Also, how amazing would it be if the next female surfer was Shaun White?
Also, how amazing would it be if the next female surfer was Shaun White?

Olympics: “How amazing would it be if the next Shaun White were a female surfer?”

Come and read the World Surf League's exciting plans!

Olympic news, as it relates to the Pastime of Kings, can be a little… dry. Oh, of course there is one thrilling storyline, (Will a 47-year-old Kelly Slater be able to surpass an injured John John Florence for a spot on the United States Olympic surf team?) but the rest is… brittle. Brazil will win men’s gold, silver and bronze (Gabriel, Italo, Filipe) and that will be that.

Still, the World Surf League is thrilled with the possibilities and Santa Monica’s Chief Marketing Officer Pri Shumate is absolutely bullish. I stumbled across a story titled With Olympics Looming, Sponsors Jumping Aboard World Surf League and I was excited to see which.

None new, as it turns out. Jeep, Harley-Davidson, Michelob Ultra brewed with Zoë Kravitz’s sultry whisper and Organic Grains, Boost Mobile, Red Bull but then the conversation turned to how over-the-moon the League is for the Olympic kick, hoping that surfing can soar as high as snowboarding and let’s dig in together for a little Chief Marketing.

The WSL hopes the Olympic spotlight can do for surfing what the Olympic rings did for snowboarding at the 1998 Olympics.

The two youthful sports have a lot in common. Like surfing, snowboarding was regarded as an outlaw sport back in the 1990’s. The traditional alpine sports establishment looked down their nose at snowboarders, even banning them from many ski resorts.

That all changed when snowboarding made its Olympic debut in Nagano, Japan in 1998. Fans loved the fearless, high-flying athletes and rock ‘n roll atmosphere. When budding superstar Shaun White won the halfpipe gold medal at the Torino Olympics in 2006, snowboarding went global. In the WSL’s ideal world, surfing would boast the same crossover appeal.

“Imagine the next Shaun White is a surfer? That’s the level of opportunity we feel we have,” noted Shumate. “And how amazing would it be if the next Shaun White were a female surfer? We have so many good storylines going into the Olympics.”

Ok, and I don’t need to be rude but I think this snowboarding analogy has gone a little far and/or is being rolled out… I don’t want to say ignorantly but…. let’s just say ignorantly. It’s true that Shaun White got rich off of his Olympic Snowboarding but as a “sport” in the year 2019, it is dead in the frozen water. There is no tour, declining participation, market conglomeration that has lead to a lack of innovation and next to zero general public interest other than for a few minutes every four years.

Snowboarding itself is still wonderful, of course, and I’d imagine the hard-core are overjoyed not to have “an industry” but two decades of Olympic spotlight has certainly not helped any governing body or exploded non-endemic interest or really done anything at all except shrink it down to a real community again where neither VAL nor blow-in dominate the narrative.

Is this the World Surf League’s ultimate and final plan? To turn surfing into a money-less passion?

Is Dirk Ziff a philanthropist?

Caroline Marks: “Surf Ranch is incredible, it’s probably my favorite wave in California!”

Kolohe Andino adds, "It's rad and the wave's super fun."

The damned refrain “Once those gates open it’s like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory for surfers…” regarding Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch has shit me for years. Every staff, every man/woman/Cambodian child who draws income from the Lemoore facility is instructed to say it, or they must be, because they all do. Exactly like that. “Once those gates open it’s like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory for surfers…”

“Once those gates open it’s like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory for surfers…”

“Once those gates open it’s like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory for surfers…”

I’ve never felt that way. It’s always seemed more similar to “The Island of Dr. Moreau for surfers…” but I’m jaded ol’ Tucker Carlson not the bright shining future and the honest-to-goodness bright shining future Caroline Marks feels very much otherwise.

In a recent story featuring Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch on New York’s local news, Caroline Marks, current world number 5, looks directly into the camera and declares “Surf Ranch is incredible, it’s probably my favorite wave in California.”

And that is quite a declaration. Imagine the tears shed in North County, San Diego. In San Clemente, Newport, Huntington, Malibu, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz. Imagine the guffaws but also those guffaws are not the bright shining future and Caroline Marks is.

Though, I will say, Kolohe Andino follows Caroline Marks on the same video and deadpans, “It’s rad and the wave’s super fun.” without cracking a smile.

So, our question, which wave, currently, is the best in California?

Where does Surf Ranch rank?

Chas Smith (left) and Derek O'Reilly celebrate being #1.
Chas Smith (left) and Derek O'Reilly celebrate being #1.

Chris Cote declares: “BeachGrit is the Fox News of surf media and Chas Smith is Tucker Carlson!”

"The Most Trusted Name in News."

Tucker Carlson? Are you serious? Tucker Carlson? Well, son of a bitch. And Chris Cote co-hosted his weekly action sport podcast Monday M.A.S.S. just yesterday alongside famous professional snowboarder and shark enthusiast Todd Richards. It was spinning along fluidly as it always does, a testament to the professionalism of both men who each call live action sport for money, until Chris dropped a bombshell.

“And I realized, you’re gonna like this, BeachGrit is Fox News of surf media. Think about it, right. They talk to their base. They fire up their base. Chas is kind of like the Tucker Carlson of surf media. They’ve got their Bill O’Riellys and their made-up name people. People on their message board and it’s vicious. But it’s a lot of fun and it’s a privilege and an honor to give BeachGrit so much to talk about.”

Tucker Carlson? I’m Tucker Carlson? His face is very round whilst mine is long and thin and his hair looks lame unlike mine which continues to get better with age. He wears outlet mall suits, for sure, but… hell, I should just accept the compliment as New York Magazine just declared Tucker Carlson the “Most Important Pundit in America.”


I suppose I fancied myself a pre-2018 Megyn Kelly. Razor-tongue’d, quick-witted, sexy, blonde, fantastic.

But let’s roll with the Fox News analogy, for a moment longer, as it makes sense because BeachGrit is by far the biggest little surf website on earth (just wait until next month’s numbers) and you are very much implicated as Chris pointed directly to our “Bill O’Riellys” and our “made-up name people” on our “message board.”

So quickly, is Derek Bill O’Rielly seeing they share a similar last name*? Scandal plagued, maybe a little too libertine but groundbreaking-ly popular? Or… who is Derek? Who is Longtom? Greta Van Susteren?

Jen See? Can I get an amen for Geraldo Rivera?

Oh I see your frown, Chazz Michael Michaels. I see that furrowed brow so who are you? Very much implicated in this whole enterprise, by the way.

More importantly, who is Negatron? Just kidding. We all know Negatron is Roger Ailes.

But truly most importantly, who are you**?

*Having directed Lisa Andersen’s biographical documentary I have experienced, secondhand, the absolute horror of having a common last name spelled differently than its accepted varietal. Lisa Anderson? No. Andersen. Likewise, Derek O’Reilly? No. Derek oh! Rielly.

**Including but not limited to: Smurfaholic, Black Rubber, Shore Pound, Phat-wan kerr, Hippy, Party Pete, sun bear, Robert AHearn, astro, OttoBeenThere, ScottSanDiego, Mads Naeraa, channelbottom, surfads, VONR, Superworm, Trogan Fan, Derek Hynd’s Missing Fins, Nick Carroll, ricmatic, c415north, Ck T, Wigs, Lemoore GOAT Rodeo, Huli Opu, Dogsnuts, Bex, Tired Old Guy, mine.mine.mine, Mike Hunt, Alec Eiffel, Poop Stance, Miki Dora’s bastard son, SoCalGary, Lemon Next to the Pie, Paul Taublieb, Toin coss, Shampoo Poo, Pyzel’s Ghost, Shroom, Audit in Progress, bruddah, Beefnbeer, Tim Nelsen, Antipodes, MaxNeoprene, ACTIVE SHOOTER… and let’s just end this at ACTIVE SHOOTER.

Help: Virginia Beach man loses leg while surfing; Needs your hand finding it!

“The Joker’s on the front and on the back it’s Marvin the Martian...”

What is the most expensive thing you have ever lost surfing? A watch? GoPro? Carbon fiber paddle (everyone is looking at you, Erik “ELo” Logan)? Well your loss is nothing compared Ryan Johnson from Virginia Beach who lost his leg while trying to protect his board in the wild, wild surf and do you believe it? It’s true but don’t take my word for it. Let’s go straight to Virginia Beach’s most trusted source for local news and read about it there.

A local man is continuing to search for his missing prosthetic leg.

Ryan Johnson says this past weekend he was surfing in Sandbridge when he felt it come loose.

“I’m sitting on the sand and trying to grab my prosthetic and keep it on while trying to hold on to my longboard,” he said.

But a big wave hit him, and took his leg with it.

“I see the wave, I see the foot, the whole prosthetic, under the wave near the sand and then it crashed and it was gone.”

Although his prosthetic leg is gone, Johnson isn’t giving up hope he’ll find it.

He says flyers have been put up and he even went back into the water the next day to look for it. He says if you find it, you’ll know it’s his by the design, identical to his backup prosthetic.

“The Joker’s on the front and on the back it’s Marvin the Martian,” Johnson said.

He thinks the current may have taken it away from Sandbridge, so he’s asking people to be on the lookout for it at any beach.

Are you in/around Virginia Beach? Have you seen a artful prosthetic leg the sand? Do the right thing and email me.

Speaking of, I saw a strange picture this morning featuring the aforementioned World Surf League President of Content, Media, Studios and Deep Dish Pizookie Erik “ELo” Logan leaving the water, sans paddle, with a giant pink leash that appears unattached from his board and it made me wonder.

Do you ever take your leash off your board before leaving the water? Also what gauge is that thing?

Not saying it’s a bad idea, per se, just… I don’t know, would like your sartorial opinion on the matter.

And find Ryan Johnson’s leg!

Carissa Moore: “I feel like I’m still the underdog!”

Jen See chats, exclusively, with the current World Number 1!

Whenever I look up Carissa Moore’s career details, I am surprised to discover that her most recent world title came in 2015. It seems like a long time ago. During the years following her last world title, Moore wondered who she wanted to be and how to define her identity when the results didn’t come the way she hoped they would. These days, Moore seems to have left those uncertainties mostly behind her.

Currently, the talented Hawaiian sits at the top of the world rankings. This year was supposed to be a showdown between youth and experience, between Steph Gilmore and Caroline Marks. It hasn’t happened that way. Instead, the women’s title race has proven anything but straightforward. While the favorites have pinballed up and down the rankings, Moore has held steady. A pair of fifths are her throwaways with three events remaining.

Last week in the torrid heat of Lemoore, I sat down for a brief conversation with Moore. She has an incandescent warmth in person and might be the friendliest athlete I’ve ever interviewed. She told me about her year so far, whether she thinks women should compete at Pipe, and about the film project she’s hoping to pursue.

— When we talked last May, you told me you had struggled a lot with questions about what you wanted out of your life and whether you wanted to keep competing. You seem to have traveled a solid distance from where you were then. How do you feel now?

I feel like I’m in a really happy place, a peaceful place. I’ve learned a lot over the past couple of years about what I want personally and professionally — and reassessed my motivation. I’m just feeling a bit more solid about my direction. I’ve always been super goal-oriented, and I feel like more in tune with my goals now. So that’s really nice. For me, it’s tough when I’m not really feeling my purpose. But now I feel like I’m in a good place.

— After equal prize money, what do you think is the next step in the evolution of women’s surfing?

Oh gosh, I haven’t really thought about it that much! I’m just super grateful.

— So if you could wave a magic wand, is there anything you would change or add to women’s pro surfing?

No, I mean, obviously, I would love to see the surf industry just flourish a little bit more. I think right now — from what I hear — they’re not doing as well as I would hope. I love surfing so much and I want it to be the best it can possibly be for the next generation. It’s just a special sport. I hope that all the people who believe in it and love it will see a return, so that it can keep going.

— What do you think about the argument that because women are receiving equal pay, you should be judged on the same standard as the men?

I think it’s getting there. I think that the pay doesn’t necessarily relate to the score standard. We put in just as much work and we’re working just as hard, mentally, and physically in the water. I mean, definitely the level is a little different. It is different. But it’s been male-dominated, you know? I really feel like, we wouldn’t be where we are today without the amazing founders of our sport. It’s progressed so much just in the last ten years that I’ve been on tour.

Like I said, I didn’t even see equal pay coming. I was so stoked because it had gone from $50k to $60k in just a few years. I was like, $100k? I was already so happy.

— I remember I asked you last year about equal prize money, you were like, I don’t know. It just wasn’t something you’d really thought about. It wasn’t high on your list of things.

And some people are super, super passionate. I’m just so grateful to be where we’re at and we’ve come so far and I’m just so appreciative of what we already had. I just think we’re going to keep working at being as good as the guys. I think we’re maybe just appreciated for different things and I think equal pay stands for more than just like, the money. It’s a bigger statement than that. It’s more like, just seeing us, as we are all equal.

— And that you belong in the sport. You belong here.

Just being respected for that, for being an athlete. We’re equal.

— Do you think there should be women’s events at Pipe or Teahupo’o? Should it happen now, in the future? How do you see that fitting into the women’s Tour?

I think there’s a right way to do it. Unfortunately at Pipe, it’s really hard for us as women to practice out there. And if you’re not getting practice, it’s really dangerous to just put us out in a scenario and ask us to perform. And, that’s not going to look good for us. It’s not safe. If we were given times to practice out there and actually look at the wave, and have you know, good opportunities, that would be awesome. I know that there are a lot of girls that are capable of doing it.

Places like Tahiti, it’s just, getting us there and practicing. And putting ourselves in those scenarios. Because I think there’s a good amount of girls that can really show up and do it, you know, it’s just about putting us in those scenarios where we feel safe to push our boundaries and step outside our comfort zones, so we can push the sport.

— So you’d do it, if you have some time to prepare for it. I know, for example, some of the guys have trouble getting waves at Pipe.

Even like last year, we had our Pipe Invitational and it was super cool but it was like, 6-8 feet and it was pretty all over the place. I didn’t feel very comfortable. Then I ended up bouncing off the reef early this season at Backdoor. I’m fighting for position with groms or I’m fighting for position with bigger, older people who have spent so much time out here. Is it really worth the risk? So anyway, that’s how I see it. We definitely have potential out there, and I think we can do it, it’s just finding the right way to do it.

— And there’s potentially other waves that would showcase what you do, without having to deal with the whole situation at Pipe.

I mean, there’s definitely girls who are putting the time in there. There’s a girl named Moana Jones, who’s a Pipeline specialist and it’s awesome. We need those kinds of people. I just haven’t been putting in the time.

— You were in Tahiti to surf Teahupo’o earlier this year. How did that go for you?

It was awesome. I actually loved, I loved doing something that scared me shitless. Like, overcoming the fear and seeing what I can do. It was cool to see myself overcome some of my fears and get outside my comfort zone. To me, that was the most rewarding thing.

— I caught on Chris Bryan’s instagram last spring that you’re potentially working on a film project. What’s the story with that thing?

Hopefully! It’s been a dream of mine to create something really cool. I feel like there isn’t enough content for the young girls to watch. I’m really passionate about it. It’s just been tough finding funding and finding people willing to support it. So I don’t want to say, yes, we’re doing a film project.

We definitely have started, we’re creating content. I’m working with an amazing director, his name is Peter Hamblin [director of Let’s be Frank with Frank Solomon], from London. And he’s one of the most creative people I’ve ever met. So it wouldn’t be your typical surf film!

— I feel like that makes it even better!

I really hope it comes to life.

— How confident do you feel in that world number one right now?

I honestly never feel 100% confident. I know everyone is right there. I don’t even feel like I’m number one. I feel like I’m still like the underdog.

— Did it help you that so much of the focus at the beginning of the year was on Steph versus Caroline?

It still is, to a lot of extent. So I’m stoked. It’s all good! I don’t even get really caught up in it anymore. I used to put a lot of importance — I got a lot of validation from what people used to say. And then, you don’t do so well and no one talks about you. Then you’re like, eh, it’s all good. I mean, I’m good.

— So you’ve managed to separate your sense of self and who you are from your results?

I’m trying to find that happy medium. It’s hard! I’m very passionate about what I do. But being able to look at the personal goals and be like, did I accomplish my personal goals? Well, I may not have done as well as I liked, but hey, I can still smile at the end of the day. Life is amazing.