Thank goodness there's finally a place for us!
Thank goodness there's finally a place for us!

Announcing: BeachGrit Women!

We look forward to making women's day, every day™

For Immediate Release

CARDIFF-ADJACENT, Calif. (March, 8, 2018) — We are excited to launch our new project Beachgrit Women. We believe the time is right to expand our coverage of women in surfing and create an inspiring and empowering space for women surfers. Beachgrit Women will do all of these things and more.

Here at Beachgrit, we are happy to celebrate International Women’s Day, but we believe women should be celebrated every single day. Beachgrit Women is designed specifically with our fast-growing women’s audience in mind.

We look forward to bringing you stories designed specifically for woman and scooping up that lovely bikini advertisement cash. We feel confident that this expansion will strengthen our brand and continue to build our audience among women to more than ten.

We know you love our first-person interviews about women who’ve found new confidence learning to surf. We plan to bring you so many more of these empowering stories. We want you to feel inspired, whether you’re brand-new to surfing or a seasoned expert. We know the ocean means everything to you, just as it does to us.

In addition to the stories you already love, we’ll be rolling out some new, exciting features. Look for extended interviews with female surfers on everything from their favorite boards to the perfect bikini wax. Plus, we’ll help you improve your bottom turn and finally achieve that Downward Dog. And we’ll have nutrition guides packed with recipes for the perfect salads.

We are excited to partner with several major brands to bring you reviews of newly released products. We know you want to look stylish in and out of the water and we’re here to help. We’ll help you choose the perfect pink board for spring and a wetsuit to match. And, we’ll make sure you nail that perfect surf selfie.

We all know relationships can be a drag. Our sex-positive advice columnist is here to help you avoid ever dating surfers. She’ll also help you with tips on how to achieve the perfect orgasm time after time. Watch for our review of six surfboard-inspired vibrators that we’re sure you’ll love.

We look forward to bringing you this exciting new project. You’ve already come to know us as Beachgrit. We can’t wait to have you join us in smashing the patriarchy at Beachgrit Women, where it’ll be women’s day, every day.

Meet: Australia’s Olympic surf team!

Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong!

2020 seems like an eternity away but you and I both know that two years goes by very quickly and in two quick years plus a few stray months we’ll be watching surfing at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. It’s sort of funny to think about right now, Olympic surfing, but let’s try to be serious because Australian coach Bede Durbidge is serious and he just announced his team.


2018 Australian national squad: Julian Wilson, Matt Wilkinson, Owen Wright, Connor O’Leary, Adrian Buchan, Wade Carmichael, Mikey Wright, Ethan Ewing, Stuart Kennedy, Tyler Wright, Stephanie Gilmore, Sally Fitzgibbons, Nikki van Dijk, Keely Andrew, Bronte Macaulay and Macy Callaghan.

Chew on those names for a minute or two. Do you like? Do you love? Are you drunk atop your couch right now, the southern cross tied around your head singing Waltzing Matilda?

In case you wonder how these particular surfers were selected allow me to explain.

The Surfing Australia national selection committee includes seven time world champion Layne Beachley, four time world champion Mark Richards, ex-WSL surfer and talent pathway coach Kate Wilcomes, three time world champion Mick Fanning and Surfing Australia elite program manager Bede Durbidge. There was some readiness camp in January and then the selection committee picked the team from a 2012 issue of Australia’s Surfing Life.

Would you have chosen the same? Any additions or subtractions? The Wright family could win gold, silver and bronze if Tyler chooses to surf in the men’s division. I think she would have a shot at gold. She looked good at Surf Ranch.

Glenn “Micro” Hall is in the team photo but didn’t read his name in the press release.

I wonder if he is spying for Ireland?

Classic Jimbo.

Question: Can today’s pro surfer be fat?

Is the new look tour inherently body shaming?

So I was talking with a good friend yesterday and the newest Surfer magazine was sitting there and of course I started flipping through it while talking and then I saw a picture of Wade Carmichael and said, “Wow. He’s fat.”

Now it was a rude thing to say but he looked fat in the picture and/or husky but my good friend apoplectically responded, “Pro surfers can’t be fat…” and I looked up at him and realized he was not joking at all but deadly serious which made me think.

Can today’s pro surfer be fat?

In the 80s, 90s, 2000s it was very easy because back then pro surfers weren’t athletes. Mark Occhilupo, Mick Lowe, Kekoa Bacalso, etc. but today and now with the training and the airs and Surf Ranch contortionist barrels… it is a whole different game. A fit game. And there doesn’t seem to be much room for plus-sized men. It even seems that 150 lbs would be an unofficial cut-off of sorts not counting the great John John Florence who is not fat but likely weighs… 170 lbs.

Or maybe my good friend is wrong. Maybe there is a quiet revolution happening at the Championship Tour level where Jordy Smith, Wade Carmichael and… Italo(?) are bringing the cushion for the pushin’ back to the fore. Big turns, lots of water displacement, etc.

The pendulum is always swinging but do you think the new look tour favors feather light small boys or beefy tees? It seems, with the loss of both Fiji and Pipeline that the feather lights haven’t been in a better position since the Bud Tour days of old. That the cushion for the pushin will be a decided disadvantage. That in a few years, with a few more pool events locked down, pro surfing will be like women’s gymnastics and titles will be won by 13 year olds who weigh 98 lbs.


Kelly Slater-Kalani-Miller
Ol Captain Willie!

Revealed: Kelly Slater’s lost nickname!

You'll never guess!

I have been buried in Surfer magazine’s archives, searching for hidden Lisa Andersen nuggets for the forthcoming documentary Trouble. It is difficult work in that distractions lurk on every page. Old Gotcha ads, secret spots’ like Mavericks and Nias revealed, Kelly Slater’s long forgotten nickname from the early 1990s.

Kelly Slater. His mom calls him Willie, but can’t remember why. The press calls him “the next Tom Curren,” and other things that are impossible to live up to. Other surfers call Slater overrated, until they see him surf — then they just call him a mutant. And the teenage girls of America, they call Slater often and at all hours, forcing him to change his telephone number. It isn’t easy being highly-touted, but Slater shows he has that side of surf-stardom in control and let’s it all flow around him.


Ol’ Willie Slater.


And now is the time to fess up. Do you have a lost nickname? Something your mom used to call you that has almost faded from memory?

Slick Willie Slater.

Welcome to Willie Slater’s Surf Ranch.


George Downing Buzzy Trent
Big-wave pioneers George Downing, far right, and Buzzy Trent, on the fin. "Was Downing a salty bastard? He had a temper, and didn’t suffer fools. I’m guessing in his younger days he was a scrapper, and a good one."

Warshaw: “George Downing was the master!”

Surf historian on the death of a Hawaiian who "knew all the secrets."

On Monday, the great Hawaiian surfer, shaper, pioneer of board design and big-wave surfing, George Downing, died at home in East Oahu. Read his obit here. 

I knew a little about George. He was the contest director for The Eddie. Could handle a planer and had the surfboard biz Downing Hawaii. Was one of the first guys to push ’emselves in big Hawaiian waves. One kid won the Eddie, another made it to the finals of the Pipe Masters.

For a little perspective, I got Matt Warshaw, surf historian, met Downing a few times, onto the keys.

BeachGrit: Son of a bitch, that fifties big-wave era is almost gone. George Downing. Yeah, he was old, but he’s taking a piece of the sport with him. Pioneered some of the heavier spots on the North Shore, was heavily into surfboard designand so on, yes?

Warshaw: If you ask Billy Kemper and Shane Dorian who their main big-wave surfing influence was, then ask THOSE guys who their main influence was, and so on and so on, at the end of the line you end up with Buzzy Trent and George Downing. They started big-wave surfing, along with Wally Froiseth. And Buzzy absolutely bowed down to George. George was the master. He was the first to go all-in. Downing put a fin on the hot curl board and invented the big-wave gun. He was the first surfer of note to geek out on weather maps and swell forecasting. He invented the pin-drop bailout. And he had a beautiful, smooth, high-line style. Downing was quiet, smart, ambitious, creative, and kindly, but in a powerful mafioso-don way. He had a lot of juice.

Born and raised in Hawaii?

Yes. I’m not sure what happened when he was a kid, but I believe George was pretty much raised by his uncle, Wally Froiseth.

If you ask Billy Kemper and Shane Dorian who their main big-wave surfing influence was, then ask THOSE guys who their main influence was, and so on and so on, at the end of the line you end up with Buzzy Trent and George Downing. They started big-wave surfing, along with Wally Froiseth. And Buzzy absolutely bowed down to George. George was the master.

Y’ever get to talk to him?

A few times. He was great friends with Steve and Debbee Pezman, and when I lived in San Clemente I’d drop by their house often, and when Downing was in California he’d stay in the guest room. I was nervous around him, but he was always friendly. Watchful guy, kind of reserved, dry sense of humor. We faxed back and forth a couple times when I was doing Encyclopedia of Surfing. He’d never done a profile piece in a surf magazine. There was no information out there about him, or very little. It took some convincing from Pezman to get him to play along with EOS, and he make me sign a agreement that the biographic information he gave me would only be used in that book. But once we got that out of the way, he was right into it. Answered all the questions, came through in a big way.

How did he end up being called The Guru?

Downing just knew more about surfing than anybody, or surfing in Hawaii at least, and if you knew how to approach him he was really open about sharing his knowledge.

Tell me about his relationship with Waimea Bay. Pioneer, first. And, later, Eddie contest director.

No, I don’t think George liked surfing Waimea. Or rather, he didn’t like it near as much as Makaha, which was his heart and soul. Downing was a finesse surfer, he was slender and kind of slippery with his line. Waimea was better suited for Greg Noll; big, thick, grunty guys. Waimea, you want to be a sledgehammer. Makaha, at size, you want to be an arrow, like George. For the Quik contest, though, Waimea was the right call. Waimea was Eddie’s wave, and it breaks more often, and the spectating is better there than Makaha. George wasn’t all that stoked to surf it, but he knew Waimea was what Quik needed for the event.

You can even credit him with the removable fin. True?

True. The other bit was, he had these templates from the 1950s that were magic, and when Barton Lynch won the world title he was riding a board George made him, from those same templates.

He asked Nat Young not to include him in his History of Surfing. What happened there? Was he a salty bastard?

In the early editions of Nat’s “History of Surfing,” Nat had this brief Afterward saying that Downing asked to be left out of the book. Nat complied —  which is like doing a book on NBA centers and leaving out Bill Russell. Was Downing a salty bastard? He had a temper, and didn’t suffer fools. I’m guessing in his younger days he was a scrapper, and a good one, but none of that as far as I know carried into adulthood. George had an almost visible aura of power, though. When Vince Collier died, people were calling him the Godfather. But George was the godfather. Wise, helpful, generous; a guy who’d seen it all, done it all, knew all the secrets, could get things done. There isn’t a replacement for George Downing.

George Downing, 1930 – 2018 from ENCYCLOPEDIA of SURFING on Vimeo.