Ken Collins
The sorta wave that gives a violent gastric disturbance, skilfully wrangled by Ken Collins. | Photo: Frank Quirate

From the melancholy love department: Santa Cruz Big-Wave Legend Quits Mavericks for good!

"I'm hanging up my Mav's guns and never paddling out again."

Earlier today, the noted big-wave surfer from Santa Cruz, Ken Collins, also known, variously, as Skindog and Skin Dizzle, announced he’d quit Mavericks for good.

Via Instagram,

12/18/18 Monday was one of the best days I have ever been out at Mavz. Grateful. @small_wave was calling it a Collectors Edition Mavz Dayz. With all the special features n shit. And that’s how I want to remember my last day surfing Mavericks for the rest of my life. So that’s it, that’s a wrap, I’m hanging up my Mavz Gunz and never going to paddle out again. I don’t want my last day to be an injury, because I feel too old, or I am bitter at the crowds. It’s because I am 50 years old (old af) and the timing is perfect. The day was perfect, the vibe was perfect, and my time to kick out…..perfect. Don’t worry y’all will see me on a boat or ski smashing a Modelo, watching the Best Show On Earth screaming from the side lines, cheering all the players in this epic game. I have been Chasing Monsters for over 30 years and now it’s time to start chasing other dreams, like epic powder days in Tahoe with my family.

An elegant sign-off and reminiscent, I think, of Matthew 5-13.

“Ye are the salt of the earth. But if the salt hath lost its favour, wherewith shall it be salted?”

A very brief recap of Collins’ career.

In 2007, he won the Billabong XXL Ride of the Year and Monster Tube category on the same rowdy Puerto wave, netting fifty gees.

The win came two years after a wipeout at Jaws two years previous that cracked his emotional plate.

“I told myself I wasn’t going to do this anymore, but then I had a complete change of heart,” Collins told Surfer. “I went back and changed my equipment and focused on the safety angle a bit more and it all came together.”

In 2013, Collins turned on Laird Hamilton who’d said unkind things about Carlos Burle and Maya Gabeira and their pet wave Nazaré.

And, in 2016, he nearly drowned at the Titans of Mavericks contest.

“The water hit me. I was so disoriented, going in all directions. This is the scariest thing I’ve ever done,” said Collins, who was held under by three waves. “Things happened fast. So easy, so quick, when the water hit me, it felt like the whole ocean came down on me. I thought I had a concussion at first, I was so dizzy. I’ve never been hit so hard. It was coming down my throat.”

Mavericks, of course, ain’t a stranger to killing.

The Hawaiians, Mark Foo and Sion Milosky, died after hold-downs in 1994 and 2011 after chasing swells from their Pacific island homes.

“When u know u know,” Flea Virotsko wrote in response to Collins’ announcement.

In 1998 Flea almost died when he was washed into rocks on a day Collins described, then, as “tubing death wishes.”

Conspiracy: Caio Ibelli denied injury wildcard because he follows BeachGrit on Instagram!

Racism at its very worst!

There are some 28 odd professional surfers on the World Championship Tour and none of them, not one of them, follow BeachGrit on Instagram. One did last year though. His name was Caio Ibelli but he is not on the World Championship Tour anymore because he has been relegated to the World Qualifying Series even though the rules clearly stated that he should have been gifted a wildcard for the 2019 season.

Caio was properly injured, you see, but two other “injured” surfers were allowed into the 2019 draw before him.


It can only be reasoned because he follows BeachGrit on Instagram.

Oh, I’m not saying BeachGrit‘s Instagram is a place you want to be. It is filled to overflowing with social justice warriors and adult learners, one would imagine that is the World Surf League’s demo and one would not be wrong, but Caio Ibelli was also there and he was swiftly kicked onto the World Qualifying Series where there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

I am going to consider suing the World Surf League for discrimination on Caio’s behalf.

The World Surf League now has a pattern of discrimination. First, BeachGrit was the only surf-based website not to receive WSL Pipeline advertisements. Second Caio Ibelli was the only World Surf League World Championship Tour surfer to follow BeachGrit on Instagram and he was ignominiously and racistly shown the door to the World Qualifying Series where there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Who amongst you is a lawyer and wants to take this important case up pro bono? (BTW I have a wonderful friend who did work for U2 so “pro bono” here means both “free” and “with an official signed Bono headshot.”)

Also, Ryan Callinan? Are you there? I know you are going to be on the World Surf League World Championship Tour and also follow BeachGrit on Instagram. Please, unfollow if you know what’s good for you.

I personally don’t want you to.

I want you to enjoy our “click link in profile” charm year ’round but it puts your profession in harm’s way and I don’t want that.

Unless you want to join our lawsuit alongside Caio Ibelli. I guarantee fun, maybe a severance (depending on the quality of our pro bono council) and an official signed Bono headshot.

What do you say?

Michael Rodrigues
Brazilian footpath warrior Michael Rodrigues heads to secret meet with Hawaiians. | Photo: Steve Sherman/@tsherms

Revealed for first time: Michael Rodrigues and Tanner Hendrickson’s secret post-fight meeting!

"Let's fucking fix this now!"

It’s been one week since the Tanner Hendrickson vs Michael Rodrigues fight card and, boy, has there been a torrent of water under the bridge since: Parko retired, Kelly mounted his surfboard mid-tube, maybe best Pipe Masters ever, happy Brazilian as two-time world champ.

But, while all that was bubbling, Michael Rodrigues, the leash-yanking Brazilian WCT rookie and the Maui surfer Tanner Hendrickson, who engaged in a wrestle that ended in Tanner being banned from the Pipe Trials, were summed to what you might call a frontier justice meeting. Heading the extraordinary meet was Kimo Leong, Makaha Beach Boy and the founder of Kanaka Security Solutions, the muscle that handles security for the North Shore during the Triple Crown of Surfing.

Here’s how Steve Sherman, the photographer who snatched this moment, calls it: “I was walking down the Pipe path and I see M-Rod walking with a bunch of Brazilian heavies and we talk for a second. Kimo (Leong) and the boys from security, the Hawaiians, have pulled him and Tanner Hendrickson into a meeting, saying, ‘Let’s fix this fucking thing now.’ They flew Tanner over from Maui and had this meeting on the DL. And I was there to catch the moment, which was like Rabbit in Bustin’ Down the Door being summoned by Eddie Aikau to a meeting. When I got that photo I held onto it for a little bit. I didn’t put it on Instagram or broadcast it. But we can tell the story now.”

Sherm had his own moment with Kimo and the boys five years ago.

“They roughed me up on the beach a little bit. I was following Kelly out of the water and they were telling me to stand back and then they grabbed my backpack from behind and launched me twelve feet into the air. I looked at ’em and said, ‘Is that it?’ They loved that. And from that point on, they’ve taken care of me. It’s the same with all the Hawaiians. If you don’t hassle, if you show respect, you’re cool.”

As for Tanner and Rodrigues, Sherm says he spoke to both of ’em after.

“It all worked out. They shook hands, they compromised. Which is great because they both fucking hated each other. I was at the US Open when Tanner got hassled in the water by M-Rod, grabbing his leash, treating him like shit, and he came out of the water freaking out. But in this instance, they were both cool, ultimately. They were men about it.”

Opinion: The World Surf League must do away with arbitrary and racist “injury wildcard!”

Introducing Sophie's Choice!

Would you like to know something that drives me really crazy? I will tell you. It drives me really crazy when organizations, companies, leagues draw up arbitrary rules then become bound by them like God himself dictated the terms.

Like, did you know Amazon workers are forbidden to drink anything other than water while working? No coffee, tea, boba tea, anything but water. Employees are fired over the offense. The middle-managers shrugging their shoulders and telling heartbroken ex-Amazonians, “Nothing I can do, man. My hands are tied.”

Also like the World Surf League’s injury wildcard rule and let us read commissioner Kieren Perrow.

We truly appreciate and understand the value of being on tour and take this process very seriously. As it has for years, this process includes an independent medical review board, which assesses the applicants based on severity of injury and the impact it has on the surfer’s ability to compete at the Championship Tour level. In the case of 2018, all three applicants were deemed to have severe injuries that prevented them from competing in multiple events. From there, we apply our technical criteria and career achievement factors – which include World Titles, career results, prior year ranking, and ranking at time of injury. While all three have strong cases, we have determined that Kelly Slater (USA) and John John Florence (HAW) will receive the WSL wildcards for 2019 and Caio Ibelli (BRA) will be the first replacement for the tour – not something we guarantee to a third applicant most seasons but is deserving in this case.

Bullshit, all of it. Kelly and John John were both selectively surfing over the course of the year and while I don’t doubt their injuries, the severity of them compared to Caio’s is… chuckle-able at best.

Now, I’m not saying that Caio Ibelli should be let in over Kelly, who did more selective surfing than John John.


I’m saying that the World Surf League should simply do away with the “injury wildcards” altogether and call the two available spots, “Sophie’s Choice” (after World Surf League CEO Sophie Goldschmidt not the early 1980s tear-jerker). Of course the WSL wants eyeballs. Of course Kelly and John John bring more eyeballs than Caio. Wrapping the decision in arbitrary “injury” gauze is a silly affectation since the League made the rule in the first place and could very easily change it and should change it for next year.

It’s probably also racist.

Once it becomes Sophie’s Choice then Dane Reynolds can also come back on tour.

And Bruce Irons.

And The White Fijian.


Domination: Julian Wilson was the only non-Brazilian to win an event in 2018!

It's raining Brazilian men, hallelujah!

Is your heart still pounding in your chest as a result of Monday’s historic day of professional surfing? Mine isn’t, thankfully, which means I’m back to my cool, calm, analytical self. I truly believe, like Socrates, that the rational mind is superior to random fits of passion. That man is greater than the animals because of his judiciousness but I must admit to being very… concupiscent on Monday, thinking that Australia’s own Julian Wilson had a shot at winning his first world title all the way to the quarterfinals.

Silly, true, especially when viewed with the white hot clarity of hindsight. Gabriel Medina was unbeatable that day.

Neither Julian Wilson, nor any other surfer on tour, had a prayer.

Medina’s dominance was simply reflective of Brazil’s dominance all season long. Now that I have my faculties about me once again I was able to go back and closely analyze every contest.

Brazil won them all, except for the ones Julian Wilson won (Snapper, France). The “storm,” as it were, has arrived.

Now, some questions.

Will the World Surf League be able to maintain its surge of popularity amongst the adult learner market if Brazilians win every single contest next year? Oh, I don’t think adult learners are more racist than you or me, but I do wonder if Wagner Lima’s Yelp reviews might act like a drag on the entire nation. There were many harsh words there. Many angry words about etiquette etc.

Also, what do you think Jordy got for his year of end bonus?

This question haunts me more than others.