RIP: Surf Legend Bob Cooper “famous in surfing for being famous; for having been around a long time; for having a beard” dead at 82!

The prophet on a wave!

Now, it ain’t a tragedy by any measure, a man dead at eighty-two, but when a someone like Bob Cooper evaporates from this earthly plain, surfing loses an important strand in its DNA.

In these instances we turn to Matt Warshaw’s Encyclopedia of Surfing for his back story, why he matters.

Cheerful, freethinking regularfoot surfer originally from Southern California; popular throughout the 1960s, and regarded as the original surfing beatnik. Cooper was born (1937) in Santa Monica, California, the son of an aerospace engineer who died around the time of his birth. He was raised in the Los Angeles-area suburbs of Culver City and Mar Vista, and began surfing in 1952 at age 15, at Malibu; eight years later he was one of the first American surfers to visit Australia.

Cooper earned a reputation not as a contest champion or a big-wave hero or even a small-wave performer—although he had an appealing, loose-limbed style, and a fine sense of trim—but as an articulate, slightly eccentric surfing character. In “Bob Cooper: Prophet on a Wave,” a glowing 1964 Surf Guide magazine profile, he’s lauded for his “Mount Everest beard, radical sandals, spectacular shirts and tunic of a thousand colors,” as well as his ability to “remain composed and totally unaffected even at the most radical parties.” The Bob Cooper Blue Machine signature model, produced in 1967 and early 1968 by Morey-Pope Surfboards, was the only board of the era to feature an asymmetrical fin setup.

Cooper, who was a Mormon which led to him quitting surf contests ’cause they were run on Sundays (“I could have become a professional surfer. But I wanted the blessings that were there”), spent the last fifty years of his life living on Australia’s east coast, first in Coffs Harbour where he kept a surf shop (Cooper Surf Shop, naturally) then headed north to keep his bones warm on the Sunshine Coast.

Given his beliefs it’s likely Cooper is now exalted in a celestial kingdom, covered in divine glory.

“I can go back to surfing and it’s great, but it doesn’t give me the satisfaction that I get out of doing what I’m doing now. You know, wife, family and kids — eternal concepts. Knowing where I came from, what I’m doing here, where I’m going, what the purpose of this existence is and dedicating my life to it. And the more effort I put into it, the more rewards come back,” Cooper told The Surfer’s Journal in 1999. 

(Side note: The author of the story, Mike Perry, gave your ol pal DR his start in the biz. Beautiful man.)

Lest he be remembered as too serious, Cooper also said he was, “famous in surfing for being famous; for having been around a long time; for having a beard.”

Surfers make me SO MAD!

Thumb your nose at Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Hillary Clinton and all other “surf hating” Presidential hopefuls!

Youth(ish) Against Establishment!

It is President’s Day tomorrow in America, I suppose today in Australia if Australia was a truly free country untethered from London like those beautiful Sussexes. Brave, young, multi-racial, wealthy the whole entire world (Canada) filled with unknowable possibilities (various charities) but I digress.

Technically, President’s Day is George Washington’s Birthday but other Presidents, hungry for any spotlight they can claw have narcissisticly made it about themselves too.

All fine. The more the merrier, as they say, and since they say it, why not open up President’s Day to Presidential Hopefuls too, even surf hating ones like Mayor Pete Buttigieg and his best friend Hillary Clinton?

A wonderful idea and much easier for us to show our youth(ish) against establishment credentials by flipping a defiant (metaphorical) middle finger?

What is the very most rebellious thing to do?

Sucking on Ultra Hard Surf Candy right in their faces!

Right now, for 24(ish) hours every piece of BeachGrit clothing is on sale. Freak flags that strike fear into the hearts of Da Man.

Or what about a red, white and blue traction pad? Pretty much like stomping all over Da Man and his colors of oppression.

At these low, low prices whatever you decide won’t be wrong.

And there is free shipping worldwide.

You can flip a defiant (metaphorical) middle finger from anywhere the Sussexes might go (Toronto)!

Savage: Woman who had been told sea lions were gentle creatures bit through thigh by “aquatic pitbull” in Western Australia!

Bad days.

If it swims in the ocean it must not be trusted. This rule applies to “man-eating” sharks, to rapist dolphins, to sneaky stingrays, heartless jellyfish and crusty, grumpy, mean-spirited surfers. Jerky, rude, foul surfers.

Sea lions too.

And I’ve always been very wary of the aquatic pitbulls. They don’t look nice, that’s for certain, but a tourist in Western Australia felt differently after locals told her that region’s sea lions were gentle creatures.

Well, as one does in Western Australia, she went swimming in a pack of them with her friend. It was such a wonderful pleasure she returned and repeated the activity for a second day. Even better than the first and so back for a third when a savage beast turned on her and…

“…all of a sudden, all I saw was a sea lion in front of me, and when I turned my back, he bit me.

“It was on the back of my right leg, and straight away I could see he had drawn blood.”

The tourists didn’t think the animals were dangerous, or that a tour guide was needed to swim in the area.

Elena Precillia (pictured) with her attacker.
Elena Precillia (pictured) with her attacker.

“Locals had told us that the sea lions were friendly, and that many went there without a tour guide or anything like that,” she said.

“It was an amazing experience, as they liked to dance with us, playing and jumping out of the water.”

But when a sea lion decided to have a taste of the backpacker, she was in a state of shock.

“The pain was shock – I couldn’t really feel thanks to the adrenaline, but I couldn’t swim to get out of the water.”

Thankfully Ms. Precillia was with her friend who took her to a hospital which charged her nearly $5000 dollars because sea lions contain a rare bacteria in their mouths very bad for human beings.

The moral of this story?


Become a tuberiding queen in North Sumatra.

Gimme: Retire on vast beachfront estate in Sumatra with epic waves for $US295,000!

Say so long to the West and live out your days in tropical splendour.

You got a retirement plan?

You ever worked out how the harvest years are going to play out?

You going to be the old man who sits in the front room of his rendered brick townhouse in the heart of suburbia, an unresponsive wife ignoring your pawing at night, every dream you ever had so crushed you pray for the local teen hoodlums to break in and end your suffering with an iron bar?

A common retirement among the gung-ho, of course, is to take your First World money into the tropics, where your dollars buys palaces and endless indulgence.

It ain’t such a bad idea if you can take the suffocating heat and the feeling you’re just another in a long line of damn colonialists, spraying your cash, stomping over local culture, buggering the coolies etc.

Earlier today, I saw, and was rather taken by a beachfront site, with a development plan, on Simeulue Island, the next island up from Nias in North Sumatra.

The joint, which still has to be built, costs $US295,000, a number you’ll negotiate down by at least ten per cent, so let’s call it $US270,000.

It comes with five bungalows, an open air restaurant, a couple of beachfront gazebos, a boat, a van, a couple of scooters and enough land, or so they say, to build four or five more bungalows.

Your pretty open-air restaurant.

The only downside is it’ll only be sold as a land-and-building contract only, and must be sold to a private owner or syndicate.

Which means, you can’t run it as a commercial surf resort.

But who needs kooks and guests weeping about sunburn and the wind direction and too much and not enough swell when you’re the master of your little piece of surf heaven, anyway?

Less than three hundred gees for all this, can y’believe.


Important a few lovers of various stripes from Medan, bring your friends from the west and away you go,

Buy here. 

Mayor Pete, throwing a mock shaka. Divisive. Rude.
Mayor Pete, throwing a mock shaka. Divisive. Rude.

Nasty Turn: “Hated” surfers and other openly queer protestors kicked out of Democratic frontrunning candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s San Francisco rally!

We're here. We surf. We're in your face!

But have you ever tried to surf San Francisco’s Ocean Beach? That stretch of sand and tired arms and swell line after swell line after swell line just hammering and hammering and hammering?

I haven’t but have stood in the parking lot there, alongside local and Maverick charger Taylor Paul, thinking, “How in the world do people do that? Put themselves on such a paddlewheel, multiple 100s of duck dives paddlewheel? For what? For why?”

So didn’t paddle out.

But God bless the San Francisco surfer. Bless her fortitude. Bless his pluck.

It is a proper hell out there and these same surfers, or at least some of them, presumably, tried to attend the caustic, surf hating rally of Democratic frontrunning candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s San Francisco. Were they welcomed with open arms? Thanked for being personally progressive and also likely slamming their heads into Ocean Beach’s unrelenting negativism? An apt metaphor for current American politics if ever there was one.



And we must turn to the New York Post for more.

Two queer activists unhappy with Pete Buttigieg’s “middle of the road” politics were kicked out of his San Francisco fundraiser Friday after interrupting him on stage with shouted questions, a report said.

The protesters peppered Buttigieg with questions at San Francisco’s National LGBTQ Center for the Arts, immediately drawing boos from supporters of the former South Bend, Indiana mayor, according to The Guardian.

“I respect your activism, but this is a gathering for supporters of our campaign and I just got a question about my husband and I’m really excited to answer it,” Buttigieg said in response to the activists, the report said.

After the event, a Buttigieg supporter confronted the activists.

“You’re homophobes, that’s what you all are, you’re homophobes!” the supporter yelled.

“We’re all gay!” a protester responded.

And we are.

Truly are. Surfers and Mayor Pete must not, should not forget that however much he hates us and Hillary Clinton hates us that we will not be silenced.

Is this our political moment?


More as the story develops.