Shock: France and Japan emerge as new surfing superpowers at Olympic qualifier in El Salvador: once mighty Americans crushed by minnows Italy, Great Britain and Canada to finish sixteenth!

A changing of the guard in Central America.

French and Japanese surfers have dominated the final day of competition at the ISA World Surfing Games, the last stop on the potholed road to Tokyo 2021.

In the individual men’s event, France’s Joan Duru and Jeremy Flores finished first and third, with Japan’s Kanoa Igarashi and Hiroto Ohhara, second and fourth.

Germany’s Leon Glatzer, who was born in Maui and grew up in Costa Rica, finished fifth.

Owen Wright was Australia’s best performing surfer, finishing eleventh, behind a raft of Peruvians, a Chilean, a Balinese shredder and a kid from Portugal.

The women were a little different, Australian Sally Fitzgibbons dominating throughout the event, although, per the fashion of the event, Portuguese and Peruvians filled out spots second, third and fourth.

Although I saw very little of the contest, too many heats, too many sudden withdrawals by drawcards, Gabriel Medina, Italo Ferreira, Julian Wilson and so on to provoke any sort of interest, the contest was a harbinger of a rapidly shifting surfing world, the decline of the USA a reflection of a decaying empire, ruined by decades of war, internal strife and barbarians at the gate; a country running on fumes, so to speak.

Anyway, no biggie, below are the Olympians who will be performing in Tokyo, if it runs.

If you’re wondering why Duru ain’t on the list, it’s ’cause France already has its two men (Flores and Bourez) who’d qualified through the WCT.

Each team gets two men, two women.

Gabriel Medina (BRA)
Italo Ferreira (BRA)
Owen Wright (AUS)
Julian Wilson (AUS)
Kolohe Andino (USA)
John John Florence (USA)
Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Michel Bourez (FRA)
Kanoa Igarashi (JPN)
Hiroto Ohhara (JPN)
Lucca Mesinas (PER)
Miguel Tudela (PER)
Jordy Smith (RSA)
Manuel Selman (CHI)
Leon Glatzer (GER)
Rio Waida (INA)
Leandro Usuna (ARG)
Frederico Morais (POR)
Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR)
Billy Stairmand (NZL)

Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
Carissa Moore (USA)
Caroline Marks (USA)
Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA)
Silvana Lima (BRA)
Mahina Maeda (JPN)
Amuro Tsuzuki (JPN)
Teresa Bonvalot (POR)
Yolanda Sequeira (POR)
Johanne Defay (FRA)
Pauline Ado (FRA)
Daniella Rosas (PER)
Sofia Mulanovich (PER)
Brisa Hennessy (CRC)
Leilani McGonagle (CRC)
Dominic Barona (ECU)
Anat Lelior (ISR)
Bianca Buitendag (RSA)
Ella Williams (NZL)

Kick off your shoes.

Is this Australia’s hippest beach house? Surfer-artist-minstrel Ozzie Wright lists epic off-the-grid coastal spread on AirBnb, “An intentional space to disconnect from the modern world and reconnect to your creativity!”

“A colourful beach shack perched on top of a hill, looking out to uninterrupted ocean views… A mystical meeting of beach and bush."

The Australian surfer Ozzie Wright, and musician wife Mylee, have listed for rent the holiday spread they bought for $1.5 million in 2019, a dreamy beach shack on a quarter-acre of pristine national park dirt in Broadwater, seven hours north of Sydney, one hour south of Byron.

The sale came with a DA to bulldozer the old joint (“Build your dream beach house”) but Oz and Mylee have dressed it up in Classic Ozzie style, art on the walls, painted curtain dividers ‘tween bedrooms, couches covered in wild upholstery, a guitar in a corner. 

You wouldn’t have heard of Broadwater; it’s one of those towns you burn through along the Pacific Highway on the way from Sydney to Byron. Ain’t much there, you got the Richmond river, there’s a 150-year-old sugar mil that’s closed to the public, a pretty cafe operating out of an old Catholic church, ’bout it.

The national park is the town’s jewel, ten-thousand acres of coastal heath and wetlands and eight clicks of mostly empty beach. 

And, here you’ll find Oz and Mylee’s Happy Sun House, which is, as per the listing,  “a colourful beach shack perched on top of a hill, looking out to uninterrupted ocean views… A mystical meeting of beach and bush. A cosy and rustic shack not without things we love like, luxury linen sheets and a fully equipped kitchen… A truly blissful beach shack experience. A place where the sun hits the walls in a most beautiful way. An intentional space to disconnect from the modern world and reconnect to your creativity, gently allowing nature to ground down a busy mind.”

Five hundred bucks a night, if you want in, with a fifteen percent discount if you book for a week. A cleaning cost and service fee on top of that. Think four gees or thereabouts for a week in a little slice of Australian heaven.

Book, examine here. 

"I don't care if you were paddling first! The surfer nearest the peak has the right of way!"
"I don't care if you were paddling first! The surfer nearest the peak has the right of way!"

Listen: Is surf localism simply a more historically rooted form of modern Karenism?

A real bummer, if true.

Trouble rocked me last night to the very core. A thought, a specter, that materialized whilst talking to David Lee Scales over the internet.

We were recording our weekly chat, for your pleasure. Usually we do it in person, of course, but David Lee had become stuck  in Houston the day before and I had a important things to do aboard a vintage Chris Craft and so we settled for an evening Zoom.

He imagined, not incorrectly, that it would be cocktail hour and had mixed himself a Boulevardier. I instinctively knew that I needed to be sharp, some epiphany to be had, so poured myself a Topo Chico with a twist of grapefruit.

Little did I know how painful it would be.

Like a sharply cut bob.

Because there we were conversing moving from topic to topic, VAL this, core that, until rounding the bend to Malibu Karen and her less than ideal week.

“Wait,” I says.

“Is surf localism simply a more historically rooted form of modern Karenism?”

Uh oh.

It is, isn’t it.

The craving of order and the compunction to confront offenders of order and bring them to heel by any means necessary.

How does that make you feel?

Would you like to speak to BeachGrit‘s manager Derek Rielly?

Listen here.

Ultra-surfer Kai Lenny reveals hidden sadistic relationship between big wave mastery and his new love of road biking: “It’s learning to love the hurt. I think there’s a translation there.”


Kai Lenny is a generational athlete. A specimen so rare that it is difficult for a mere mortal to take in and appreciate his vast talents in real time. We will need the history books to marvel, appropriately, at his feats. His big wave mastery, windsurfing, foil boarding even his dark passions like SUPping and befriending Mark Zuckerberg.

Well, he has, apparently, mastered another dark passion. Road cycling.

I see the road cyclists riding on the Pacific Coast Highway, often, dressed in brightly colored lycra rompers often marked with IPA beer brewers, taking up a full lane of traffic because it is somehow their right and, I’ll be honest, I fantasize about hitting them.

Like this.

Nothing overly violent, just a small tap.

I would not fantasize about hitting Kai Lenny, though, and he has recently opened up about his new passion in a wide-ranging interview that appears on Velo News. (Velo, of course, Italian for IPA).

He told the author:

“What’s cool about riding here is that, in surfing when you’re put into a position on big waves, you’re committed to the situation you’re in, there’s no time out. I think it’s good mental practice when you’re climbing up the mountain here, you’re not going to stop… It’s learning to love the hurt. I think there’s a translation there — it’s key to have endurance when you’re surfing all day.”

Sadistic. Kai Lenny harbors sadistic thoughts, no?

Later, in the same article I read:

“I wanted to ride on every single island and foil between them. It was logistically kind of a nightmare and expensive. The reality is, I’ve really only ridden on Maui. I’ve ridden a little in other places but not with an intention. I have friends on other islands who have road bikes, so I thought it would be cool to link with them and connect the communities in between. It’s a long way, close to five hundred miles. The total between ocean legs and miles on the bike is 460 miles total, so we had nicknamed it the Hawaii 500. As soon as you landed on the beach, you’d have to get on the bike. No relaxing. Either always pedaling or always pumping. Pedal to pump. Pray for the downhills or a big swell. The joke was we’d all need wheelchairs on the way home.”

I’ver seriously never even imagined anything so horrifying.

Learn more here, if you dare.

Blood Feud between World Surf League and master surfboard shaper Matt Biolos intensifies after WSL’s repost of Ultimate Surfer contestant video, “They pulled back. Rescinded. Cancelled. They needed someone like me to show them how it was not a very good idea.”

Tables turned etc!

Less than one month ago, and with very little coaxing, surfboard shaper Matt Biolos unleashed on the WSL after the billionaire-owned sports league threatened legal action and the possible deleting of his personal IG account for reposting a photo of Carissa Moore. 

“If you’re incapable of breaking even without extorting your fans then you should be in the business,” Biolos, whose surfboards are, or were, ridden by world champs Carissa Moore and Tyler Wright, as well as Griffin Colapinto, Kolohe Andino, Yago Dora and Caroline Marks, posted in response. 

When BeachGrit called, Biolos said, 

“I have long-term friends working in the organization… But it doesn’t mean I’ll bow down to the barely-surfing- outsider-corporate-executives who invaded our culture and don’t really understand it but are willing to alienate the core followers and lifers who the precarious stack of cards is built upon so they can chase Main Street dreams. They are scared to death to charge pay-per view on the events because they damn well know that a lot of the public with tell them to fuck off. The viewership will tank to the point that sponsors will run for the hills. So what do they do? That come up with some scheme to come after us, the fabric of surfing’s existence, all us independently owned and operated surfboard builders who supply boards to the athletes.”

Now, a switcharoo after the WSL posted a video of Lost team rider Luke Davis, footage owned by Biolos. 

The WSL-supplied caption, a masterpiece of short-form prose. “When the barrel provides a head rinse, it’s on you to provide the shampoo.”

“I bought all this footage from Luke. Should I send you guys an invoice?” wrote Biolos, the mood of his coup de grâce emphasised with a laughing emoji.

Before being removed, the video had been viewed 137,000 times.

Users of Instagram were quick to side with the World War II enthusiast, whose surfboard models include the V2, named after the world’s first long-range guided ballistic missile that was hoped to be game-changer for the Third Reich, and who recently debuted his new cool-mom-that-will-let-everyone-drink-at-the-house-as-long-as-no-one’s-driving look, on Stab magazine.

“Solid,” wrote one.

“That was a little joke on my side,” Biolos told BeachGrit. “They pulled back. Rescinded. They cancelled the whole program (charging board builders a fee to repost content). Pretty smart on their part. They just needed someone like me to show them how it was not a very good idea. We’ve all had bad ideas.”