From the please-make-it-stop department: Surf satire experiences a new golden age!


Did you love Wilbur Kookmeyer when you were younger? Did you guffaw at all his, “real-talk” moments? I…. am going to be all the way honest here and didn’t. Even as a completely kooky Oregonian youth, I felt that satire doesn’t really work in surf because it is all too ridiculous to begin with. Satirizing it is like satirizing Juggalos. The joke is already inherent in the thing itself.

But then The Inertia and sister online publication Stab came along.

There must be something in Venice-adjacent’s water that creates an insatiable desire to create surf satire and brand it as such. To let the readers know, “Hey, we’re making a funny here on localism or sexism or racism or something but obviously don’t really mean it because we’re woke and that’s what satire’s for. Woke surfers!”

The Inertia and Stab are each pressing the pedal to the metal over the last few years, publishing at least one satirical surf funny a week. Here is the latest and you can guess from which:

Have you ever listened to woman talk?

I haven’t, but I assume it goes something like, “Blah blah blah, Amy Schumer. Blah blah, menstruation, blah blah blah.”

Who needs it? Men know the truth: silence is golden.

The only communication taking place between waves should come in the form of grunts, whistles, dirty looks, or punching.

Surfing is serious business. We’re not out there looking to hold hands and sing Kumbaya. We’re there to shred, bro!

Ugh and etc.

If The Inertia and Stab both promised to cease and desist with surf satire forevermore I’d promise to never ever write another surf word as long as I live and am totally serious.

Zach? I know you have very hurt feelings but how much easier would your life/business model be if I was gone? Be honest here. Ashton? You failed to get the police interested in taking me down but I’m gone if you commit to cutting surf satire forever.

That’s how much I care.

That’s how much I care about cutting this damned cancer from our ranks once and for all.

Help: Let’s make the Triple Crown of Surfing great again!

It's time for a surfing cull!

There is no good surf news happening right now, certainly nothing of note. Surf Lakes rolled out their brand new, exciting technology to little fanfare. Oh, I know some blame the lack of excitement on the fact that the Yeppoon’s first and only wave tank never got up to full tilt but that just isn’t true. It was by far the most dynamic/sexiest and the only reason we didn’t look more is because we are all spoiled rotten and/or just waiting for Webber.

Outside of Yeppoon, though, there is nothing. I spent the morning trolling around before realizing that the HIC Pro at Oahu’s iconic Sunset Beach kicked off yesterday in 15ft surf.

I had no idea and the fact that I had no idea gave me profound sadness.

The Triple Crown (Sunset, Haleiwa and Pipeline) should be the greatest month in competitive surfing’s year but it’s not at all. It is an embarrassing sideshow all thanks to the 185 kids in the draw. Why are these QS events? Who has the time or energy to watch 185 kids winnow down to Bam Bacalso?

The World Surf League should rescue this shiny gem, make the whole thing an invitational and crown the world’s most well rounded surfer at the end.

Is it really that difficult?

Is it really that impossible to cull the damned field?

I don’t understand. A surfing cull would be the best news ever, across both the CT and QS, and Halloween would be the best time ever for this bloodletting. Imagine waking up on Wednesday morning with no more QS mainstays ever again.


The best gift of all.

Jeff Clark on Mavericks: “I brought this dragon to the world!”

What have you ever done with your life?

I spoke with one of my literary heroes on the phone last week. Daniel Duane, author of Caught Inside, How to Cook Like a Man, Lighting Out etc. is working on a piece for the New York Times, I believe, about women and big wave surfing. It was a great pleasure to chat and to once again kick big wave surfing’s tires and do it with someone as knowledgeable he.

Big wave surfing is like exotic pornography to me. Like very extreme BDSM or furry fandom or psychrophilia. I understand the most basic component, the sex act itself, but other than that am completely lost.

I have vacillated wildly over the years, thinking that big wave surfing is the only broadly consumable sector of our game. That the average Joe or Josie can instantly understand both the daring and skill of big wave surfing without the need for Joe Turpel to explain what “scores in the excellent range” mean. Thinking that big wave surfing is completely unmarketable in the same ways that dog maulings and avalanches are unmarketable. Average Joe and Average Josie look, mouths agape even, but would never pay money to look.

Part of the problem, I thought while chatting with Dan, is the new inflatable lifevests. Oh I don’t doubt that they are a technological marvel and savers of many many many lives but, to me, it feels as if the very extreme BDSM has spilled out of the dungeon and into the public square. I don’t like the way they make me feel.

Maybe that is why I appreciate Waimea, big Pipeline and Mavericks all the more. Waves that brave men and women ride nude, like normal, or in simple wetsuits.

Mavericks had its opening ceremony the other day. It has finally been freed from lawsuit and argument, I think, and is set to put on a show. Let us turn to the San Francisco Chronicle for more.

Beforehand, as surfers and photographers gathered on the beach, Mavericks legend Jeff Clark offered some words in prayer. Clark, who pioneered the break in the mid-1970s, had decided to step aside from the contest after years of financial woes and political infighting, but recently changed his mind.

“I brought this dragon to the world,” said Clark, 61, who surfed Mavericks by himself for 15 years before he could get anyone to join him. “For all the stuff that goes on, it comes down to the time in the ocean with this band of big-wave brothers and sisters. That’s what it’s really all about. What’s remembered are the waves, and the friendships.”

Doesn’t that make you jealous? I suppose we are this band of small-wave brothers and sisters though and for that I am grateful.

Update: DA drops charges in “world’s lamest surf assault!”

"You just can't tackle someone in the United States!" Oh yes you can!

Earlier this year, surfers were gifted the fascinating saga of Alex Burdett vs Jordan Montgomery in what quickly became known as the “World’s Lamest Surf Assault”.

Do you remember?

Here’s a quick refresher.

A small crowd was surfing a two-foot windswell at First Jetty, Virginia Beach. It ain’t Pipe but what is.

As recorded by the Surfline cam, and posted on Instagram after the fact, we saw a shortboarder, take off deep on the peak and go left. A longboarder wobbled down the face of the wave from the opposite side of the peak. As they collided, the shortboarder jumpsed over the other board and the longboarder stayed on his craft before flopping off the back of the wave.

Shortly afterwards, the shortboarder, Alex Burdette, who is a twenty-eight-year-old tattoo artist at Ghost Ship Tattoo in town there, was cuffed in the middle of a job and jailed on a charge of assault and battery.

“I asked if I could finish the tattoo and he told me to find a way for them to come back another day,” Alex told BeachGrit, and said he had to spend a thousand bucks on a lawyer and stay in Virginia Beach for the next month, missing any swells that hit nearby, but interstate, Cape Hatteras as well as a vacay in Nicaragua. “I have a completely clean record. It was the only time I’ve been in cuffs outside of the bedroom.”

The accuser, who felt the non-incident was worthy of state intervention, was a kid Alex said he taught to surf ten years earlier, the filmer Jordan Montgomery.

When BeachGrit called Jordan, who was twenty one at the time, he said he’d had “ongoing problems with Alex since he was a kid. 

And the collision?

“It was five-thirty, low light, dusk. He stood up and jumped at me. He put his hands on my shoulders and I grabbed him and rotated him. I was confused, like, dude why are you tackling me on a one-foot wave? He didn’t punch me in the face. You can see in the video he doesn’t push me off the board, but his  hands hit me in the bottom of the neck and chin area. I felt it! He laid a hand on me and in the United States you can do that. Surfing is a recreational sport and I’ve been surfing for fourteen years. I’m not a kook. I rode for Hurley for ten years… I’ve done all the Rip Curl GromSearches, NSSAs. I know what the hell I’m doing! This happened so fast. I felt his hands on me! He was tackling me out of aggression. Surfing shouldn’t be a scapegoat for violence.”

Afterwards, he said Alex announced to the lineup, “All you bitch-ass longboarders, if you go right I’ll kick your ass!”

“I’m not trying to get him in trouble. I probably went a little over bounds. I did what I had to do to protect myself,” admitted Jordan.

Anyway, according to a Virginia Beach resident and BeachGrit reader, the charges have now been dropped after Burdett’s lawyer got the Surfline footage and showed it to the DA.

Watch the World’s Lamest Surf Assault again here!

It’s precious!



Photo: World Surf League
Photo: Steve Sherman/@tsherms/World Surf League

This week in schadenfreude: Kelly Slater shockingly silent about Surf Lakes!

Is this the official official official end?

Surf Lakes debuted to the world this week and Kelly Slater was nowhere to be found. The debut was, of course, more like a peek. We saw the magnificent plunger pulled straight from the set of Sucker Punch. We saw closeups of professional surfer faces, lounging there watching it live mouth’s agape. We saw the reputation of Ozzie Wright, once Australia’s most beloved surfer, brought low by Venice-adjacent’s Stab (in the back. Oooof painful!) We saw an entirely different technology that promised hope but we did not see Kelly Slater.

Amazing and maybe the first time in modern surf history that the GOAT hasn’t even attempted to redirect the spotlight when it starts to drift.

Oh you know what a master he is, I’ve never seen the like, and there were plenty of opportunities over the course of the week. He could have debuted a new Surf Ranch setting that allows surfers to get barreled while they’re doing an air. He could have backhand complimented how difficult it is to make even a one-foot wave. He could have given a lengthy engineering treatise about how piston-like technology require much more maintenance because there is a static impact point on both the top and bottom which creates a jarring motion rather than a slow reduction in controllable speed which increases the fail rate and explains why pistons are driven by a rotating shaft instead of a straight up and down motion (information provided by a wonderful friend).

But there was nothing. Nothing at all. He went on Joe Rogan and had a nice chat. He shared pictures of himself in miniature surfing a tiny wave on Instagram which Kelly watchers may see as a very subtle dig but nothing else. Nothing obvious.

And my heart doesn’t want to write this but is this the official official official end? Kelly’s been kicking the retirement tires for years. The retirements, as it were, but always comes roaring back because it is clear he needs us. He needs our attention.

Does he no longer?

Adriano de Souza is certainly somewhere in Brazil, right now, mumbling “Why couldn’t Kelly officially officially officially retire  in 2015…” but there is a tear in my eye and there should be a tear in yours too if this is, in fact, the official official official end.