Schroff and his "Yellow-Face" Instagram post which may, or may not, have got his account removed from IG under new terms regarding racism etc. "The pictures that I printed with those chopsticks was taken by my Japanese friend in a sushi bar. Mark Price knows goddamned well I'm not racist."

Peter Schroff: “I’m a stick of dynamite!”

The noted shaper on his defence of the made-in-America surfboard industry…

Three days ago, the shaper Peter Schroff’s Instagram account, a vehicle he used to shit on made-in-Asia surfboards, had been disappeared.

Read that here. 

Or if you want a quick education into his attacks on Slater Designs, Firewire and so on, click on Blood Feud: Schroff v Hayden Cox, Relentless: Schroff’s War on Mark PricePeter Schroff Does Yellow Face, Modern: Peter Schroff Doubles Down and Three-Way: Dorian v Tudor v Schroff.

I’d tried to contact Schroff, who is sixty-three years old, retired and living in a gorgeous shack in San Pedro, Los Angeles, a couple of times, Facebook, IG, the usual. At the end of my last story, I tried to smoke him out by calling him a sissy.

An email was duly relieved: “We think it might be in your best interest to print the truth save your credibility. Last we heard you were going to interview us to get the truth from the horses mouth, the next day Beach Grit is sporting A FireLiar ad & the interview never happen. You know darn good ’n well what this battle is about, Over sea surfboards production is flooding our market with unethical business practice!…… seems there’s some dirty hands involved here.”

Earlier today, I called Schroff. A soft voice answered.

“Who in the heck is this?”

Oh it’s Derek, BeachGrit. Tell me, where are you and what are you doing?

“You know, having a cigarette and a beer. Doing pretty well. I haven’t received a call from Australia in twenty or thirty years.”  

What happened to your Instagram account?

“Well, the big boys had it yanked off Instagram. It just disappeared. No warning, no nothing.”

Are you going to start a new account?

“Well, you know, the thing is, it took years to develop that following. We were gaining momentum ’cause it was definitely hurting Firewire. I heard they got it disappeared through an attorney. Said, they’re killing our business.”

I mention that Mark Price told me he had nothing to do with it and that it was, most likely, removed because of what was perceived to be racist content.

Ohhhh,” says Schroff. “You’re from BeachGrit. Shit, it took me a while. I can barely understand English let alone an Australian accent on top of it.

“But, yeah, everybody sent me messages saying I gotta go look at BeachGrit, that it was very one-sided on the Firewire side. You know, once Kelly Slater joined Firewire it started taking off, outta control. The way I see it, another five years there won’t be any surfboard industry except for the Asian one.”

The American board builders are cutting each others’ throats to sell boards. They can’t compete with boards landed for 120 or 150 dollars. It’s a complete mess here.

I ask: but doesn’t the made-in-Asia phenomenon create a point of difference for the custom shaper?

“Well, you know, you got the little hipster thing over here, that’s the custom thing. That’s maybe five percent of the market and at the rate it’s going, ninety-five percent of the market will soon be Asian-made boards. The American board builders are cutting each others’ throats to sell boards. They can’t compete with boards landed for 120 or 150 dollars. It’s a complete mess here. They’re cutting corners to make boards cheaper and it’s ruining the market. Nobody can compete with the consignment surfboard strategy. That’s causing a lot of damage. Every shop is taking 120 Firewires in their store because they get ’em for free, basically, they only have to pay when they sell ’em. And you know how surfboard shops are. They don’t pay their bills too well. It could be six months before the surfboard maker is paid. Firewire has the backing to pull that off.”

Interestingly, the consumer hasn’t directly benefited from the reduced cost of wholesale .

“The retail cost is pretty similar whether it’s made in Asia or custom-made here but the fact is, they’re giving the retailer a lot bigger profit margin and consignment. It costs a custom shaper 215 just to get his shape glassed.

I’ve been surfing for fifty-five years and I’m watching it just turn into a toaster oven business. The methods that we’re using is to ridicule Kelly and Mark Price and to have local people be too embarrassed to buy the boards. That’s the strategy.

“And besides,” says Schroff. “I’m retired. I just build boards for friends. I might do one or two boards a week. I’m not fighting for my livelihood. I’m fighting for the surf culture. I’m the elected jack-ass. That’s my stand on it. And, believe me, I’ve never been political in my whole fucking life. This thing is outta hand. I’ve been surfing for fifty-five years and I’m watching it just turn into a toaster oven business. The methods that we’re using is to ridicule Kelly and Mark Price and to have local people be too embarrassed to buy the boards. That’s the strategy.

“Nobody wants to touch me with a ten-foot pole. I’m a stick of dynamite. Most people are watching in the background. But it’s leaving its mark. Definitely every surfboard builder and retailer in the US knows what’s going on.

“Can you name anything that’s handmade any more? Skateboards are over and there’s nothing else. So it’s like preserving an endangered species. And, believe me, America is rooting to win this fight.”


Joey Buran, the USA surf team coach, ponders ways to smash nature. | Photo: Surfer Today

Olympics: “Competition against nature!”

But who will win?

It is Sunday morning in America and what a fine week stretches out behind us. There was the Oi Rio Pro and its eventual champion Filipe Toledo saving professional surfing from mechanical boredom. There was Steph Gilmore admitting to wanting so much more. There was the death of the greatest surf writer to ever live and there was a massive protest in front of the Duke Kahanamoku statue fronting Honolulu’s famed Waikiki beach.

But there wasn’t any Olympic surf news. Oh earlier in the fine week I read that Joey Buran is the United States Olympic Surf Team coach and will go head to head against Bede Durbo (Australia) and Charlie Medina (Brazil) for international bragging rights, fame* and fortune** but the news did not crack BeachGrit’s slider… until now.

The Olympics, as you well know, will take place exactly two years from now in Tokyo, Japan and surfing is officially included. A Kelly Slater wave pool is being built near Tokyo and I do believe there is language in the contract that allows the Olympic competition to be held there, the organizers still dream of hosting a natural event. The official Tokyo 2020 website states affirmatively:

The competition will take place on the open ocean, where the condition of the waves, the direction and strength of the wind, and the height of the tides will all be factors. No two waves are alike, making surfing a competition against nature as much as it is a contest between the competing athletes.

And the phrase “…surfing a competition against nature…” certainly made me stop and think. Do you feel like you are competing against nature when you surf? Do the professionals? It seems very antagonistic but maybe we are? Destroying nature the best we can while laughing maniacally? Smashing nature into the ground to show it who’s boss? This “competition against nature” bit sure does make it easier to ride very toxic surfboards and litter without pause. Smearing sunscreen all over before surfing reef passes, etc.

In this “competition against nature” which country wins? The United States of America are early favorites but Australia spews out exactly as much CO2 per capita as its erstwhile cousin and Brazil actively chops its rain forests down as quickly as it possibly can. A lot closer than it appears at first glance, no?

Go USA!


Is there a joy in life greater than watching an adult beginner in the surf? Is it the highest mountain of comedy?

Movie: “The beauty in skilled performance!”

A forty-three minute surf comedy!

One-and-a-half years ago, the Ventura-based surf filmer Norwell9 (he don’t like you using his real name) quit the game despite the popularity of his Instagram comedy clips. 

As he put it at the time,

Just like the country song says, “My camera broke down, care broke down, computer down…” After trying to nurse this season, tonight the axel on my old car snapped.  That and with my camera down and costly repairs I am forced to make the decision to shut down the volunteer work that I have been doing in the Ventura area for the past 31/2 years. I will organize all current footage, make the remainder instas, and then make a final Insta Movie #2.  Then celebrate all that we have accomplished with one final party and be gone.”

Of course no one really quits.

And goodbyes are never forever

You might turn your head away from the thing you love. You might seek other kinks, new adventures, pussies as slippery as freshly shucked Indonesian pawpaw or cocks of the friendliest red, but you always return.

Today, we’d like to present Norwell9’s return, which was filmed on the southern Californian coastline from Rincon to Malibu. The surfers featured include Dane Reynolds, Lakey Peterson, Griff Colapinto, Parker Coffin, Tim Curran and so on.

“It represents 10,038,486 views on Instagram in the nine months,” he says. “But it’s just me having fun with and volunteering filming the local surfers. In the process, I was at most of the good days this winter. Please remind everyone that I am just a monkey that hits record. The true stars are in the water and on the beach.”

 


Ross Williams (pictured bottom left) looking taciturn.

The unbearable weight of being (a coach)!

"At the end of the day it’s good to eat humble pie!"

With Filipe Toledo’s win in Brazil we are now officially… wow I was going to write halfway though the 2018 World Surf League Championship Tour but we’re only three events in. Three! Can you believe it? I mean, I suppose we’re really four events in if we count Margaret River as an “event” and I think we should because it was certainly action-packed and the perfect set up for Founders Cup in Lemoore, California where neither shark nor dolphin swim.

There are, of course, many intriguing storylines.

-Will Julian Wilson hold on to win his first ever world title?

-Will Filipe Toledo, instead, swoop in and claim his first of many crowns?

-Will the upcoming Lemoore Classic be as dull as the just passed Founders Cup?

-Will Uluwatu shine in the spotlight?

-Will John John Florence continue his subpar performance and who is to blame?

Let’s break this last intriguing storyline down.

-Maybe no one is to blame.

-Maybe John John is to blame.

-Maybe John John’s coach Ross Williams is to blame.

Hmmmm. It is rude to blame Ross, certainly. He does not tie on the boardshorts nor does he paddle into waves BUT he is coach and, as such, his entire job is to make John John win. Ross addressed these concerns on Instagram and let us read.

Johns had a couple poor results this year but it was never due to a lack of effort or will. Despite all the talk, some warranted and frankly some due to just laziness in my opinion, John has been surfing with the same conviction and froth as the last two years. All these amazing surfers go through their dry runs. It happens. He had a couple insane rides in his heat today but honestly I was happier with how well he built to his aggression. He fought hard for a couple scores which led to him putting the hammer down. Funny how much John gets scrutinized against his own potential. He’s had some of the most aggressive and progressive rides this year and some decent heat totals. Just a couple sloppy heats in the mix to give him those bad results. It’s a testimony more to the level of the tour. Everyone rips. At the end of the day it’s good to eat humble pie. I think it’s made his fire even stronger. He will continue to draw different lines and push the sport with integrity. Hoping it will inspire the yarners to do the same.

A fine post but I have a few more questions.

-Why is it funny how John John gets scrutinized against his own potential?

-Which of the talk is warranted and which is lazy?

-Is it really good to eat humble pie?

-What’s a yarner?

Most pundits have buried John John’s year, concluding he is too deep down the rankings for a comeback. The World Surf League’s own official mouthpiece seems to agree, suggesting people should be worried. Ross seems unperturbed but being a coach ain’t easy. The NBA’s Toronto Raptors just fired theirs after he won Coach of the Year.

A heavy burden. An unbearable weight.


Steph Gilmore, Brazil winner, hero to little boys everywhere! | Photo: WSL

Gilmore: “I still want to smash everyone!”

Y'gotta have a little animal if you wanna win six titles… 

As you all know by now, unless you’re living under a rock or are getting totally shacked on a deserted island – which, if you are, what are you even doing here – Steph Gilmore won the Oi Rio Pro yesterday.

She beat out Lakey Peterson in the finals.

Don’t ask me what happened, I was busy talking to some guy in the parking lot. Knowing what happened isn’t my job around here.

A week or so ago, I had the chance to do a brief interview with Gilmore. I’d driven down to Malibu, because Quiksilver was throwing a party to celebrate their new store. It was like any surf party you’ve ever been to. We stood in the parking lot, drinking beers and telling stories. Unlike most surf parties, we didn’t have to pass the hat for another beer run.

When I first catch sight of Gilmore, I have a weird moment of confusion. Is that her or a poster of her? She is after all standing in the Roxy section of the store. She’s wearing a colorful one-piece swimsuit as a top paired with skinny jeans. She laughs at something Caroline Marks says. No, that’s not a poster.

We step outside to get some distance from the DJ. Here are a few excerpts from our brief conversation.

On changes in the sport since she began competing:

“I started on Tour in 2007 at nineteen years old. I was able to have a few years where I competed with Layne Beachley and we had Rochelle Ballard, Chelsea Hedges, and Sofia Mulanovich. I was stoked to get a few years on Tour before those women retired.

“The first two years, I had events at Sunset. When I was on Tour, you know, the women are riding really big boards and sort of charging really big waves. It was sort of a proving point in that respect.

“These women were a lot more raw. There was something about that older generation, because they had to prove themselves from day one. They were pushing so hard for what they deserved. They had to do it with an aggression that almost created friction with the men.

“I think as time went on, you can see a transition where the men started to see that we weren’t competing against them, we weren’t taking anything away from them, we are here for the same reasons. We love the sport. We love what we do and we want to evolve and get better. It wasn’t taking anything away from them.

“I know a lot of of the older women in those generations are like, hey man, we worked so hard for what you’re reaping the rewards of today. But the beautiful thing is, we have so much gratitude for that and we really respect everything they’ve done for us.”

On style:

“Mel Bartels, she really used to blow my mind with the tricks. She was like the one girl, who was like, women’s surfing can go in this direction.”

“My surfing is pretty basic, you know, I just sort of do, like what I know how to do. And I kind of, that’s always been, it’s just solid, normal surfing.”

“Mel Bartels, she really used to blow my mind with the tricks. She was like the one girl, who was like, women’s surfing can go in this direction.”

I can’t help myself, and start laughing: Right! You don’t do anything fancy!

“No, I don’t! I don’t!” She’s laughing now, too.

Every guy I know wants to surf like you, I say.

“But that’s not because I do fancy stuff, I think that’s maybe because it’s fluid to watch and people love that.”

On being a woman athlete:

“That’s the cool thing about being a woman athlete, we’re able to have this balance. We can be fierce and have that assertiveness and competitive drive with each other and then we can kind of switch out of it.

“We care for each other and we want to help each other out on Tour and you know, it’s a really special camaraderie between all the girls.”

On the Competition level on Tour:

“It’s a lot tighter. Every single heat, you could lose. Anyone can lose. It’s crazy to think Carissa and Tyler aren’t winning every single event still. It’s a true testament to, all the girls, the level all the girls are at.”

I get a sudden glimpse of Gilmore, the athlete. She’s a photographer’s dream and seeing her perfect images and video clips, it’s sometimes easy to forget what Gilmore has accomplished. Here’s the woman who’s won six world titles, and still, it seems, wants more. There’s a determined glint in her eye.

“I love it. I still want to smash everyone and do my best. That’s why we’re all here.”