Mmmmmm. Chocolate.

Come tour the “sustainable good vibes” and “minimal palette making big grins” inside Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch!

And single-use plastics? You won’t find any here.

Have you not been to Lemoore, California’s jewel yet? Planted there in the shadow of an Indian casino, elderly emphysemaniacs plugging quarter after quarter into colorful gambling machines, the stink of industrial farming heavy on the valley air, Fresno one way, Visalia the other and the nearest beach some 100 miles over the hills?

It’s a presumptuous question to ask and rude, when I think of it. The only people who have been to Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch are those who have been invited by Kelly/Santa Monica and/or and those who decided to pay a princely sum in order to stand along the cement rail and hoot Ace Buchan and he whistles down the line.

That is only a very small number and even though Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch is made where people live it is not for The People™. No not at all.

Thankfully we have the SF Gate and while San Francisco is also not for The People™, or maybe because it’s not, the publication was invited for a design tour of life behind the wooden fence.

Shall we?

It was vital to Slater and the WSL that the Ranch embrace a sustainable ethos that extended from construction to day-to-day operations, including clean and renewable energy, waste management, water conservation, and carbon offsetting, says Denman. For example, it was built with sustainable materials, including the crushed-shell roadways and paving stones made from upcycled foam dust—a waste product of surfboard manufacturing—in partnership with Firewire Surfboards. And single-use plastics? You won’t find any here.

And you must carry on without me. Each slide and corresponding description is an absolute joy but before I go how much do you love the fact that a giant pool with a giant machine 100 miles away from where waves are plentiful and free is sustainable?

We live in the future!


Rip Curl Pro, Portugal, Day Three: “Medina disqualified, title goes to Pipe; Igarashi says Slater peaked 22 years ago!”

A cruel day in Peniche…

Making predictions on pro surfing is probably one of the stupider things a human can do, no offence to our punting pals on here, but I did have a strong gut feeling Medina was going to stumble here in Portugal.

Which he did, in spectacular fashion, with eight minutes remaining in a heat with Caio Ibelli in a heat where he’d spent the previous twenty-seven minutes ruthlessly rag-dolling his compatriot in weak two-foot closeouts.

Unbelievably, he contested a dribbly little righthander, bumping shoulders with Ibelli, who gesticulated wildly in protest. WSL screen live on the broadcast showed Ibelli priority. Medina pointed to the beach, as if to suggest he had P.

Live screen immediately priority switched to Medina, suggesting a mistake. Within a minute a decision was reached and Medina had a priority interference awarded against him, meaning the loss of his second scoring wave.

As a sign of Medina’s dominance the penalty was not immediately fatal, with his single wave score of an 8.17 still besting Ibelli’s top two rides combined.

Ibelli got the score. Medina out.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B32E0X3jDsg/

The WSL, of course, maintained radio silence on the event. No official protest has been lodged by the Medina camp. I reached out to Johnny Cabianco who was on the beach, to get his read but received no reply to my query at time of writing*.

Whether a single infraction of the rules should be enough to immediately disqualify a surfer(in effect) seems a disproportionate punishment and produced a result that even Ibelli in the post-heat presser regarded as faintly ludicrous and unjust.

Early morning Florida time, and presuming Dirk Ziff was watching, must have made the billionaire delirious with joy. Not that it matter in the grand scheme. With a net worth of fourteen-billion plus it would take 710 years for a twenty-million a year loss to eat away the principal.

For now, pro surfing looks safe and stable.

Medina’s brain explosion, if that’s what it was, had been rendered moot anyhow in terms of the Title being decided at Pipeline by the performances of Filipe Toledo (scintillating) and Italo Ferriera (electric). The Brazilians, like Medina did, took it to the air, with very high make rates and did beg the question of whether a pro-surfer in 2019 could exist in the top 20 without a functioning aerial skill set.

I know, these are dry, arcane questions. More pertinent is why, considering the forecast and that multiple surfers including Kelly Slater have spoken publicly about clean barrelling surf on the leeward side of the peninsula the WSL have stood still as a statue and run the penultimate event of the year in mostly onshore closeouts.

With a ten-year deal between the WPS and WSL freshly inked there’s no mood for rebellion, apart from Slater’s passive-aggressive jibes but the fan base would like to know. Twelve months of monitoring and the Facebook Live audience peaked at fifteen-thousand during Teahupoo’s best day. Portugal has flatlined in the low two-thousands.

Is pro surfing the only sport on earth where a broadcast audience is not crucial to its fortunes? In this pivot away from sport to a media organisation it does seem that way.

Kolohe Andino picked a high volume retro shape off the racks, a board you and I could shred on, and dominated the opening ten minutes of his heat with Rodrigues. Hustling a priority situation to maintain a lead in the back end of the heat. Back looked good, diligent with warm-ups and warm downs etc etc.

Kelly, by contrast, rode a low volume, twitchy FRK which sunk on him on crucial closing manoeuvres during the opening stages of his heat with Igarashi. His strategy of paddling way the fuck down the beach and surfing a different peak would have paid ample dividend if he’d stuck the closers.

You could almost feel the mental cogs turning, hear the internal dialogue implanted by Snake in Kanoa’s mind as he diligently built a small house and then landscaped it with a few small airs. Scoreboard flattered Kelly, he never looked like threatening Igarashi’s lead.

In the presser, Kanoa almost tied himself in knots trying to be humble but ended up mildly condescending when, while reflecting in his 3-0 record against Kelly he mused, “Wish I could have surfed against him in his prime, probably before I was born”.

I know these back injuries are real. I also know the latest science in pain, especially as it relates to back injuries emphasises the role of the mind.

Stress, pressure, the activation and reinforcement of neural pathways, all crucial. In two-foot beachbreak Toledo was in a very happy place. Paradoxically, and this may apply to Andino too, the back injuries have taken the pressure off. Allowed an escape hatch, if you like, for the crushing pressure to dissipate through.

Pip made my back hurt just watching him throw flat spins into crunching landings. The pairing with Carmichael looked unfair, such was the speed, agility and repertoire advantage enjoyed by Toledo.

Pipeline, will be a different beast of course, if the swell comes to play. For now though a relaxed Pip said he felt “loose and confident” and showed his magnanimous side by declaring that he “was really happy to push the World Title to Hawaii and make things interesting for everyone”.

I think Medina might be a bit tortured by this European leg.

*Stop press. Cabianco was instructed by the Medina camp not to comment. He described the situation as tense and alluded to a future statement from the Medina crew. Watch this space.

Update: Gabriel addresses interference via IG.

“I would like to explain what happened on my battle. Caio and I caught the same wave and each went one way. My wave was shorter and his was longer. So much so that while I was back outside, he was still riding his wave. When I got out the bak, I was so sure the priority was mine that I didn’t look at the priority sign. To my surprise, when the next wave came, I ended up going because I was sure the priority was mine.

“I ended making an interference. When I got out of the water I went to talk to the judges. We looked at the open images of the two of us paddling back to the bottom with an open camera angle. It was very clear that I arrived well before. And even if I had gotten along with him and had a draw, the priority would be mine by the rule. Because in the wave we surfed together before, Caio had priority one. I hope the situation will be reevaluated because an error has occurred. I am still very hopeful that my heat will be reviewed.”

 

 

Men’s Quarterfinal Matchups:
QF 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)
QF 2: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN)
QF 3: Caio Ibelli (BRA) vs. Peterson Crisanto (BRA)
QF 4: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Jack Freestone (AUS)

Men’s Round 4 Results:
HEAT 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 10.84 DEF. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 3.76
HEAT 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.84 DEF. Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 11.57
HEAT 3: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 14.60 DEF. Wade Carmichael (AUS) 9.27
HEAT 4: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 10.53 DEF. Kelly Slater (USA) 9.10
HEAT 5: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 8.50 DEF. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 8.17
HEAT 6: Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 14.34 DEF. Jesse Mendes (BRA) 12.46
HEAT 7: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 13.83 DEF. Conner Coffin (USA) 10.83
HEAT 8: Jack Freestone (AUS) 13.83 DEF. Soli Bailey (AUS) 12.40


Hawaiian legend Kai Lenny (pictured) participating in the 2035 Eddie.
Hawaiian legend Kai Lenny (pictured) participating in the 2035 Eddie.

Aloha: Hawaiian surf scheduled to disappear planet forever!

Or is it?

The Hawaiian Islands may not have been the birthplace of surfing, like Peru’s misty shores, but they are certainly its most glorious achievement. From the ancient kahunas to Duke Kahanamoku, Eddie Aikau to Eddie Rothman, Pipeline to Pinetrees to Peahi the Hawaiian Islands are our spiritual* home and yet climate change may disappear its waves forever.

True but very sad and let’s quickly swing in to Hawaii News Now for scientific details. Let’s trust the island’s leading news source implicitly.

Doorae Shin, the Oahu chapter coordinator of the Surfrider Foundation, said that “we need to act as urgently and boldly as possible to make up for decades of inaction.”

“In May 2019, carbon dioxide levels were detected at 415 ppm which is the highest in recorded history,” Shin said. “That’s far from the 350 ppm we need to have a stable planet to live on.”

“The increase of carbon dioxide means that the tides will be higher than ever, so surfing will get increasingly rare and challenging to find,” Shin said.

NASA defines climate change as “a broad range of global phenomena created predominantly by burning fossil fuels, which add heat-trapping gases to Earth’s atmosphere.”

The U.S. has been identified as one of the premiere surf destination countries doing the least to protect its beaches from the changes.

It is a tragedy, one we must all attempt to mitigate but would you allow me to play the Devil’s advocate here? This is BeachGrit, after all, the biggest little surf website in the world where anti-depressiveness is a way of life and the glass is always half full.

What if we lost Pipeline, Pinetrees and Peahi but gained some other super break? If my understanding is correct, climate change is making the weather more severe, storms bigger etc. so bigger swell no? And what if those bigger swells broke just perfectly over Foodland’s newly submerged roof?

Is this not possible?

Is my science wrong?

Help!


The Brazilian Gabriel Medina, former ruler of Portugal, not of West African stock.

Comment live, Rip Curl Pro, Portugal, Day 3!

Pour yourself a stiff one, empty glass, pour another…

Two days ago, we pondered, briefly, the great Portuguese Colonial War that had munitions flying all over both coasts of Africa, as well as rapping on the windshields of Indians on the island of Goa.

In today’s let’s-discover-Portugal lesson, we talk slavery.

Oh must we? Yes, it’s fascinating.

From the Islamic conquest of the Iberian peninsula in the eighth-century and the subsequent enslaving of European Christians to the Great Switcharoo four hundred years later and all the way up to the Atlantic Slave Trade that brought five million Africans to Brazil, Portugal filled its bosom with human cargo.

But so many friendly smiles!

Today, we’ll drink our whisky, place our bets and enjoy modern, free, liberated Portugal and the buzzing of round four of the Rip Curl Pro.

Watch here, and smile your friendly smiles and banter below.

Men’s Round 4 Matchups:
HEAT 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Griffin Colapinto (USA)
HEAT 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Michael Rodrigues (BRA)
HEAT 3: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Wade Carmichael (AUS)
HEAT 4: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) vs. Kelly Slater (USA)
HEAT 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Caio Ibelli (BRA)
HEAT 6: Peterson Crisanto (BRA) vs. Jesse Mendes (BRA)
HEAT 7: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Conner Coffin (USA)
HEAT 8: Jack Freestone (AUS) vs. Soli Bailey (AUS)

 


Does living get better than this? Front row at The Ranch. Contact Hollister Ranch Realty, if this interests. | Photo: Hollister Ranch Realty

Elitism works: Keep the gates to Hollister Ranch closed; equity is a false god!

Two things can be true at once: someone can be an elitist rich man and also do better for the environment than the snakes in Sacramento could ever hope to be.

(Editor’s note: As you might read last week, the California governor Gavin Newsom, whose beauty brought Chas Smith’s jealousy to its zenith, here, and convinced him to pursue a life as a male model, a dream that would founder despite Chas’ height and a sprawling hair, signed open the exclusive beaches at Hollister Ranch, in Santa Babs County. It was a biggish story and we had two writers on the case, although neither took up the mantle. Here, a new kid on the block, Tyler Tsuji, whom I know very little of except he has a functioning email account and trim hair, takes up the case for keeping the gates closed.)

Hollister Ranch is a sacred place that is seldom brought up in writing and ought to stay that way. But, in order to defend something, you have to be able to talk about it.

As a way of introducing this, I think it would be good to give some of my background info. I am a seventh generation Californian from Somis, California in the lower 805 studying Ag. Engineering at Cal Poly SLO. The heritage of this state is something I hold extremely dear to my heart. My family helped found Los Angeles (before the Owens Valley water was stolen).

I’ve grown up surfing the underground and also media blown-up spots from Point Mugu to Point Conception and have a strong connection to the area since I was born.

I don’t own property at Hollister.

I’ve surfed it before and have friends and acquaintances with access and ownership of parcels, but I’m not “one of those elitists” as the government bureaucrats love to say.

The idea of opening up such sacred land is totally asinine. Hollister Ranch is the only remaining example of what California used to be. This heritage of Old California is what I live and breath. It is what drives my studies as an Ag. Engineering student, my aspirations in agriculture, and my recreation as a surfer.

I’ve grown up with stories of the old days, the citrus orchards that once were the San Fernando Valley, and tales of Joe Quigg flying through the Rincon Rivermouth on a self-made pintail on what is now known as a “call-box” wave.

This is why I am so passionate about this issue. It is because Hollister Ranch is a completely unique synthesis of the Old California cattle trade, old-school style surfing, and Chumash tradition. There is no other place on this planet, let alone state, that carries this heritage, spirit, and ethos in one place.

Hollister Ranch is what California used to be. Dale Velzy used to ride to the South Bay as a kid on horseback to camp and go surfing. Yet ever since Mulholland brought water to Los Angeles we’ve been cast out of Eden. As a child, I was raised in the tension that the specter of development brought to an agricultural community. The threat of development from Conejo Valley suburbia was always present as I grew up and still is there.

I know what the sold-out bureaucrats are really saying when they pitch “access” and “equal opportunity”. Don’t be hypnotized by their promises of social justice and the salvation they promise to grant if you pay your penance on the altar of equity.

I find it absolutely abhorrent these career paper-pushers would dare say (to paraphrase) “Give us your land, look at how we’ve done elsewhere, you’re just a bunch of elitists”.

Really?

Let’s look at how the state government has handled state parks. Let’s take a closer look at how they handled Hetch-Hetchy for the benefit of the Bay Area elites. These central planners turned Yosemite into a smog riddled mess that makes Disneyland look like a Zen temple.

Beware those who clamor for power. If anyone can give me a single example of how government oversight, control, or meddling has improved the quality of living and/or environmental status of an area, I dare them to. Even if the government has kept an area the same, I’ll give them credit.

As snobby and xenophobic as some Hollister owners can sometimes be, it is a simple fact that they (and the Nature Conservancy at Cojo-Jalama Ranch) are the strongest example of how private ownership and enterprise do eternally better than these posers in Sacramento and San Francisco.

Two things can be true at once: someone can be an elitist rich man and also do better for the environment than the snakes in Sac. could ever hope to be.

Which brings us to the real meat of the argument.

I’ve explained how the state government doesn’t want Hollister access for environmental reasons, they want it for equity. Equity is a false god. The Coastal Commission knows damn well that the Gaviota Land Conservancy has bought and opened to the public miles of coastline to the east of Hollister. All of it exists at near the same quality as the Ranch, but with the 101 running within a mile of most of the coast (a good thing for public access though!).

None of this land ever gets over-crowded. It’s not like we’re running out of beach umbrella space in the area. This leads to the next plausible reason for the CCC to get involved: surfers.

The only reason Hollister Ranch access is being brought to the fore is because the surf at Hollister is good.

Real good.

So this leads to a rational understanding that the state government is now ostensibly pushing for coastal access for surfers.

Wait. When did a government body, especially a California one, ever advocate for surfers?

That never has happened.

Ulterior motives are the next reasonable assumption for the state’s interference in this matter. Very simply, the state of California would like nothing more than to have their greasy fingers meddling (oh, sorry, “managing”) in more private property. Two reasons for government meddling today tend to be a potential for increase in tax revenue, an example for them to peddle as evidence for support of the social cause du jour, or a combination of the two.

At this point, the government can ultimately do whatever it wants. But I would like to speak directly to California surfers. They are the only people with enough vested interest to make any change to the course the CCC is currently on.

The idea that one has a right to anyone else’s property isn’t just immoral, it’s downright evil. A quick note to the surfers who are clamoring to open the floodgates: if you’re too much of a pussy to boat or paddle in, walk to the “first spot past the gate” on a negative tide, or work your ass off and sacrifice to buy into a parcel then that ought to be your own problem.

I generally understand and like the “high tide” rule in California, but I don’t see how anyone can go from a reasonable rule like that to then say that you are entitled to pave over ranchers’ land and walk over it to get to a beach that is just as uncrowded and pristine and good as one just to the east (and a quick five-minute hike off the 101) that’s already open to the public.

What’s so funny is that this goes back to the original Eden dilemma our forefathers met in the fifties with the Hollister family. The Santa Barbara Surf and Sportsman’s Club was founded to prevent the cow-tipping, graffiti, and trash that “down-souther” surfers brought up with them when they surfed the Ranch.

The solution to keep the peace and whole soul of the place that makes the place attractive was to regulate the place. First, that took the form of the club. Now it takes the form of property ownership.

It’s a simple principle that people who own things take care of them. No one washes a car they rent. What is hilarious is that these administrators think that by opening up a sacred and pristine place to the general public that those people will have the same respect for the place as the people who had to work threejobs, live in a van, and be in debt for decades just to make having a stake in a parcel possible.

History repeats itself and I hope our governing bodies have the wisdom to learn from the history of this place to avoid losing the last remaining cradle of California’s soul and traditions.

Hollister Ranch is a place I aspire to.

It’s what I think of when I have to bite the bullet and pull an all-nighter for work or school in the pursuit of the income required to own a parcel. The fact that people want to just cheat through life and act entitled to the things other people worked for is a sign of the times.

My message to surfers is, if you want to surf there, have a backbone and put in the time to earn a place there.

You’re not entitled to easy access there and as anyone who has surfed the rest of the 805 before ought to know, you aren’t entitled to a spot in the lineup either.

But with both, if you put your head down and put in the work and respect with humility, there is plenty of room.

(Do you have a little extra cash? Buy, here, now!)