Mick Fanning Supertubos
With everyone's nerves exploding in the air, Mick has taken his strictly high-brow approach straight to the podium in 2009 an 2014. | Photo: WSL

Moneyball: Mick Fanning to win Portugal!

And Michel, Jack, Josh and Stu to lose… 

How’d you go picking winners in France? If you had a lousy team, don’t whimper or glow like a Halloween pumpkin at us.

Two weeks go, and based entirely on statistics, we suggested either Gabriel Medina or John John Florence would win and that Kolohe Andino would be the prized dark horse.

(Refresh here.)

The school teacher Balyn McDonald, whose website sings according to numbers not emotion, has a bank of stats on the Portugal event that make for compelling reading. Of course, like Scotch and avocados and most of the other things in life that are special, you learn to cultivate a taste for statistics.

Let’s go.

First, a few caveats.

Regarding John John winning a consecutive world title. Only four surfers have “gone back-to-back with titles in the modern era,” says Balyn. “Tom Carroll and Tom Curren, Andy and Kelly.”

Jordy: “He has never won two contests in a season.”

Gabriel: “Only one goofyfooter has won in Portugal and he’s no longer on tour, Kai Otton.”

Where’s that leave us?

Mick Fanning.

“Mick has won the event twice (the only surfer to do so) and he ranks near the top for Event Average Heat Score (2nd), Beachbreaks (2nd), Left/Right Peaks (5th) and 6-8′ waves (6th).”

On current form, Gabriel Medina is bringing the house down. He’s won the last two events (if y’count the pool), has the second-best form over the past three events, second-best win percentage for 2017 and fourth-best Average Heat Score for the season.

Ah, but if Gabriel is second, who is first? John John! Form, winning percentage and average heat scores.

Oowee, take out your wallet!

Now here’s who you should avoid, according to the numbers.

Michel Bourez: Averages less than ten points a heat here, and ranks in the bottom three for beachbreaks and left-right peaks.

Josh Kerr:  “He’s ranked lowest of all full-time tour surfers and has the worst win percentage to match.”

Jack Freestone: Three consecutive last-places and seven last-places for the year. Ninth worst on Average Heat Score over the last three events too.

Stu Kennedy: Dead last on current form. Stu is averaging 9.45 in heats over the last three events.

Who you think gonna flash at Portugal?


Discovery: Surf media loses the plot!

Stab and The Inertia blow stack over fun closeout!

Did you watch Natxo Gonzalez’s recent Discovery clip? It was plastered onto Stab and Venice-adjacent twin-flame The Inertia and lauded with the most breathless praise. “Best discovery of decade!” “Best discovery ever!” “One of the heaviest waves ever seen!” “Better than Mick’s wave!”

And while I love the Spaniard’s pluck and his zeal and his boldly going where no man has maybe gone before, Stab and The Inertia both lost their minds while spewing superlatives.

Better than Mick’s wave?

Umm. No. It was beautiful but it was also flawed. None of the actual rides featured an actual barrel and I have no idea what was happening when the thing bent away from view. Taking nothing away from the joy of discovery, if we surf journalists are not careful we’ll all end up wearing many bracelets, rings, necklaces, accessories. Hats, etc.


Oh read a brilliant piece of analysis over at Surfer. A magazine with enough history to know quality when it sees it. Enough good taste to marry dear BeachGrit!

And weigh in!

Did Stab and The Inertia oversell or is the wave really “better than sex?”


A DREAM COME TRUE · NATXO GONZALEZ from Jon Aspuru on Vimeo.

Lady Gaga (pictured) appears to have the right stuff to join me on the U.S. Olympic surf team. But who else?
Lady Gaga (pictured) appears to have the right stuff to join me on the U.S. Olympic surf team. But who else?

Olympics: Not expected to be “epic!”

Australian Olympic surfing team accidentally reveals strategic secrets!

I am starting to get really worried about the United States Olympic surf team’s chances in the upcoming 2020 Tokyo games even though I totally don’t care at all. Like, do we even have a coach yet? Do we even have a committee? I totally don’t care at all but do we have a selection process or what?

I really totally don’t care but at this rate we are going to get smashed by all the countries. China has Pete “PT” Townend as its coach and I think the team is training in Huntington Beach. Australia has The Venerable Bede n Mick as its coaches and now apparently Layne Beachley, 7 x world champion, is involved at the highest levels.

But wait. She just gave an interview to the Australian press and revealed some secrets. Let’s read together and then make a game plan ok?

Australia’s most successful surfer Layne Beachley says Australia can be the most successful nation when the sport of surfing makes its Olympic debut in Tokyo.

But who those surfers will be even Beachley won’t predict three years out from the Games — just the type of talent they need to have.

“Someone who can surf in marginal conditions,” Beachley said. “It is not expected to be epic.”

The former seven-time world champion is involved at a high level with the sport and is the current chair of Surfing Australia.

Part of her role has her overseeing and monitoring both the sport and Australia’s preparations for the Games in Tokyo.

Hold on. Go back go back go back. “Someone who can surf in marginal conditions…”  “It is not expected to be epic.”

Soooo VB n Mick are looking for marginal surfers. A brilliant strategy and I think we have plenty of those here. Who should we pick? Let’s leave John John at home. He is too good and won’t understand how to milk a gutless 1 foot wave like…. well, like me.

So I’ll be on the Olympic team, even though I’ll be rolling my eyes and very clearly super totally not caring the entire time but who else? Are you an American? Do you surf bad waves regularly? Want to go to Tokyo in a couple years?

Get all glassy eyed watching Owen's little bro Mikey getting animated in Hossegor.

Watch: The Answer To Everything That Is Crap!

Get punched in the face by the lines of Mikey February and Mikey Wright!

Most of the edits that swing out of a France are a symphony of tedium and cliche. Tubes cut to Edith Piaf with cameras pawing at the occasional naked tit. Titles reading La Belle Saison or A French Love Affair.

This longer-than-usual edit is comely enough.

A third of it’s filler, as you’d expect when the entire Quiksilver team is gifted sections even if no one is even remotely interested in some of the lesser lights.

And, yet, when the focus is on the South African Mikey February (goes to the sky on a gritty retro craft, does those renowned python cutbacks), Mikey Wright (the hoodlum), Conner O’Leary (all that old-school drive), Leo Fioravanti (eagle wings), you start to fondle the waistline. This is a short film you can eat.

The beat gets ya where you live, as the old expression goes.

Spam musubi barrel dodges!
Spam musubi barrel dodges!

Crisis: Hawaii’s Spam black market!

Criminals are thriving while the law abiding now have to get their Spam from a locked case!

The news has been predictably bad of late even for a middle-aged white man. Wars and rumors of war, natural disasters, collusion, poorly executed advertorial, failing infrastructure, the left getting breathless about the right, the right getting indignant about the left, etc. I usually wake up, read, and feel… bored. Everything so… predictable.

This morning, though, I woke up and read a story I never saw coming. Something so wonderful that I’ve read it three times so far and will now share it with you. By way of quick background, anyone who has ever spent time in Hawaii knows the island’s love affair with the canned ham product known as Spam. It is used in many dishes. My personal favorite is Spam musubi from Foodland. Well, now it is being restricted like a class 1 drug. Let’s read again together in the famed Washington Post!

Last month in the Pearl City community on Oahu, Safeway customer Arlene Sua watched as a man suddenly grabbed eight cases of Spam and headed for the door. She thought “‘Okay, this isn’t real. No, he’s not going to take it, no, no,” she told KHON TV.

But it was real. The man took off with the Spam and disappeared.

Elsewhere on the island at about the same time, three women loaded up shopping carts at a Long’s drugstore with 18 cases of — you guessed it — Spam. They made a rush for the exit. Fortunately, an alert customer, Kurt Fevella, saw the attempted heist in progress, stationed himself at the door on Spam patrol and stopped them in their tracks. They shoved the carts toward at him and took off, Fevella told KITV4.

A shop at a downtown mall wasn’t so lucky. The Honolulu Police Department is now offering a $1,000 reward for a man (and an apparent accomplice) who entered a store on Oct. 3, grabbed a case of Spam and punched a security guard who attempted to stop him.

Police reported that the thief “fled in an unknown direction.”

These Spam snatchers are not hungry people desperate for Spam, said Tina Yamaki, president of the Retail Merchants of Hawaii. They are most likely part of a Spam black market that’s taking off in a state where the demand for Spam knows no bounds.

“It’s a staple,” Yamaki told The Washington Post.

The thefts have proliferated to the point that some businesses are putting Spam in plastic cases under lock and key, she said, along with the more conventional and more expensive shoplifting targets such as electronics, Gillette Power Fusion razor refills and, as it happens, canned corned beef, also popular in Hawaii.

To buy a can of Spam, you have to ask a salesperson to retrieve it.

Yamaki thinks Spam has become a form of currency, particularly for drug addicts in need of quick cash. With Spam selling for roughly $2.50 per 12-ounce can (depending on where in Hawaii you look), a thief who paid nothing for an 8-pack or a case of 12 can turn a decent profit underselling the retailers from whom they stole.

Brilliant! The story goes on to talk about how and why the Spam black market thrives and what it means for the Hawaiian economy. You really must finish and you will be smiling all day too.

But real quick, what is the last thing you have shop lifted?