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.


Breaking: Famous athlete apologizes for believing conspiracy theories!

For all the science teachers, everybody coming up to me like, 'You know I have to reteach my whole curriculum!' I'm sorry.

Last evening at a Forbes magazine event, the Boston Celtics’ star Kyrie Irving apologized for saying that he believes the earth is flat. He once told a teammate, “This is not even a conspiracy theory. The Earth is flat. The Earth is flat. … It’s right in front of our faces. I’m telling you, it’s right in front of our faces. They lie to us.”

The basketball player was on stage as part of the 30 under 30 summit and was asked by the interviewer to weigh in on his previous statement.

“Even if you believe in that, don’t come out and say that stuff. That’s for intimate conversations because perception and how you’re received, it changes. I’m actually a smart-ass individual,” he said.

“At the time I didn’t realize the effect. I was definitely at that time, ‘I’m a big conspiracy theorist. You can’t tell me anything.’ I’m sorry about all that. For all the science teachers, everybody coming up to me like, ‘You know I have to reteach my whole curriculum!’ I’m sorry. I apologize. I apologize,”

Hmmmm.

Professional surfing’s Kelly Slater has a reputation for peddling in conspiracy too, though he is virulently anti-flat earth. Huck magazine once asked him specifically about his love of the darker corners and he responded:

I’m into the truth. Not conspiracy theories. If you look at the big picture, somehow it all actually makes sense. For example, if I were a doctor, well, if everyone’s not sick, my job doesn’t exist anymore. I’m not saying doctors are bad, but if people aren’t sick, there’s no need for them. So we have this ‘self-creating’ society. There are a lot of pieces that work together. It’s like a big jigsaw puzzle. […] Look at cancer, for another example. There’s a lot of shitty food out there. Look at what’s happening with the environment and our food sources, and who’s controlling what. There are new diseases that didn’t exist a hundred years ago. A hundred years ago there wasn’t one out of a hundred and fifty kids being born with autism. There are a lot of really heavy things that are happening in the world, and you could pick any one of them and spend your life trying to fight for the whole cause, but number one you’ve got to look out for yourself and the people closest to you. I think, generally, the people who make the biggest changes in the world are the people you don’t even know. Obviously there’re people like Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela, but the people working behind the scenes – the people they get their information from – are generally people who are working with just small groups of people trying to understand what’s going on around them, rather than someone who’s looking at the bigger picture. I’m not really sure where I’m going with that, but basically, you can get too involved in big things and forget about the real things that matter.

Hmmmm.

Should Kelly apologize too?


From the marital-innovation department: Newport Beach man pleads guilty to waterboarding wife!

Immediately sentenced to 10 years in prison!

“That’s illegal?” is the first thing I thought after reading the My LA headline Newport Beach man pleads guilty to waterboarding newlywed wife. “Waterboarding is illegal?” Then I realized the story was not about surfing but continued reading anyhow.

A 37-year-old man accused of waterboarding and beating his 65-year-old wife of two months in Newport Beach pleaded guilty Monday and was immediately sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Richard David Schlosser II pleaded guilty to criminal threats, false imprisonment and corporal injury of a spouse, and admitted sentencing enhancement allegations of committing a crime while on bail. As part of the plea deal, a felony count of torture and a sentencing enhancement for causing great bodily injury to the victim were dropped.

From Jan. 5 through the next day, Schlosser attacked his bride for hours, while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, Senior Deputy District Attorney Mark Geller said.

“He did this for hours,” the prosecutor said. “He kept her captive in the apartment for hours … He actually waterboarded her.”

At some point, after he “sobered up,” the victim managed to contact a friend, who called police, Geller said. The victim had to be hospitalized for her injuries, according to the prosecutor.

For sure he surfs. How do I know? Because he lives in Newport and looks like this.

But I bet he surfs in Huntington and I bet he rides an epoxy Rockin’ Fig. Or maybe a Lib Tech waterboard.

Buy here!


Opinion: “The Mentawais now belong to the kook!”

A trip to Indonesian playground reveals startling truth, "the new line-up politics of adult learners and aggressive Europeans!"

Despite the darkness an opening ride at Macaronis feels as inalien as walking down the main street of a hometown.

A wide awake dream come to life.

Not a single original thought, word or deed is possible after 30 years of hyper-saturation. My trachea are filled with Indonesia’s finest clove scented tar and nicotine; liver with barley, hops and fermented sugar cane, bloodstream with the molecules imbibed after a friend scraped the rendang excreta off a rubber surgical finger swallowed and carried across oceans.

Soft pulses of light chime around thunderheads arrayed in a purple bruise which rings the horizon. Megalithic fauna wanders amongst the mangrove roots and dead trees to the last low rumble of the night. Mugwumps and plutonium wives slither out from coral crevices. Blood warm water envelopes like a jade green sap; the feeling of homecoming, so familiar to every Australian surfer at least, is almost over-powering.

Florid language is white noise to the working gal. We return to the prosaic.

Two, three or four hours later a pair of French-Canadian gals, wielding harsh accents and peachy buttocks like weapons of war take over the line-up, paddling straight to the inside wave after wave. The display of aggression, overt and implied, is stunning. Flailing limbs and basic positioning errors ruin many waves but the gals resolutely paddle straight back up the inside to the top of the line.

We portray global lineups poorly whenever harmony is implied. It’s more accurate to view them in biological terms: full of dominance, aggression, uneasy truces and, in non-gendered lineups, sexual sovereignty. Biogeographer Tim Low wrote about the uncommon aggression inherent in Australian birds and made the case that the abundance of flowering Eucalypts was a resource worth fighting for.

“Nectar”, he wrote, “rewards aggression”.

So too, perfect surf. Adult learners master that before a basic skill set. Like screaming lorikeet flocks fight tree by tree to dab tongues on sweet nectar heads; lineup politics in the Mentawais are negotiated boat by boat, day by day, hour by hour, set by set, bikini by bikini.

The screaming 50’s and roaring 40’s have shrunk the globe for a second time – not as ends to drive the spice trade – but as means to ends where a new wave of European expansionism finds common cause in energetic by-product on the reef breaks of the Mentawai. Sipora, Siberut, Pagai-Utara, Pagai-Selatan. Kepulauan Mentawai.

Here you’ll find Germans, German Swiss, Austrians, French, Italians, Russians,Slovenians, Slovakians, Portugese, English. Australians remain the dominant force, for now. Perplexed and enraged, as my Bribie mate was, by the new line-up politics of adult learners and aggressive Europeans.

“What the fuck are these kooks doing here?” he asked.

The world belongs to them now, I answered.

Why and wherefore this desire to get fucked up in Indonesia?

We hadn’t been in Padang more than an hour when I turned to my oldest friend and said, “For some reason, I feel like getting really fucked up.”

He said, “Me too.”

Hours later he was engaged in the kind of stupidity which makes a family man squirm with shame. Mike Oblowitz’s redacted 2008 doco Sea of Darkness offers clues. It charts the course of Indonesian exploration and exploitation and the dark temptations that wandered, like Neil Young’s beggar, from door to door.

Filmaker and Indonesian veteran Dick Hoole spoke in the film of the Asian sense of freedom and the difficulty in returning to normal life after tasting it. The dream, according to Martin Daly associate and convicted drug smuggler Jeff Chitty, was “60 feet on the waterline”. A boat to explore an endless oceanic playground. Chitty spent most of his adult life doing hard time, Daly veered left and steered the Indies Trader to fame/infamy. It’s stunning how easily the dream is now obtainable.

Apocalypse Now/Big Wednesday writer John Milius called bullshit on the whole program.

I paraphrase, because I was drunk when watching, but his observation was that the outcome of living this lawless dream was to become, not larger than life, but smaller than life. It diminished a man, in his eyes. That scarcely rings true, and if you look at the vision of Mike Boyum, whose life the film commemorates, you’d have to say it exerts a greater hold now than ever before. It’s scarcely possible to imagine an Australian surfer, fr’instance, who doesn’t have this virus embedded deep within, ready to take over the organism at the first whiff of clove cigarette.

Even with a scrappy forecast, the bang for buck on a boat cruising the Ments is immense. Day three and I’ve surfed into a state of almost total oblivion. Compared with a three-week passage between Honolulu and the Marshalls where the board didn’t come out of the cover and the salty taste of seasick pussy was all that sustained.

“Maybe you should go back to Kansas,” I suggested.

“Screw Kansas,” she said.

The family man does experience sudden shocks of panic in Indonesian perfection. He forgets home. Then forgets that he has forgotten and the whole thing starts to seem like a dream from another existence. He can’t touch his childrens’ faces, feel their little fingers wrapped around his neck, see his wife’s naked body in the moonlight.

Games without frontiers, ay. Family man now though, ay.

The family man does experience sudden shocks of panic in Indonesian perfection. He forgets home. Then forgets that he has forgotten and the whole thing starts to seem like a dream from another existence. He can’t touch his childrens’ faces, feel their little fingers wrapped around his neck, see his wife’s naked body in the moonlight.

Is it still there? Or gone.

Another set shimmers in the sunlight and all memory evaporates. Perfect surf is remorseless.

Feelings of home are counter-factual. The Mentawais remain remote. Shit can turn pear-shaped in a heartbeat. Clashings of the Burma, Sunda and Eurasian plates create the most tectonically unstable area on Earth. It’s probable more than possible that everything built to satisfy surf lust in the Islands will be one day smeared into rubble by a wall of water. These facts don’t alter feelings I have spending hours roaming freely alone up the outer edge of a central Mentawaiin reef, safer and more at peace than I do surfing a kay from my house. It makes no sense.

But we are who we are, as Nick Carroll said to Chas Smith at Lemoore, I think a version of Marcus Aurelius statement: “Whatever may happen to thee, it was prepared for thee for all eternity.”

You can surf too much, I think.

Into the state of dereliction that Bill Finnegan warned against in his memoir Barbarian Days, which reads, ironically, as a paean to such dereliction.

What seems more seductive? The Pulitzer or weeks alone on Tavarua?

I guess he got both, in the end.

In the end I got a prime set wave at a perfect reef and shared it with my friend, criss-crossing tracks as the coral heads flew by under-neath.

That was the last wave and now that the high has worn off the come-down seems scarcely worth it.

Wtf, yes it does.


From the what-is-wrong-with-this-headline department: Maya Gabeira wins Guinness world record for biggest wave ever ridden!

Special women's-only big-wave record!

It’s been five years since the Brazilian Maya Gabiera was squashed in what you might wanna call 70-foot waves. A busted tibia (lower part of the bone, near the ankle) and drowning was the price tag Maya paid for taking on the world’s creepiest wave.

When I called her the next day she’d just been released from hospital.

I’d asked what it feels like to drown.

“It’s really tough. But it gets peaceful when you black out. When you’re gone, you’re gone. And I knew before I was gone I knew that the only thing I could do was to try my very hardest to get as close as I could to the shore so Carlos could do his part. And I did my part and he did his part. That’s how we work. I try my best and when he sees me he’ll make sure he doesn’t lose my body.”

Now, after a short ride in January this year, Maya, who is the daughter of the anti-dictatorship revolutionary and one-time exile Fernando Gabeirahas been awarded a Guinness World record for “Largest wave surfed unlimited (female).”

From the WSL presser:

The 31-year old from Rio de Janeiro, Brasil successfully surfed a wave measuring 68 feet / 20.72 metres from trough to crest at the infamous big-wave break known as Praia do Norte in Nazaré, Portugal on January 18, 2018.

“To set the world record has been a dream of mine for many years,” said Gabeira. “But of course, after the accident in Nazaré 2013, it felt like a very distant dream. It took a lot of work to have a season like last year, to be 100% again, and to complete it with a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title is quite special.”

What’s wrong with the headline?

Well, doesn’t it seem, and let’s pull a buzz word out of the bag, a little sexist? That the good burghers at the Guinness Book of World Records deem the female of the species incapable of being towed into the same-sized wave as a man?

I mean, #runlikeagirl ain’t a pejorative anymore, am I right?

Or is it a selective thing and I failed to read the fine print?

Oh, and whomever is doin’ Maya’s wiki page might wanna fix the typo up. Getting towed into six-foot waves ain’t that special by anyone’s measure.