Those cheers have turned to tears.
Those cheers have turned to tears. | Photo: Tom Servais/@tomservaisjr

Tragedy: Lowers cut from tour!

The Hurley Pro is no longer. But who is to blame?

My heart broke today when it was revealed that the Hurley Pro will no longer be on the World Surf League’s schedule. It broke for you, it broke for me, it broke for we, the people. The hard working, salt-of-the-earth, sunburned-yet-undaunted, professional-surf-loving people.

You, of course, recall my revelation a few short months ago whilst standing on Lower Trestles’ cobbled stone. I was there, just ready to dip under the VIP canopy where chicken ceasar wraps and Kettle chips lined the finest pressboard tables, where Michelob Ultra was served by the magnum, when a still, small voice whispered to my soul.

“Forgo the luxurious things for in fine-ish spun linens and laminated lanyards and exclusively colored wristbands you will find no respite. No matter how many gently flavored waters you drink, no matter how many high-ish end granola bars you eat. Get thee to the people, standing, watching, in the sun, in the hot-as-hell sun. Feel their heartbeat. Carry their burdens and you will find meaning.”

I heeded the call, much to my own surprise, and stood near a trashcan filled with watermelon husks and Africanized bees, sand uncomfortably in Louis Vuitton drivers, in the sun, but it all made sense. The people are the reason for this professional surfing life. The people are the reason I slave over a Bluetooth keyboard (having drowned my regular keyboard in Booker’s Kentucky Straight). The people are all that matter and Lower Trestles is the perfect place for them since they can park for free in some far-flung San Clemente neighborhood, walk to Carl’s Jr. and get the Famous Star meal deal, then walk to Lowers to stand watching professional surfing and fill their hearts with Gabriel Medina all for the cost of a Famous Star meal deal.

The Hurley Pro was the people’s contest. It was for us and now it is no more. Cut. Fired. Laid off. Replaced by a wave tank so elite not even Tesla’s Elon Musk nor Apple’s Steve Jobs has ever surfed it. The very embodiment of riche. The very definition of robotization.

But who is to blame? Who will feel the wrath of the people’s ire?

I need more time here but don’t worry. I am your Cesar Chavez. I am your Nelson Mandela. I am your Dalai Lama. I will get to the bottom of this so we can protest n shit.

Viva la people!


Pornhub: “We want the next Kelly Slater!”

An interview with Pornhub's VP Corey Price… 

There was a brief flutter of phalluses and wombs a week ago when the sexual revolution rapped upon the door of every sponsored surfer in the world.

Internet sex giant Pornhub, the thirty-seventh biggest website in the world, offered one-year sponsorships to “the most xxxtreme athletes under the sun!”

“Are you an amazing athlete that just needs that extra push to break it big? We’re looking to add YOU to our roster.”

A photograph of Hawaii’s Dusty Payne surfing, mercifully, and not being hoisted onto a leather swing for a MMM threesome, was used to advertise the offer.


It ain’t the first time Pornhub has offered to throw cash at sport. Earlier this year, a street roller hockey team rebranded with the name: PerthHub: Two Girls One Puck.

Perthhub, Two Girls One Puck, photographed by Daniel Martin for Vice.
Perthhub, Two Girls One Puck, photographed by Daniel Martin for Vice.

(Read about that here.) 

Earlier today, I spoke to Montreal-based Pornhub’s VP Corey Price.

(Actually, no I didn’t. Emailed the questions. They just landed hence stilted tone.)

BeachGrit: Why’s Pornhub getting into the action-sports game? Is it a Red Bull sorta play? A Pornhub sports channel?

Chris: Ultimately, while we want to always be known as the leading adult entertainment platform in the world, we also want people to recognize us for our endeavors outside of strictly adult entertainment. In the past, we’ve successfully involved ourselves in fashion, gaming, philanthropy, music and sexual education. We’re always on the lookout for our next venture, and encourage people to reach out to with any ideas they might have.

Tell me about the sponsorship. 

The athlete we sponsor will receive all-new Pornhub branded uniforms and occasionally be promoted via our social channels. It’s a worthwhile opportunity, especially for those fledgling teams that are struggling to get their name out there.

How much change are you throwing at sport?

This is a considerable endeavor on our part to help out fledgling athletes who have yet to catch their big break.

If we chose a surfer to be the next Pornhub athlete, we hope they would continue to crush waves and become the next Kelly Slater.

As part of the deal, do the athletes get a premium pass? If the athlete is amendable to the idea, might they even star in a Pornhub-produced film?

We’d be happy to provide them with a free subscription to Pornhub Premium. Heck, it might give them that competitive edge to go out and conquer that 20-foot swell. As for starring in a Pornhub film, that’s not possible. However, they can make their own amateur film on their own time and upload it to Pornhub! We have a burgeoning amateur community.

What do you think a surfer can give PornHub? I noticed a photo of the Hawaiian Dusty Payne on the page. Is he sponsored already?

Dusty is not sponsored by us. It was just a picture we put on there that we thought apropos. If we chose a surfer to be the next Pornhub athlete, we hope they would continue to crush waves and become the next Kelly Slater.

As for starring in a Pornhub film, that’s not possible. However, they can make their own amateur film on their own time and upload it to Pornhub! We have a burgeoning amateur community.

If you really want to push the surf angle, let’s partner up. Our audience gives terrific engagement.

I’m all ears!


Readers! What does a BeachGrit-Pornhub partnership look like?

Is it, as someone suggested earlier, a shared house on the North Shore, a joint that would make the fabled Volcom house look like a Mormon creche?

Or is it something a little more movie-oriented?

WSL: Abdicating Hawaiian throne!

Does "Indo decides the title" have the same ring?

The World Surf League released a fine promotional video for the final event of the year, The Pipeline Masters, earlier this week with John John, Jordy, Julian and Gabriel speaking about what it takes/will take to win the this year’s title. Jordy, for example, says, “Believing in yourself…” whilst looking like a serial killer.

Julian says, “Never giving up…” Gabriel says, “Brazil shshu fashoo…” and John John says, “My backyard.”

His backyard! Pipeline!

And of course you have heard by now that the League is shifting their focus away from Hawaii, preferring to end not next year’s tour but the following year’s in Indonesia instead. This, to me, is the worst idea ever. Hawaii is the grandest dame in our surfing world, Stab magazine and its infernal anti-Hawaiian sentiment be damned, and a tour that does not end there feels hollow. The League is pushing hard on the “Hawaii Decides the Title” narrative, even launching a stand alone website (

Ending each year on the North Shore just makes sense. Beginning on the North Shore feels like a rejection of our faith and why are the powers doing this? What problem does it solve? Is it simply a slap at the Hawaiians who agitate each year for more wildcards? I’ll get to the bottom of this but in the meantime watch Jordy Smith look like a serial killer.

How would you describe this mouth? Happy? Grimacing? | Photo: Vans

Quiz: Does surfing make you happy?

Do you, mostly, smile or grimace?

Generally speaking, I get a kick out of surfing. It don’t take much.

The cliched thrill of the first duck-dive, the cold water instantly reviving my spirits more than any coffee could. The satisfaction of a wave lanced to the best of my ability, maybe an air almost ridden out of. Feeling my back foot pushed into the kick of my tail-pad in a turn. A stranger commenting favourably on a tube. Driving home in the dark with my shirt off and the sunroof down after a glassy afternoon melts into night.

It doesn’t always end like that, of course.

Often, I’ll spend a torrid forty-five minutes dodging thrown boards, being yelled at, dropped-in on, and all for a few seconds of wave time.

Sometimes it’s that performance plateau you just can’t climb over, and which we debated, recently, here. How dreary and old it becomes when you make the same mistake two thousand times over.

The whole notion that your worst surf is always better than the best day at work is more a comment on the sad reality of most of our jobs than the perfection of surfing. If you’re in a cubicle, your only friend a dried-out succulent next to your beige PC, and pecking at electronic spreadsheets like a cage-chicken at its artificial feed, I hear ya.

And, so I wonder, when you closely examine your surfing life, does it make you, mostly, happy?

In a majority of instances, do you exit the water with your spirits aloft?

Or does surfing give you the shits more often than not and you continue to surf out of habit, and maybe identity?

There’s a moment in the short film below (fifty-two seconds in) where Tanner Gudauskas says, “This is… the sickest thing ever.”

Is that a comment on perhaps a man whose interests in life are too narrow?

Or is surfing that damn good that a crummy river wave can turn you into the happiest man (or girl, of course, hello Jen See, I loved your story yesterday) alive?


Long Read: Good luck, California (Part II)!

"I am supposed to surf. In this. Somehow. Impossible."

(True literary art from favorite Jen See. Part I here.)

I woke up to bright sun and tall trees. The world looked reassuringly normal after last night’s drive. The dark had entirely obscured the beauty of the place. Wetlands extended back miles from the coast and tall stands of trees filtered the morning light. I found an espresso and sought out the sun’s warmth.

There was a surf report posted on the wall, but the numbers meant next to nothing to me. It looked like short-period windswell that wasn’t likely to be giant. This was good. Cold, giant beach breaks aren’t high on my list of favorite things. Or in fact, anywhere on my list. I tend to avoid them. Oh hey, let’s go for donuts instead.

I hadn’t brought a board, but they said there was a 6’0” shortboard I could borrow. I pictured an actual shortboard that I could carry jauntily under my arm. The board’s width laughed at me. I almost ripped my arm out of the socket trying to carry it. Jaunty was out of the question. Maybe I could carry it on my head.

We pulled into the parking lot just after noon. Rolling dunes blocked the view of the beach but the grass blades bent ominously sideways. The wind was decidedly onshore. When I’d asked about the water temperature, everyone had assured me that it was the wrong time of year for upwelling. I looked again at the grass on the dunes. If this was the wrong time of year, what did the right time look like? Good luck, California.

The parking lot looked like any other surf parking lot. Some things are the same the world over, but there was noticeably more neoprene strewn around than I typically encounter. There were a crew of locals who clearly knew one another and boards of all shapes and sizes. We parked next to a vintage VW bus that had been neatly restored. I wondered if their heater worked any better than the one in my old bug at home. Probably not.

I walked over the dunes to the beach. A jetty ran up the right-hand side. Scattered peaks marched down the beach. The wind was on it, of course, but less disastrously than I’d imagined. We walked up the beach toward the jetty to paddle out. Left to my own devices, I would have chosen an anonymous peak somewhere down the beach. I like anonymous peaks. They’re comfortable.

The first duck dive hit me like a punch in the face. This water was so cold. My suit did nothing. I felt naked. I am supposed to surf. In this. Somehow. Impossible.

Dungeness crabs skittered happily underfoot. No one had told me about the crabs. They looked creepy and prehistoric and I was pretty sure they were going to bite me. There were probably sharks out there somewhere, too. But the fucking crabs, the fucking crabs were going to get me. I should have gone for donuts.

A tight knot of locals predictably sat on the peak. There were two swells in the water and one produced mostly close-outs, helped along by the steadily increasing onshore winds. The other refracted off the jetty to create a wedgy peak. I liked the looks of that. So did the regulars. Good luck, California.

Surfing has tried its best to teach me patience. It’s still trying. But I recognize futility when I see it. I stared out at the horizon, watching the swell lines, waiting my turn. There was a wild, untamed beauty to this wide open ocean. The cold pressed, but I no longer regretted being here. I’d come to see somewhere different. Now I had.

The numbers dwindled as one by one the others headed in. My hard-won patience was rewarded just before my feet turned to ice. The wind tugged and pulled at my board as I walked up the beach. The kiteboarders, colors bright against the blue sky, darted and danced.

We headed into town for sandwiches and beer. A commercial fisherman sat next to me, telling his buddy a convoluted story about a bad alternator. It ended when he threw the thing overboard. Hopefully the crabs liked it. There was another story about trying to fish during a storm. I gathered that it hadn’t worked out especially well.

The interior of the bar was decorated with mermaids of exuberant proportions. The sandwiches stacked high and the beer was cold. Sun slanted in through the window. It hinted at the coming of fall and the dark of winter. I imagined the place on a winter night, the light warm, the pool cues clicking, a steady hum of conversation, and the occasional brawl out back.

I’d be long gone by then. Back home, I’d chase the swell angles and the tide swings. There’d be a donut stop. And then hands wrapped around a warm coffee, I’d walk down the trail, board under my arm. I’d say hey to my friends and it’d be our turn to sit on the peak.

And I’d hope for one of those magic days when it all aligns just right, when the waves glow in the sunlight and the wind flits lightly over the foam.

Good luck, California.