Bills, fading skills that never were, overcrowded lineup of bobbing kooks… even the sand is coarser in my toes.

Quit-lit: “What does it mean when your life is a steady downward trajectory from the peak euphoria of your first wave? Even the sand is coarser between my toes”

"Barbarian fucking days indeed."

It’s like a View-Master toy from the 1970s. Maybe you remember ’em.

You insert stereoscopic 3-D pictures and advance with the lever. Your own little fantasy world that only you can see. Never mind that it’s mass produced and everyone else is looking at the same pictures, just from their point of view.

The initial joy of the contraption is captivating, but after the third cycle through you realize it’s the same shit, and it’s not getting better.

Has BG become a View-Master in this COVID-shark-quit-lit Elo-and-Slater-stalking-MAGA idiocy in the comments takeover year of 2020?

Is BG a microcosm of the macrocosm of surfing-while-aging? An ouroboros, where to progress we need to eat our own tail, wallow in our own repetitive shit?

Have we reached the point where we realize it’s not getting better, despite efforts of LongTom and Chazz and Surfads to nudge us to hit the browser refresh lever for another peek we hope will be more entertaining than the last time?

Or is this allegorical musing a reflection on my own surfing, or more accurately, recent lack of?

Maybe it was the excess testosterone or the naïve belief of youth that all your dreams will come true and everything you talk about until midnight actually means something.

Is Searching for Tom Curren better than Kelly Slater in Black and White?

What’s the best surf spot on the East Coast?

Will you ever longboard as an old man so you can at least stay in the water?

How much money do we need for an endless around the world surf trip before we get real jobs, and where will we go?

Etc. etc. etc.

Those questions and dreams lost in the dustbin of the past, ground to find granules on the floor of my life where they join with those long-lost feelings from when I used to walk into a surf shop to smell the wax and get the latest copy of Surfer magazine.

Shit, those boardroom kooks even took that nominal pleasure from us this year.

Repetition… the story of this, my so-called surfing life. Barbarian fucking days indeed.

The same shit waves.

This, despite the collective local delusion that they are worth surfing, as seen in the locally produced “I (heart) small waves” bumper sticker. Fucking idiots. They’re small shit waves. Wishful thinking via bumper sticker doesn’t make them worth more, or you a better surfer by grovelling on them.

The same grovelling for thirty years.

What does an overhead wall even look like? I’ve been trying to find out for years via surf porn. Now with GoPro we losers can see even more clearly what we’ll never experience. Koa Rothman has perfect abs, a perfect mole, perfect eyebrows, all the free açai he wants, and in one day surfing Rockies will get more ocean juice and tube time than I’ve gotten combined in thirty years of ocean time.

Who wants to see a vlog of my surf life?

The same piddly dribbles…  same pulling on the wetsuit for the fifty-degree winter plunge…  same shredder who somehow is pulling all the modern tricks on these shit waves as he’s aged, when I’ve regressed to barely being able to stand up on time before the dribble passes me by.

Except now I have a wife who begrudges me even the one hour every two months I do get in this same sloppy shit.

And while some deal with mid-life crises by buying the convertible Corvette or doing the dream trip to the Mentawis or dropping $1,200 for a new custom shape from their dream shaper, my mid-life crisis is trying not to step on Lego pieces in the middle of the night as I sneak out of bed to rub one out.

I haven’t bought a new board in twenty years or been on a dream trip in as long.

Bills, fading skills that never were, overcrowded lineup of bobbing kooks… even the sand is coarser in my toes.

What does it mean when our whole surf life is a steady downward trajectory from the peak euphoria of our first ever wave, through bills, jobs, aging, more people in the lineup, stagnant skill level, down the slope to the putrid chasm of lost regrets for what could have been: if only… if only the waves were four-feet bigger. If only the wind were offshore.

If only I had a job in Hawaii.

If only I could have more money to travel.

If only there weren’t so many Germans in the lineup when I finally travel.

The worst thing about it all is that I see where this nihilism all ends and it terrifies me.

Or would, if I weren’t a budding nihilist. The not caring, the endless snark, the being ok with missing a chest high two-hour swell when back in the day I’d have been pissed for three weeks and would have rewaxed my board as a promise to myself to not miss the next one.

I see where it ends, on this path of nihilism.

And it’s this end game, this telos, the realization of who I’ll become if I don’t snap out of it that is the mantra I have to repeat, to somehow escape the quit lit era of our times:

“Whatever else I do and no matter how bad it gets, don’t become Ben Marcus.”

Gimme some o dat secret sauce.
Gimme some o dat secret sauce.

Researchers declare: “More Great White Sharks in California waters than anytime in history and people may be on secret menu!”

Animal style.

And oh bother. Sharks. Am I right? But this is the time of year, usually, when Californians wipe their brows and bid adieu to our Great White population as they head for warmer Mexican waters to winter properly. 2020 though, and there have never been more apex predators sticking around California.

Chris Lowe, the director of the shark lab at California State University, Long Beach, has tagged a record 38 sharks which already triples the number that were tagged last year.

He says, “Normally they’d be leaving by now, but instead we are seeing more sharks than ever.”

David Ebert, who directs the Pacific Shark Research Center at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, agrees with Lowe’s assessment.

He says, “There are so many people in the water: you have paddleboards, kayaks, wetsuits, but the number of attacks hasn’t really changed. That tells you that people are not on the menu, they’re not out here hunting people.”

Which makes me very scared for everyone knows that the epicureanly most adventurous rarely order off the menu but force kitchen staff to innovate, to experiment, to push the very bar.

Like, when I go to In-n-Out hamburgers, for example, I never order a hamburger, cheeseburger or double-double, which are the only items on the menu.


One time I ordered a five-by-five, five meats on top of five cheeses.

I often order “animal style,” grilled onions, secret sauce.

Stretching the chefs. Pushing them near their breaking point all for the sake of culinary excellence.

Are people “animal style” for Great Whites?

Many worries.

Crow bar or choke, it all works!

Quit-lit: “Sometimes I look at everyone in the line-up and think to myself, I’d just love to smash your face in with a crowbar. Every one of ‘em.”

Surfing sucks, the sooner you realise it the better.

I’ve just taken off, my eyes on the elbow of pale blue wall bending back towards me like an old friend, when I hear it.


I chance a quick glance over my shoulder but can’t make anything out. I keep my line set for the oncoming section.

Then it comes again. Louder, and more pronounced.


I turn around just as it hits me, a whirlwind of pink and green, jamming two open palms straight into my cardiac plexus.

Fucken bam.

What was that?

A girl. A woman.

A lady?

A surfer, anyway, coming from so far back down the line I had no chance of seeing her. Her insouciance rings in my ears as I rise to the surface. Where the fuck did she come from?

I watch as she finishes her ride, flying over the back on an olive-tinted longboard before the wave detonates on the inside section. A small stocky figure with short dark hair and a pale pink-green spring suit.

She makes her way back out, shaking her head in silence as she paddles past.

“I’m so sorry about that,” I say. “I honestly didn’t see you.”

“Yeah, I’ve heard that one before.”

“Maybe it’s all the green you’ve got going on there. Ya know, like camouflage?” I offer.

She spits a mouthful of water at me and heads back to the top of the queue.

Fair enough.

It’s an ebulliently bright spring day. Small, fun waves run down the bank. Crowded as all hell. Multitudes of colourful wetsuits, vessels, hairstyles, etc dot the lineup like confetti.

She stalks through the pack with ease.

I watch her next few waves, which she picks in quick succession. Scant disregard is shown for the hierarchy, the naked order of things, barely exposed under the low tide line as it is now anyway.

Just to be sure, though, she replaces her ‘oi’ with a shrill whistle for any other chump stupid enough to go near her.

Point taken.

She has a stiff style. Not fluid, or graceful, or any of those other superlatives men seem to throw at women in the water

But effective. Purposeful. Forward shuffle to make section. Backward shuffle to set up turn. Hard, angular spray as she pivots. Elegant in its own right, like a Rorschach ink blot or a brick hurled through a shop window.

It might not be pretty. It might be the wrong board. But she’s surfing.

I continue my own struggle. But my joints are straining. My movement is slow.


I see her again at the showers, the water beading off her shaved head as she washes away the salt. Faded tattoos on her forearms jutt out from under her wetsuit. She might be half my age, maybe. It’s hard for me to tell.

“I am sorry about dropping in earlier. I should have been looking.”

“It’s fine,” she says. “Of all the cunts out there, you weren’t the biggest.”

I offer a weak smile.

It’s the nicest thing anyone has said about me in a while.

“You from around here?”

“Yeah. I used to surf here a lot when I was younger, but have been all over the place for the last few years. I’m trying to get back into it.”

“I thought you might look familiar,” I say.

We watch as two gym bros with brand new carbon wraps walk past, both stuffed into their wetsuits like socks full of walnuts.

“It’s fucking painful, though. Surfing here, now.”

“Yet we keep coming back,” I say. “Joyful participation in the sorrows of the world, right?”

“I’m not sure I’d call it joyful anymore,” she says as she shoulders her board and heads towards the car park.

But after a couple of steps the surfer turns back around. She studies me for a moment, the way an ivory hunter might consider an elephant with no tusks, and flashes me a smile.

I’ll catch you ‘round.


I end up seeing her out most days over the next few weeks. We get to chatting. Sparring, more like it.

Turns out we’re on opposite sides of the fence for most things, this surfer and I. Diametrically opposed on every major issue. Politics. Sexuality. Religion. Longboards.

Me, steeped in my archaic ways. Her, the young evolutionary.

But I like the company, her lack of pretence, her way of attacking things.

There’s common ground between us too. We can’t stand crowds, but are too lazy to go further afield. We respect where surfing’s come from, and mourn for where it’s going.

“You know,” she says to me one particularly crowded day as we wait out the back. “Sometimes I look at everyone in the line-up and think to myself, I’d just love to smash your face in with a fucken crowbar. Every one of ‘em.”

She’s a beacon of light for me in this colourful sea of grey.


Then, she disappears. There one day, gone the next.

Sand banks have lasted longer. I don’t think I miss her, at least not consciously, but then I find myself doing laps of the beach at odd hours to my usual routine, hoping to catch her out.

I never do.

I drop in on more people in the water. Get angrier than I already am. Like I needed an excuse for it anyway.

I smoke more, engage less.

My joyful participation ebbs to a neap. Highs and lows are indistinguishable. Movements strain. Joints slow.


Three months later I run into her at a cafe a couple of towns over. She’s waiting tables with the same efficacious manner she surfs, quickly, resolutely, with no excess.

She’s just about to clear my booth, corner table for one, by the open window, when she recognises me.

“What’s up, I say. Been getting any waves?”

“Nah, fuck that,” she says as she wipes the table down, taking special care to clean up the torn sugar packets I’ve poured into my coffee. “I’m over it again.”

“It’s a shame,” I say. “It was good seeing you out there. I feel like you made it just that little bit better. I haven’t surfed in weeks myself now.”

“Yeah, well. It happens,” she says as she keeps wiping. “But fuck it, I’m done with it.”

“Just like that?”


“How do you do that, though? I know you love it as much as I do. How can you just… stop?”

She finishes her wiping and turns her face to the window. The harshness of the afternoon sun illuminates her in a way that’s almost unrecognisable.

“Surfing for me became like a limb with gangrene,” she says. “The crowds, the drop-ins. The exposure. It just kept getting worse and worse. Best to just lop the whole thing off before the resentment spreads. It was good for me once, so I’ll just hang on to that.”

“But isn’t that why we keep at it?” I ask. “Because it eventually gets better again?”

“Not for me. I’m busy. Got bills to pay. Why waste my time in the water?”

She turns back to face me, takes my empty cup, re-sets the table and heads for the kitchen on the far side of the room.

“Surfing fucking sucks,” she says over her shoulder as she walks away. “The sooner you realise it, the better.”

She makes her way through the kitchen bay doors.

For a brief moment the wisps of a thought gather in the back of my mind. Imagine being that strong minded, that resolute.

That willing to end something so cleanly. It must be… liberating.

My movements are slowing. My joints are fucked.

Maybe it’s my time to go?

But the thought lasts about as long as it takes for the bay doors to swing back open again.

Just like that, the idea, along with the girl, is gone.

“Quit surfing,” I laugh to myself. “What a fucking longboarder. What a fucking kook.”

I wave my Amex impatiently at the closest waiter with one hand while I take my phone from my pocket with the other, and as the strengthening breeze swings offshore and spills through the open window and knocks sugar and pepper and salt all over her newly set table I smile at the mess I’ve made and wonder whether I should google ‘where to buy a mid length’ as one word or two.

Is it love?
Is it love?

Breaking: World’s greatest surfer Kelly Slater just made an appearance on longtime girlfriend’s Instagram Live video chat, dispelling recent reportage that the two have a less-than-robust social media relationship!

Rapidly evolving.

In yet another twist, it has just been revealed that the world’s greatest surfer Kelly Slater made a recent appearance on longtime girlfriend Kalani Miller’s Instagram Live video chat. Rumors swirled for days that the two had ceased to follow each other on the popular social media application shocking steady fans who had watched the relationship develop over the years.

Neither were available for comment.

It was later pointed out that they do, indeed, follow each other but further reporting uncovered that neither had liked the other’s most recent Instagram post, again throwing long-suffering devotees into paroxysms of worry.

Now, we have Slater appearing on Miller’s Instagram Live video chat, as screenshot by a truth activist (photo above), which poses more questions than it answers.

With such heat around the story, are the two of them pretending to be in love like President Donald Trump and his wife Melania or are they really in love like President Donald Trump and Marla Maples?

What is happening with Kelly Slater’s eyes?

I once saw Marla Maples in the lobby of the Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole. She was wearing a brown fur headband and a white one-piece ski outfit with plunging neckline. She passed me while I sat enjoying a bourbon neat après-ski at the Handle Bar.

Very nice.

More as the story develops.

Mommie Dearest.
Mommie Dearest.

“Overbearing” Great White Shark, possibly largest in the entire Atlantic ocean, malingering off New Jersey coast: “She’s over 50 years old and mother to as many as 100 li’l killers!”

Ben Gravy beware.

But which do you consider the scariest horror film featuring a bad mother? Mommie Dearest? Mother!? My Mom’s a Werewolf? Dead Alive?

There are many terrifying choices as mothers, when they turn, strike more ice-cold fear into the heart than just about anything and, thus, it is fitting that possibly the largest Great White Shark in the entire ocean is a 50+ year old mother named Nukumi.

Weighing in at over 4500 lbs and stretching over 17 feet, the apex predator was first observed and tagged just over a month ago near the coast of Nova Scotia. She is now malingering just off New Jersey and surfers there should be very, very scared as she could easily fit three Ben Gravys in her belly alongside multiple helpings of Sam Hammer.

How do you imagine Ben Gravy tastes (imagine here)?

Nukumi, shark researchers estimate, has likely given birth to over 100 pups in her lifetime and is “winning the battle of natural selection.”

Back to scary mothers, though, do you think she raised her li’l killers right with good manners etc. or do you think she abused them so that they can go abuse others?

Have you watched Dead Alive?

It is my favorite of the bad mother genre.