Breaking: In shocking blow, “Pooch Perfect,” “Cherries Wild” smash “The Ultimate Surfer” in television ratings!

We must rally.

Oh no and oh no no no no no. The television ratings for last night’s “The Ultimate Surfer” premier have just been released and the numbers are not good, shockingly. The Wrap is reporting that “ABC’s ‘The Ultimate Surfer’ Premiere Wipes Out in TV Ratings,” declaring, “‘The Ultimate Surfer’ didn’t catch much of ‘Bachelor in Paradise’s’ ratings wave with Monday’s premiere, which received a 0.3 among adults 18-49 and just 1.46 million total viewers. In the two hours leading up to ‘Ultimate Surfer’s’ debut, ABC averaged a 0.9 demo rating and 3.22 million overall viewers.”

An inside source, who knows the Hollywood machinations, tells me, “Losing 200% of your lead in is really bad.”

By comparison, “Pooch Perfect,” a reality show about dog groomers, received a 0.5.

“Cherries Wild,” a game show described as “part trivia, part luck, and all-out wild” hosted by actor-adjacent Jason Biggs, received a similar 0.3.

But we cannot have this, no we cannot.

We cannot have dogs beating, American Pie matching, our beloved Kelly Slater.

No we cannot.

Joe Turpel is safe but the rest of our heroes, heroines, need us.

Tune in tonight for part two of the premier titled “The Trouble with Chicks.”

Do it for Kelly.

The voice of professional surfing Joe Turpel breakout star of reality television’s “The Ultimate Surfer”; on collision course with fame, fortune, cocaine addiction!

A hand jam straight to the heart.

Last evening, 10 pm/9 pm central, the World Surf League, in collaboration with ABC television, dropped its first episode of The Ultimate Surfer. Jen See covered masterfully here and you both can and should read. I only tuned in for a few minutes, as 10 pm/9 pm central snuck up in the middle of a intimate dinner party, catching the less-than-inspiring surfing at the end though was left with one firm impression.

Joe Turpel will be the breakout star.

Sitting there, behind a desk, wearing his classic short-sleeved Hawaiian button-up, skin buttery tan, chestnut hair coiffed around headphone microphone combination, blue eyes flashing, voice pure single batch Mrs. Butterworth syrup, Turpel owned the screen, undeniably, and is now, officially, on a collision course with fame, fortune, a raging cocaine addiction that he will conquer, inspiringly, in rehab.

Joe Turpel.

I’ll be honest, I did not that coming but there is no way television executives are not clamoring for his agent’s phone number right now. He is like Ryan Seacrest except not a Keebler elf. Like Dick Clark except alive-adjacent. Bob Eubanks except made from butter not wax.

Turpel will be called upon to host the Golden Globes, grand marshal the Rose Parade, master of ceremony New Year’s Eve New York City ball drop. His will be the face of America and the voice of America and will comfort us in our dark days with his proprietary blend of Mrs. Butterworth.

A hand jam straight to the heart.

I’ll be honest, I did not see that coming but it is undeniable.

And we will all say we knew him when.

Inspirational English Boardmasters festival decried as massive “super-spreader” event after thousands of rabid surf fans test positive for Covid-19!

Surfing is a disease.

And you thought The Ultimate Surfer was a blight on our heretofore good name. The hyper-vigilant mainstream media is reporting that the just-wrapped Boardmasters Festival, in Cornwall, England, was not just a fun surf contest slash music live music extravaganza but rather a vicious “super-spreader” event spewing nearly 5000 cases of Covid-19 through the rest of the country.

The BBC reports:

About 50,000 people attended the festival in and around Newquay, which now has the three neighbourhoods with the highest infection rates in England.

Cornwall’s public health team said: “We won’t know the complete picture for another few days.”
About 800 of those positive cases are people who live in Cornwall.

The figure comes after the Swansea Bay health board in Wales said on Friday about 50 cases there had been linked to the festival.

Ruth Goldstein, deputy director of public health for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: “At the moment, there are currently about 4,700 which could be linked to Boardmasters.

“These are people who have noted when they have had a PCR test, they have been associated to Boardmasters. We don’t know whether they have been camping, or to events on the beach, or to parties in the town put on by Boardmasters. Of those people, three-quarters of them are aged between 16 and 21, which is exactly the profile of the people who we know attend the festival.”

Rotten 16 to 21 year olds. Turn your back for one minute and there they are hosting surf competitions and listening to live music.

The last we heard from the Boardmasters, Korean automotive giant Kia was creating “every surfer’s dream machine” for the event.

Back to The Ultimate Surfer, though. What was the expression on World Surf League CEO Erik Logan’s face when he was watching last night?

Can you draw it in the comments?

Thank you.

Kelly Slater appears on a screen. It is weirdly holographic. Like, is he even real? Probably not, actually. Don’t fall! This is the best advice for surfing waves I’ve ever heard in my life. I’m glad he won eleven world titles to discover this vital truth.

ABC’s The Ultimate Surfer, episode one analysis: “I am so totally here for catty Anastasia Ashley. She is now my favorite character ever!”

Oooh, first challenge! Combo turns! We are learning so much here about surfing. They have to do multiple turns that are different, but also, connected together. Complicated.

In this episode: Fourteen people who apparently can surf arrive at the Surf Ranch. They go surfing. Also, there is roommate drama and plotting. Two surfers are eliminated by the end, which is very sad.

Welcome to BeachGrit’s official coverage of The Ultimate Surfer. Apparently, I am writing this thing for you. I will try to make it fun.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or on a desert island, you know that The Ultimate Surfer is a reality show.

Fourteen surfers compete for prizes by surfing (duh) and doing random challenges.

Prizes? Money. Wildcard entries into World Championship Tour events next year.

Tantalizing, and perhaps worth the inevitable humiliations to come. Because if there’s one thing I know about reality television, and I confess, I don’t know much, there will certainly be humiliations galore.

Oh yes, yes, this whole thing is a terrible sell-out of our beloved, wondrous past time. I am wringing my hands so hard right now.

But really, surfing has been sold out over and over, decade after decade, long before any of us showed up. I’m pretty sure it will be sold out again and again long after we’re gone, too.

In truth, I have found it useful to separate surfing as a media artefact from surfing, the thing I do at the beach. This way of thinking has given me much enjoyment and happiness.

Perhaps you will find this approach helpful. Life is shitty and difficult at times, and I fully believe in laughing at whatever absurdity that comes my way.

The Ultimate Surfer takes place at the Surf Ranch, which by now is familiar, and maybe a little too familiar. The Surf Ranch sits in California’s Central Valley, and a giant wooden stockade of a fence surrounds the 700-meter pool. There’s no getting in — and no getting out.

The heat, the tall fence, the concrete, the tasty mix of industrial agriculture and chlorine in the air: It’s all so wonderful, really, if claustrophobia is your kink.

Episode One! Here we go!

Surf Ranch porn! Yes, omg, six-foot and glassy every time! This is totally fiction. Sometimes, it is onshore. You can not fool me.

Opening interviews, and everyone wants to be the best. If you’ve ever wanted to hear more post-heat interviews, this is for you! Retro guitar plays in the background to make us feel super surfy. The competitors arrive in vintage cars. Weird flex, but I’m willing to play along.

Introductions, everyone is super great at surfing, it seems! I am totally not going to be able to keep all these people straight. There are so many! And they all look like surfers. And they all want to compete against the best in the world. Hopefully, I get better at this television-watching thing soon.

Some famous guy shows up. I have no idea who he is.

Oh, he’s Jesse Palmer.

I still don’t know who he is. Someone is fangirling. He is explaining all the things about the competition. Two will win! Money and stuff. He does something on ESPN, apparently. It’s fine. I feel like I don’t need to know who he is.

The excitement is… hard for me to wrap my head around!

I have been to the Surf Ranch, and it was… not that exciting? But that’s chill. If you’re on television, everything is more exciting.

Oh! A bottle! I am so excited the bottle shows up in the very first episode. Day, made!

Wait, is that like a message in a bottle?

Brianna from Hawaii, she doesn’t want to kiss anyone. She did not sign up for the Bachelor. She is here to surf. Sorry, Breanna! You are on a reality television show. You do not get to make the rules.

Oh lucky Breanna! They do not have to kiss! They are going to choose partners to help each other. The bottle of destiny! I’m not sure this can be a thing in real life, but we are at the Surf Ranch where nothing is real.

Julie, her lipstick is very big, and she is partners with Koa, who is very stoked about just about everything. I don’t know how he keeps up this level of exuberance. His manbun totally defies gravity.

Okay, they’re all on teams. It’s great. I am so totally here for catty Anastasia. She is now my favorite character ever.

Oh roommate drama! Breanna and Malia Ward are sharing an Airstream trailer. So trendy! Apparently, they hate each other. Breanna does not like Malia’s energy. The vibes, they’re bad. Tia and Malia, also not friends! But Malia and Anastasia are besties. The plot, it is so thick now!

I have never watched reality television before now, and I feel like I have been missing so much. There’s like a giant hole in my life, where reality television should have been all this time. In the future, I feel I must change my ways.

I am disappointed there wasn’t any kissing. I was hoping there would be awkward kissing.

Malia, she isn’t here to make friends. She is very competitive, just like her dad, the best barrel rider in the world. She wants to win.


Kelly Slater appears on a screen. It is weirdly holographic.

Like, is he even real? Probably not, actually. Don’t fall! This is the best advice for surfing waves I’ve ever heard in my life. I’m glad he won eleven world titles to discover this vital truth. It is even better that he has chosen to share it with the whole world.

Oooh, first challenge! Combo turns! We are learning so much here about surfing. They have to do multiple turns that are different, but also, connected together. Complicated.

Turpel sighting!

And actual pro surfing judges.

We are learning how judges work. A ton of spray! Big turns! Connecting with speed and style! Carves and snaps — these are the two things the surfers will do on the wave. Snaps, so much more risky!

Also, there is a woman, who is probably also famous.

But I don’t know her, as usual.

Oh no. Not the completion! Zeke got a completion! This is my least fave commentary quirk from Turpel. The completion. In addition to not watching reality tv, I don’t watch US football, so maybe that’s my problem. Maybe the commentary and my whole life would make so much more sense, if I did these things.

Kayla Durdan — my money is always going to be on me! That’s a good line, girl. Hope you can surf! Because you apparently need to do that now. Well, after the commercials. Network tv has very exciting commercials, and they are many. Oh, Kayla. She is very relaxed and chill. This is not the time to be chill and relaxed, Kayla! The judges don’t love it. Sorry, Kayla!

The surfing is cut very fast. I can’t even tell who is doing what. I’m not sure this matters. There is a lot of falling, on the whole. I think the surfing is mostly bad, actually. I’m not sure this matters, either.

Luke Davis and Anastasia win! I feel like I should have said something more smart about the surfing here, but it’s not that interesting.

Elimination time! There is going to be a surf-off and Luke Davis and Anastasia get to pick a team to surf in the elimination round. Losers, go home! The pressure is completely crushing.

Now, Malia and Anastasia are plotting. Anastasia wants to play the long game. She’s thinking very hard and second-guessing her first guesses. Anastasia, so stressed now! Malia is crafty. I would not want to surf a heat against her. Or, play reality tv. I feel certain either way, a double-cross is coming, and there are going to be so many tears.

Moment of truth! The surf-off is starting now. Zeke and Kayla are sent to the surf-off. And they get to choose who they compete against. So they choose Malia and Austin Clouse, because they had the lowest scores in the first round.

Austin’s dad had cancer, he says. This is very touching. He gave up his dreams of surfing contests in California, and he went home to Florida. That was the end of his Championship Tour dreams. He is going to give it all he has. A classic tear-jerker Olympic moment, and it’s not even the Olympics.

Yes! The elimination round takes place at night. Winner stays, loser leaves! This is so intense.

Kayla, everything on the line. She has better turns this time. But oooh, shit, got chopped on the barrel. This feels very tragic, actually.

Malia: Get pitted, and come out! Very good self-talk. Malia is on her back hand. She makes the barrel! Then she falls on the end section turn.

What will the judges decide? You totally can’t script this.

The suspense. I can’t wait to find out if Malia or Kayla wins! The women’s side is so catty and wonderful. The men, not as much! Perhaps they will improve upon closer acquaintance.

Oh, Austin, got chopped by the barrel. This is very sad, just like Kayla.

Zeke, hits the lip line, which I thought was what Julie had on her face, but it is apparently part of the wave. Zeke, lands an air! Omg, an actual air! Shit’s getting real now.

Drama! Zeke came through the door. He is the winner! He gets a 9.5. Malia, she survives! Anastasia is very relieved now. If Kayla had stayed, vengeance would surely have been hers. But now, there is no chance for vengeance, just sad good byes.

Kalya, and Austin, we hardly knew you! Bye!

And, we’re done. Until tomorrow, when we do the whole thing all over again.

I feel like tomorrow might be too soon, actually. It is all so much to take in. The plotting! The drama! The suspense! It seems that tomorrow there will be challenges other than surfing. And also, bribery.

I hope there is more Kelly. I felt like this whole thing needed more Kelly.

See you then!

Surfing’s great polemicist Joel Tudor harkens back to a more genteel era ahead of The Ultimate Surfer debut: “Back when surfers had style… nowadays we speak in Insta emojis, everyone is a YouTube comedian and nothing is sacred!”

Fix up. Look sharp.

Have you set aside the 10 o’clock hour (9 o’clock Central) for tonight’s grand premier of the World Surf League’s The Ultimate Surfer? The program, starring Anastasia Ashley, Austin Clouse, Mason Barnes and Erin Coscarelli as “the world’s best surfers,” has been teased for months now and will also feature Kelly Slater teaching “up and coming surf stars” how to play spin the bottle etc.


Overjoyed that surfing has a new image?

Well, quickened heartbeats are not universal. Surfing’s great polemicist Joel Tudor took to Instagram, minutes ago, to decry the cheapening of our favorite pastime.

Underneath a photo featuring surfing greats (Greg Noll, Pat Curren etc.) dressed nattily he wrote, “Back when surfers had style ….nowadays we speak insta emoji’s, everyone’s a YouTube comedian & nothing is sacred …all the rules of how we got here are now taboo – I swear we are headed downhill fast! Throw a wrench in the machine sos abort abort …ship is going down captain! Ok ok I kid , we’ll be fine ….just could use some old school cool in the era of instant gratification!”

But what do you feel? An old man shouting at the clouds or does Mr. Tudor have a point?

I have long been a proponent of fixing up, looking sharp, and agree that the best surfer is a suit wearing surfer. I have also long known that age, a calcified brain, is marked by criticizing “nowadays” as “not as cool as it used to be.”

So where do you fall?

Has surfing become idiocracized or should we all go along and get along?