Binge-mocking: BeachGrit has been a five-year long April Fool’s joke directed at WSL!

Imagine the laughs in Santa Monica!

Today is April Fool’s. The day that we all tell each other little white lies about this or that in order to bring many laughs. The day surf media tells the world that Dane Reynolds is releasing a whole ton of new clips, the upcoming Snapper event will be moved to D’bah or that Rip Curl sells a “superior surf short.”

Well, Derek Rielly and I dreamed up the greatest surf media April Fool’s joke ever five short years ago. There we sat around my zinc kitchen island, slightly pocked due to the salty air, and wondered, “What would be the surf media April Fool’s shenanigan to end all surf media April Fool’s shenanigans?”

Derek said two words. “Beach Grit.”

“What’s a Beach Grit?” I asked.

Derek’s eyes lit up. “We are going to create a surf website…” And I started laughing so hard that he had to wait for thirty whole minutes before adding…

“… and we’ll cover professional surfing…”

By this time we were both the floor clutching our stomachs. It took another whole thirty before he finished, “But we can’t tell the Association of Surfing Professionals for five years.”

Well, the Association of Surfing Professionals transitioned to the World Surf League but Derek and I kept the joke to ourselves, as difficult as it was so many times.

But today is finally the reveal.

Imagine the guffaws in both Santa Monica’s low bungalow and also its secret high castle. Imagine the full-bellied laughs, Erik “Elo” Logan and Dirk Ziff hugging with tears streaming down their cheeks.

Dave Prodan, head back, choking on giggles, barely able to utter, “I’ve been involved in surf media for 20 years and never thought I’d see the day when one of their damned April Fool’s jokes actually worked. Bravo!”

Bravo indeed.

Question: When was the last time you made a scene in a restaurant?

It's the American way! (Trigger warning: This is not about surfing at all.)

Yesterday found my beautiful family and I driving north for a much needed camping vacation and when I write “camping” I mean “staying in a cabin with a little market a short stroll away that sells firewood, white wine and gluten-free graham crackers for S’mores.”

I am not gluten-free, of course, but appreciate the lifestyle and anyhow we were driving north and got hungry.

“Let’s stop at Sugarfish sushi in Calabasas…” My beautiful wife said.

It sounded nice even though I enjoy it less than its sister Kazu Nori.

I found the exit in Calabasas, turned left then a quick right in into the Calabasas Commons, a strip mall for the Kardashians.

We parked, got out and wove between high school girls in head-to-toe Lululemon who have been waist training their entire adolescent lives. Bottoms as big as trucks.


Sugarfish was almost empty which was a surprise. It was exactly lunchtime and the rest of the strip mall was bustling. We ordered a fantastic omakase meal except my young daughter was unimpressed with all the raw.

“Do you have avocado?” I asked “To make an avocado maki roll?”

“No” the round-faced yet teenage’d Chinese waiter said in snotty Calabasas English.

“Ok.” I responded then walked to the grocery store in the strip mall and grabbed an avocado maki roll from their pre-prepared section.

By the time I walked back my wife had already eaten a good half of our omakase order. “Lucky her” I thought.

I gave my daughter her avocado sushi and, as if summoned by dark magic, the snotty found-faced teenage waiter appeared.

“I’m sorry. We don’t allow outside food in the restaurant…” he said.

“Bullshit.” I responded. “Get your manager.”

30 seconds later his middle-age’d yet skinny Chinese manager arrived with a pained smile spreading across his face and smarm dripping from his lips.

“Yaaaaaaahhhhhhh I’m sorrrrrrrrry but….”

I launched into an almost patented fit of rage.

“Are you fucking kidding me? You won’t even bring a side of rice nor will you salt the edamame. You are fucking strip mall sushi pretending to be all hip.”

“Yaaaaaaahhhhhhh I’m sorrrrrrrrry but….it’s policy and if we let you do it we have to let the other parents in here do it.”

“I’ll gladly walk to fucking Ralphs and order whatever actually kid enjoyable sushi the other parents want.” I screamed.

““Yaaaaaaahhhhhhh I’m sorrrrrrrrry but…. I’m sorry…” he smarmed again.

I almost knocked the table over getting up.

“Fine. You can buy our half-eaten lunch and also fuck off. At the same time.”

The entire dining room had stopped eating at this point and was staring.

We marched out, laughing, with a $200 bill floating in the air.

Later I told my wife, “I totally would have gotten that damn other family whatever sushi they wanted from Ralphs.”

She said, “Did you see who it was? Brian Austin Green and Megan Fox.”

I hope they know that I had their back too.

And if you ever find yourself in Calabasas, stop by the Commons and order a nice big meal at Sugarfish, go to Ralphs and get something for your starving child then drive into the night full and happy and rich.

You’re welcome!


Surf-starved city says no to “safe, accessible, welcoming” wave pool!

No free crown land for wavepool developers in Perth, Western Australia.

Four years ago, the former investment banker and self-appointed “hard-core” surfer Andrew Ross announced a masterplan to dot Australia with Wavegarden-powered pools.

The first of the ten pools, which is being built near Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport, is going to get its tank filled in a few weeks with testing to  follow before it opens to the public in time for the southern hemisphere summer.

It’s an interesting play. The tech, Wavegarden’s Cove, has never been built to this scale.

Will it work?

Will it thrill?

Nobody, not Wavegarden nor Ross’ company Urbnsurf, knows.

A second pool, which was going to be built in the Perth suburb of Alfred Cove and, importantly, a few hundred metres from my parents’ house, has hit a potentially fatal roadblock.

The state government has refused to kick Urbnsurf a chunk of crown land for the build.

From the national broadcaster,

Lands Minister Ben Wyatt announced yesterday that a proposal by the City of Melville to utilise a portion of Crown land for the project had been rejected.

Urbnsurf founder and executive director Andrew Ross said he only found out via a phone call from Mr Wyatt yesterday afternoon.

“We have been progressing with this project for a number of years now and I think the reasoning that has been given, I don’t know that it makes a lot of sense to me,” he told ABC Radio Perth.

“They felt that the Crown land needed to remain available to the general public.

“We are deeply disappointed that we have put so much time and effort and money into this, to have it all sort of end at this point.”

Mr Ross said Perth was “screaming out” for the wave park.

“We need to have big, clever ideas about how to reinvigorate Perth,” he said.

“Perth has a wonderful climate, we have a huge surfing population of 80,000 people, but we do not have a dedicated surfing facility.”

The waves in Perth, of course, do suck. It’s unimaginably bleak.

Blown out and small in summer; blown out and small in winter.

Question: should the Western Australian government turn over a parcel of land owned by the citizenry for the profit of a private company if it gives pleasure to the aforementioned citizenry?

And, if you live in Perth, does the idea of getting out of the reach of the many Great Whites that patrol those waters thrill you beyond measure?

Surfers who longboard without leashes “having a love affair with times past!”

Australia's government goes to war against "hipsters!"

Australia’s government took an official position on retro-style surfing yesterday in an important vote won overwhelmingly by progressives.

A motion was introduced by Byron Councillor Cate Coorey for a safety awareness campaign about the problem of “hipsters” surfing leashless in and around the Byron area. And let’t turn to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation without delay. Let’s go straight to Councillor Cate herself.

“It comes from personal experience and many people I know have nearly been mowed down by out-of-control boards,” she said.

“A couple of times I’ve actually grabbed kids to keep them out of the way of the board.

“I just think it’s incredibly irresponsible.”

Cr Cate said the trend appeared to be particularly rife among so-called hipsters trying to emulate a retro style of surfing.

“It’s mostly people riding long boards who seem to be having a love affair with times past, but we also used to drive without seat belts and there were many fatalities,” she said.

“Sometimes there is a good reason for advances in technology.”

The council’s decision to embark on an education campaign and investigate other possible deterrents has been welcomed by the surfing community.

Seven-time world surfing champion Layne Beachley said people riding boards without leg-ropes were a disaster waiting to happen, and it should be mandatory for people to wear leashes at point breaks.

“It’s getting crowded out there and when people lose their boards, especially the long boards, and they just come running through the line-up, it can cause some serious damage to people,” she said.

I usually don’t like top down approaches to social problems nor do I like campaigns for safety awareness but I like the cut of Councillor Cate very much, especially when she talks about hipsters having a love affair with the past.

Imagine, though, if she met the future, in the form of the World Surf League President of Content, Media and Studios Erik Logan galloping across the horizon on a SUP foil.

Would she still think there is a good reason for advances in technology?

Much to consider.

Matt Damon shucks #VALlife for aggressive localism.

Progress: Hollywood VAL emerges fresh from chrysalis as “grumpy local!”

Matt Damon shucks #VALlife for aggressive localism.

I was wrong about Matt Damon. Recently converted surfer. Byron Bay fiend. Friend of Thor.

I tarred you with the VAL brush and I was wrong, wrong, wrong. 

What we saw at the Pass was just a show. It had to be a show.

What else could explain this? 

Matty D was recently paparrazi’d wearing a hat emblazoned with the postcode of Carnarvon, Western Australia. For those not familiar with the area, Carnarvon is base camp to some for some of the heaviest waves in Australia.

Damon, Tombstones, Bluff local etc.

Turns out he and Thor just got back from a trip out there to the desert North West. Where death comes in a thousand forms.

Sharks. Cyclones. Gun-swinging locals. Lips as thick as Ben Affleck’s post J-Lo waistline.

Tombstones. Motherfucking Tombstones. The place even pros fear to tread

And our boy Damo tamed it all.

Just look at the hat.

According to the Newcastle Herald:

The hat is branded with Carnarvon and its postcode 6701. This reflects the concept of localism in surfing culture.

“We do that on T-shirts as well. Locals love it because they can get shirts with their own postcode and images of their surfing breaks,” he said.

Did you read that? Jason Bourne is a local. Possibly grumpy. We cannot confirm. But a Carnarvon local, there’s no doubt.

So what does the hat tell us?

It tells us he can take two wave hold downs like you or I take a morning dump. It tells us he could send in apex predators with the faintest of sideways glances.

It tells us he would look down the line at a triple ledge with the insouciance only a lifelong shredder could possess, shoving his middle digit upwards at mother nature.

Look at my hat. Read the post code. Six seven oh one. I’m a Tombstones-adjacent, Carnarvon local.

So what’s left for Damo’s transformation to be complete?

I do feel he’s overplayed his hand. The first rule of the North West is you don’t talk about the North West.

It worries even me, a low-level purveyor of nostalgic surf twaddle, to mention it online. So that bridge may already be burned.

But he is obviously keen. Byron is taken (Hi, Thor!).

How about he goes a little further south?

Lets get him to Iluka. There’s plenty of property around there. Nice and cheap.

Or if he wants to, he could move into an onsite caravan at the local trailer park. Like any true grumpy local closing on to the wrong side of 50 would do.

Maybe he can buy an excavation business called Damo’s Demo’s (sic) to run into the ground, wasting his time checking the Wall but never actually surfing, complaining instead about the tide/wind/swell, while slowly but surely dismantling the few truly genuine and good relationships left in his ever-dwindling circle.

I can see it now. Damo. Old. Leathered. Faithful healer bitsa by his side. Playing out his evenings there at Sedger’s Reef bistro, drunk on cheap port and wine, worrying about the lump in his neck and the pterygium in his eye and wondering where it all went so fucken wrong.