"Jeff was aware of him. That's a beginner's spot, the people don't know what the hell to do, how to get out of the way. That guy didn't know what direction to go. A lot of them just sit there and turn into speed bumps. This was a close call but Jeff made a skilled bail. He saw the guy at the last minute, knew he had to bail out to the left and push his foil vehicle to the right. When you watch in slow motion, you can see that jeff landed on the guy on the board." | Photo: @myallsnaps

Watch: Surfing Dog vs kook vs SUP foiler/mavericks legend Jeff Clark!

The VAL apocalypse comes to Santa Cruz!

The name Jeff Clark rings some bells, don’t it. He was the first person to surf Half-Moon Bay, or Mavericks as it would later be known, and not just ride it, but keep it secret it and ride it solo for fifteen years.

(It wasn’t until a story in Surfer magazine in 1992 called Cold Sweat, which was written by BeachGrit habitué and pest Ben Marcus, that American surfers knew what monster lurked in their backyard.)

In this short clip, which you can examine below, we see Jeff Clark on his SUP foil at Cowell’s, a popular beginner’s wave in Santa Cruz.

Clark catches up to and attempts to pat Skyler the Surfing Dog before an almost catastrophe.

Skyler Valentine Henard you might’ve heard of too, she’s a world champion (everyone’s a world champion in 2019!), and her pilot and surf-buddy is the nineties pro Homer Henard.

Guerin Myall aka @myallsnaps, a noted filmer of surf, skate and punk rock since 1986, shot this fabulous little moment.

What happened, here, says Myall, was that Jeff was a hundred or so yards up the beach and therefore invisible to Homer and his dog (an eight-year-old Australian red heeler, if you’re wondering). He caught up to pat the dog, but the docking sequence was made incomplete by a beginner on the inside.

This was a close call but Jeff made a skilled bail. He saw the guy at the last minute, knew he had to bail out to the left and push his foil vehicle to the right. When you watch in slow motion, you can see that jeff landed on the guy on the board.

“A lot of people were commenting that the dog dropped in. Bullshit, I got the video footage,” says Myall.

The man who nearly loses scalp to SUP foil?

“Jeff was aware of him. That’s a beginner’s spot, the people don’t know what the hell to do, how to get out of the way. That guy didn’t know what direction to go. A lot of them just sit there and turn into speed bumps. This was a close call but Jeff made a skilled bail. He saw the guy at the last minute, knew he had to bail out to the left and push his foil vehicle to the right. When you watch in slow motion, you can see that jeff landed on the guy on the board.”

Despite Clark’s tremendous avoidance skills, there’s heat on foils in Santa Cruz at the moment.

“I mean, shit, the foils can go anywhere they want. They’re meant to ride ripples and ocean swells,” says Myall. “You don’t need to be around other people surfing. A couple of ’em rip through the lineup like they’re having their own video game.”


Mother of son who died from brain-eating amoeba sues BSR Cable Park in Waco

"...the park's 'blue-green dyed waves masked a pathogen soup in which Naegleria fowleri amoeba -- the 'brain-eating amoeba' -- could thrive.'"

One of last year’s greatest tragedies was the death of New Jersey surfer Fabrizio Stabile from brain-eating amoeba after visiting BSR Cable Park in Waco, Texas. The headlines, clearly the sort that grab attention, threw a wrench into the park’s operation as testing was conducted. Afterward, the park was shut down for a new filtration system to be installed.

And even though testing found that Mr. Fabrizio’s exposure “likely occurred” at the pool, the ownership took it as as absolution.

Now, the surfer’s mother is suing the park for $1 million and let us turn to the Houston Chronicle for more.

BSR could have prevented her son’s death “had they exercised ordinary care in the operation of their water park,” alleges the civil suit, filed April 9 in McLennan County District Court.

Park owner Stuart Parsons wrote in an email Tuesday, “Our hearts go out to the family of Fab. Only God knows where he got the ameoba (sic).” Plaintiff’s attorney Brian Wunder declined to comment.

A new water filtration system was installed in the surf park after Stabile’s death, according to a video posted to the attraction’s Facebook page. And the park, which closed for the winter shortly after the incident, is now open to surfers.

The law requires that lagoons be maintained “in a sanitary condition,” but specific enforcement standards are still being finalized by the Department of State Health Services. The standards are expected to be published this summer.

Unbeknownst to Stabile, the suit says, the park’s “blue-green dyed waves masked a pathogen soup in which Naegleria fowleri amoeba — the ‘brain-eating amoeba’ — could thrive. “

Indeed, test results from health officials found his “exposure likely occurred” at the park. The report found conditions “favorable” for its growth.

The organism is commonly found in warm, fresh water but, according to the CDC, not in well-maintained pools.

Prior to installing the new filtration system, Litke said, the water at the surf park wasn’t treated — save for an occasional large dose of chlorine.

Parsons, the owner, wrote in his email that operators “put chemicals in the water to make it safe.” He noted that the amoeba, which rarely infects people, was not found in the surf park water. (It was found at another attraction at BSR.)

BSR invested significantly in the new water systems, Parsons wrote, and his 2-year-old twins play in the water. He said the surf was full daily.

“I don’t want a chance of it even happening,” Parsons wrote.

The lawsuit states the company owed it to its customers “to maintain the water in a safe condition.” It continues: “Defendants breached their duty to keep the water safe.”

The statement from the park’s owner “God only knows where he got the amoeba…” seems as suspect now as it did in the rosy assessment released directly after the health inspectors found exposure “likely occurred” at the park.

Has this whole incident changed your opinion about wave tanks or have you already forgotten?


Mason Ho: “I can’t get by without my BeachGrit!”

The greatest professional surfer alive confirms our worth! (for $120)

Just last week it was revealed here that professional surfers can be purchased as friends, ambassadors, or……. friends and how great is that? How wonderful the breakdown between The Powers and The People™? Finally, finally, finally, the democratization of surf. The absconding from calcified, lame, ugly, pointlessness. The future of fun without idiotic top down control.

Except it wasn’t.

We tried to employ every single professional surfer on the new social media platform Cameo, throwing real theoretical money into Pete Mel, Brett Barely and Sebastian Zietz’s real theoretical accounts yet were rebuffed by every one.

Refused by professional longboarders and professional Europeans alike.

Seb Zietz was first to say “no” apparently too busy with a robust Qualifying Series career to toss an extra-thumb shaka.

And then silence.

I wanted to pen a “Professional surfers are bad whores!” article but Derek Rielly pumped my breaks.

He’s almost always right and he was right here because just a few moments ago the greatest professional surfer alive came though. A professional surfer who realizes he’s living a dream and can laugh and can play while he’s living it.

Why do do we love Mason Ho?

Because he needs his BeachGrit and it only cost us $120 for that confirmation.

God bless Mason Ho.

And screw you Sebastian Zietz! May you World Qualifying Series forevermore.


Kelly Slater on retirement pressure: “That’s what people think about themselves deep down inside!”

And more!

Poor Kelly Slater. I mean, not actually poor Kelly Slater… the 11x World Champion and many times “World’s Greatest Surfer” no doubt has lots of money… but poor as in unfortunate. Oh, not that either, damn it. No one in six-thousand years of human history has ever lived as gilded a life with heaping spoonfuls of good looks, famous girlfriends and ridiculous talent.

No… poor doesn’t belong anywhere near Kelly Slater but it would be a bummer answering retirement questions every day, getting henpecked by bastard surf journalists and Instagram friends.

Oh not me. I think Kelly Slater must keep surfing until he has snags 11x 22nd place finishes in a row. I think he should do it for the everyman. For The People™ but many disagree and think he should hang it up.

Well, Tiger Woods just proved them all wrong. Kelly was asked by Nine News in Australia, ahead of the upcoming Bells competition, if he would draw inspiration from Tiger’s recent Master’s win. Let’s tilt our ear and listen in. Let’s take notes too.

“It’s big and I think I forget it sometimes,” Slater said.

“That’s why the timing was so good, for me to see Tiger do that this week.

“I have people telling me every single day ‘it’s time for you to retire’ … it’s funny, because that’s what people think about themselves deep down inside.”

Slater is coming off a round two elimination on the Gold Coast in the opening round of the World Surf League, so Woods’ example is also timely.

“That guy probably has more pressure on him from more angles than maybe any athlete has had, ever,” Slater said.

“He’s probably also the most hated guy by women of all time, because it (Woods’ marriage breakup) was so public.

“He’s a guy who’s in a rare position in life, that not many people understand, and there’s no blueprint for him.

“There are a lot of guys who are more talented than Tiger nowadays … he just took his experience and he was calm and worked through it and just trusted himself.

“I’m going to draw a lot of inspiration from that this week, for sure.”

Will Kelly Slater wear the aboriginal face paint like Tiger did the green jacket?

No. He won’t. Go 22nd! For us! For The People™!


You two are friends now! You have a common enemy!

Power move: Create insta-localism at any beach you choose today!

A bulwark against VAL encroachment!

I don’t expect you to listen to The Grit! podcast as I know you are very busy and have many better things to do but I accidentally stumbled on a genius plan in the last one, a bulwark against VAL and SAL encroachment. I have been out on many days when some middle-aged person riding much foam has paddled for a wave directly in front of me. I give the cursory whistle or bark and have been met with some variation of “I was paddling first” more often than I care to remember.

Oh how depressing it is to witness the last vestiges or order in this mad world slip away. How entirely sad.

David Lee Scales, anyhow, shared a letter from a listener on the podcast, a man who had just been burned egregiously and on purpose. Not by a VAL or SAL but by a true surfer. When he went looking for an apology, the offending surfer just said, “I don’t care. Everybody’s getting burned out here so I’m just going.”

A miserable reminder of the state of our breaking system.

“What should he do?” David Lee asked me. “Punch the man? Yell?”

And right then and right there genius struck. “Neither!” I hollered. “He should team up with the brave man and they should form an ‘insta-local’ unit!”

The insta-local!

How it works is this, you find an aggressive surfer put a proper surfer. Someone who can… turn and things and you say to her or him, “We’re taking over this peak. I block for you then you block for me and we’ll take all the waves we want.”

If a VAL is frustrated by the arrangement he should get out of the water and go home.

That’s surfing, baby!

Insta-localism.

Now insta-localism is a power that should only be used at places the VAL population has ballooned over 50% (Cardiff Reef etc.) but tell me it isn’t the perfect plan. Tell me it won’t help drum surfing straight back to the angry dark ages.

All we need is a hand symbol we can throw in the water to identify partner-less insta-locals and away we go. Can you help? What hand symbol could we employ?

I’m thinking something like this but less onerous.