@jackfreestone Instagram
@jackfreestone Instagram

Australian surfer, heartthrob, Jack Freestone lashes out at Rip Curl after release of body-inclusive bikini fit guide: “Wow the audacity of this stupid company… Where was this campaign when two of your biggest team riders decided to start the chapter of motherhood? Bunch of hypocrites.”

"She can't be photographed next to the 18 year old models."

The Gold Coast’s Jack Freestone has quietly become one of my favorite surfers over the years. Tall, fearless, talented with an enviable top turn and also one half of the world’s cutest couple.

Freestone and Alana Blanchard have been together for many years, have two adorable children and split time between Jack’s Australia and Blanchard’s Kauai. The idyllic life funded, in part, by Billabong (Freestone’s main sponsor) and, in times past, Rip Curl, Alana’s sponsor of a decade and a half until the Torquay-based brand pulled the plug last-ish year.

Why?

Blanchard released a to-camera video soon after the breakup wherein she said, “As some of you probably already noticed, I’m no longer sponsored by Rip Curl. It was kind of a big change for me from going from being sponsored my whole life, pretty much since I was like 14 to now not having a main sponsor. As a professional surfer that’s a huge thing. As excited as I am for change and what’s to come it’s definitely a little bit scary and I think that it’s affecting me a little bit more than what I thought. Things ended OK with them, they pretty much stopped using me after I had Banks, or found out that I was pregnant. They really didn’t like that I had a kid.”

Lightly problematic, in this day, with the underlying assumption being a mother’s body is not the right “look.”

Well, Rip Curl has apparently woke up and just released a thoroughly modern body-inclusive bikini fit guide featuring women of all shapes and sizes.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CUGn9LeBwzd/

Heart-warming except a little too performative what with the Blanchard dismissal still not cool?

Jack Freestone certainly thought so, taking to Instagram to lambast Rip Curl, artfully penning, “Wow! The audacity of this stupid company. I say and spoke with Alana multiple times as she felt berated by Rip Curl as they said stuff like, “She can’t be photographed next to the 18 year old models,” “We only care about results not how many followers you have” or made her feel bad for breast feeing her child at a photo shoot, or even docking her pay because she was pregnant and couldn’t be used for a photo shoot basically making it so difficult for her to feel normal and low and behold they do a campaign like this. Which I’m sure a lot of these women are probably mothers. Where was this campaign when 2 of your biggest team riders decided to start the chapter of motherhood?? There was no acceptance, no help, no understanding of the situation. Just Hmmm no you’re a mother now and that basically means you’re not marketable. I support and love this movement but not this company. Bunch of hypocrites.”

Direct and to the point.

Powerful.

Should Rip Curl respond?

Oh, companies never do but how wonderful would it be to see the brand apologize with a hefty new contract for Blanchard?

Performative no more.

A boy can dream.


In unexpected yet joyous news, anti-depressive online surf journal BeachGrit gets shortlisted for “Top Most Promising Health Sites for 2021!”

Celebrate with us!

I don’t usually like to stand on stage and bathe in applause, nor does my life partner Derek Rielly, but we will both make an exception today for today your BeachGrit was officially shortlisted as a “Top Most Promising Health Site for 2021.”

Per the just received notification:

Hey there!

This is Mercy from Li Creative Technologies, We’re very happy to inform you that ‘beachgrit’ has been shortlisted by our editorial board which will be included and honored as “Top Most Promising Health Sites For 2021”.

This article with one page profile of selected blog owners will be included to all our newsletter readers. This is a focus on Health Bloggers, which will rank in google for all top Health keywords shortly.

We believe that addition of ‘beachgrit’ in this honor list and a small line about your website in the post may help ‘beachgrit’ differentiate from its competitors.

I’d like to speak to the concerned person from your firm at the earliest to finalize ‘beachgrit’ inclusion in this list.

This is a very unique promotion proposal; we hope ‘beachgrit’ makes full use of it.

Waiting to know what you think on the same.

Regards,

Jen

Was it the think-pieces on Laird Superfood that pushed us over the top of one-time rivals The Inertia?

Poignant examinations of Kelly Slater’s “miracle of information?”

I would assume Li Creative Technologies keeps its voting blend secret but keep your fingers crossed for us while applauding.

What a beautiful world!


Nobody…leaves… BeachGrit. Only way you going out is in a box or in a hail of bad feelz.

World’s best pro surfing analyst sensationally quits BeachGrit, “Not one writer has gone out on their own terms. Two in a pine box, the rest in a hail of recriminations and bad feelz!”

"I've never understood how surf journalism has always identified with the interests of the few (subjects) against the many (readers). That's always seemed ass about to me."

I’m outta here comrades.

Firstly, who don’t love a goodbye post and the truth is, for a BG writer it’s a luxury no-one has yet been able to afford.

Not one gone out on their own terms. Two in a pine box, the rest in a hail of recriminations and bad feelz.

So, to quote the old pseudo-goth Nick Cave: “If this is heaven a’hm bailing out.”

And, it is a kind of heaven for surf writers.

My BeachGrit tenure began with a very strong need for quick cash on Malolo Island during a two-week stint chasing Cloudbreak every day. Dummies like me and my Bribie pal got our money changed to cash then left the door ajar to the shack we were staying in. A missing pack of Gudangs being used to mix into bush weed alerted us to the fact we had been robbed and now we had a gargantuan bar bill to deal with and no cash to pay for it. 

I penned a quick story about fun times for the mug punter at Cloudbreak and Derek Rielly graciously offered to pay me for it.

It didn’t cover the bar bill but it did begin a wonderful relationship with the Grit and its principals and readers.

My real wife often refers to Rielly as my second wife, such has been his fidelity and capacity in making a gal feel special. 

Always a kind word, a prompt payment, a succession of paperbacks to ease a down day. Provide some special inspiration. Houellebecq, Easton-Ellis, Wilfred Thesiger. They’d just show up. A little leg up in the struggle to make (this surfing) life free and beautiful and hard-core. 

What does a writer want? Readers.

What does a writer need? Money.

BeachGrit provided both. Very, very grateful for that. Very blessed to the man upstairs since it all began. I’m not a believer myself but if I were then I would thank him profusely.

From Fiji, through a thousand and one late nights covering the Tour, it’s been the battle with the horror of the blank screen to the tune of……I haven’t counted but I’d have to be a two-hundred gamer. It’s a silly thing to be proud of, but I am. 

Highlights?

Anything involving Gabe Medina, Kelly’s Golden Ascent into near Omniscience/Omnipotence, Bells 2019 when live commenting was intro’ed here, the big unruly day when pro surfers looked like little kids with toy surfboards left under the Christmas tree, Fiji when it was on, Pipe.

Not everything has been good but I know if the premise is off or the arguments are weak I’ll get whacked below the line. Which is exactly the way it should be.

Every time I suit up, I try my hardest to make it worth someone’s while to read the words. Not for the Woz or the five per centers. For the people that read it.

I’ve never understood how surf jernalizm as a whole has always identified with the interests of the few (subjects) against the many (readers).

That’s always seemed ass about to me.

And the talent below the line proves there is nothing special at all about the “professional” surf writer. Each man, woman and child below the line has proved they can do the job above the line.

Who would have thought, for example, that innovations in surf-lit would come from the Bogswamps of Scotland, glistening with heroin and deep-fried Mars bars.

I never felt animosity below the line from those who oppose my (fringe) political views. Not for a second.

I felt, like Orwell in his review of Mein Kampf, that I could find something likeable and appealing in what was a source of outrage for others. In all, the comments were/are a blast and I shall return with joy to the business of below the line.

Oh, I’m not going far. Got a full-time gig with Swellnet. Australian indy business. Very happy about it too. Time to get a job.

Everything will roll forwards, like it always does.

BeachGrit staples will remain. Chas will make mischief, Derek will wield the sexual metaphor with unprecedented dexterity, new writers will rise up.  

Lastly, for anyone contemplating Tour coverage, I say: don’t be a fucking idiot, but if you do a handy rule of thumb is to say the opposite of what the Woz says.

Following that simple guideline you will be in the ballpark of truth more often than not.

Sayonara sweet swamis.


Open Thread: Comment Live, Day 4 U.S. Open of Surfing Huntington Beach presented by Shiseido!

Ultimate surfing!


Jacinda Ardern and public enemy number one, The VAL.

New Zealand to increase fines for recalcitrant surfers breaking lockdown laws from $300 to a staggering $4000, “Lockdown is bringing out the toxicity in people as they narc on each other. It’s f%$king gross!” says country’s most-loved surfer.

Road blocks out of Auckland, wildly punitive fines!

Last Friday, the New Zealand government’s velvet fist slammed down even harder on any recalcitrant citizens when it increased the on-the-spot fine for going surfing, not wearing a mask etc, from three-hundred dollars to a staggering four gees. 

(Yesterday, you saw the heart-warming moment a surfer slowed down to allow a cop to catch him for shredding during Auckland’s level four lockdown laws just before the new fines came into effect. He was lucky to get stiffed for only three c-notes in hindsight.)

If you wanna be clever and take ‘em to court you could end up twelve gees in the hole. 

Running the road block fifty clicks out of Auckland to surf Raglan or whatever will cost twelve thou, up from four and you might also get six months in the hole. 

Y’see, what’s been happening is Auckland has been in what they call level four lockdown – sitting in your house and counting the grains of sand in the carpet is about the only thing still legal – while the rest of the country enjoys the relative freedom of level two, surfing, takeaway coffees etc. 

Luke Cederman, the pro-ish surfer, comedian, star of our Once Upon a Time in New Zealand wetsuit film, the screw-footed king of NZ’s most famous lefthand point and proprietor of the Instagram account @raglandsurfreport, has been stuck on Waiheke island in Auckland for the past five weeks after a mistimed visit to see his girlfriend. 

He got in. Door was slammed.

Figured he’d be okay for a couple of weeks. But a couple of weeks turned, as they do, into a perpetual cycle of maybe next week’ll be “freedom day” etc.

Cederman’s two hours drive from Raglan, where he lives, but ‘cause of the lockdown he hasn’t been able to move. 

“They’ve got a very heavily guarded border set up,” says Cederman. “Only people with essential worker permits can actually cross over.” 

Three days ago, he had only his second surf in two months. 

“It was shit, this place is just shit, doesn’t get any swell. I had a twin-fin foamie, wearing boardies, and it’s pretty much still winter. I had to get out there, you know how it is,” he says, although he does admit, “I surf fuck-all anyway. I’m terrible. Still, it’s not nice not being able to do it. The most painful thing is, being stuck in level four and then everyone else in the rest of the country is scoring epic waves. Anyone who is in the Auckland area couldn’t do anything. Couldn’t surf. Couldn’t go anywhere.” 

And, of course, this being the era of citizen-policing, snitches everywhere recording suddenly illegal activities with telephones, the police were quickly called. 

“After I surfed, the cops came down and warned all the guys. But the cops are just more pissed for with the narcs calling up, dobbing in al the surfers.” 

Although he sorta likes the simplicity of lockdown, the slowness of it all, he don’t dig the way it “brings out the toxicity in people. People narcing on each is fucking gross.” 

There’s a little good news for Auckland surfers.

Today, level four got dialled down to level three, which means, if you shred, you can surf your local break.

“Whatever that means,” says Cederman. “I can’t really claim Raglan any more. I’m a bit worried. I’ll turn up somewhere for a surf and get called out, ‘What the fuck are you doing here, mate?’” 

So far, in NZ, COVID has infected 4119 people for a total of 27 stiffs.