Tears filled my eyes yesterday afternoon and threatened to cascade down my cheeks. I was sober, of relatively sound mind, decidedly not on an airplane watching the movie Bridesmaids (the last time I openly wept).
I was in my own backyard having a chat with two of the best World Surf League commentators to ever strap on a lavalier, Kaipo Guerrero and Pete Mel, on their new-ish show Any Kine Live.
To hear their voices again, to see their faces… it was almost more than I could bear.
Oh how I miss professional surfing, and I’m not too proud to admit. How I miss the chatter, the bad heats, the reclaimed wooden desk, the interviews, Ron, Joe, Rose, Kaipo, Pete, ’88… even ’89.
Our lives are cold, dark without them but, for one brief moment, I was allowed to bask in that warm light once again.
Yesterday afternoon found me walking home from a bootleg visit to the neighborhood park with my young daughter. She was on roller skates. The park is, officially, open but the playground remains closed as it theoretically breeds and spreads the novel Coronavirus.
My young daughter don’t care, though, and we spent thirty-odd minutes playing hardcore roller derby on the playgrounds squishy floor.
Very fun then we both got thirsty and walked/rolled home.
Midway, I heard a father of two young boys shouting, “Merrick! Pick up your toys!”
Merrick certainly named after the Channel Islands’ Merricks, Al and Britt. I personally know three boys under the age of eight named Merrick. I don’t know any Preisendorfers, Handleys, Haydens, Velzeys, McTavishes etc.
Have never heard a father shout, “Biolos Smith… you apologize to your sister right now!”
Likewise, I have never met a young/adult boy named Slater but know four Tajs.
The more I pondered, the more I came to the undeniable conclusion that the Merricks, Al and Britt, are the most popular surfboard shapers in the world and Taj Burrow its most popular surfer.
The proof is in the pudding, as it were.
David Lee Scales and discussed this, Laura Enever’s new film, Tyler Wright’s girlfriend and dirty hippie feet on this The Grit!’s 70th episode.
Will you like? Probably not but Joe Rogan just sold his podcast for one-hundred million U.S. dollars.
That is a lot of money.
How much is The Grit! worth? Listen here and form an opinion!
"Woe to him that blocks BeachGrit."
Watch: World’s greatest surfer Kelly Slater dealt harsh punishment for blocking BeachGrit on Instagram, has board snapped and is publicly shamed in Australia!
Sad, lonely days etc. as Kelly Slater content made up a good third of ours.
Well, it seems as if the surf gods both read and enjoy the world’s biggest little website for just yesterday Slater paddled out for what he thought would be an enjoyable session at Avalon there just north of Newport (home to the Brothers Carrol Tom and Nick) when he was smote and greatly publicly shamed.
Since I am not allowed to watch nor see we must turn to Australia’s Channel Nine News for details surrounding his humiliation.
11-time world surfing champion Kelly Slater has had his board snapped in half after becoming tangled up in large swells off Sydney’s Avalon Beach.
With blustery conditions tearing through the city on Friday, swell at Avalon reached 10ft as a handful of surfers braved the weather to test their mettle in the monster conditions.
Widely considered the world’s greatest surfer, Slater was spotted among the pack off Avalon’s south rocks.
However, onlookers were quick to spot the great treading water between sets with his board snapped in two.
One half of the board became swept up in an oncoming wave and taken back to shore where it eventually settled in a rock pool.
The 11-time world surfing champion was mercifully unharmed but he should spend the next few days carefully considering his actions with much earnest humility for who knows what his next punishment may be if he refuses to acknowledge the great error in his ways.
But, real quick, Slater has now been in Australia for three, or so, months. I’d imagine longer than anywhere he’s been concurrently over the past two decades. Does that make him Australian now? Does the Lucky Country have a form of common law marriage with regards to citizenship?
Can he surf for the green and gold in Tokyo 2021?
He is, officially, above both the Brothers Wilson Owen and Julian in the rankings.
Would you have him?
Enever shows just how hard the challenge she has set for herself actually is. She gets injured. Takes a break. Trains more. Tries again. She falls. She falls again, over and over. Often in surf films, we only see the makes. Enever shows all the considerable effort it took to get there. Luke Surplice/Undone
Jen See reviews Laura Enever movie Undone: “Holy shit, she is a badass, you guys! Shoot this film straight into my veins!”
Holy shit, she is a badass, you guys. Shoot this film straight into my veins.
In the film’s opening sequence, Enever gets completely annihilated on a crazy mutant of a wave at Shipstern’s. This is just the start of her thoroughly candid depiction of transforming herself, after seven years on the CT, into a big-wave surfer. The introduction succinctly brings us up to date. A trip over the falls at Jaws, a knee injury, dropping off tour.
In a characteristically generous interview, Steph Gilmore says she texts Enever all the time.
Come back to the Tour, we miss you. The Tour isn’t the same without you.
“I guess she’s on her own world tour now,” says Gilmore.
It’s the perfect set-up line for the three years of adventures that provide the subject of the film. Enever buys a jetski and learns to drive it. Her brother Chris goes all-in with her on her new project. She collects a series of mentors from around big-wave surfing. She learns to tow-surf and how to weight her board for the wind.
On the face of it, Enever does not look the part of a woman who rides extra large waves. She’s cute, with the bleached out blonde hair all-but required for pro surfing. Early in the film, she walks to the coffee shop with her spotted dog, casually beautiful, and orders her cappuccino. She dances in the road.
Also, she surfs gigantic waves.
In one of the film’s short snapshot interviews, Joel Parkinson emphasizes the point. There aren’t too many men who would go on waves like that, he says.
There’s a steely determination to Enever. She wants this big-wave thing and she wants it badly enough to fight hard for it. That’s the narrative arc of the film and it comes easily. There’s no need to bash the audience over the head, and the film-makers don’t bother to try.
We get it. She has this wild mad dream, and she’s going to chase it, wherever it leads.
Enever’s path doesn’t run especially smoothly.
She runs into her brother with the jetski trailer. An extended roadtrip across Australia to surf the Right, turns into an extravaganza of bad luck. She laughs and cries in equal measure.
Incidentally, the film shows the sheer size of Australia, the way that once you get out there, well, you’re way out there. Even against the space of the American west, but Australia is another level altogether.
When they set out to drive across Australia, it’s a mission — and with everything that goes wrong, the film shows just how far they travel, in a way that the usual montage doesn’t at all capture.
The landscape seems to mock Enever, her crew, and her ambitions all at once.
One of the film’s strengths is Enever’s willingness to allow the camera to keep rolling, even at times, when maybe she’d rather turn away.
This is her story, she seems to be saying, and she’s going to own it. And own it she does.
Without belaboring the point, Enever shows just how hard the challenge she has set for herself actually is. She gets injured. Takes a break. Trains more. Tries again. She falls. She falls again, over and over.
Often in surf films, we only see the makes. Enever shows all the considerable effort it took to get there.
When she makes that gorgeous final wave at Shipstern’s, it’s easy to feel the joy of accomplishment right along with her. We’ve seen what it took to get there. Her crew cheers from the jetski as she kicks out. If you have a heart at all, you’ll want to cheer, too.
A frequent pitfall of films about women athletes is a kind of desperate effort to make the women at their center relatable. Oh sure, they can do amazing things, but they’re just like you! Look, they wear cute clothes! This tactic nearly always feels fake and forced. I’m pretty sure a woman who paddles into giant Jaws is not really like me at all.
And that’s just fine. I want to feel that awe. I want to be amazed at her talent and her courage and her sheer pigheaded determination.
Sure, Enever would be a joy to meet for coffee, but her film also let me feel that awe.
What Enever does is rare and special and brave — and that’s worth leaning into, all the fucking way.
Masked cops and soldiers round-up recalcitrant surfers; hit 'em with stiff-ish fines.
Thirty minutes south of San Diego on the toll road across the Mex border is the resort town of Rosarito.
Lot of retired Americans getting leathered in the sun.
A few miles of beaches. Cold water. Gets pretty good.
And, now, Rosarito will go down in some sort of history book, if they exist, of the world’s biggest mass arrest of surfers during The Big Shutdown.
In Mexico’s case, they’re currently in phase three of their COVID-19 lockdown, running from April 21 through May 30, all public places closed, kissing and shaking hands banned, no surfing etc.
See, Mex has a pretty young population, which is good, but a lot of fatties and diabetes and so on, as well as dire poverty, so it ain’t in a real good place to hit back at the Wuhan Wheeze.
Anyway, yesterday, Tijuana’s El Imparcial ran photos of masked cops and soldiers waiting for the pack of local surfers, then photographing ‘em and finally driving ‘em to jail in the back of a police pickup.
“The 22 [surfers] were rounded up before the judge and held in [jail] cells,” reports El Imparcial, “because they were surfing in the area …. at kilometer 43 of the Rosarito Libre highway. Francisco Arellano Ortiz, the head of the Secretariat of Citizen Security of Rosarito, mentioned that ‘these people were detained for not complying with the instructions of the agents, as it is prohibited to carry out any activity on the beach.”
“The virus cannot survive in the water,” Al told The Reader, “and by us exercising, our body’s defenses are stronger. The police are not making money with their corrupt acts that generate income, because people do not leave their houses, and they’re looking for money.”