"Surly Hawaiian power surfer from Waianae, Oahu; 2000 world champion and six-time winner of the Triple Crown; described by surf journalist Derek Hynd as 'a modern-day Cassius Clay...a slick, black nightmare come to whup some ass.'"

Breaking: Surfers flooding Instagram with messages of support and hope for Sunny Garcia.

Many rumors are floating around, none substantiated.

Sunny Garcia is an indelible figure of our surf world.

The powerful Hawaiian, strong and handsome, ruled the 90s and 00s with a singular style and unparalleled elan.

Matt Warshaw, surfing’s historian, wrote an introduction that can not be topped.

“Surly Hawaiian power surfer from Waianae, Oahu; 2000 world champion and six-time winner of the Triple Crown; described by surf journalist Derek Hynd as ‘a modern-day Cassius Clay…a slick, black nightmare come to whup some ass.'”

In the last few moments, iconic surfers from Derek Ho to Raimana van Bastolear have flooded Instagram with messages of support and hope for Sunny, who is forty nine.

Derek writing, “Brother! Shared many good times!hang in there son!its not your time!only god knows!love you !we never get to say that enough until they’re gone!but you haven’t left yet!I will talk to you soon!our prayers are with you!!!the Ho family!”

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bw28OEfhVcQ/

Raimana adding, “Brother @sunnygarcia !! Come on!!! Stay with us!! Not your time!!! Love uuuu.”

Many rumors are floating around, none substantiated, including his hospitalisation after being found unconscious at home.

Sunny opened up about his fight with depression recently.

More as the story develops.


From the If-you-can’t-beat-them Dept: Drive into your SUP foil infested lineup today!

Ride anything!

I’ve known that cars that could double as boats were a thing since I first began doodling in my kindergarten notebook. Who amongst us hasn’t dreamed of our automobiles doing more than just boring old driving? And so, a few years later, when my father showed me a picture of an Amphibicar 770 I wanted one deeply.

 

The Amphibicar 770 was produced in West Germany from 1961 – 1965 and was a thing of beauty. I craved mine candy-apple red and imagined racing around the streets then splashing into the ocean at top speed, flying down the coast at tremendous speed too. Then my father told me they didn’t drive well and also didn’t boat well.

Dreams die hard and I still wanted one, as I got older, for surf exploration but then I had exclusively of old cars, a 1960 Ford Falcon, a 1965 Ford Ranchero, a 1972 MG Midget etc. and knew that my vintage Amphibicar, while looking cool, would only ever sit in the garage.

Well, yesterday I learned that the world’s oldest car company wholly owned by its founder is one that manufactures amphibious cars and let’s head straight in to a thorough description.

Is it a boat? Is it a car? Actually, it’s the best of both – an amphibious vehicle. It’s the ideal solution for anyone who fancies driving to the coast and then… well, motoring out to sea. For the past 50 years, Tim Dutton has been at the helm of his eponymous firm. He started out in 1969 and is justly proud of the fact Dutton is the oldest car company in the world still wholly owned by its founder. He is based in a workshop in the pretty village of Littlehampton where he has his own slipway into the River Arun. Visitors can take a Surf out for a test drive/cruise. You won’t be surprised to hear that owning a dinky Dutton is a niche interest – Tim sells about a dozen a year. Most drivers/captains just want to have fun – who wouldn’t in a vehicle that looks like a cross between a sports car and a rubber duck? – but there are more serious applications, too.

Yeah. I know what those serious applications are. Driving them into line-ups infested with SUP foils, like Santa Cruz’s Cowell’s Beach which saw last week’s VAL/SUP foil/surfing dog mix-up. It’s the apocalypse out there, a Dutton is no larger nor more dangerous than a SUP foil and, I would imagine, handles similarly.

My dream is back and, soon, it will be the World Surf League’s President of Content, Media and Studios dream too only he’ll stand on the back of his Dutton swinging a paddle.

To each his own, I suppose, as that is the motto of the apocalypse.

Ride anything!

Also, though, while we’re here… what is the greatest car you’ve ever owned?


Opinion: “To hell with anyone who thinks Simon Anderson (whoever he is) ruled Bells!”

Nostalgia is a helluva a drug!

Nobody does meta like BeachGrit and so how wonderful was the just wrapped Bells contest at Bells Beach just off Torquay, Australia? A two-ish hour drive from Melbourne also in Australia with the best avocado toast I’ve ever had?

How much did you love? How good did you think it was?

I’ll answer for you.

So good!

Between Jen See, Sam George, Steve “Longtom” Shearer (obviously and mostly. Raising surf journalism to a place today’s children will speak about in hushed tones (through crazy new voice-optics machines (sorry, I’m so technologically behind that I still use an iPhone 4 and don’t know what voice-optics would even begin to mean))) and you, The People™, the coverage was the best ever.

But mostly you, The People™, (and Longtom, The People’s Person™™).

A professional surf contest never better covered.

Ever.

And so can we talk about nostalgia?

Should we?

There were many in the comments, ex-surf journalist/Hollywood screenplay-writer Ben Marcus chief amongst them (alongside Sam George), comparing this Bells contest to other Bells contests mostly from the early 1970s. And other surf contests from 1967. And other surf contests from when the Peruvians invented surfing long ago (buy here!)

But it was Ben Marcus, ex-surf journalist/music critic, who also weighed in on the relative glory of music in the 1970s, comparing the just wrapped best surf contest ever to the shit of music today.

On the Credence Clearwater Revival being better than Ariana Grande.

Fuck you, nostalgists.

Credence Clearwater Revival is an old wo/man band for old irrelevant times.

Just like Bells when Simon Andersen was surfing it.

Old-timey things are easy to praise because the book has been closed. The clock has stopped. It’s all over and, like old Coca-Cola before New Coke before Coca-Cola Classic, the memory grows in value even though the memory is artificial and mostly worthless.

Viva Ariana Grande.

Discuss.


Jen See: “The US Olympic team race looks spicy!”

And more thoughts from the most well-written about day in professional surfing's history!

In the opening rounds of Bells, I chose Carissa Moore as the favorite to win. I am bad at predictions, and this one proved no better than any other I’ve ever made.

The ocean turned on and as it often does, scrambled the board. Somehow, I’d forgotten that Courtney Conologue had won twice previously at Bells. I should read those screen graphics once in a while, maybe. And you call yourself a surf writer, they’ll be saying. What are you even doing, they’ll be saying.

On the day of the 50 Year Storm™ Courtney came out firing. I’d agree with LT that the judges were overly exuberant in scoring her first waves, but after the tentative turns from Lakey Peterson and Coco Ho in the previous round, Courtney looked impressive and committed. Lakey squeaked by Coco mostly on determination. When a wave didn’t work, she tried again. And again. No need for a secret turn, that competitive, die-trying mentality is Lakey’s superpower.

With Courtney on fire, Carissa looked slow to start. It’s as though she found the waves she wanted too late in the heat to matter. After a dominant performance in the opening heat, that had to have stung for Carissa. And she said later on the socials, that she was frustrated with how the heat went for her — and understandably. Carissa’s quarterfinal exit dropped her from second to fourth in the rankings.

Against Malia, Steph Gilmore looked lost. When Steph loses heats, it often goes exactly this way. She stares at the horizon as though she’s never seen the ocean before. It’s strange to watch someone as experienced as she is fail to read the lineup. Malia, meanwhile, was one of the last to come in from the pre-contest warm-up session and she looked confident and controlled in the storm-fucked chaos. Where Courtney’s turns oozed aggression, Malia glided through the wreckage. And it was good enough to send the seven-time champ home.

The heat between Caroline Marks and Brisa Hennessey proved closer than I expected. Surely, Caroline would win this one with ease. Not so fast. In fact, Brisa came damn close and needed only a two to advance. The bigger surf, meanwhile, smoothed out Caroline’s style. Her performance at Bells put to rest any questions about her ability to compete in bigger waves and suggested. It was surely a relief to Caroline when Brisa failed to find that last wave she needed.

It was heartbreaking to watch Lakey try to surf injured in her semi against Courtney. The conditions suited her to perfection and the heat promised fireworks. Instead, Lakey gingerly attempted a few turns, but it was clearly too painful to surf. Sending good vibes her way on that front. Courtney rode a couple good ones and called it done, no doubt saving some fire for the final.

Somehow, Malia looked more nervous in the clean conditions in her semi with Caroline than she had in the previous day’s victory at sea lineup. But I doubt anyone in the women’s draw will feel entirely at ease surfing a semi against Caroline Marks at this point. She’s clearly a giant slayer. Surfing against her idols, knocking them down one by one, like it’s no big thing.

This time around, Caroline never really found the waves she needed for a solid score. Malia threaded together a couple long rides to advance and smartly used her priority to keep Caroline off the sets as the clock ticked away.

The waves were gorgeous for the women’s final. Malia took an early lead with long, beautiful lines. After not much more than ten minutes, Courtney needed a nine. Malia looked to have it well in hand, but a fall on her third wave left the door open a crack.

And that’s all Courtney needed. She used her priority to grab a set wave and surfed the fuck out of it. Was it an actual ten? I have a hard time arguing that it wasn’t. After that, Malia needed a high seven to win and could only come up with a pair of three’s. That’s three wins for Bells for Courtney — maybe I can remember that number this time next year.

American women now crowd the top of the rankings — and the US Olympic team race looks spicy. Caroline still leads. Malia sits second with event winner Courtney right behind her. Three-time World Champion Carissa is fourth, which she’ll certainly want to better. Lakey is sixth in the world, and fifth among the Americans. Only two of them can surf Tokyo. It’s far too early to figure this thing out, but we definitely have an entertaining battle on our hands for those top two slots.

Next up is Bali, which could help Caroline tighten her hold on the lead. But after guessing mostly wrong at Bells, I’m definitely out of the prediction business. After a slow start, Bells sure turned out to be a show.


Gabriel Medina
What Medina did for the opening turn on his best wave on a silky double overhead outside section, carving under the lip at full speed and then adjusting mid-carve to slice across a thirty yard piece of pitching lip before free-falling, is yet to be understood. | Photo: WSL

Longtom’s Sam George rebuttal: “Wrong, historically ignorant, disrespectful and dumb!”

Calling it the sloppiest display in Bells Surfing history was both wrong and wilfully flat-earth a-historically ignorant.

We, the Australian Underground Surf Media, have always had, what they call nowadays, a problematic relationship with the George brothers.

I use the Royal We, meaning independent contractors, commenters, plumbers, cube monkeys, tradies, chalkies and others who were traditionally locked out of calling bullshit on the old-style print editors.

Thank God things have changed, evolved even.

We recognize that Sam gave Chas Smith his start in the biz when he backed him on the Yemen escapade. We recognise his brother Matt changed the course of history by backing the revival of paddle-in for big wave surfing in his Hollywood epic In God’s Hands. We recognize their skill in deftly handling pathos and emotion that the Australian man runs a mile from. We recognize the hair and the Navy Seal attitude.

But we don’t come here today to praise Caesar but to bury him.

For his Bells article.

Calling it the sloppiest display in Bells Surfing history was both wrong and wilfully flat-earth a-historically ignorant.

In any argument it’s always the detail that makes it sink or swim. Like the error I made in calling Khabib Nurmagomedov a middleweight, instead of a Lightweight. Instant red flags, instantly marked as a despised “fucking casual”.

George dropped a similar clanger when he tagged the Kelly Slater/Julian Wilson round three matchup as having taken place in “clean, four-to-six-foot Winkipop.”

How could you get that wrong unless you never actually watched the heat, in which case what authority to comment? The heat took place in three-to-four-foot Bells Bowl.

Yes, it was a terrible performance from Wilson, almost unbelievably bad and Kelly was only marginally better.

But that low point should not be used to mar what followed, on the Friday and Saturday.

I wasn’t born the last time four-man heats were in the water at a Bells Beach Easter comp, Rip Curl was still a twinkle in Doug Warbrick’s eye, and yet that innovation on Friday allowed for the best, most entertaining day of competition in Bells Beach history.

That day was the most effective and efficient sorter of wheat from chaff in the last twenty years, Teahupoo excepted.

Wave for wave, ride on ride, as a complete heat, it showcased the best Bells Beach surfing ever seen from it’s two current undisputed masters: John John Florence and Gabriel Medina.

If you could watch that and not be capable of putting it into an historical context of top five or best-ever surfing at Bells then you are a despised casual who has abrogated their right to be taken seriously. Seriously.

Bush league moments abounded.

Owen Wright signed a $1.25 million a year contract with Rip Curl before he could legally buy a drink in the US of A and couldn’t organise a waxed back-up board.

Jeremy Flores was even worse, his hadn’t even made it down the fabled stairs.

Italo almost perished, boards snapped like tooth picks.

It will always be bush league, that is it’s beauty. These people did not, by and large, finish school. Between the desire and the potency, as they say, falls the shadow.

If they would only stop gussying it up and trying to sell it to insurance salesman in Minnesota life would be apples and peaches. But they do and it ain’t. It is, like democracy, the best we’ve got.

For now.

What we got, on finals day, was patchy, but mind-bending performances. The super heat that should have been the final, between John John and Medina, delivered.

We’ve waited for almost twenty years to see a rivalry between two greats at the peak of their powers. Maybe the Pipe Final of 2002 with AI and Slater with Dorian and Fanning playing spoiler was the last one.

Please, look at the two turns Florence did on his 8.87 and tell me Bells has been ridden better.

What Medina did for the opening turn on his best wave on a silky double overhead outside section, carving under the lip at full speed and then adjusting mid-carve to slice across a thirty yard piece of pitching lip before free-falling, is yet to be understood.

Find me an analogue. You’ll search in vain.

A turn like that has never been seen before. He pulled two of them off in that heat, seamlessly.

Perfectly.

It’s true everything else on that day, save maybe John John’s semi-final with Jordy, had the whiff of anti-climax about it.

But that is the nature of the sport.

John was close to spent in the final. It was on a platter for Filipe to take and he haired out. John recalibrated mid-heat when a lesser competitor would have folded and produced two good, not great rides.

It wasn’t the cherry on top, but the cake was already so magnificent it hardly mattered.

Pro surfing is such a slog through so much dross.

When we finally do get great champions operating at the peak of their powers in surf that does them justice it seems, I don’t know, ill-timed, disrespectful, dumb, to call it the sloppiest display in history.