Taylor Steele, pictured, enjoying his tequila while playing an uncertain card game.
Taylor Steele, pictured, enjoying his tequila while playing an uncertain card game.

Entrepreneurship: Iconic surf filmmaker Taylor Steele hangs up camera, launches “high-end, organic sipping tequila” brand!

Ain't life grand?

If you could, right now, “transition” away from your current job and start a new career, what would you become? A Cirque du Soleil performer? Seasonal Halloween superstore manager? Surf traction and accessories rep? If “making money” is the actual goal, it’d be hard to dismiss getting into the alcohol game. Beer brand St. Archer flipped a few years back for tens upon tens of millions of dollars. Balter, Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson et. al.’s brainchild, flipped days ago for tens upon tens of millions of dollars.

Well, iconic surf filmmaker Taylor Steele is a smart man and switching from surf film making into tequila mastering, much like George Clooney, and let’s learn about his certain future tens upon tens of millions of dollars. Let’s tuck right into The San Diego Union-Tribune, pour some salt on our hands and ready a lime wedge.

For more than 30 years, legendary surf filmmaker Taylor Steele has been traveling the world with his career in overdrive.

But this year, the 47-year-old father of two has intentionally shifted his life into a lower gear. He moved back to North County after more than 20 years away and last month, he officially launched his Encinitas-based lifestyle brand, Solento.

A composite word that Steele says means “slow sun,” Solento reflects a new phase in his life where he’s reconnecting with old friends and taking the time to savor his environment and enjoy life more. The company’s first product is a high-end organic sipping tequila designed to be savored slowly.

“Tequila is an entry place to have a ritual experience with people,” he said of his entry into the bottled spirits industry. “It might feel like it’s a bit of a change to someone looking from the outside, but it feels very natural to me. It’s where I’m at in my space, trying to connect more.”

It was while he was living in Australia that Steele discovered artisan tequila during a trip to a family-owned agave farm in Jalisco, Mexico.

“I fell in love with the intricacies of tequila. It’s more like wine than vodka. Each harvest has a different flavor. It’s a beautiful thing,” he said.


The piece goes on to detail how Steele hopes to grow the Solento brand beyond tequila and it is an inspiration but, back to you, to us, if we were going to get into the alcohol game together which sort should we choose?

Let’s take tequila off the table, let’s not compete directly with Taylor Steele and let’s also leave craft beers behind which leaves us with…


Spiced rum?

Sparkling wine?


No leg but still smiling! Jon Cohen at one of his demonstrations, pump nearby to simulate artery hit.

No-leg-still-smiling: The $30 device that can save a surfer’s life even after Great White hit!

"It might be scary to talk about but it's reassuring to know that there is something you can do and it's not complicated." 

The spectre of turning around and seeing your pal getting de-limbed by a Great White ain’t the stuff of abstract nightmares around Western Australia’s south-west.

It happens.

But a shark attack, even by a monster White, doesn’t necessarily mean a death sentence.

Recently, I took a phone call from the former world number sixteen surfer Mitch Thorson, now a real estate agent and owner of West wetsuits in Margaret River.

Over the past half-a-doz years Mitch has been a regular contact whenever I needed a little insider trading around the latest shark hit or bump or whatever. He grew up surfing at Rottnest Island, a sharky enough joint just off the Perth coast, and moved into Margs before the Whites started to make their presence felt from 2004 onwards.

Mitch thought I might be interested in a “Shark Bite Management Demonstration” he was running with a couple of emergency department doctors, John Cohen and Phil Chapman.

It’s the not-so-new reality around these parts.

In 2018, the Margaret River Pro was cancelled when there were two Great White hits within five hours of each other. 

There’s sharks, there’s going to be hits. Be prepared.

What do you do?

First, losing a leg don’t mean you or you pal is going to die. It’s not going to be pretty, but Jesus ain’t necessarily sending his angels down just yet.

According to Cohen, who is thirty-nine and who grew up in Canada and got into surfing while at college in Hawaii, if you can get the de-limbed person to the beach and apply a tourniquet above the wound so no blood can spurt out the hole you’re good.

He say that once you’ve stopped the blood flow you’ve got four hours before the leg, or arm, is choked off and dies. It means if you’re at a remote beach with no phone redemption, you can tourniquet the wound and take off for an ambulance or chopper without your buddy dying.

“It’s the same principle as a car crash, someone falling off a building or getting hit by a bullet in Iraq,” says Cohen. “Stop the bleeding and get the surfer to shore. In thirty seconds, using a tourniquet, you’ve saved a friend’s life.”

But, who’s got a tourniquet, right?

Cohen’s eureka moment came in 2016 when he pulled up to a gorgeous lefthand point just out of Yallingup: classic conditions, six-foot waves and nobody in the lineup.

One guy came in saying he thought he saw a shark.

“He was freaking out,” says Cohen. “It was just after that Mandurah attack and sharks were on everybody’s mind. I ended up going out but it wasn’t enjoyable. How could there be perfect waves, no one out and I wasn’t having a great time? What the fuck?”

Cohen, who’s worked the emergency room at nearby Busselton Hospital, figured he had the expertise so why couldn’t he help solve the problem of preventable shark attack deaths?

He knew that most Great White hits were a bit-and-release taste test so once the shark left, if you thought quickly enough a life could be saved.

Cohen spent three years trying to bring to market a tourniquet that was was so light it didn’t interfere with your surfing, you could apply it with one hand and you could do it ten seconds.

It got to the point where all the designers and engineers he spoke to wanted fifty-grand or a hundred gees to get it ready for production.

So he pulled back, repurposed military tourniquets and sells ’em on his site bettersurf.com.au for thirty bucks apiece or sixty if you want a version built into a legrope.

It’s clearly no get-rich-quick pitch.

“I know I’m not going to make a million dollars. I just want to get ’em out there,” he says.

Cohen also offers free downloads of first aid books on his site.

In January, he’ll be working in the emergency department of Esperance Hospital, the same joint where seventeen-year-old surfer Laeticia Brouwer was brought in and where she died in 2017 after being hit by a White at a popular wave called Kelpies.

Cohen wants to get a haemorrhage kit at Kelpies. He says it might make the difference between life and death if someone is attacked.

“I know some guys who were in the ED that day and it was a traumatic experience to manage. Cases like the are preventable deaths. People can act on the beach if they’re there when it happens. It might be scary to talk about but it’s reassuring to know that there is something you can do and it’s not complicated.”

The paralysis common among crowds at a disaster or accident can be broken by doing something, by being focussed on a task.

“All it takes is one person to squeeze the leg in the right spot,” says Cohen. “You only die from bleeding to death. Stop the bleeding, you stop the death. It’s the same as what soldiers in Iraq do. Their buddy gets shot in the leg, they put a tourniquet above the bleeding point, and they live.”

It ain’t complicated.

“You just have to step up and act,” he says.

Holiday Nightmare: Pre-VAL extra-volume enthusiast blog The Inertia releases its Hanukkah/Humanist etc. 2019 Gift Guide!

It's a war on Christmas!

This is, undoubtedly, the most wonderful time of the year without concern or regard to your personal “tradition.” Songs about family, togetherness, surprise and joy float upon the airwaves. Food of questionable deliciousness is cooked with love/passive-aggression/stressiness. Pipeline pumps. It might be/could be/should be thought that nothing but nothing can dampen the overwhelming warmth. The feeling of the season.

Nothing save the pre-VAL extra-volume enthusiast blog The Inertia.

We haven’t discussed Venice-adjacent’s other least popular website in sometime due its complete unpopularity and… well complete unpopularity. Even the rare non-Chinese/Indian bot doesn’t attend anymore meaning I don’t see either.

Except today.

For today I was forwarded this.

Happy Holidays, friends!

We know your time is valuable, especially during the holidays. As such, we’ve taken the liberty of curating gift ideas that are a surefire win for the surf and outdoors-lover in your life.

So let’s chat about a gift that’ll actually be put to good use, The FluidStance Balance Board for Standing Desks.

Son of a bitch.

And I cannot begin to think that anyone buying you, the “surfer” in their life would stumble upon The Inertia‘s gift guide but… imagine they did.

Imagine they thought, “My son/friend/daughter/co-worker _________ surfs. They would love the FluidStance Balance Board for Standing Desks.”

Imagine opening it.

I hate The Inertia for even remotely putting you in this position and challenge its founder Zach Weisberg to a duel.

Many years ago, when BeachGrit was but a fledgling newborn, I chatted with Zach at some industry thing. I had made fun of his dumb website lots, by that point, and asked, “Why don’t you ever punch back? We could have such fun!”

His response?

“Why would we? You’re too small.”

Well, little ol’ BeachGrit is now almost four The Inertias big.



To the death?

Breaking: Your little ol’ BeachGrit is officially bigger than the entire World Surf League!

Die VAL, die!

And there it is, officially. Your BeachGrit, your snarky, satirical, sometimes grouchy, usually grumpy, always anti-depressive BeachGrit is bigger than the World Surf League. Higher than the Wall of Positive Noise. Throwing all kinds of shade over Santa Monica as well as anything Santa Monica/Venice-adjacent.

The People™ want their ultra hard surf candy.

The People™ crave real, fun, rude, funny, honestly rude more than they love to be Transformed and/or non-elimination heats featuring Deivid Silva and Wade Carmichael.

I’m already drinking in celebration and I suggest you start.

Give us a few more months and we’ll host you somewhere fabulous.

Somewhere VALs get stuck behind the section.

And rum flows like water.

More as the story develops!

"There is a cabal of world leaders..."

Listen: “Famous and beautiful actress Natalie Portman has chemtrail eyes” and other things overheard on Oahu’s North Shore!

Including, but not limited to, the Robinson affair.

I actually don’t believe anyone suggested that famous and beautiful actress Natalie Portman has chemtrail eyes there on Oahu’s bustling North Shore because everyone was too busy weighing in on the Jack Robinson/Zeke Lau affair but don’t you agree that she might? There’s something about the piercing yet far-awayness of her stare. Something about the color and tone that suggests she believes in the airborne conspiracy.

In any case, food for thought.

And David Lee Scales sat across from each other, yesterday, at the most beautiful surf shop in the entire world discussing much about surfing. Discussing where the World Surf League’s President of Media, Content, Studios and Savvy has outwitted us all by jumping off social media first. A visionary. A trailblazer. Discussing Zeke Lau’s official surf category (David Lee says “Power.” I say “No.”)

Discussing if Kelly Slater is the world’s single largest individual polluter.


Look at his eyes.

Very suspicious.

I think you will find much value, anyhow, in this episode. Much good. Please enjoy responsibly.