"WSL is bad... blah blah blah... Kelly Slater... blah blah blah... barrel or nah?"
"WSL is bad... blah blah blah... Kelly Slater... blah blah blah... barrel or nah?"

Listen: “And at the very end only two creatures shall be left crawling through the earth’s muck and they shall be cockroaches and surf podcasters!”

...and probably Kelly Slater who falls somewhere in between.

But the world’s economy has officially, fully, ground to a halt. No more commerce. No more dining out. No more dating via dating apps or meeting at bars. Sports are finished as are music festivals, any sort of publication, dancing to the downbeats masterfully stroked by Paul Fisher, visiting with friends, visiting with extended family, going to work, going shopping, going to theaters, parks, gyms, massage parlors both above and below board.

We’ve long wondered what the apocalypse would feel like and now we know.

It feels like right now. It feels like this very minute.

And it has long been told that, in the event of some worldwide nuclear holocaust or uncontrollable disease, cockroaches would be the only earthly creature to survive but today it was proven that surf podcasters will also survive for David Lee Scales and I met in San Clemente, flaunting California’s fresh “shelter in place” laws to jabber.

We jabbered about a re-imagined World Surf League tour, about the sad trajectory of Julian Wilson’s career, licking the glass of monkey zoo exhibits, David Lee’s desire for a robust Big Brother surveillance state and enjoying a urinal while also emailing.

Cockroaches and surf podcasters.

Gather the family around, the kids home from school, the husband home from work, the grandma and grandpa huddling in the closet and listen to the sweet hum of the end through air vents.

Is it good? Enjoyable?

Who cares.

Benevolent surf journalist (pictured).
Benevolent surf journalist (pictured).

Breaking: Anti-depressive surf tabloid saves hundreds of California surfers during state’s draconian “shelter in place” epoch!

"I will be the Oskar Schindler of California surfers..."

Last night California’s Governor, Gavin Newsom, extended the Bay Area’s draconian “shelter in place” law to the entirety of the state. I was in bed watching the new season of Westworld when I read the news and do you like? I found season one entirely enjoyable but fell off during season two once the cowboy motif transitioned into industrial sci-fi which surprised me. I enjoy westerns from time to time, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid being one of my favorite movies ever, but don’t necessarily consider myself an aficionado and will generally prefer a dystopian tale to a cowboy one. Well, the show lost its oomph once the cowboys went away, I felt, but I was willing to give it another go and so there I was watching the new season when I read Gavin Newsom’s “shelter in place” edict.

“Shelter in place?” I wondered. “What does that actually mean?”

According to Time magazine:

People should stay in their homes unless they need to leave for “essential” activities and work. The mandate went into effect on March 17 and will continue until at least April 7. The order details that violating the mandate is a misdemeanor punishable by fine, imprisonment or both.

“Hmmmm.” I thought while feeling selfishly gleeful. From my reading it essentially outlaws surfing unless it can be categorized as “work.” Being a surf journalist, the act is, of course, fundamental to my profession and I pictured being out there alone, catching any wave I wanted, shouting a friendly hello to the surfboard shaper the next peak over as I imagine he can count surfing as fundamental to his profession too.

R & D etc.

But then something miraculous happened in my imagination.

I missed you.

I missed silently criticizing the way you wax your board all OCD-like. Missed being jealous of your turns. Missed glaring at you when I paddled back out after my own personal wave of the winter. Missed the annoyed sigh we share when a SUP strokes into our midst.

Then I had an idea. A wonderful idea that will bring you back to the lineup. You can be a surf journalist too. You can “write” for BeachGrit.

So here’s the deal*. If you’re out for a California surf and a police officer tries to fine you or imprison you for being outside your shelter, tell him or her that you are a surf journalist who writes for BeachGrit and in the middle of researching an important story. I will vouch for you in any court of law.

A great, warm sensation of benevolence washed over me once my inspiration crystalized. “I will be the Oskar Schindler of California surfers…” I thought.

“…A legend in the annals of altruism.”

More as the story develops.

*Deal does not extend to SUPs, longboards or midlengths. No foils or Wavestorms either.


Pointless but cheap.

There’s something insidious about social media, destroyer to one’s finer feelings. The timid man becomes bold, the man who has never had an opinion about anything becomes full of them the moment he pecks at his telephone.

It’s especially destructive in moments like these when panic mongering becomes the order of the day, likes and shares the most tradable commodity of all.

Supermarket shelves have been vacuumed clean, helpless infants are drawing from the teat of empty bottles and there seems to be no ray of sunlight bursting forthwith.

With that in mind, we’ve assembled an emergency supplies kit, which is being sold at well below its manufacturing cost, to help you through this period of quarantine, compulsory or self-imposed.

For $US99.95, you’ll receive two medium-sized t-shirts (1 x white Ultra Hard Surf Candy, 1 x yellow BG logo tee), four tail pads  (1 x each colour) and a ten-pack of air fresheners.

Normally, this would cost $US370.

But these are not normal times.

If we didn’t accept our lot with cheerful humility where would we be?

Pointless, yes.

But cheap.

Click here to buy. 

It's ok, grandpa, the tour mighta been squashed but Elo's got you covered. First, you must download TikTok. It's Chinese just like bad virus! (Adorable photo by ITV weatherman Chris Page.) | Photo: @ChrisPage90

Covid-LIT: “Unlike mainstream sports, surfing doesn’t need competition. It’s the future of sport in the isolation era!”

No tour? Who cares etc.

“Now, if I were to go out and knock on the doors of Hollywood and corporate America to try and promote surfing, what would I promote it as? Would I promote it as the 40-contest-a-year thing, or would I promote it as a free-wheeling, adventurous, man-and-nature challenge? If I was I corporate sponsor, I know what the obvious choice would be for me: I’d go for the adventure stuff.” – Tom Curren, Surfer magazine, 1987.

Am I the only one getting a perverse buzz watching Covid-19 sweep through the global halls of power like a Soviet purge?

(Death and misery not withstanding.)

World leaders, celebrities, religious figures fall before it. Trillion-dollar industries buckle. Entire countries are brought to heel as the global economy quickly shits its dacks.

All because some idiot ate a pangolin that kissed a bat in a seafood market in China. It’s a viral revolution with a wicked sense of humour

Professional surfing, you’d think, won’t be spared the rod. To the naked eye, the WSL looks like it’ll suffer the same fate as the NBA, EPL, AFL etc. Royally Fucked.

The Australian leg of the tour’s cancelled. Jewels stolen from the crown. The rest of the year uncertain. Many surfers will be feeling the pinch. ‘Specially the QS hustlers going cheque to cheque. There’s no endgame in sight.

Unlike my pal LongTom, I don’t see 2020 being salvaged.

But I’ve got a feeling CEO Erik Logan ain’t that mad about the fall of once-mighty empires. He’s our own little Gorbachev. A realist, pragmatic to a T. And this global crisis presents some once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for his new plaything. A time to transition.

From the man himself:

We are going to keep talking about surfing, and worldsurfleague.com will continue to deliver daily content – and release awesome new content – about where surfing’s been, where it is and where it’s going.

We are going to do that on all of our platforms. We are going to increase the volume of content we are producing from WSL Studios, deepen our editorial, and find new ways to stay connected.

There’s never been a better time to become a content provider. People got fuck-all else to do than look at their phones right now. Captive audiences abound.

WSL social channels are mostly healthy.

TikTok’s going from strength to strength.

Erik couldn’t care less about crowning titles when there’s a new ice bucket challenge or reusable plastic straw to go viral.

Even before the outbreak of the ‘rus I could see the tour did not feature in his grand plans. He looks beyond it. Its forced closure is the perfect opportunity for the WSL as a media house to unfurl its wings, and brand surfing in his image.

Unlike most other mainstream sports, surfing doesn’t need competition. It doesn’t need teams. It doesn’t need stadiums. It doesn’t need physical contact of any type.

It’s the future of sport in the isolation era.

Think Julian’s boardslides.

JJF vlogs (noticed those coming through?).

Ben Gravy acid dropping Niagara falls in the name of mental health awareness.

The spectrum of our experience condensed and posted into controlled, curated fifteen-second videos for a worldwide audience to consume.

Forget about Gabe’s heat strategies. Leo and Mikey’s wildcard playoff. Kolohe’s stage fright. Endless non-elimination rounds. There’s too much testosterone. Too much dead air. Too much risk. Not enough ROI when pitching to corporate sponsors. What a perfect time to transition away from it all.

Just like Curren prophesied over 30 years ago.

And it’s good news for us, too.

Because soon the tour will be abandoned completely, in its current form at least. And what emerges from the ashes will be leaner, cleaner, tighter. Depending on who buys the right.

Meanwhile, E-LO will be off chasing $$ from Walmart for his new Soft Diplomacy* YouTube miniseries.

Or it won’t.

And like the rest of the world profession surfing will disassemble, decentralise, disappear.

Either way, we’ll keep surfing.

*In which individuals from two warring factions (Republican & Democrat, PLO & Israeli, Crip & Blood) go for a surf lesson on WSL branded recycled plastic softboards. Erik, you can have this one for free.

All-girl skate-surf movie review: “But Jennnn, the women aren’t as good as the guys at the skatepark in my town. But Jennnn. Not today, motherfuckers. I am not here for your nonsense!”

An all-girl crew of skaters and surfers climb into a stretch beater limo and go on a road-trip from Texas to California. Hijinks occur.

The skater Nora Vasconscellos riding a horse in Adidas is a thing I never quite expected to see in this world.

But thanks to This Way, the slightly cracked western-themed road trip film from Patti, I have now seen Vasconscellos ride a horse.

Less surprisingly, she also rides a skateboard.

I suspect you knew that already, being the smart people you are.

This Way packs a crew of skaters and a few surfers into a stretch, beater limo and sends them on a roadtrip from Texas to California. Skating and some hijinx occur. A brief trip to a wave pool. A surf session of fun-looking lefts.

Steph Gilmore! More skating. More hijinx.

It’s an eleven-minute joy ride that is over too soon.

If you have ever driven around the American west, you know that it is… a lot.

Long stretches of not much going on. The southern route boasts much cactus and shades of dust. Freight trains, liquor stores, weird half-forgotten road stops. Also, bland as fuck interstate highways, generic corporate outlets, gas station coffee, all on a seemingly endless repeat.

I once drove with some friends from Tucson to a bike race in New Mexico.

We stopped by Tombstone.

We flipped off a lot of cactus.

I felt a shock of recognition about halfway through This Way. Like, fuck, I’ve actually been right there, which seems improbable, given the scale of the thing. Sometimes the world is smaller than we think it is.

I feel like there are two kinds of surf-skate films in this world. Maybe there are more, in fact, but for now, here’s two. The first is a straight up shred to music edit. Maybe there’s a few seconds of dialogue, or some eye-candy B-roll to round it out. Thanks to this internet thing, those bad boys are a dime a dozen.

The other kind has a story of sorts and there are definitely times when this kind of thing totally sucks. The skits are cheese. Everyone looks uncomfortable. They know they look stupid, but they lie back, think of that sweet sponsor check dropping into their mailbox, and let it happen.

On the other side of the camera, over here in the audience we cringe and hit the fast-forward.

This Way is this second species of edit and I liked its whole shtick. I liked the horse riding and the roadstops and the shitty limo. The thriftshop dress-ups, the western wear, and the weird oddities they saw along the way.

The crew — which along with Nora V, includes Laura Enever, Jaleesa Vincent, Shanae Collins, Frankie Harrar, and guests — makes the whole thing look fun. They don’t take themselves too seriously. Maybe we shouldn’t either.

But Jennnn, the women aren’t as good as the guys at the skatepark in my town. But Jennnn. Not today, motherfuckers. I am not here for your nonsense. You can stop right there with that whole thing.

Here is a crew of rad women doing a fun thing. Do you want a smile today?

Go watch this little video and be happy. It’s that simple.