Jen See breaks down last leg of Women’s Tour: “There will be fear out there, but you’re going to do it anyway because you’re best friends with fear!”

Let's get ready to Lululemon!

It’s been a minute. I left you somewhere in Portugal and I hope that you found your way home safely. You seem like smart people who can handle that kind of thing.

We are currently two weeks out from the final event of the women’s championship tour. Carissa Moore still leads the rankings, but Lakey Peterson is very close behind her. Thanks to her win at Portugal, Caroline Marks sits third.

I will do the world title scenarios when we get closer to the start of Honolua. If I do them now, I will forget all of it by the time Honolua starts. This defeats the purpose entirely. Also, I have the memory of a freshly hatched fruit fly.

Olympics, yes they matter

Australia has its Olympic team set (provisionally) with Sally Fitzgibbons and Steph Gilmore heading to Japan. But the two U.S. slots are still totally in play. Moore, Peterson, and Marks hold the top three spots on in the world rankings, and only two of them can make the team. That third place is definitely going to sting.

And yes, “real surfers” (whoever they are) may not care about the Olympics. But for women athletes, the Olympics matter a great deal. At least in the short run, making the Olympic team promises a nice bump in sponsorship. An athlete can more easily the notice of mainstream sponsors, which typically have deeper pockets.

As an “Olympic hopeful” Peterson has already picked up a deal from Toyota. Expect more of that in the next year. It’s not the kind of thing that lasts forever, but neither does a career as a pro athlete. Get it while you can, girls.

Same as it ever was, 2020 CT schedule

In the meantime, the WSL released next year’s CT schedule. Same-same. The only change is G-Land for Keramas, a switch we have discussed at some length on the men’s side. Tati West and Caroline Marks will be frothing. I am a fan of adding a left to the women’s Tour, so G-Land is a good decision, from where I’m sitting. But I also liked Keramas. Why can’t we have both? Related, why doesn’t money grow on trees?

Similar to 2019, there is no women’s event in Tahiti. Should there be? During my brief visit to Lemoore this September, I asked this question to several of the CT women. Enthusiasm levels varied, though none of the women I spoke to were opposed to the idea of competing at Teahupo’o.

Characteristically, Gilmore took a cautious approach. “I think women have some kind of like, commonsense button in their brain that goes, ‘boop, boop,’ I don’t think it’s a good idea,” she said. “But in saying that, I think if we have an event there, the women will go there and train and make that happen.” (As an aside, Gilmore is not the only female athlete who has told me that they believe women approach risk differently from men.)

Gilmore would like to see a standalone event for women at Tahiti as a first step. “Then we can pick the conditions that we know will challenge us, but kill us,” she said. This last bit came with very Australian deadpan humor, which I deeply enjoy.

You will not, I think be surprised to learn that Courtney Conlogue would go for it. “I feel like it’s in my blood,” she said. “It’s not that I would be careless about it. I prepare myself in every aspect and I know the risks I’m taking.” Conlogue says she always looked up to women such as Chelsea Georgeson, Rochelle Ballard, and Melanie Bartels, who competed at Teahupo’o when it was still on Tour.

“There’s just something about a barrel,” said Conlogue. “It’s so special. And all the spots like Tahiti are the view of a lifetime. And the adrenaline. I feel like those sensations you get in barrels like that are amazing. There’s probably moments in other sports where you experience that same feeling where everything slows down. But there’s nothing like being barreled where nature is like, hugging you. It’s like this nice little cocoon in the barrel. But I feel like, I would embrace going to Tahiti, for sure!”

Here’s Conlogue in Ireland, recently, going for it. She looks mighty small on that wave, doesn’t she.

Eventually, the question of a women’s event at a spot like Teahupo’o or Cloudbreak brings us back to the question of money growing on trees. It’s a sport, not Unicef. Sending the women out in giant Teahupo’o probably won’t make the sport look great in the short run. In the long run, though, raising the level means pushing boundaries and making friends with fear.

Casey Brown, one of the top women in freeride mountain biking says it well: “There’s never going to be stories from comfort and security. And there will be fear out there, but you’re going to do it anyway. Because you’re best friends with fear. Fear’s your buddy.”

lululemon, your favorite new surf brand

The Maui Pro starts on 25 November and yes, yes, of course, I will write about it. I did not mean to wander off during Portugal. Sometimes, things happen over here! I love Honolua the most and will have my eyes glued to every heat, while also chewing my nails down to nothing over the world title race.

For the 2019 edition of Maui Pro, clothing brand lululemon has stepped in as the title sponsor. lululemon Maui Pro. And yes, the brand does not capitalize the first letter. Don’t say you never learned anything here at Beachgrit! It is so educational. As you all know, because you watch her heats obsessively, lululemon currently sponsors Malia Manuel.

What could lululemon possibly have to do with me, I ask, eyeing my teetering pile of color-coordinated sports bras and work-out wear. Yes, yes, my gym clothes have to match. I blame the part where lifting involves standing in front of an assortment of mirrors for two hours. Honestly, it’s amazingly distracting if your sports bra does not match your tights. And socks! If my socks don’t match, it’s totally over.

Also, the plates must be reracked by size. But really, I’m not at all OCD. It’s fine over here! It’s totally fine.

Okay, let’s all watch the lululemon Maui Pro in two weeks and you can hold my hand when it gets too stressful! I get so nervous when the title race is super close. Please come hold my hand and watch the scary heats with me!

It may be of interest to learn that similar bricks of coke, also marked “diamante” or “brillante”, were washed up on Florida beaches after Hurricane Doz in September. | Photo: @cbsnews

Breaking: South-west France awash in free cocaine! Almost one ton of uncut South American lands on surf beaches!

Health hazard, call police etc.

Every ten years or so, a coke shipment from South America via the French ports of Saint-Nazaire or Le Havre is lost at sea and is, eventually, washed onto the beaches around Hossegor, site of October’s Quiksilver Pro.

Over the past few weeks, almost one tonne of cocaine with an estimated purity of eighty-three percent (oowee) has washed ashore on the beaches from Lacanau, just north of Hossegor, to Biarritz, thirty-minutes south.

On Monday, a seventeen-year-old was arrested with five kilos of coke in Lacanau. He’d driven three hours from Toulouse to secure his bounty.

The cops have closed beaches and are searching beach walkers and anyone leaving a beach carpark.

According to the wire,

Philippe Astruc, the prosecutor in the western city of Rennes, where officials are coordinating the searches, said in a statement “we’ve recovered 872 kilos” and that “Intense surveillance has been set up by different services, notably the customs agency, all along the French coast.”

The prosecutor has urged people who spot packages not to discreetly put the packets under their shirts but to immediately call the police.

Police also said the purity of the coke, worth sixty-mill or so on the street, meant it was a health risk.

(A polite way of telling users to cut it a little before painting your beak.)

Read more here. 

And buy Chas Smith’s Cocaine and Surfing here.

From the so-woke-it-hurts dept: Academic claims “light-skinned” Brazilian surfer Yago Dora and pals racist as they “engage in Orientalist hijinks!”

Too many crimes to list etc.

The academic journal Postcolonial Studies recently published an article by Assistant Professor of Hispanic studies at Pepperdine University George Arthur Carlse, PhD. in which he analyzed the 2016 surf film Um Filme de Surfe, starring CT surfer Yago Dora, Yuri Gonçalves and Lucas Silveira.

In the film, which refers to itself as a cliché in the opening scene, the three surfers go to Indonesia to surf perfect waves with no one out.

A short blurb by Surfer editor Garrett James, here, describes the film as “mixing equal parts foolery and play with high-action shredding,” which “can erase the seriousness that accompanies professional surfing nowadays.”

In contrast, Dr. Carlse feels that “The surfers engaged in racist, Orientalist hijinks, that reinforce the fratriarchal aspect of their constructed identities.”

There is a lot to unpack in there, as they say, but it seems his main beef with the film is a scene where the surfers perform a Polynesian war dance.

According to Carlse, the scene establishes the superiority and condescension felt by the visitors towards the locals. Carlse says it reduces the complicated cultural interactions of all surf travel to the idea of Westerners finding clueless locals living without any knowledge of the value of their own waves or even of the modern world.

It also highlights race as a factor in the hegemonic relationship between visitor and local, positioning the light-skinned Brazilians as modern, translocal Westerners as they play-act being timeless island ‘savages’ with darkened skin.

From Carlse’s paper:

In Rule 4, the narrator states, ‘You weren’t the first person to arrive in the area, so pay respect to the local traditions’ (translated in the subtitles). In this sequence, Leandro Dora, his face caked in mud and wearing a coconut husk for a hat, mimes teaching the boys a Polynesian or perhaps Maori war dance with a large stick. The surfers all wear crude grass skirts over their board shorts and their faces are again painted with mud. They stand at attention and then repeat their instructor’s slashing movements as if they were in savage military training. The scene is reminiscent of military recruits learning to fight from a boot-camp instructor mixed with exaggerated nonsensical shouts that are meant to seem Polynesian or Maori. Dora shouts in a fake primitive accent, Aki nóis é malaco, nós não arranha carro porque não tem carro, só pode chamar us guerreru (‘Here we are hotshots, we don’t scratch up a car because they don’t have a car, you can only call us warriors’ – author’s translation). When Leandro Dora says they can’t scratch up a car because the locals don’t have one, it suggests that, on this imaginary island, locals could never have cars because then they would not be ‘savages’. Talking about not seeing cars to scratch highlights both the pranks the surfers might engage in and the relative poverty of the region. Then Dora leads his students in repeating gibberish and shaking their staffs. In a later cut between surf footage, Gonçalves is shown, still in his mud mask and grass skirt, holding a stick between his legs doing pelvic thrusts.

In this scene, ‘respecting the locals’ is done through a transposition of Polynesian stereotypes onto their Indonesian locale. The surfers elide their own particular coastal Brazilian, upper-class, light-skinned cultural identity in favour of the ‘translocal’ surfer identity and they orientalise the specific local island identity by ignoring it. The actual rural, Indonesian Muslims who live on the island are replaced with an exotic, primitive, Polynesian-island stereotype. The scene reinforces the cultural and economic power imbalance between visiting surfers and locals in Indonesia.

Read the paper in its entirety, here. 

Source: Tommy Pierucki/Pineapple Sunrise
Source: Tommy Pierucki/Pineapple Sunrise

Unsatisfying: Man proposes to girlfriend while surfing in Hawaii, loses ring on wave thereby flushing three-months of salary!

A diamond is for... oops!

Surfing has been employed in the service of so many things, yoga, extreme dog-walking, the janitorial arts, etc. and so it comes as no surprise when it is employed to ask a beautiful partner to enter into the bonds of a lifelong, committed relationship.


People have asked people other people into holy matrimony whilst riding, I always assume, longboards for many years. Most recently we have Chris Garth who asked his lovely gal Lauren Oiye to be his lawfully wedded wife at Queens just off Waikiki beach and let’s head to Hawaii News Now for the rest of the happy details. Let’s not forget to grab some tissues first in case we tear up a little.

Chris Garth and Lauren Oiye met at this surf spot years ago. It was only fitting he decided to propose to her here. As Chris knelt down, pulled out a ring, and popped the question, several photographers were nearby to capture the moment. Lauren said yes. And then Chris lost the ring. He thought that might happen, so luckily he used a spare while they were out in the water.

The real ring was waiting on shore.


What the hell?

The real ring was on the shore? Now I feel completely and utterly ripped off. I do believe a man is supposed to spend three months of his salary on an engagement ring, no? Imagine the thrill of those heavy consequences. The unparalleled rush. I’d have to think it’d feel something like paddling over the ledge of Peahi (Jaws) all clench-jaw’d, pumping with adrenaline, life and/or three-months of doctor bills on the line.

To leave the real ring on shore seems… so unsatisfying and I do hope Lauren Oiye did not praise Chris Garth’s elevated sense of liability hedging but rather cursed his lack of fighting spirit.

But real quick, what is the best thing you’ve ever done on a surfboard (air-reverse excluded)?

General White
General White

The “Great White Death” comes to England’s shore as dolphin bitten in half by shark washes up in Cornwall!

" ocean predator may be lurking nearby."

The Black Death, or Bubonic Plague, first reached England’s verdant pendulum in the summer of 1348. It moved swiftly from the coast to London and by the summer of 1349 between 40% to 60% of the country’s population was buried dead in the ground. A very sad year, indeed and I imagine there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth from bereaved relatives.

The plague returned again a decade later, knocking out 20% of the population and again every five to twelve years until scientists figured out its root cause and eradicated the horror.

The English breathed easy all the way until the autumn of 2019 when an even greater terror washed up on its cold but grey but cold shore.

The Great White Death. The shark-pocalypse. The probable end of surfing and surf culture worldwide and nothing, not even the writhing in pain, bleeding from mouth, gangrene-inducing Black Death can hold a candle to this new outbreak. The closest a Great White has ever come to England, before now, was a good two-hundred miles off the British soil in the Bay of Biscay and that was in 1977.

Oh don’t have to take my word for it. Newsweek also knows the truth and let us turn there immediately.

A dolphin carcass that appeared to be missing large portions of its body washed up on a British beach this week, sparking fears than an ocean predator may be lurking nearby.

Images of the remains, which were found at Harlyn Bay in Cornwall, were posted to Facebook by a local environmental group called Beach Guardian CIC on Tuesday. In the pictures, the mammal appeared to be missing chunks of its bottom half and many of its bones were visible.

Rob Stevenson, who works at Beach Guardian, did not speculate on how it died, but told Cornwall Live that residents should be careful around the remains.

The Shark Trust, a U.K. conservation group, says over 40 species of shark have been spotted off the British coast, with at least 21 species living in the waters all year round. Species include the Thresher, Nursehound, Porbeagle and Tope and Basking, Blue and Shortfin Mako.

The white shark is not one of them, at least not yet.

“At least not yet” is one of the most ominous phrases in our language. That and having to be careful around the dolphin’s remains. Do you think the “lurking ocean predator” is crafting a new, deadly bubonic-type illness?

More as the story develops.