Kelly Slater to Axel Irons: “Hit me as hard as you can in the stomach!”

More highlights from NYC photograph Justin Jay's remarkable decade-in-the-making North Shore tome…

Losing ain’t easy, although I’m more practised than most. Family, money, reputation, home, a luxury water transport biz, oh, I’ve gambled it all and lost.

But I’ve had some laughs and woken to shrivelled balls and empty boxes of Ding-Dongs more than a man of my below-average construction should’ve. And that’s all that matters, yeah?

The world champion surfer Kelly Slater, conversely, rarely loses, in life or in competition. And, therefore, it made his defeat in the semi-finals of last year’s Pipeline Masters, a contest he seemed preordained to win, more painful than usual.

The New York photographer Justin Jay, who is crowdfunding his book Ten Years/1000 Moments on the North Shore, and which you should bounce over to, here, to throw a few shekels at, was there to capture this photo of Kelly and his former nemesis Andy Irons’ eight-year-old son Axel.

“His lingering foot injury was still an issue, he had stitches in his hand from a free surf the previous day at V-Land and his knee was freshly bandaged from an encounter with the reef in his previous heat,” says Jay. “Perhaps to assuage some frustration, Kelly lingered around the competitors’ area signing autographs and talking to fans. He was in an affable mood, but he was clearly agitated by the circumstances. He walked over to Axel Irons and gave him a playful ruffle of his hair which was followed by a proposition that sounded more like a dare.”

Hit me as hard as you can in the stomach.

It didn’t happen

“Despite goading from (RVCA founder and Lyndie Irons’ new bebe) Pat Tenore, Axel ultimately decided not to accept Kelly’s offer to punch him.”


Can you imagine if Andy was still around?




Shocking: New York building a wave tank using non-Surf Ranch technology!

"The whole album has a clear, crisp sound, and a new sheen of consummate professionalism that really gives the songs a big boost."

If Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch doesn’t hurry up and get in the game there ain’t gonna be one city left without its own functioning, revenue generating tank. It was announced just yesterday that the city of Shirley there on Long Island is building a wave tank using Wavegarden technology and employing new subscription model for pricing. We’ll read all about it soon, but first let’s discuss Shirley. It is halfway between Manhattan and Montauk making it an absolute dream for specialist in mergers and acquisitions looking to blow off some steam after a rough night hacking folk up. Or Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw and gang wanting a girls’ bonding day after Steve cheats on Miranda again. Can you believe that Steve? What a selfish jerk.

Anyhow, the tank. I’ll take you to the good parts of the announcement here.

The planned Long Island Surf Park, to be located in the Brookhaven Technology Center industrial park off Exit 68 of the Long Island Expressway, will have an outdoor pool between 45,000-50,000 square feet in size, a lounge area that spans the back of the pool, the restaurant/cafe, a surf shop and locker rooms.

“This is a childhood dream for me,” said co-founder and vice president Brett Portera, who is partnering with his father, Chris. “If you’re someone who loves surfing, you’re always looking for the perfect wave. The biggest desire for me is to have a great pool and something for everybody to use.”

The company will offer one-hour session rates for access to the pool, which will produce “ocean-like traveling waves” that break from one end to the other, for half of its operating hours. Portera said those rates will be comparable to what’s charged at Typhoon Lagoon in Orlando, Florida, and Adventure Parc Snowdonia in England, but that official rates haven’t been set.

The other half of the operating hours will be available to customers who purchase yearly individual members ranging from $3,500-$8,000 per year, with various different perks.

“The idea behind the membership is to allow people who are [interested] in surfing more often a discount on the normal hourly rates while also providing some incentives for frequency,” Portera said.

The pool will be able to operate year-round with the aid of an energy system that will recapture heat given off from the pool. “There will be so much heat given off that the water will be 60 degrees in the dead of the winter,” he said.

The system will also recapture energy for air conditioning, heating the clubhouse and cooling the equipment room.

Using the heat from the wave generating machine keeping the pool 60 degrees even in the dead of New York winter seems like a nice touch but, really, when Kelly Slater unveiled his Surf Ranch all those years ago, smashing Adriano de Souza’s one moment in the sun, didn’t you think, “Well, everybody’s gonna bulldoze their Wavegardens and toss in Surf Ranches…”?

I did but, like investing all my money in Quiksilver seven years ago, was apparently wrong.

Watch Conner Coffin in: “The towel under me is turning crimson and soggy like tomato bread soap!”

So much dang rail and tubing…

It ain’t difficult to tell the two Coffin brothers apart. Conner is the one swollen with the good looks and foppish golden hair that must be tossed back over the crown after every tube ride.

Parker, not so pretty, but fires good from the mouth, can do airs.

This assortment of free surfing clips from Conner, only, veers dangerously close to the repetitive.


As easy as it would be to call Indulgence a cutback-tube combo and not much else, the seasoned eye comes in and begins to see myriad differences in the angle-of-attack in his cutbacks, cutdowns, landlocked fin throws and so on.

And the tuberiding, performed at Cloudbreak, Fiji, and Pipeline, Hawaii, will make purists quiver and shake as if in battle with a high fever.

Conner’s filmer Ryan Perry has channelled Kai Neville in his Jon Zawada-Lost-Atlas phase so some of the frame-within-a-frame shots and graphics might wring a little nostalgia out of you.

Watch? Yeah, I would.

The Golden Mic: WSL Commentator Power Rankings Oi Rio Pro Edition!

"Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man's growth without destroying his roots!"

I was thinking, last night as I drifted off to sleep, about the World Surf League commentator team and how much they mean in all of our lives. The professional surfers on tour, they come and go. One year it’s Dayyan Neve, the next it’s Jesse Mendes. Even when longstanders go gentle into that good night, like Fanno and Parko, they’re not even missed. Be honest, you forgot that Mick and Joel were ever on tour and when I write about them in singlets it only rings some vague bell.

The professional surfers are as transient as wild squirrels but the commentators., like diamonds, are forever.

And how are the commentators doing this year? How do you feel compared to years’ past? There is no record, no way of measuring, and it is time to remedy so without further ado I present BeachGrit‘s Golden Mic. The Power Rankings for Commentators.

Barton Lynch: (8.93) Show me a man who isn’t soothed by Barton’s mezzo-soprano and I’ll show you a serial killer or, at the very least, a man with serial killer tendencies. Barton’s tone, pace and content are all worth listening to and even when he dips a toe into the utterly absurd it doesn’t irritate. As the anchor of the the Oi Rio Pro, Barton showed he is the best in the biz and if I was the World Surf League’s President of Content, Media, Studios, Commentators, etc. I would begin my booth rebuild around the Man from Manly.

Brad: (5.04) I never caught Brad saying his own name and, therefore, never really had a feeling for him. Is he Australian? South African? Where did he come from? What did he do? I still don’t know and felt untethered throughout the Oi Rio Pro. The one constant, though, that made it clear and comfortable that the Oi Rio was still, in fact, a World Surf League production was the curiosities that poured forth from Brad’s mouth in a never ceasing stream. Do I want Brad back? No. Would I notice if he replaced Turpel? No. A net neutral, I suppose, for the League

Kaipo: (6.82) Kaipo raised the bar in Brazil, don’t you agree? He slid from his typical color role into the straight man gig and I thought showed real promise here. With a small bit of training and a willingness to dig into his past stories (dating Madonna etc.), I think Kaipo could soar into “almost ok” territory. Tell me you didn’t get a whiff of the future. Tell me Kaipo doesn’t have legs (both literally and figuratively).

The ’89 World Champ Martin Potter: (4.37) When the great computer scientists of our century unveil for the first time, at Comic-Con 2025, that a computer featuring bleeding edge artificial intelligence had been introduced into the public a decade ago without people knowing they were dealing with a humanoid robot those in the audience will gasp as cheer but professional surf fans will roll their eyes and sigh, “We knew all along.”

Pete Mel: (6.25) The Condor looked so uncomfortable doing Rosy’s job, like a boy waiting for a prom date above his station, and I couldn’t get enough. Having an adult man, all hairy and awkward and adult-like, asking silly questions to prepubescent-looking boys (Jordy Smith very much included) who just got out of a bath made it crystal clear that Rosy’s job is demeaning and she should demand a kick up to the booth. The League should filter “Grumpy Locals” through this position as punishment for being critical. It should be the new Gulag.

Strider: (8.50) Strider needs more time on air. Whether on ski, sand or rock he brings the juice. The perfect “man on the ground” without apparent aspirations for a bigger/better stage. He revels in his role and we’re lucky for it. Strider should be given his own interstitial shows… sending him to strip clubs, or wherever, reporting live in the field.

Special Guest Sally Fitzgibbons: (7.21) Sally was competent and warm, her bogan-tinged sentence beginner “Hey…” got me every time. “Hey, he looked pretty good right there…” I would have liked a little more frowny-face’d “Hey, what is coming out of your mouth?” to Brad which is why she receives a score near the excellent range but not exactly in the excellent range.

Ronnie, Rosie and Joey Turps: (0.37) “Top talent” skipping Brazil is so five years ago.

Attend: A wonderful “Surf Film Night” in major European cultural capitals!

Better than getting drunk and falling down stairs!

I will be in Paris in a few short weeks and cannot wait. Nothing beats Europe in the summer. Long, long days stretching into mild nights. Crisp white wine. Moules-frites. The smell of sweet jasmine mingling with Theresa May’s busted government wafting across the channel, or as the French say, Chanel.

What fun. What glorious fun and the only way it could be more fun is under the pale glow of surf film.

Thankfully, Blue and Nouvague have us all covered for they are screening Trouble: The Lisa Andersen Story, Nausicaa: A Mediterranean Surfari and Andy Irons’ Kissed by God.

Are you in Europe? Care to join in the fun?

Click here for dates!