"I'm getting a fish!"

Surfline Man orders a custom surfboard: “He is going to get a new fish that’s way better than his old fish, which he bought off the rack on sale, and definitely better than the dumb mid-length that’s giving him so many nightmares!”

Surfline Man has never owned a custom surfboard before, but he is pretty sure it’s going to be the best thing ever.

He’s lying in bed, sweating, sheets hopelessly tangled around his legs. He’s had that dream again. Surfline Man wishes he could dream about sex like a normal man.

But no, not him.

The only dreams Surfline Man ever has involve surfing.

And lately, it’s the same one, over and over.

There he is, standing on his surfboard on the most beautiful set wave he’s ever seen. It’s Rincon, his newfound nemesis. In his mind, he sees a dreamified version of the real thing, more perfect than life. He’s stands there so tall, up there on top of the world, the king of all he surveys.

Surfline Man has waited his whole life for this moment.

He pauses right there at the top, and savors it all, the infinite blue sky, the glowing green ocean, the white foam crashing behind him. It’s weirdly loud, actually. Then he swoops down the face, and leans into a perfect arcing bottom turn.

It doesn’t work out perfectly at all. Instead, Surfline Man faceplants with a giant splash, arms windmilling, board flying. And it all happens in front of everyone! Everyone on the beach is watching him, laughing at the kook who can’t even bottom turn on the best set wave in the world.

He wakes up flustered and unhappy, cringing at an embarrassment that isn’t even real but feels so real omg. This is the worst dream he’s ever had.

Surfline Man wishes he could dream about bad sex. It couldn’t possibly feel this terrible.

Surfline Man is cursed. And he’s pretty sure the only thing that will cure him is a new surfboard. He just has to decide which surfboard out of all the surfboards in the world he should get. This is not easy at all. Surfline Man would never underestimate such a task.

The other night he was watching Psychic Migrations before bed. Surfline Man never saw the film when it came out. His ex hated surf movies and would never let him watch them, no matter how awesome.

Now he’s single and it’s pretty great, really. Surfline Man cracks a beer, lounges back on his couch, and watches surfing. There’s no one to tell him to stop.

Idyllic, that’s what it is.

Surfline Man remembers hearing all about the Ryan Burch segment when the film came out, but now he’s watching and he really can’t believe it’s for real. That tiny fish under that very tall human, it all seems so improbable. Maybe it’s like CGI or something, Surfline Man thinks, laughing at his own dumb joke.

That’s another thing about being single, he can laugh at all his own jokes and there’s no one to tell him to shutup. Surfline Man is totally living his best life right now.

A fish.

Surfline Man wants a fish.

He can feel this deep down in the place where he feels things. Important things. Like which surfboard to buy.

He is going to get a new fish, that’s way better than his old fish, which he bought off the rack on sale, and definitely better than the dumb mid-length that’s giving him so many nightmares.

Anyway, he dropped his precious turquoise mid-length on its tail. This did not go well. Lucky for him, Surfline Man found a ding repair guy on Craigslist, who promised to match the resin tint perfectly. No one will even know! This is such a huge relief, because Surfline Man dreaded the inevitable explanations.

dude what happened to your board
um i dropped it i am so stupid

In truth, all Surfline Man’s hopes rest on the Craigslist ding repair guy. Sure, it felt a little sketchy dropping off his board in the back end of an industrial park in Oceanside. It felt like a drug deal, but it was surfboards, so it was all totally legit. Surfline Man is convinced it will be completely fine. His board is going to be so perfect again!

But in the meantime, he is totally going to order a new surfboard. Custom! Surfline Man has never owned a custom surfboard before, but he is pretty sure it’s going to be the best thing ever.

A new custom surfboard is a surefire way to end his terrible nightmares. He is just as certain of this as he is of all the other things. Like, how the tides swing and how his favorite surf forecasts and charts and stuff are always totally accurate.

Surfline Man goes to the internet, his very favorite place, and begins looking for the right shaper to make his new surfboard. There are so many. He can’t believe how many people make surfboards.

How in the world will he ever decide?

dude do you have any custom boards?
nah, just buy off the rack, it’s easier

Surfline Man refuses to give up. He is getting a custom surfboard, for sure.

He read on Surfline that he should find someone near the places he likes to surf. This seems helpful, but Surfline Man pretty much surfs everywhere, so it doesn’t really narrow things down at all.

In frustration, Surfline Man throws himself on the couch and begins scrolling through Instagram. Surely, Instagram can help. Surely, Instagram understands how desperately he needs to find a shaper to make his new custom surfboard that’s going to be a fish.

Then his finger stops.

That’s it! He’s found it! He’s found the perfect fish right here on Instagram. Look at that glorious fishy tail! And the color! So super awesome!

Surfline Man is feeling lightheaded. It’s a good thing he’s sitting safely on his couch, not like, standing up somewhere like on a ladder or something. That would be so dumb and dangerous.

Surfline Man can’t die a stupid death falling off a ladder right now! He has a surfboard to buy!

And he’s found the perfect shaper, right here on Instagram.

It’s all going to be so easy now.

World Surf League CEO Erik Logan follows the example of Harry Truman in Pipeline post-mortem: “We weren’t told to suspend the competition. I made that decision.”

Aloha also means goodbye.

Less than twenty-four hours ago, I encouraged World Surf League CEO Erik Logan to step up and stop the bleeding. To take responsibility for the unfolding disaster in Hawaii where Pipeline was suspended by his Covid-19 contraction, where Sunset Beach has been outright cancelled.

To either take responsibility and step down or have co-Waterperson of the Year, and patron of professional surfing, Dirk Ziff put his boys and girls on a party boat and sail to an island and hold a bacchanal.

Today, Logan took a half step toward the greatness exhibited by President Harry Truman who declared, “The buck stops here.”

In a wide-ranging report regarding the state of professional surfing in the Honolulu-Star Advertiser, Logan spoke about the Pipe Masters, declaring, “We weren’t told to suspend the competition. I made that decision.”


But if he so boldly “made that decision” why did he insist on dropping a now-famous Cone of Silence over the North Shore?

Very intriguing.

The Advertiser also spoke to Hawaii’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism Director Mike McCartney who made the decision to cancel all surf competition going forward. He said, “The challenge was, the virus keeps changing, with this new variant. Its unpredictability was the biggest factor in our decision. It’s the public-trust doctrine. The ocean belongs to everyone; so do our beaches, parks, highways. How do we share them in a responsible, reasonable way?”

Many decisions being made at the very highest levels.

Logan and McCartney met and spoke on the phone with Logan believing all WSL bungling will lead to a stronger and more collaborative relationship moving forward.


The only thing remaining for Logan to now do is step up and step down.

Aloha also means goodbye.

Shocking news for Filipe Toledo, widely expected to win world title at Lowers. | Photo: Steve Sherman/@tsherms

Breaking: No permit found for WSL tour showdown at Trestles!

A world title decider at the Lemoore tank?

Back in October, before the WSL’s historic 2021 Tour announcement, I had what I thought to be a brilliant idea: I was going to break the 2021 Tour Finals event location before the WSL released it.

It seemed obvious that it’d be Lower Trestles.

The waiting period matched with Lower’s swell window, it was close to the WSL’s headquarters, and it was just the sort of milquetoast move Elo would make.

So, I began pestering Californian bureaucrats. I sifted through countless government webpages and fired off Public Records Act (PRA) requests.

And then… nothing save for an email politely telling me that there was no record of that permit.


I was bummed about a dead story but stoked for the Tour. A final at Trestles felt about as anti-climactic as it must’ve felt entering Ellie-Jean Coffey’s subscriber-only site. Good on Elo.

Then, on November 10th, I was directed via BeachGrit to a WSL press release titled in part, “The WSL Finals Are Coming Back To Trestles.”

How the hell did I miss that?

It gnawed at me. I’m fully aware that bureaucracies tend to be inept, but I still couldn’t square it.

Didn’t make sense.

I was going to break that.

I filed another PRA request. It was free and even if I had missed the story, I wanted to see the permit.

Two weeks later I received the same email.

No records.


I started firing off unsolicited emails to random email addresses, thinking I might have sent the PRA to the wrong department or maybe the WSL was piggybacking onto some other entity’s permit.

A few weeks passed before I received a very terse email from one of the people who oversaw special event permitting for the area including Lower Trestles. They had overseen the 2017 Hurley Pro permit (the last year the Trestles event was held) and were still at the department.

I asked if they had received a 2021 permit application for the Trestles event.

(The permit would be from the California State Park system. CA has several districts overseeing their parks system; the Orange District oversees San Onofre State Beach. Permitting can occur up to one year in advance, so it’s assumed that the WSL has had more or less four months to get their permit application in for September. )

“We have not received a permit (application) yet.”

I must’ve read that wrong.

“We have not received a permit (application) yet.”

The World Surf League does not have the permit for the WSL Finals event?

The World Surf League does not have the permit for the WSL Finals event.

A misspelled name on the back of a jersey or a spotty feed I can forgive, but this feels egregious.

Is the WSL so cash poor that they’re unwilling to shell out the minimum of $30,000 required to “rent” the site?

Or are we guaranteed a final event in Lemoore?

Various WSL press releases stressed the need for flexibility amid the pandemic.

A sort of, “We wanted to have the Trestles event, but we can all agree that Lemoore is the safe option. Plus, we own it.”

Of course, I’ve rather buried the lede. There’s a far more important point here.

The site of the WSL Finals is unpermitted. We can take the finals event hostage.

Can you imagine?

How incredible an image. Chas and Derek strolling like conquistadors through Santa Monica to nail a list of demands on the door of the WSL Headquarters.


There has to be a commenter or two with some bucks to spare. Or maybe us Americans can pool together our stimulus checks.

We can still save surfing.

BeachGrit’s Ninety-Five Theses.

Thirty gees, all we need.

False cracks on the beach! Pipe charger Moana Wong v WSL world # 3 Tatiana Weston-Webb, “I am sick and tired of chicks who think they can surf Pipe so they get a coach to come block for them”

"This place has come down to flexing on four foot closeouts, embarrassing."

Much teeth gnashing over a drop in at Pipeline yesterday featuring local shredder Moana Wong and world number three Tatiana Weston-Webb. 

Moana, who is twenty, a purple belt in Brazilian jiujitsu and one of the few gals who surfs Pipe for fun, belted Weston-Webb on the beach and used the words “stupid” and “bitch” to describe her interloper.

Shortly after, Moana used the microphone of Instagram to telegraph her displeasure at the event.


You’ll remember vision of Ross Williams blocking for TWW prior the historical women’s Pipe showdown.


The response from telephone jockeys has been excellent.

From noted shaper Akila Aipa, “This place has come down to flexing on four foot closeouts, embarrassing.”

From mid-length aficionado Dev Howard, “Burns on people in barrels are no bueno. Virtual beefs are sauce of the weak variety. Meanwhile, Our state has an indefinite shut down order.”

And, already, the comedy shorts have started to fill IG.


Comments open for play…


Insider website BeachGrit makes it into pages of New York Times bestseller’s latest work: “(a place where) vulnerable adult learners, particularly those mythopoetically rhapsodizing about the life-changing joy of waves they first rode the week before, are mercilessly mocked!”

Mythopoetically rhapsodization!

We met author Tom Vanderbilt exactly one week ago, or close to it anyhow, when I stumbled across his new book titled, “Beginners: The Joy and Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning.” A VAL manifesto if there ever was one. Vanderbilt purposed to pursue a year of learning purely for the sake of learning, “tackling five main skills (and picks up a few more along the way), choosing them for their difficulty to master and their distinct lack of career marketability–chess, singing, surfing, drawing, and juggling.”

I couldn’t find much about the surfing but became very frustrated that he considered it to have “a distinct lack of career marketability.”

So frustrated that I felt it served him right if he had been stung by a scorpion on his Costa Rican surf holiday.

Now I feel bad.

An excerpt from the surfing chapter of Vanderbilt’s book appeared in Outside magazine, yesterday, and let’s read together.

I don’t think I saw a surfer in person until I was in my late twenties, on a magazine assignment in Orange County, California, to interview the noted surfer and shaper Donald Takayama—a task that was definitely over my head. After spending the morning with him in his shaping bay, I watched a crowd of kids on shortboards buzzing like agitated water striders around the encrusted pilings of the pier at Huntington Beach.

Over the next few decades, I maintained a kind of low-grade secret crush on surfing, the sort I once had on an older woman who worked at a hip coffee shop in my college town. Like her, surfing seemed wrapped in mystique, perhaps slightly dangerous, and ultimately unattainable.

The pursuit doesn’t exactly hang out a big “Beginners Welcome” sign. At insider websites like Beach Grit, vulnerable adult learners, particularly those mythopoetically rhapsodizing about the life-changing joy of waves they first rode the week before, are mercilessly mocked. Surfers, the Australian pro Barton Lynch once observed, are “more cocky and judgmental than any group of people in the world.” Even if you barely paid attention to surfing, you’d no doubt heard about angry locals, always men, threatening kooks at coveted breaks. The bar to entry, on various levels, seemed high.

Insider websites like li’l old us mercilessly mocking those mythopoetically rhapsodizing about the life-changing joys of waves they rode the week before?

He gets us. He really gets us.

Swing into the comments, Tom, and have some fun!