From the feel-good-department: Laird Hamilton says “The idea is to become an old wizard!”

Greatest big-wave surfer of all time releases book of various personal philosophies.

Recently, Laird Hamilton, who is the world’s greatest big-wave surfer, released a book called Force of Nature: Mind, Body, Soul, And, of Course, Surfing. 

The 247-page volume tells fifty-four-year-old Laird’s story, which is compelling enough – born in an experimental bathysphere, abandoned by daddy, collected new daddy from the beach (and his name, Zerfas to Hamilton) and so on – but focusses on his various philosophies.

It begins with this lovely quote from Mark Twain: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones that you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

“The idea is to become an old wizard; to live a long, fruitful life and have family and be healthy and enjoy the ride. And speaking of the ride, why not let it rip, at least a little bit?” LAIRD HAMILTON

Laird hits the vein from a similar dropper.

“You can spend your life fence-sitting because you’re frightened of something bad that might happen or you can launch yourself into it with all of your conviction and all of your intelligence. Here’s my advice: Meet up with your fears. If you’re afraid of sharks, go learn all about sharks. Get into the water with one. If you respect fear, face it straight on and act anyway. What you’ll find isn’t terror –it’s exhilaration and the moments that you never forget.”

“Forget your emotions around fear for a second and look at the simple reality: It’s an energy source designed to increase performance. Adrenaline and the natural hormones your body creates when you’re scared are more powerful than any drug. The ability to harness it constructively, that’s the tricky part.”

“When we’re not operating in life-or-death situations, a lot of times we tune out. If you’re sitting behind a desk all day, you don’t have to be hyperaware. But it’s important to exercise your instincts like you would a muscle. If you don’t try to tune in to every-thing–smell, hearing, sight, vibration–you can get dull, and that might come back to haunt you when it matters most.”

Or my favourites.

“Our days are meant to be fun. Once you lose that thread, I think you’ve just lost the essence of the whole deal. If you build up a wealth of experiences, letting yourself be amazed by everything and everyone around you, then fun and its close relative, joy, will be the inevitable by-products. The last thing you want to do is to look back at the end and think coulda, woulda, shoulda.”

“The idea is to become an old wizard; to live a long, fruitful life and have family and be healthy and enjoy the ride. And speaking of the ride, why not let it rip, at least a little bit?”

Last year I interviewed Laird for the release of his biopic Take Every Wave: the life of Laird Hamilton. He got me with a few zingers then too.

“The doctor was covered in my blood, all over his mask. I could feel him yanking on me. I could feel pulsing as he was doing shit to my leg.”

“I grew up a white guy in Hawaii and there was a certain level of …of…of…aggression… on the land. Or should I say, instead of aggression, a certain level of separation. I was a white guy in a dark guy’s world. I was an outsider, like I am in surfing, so it was a natural place for me. Some of my best friends are Hawaiians and some of the greatest and most beautiful people are Hawaiians. But when you’re a minority in a racially tense environment you get used to being an outcast. I think that shaped my life.”

Read that interview here. 

The book costs around thirty dollars in hardcover, half that in paperback.

Buy it here. 


From the egg-on-face department: Top Gun remake filming in Lemoore!

First Kurt Russell now this!

I have made it my business to shit on California’s central valley feat. Lemoore and Visalia for the past two years. Every single chance I saw. Every opportunity I smelled and even opportunities that were merely drunken illusions.


I described in detail the smell of cow shit that hovers. I detailed the inverted fog and sad migrant workers with children locked up in Trump branded bouncy castles.

Nothing could ever rehabilitate California’s central valley. Not all the methamphetamine in the entire world.

And then this morning I learned that Kurt Russell’s Jack Burton’s truck company was based out of Visalia. Kurt Russell. The greatest actor of his generation. A songbird. And I was back, wondering if the real estate market is booming in the central valley too and wondering if I might be able to slip into a double-wide Ranch adjacent.

I am now putting money down on that double-wide Ranch adjacent because the famous David Lee Scales just emailed this gem through.

The Navy is confirming to Action News that filming for the sequel to the 1986 blockbuster Top Gun is being partly filmed at Naval Air Station Lemoore.

Tom Cruise is reprising his role as Maverick for the sequel and the name of the new movie is “Top Gun: Maverick.”

The Navy can’t tell us if Cruise is in Lemoore. But, the Navy can say that NAS Lemoore’s F18 Super Hornets and F35’s will play a big role in the movie.

Twitter user David Cenciotti, a verified aviation blogger, tweeted these pictures of what he says is Tom Cruise’s P-51 Mustang and the special colored FA18 Super Hornet used in the film spotted in Lemoore on September 14th.

In a Facetime interview from San Diego, the Navy says the new movie will feature the Central Valley in a big way.

“A great deal of the flying in this film will be done by Lemoore based aviators,” said Cmdr. Ron Flanders, Public Affairs Officer Naval Air Forces

The Navy says they’re acting as technical advisors for the cast of the movie.
Production is ongoing and the film isn’t due to be released into theaters until June 26, 2020.

So ok. About putting money down on that double-wide Ranch adjacent… I haven’t officially yet because BeachGrit is still struggling under the financial weight of The People’s Billboard but should we maybe crowdfund a double-wide Ranch adjacent? Like, I joke about crowdfunding stuff all the time but what if we did? What if we had a very sick double-wide Ranch adjacent? With HBO and ESPN?

If you give money it’ll be yours as much as anyone’s. We’ll work bookings off a tried and true time share system.

Do time shares still exist in the age of Airbnb?

We can time share our double-wide to the WSL for their Airbnb surfer experience thing.

But I’m out if they’re not filming a re-make of this scene at Surf Ranch and you should be out too.

Rehabilitated: Surf Ranch and environs most famous first son!

Lemoore becomes cool overnight!

We have no secrets here between us. None at all. And you know that much of the reason I loathe Surf Ranch is because it is in Lemoore, California which is near Visalia, California which is from whence my ex-wife hails.

I hate Visalia.

I hate its inverted fog, its flat straightness, its damned old timey burger drive-in place, its everything. My heart would sink anytime I’d be forced to travel north and east. North and east in the same exact direction as Surf Ranch and the two, Visalia and Surf Ranch became conflated in my booze-soaked mind.

Or as I wrote in the prologue of the current #10 bestseller in Sports Health and Safety (buy here!)

It is cold outside, and gray. Heavy-sweater weather. Maybe even thin down-filled jacket paired with stocking cap weather and it smells like cow. Like manure, wet feed and sour milk which only makes sense since we are in Lemoore, California the official “Home of Cows, More Cows, and Chas Smith’s Damned Ex-Wife.”

Just kidding. My damned ex-wife is from neighboring Visalia, but all of inland central California is basically the same thing and a place I swore I’d never return. Then Kelly Slater went and created the perfect wave here.


Or hated.

Because not ten minutes ago, I discovered that Kurt Russell’s Jack Burton had his trucking company based in Visalia.

Do you not recall Big Trouble in Little China? It was one of the best movies of the 1980s, one of the very best, with Kurt Russell, as previously noted, Kim Cattrall and directed by John Carpenter.

I feel that 1980s Kurt Russell can rehabilitate anything at all and if you don’t believe me watch:

Escape from New York

The Thing

Swing Shift

The Mean Season


Tequila Sunrise

Tango & Cash


That is Kurt Russell’s resume from the 1980s alone and not even a complete list. He made New York, monsters, shipwrecks, Tequila Sunrise cocktails, Sly Stallone and fires all better.

Visalia too. And by extension Surf Ranch.

Kelly should give Kurt Russell a permanent golden ticket and locker that no one can use not even Mick Fanning.

He should be able surf any time he pleases.

Time in the cube stokes your fever! But must be correctly channelled!

Quiz: Can Deprivation Make You a Better Surfer?

Time in the cube can help you shred? Maybe!

There’s a mindset that says if you want to climb to any  elevated surf performance you gotta give your life to the game. You see it in the little kids pulled out of school to give ’em more hours in the ocean so they can pursue a pro surfer dream that’s gonna leave ’em broke and busted at twenty five.

You see it in the locals who’ve built their lives around their local beach, poor forever, aged into pickles by the salt and the sun and forever out-surfed by blow-ins who turn up for thirty and shred the hell out of their five waves during lunch break.

So I gotta ask.

Can deprivation make you a better surfer?

Or, better, does deprivation make you a better surfer?

Imagine that. A salaried job where you’re paid to occupy space in an office actually sharpens your attack when you get to surf.

An old pal of mine, a much better surfer who’s on the nine-to-six wheel, surfs in thirty-minute blocks. He don’t fuck around. He don’t sit out the back, legs akimbo on his horse, talking about real estate or girls or whatever. He’ll scoop up an insider on the way out then paddle wide and be on the ramp for a set. In thirty, he’ll catch eight or ten waves. Other surfers will float around for two hours for the same wave count but with a much diminished performance.

That old ten thousand hours rule by pop psychologist Gladwell in his too-often-quote book The Outliers? Where if you put in enough time, in his case the magic figure was 10k hours, you’ll achieve mastery?

It falls at the first hurdle. Look at a fifty-year-0ld man in the lineup. Endless hammering at waves all his life. He smashed the 10k rule. So why does the twelve-year-old who’s stuck at school from eight thirts to three every day surf better?

It misses the need for deliberate, passionate focus.

And how do you get that?

By depriving yourself of what you love.

Miss a swell.

Be under fluorescent lightbulbs listening to the endless drone of middle management while the sun shines and three-foot wedges topple onto lovely sandbanks?

Know that unless you’re awake at five am and out of the drink by six you won’t feel the bite of salt on your skin.

Or maybe I’m very wrong.


Watch: The World Surf League’s Masters Championship!

Hans Hedemann etc!

I had no idea this existed. No idea at all and also have no idea how it slipped through the cracks. For right now, right this minute, your favorite childhood surfers are in Portugal surfing competitively against each other (unless you were born in the 1990s).

Like, right now, right this minute I am literally watching Cheyne Horan vs. Hans Hedemann. Not figuratively watching. Not imagining I am watching. Literally watching. I think Paul Evans and Chris Binns are on the mics too which makes it the greatest event on earth.


Who else is coming up?

Simon Anderson, Rob Bain, Michael Ho, Buzzy Kerbox and maybe others.

Why aren’t Paul Evans and Chris Binns given the keys to the World Championship Tour suite?

The best combo in the game.

Watch here!