Photo: The iconic Steve Sherman @tsherms.
Photo: The iconic Steve Sherman @tsherms.

World’s greatest surfer, and possibly its “most environmentally damaging person,” Kelly Slater fingered in damning new study on greed and erosion in Hawaii: “It could set in motion a domino effect leading to chronic beach loss.”


It was, roughly, seven months ago when I decided that the world’s greatest surfer, Kelly Slater, has likely done more damage to its environment than any living non-politician. A harsh assessment, one I am neither qualified nor in any position to make, but I had a feeling, you know, a gut instinct and today my prescience was certified by ProPublica in a devastating piece titled How Famous Surfers and Wealthy Homeowners Are Endangering Hawaii’s Beaches.


ProPublica, whose tagline is “keep them honest,” spilled roughly 15,000 words describing how oceanfront homeowners have been erecting illegal sandbag structures over the years that have not been regulated by the state and have, in turn, led to massive beach erosion. The homeowners argue without protection that their beautiful homes will crash into the sea.

The news outlet talked to many on both sides of the debate including our Kelly Slater and let us hurry to that section without delay.

In 2018, Kelly Slater, an 11-time world surfing champion who lives on Ehukai Beach by the world-famous Banzai Pipeline surf break, illegally installed a burrito. He, as well as his neighbors, were fined just $2,000.

Slater paid the fine and wrote to the Department of Land and Natural Resources last year asking it to approve his illegal structure so his home would be protected from future hurricane surf, as well as unexpected and seasonal weather. Lemmo, in response, rejected the request and underscored the seriousness of the situation.

“Unfortunately, we have reached a tipping point in which near complete loss of beach resources is a realistic future due to sea level rise and the prevalence of [densely] urbanized shoreline development,” he wrote to Slater, noting that the situation on the North Shore is particularly precarious.

Lemmo added that if the state doesn’t enforce strict policies controlling shoreline armoring “it could set in motion a [domino] effect leading to chronic beach loss.”

Still, he left the door open to a future approval, inviting Slater to submit additional information about the structure that was installed and why it was needed. Lemmo said his office is still waiting on the surfer to provide the details about his emergency barrier, which has been in place for more than two years.

In a brief phone interview, Slater, known for his environmental activism, said that without the sandbags people “would have lost properties outright.” He did not respond to a request for a follow-up interview.


So ouch that even I feel bad for the 11x World Champion and would like to help him extract himself from the “known for his environmental activism” bed of hypocrisy in which he is uncomfortably tossing and turning. It is something I am both qualified and in a position to do.


You have two ways out.

1) Double down on being a plutocrat. Your many fans accept your superiority and would accept that you and your pals Dirk Ziff, Jeff Bezos, Gavy Newsom etc. know best and are actually acting in The People’s™ interest.

2) Follow me down the primrose path of “hyper-irony” where the only thing that matters is thinking you, yourself, are funny. Then you can actively continue to satirize both “environmentalist” and “wealthy homeowner, wetland bulldozer to build Surf Ranches, etc.” and call the whole thing a morality play.

I recommend number 2 but it’s totally up to you.

Blood-spattered juvie White at Point Lowly, South Oz. | Photo: Whyalla Fishing/Facebook

Just in: Blood-spattered Great White Shark found dead, likely illegally killed, at popular swimming hole; deleted Facebook photos appear to show shark caught by fishermen, tail-roped and dragged to shore!

And it isn't the first time a Great White has been mysteriously iced.

A juvenile great white, eight feet or so, has been found washed ashore at Point Lowly, a popular swimming and diving spot in South Australia’s upper Spencer Gulf, around four hundred clicks north-west of Adelaide.

Great Whites aren’t exactly rare in South Australia, click here if you want to examine how often you’ll see ‘em out there, and around Point Lowly, occasionally they’ll swim in a couple of metres of water just off the beach.

“I was there fishing off the rocks October-November. Seen a big White hanging around the rocks a few times. Maybe it was him,” said one commenter in response to the story of the dead juvie White on Adelaide News.

But, while it might be common to see Great Whites, what’s rare is to find one dead, likely slaughtered.

Speculation is rife on social media that a couple of local fishermen hooked the fish with rod and line, tail-roped it and dragged it to shore, leaving it to die.

Photos were shared, quickly deleted.

Hooked juvie White.

Fisheries Officers from the Department of Primary Industries and Regions scooped up the animal and took it away for forensic examination.

“With the assistance of locals, the shark was located and retrieved… as part of an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the possible cause of death,” a spokesperson said.

Whites are a protected species in Australia, have been since 1999, and if you kill ‘em and get caught you’ll be hit with a ten-gee fine.

It isn’t the first time Whites have been mysteriously iced.

Last year, in two separate incidents, two Great Whites were found “wedged under the reef between South side and Rifle Butt beach” in Margaret River; one shark, according to locals, with a rope still tied to its tail suggesting it had been “dragged and drowned.”

Breaking: Faintest heartbeat heard as World Surf League finalizes six-part documentary series to be aired on Apple TV+ featuring an “exploration of the competitors who make up the 2021 WSL Men’s and Women’s Championship Tour!”

A new day!

And look at that. I go writing this current iteration of our World Surf League off, for the 234th time, and its CEO Erik Logan turns around, snags an executive producer title and sells a six-part documentary series to Tim Apple+.


Per Deadline:

From Box to Box Films and the World Surf League, the as-yet-untitled docuseries will go behind-the-scenes to chronicle the aspirations, failures and accomplishments as each surfer endeavors to remain on the elite WSL Championship Tour.

As described by Apple TV+, each episode will explore the competitors who make up the 2021 WSL Men’s and Women’s Championship Tour, taking viewers to incredible surfing locations across the globe, starting in Hawaii. The docuseries will showcase various surfing cultures, as well as look at timely subjects tied to the sport including eco-conservation, sustainability and marine preservation.

As-yet untitled?


But do you think one of the various surfing cultures will feature BeachGrit’s vibrant anti-depressive community?

It has to, no? We, or rather you, are the essence of eco-conservationist, sustainable and marine preservationist.

To a fault, if I’m being honest.

Well, exciting.

But back to the “as-yet untitled” business.

What should it be called?

More as the story develops.

Cutting a lil edit to Santaria, last strike mission to Tavi.

VAL-Lit: “I’ve been pulled into a work surfing group text thread that meanders from Surf Ranch to Tavi ‘strike missions… This is why I don’t tell anyone I surf”

And introducing the "kook rhombus"!

“Jesus Haploid Christ! I’m an idiot,” I think, remembering what happened in the surf this morning.

Relative to my ability, I had negotiated the crumminess of the waves and crowd with uncharacteristic finesse.

I had gotten greedy and paddled back out after what should’ve been a session-ender.

A voice.

“Hey, Karl?”


I angled my head to get a view of him. It was Conner, from the office.

“Oh, hi, Connor.”

“I didn’t know you surfed!” he said excitedly.


“This is so cool! Hey, Aiden is out today, too. He’s just out there,” he said pointing towards the lineup.

As I got closer, I noticed Aiden and his glistening beard on a mid-length, sitting with a female, Connor’s girlfriend, Dana, who I’m pretty sure ended up working for Herbalife, getting “hired” on there after doing her SDSU MBA program final consulting project on one of the company’s semesterly marketing studies projects meant to make it seem more legitimate and less swindle-y and pyramid-scheme-y.

“Hey, look what the cat dragged in,” said Connor as we got to the others, forming a sort of circle, a kook rhombus.

“Hey, man! So cool to see you surfing out here!” said Aiden, loudly.


“Now that we know you surf, we should do this more often!” said Connor.


I pretended I’d seen something and paddled a little to the north to get away.

The group followed.

Angrily panicked thoughts raced through my head.

“What the fuck? Why are they following me? This is why I don’t tell anyone I surf… ugh…only my family, my girlfriend, and one other girl I was interested in ten years ago, who I grew up with and also surfed, knew! And now I’m surfing with three VALs… I mean, Aiden has been surfing for seven years (so I remember him making a big deal about then) at least and rides a shortboard… no, he’s still a VAL!”

“Hey!” said Connor, breaking the spiral. “Aiden was thinking of heading up to Rincon this weekend, he’s been looking at swell charts and forecasts for the last two weeks. I wasn’t going to go, though now that we know you surf, too, maybe we can all make a trip out of it!”

“Is there going to be any surf even? Anyway, I’m going to be pretty busy this weekend,” I lied.

“OK. That’s cool. Well, maybe we can do something over Thanksgiving weekend. Aiden was telling me that Bryce was thinking about getting into surfing.”


“The mega-investor guy our company brought in for our training unit on Corporate Social Responsibility,” said Aiden. “I’ve been talking to him for awhile, trying to butter him up?”

“For what? Doesn’t he only invest in startups? Like those bullshit startups that don’t even offer products or services, existing for who knows why?” I asked.

“Yeah, but…” he trailed off.

I said, “Social climbing. Got it. He’s Hurley Man.”



Aiden went quiet.

“With Bryce, you can call yourselves The Alphabet Group or Alphabet, Inc,” I said.

“Like the Google company?” asked Aiden.

“Yeah, I guess, sorry,” I said, no one getting the reference.

Everyone went quiet.

“What kind of music do you listen to?” asked Dana to cut the non-actual tension tension.

“I don’t know. A little of this, a little of that. I usually just like individual songs,” I said.

Connor caught a left on his 5’10” MF Little Marley (Aqua), stiff legged and going straight, only slightly angled so as to perceive he’s going down the line.

“Do you listen to Sublime?” she asked.

“Do I look like a fifteen-year old pothead? They sucked even when they were relevant,” I said, causing her to noticeably wince.

“Oh, Connor loves them. Since he’s started surfing, he’s gotten really into them. And Jack Johnson, who we all listen to.”

“Oh, um, cool. I think I’m going to paddle in. It was nice seeing you… guys.”

I started paddling in, not even waiting for a wave anymore. As I was paddling, I passed Connor.

“Hey, so think about Thanksgiving weekend,” he said.

“Yeah,” I lie.

I make it to the car and drive home to hop in the shower to rinse myself of the stench of the session.

Three hours later, I receive a flurry of texts. Apparently, I have been pulled into a work surfing group text thread that meanders from Surf Ranch to Tavi “strike missions”. I make sure not to answer any of the messages unless directly addressed.

I ignore the vibrating block on my nightstand, checking in periodically for some unknown reason, only to make sure none of them are talking to me.

I glance at my phone and there is a text from Aiden, “Karl, should I get a Black and White or a Sampler?”

“Sampler is a terrible board.”

“OK. I’ll get a 6’1” Black and White.”

“Why 6’1”?”

“The site says ‘should be ridden about your same height to two inches longer’.”


Disappointed with myself for answering, I turn off my phone and boot up the computer.

Time for a new job.

American tour hopefuls digest news.

Longtom: “New mandatory diversity quotas on pro surfing tour to smash Australian, US, Brazilian dominance!”

A massive shift in the status quo looms.

It might have been the old wife stabber Norman Mailer or gallic poet Paul Verlaine who said “Life is Divertissement”, meaning life is entertainment, amusement, distraction.

True enough, I think, and reason enough for us to celebrate the upcoming Tour Openings at Honolua and Pipe.

In these hyper-polarized times is pro surfing not the only thing that can enable us to stand in the same room together?

Is that not a blessing? Kelly Slater, E-lo, JJF, Gabby not gifts from God sent to entertain us?

Thus we give thanks for the upcoming resumption of the CT and our ability to gather together and talk shit about it.

One thing though.

There is no Championship Tour without a runway to the Tour. Which be the Qualifying Series, and buried in an inauspicious part of the WSL website, unheralded by any presser or Podcast is the upcoming QS schedule.

It demands a little of our attention, in the way Dark Matter demands the attention of cosmologists as an unsolvable riddle.

Actually, I got that wrong.

It’s now the Challenger Series which is the runway to the CT. The QS is the runway to the CS.

The QS is to be divvied up into regional slices to lighten the load on aspirants credit card bills. Surfers no longer need to travel the world, they just surf their region and then get make the cut from there to the CS.

Clear as mud?

The devil, as noted when E-Lo first mooted this in June, is in the details.

And, if someone here can decipher those details you’re a smarter person than me.

According to the released schedule there are 11 events scheduled for Africa, and only four for Australia. Also according to the schedule of the 40 events proposed for the Jan to July QS only four are listed as upcoming, the remaining 36 are listed as tentative.

Maybe more worryingly for Ziff and E-lo is the fact that no CS events are currently listed.

Of course, many, many questions abound.

Will surfers be restricted to their regions?

Can Australian surfers, for instance, crash the proposed four Indonesian events or will those be restricted to Asian surfers?

Australia only has 1000 and 3000 events.

What happened to the Sydney Pro at Manly, which was booked for three years until 2022?

Is the Sydney Pro being re-booked for the August-December CS? In the spring?

If this QS Tour gets off the ground, and that’s a major if, then obvs the biggest losers are the incumbent surfing nations because their numbers on Tour will be cut by new mandatory diversity quotas.

No longer will numbers on Tour be allocated according to talent and grit (and sponno dollars) but according to where you were born.

That’s good or bad depending on where you are from.

Qualifying for the Tour just got much harder if you are a pro surfing hopeful from USA, Australia or Brazil and much easier if your parents birthed you in Asia, Africa or Europe.

Hundreds of QS aspirants in Australia will be culled to just 10 after our leg.

A massive shift in the status quo looms.

It’s made the QS equivalent to club contests, with the meat in the sandwich now belonging to the Challenger Series, of which we know absolutely nothing.

How many events, how many qualify from CS to CT etc etc.

I know it’s my job to decipher this shit-show but if we could be honest, it’s obvious we – and I mean the royal we – are making this up as we go along.

Which will make 2021 the greatest possible year to be a pro surfing fan.

Be you enthusiast or reluctant hate watcher. We will create this as we go along.

So in the interim, before the siren sounds and we get to bathe once more in the sound I think we have all sub-consciously craved during this crazy year, the soothing make believe world constructed by Joe Turpel, can someone please explain the muther-fuggin QS?

Or should we just forget about it and wait for Pipe?