Best of: The Inertia love letter to Stab!

Love is a many splendored thing!

I’m sorry… I know this isn’t “content” but I just can’t get enough of The Inertia‘s love quarrel letter to Stab. I mean, am I the only one here who thinks this is even better than a Gabriel Medina victory? Even better than 10 Gabriel Medina victories?

A quick recap. Stab wanted to contribute to its partner (like BeachGrit contributes to Surfer) and the very funny Brendan Buckley wrote a piece suggesting dolphin and surfer brains are wired the same. The Inertia published. Stab giggled while back-peddling. The Inertia got hurt and founder Zach Weisberg wrote a letter.

Here are my favorite lines.

1) At 10:21 PM Friday night, just after I booked a flight home to the East Coast for a funeral for a family member I love very much, I was notified that our neighbors at Stab had played us for fools.

2) In my estimation, life’s too short for that nonsense.

3) We are not the guys snickering in the back corner of the bus pointing and laughing and high-fiving at other’s expense.

4) I was taught at a very early age that it’s not fulfilling to shit on other people for your own amusement.

5) And while celebrating a fake contribution that slipped through our system is a dickish thing to do, I want to thank Stab for doing it.

6) I’m sure the sweethearts at Stab are clinking beers and smiling at how they succeeded in making us look like assholes.

7) Starting today, we will enforce a series of stricter protocols for contributions, which will slow that process but will ensure a higher caliber of quality and accuracy in our content.

8) For too long, (surf) seemed to be dictated by a small group of white men in Orange County obsessed with the fleeting and vacuous nature of “cool,” which we believe undersold the rich, diverse culture of the sport.

9) I sincerely do not give a fuck.

10) If you and your embittered shadow choose to perpetuate a mindlessly exclusive mentality that spits on bright-eyed participants who stand outside imaginary lines drawn in the sand, that’s your prerogative.

11) I sincerely do not give a fuck.

12) We believe the coolest thing we can do is treat people with kindness and respect, approach work with optimism, and pursue things we care deeply about with curiosity and an open mind.

13) I sincerely do not give a fuck.

14) That’s our promise.

……….I’m sorry. I am laughing so hard I can’t breathe and have to stop….


Gabriel Medina Wins Portugal

Portugal: “Gabriel Makes the Dead Rat Dance!”

And if you think Medina can't beat John Florence at Pipe you mad.

Can you cast your mind back to this exact moment last year? Pyzel in tears, global jubilation, the rightful heir claiming the throne. A feast at which “all hearts opened and all wines flowed” etc etc.

Then Pro surfing died. Died like a dead rat. A dead stinking rat that Rory Parker had to then cart around and try and make dance for our amusement at the Pipeline.

Which violates the Golden Rule of surf journalism as told to me by Nick Carroll in 1962: You can’t make a dead rat dance. 

Rory tried but in the effort he self-combusted and deserted his post in the biggest capitulation since the Fall of Mosul.* You are brand new to BeachGrit? Welcome comrade, as you will see sometimes the action behind the curtain rivals that in front.

But no dead rat now. Now we go to the Pipeline with a live title race. Pro surfing breathes a sigh of relief. I desperately wanted to be entertained as the muted violence of a bruised Portugese sky framed a high-energy lineup of rippy close-outs to start the Final Day.

Violent anti-climax followed.

First Julian Wilson flubbed his way to victory against SeaBass in a low-scoring encounter that set the tone.

The battle of the chinbeards followed. Either could have doubled for Scott Weiland pre-heroin. John Florence with a world title in the offing got nothing. Then nothing and more nothing.

Kolohe squeezed out of a frothy pit for a seven. A muted crowd expecting fireworks murmured, an online audience praying for something like Hagler/Hearns round one – please take three minutes and savour what competitive sport can be – got a dull non-event maimed by the most soul-destroying phenomenon in pro surfing: the European closeout.

Florence, the best surfer in the world and current world champion finished the quarter final with a heat score of 3.8. Fanning, a three-time world champion, finished with 3.17 in a losing score to Medina.

Finally, something caught fire. Kolohe and Wilson exchanged tube-rides and aerials, with the judges over-cooking the spread to put the result a bridge too far away for Kolohe.

That keeps Julian in the title race as a rank outsider. Medina brutalised Kanoa Igarashi like a hyena scavenging a carcass on the savannah. It wasn’t pretty. It was pretty dire actually.

But not according to Joey Turpel.

According to Joe, the drama and the action was almost unbearably exciting. It, and some of the judging – Medina got a high six yesterday for a wave I could have easily exceeded, an aged, semi-amateur receding hairline hetero-normative piece of shit bus driver from Lennox Head – seemed to put us deep down the rabbit hole into a wholly separate reality.

Now I know Hunter S Thompson is the most used and abused and badly copied writer in the surf journalist canon* but if we could just bring him on board as expert witness for a moment I would be  very grateful.

In his book Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, written about the ’72 American election, he ascribes the weird and savagely surreal behaviour of candidate Ed Muskie to a powerful hallucinogen called Ibogaine. HST colorfully described the effect of the drug on Muskie, “Given the known effects of ibogaine… Muskie’s brain was almost paralyzed by hallucinations… he looked out at the crowd and saw gila monsters instead of people”.

Is Joey Turpel seeing rainbows and spirit animals when he looks at Portugese close-outs, Richie Porta seeing high-sixes for a performance an intermediate could dish up? Has the common frame of reference, the one that enables Pro Surfing to be understood, been lost? Is it now like Wittgenstein’s famous lion, that even if it speaks we cannot understand it?

Has Pro Surfing crossed the Ibogaine threshold? Is Joey Turpel seeing rainbows and spirit animals when he looks at Portugese close-outs, Richie Porta seeing high-sixes for a performance an intermediate could dish up? Has the common frame of reference, the one that enables Pro Surfing to be understood, been lost? Is it now like Wittgenstein’s famous lion, that even if it speaks we cannot understand it?

Thirteen minutes to go in the final and with Medina sitting on a pair of fives and Wilson a pair of ones I’m pining for a Pro Surfing Brexit.

Why can’t we be in the Mentawais or even Bali? Can you tell me John Florence is going to get a three surfing Canggu rights or Macaronis?

Fuck relatable conditions, fuck close-outs,  I want my mind blown. Give me 20 JJF World Titles, give me tea for the Tillerman, steak for the sun, wine for the women who made the rain come.

Fuck relatable conditions, fuck close-outs,  I want my mind blown. Give me 20 JJF World Titles, give me tea for the Tillerman, steak for the sun, wine for the women who made the rain come.

With the rat on life support and Medina falling on nine waves, a sudden burst of action with five minutes to go. Julian threw a tail-high reverse for a high four then speared the only barrel of the final, a running left for a low six to take the lead. Medina responded with a flurry of lefts and the final was won. Medina takes a red hot streak and a hyper live rat ready to dance to the Pipeline.

If you think Medina can’t beat John Florence at Pipe you mad.

*Jokes Rory. You ain’t a real surf writer unless you get sacked by a site or quit in the kind of blazing glory Fante describes in The Road to Los Angeles: “I’m tickled to be leaving. I’m sick of your drooling, elephantine hypocrisy. I’ve been wanting to abandon this preposterous job for a week. So go straight to hell, you dago fraud!”

**Just need to put in the canon the greatest opening line of surf writing ever, published in The Inertia yesterday by writer Shawna Baruh. “This morning I was called a cunt”. Bring it to Pipe Shawna.


Bride (The Inertia) and groom (Stab) in happier times.
Bride (The Inertia) and groom (Stab) in happier times.

Sad: Stab and The Inertia tussle!

Nothing makes me sadder than a lovers' quarrel. But is there hope for these two?

I really hate lovers’ quarrels and it is probably because, at heart, I am a romantic. A believer that there is a one for each of us and when you find it is most important to never let go. Never ever ever. Romeo and Juliet exemplify this singular passion. So do Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, Chris Martin and Gwen Paltrow, Stab and The Inertia.

Yes Stab and The Inertia are a perfect match example to us all, cohabitating in Venice-adjacent. Sharing 2 foot closeouts and crispy shallots, writing about surf and the surf world from uniquely clichéd perspectives, holding hands in the pale moonlight.

Three days ago they together shared a story and what should have been a coming out party somehow turned sour. The piece was a brilliant expose on how dolphins and humans are the same. Of course there was no scientific evidence to back up the claim but who cares? A. Science is for non-lovers and B. Dolphins totally are like surfers.

Stab even put a completely The Inertia-like disclaimer on the end of the story:

Here at Stab—a magazine that often allows Morgan Williamson to write as if English is his second language—we’ve typically taken a (somewhat) firm stance on putting down competitors. However, the effort Mr Buckley put into making the point that (almost) anyone can write articles and have them published in surf media in 2017 is admirable and deserves its time in bright lights, slowly sliding down the feed.

And The Inertia should have jumped up and down clapping its very tiny hands.

But for some reason it did not.

Founder-and-Chief Zach Weisberg took to the internet and wrote from the heart about how he did not like surfers and dolphins being compared and added:

I’d also like to thank you for reminding me of who we are, and what we strive for The Inertia to represent. Or better yet, what we don’t represent. We are not the guys snickering in the back corner of the bus pointing and laughing and high-fiving at other’s expense. That will never be us. You’re more than welcome to race the others to the bottom to own that space. I was taught at a very early age that it’s not fulfilling to shit on other people for your own amusement. We’ve watched others do that for years. We’ve watched people who were once very close to you do that to you. We’ve watched you call that behavior pathetic. You’re right. It is.

I think the “people who were once very close to you do that to you. We’ve watched you call that behavior pathetic. You’re right. It is.” means BeachGrit and this brings me the truest joy because I know at the end, Stab and The Inertia will apologize to each other for harsh words and go out somewhere on Lincoln blvd. for more dishes featuring crispy shallots.

And afterward? Well. Make up sex is the best of all or so they say.

So let me be the first to toast… The Inertia and Stab. In good times and bad, sickness and health. You are each other’s one!


How to: Get 30 million social views!

Iconic surf photographer Jason Murray teaches you how!

Life is the most wonderful serenade. This morning, I inadvertently posted a very fun picture of a boat being mauled by waves on my Instagram account without thinking much of it besides, “Whoa.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BamAEfVlA5X/?taken-by=reportsfromhell

Mere hours later it was revealed the captain, and hero, of that boat was none other than legendary surf photographer Jason Murray and that the particular event happened during a professional surf contest. Come and revel in his iconic images here!

In any case, I thought, “Fantastic…” and then did further research.

Did you know this one clip has garnered more views than anything, save Mick Fanning’s shark attack, related to professional surfing? Oh this news was worth a call to Mr. Murray who I found patrolling Oregon’s coast. Let’s have a chat with him!

The finals were about to start in the 2002 CT at Lowers. Kelly was in the semi-final I remember but lost to Mick (I wrote poorly as I was listening and got last name wrong but the one with red hair… Mick… Lowe?) and Luke (I think maybe Egan) were in the final.

Before they ran it though they had an expression session, an airshow and a 9/11 tribute. I had been out on the boat all day long. This was pre-ski and looking back it is a really weird craft to use at Lowers but at the time it was no big deal.

It was a really good finals day with the sets pumping. Like, 4 to 6 feet. The boat had a 2-stroke engine and those fuck up after a while so during the day I kept going past the break and revving the engine to clean the carbs.

Anyhow, right after the 9/11 ceremony finished I made my way into the lineup and that’s when the engine just died. There were 3000 people on the beach, it was high tide and they were all there on the cobblestones. Five people deep, shoulder to shoulder.

The engine was dead and of course a solid fat one popped up. I was thinking, “Fuck. This boat is not starting. It’s totally dead.”

Dave Stanfield was on the mic for that one and delivering the call. “Sets coming. The boat better get out of there…”

I handed my cameras to Jake “Jaker” Walsh and told him to put them in the Pelican. Then we took two waves and started to get pretty cleaned. It was almost give up the ship time. The boat had spun around and was facing the beach and I finally got it started, spun back around and punched it. Jaker went full superman but crisis averted, for the most part. If not I’d probably be doing this call from jail, being inside for involuntary manslaughter for 10 people. The beach really was packed.

I wouldn’t be laughing if I killed people. That boat had a lot of good adventures after that but that was its moment in the limelight. You know, though. It doesn’t matter what you are shooting on… a ski, a surfboard, a boat… eventually your luck is going to run out.

Oh but real quick, the best part, when we were safe I asked Jaker, “How are my cameras?” Well, he had put them in the bait box instead of the Pelican. They were all floating in water. I had at least six surfers paddle up to me after that bringing me canisters of film but you know what? We sat outside and watched the finals and some of the best surf contest I ever shot was from that day.

So there you go. You want 20 million social media views? Drive a boat into a professional surf lineup, get smashed by waves and save the day while losing your livelihood.

Easy!


Portugal: “Destiny is John’s bastard!”

The North Shore's favorite son just three heat wins away from title number two!

In professional surfing there is John John Florence and there is everyone else. It is fun to watch everyone else. They make nice moves on the waves. Cutbacks and aerials. Little jams off the top. Squirts. They even get into the barrel.

And then there is John John.

Round 4 heat 2 exemplified the great distance between the two perfectly. It featured Kolohe Andino, Connor O’Leary and John John Florence. Connor surfed good enough. Kolohe seemed completely revitalized, mixing air, hack, speed and claim. He really appears that he has found his way and if he keeps this energy up he will be challenging Gabriel Medina for second place for years to come.

And then there was John John.

He pitched a lackadaisical air and got a big score. He fell into the best barrel of the event at the buzzer and got the win.

It is not just luck, even though John John will credit luck from time to time. No. It is that he is simply the most complete surfer on tour, possibly the most complete surfer ever, and the only time luck comes into play is when John John loses a heat.

The World Surf League has used the tagline “It takes a tour to make a title” this year but it is silly and if they choose to use it again next year it should simply be “It takes a John John to make a title.”

He is in the quarterfinals now that will play tomorrow and if he wins his next three heats he will be 2 x world champion.

The boy from the North Shore has taken destiny and made it his bastard.

MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Round 4 Results:
Heat 1: Julian Wilson (AUS) 11.67, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 8.10, Leonardo Fioravanti (ITL) 7.77
Heat 2: John John Florence (HAW) 17.00, Kolohe Andino (USA) 15.57, Connor O’Leary (AUS) 13.50
Heat 3: Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 16.83, Josh Kerr (AUS) 15.44, Frederico Morais (PRT) 13.60
Heat 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.47, Mick Fanning (AUS) 12.47, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 5.27

MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Round 5 Results:
Heat 1: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 12.10 def. Connor O’Leary (AUS) 12.07
Heat 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 16.53 def. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 10.83
Heat 3: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 15.50 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 10.67
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 11.87 def. Frederico Morais (PRT) 10.00

MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Quarterfinal Match-Ups:
QF 1: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
QF 2: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)
QF 3: Kanoa Igarashi (USA) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)
QF 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Mick Fanning (AUS)