Still open for biz but if you want out and a refund, that's cool, too.

Open for trading: Join BeachGrit’s Winner-take-all Survivor League!

Easy to play, limited numbers, a thousand bucks to the champ…

Maybe you’ll remember the sorta sad story of Shane Starling, the Berlin-based data analyst who won the WSL’s Fantasy Surfer League last year. 

Shane picked ten of the eleven winners and didn’t get a damn thing for his year’s work, the victory unremarked and unacknowledged by the owner of the game. 

Shane called the game, 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.”

(The WSL has since promised an upgrade, which’ll be announced March 16.)

Another surfer who feels the same is Taylor Lobdell, thirty-one, from Costa Mesa but who works in the tech biz in San Francisco. 

Taylor describes himself as the “biggest fan of the WSL. I know everybody shits on it but I can’t get enough of it.” 

Still, despite his buzz, Taylor couldn’t get into their Fantasy League. 

“Every year I sign-up, set a lineup and I won’t even remember who I picked by the time the finals come around. My friends and I all play fantasy football together, we watch surfing contests, but the fantasy element is lacking. And if they can’t capture somebody like me, a huge fan, I think there’s a problem.”

What does the WSL get wrong? 

“They overcomplicate it. Look at their rules page, it’s paragraph upon paragraph. The tiers are arbitrary and the points are kinda hard to understand. Historically, everyone picks pretty much the same eight-person team and it comes down to the lower-tier guys that’ll make a difference.”

So Taylor, with us underwriting the thousand-bucks prizemoney in case we don’t get enough subscribers to cover it, has come up with a game that is so easy even the dumbest among us can get it. 

The rules. 

1. Pick one surfer each event.

2. Surfer must advance past round of 32.

3. You can’t pick same surfer twice.

4. Winner takes all.


Taylor says he got the idea from a pal who made a similar version for NFL ten years ago.

“I play it with all my friends, it’s a whole cool community and it makes it easy to talk about with your friends. You got Italo for Snapper? It makes rounds one fun again. I don’t know what eight-man teams my friends might have on Fantasy League but I’ll know if he has Jack Freestone or Italo at Snapper.”

Last year, not one surfer made it through the season without a seventeenth or thirty-third. Italo, the world champ, had three of ‘em, Gabby and Jordy, two.

Kelly had a seventeenth and two thirty-thirds. 

Ain't nobody able to get through a season without multiple last or second-last finishes.
Ain’t nobody able to get through a season without multiple last or second-last finishes.

What else? 

It costs twenty American dollars (which goes up to twenty-five after March 22) and the cut-off for the year is March 26. 

No ties, no divided cash.

One winner, one thousand buck cheque.

“If there are multiple people left at Pipe, the remaining players must pick their two surfers and the combined heat score of the final. If both surfers advance, the tie will be settle by the closest final heat score.”

If you don’t get in on time, you can’t join mid-year.

More details here. 

Before and after each contest, we’ll run a story, league standings and in December the winner will be interviewed and celebrated even if pudgy and comical looking etc.

Who’s in? 

Kelly Slater arrives in NZ, takes time out for happy children. | Photo: John Keoghan

World Champ Three-Way: Kelly Slater, Adriano De Souza and Carissa Moore to surf in NZ Qualifying Event!

"I'm excited," says Kelly.

A couple of days ago, we all posited on the reasons behind Carissa Moore’s December announcement of a one-year sabbatical from the tour and her March appearance at a qualifying event in Sydney.

The pendants pointed out Carissa was only taking the CT events off and said nothing about surfing on the qualifying series although the reasons given, need to refresh, rejuvenate excitement etc, suggested contests were the last thing she’d be doing.

Was it a fork in the eye to her on-again-off-again, recently sold sponsor Hurley?

An urge to see the sights of Sydney in autumn?

Appearance money?

Italicise that.

Appearance money.

Earlier today, Kelly Slater landed in New Zealand to compete, along with fellow world champions Adriano de Souza and Carissa Moore, in the unfortunately named Corona Piha Pro, which offers ten-thousand qualifying points.

One Slater fan did a bit of sleuthing, worked out Kelly would be coming on a Hawaiian Airlines plane and took his two kids to the arrivals hall to meet the eleven-time champ, environmentalist, property developer and bringer of gated wavepools to deserts.

“As soon as he saw there was someone there to welcome him to New Zealand he popped over and was more than happy to have a nice chat – asking the kids their names and that sort of thing,” Auckland man John Keoghan told the NZ Herald. “They were so stoked. They’ve probably been drip fed stuff from me for so many years, but they’re budding little surfers as well.”

The IG post that altered surf fan of Kelly Slater’s imminent arrival to New Zealand.

The last time Kelly was in New Zealand was 1993.

“I’m excited to be surfing again in an event in New Zealand and seeing all my fans there,” Slater told the WSL. “I love the country and all it has to offer. New Zealand is a place with incredible surf, amazing golf courses and so much more. I’m also looking forward to starting my 2020 WSL season by competing at a Challenger Series event.”

Do you like press release quotes almost as much as me?

Of course, you know, we know, everyone knows, the reason all three champs are there is for the cash.

So, how much?

Ten k for Adriano?

Fifteen for Carissa?

Fifty for Kelly?

Or does the equal pay thing apply here, too?

Why would you rob fans of the potential dramas in a rivalry that could sustain the sport for a decade? | Photo: WSL

Gabriel Medina hogtied by WSL rule change: “By removing an avenue for the Medina character flaws to express themselves you remove drama and theatre from the sport!”

The WSL finds a solution to a non-existent problem…

The WSL, as we learned from Gra Murdoch on Australian surf forecast site Swellnet, has changed the rules in an attempt to hogtie its biggest star and dual world champ Gabby Medina.

They now threaten disqualification for any last-minute interferences like the one he laid on Caio at Pipe.

(Watch Gabriel’s deliberate interference on Caio here.)

Gra did a great job putting the rule change into context by comparing it with other sports where rules had been changed to bring single dominant athletes back to the pack.

Missing was the bigger question: why?

And also: to what effect?

For a league that has now pivoted to be an entertainment/media organisation devoted to storytelling it seems a bizarre oversight – or is it sheer ignorance? – that the greatest story in its league remains opaque, and now under threat from zealous rule changes.

I’m talking about the Yin-Yang dynamic and rivalry between it’s two biggest draws.

Character is destiny, character flaws even more so.

For athletes in a professional sport over-aggression can be equally as damaging as submissiveness. For that theatre to play out we have the two greatest surfers of the generation, John John Florence and Gabriel Medina to witness.

Why would you rob fans of the potential dramas in a rivalry that could sustain the sport for a decade?

Imagine Shakespeare’s plays getting the WSL rewrite: “Ah look mate, that Hamlet is too indecisive. That King Lear, we’re going to need to tone down those passionate outbursts, he’s a bit too mad.’

One too aggressive, one too submissive.

The difference between what you expect to see and what you actually see is drama.

Take the drama away from heats, even the possibility of it and pro surfing becomes an incredibly tough sell for an audience saturated with digital opportunities for entertainment. That’s what made Zeke’s physical dominance over John so compelling. We suspected John John’s unwillingness to “go to the mat” in competition but until we witnessed his capitulation we had no idea how that would play out in real time.

Ergo for Medina.

Chas and David Lee Scales made the point in The Grit podcast after the Caio priority incident in Portugal that Medina is a shitty villain. In the sense that being a bad villain means he’s bad at it I totally agree. It backfires on him as often as it helps him. It’s cost him world titles.

In terms of shitty being inauthentic, I totally disagree.

His acts of aggression are spontaneous and ingrained as well as calculated and pre-meditated. There’s nothing manufactured about it. When he came to the Gold Coast as a newly minted twenty-one-year-old world champ and threatened physical violence against “enigmatic” Irishman Glenn “Micro” Hall Pete Mel couldn’t pull the mic away from him fast enough.

Which is what makes it so fascinating, you never know when the next Medina drama will unfold.

Something is happening here and I may not know what that is: that’s a Medina heat. That’s what keeps me watching.

It’s what makes the rule change so incomprehensible.

By removing an avenue for the Medina character flaws to express themselves you remove drama and theatre from the sport. You reduce the strength of the yin and yang polarity between him and JJF.

Why would you rob fans of the potential dramas in a rivalry that could sustain the sport for a decade?

Imagine Shakespeare’s plays getting the WSL rewrite: “Ah look mate, that Hamlet is too indecisive. That King Lear, we’re going to need to tone down those passionate outbursts, he’s a bit too mad”.

You want to witness a sport without drama and intrigue, minus any of the possible Game of Thrones dramas, watch the current Aussie QS events being held in two-foot beachbreaks. An endless grind of two turns and a closeout finish.

Whole hours pass of four-man heats separated by a point or two.

The difference between first and last practically unintelligible. Vaughan Blakey is doing a heroic job in the booth, should get the call-up to partner his brother for the big leagues, but the actual content of the heats is dull as cold dishwater.

As a guiding principle the WSL rule book should have a commitment to making the Sport more interesting over time, not less. And the deeper irony is that Gabs wasn’t even exploiting a competitive advantage via the rules that needed to be shut down.

It was a solution to a non-existent problem.

In the final analysis, by legislating Gabs aggressive instincts out of the sport they help him more than any other surfer on Tour.

They remove the possibility of those sudden explosions that came from nowhere and totally blow up heats.

It just makes a thirty-minute heat a more boring, stale and predictable way to pass the time.

I don’t see how that is good for the Sport.

What about you Medina haters, what do you see?

Griff v VAL | Photo: @snaketales

Blood Feud: Griffin Colapinto vs Manly’s VAL army!

World number sixteen gives vulnerable adult learner a little wet-rub during pre-contest warm-up.

Depending upon which side of the fence you occupy, surfer or VAL, this clip will fill you either with horror or energetically nodding your head in agreement.

The background, if necessary.

Griffin Colapinto, twenty-one, from San Clemente, the world number sixteen, is freesurfing at Manly beach, in Australia, in prep for the qualifying event there. Races down the line, second hit, spins, sees a VAL attempting to takeoff as he comes around, lightens his feet, gently takes him out.

Pretty standard fare for a city beachbreak, armies of VALS all of whom appear to’ve been struck blind and deaf.

Who knows where they’ll appear next?

Taking off down the line? Ejecting above your head?

Griffin wasn’t thrilled and dressed his IG post with a Dane Reynolds quote, taken from an excellent Stab magazine interview. 

“Do you ever feel like people who paddle around you cluelessly aren’t good at surfing and can’t possibly be intelligent?”

The response was mixed.

From the VAL army,

franmerurqui It has nothing to do with intelligence and I don’t think it’s right to make fun of a learner’s mistake. We’re all having fun!

Some surfing stupidity…. So, what you are saying is that you were not intelligent when you were learning? In fact, because you are the pro, I believe you should have the control, avoid that clash and explain to him what he did wrong … I don’t know what is happening with surfing nowadays… A lot of idiots in the water..

Stupidest Person Award for the dumbest and riskiest acts. Griffin Colapinto

Pro surfer says “people who aren’t good at surfing can’t possibly be intelligent”. 🤔 If anything is @kookoftheday worthy, it’s this post. Not the surfer who you ran over.

Then a bunch of hits from pro groupies, and a few who don’t buy the pro surfer entitlement thing.

Not everyone dropped out of school, lived in a beachside mansion, and had daddy buy him surfboards. Odds are that most people in the lineup are just doing their best to have fun. Don’t get upset when someone can’t levitate out of the water to get out of the way because Griffin Colapinto decided that he wanted to speed down the line and air rev over someone. You’re a good kid, Griff. Don’t be a prick.

(One clever follower wrote, “You mean the Coffin brothers.”)

The most prescient, of course, was this.

Is it just me.. or.. are there a lack of pros on here responding? Lmao.. Dane layin low on this one.. “sorry this is your potential PR nightmare not mine”.. prob did agree with Cola in private though. Lmao

How do you play this?

PR diz or VAL got his just desserts?

Palace of Versailles. Few people. Much stalling.
Palace of Versailles. Few people. Much stalling.

Galvanized surfer-father takes daughter to Versailles the day after historic stock market crash to teach “what all rich interloping bastards get in the end!”

Being petty and middle class has its advantages.

“Screw the Mona Lisa…” I barked as my young daughter and I strutted down the Champs-Élysées after becoming victims ourselves of the Coronavirus Zombie Apocalypse, getting rejected from The Louvre in order to “…prevent the spread of Covid-19…” per the sign posted in front of the famed glass pyramid.

We had come to see the Mona Lisa without lines. Without busloads of Chinese tourists but, here, the exact wave we were expecting to shred had decidedly crashed upon us.

Well, to hell with the Mona Lisa. To hell with Leonardo da Vinci and the rest of his northern Italy countrymen who had been walled off from the rest of the world anyhow. I taught my daughter to terrorize them through extreme surf-based territorialism and it worked too well. Now all of Italy is walled off.

The whole boot.

No Romans or Neopolitans either.

Locals only.

But the victorious lesson felt pyrrhic as spaghetti bolognese is our shared second favorite meal and this damned Coronavirus.

Pizza probably third.

This mad, mad, mad, mad world.

Well, life goes on, there’s always another wave etc. and exactly when I was wondering the next surf-based lesson I should teach her, Wall Street went straight over the falls.

The biggest single day point drop in stock market history.

Investors ripping hair pieces off while losing billions. Analysts garbling on about “confidence” and “the desk.” Russia and Saudi Arabia engaging in a wild oil war. Trading halts, billions lost. The end of this mad, mad, mad world.

I watched the crazy play out on a French restaurant’s television while chewing a less-than-perfect steak-frites but immediately knew.

“Baby girl…” I said. “…first thing tomorrow we’re headed for the Palace of Versailles.”

“Where Kristen Dunst lives?” She asked.

“Yes.” I responded. “Or where Kristen Dunst did live until she got her head lopped right off.”

“Why did she get it lopped off again?” She asked.

“Because she was a rich interloping bastard…” I said mid chew “…and let me tell you a story. The French had this really weak-willed king named Louis XVI. He was crazy rich but shy, out of touch and weird so his family hooked him up with an Austrian babe named Marie Antoinette…’

“Kristen Dunst?” She cut in.

“…Yes, I mean Kristen Dunst. So anyhow there they were being rich and out of touch together-ish when The People™ got fed up and lopped their heads off.”

She looked at me quizzically while stealing a fry, which was far better than the steak.

“Ok. So let me bring this home for you. In surfing we basically have a Louis XVI. His name is Dirk Ziff and we basically have a Marie Antoi… Kirsten Dunst. His name is Erik Logan. They are rich, interlopers and out of touch and The People™ are just about to lop their heads off too, at least metaphorically. Plus the markets tanked today. Let’s go rip one in a fancy place.”

We woke late and took the short train out to Versailles, cut the mile long line and wandered the War Room, Hall of Mirrors, gardens etc. Had a delicious chicken breast risotto and pain au chocolate lunch in the palace itself. Mind-bendingly incredible, all of it. The painted ceilings, giant fireplaces, drapes, wallpaper, chandeliers, gilding.

An absolute vision and virtually empty inside. I have no idea what the mile long line was all about.

She seemed sad about the demise of Marie Antoinette during lunch, loving her style, clothing, attitude, breathing that same air.

“Localism is a tough business…” I offered as sympathetically as possible “…and so is being petit bourgeoises but we play the hands we’re dealt then fight through our consciences.”

“What’s petit bourgeoises?” She asked, dabbing her eye gently with a fine linen napkin.

“Unfortunately us.” I said. “It means really petty middle class but don’t worry. We’ll have the last laugh somehow. It’s a joy of being petty. Plus there is more of this Coronavirus Zombie Apocalypse to shred. Look, we’re basically eating cake in Kristen Dunst’s house without a reservation. That’s pretty awesome, no?”

She nodded and seemed to cheer up some.

“Who knows what lessons tomorrow will bring.” I continued “But we should probably go to Germany. Their chancellor just said 70% – 80% is going to get the Coronavirus. That means we can get into all the trendiest underground techno clubs without being on the list and you being extremely underage.”

She nodded again.

Being petty and middle class has its advantages.

More as the story develops.