Sad Valentine's Day.
Sad Valentine's Day.

Just in: Democratic presidential front runner and known “surfer hater” Mayor Pete Buttigieg actively steals potential mates from our ranks!

Very un-Valentines. Very mean.

This political season, this wild, wild United States of America political primary season is fraught. Fraught with tension, lies, cheating and surfer hating. And who could have ever guessed that hating surfers would become a political way forward. A way to get votes but we are mostly grumpy. Mostly grouchy. Territorial, rude, bastards.

Shhhhhh.

Are you?

Don’t answer.

No.

Anyhow, beating up on surfers has become an easy way to get votes. Who will care if we are beaten up? White and men. Who will even begin to care?

Nobody.

All fine and good. We deserve it but also ouch.

Hillary Clinton has thrust many daggers in but her young charge, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Democratic presidential front runner etc. has taken it to a whole ‘nother level by stealing potential mates from our ranks.

Who loves us?

Nobody, you are right.

And now really nobody.

Crickets.

But if I’ve learned one thing from podcast impresario and mid-length advocate David Lee Scales it is that surfers can find theoretical empty love in only one place.

On the dating application Hinge.

He used it exclusively while also swearing by it.

“It’s literally the only place anyone will even think about having a relationship with a surfer…” he would often tell me through moist eyes. “…It’s rough out there.”

Now, I have never used a dating application but this news was very welcome to me.

We can pretend to belong.

We can pretend to find love.

Until David Lee Scales told me just today that Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Democratic presidential front runner etc. found his husband on Hinge and I realized the insidiousness of his hatred for our surfer kind.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Democratic presidential front runner etc.

Per Markets Insider:

Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg’s personal success on Hinge helped to more than triple global downloads of the dating app last quarter.

Hinge, which pitches itself as a tool to find relationships instead of hook-ups, received a boost in press coverage “thanks to the presidential candidate, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who met his husband on Hinge,” Mandy Ginsberg, CEO of parent company Match Group, said on the earnings call this week. “This has increased national attention on the brand and provided more buzz to the already strong growth we’ve seen.”

Buttigieg — currently mayor of South Bend, Indiana — found high-school teacher Chasten Glezman on Hinge and married him in June 2018. He explained how they met in a CNN interview at the end of March. The story sparked a 30% surge in the number of gay men on Hinge between the start of April and mid-May, while growth in other demographics was stable, Hinge told Fortune.

“We’re proud of all of the relationships we’ve helped set up — including Mayor Pete and Chasten,” Hinge founder and CEO Justin McLeod told the magazine. “We’re happy to see that their love story has encouraged even more members of the LGBTQ community to find their person on Hinge.”

And imagine, just imagine, the destructively evil intentions of dipping in to the relationship application most favored by surfers, the only place we can turn for love.

Vicious.

A Harvard grad and leading Democratic presidential candidate has his pick of the litter. Anyone, everyone. Handsome, young, political, smart.

To steal from us?

A purposeful slap hard to recover from.

Impossible to recover from.

More as the story develops.


Oy vey: Zionist surfing website attacked by Jewish foundation, called “despicable, anti-Semitic!”

Don't nobody read anymore? Schmucks!

You’ll remember a story, yesterday, that warmed hearts and proved a little brotherhood don’t have to cost the earth.

A quick recap about a Jewish group helping California’s homeless:

In Encinitas, California, The Leichtag Foundation has taken a novel approach to dealing with California’s catastrophic homelessness problem by opening up parking lots for people sleeping in their cars to exist safely until they can get back in the game, under a roof that doesn’t have four wheels.

I wrote, as is my way, of “the righteousness of the Jewish people and their gorgeous little sovereign nation, forged in the fires of the Holocaust, endless war and the indifference and hostility of the rest of the world.”

Israel, Jews, the great Jewish diaspora, oh I love it all.

Read “Israel is the raddest surf trip on Earth!”, “What the Gudauskas Brothers got wrong about Israel”, “Let’s go schlepping, surfing gets into the 2021 Jewish Olympics!”, “The WSL double-downs on Israel!”, “Ozzie Wright sings King of the Jews!”, Movie: “The Hebrew Hammer!”.

Stories for days and we mustn’t forget a movie I made for Stab called “Tel Aviv Jumps” and which was subsequently re-edited after I left the company to remove archival footage of atrocities against the Jewish people – readers objected to the pro-Jewish sentiment of the film – and has since been removed from their website although you can watch here.

Who loves Jews more than me?

I look over at my bookshelf and I see Menachem Begin’s great memoir, The Revolt, about his militant Zionists, the Irgun, taking on the damned two-faced Brits in Palestine. Eighty bucks, not including delivery.

Ask me and I’ll sing Hava Naguila, word perfect. Notes a little off, but hey.

Therefore, some surprise, when the exec VP of the The Leichtag Foundation, the group I’d celebrated for their kindness and ingenuity, turned on your ol pal DR.

The link is here, but in a nutshell, Charlene Seidle, writes of being forwarded “this despicable, anti-semitic article.”

Comments below included,

“This article is hateful and I am deeply sorry that someone sent it to you. I understand that not everyone agrees, but there is no reason to be hateful.”

“I preserved the article. It’s blatantly antisemitic, and when called on it, authors tend to edit or delete articles like it.”

“Thank you for your brave and values-driven leadership.”

“The lack of respect for human dignity has been heart breaking.” 

“Despicable!! I am so sorry that there is so much hate and ignorance. We stand with you.”

To which I say, don’t nobody read?

Schmucks!

Oh wait. One reader did open story.

Beach Grit is a rough, juvenile environment intended to entertain a youthful irreverent audience. That it’s a “hit piece” or anti-Semitic is farcical but if that’s what you want it to be or need it to be to support your position, then that’s what it is. My mom flipped out when I brought MAD magazine home for the first time and banned it. She was horrified by it and some of my other choices in literature. Even at a young age I realized she saw what she wanted to see.


Inspiring: Baby seal outwits “fast and furious” Great White shark thereby teaching surfers valuable tricks on how not to be eaten alive!

We can be best.

There has been nothing but bad, bad news, for surfers, in our current and ongoing Shark Apocalypse. Yes, the world’s attention has turned to China Coronavirus or Covid19, but in our small and shrinking community, the mighty shark still menaces supreme. “Man-eating” men’s toes. “Man-eating” men’s salty chocolate balls.

Valentine’s Day red blood in the water.

Our kine facing extinction.

But…

Did a lowly, albeit cute, baby seal just learn us how to save our toes and balls?

Let us read about the inspiring incident from the world’s leading scientific journal:

The shocking video starts with the pup leaping out of the water as the shark snaps its jaws shut just inches from its tail.

The prey then turns quickly and heads for the shark’s tail. Every time the shark turns trying to land a bite, the desperate pup turns too, keeping as close to the tail as possible.

When the predator tires of this encounter the seal then makes a run for it, escaping with its life.

You must watch it here and absorb the lessons of keeping as close to the apex predator’s tail as possible, tiring the beast out then catching the wave of your life as all other surfers will surely be on the beach breathing heavily and scared.

A Dane Reynolds-esque performance circa his prime?

It’s not out of the question and the general public will even think you are the first Dane Reynolds as the Other Dane Reynolds has Coors Lighted himself out of history’s memory.

Imagine being an unsullied Dane Reynolds.

The rebirth.

Oh my goodness.

#ThankYouSharks

More as the story develops.


Warshaw on Surfing’s great unsung queen: “There isn’t much about her I don’t love!”

Scared of nobody, loved Hawaii etc.

Yesterday, the gatekeeper of surfing’s historical archives, Matt Warshaw, loosed a three-minute filmic tribute to former world number two, Jodie Cooper. 

If that name ringeth a bell, it might be because much of last year was eaten up by a court case where she successfully accused a Lennox Head local, the surf mat aficionado Mark Thomson, of attacking her in the surf.

But, as you will learn, there is much, much more to the dazzling Jodie Cooper.

BeachGrit: Yesterday you loosed a swinging little clip of Jodie Cooper, a woman who remains an important strand in our cultural DNA for two reasons: one, she was one of the female pros who loved surfing Hawaii and, two, she didn’t take any shit from boneheads. Do you remember when Johnny Boy Gomes belted her at Rocky Point? Let’s gather around the campfire while you retell that fabulous story.

Warshaw: I re-read Jodie’s version of the Johnny-Boy story yesterday—what a nightmare, on so many levels. Apparently everybody in pro surfing was out at Beach Park, I think it was 1993. Johnny-Boy and Bud Llamas take off on the same wave, get tangled, John comes up and starts knocking Bud around. Everybody looks the other way, except Jodie, who tells Johnny to chill out, so he lets go of Bud, paddles over and hits Jodie in the head. Nobody in the water does or says a thing. For two years after that, she says, he harassed her.

And, then, just last year, she was pounced on and wrestled by surf-mat king Mark Thomson at Lennox.

And before that, she got bit by a shark. On the hand, shaved off a couple of knuckles.

Johnny-Boy and Bud Llamas take off on the same wave, get tangled, John comes up and starts knocking Bud around. Everybody looks the other way, except Jodie, who tells Johnny to chill out, so he lets go of Bud, paddles over and hits Jodie in the head. Nobody in the water does or says a thing. For two years after that, she says, he harassed her.

Do you love her fighting spirit?

There isn’t much about Jodie Cooper that I don’t love.

You once wrote of a dinner date and “mid-sized crush” and described her thus: “endlessly cheerful, gorgeous, fine dinner companion, raspy voice.” Again, let’s all gather at your feet while you tell that story.

Having a crush on Jodie Cooper in the 1980s was as daring and radical as thinking Tom Curren had good style. Everyone had a crush on Jodie. For me, I’ve always had a thing for girls who look like boys who dress like girls, and that was Jodie all the way. I’d talked to her a few times before, probably at the Op Pro, and in Hawaii. She and Pam Burridge and Barton Lynch were my favorite people on tour. I’m trying to think, looking back whatever it is, 30-something years, if I thought it was a date-date, and I remember being before nervous beforehand, so I guess I did. I’m sure she didn’t think so. We went to Mongkut Thai, in downtown San Clemente. Five minutes in I knew it was just a friendly dinner, which was fine, maybe even a relief, and we had a really nice time. I remember her voice, and also that for such a small person she had these big rough country-girl hands.

Jodie swung the door open to the closet in 1997. Do you remember? Do you remember the response to her being gay? Did you tear down your bedroom posters in tears?

She came out in sort of an oblique way, at least as far as the news got to America. Surfing mag called her up for a little one-column interview, and the question was “What is the punkest thing about you?” and Jodie said something like, “My lifestyle, being gay, is pretty punk.” Which it was, in surfing terms, back then. It still is.

You lived through the heady eighties and nineties when Jodie was in her competitive prime. What were your impressions of Jodie as a surfer? I think, a little off style-wise and hence no world title maybe, but, when they happened, big turns and wonderful demonstrations of strength.

The women pros of that age were all a little off, style-wise, except maybe Pam. Wendy Botha and Frieda Zamba won all those world titles, and neither of them had a better style then Jodie. Also—and this wasn’t true for Frieda or Wendy or any of the others—the bigger the surf got, the better Jodie looked, especially at Sunset. I don’t think she ever quite hit Margo Oberg’s level in bigger surf, but pretty close. Jodie loved being out there when it was heavy, and it showed. She’d hang on the North Shore for weeks after all the other girls left. She was never a particularly ambitious world tour competitor but in terms of pushing it in bigger waves, nobody from her generation could touch her. Layne Beachley was the next one, after Jodie, to really charge.

Last I heard, Jodie was working costumes on the movie adaption of the surf novel Breath, nailing that seventies-era perfectly and the taking down Carcass in court. How about you?

Jodie and I wrote a couple letters back and forth, as you did back in the ’80s, and that was about it. I left Orange County in 1990 and lost touch with everybody in the surf biz for a couple of years, Jodie included. She did the commentary at a couple of WSL contests recently, Bells or Margarets, or both, and to me she sounded kind of reined in, a little nervous, not much like I rememer her. But it was good to see her onscreen anyway. Jodie seems indomitable in a way, unbreakable, but there’s something kind of hard-luck about her too. I don’t quite know why. Maybe I’m just still pissed on her behalf because that geezer Thompson who assaulted her basically walked, which seemed like a pretty grievous miscarriage of justice.


Can I quit you?

Listen: An increasingly handsome Devon Howard takes Chas Smith gently by the hand and begins leading him out of closet!

Happy Valentine's Day!

If you’ve ever heard me jabber then you know how much I hate mid-length surfboards. Funboards, eggs, fatsters, kook rafts, floaties, yellow beanies… whatever they’re called, I hate. Hate very much and hate with a visceral blinding sort of hate.

True hate.

To me the mid-length represents a giving up, a throwing in the towel, a capitulation to nature, age, crowds, weakness. Quitters ride mid-lengths. Rebels ride shortboards, high performance, fishy-hybrids, twins while shaking a balled up fist at destiny and yelling, “I will NOT be undone!”

Except

At night, when no one is looking, I hide under the covers and scroll Instagram until I find Devon Howard’s profile then drool, playing this clip over and over and over and over until I’m in the throes of absolute ecstasy.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B7FOXSCHP8V/

That is how I want to surf. The flow, the angles, the effortlessness.

The… beauty.

The sun comes up in the morning, though, and I begin to rage again and hate. To hell with mid-length surfboards. It sets and I drool. This duel life almost too much to bear.

Well, as fate would hate it, Devon Howard swung by the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center in San Clemente, California this morning looking better than ever. Hair slicked back but not greasy. Beard coming in gray. Skin hammered by the sun but in an enviable way. Eyes smiling.

Under his arm he carried the above board. A Channel Islands Mid.

David Lee, Devon and I chatted about this and that, about how Gerry Lopez likely destroyed surfing and Kelly Slater too, before getting down to the topic of mid-length surfboards.

My heart was pounding.

I told him to shove his beginner board, but didn’t mean it.

Told him to break it in half and die.

He took my barbs and then my hand.

A Channel Islands mid-length is coming to my home soon. Will I love or will I be like Ellen DeGeneres, give it a try and decide it’s not for me?

Wait, I can never remember… is Ellen gay or straight?

Listen here and more as the story develops.