"Take us surfing."
"Take us surfing."

Celebrate: New Zealand’s “Surfing for Farmers” program, the most anti-depressive initiative of the year, wins prestigious award for excellence!

An extremely joyous occasion.

Almost nine months ago, the most anti-depressive story ever came and went. You certainly forgot that it was even on BeachGrit, as the Kung Flu began to rage and suck up all the oxygen, but you can go back and read here or I can just tell you that it was about a wonderful man named Stephen Thomson who decided that New Zealand’s farmers were too stressed and needed surf in their lives.

Well, one thing led to another and Surfing for Farmers was born, a wonderful partnership between the New Plymouth Surfriders Club and the local farmers in the Gisborne area who could come for free gear, lessons, and laughter in the salty sea.

But have you ever heard of a finer thing?

I haven’t and neither had the good people at New Zealand’s 2020 Real Estate Institute of New Zealand Awards for Excellence as its members bestowed the Small Community Award of Surfing for Farmers.

Buoyed by such success, the program is moving nationwide, all the way across the north island from Gisborne to Taranaki, and hopes to attract over 3000 farmers this summer.

Taranaki surfriders club president Mark Dwyer invited his farmers to come down to the club on Tuesday evenings where they will provide surfboards and wetsuits as well as surf lessons and told the local broadsheet, “They can have a few cold ones and a barbecue afterwards so it’s a great way to get farmers away from the stress of their farms, to exercise and socialise with their farming mates.”

Are tears not in your eyes yet?

Can you think of any other sectors of our community that could benefit from the positive power of surfing?

Surfing for Plumbers?

Surfing for Inmates?

Surfing for World Surf League CEOs?

It’s the giving season. Dig deep.

"There's room in the Sprinter if you want to come to Rincon with me."

Surfline Man Goes Surfing (Part One): “He wraps his sparkling midlength in a blanket. What if there’s a pothole? What if his precious midlength gets a ding in it? He would never be able to match the resin tint. It would be so totally ruined!”

All those colors and arrows pointed right at California. Tomorrow is going to be the best day ever, he can feel it.

Surf is coming.

Surfline Man doesn’t really know where the waves come from — I mean, really, who does — but he knows what the graphs and charts tell him. Waves! Waves are coming.

An unsinkable optimism buoys him. He is certain that the forecasts would never lie.

It’ll be a day like no other.

But first he has to get ready.

The first winter swell of the season is coming straight at him, and he isn’t even prepared for it at all.

Surfline Man has so much to do!

To begin with, the Sprinter needs washing. There’s no way he can drive to the first winter swell of the season in a dirty van. It would be totally bad luck like breaking a mirror or some other bad luck thing. Surfline Man is pretty sure he will never get a set wave unless the Sprinter is sparkling clean.

When he wakes up on Monday, there’s no surf, which is sad. But Surfline Man is not going to let this disappointment get him down. Instead, he puts on his favorite Hurley boardies and spends Monday morning washing the Sprinter from top to bottom. He even adds a coat of wax for good measure.

The Sprinter shines so good he can see his face in it. The new beard is looking super stylish, he feels. He will for sure get a set wave now.

Puttering around in his garage, Surfline Man scans his tidy stacks of surf wax. Horrified, he realizes that he has no cold water wax at all. None! He can not surf the first winter swell of the season on warm water wax. This would break all the most important rules.

Surfline Man whips out his new iPhone 12 Max and adds “cold water wax” to his shopping list. Better stop by REI and pick up some fresh Mac and Cheese packets to stash in the Sprinter, too. It’s good to be prepared.

Back inside, Surfline Man sits down his computer for some serious analysis. Working the angles, scrutinizing the tides, you know, surf forecasting stuff. Where should he go for the first winter swell of the season? He has some hard decisions to make.

dude, where are you surfing next week, he texts his best friend

idk, hadn’t thought about it
are there waves coming

yah brah solid northwest on the way
i think i’m going to rincon
surfline says it’ll be good
want to come with?
plenty of room i’m taking the sprinter

oh god i hate that place no way
it’ll be so fucking crowded man
probs just get some waves around here

Surfline Man can’t be bothered with this sort of defeatism. Think positive! He’s pretty sure he saw that on the lululemon bag, where his new clothes still sit, tags still affixed. Maybe it’s not too late to return them.

Anyway, he has a turquoise CI midlength now, so he’s going to get waves no matter what. Surfline Man knows he would so totally get the worst FOMO ever if he didn’t go to Rincon.

The night before the first winter swell of the season arrives, Surfline Man meticulously packs his boards in the Sprinter. He wraps his sparkling midlength in a blanket. What if there’s a pothole? What if his precious midlength gets a ding in it? He would never be able to match the resin tint. It would be so totally ruined.

Then he stacks a fish (6’0”) and three thrusters (6’0”, 6’ 2 1/2”, and 6’ 7”) on top. Fins. Leashes. Three wetsuits. Rinse kit. Coffee grinder. Aeropress. Mac and Cheese. Microwave burritos. Whiskey. Surfline Man firmly believes in covering all his bases.

The van packed, Surfline Man returns to his computer.

Gotta check the forecast one last time. Maybe it’s changed!

But no, it’s all looking so good. All those colors and arrows pointed right at California. Tomorrow is going to be the best day ever, he can feel it.

Surfline Man can barely sleep. It’s like Christmas! The first winter swell of the season! He can’t even wait.

(Part Two tomorrow!)

The great Sean Doherty, main photo, faithful acolytes in smaller frames.

Listen: Superstar surf journalist Sean Doherty on his counterintuitive lunge into print, the WSL’s tenuous grip on pro surfing and the enduring legacy of Truman Capote: “I am a drunkard, I am a dope addict, I am a homosexual, I am a genius!”

And, writing drunk, giving hell to foreign oil interests etc… 

Professional surfing would be a drab affair without two writers, BeachGrit’s Steve “Longtom” Shearer and, before Surfer magazine’s sudden and deserved death, its chief tour reporter, Sean Doherty.

Both will crumble bones and drink blood in the pursuit of a story.

Today on Dirty Water, Doherty, who is also the author of the definitive MP: the Life of Michael Peterson and My Brother’s Keeper: the official Bra Boy’s story, and who was once voted the World’s Best Surf Reporter, explains why he bought the print magazine Surfing World, writing drunk, how he helped run Norwegian oil drillers out of Australian waters and why 1993 world champ Pauline Menczer is his favourite surf interview.

Among other things.

Listen: “I am Chas Smith and I see a whole army of my North Countymen, here, in defiance of tyranny. You’ve come to fight as free shapers, glassers etc. and free you are. What will you do without freedom? Will you fight?”


I’ll be truly honest here. I love Australia. I love Australia so much that, as a six and seven-year-old boy in Papua New Guinea I told everyone that I was, in fact, Australian even eating Vegemite to prove it (even though I thought Vegemite was chocolate spread and when I first tasted it wondered what in the world Australians had done to chocolate).

Waltzing Matilda.

Baz Luhrmann.


Though as much as I love Australia, I love a good old fashioned surf turf war more. Locals rising up a la the Blackshorts, Bra Boys, Westside Santa Cruzers, whoever claims Silver Strand as home.

But we’ve all gone as soft as our beards, let’s be completely honest, and now Wavestorms clog every lineup while we keep our hands in our armpits grumbling.

Except for Oceanside, California and God bless each and every Oceansider.

JS Industries, as you certainly read, recently moved a warehouse into the North County, San Diego’s beating heart. Oceanside, as you may not know, is the actual epicenter of southern California’s shaping industry with many shapers, glassers, etc. plying their trade just east of the 5 freeway.

All fine and good except JS is Australian and a warehouse ain’t a factory. Simply storing boards being shipped in from overseas.

The local board building community revolted, tagged the JS warehouse’s freshly painted black walls (freshly painted black over an iconic-ish mural) “you fuk up! fuck ozz. O’side. Get out!!!

Like good old fashioned times but do you think the Oceansiders will keep turning up the heat or do you think JS Industries’ business model superiority will crush the plucky locals?

The sunny place for shady people?

I am Team North County and will do my damndest to pour gas all over this fire. Listen here, also, for a thoughtful discussion on talk therapy.

Not to be missed.

Surfer magazine subscribers magically turned into Men’s Journal subscribers overnight: “You will discover tips, guides and expert advice on style!”

Very exciting news.

But who would have ever thought, even just ten years ago, that the surfer of 2020 is a style-conscious, woke, healthy, upper-ish middle class man with cool cocktail mixing tricks up his sleeve and a penchant for knock-off mid-century modern chairs?

I did not see the Hurley Person coming but that is, apparently, what we have all turned into.

The iconic surf brand, founded by shaper Bob Hurley, defined the very best of our surf life those ten years ago. A fine team, very technical boardshorts, Pat O’Connell etc. Sure Bob had sold to Nike but that had made it all even better.

Then came Bluestar Alliance.

The company, which purchased Hurley from Nike just over a year ago, is not looking to lose money. Per its website:

Bluestar Alliance is uniquely positioned to evaluate brands, brand acquisition, sale and licensing activities. We value brands by conducting detailed field assessment and research. Due diligence is prepared onsite where we begin a reviewing process that starts with historic data/industry analysis and brand positioning.

And so field assessment and research, due diligence etc. re. their Hurley and the decision was made that the Hurley Person, i.e. surfers, craved beard softener and face-peels.

Following suit, David J. Pecker’s American Media Inc., which purchased Surfer magazine just over a year ago, is transitioning that subscription base to Men’s Journal, after killing the title.

Per its mailer:

Tips, guides and expert advice on gear, adventure, style and more.

The surfer of 2020, i.e. us, is a full on weiner.