First look: Kelly “Liberace” Slater rides Waco wavepool; “more heavy clips coming soon”!

"I kept asking myself, 'Is this real life?'"

Well, ain’t this just what you’ve all been waiting for, Kelly “Liberace” Slater thumping the keyboard of his battered piano at the BSR cable-park in Waco, Texas.

Kelly, of course, is the maestro behind Surf Ranch in Lemoore, Central California, now majority owned by the World Surf League whose CEO in 2016, Paul Speaker, predicted, “that all stakeholders – athletes, fans, broadcast and corporate partners – will be super energised by the advent of Championship Tour-level competition with man-made waves.”

Not as energised, I think, as from watching Kelly ride, for two days, with pal Shane Dorian and his kid Jackson, at the American Wave Machines-powered pool that has become ground zero for air practice.

Here’s a little taste, with “more heavy clips coming soon” according to a spectator.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CCwbq51jlYR/

https://www.instagram.com/p/CCvj7sUHIie/

 


Breaking: World Surf League drops “major announcement” in cancelling 2020 season, kicking 2021 off at Pipeline, tacitly admitting “dang BeachGrit knows all!”

"The Age of Unresolved COVID."

Oh but you already knew that the 2020 World Surf League Championship Tour season was cancelled as you are a BeachGrit Man* and get the news before the news but Santa Monica made it official early this morning.

The 2020 World Surf League Championship Tour season is cancelled.

Per a video statement from WSL CEO Erik Logan:

“After careful consideration and extensive discussions with key stakeholders, we have made the decision to cancel the 2020 Championship Tour and Qualifying Series seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While we firmly believe that surfing is amongst the sports best suited for competition to be held safely during the age of unresolved COVID, we have huge respect for the ongoing concerns of many in our community as the world works to resolve this.”

Well hmmmm. What happened to the conviction of one’s beliefs? I mean, I completely agree, too, that surfing is amongst the sports best suited for competition to be held safely during the age of unresolved COVID.

Oooooh “The Age of Unresolved COVID” has such a ring but back to the point, here, why not just hold events? This moment will be viewed, through the lens of historical revisionism, as the one where professional surfing could have become the world’s third most popular sport but, due a lack of leadership, stayed as the world’s sixty-fourth most popular sport, ten spots behind buzkashi.

In other news, and in accordance with BeachGrit’s already delivered summation, the 2021 World Surf League Championship Tour season will begin at Pipeline this December 2020 and roll into the year that looks like this…

-Shiseido Maui Pro presented by ROXY: Maui, Hawaii | November 25 – December 6, 2020
-Billabong Pipe Masters: Oahu, Hawaii | December 8 – 20, 2020
-MEO Pro Portugal: Peniche, Portugal | February 18 – 28, 2021
-Corona Open Gold Coast presented by Billabong: Queensland, Australia | March 18 – 28, 2021
-Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach: Victoria, Australia | April 1 – 11, 2021
-Margaret River Pro: Western Australia, Australia | April 16 – 26, 2021
-Oi Rio Pro presented by Corona: Saquarema, Brasil | May 20 – 29, 2021
-Surf Ranch Pro: California, USA | June 10 – 13, 2021
-Quiksilver Pro G-Land: Indonesia | June 20 – 29, 2021
-Corona Open J-Bay: South Africa | July 7 – 19, 2021
-Outerknown Tahiti Pro: Teahupo’o, Tahiti | August 26 – September 6, 2021
-The WSL Finals: Location TBD | September 8 – 16, 2021

…with a one day event to decide the winner, at the end.

Excited?

Cool.

*The usage of the word “man” in no way denotes “male.”


Australia’s Great White crisis: Ten-year-old boy snatched from fishing boat by Great White; dad jumps into water and saves son: “The shark’s leapt clean out of the water and it’s grabbed the little boy and pulled him straight in!”

"All the boys said [the shark] was big, I imagine it was very big."

More proof, as if proof was necessary, that Australia’s booming Great White population is becoming a little, how do you wanna say it, feisty?

Earlier today, a man and his ten-year-old kid were fishing off the little fishing port Stanley on Tasmania’s north-west coast when the boy was snatched from the boat by what witnesses say was a Great White.

The dad jumped in, spooked the shark, rescued his son.

A local abalone diver, Ben Allen, was at the boat ramp when the boat arrived.

“All of sudden, the shark’s leapt clean out of the water and it’s grabbed the little boy and pulled him straight in,” Allen told ABC Hobart.

“But as he’s pulled him in, it’s obvious the shark’s let go. The father, with his natural instinct I suppose, has leapt in straight after his son and managed to grab him… All the boys said [the shark] was big, I imagine it was very big. It is renowned for this time of year that they do go in that area. The boys are saying [it was a] Great White.”

Allen told the ABC there has been plenty of action with Great Whites recently, but added, “It’s their area, you’re in their domain, it’s just mother nature, it’s one of those things.

Kid was a little banged up, cuts etc, maybe lost his desire to go fishing for a while.

“Congratulations to dad. Top fella, it just a very very scary thing,” said Allen. “It is obviously a freak accident and I really do feel for the family — it could have been a lot lot worse … buy a lottery ticket, I think.”

Six days ago, a fifteen-year-old surfer was killed by a Great White at Wooli on mainland Australia’s north-east coast; a week before that, a spear fisherman was killed by a shark at Fraser Island, in Queensland, and three weeks before…thata surfer was killed by a Great White at Kingscliff, just north of Byron Bay. 

A pattern emerges?

As Longtom posited four days ago. 

“Is there a tipping point where something gets done about it? Or do we accept a world of increasing White sharks, more surfers getting whacked, more bleed outs, more epic battles between surfers and sharks who didn’t read the modern-day script that it was all just a case of mistaken identity and once they realised the boo boo they’d just swim off red faced.”

 


A grifter’s guide to surfing Lake Michigan: “Grenades of power wobble my surfboard; I feel like Bodhi paddling out one last time!”

A blaze of triumph in Chicago… 

I quickly wax my board, feeling a combination of self-loathing and grudging acceptance.

I tie my boardshorts, throw on a cotton shirt (it’s not cause Dane wears them, it’s cause I prefer stepping on the bottom of my shirt mid popup) and do my best to look like I belong.

Strange how I now feel more self-conscious “surfing” in middle America than I did paddling out at spots in Northern California I had no business being at.

Michiganders gawk, chuckling at the small man walking through a Lake Michigan parking lot with a surfboard tucked under his arm.

I am acutely aware of the caricature I am.

“Surf’s up, man.”

Not sure if he’s making fun of me. Probably.

I stare at the lake.

Last time I was here it was a jumble of frozen blocks of ice. Now, I might consider it an actual beach, as long as I ignore the reddish brown water.

Surf is pumping. A jumbled mess of white caps, four foot at five seconds. I ponder to myself if it’s really worth the hepatitis.

We aren’t far from Chicago.

I throw my leash on, hyper aware of the judgmental, mid-western eyes.

The paddle out isn’t bad.

It’s probably because I can walk out the lineup, or the fact that the waves are gutless. I bob in the lineup, trying to ascertain if the waves breaking fifty yards outside of me are rideable.

My thoughts are quickly interrupted by frantic whistles.

I look back.

On shore, a pre-pubescent lifeguard frantically signals for me to come in.

His friend sits atop an ATV – an apparent necessity to cover the fifty yards of beach.

“I just can’t let you go out here. We just can’t. But, if you walk, like, one hundred yards north, I can’t tell you what to do.”

He glances at me, unsure if I understand his hint.

As I trudge north, I hear him say, “Seriously, be careful out there man.”

I feel like Bodhi paddling out one last time.

I repeat my paddle out, gleeful when a single wave breaks in front of me and I’m forced to duckdive.

I’m joined by a middle-aged, balding man wearing a nineties-era O’Neill electric blue and yellow rash guard. I’m pretty sure he’s not wearing to appear ironic or retro.

He flashes me a pair of vertical shakas, the thumbs pointed to the sky, a smile plastered on his face with a look that says, “Can you believe this?”

I like my new friend. He’s riding a five-o Beater-like a boogie board. I respect it.

And even though he will inevitably be staring up at me when I stroke into the only set of the day, a waist-high burger, I can’t fault him.

There’s a whole lot less kooks here than Southern California right now.

I’m greeted by childish screams every time I lumber to my feet. There’s a family splashing in the waves on the inside and I’m relatively sure I’m the first person they’ve ever seen stand up on a surfboard.

Though my rides consist of a pop-up to a not so graceful kick out, that’s all the waves offer, I feel as though I’m ripping.

These people have no idea what good surfing looks like (a stark reminder Elo – the WSL doesn’t, and won’t, garner watches in Michigan).

Might as well enjoy the one instance when I am the best surfer in the water.

An hour or so later, I leave the water feeling more disappointed than satiated.

I wonder if this is what Lemoore feels like? A long drive back through rural America, no coastline in sight, no feeling of dried salt on my skin.

Even so, as soon as I’m home I check the NOAA wind reports for next week. Maybe next time I’ll find a salty local to scream at me in the lineup.

Or when I ask the boy at the surf shop counter for a bar of wax, he won’t look at me as if I’m not speaking English.

Or, who knows, it could be five foot at four seconds.


Watch: Boxing great “Iron” Mike Tyson set to fight a shark on cable television “in the name of research,” aggressively punches surfboard to prove fitness!

"Someone is going to get bit."

Let’s be very frank and honest here. Who is your favorite boxer of all-time? Muhammad Ali is, of course, the natural number one choice but “Iron” Mike Tyson has to be a close-ish second followed by Ivan Drago in third.

No?

I think undeniable and now, Iron Mike is ready to “square off” against a shark “in the name of research.”

According to the press release, “Iron Mike Tyson, the baddest man on the planet, is back for the ultimate showdown. Tyson vs. Jaws.”

The “name of research” is yet to be revealed. Also, it is unclear how they will fight though Tyson declares, “Someone is going to get bit.”

In the accompanying video clip, Mike Tyson can be seen angrily destroying an unglassed surfboard.

Do boxers have beef with surfers, in general?

I hope not as I like boxing, very much, though am not adept in the Sweet Science. Still, I find boxing graceful especially when compared with Ultimate Fighting which generally sees two men rolling around on the ground, grasping for each other’s tendons.

Uncomfortable.

Which professional surfer would make the best boxer?

Filipe Toledo?

The boy who punched that açai bowl?

Hmmmm.