Here, Kelly explains to an agog John John how he proved the earth to be curved. | Photo: @tsherms

Blood feud: Slater’s challenge to flat-earthers!

Prove the earth is flat and win money from Kelly Slater!

Do you remember, in July this year, when flat-earthers turned on Kelly Slater? It’s a must read! (Click here.)




Kelly bit back, as is his wont, despite the folly of engaging simpletons for whom Pythagoras, Aristotle, Hellenistic astronomy, Magellan and Isaac Newton are just names in the ether. 

Yesterday, the noted jiujitsu figure, Eddie Bravo, posted an excellent satellite photo of Lake Tahoe.

Eddie asked his 326,000 followers, “Real or fake?”

You can guess what happened.

Amid the 864 comments came Kelly Slater, with a challenge!

“The education system has truly failed half the people on here in disseminating information and analyzing truth. The govt has made you all paranoid. I told Eddie this,” wrote Kelly. “You flat earthers get your money together, charter a flight from Santiago Chile across the South Pole to Perth, Australia. If you find an edge I’ll reimburse the price of the flight. Let’s quit talking and be done with this conjecture and assumption you have. I think flat earth people want truth and are attempting to fight division in society at their core yet they’ve gotten stuck in the pitfall and created more division in its wake. Let’s do this. Put your money where your mouth is. We can hold the money in escrow while the flight happens.

Quickly followed by.

“Study storms and swell charts. Watch where the swells begin and how we follow them around the great circle lines of the earth. A swell can start off the east coast of Africa and reach Alaska about two weeks later measurably while being followed across the entirety of the ocean in between. Go study your maps and tell me how that’s possible on the flat earth. I’ll be waiting.”

Now, the problem with going to battle with people who believe the earth is flat, the moon landing was faked, chemtrails are poisoning us all, the Jews were the real villains behind 9-11 etc, is the debate becomes very silly, very fast.

Bravo’s follows flew into battle:

…yelling at and over people in debates to get your point across shows you’re uncomfortable with a rational conversation about actual factual evidence. 24 hour sun in Antarctica thoroughly disproves and debunks any theory of flat earth. So does the flight from Sydney to Santiago alone! This photo just looks wide angle/fisheye. That would be too great a curve at this altitude.

kellyslater@timbeatham it proves a lot actually. Truth fears no scrutiny. Not letting people get a word in is just avoidance or immaturity. @king_khan21 wrong about what? Saying someone is wrong doesn’t make it so. Use some facts here if you want a rational debate on topic.

kellyslater@kvnblckdr keep parroting. While you’re at it go and debate someone who actually shows proven tests on his YouTube channel and attempt to debunk flight paths, surveyor’s level testing horizons, ships disappearing etc. wolfie6020.

kellyslater@kvnblckdr name any flight and let’s talk about it. Or should I? Use the ones dubay talks about. He’s wrong about most of the flight paths he references cause I’ve taken them. I’m fine to be proven wrong also so let’s have one.

omarlcc@kellyslater I don’t think I’ve seen Eddie yelling at it over anybody in a debate. He is normally pretty level headed and is usually the one being yelled at and ganged up on for pointing out what is seemingly obvious. The flight from Sydney to Santiago doesn’t prove that we are on a spinning ball or that we are not on a flat plane (haha get it, airplane), if thats what you were implying. If you like facts whydont you look into the physics of airplane flight. Planes can’t stop in midair to turn land on a runway perpendicular to the takeoff runway without veering off. Also you speak of factual evidence about 24 hour sun in Antarctica but I doubt you’ve been there. What factual evidence of 24 hour sun Antarctica do you have? I haven’t seen any and believe me I’ve looked. I have on the other hand seen morphed videos, cameras cutting out for a few hours every day, and other simple tricks. Please do tell.

kellyslater@omarlcc I’ve had numerous friends see the 24 hour sun in Antarctica. But I suppose they’re lying also? And every clip anyone has ever made of it cause they were paid to be in on the conspiracy also, right? Do you know how many things that are proven you have to disprove to have a flat earth? The flat earth map has Santiago and Sydney about 23 hour flight or roughly 13,000 miles apart yet I’ve flown that many times in about 13 hours. Spherical geometry and distances and direction between cities easily proves a globe. Please go educate yourself. Learn

omarlcc@kellyslater You’ve had numerous friends go to Antarctica? What were they researchers? Sightseeing? Doesn’t pass my smell test tbh and regardless that’s not proof to me or you. Proof is proof, and I don’t know you beyond your surfing abilities, so sorry it’s nothing personal. Not sure what map you’re talking about but I’ve never seen a flat map that was 13k miles in diameter let alone from Sydney to Santiago. No map is perfect, especially not flat projections of a globe.

It goes on and on…forever. Follow the trail here.

And watch Eddie Bravo in action below.


Memoir: Daddy’s first hit of cocaine!

"To be happy near hell is something."

Forgive my scatterbrained and silly output of late. I received the first round of edits for my upcoming book from the publisher, you see, and ooooo-ee. Jumping back into those weeds with a sharpened machete feels both good and terrifying. I haven’t looked at the thing in six months and am swinging at every bloated piece of nonsense, trying to lop and trim without totally destroying. It is strange work. Odd.

Yesterday I cut a ramble about my first taste of cocaine. Oh I know coca and cocaine are not the same thing but let’s not get hung up on semantics here ok? Can we just agree not to get caught up on semantics? And without further ado I present a bloated piece of nonsense that will never see the light of day except briefly here and now.

But I know this feeling or at least a hint of it. I was in Bolivia once many years ago right when famed cocaine grower Evo Morales assumed political power and in Potosí where the silver mines drop thousands of feet into Mother Earth. I can’t remember why but outside it was miserable. That bitter sort of cold that hovers in thin above the tree line. A very bland color palette compounded the chill. The regional delicacy, if I recall, was frozen potatoes kept in the permafrost then stomped on with dirty feet. Maybe this isn’t entirely accurate but I know that I was wearing the most unfortunate herringbone sport coat over hooded sweatshirt combo. Not only was it not warm, I looked like a 5th grade teacher at a Christian school. Very embarrassing. Very un-chic.

Since there is nothing to do in Potosí except be depressed and eat frozen dirty foot potatoes I decided to drop deep into one of those silver mines that gouge the surrounding hills. There was a longish walk in the thin air from a bus stop to the mine’s entrance and I was given a bag of coca leaves and some sort of ash tea to sip and activate the leaves on the way.

I popped some into my mouth and began chewing and chewing and chewing. Munching. That’s what they say to do. Munch, don’t chew. Munching and building a little green ball in my cheek and saturating it was ash tea every once in a while.

It was difficult at first. The taste of leaves is not pleasant really and the ash tea made it worse. I’ve chewed loads of qat, the leaf that natives munch in Yemen, Somalia, Djibouti, Nigeria and Ethiopia, and in my poor memory, coca was much worse. Much more bitter with much less initial thrill. Like coca, qat is a stimulant. Unlike coca it cannot be made into cocaine and so remains an internationally outlawed, but not generally prosecuted, local novelty. I will say, it provides a nice buzz and would work well in American, European or Australian hipster circles if any of them ever got around to chewing plants besides kale.

In any case, I walked ugly and bored munching my coca until reaching the mine’s gaping mouth, climbed into an ancient elevator and dropped a thousand or so feet into the middle of planet Earth and suddenly the chill was gone and the high altitude was gone. It was thick and warm. Almost tropical. Tiny dug passageways shot every which way where hunched backed and put upon miners crawled on hands and knees still digging silver from the Earth. My mouth was numb and my spirits were relatively high. Not like “let’s-talk-about-all-the-bad-things-in-the-world-and-make-them-better-with-our-shared-genius” high but happy. And to be happy near hell is something.

There were hundreds of years of passages dug this way and that and I took the ones I was allowed to take, eventually ending up in front of a red satanic looking statue the miners call El Tio. They say Jesus has no power in the mine, that El Tio rules down here, and they stick cigarettes in his mouth and lay coca leaves at his feet as offerings and maybe weird pornography feat. short ladies in weird poses.

Mitch became The King of Taiwan on one of his pal Jye Gudenswager's Gen4 sleds, a five-ten Allstar. | Photo: WSL

Mitch Parko is The King of Taiwan!

As one Parko star fades, another comes to snatch the limelight!

Yesterday, the Gold Coast surfer Mitch Parkinson, who was once proclaimed (by me) as the best ten-year-old surfer in the world, won a QS event in Taiwan.

The win delivered Mitchell, who is twenty-two years old and lives on the beach at Kirra with his model girlfriend Abbie Weir, ten thousand dollars and a seeded entry into the biggest qualifying events of 2018.

As Joel, his first cousin and not his uncle as most people think, likely exits in 2019 might we see a replacement Parkinson on tour?

Oh we must ask!

Thirteen years ago, Stab claimed you were the best ten-year-old surfer in the world. And now, look at you, The King of Taiwan! Did you see that one coming? 

Well, yeah, it’s great. I definitely don’t think I was the best ten-year-old in the world but to be labelled that was pretty sick. I think I’ve been underachieving my own expectations for the last two years.

Taiwan, real odd place, possibly the flash point that could drive world war three between the US and China. You like it there? Did the Taiwanese warm to you? 

Ha! Well, I didn’t really think about that stuff. History, as you might’ve guessed, isn’t my game. Me and Sheldon (Simkus, whom Mitch beat in the final) stayed with a family this year and it was really cool. We ate traditional food and surfed other waves also so I had a much better experience than the last time I came. A little hit of local culture will do that.

In the last five contests you’ve had a win, a second, and three fifths. Are you on the yellow brick road to becoming a big ol WCT surfer? 

I feel reignited with competing. I’ve become a lot more competitive now but I feel like I’m holding my emotions better. It’s what I want to do now.

Have you ever gone off surfing? Like, totally got the shits with it and were seriously considering something else? 

I went through a crazy year this year. At the start, I was completely burnt from contest surfing I wasn’t enjoying it. I was trying to balance working to fund my surfing and going to such shitty waves I just had to stop doing it. I needed some time off. Now after about six months off I find myself really hungry for it. I’ve got a great life and I really had time to think about what I want to do with it.

What’s it like being a twenty-something in Coolangatta? Do you feel young with the world at your feet or do you feel that time is slipping away, at least to do something dramatic with surfing? 

Coolangatta is a crazy place. They don’t call it the Cooly Vortex for no reason. There’s a lot of amazing surfers here that have all the ability in the world but just don’t seem to have the drive to make it. I’m only twenty-two so I know I’m still young but saying that I’ll blink and be thirty. I haven’t got any time to waste, how about we put it that way.

Joel talk to you about being a top-shelf pro? What does he tell you? 

He doesn’t really say to much to me about it. Joel’s different to most on tour. I think he does better when he is just having fun. The last time he won a contest I was with him in Bali and we were just having a ball over there, not super serious just surfing a lot and enjoying it. That’s a great way to compete.

Hard boiled! | Photo: Dr Don James

Warshaw: “Bourez a eunuch fainting on a daybed!”

But only when compared to ultra-stud Buzzy Trent!

You like a baited hook? They  don’t come better than surf historian Matt Warshaw describing Tahiti’s hard-shelled Michel Bourez to a “consumptive eunuch fainting on a daybed.”

Ridiculous, of course. But let’s get to context a little later.

Recently, Warshaw posted an excellent short piece by the big-wave pioneer Buzz Trent on women in surf. The story is fifty-four years old and moves, every so adroitly, from adoration to real talk.

I enjoy watching girls surf. There’s nothing more beautiful than a well-shaped girl riding a six-foot wave with the wind blowing through her hair. But one thing I can’t stand is girls riding (or attempting to ride) big waves. Why? Well, girls are intended to be feminine, and big-wave riding is definitely masculine. You see, girls are much more emotional than men and therefore have a greater tendency to panic. And panic can be extremely dangerous in big surf. I have seen exactly three women in the past who had taken off on big waves and then panicked. There is nothing in the world more ridiculous than a girl who dares to show off and then panics out. Girls are weaker than men and have a lessor chance for survival in giant wipeouts. Girls are better off and look more feminine riding average-sized waves.

I’ve seen many girls surfing … in fact, I know one or two who surf better than many men. Each girl surfer has her own style. Some surf gracefully; some surf more jerkily and perform well. And, of course, some surf like he-men. But to each day every girl who surfs, I give full credit.

Now, I’ve had a fascination with Buzzy, who died ten years ago in Hawaii, after reading an excellent profile in The Surfers Journal. My memory has faded a little and the story ain’t online, but Buzz was a pioneer of riding big waves on the North Shore, could run 100 yards in ten seconds, was an all-state running back and a Golden Gloves boxer.

I figure, time to fill in the blanks with Warshaw.

BeachGrit: You describe Buzz in your fabulous EOS as “hyper-masculine.” And that photogenic frame! Is there anyone among today’s top pros with his raw athleticism?

Warshaw: Michel Bourez. Except Michel is a consumptive eunuch fainting on a daybed by comparison.

What about the rest of surf history? Who is Buzzy’s match?

Tarzan Smith, this lunatic paddleboarder and street fighter from back in the Depression. And Zach Weisberg.

Zach? The founder of the “the world’s largest digital community in the surf, mountain, and outdoor space”?

I saw Zach recently, he looks like he just got sprung from ADX, he’s huge; he could bench 300 with Chas dancing on the bar.

Buzzy’s childhood was horrible. Dad abandoned the family, his sister fell down a well and died, Buzzy was in foster care for a couple of years. Just brutal. Surfing was a godsend.

BeachGrit: Could Zach haven taken Buzzy, at his peak? 

No way.

Could Tarzan Smith take Buzzy?

Oh man. I don’t know. That’s DC Universe business. Buzzy was the better athlete, strength-wise it’s probably a tossup, but Tarzan had a screw loose. My heart says Buzzy, but my gut says Tarzan.

Did he really, as Ricky Grigg, another big-waver say, kill a man in the ring? Or is that the typical of the exaggeration of that demographic?

I’ve heard that too, but I don’t know if it’s true. Buzzy never talked about it publicly. He was big on suffering, though. Being hard and tough was really important thing to him, and suffering was how you got there. Buzzy’s childhood was horrible in a lot of ways. Dad abandoned the family, his sister fell down a well and died, Buzzy was in foster care for a couple of years. Just brutal. Surfing was a godsend.

He was racist, for sure, and probably homophobic. Loved all things German, including, or maybe even especially, the German war efforts. I don’t know how much slack you cut a person like Buzzy, given the childhood he had, and the age he grew up in.

In that same article with Grigg it described a crash with his hang glider that I remember as sorta cosmic. Do you remember the details?

I think he flew into a water tank. Broke his back. He walked away from a lot of heavy things. My favorite one, and again, like the fight story, I’m not totally sure if it’s true — but my favorite one is that Buzzy got knocked off a high-rise while working construction, fell through air, grabbed onto an iron girder the next floor down, pulled himself up, walked back to his floor and kept working.

Buzzy, of course, came up with the aphorism “big waves aren’t measured in feet, but in increments of fear.” And did he really coin the term “gun” to describe a big-wave board?

“Elephant gun,” yeah. Buzzy wasn’t the first big-wave surfer, but he’s the guy who turned into theater. George Downing was the best when it got huge, but George did his thing and drove home without saying much. Buzzy kept the show going on land. “Increments of fear,” guns instead of surfboards, talking about Makaha and Waimea like they were battlefields. That’s all Buzzy. He invented the big-wave-man personality.

He also liked the words, “niggers”, and “faggots.” Was he a bad man or a man of his time?

He was racist, for sure, and probably homophobic. Loved all things German, including, or maybe even especially, the German war efforts. I don’t know how much slack you cut a person like Buzzy, given the childhood he had, and the age he grew up in.

We’re all going to get older. I can’t screw anymore. My prick doesn’t come up. It hangs down like a beat dog. But so what? I’ve fired that gun many times. It was a good gun. So the thing is, there comes a time, even in that, where you have to step down. You have to move on, or it gets ugly

Buzzy quit surfing in middle-age. Said he only liked big waves, done all he could etc. Is there a deeper story to it?

He didn’t like getting old, and didn’t want to be a lesser version of who he’d been. Here, I just found this quote from the interview he did with Ricky Grigg, in 2004. This might answer your question. “We’re in the twilight of our lives. Nothing beats age. Nothing. We’re all going to get older. I can’t screw anymore. My prick doesn’t come up. It hangs down like a beat dog. But so what? I’ve fired that gun many times. It was a good gun. So the thing is, there comes a time, even in that, where you have to step down. You have to move on, or it gets ugly. So I stepped down from that too.”

That ain’t gonna happen to me.

No kidding.


Question: Should Colapinto do a Taj?

Does skipping a year on tour create magic?

One of the grandest parts of the World Surf League season ending in Hawaii (RIP) is the poor surfers dropping from tour and the best youngsters getting kicked up to the bigs. Hope, as they say, springs eternal and we all have two months to wonder what these new sensations will bring. To ponder their relative skill versus the established field. To dream. Then Snapper hits and they lose and by Marg River we’ve not only forgotten the rookies’ names but even that they existed in the first place. Hope, as they also say, is a cruel joke.

And let’s meet 19-year-old sensation Griffin Colapinto! He has officially made the cut alongside Tomas Hermes and Will-i-am Cardoso and let’s read what the World Surf League has to say.

Both Hermes’ and Cardoso’s paths to the CT are compelling stories, full of passion, pain and perseverance, while Colapinto’s story is that of a rising surf prodigy. His prolific North Shore skill set could make him a perennial Triple Crown threat. Each surfer will be welcome additions to the Tour in their own right.

The two Brazilians’ “compelling stories full of passion, pain and perseverance” says to me that they are old, life-hardened and capable. The American “rising surf prodigy” makes me wonder if he should sit out a year before jumping in.

Just like the one-time surf prodigy from 30 years ago Taj Burrow!

Do you remember? No? Well that’s what the Encyclopedia of Surfing is for! (Subscribe here today and buy a subscription for your loved one as a gift!)

Burrow earned a coveted slot on the 1997 world pro circuit, which he turned down—the first and only surfer to do so—claiming that at 17 he was “too young to do the tour full-on.” The slender (5′ 9″, 140-pound) white-blond Australian had by that time distinguished himself as one of the world’s most exciting surfers, matching an electrifying aerial repertoire with impossibly cool-handed tuberiding skills, and directing all maneuvers out of a smooth, low, aerodynamic stance.

Burrow easily qualified for the 1998 world tour, and earned rookie-of-the-year honors on his way to a #12 year-end finish. The following season he won two world tour events and finished the year runner-up to fellow Australian Mark Occhilupo.

What a slick, confident move and I wonder if the combination of slick and confident gave young Taj the unquantifiable extra zing he needed to not only stay on tour but soar?

I wonder if young Griffin could break the Ewing curse and become relevant by saying, “thanks but no thanks?”

It seems worth a shot. Every non-Brazilian rookie since Taj has failed to meet even basic expectation.