Sam George (pictured). Surfer/Thinker
Sam George (pictured). Surfer/Thinker

Listen: Important surf voice Sam George can suck it!

And other important thoughts.

I haven’t written a BeachGrit headline this short, this to the point, in years. I love a convoluted dance, much to my own detriment, and always have. Derek Rielly used to shake his head in frustration, and probably still does, at my accidental burying of leads to be cute and funny to myself and myself only.

But this, here, is honest.

Hemingway’s one true sentence.

Important surf voice Sam George’s recent suggestion that the problem with surfing, these days, is not choked lineups but rather grumpy locals is dumb, rude, wrong, dressed like an eight-year-old and he can, should, suck it.

David Lee Scales spoke about this, during our weekly meeting, and also about the Ashton Gogganses.

Very funny.

Caio Ibelli is going to have “For The People™” in the middle of his board before Margs.

Do you like?

Any better suggestions?

The People™ shall buoy him and he shall win.

Brave punters should put their money down now. I bet there are fine odds but not for long.

Listen here.

Popular Hawaiian pro surfer and vlogger challenges superstar YouTuber Jake Paul to boxing match after Ben Askren debacle, “I want to drag him out to deep water where I can drown him!”

"I don't like Jake Paul but I respect him."

A week back, superstar YouTuber-turned occasional pro boxer Jake Paul wiped the floor, as they say, with the almost-forty-year-old Olympic wrestler and retired MMA fighter, Ben Askren. 

Paul, twenty-four, knocked out Askren, whose boxing skills were as paltry as his grappling skills are mighty, two minutes into the first round, the fight stopped by the ref. 

Still, Askren got a guaranteed half-mill for the fight plus, likely, bonuses from the pay-per-view; Paul got 690k plus bonuses. 

One man watching the debacle, “Why was the public so interested in two guys who weren’t very good at boxing, boxing?” asked ESPN,” was the Hawaiian surfer Eli Olson.

Eli, a twenty-eighty-year-old jiujitsu black belt who grew up shredding alongside the Florence bro’s, was moved enough by the cash being thrown around and the absurdity of the event to issue his own challenge. 

Would Jake Paul, six-two, a couple hundred pounds, and with twenty million subscribers, have the balls to take on a slim Hawaiian surfer, five-ten, one-sixty, with 18.7k subs? 

“I don’t like Jake Paul, but I respect him,” says Eli, “People say he sucks but he’s actually got talent.”

About the Askren bout he says, “I thought it would last a little longer. I’m actually a fan of Ben, he’s one of the best wrestlers in the world but he never ever trained boxing and it showed.” 

Eli says the reasons for his post was the, likely, two-mill total Jake Paul made.

“That’s life-changing money. It started as a joke. Then when so many people, including Slater, started reposting my post and it got momentum, I thought, people actually wanna watch this.”

I ask about strategy. Eli ain’t a dud with the ten ounce gloves like Askren but he ain’t pro, either.

“Even though people are calling him the YouTube guy, he’s had more time in the ring than me. He’s had three fights, I have zero. I’d try and rely on footwork and speed. He’s bigger and has more power so I’d rely on footwork and speed. I’d be a hard target, tag him as much as I could. Either land a flurry to rock him or drag him into deeper water and rely on cardio, him getting slower and slower as each round goes. He’s never gone longer than three rounds.”

Say it did happen, and Eli did walk away with a couple of mill, he says he’d throw it down on a swinging crib on the North Shore, although it’d have to be Backyards, Rockies or Log Cabins. 

“Everything at Pipe and Off the Wall is five million or more,” says Eli. 

Eli’s also realistic enough to know it ain’t the best idea for Paul to take on the relatively unknown and smaller Hawaiian. 

“It doesn’t really make sense to him if he’s a lot bigger, and I’m not some superstar, and if he had the risk of possibly losing it’d be more negative than positive.” 

Long Read: Surf Journalist recounts his journey to Ukraine, newest nation to join International Surfing Association, on brink of war!

Добро пожаловать!

Days ago, it was announced that Ukraine had been accepted as the 109th nation in the International Surfing Association, certain to exacerbate already intense relations with neighboring Russia. I visited the capital, Kyiv, in early Spring 2014 and just stumbled across the stories I wrote for Australian fashion publication Oyster. Would you like a peek into our newest brothers and sisters? Well then, you’ve come to the right place.

Dispatch I

And Ukraine International Airlines flight 0518 cracks very hard on Kiev’s runway. It seems as if the pilot forgot that it was time to land and that we are all going to die here instead of there. I am clutching the armrest tightly and my Nick Potash pinky ring is digging into my finger. It was made from an old WWII pin that reads “God Bless America.”

We bounce twice before coming to a rest and the cabin bursts into spontaneous applause. I always chuckle when the innocents applaud landings, though, I suppose in this corner of the world where 1 in 10 flights actually crash, the applause represents genuine relief. Maybe I should join? I smile condescendingly, instead, at the Ukrainian woman next to me wearing a shirt that reads “FASHION ADDICT” while rubbing my finger. It really hurts.

I step off the plane after gathering my bag, an almost perfect Costume National carry-all, and wander through the eerily silent main terminal. No one is coming to Kiev. No one is coming to Ukraine, save the entire Russian Army and their tanks and their MiGs and their heavy metal Kalashnikovs.

This whole mess started, innocently enough, six months ago in a large square in the center of Kiev. There, protesters gathered to call on then Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to accept a deal that would bring the country closer to the European Union instead of Russia. Both the EU and the Russian Federation had aid deals on the table. Debate swirls on which deal was favorable, but, in either case, the people of Kiev and western Ukraine wanted to be European. They had been Russian long enough, as a part of the Soviet Union, and, increasingly, they wanted David Beckham’s haircut, Carla Bruni’s voice, Donatella Versace’s plastic surgeon.

Yanukovych, though, spurned the EU deal and sent the protesters mad. Hundreds of thousands of them burned tires and threw Molotov cocktails and whatever it is that mad protesters do. The state riot police fought back, killing many, which sent the protesters furious. More burned tires. More Molotovs. And Ukraine teetered on the brink. Eventually, Yanukovych fled, the government collapsed and the protesters toasted their victory. Until Russia decided enough was enough, annexed a part of Ukraine known as the Crimea, propped up pro-Russian militias in the east and sent their Army to the border. And Ukraine has been teetering ever since. Will it implode? Will Russia invade? Will Beckham, Bruni and Donatella care?

I move through passport control and the soldier handling documents stares at me. His eyes are almost wild, almost pleading, almost laughing. Definitely bloodshot. It is not until later that I realize his eyes were simply telling me that, out there, beyond the sanctity of Boryspil International Airport, the patients had taken over the asylum. That, once I passed him, I might get my heart eaten by fascists, or Putin. But more on that later. For now he simply asks, “Why are you in Ukraine?” I answer. “Because the most amazing fashion things ever must be happening in the rubble. Have you seen Mad Max?” He grunts and stamps and sends me on my way.

Clearing customs, a starving cab driver grabs my arm and escorts me to his old yellow Lada babbling about Putin and Obama in Russian. I think he is saying both are bad but can’t be sure. He keeps smashing one fist into another.

We drive down a freeway that is as eerily silent as the terminal surrounded by trees and weird. A cold mist falls from the sky. And then I see my first real sign of madness. A homemade checkpoint has been erected in the right two lanes. It is not being manned by official Ukrainian army but by some ragtag bunch of mulletheads. They awkwardly wave old pistols. One is wearing a leather bandana over his mouth, a U.S. WWII helmet that has been spray painted black and welding goggles.

Dispatch II

Fear and paranoia hang thick in the air like the lingering bottom notes of a Maison Martin Margiela REPLICA perfume. The little anarchist keeps looking at me looking at my passport looking at me looking at my passport looking over his shoulder to the other little anarchists occupying his tire and broken cement bunker. They all wear mixed camouflage prints, definitely not standard issue. It makes sense, I suppose. They are anarchists, after all. Eventually, he points through the taxi’s open window, at my Fujifilm X-20 camera and says, “Sho to?” which sounds like retarded Russian and I assume translates to “Shto eta” or “What’s that?” I tell him, “Gwenyth Paltrow calls it, ‘…a versatile work of art.’” He grunts and waves the taxi through.

And I was not expecting this. I was not expecting Ukraine to be in full failed state mode. My driver, who is continually smashing one fist into another while saying “Obama” “Putin,” and I have already been through three homemade checkpoints and have not even arrived at our destination yet.

And fear.

And paranoia.

I have been in war zones before. I have had my hearing exploded by dropping bombs, been shot at, chased and kidnapped. I have been to Somalia, for pity’s sake, and was expecting Ukraine to be a laugh. A candy coated European version of real Middle Eastern/African mayhem. But in some very serious ways, it is more menacing. In my experience, Caucasians, even little anarchists, take their due diligence seriously, which means detention. I do not want to be detained here. The weather is awful and #tuberculosis is trending.

Things have been out of control like this since the protesters drove the government into hiding. Ground zero of the movement was Maidan Nexalezhnosti, a large square in the center of Kiev featuring sculptured odes to Ukraine’s glorious past. Simply referred to as “Maidan” it was also ground zero for the last major uprising in Ukraine, the Orange Revolution. And the last major uprising before that called, “Ukraine without Kuchma.” The Orange Revolution ended well for the protesters. They overturned a fraudulent vote and ushered in their man, Viktor Yushchenko, though he was later poisoned by Russian agents, they say. Ukraine without Kuchma ended poorly for the protesters. They all got arrested and tortured, they say. How this latest uprising, called Euromaidan, will end is completely up in the air. It could unite Ukraine and strengthen economic ties to the west. It could effectively erase Ukraine as we know it from the face of the earth.

After two more homemade checkpoints we finally turn into a hulk knows as the Ukraine Hotel. It rests on the southeastern corner of Maidan and is a monument to mid-century Soviet modern all cement and bland and weird. I walk past its security, through a metal detector and up to the main desk. The lobby is cavernous and completely empty save two beautiful women working the front desk. I ask if there is availability. They smile tired smiles and say, “Yes.”

After checking in to my Soviet chic room, I stand on its Soviet decaying balcony and look at the utter chaos below. It is beyond anything I imagined. Mad Max’s knees would shake. Viv Westwood would think it was too punk even in the 1970s. Flotsam and jetsam of the protest still smolder. Bunkers housing self-appointed militias waiting for the coming Russian invasion polish swords. And it feels like it is all going to come undone. Like society is finished. But I have to go and get into it even if it means #tuberculosis because the last time society was finished Viv Westwood made some fashion wow. And downtown Kiev would be the perfect place for the next SEX.

Dispatch III

Click, click, click. Clack. The sound of two dueling stick swords mixes with Ukrainian nationalist anthems rocking at full volume. Katniss Everdeen, the real one not the one played by Jennifer Lawrence, is sharpening her combat skills against a man twice her size/age in head-to-toe olive green. They circle each other slowly as a cold mist drains from heaven and click, click, click. Clack. Katniss wears black on black, of course. The man in olive green wears a belt so high, nearly to his armpits, that I feel certain it is the start of a new, prog, never-before-seen, trend. I look down at my own “belt,” a Yves Saint Laurent shoelace holding a trim pair Won Hundred jeans very much below my waist, and think, “Touche, Ukrainian comrade. Touche” before hiking them up. I will be prog too.

And I have been wandering around Maidan, getting deeper and deeper into the horror for hours or maybe days. It is a maze of bunkers, rubble, smoke, and paranoid stares. The paranoid stares carry particular gravitas because there is real fear that Russia may invade today. The eastern portion of the country, you see, is voting on whether to join Russia, simply secede from Ukraine or stay where they are. Conventional wisdom says the ballot boxes will be stuffed in favor of secession. Eastern Ukrainians, and the pro-Russian militias that have taken over some eastern towns, identify with their northern neighbor far more than western Ukrainians but, in reality, the whole concept of “Ukraine” is murky, at best.

The region has been inhabited for more than 45,000 years but didn’t achieve any real prominence until settled by the Kievan Rus’ in the 800s. The very same Rus’ who gave Russia its name. Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, is, in fact, considered the “mother of Russian cities” and Ukraine is sometimes called Russia’s older brother, though throughout the Middle Ages, it was simply, and less honorably, referred to as “Little Russia.” In 1921 it was absorbed into Big Russia, i.e. The Soviet Union and there it sat until 1991 when freedom presented itself in the form of massive institutional collapse.

Certainly, there have been flare-ups of Ukrainian nationalism over the past 200 years, yet they are not altogether consistent and are not shared by the whole population. Here, though, in the dead center of Maidan circa 2014, Ukrainian #nationalism is trending hard. #Ultra-Nationalism even, as evidenced by the red and black flags that flutter over the bunkers. “Ultra-nationalism” is sometimes called “fascism” and Putin regularly hurls this invective toward Kiev. He says that Neo-Nazis have taken over and he should probably invade to save the world from Hitler 2.0.

And perhaps Putin is right but probably not. The Ukrainian ultra-nationalist groups, such as Right Sector and Svoboda, despise Russian aggression and champion a romantic version of rose-colored Ukrainian amazingness but I could not find any overtly racial overtones within their discourse. All I see is Apocalyptic Punk 2.0.

Some men run mohawks that cascade down their foreheads into Danzig devil locks. Some sport red ankle length Cossack trench coats and by red, I mean eat-your-heart-out-Christian-Louboutin, red. Some wear neat little Trotskyite spectacles and blue plastic bags. Some perch black Maoist caps on their wide heads. Many have mullets that are distinctly menacing and not at all ironic.

Individualism is pronounced and seemingly encouraged but Maidan’s warrior class share one thing, besides a hatred of Russia, and that is camouflage. Desert camo is paired with Jean Paul Gaultier undershirts and marsh camo. Digital camo is paired with neon sashes and traditional U.S. woodland camo. Four-color semi-arid camo with anti-Russian buttons and French Tiger Stripe. Mixing prints has been hip for a minute but Apocalyptic Punk 2.0 takes it to the next level. Yes, when the world ends, mix your camos (and add a touch of Jean Paul Gaultier). It is a bold statement with questionable practicality. The hallmark of all great fashion.

Click, click, click. Clack. I look down, again, at my freshly hiked jeans. I was minutes late on that trend but, focusing on my shoes, I feel semi-satisfied. They are Louis Vuitton driving moccasins featuring a black/grey urban camo. And if my jeans were Luxembourgish forest pattern I would be completely next level #prog.

Uh oh. Not much of a peek. If I recall, I ran out of money, as I’d been covering fashion week in Tbilisi, Georgia prior and you know how fashion weeks go. I barely made it out of the country. I will now go back and surf.

Rumor: In lurid Medina family saga twist, Brazilian media reporting Gabriel’s mother had new wife sign secret documents when the surfer and model began dating!

"Neither of them know about the contents."

I have long considered BeachGrit to be the world’s greatest surf tabloid but shame, pure shame, has washed over me in waves as I have come to realize how shoddy we are and especially compared to Brazil’s gossip media.

They have sunk their shiny teeth into the Gabriel Medina family saga so deep, so enviously deep, and blood is oozing.

You have certainly been keeping up with the 1x World Champion first firing his step-father Charlie as coach then rumor and innuendo about various dramas bursting through the seams.

The latest?

Lingua Sogra is reporting that Medina’s mother had his new wife sign secret papers when the surfer and model began dating. Per the translation:

Another chapter in the controversy involving the couple. According to columnist Leo Dias, the surfer’s family had the model sign some documents as the beginning of their relationship – and to this day, neither of them know about the contents of the signed papers. Medina’s family would face problems with the city hall, adversity involving legalization and purchase of real estate and other tax issues. Therefore, the athlete would have hired a lawyer to review everything and resolve the problems with the Maresias district, on the east coast of Sao Paulo. Still according to the journalist, close friends of Medina claim that his mistake was to let the family always be in control of his personal and professional life. Although they all had separate belongings, everything was controlled by the surfer’s family. After discovering the illegalities, Medina would have even cut the allowance she was giving to the family. Tense isn’t it?


It sure is.

Watch: Jamie O’Brien, Garrett McNamara openly weep as first-ever recorded mega-tsunami crashes into Greenland unridden!

Missed opportunity.

Wade Gravy, Dylan Graves, Garrett McNamara, Jamie O’Brien and their legions of fans are in mourning, today, as it has been revealed that the first-ever recorded mega-tsunami has gone unridden.

The once-in-multiple-lifetimes event occurred on the west coast of Greenland after a giant landslide some 30km away caused a wall of water measuring over 100 m, at certain times during its journey, crashed into the rocky shoreline, gulping down fisherman and the filmer himself.

According to news reports no one was injured. describes the phenomena thusly:

A mega-tsunami is a remarkably large wave created by the normal displacement of water that would cause a regular tsunami. The tsunami that occurred in the India Ocean in 2004 is often cited as an example. That wave was unusually powerful and wide-reaching. Due to the rarity of these occurrences, there is no single scientific definition of what a mega-tsunami is. Sometimes they are defined as waves that occur as the result of something falling into the ocean, such as a meteor or a landslide.

Remember when Garrett McNamara tried to surf a wave created by a falling bit of glacier?

Very cool.