Forecast: Lowers set to shine during Surf Ranch Pro!

It's Murphy's Law or at least the surfer version!

Of course you knew the very second the World Surf League abandoned Lower Trestles, replacing it with the Surf Ranch Pro in Lemoore, that the forecast would be good-great for greater San Clemente during that window. It’s Murphy’s Law or at least the surfer version. “It’s always better down the beach.”

To be fair, I don’t know that Lowers will necessarily be “better” than Surf Ranch over the weekend. It would have been nice if some slightly rebellious surf flavored website enticed the world’s other best surfers (Noa Deane, Dane Reynolds, Chris Ward, etc.) out to Lowers with a trained camera live streaming so a direct comparison could be accurate.

Alas, the slightly rebellious surf flavored website spent its money on a billboard then gambled the rest. And, anyhow, a high performance longboarding tour named Relik acquired the permit and plans on serving sushi there on the cobbled stones while men on 9’0s try to break the fins free.

More on that later but Lowers will be humiliated, surely. It didn’t deserve humiliation, didn’t even ask for humiliation but that is also Murphy’s Law or at least the surfer version. “What’s that kook on a longboard trying to do?”

Which makes me think… I want Surf Ranch to shine. I want to be amazed by the competition. I want to be surprised by joy. I want every wave to feel special and I want the surfers to grind their heels into my badittude.

Then I want the World Surf League to keep all their permitted windows around the world, j-Bay, Snapper, Teahupo’o etc. but hold all competition at Surf Ranch and auction the ocean heats off to grumpy locals.

Isn’t that a fine idea?

How much would you pay to surf for 30 minutes at good-great Lowers with only one other grumpy local in the lineup?

Super shaper Matt Biolos on Surf Ranch Pro: “Michel, Ace, Joel, Conner (both of ’em) have no chance! Only 12 of the 34 can make final!”

The performance level at the Surf Ranch Pro is going to be twice as high as Founders' Cup says shaper to the stars.

At this weekend’s Surf Ranch Pro, the San Clemente shaper Matt Biolos is going to have ten surfers affixed to his shapes. Count ’em: Kolohe Andino, Griff Colapinto, Carissa Moore, Caroline Marks, Michael Rodrigues, Yago Dora, Malia Manuel, Coco Ho and Joan Duru. 

Would’ve been eleven if Tyler Wright’s mysterious illness hadn’t forced her withdrawal. 

Matt, who has ridden both types of Wavegarden, watched each day of the Founders’ Cup live and has just returned from a three-day hit to Waco, knows what works in pools. So we get to talking about boards for the event. Turns out ain’t much diff to regular shooters, a little shorter to fit into the tighter transitions, maybe a round tail instead of a squash for control, low entry rocker, heavy out the tail or vice versa.”

My eyes are popping out for the Surf Ranch Pro. I’m of the vibration, I say, that the Founders’ Cup was all play, nothing to win and nothing to lose, and that this weekend’s tournament will elevate the game considerably. 

“The standard is going to be twice as high as the Founders’ Cup,” says Matt. “It’ll be incredibly high and incredibly entertaining. The judging is going to have to be incredibly astute, however. The judges are going to have to know the difference between each manoeuvre. None of that Jadson Andre holding-the-rail bullshit. What the fuck? Was it Jadson or Kanoa holding the rail after they landed airs at the US Open?

Oh I don’t know!

“They can’t possibly give that a score? It’s a safety air. It’s bullshit. The judges really really have to know. When Kolohe does a stalefish and someone does a regular grab, which is harder? You’re going to see the mid-tier guys doing airs at the end of the wave but the gnarly guys are going to do the air before the first tube. And you better give that a bigger score than the air at the end of the wave.”

Biolos says it’s going to be a game of combos.

“The surfing is gong to be so orchestrated, like figure skating. There has to be a degree of difficulty. Joan can only get so high a score compared to Kolohe. It’s going to be crazy technical. Fins out is going to be a difference. Griffin sends it out the back, Taj Burrow-style. Griffin’s doing three fins-out turns…boomboomboom… and those others guys are doing hooks and snaps. It’s way gnarlier (to throw the fins) on that wave.”

So who’s going to be around on final’s day?

“I can’t see Michel Bourez or Ace Buchan or Joel or Conner O’Leary or Conner Coffin or any of those guys having any kind of chance to to make the final eight. There’s just no fucking way. Maybe twelve of those 34 guys have a chance of making the eight. Gabriel, Italo, Filipe, Kolohe, Griffin, Jordy, Julian. 

More than anything, says Matt, “You better be fucking gnarly.”

This slab on the Arabian peninsula is very tetanus and works on a solid south swell. Email for details!
This slab on the Arabian peninsula is very tetanus and works on a solid south swell. Email for details!

Coming soon: BeachGrit’s Guide to the World’s Greatest Secret Waves!

Life is but a wonderful adventure!

I’ve been thinking about this for a while now and Derek Rielly’s letter perfect series yesterday sealed it for me. I need to write the profound book BeachGrit’s Guide to the World’s Greatest Secret Waves. Oh it is the rudest thing a surfer can do but… is it really? I mean, follow me for a minute here and then if you disagree I’ll happily be pilloried.

Hell, I’ll happily pillory myself.

So, waves are a limited commodity and there are lots more surfers than spots and blah blah blah blah. Right? You know the storylines for keeping waves quiet and also for rabid localism. Do you remember a few weeks ago when New Zealanders shot at other New Zealanders surfing their secret wave? The story got some traction in the lamestream media but it didn’t surprise me for one second and it didn’t surprise you for one second.

This is surfing and it is great BUT “secret waves” are also a very funny sacred cow in the day and age of Google Earth and Mick Fanning.

I’m not talking some brave boy or girl setting out with board, wax and pair of Birdwell’s here. I’m talking either the waves everyone “knows” or the waves that people film.

With me so far?

“World’s Greatest Secret Waves” is a relative term, of course. Of course it is. Everything about what we do is subjective. Our favorite pastime inspired the most relative phrase in the English language. “The best surfer in the water is the one having the most fun.”


But that’s where you come in. What are the World’s Greatest Secret Waves? What is the criteria here? I suppose I should know but I do my writing on the fly so need you, always.

Here’s what I have so far:

Hazards (on California’s central coast)

Lunada Bay

One of the Salina Cruz waves

Te Maika (New Zealand)

And where else? The plan will be to go and surf then write everything. Where to park, how to walk, what board to ride etc.


And the point? To kick sacred cows but also encourage proper surf adventure again. It may seem in the day and age of Google Earth and Mick Fanning that secrets are no longer possible but that is crazy. This world is big and wild and very wild for the bravest of the brave. It always has been. Once a “secret spot” starts getting whispered about, though, it is no longer a true adventure. I want for true adventures.

I always have.

Fantasy surf enthusiasts around the world react to the harsh news.
Fantasy surf enthusiasts around the world react to the harsh news.

Conspiracy: The WSL closes Fantasy Surfer for the Surf Ranch Pro!

It's an Orwellian Obscenity!

Now, you would think after my most recent Namotu fiasco that I would be on my best behavior double then triple checking rumors that float across my sky. That I would be on the horn with people who know or people who know people who know. That I would be fact checking late into the evening. That one more mangled piece of gossip could potentially sink us and I would be tireless, absolutely tireless, in making certain that only the absolute ungarnished truth gets shouted from BeachGrit’s rooftop.

You would think, but in reality I can’t even be bothered to log on to Facebook today to see if this newest rumor, that the World Surf League is not offering fantasy picks for the Surf Ranch, is true.

Is it true? A wonderful source informed me via Instagram:

Grab a vodka coconut water and let the BeachGrit readers know the WSL don’t seem to be running fantasy picks for Surf Ranch!!! What is this madness? Would it offer up too much enjoyment?Too much choice? Freedom? First they take our wave choice, then they take our team choice, what is this Orwellian Obscenity?

The fact that he used “Orwellian Obscenity” makes me believe it is entirely true but why?

Maybe, and this would be very smart of the World Surf League, fantasy is going away because reality is coming. Have you read news of the NBA’s embrace of real gambling? It is the first league in America to team up with a sportsbook (MGM) and the thinking goes now the door has opened all other leagues/associations are going to hop right through.

According to ESPN:

What did MGM get?

MGM gets the rights to NBA league and team logos, highlights, access to the official league data feed and the tag of being the “official gaming partner” of the NBA and WNBA.

What’s in it for the NBA?

The deal, according to sources, is believed to be $25 million over three years. That’s small change for the NBA. The value, though, may come through the creation of a market for their direct data feed. Now that MGM has signed up, other competitors have a decision to make: Is the access to data that the NBA is offering worth it?

Professional surfing should be right behind the NBA. I’ve written before that surfers are like magnificent horses and perfect to bet. High stakes players could visit the professional surfers on the sand before they paddle out and run our hands along their muscles. It would be wonderful and make for a wonderful time. Surfing was made for losing and winning but mostly losing money. Don’t you agree?

But if the WSL did not close their fantasy chamber because real gambling will be offered at Surf Ranch then why?

What could possibly be the reason?

Instant Success: BeachGrit reader claims prize in race to locate Mick Fanning’s wave!

One thousand dollar reward smokes out location! And it's a…surprise!

The game moves fast in this gorgeous connected world. Within minutes of posting a one-thousand dollar reward for any information that led to the whereabouts of Mick Fanning’s secret wave, an email and a telephone call had sorted out the necessary details.

There were the usual guesses: India, Christmas Island etc.

But as it transpires.

It’s in Africa. (Although a different part of the continent to what I’d supposed.)

And it needs a south swell, a real big south, to break.

Some other notable information. There’s a simple beachfront resort with air-conditi0ned rooms nearby with a tariff to please the budget traveller

English is the official language.

The local people sure do like to party.

The children are lovely and are very good dancers.

The region was featured in an extremely famous surfing movie.

The food ain’t bad. Hell of a lot of fish. No fun for happy vegans.

At night, the equatorial sky is of such a deep blue cosmic presentation one can lose complete orientation.

Celebratory cocktail?