Stab magazine
Hey advertiser, stop spending money at BeachGrit you freakin' idiot.

Stab: “Get Chas on a leash!”

Stab magazine's owner hurt feelings! Makes demands!

The Chinese say that this is the year of the rooster and they might be right seeing as I sure have been cock-a-doodle-doing a lot of existential nonsense lately. About why we do what we do. About the greater point. About meaning. About doubt and regret.

I suppose it comes from being buried in writing a book. This second one was absolutely gut-wrenching. Every single minute of every single day. I sat in front of the computer and felt death blowing in my ear, whispering sweet nothings. I thought cocaine plus surfing was going to be stupid and funny, a logical extension of my entire “career.” Instead I had to dig into my own soul, every single minute of every single day, and sit with that empty wind.

At the end of it all I came to believe that truth means something, or at least transparency. That this damned surf world has been too cloistered, secretive, afraid for too long and the only way for new life to grow is if we open the windows.

And in that vein, I want to have more stupid transparent fun with Stab magazine right now. It’s co-founder Sam McIntosh has spent the last few years quietly and secretly telling the brands that dare advertise on BeachGrit that they are locked out of the vast SurfStitch empire pre-collapse and various projects post-collapse.

Most recently he called a partner and told him that their relationship was going to be strained/ended if I wasn’t “put on a leash.”

Well Sam, I warned you and don’t be such a goddamn pussy.

You don’t like me making fun of your bad advertorial? Don’t make bad advertorial. You don’t like when I henpeck this or that? Hit back. Punch me right in the mouth. You’ve gone and hired our entire staff. I’m sure one of them can make BeachGrit look like the barely limping along junk show that it is.

Here’s the real truth, though. If we’re all transparent, if we’re all honest, it’s all more fun.

We’ll toss barbs, the people will laugh, light and air flood the stale room and surfing, or at least surf media, might be great again. This is what we need, what the brands need, what our god-forsaken culture needs.

But if you are not willing to man up than shut the fuck up. Once and for all.

Bruce Brown dead
Bruce Brown was the creator of the seminal movies The Endless Summer (surfing) and On Any Sunday (motorcycles). A gorgeous warmed-up hero for us all! | Photo: Bruce Brown Films

Warshaw on Bruce Brown: “No drugs, no booze, no pussy!”

Creator of The Endless Summer, dead at eighty… 

Last night, the creator of the seminal surf film The Endless Summer, Bruce Brown, died at his home in Santa Babs. Bruce was eighty, so it ain’t a surprise, but it does evaporate the owner of an important part of surf history.

Earlier today, Matt Warshaw and I back and forthed on Bruce’s legacy.

BeachGrit: Old man Bruce Brown, dead, eighty. Endless Summer clips filling our screens. How did he do what he did, anyway?

Warshaw: The four or five movies Bruce did before Endless Summer were warm-ups, kind of. He wouldn’t have viewed it that way at the time, but when you watch ES, then go back and look at the old stuff, you see him working out favorite camera angles, getting his voiceover schtick down, all of that. In 1966, newspapers and magazine reviewers all thought Endless Summer was some kind of freak home-run from this beachfront hayseed. But Bruce was so ready to make that movie. He’d been practicing for years.

Tell me about the next one he did, On Any Sunday.

It was the motorcycle version of The Endless Summer. I think it pulled in an documentary Oscar nomination! I hate motorcycles, but love that movie. There must be a half-million sixty-something motorcycle freaks out there who starting riding after seeing On Any Sunday.

What’s your learned opinion of The Endless Summer?

The Endless Summer proves that surf contests have nothing to do with how you’d present surfing to the rest of the world. Sure, you could hire Bruce to work your contest. He did color for the Duke event for two or three years in the mid-sixties. But when it came down to his own movies, he didn’t give a shit about contests. He stayed away. Never showed them. Surfing, for Bruce, meant chasing waves, and if you didn’t find waves, you had a good time anyway. The Endless Summer showed what it’s like to be a surfer on the hunt — or the family-friendly version, anyway; no drugs, no drinking, no pussy — and to me it still feels really true. Bruce and The Endless Summer are still in the back of our minds when we pack the boards and chase waves. You want Cape St. Francis, first of all. But you also, as your bumping along looking for it, you want to have as much fun as Bruce and his crew did.

Bruce didn’t give a shit about contests. He stayed away. Never showed them. Surfing, for Bruce, meant chasing waves, and if you didn’t find waves, you had a good time anyway.

Describe your relationship with Bruce?

I met Bruce Brown at the 1985 SURFER Poll. Him and Dana Brown both. Dana and I had just started working together, he wrote some articles for SURFER when I was there, and the two of them walked into the Poll, we met, then Bruce led us back to the limo he had in the parking lot. We had beers and shit-talked the Poll. Bruce was way saltier than he comes off in his movies.

He made the two movies he wanted to make, made his bundle, and quit. Went fishing, went surfing, played the stock market, collected cars. He only came out of retirement for ES II to get Dana started. Which makes him a great father, on top of everything else.

What happened to Bruce between Endless Summer and On Any Sunday and…Endless Summer II?

This is maybe what I love about Bruce most. He made the two movies he wanted to make, made his bundle, and quit. Went fishing, went surfing, played the stock market, collected cars. He only came out of retirement for ES II to get Dana started. Which makes him a great father, on top of everything else.

How’d you feel when ESII landed, and the buildup to it all?

Let down. His heart wasn’t in it.

Did you feel sad when y’heard Bruce had died? What sorta hole does he leave, if any?

Jack O’Neill, then Severson, now Bruce. Maybe I’m not processing right now, but my first thought when I heard that Bruce died was, 2017 has just been fucking brutal for surf legends.

(Editor’s note: Warshaw just told me he’d hit his thirty k. The Encylopedia of Surfing lives!)

Politics: John John seeks to MNSGA!

The North Shore's favorite son delivers a bold message!

Even the most blithely unaware know how fraught with tension our current political climate is. Facebook friends unfriending. Rants from across the spectrum. Build the wall. Lock her up. Pussy grabs back. Even the most subtle advertising of a position along the spectrum can set off peals of debate, wailing and gnashing of teeth. An avatar that looks like an AR-15. An avatar that says ITMFA.

And it is into this milieu that John John Florence boldly strode back home to his North Shore home, ready to take the crown, borrowing the same powerful hat that President Donald J. Trump made famous. Red. White lettering. The most divisive symbol of all. Trump’s hat, of course, reads Make America Great Again. John Johns reads Go John John but the messaging might be similar. There is no such thing as a design accident, you know, and I feel John John is exclaiming, “I am from here. This is my home. I, alone, will make the North Shore great again.”

What do you think he is exclaiming?

The action starts in just 30 mins. Watch here.

Does the surf industry hate Matt Warshaw?

Donors to Save-the-Encyclopedia-of-surfing drive revealed here!

Almost two weeks ago now, the surf historian Matt Warshaw threatened to pull his entire archive offline (The Encyclopedia of Surfing , History of Surfing, Above the Roar) unless thirty thousand dollars was donated immediately.

As it transpired, Warshaw’s wife Jodi, who is gainfully employed at Amazon, had given him a deadline to either make thirty k this year, a five-year extension on an earlier ultimatum, or face the capitalist reality – that he’d failed.

“It’s just kind of humiliating, to be 57 and making what I make,” Warshaw told BeachGrit. “It feels like a judgement. EOS, I think, does a such a good job at showing the world of surf in full. Look at us, maybe the most fucked-up wonderful interesting thing on the planet, it’s all here on the three sites I’ve made, in photos, video, and words — and for building that I get less than I did as a SURFER intern in 1985. It’s humbling. When I step away from the computer a few hours and think about it, I can get depressed.”

Now, if you go to The Encylopedia of Surfing, you can see who’s donated.

Or pointedly, who hasn’t.

Come for a stroll down the donor list here.

Know what’s missing? (Apart from BeachGrit. We gave at the office.)

Surf industry money.

A few publishers, writers, editors, photographers and so on chipped in to keep Warshaw in the sort of dingy woollen outfits he wears to ward off the Seattle cold, but…

…where are the millionaires in this game?

Warshaw sent emails to everybody, the EOS drive was announced to the near and far ends of the surf world. And not one big player, not one big brand threw Warshaw so much as a bone.

Is their silence an explosive fuck off to Warshaw and his sites?

Or just further evidence, as if it was necessary, that surf co’s see their role merely to schlep crummy Bangladeshi-made t-shirts to the fashion illiterate?

Update: Warshaw is closing in on the thirty gees! Two days to go!

Controversy: WSL picks John John!

The WSL throws its hat into the ring and announces who it wants as champ!

You are a sport fan, of course, but are you a massive sport fan or a passive sport fan? Like, do you live for your various teams or do you watch the big games but mostly just to socialize? And what of the various leagues? Do you like one over another? I’m partial to Major League Baseball but that’s mostly just because I love baseball, mostly the Padres. I suppose the National Basketball Association is the best run and the National Football League is probably the worst.

The leagues don’t generally pick favorite teams of course. That would be very unfair and equally unseemly. What if the Australian Football League put out statements rooting for the Pies, for example? Oh I know Australian’s call “rooting” “barracking” when it comes to cheering a squad but what if? Do you think Essendon, Richmond and Carlton would think? I’d imagine not too happy.

And what if the World Surf League actively advocated for John John over Gabriel in this final push to the title? It would be strange, to be sure, but that is exactly what is happening. BeachGrit‘s on-the-ground network spied the WSL’s North Shore offices today and look at this photo here. What does it say in the window? Does it say “Go John John”?

Well it sure does.

And do you think Gabriel has an appeal on his hands if John John goes and wins?

I do. I think he has an appeal and a lawsuit. Go Lawsuit!