Sunday cruising with the girls!

From the Sunday navel-gazing dept: An analysis of BeachGrits’s roster of writers!

Necessarily cruel.

The start of January brings an intoxicating optimism manifested in the forms of both hope, that what’s going to happen can only be better than last year, and delusion, that somehow you can become a better individual/performer (without ever doing the necessary hard things that it requires).

Yeah, fuck that shit.

What we really care about at the start of the year is the analysis of our favourite surfers, discussions of their strengths and weaknesses, while making predictions for how they will perform in the upcoming year.

Thing is, the Tour doesn’t start ‘til fucking April!

That’s way too far away to have to get a gauge for how Tour surfers will perform (lots more data to come in), so how about we sling a little sugar, and salt, into the faces of BeachGrit’s roster of writers.

Chas Smith
Strengths: Like the fabled Jesus Christ character who was able to turn water into wine, Chas has the divine ability to turn a shitty story into multiple shittier, but funnier stories, that enliven The People™ in addition to his powers of making Kelly mad and collecting executive scalps.

Weaknesses: While everyone can appreciate his ability to factory produce stories out of nothing (it keeps me coming back to BG, which I would forget about if not for the daily stream of content-adjacent clickables), his performance can be impacted negatively by his other projects (his best work, non-Ashton neck wringing, happened after the release of his book, buy here, free shipping etc). Also, he’s gaffe prone.

WCT Equivalent Performance Prediction: Taj Burrow 2010 – Like this iteration of Taj Burrow, Chas no longer has any real expectation of validation and/or attainment of a pinnacle achievement (Taj a World Title, Chas a Pulitzer for writing about surfing). Nothing left to prove and no urgency to strive. Like Taj, still enjoyable and can make our day.

JP Currie
Strengths: Not being afraid to be a savage when the situation demands it.
Weaknesses: One major, I mean MAJOR, weakness of JP’s would be his inability to live up to or lean into the stereotype of the frugal Scotsman, played up by the country’s most famous citizen, the one and only Scrooge McDuck, who would have scolded him over his over-litred, hidden surfboards. Stories of a savagely and noble Glaswegian miser could warm the hearts of even the most hardened grumpy local. Oh, and his gambling stories are meh.

WCT Equivalent Performance Prediction: Jake Paterson 1999 – Finishing ninth in the world the previous year, Snake finished 19990 12th and solidified his status as a non-title contender; an above-average tour performer worthy of sporadic attention.

Derek Rielly
Strengths: Major strengths of Derek include his insatiably dirty mind and sexy turn of phrase, as well as the ability to glean information from Matt Warshaw.

Weaknesses: He barely writes anything outside the blurbs that accompany the unispiring, non-re-watchable visual discharge put out by surfers and their crappy filmers placed on the site lately. Also, he sometimes overuses phrases of his design to the point of them becoming cliché (Re: “Dick in the guts!” or “Honeymoon dick!”).

WCT Equivalent Performance Prediction: Andy Irons 2008 – The year will be spent dealing with other important things (e.g. doing drugs and/or writing a book). Pre-occupied with completing his latest book, Derek will be continue his bromidic work, video blurbs and Warshaw interviews with innuendo fluffer for BG which no longer elicits excitement for him. Possibility exists for a no-show in France!

David Lee Scales
Strengths: While not a major contributor to BeachGrit in written form, David Lee Scales remains a notable contributor to BeachGrit through his podcast show called The Grit, in which he gives Chas a platform to talk about whatever it is he wants to in a run-on speaking format. That is his greatest strength, letting Chas talk, generally sticking to a defined set of topics that don’t get out of control on different tangents for too long.

Weaknesses: Like any surfer with a wonky style that detracts from his performance, David Lee’s voice, that high-pitched and monotonous So-Cal surf bro accent that makes the speaker’s perceived IQ drop 20-30 points, can make some of his interviews unbearable to non-native Californian ears. This glaring weakness is unlikely to be improved upon, though, so, well, that’s that. Another major weakness of his is his insistence to talk about his ideas about masculinity and fighting. We all know you’ve never been in a real fight in your whole life so just stop. Also, his cloying earnestness warrants demerits.

WCT Equivalent Performance Prediction: Tiago Pires 2011 – Clearly not the best surfer in the world (or surf personality in David’s case), Tiago often found himself at the bottom of the ratings and outside qualification from ‘CT results alone after uninspiring performances caused by a lack of elite skill only served to highlight others’ performances. Despite his deficiencies, some people respect Tiago, his game and determination, that they become fans and root for his success. Similarly, people seem to respect DLS and want him to do well. While he doesn’t have a column or regular writing presence on the site (‘CT equivalent), we expect him to back himself up with performances on the ‘QS (Surf Splendor Podcast Network), “interviewing” Chas (letting Chas talk in circles and grind himself into a stupor), to stick around and remain relevant to us at BeachGrit.

Travis Ferre
Strengths: He knows Dane Reynolds.

Weaknesses: While he has access to surfing’s El Dorado, Dane Reynolds, and he never misses an opportunity to tell everyone, Trav is never able to make it help any of his seven-month-beyond-relevancy opinions (like about wave pools… San Fran, brah) or personal I’m-superior-cause-see-I-know-some-guys-ooh-I’m-so-core anecdotes/stories seem the least bit interesting or compelling enough to read and extract joy. Having said that, I guess I can admit that What Youth has some cool photos.

WCT Equivalent Performance Prediction: Keanu Asing 2019 – Wishful thinking, but we can hope he doesn’t somehow requalify for next, or any, year (… motherfucker has a blurb on Meet the Writers).

Jen See
Strengths: Major proficiencies of Jen’s include, being able to establish the setting in a work, particularly through appealing physical descriptions of place and people; experimenting with The Inertia style while disavowing it completely, pre-emptively nullifying criticism pertaining to being so; her concision; her ability to not be Tara Ruttenberg (yes, I am being lazy and sexist comparing her to another female purely just because she is female. She’s not a militant dropper-inner like Tara, though, which can only be a plus).

Weaknesses: Too many of her posts produce an “oh, neat” reaction that people sometimes overinflate. Also, she uses words like “totes” too much. Blech.

WCT Equivalent Performance Prediction: Shea Lopez 2001 – Not a World Title contender, but a unique style and soft judging keep him relevant.

Strengths: Strengths of ol Longtom are varied and help him to produce a nuanced insight into professional surfing and its happenings as viewed through the Tour including: his knowledge of Russian literature; his ability to comfortably relay scattered, underdeveloped thoughts about or from other intellectual figures at a rudimentary level thereby making the reader feel smart for participating; his ability to convey his everyman persona, evidenced by his talking about driving a bus and fishing.

Weaknesses: In coming up with a weakness (other than being ginger) for our dear Longtom, my mind kept coming back to a quote from Billy Shakes, who writes, “Drink sir, is a great provoker of three things… nose painting, sleep, and urine. Lechery, sir, it provokes, and unprovokes; it provokes the desire but takes away the performance.” Same goes for using/relying on Nietzsche references… sorry, Stevie.

WCT Equivalent Performance Prediction: ADS 2016 – During a banner year last year in which he claimed the Non-Officially Sanctioned Best Surf Journalist in the World Title, climbing to the summit of the “profession,” (lol getting paid a living wage) Longtom dominated 2018 with his Tour coverage consisting of unparalleled contest wraps, in addition to writing some of the best board reviews seen on the site (Sorry Nick, we like normal shortboards that people actually ride).

After such a huge year, and with so much effort expended to write about places like Margs and Portugal, we expect to see some regression. Too much energy, not to mention spousal goodwill and money, is needed to scale the peak again.

Breaking: Kelly Slater calls for violent uprising against those who keep dolphins for pets!

"Putting them in captivity should allow violent means if necessary to free them. Makes me crazy angry."

Do you remember when Che Guevara was really trendy a while back? I do because I pasted a giant sticker of him on my surfboard when I first went to Yemen some two decades ago. Oh I was young-ish then but not embarrassed now. Did any historical man ever cut as fine a figure?

Well, maybe Kelly Slater will.

Joe Rogan, Kelly’s new BFF which makes Sal Masekela cry hot tears into his pillow each night, posted a video on his Instagram featuring many dolphins wake surfing off the bow of a boat.

He captioned the beautiful moment, “Had a magical moment with some dolphins in Maui during a fishing trip. They decided to swim with the boat. It was really incredible to witness. This is where these amazing creatures belong. Putting them in captivity should be 100% illegal worldwide.”

Kelly came swinging in, “Putting them in captivity should allow violent means if necessary to free them. Makes me crazy angry.”

Ooooee! Another handsome rebellion!

The only problem, and it’s a small one, would be seeing the beaten, bloody body of that Dolphin Tale boy being dragged behind a pickup truck.

Or Sandy from Flipper hanging from a bridge.

Otherwise, viva la revolucion!

Technology: A brand new way to kill sharks, dolphins, even people!

"The electric hydrofoil board is designed to allow surfing even without any waves and removes one of the major obstacles to learning the sport of surfing."

A very short few days ago you read one of BeachGrit’s patented Monuments of Ineptitude. A story so riddled with error that it is forced to stand for all time so passers-by from The Inertia and Stab etc. can giddily point, laugh and say, “See! We told you they suck!” to the bots they paid to follow their social media accounts.

And we do, or at least I do, but the guts of the piece were correct. A man riding a foil (it was a kite foil, I wrote he was wake foiling) quickly through the water whacked a shark, certainly killing it. Now, the kite foiler claimed it was no problem, that he watched the shark swim away but I used to post horses, deer, etc. getting hit by cars on the old Instagram account @reportsfromhell (RIP) and running away but the comments would flood with outrage. “THAT HORSE DIED! HE ONLY RAN AWAY BECAUSE OF ADRENALINE!”

So the shark died but where some saw misfortune I saw opportunity. Killing sharks with deadly foils would answer Australia’s shark-on-surfer violence problem! Foilers, dressed in armor, holding mementos from loves would head out every day jousting the beasts, returning home each night to showers of rose petals and blown kisses from balconies.

The only issue, wind powerful enough to blow kites at killing speed and bad for surf and boats pulling wake foilers are a smelly nuisance.

Well, leave it to China to solve our troubles and let’s learn all about the Waydoo Flyer.

The Shenzhen-based technology company Waydoo will unveil a prototype of its upcoming electric hydrofoil board known as the Waydoo Flyer next week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, NV.

The electric hydrofoil board is designed to allow surfing even without any waves and removes one of the major obstacles to learning the sport of surfing.

The Waydoo Flyer is an innovative electric hydrofoil board that borrows technology from aircraft design in order to make learning to surf easier.

Waydoo’s parent company, TXA UAV, is an agricultural drone spraying company that counts drone giant DJI among its investors. TXA UAV has developed a number of new drone technologies, but has most recently spun off some of their developments into the Waydoo Flyer.

According to Waydoo’s Strategic Advisor Ted Li:

“The key components used in the Waydoo electric hydrofoil such as the brushless motor, the propellors, the power solutions – these are all areas and expertise that we already have from our drone developments.”


Sounds like a shark killing machine. Now really choose your knightly name!

Listen: “How many yearly fatalities are caused by standup paddleboards? We still don’t know!”

"So now do we get into how many people are dying on foils because I really was against SUPping, big time."

You know Devon Howard, of course, as a stylish longboarder, thoughtful speaker, critical thinker but did you know he may well be the 49th President of the United States of America? It’s true. I love muttering under my breath about Devon fucking Howard any time I am sitting across from podcast impresario David Lee Scales for our sometimes bi-monthly offering The Grit! but it is truly all in jest. Devon loves surfing, loves surfing deeply but understands that it is fundamentally ridiculous. I very much enjoy every chance we have together and Friday found us together across from podcast impresario David Lee.

So there we were, chatting along smoothly (except for my voice ravaged by disease and poor lifestyle choices) about this and that. Yoga (I don’t do), whaling (I would) until we arrived at minute 32:08 when Devon Howard transformed before my very eyes from a stylish longboarder, thoughtful speaker and critical thinker into a Presidential candidate and how? By cleanly linking a shark that had just been decapitated by a foil to a vast conspiracy of unreported SUP deaths at Cardiff Reef and I’m just going to print the transcript here.

Devon: But back to foiling… I listen to you guys pretty frequently but don’t recall… have you talked that much about foiling in awhile? Does this open it back up because the subtext of this is, like, “See, we told you these things were dangerous. They’re killing sharks…” So now do we get into how many people are dying on foils because I really was against SUPping, big time.

He goes on to violently push his political competition under the bus before continuing…

Devon: I think I’ve SUPped two times in my life, once in the channel in Indonesia because I was bored, you know but I’ve never “SUPped” so I’m clear on this. Cardiff Reef has been ruined because there’s a legacy of SUPping there and everyone was always talking about all the people who were going to die from it. Ummm I haven’t seen the statistics. Did people die? We still don’t know.


Absolutely masterful and I don’t know that I’ve ever witnessed such greatness from such proximity. To take a shark getting whacked by a foil and end with the possibility of hundreds, maybe thousands, of children rendered fatherless all do the evil SUP has the makings of a vigilante mob following one slick-haired, calm-talking leader.

Devon Howard for Pres 2032!

I can’t even remember what else we talked about but it is for certain the best show yet.

Surf Ranch, and maybe Gez Lopez, is coming to Austin! | Photo: KSWaveCo

Update: Doug Coors to remove obsolete Wavegarden machinery from NLand as part of agreement with WSL!

What's that mean? Surf Ranch is defs coming to Austin.

Three years ago, almost to the day, the Seattle-based surf historian Matt Warshaw saw the Slater pool reveal and announced that Wavegarden just went Betamax.”

Warshaw added, “Wavegarden execs are standing on office building ledges, crying, looking down at the sidewalk!”

His prophecy may’ve just been proved correct.

As revealed earlier today, newly formed Delaware company Tumbleweed Opco, which is owned by Kelly Slater Wave Co, which is owned by the WSL, had bought NLand Surf Park from Coors brewery heir Doug Coors.

Coors, you’ll remember, some with glee I’d imagine, spent what he calls “boatloads” building the first commercial wave pool in the US (forget Arizona’s Big Surf) only to see it superseded, first by Kelly’s Surf Ranch, then by American Wave Machines in nearby Waco and then Wavegarden itself, with its Cove re-boot.

The WSL has now told BeachGrit that ol Doug Coors will be taking all his dang Wavegarden equipment and “technology” with him, although it’s unclear what the Denver-based engineer is going to do with the wave-creating equivalent of a dozen containers filled with slightly used VCR players and laser discs.