Surfline Men, Rincon warriors.

Surfline Man Goes Surfing (Part Two): “Here he is! At the world’s greatest point break! Except a few others he can’t remember, but they’re all so far away, like South Africa or something!”

Looking around the lineup, he realizes there are a lot of people out. They don’t care about his new beard or his midlength. All they want is waves.

Long before dawn, Surfline Man cues up his fave Jack Johnson mix and pilots the Sprinter north on the 5.

He speeds through a sleeping San Clemente, merges smoothly to the 405, giggles at the Hooters that sits right next to the Vans headquarters, and Bam! He’s right through Huntington Beach.

Past Sunset Boulevard, over Sepulveda, he speeds along the 101 through the Val, the strip malls streaming by on repeat. He stops in Agoura for a gas station coffee. Then, down Conejo Grade, and he’s so close now. The oil rig lights dance on the horizon.

Rincon! He’ll be there in no time.

Exiting Bates Road, Surfline Man pulls into the parking lot. It’s still dark and he’s not even the first one there. Already cars fill the sought-after parking spots closest to the trail. He feels a little grumpy about this. He wanted to be first.

But here he is! The world’s greatest point break! Except a few others he can’t remember, but they’re all so far away, like South Africa or something.

With his Yeti mug filled with gas station coffee in hand, Surfline Man saunters through the parking lot from his less-than-perfect parking spot and heads down the trail to take a look at the surf.

it’s totally firing dude
you should totally drive up here

Even through the high tide, Surfline Man can tell the waves are so good. He can’t resist texting his buddy to tell him what he’s missing. He’s pretty sure this is what friends are for. Why else would he put up with those bros?

After a short nap, cuddled up in a spare boardbag he found in the back of the Sprinter, Surfline Man is ready to surf. He pulls on his new Patagonia wetsuit. It’s a little tight, but he’s sure it’ll loosen up. Then Surfline Man carefully unwraps his precious midlength and gives it a quick touch-up with a fresh block of cold water wax.

Surfline Man catches a glimpse of his reflection in the window, new wetsuit, new beard, midlength. He feels so good right now, like a surfer in a magazine or from one of his favorite videos.

Maybe he should make a video. Like, he could have his own Youtube channel, even. That would be so cool.

Trying to be chill, Surfline Man heads for the trail, but he can’t contain his excitement. He’s going surfing! The waves are so good and the tide is totally perfect. He is so ready to rip now!

Surfline Man tiptoes through the cobbles, pretty sure that everyone on the beach is watching him. He’s going to fall on his face with his beautiful midlength, new wetsuit, and new beard, and everyone is totally going to laugh. This is like, the most stressful thing ever.

Safely through the cobbles, Surfline Man makes the paddle out between sets like, so easy. Dry hair, don’t care, he is feeling so pro.

Looking around the lineup, he realizes there are a lot of people out. They don’t care about his new beard or his midlength. All they want is waves.

Maybe he should have skipped the nap, and surfed the high tide. It’s too late now.

A set comes, and Surfline Man scrambles with the crowd. He looks up to see a bearded man sliding smoothly down the line. He can’t decide if he’s more jealous of the beard or the surfing, but the dude can surf and he thinks the beard looks super familiar. He’s pretty sure it’s Keith Malloy, I mean, who else could it be.

Starstruck, Surfline Man totally misses the set looming outside. Faster than he can even think, the set is right there, and Surfline Man discovers the perils of his beautiful midlength. He tries to duckdive, but he lacks the strength to shove all that volume underwater. Instead, Surfline Man gets so tossed.

Four more waves follow and he’s helpless to do anything but get washed all the way down the point like a leaf in a fast-moving stream or some other poetic nature shit like that.

Frazzled, but he’s not about to give up. At the bottom of the point, Surfline Man sees a wave. It’s not much, but he goes for it, and rides it all the way to the beach, which really, if he’s honest, wasn’t that far away.

Fuckyeah! He caught a wave at Rincon. He struts up the point, like he’s just made the wave of the day.

This time, this time, it’s going to be different, he thinks, as he paddles back out. He’s not going to get distracted by Keith Malloy’s beard, if in fact, it was even Keith Malloy, which maybe it wasn’t. Really, he doesn’t have time to think about that now.

Waves. He needs to catch one!

After three hours, even Surfline Man’s beard is defeated. Sure, he managed to pick off a couple of insiders. He didn’t get to do his cutback that he’s been practicing so hard, but he’s pretty sure he looked super stylish anyway.

It was fine. Really, he’s stoked. It was super fun.

Surfline Man walks up the trail to his not-perfect parking spot. He carefully wraps up his precious midlength and standing on his yoga mat, he wiggles out of his suit. He pours soothing warm water from his rinse kit over his head. Then he cooks up some Mac and Cheese. A man needs his comforts after a hard day of surfing.

How’d you do out there? Get any? asks the dude in the Sprinter across the way.

Yah, it was so fun out there! Super stoked! Surfline Man says.

Driving south down the 101, rocking out to Rebelution, Surfline Man plots his triumphant return to the Rincon lineup. For one thing, his midlength was totally the wrong choice. He should have known better. Really, Surfline should tell him what board to ride. That would be so helpful.

Whatever. Next time, it’s going to be totally different. He’s going to get so many set waves.

Surfline Man just needs to find the perfect surfboard.

"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.