Hot Surfers: An incomplete guide to who professional surfers would be as presidential candidates!

Meet the Next Presidents!

After what feels like eons of overhearing and missing references to Hollywood’s truest depiction of surfing, Point Break, I decided to sit myself in front of an oversized flat screen TV, fight my overstimulated brain’s inability to focus, and watch Keanu Reeves get his first tube. I should add that this first screening transpired in Baja. Nothing could be more fitting.

Perhaps you are the only living surfer who hasn’t seen this film, in which case, are you OK? I won’t spoil it, since Point Break is truly a masterpiece that Kathryn Bigelow has never really surpassed (Zero Dark Thirty, or as I like to call it Bring It On: The Department of Defense Chapter, doesn’t really capture the essence of water boarding), but I’ll request your patience as I explain the movie’s most important image and the train of thought it propelled me down.

In the first scene we’re introduced to a ragtag gang of hooligans who rob a bank wearing the masked visages of former presidents. They call themselves the Ex Presidents. Original. We can see, even with the masks, that they’re hot and tan. We later find out they’re surfers. No one gets hurt, usually, and we get the impression that they have some sort of goal. Maybe they are Robin Hood type characters. For the point of this story, it doesn’t matter. They’re the surfing former presidents, and, only minutes into the film, I can’t think about anything else but this very pressing comparison: who is the Donald Trump of surf? And then I ask: who is the Bernie Sanders of surf? And then I realize that I’ve stumbled upon the content that Beach Grit needs.

Allow me to present a follow up to my extremely satisfying ranking of hot surfers: an incomplete guide to who professional surfers would be as presidential candidates.

After all, what could be more pointless, more transiently gratifying, and more detrimental to society at large, than hot or not? Presidential campaigns.

The Big Three:

Donald Trump is Kolohe Andino.

Kolohe has never won a major competition (middle finger to the unfair and dishonest WSL judges who don’t take the technicality of his Stalefish seriously), but there are some very obvious parallels here. Both are American. Both like American flags and country music. Trump masquerades as a conservative, but Kolohe is actually a conservative. They’re both reality TV stars (surf fans basically watched Kolohe grow up). Kolohe is Trump if Trump actually had conviction and wasn’t just a bloated abscess.

Bernie Sanders is Kelly Slater.

Bernie and Kelly are consistent broken records. They’re Noam Chomsky lovers. They’re both attempting to revolutionize something (wave pools and antiquated socioeconomic systems). They defy age. They’re slightly grumpy and sort of bald. Don’t ask them stupid questions.

Joe Biden is Dane Reynolds.

Dane Reynolds is definitely not as handsy as our esteemed former VP, but these guys share more in common than one might initially expect: they’re family guys, they seem to be the most qualified for the job, but no one really knows what they’re doing, and they’re both attempting a “moon shot” of sorts. Where Joe would like to cure cancer, Dane would like to cure the diseased surf industry. Good luck, gentlemen.

The Pack (Definitely Not Going to Win and Only In It For the Book Deal):

Beto O’Rourke is Alex Knost.

These two are the Cool Guys. They’re both former band members. They’re in the Nice Hair Club. They think they’re charming but actually they come across as un petit cocky. They’re both intrinsically “just born to be in it” and also born to be shot by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair.

Elizabeth Warren is Keala Kennelly

These two want, so desperately, to be accepted by the Cool Guy crowd. Truthfully, they have the chops, but they’re cheesy and no amount of prior credibility (or Teahupoo charging or Inertia party DJing) can propel these two to the top. They’re the pseudo edgy, not quite wise, grandmothers whose existence generally inspires eye rolls.

Kamala Harris is Coco Ho.

Both have the accolades and the style, but they aren’t quite elite enough to get the job done. And not for lack of sponsorship, which might be their downfall. Kamala will take donations from just about anyone, including Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, whom, as California’s Attorney General, she declined to prosecute after he donated $50,000 to her Senate campaign. Comparably, Coco Ho took money from Etnies which is equally as offensive.

Pete Buttigieg is Dillon Perillo.

Every competition needs a nice, polished guy to rally around, a good story, one that makes people feel warm and cheery, but when it comes down to it: no one actually wants the nice guy to win. That would be so boring and America is lots of things, but boring is not one of them. Pete and Dillon can be appreciated by the squares, the queers, the vets, and the punks, but they don’t have the ruthlessness required to be President of the United States. Because they’re people pleasers with nice chins and forced half smiles. Do they even really want the job? Probably not.

Tulsi Gabbard is Courtney Conlogue

If the presidential race was a street fight, Tulsi and Courtney are the clear winners. They’re by far the toughest bitches in the game. Tulsi did two combat tours as a medic in Iraq and Kuwait. She’s extremely determined, like Courtney, whom I’m told once ripped off a toenail at Lance’s Right and immediately paddled back out. Hard core. But maybe too hard core for the American public (or WSL judges)?

The Why Nots:

Amy Klobuchar is Layne Beachley

Amy and Layne are legit. They have the resumé for the gig. They’re also extremely unapproachable and honestly kind of intimidating which makes them unfortunately unelectable. I can’t confirm that Layne’s rage needs to be constantly fettered by a staff of frightened, shaking, lambs (like Amy’s wrath does) but have you ever seen her TedTalk? It’s intense. These two remind me of preschool teachers who turn a casual conversation into a lecture whenever possible. Scary.

Marianne Williamson is Kelia Moniz.

Both share extremely famous friends (Oprah and Hailey Bieber, respectively.) That’s all I know about these two. Here’s a participation prize, congrats!

Eric Swalwell is himself.

I swear Eric Swalwell is already on the tour.

Bill Weld is Mitch Coleborn.

Persistence, comes to mind when describing these two competitors. They’re likable, though definitely not winners, and therefore a wasted vote. But they will literally never give up. Even if it means running with Gary Johnson. Or in Mitch’s case, continuing to put on a jersey even if it’s not his size anymore.

There are roughly 700 more presidential candidates, according to, and while I know a bit about politicking, I know next to nothing about surfing. I couldn’t name a dozen pro surfers if I tried. But I have sources. Which is to say: I’m the Maureen Dowd of surfing. I, too, am “just born to be in it,” and, trust me boys, the pleasure is all mine.

Listen: “The joys and tribulations of making surf film and probably film of any sort!”

Plus why Collingwood is best footy team on earth.

Did you ever dream of being a filmmaker? Telling visual stories that filled giant screens and turned squirrelly crowds into rapt audiences? I never did. I loved movies with all my heart, Indiana Jones, Lawrence of Arabia, Pulp Fiction but could never really picture directing one. There are too many moving parts, too many things to consider. Too many people and processes involved. Writing is easy, in this way. It is only one person pushing one idea out that is shaped and crafted by one editor. Understandable for my feeble brain but filmmaking?


Cinematographers, lighting folk, sound, set, costume, editing, producing, budgets, scriptwriters, script doctors, on and on it goes.

Making surf films is really no different than making real films and the ones who have done it well, Joe G, Taylor Steele, Kai Neville, Jesse Schluntz should all be applauded for their magnificent work. It is herculean and I only know because I’ve accidentally directed two. The Red Bull classic that brought dubstep music to action sports (Who is J.O.B.) and Trouble: The Lisa Andersen Story.

I spoke about the latter with Jimmy from the Lipped podcast. He is wonderful at his craft, soothing voice, studied questions and it was a pleasure to sip vodka soda across the Pacific while chatting.

You can listen here if you’d like.

Kelly came alive mid-heat. A first turn that had shades of the JJF layback snowboard carve, except tighter and a square snap pulled so tight that on the slow-mo he rode back through the wake he had created. The French judge was so moved he awarded a nine. Did you watch? Did you feel the last vestiges of rational defence against Kelly being swept away in your mind? Like the judges.

Margaret River Pro, Day Two: “Kelly Slater showered with eights like broken glass at an Ashkenazi wedding!”

Did you feel the last vestiges of rational defence against Kelly being swept away in your mind?

In Australian parlance, a dag is the piece of matted wool and shite left hanging on a sheep’s tail. Also known as a dingleberry.

Today could have been anything but odds favoured a few desultory losers rounds hanging off the main event like a ripe dingleberry.

But it weren’t.

Mostly due to a timeless performance from the old guy.

Someone in the audience at the Byron Q and A asked Kelly for some tips to hold the line or keep improving as you age. To my internal guffaws, Kelly claimed it was mostly mental, a matter of believing that physically “your best days are still ahead of you.”

He rammed those guffaws right back down my throat today.

It was Jack Robinson we wanted to see first up and he kept the hometown crowd on it’s toes, not catching a wave for 20 mins before a horrifically nervous start where he could barely contain the twitching and spasmodic pumping off the bottom.

That is one advantage of watching the broadcast over the live event.

From the slow motions and close-ups the nervousness was almost overwhelming. He settled enough to throw down a finner and do enough to advance with Jack Freestone in lumpy/glassy three-to-four-foot gurgling rights.

Hard to surf, a real tricky bitch of a wave to surf.

It didn’t augur well for Kelly.

The first sign it might be his day came in heat two, when Leo Fioravanti scored an eight for a well-surfed safety wave. During the Keramas coverage, if you recall, we noted that the continual judging lowball could not hold and at some point there would be a detente and the high scores would flow freely again.

That point was reached during the finals at Keramas and with the Leo eight it was now obvious judges were ready to spill the wine at the banquet.

The next two heats were insane.

Panda, Fred Morais and Yago Dora fought a pitched battle with multiple lead changes. Last went to first and first went to last etc etc. Dora shut the lid on it with a real popped air rotation, no foot placement change at all on the landing.

That has to be seen as a point of difference, as Pottz would say, between the front foot on the nose and awkward shuffle back style or air.


Kelly Ace and Caio. Caio’s first wave looked an underscore at a low six for three solid on rail turns. Kelly came alive mid-heat. A first turn that had shades of the JJF layback snowboard carve, except tighter and a square snap pulled so tight that on the slow-mo he rode back through the wake he had created.

The French judge was so moved he awarded a nine.

Did you watch?

Did you feel the last vestiges of rational defence against Kelly being swept away in your mind?

Like the judges.

He’d been surfing his brains out for fives and now he was being showered with eights like broken glass at an Ashkenazi wedding.

Bad error in the reporting yesterday.

His Aipa looked too easily overpowered but we’d neglected the Tokoros he’d already dialed in at Pipe last year. They looked drivey and incredibly loose.

Somehow, the oldest guy on Tour by a decade, has made a unique selling point out of… looseness. It wasn’t the Ghost of Dane Reynolds but the Ghost of Kelly’s past.

Better than the ghost. A better ghost.

That’s it I’ve swallowed the Kelly Kool Aid – I don’t care about objectivity.

Kelly’s heat made the next couple of women’s heat a very tough watch.

So I went and paid a visit to my unicorn. I found one.

A non-surfing pro surfing fan.

Thirty plus Dad who works down the local hardware store.

“Where’d the eights come from?” he said. “Haven’t seen so many fucking eights all year long.”

Just breathe it in bruz, I counseled. Suspend your disbelief and let it wash all over you.

Caroline Marks smashed it but I could barely watch.

I’m coming around and I can see she is in the process of cleaning up the counter rotating arms. We’ll meet in the middle, this year.

What I could come around to is Sally Fitz, who is holding the most improved style and skill set on the womens Tour. It’s not Steph level but it ain’t too far off.

She took down Johanne Defay, easily.

Carissa still doesn’t quite look the Carissa of old. Head noise? It was shocking to see her husband on the steps. Somehow, the way the women surfers are treated and portrayed by the WSL seems to infantilise them.

That they might be active adults with hubbies and such comes as a weird shock.

Why? I don’t know.

Instead of being a dag, today was a great connector to a potential great day tomorrow.

I think a very big day for the Brazilian Storm, who have been rattled by WA and intimidated by the Box.

Lot of things have changed since they last surfed it.

I think a very good day ahead for pro surfing fans, even reluctant ones.

Margaret River Pro Women’s Round of 16 (Round 3) Results:
Heat 1: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 11.44 DEF. Silvana Lima (BRA) 6.33
Heat 2: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 12.50 DEF. Coco Ho (HAW) 6.30
Heat 3: Caroline Marks (USA) 17.60 DEF. Paige Hareb (NZL) 11.10
Heat 4: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.10 DEF. Johanne Defay (FRA) 9.20
Heat 5: Carissa Moore (HAW) 14.34 DEF. Keely Andrew (AUS) 8.17

Margaret River Pro Remaining Women’s Round of 16 (Round 3) Matchups:
Heat 6: Malia Manuel (HAW) vs. Brisa Hennessy (CRI)
Heat 7: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Bronte Macaulay (AUS)
Heat 8: Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)

Margaret River Pro Women’s Quarterfinals Matchups:
Heat 1: Courtney Conlogue (USA) vs. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA)
Heat 2: Caroline Marks (USA) vs. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. TBD
Heat 4: TBD vs. TBD

Margaret River Pro Men’s Elimination Round (Round 2) Results:
Heat 1: Jack Robinson (AUS) 12.60 DEF. Jack Freestone (AUS) 10.83, Wade Carmichael (AUS) 10.67
Heat 2: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 15.34 DEF. Michel Bourez (FRA) 13.00, Jacob Willcox (AUS) 11.23
Heat 3: Yago Dora (BRA) 14.66 DEF. Willian Cardoso (BRA) 13.77, Frederico Morais (PRT) 13.46
Heat 4: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.50 DEF. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 14.40, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 13.93

Margaret River Pro Men’s Round of 32 (Round 3) Matchups:
Heat 1: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Soli Bailey (AUS)
Heat 2: Michel Bourez (FRA) vs. Yago Dora (BRA)
Heat 3: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Jack Freestone (AUS)
Heat 4: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
Heat 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Caio Ibelli (BRA)
Heat 6: Willian Cardoso (BRA) vs. Kelly Slater (USA)
Heat 7: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
Heat 8: Conner Coffin (USA) vs. Jesse Mendes (BRA)
Heat 9: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Jack Robinson (AUS)
Heat 10: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) vs. Seth Moniz (HAW)
Heat 11: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Ezekiel Lau (HAW)
Heat 12: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Griffin Colapinto (USA)
Heat 13: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 14: Peterson Crisanto (BRA) vs. Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 15: Ryan Callinan (AUS) vs. Deivid Silva (BRA)
Heat 16: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) vs. Ricardo Christie (NZL)

Here, Eithan, winning the Netanya Pro in Iz. | Photo: WSL

Oy vey: Ventura air-boy Eithan Osborne rediscovers Jewish lineage! Will surf for Israel at Olympics!

Team Jew just got hot!

What I’d give for a mammy who played for Team Jew.

Israel, as you might’ve worked out, here, here and here, is a joint real close to your ol pal DR’s heart.

Gimme a two-bedder in Tel Aviv, a handful of shekels, a top-heavy Jewess fresh out of the paratroopers but who still carries a loaded pistol which bulges out of fitted army pants and I’d be a happy man.

Ventura surfer, Eithan Osborne, who is nineteen and who already carries passports from France and from the USA, has a Jew mammy and, therefore, has decided he’s going to swing for the great, brave, beautiful nation of Israel at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Eithan, a Hebrew name which you pronounce A-ton, was courted by the head of the Israeli ISA when he won a WQS event there.

And, according to the Israeli Surfing Association website, Eithan just inked the deal.

Kanoa, Japan.

Tatiana, Brazil,

Eithan, Israel.

Who’s next to turn their back on their country, do you think?

Come, watch, comment, on Kelly Slater's synchronised popping in last heat of death round. | Photo: WSL

Open Thread: Comment live, Margaret River Pro Elimination Round!

Let's have fun!

It’s live, again, and ooooee! I don’t know what happened today. Oh, wait. I do. Lots of driving. Lots and lots of sitting in traffic but enough about that. Let’s get together and watch the men’s elimination round. The most exciting… however many minutes in surfing.

Heat 1: Wade Carmichael v Jack Freestone v Jack Robinson

Heat 2: Michel B. v. Leo F. v Jacob Willcox

Heat 3: Cardoso v Yago D v Fred Morais

Heat 4 Ace Buchan v Kelly Slater v Caio Ibelli

Jack Robinson is in the water now. Pottz is imagining about heats in The Box. Nobody is giving too much away.

The staircase has microphones on it.

Niki Van D. is tapping into herself.

Pottz just said, “Bring back the biff, I reckon.” and my feed went dead.

Did they cut Pottz’s mic for inciting violence?

Much to discuss.

Let’s do this!