Prediction: Australia’s Sally Fitzgibbons to become darling of the Olympic Games, unseating the beautiful Kanoa Igarashi as “must-have” story!

"People always find me interesting to listen to."

Australia’s Sally Fitzgibbons is in the midst of an unprecedented heater. She won the last World Surf League contest on Rottnest Island and she won the just-wrapped World Surfing Games in sparkling El Salvador. Kelly Slater’s Rumble at the Ranch comes next, of course, and she could well win that, though nobody would care, then it is off to surfing’s grand Olympic debut in Tokyo whew.

Now, I have lived through enough Olympics to know that the mainstream western media is always on the lookout for a darling. Some athlete with a megawatt smile, gold medal around neck, who will pass from talk show to talk show to talk show to talk show. Chatting humbly but engagingly about their sport, upbringing, etc.

Oddsmakers had, until days ago, assumed Japan-by-way-of-Huntington-Beach’s Kanoa Igarashi would be that darling but now Sally Fitzgibbons is firmly in control.

Surfing will be one of the storylines, even though the surf will be “small and funky” and Igarashi will certainly receive some air time but the women’s side will get more attention, Fitzgibbons will win that gold and she will go on to represent our grand pastime the way Duke Kahanamoku once did.

I would recommend re-familiarizing with her so as not to look foolish when your co-workers are talking about the world’s newest starlet.

I would recommend reading Derek Rielly’s interview with her.

Here is a teaser:

You’ve got the cutest damn accent. Tell me about it.

Ya know when people say you’ve got an accent but you can’t hear it? And you go to, say, America and you think you’re fitting in, but then you say something and they pick you up on it? There’s definitely an Australian English. Sometimes I tell a story and I know I’m losing people after a couple of sentences. I guess it’s unique. People always find me interesting to listen to.

Bon appétit but back to Kanoa. How will he handle this coup?

With grace?


A herky-jerky dance?


Actor famous for playing “sexless butterballs” and VAL pioneer Jonah Hill buys $9 million dollar “windowless, monolith” at Malibu Colony; canny purchase cements position in iconic lineup once terrorised by Miki Dora!

World's happiest VAL secures prestigious position in Malibu hierarchy… 

Hollywood funnyman Jonah Hill, famous for playing sexless butterballs in a  series of box-office hits including Get Him to the Greek where he shelves alpha rock star Russell Brand’s heroin, has paid nine million dollars for a house in Malibu Colony, a guarded, gated beachfront setup footsteps from point made famous by anti-hero Miki Dora.

Eighteen months ago, Hill, noticeably slimmer since taking up the sport of kings, posted his new status as a vulnerable adult learner surfer on Instagram, 

“Been terrified to surf my whole life . Totally random fear and at the same time always been a secret dream of mine. Turned out to be one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had. Not only was it so fun and challenging but more so I’m like “damn, at 35 you can start doing shit you’ve always wanted to do.” 

And, now, with keys to his modernist mansion, four beds, four bathrooms, sauna, jacuzzi, steam room, rooftop deck, 3600 square feet of lebensraum, and a “windowless monolithically white face facade”, Hill can now count himself as a Malibu local, the house coming with deeded beach access rights and even a little golf cart for transport. 

Take off your shoes and dance, with me, on stockinged feet through the joint.

Pretty sweet etc.

Sensational: World’s greatest living surfer offers one-on-one surf coaching for $200 per hour! “In our minds (he) was Jesus,” says Kelly Slater

Given the surf groupies out there, I imagine many middle-aged men, hipbones lost long ago in a sea of fat, swooning in the arms of the little master.

The three-time world surfing champion Tom Roland Curren, unbeatable for most of his career and who popularised the modern fish surfboard, has unveiled his retirement masterplan, a multi-generational surf school based in France. 

Curren, who turns fifty-seven this year, and his kids Lee-Anne and Nathan (from a teenage marriage to French gal Marie) and Pat and Frank, (from a marriage to Maki, from Panama) have formed Curren Surf School, operating out of the little Basque resort town Hendaye, on the Spanish border. 

Echoes of the Paskowitz family, yes? 

Tom has form in the surf coaching game, as BeachGrit’s Jen See observed at her home beach in Santa Babs.

Then, I saw it. Then I saw the most marvelous thing. I had to blink my eyes to believe it was real. For there was Tom Curren leading an Adult Learner around the lineup. The Adult Learner was perched precariously on a longboard as Curren paddled along beside him like a mother duck minding her chick.

If you’ve never seen Curren in real life, or at least not lately, he looks exactly like you’d imagine. A shock of blonde hair, grey around the edges, perpetually disheveled sits above a face cut deep with lines from the countless hours of staring at the horizon and beyond. His stocky build looks purpose-built for turning surfboards. These days, he has the slightly vague air of an artist, of someone who finds his interior life distractingly interesting, maybe more so, than the world around him.

A small wave came through with no takers. Curren cajoled his adult learner into position and urged him to paddle. Then he gave him a push. The adult learner came to his feet and did a thing that looked something like surfing. Success!

Suddenly, I was extremely jealous. I want a push, too! Where’s my Tom Curren! Tom, Tom, can I get a push? Tom, I need some help over here!

Getting a piece of Tom is real cheap, two hundred bucks an hour, add thirty if you want it videoed, and given the Curren groupies out there, I imagine many middle-aged men, hipbones lost long ago in a sea of fat, swooning in the arms of the little master.

Click here to examine the website, which miraculously switched from English to French over the past twenty-four hours, although details are pretty easy to comprehend. 

Any questions, ask France-based James Bickerton in the comments. 

And, here’s a taste of the Tom you’ll be getting, filmed last year.

Photo: Steve Sherman @tsherms
Photo: Steve Sherman @tsherms

Breaking: Surf star Kelly Slater’s social media behavior makes international news with press calling it “bizarre” and “defensive!”

Self-discipline is for the birds!

Days ago it was revealed here, with much sadness, that surfing superstar Kelly Slater’s social media behavior may change as he posted the cover of a self-published e-book he appeared to be reading titled How to Build Self-Discipline: Resist Temptation and Reach your Long-Term Goals on Instagram.

His 3 million fans wondered if the 11x World Champion would cease getting in fights with those who believe the earth is flat etc. across his own, and others’, Instagram accounts.

Much worry creasing brows as Slater’s opinions, his authority on matters ranging from cryptocurrency to electric cars is legendary as is his willingness to freely debate.

Thankfully, it only took three days for the oft-Pipe Master to get back to form and this time the international press picked it up.

Let’s read together.

Surf legend Kelly Slater finds himself in a bizarre social media fight with fans on an Aussie satire site – as he vows not to have the Covid vaccine so he can ‘get antibodies naturally’

American surfing legend Kelly Slater has been slammed for sharing ‘anti-vax nonsense’ with fans in a bizarre social media fight on an Aussie satirical news site.

The Betoota Advocate on Sunday shared a satirical article about a father who was proud after stinking up a toilet, prompting Slater to comment ‘Dads have no shame’.

But although the story was unrelated to Covid-19, the 11-time world surfing champion was quickly targeted by a man who accused him of posting anti-vaccine content over his social media pages.

‘Aren’t you the fella who shares anti-vax nonsense on social media? Seems like you have no shame either,’ the man wrote.

Slater became defensive, explaining he was not against vaccinations but feared the jab had not been thoroughly tested.

‘Why does this account always end up with these triggered, b***y people who can’t take a joke? And second, I’m not anti vax. I’m anti mandating medical procedures. But I’ve never even pushed that,’ he wrote.


My favorite parts are:

-Bizarre social media fight.

-Satirical article

-Slater contribution “Dads have no shame.”

-“Slater became defensive.”

-“Triggered, bitchy people who can’t take a joke.”

What are your favorite parts?

Warshaw on the “decades-long political scramble over who gets to use the phrase ‘Surf City’ as a regional marketing tool”

And how it started with a high-torque V8 metalflake kustom pop song by California idealists Jan Berry and Dean Torrence… 

The song “Surf City” does not hold up to close textual reading — it is in fact ridiculous, what with strapping a board to your back and hitching a ride in your wetsuit etc.

But in terms of high-torque V8 metalflake kustom Gold Star Studio pop-craft, “Surf City” is as good as it gets.

The decades-long “Surf City” political scramble over who gets to use the phrase as a regional marketing tool, on the other hand, is just ridiculous and nothing but ridiculous.

Let’s begin with the song.

Jan and Dean (Jan Berry and Dean Torrence) recorded “Surf City” in LA in March of 1963. Brian Wilson first-drafted the words and melody, Dean tweaked the lyrics, Jan hired the Wrecking Crew for the track (that’s Glen Campbell on guitar) and in general arranged and produced the shit out of it.

In July, it went to #1. Jan Berry was very much on the spectrum of what the DSM-5 categorizes as “high-functioning asshole” (after dumping his pregnant girlfriend, Berry’s own parents adopted the baby which meant Berry’s son was also his stepbrother), but in ’63 he was an A-plus producer, further along than Brian Wilson and tuffer than Phil Spector, and “Surf City” was the first in a string of Berry-produced hits in which B-grade teen drama walks in one end of the studio and gets shot out the other as a sub-three-minute sonic masterpiece. 

Here’s how you know Jan Berry was a monster producer. His songs are impossible to cover. You can find a half-dozen “Surf City” attempts by other bands, and none are above average — even the Ramones can’t get it off the ground. Only Jan Berry could.

The Surf City branding bunfight started 20-or-so years after the song hit.

It caught me by surprise.

I thought everybody knew, like I did, that Hungtington Beach was Surf City. Except Huntington is not of course actually mentioned in the song, and in this Jan and Dean made-for-TV video (what TV show? anybody?) Surf City is Malibu, not HB.

Where does that leave us?

“Who cares” is a good answer, or something along the lines of “Surf City is a state of mind.”

But no, Huntington’s gonna be Huntington and in 2004 it applied for a “Surf City USA” trademark, just to kneecap Santa Cruz businesses and municipal officials from using the phrase for their town. Lawyers were called. Suits and countersuits were filed.

You knew all along who was going to win. Still, credit the Santa Cruz major who at one point not only issued a city-vs-city “surf-off” challenge to HB, but went on local TV to sing his version of “Surf City,” which in part went:

You think your pier compares to Steamers?
(Surf City is Santa Cruz)

Just give it up and go drive your Beemers.
(Surf City is Santa Cruz)

No BMWs are seen during any of the last several Huntington Pier riots, but never mind, score that point for Santa Cruz.

Huntington, as expected, won the legal fight and kicked all the poor people out of town. 

Meanwhile, if you’ve been following the 2021 World Surf Games in El Salvador this week, you know that the entire coastal region surrounding the contest site is being referred to as “Surf City,” and people that is down to the Salvadorian President himself hopping on the surf-marketing bandwagon. 

In other words, the whole thing has elevated from mayors to heads of state.


Two takeaways:

1) Asshole or not, Jan Berry was a pop-music wizard and Jan and Dean deserve a sandy corner in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

2) Hats off to a little township on Topsail Island, North Carolina, that is actually officially named — not branded — Surf City, and has been since 1949. The waves are not great in Surf City, but give me a choice and I’ll take an hour at their Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center over an hour at Northside HB, thank you very much.

(You like this? Matt Warshaw delivers a surf history essay every Sunday, PST. All of ’em a pleasure to read. Maybe time to subscribe to Warshaw’s Encyclopedia of Surfing, yeah? Three bucks a month.)