Filipe Toledo perfect ten
"Upside down, fifteen, sixteen feet across, four or five feet above the lip, fully inverted, 540 with a perfect landing. That was as snowboard as it gets when you’re surfing," says the commentator Chris Cote.

Definitive: The “Full-rotation” air is dead!

Are you a flat-earther? A climate change denier?

Boy is my face red. For a very long time, and to the eternal flattening of my dignity, I’ve been calling 540s “full-roters”.

For years.

Last February, I  engineered a video shoot where the current world number two, Filipe Toledo, would coach the women’s world number two, Lakey Peterson, into a “full-rotation” air.

In part two of that four-part series, A Brief History of the Full-Rotation Air, and which you can watch here, Chris Cote discusses the “FDLFCTFRA” or “Friends Don’t Let Friends Call Them Full Roters Association.”

Cote added, “A full-roter sounds like something a plumber does to your mom…they’re call 540s.”

Now despite all that, I persisted with the line that since a surfer doesn’t exit the wave at, and let me use the imaginary clock here, twelve, but does so at around nine, an air that finishes with the surfer facing the beach is closer to a 360 than a 540.

If you had to give any kind of number the thinking person would call it a 450.

Just as Kelly Slater called his huck in Portugal that went Ebola-viral a few years back an 810. 

A few days ago, the snowboarder Todd Richards appeared on The Grit with Chas Smith and David Lee Scales. I listened to the podcast, as I do, over the course of a few commutes hither and yon, and finally got it.

I got it. 

I’m not sure if it was when Todd used his irritated white guy voice to dismantle the host’s mathematics posit, when he said it was like arguing with flat-earthers or when he explained that it was the… feeling… of the move that defined it, I was sold.

How could I have had it wrong for so long? So dumb. So dumb. 

(The debate starts around the twenty-minute mark.)

Anyway, once and for all.

A straight air is a 180.

An air reverse is a 360.

A…ahem… full-roter is a 540.

Still confused.

Watch here.


Here, Mason Ho jives with the former What Youth editor (and its co-founder) Travis Ferré during the Volcom Pro. | Photo: Red Bull

Fuck: “We should be embarrassed about pools!”

Former What Youth editor Travis Ferré says, "We are surfing! Fuck!"

For the first time in fourteen years, I do not work in the “surf industry.” I am without collaborators or staff. Without your comments or calls or texts or emails and all those pestering wave pool invites.

For the moment: I am a mere surf civilian. I mean, I’m out here all alone man. Like, I need new shoes and I don’t know who to hit up. This is scary!  

So anyway, hello everyone, industry friends, fellow civilian surfers and readers of BeachGrit. I know who you are. Lots of you are industry friends.

But most of you are the people I’ve attempted to entertain and stoke out by making surf mags and stuff over the last fourteen years. For better or worse. And I’ve done that for the same reason you hang out on this website and already (like me) ordered Chas’ new book and care that someone made a fake “Wanted” poster in North County, SD with Hayden Cox and Mark Price’s face on it.

We love surfing and its bizarre nuances and culture and the entertainment and drama and stories and surf turkey talk and the psycho personalities that come with it. That’s us!

It’s because we love this shit.

We love surfing and its bizarre nuances and culture and the entertainment and drama and stories and surf turkey talk and the psycho personalities that come with it. That’s us! And I must say, I did miss all that.  

 But…did you miss me? I mean, it’s been a few weeks or something since I left my former editor post in the surf/skate/lifestyle/music media world. Did you even notice? No…well, that’s OK. I’ll get back to you on whether I missed you and the waterfall of email I’d become accustomed to. But for now, let’s see where I’ve been. 

I just returned from Mexico and San Francisco. Two places that top lists of where people go to disappear. And I think I know why this is. You see, it’s because both offer “all the attractions of the next world” as Oscar Wilde once put it regarding SF (he’s right) and between the two, Mex and San Francisco you’ll find the perfect hangover cure for those seeking a certain kind of shelter and distraction from the social binging we put on ourselves through here on earth in 2018.

They’re places you can become the audience instead of the performer. You just melt into the atmosphere and enjoy the show. Be it natural or cultural or personal. 

In Mexico, your thoughts are purified by an antiseptic of fresh lime and hot sand and blue waves and water. Some beer, lots of warmth, wax in the ice chest and the beat of daily life. In San Francisco, your usual anxieties take a backseat to the rhythmic pulse and pop and shake and grime of the streets and the parks and bars and the hula-hooping pixies and far-gone souls who inhabit them. The wind is always blasting up and down the hilly streets and straight into your phone calls so it’s better to just hang up. The rich wear a wireless Bluetooth ear bud and the poor ask you for one. You will not and cannot “stand out.” And even if you did, they would only see you and not hear you because of the Bluetooth ear bud, so you are second fiddle. It is sweet anonymity being second fiddle in a city.

Oh, and the aroma of SF! The air smells of incense and marijuana and seafood and urine blowing off the bay and over the gutters. Somehow pleasant, mysterious, refreshing and venomous.

Oh, and the aroma of SF! The air smells of incense and marijuana and seafood and urine blowing off the bay and over the gutters. Somehow pleasant, mysterious, refreshing and venomous. Each gust a new flavor. But the important thing about both places: You are in the Anonymous Zone. And I liked being there. But I also realized I need new high tops and there’s a crack in the tail of my favorite board and I don’t have much money, so I must return. I must return and entertain the surf dudes and get new shoes! 

I’m not done yet. I’m not done yet. I’m not done yet…

But while I have you, and before I get too deep on what’s next for me: I do have some notes on what happened in surf while I was in the Anonymous Zone:  

  • I agree with Chris Coté: It’s time we pay homage to skateboarding (and snowboarding) and call the tricks what they’re called. I’m not as passionate about this as some, but we’ve come full circle and surfers are doing tricks inspired by skaters and snowboarders, so let them be named what they’ve been named already. Otherwise, let’s go our own way and change the name of every grab and trick we have and act like skaters and snowboarders haven’t been doing them for years and we’ll have to start a whole new aerial and grab dictionary and call things the sealtooth grab, or the Toledo spin and things like that (let’s not do that). Skating and snowboarding came from surfing, but it doesn’t mean we can’t take cues from them. Like we have with grabs. Let’s not be naïve. Call it what it is and has been — but let’s try to do it right. It’s a 360 revert. And a fantastic one. 
  • I still don’t give a shit about wave pools. Yes, the technology is impressive, and I’m happy some people without ocean access or resources can now ride them and the waves they make, but it has only reintroduced me to the details and nuances I love about the sea and the act of getting myself in it. 
  • The Founders Cup was a snooze. It was golf. It made baseball feel thrilling. Which I feel like we should be embarrassed about. We are surfing. Fuck. 
  • The Founders Cup needed “Situational Music” — which is something I spoke with Dane about years ago while watching Bells. We need music. We need enthusiasm. We need energy. Otherwise we don’t need this contest at all. Just let the country club rich dudes have the pool and let’s go surfing. Like actual surfing. 
  • If I had been at Founders Cup I would have wanted to be on Team Brazil. They were fun and played into the format well. The other “teams” looked AWK AF.
  • I didn’t miss you or my email or my Instagram, but I do now. 

OK, talk soon.

Going shoe shopping! What should I get?

Are there surf shoes? Non-slipper kind?

Like Pure Juice? Help! 



Superlative: Biggest ever Cloudbreak?

Let's demand a new professional surf format!

Have you been watching Cloudbreak spit its guts at professional surfers but who don’t compete on the World Surf League’s Championship Tour? I don’t like using superlatives, especially when writing about waves other than Pipeline, but… wow! Longtom broke down the juxtaposition between Fiji and Keramas expertly, as he does, drawing on the Scottish-flavored philosophy of David Hume along the way. It is worth a re-read but gave me this thought. You recall how the Keramas event was rebranded the Corona Bali ProTECTED yes? Well don’t you think the WSL should rebrand as the World Surf BEleaguerED?

That’s funny, right?

I think so but back to Fiji and what ought be happening right now. The BEleaguerED should implement, post-haste, the Surf Bout format that David Lee Scales and I discussed on the latest podcast. (Listen here). Quite basically, the model follows boxing or UFC where cards are drawn up based upon matchups both the people and The People™ want. At Cloudbreak yesterday, for example the headliners would have been Kelly Slater vs. Kai Lenny. 3 20 minute rounds. The undercards would have been… I don’t know who else was there? (watch here)

And very seriously, I cannot think of one good reason this format would not be exactly the sort that would work. Hell, some of the undercards could have even been at Keramas. We live in the future now where things can be videoed and broadcast live around the world in real time. Did you know that?

I would have paid 25 bucks for 3 hours of that sort of action. I will pay 0 dollars, though, to watch Julian Wilson vs. Connor O’Leary vs. Anwar Sadat.

What are even the potential bummers of treating competitive surfing like boxing? We’d get great HBO build-ups too. Don’t you want 24/7 starring Gabriel Medina and John John Florence?

Well, don’t you?

Griffin Colapinto Keramas
Colapinto had other ideas. He effortlessly bested Jesse Mendes in an aggressive paddle battle then started throwing it into the sky. He was the best, maybe the only true hi-fi surfing of the day.

Day 1, Keramas: “Colapinto only true hi-fi surfer!”

Twenty-one scored totals under 10. At clean six-foot Keramas.

I spent the day watching the opening day of Keramas taking notes, toggling desperately between tabs to try and get a fix of giant Cloudbreak, which was falling out of the heavens.

The few clips I saw of perfect 20-foot glacial blue tubes lit me up like a junkie with a spike in the vein.

Keramas, not so much.

Still, the best live surfing I’ve ever seen was the Volcom Guerilla Freesurf session after the pros capitulated. It seemed Volcom would sponsor Fiji until the crack of doom after those epic years. But they fled, leaving Ziff to pick up the tab, and then Kelly, who inked a three-year deal and reneged after one, blaming the Fijian government.

Such is life. 

A little problem presented itself almost straight away at Keramas. A nagging one, which a very smart commenter named Toin Coss inadvertently put his finger on a couple of stories back. He called it the naturalistic fallacy, the tendency to confuse what is with what ought to be.

I reframe slightly to credit the source, that turgid Scottish cunt David Hume (kidding: he was a great laugh, apparently). Hume named the is/ought problem after the tendency to determine what ought to be, from what is. The WSL gives it to us arse about. We can all plainly see what is, but they tell us what ought to be. 

Joe and Pottz ran themselves ragged this morning telling us how Keramas was the highest performance wave on Tour now (false), how we were going to be blessed by a blitzkrieg of surfboards raining down from the high heavens, an aerial bonanza, a shredfest of greco-roman proportions. A radical sceptic like Hume would have drop-kicked the computer off a high building. 

Italo got the best shack of the first heat, but gave away priority and Parko sneaked through with a ten-point total. Owen dialled in two bombs waiting patiently, a strategy John Florence admitted he cribbed for the following heat. 

Rosie had dialed up the is/ought fiasco by claiming John, at the halfway mark without a wave ridden was “looking fantastic”. He did look good later with a coupe of slick tube-rides, but is he back?

Not to be outdone, Pottz claimed a little later that “all these guys, in my eyes, have the ability to win a World Title (false). Maybe five guys in a year, maybe three.

Did you notice the narrative change in the most subtle but delightful way when Kieren Perrow, with images starting to dribble in of Kelly spearing giant Cloudbreak, attributed Kell”s absence, not to injury but to the fact he “can’t compete at the very high level he wants to”. I appreciated that. The injury line was starting to really throw sand in my gears. 

Heat four saw Mikey Wright come out snarling and swinging like a wild animal. Unfortunately he picked the thick waves that filled up on the reef, not the bulbous mid-range waves that stayed open. He buckled a board, he couldn’t get a score. I still see the Weet-Bix-kid-Mikey I used to surf with as a grom, which is unfair. People grow up, they change. Strider was enthused at “how well he’s put together the rig.” Filipe was average and Connor snuck through with another 10-point heat total. 

With the promised high-performance bonanza starting to slip away the is/ought dilemma had to be jammed into Ronnie’s back pocket for the next heat with Gabe. Maybe it fell down the crack in the couch with all the loose change. Parko was in the booth. He was fantastic. Who woulda thought he was so fantastic as a story-teller. He raised some important issues. 

  1. The wave is hard to turn on.
  2. The seawall built to retrain the river-mouth may have negatively impacted the wave and 
  3. Gabe Medina has under-performed since 2014. 

A weird, wonky heat ensued. No waves came. With a 9.45 remaining Gabe had no scores. Finally he picked a couple of scraps and tore them to pieces. The winning total: 5.60.

I do not kid. 

Julian’s preparation was revealing. He had no preparation. Just head home and hang with the Mum and bub and leave the sled in the covers. It worked. He rode the throatiest bomb of the morning beautifully, perfectly for an easy win against C O’leary and Indonesian wildcard Oney Anwar. 

By this stage, with J-Flo in the water I had to reflect on Chas’ Olympic story with its allusions to dangerous and damaging techniques. Keramas demands a certain line. The deep tube to the  deep, deep cutback back up into the bowl. It’s a turn that demands strength and maybe good board design. Watching pro’s fail to penetrate the rail was dispiriting. Seven heats in and there had been two proper turns. J-Flo did one of them, JJF the other.

But with strength so lacking and at such a premium surely pro’s must avail themselves of “dangerous and damaging techniques”?

Jordy attacks!

Finally, what ought to be arrived on stage. Jordy hacked and gouged away and threw tail on the boiling inside section. When Jordy attacks people are happy. The crowd roused. Judges lowballed him, maybe an ongoing punishment for the safety surfing sins of events past? He looked imperious. 

It was a shame the is/ought propaganda had been shelved by heat nine. Pottz had lost steam and was in full “ a win is a win” territory.

Colapinto had other ideas. He effortlessly bested Jesse Mendes in an aggressive paddle battle then started throwing it into the sky. He was the best, maybe the only true hi-fi surfing of the day. In the presser, he made intentions clear. He’d been waiting all year for sections like that and he was glad the judges only gave him an 8.5 because there was room to grow.

They called it off after heat 11, with the trade-wind tearing strips off it and even Ronnie felt emboldened to call it slop. 

Thirty-three surfers surfed 11 heats. Three scored heat totals over 15.

Twenty-one scored totals under 10. In clean albeit wonky six-foot Keramas.

Just the facts. Just what is.

Corona Bali Protected Men’s Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 10.37, Italo Ferreira (BRA) 10.10, Keanu Asing (HAW) 7.17
Heat 2: Owen Wright (AUS) 14.17, Michael February (ZAF) 9.74, Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 9.57
Heat 3: John John Florence (HAW) 15.17, Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 8.00, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 4.16
Heat 4: Conner Coffin (USA) 10.94, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 9.46, Mikey Wright (AUS) 5.84
Heat 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 5.60, Barron Mamiya (HAW) 2.97, Tomas Hermes (BRA) 2.07
Heat 6: Julian Wilson (AUS) 11.50, Connor O’Leary (AUS) 6.44, Oney Anwar (IDN) 6.27
Heat 7: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 8.77, Kolohe Andino (USA) 8.66, Ian Gouveia (BRA) 2.73
Heat 8: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.10, Joan Duru (FRA) 13.04, Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 8.33
Heat 9: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 15.07, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 10.83, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 10.40
Heat 10: Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.16, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 8.57, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 5.67
Heat 11: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 7.84, Frederico Morais (PRT) 6.44, Wade Carmichael (AUS) 4.83

Corona Bali Protected Remaining Matchups:
Heat 12: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Yago Dora (BRA)

Warning: “Unproven, damaging techniques!”

What menace lurks in professional surfing?

It is a beautiful morning in southern California after many, many grey days. The sun is shining, bunny rabbits frolicking in the dewy grass, a little hummingbird has just built a nest outside my window and is gently optimistic about the future. Little does she know that a evil lurks nearby. Like a creeping shadow spreading across the waters. Like a menacing chill. Waiting to destroy her young hatchlings’ futures.

For somewhere close surf coaches are peddling dangerous snake oil, pseudo-science, lies masquerading as truth, death.

How do I know? Well the official governing body of U.S. Olympic Surfing just convened a panel of leading experts in the medical and possibly psychological fields to give the Olympic hopefuls the best possible shot at winning gold and let us read together from the press release.

“USA Surfing will work toward impacting the whole sport of surfing in the United States, not just our elite athletes or Olympic hopefuls,” Dean said. “We have assembled a dream team of experts to help create a performance pathway that supports winning medals and progressing the sport of surfing at every level.”

Dean believes in an evidence-based approach adapted to each individual athlete and warns of unproven and even damaging techniques employed by surfers and coaches striving to improve performance. “We look forward to sharing the leading research and techniques for surf fitness and training,” Dean said. “Surfers need to demonstrate competent movement upon which to build appropriate strength”

USA Surfing CEO Greg Cruse said Team USA’s High Performance Committee reflects the vision of USA Surfing leading up to the 2020 Olympics. “Kevyn has assembled a world-class committee and surf training program,” said Cruse. “The committee’s work reflects the momentum and excitement growing in USA Surfing. Surfing is one of the most athletically demanding sports in the world and it needs the solid, medically sound training program that the High Performance Committee will bring to the sport.”

All fine and good to the casual reader but the highly trained surf journalist sniffs out the disturbance and let us read the following line, again, together:

…warns of unproven and even damaging techniques employed by surfers and coaches striving to improve performance. “We look forward to sharing the leading research and techniques for surf fitness and training,” Dean said. “Surfers need to demonstrate competent movement upon which to build appropriate strength”

What are these unproven and even damaging techniques being employed by surfers and coaches striving to improve performance? Not lifting with your legs? Sitting with poor posture? Not brushing and flossing before bed? Drinking matcha lattes instead of coffee?


Some surfer or coach out there must know and I’ll get to the bottom of it but in the meantime we should probably speculate steroids. Or cocaine.

Buy Cocaine + Surfing here!