surfing apocalypse
When the climate or nuke apocalypse comes, what's your surf plan? Y'gonna be the captain of your fate?

Quiz: What’s your doomsday surf scenario?

The earth is cooked! So watcha gonna do when the apocalypse comes?

The past week is as close as I’ve ever come to what wankers might call “an existential crisis.”

It was brought on by a perfect storm of fiction and non-fiction. I’ve read two things this week that have violently affected me.

The first was a novel called Under the Skin by Michael Faber. It’s the story of a women who drives around the north of Scotland, on familiar roads, looking for well-muscled male hitchers to pick up. Except it transpires she’s not really a woman, and that she’s working. She’s an alien and her job is to capture humans so they can be harvested for meat.

The specimens she captures are “processed” by cutting out their tongues, removing all hair, then neatly slicing open their scrotums to extract their balls. Then they’re left in pens with straw, deep underground, to be fattened. Eventually, the naked, mute-but-screaming eunuchs are shipped off to another planet to be eaten as a delicacy.


The specimens she captures are “processed” by cutting out their tongues, removing all hair, then neatly slicing open their scrotums to extract their balls. Then they’re left in pens with straw, deep underground, to be fattened. Eventually, the naked, mute-but-screaming eunuchs are shipped off to another planet to be eaten as a delicacy.

It’s the most convincing scenario I’ve ever come across for turning vegetarian.

But the thing is, the alien doing the harvesting starts to realise that Earth is really quite beautiful. On her planet trees are tiny things grown in labs under intense lights. Her species spend their time indoors with sex, drugs and other vices because they can’t go outside. They don’t have rain, or ocean, or birds or free oxygen.

The second thing I read was an academic paper about climate change that has gone viral. It’s called Deep Adaption: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy by Professor Jem Bendell.

You can download a PDF of the paper here or you can shortcut to your panic stations and get the gist from this Vice article.

Basically, we’re fucked.

Even in the event of ovenight wholesale changes to culture, attitudes and government policies, we’re probably still fucked. According to the paper, we might have as little as a decade before we start to see the effects of climate change impact the structures of our societies. A short while later, we’ll be hacking up our neighbours for meat to feed our families.

The paper is a little sensationalist in places and perhaps tends to hyperbole. (“You will fear being violently killed before starving to death.”)

But I kind of think that’s fine.

The author concedes this, too. He admits that the language used is “to elicit an emotional response” because the situation we are facing requires us to “communicate emotively.”

I agree.

David Wallace-Wells, author of The Uninhabitable Earth, reports that a study into the effects of air pollution, which is likely to cause of 1.5-2 degrees centigrade of global warming, would cause 153 million deaths.

The equivalent of 25 Holocausts. And that’s just air pollution.

When you start using multiple Holocausts as analogies, you might hope someone takes notice.

The problem with terms like “Climate Change” and “Global Warming” is that they’ve been bandied around since I was a kid. In the beginning they were grand, far-off concepts that were impossible to imagine. Over time they’ve become platitudes. Terms like “mass starvation”, “inevitable social collapse” and “mass extinction” are far easier to comprehend, and far easier to react to.

Global warming is something I’ve always paid lip service to, but never really worried about with any conviction. And I believe 99% of people are probably the same. Everyone has heard of it. It’s just no-one really gives a shit. But conclusive facts are hard to ignore. Like the fact that 17 of the 18 hottest years ever recorded on our planet have occurred since the year 2000.

I’ve got a little piece of land mapped out. There’s a beachie nearby that picks up every swell going, a left and a right point and a couple of other little nuggets. I’ll have an alfalfa patch and a rabbit hutch and some chickens. And the cream on the milk will be so thick like you can hardly cut it. I’m working towards it. Jus’ trying to raise a stake. If the world comes tumbling down then that’s where I hope I’ll be.

So, surfing.

What the fuck has this got to do with surfing and anti-depressive etc?

In the context of civil breakdown and ecological dystopia I think it would be fair to say that surfing probably isn’t all that important.

But what would your Doomsday prepper surf plans look like?

Have you got a spot in mind where you might hole up?

I do.

I’ve got a little piece of land mapped out. There’s a beachie nearby that picks up every swell going, a left and a right point and a couple of other little nuggets. I’ll have an alfalfa patch and a rabbit hutch and some chickens. And the cream on the milk will be so thick like you can hardly cut it. I’m working towards it. Jus’ trying to raise a stake. If the world comes tumbling down then that’s where I hope I’ll be. And if I get to share a few waves with my boys (currently two years and eight months old) then I’ll die happy.

We’ll be rightly judged by our children for our ecological fuck-ups. We’ll be judged for our ugly, capitalist agendas. Our selfishness, our greed and our willingness to step on people.

But I’ll tell you what: the every-man-for-himself-and-fuck-everyone else nature of Capitalism isn’t going to prepare anyone for when it’s every man for himself for food, water and shelter.

There are glimmers of hope. There are inspirational young women like Greta Thunberg. There are the girls from my second-year class who stand outside the school with their banners and their youth and their conviction. They believe they can force governments to take notice, to take action on climate and I believe they can.

When I see kids of 12 and 13 who are so focused, so unencumbered by ego and social pressures and so articulate in communicating what needs to happen, it bowls me over. They amaze me. They are a generation with the wherewithal and the savvy to stand up for what they want.

Seeing them gives me hope that this stupid pastime of surfing can continue to be a stupid pastime and that one day I will get to share a few waves with my boys.

"Thanks for asking. I do like Kelly Slater but have to admit, Ross Williams really does it most for me."
"Thanks for asking. I do like Kelly Slater but have to admit, Ross Williams really does it most for me."

Revealed: Momentum is a “punk rock movie!”


I truly enjoy the legs that the HBO film Momentum Generation has grown. Legs that don’t get tired. Oh it’s been featured everywhere from The New York Times to The Atlantic to Breitbart to Fox News and now it gets to be on Fake News CNN.

The title of the piece, ‘Momentum’: How Punk Rock Movie Changed Surfing For Ever first seems grammatically incorrect. Shouldn’t it be ‘forever?’ And second made me snort. Punk rock movie. Pffftt.

But then I read introduction and I’m sorry for doing without you but, here, let’s read it together. Don’t worry, I won’t silently mouth the words. I’ll patiently wait until you’re finished.

His upstart surf movie and its punk rock soundtrack crashed through the sport like a barrelling wave and changed the game forever.

Taylor Steele’s 1992 film “Momentum” pioneered a new rockumentary-style approach to surf films, turning a traditionally gentle artform into an explosive experience for the video generation.

Almost three decades later, the multi-billion-dollar global surf industry remains inextricably tied to a film that showcased new stars and inspired a new demographic of surf fans.

“I remember the first moment I put punk rock music to it and it just popped,” recalls Steele, whose film revitalized surfing as a sport. “The surfing seemed to accelerate and pop off the screen.”

For the surfers, appearing on Steele’s camera was a rite of passage, a reputational boost arguably greater than professional competition results. It also heralded the arrival of Kelly Slater, perhaps surfing’s most famous name.

“Being in the film pushed you,” says the Florida-born Slater, who won an unprecedented 11 world titles, starting the same year “Momentum” was released.
“I think the whole filming process definitely made me a better surfer.


You know the rest of the story but back to the punk part, I suppose it is a punk rock movie, or at least has a punk rock soundtrack, even though I have never thought of it that way.

Have you?

Do you think real punks, like skinheads and their main antifa rivals, would consider it a punk rock movie?

Much to consider.

surf writer
Dear diary, mood, apathetic. My life is spiralling downward, I couldn't get enough money to go to the Surf Ranch concert. It sucks cause Blink 182 play some of my favourite songs like stab my heart because i love you and rip apart my soul and of course stab me rippie stab stab.

Longtom: How to hustle as a surf writer*!

"Surf writing has never been more punk or more fun!"

It boggles the mind how quickly the internet forgets but those of a certain age will remember the infamous table jump podcast Ep where BG principal Chas Smith went for the choke out on STAB Editor Ashton Goggans.

It was a watershed moment for surf journalism/writing.

I’m not a podcast guy – I find the format too long, too much wheat to sift through – but I did listen to the whole damn table jump ep, totally transfixed. While the table jump was in the spotlight and got all the attention a lot more meat on that bone was left indigested.

One thing caught my ear and has stuck in the craw. Goggans said how much surf writing meant to him and how he wished to inspire a whole new generation of kiddies into the artform. Chas may even have agreed with him.

I thought: wow! Kids want to be surf writers? Could that be true? Surely not.

Following that I had one of my regular online beefs with surf journalist Nick Carroll, the gist of which was “Fuck Shearer, I hope you never help someone in surf writing”. I thought, most unfair.

I can help! And help with the chief skill one needs to become proficient at.

The hustle.

The Old Legacy Print media gatekeepers were bullshit. I want to mourn them, but just can’t. They locked more talent out than they let in. The gear I read on BG, generally speaking, craps all over the old print dinos. JP Currie, SurfAds, Frontwards Fin Frank, Dogsnuts, Jen See of course, Von Fanningstadt(sic) etc etc.

Funny, sharp, independent.

Surfing, once for vagabonds, now belongs to billionaires according to Derek Hynd. Hard to argue with that. But we are still at the vanguard in two things: online commenting and surf writing. A: Surfers do commenting better than any human species on Earth and B: The future of work is the independent contractor/freelancer, vainly staunching bloodflow as they lose limbs to the onslaught of AI.

Guess who will own the algorithms?

When we are all in Harari’s useless class then we’ll all have to embrace the art form and jump in the steaming jacuzzi of surf writing. How? Don’t do it when you’re young.

Young surf writers are fucking horrible. Except Sabre Norris. I hate child prodigies but she was an amazing interviewer and quirky stylist.

Millennials surf write for a year or three and then go work for the Murdoch press. Spare the people the misery of using your surf writing as an extended resume. Do it the other way round. Work a real job then come in the backdoor with some dirt under your fingernails. Commercial fishing has never been sexier. School teaching has its charms.

Getting paid is a rapidly burning bridge on the current business models. Surf writing is yet to meet its Jeff Bezos so until the day of billionaire patronage arrives it’s better to think of it as writing for it’s own satisfaction.

Or a lead into selling something else.

What leverage do you have in the marketplace of ideas? In a world where even Nick Carroll gets rejected by The Surfer’s Journal, somewhere between nothing and five eighths of fukall.

Lewis Samuels made the pertinent observation that the “house style” tended to gobble up young minds and produce a form of the written word where one piece was almost indistinguishable from the other. Especially in taste and tone.

That’s the only challenge in surf writing. To beat the house on style, or create your own.

Chas Smith beats the house style in every magazine he writes in. D. Rielly created a house style so seductive that a decade after leaving STAB every writer there comes off as a second-rate copy.

Surf media started as a way to promote movies. John Severson kicked off Surfer magazine to promote his 1960 film Surf Fever. Alby Falzon started Tracks in ’73 as a vehicle to drive Morning of the Earth to market. Ozzie Wright sustained a 20-year career on the back of Vaughan Blakey’s Doped Youth movie promoted through Waves magazine.

It makes sense, if you have something to sell, to write about it. The last 30 years of surf writing as PR for the (failed) surf industry might be nothing more than slight aberration of the historical norm.

Surf writing is a beautiful art form. I recommend it highly and thoroughly. In its current incarnation it’s never been more punk or more fun.

How to hustle: go start your own ‘zine and give it away. Fund it with local business ads. Go local then go global. You’re welcome.

*When the local High School Principal found out I wrote surf he asked me to deliver a “career” lecture to high school graduates (true!). Not long after he was caught screwing the staff and exiled to the bush. This is a slightly edited version of the high school graduation speech, never delivered.

History in the making: For first time EVER Big Wave Awards held outside big wave Mecca Orange County!


“Where were you the first time you heard the World Surf League’s Big Wave Awards were going to be held in Redondo Beach instead of Orange County?” is going to the the question every true surfer will be able to answer for decades to come. Very much like “Where were you when you heard Kennedy was shot?” or “Where were you when the Twin Towers came down on 9/11?”

A monumental day. An unforgettable moment and it is true. For the first time in its nineteen-year history the Big Wave Awards, now managed by the World Surf League will be held outside of the big wave Mecca also known as Orange County, California moved to the other big wave Mecca also known as Redondo Beach, California.

It’ll be rolled in to the BeachLife Festival and what is that?


Let’s learn about it but let’s do it together unless we need to hold each other’s hands in order to stop from peeing our pants out of excitement.

Since the BeachLife Festival aims to celebrate beach culture with food and music, it makes sense to add another essential beach element, surfing.

The inaugural event announced announced today that it is partnering with the World Surf League to bring the 19th annual 2019 Big Wave Awards to Redondo Beach May 2.

Entry to the Big Wave Awards is included for all BeachLife attendees who purchased a Founder’s Pass or Captain’s Pass. General admission tickets for the awards are $20 and go on sale at 10 a.m. March 18.

The award ceremony, which is being held outside of Orange County for the first time, will take place on the festival grounds and is considered the kickoff event for the May 3-5 concert that’s bringing more than 40 acts playing at the 8.6-acre site that encompasses Seaside Lagoon and an adjacent parking lot.

Performers include headliners Brian Wilson, Bob Weir and Wolf Bros and Willie Nelson, who will take the main stage while three chefs serve dinner in a 50-seat pop-up restaurant set up just a few feet from the music.

The awards are expected to draw big wave surfers from around the world, including Maya Gabeira and Rodrigo Koxa, who currently hold the titles for the largest wave surfed.

Will you promise me something? Will you promise me that we’ll both get online before 10 a.m. on March 18 and buy the maximum amount of tickets and sell the extras to each other just in case one of us has a bad internet connection and/or gets blocked?

Thank you.

From the desk of an adult learner: “Being in the ocean is so spiritual you forget you’re working out!”

It's the new the new capoeira!

It is well established fact that vulnerable adult learners are the future of our grand Pastime of Kings. The World Surf League is geared toward their embrace. Rip Curl produces its complete line of outerwear exclusively for them. Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch.

But what does the adult learner really think? What goes on in his mind besides #blurrV2 and #liveyourpassion? What does she feel whilst sitting astride a 9’2 SurtTech?

Thankfully we have People magazine and let’s get to know one-time Gossip Girl star Leighton Meester. Let’s discover what she loves most about surfing so BeachGrit can become a more welcoming environment.

The Single Parents star, 32, said that surfing is one of the new things she’s recently tried.

“Last year, I took up personal training. My husband also taught me how to surf, and in the last year, I got really into it,” Meester tells SHAPE for their April cover. “For the last six months, surfing has pretty much been my main form of exercise.”

Now the former Gossip Girl star is fully addicted to hanging ten, and not just for the workout.

“I have found that when I don’t have a physical result in mind when I’m exercising — it’s not just about getting sore or getting abs or burning fat — I feel much more confident,” she says. “I’m working on a skill, and that is so fulfilling to me. Plus, being in the ocean is such a spiritual experience that you forget you’re getting a real workout.”

So mostly exercise, skill practice and spirituality.

Is surfing a martial art?

The new capoeira? the old tai chi?