Holiday repeat: How surfer hair ruined my life!

When you're a kid, losing those golden stripes will tip you into an existential gloom… 

I grew up, like every other kid, building a castle of unfulfilled moments, lost opportunities and slammed doors. An accumulation of regrets so painful – all those gals never kissed, all those set waves never ridden, all those heats lost cause of, what, nerves? – that if I ever let myself wade back into ’em I’d drive myself into the arms of crazy.

But, there was this one time.

I don’t remember her name, but I can’t forget her deep brown skin. She was just short of sixteen years, but lived alone, or so she said. The small house was one street back from the beach, an hour from my parent’s house, where I lived.

The situation was unusual, sure. But, when you’re 15-and-a-half and staring at a gal whose breasts speak of buttery milk and carnal abundance and she tells you there ain’t another soul in that house, in that house with the bedroom that faces east and so the morning sun pours onto the bed, onto her sweating body, you don’t argue the point.

I had met her outside a bar on a Friday night and she’d invited me to her house the following weekend. She was tall and had long limbs, a face too pretty, a gal built for modelling.

I was just coming out a summer of eight-hour beach days. My dark hair was balayaged with blond stripes, my body was tight enough and brown, too. I was riding high. A surfer. And, surfers ruled my town.

In my pre-surf life, this gal wouldn’t have exercised her neck to check me out. Now, suddenly, I was going to her house, to the the empty house. I imagined her deep and fathomless submission to me. She would experience a seething electric female ecstasy while I controlled her like a master puppeteer.

I  imagined this many times in the week leading to our appointment.

I spent so much time in my room, my mom thought I’d become clinically depressed.

Two days before we were to meet I decided to get a haircut. At the big-city hairdresser, I showed ’em a photo of a CK model and paid fifty bucks for a cut and blow-dry. I watched handfuls of blond waft onto the floor, little golden parachutes whose contrasting beauty had secured me this erotic rendezvous. I watched as they were swept into the trapdoor at the corner of the salon. I might’ve whispered goodbye as the flap slammed shut.

That afternoon, I cried in the bathroom as I stared at the stupid boy with monotone brown hair stiffened by gel on the sides and awash with paste on the top panel.

Then, I ran to the drug store and bought a bottle of “Honey Blonde”.

While my parents slept, I painted the peroxide in long stripes. It turned my dark hair red.

It looks okay, I said to myself.

On the day I was going to meet her I scooped up a handfuls of pomade, gel and mousse. I worked it in, I smooth it over. I shaped and sculpted.

“It looks okay,” I said to myself.

But, it didn’t.

And her face said it all when my bike came up her driveway and her vision was filled with an ordinary boy and not a surfing superhero.

“What happened to your hair,” she said, although the question rang rhetorically not quizzically.

If I was a painter, I could’ve made a masterpiece of that moment, a study of disappointment.

Then she said, “Let’s go to the beach.”

On the beach I showed her my right bicep that I had inflated by lifting my school bag 200 times a day in front of the mirror.

I invited her to run her hands over the bulge in my arm.

“It feels pretty good,” she said.

But she kept looking at my hair.

It’s red,” she said at one point.

I left at exactly three-thirty pm that afternoon.

I know because the radio news was on and there was something about the Australian surfer Martin Potter winning the world title, and I now hated Martin Potter because his hair was a bed of sun-burnt curls and I knew that if Martin Potter was here on this driveway, near this girl in the scoop leg shorts and the loose singlet that was cut low on the sides, he could take her, he could take her now, right in front of me, and they would bang and they would bang.

And, then they would laugh at my red hair while they smoked cigarettes and the sun coming through the bedroom window baked their skin even darker.

Regrets, yeah, I’ve had a few.

(Editor’s note: You might’ve read this story before. That’s ’cause the author is currently in a shitty country town full of gas stations and trucker memorials and fast-foot joints writing, or at least attempting to write, a book with an actor you might call an iconic. Book out next year!)

Adrenaline Fix: Come try the new surf-esque sport sweeping England!

Nick Carroll approved!

Many eons ago, in the mists of time, some man or woman rode a wave on a board for the very first time. Maybe he was Peruvian, maybe she was Tahitian, maybe we’ll never know (it was totally a Peruvian. Buy here!) but this much is certain; That cardinal man or woman appeared foolish.

Every “first” is, on some level, foolish. Flailing arms, attempting to discover balance points, just doing something odd that no other has done before. The years pass, the activity gets codified, losing its ridiculous and some activities, like surfing, even become “cool.”

I feel Coasteering is going to become “cool” soon.

And you haven’t heard of Coasteering? Don’t feel bad. I hadn’t either until the last living surf journalist Nick Carroll sent me a promotional advertisement with the message:

I just….I don’t know what to say

why didn’t everybody think of Coasteering before???

He had a great point.

The promotional advertisement for Coasteering read:

Meet coasteering, your ultimate coastal rush.

Nothing beats it. The thrill of jumping off a craggy cliff and plunging into stunning turquoise water is the greatest buzz. Coasteering is utterly addictive and, with us your side, totally safe. Get your adrenaline fix here…

Further research led me to:

If you enjoy adventures then coasteering is for you! Our North Coast Challenge in Newquay is the ultimate thrill-seeking coasteer in Cornwall. You’ll get kitted out in a wetsuit, buoyancy aid and helmet in our on-site heated changing rooms, with storage for all your belongings before negotiating a route pioneered by shipwrecked sailors and tea plundering pirates. We are #1 on TripAdvisor and offer the best coasteering experiences in Newquay!

Which professional surfer would make the best Coasteer? Maybe you? Oh I know that you’re not a professional surfer and you know that you’re not a professional surfer but… I think you have what it takes to make a fantastic Coasteer.

Coasteering appears to be sponsored by Rip Curl so maybe Mick Fanning would be the best Coasteer. I know you think Mason Ho would do very well and I don’t disagree, I just think Mick has that extra… something special.

Sign up now!

Revolutionary: Kelly Slater thumbs nose at Michelob Ultra brewed with Organic Grains!

Last January during the Super Bowl we were all treated to a commercial for Michelob Ultra brewed with Organic Grains featuring Kelly Slater paddling on a surfboard whilst singing, “I like beer.” I cannot recall if this was before Michelob Ultra brewed with Organic Grains became the official beer sponsor of the World Surf League or after but whatever the case Kelly Slater became the face of Michelob Ultra brewed with Organic grains.

Alongside the now famous commercial Kelly Slater appears on many Michelob Ultra brewed with Organic Grains billboards around greater Los Angeles getting barreled in a large amber wave and of course Michelob Ultra brewed with Organic Grains became synonymous with his Surf Ranch during the just-wrapped Surf Ranch Pro (photo above).

Now, there has been chatter about Kelly Slater’s value as a pitchman. It was even wondered aloud if he is the world’s worst pitchman? At this point I think we can definitively say yes because as the face of Michelob Ultra brewed with Organic Grains Kelly Slater is asking for everyone not to drink it for one whole month.

He reposted a beautiful SOBER OCTOBER photo (borrowed from Joe Rogan) and wrote:

How easy (or difficult) is it for you to not drink right now for a month including Halloween? It’s Oktoberfest so maybe next month, right? Restraint is a great teacher. My girlfriend hasn’t had a drink in 4 months. I woke up hungover from New Year’s Eve for two days to start 2011 and decided to not have a drink for a year (although I drank a 🍺 the night of the Code Red swell in Tahiti cause I was stressed thinking somebody I knew was gonna die). But I’ve always said you should drink because you’re happy, not to feel better. Thoughts? I like to see @joerogan posting this. Who’s in? ✋🏽#OcSober

It really is a wonderful piece of honesty and now I feel bad for writing that Kelly Slater is the world’s worst pitchman and I am going to drink extra Michelob Ultras brewed with Organic Grains during October to support him.

What are you going to drink?

From the motivation-ain’t-free department: Come be inspired by surf luminaries!

A weekend guaranteed to change your life!

In two weeks the city of Los Angeles will host Worldz an event self-described as “…a global summit and community that unites tomorrow’s leaders with CEOs, CMOs & cultural icons to create the world of tomorrow. Our 2-day flagship summit is designed to connect, educate, and inspire you in both your personal and professional lives.”

These sorts of things confuse me badly as do most things business or business related. Is conference attendance a way to take two days off work while still getting paid? Do attendees actually expect to pick up useful information/make useful connections?

Should I be going to Worldz? Should you be?

It costs $1650 (regular), $2650 (VIP), $4650 (VVIP) if we purchase today. If we purchase tomorrow it will cost $200 more across the board.

There are very many speakers, almost too many to count, and amongst their rank are surfing’s best and brightest. What will they be speaking about? Let’s guess!

Sophie Goldschmidt: Chief Executive Officer at the World Surf League.

Sophie will spend her hour teaching tomorrow’s leaders how to alienate a core base while frustrating new potential partners. Would you like your business to fail vertically and horizontally? Ms. Goldschmidt is a must attend.

Sal Masekela: Commentator, Journalist, Musician, Producer, Connected Surf Groupie

Do you have famous surf friends and would you like the world to know that you have famous surf friends? Sal will help you navigate properly from loudly announcing that you just got an email from Kelly Slater to loudly taking a phone call from Kelly Slater. There will also be much talk about many other famous surf friends who really want to work with Sal on a variety of projects.

Stephanie Gilmore: 6x World Surfing Champion

Stephanie will explain how to surf with style to a room full of middle-aged Silicon Beach men who are excited about applying her insights to their lunchtime Venice Wavestorm sessions.

Kelly Slater: 11x World Champion, Entreprenuer

Whatever it is, it’ll be good. Kelly will also be forced to take a call from Sal Masekela after 11x missed calls. Sal will be in an adjoining room showing his attendees that he and Kelly are, in fact, friends.

I’m sure there are many, many more surf speakers but I seriously got carpel tunnel scrolling the list. You try here!

Filipe Toledo

Surf Gambling: Your BeachGrit-approved betting slip for the Quiksilver Pro France!

Fantasy Surfer winner and former WCT surfer Blake Thornton and his hot tips for Hossegor!

Do you remember our pledge last month to turn five c-notes into many thousands of dollars via surf gambling in the back half of the WCT season? With a modest $500 deposit and the advice of former WCT surfer and 2015 Fantasy Surfer champion Blake Thornton, BeachGrit planned to beat hell out of Australia’s betting agencies. To drink from their brackish water and emerge not destitute but triumphant; our jackboot upon their necks and not, as is usually the case, the other way around.

The gambling angle appeals because: All the odds for WCT events are set by non-surfers using statistics and nothing else. There is no insider trading, no quarter given to the surf forecast, no nod to a surfer’s affinity with a particular wave.

It screams advantage. It’s why I ain’t never going near the dang horses.

We started modest enough at the Surf Ranch Pro, slow because without the usual heat format opportunities were limited. One hundred and fifty dollars wagered for a two hundred and fifty win. (Gabriel, fifty bucks at five to one.)

In Hossegor, with two hundred dollars to bet?

According to Thornton, and given the forecast of middling three-foot lefts, you gotta throw skin on Gabriel and Filipe. “The two in-form surfers from the Ranch and with the forecast looking the way it does you would expect ’em to be semis or better again in this event. Not rocket science, I know.”

Who else? Thornton says if he had to look elsewhere, Julian or Kolohe could fire up. “Julian has the full package and Kolohe is generally strong in Europe.”

How can someone beat Gabriel or Filipe? What sorta strategies must they employ?

“A surfer has to do what what they do well. eg. If it’s a four-foot rip-bowl left and Willy Cardoso is on point with his backhand cracks then that formula could put these guys to the sword. Surfers try and overdo it against Gabriel and Filipe and feel they have to go above and beyond to win. However with this year’s judging they can be beaten if crew stick to their strengths and just do it well.”

Dark horses? “My dark horses are based off what I think these guys will be surfing so I am looking at strong surfers in lefts at three-to-five foot who aren’t the regulars. Connor O’Leary grew up in left rip bowls and has all the tools. Michael Rodrigues, he has a fast backhand and hasn’t really clicked yet and the beachbreaks could suit him. Adriano has had a crummy year by his standards and has a crisp backhand attack. Plus he generally rises to the occasion against Medina and Toledo.”

Our wagers.

To win, $50 on Medina, $40 on Toledo, $30 on Julian, $20 on Kolohe $20 on Adriano, $20 on Connor O’Leary.

The smart gambler knows the multi-bet, picking multiple heat winners, is where the cash lies.

Round one?

A twenty on Adriano into Kolohe into Willy. That kinda swing could earn around fifteen to one or that twenty turns into three hundred.

And an editor’s note: BeachGrit isn’t affiliated with any betting agency. Oh we tried. Of course we tried. Anything to generate a little passive income, even if the money came red with spilled blood. (The deal is, affiliates get a cut of a gambling man’s losses.) Anyway, didn’t exactly fire so here we are. Putting our bread where our mouths are, as they say.