Beleaguered surfers stagger under new damning categorization: “You all are part of the mediocre white man industrial complex!”

The burdens we bear.

If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that white men are giant bummers, responsible for the dour state of the world, generally toxic and uncool. Oof. Seeing that the majority of surfers are white men all of these lessons apply to us and now, also, a whole new categorization. The “mediocre white man industrial complex.”

The term, first presented in Ijeoma Oluo’s new book Mediocre, describes how white male mediocrity has become both the United States and surfing’s core ideology. The author defines white male mediocrity as “this idea that white men deserve political power and wealth and safety and security and waves just because they’re white men.”

White male mediocrity protects the belief that white men are perceived as stronger and more successful than women and people of color regardless of skill or achievements, she says. “It’s a system that protects mediocrity, that sets [mediocrity] as the goal. And the idea that anything would ask for more of our systems — let alone the people within these systems — becomes a threat to the status quo and to our systems of power.”


It makes me think about my mediocre surfing and, likely, your mediocre surfing and how we’re bolstering the mediocre white man industrial complex every time we paddle out.

I need to work on doing less mediocre cutbacks. Like, actually bend my knees and stuff.

Paddling now. I’ll report on progress soon.

JOB's old house, with Pipe frontage.

North Shore fire sale: Pipe house made iconic by Jamie O’Brien hits the market with expectations around $5.5 million, almost half its 2018 price; joins rumoured sale of both Volcom houses!

"Home to this year's Billabong Pipeline Masters and the Volcom Pipe Pro – RIGHT IN YOUR BACK YARD! This is a one of a kind property!"

Hot on the rumour that both Volcom Pipe houses have been quietly listed for sale, is the confirmed listing of the Pipe house Jamie O’Brien made famous at 59-369 Ke Nui Road for $5.5 million.

The old joint, which was built in 1945 and remodelled ten years later, is actually two studios nailed together. Jamie used to live in the oceanfront half, daddy Mick and pals in the back of the place.

The owner has been trying to sell the house for the past four years for ten-mill, but has now cut the price by half.

Four beds, two baths, sixteen hundred square feet.

From the listing,

Directly fronting the legendary Pipeline surf break on the North Shore of Oahu. During the winter months you will be treated to stunning views of arguably the best surf break in the world! Home to this year’s Billabong Pipeline Masters and the Volcom Pipe Pro – RIGHT IN YOUR BACK YARD! This is a one of a kind property! Direct ocean frontage perched above and overlooking one of the most incredible beaches in the world! During the summer the waters are calm and clear, the sand is clean and soft. Wonderful swimming, beachcombing, and sunning! The expansive summer sand fronting this property provides incredible privacy. The North Shore of Oahu has a spirit or mana. It is not just a location, it is a lifestyle. Come – Become.. Bring your architect and contractor to explore the possibilities!

Obvs, I hit up Jamie, the flame haired king of Pipeline and currently the most popular surfer in the world, for his view on the matter.

Jamie moved out of the joint a few years back when he bought his own place behind the Lopez house

“Shitty,” he said. “I wish the owner would give me an inside deal.”

JOB said he doubted the five-mill price would be hit ’cause it was a knockdown and predicts three-and-a-half mill will be enough to convince the owner to toss you the keys.

Rumor: Both of the iconic Volcom homes, fronting the Banzai Pipeline, quietly on the block for $3.5m and $2.5m respectively!

Volcom has owned the “party” house since 2000 and the “Gerry” house since 2008 They are most well-known for featuring in the Christmas classic “Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell.”

They say that you can’t put a price on peace of mind but you can, apparently, on a piece of surf history and a surprisingly low price to boot.

A hot rumor has floated over the coconut wireless, flighting for airtime with the holiday classic Mele Kalikimaka, that not one but both of Volcom’s Pipe fronting homes are quietly on the block as pocket listings. The classic “party” house, featuring a dungeon and porch-front house held aloft by cinder block and the next door “Gerry” house (sometimes called the “Yago” house) where Bruce Irons once ruled from a third story penthouse.

Both come with large black and white “stones.”

Volcom has owned the “party” house since 2000 and the “Gerry” house since 2008 They are most well-known for featuring in the Christmas classic “Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell.”

Also for being “the proving grounds.”

Much to learn here.


But doesn’t $3.5m and $2.5m respectively seem ridiculously cheap? Like, so cheap that I’m a tiny bit reticent in advertising because I could imagine being almost able to afford if I had made vastly better choices in life?

Well, BeachGrit is aiming for big things this coming year and maybe just maybe those big things include being “the proving grounds.”

You’re invited, of course, and we will paddle out to Pipe, together, and show everyone how it’s done.


Great White forces closure of popular Australian beach on one of state’s hottest Christmas Eves ever and less than two weeks after second-biggest Great White on record was caught and tagged just offshore!

"An abnormally high number of sharks."

A bumper season for Great Whites in Australia, to be sure. 

Just two weeks after the second-biggest Great White ever recorded in Western Australia waters forced the closure of Cottesloe, another Great White has put swimmers and surfers at the same beach back on the sand.

The White was three-hundred feet offshore when it was spotted at three forty-five, prompting the now familiar sounds of klaxons and megaphones and the scene of swimmers exiting the water, with haste. 

Forty-five minutes later, the White had disappeared and the beach was reopened although swimmers were especially tentative, few willing to venture into depths beyond their waists. 

Two weeks ago, Peter Godfrey from the Department of Fisheries had told 9News, “It’s very rare to have such a big White shark so close to the metropolitan area.” 

Fisheries catch “mammoth” Great White.

And, Surf Life Saving WA had warned of an “abnormally high number of sharks.”

The “mammoth” Great White swimming so close to a popular beach, it said, was “not an isolated incident.”

For generations, pretty Cottesloe Beach, seven miles (11 km) from the centre of Perth, was known for its dreamy grass terraces and even dreamier afternoons in its hotels’ beer gardens, a tangled sea of brown bodies and loose lips. 

Then, in 2000, one year after Great Whites became protected by law, a swimmer, Ken Crew, was attacked and killed by a fifteen-foot Great White in waist-deep water and in front of other swimmers, early morning joggers and cafe diners. He bled out in the arms of a Catholic priest on the beach. 

Also on Christmas Eve, Bunker Bay, an awesomely pretty crescent of white sand and green water almost at the tip of  Cape Naturaliste, a little north of Margaret River, the same joint that hosted an attack on a surfer by a “freakishly big Great White” in July, was closed due to a lingering Great White

Great White stocks appear to be abundant, at least anecdotally.

Wild new documentary follows rags-to-riches-to-rags story of Peruvian gang-banger turned pro surfing hopeful: “Soon after, he’d be in the hospital nursing two bullet holes through his body”

Easy to judge, hard to watch.

The new film En La Tormenta documents the last five years of WQS hopeful Jhonny Guerrero.

Here’s the short version:

Guerrero taught himself to surf on a snapped board in Lima as his dad sat in Peru’s hellish Lurigancho prison, his mom and baby brother without food and broke in Chorrillos, one of Lima’s many dangerous barrios.

Naturally, gang life seemed like a fun option for Jhonny until he was shot through the back in a drive-by.

While not explicitly prohibited in the ‘QS Rule Book, none of it is best practice.

Director Adam Brown originally set out for Peru in 2015 to shoot Projecto Sofía Mulánovich, a talent scouting and surf training academy led by Sophia herself, a former ASP World Tour Champion and current ISA World Games gold medal winner. Most of the kids invited into the Projecto came from the country’s middle and upper classes, equipped with fine quivers and supportive parents.

Jhonny had neither, showing up on the beach alone with an old board and a hole in his wetsuit.

Brown said that he “kept hearing about this kid called Jhonny Guerrero who was from a tough neighborhood. He had supposedly taught himself to surf on a piece of foam and then a broken board he had found on the beach and now he was absolutely ripping. He seemed like a bit of a myth and whenever I said to Sofia’s team that we should get him along to the trials, there was always some hesitatio. There were (unfounded) rumors at the time that Jhonny was robbing people on the beach to survive.”

Still, Sofía took a chance on the quiet kid, seeing both his drive and natural ability to read a wave right.

“Here in Peru mostly all the families that surf know each other and their love for the sports comes from generation to generation,” Sofia told me. “But Jhonny came from the city and nobody really knew about him and his family. He comes from a really unstable social background and I decided to help him because he didn’t have the means to get good equipment and coaching but he was super talented .”

And he was every bit as good as people had described: smooth and fluid, a raw talent that got Sofia and her coaches excited. Jhonny ended up being selected as part of a group of ten talented kids that would be trained by Sofia and her team.

Sofia’s interest in helping Jhonny went beyond teaching him how to get more power off his back foot. She and the others at the Projecto helped him keep distance from the gangs infesting his barrio.

“Jhonny was always in an environment that led him to street life, so we tried to help him by guiding him in the best possible way to put all his energy into his surfing. We moved him to a different house with a really nice family that surfs,” said Sofia.

In the film, we see Jhonny pick up sponsors including Hurley and others who throw him clothes and money, some of which he uses to buy a bed for his little brother and give some to his mom who says him, exhaustedly, “I’m so hungry.”

Happily ever after. Thank you, Hurley.

But the story arc of En La Tormenta isn’t that clean.

Even with the lifeline Sophia hands him, Jhonny goes back to what he knows. He’s anchored to the street. During the Peruvian under 16 finals, Jhonny was the favorite to win, but he never makes it to the sand, leaving Sofia and his support team defeated. When the camera catches his coach trying to shake some sense into him, Jhonny looks numb, indifferent at best.

Soon after, he’d be in the hospital nursing two bullet holes through his body.

It’s easy to judge him here, a raw-talented kid given a golden ticket to learn fromSofía Mulánovich with all the trimmings: boards, swag, cash then tossing it all to go back to the temptations of his barrio.

But environment everything and need has no law.

This is where the film is at its best, leaving us to wrestle with Jhonny’s decisions as we run our own eyes around our cozy, carpeted living rooms.

Fortunately for Jhonny, Sofia and his coaches didn’t let him run around the streets for long and within months of the shooting, we watch an emotional Jhonny back in the water on the ‘QS, nailing down some fine results.

En La Tormenta ends before Hurley dropped its team last year and before COVID-19 shut down Jhonny’s chances of continuing on tour.

“Cut adrift by circumstances,” as Director Adam Brown says.

Both Sofia and Brown are in frequent contact with Jhonny. Neither know if he’ll be able to get to the ‘CT.

Back in Chorrillos, Jhonny is pursuing his interest in Latin rap and has been seen lately in a few surf contests around Lima. Sofia thinks Jhonny has learned through the years that hard work pays off.

“He is a really charismatic young man that can succeed in many areas if he puts his heart and mind into it.”

Watching the movie, we’re left to wonder what’s going to happen to the kid who’s captured on film crying more than smiling, splitting his time between ocean and street.

And while beautifully shot (JJF’s filmer Erik Knutson spent some days behind the lens), En La Tormenta ain’t no promotional video.

In case you want to throw a buck or two to help poor kids from Lima’s barrios learn to surf, you can check out Alto Peru.

It just won Best Film at the 2020 Brooklyn Film Festival and will be available on BBC’s Storyville in January.

Good watching between CT contests.