Kelly Slater: “I’ll be back when time is right!”

Surfing ain't a sport so who cares!

It was officially announced, just hours ago, that history’s winningest surfer, Kelly Slater, will not be surfing in the Rip Curl Bells Beach Classic due to a nagging broken foot. His statement, short and sweet, reads:

I think it’s best that I properly rehabilitate the injury and choose to surf wholeheartedly. I’ll be back when the time is right.

Rip Curl, the company best known for using North Korean slave labor to stitch boardshorts, will sorely miss his presence seeing as tickets are sold for the event and a Kelly-less draw equates to 18 fewer ticket sales.

Kelly Slater also withdrew, at the very last minute, from the Gold Coast event which was won by Julian Wilson.

Now, here is the thing. In any other sport this sort of “I-am-old-and-got-hurt-but-was-once-a-star-and-so-people-still-dream-that-I-will-come-back-from-this-injury-and-blow-doors-like-I-used-to-except-they-always-forget-that-I-am-old-and-old-people-don’t-do-nothing-but-complain-about-entitlements-and-wish-for-the-way-things-used-to-be-but-whatever-I’ll-keep-pretending-I-can-soar-because-A)-I-am-competitive-and-really-believe-I’ve-got-something-left-in-the-tank-and-B)-I-wants-that-money-bitch” thinking really drives me crazy because no old star ever comes back and shines. Old athletes are the anchor of any team and I don’t mean anchor in the “holding-the-team-together” kind of way but the “dragging-everyone-to-the-damn-ocean-floor” kind.

But, and here is the thing. Professional surfing is not a sport and professional surfers are not athletes.

So.

I have zero problem believing that Kelly Slater will take this year to heal his foot, come back fresh next year and win a title at 48. When that happens the WSL will be almost screwed because geriatrics aren’t a great market but that bridge can be crossed another day. Right? I mean, the lamestream media will go on and on and on about how old Kelly is etc. but what they should go on and on and on about is how easy surfing is. Not easy to learn, obvs, and not easy to push through that hideous intermediate plateau but if any man or woman has the genetic superiority for consistent air landings and big barrel ridings than they can surf until they die.

Right?


Artist rendering of a British surfer.

Olympics: Great Britain throws in towel!

"!t is currently unlikely that currently any British surfer will win a medal in Tokyo 2020!"

Just days ago, and with little fanfare, the International Olympic Committee released how you, me and Kolohe Andino make it to Tokyo for the 202o Olympiad. Surfing is featured for the very first time and which nation do you think will win gold?

Australia, coached by Bede Durbidge, has fielded the world’s best team from five years ago.

Japan has snagged current world number nine Kanoa Igarashi. Very much a threat in 1 ft waves/Surf Ranch.

Germany may go with Marlon Lipke.

The United States is yet to make any announcements but rest assured that Brett Simpson will be involved.

Great Britain, which includes Wales, Scotland, England and Northern Ireland, has already completely given up.

Let’s read a snippet from their official press release!

…all surfers will be required to make themselves available to be part of Surfing Team GB for the 2019 and 2020 World Surfing Games, and if selected will be required to participate. Failure to meet this requirement will render the surfer ineligible for the Olympic Games. Information on the selection process for Team GB will be released in
due course.

We have made submissions of funding requests and submission of all relevant data to UK Sport. On extensive analysis, UK Sport believe it is currently unlikely that currently any British surfer will win a medal in Tokyo 2020. UK Sport investment is wholly focused on medal winning performances to inspire our nation.

It is also yet to be confirmed if surfing will be in the 2024 and 2028 Olympics which also makes attracting investment into surfing a challenge. We will continue to collectively work to source performance funding.

Does the phrase “UK Sport believe it is currently unlikely that currently any British surfer will win a medal in Tokyo 2020” inspire lots of confidence? Do you think it is maybe a ruse?

Chazz Michael Michaels? Are you there? What do you think?

Rip Current Rory? You in?


Listen: Devon Howard says, “Shut up!”

Famous egger tees off!

I have known of professional surfer Devon Howard for some time but never really considered him until just months ago when podcast impresario David Lee Scales mentioned to me that Devon loves egg shaped surfboards. “He argues that they work very well in the right conditions…” David Lee said and that was enough to absolutely infuriate me.

Eggs, you see, are my third least favorite thing to see in any lineup. The first is SUP, second is high performance longboard, third is egg. To my mind eggs exist solely for overweight 50 year-olds to catch waves they should not catch. A baby-boom’d crutch. Like Viagra.

And so there I sat, infuriated, hissing the name “Devon Howard” under my breath like Seinfeld hissed the name “Newman.”

Devon Howard.

And then I met the man for beer and salad and could not have been more pleased. Devon moves through the world much like the Rajneesh. A sort of benevolence radiates. He is well-spoken, intelligent, funny and best of all has a rhino thick skin. Not literally, of course, his skin did not even show any ugly cancers, but metaphorically. He gets it. He gets it all.

It was, therefore, with great pleasure that I spent two hours listening to him during the course of the bi-weekly recording of the podcast Grit!

I recommend you to listen too and if you need a nudge, here you go. Devon loves Hypto-Kryptos, Mossimo denim from Target and homemade sunscreen. Devon hates if you try to talk with him, or with anyone else, in the line-up.

I dare you to paddle over and say “hi.”


Two weeks on this or two days in Lemoore?

Price comparison: Indies Trader III vs Surf Ranch!

Two weeks in the Ments on one of the best charter boats in the biz? Or two days at the Pool? Same price!

Three days ago, the price structure for hiring the Slater-Mincham pool was revealed, $11.5k per person for two days of lake surfing. This included video, coaching, food and access to the Surf Ranch, a masterpiece of man-made bathymetry, in Lemoore, a lousy cotton-farming town four hours north-east of Los Angeles.

As Chas Smith calculated, at eight waves a day, it costs $718.75 per wave.

Today, pricing for this year’s charters on the Indies Trader III, one of the sexiest boats in the Mentawai island chain, was revealed. As a comparison to Surf Ranch, it makes for an interesting philosophical back and forthing.

To hire the whole damn boat, eight surfers max, for two weeks, with all food (“qualified chef with no expense spared on food quality”), all drinks (yeah, booze too), airport transfers and airport porters, staterooms with queen beds and ensuite for two of the surfers and three twin-share cabins for the rest, plus internet, dive gear, boards, fishing, kiting, SUP, whatever, is $US64,383.

Divide by eight surfers.

Each man, or lady, pays $US8047.

Two weeks. Mentawais. One of the two best boats in the chain (the other is the former Indies Trader IV, now the Ratu Motu) and, if you add in a biz-class airfare, it costs the same as two days at Surf Ranch.

Now. Let’s play fantasy surfer.

If you had eleven-gees, how would you spend it?

On a little drive to Lemoore and eight waves?

Or on an Indonesian odyssey? How many waves you going to catch in two weeks?

Two hundred?

Forty bucks a wave.

Book here for the Indies Trader! 


Get on the gambling train. But no insider trading! Or you going inside!

Insider Trading: WSL calls in the Feds!

Potential jail terms for any athlete or their entourage who passes on "inside information"… 

You might’ve noticed this website’s sudden kink for surf betting. In the last few weeks we’ve published stories that include  Scam: I got rich on surf betting!“, Volcom Team Manager Smashes Fantasy Surfer” and “Surf contests perfect for match-fixing.”

Recent surf bet stories on BeachGrit.

Background. When BeachGrit was launched we planned on having a surf betting component. We’d partner up with a betting house and make it easy to win, and lose, on surf events, world titles, odd combinations (first surfer to score a ten, first surfer to get injured etc), scooping a percentage of the losses. Didn’t happen ’cause betting houses only persist with surfing because it’s the gateway sport that, eventually, can lead to you throwing your salary away on horses.

Recently, we climbed into bed with Palmerbet, and as part of our push into gambling we thought it would be a fine idea to use our contacts to try and make a smallish fortune out of surf. We’d document each event’s wagers and amounts won and lost. We’d begin with ten k and turn it into seventy by December.

The title of the story was going to be, “How I Made $60k Betting on Surf!

Two weeks earlier, I’d interviewed the Volcom team manager Matt Bemrose, who’d won Surfer magazine’s Fantasy Surfer at his first attempt. He said betting with cash was almost cheating because “you know everyone so well. You’re at the event, you know who’s looking good, you know who’s got a magic board under their feet. This year, for example, I’m going to Snapper early to get a good look at the guys. You can see, immediately, who’s been working on shit in the off-season. Filipe, last year, it was obvious he’d been working on his rail game, that extension. He was thirty-percent better.”

Who doesn’t want the insider track?

I could almost smell the baby powder scent of the celebratory bubble bath.

Just as we were about to launch, with inside contacts all lined up, the WSL sent an email to athletes warning ’em that if anyone in their entourage, from coach to team manager, was found offering tips…insider trading… they’d face not just the punishments offered under Article 173 of the WSL rule book (suspension, expulsion, a fine five times “the highest amount able to be won from the violating activity whether any benefit was received or not”) but a visit from the Australian Federal Police.

Want to know what that means? Well, in 2011, “the Australian Sports Ministers (both Federal and State) endorsed the ‘National Policy on Match-Fixing in Sport’. The aim of the Policy was to protect the integrity of Australian sport and encourage all governments to address the issue of inappropriate and fraudulent sports betting and match-fixing activities.”

In NSW, you’ll enjoy a prison term of up to two years for passing on along “inside information” for the purpose of betting and up to ten years… a fucking decade of trying to avoid psychos with shivs and angry sodomites… for throwing a heat to make a little play money.

Our contacts in the game tell us that over the past few months representatives of the WSL have met with at least two of the biggest sporting bet co’s in Australia.

To warn them of their distaste for gambling and to shoo them away from the unimpeachable sport of surf?

Or to see, like us, if there’s money to be made?

A text message cat-and-mouse game with the WSL’s Dave Prodan went like this:

“Has the WSL banned team mangers from surf betting? And has the WSL been in talks with one of more betting agencies?”

No response.

“Don’t leave me hanging!”

One day later.

“Sorry, Derek, I don’t have those answers for you. I’m in office today and look them up.”

Three days later.

“Sportsbet! Start at Snapper? No comment?”

“Start at Snapper?”

“The Sportsbet partnership!”

“With the WSL?”

“Oui!”

“Not that I’m aware of, possible, but no partnership.” 

And on, and on.