Spencer Perkins
Surf Ranch manager Spencer Perkins. Three years ago, this dazzling twenty year old learned to surf in the pool under the tutelage of Tahitian Raimiana Van Bastolaer. Now he gets barrelled! And y'know what's crazy? Kid has surfed in the ocean…once. | Photo: David Lee Scales

Meet: The Surf Ranch manager who learned to surf in the pool; surfed in the ocean once!”

Amazing revelations from Lemoore!

Did you watch all of day 2 live from Lemoore, California under the sun and sun?

Were you thrilled from opening to closing bell?

In this episode of David Lee Scale’s series of interviews from Lemoore, he has a “pure gold conversation with the twenty-year-old kid who live on, and runs, Surf Ranch, Spencer Perkins. Raimana taught him how to surf three years ago and now he gets barreled on his 5’9″. He’s only surfed in the ocean once!”

Also, Lakey Peterson reveals that she only learned how to get backside barrelled in the last three weeks.
And BeachGrit’s own Jen See calls noted longboarder and regular guest on Blood Feud, Joel Tudor, a motherfucker for claiming that he was the reason the WSL instituted equal pay.
Listen here!

Wow: Rip Curl leaves directions to Mick Fanning’s secret wave “The Snake” on GPS watch app!

Download Rip Curl app and find Mick Fanning's gorgeous African secret!

Had a fun couple of days last week. At a whim, I’d thrown a line out (a thousand bucks) for the coordinates to Mick Fanning’s secret wave The Snake, the one that blew minds, briefly at least for  this is the era of short attention spans, in February last year.

Last week, Rip Curl loosed another clip of The Snake. This time Mick went back with Rip Curl teammate Tyler Wright. It was pretty ordinary compared to the earlier reveal, but enough to re-spike my curiosity.

Within three minutes of the reward being posted a reader called with the wave’s location. Hoo-ee etc. Who would’ve thought etc. I promised. I ain’t gonna tell nobody. When conditions bloom, and it’s a southern hemisphere winter sorta spot so it might be done for the year, I’m going to drag one pal into a pretty part of Africa for a little warm-water tube wrangling.

Well. Maybe we’re not going to be so alone.

As another reader has since pointed out, all the data…the exact coordinates… are on the Rip Curl GPS watch app. All you gotta do is follow Mick Fanning, jump onto Google maps and away you go.

Interestingly, on the trip there this year, on June 26, Mick had two thirty minutes sessions for a total of twelve waves. Top speed was twenty-six clicks and the longest wave 155 metres. Long way to travel for an hour in the juice.

Question: how long’s the data gonna stay on the app?

A day?




matt warshaw
Handsome…and…smart! Sorry girls (and progressive boys) he's married!

Warshaw: “You’ve thrown away the part that makes surfing the most compelling!”

The Washington Post weighs in on the Surf Ranch Pro!

You know The Washington Post as the publication that felled Richard M. Nixon and is trying to do the same to Donald H. Trump or whatever his middle name is. It is historic, proud, incredibly important with more awards than any other publication on earth.

So of course the editorial staff would want Matt Warshaw to weigh in on the meaning of the Surf Ranch Pro.

Of course.

Who would you call?

I called Matt the very second the plow whirred to life because who would I call?

Matt Warshaw is the answer in case you can’t tell that I’m vodka drunk at 1:24 pm and not even at Surf Ranch yet (tomorrow) where I won’t be drunk at all thanks to Michelob Ultra GOLD brewed with Organic Grains because I don’t think it has alcohol but if it does not a lot.

So anyhow, politicians and etc. the United States over will read Warshaw’s account of the Surf Ranch Pro and that will be gospel for them. What was his account?

LEMOORE, Calif. — The wave shouldn’t be here, surrounded by boundless fields of nuts, vegetables and cotton. It’s an exotic crest of water six feet high, one that would be at home in Bali or the east coast of Australia. But not here, well over 100 miles from the Pacific Ocean.

The idea of belonging, of context, has always been central to those who ride the best waves. Surfing was born centuries ago in the South Pacific and Hawaiian islands, where it is called he’e nalu, then rebranded starting in the early 1900s in California. From the Golden State it spread to the rest of the world, surfers always beholden to the finicky variables of their passion — tide and wind, swell and direction — and enamored of its offbeat culture. For some, it remains less a sport than a lifestyle.

So to find a wave like the one that surfaces in the middle of the San Joaquin Valley, which is to say a nearly perfect curl, is bizarre. And very tantalizing.

This is what has drawn 54 of the planet’s best surfers, who are competing in a vast concrete pool that is intended to introduce the sport to a new audience ahead of its Olympic debut in 2020. Only once before has an international event been held nowhere near open water — the first contest, several decades ago, was a disaster — and the $30 million artificial-wave complex constructed in the small farming town of Lemoore has elicited awe within the surfing community.

“It’s a beautiful wave to surf, it’s surreal,” said a beaming Courtney Conlogue, who last year was ranked fourth in the world. “I love what it’s going to bring to the sport.”

Yet Surf Ranch has also divided the community. Surfing historian Matt Warshaw sees wave pools as direct assaults on the very nature of the sport, from the unpredictability of its ocean setting and the nuanced forces that must be understood to the experience and skills accumulated over a lifetime.

“Now it’s more like a skatepark. You’ve thrown away the part that makes surfing the most compelling,” said Warshaw, whose “Encyclopedia of Surfing” and “History of Surfing” are considered definitive texts. “Something really fundamental is changing.”

It goes on and on and on so you can read the rest here. Democracy dies in darkness, bitches.

Glenn "The Microbe" Hall, in chopper, foreground, with Ace Buchan behind. | Photo: WSL/Rowland

Listen: Glenn “Micro” Hall spills secrets of ‘The Ranch!’

David Lee Scales and Hurley present Off Script live from Surf Ranch!

David Lee Scales is posted up poolside broadcasting each and every day. Under the sun. Michelob Ultra brewed with Organic Grains just out of reach. He does it for you, because he cares about you, and he wants you to know things about professional surfing and professional surfers.

Jen See will be joining him today. I will be joining him tomorrow. But he is there everyday under the sun Michelob Ultra brewed with Organic Grains almost at his fingertips.

Anyhow that’s today and tomorrow. Yesterday though is here. David Lee describes as:

Welcome to Off Script presented by Hurley; behind the scenes conversations with the athletes, coaches, and WSL team at the Surf Ranch Pro (also) presented by Hurley. Today we delve into the history of Lemoore, chat about Kelly’s home court advantage, and this event will influence ocean events. We chat with Rosey Hodge, Alex Gray, Glenn “Micro” Hall, and Barton Lynch. Enjoy.

Between this, Longtom, Jen See and the billboard I don’t know how Surf Ranch coverage can get any better.

I’ll be up tomorrow, though, so let me know if you think of a way to improve.

Live from Surf Ranch: “What a strange invasion!”

Thoughts on meaning and place!

You forget about the heat. You forget about the way it feels. Like a tangible thing. Alive. It has mass, this kind of heat. You feel it pressing down on you, surrounding you like a straitjacket. You can’t escape a heat like this, you can only hope somehow to endure it.

When it came time to turn east, toward Bakersfield, toward Fresno, toward Lemoore, I confess, I almost gave it up. To the west lay Morro and the Central Coast’s mysteries. Elephant seals, jagged rocks, and great whites. Secret coves and delicious reefs. Tree-lined hills that drop precipitously to the sea. So drama, this coastline. So irresistible.

To make matters worse, in recent weeks, the pattern has shifted. Now each morning, we awaken on the coast to a dripping marine layer. The front porch is wet. I dig a hoody out of the drawer and ride my bike for coffee. Now as I reach the road’s turning point, I can see the fog bank in the distant west. I’m drawn to it in a way that I can never escape or explain.

But I promised. I promised I would go, so I turn east and follow the signs. Next services 50 miles. Shit, I need to pee. I swing a hasty turn into a gas station. I count down those 50 miles. Off the interstates, California’s roads are a jumble. I follow a winding two-lane highway through the rolling terrain that forms the southern foothills of the Gabilan mountains. The grasses blanch blonde in the late summer sun.

Then the road splits unexpectedly. Bakersfield or Fresno. I roll the dice and pick Fresno. I am not wrong. The terrain opens up, but the road doesn’t. I sit in a line of cars snaking through the dry grasses. We’re in the neighborhood of the San Andreas fault, that giant zipper that tugs and jams at California’s terrain. I’m driving a rental car and every time I float on the road, an alarm sounds. I can’t figure out how to turn it off. I dream of sledgehammers.

I never got around to writing down directions, which is usually how I do this kind of thing. I write the directions on paper and follow them to the letter. Otherwise, I never quite know where I might end up.

I reach the 5 and turn north, which isn’t entirely wrong, but isn’t all that right either. I should have stayed on the 41, I guess. It’s too late to worry about it now. A freeway exit announces Lemoore Naval Air Station. Sounds good, I figure. I’m totally Calvinballing it now.

And then I see it. A mirage. Too amazing to be real. I watch as a pickup truck comes up the road. It sits there, waiting to make the turn to Lemoore. There’s a yellow longboard on the roof with a red fin. You must be kidding me. This can’t be happening, not here, not more than a hundred miles from the nearest ocean. But I follow them. Because surely, they’re going to the same place I am.

The terrain of the Central Valley is so flat that it seems to erase the horizon. The roads stretch in infinite lines. You can be 15 miles from your destination, but feel like you’ll never get there.

Almond groves line the road. I cross the California Aqueduct conveying its precious cargo from the upper reaches of the Sierra Nevada down the length of the valley. There’s never enough, it seems, and along the 5, patches of farmland lay fallow. Roadside signs urge people to vote for more dams. Make California great again. California needs more water storage, they say. Build more dams. Vote.

First settled in the 1870s, Lemoore began as an agricultural settlement on the northern banks of the Tulare Lake, which at the time, rivaled the Great Lakes in size. Dams in the western Sierras and agricultural use steadily drained the lake, which presently only reappears in years of unusually intense rains. Thanks to a rail line through nearby Hanford and a flour mill the town grew steadily through the late 19th century.

These days, a tidy house in Lemoore with a lawn out front and an American flag flying from the eves will run you $200-300 thousand. For $500 thousand, you can buy a six-bedroom in the gated community near the golf course. There’s the naval air station that arrived in 1961, a community college, and the assorted accoutrements of industrial agriculture. As I circled town looking for the Surf Ranch, I passed Olam Global Tomato and Innovation Center, where trucks filled with tomatoes waited to drop their loads. Tomatoes that had rolled free from the open trucks lay along the roadside to rot.

The road that fronts the Surf Ranch runs the gamut. A rusted out tractor looks like it hasn’t moved in 50 years or more. An American flag sways from a rooftop. A shirtless man in his 50s, rakes dry weeds along the edge of his property which fronts the road. The bright red of a mid-1970s VW bug catches my eye, but I doubt it would run any better than the tractor. A tangle of campers and motorhomes occupy a dirt lot without any signs of ambition. A family gathers to eat on a picnic bench in the shade of a nylon canopy. They turn to look at me as I drive by.

Tall fences divide the Surf Ranch from its neighbors. No parking. No trespassing. What a strange invasion and here I am, a reluctant part of it. I I try to hold on. I try to hold on to how the salt feels in my hair, to how the fog chills my skin. I try to hold on to some memory of where I come from, and how I ended up here. I step out of the car into the white heat and it’s gone.