Putting the G in smug!
Putting the G in smug!

First Son-in-Law Jared Kushner on life inside Trump White House: “He makes the waves…Your job is to surf the wave as best as you can every day!”

Donald Trump = Kelly Slater

And here we are, officially, in the future. The one promised by great film directors Robert Zemeckis and Ridley Scott. The one we grew up expecting then almost gave up on. For who would have ever guessed, even ten years ago, that artificial wave technologies, that Surf Ranches and Surf Lakes, URBNSRFs and The Waves would replace traditional ocean surfing as the du jour analogy but here we are and welcome.

Of course surfing, and surf-related terminology, have been used since ancient Peruvian fishermen, high to the heavens on cocaine, first caught waves on their “little horses” those thousands of years ago (buy here) but the correlations were always natural. Surfing as metaphor for entrepreneurship, for relationship, for mentorship, citizenship, hardship always dealt with the uncontrollable. The vast powers beyond our control best summed up with the mantra “You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf.”

Beautiful, no?

But let us listen to First Son-in-Law and President of the United States of America Donald J. Trump’s right hand Jared Kushner describe life inside the White House in a just released Time magazine interview.

“One thing you have to remember when you work for President Trump is that you don’t make the waves. He makes the waves…Your job is to surf the wave as best as you can every day. And you have to always smile and have a sense of humor with it, because he’s the one who’s got the instinct.”

Powerful, no?

But also amazing that artificial wave technologies have worked their way into the vernacular so thoroughly. Donald Trump there making waves exactly like Kelly Slater is in Lemoore making them.

And I’m excited to see how this new “making waves for people to surf” metaphor is used this coming year for entrepreneurship, for relationship, for mentorship, citizenship, hardship, attorneyship, brinksmanship, associateship, artisanship, etc.

The future.

Wonderful, no?

Breaking: Lifeguards rush to close Australian beach as elderly surfer has foot “bitten to the bone” by “troublingly ageist” bull shark!


But it is truly wonderful to be alive in these woke times, freshly alerted to all manner of injustice be it gender-related, race-related, economically-informed, climate-induced or having to do with age. We’re, each of us, like Louis as played by Brad Pitt in Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire, having just had his neck kissed by Tom Cruise’s Lestat and seeing the world with his vampire eyes for the very first time.

“No words can describe it. Might as well ask Heaven what it sees. No human can know. The statue seemed to move, but didn’t. The world had changed, yet stayed the same. I was a newborn vampire (read: culturally aware), weeping at the beauty of the night.”

In any case, ageism is particularly troublesome even though our elders are the reason for all our problems including but not limited to gender, race, economics and climate but still, but still, we must be woke to them too and sharks, Great White, Tiger and Bull, especially Bull, are decidedly not. Rudely not. At odds with the great bend of consciousness not and let’s learn about the latest terrifying attack in Australia on an elderly foot.

NSW Ambulance said the 60-year-old was bitten to the bone on his left foot while surfing with a friend at Windang Beach, south of Wollongong around 8:00am on Friday.

Illawarra Ambulance Chief Inspector Terry Morrow said the man is in a stable condition after being treated by paramedics at the scene.

“He was waiting for a wave a felt a tug on his left leg,” Inspector Morrow said.

“He looked down, saw some blood, got onto his board and made his way to the shoreline.

“He has a significant laceration to the top arch of his left ankle area but it looks like it must have been a small shark.”

The man was taken to Wollongong Hospital to be treated for his injuries.

“He’s in a stable condition, he was given pain relief because he was a bit shocked and felt sick,” Inspector Morrow said

“He was cooperative and very thankful for the assistance of his mates, the surf life savers and paramedics.”

Australian surf journalist Nick Carroll agreed that the shark must have been very small but I don’t see what this has to do with anything unless Nick is suggesting size excuses rude, outdated, ugly behavior.

It’s time we all did some self-work.

Each of us.

Especially Nick.

Shane Starling, Fantasy Surfer savant.

Interview: WSL’s fantasy surfer champ revealed as Berlin-based data-journalist who says, “Its a dead platform, really.”

Picks ten out of eleven event winners…

Moments ago, you read about the WSL’s Fantasy Surfer winner Zmonde, and how his victory came and went unremarked and unacknowledged by the owners of the game. 

Zmonde is Shane Starling, a forty-eight-year-old cycling enthusiast and occasional surfer who was in Perth, Western Australia, where he grew up, to help his brother fit out of a beer bar before he goes back to Berlin where he now lives. 

Shane, who picked ten of the eleven event winners, says he’s only being doing the WSL’s Fantasy Surfer for two years, doesn’t know about Surfer magazine’s version and calls the competition a “dead platform, really. You can’t communicate with other players, you can’t banter. And if they gave even a small prize it would make the competition more lively. You play the game and that’s it.”

Apart from backing Jordy Smith all year except at Pipe (“He moved to Hawaii, looked fit and the only reason I didn’t back him at Pipe was because of his injury at Sunset”), choosing dark horses to separate him from the pack (Griffin Colapinto was his go-to), Shane says it was the power of visualisation that gave him his edge. 

He describes lying on his bed, going into a meditative state, “putting on some Captain Beefheart”, and being there on the day of the finals and watching Joe Turpel present the medals on the podium.

It didn’t work at the Freshwater Pro, says Shane, because the “system was so different. I went off-piste and chose dark horses that didn’t pay off.” 

Other winning habits? Shane scrolls through the Instagram feeds of all the surfers to see if there are any injuries and how happy they are, “if you get a vibe off someone.”

He follows various stat-based surf accounts to see their teams and he doesn’t confirm his team until right before the event and he’s seen who everybody else is picking.

“If everyone is picking Gabby, sometimes I’ll change to someone else. Dark horses make the difference. If they do good and you’re on them there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be up there. Like Griffin at Pipe. He was on the cusp of not prequalifying if he didn’t get a good result. He’s a hellman, doesn’t mind pulling in. The factors were there.”

Shane grew up surfing around Perth, the fishing town of Geraldton a few hours north and the satellite city Mandurah, an hour south of Perth.

When he moved to the northern hemisphere, first to London, then France and Berlin, he surfed less and less. 

“I miss it,” he says. “It’s one of those things. I do more cycling these days.”

As for his no-prize victory he says, “I don’t understand the Wozzle half the time.” 

(Note: As per suggestion from BeachGrit commentator, Bex Vidina, BeachGrit t-shirts and car air freshener have been dispatched.)

Ripped Off: World Surf League’s Fantasy Surfer champ given nothing – not even a call from Co-Waterperson of the Year Dirk Ziff – for astounding victory!

Stingy billionaire.

But did you play Fantasy Surfer this year, part of the World Surf League’s suite of content and media? You would not have been faulted, here, for doing so as fantasizing about surfers is part of BeachGrit’s suite of content and media alongside titillating shark tales and the very latest g-string news.

The boys in the booth, Ron, Joe, 88,89, Woz, etc. chatted regularly about their picks, how they were performing etc. but there was only one champion, Zmonde, who used wit, intelligence, foresight and surf awareness to beat them all and beat every other player too.

An astounding victory.

And what was the prize for such commitment and skill?

A trip to next year’s Pipeline Masters?

$500 dollars in WSL PURE One Ocean Activism Eco Credits?

Three pouches of Laird Hamilton SuperFood Non-Dairy Creamer?

Let’s go straight to Zmonde and prepare our jealousies.

Sob – nothing at all for the winner – zilch. Not an invite to a WSL event. Not a board. A block of wax. Not even an email from Dick Z saying well played sir. I tweeted WSL asking what happens if you become the Fantasy League world champion out of 140,000 players. No response. Nothing. Nada. I know it’s just a stupid game but about 140,000 players went at it last year and there is a bit work involved and craft to nail it event after event.

The bastards. The Santa Monica bastards and I know that there has just been a regime change but…

… the gall. The absolute gall and I am going to officially call for co-Waterperson of the Year (19) Dirk Ziff’s co-Waterperson credentials to be re-examined. Maybe like an impeachment hearing.

Back to Zmonde, though, how did he win?

There is my use of transcendental meditation to transport myself into the future and particular beaches to ‘see’ results ha ha…ok i got quite lucky on a few dark horses and backing Jordy for most of the season paid off…

Backing Jordy paying off… who would have guessed? Who could have guessed?

But I suppose, at the end, it paid off nothing.

And what should the World Surf League gift next year’s winner? Also, how should the powers there hiding behind that Wall of Positive Noise apologize to Zmonde?

The only bad suggestion is the one that goes un-offered.

Cape Arago, Oregon. Very near Bandon. Around the corner from my favorite wave.
Cape Arago, Oregon. Very near Bandon. Around the corner from my favorite wave.

Terrifying: Young Oregon boy nearly swept out to sea by “extraordinarily barbarous” rogue wave, saved thanks to mother’s “banshee-like shriek!”

The joy of naivety.

Oh the ignorance of youth, that grace-filled dance of naivety, where boys and girls get themselves into very bad spots and are only saved thanks to pure luck or a mother’s banshee-like shriek. But have you been keeping abreast on the extraordinarily barbarous surf pounding southern Oregon right now? King tides and a massive swell, courtesy of some Pacific storm or another, is bashing the coastline from Florence down to Brookings. Throwing up huge plumes of whitewash and very tragically stealing young lives.

I grew up there, as you well know, in Coos Bay a depressed town where hard-luck was a way of life. Any time “swell events” would occur folk from as far away as Eugene and Portland would rush down not to surf, of course, but to watch waves hit rocks and explode into the air.

And there was always the “brave” boy or girl who would get as close to the edge as possible, taking for granted that the ocean is benevolent. But Oregon’s ocean is not benevolent, it is vicious and mean and another young boy almost got swept into it, only saved thanks to both pure luck and his mother’s banshee-like shriek but let us turn to eyewitnesses there on the beach in Bandon just thirty minutes south of Coos Bay and home to a fine clam chowder restaurant.

The lure of storm watching during some of the highest tides of the winter – known as “king tides” – brought people out to the Oregon Coast.

Jill Stockford shared video from the south jetty in Bandon, Oregon, on Saturday that showed one close call.

“A large crowd gathered at the south jetty in Bandon to watch the big waves at high tide during the high surf warning, Saturday January 11, 2020,” Stockford wrote via Chime In. “A young boy decided to jump down onto the beach, ignoring his mother’s yells for him to get off the beach immediately. When her tone changed, the boy finally got off the beach, literally within seconds of a fast moving sneaker wave narrowly missing him and dragging him out to sea. You can hear him laughing in the background unaware of how serious that sneaker wave was.”

Youth… amiright?

And here’s another naughty sneaker from what was once called Marshfield.