Kelly Slater to his 2.4 million followers: “Don’t tell anyone how good the left is at V-Land!”


Kelly Slater, greatest surfer of all, greatest surfer on earth took to Instagram today in order to tell his 2.4 million followers a secret.

“Don’t tell anyone how good the left is at V-Land. Sneaky ones on a @slaterdesigns 5’9 rounded pin #FRK by @dan_mann.”

And I will tell you what, it is this sort of hot action that makes Kelly Slater the greatest surfer of all, the greatest surfer on earth. To me and to you that is an ugly, aberrant closeout that could only lead to many stitches but to Kelly it is a canvas. The lefts at V-Land will never be seen the same but have you surfed V-Land before?

Matt Warshaw the greatest surf historian of all, even though Pulitzer Prize winning author William Finnegan calls him ‘self-proclaimed’ writes:

Feisty high-performance wave located at the far east end of the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii; a two-way break, but generally known as a right. Velzyland needs a medium-small west swell, and breaks best from three to five foot. Bigger waves fold over on an outer reef, roll shoreward, and sometimes reform just prior to hitting the Velzyland proper. The rights wedge up into perfectly formed tubes, and often throw out two or three times on the same wave; the lefts are longer but softer.

Velzyland’s jagged reef is the sharpest of any break on the North Shore, and riders who blow a tube section often surface with long red scratches and welts across their backs, shoulders, knees, elbows, hands, and feet. “For a hotdog spot,” as longboard ace Herbie Fletcher noted in 1974, “it’s a wave with a lot of consequence.” Velzyland has also been regarded since the late ’60s as a hardcore locals break, and unwelcoming to visitors.

(you subscribe to the Encyclopedia of Surfing I absolutely insist here and now.)

Unwelcome to visitors. That’s sort of what I thought but I’m sure Kelly’s 2.4 million friends will both keep the secret and be very respectful when they paddle out and shaka Eddie Rothman who happens to live nearby.

Revealed: Menopausal Hollywood feel-good film bolder than the World Surf League!

"I think this guy could die tomorrow!"

I am a massive fan of the Hollywood starlet Julianne Moore but really who isn’t. She holds every film she’s ever appeared in hostage with her grace and charm. What would Boogie Nights have been without her? Or Children of Men? Or The Big Lebowski? Well, she has a new vehicle releasing very soon called Gloria Bell. I watched the preview ahead of Vice (outstanding film and must-see) and it appears to be a sort of drama/comedy centering around love, life and relationships during those early menopausal years.

You know the sort (Sex and the City 2 etc.).

Anyhow, I was sitting there, watching and John Turturro seems to be her love interest. He is an fantastic actor in his own right and I shouldn’t even have to mention Do the Right Thing, Summer of Sam or O Brother, Where Art Thou? for you to know. My favorite Turturro turn, and maybe yours, was in The Big Lebowski where he played “Jesus” to the hilt.

So there I was enjoying the preview and all the humorous difficulties of being pretty old but not, like, old old when I see what is supposed to be John Turturro surfing a very large wave at what I think is Maverick’s.

Is it Maverick’s?

I think it is and I was marveling at how big the wave was before thinking about the last time Maverick’s had really big surf, really big perfect surf and how the World Surf League pulled the plug for their Big Wave World Tour event because it was too big.

I took a sip of my Texas Mule (a Moscow Mule prepared with Tito’s vodka apparently) and thought, “Well look at that. A menopausal Hollywood feel-good film is bolder than the World Surf League.”

Watch here (surfing at 1:47)!

Question: Should the WCT be renamed the “small-medium-wave” tour?

Or the case for a real-life big-wave event on a tour that studiously avoids size…

Oh I’m sure you can remember the events of 2012 when, despite being altered to the arrival of a large swell, the then ASP called off the Volcom Fiji Pro in glassy fifteen-foot waves, which were then subsequently paddled into by a coterie of big-wavers.

“We’re not a big-wave tour,” then ASP chairman Richie Grellman, who’d previously worked with an accounting firm for 32 years, said. “If the surf happens to be big, that’s of interest to some people. A lot of people like to see the skill and ability of surfers in small-medium conditions.”

The head judge, Rich Porta, said, “We (the ASP) have taken a hit, obviously, for the (World Tour) boys not going in the water. It was a loss for us.”

Nothing has changed.

“If the surf happens to be big, that’s of interest to some people. A lot of people like to see the skill and ability of surfers in small-medium conditions.”

Some years Teahupoo is eight foot for the CT, sometimes Pipe is ten for a day. It ain’t twenty-five foot Jaws or Mavs.

I doubt there would be a finer spectacle than watching WCT surfers, whose ability on a surfboard is beyond reproach, learning the mechanics of Jaws; of their shapers having to learn the craft of building a blunderbuss and their charges having to decode the mysteries contained within ten-feet-and-six-inches of fibreglass and foam.

I wonder:

Would there be an alignment of ratings if one, or two, big-wave events appeared on a schedule dominated by easy points, beachbreaks and an inland lake?

Would a big-wave event be the colourful lure that convinced John John to put his white knee-highs back on and dig out his lipstick?

Or would it end in too much sobbing, feigned injuries and days called off for being too big?

The coming hegemony: The World Surf League buys everything related to surfing!

A vision!

I had an explosive migraine headache last night, one that rendered me completely blind and in a state massive confusion. A wild, undulating, rainbow corona closing out vision. Something deep inside my brain acting like a giant piston, driving up and down, up and down. Or like the Surf Lakes’ plunger, I suppose. I sprinted to bed, turned off the lights and fell into the deepest oddest sleep.

Somewhere around 1:00 in the morning I woke up and while my head still felt very loose, a clear prophesy floated in front of me. So clear, I could almost touch it.

(Interlude: Someday, when BeachGrit’s Origin Story is played out in yearly pageant like the Mormons’ have in upstate New York this moment will be a crescendo maybe scored to Bon Jovi’s Living in Sin.)

The World Surf League is going to buy everything related to surfing, not just professional surfing.

Dirk Ziff has the team he wants now, don’t you feel it? Erik Logan was the final piece and now, now it’s go time. The World Surf League already owns professional surfing and wave pools. In the next few years, and mark my words, it will buy Surfline for its cams Stab for its toothless, chummy fawning and Surfer for its historical assets. Oaktree Capital, parent of Quiksilver and Billabong, stock will get eaten up, Rip Curl will also get purchased and one or two of the larger but financially distressed surfboard manufacturers.

Wave pool construction will boom, they will be surrounded by Quiksilver, Billabong, Rip Curl stores with production centered in North Korea so costs can be cut to fast fashion levels and serve larger but financially distressed surfboards. Surfer bars will dispense piña coladas, Stab will throw worldwide parties that almost look edgy, Surfline will be moved to Austin, Texas.

Smaller brands/media entities will be tolerated but if they annoy and/or get out of line and/or present a non-mass adult learner vision of surfing then they will be purchased and shuttered or harassed into outer darkness.

Surfing and the World Surf League will be synonymous and I hear you and your, “I don’t care about pro surfing or the brands or the culture, I just go surfing at my local, man. Just me and my board and the waves, man.”

But your children won’t be saying that when World Surf League Surf Schools front every “ocean break” and give adult learners “a taste of surfing’s roots.”

Oh don’t worry. We’ll still be here for your children, making extra lots of fun and also presenting our origin story “Surfing is for Assholes!”

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.