Groundbreaking: Ireland set to open world’s first “National Centre of Excellence for Surfing!”

Australia beware!

And maybe this whole “surfing-getting-into-the-Olympics” thing isn’t a joke. Maybe it is the single thing that will save the surf industry, provide hundreds of thousands of jobs in cities around the globe, carry the World Surf League to its long sought status as bigger than the National Football Association and allow the 1989 World Champion Martin Potter to retire swathed in fine linens.

Because who would have ever guessed, who could have ever guessed, that Ireland, a country previously most famous for Stephen in Braveheart is building a “National Centre of Excellence for Surfing?”

Not I, that’s for certain, and what is a “National Centre of Excellence for Surfing?” Let’s learn!

A NEW NATIONAL surf centre is set to be developed in Sligo, the Government has announced.

The centre, which will be located on Strandhill promenade, will act as a modern fit-for-purpose facility for locals and tourists eager to catch some waves along the west coast.

It will comprise of a facility that will serve as a National Centre of Excellence for surfing in Ireland, and will be a key focal point in for activities on the Wild Atlantic Way.

An interpretative element telling the history of surfing in Strandhill and Sligo will also feature at the centre, where there will also be an information hub and visitor focal point for the area.

So it’s not a new wave tank is what I’m picking up here but more like a museum fronting a strip of North Atlantic beach where folk can paddle out and save the surf industry. Am I reading it right? Also, I am very intrigued by the interpretive element telling the history of surfing in Stranhill and Sligo. Are there dances and things in the interpretive element? Free form jazz?

All I know, in the end, is Australia better damn well build its own National Centre of Excellence for Surfing if the continent hopes to keep Mick Fanning part of the team. Isn’t he Irish?

shane beschen
Analysis is free, smiles cost a little extra!

Former world #2 Shane Beschen Offers Free Surf Coaching! (Via Instagram!)

Free video analysis by the man who drove Kelly Slater to the brink of madness!

Don’t tell me you don’t know that ol’ acrobatic illusionist Shane Beschen. He is a former world number two, was a long-time foil to Kelly Slater and is in the ledger as having the best heat ever in pro surfing history (three tens at Kirra).

Shane’s two kids, Noah and Koda, shred and his wife, Sofia, is the owner of the most splendid Venezuelan genetic sequence. 

The historian Matt Warshaw described Shane to me as, “like Medina but less fucks given.”

Recently, Shane, an excellent surf coach who was sought out by Carissa Moore for aerial tuition, took to Instagram to offer free surf analysis.

Since I started using my @instagram account to bring value to people, I have been really stoked on the response from the tutorials.

I’ve been thinking of ways to bring more value and one of the ideas is for you guys to send me your clips. Once a week I will do a review on one of the clips that was sent in.

If you are interested in having your clip posted on my @instagram account with constructive ideas to make your surfing better, please send them in.

PS: We are all learning and everyone who is posted on my account will be treated with respect and positive feedback ☝️🙌🙏 Also, please send in single maneuver clips so I can be more specific on the information. This will help make it easier to explain and understand. Please dm me your single maneuver clips I can download.

The first brave soul to have his “check snap” analysed by Shane, and potentially be mocked by Shane’s 28,000 followers, was Christopher Brown, owner of Campsurf at Manhattan Beach in Los Angeles.

(Watch here.)

Shane replied.

He asked about his arm going back on the first snap. I just did a tutorial on the check snap and this clip directly relates.

On his first snap, you can see he goes slightly into the lip when he does his turn, which makes his back arm fall back and almost puts him out the back of the wave.

You want to do this snap before you get to the top so you can use the power of the wave to push you down the line. You also want to start pushing the back arm and shoulder forward right before you start your turn. This will keep you centered and give you that controlled down the line speed.

What’s really cool about this clip is that @cbcampsurf is aware of what he’s doing and each turn gets better throughout the wave. 👌 This is the benefit of surfing point waves where you have the time to do multiple turns on one wave 🙌

Ready to face your demons? DM Beschen now!

From the get-rich-or-poor-quick dept: DHD opens crowdfunding share offer! Buy a slice for $250!

Company wants to raise two-and-a-half mill by January…

Five months ago, the Australian crowdfunding site, Equitise, announced it would soon open the door to everyday surfers being able to buy a slice of DHD, a company whose boards have underpinned ten world titles.

Well, today that door is wide open.

Crowdfunding, of course, is a roundabout sorta way to raise cash for your biz without the expense and legalities of an IPO (initial public offering, where companies jump into the stock market, pieces of the company or stocks/shares offered etc).

For as little as $250 you can buy ten $25 shares of a biz that’s been around for thirty-five years, ever since Darren Handley flew the coop from Murray Bourton’s Pipedream Surfboards. In a similar play, Darren’s ghost shaper Jason Stevenson split after four years at DHD to start JS Surfboards.

If you’re into gambling your shekels on a biz that I think we can all agree is a creator of fine work, you can read the prospective here.

(DHD Crowd-Sourced Offer Document)

Interesting points.

The company bought Jack Perry’s accessory company Modom, giving it a piece of the leash, soft board, tailpad market.

Handley owns 35 percent of the biz; Matt Bailey, director and chief marketing officer, owns 38.

The company turned over six million bucks in 2017-2018 (almost double its earnings four years earlier) for half a mill in profit.

Handley gets a $120,00 salary plus whatever dividends the company delivers.

The offer closes January 18.

And the usual caveat on these things:

• Crowd-sourced funding is risky. Issuers using this facility include new or rapidly growing ventures. Investment in these types of ventures is speculative and carries high risks.
• You may lose your entire investment, and you should be in a position to bear this risk without undue hardship.
• Even if the company is successful, the value of your investment and any return on the investment could be reduced if the company issues more shares.
• Your investment is unlikely to be liquid. This means you are unlikely to be able to sell your shares quickly or at all if you need the money or decide that this investment is not right for you.
• Even though you have remedies for misleading statements in the offer document or misconduct by the company, you may have difficulty recovering your money.
• There are rules for handling your money. However, if your money is handled inappropriately or the person operating this platform on which this offer is published becomes insolvent, you may have difficulty recovering your money.

Obviously, these things tend to go one of two ways.

karim braire
For Karim Braire, surfing Nazare is as easy as a child sliding down a bannister.

From the real-life-miracle department: This French surfer paddle-surfed forty-foot Nazare during WSL big-wave contest!

Born in the ghetto, learned to swim and surf at 18, six-figure contract with Quiksilver, best-selling author and, soon, movie star?

Nazaré, Portugal, last Sunday. Biblical crowd lining the cliffs, several dozen adoring online fans watching the live FB broadcast. The WSL, responding to a boisterous forecast that promised a very good chance of the very biggest waves ever ridden in the world, ever, broadcast the tow-surfing sessions.

The commentary featured a variety of big wave legends in the booth between go outs, most notably Makuakai Rothman and Garrett McNamara, who were actually very good value, didn’t you think?

Alas, Huey had to go and fuck us all over.

“Biggest hoax in surfing history,” said one disgruntled spectator.

He had a point. The swell was way too west to do the nuclear teepee thing, and thus, about the half the size. Nevertheless, some of the gnarliest shred-lords in the universe were on the rope and giving it a good crack.

Dylan Longbottom took a 50-footer on the head and eventually got picked up a mere few metres from the cliffs. Justine Dupont snagged some bombs. Lucas Chianca, Kai Lenny, Sebastian Steudtner, Mikey Brennan, Rodrigo Koxa, Carlos Burle, G-Mac, Makua, Pete Mel, Andrew Cotton were all in the mix at various points. Ooohs and Aaaaahs from cliff, with occasional fodasse caralhos (fucking hell!)

About lunchtime, a lone, bald paddler appeared stroking his way in towards the first peak from around the point.

“Who dat guy?” said G-Mac.

“Wooaah,” said Makua. “Paddling?”

“What he riding?” wondered G-Mac. “Look like a 9’6” or something.”

Turns out, in a sea of jet exhaust, one brave Frenchman decided it was in fact more much more of a paddle day. He went for one, kinda got sucked over, tried to duckdive(!) some whitewaters before ending up on the sand. The camera duly zoomed in on our new hero on the beach, blowing a bit but defiant, a five-year-old Paris St Germain football jersey over the top of a Decathlon wetsuit.

(Go to 1.34:09 on the live stream)

“That’s so irresponsible,” said someone holding a walkie talkie (which, btw in French, is talkie walkie).

“He’s jeopardising the safety protocol,” grumbled another.

“He doesn’t even have his own ski.”

“He’s not even on the right equipment.’. Etc, etc.

Someone else, who wasn’t part of the big wave safety scene, perhaps summed it up better.

“If that cunt doesn’t get a root tonight….”

Turns out our man is Karim Braire, who appeared on TF1’s (France’s national broadcaster) prime time 7 à 8 show last year with an incredible backstory.

The v.o. went something like:

“He grew up in the ghettos of Orléans. At 18, unable to swim and hundreds of km’s from the ocean, he chanced upon a surf magazine and decided to become a surfer. He signed a six-figure contract with Quiksilver, and now he’s one of the best surfers in the world.”

With such a compelling rags-to-rad story, the media appearances kept on coming. Several other TV channels in France gave him airtime. His biography, ‘Zarma Sunset’ received rave reviews and got optioned for a film by top French actor/producer Dany Boon.

That’s when the trouble started.

Turns out, rather than use footage of himself surfing for the TV shows, Karim had used clips of Justine Dupont surfing instead.

“A guy using shots of a girl to show ‘his exploits’, that’s a first!” said Justine on Twitter.

“Never seen a trace of a Quiksilver contract in his name,” said Quik’s Miky Picon via a French surf website.

“I’m tripping. Massive liar… can’t believe the media don’t check their sources,” said Benjamin Sanchis, the noted French surfer.

But with the French pro surf scene writhing in condemnation, was Karim put off?

Apparently not.

He stuck to surfing, training, waiting for the biggest tow day forecast in surfing history to relaunch himself into the spotlight, undergunned and underjetski’d.

Having made the long walk back up the cliffs to the fort, Karim was understandably keen for a bit of live webcast time. If you watch back the stream, you can see him dying to get in on an interview roaming reporter Shannon Reporting (no relation to Hanalei Reponty) was doing with an Irish fireman.

(Around 2.00:51)

The interview wasn’t forthcoming. “It’s too small today, much too small for tow,” he told me. “I paddle.”

Is Karim Braire the most fascinating surfer alive today? I couldn’t help but think so.

Because as the old cliché goes, there’s plenty of arguing with the guy in the tube.

But there’s no arguing with the guy calling the entire big-wave fraternity pussies by paddling big Naz in a hundred dollar Decathlon wetsuit (booties €12.99).

Bold claim: Kelly Slater tells Esquire he dunked phone at Surf Ranch, didn’t get another for weeks!

But is it true? Let's fact check the king!

It is Thanksgiving in America and I am Thankful for Kelly Slater. Someday he will disappear, leaving us only with memories of flat earth debates, OuterKnown, spotlight stealing head fake retirement announcements, Surf Ranch, 11 x world championships etc. but today is not that day and so let us gather around the family table and enjoy another fable from the greatest to ever slither into a rash guard.

Kelly chatted with Esquire magazine recently and ostensibly about technology. It is not an interesting conversation (he likes Candy Crush, he liked when Surfline was an 800 number read here!) but he does reveal something I find extremely doubtful. Let’s just get right into it.

It’s a Sunday afternoon in November, and downtime seems to be the order of the day. It has been for awhile now. A May 2018 incident on his personal wave machine left him phoneless for a couple weeks (call it an occupational hazard), forcing Slater to disconnect and appreciate the moments when acquaintances, brands, and obnoxious journalists aren’t blowing up his cell to chat.

“I was doing a live thing from a jet-ski and I dropped it in the water,” he laughs. “They found it like three weeks ago. It was kind of nice. You stop thinking about it, you know?”

Slater talked to (from a new phone) about how technology has changed his industry, his guilty pleasure app, and where the world’s best surfer goes for the world’s best waves.

Ok. Do you believe that Kelly Slater went without a phone for a couple weeks sometime in May and probably extending into June? Do you really believe in your heart of hearts that he “unplugged” as it were?  Let’s go look at Instagram!

May 2 (a post of Kelly Slater in a pool from old issue of Surfing)

May 13 (a loving post from Kelly to his mother for Mother’s Day)

May 20 (a well composed post of Kelly saluting an airplane at Surf Ranch)

May 22 (a video of Kelly giving away sessions at Surf Ranch)

May 27 (a post featuring Ramon Navarro on a bomb in Fiji)

May 30 (a repost of the AI movie trailer)

June 2 (a video of Italo Ferreira spinning)

June 9 (a post of Kelly’s x-rayed feet)

June 16 (Happy International Surfing day post)

June 17 (Kelly wishes himself a happy Father’s Day)

June 22 (a beautiful sunset post from the North Shore)


I ain’t seeing a lot of 2 -3 week gaps here but maybe he was referring to a metaphorical 2 -3 weeks? A gorgeous 2 -3 weeks of the soul (that go for 24 hours or something)?

We could all learn from Kelly, anyhow, especially the Americans here who will likely be amongst family and especially today. Tell everyone you are taking a break from technology while getting much praise then sneak into the bathroom lots to chat with your buddies at BeachGrit.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!