Jordan Rodin's got the no-screw play down. Photo: Billy Cervi

Finless surfing kills: “I almost died like a sucker on a two-foot day being a stupid groupie dork and thinking I was invincible!”

BeachGrit almost loses (another) much-loved writer day before yesterday.

It happened. I’ve done it.

Fallen into that whole finless trap, by way of an 8’4″ special I happened across.

You know my type. The thing’s ugly, thick, heavy.

A regular dreadnought with a fat ol’ ass and rails so sharp you could shave with them.

It was intended for paddle fitness and small wave fun, plus maybe a crack at some juice if I could avoid having to duckdive. But the homemade fin system was crying to be fucked with. So I took ‘em all out and went in for the spin, dedicated follower of fashion that I am.

And now I’m hooked on the thing.

It’s like learning to surf all over.

Difficult. Humbling. Levelling. Stupid, mainly.

But it’s re-teaching me a lot of fundamentals that are helping with my day to day, and when you do connect an edge and get that friction free glide, oowee. Plus I come in from a forty-five minute surf feeling like I’ve been worked over by a personal trainer.

Couple of months of this and I’ll be saying goodbye to the dad bod for good.

Maybe.

Probably not.

That’s not my story though.

This is:

Today the waves are small, playful. Our dearth of local banks continues, but the odd two-footer is still presenting on the stretch out front.

A perfect day for friction free.

I’m still terrible/dangerous at it –a lineup liability, a twirling mess – so I’ve been deliberately avoiding crowded situations. Both for the safety of others, and the avoidance of shame for myself.

I find a right down the beach with no one around.

A small rockshelf hidden under a cliff, offering a ledgey take off before rolling into the shorey. There’s no clear shoulder line though, and many of the rocks sit separate to the main shelf and are barely submerged.

Tricky. It’s barely two foot, though. I can manage.

After my last couple of surfs on a gentle beachie, the surging takeoff is messing with me. I’m having trouble connecting the rail and am spinning and falling on most of my waves, frustrated by my apparent regression. But it flashes just enough panty line at me to keep me going.

I dodge rocks, and the board.

Fuck, the stacks are comical. Learning how to fall all over again. I briefly consider ditching the leash to avoid an awkward collision but I’m a lazy creature and my fall rate would require a lot of swimming.

I continue for a good forty-five mins. More spills, a few spins, one or two fleeting moments of pure bliss.

As I’m thinking of heading in, another set shows on the outside bank. I go deep on the ledge, maybe a little too deep, but this one is sitting up real nice.

If I can connect on it, even for a bit, I’ll happily call it a day.

I position myself for it, turn to the beach to start paddling, and then…

and then…

I don’t know.

All I remember is coming to under water, a splitting pain in my head and horrible ringing in my ears. Whether I hit my board or a rock, I couldn’t tell you.

But, I’m a few feet down and everything is dark blue, black.

Immediately, I realise I need to get up, up.

I don’t know how long I’ve been under and whether or not another wave is coming. I’m struggling to move, like one of those messed up dreams where you’re trying to run as fast as you can but your body is stuck in some horrible, invisible sludge.

I will myself to paddle, paddle.

Finally some receptors fire up and I’m able to break through. I find I’m mercifully close to shore. I get to the beach, though to be honest right now I still can’t remember how.

My feet and hands are tingling and everything seems slanted as I rip off my leash.

What the fuck just happened?

I look up the beach, down the beach. There’s no one within a couple of hundred metres of me, on the sand or in the water. Immediately the ringing in my ear intensifies and everything, the midday sky, the sand dunes, the cliff face with its running, tangled coal seams is all washed out in a strange blue haze.

I collapse on the beach, running my fingers over my head to check for any gashes.

I find blood, but not much. Just a long scratch across my jaw.

Is this where I copped it?

Or did I graze myself on a rock after already being knocked out?

I don’t know. I don’t know.

I look back up again to the closest peak and the dozen or so people on the shore nearby it. If I was under an extra twenty, ten, five seconds, nobody would have realised until it was too late.

If at all.

It’s a week before my thirty-sixth birthday, a week before my daughter’s second birthday, and I almost just went out like a sucker on a two-foot day being a stupid groupie dork and thinking I was invincible.

Fucken surfing, eh.

So uh, yeah.

Moral of the story?

If you want to try finless, maybe get a softboard first. Or maybe just don’t do it at all, if you’re a kook like me.

I don’t know.

Fucking surfing, eh?


Wang Yibo (pictured) slaying.

Watch: Chinese heartthrob Wang Yibo appears on hit show “Summer Surf Shop” absolutely stunning fans with his “dripping wet bod” while “slaying in it the water!”

We now officially know, unofficially, that our World Surf League has put Dirk Ziff’s remaining eggs (huevos in Spanish) in one basket.

The Ultimate Surfer’.

With the tour indefinitely scuttled, insurance premiums likely through the roof and a slate of CEO Erik Logan YouTube series, including Lawn Patrol and Unhinged, that have failed to ignite, the ABC reality series is organized professional surfing’s last great hope.

Failure not at option.

Ultimate Surfer has yet to announce an air date but I wonder if Dirk Ziff is shaking in his tassled loafers, especially now that the Chinese have released their own reality series called Summer Surf Shop with a special guest appearance by heartthrob Wang Yibo.

According to a source in in the know, “Wang Yibo’s entrance to the show echoes his typical cool-guy persona. Behind-the scenes footage of the dude on a surfboard, dripping wet and slaying in it the water began surfacing. Wang Yibo on a surfboard is quite a sight indeed.”

Now that Yibo has committed to Summer Surf Shop, almost certainly making him unavailable for Ultimate Surfer, chances for the World Surf League to expand its robust TikTok fanbase appear to be in danger unless Zeke Lau, reported to be cast and already in Lemoore, is good at crafting, pranks and choreographed dance moves aimed at nine-year-old girls.

You recall that TikTok is the League’s only success story of the last three years and the app is in danger of being deleted entirely due fears that the Chinese government is using to mine data, robustly spy on users, etc.

I wonder if Dirk Ziff is quaking in his Hermès Izmir sandals… or wait.

What sort of footwear do you imagine Dirk Ziff wears when strolling the grounds of his exclusive southern plantation?

More as the story develops.


Yo Kyle, I just ordered the raddest RinseKit. Dave at Surfline said it was the best rinse kit ever. Excellent pressure. A long, thick hose. Large capacity. Everyone knows that product reviews never lie. | Photo: @surflineman

Surfline Man cancels Waco trip: “I didn’t really want to go to Texas anyway. Look at those Corona numbers. It’s toxic, brah!”

Buys RinseKit, a mid-length and maybe falls in love…

For the past month, Surfline Man obsessively planned a road trip to Waco, Texas to surf the BSR Wave Resort with six of his closest friends.

Or maybe it was five.

Who could keep track?

Surfline Man plotted the route down to the minutest detail.

Where is the cheapest gas? Where are the radar traps? What time is the shoot-out at Tombstone?

Surfline Man knows.

In the process, he inundated his friends, some of them super ready to be former friends, with emails, and begged industry contacts, both real and imagined, for product.

Did Dave work for Vissla or Volcom? Did Dave ever even exist?

Will anyone ever answer the [email protected] email at a brand?

Surfline Man will never admit that he doesn’t know.

Perhaps inevitably, the wheels came off.

First, Kyle’s wife told him he had to stay home. The Prius needed an oil change or some such bullshit. The raddest Chad didn’t know anyone at Saint Archer after all, and Ryan’s Sprinter is in the shop again.

Really, if you just take care of your car, it won’t be in the shop all the time. Does he have to explain everything?

Yes. Yes, it seems that he does.

Surfline Man is totally over it.

He didn’t really want to go to Texas anyway. And look at those Corona numbers.

It’s toxic, brah.

He stands in the parking lot at San O, and watches his aerial dreams waft away forever. Air reverses are for groms, he tells his girlfriend.

Surfline Man is really into his cutback now. He just bought a shiny new midlength and he’s ready to style so hard. He’s going to surf like Devon Howard in no time!

For inspo, Surfline Man watched The Present over the weekend. Somehow, he missed it when it came out, but now it’s like totally his new favorite surf movie ever.

You guys, you have to watch this thing, it’s so seminal, he tells his last remaining friends.

Who needs airs, when you’ve got style. Style is what makes a good surfer, Surfline Man proclaims to anyone he can find in the parking lot.

Hey, where’s everyone going?

Yes, Surfline Man is back on his bullshit.

He awakens each morning just as the sun rises and checks every cam from San Diego to Ventura. Sometimes, just for kicks, he checks Santa Cruz, too.

He could totally get there in time for low tide in the Sprinter. Maybe tomorrow.

Some guy on the internet was all ranting about how Surfline raised their prices. Surfline Man didn’t even notice, until he heard about it on the internet. Premium is so worth it. He doesn’t care how much it costs. Just don’t tell his girlfriend!

Surfline Man would be lost without his cams and his charts and his rewind. Checking the buoys is so boring. Like, there’s just this long list of numbers. So many numbers.

Who can even make sense of all those numbers? It’s way too much work.

Where are the colors and the cool graphs and stuff? You can’t have a surf forecast without colors and graphs. Surfline Man firmly believes that there are rules in life and this is one of them.

No colors, no forecast. That’s it, that’s the whole thing.

To make up for his failed roadtrip, Surfline Man bought himself an awesome present. A brand-new rinse kit!

Dave at Surfline gave it five stars in his review and said it was the best rinse kit ever. Excellent pressure. A long, thick hose. Large capacity. Everyone knows that product reviews never lie.

Hot water for dayyyysss, brah. Bought a roll of AstroTurf, too, got it on sale at Home Depot. Just cut off a new strip and bam! A fresh spot to change. You should totally try it. So fucking sweet, brah.

Today, he’s gona go down to Swamis with the midlength.

Surfline Man watched yesterday’s session on rewind and it was so disappointing. His arms were just like, everywhere. He looked exactly like that dumb statue in Cardiff.

So embarrassing. What was he thinking?

Surfline Man is not about to give up. Not by a long shot. Sure, his girlfriend left him yesterday, which was a total bummer. But today is going to be his best session ever. That perfect cutback, just like Devon Howard, it’s totally going to happen for him today.

Maybe that cute girl he saw in the parking lot last time will be there, too. She had the coolest Ryan Lovelace midlength under her arm. Such a killer resin tint. She looked so cute in her Patagonia Long Jane.

Surfline Man can’t wait to ask her about her board. He’s dying to know her dims. And see her fin set-up. He thinks it was a 2+1, but he can’t wait to find out for sure.

Just like his cutback, they were meant to be.

He can feel it!


Breaking: John Florence, Kolohe Andino, Carissa Moore, Caroline Marks unanimously select Brett Simpson as first ever U.S. Olympic surf head coach!

The people's choice!

If we’re honest, and I think we can be here on the biggest little surf website in the whole world, very few things are more important than popularity.

Leaving aside moral fortitude, bravery, trustworthiness, selflessness, critical thinking etc., popularity, and/or the pursuit thereof, gives rise to great works of art: Mean Girls, Less than Zero, 10 Things I Hate about You just to name three.

Popularity feels good and/or bad if a person happens to be unpopular and, this morning, I wonder if Rainos Hayes, Shane Beschen, Mike Parsons and Chris “Gally” Stone all feel bad or if they selflessly feel good for Brett Simpson who beat them each to become the very first U.S. Olympic surf team head coach.

Historically significant.

Simpson was chosen over all other candidates, according to U.S.A. Surfing’s CEO Greg Cruse, after the team consisting of John John Florence, Kolohe Andino, Carissa Moore and Caroline Marks unanimously selected him.

Cruse added, “We have some of the top surfers in the world on our team. They all have their teams that they work with, year-in, year-out, so they really don’t need coaching in the traditional sense of the word. What they need is someone that they can relate to, that they respect, that they can bounce ideas off, that can calm them, or hype them up, and just get them in the best mindset. That’s what you need and that’s what Brett brings to the table.”

Very fine and Simpson should feel humbled in that “I-smashed-all-comers-and-rule” Gabriel Medina sort of way.

His stable will likely be facing Brazil’s Medina and/or Italo Ferreira in Tokyo.

Daunting.

Mirroring Cruse’s sentiments, Simpson declared, “I’m on the younger side of the coaching spectrum but I think it’s become relevant in a lot of sports. There’s similar views you share and when you’re working with top level athletes like this, it isn’t telling them how to surf. It’s more guidance on conditions, focusing on equipment and the day-to-day preparation, putting them in the best situation to perform at their highest level.”

Very fine indeed.

Will you call him Coach Simpson from now on or should we call him Head Surf Coach just like Steve Spurrier was called Head Ball Coach?

Much to ponder.


A Wooli cop carries the boy's board. | Photo: NSW Shark Smart

Update: Fifteen-year-old surfer killed by “ten-foot Great White” at Wooli Beach on Australia’s mid-north Coast; second surfer killed by a Great White in one month

"A really big Great White shark came up and took a bite, and he was screaming out…"

A fifteen-year-old boy has died after being hit by a shark at Wilsons Headland at Wooli Beach, north of Coffs Harbour, this afternoon. 

Mani Hart-Deville was hit in the legs by what is being called a “ten-foot Great White”.

“Several boardriders came to his assistance before the injured teen could be helped to shore,” NSW Police said in a statement. “First aid was rendered for serious injuries to his legs and despite CPR efforts to revive him, he died at the scene.”

The joint is as secluded as it gets around those parts, dirt road in then you gotta walk.

An hour from anywhere between Coffs Harbour and Grafton.

A local resident, Helen Dobra, told Nine News, “He said that he was in the water and a really big Great White shark came up and took a bite, and he was screaming out. Then the surfer said the shark came again for another attack … and another surfer actually bravely went and tried to get the shark off him and then they pulled him out of the water.”

Mani Hart-Deville. Source: Facebook

I spoke to a Wooli surfer who said he’d “seen more sharks in two months than I’ve seen in my whole life.”

It’s the second shark attack fatality on the stretch of coast in just over a month.

Queensland surfer Rob Pedretti died after being attacked by a “twelve-to-fifteen-foot Great White” at Salt Beach, in front of popular holiday resorts Peppers Salt Resort and Spa and Mantra on Salt, forty miles north of shark-attack hotspot Byron Bay, and roughly three hours drive from today’s attack.

All nearby beaches closed etc. 

Advice: carry a tourniquet, know how to use it.