Holiday Repeat: Bruce Irons’ Fantastic LAX-LAX Round-trip!

"Those stories seem outrageous don't they? I wouldn't believe it if someone told me."

In August, the Australian Josh Kerr won the Four Seasons invitational contest in the Maldives, an event that tests the savvy of surfers on singles, twins and three-packs.

Also in the event, and in order of placing, were Alejo Muniz, Fred Pattachia, CJ Hobgood and local wildcard Abdulla ‘Fuku’ Areef.

A sixth competitor, Bruce Irons, was a notable absentee.

Shortly after his non-appearance, I spoke to Bruce, who is thirty-eight years old and living in Salt Creek in southern Orange County, about the chain of events that led to his withdrawal from the event.

Well, first, hoo-ee, it’s been three years since I spoke to Bruce, since he told me he was jumping back on the qualifying series, so there’s a little bit of catch-up.

I tell him I’m the now the biz partner of a best-selling author (buy Coke and Surf here, free worldwide delivery); Bruce says he’s had two months out of the water, all of June and July,  after laser eye surgery. A pterygium made it feel like “someone had spit in my eye. Last winter, I’d drop in late, pull up and all of a sudden lose my balance. I looked like a fucking kook. I spent thirty years not realising it. It was like looking through a glass bottle. Towards the end it was really bad, like, does she have fuzzy skin? Do you have…scales?”

As for missing the Maldives, well, that’s a three-pronged story.

First, Bruce was psyched to go.

“I wanted to go and fucking wax Freddy P. We had a vendetta. In our last little matchup in Bali I smoked his ass. We were staying together. He got second and I won. I knew he’d be coming with his A-game. As for Kerr, I knew he was going to win. I saw him surf that single fin in that Rusty vid, doing airs, and alright, well, yep, he has his shit down. So… I was bummed. Fuck.”

The last time Bruce was in the Maldives was with old pals Chris Ward and Shane Beschen.

“Chris tried to do a Muay Thai kick and he slipped over and split his head in front of me,” says Bruce. “I went to kick in his face and slipped and got a huge bump on my elbow. He got up in the morning and we got into it again because he thought I’d punched him. He broke my boards and my mini-DVD player, back when they were a thousand dollars out of Singapore. It was Beschen’s Bombay gin that started us.”

So what happened on this trip?

“It was a string of fucking…okay…it’s partially my fault. I was moving out of my place, I was hotel hopping, I had all my fucking stuff in storage, a car full of shit, and I got my boards sent to a friend’s place in Venice. As I was driving up there, I grabbed all my stuff. And I open it all up and I’ve only got a double board bag. It was, like, shit, crunch time. Plane to catch. I needed to open up the bag, go boom, boom, boom. Oh my fucking god. This is not going to work.”

Bruce’s Lost quiver for the event.

(Flight to Dubai missed.)

“Next day, I get there three hours before the thing opens. I call this service on Yelp where they come and pick up all your luggage so I don’t have to sit there with all my stuff. (Later), I call the guy and I say, ‘Alright, boom, drop off my shit, I’m over here.’ The guy comes up and tells me he doesn’t take credit cards. Cash only. I have a credit card, that’s all I’ve got. I tell him, ‘Fuck, I’ve got stuff I can give you, what the fuck?’ He doesn’t budge. Me and this dude are going back and forth… for fifty dollars. Everyone was losing. I’m going to miss my flight, he’s going to lose his fucking job. I tell him I’ve got GoPros, sunglasses, shoes. He asks me if I have any perfume. Per…fucking…fume! I gave him a GoPro to get my stuff. And I missed my fucking flight. Now…you’re not going to believe this.

“The third thing.

“So I go back to the motel. Next day, I get a taxi to the airport, my luggage is in the back. The driver gets into me for going so short a distance. A twenty-buck fare. He’s mumbling shit. Want me to get out? Right before we get out he tells me he’s from Ethiopia da da da. Whatever, all good, he’s talking, talking as I get out and then he takes off with all my luggage. Are you fucking kidding me? So I Uber back to the taxi bull pen. Eight lines. Fifty cars. They’re all yelling at each other. And I tell ’em, one of your taxi guys has my shit, the Ethiopian dude. The guy there says there’s so many cars and so many different races and I’m standing there going fuck, fuck, fuck. Then, because my iPad was in one of the bags, I tracked it to Hollywood. I go to my car and I’m flying towards Hollywood where this fucker is and then he comes back to the bull pen, turns off my iPad, but I’m already back there. I’ve fucking got him. The motherfucker. I tell him, what’s up motherfucker! You turned off my iPad! He said he didn’t know whose it was.

“(The trip) just wasn’t meant to be. It sucked. Those stories seem outrageous don’t they? I wouldn’t believe it if someone told me. Really? Really? So I’m sitting there, baffled, the fight leaves at one in the morning, the cops are there, and I grab my shit and get to there (check-in) with fifty minutes to go. The chick doesn’t let me on. Then it’s two in the morning and it’s like the Twilight Zone. I gotta get back to my car with my board bag, the car is filled with shit, and on top of it, I’m looking for a hotel in fucking LA, and everywhere is booked out. I find this one place, drove up to it, and there’s a dude on the porch, this full trap house, holding a bottle of hard alcohol, full gangsta, and I just did a full u-turn.

“I blew it. There was a string of events but you know how it is. I’m justifying it to myself. If I had a chick, this probably wouldn’t have happened. They’re all organised. I’ve been running my own shit. At the end of the day it’s my own fucking fault. I spent a lot of money. The first fight they paid for. I spent probably spent six grand and didn’t fucking go anywhere.”


Merry Christmas dear BeachGrit family from Chas Smith!

Lift your bourbon glass!

I am sitting in the mountains, snow falling heavily, so heavily in fact that the internet has been wiped out entirely and while my gorgeous family is drinking hot chocolate and listening to Justin Bieber croon carols to shawty I’m thinking about you.

I couldn’t find a surf story worth posting today, before the snowfall and loss of internet so I shined it.

Has honestly nothing at all happened by near any of the seven seas today?

I could tell you about the time that Sal Masekela told me that he gave Nike’s very first toe dip into surf, Nike 6.0 (the 6.0 representing the six extreme sports), its credibility and without him Nike would have been laughed out of the surf market entirely but I was thinking about saving that for your Boxing Day present.

 

I learned that there’s a surfer in Cornwall who hates sewage but can’t care.

The World Surf League’s note-perfect propaganda film has already been praised.

I could tell you about the time that Sal Masekela told me that he gave Nike’s very first toe dip into surf, Nike 6.0 (the 6.0 representing the six extreme sports), its credibility and without him Nike would have been laughed out of the surf market entirely but I was thinking about saving that for your Boxing Day present.

I texted Derek, “I got to WiFi and no ideas!”

He responded, “Your highlights of the year? Cheesy but…”

And I thought, “Boom.”

You wanna know my highlight of the year?

You. 

All of you.

I chuckle everyday at the banter. I truly thrill at our conversation. This year alone between Backward Fin Beth and Ashton Goggan calling the police and Ben Marcus going on a grammar tear and the world’s lamest surf assault and leash-gate and the President-elect of Content, Media and WSL Studios Erik “ELo” Logan and things I can’t even remember…. this year has been fun.

All thanks to you.

So I lift my bourbon glass and say Merry Christmas family.

And thank you.


Progressive: The World Surf League releases stirring propaganda video!

"Dear General Secretary Sophie Goldschmidt resounds the marching drums of the powerful, prosperous League."

Three days ago the World Surf League released its first propaganda video via Instagram and I don’t know why it has taken me three days to get to it.

Maybe I was too wrapped up in Michelle Rodrigues unfollowing BeachGrit’s Instagram to see straight? Tears flooding my eyes every time I checked in?

Maybe but I have seen it now and it is amazing.

Our dear General Secretary Sophie Goldschmidt appears on camera wearing a comforting yellow and recounts the unvarnished successes of the year from Mick Fanning’s retirement to the Surf Ranch Pro to equal pay amongst all surfers.

A true workers’ paradise.

Inspirational music plays in the background and when the WSL’s Ministry of Culture finished editing I’m sure they bowed slightly to the framed picture of ex-General Secretary Paul Speaker hanging upon the wall then threw very tight shakas in each other’s direction, shouting, “Job well done comrade!”

Was President-elect of Content, Media and WSL Studios Comrade Erik Logan overseeing the work even though he is yet to officially take the position?

Maybe.

And if this is a representation of his art we are in very good hands.

Though some degenerates didn’t love.

ed_geb64 wrote: “WSL get a real CEO not a Facebook sister…..bring back the aloha spirit. There are other ways to make money rather than force us into FB. WSL should be from surfers to surfers!”

ndsearing wrote: “If you can’t admit the Facebook failure and correct it for next year you need to resign. Surfing will never be a mainstream sport. It’s not built that way. When you alienate your core base of fans (surfers) to pander for $ and viewership your sport will suffer long term.”

The World Surf League quickly mustered ranking members like Joel Parkinson (ok sign, praying hands) and Conner Coffin (raise the roof raise the roof raise the roof) to suppress the small insurrection with beckgard adding, “Ignore the Haters Sophie…this middle-aged, land-locked, non-surfer LOVES following the WSL…men & women.”

Re-education camps will be set up forthwith Surf Ranch adjacent.

Now let us sing our anthem:

By exploding the mental strength of the united heart of our billion fans.

Dear General Secretary Sophie Goldschmidt resounds the marching drums of the powerful, prosperous League.

Let’s go, great World Surf League from bright and pure Santa Monica.

Let’s drive unbelievers and degenerates into the sea.

Or maybe drown them underneath the never ending perfect waves of Surf Ranch.

Hail General Secretary Sophie Goldschmidt.

Hail the World Surf League.

May it rule for 10000 years!


Parko. My first real surf crush. The first guy I looked at and said “I want to surf like That Guy.” Smooth and beautiful. As precise as Mick but with his own stamp. So often made it look too easy. Bloody grateful he got the title he did. If he’d thrown his hands in the air a bit more and added a few hip jives he might have had five. But again, I’m bloody grateful he didn’t.  | Photo: Steve Sherman/@tsherms

From the we-still-do-lists dept: The Five Best Things About Surfing in 2018!

Including why Italo Ferreira equals dangerous sex, Gabriel, rape fantasies and why Conner is tantric lovemaking, beautiful yet simultaneously frustrating…

Let’s start with the positive, shall we? Get the hard stuff over with. A bit of festive cheer before I revert to type.

These are the Five Best Things about Surfing in 2018.

1.  The WSL Portrait Photographer

I’d love to name this individual, really I would, because they must have a cunt of a sense of humour. What sort of a photographer could take 37 (mostly objectively handsome men) and transform them into a Crufts line up? A bloody genius, that’s who. 

Have a browse, but allow me to pick some highlights.

We have…

Jordy Smith as…The Basset Hound!

Julian Wilson as…The Weimaraner! 

Kanoa Igarashi as…The Shiba Inu!

Wade Carmichael as…The Shih Tzu!

Patty G as…The Saluki!

And Wilko as a stray. 

I could go on. Truly a work of creative genius. 

2. Ain’t That Swell

The best of anything can’t be imitated. Razor-sharp commentary, genius mixing, classic cameos, and just simply funny as fuck. Nearly knocked me laughing off a high ladder this summer.

I suspect some people don’t really get it, and that makes it all the more appealing. Cali-centric surf media is a blight.

Best surf podcast going and it’s not really close. 

Fair play to Scalesy for his efforts. I still listen, mostly, but it’s hit-and-miss these days now that there are too many cooks. Some things don’t scale, no pun intended. 

And a nod to ONE HALF of Lipped. Can’t stomach the we’re-really-smart-and hardworking-and-no-cunt-appreciates-us tone anymore but Cahill Bell Warren, at least, is a man deserving of a voice and a great job somewhere – coaching or commentating most likely. Seems like a thoroughly bloody good bloke with a lot of insight and a lack of ego. His breakdowns and analysis of competition surfing are perhaps the best I’ve heard. Take note, WSL. 

But Ain’t That Swell. How fucking good is it?

3. Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson

Mick Fanning. I love him, I do. Couldn’t fault him. And I can find fault in pretty much anyone. I love his surfing to bits. What’s not to love about precision and power? Did he ever make a mistake? I’ve never met him but I know I’d love him as a man. Definition of a legend. Knocks Slater out of the park, in my opinion. 

HE’S MICK FANNING…HE’S THAT FUCKIN GOOD. 

And Parko. My first real surf crush. The first guy I looked at and said “I want to surf like That Guy.” Smooth and beautiful. As precise as Mick but with his own stamp. So often made it look too easy. Bloody grateful he got the title he did. If he’d thrown his hands in the air a bit more and added a few hip jives he might have had five. But again, I’m bloody grateful he didn’t. 

Dear Santa, for Christmas please can I have many, many future Parko and Fanning collabs. Cunts have a shit lot of great surfing still to do. And good on them for having the whereabouts to go out on top. 

Stone cold legends, the pair of them. I know they’ve had all the plaudits going, but I truly believe we might never see their likes again. You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone. 

Cynical bastards will point to the lack of evolution in their surfing over the years, the not really developing an “air game”. But those wankers probably add water to whisky. 

4. My Favourite WSL (Male) Surfers

gabriel-mick
Gabriel Medina = rape fantasies. You’re getting fucked, one way or another. You don’t want to like but you probably will. Photo by Steve Sherman/@tsherms

Most of you won’t know this, but my day job is actually as a teacher. It’s the reason I write under “JP” when everyone IRL calls me Jamie. People who call themselves by initials are utter wanks, but it’s my penance. It’s a thinly veiled disguise, but at least I haven’t been hauled in front of the headmaster again for shit I wrote on the internet. 

The reason I divulge this now is because last week, in one of my classes, (a bottom set first year) I made a throwaway comment to a thick-set boy in the class which stitched me right up.

Let’s call him Bob.

“Bob,” I said.”If you were a vegetable you’d be a mung bean.”

Well. The next thing I know the entire class has turned into Lord of The Flies and rounded on poor Bob (Piggy), roaring with laughter, pointing at him and chanting demonically…

“MONG BEAN! MONG BEAN! MONG BEAN!

“No, No!” I cried, helplessly. “I said MUNG bean!”

But it was no use.

I calmed them down eventually, but only after I explained what a mung bean was (not as straightforward as you might think to low-ability twelve year olds) and promised to give the rest of them vegetable nicknames for next lesson. 

So in that spirit, and with neither the will nor the words to justify my favouritism, I thought I’d just assign my favourite male surfers types of sex.

Italo Ferreira = Choke sex. Or any kind of dangerous sex that exhilarates in a way that will push you right to the edge where you’ll either die or have the time of your life. 

Gabriel Medina = Rape fantasies. You’re getting fucked, one way or another. You don’t want to like but you probably will. 

Zeke Lau = Pounded with full eye contact. You’ll be too scared to move. 

Conner Coffin = Tantric. Beautiful yet simultaneously frustrating. But when it goes, it goes. 

Griffin Colapinto = First time sex, probably a few tears. There’ll be moments of pleasure, the potential is there. You’ll cry because there are so many more levels to hit and you just hope you reach them. 

I love you guys. You’re why I watch. 

5. Honourable Mentions

Indecision is one of my greatest foes, and I’ve already written too much, so here are some bulletpoints of other great things.

Steve Shearer, AKA Longtom’s contest wraps and writing in general. After what we’ve seen this season, I genuinely feel you’ve got the stamina to go a few rounds with Zeke Lau, maintaining eye contact throughout. I suspect you won’t take up the mantle again next season, and WCT contests will be duller for it. Your words sing, my friend. 

Jordy’s nipples going over the falls at Pipe. Did any moment in pro surfing history sum up so succinctly the gulf between one surfer and another in the competitive arena? 

Caroline Marks. Will be world champion, likely multiple times. Literally surfs and looks like Occy. 

Rob Machado. I love Machado. I want to grow old just like Rob, but with a better van and a fucking haircut. 

Matt Warshaw/EOS and The Surfer’s Journal. The only surf media that matters (present company excepted). The bastions of our culture. I savour and admire each of them like a twelve-year-old Balvenie.


“If you want the ultimate, thrill you've got to be willing to pay the ultimate price" etc.

Advice: “If you’re going to be a surfer, you have to take it seriously!”

Straight outta Rockaway.

We joke and laugh and giggle and cajole surfing and professional surfing every day. It is undeniably ridiculous as it is fun and if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times… we put on black pantsuits and go sit in the ocean, waiting to wiggle our bottoms and spew out our arms and legs all akimbo.

BUT it is also deadly serious. Deadly deadly serious and this is why The Inertia-style Adult Learners are such shit with their, “the-best-surfer-is-the-one-having-the-most-fun” “calm-down-it’s-just-surfing” bullshit.

We have spent our lives here and tourists ain’t welcome.

That’s why it put a tear in my eye, this morning, to read about surfing in the Rockaways in The Failing New York Times and Mr. Brian James in particular.

Let’s together.

Three years after Hurricane Sandy lashed the Rockaways, the boardwalk marched down the beach in broken segments as the public housing built under Robert Moses was hemmed in by condos. Out in the surf, not much changed as the bathymetry returned to normal, but the predominantly white, male crowd of surfers had.

Part of that shift happened when Louis Harris, 46, founded the East Coast chapter of the Black Surfing Association in 2016.

Mr. Harris bought his first surf board after moving to the Rockaways in 2006. After getting his bearings in remote beaches, he joined the crowd at Beach 90th Street.

“That’s when I saw B.J.,” Mr. Harris said.

Brian James — “B.J.” — the only other black man in the water, paddled over to Mr. Harris and asked if he wanted to hang out afterward.

“‘If you’re going to be a surfer, you have to take it seriously,’” Mr. Harris recalled him saying. “‘You’re a black guy. Everybody’s eyes are on you.’”

The rest of the story is beautiful but I would like to tip my cap to B.J. for proactively spouting truths in the lineup.

“If you’re going to be a surfer, you have to take it seriously.”