a company like Quiksilver, there’s no upside to drawing masses towards our already-oversaturated sport and culture. The less press we get, the smaller our bubble, the more waves we catch, the more harmonious our existence.

3. How goofy does John look in that photo? The bright colors, the fifth-grade-art-project trophy, the flower crown — surfers really are kinda lame when you think about it. At least skaters look cool.

A vote for John, while laden with noble intentions, is perhaps not in our own best interest. A vote for Nyjah, Mark, or Oyster Bra is a vote for surfing.

Click here to save our sport!

Fight Club: Battle of the Brands!

Surfboard logos face off again in day 2!

After three lay days of shifty winds and a crossed-up swell the Battle of the Brands is back in the water, ready to grab your attention and your vote. In case you missed, the Battle of the Brands is a professional surfing competition that pits surfboard brand logo against surfboard brand logo in sudden death heats.

We ain’t talking the performance of the board, the price, the selection etc. etc. No. This battle is purely about logos and the victor is decided in the comments.

The first three heats included JS vs. Mayhem, Channel Islands vs. Slater Designs, Pyzel vs. Rusty.

And you! You dear commentariat have never taken anything this seriously in BeachGrit’s entire history! You voted and you voted non-ironically for Mayhem, CI and Rusty. So they are all into Round 2!

Now let’s finish off Round 1.

Heat 4



Heat 5



Heat 6



You know the drill. Vote in the comments and send your favorites into Round 2!

Gliding on the breakers!
Gliding on the breakers!

Best: Ever surf review by non-surfer!

A novice tells you everything you need to know about Austin's NLand wave park!

I was dubious when my very handsome instructor told me that I’d be gliding on the breakers by day’s end. I have trouble balancing on the treadmill at my local gym. How in the world was I going to stand on the crest of the sea’s tumblers like some neoprene-clad Venus? But somehow he was right! As that first swell propelled me toward the shore I knew that surfing the curl was in my blood…

On a July Saturday in Rockaway Beach, a surf instructor pushed me into my first wave. He had already shown me how to paddle, arch my back and pop up, but I wasn’t thinking about any of that. I’d stopped thinking about anything. I did what my body wanted to do and then I was up and moving, swept forward by the great hand of the sea. My body already knew how to soften into it and ride. I was amazed at the ocean and my own inborn connection to it.

Ok first a little pop quiz… which one of those paragraphs is pulled from our The Inertia?

And how many descriptions of surfing have you read by novices? Oh they always crackle with passion but the mechanics, verbiage, etc. generally churn into a fun but nonsensical stew. Imagine, say, that you only had a novice’s description of a wave you had never surfed or seen. It would be impossible to pull any useful information out right?


This morning I read a novice’s description of Austin, Texas’s NLand wave park on ESPNW and know everything I need to know about those breakers!

The writer, Alyssa Roenigk describes herself, and surfing experience, thusly:

Since my mid-20s when I first learned to surf, I’ve had a fickle relationship with surfing. I hold it in reverence as the hardest sport in the world to learn, respect the enormous number of hours it requires to become even passingly proficient and want more than anything to be good at it. Yet for many reasons — cold water, wetsuits, a distaste for surfing by myself, rarely being near the ocean when waves are breaking, wetsuits — I have never put in the time. “I should do this more often,” is the most common sentence I utter each time I suit up to go surfing with friends.

A perfect recipe for disaster. But then she paddles out…

I spent my session surfing the inside wave, which NLand’s website describes, quite accurately, as “knee- to waist-high waves” with “challenging, open-face sections.” My friends and I called it the Waikiki wave. The mechanism creating the wave moves north to south, and then south to north, creating a left-hand and right-hand wave every 2 minutes, 10 seconds. Watching from the beach, that felt like an endlessly long lull between waves. But in the water, they come fast, especially if you catch a wave and ride it to the end of the pool and have to paddle back into position before the next wave fires. That becomes tricky when the pool is packed, so my advice is to steer clear of midday weekend visits and start with a midweek session.

The reef wave was booked up, so I can’t say I’ve tried it myself, although several of my friends spent their hour figuring it out. The consensus: Once you master the unnatural drop-that’s-not-a-drop-but-more-of-a-super-fast-sideways-takeoff, which generally takes one to two sessions, the 35-second ride is worth the effort. Just like scoring one great wave after two hours of paddling in the ocean or launching a perfect tee shot on the 18th hole, that one wave is enough to make you come back for more.

NLand is perfect for new surfers or anyone with fears of learning in the ocean. It’s also great for experienced surfers who want to work on turns or maneuvers that require reps. In one one-hour session at NLand, I surfed about 20 waves, which allowed me to make mistakes, fix those mistakes, work on my technique, and challenge the heck out of my paddling muscles. The experience did not feel like ocean surfing, but it made me even more excited to get back into the Pacific with the belief that I’ll be a little better when I do. If you find yourself in Austin, catching endless party waves is a great way to spend an afternoon with friends — especially once the brewery opens.

It doesn’t get any more informative, any more helpful than this. With these three paragraphs I feel perfectly armed to tackle Austin and I must say thank you Alyssa Roenigk. Thank you for breaking through this surf journalist’s jaded crust and allowing him to face the world anew. Like some neoprene-clad Venus.

A man who can eat a habanero is a man who can survive a little bone marrow cancer!

Breaking: We Maybe Saved a Life!

Let's bask in our very own stench of glory!

Last week BeachGrit was successful in drawing Stab — particularly Stab‘s noted author Morgan Williamson — from its FCS-2-reinforced bunker. A wonderful victory indeed, but still not on par with today’s existential triumph.

Yesterday I wrote about a Spanish-Mexican man who went to Bali only to find out he had cancer. The man, Cristian Bosco, was stuck in Bali without proper medical care because his insurance wouldn’t cover the exorbitant airlift fee of $140,000.

So the world had a dilemma: help cover the costs of Cristian’s medevac, or let him die of a (hopefully) treatable disease in an ill-equipped hospital.

Thanks to support from surfers around the world, Cristian got his trip covered. Just a few hours ago I received an email update from Cristian’s crowdfunding site, saying (translated from Spanish):

Thank you all for showing that there are still people with generosity and human quality!! Cristian is already on his way to Spain, they had to put him in the business class section of a commercial plane, and they are using the entire section for his transfer; accompanied by a medical group as well as the medical devices needed to cope with the journey.

We hope he will arrive soon and receive treatment. For the trust you have placed in this case, we want to inform you that at the moment we will not need any more donations, as we are evaluating the expenses incurred to have Cristian back. Thank you very much again and we will soon communicate the progress of the case.

Now, how many of you received this email today? Three? Maybe five? Probably closer to three but we turned the scales regardless!

It simply cannot be a coincidence that Cristian’s transfer happened one day after BeachGrit spread the word. We are lifesavers, and not like those drunk Aussie-types!

Let’s hope those Spanish docs can pull through on their end of the bargain.

Listen: “Surf fashion laughs at you!”

Existential questions answered by Chas Smith on the podcast Surf Splendor.

Earlier today, Chas Smith, from BeachGrit, made his weekly appearance on the San Clemente-based podcast Surf Splendor.

Prior to the interview, Surf Splendor‘s David Lee Scales sent a document of topics to be discussed, which you can examine here.

Grit! June 29, 2017

The discussion is a good one despite “Chas being woefully underprepared. He hardly even skimmed the show outline,” David said afterwards.

It’s the first podcast I’ve ever listened to from start to finish. When I read “podcast” I think, unedited interview, a torturous spool of directionless back and forthing.

David is a marvellous host, however, who keeps the show tight. He has opinion but rarely sears it with bitterness. There are no persecution complex, no hot-potato, knee-jerk reactions.

The highlights: surf fashion as applied to the newish labels Former and Outerknown, a little something on why Rory Parker and BeachGrit stopped being pals, the either very good or very bad music on Albee Layer’s new short and whether or not Albee might be dumb (Chas, who has a degree in linguistics, promises to call and find out), some sorta blood feud and a few other not-so-solemn topics.

Listen here.