Rebuttal: “Dora sounds like a selfish bastard but, then again, he lived the surfer’s life!”

A character study.

(Editor’s note: Besides quit-lit, and the saga of “man-eating” Great Whites, bashing/defending Miki Dora’s legacy has become a favorite sub-sub-genre of surf writing. Dora, to his credit, is a compelling study and while I thought I had my mind made up about how history should remember the man, the following piece changed it. Or at least made me very conflicted.)

Michelangelo Caravaggio, without hyperbole, the most impressive painter of his time, or all time; he painted his monumental canvases alla prima, no preliminary sketches or underpainting. Conceiving of an idea, he searched his mind for the faces and figures he knew the best: the bums, the larcenous, the gamblers crooks and slouches he hung with, and he brought them to life as the saints and Gods and heroines who knew them to also be.

When he painted The Death of The Virgin, the depiction of the most holy woman “of the people”, he used the best model for Mary that he could, a prostitute, whom he knew. She had drowned, and he painted her as such.

The monumental canvas, commissioned and contracted for the Church would of course be rejected by the Cardinal in charge. It was so full of honest emotion, of love and sorrow and rage at this woman’s premature death. It was, and is, the painting that would certainly speak to the world.

An outrageous affront, cried the Cardinal! Crude beyond belief! and unacceptable. Why? Because she had bare feet! (the official reason), and of course the painting would not be paid for, instead it was hidden away for years. However the open secret of the time was that everyone, including the self-righteous Cardinal knew that this woman was indeed a prostitute and therefore an improper stand-in for The Virgin.

Caravaggio constantly flaunted his skill and ideas against a church that at times supported him, or even apologized for him, and then at times punished his very existence. The history of his work shows us that the only constant was his dedication to his art.

Caravaggio was at best a rude and arrogant loudmouth and a petty criminal, but at worst a rage-a-holic, guilty of murder. He rejected his own brother who tried to help him, and he burned every bridge he had, and used up every chance he was offered. He painted himself as the villain Goliath, head hewn off. More than once! And he did so because he knew he personified that monster, but also because he knew he was the best artist to do it.

What an ego!

He doesn’t have a tombstone that I know of. He died alone on swampy beach, sick and desperate.

Dora once claimed that he declined to share his thoughts on how surfing made him feel, because “those thoughts were his own and he didn’t wish to share them.”

One certainly wouldn’t want to do things the way Dora did. And I for one, would certainly never want to emulate the tragic self destruction of Caravaggio either, but it seems as if each character lived their life for themselves and not for anyone else.

Progressive: Elderly French women openly mock Matt Warshaw, JP Currie and other “Quit-Lit-ers!”

Transformed lives.

Quit-Lit has been my favorite recent development at BeachGrit. Who knew that hidden in the seams of surf journalism’s simple tunic was a whole sub-genre filled with passion, insight, truth and black depression? Longtom, Matt Warshaw, JP Currie and a host of fantastic comments have all contributed to this richest vein of literature but while we wrestle with when to stop surfing, a group of super adult-learners are opening mocking our weakness and let us turn to France’s Riviera Radio for more:

Surfing for the elderly – Several women at a retirement home in Saint Malo northwestern France have taken part in “surf therapy” sessions. The method according to the home’s management is transforming the lives of many elderly people who say they no longer “feel their aches and pains as they are focusing on something else” and it’s also an activity which, for many has “brought them closer to their grandchildren as they now have something in common”. While participants ride real waves, they are not required to stand on the board but lie on it.

Do you feel bad? Like a little piggy at the trough turning up your snout and morsels that others would find incredibly delicious?

Well you should.

Especially you, Matt Warshaw.

Also, maybe the secret, at the end, is embracing the boogie.

Have you ever embraced the boogie?

And, tell me, you still believe Frederic can beat Jordy Smith? Oh you silly English woman.

Comment live, Quiksilver Pro, Hossegor, Day Three!

Come and thrill to real blood spilt on the sand as round three eats half the field…

Enough fucking around, as they say. After two days of mostly pointless toing-and-froing, the Quiksilver Pro now gets down to the business of cutting off heads.

Destruction, like creation, is one of Nature’s mandates. The Marquis de Sade said that. A correct view, I believe.

Now, below, are the twelve heats of round three.

I choose Jordy, Jeremy, Owen, Ryan, Filipe, Julian, Jack, Gabriel, Conner, Seth, Kelly, Kolohe, Griff and Joan and that beautiful feral lion, Italo Ferreira, will toy with and eventually destroy Jesse Mendes.

I have placed fifty dollars on this outcome and expect an eighty-four thousand dollar windfall.

The first half of a relatively ambitious but, by no means unrealistic, wager.

Watch here, and comment live, you know where.

Quiksilver Pro France Round of 32 (Round 3) Match-Ups:
HEAT 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Frederico Morais (PRT)
HEAT 2: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Caio Ibelli (BRA)
HEAT 3: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Ezekiel Lau (HAW)
HEAT 4: Ryan Callinan (AUS) vs. Michael Rodrigues (BRA)
HEAT 5: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Marc Lacomare (FRA)
HEAT 6: Wade Carmichael (AUS) vs. Willian Cardoso (BRA)
HEAT 7: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Jorgann Couzinet (FRA)
HEAT 8: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) vs. Jack Freestone (AUS)
HEAT 9: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Marco Mignot (FRA)
HEAT 10: Conner Coffin (USA) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS)
HEAT 11: Seth Moniz (HAW) vs. Peterson Crisanto (BRA)
HEAT 12: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
HEAT 13: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Soli Bailey (AUS)
HEAT 14: Griffin Colapinto (USA) vs. Yago Dora (BRA)
HEAT 15: Michel Bourez (FRA) vs. Joan Duru (FRA)
HEAT 16: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Jesse Mendes (BRA)

Question: At what age do you stop improving as a surfer?

Or can you shine forever?

Five years ago, oowee don’t time move fast, Kelly Slater, then forty-two, rode out of a 720 while freesurfing in Portugal.

“I kinda blacked out with surprise that it stuck as well as it did,” Kelly told BeachGrit.

Yeah, it was a milestone. Not just for surfing but for a man who, according to society’s laws on ageing, should’ve been long retired from the pro game.

And so, as father time hits your ol pal DR in the face, I’m wondering, and I’m searching for answers here ’cause I got none: at what point do you stop progressing as a surfer?

Is it biological, when the bones creak, the hips seize and the mind grows feeble?

Or is it attitudinal, when you’re tired and you’re done growing new neurological pathways. Just another old dog who ain’t gonna learn new tricks, no matter how fabulous the imagined treat.

I was twelve when I found a way of getting to the beach from my inland suburb. So I don’t have the beautiful instincts of someone who was getting tubed with their daddy when they were three.

A kook forever, but I try. I think. I watch.

At forty, I started nailing weird little backside reverses, on the face things, sure, but it was something new.

Same with straight front airs and frontside reverses without the air.

Awkward, technically flawed, but new.

I do have a feeling time is running out, howevs.

And, I wonder and I ask, when is it going to end?

When did it end for you? Did it end?

Slater, meanwhile, who is now a few summer’s short of fifty, was the best surfer in the water at the Quiksilver Pro three days ago. In three-foot waves.

Can you get better, forever? Or is that just Kelly?


Sneaky: Rotund “man-eating” Great White rams Sydney surfer from “straight underneath!”

"You couldn't wrap your arms around it – it was that big. It was huge."

The “man-eating” Great White shark has every advantage possible in his watery kingdom. Speed, camouflage, sharp teeth that regenerate, size, a nasty reputation to name but a few and so I find it very unfair when the apex killer utilizes sneaky cunning too. Like ramming an unsuspecting surfer out minding his business from “straight underneath” but that is what happened to Sydney man Mike Bruton yesterday on the mid north coast and let’s turn to Australia’s 9 news for all the ghastly details.

Mike Bruton had been in the water near Seal Rocks with his brother for a couple of hours on Saturday and was waiting for a last wave when the shark struck.

“Out of nowhere – (it) just rammed me from straight underneath,” he said 9NEWS.

He was thrown into the air and separated from his board – but he did catch a glimpse of the shark.

“You couldn’t wrap your arms around it – it was that big. It was huge.”

“I just jumped on my board, pretty freaked out by it all. Yeah, sitting there for a little while trying to get a wave in and thinking that next bite was about to come and luckily it didn’t.”

The heartless beast took a massive chunk out of Mr. Bruton’s fun looking Channel Island twinnie and all so stealthily. It would have been one thing, I suppose, if the Great White had swam directly at the surfer, dorsal fin poking out of the water menacingly, the way sharks are supposed to do it. Quite another to come from straight underneath, the dirty-playing, rotten son of a bitch.

A few other notes. It is nice for Australia to re-enter the current shark apocalypse Cape Cod, Massachusetts and Cardiff by the Sea, California are living through. Welcome, mates. Also, Mr. Bruton really did tempt fate “waiting for a last wave.” I don’t want to say the gutless sneak attack was deserved but… I don’t know. Waiting for a last wave is… bold.

Sitting waiting for a wave back in after the attack is also bold.

Like, crazy bold.

And one last thought, do you think there are bears and twinks in the Great Whites’ sexual pantheon? I only ask because this particular Great White that was too rotund for a full grown man to wrap his arms around sounds like a bear.