Sydney: “Gladiatorial exercise in futility!”

CNN puts Australia's second favorite city in its crosshairs!

One of my great pleasures is when the mainstream media (#msm #fakenews #failing #lowratings) covers surfing and this morning I was very satisfied with Donald J. Trump’s number one enemy CNN’s take on surfing in Sydney. Let’s read from the top.

Surfing. It conjures up images of exotic locales, palm-fringed shorelines, adventure and discovery and of a lifestyle that basks in the sun’s warming embrace. While Tahiti or The Solomons offer this dream in abundance, Sydney’s version of donning rubber or boardshorts has become a gladiatorial exercise in frustration and at times futility.

Welcome to the combative nature of urban surfing. Sydney style.

While that iconic movie, “The Endless Summer,” may echo in older memories, Sydney surfing is a juxtaposed conundrum of how far we’ve come and of how much we’ve lost. The simple pleasure gained from one good turn, a cover up, or the chance to meditate upon the day, belies the stark reality of crowded line-ups, localism, injuries, and competition for waves.
Where to surf in Sydney has become an endless question.

Does this sound like surfing in Sydney to you? Has CNN captured the essence?

The top places to surf are then listed in what appears to be random order.

1) Garie Beach: “An entry fee is required.”

2) Shark Island: “A deposit of skin is the usual transaction required should you not judge the takeoff correctly.”

3) Wanda Beach: “The location for the 1980s coming-of-age movie, “Puberty Blues.”

4) Palm Beach: “Go to the kiddies corner.”

5) Macca’s: “If you make it out unscathed, it’s a short walk to a beer at the Bondi Icebergs.”

6) Curl Curl: “you should find a wave to satisfy your surfing appetite.”

7) Whale Beach: “Situated amongst some of the most expensive real estate in Sydney.”

8) Long Reef: “Keep your head down.”

9) Narrabeen: “Frequent close-outs and rips.”

10) Bilgola Beach: “One of the most satisfying.”

Does this seem like a fine enough assessment or will you take to Twitter and post short videos of you smashing CNN in the face?

J-Bay Analysis: “The end of the beginning!”

Is pro surfing evolving? Progressing, remaining stagnant or regressing?

It’s fashionable to imagine the end of Pro Surfing is nigh, but I believe we are at the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the End and that Pro Surfing will stretch out into deep time, as one of the favoured tropes of human evolution.

Sorry I missed the start.

I was drinking with Sicilians at a family function but Chas did beautiful on the opening play by play. I actually had plans to develop a pod-cast for the event as coverage because there seems to be an opening in the market for another surf podcast.

Maybe there is room for another twenty?

This one, to be named, the Talking Parrot 2.0, and to be hosted by my parrot Dexter. He has a penchant for ultra-progressive surfboard design, spending large amounts of time at the Dan (Tomo) Thomson family home (true). It was all these surf journo turf wars that got me fired up for the Talking Parrot 2.0, that and the words of American genius Jay Reatard: 

It’s not complete.

I must compete. 

Stand on my feet.

Live with these creeps. 

Not saying surf podcasters are creepy cats, just that the average surf podcast is far too short. So I planned the opening Podcast: Historical evolution of pro surfing performance as seen through the prism of Jeffreys Bay, to run for 27 months and 16 days. Upcoming podcasts were planned to be 73 years long and were to be played in birthing units to unborn kiddies in case they accidentally expired before the peak moments were broadcast.

Anyhoo, I ran over Dexter in my Camry wagon (true) and he dead now, so the idea is scuttled. Very sad. But we continue the thread of evolution herewith.

Jay Reatard: I’m sitting here waiting for something to evolve.

Kelly Slater: “You ever stand up on a wave and feel yourself channeling someone else, almost like an entity takes over your body ….you can’t help but be mesmerized…Tom Curren flow, Terry Fitz speed lines..”

Which raises the question of the most important issue in Pro Surfing. Is it evolving? Progressing, remaining stagnant or regressing?

According to Kelly it is completely progressing. He said so himself during a presser in Fiji where he slammed the surfing of his peers when he came on tour as deplorable, in which case, why look back? Why nominate Tom Curren and the Sultan of Speed as the desirable templates and spiritual entities to be channeled if progression is the ultimate aim?

He has friends, including Professor Anders Ericsson, the world’s reigning expert on peak performance, who sees in most athletic endeavours a clear and consistent line of progress and improvement and claims the “horizons of human potential are expanding with each new generation”.

I argue the former and that there has been one true revolution in pro surfing history and that was Dane Reynolds. Dane brutalised the judging criteria, completely reshaping it to fit his own vision. Slater tried to run on with it. Then Dane quit and the judges returned to stagnation. So sad. So very sad. But not for us who can afford to take the long view.

On the other hand, German philosopher Fred Nietzsche observed that evolution did not proceed with straight line progress, that the mediocre could overwhelm the great, that evolution was rife with blind alleys, stagnant waterholes, regressions and wrong turns of every description.

Derek Hynd observed that surfing performance at J-Bay had declined with every inch the wide point migrated back towards the tail.

Which is the correct view? Who is right? Freddy and Hynd or Slater and the Swede?

I argue the former and that there has been one true revolution in pro surfing history and that was Dane Reynolds. Dane brutalised the judging criteria, completely reshaping it to fit his own vision. Slater tried to run on with it. Then Dane quit and the judges returned to stagnation. So sad. So very sad. But not for us who can afford to take the long view.

Now John Florence puts his wide point forwards on the ghost face wave killah and voila, the drive comes back. Evolution by going backwards.

And Slater who claims the inspiration of channeling past masters goes the other way and makes his equipment twitchier and less drivey. He moves away from what he himself considers the highwater mark and template!

Tres Ironic!

Is this the greatest evolutionary wrong turn and blind alley in pro surfing history, this late stage equipment and let us be honest and call it for what it is, an atrocity, by Kelly Slater? An atrocity so blatant even his childhood friends feel the need to bring it to his attention?

Just to make sure this wasn’t old man thinking I tapped one of my intelligence assets on the ground here. The best 15-year-old surfer in Australia, Lennox Heads’ Mikey McDonough who said in answer to who was the best surfer at J-Bay,

“Mick, yeah Mick.”

And historically, Mikey, who is the best of all time?

Tom Curren, I guess”.

There it’s settled. This sport has officially gone backwards.

Let us all examine it forensically over the coming days and compare it to the highwater mark of Tom Curren and adjudicate accordingly. Spaz pumps are clearly a sign of devolution. Kelly did three between every turn.

You go count them yourself.

And remember that name: Mikey McDonough.

Faux/Real: Surfing in a Speedo!

BeachGrit's guide to your water-based fashion!

Welcome to a brand new BeachGrit feature called Faux/Real™ where we examine beach + water fashion and tell you if it is FAUX or REAL!

(For those who don’t speak French “faux” means “artificial or not real. For those who don’t speak English “real” means réal.)

And first up we have surfing in a speedo.

Which is totally REAL.

Surfing speedo man don’t care all. He don’t care about you. He don’t care about me. He don’t care about the hair on his upper thigh that is now part of his wax. Surfing speedo man is going to breeze through the coming apocalypse and, fingers crossed, still be able to breed. If he runs over you in the lineup apologize to him for being embarrassed about your own wiener.

J-Bay: The Curse of the Promo Video!

World number 1 Wilko performs badly on day 1! Whose fault is it?

The world’s best surfers have returned to the world’s best waves with the world’s best announcer back in his rightful place next to the world’s best color man. That’s right! Turpel n Pottz! Joe Turpel n Martin “Pottz” Potter! How much did you miss their dance? Their conversation? Their florid call of the watery ballet?

If I was the World Surf League, I would use my Santa Monica studio to make the world’s best buddy movie titled Turpel n Pottz Go to the G20! Synopsis. Turpel n Pottz are on their way to South Africa to call the 2017 Corona beer J-Bay Open when their plane is accidentally diverted to Hamburg, Germany. A series of hilarious mishaps ensue and the duo eventually end up with the world’s most powerful leaders, solving problems with simple but effective solutions.

It would be a hit and it is exactly what the World Surf League should do but what they are doing is making promotional videos that curse their number ones.

The latest victim? Matt Wilko Wilkinson!

The current number one’s bit is title Crack! Now He’s #1 and goes, “No one saw Wilko coming until we heard the crack of a new world number 1 now he’s marching to JBay with everyone’s undivided attention.”

Well, he proceeded to lose and lose big time in his heat vs J-Flo and Patrick Ewing.

Jeremy Flores looked very good on his waves, even claiming in the middle of one, and Patrick looked ok but Wilko looked bad, netting two low scores in gorgeous surf.

And don’t you think it is the Curse of the Promo? It has taken both John John and Jordy down and I think there is some scientific truth here.

What else happened at J-Bay? Oh I don’t want to spoil Steve Shearer’s magic but hint:

Kelly has something to prove, John John didn’t fail, Parko, Gabs gonna win it all, Jordy did fail.

And we’re back!

Do you want to soar like I. Crane? Try this ...Lost fighter jet!

Watch: A Surfboard You Should Consider!

You know, for those small summer days...

I used to think that ‘good surfboards’ and ‘bad surfboards’ were bullshit.

That it was the Indian, not the arrow, who determined a graceful slide. And while it’s true that exceptional riders can make any board, plank of wood, or esky lid look good, there’s something to be said for a superior board.

I was forced to change my mind just this year when, on two separate occasions, I stumbled upon the best boards in the world (for their respective conditions).

The first was a …Lost Puddle Jumper.

I ride mine at 5′ x 19.5′ x 2.25′ which equates to 26 liters of foam… three more liters than my standard shorty. The extra foam lends itself to increased paddle power, flat-section speed and somehow, thanks to the incredible design of the board, unaffected maneuverability. It can carve, it can air, and considering its chodey nature, the thing does a damn good job of stabbing through the lip. I’ll never ride another board below chest high.

The second was a Channel Islands Rook 15 — Adriano’s hand-me-down, to be specific.

Mine is 5’8 x 18.25 x 2.2 and the only way to describe its glide is with a Muhammad Ali quote: floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee. Just today I emailed my CI contact, attempting to procure more of Adriano’s throwaways — one, two, maybe even three! I’m out of the water for a few months, but it’d make me so happy to have them in my garage. To look at them. Touch them. Bring them inside and wax ’em all over the couch.

I can only imagine that Ian Crane feels a similar affinity to his …Lost V3 Stealth. Notice the control, the speed that Ian carries through gutless conditions. It looks incredibly fun, and user-friendly to boot!

Could this be the board for you, or will you keep your C+ rating thank-you-very-much?