surf gambling
Gambling isn’t fun. I know you’re told it’s bad, don’t do it etc. But no-one tells you what the silent shame feels like. It’s like a black tide at the end of your street. You can’t necessarily see it closing in, but you feel it. Cold and insistent, like it’s pressing up against your very being.

JP Currie: “Surf gambling isn’t fun. I’ve had problems. It’s like a black tide at the end of your street!”

"I can’t believe I’m admitting this, here. No-one knows about this. We don’t do shit like that in Scotland. We just put a shotgun in our mouths…"

Gambling isn’t fun. I know you’re told it’s bad, don’t do it etc.

But no-one tells you what the silent shame feels like.

It’s like a black tide at the end of your street. You can’t necessarily see it closing in, but you feel it. Cold and insistent, like it’s pressing up against your very being.

I’ve had problems. I can openly admit that.

Well, openly, as in to a select bunch of internet friends on a men’s special interest blog.

But it’s under control, I tell myself, hopefully.

I’ve got a job. I’m not begging, borrowing (much), or stealing.

I’m only betting on pro surfing and the NBA right now. I consider that progress.

So the latest litany of shame.

I emailed Derek yesterday after my last story posted: Thanks for posting. I needed the distraction. I’m in a £370 hole for this comp.

Turns out I’d miscalculated. It was a £430 hole.

Not the worst place I’d ever been, not by a long chalk. But significant. More significant with two young uns and a single income household.

I’m sure some of you tech bro VALs spend more on lunch. Good for you. Most days at lunchtime I go out to the car park to see what’s left over from my weekend supplies. A pack of oatcakes, some bargain noodles, a handful of raisins.

I don’t do singles, for the most part. Not unless I’m desperate. I do complex accumulators, mainly on heats. There’s value in picking outright winners from the men’s and women’s sides sometimes. It’s all speculative. None of it is governed by sense, knowledge or experience. I didn’t bet on Italo pre-comp, or Medina, even though my gut told me one of them would win. The odds weren’t strong enough

Sometimes the pupils see me, clambering in or out.

Do you live in your van, Sir?

How come you don’t go to the staffroom with the other teachers, Sir?

So I was £430 ($US600) down.

Looking at my pre-comp bets I was nervous. I’d staked £200 straight off. But every bet hinged on Caroline Marks doing well.

Amazing! You might say. She won! What’s he bitching about?

But I never bet simple.

I don’t do singles, for the most part. Not unless I’m desperate. I do complex accumulators, mainly on heats. There’s value in picking outright winners from the men’s and women’s sides sometimes. It’s all speculative.

None of it is governed by sense, knowledge or experience. I didn’t bet on Italo pre-comp, or Medina, even though my gut told me one of them would win. The odds weren’t strong enough.

It’s a shitty gambler’s mistake that pros don’t make, just the dumb punters and addicts like me. I play the odds, nothing else. I’m the bookies’ dream.

Hence Caroline Marks. Ideal in every way. My gut was telling me she had a great chance, the odds disagreed.

20/1 for the outright win, 9/1 to make the final, 7/2 for the semi.

I won’t go through everything I laid down, because it’s in the region of 26 bets. That’s a lot of trying to hide the light from your phone in the middle of the night.

Roll on J-Bay, roll on Europe.

I thought Kanoa might make a semi (8/1), I fancied Freestone to do well (18/1 to make the semi), Yago was in with a shout (14/1 for last 4). I thought Owen might do well.

I was convinced Griffin and Callinan would have strong showings. In the end it was their failures that scuppered me mostly.

And when I start to lose early the faucet tends to open.

As I alluded to in comments somewhere along the way, I went to a dark place post-World Cup last summer. I’d been off betting from a long time, months. Then some mates started talking about their WC bets and I couldn’t resist. Had a 300/1 shot come in on the very first game.

I can’t believe I’m admitting this, here. No-one knows about this. Maybe it’s my therapy. We don’t do shit like that in Scotland. We just put a shotgun in our mouths or slink off to the woods with a rope to find a fat branch.

After that I was back.

But I lost it, of course. Then a whole bunch more. Death by a thousand failed accumulators.

By the end of the tournament I was staring into the maelstrom again. I chased it on the horses. It went bad.

Really bad.

Like £100-200 a day bad. For a couple of months.

I can’t believe I’m admitting this, here. No-one knows about this. Maybe it’s my therapy. We don’t do shit like that in Scotland. We just put a shotgun in our mouths or slink off to the woods with a rope to find a fat branch.

Anything to avoid discussing feelings. A farmer along the road from my folks did it with a chainsaw a couple of months back. He’d locked himself in the garage. His wife had to climb in through a window to find him there.

So I was £430 down.

Laid my last bets of the comp at Men’s round four, Women’s quarter-final stage.

Luckily, I’ve been busy the past couple of days. Trying to keep the wolf from the door. Otherwise I might have spunked a lot more.

But a double on Italo to win outright (7/2) and Caroline to do the same (18/5) was sweet. £25 on paid £517.50.

Roll on Bells.

Roll on the black tide.


Mason Ho dining on Salvadorean fruits!
Mason Ho dining on Salvadorean fruits!

Revealed: “El Salvador has best surfing beaches in the world; California second best!”

But more importantly, who wore it better?

California has a new Governor, a very handsome man named Gavin Newsom who was once married to Donald Trump Jr.’s current girlfriend. He is dashing, with an iron jaw and hair swept back. He is also very liberal, very progressive and girls really go in for that (except his ex-wife and Donald Trump Jr.’s current girlfriend.)

I would like to have a discussion, here, about which people are more beautiful, liberal ones or conservative ones, but Gavin Newsom just traveled to El Salvador to be el salvaldor economico and thumb his nose at Donald Trump whose son, Donald Trump Jr., happens to be dating his ex-wife.

Donald Trump very recently cut aid to the small Central American nation.

What will salvar El Salvador?

Surfing of course and let us turn to NBC news for more. Let’s do it right now before we have any more discussion of ex-wives and girlfriends.

California masterfully markets its surfing culture and Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday he wants to share that expertise with El Salvador to help boost tourism and provide more economic opportunities for its impoverished citizens.

“There’s no doubt there’s a lot we can do together in this space,” Newsom said after a discussion about the surfing industry’s economic potential with local business owners, investors and U.S. Ambassador Jean Manes.

He’ll have a willing partner in President-elect Nayib Bukele, who he met later. Bukele has an initiative titled “Surf City” aimed at investing in beaches to drive tourism.

“We have the best surfing beaches in the world and they have the other ones,” he told reporters after meeting with Newsom. “So we want to work together.”

Newsom said the state’s tourism arm, Visit California, has already expressed interest in working with El Salvador.

Though El Salvador has among the highest homicide rates in the world and the U.S. government warns its citizens about traveling there, Newsom and Bukele said tourist areas are much safer than other parts of the country. Bukele said he’ll work to get the U.S. travel advisory removed when he takes office.

Etc.

So go to El Salvador and surf because you ain’t a sissy but there are a lot of sissies who won’t go equalling more waves for you.

Ok.

Now that we’re through with that, who wore it better?

Gavin Newsom…

Or Donald Trump Jr….

Vote in the comments below!


stephanie gilmore caroline marks
Very difficult to escape. | Photo: Steve Sherman/@tsherms

Steve Sherman’s post-Quiksilver Pro Photo of the Day: Stephanie Gilmore “hazes” new tour threat Caroline Marks!

Surfing's great new rivalry!

Don’t let the smile fool you, as they say. The seven-time champion and “greatest surfer in the world”, Stephanie Gilmore, didn’t rise to those dizzy heights without weaving webs and employing muscle when necessary.

Here, we see Stephanie, who is thirty-one, squeezing the Gold Coast’s WSL winner, Caroline Marks, seventeen, like an avid pythoness.

“This was at a party Quiksilver had for their team riders and the whole team, Mikey Wright, Zeke Lau, were there getting on it,” says Sherm. “And Steph came up and bum-rushed Caroline, semi-hugged, semi-tackled, and then tried to force her to guzzler her beer.”

All in jest, of course.

It’s here we must point out that Stephanie’s long-time sponsor, Sanitarium Health and Well-being Company, is owned by a strict Protestant group called The Seventh Day Adventists, whose central belief is that the Second Coming is just around the corner.

So get ready, start prepping.

Anyway, later in the night Stephanie and Caroline split the Quik gig for Italo Ferreira’s victory party at Komune in Coolangatta, where the pair danced the night away, together.

Is this a new version of the Kelly-AI rivalry?

Or better?


Answered: Why Mick Fanning retired in his prime!

He's knockin' on heaven's door!

“He has the voice of an angel” is a cliché batted around far too often. Only three actual male singers in modern human history have actually had a “voice of an angel.” Sam Cooke, Morrissey and Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson just had his angel card pulled which leaves just two. Sam Cooke’s is also in real jeopardy if we’re all being frank.

And so the possible reveal of a replacement second/third has left social media atwitter, if you’ll forgive the pun.

Enter Michael Eugene Fanning crooning Bob Dylan classic Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door. (watch on BeachGrit’s fabulous Instagram account!)

https://www.instagram.com/p/BwAxDJ6DbfT/

It was, of course, Axel Rose of Guns n’ Roses who made the song truly famous but Mick eclipses them both with a singular delivery, an élan that whispers greatness.

Oh how we need a star male singer. Michael Buble bubbles for old people. Adam Levine is an utter embarrassment. Those Chainsmokers will soon develop throat cancer a al Sammy Davis Jr. if they’re not careful.

A giant dark hole.

The saddest time in star male singing history until the Quiksilver Pro rolled into Duranbah and…

…Wham*.

The cat is officially out of the bag.

Mick Fanning climbing the charts.

Mick Fanning writing poetry with his tongue.

I know people think Mick and I have an adversarial relationship and they may be right. Mick might hate me but I love him. It’s why I half dedicated a book to “My Michael Eugene Fanning.” (Buy here!)

Who else drinks beer from the bottom of a shoe and puts on the best live performance in professional surfing history, shaming Tom Curren, Peter King, Kelly Slater and all those who have tried and failed?

The voice of an angel.

He’s got it and we can only guess that his time in the recording studio made surfing funny heats an absolute impossibility.

In my heart of hearts I hope not true, though. Surfing needs this version of Mick Fanning now more than ever and I mean that in utmost sincerety.

*George Michael probably also has the “voice of an angel” if we’re all honest.


Changing of the guard: Steph Gilmore officially declared “World’s Greatest Surfer!”

Kelly Slater and Laird Hamilton vanquished!

I was very busy sailing over the past four days, hunting surf off California’s Channel Islands, running up scraggly hills, throwing rocks at prickly pears, editing forthcoming book and sipping mezcal from small pewter cups with four wonderful friends. It was a good time, great even, but I missed the last two days of stunning Quiksilver Pro competition. Well, not missed, I suppose because of Longtom. He writes better than I see and I’m overjoyed not to let my eyes get in the way of the truth and importance of professional surfing.

Italo beat Kolohe, as you know, and Caroline Marks upset Steph Gilmore but Steph should not be sad for she has just been officially declared “World’s Greatest Surfer.”

“Who declares who is the ‘World’s Greatest Surfer’ and how do they decide?” I hear you ask, with an incredulous edge to your voice, and I’ll tell you. It is decided by the editorial boards of Vanity Fair, Vogue, Esquire, Elle, ESPN and/or Guns & Ammo magazines. It is the surfer that grabs a “World’s Greatest Surfer” headline.

Now, Kelly Slater and Laird Hamilton have been passing the award back and forth for thirty years running. John John almost snagged the baubles three-years-ago but didn’t have a “face for media” as they say. And now we have Steph.

Elle magazine has a gorgeous new long form piece on the new “World’s Greatest Surfer” titled “Stephanie Gilmore is the World’s Greatest Surfer. Pay her accordingly.”

I don’t know how much Steph makes but I would bet all my own money that it’s more than Italo Ferreira.

And do you think Kelly Slater and Laird Hamilton are sad or do you think they will throw her a welcome to the club party?

If I’m honest, I would not want Kelly Slater and Laird Hamilton to throw me any sort of party. Imagine what the two would serve. Purps with added Laird Hamilton SuperFood Creamer festooned with ice from the ice bath we all just got out of.

Yuck.