Listen: Gerry Lopez says SUPS suck! Ryan Callinan says Medina has the heart of a “smooth-nippled lion!”

Up the Swellians etc!

Have you fallen under the spell of the podcast Ain’t that Swell yet? God knows how many years it’s been going now, six, seven, eight?

Like all things, it’s evolved from a modest back and forth between the writers Jed ‘Smivvy’ Smith and Adam ‘Vaughan’ Blakey to something so deeply Australian, so idiosyncratic and sure of its way, there isn’t a podcast on earth like it.

Rogan looks like fake Disney dollars next to Ain’t that Swell.

This episode, which was released two days ago, is a new high point. It is four hours long but you’ll keep listening until your bladder stabs into you.

It is world title themed and features interviews with Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Gerry Lopez, Tom Carroll and Ryan Callinan who “talks about the paddle battle with Medina and calls out Aussies for getting dark on Medina afterwards,” says Vaughan.

Late last night, I recorded a short interview with Vaughan, he in a hacienda that looks like a sinner’s palace in Crescent Head, your writer, in the dirty city.

I am excited even though my thing has long been cured of its ability to have erections.

BeachGrit: God I love this so much it hurts. I feel jealousy, joy etc.
VD: Same! All love should hurt. Otherwise it’s lukewarm likey at best.

Gabby shouldn’t be torn down by misguided nationalistic nonsense for having the heart of a roaring smooth-nippled lion. R-Cal goes right into the whole Subertubos paddle battle which is great to hear with a bit of retrospect, especially cause he loved it until he got to shore and saw that everyone was blowing up.

Talk to me about the Ryan-on-Medina interview. 
It’s a snippet from one of the best interviews I’ve heard in a long time (Smivvy did it) but the crux of our cut is that Gabby shouldn’t be torn down by misguided nationalistic nonsense for having the heart of a roaring smooth-nippled lion. R-Cal goes right into the whole Subertubos paddle battle which is great to hear with a bit of retrospect, especially cause he loved it until he got to shore and saw that everyone was blowing up. I guess the thing is that it’s not wrong to let your passion go mad in the heat of the moment, hate as much as you like between hooters, but let it go after that. Joel and Mick have similar sentiments in the same episode, but probably the best observation of Gabby comes from Ronnie who reminds us how much a world title race without a true villain sucks. Gabby is happy to be that guy, and one day I reckon we’ll all end up loving him for it.

Gerry Lopez goes ice cold on SUPS and says that catching waves might be a bit of fun and all, but padding around on your belly on a surfboard is truly the best thing ever. He also says Arnold Schwarzeneggar can’t build model planes because his fingers are too big.

I ain’t eaten the whole four hours yet. What’s the highlight?Ah, the lament of the modern human is always a lack of time. Let’s cook flesh while the irons are fresh from fire! But talking to Parko a few hours after he won Haleiwa, Bainy and Tom Carroll jiving on how scary Pipeline is, and Gerry Lopez going ice cold on SUPS and saying that catching waves might be a bit of fun and all, but padding around on your belly on a surfboard is truly the best thing ever. He also says Arnold Schwarzeneggar can’t build model planes because his fingers are too big. Man, there are so many gems.

Four hours long! How?
Man, we just love the woozle so much and a world title climax at Pipe is the best because there’s just so much to talk about. And when you have Mick, Joel, TC, Gerry and Bainy on hand you let it roll because every one of those guys have won and lost out there and they all have insane shit to say about it. And most importantly, they’re psyched as fuck surf fans who are stoked out of their minds on the whole show. It’s wild how frothy and into it they are. We could have gone for 24 hours.

Do Mick and Joel phone in?
Ronnie and I interviewed Mick in the White House on the Goldy. If you listen close enough you can hear his dog panting into the mic most of the convo. Parko buzzed in from Hawaii after visiting the Moniz house to celebrate Seth’s qualification. He was with Occy, Dog Marsh and Louie. It was like dialling back in time. Biggest buzz.

Tell me how everyone’s character has evolved in the show, yours, Jed’s, Danny Johnson, Pauly-B etc.
Mate, the only thing that’s really changed is that once upon a time we were talking to 2,000 people an episode and now we’re talking to 20,000. And it’s the sickest thing because we’re just fucking around but maybe that’s how people want to consume surf shit when they’re not in the water themselves? All I know is every single person who listens to our podcast loves surfing as much as we do and judging from the questions they send in they know their shit and love taking the piss as well. Actually, I probably scream and swear way way more than I used to. I might have to tone that down a bit. And Pauly works way harder on all our songs and sound effects than he used to too. Smivvy’s exactly the same; wild fighter for the underdog and a total surf mad lunatic. It’s all just stupid fun.

Is the Swellian Army now…a force?
Oath! Swellians are fucking the gnarliest legends ever. Nobody has a better handle on how fun surfing is. UTFS for life!

Groundbreaking: Surf Snowdonia rebrands as “Adventure Parc” changing the game again!

Feat. a brand new Hilton Garden Inn!

You have had trouble sleeping soundly, no doubt, after it was reported right here that the world’s first wave tank 2.0, Surf Snowdonia in bucolic Wales, was at odds with Snowdonia National Park over a planned hotel/expansion.

Snowdonia National Park felt the proposed building design was out of character and that the size and capacity of the scheme was excessive, complaints that mirrored the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales own position.

Well, rest easy tonight friend because…….. the plan has been approved and seems more fabulous than ever and let’s go without even slowing down for a breath to Wales’ Daily Post:

Surf Snowdonia is in advanced talks with Hilton to open a hotel at its Conwy Valley surfing lagoon.

Under the plan a 106-bedroom Hilton Garden Inn would open next to the lagoon along with a ‘wellness spa’ and conference facilities.

The company also revealed a new brand and more details of its game-changing new adventure offer which will open to visitors in summer 2019.

This will include indoor and outdoor activities as well as an “Adventure Concierge” to link visitors with off-site adventures.

Surf Snowdonia, which opened in 2015, will rebrand to Adventure Parc Snowdonia to reflect its broader offer, although the 300-metre inland surf lagoon will remain a key part of the attraction.

Investment in the development will be in the region of £16m and Surf Snowdonia say around 100 new roles will be created.

Ok a couple things here. I am thrilled, beyond, that at least in Wales, surfing will board the same short bus as ziplining, trail-running and whitewater rafting in inner tubes as opposed to where the World Surf League wants it next to professional football, professional soccer and professional. Don’t you think it’s the better fit alongside a ropes’ course, the whole family buckled into helmets and harnesses, convincing little Billy that he can let go of the big tree and shuffle out across the gorge?

I do and also think that Surf Snowdownia will push surfing toward this inevitable end just like they pushed the entire world into a surf tank arms race.

Another thought, why Adventure Parc and not Adventure Park? I know here in California that if you have a “bank” it has to be federally insured with many other rules but if you call it a “banc” you can pretty much rip people off in any way you see fit. Do you think Wales has the same restriction with parks? Like, if you have a “park” it must be regulated but if you have a “parc” then the whole family doesn’t have to be buckled into helmets and brain-eating bacteria can come too?

Last thing, I’m slightly upset that it’s a Hilton Garden Inn. Those are the cheap airport ones yeah? Not that any Hilton is good anymore but… you know?

Felicity Palmateer
Flick, adventurous.

From the-toast-your-libidinous-powers department: Pro surfer releases all-nude film!

"I felt really free. It was wonderful!"

It’s a particularly unwelcoming day at the Australian bureau of BeachGrit. An onshore wind of a ferocity surprising this late in spring licks the face.

Cold, too.

I’m slumped over my little corner desk with drool hanging down like an icicle.

I was warmed, briefly, when The Daily Mail revealed that my favourite female-identifying pro surfer, Felicity Palmateer, who is also known by the widely used abbreviation ‘Flick’ , was about to release a short film followed by an exhibition of fine art of her surfing in the nude.

The film/exhibition is called Skin Deep and is a project three years in the making, with cinematography by the noted RED-slingers Rick Rifici and Dwayne Fetch.

Flick’s boyfriend, the journalist Jonathan Jenkins, is a dear old comrade and is the producer of the film and exhibition. Flick, said JJ, is the daughter of the world-class ceramicist Warrick Palmateer and has been painting longer she’s surfed.

“There’s creativity in the family,” he says.

Since Flick was attending to various physical ailments, back, knees etc, I asked, in a stage whisper for this is the elephant in the room is it not, if the pair was terrified of provoking the ire of Facebook feminists etc.

In this new era of puritanism where even the brush of a school bag upon the unlovely ass of a woman involves the cops, it is a brave, and truly progressive, woman who celebrates love and sex as it was in the fabled Age of Aquarius

“The goal of art is to provoke conversation and to capture people’s imaginations,” says JJ. “It’s there to stimulate conversation and contemplation. Everyone has a platform now on digital media and some will agree, some will disagree. Some will be inspired, some will be repulsed. That’s the nature of life.”

Still, says JJ, “When you see the finished product, how high-end it is, you’ll see how far we went to create and then convey that beauty.’

The four-minute short, which is cut to a Rufus track and who reportedly sent Flick an email expressing their joy over the film, will be released in two weeks, maybe less, and the art will be exhibited throughout 2019 in Sydney, Western Australia and California.

Watch the lil teaser here.

Breaking: The Eddie is back with a slate of new and fabulous local sponsors!

Introducing The Kamehameha Schools, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Waimea Valley in Memory of Eddie Aikau!

It was maybe last year, or possibly two or three years ago, that the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau disappeared from the face of the earth. There had been a dispute between the Aikau family and Quiksilver regarding something-rather-else, let’s just assume money, and the most memorable surf event vanished into the ether. There were rumors that Red Bull would step in but also rumors of problems there as well but now there are no problems as the family has teamed up with local sponsors to hold the event and let’s hope hold it this very year. Let’s turn to Hawaii News Now for more

On Saturday, the Eddie Aikau foundation proudly announced the return of the prestigious big-wave surf contest this year.

In 2017, the chance of the contest taking place was shot down after disagreements between the Aikau family and sponsors.

This year, new sponsors have been found, reviving the chance the event will be held if large winter swells roll in.

“The Aikau’s have partnered with new sponsors to celebrate & honor the life and legacy of our brother, Eddie,” Solomon Aikau said in a news release.

Acknowledging Eddie Aikau’s Hawaiian roots, the family is honored to have partnered with new sponsors Kamehameha Schools, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Waimea Valley.

“What makes us excited is that all of these native Hawaiian organizations and the community are able to come together to create agency in the sport of surfing for native Hawaiians but also for Hawaii,” Kaui Burgess, director of community relations for Kamehameha Schools. “It gives us an opportunity to remind the world as well as our own keiki that our kapuna created this sport.”

Heartwarming. A heartwarming development and now let us read together from the award-nominated book Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell.

I was standing on the rocks above Waimea when the Eddie contest ran in 2009. It was a massive day and watching the competitors paddle out to face monsters was, damn all, it was humbling. The sounds, the smells, the pounding hearts . . . all of it. Spectators stand and trade information about who they think is going, which surfer just dropped down the monster, and if they think his monster was bigger or more critical than the previous surfer’s.

Everyone shouts and screams and throws hands in the air. Everyone from the most hardened cynic to the freshest wide-eyed daisy.

There are bigger and deadlier waves in the world and even on the North Shore than Waimea but there is something about the natural stadium of the bay and there is something about the history, both Hawaiian and surf, and I will say, without fear of contradiction, that the Eddie is the best sporting event to witness live in the entire world. Better than the Super Bowl. Better than the World Cup Finals. Better than the bullfights in Spain.

Better than anything.

During the big days, and especially if the Eddie is running, the Kamehameha rounding the bay will come to a standstill as people stop their cars, drop their jaws, and watch what James Joyce called “the scrotumtightening sea.”

And the tourist family will very much enjoy the spectacle for the afternoon and nothing particularly violent or menacing will happen to them, aside from an ocean beating, because they are unaffiliated. They are not involved in the surf world. They are aliens from Muncie, which might as well be outer space, and they are looked right through by the likes of Kala, Dustin, or Fast Eddie Rothman.

Maybe their car will be broken into. Maybe the father’s wallet will be stolen from the beach but that is all. No violence. No knocks or cracks or slaps. They will simply wander around the sand and look at the waves and look at the tranquil river that flows from the middle of the bay up the Waimea Valley. The valley, very fertile and tropical with two fern-shrouded cliffs cascading down to the river, is protected by the state because of its diverse flora and fauna. A few North Shore residents grow marijuana up its somnolent green folds too, adding to its diversity.


How to: Achieve a lifetime of connubial surf bliss (with your own partner)!

Three easy steps!

The couple that surfs together . . . The answer to that is what you make it. Two close and connected people sharing an interest in the world’s most satisfying past-time should be a no-brainer: fun in the sun, rainbows and lollipops, yews and shakas. But somehow, this isn’t always the case. Still there’s more than just hope and reasons to keep at it and explore why you may have some recurring problems – so don’t throw in the towel just yet or avoid those amourous party waves.

What’s my experience like? I have high expectations for each session, probably too much expectation considering sometimes the waves aren’t the best and this can throw off a fun balance when surfing with my partner in crime. I always want improve something in my surfing in each session, like why do I do this thing with my wrists or ensure sure my wave count is high or just get walloped by a few and reset my squirrely brain. I can be my own worst enemy. Worse than that I lose the childlike curiosity and enjoyment that surfing has brought me for the past 10 years. I also find it hard to be stoked for her when she’s happier than a pig in shit. Like, hey, wha’ happened!

Below are my best tips to keep you frothing with your life mate, your partner, your bf/gf, your soulmate, “they”, whichever gender neutral, small-batch-locally-grown term you use, in the line-up and for continued good times outside it.

1. Surf the waves you want to surf
If there’s a difference in skill level between you two of you, I recommend satisfying your soul first on the waves you need. This could mean not always surfing together. If certain spots are more difficult for one of you but bang on and firing for the other. If you sacrifice going to that spot that’s pumping to go surf with bae at an easier locale – you may find yourself resenting him or her if you don’t end up having as much fun as you planned. This just happened to me and I felt like a dick for a few reasons. I put someone else’s needs or happiness before mine, I had the option to go check it out but declined and then, big surprise, I wasn’t the happiest camper at the spot we both surfed at. If you have a itch to scratch and your fav spot is going off – go! He or she will love you for it more when you come back a happy, surfed-out-rat of a lover.

2. It is not a competition
Read that again out loud. Put your hand on your heart chakra, look in the mirror and say it three times. If you don’t you’re in trouble. Surfing is hands down the absolute best thing in the world. Don’t fucking ruin it with comparison – the thief of all joy. Share the excitement, shed your expectations and ego, smile, look around and remind yourself out loud if you have to: “I’m surfing. Life’s good.” If someone in the relationship starts to improve and progress, be their number one fan, share in their stoke and don’t just be happy; be proud you have a front row seat for the action. If the movie Into The Wild taught us anything, it’s that life’s adventures and highlight reel moments should be shared. I’m a firm believer in that for surfing. I want someone to see me throw a little spray or cross-step as much as I do botching a take-off or getting pitched – those are the moments you laugh about and share over post surf parking lot beers or in a steamy shower you both cram into to de-wetsuit and unthaw. Competition is a head game you create only when you put the quarter in and play

3. Give advice only if it’s asked for
From both sides this can be a slippery slope. As much as I know and can laugh at myself for doing this fucking thing with my wrists or getting low to drag my hands on the wave thinking I’m Alex Knost – doesn’t mean I want to hear about it from anyone let alone my main squeeze. Same goes for me. Just because I am an experienced surfer and have taught a lot of people doesn’t give me the green light to say, “um great wave, but instead of doing this you should….” Unsolicited advice or feedback is a buzz kill. As long as he or she is smiling and laughing; enjoying the shit out the day, does the rest really really matter? No it doesn’t and never will. Turn your locked and loaded breath of tips and advice into a genuine compliment. You will be glad you did later on when the lights are low and the stoke is still high.

Learn from some of my shortcomings as a surfer romantically involved with another. You will find yourself getting back the core of surfing – fun. As simple, basic and inarticulate as fun is, it’s why you got into it and why you’re still at it. Like what else are you going to do? Play baseball? Start golfing? Gross. Put your ego in the bin, meditate to tranquility and pull the trigger on splitting peaks with babe.