Mitch Parkinson
Mitch Parkinson, just twenty two, revels in the power of an eight-foot Pipe tunnel. | Photo: WSL

Mitch Parko Wins “Oakley Battle Clips!”

Joel's little cuz backs up Volcom Pro semi with best-video prize… 

Little Mitch Parkinson, cousin of Joel, ain’t so small anymore. Thirteen years since Stab anointed him as the “best 10-year-old surfer in the world” Mitch has…turned on.

Won a QS in Taiwan last year; made the semi’s of the Volcom Pipe Pro a week or so ago.

And, last night in Newcastle, Mitch won the Oakley Battle Clips II.

It was my first event as surf media. Didn’t have an invite, just pointed to a name of the list and waltzed in. It ain’t Studio 54, if you get my drift. 

The winner gets twenty gees cash and five gees of Nikon gear. Second, third and fourth leave empty-handed and heart broken. Brent ‘Midget Magic’ Dorrington took out last year’s event and used the money to finance his newborn. Prams, cots, clothes etc. It all adds up.

This year, the final four field was Nick Vasicek, Luke Hynd, Soli Bailey and Mitch Parkinson. Only two were in attendance, Soli and Mitch. Each surrounded by their entourages at opposite ends of the room, a rivalry that’s been brewing for years.

The winner was chosen thus: Bede Durbidge’s vote counted for a third, Oakley rider Connor O’Leary’s vote counted for a third and the public vote counted for the final third.

Bede and Connor’s was a split. Over 350,000 votes came in for the final (only one vote per IP address). Twenty thousand votes separated first and second.

Soli’s clip had butt-dragging barrels, a few hacks and a couple of air reverses. Mitch’s was a parade of full-rotors, barrels, a couple of backhand slaps and a crowd pleasing slow-mo, muscle popping wrap around cutback.

Mitch won.

BeachGrit: Mitch! This time last year you’d thrown your toys in the air and you were looking for a job. Now you’re winning or hitting the final in everything you touch. What’s changed?

I needed a break. I’d been pushed and prodded into this pro-surfing thing since I was six years old. Last year I needed to break away and do my own thing. I went out, got a bit loose, got my head together and figured out my way of doing things. My girl, Abbie, has really helped me get my shit together and drive me. And I’ve put together a great new team around me. From management to now working with my best mate to shape my boards, Jye Gudenswager from Gen4.

If you’re so good, why don’t you have a sponsor?

Ha! I feel like winning this amount of cash is like a one-year Oakley and Nikon contract! I’ve got Gen4 as my board sponsor of course, and being able to head that team up and work so hands on with the shaping has helped heaps. But we’re talking to a few companies out there right now… fuck I sure hope this helps get the ball over the line. But I just really want to sign up with a brand that I’m into, not just ’cause they’re slinging cheques.

Where’s this twenty-grand going? 

No bar tabs or any of that shit this time. When the money hits my account I’m booking my flights and accomm for Japan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, USA, and hopefully a bit of the Europe leg. Anything to help with my qualification travel this year.

You wanna qualify? Not just be a will-fly-for-cash freesurfer?

I actually really love competing. And the tour gives you a chance to ride the some of the best waves in the world with just a couple of others guys in the water. I had a bit of this in the Volcolm Pipe Pro. The best was after my semi-final. Kaiborg wouldn’t let anyone else out in the water before the final. So it was just me and Alvarro sitting out there for almost half an hour scoring perfect eight-to-ten-foot Pipe. And you can do strike trips in between comps to get the film edits out there. I want the best of both worlds.

Watch Mitch’s award-winning short here.


Warshaw: “Pipe is the Crucible!”

Pipe getting knocked out of closer spot was dumber than losing Trestles and adding Lemoore put together.

Earlier this morning, I was stalked by the historian Matt Warshaw, EOS/Above the Roar/HOS etc, who sought a rendezvous on the subject of the 2019 Pipe opener, and closer, being lost.

It’s the gloomy soothsayer, all heavy sighs, and the preposterously superficial BeachGrit principal, bubbly, at three paces!

We join the conversation.

BeachGrit: No Pipe opener nor closer for 2019. Does your heart weep?

Warshaw: I wasn’t even done being upset about Pipe getting knocked out of closer spot, which was a dumber move than losing Trestles and adding Lemoore put together.

Why so sad about losing the Pipe closer? It’s been years since it’s had a classic final day. A Super Bowl final in a six-foot bluewater swell in the Ments? Mightn’t that give you a little shiver?

Pipe I don’t think has ever been bad first heat to last. There’s always one or two great days, and hopefully you get a great final. That aside, it’s the anticipation of Pipe, the possibility of it. The whole season funnels down to that one break, that one event. You hold onto that when the wind goes shit at Peniche, or its Igarashi vs Flores at Bells. Pipe at the end of the tour is the great redeemer. And as far as the Mentawais . . . anybody high-intermediate or better can surf it. Nobody on tour is going to hair out at Rifles, or Macaronis. You want to see guys crack. You want to see Danny Wills and Mick Campbell crawl up inside themselves, as well as Slater and Sunny and John performing miracles. Jeremy Flores strikes me a bit of a douche, but fuck the guy steps up at Pipeline. The Ments will be a three-day promo video. I’ll watch it, the surfing will be amazing. But it isn’t the crucible. Pipe is the crucible.

I have no idea what logic, if any, is driving the WSL. Every now and then I’ll convince myself they’re five steps ahead of everybody, in terms of drop-kicking the sport into the mainstream. But mostly I think it’s a wish-and-prayer business model.

…Do you think the WSL thought it had the muscle to fuck with Honolulu and was surprised at their hard line?

The WSL is just slightly less mysterious than Skull and Bones. I have no idea what logic, if any, is driving them. Every now and then I’ll convince myself they’re five steps ahead of everybody, in terms of drop-kicking the sport into the mainstream. But mostly I think it’s a wish-and-pray business model.

I start thinking they’re somehow going to pull a 24-carrot gold rabbit out of a hat. Then I look at what they’ve done to the tour lately and think there’s nothing whatsoever in the hat except Dirk Ziff’s credit card.

What’s your take on the adorable Sophie Goldschmidt? Does it warm your heart to see a complete non-surfer as the face of surfing, rallying the crowd at Pipe, talking about Keramas while never actually having been there etc?

I met her for the first time last month, and she’s very bright, friendly, and professional. Whether she’s been to Bali or not doesn’t matter. The CT schedule matters. WSL’s ownership of Kelly’s pool matters. The audience matters. Or the perceived audience. The WSL isn’t playing to the existing fanbase, but to an imagined future fanbase. Which I don’t think exists, but there’s maybe a 10% chance I’m wrong. How to you let Pipe and Clouldbreak go, unless you’ve got an ace or two up your sleeve? Like, what are we NOT seeing here? Yeah, Sophie and the whole gang I met in Santa Monica last month struck me as being smart enough, and I’m for sure in secure enough, that I start thinking they’re somehow going to pull a 24-carrot gold rabbit out of a hat. Then I look at what they’ve done to the tour lately and think there’s nothing whatsoever in the hat except Dirk Ziff’s credit card.

Let’s imagine the rabbit in the WSL hat. Imagine. What could it be?

For me, the rabbit is a two-day event at roll-in First Reef Pipe for the title. For Sophie, it’s a prime-time medal round in a WSL-designed pool in Tokyo.

Do you think a world title, sans Pipe in a year featuring a pool would forever have an asterix next to it? Brodie Carr once told me he didn’t want to be known as the ASP CEO who lost Slater from the tour. Do you think Sophie would have similar concerns re: Pipe?

A world title without Pipe is a dinner gong for Red Bull to come in and save pro surfing from itself.

Hey Chas, it's Mick, I'm sorry that I cannot be with you tonight. Rest well and feel better. When you awake, I'll be by your side."

Chas Smith: “Best! Fucking! Day! Ever!”

I’m back! Back with a screw in my motherfucking shoulder and a wobbly opioid spring in my step!

Mick Fanning, Kelly Slater and karma are all fucking losers ‘cuz baby, I’m back! Back with a screw in my motherfucking shoulder, wobbly opioid spring in my step and apparently Tourette’s.

Shit yeah!

Not even the world’s two best competitive surfers (pre-Brazilian Storm) and the World Surf League’s ingenious torture device could knock me from the surf journalism raft.

“Chas! Don’t be such a baby…” he wrote. “Laird got his hip replaced while he was conscious. Mick was almost attacked by a shark while HE was conscious. Do I need to tell you what Kelly has done while conscious? No! Don’t Goggans this! Shake it off!”

I was feeling very emotional at the thought of leaving you all yesterday but Nick Carroll knocked me straight.

“Chas! Don’t be such a baby…” he wrote. “Laird got his hip replaced while he was conscious. Mick was almost attacked by a shark while HE was conscious. Do I need to tell you what Kelly has done while conscious? No! Don’t Goggans this! Shake it off!”

Exactly what my ass needed to hear so up I woke at 5:00 am and not gentle I went into that good morning.

The stars were still twinkling overhead as I drove, listening to The Raveonettes’ Raven in the Grave and thinking, “I ain’t going into that grave like Goggans goes into Orange County Sheriff’s Departments ‘cuz Nick Carroll would think I’m a li’l poos!”

I checked in at the surgery center, put on my baby blue robe, had my hand poked with an IV then read uplifting trigger-free longboard stories and comments on my phone. 

Safe space achieved, bitches!

After that the doc came in, walked me through the procedure and told me to take druuuuugs.

I wondered, “What Would Nick Carroll do?” but didn’t have time to decide because a nurse said, “It’s go time…” and walked me down the hall to a cold room with very bright lights and one of those lethal injection beds in the middle.

I lay down and….

….woke up three hours later not even vomiting any blood, thinking I had just consumed a large gin and tonic. What miracle do they put in those fluid sacks these days? It was amazing and my head was clear as shit so I asked the nurse if she could fetch me my phone.

It was right then and right there that I read Derek’s reveal that Sin City is opening odds on professional surfing. 

Best! Fucking! Day! Ever!

And as soon as my perkaucet






Percocet wears off I’m driving to Vegas to get some more and lay 5000 of my wife’s money on Filipe.

I’ve got a lucky screw in my motherfucking shoulder and I can’t be stopped.

Are you a passionate but not very good surfer with a burning in your trousers?

Quiz: Do you make surf lies for pussy?

Do you tell girls you "air"? And "tube"?

I am no John. Nor am I Keanu Asing or even Glenn Hall.

A typical session for me consists of missing waves, sections and exits. And bogging. So much bogging. I surf, but I am only above-average in a crowded summer line-up filled with soft-tops. For the rest of the year I sit wide of the herd, waiting for leftovers. Waiting to eat.

To put it simply, I am trash. But at least I know I’m trash.

And usually, I would never claim to be more than I am. But, to garner the attention of the opposite gender, is over-exaggerating ones surfing ability ok?

She didn’t surf, but she like, totally loved surfers. They were super hot. I was a surfer. I was lonely. So here are some obscenities that exited my mouth. No lies, mind you. Only exaggerations.

Yes, I have done that thing where you surf inside the wave! 

*I pull in. I almost never come out.

Yes, actually, I totally can do that spinny thing in the air!  

*without my feet on the board.

Do I compete? No way! I shan’t be constrained to a jersey. I prefer creative lines. I prefer the free surfer life. 

*Creative bogging.

Am I sponsored? Of course!  

*I work at a surf school. They pay me. Sometimes I surf in uniform on break. Does that count?

The conversation then veered into a dark, dark place of douchebagery. I needn’t write what was said. But I’ll give you a hint. It was some Laird Hamilton-level shit.

So, is overstating your surfing ability acceptable when pursuing romance?

Or have I brought shame to my family?

Should I go full Freddy P and familiarise my board with a submerged rock?

John john florence kelly slater
John John: What I'm saying, Kelly, is you have a one-in-a-million chance of winning another world title. Maybe you oughta think about that. Kelly: So you're saying I have a… chance! YEAH! | Photo: WSL/Steve Sherman

Vegas Opens Market for 2018 World Title!

Bring life into your favourite sport with gambling!

Maybe you bet on surfing, maybe you don’t. Maybe it’s a geographical thing (sorry USA!), maybe it’s a philosophical thing.

It does add a certain excitement to an event or a year, howevs, more than Fantasy Surfer and its promise of a trip to Hawaii ever could.

Actual skin in the game.

Cue accelerated heart-rate. Cue weeping/cheering children as daddy brings home, loses, the family bacon.

Recently, the Vegas markets, yeah Vegas, all markets are created by machines spinning algorithms not people, dropped odds on the 2018 world title.

Ain’t no surprise, but how about we go shopping.

Favourite, John John Florence, 3.5-1: How confident are you John’s going to win three titles in a row? Stats say it’s almost a sure thing. Throw a hundred on it, wait a year and you might get $350.

4.40-1, Gabriel Medina: Three years since his world title, he’s almost on par with John. The ice man with eyebrows that’ve been plucked and drawn back on at a more rakish angle. Who weeps.

7-1, Filipe Toledo: Don’t tell me this doesn’t give you a shiver of the possibility of a big return. There’s nothing dim or hazy about Filipe, who could, without a surprise to anyone, win half the events on this year’s tour: Snapper, Rio, Keramas, J-Bay, Surf Ranch, France, Portugal. Wait, two-thirds of the tour’s events. Peel off a thousand bucks for an almost 10k return.

10-1, Jordy Smith: Big, beautiful Jordy turns thirty, wraps milestone year in a title. Can it happen? The markets say it’s not a long-shot but a mid-level fantasy, like a three-way with a couple of sixes.

41-1, Kolohe Andino: What’s that do for a boy’s confidence, when machines tell you you’re a virtual impossibility to win a title? But what point wallowing in the past? Is this the year of Kolohe Andino’s great, sweeping triumph? It could be yours, at an attractive 41-1-, if you’re a believer.

Other odds:

13-1: Julian Wilson.

17-1: Owen Wright.

19-1: Mick Fanning.

19 -1: Kelly Slater.

21-1: Italo Ferreira.

31-1: Adriano de Souza.

31-1: Joel Parkinson.

Click here to view the market! And to potentially throw away your money. Or maybe win a little more.