Hawaiian World Champ John John Florence boldly steals moniker “White Chocolate” from former NBA basketball player Jason Williams!

Instant classic?

A good nickname is as fine a thing as any. Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Michael “Air” Jordan, Shoaib “Rawalpindi Express” Akhatar, Duncan “Disorderly” Ferguson, Keith “Raging Potato” Wood, Nicolas “The Incredible Sulk” Anelka, Chrissie “The Chrissinator” Wellington to list but a few classics.

Oh, our surfing has some wonderful ones too. Miki “Da Cat” Dora, Gerry “Mr. Pipeline” Lopez,  Mark “Wounded Seagull” Richards, John “John” Florence.

I’ve always liked the subtlety of double John. Quiet, authoritative yet the Hawaiian world champ may have tired of the simplicity and is auditioning a new one.

John “White Chocolate” Florence.

How do you feel about it?

My heretofore favorite “White Chocolate” was the NBA basketball player Jason Williams.

Do you remember him?

Many fancy passes and deep threes.

Back to “White Chocolate” Florence, though. Yay? Nay?

Open Thread: Comment Live, Finals Day of the Cuervo Surf Ranch Classic straight outta Lemoore!

The world's greatest longboard wave sees hot action.

Disappointment reigns in longboard-curious professional surf fans’ hearts this morning as the Cuervo Surf Ranch Classic is live at the world’s greatest longboarding wave, yet the World Surf League has thrown some sort of evil hex on its YouTube stream and also not carrying it on Facebook which means BeachGrit‘s patented Open Thread: Comment Live must go old-school.

Like longboarding itself, I suppose.

Click here to watch. Leave this page open. Gingerly cross-step with your foam-fluid brothers and sisters below.

Long-term ramifications of horror shark stunt gone wrong for Jackass star revealed, “It’s been four months and Poopies still can’t surf. It was so bad, it was f*&king awful, absolutely f*&king awful!”

“When they go into a frenzy, they bite everything. They will eat you alive. But you wanted to get that action.”

You’ll remember, I’m sure, Jackass’ piece for the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week a few months back where Carlsbad’s Sean “Poopies” McInerney was attacked by Caribbean reef sharks after a ski jump into a feeding frenzy.

The gag was to replicate long-running seventies TV series Happy Days’ famous shark jump episode where the show’s leather-bound stud Fonzie jumps over a shark pen on waterskis.

The episode has become a byword for TV writers conjuring up increasingly ludicrous storylines to punch up the interest in shows with declining audiences.

Anyway, Poopies, outfitted in a leather jacket as per the Fonze, landed in a swarm of Caribbean reef sharks that had been driven into a frenzy by the rest of the cast tossing hunks of meat at ‘em.

In the melee, Poopies’ paw was almost sawn off by the fish, tendons and two separate arteries having to be surgically reattached.

“He would be fucking dead if they (safety crew) didn’t dive on him as fast as they did,” said Jackass mainstay Steve-O.

Weeping as he recounted the story Poopies admitted,

“I thought I was going to die. There were ten sharks around me and… (pauses, breathes out)…there’s like ten sharks around me, I’m trying to swim out… (pause)… And I  I couldn’t swim out, dude, I knew I got bit and I thought I was going to be attacked by six more sharks.”

Now, on Steve-O’s podcast Wild Ride, with the show’s usual wildlife wrangler Manny Puig who wasn’t there for the stunt as a guest, Steve-O (at 45:51) provides an update on the injury.

“It’s been four months and he still can’t surf… it was insane, we were losing light, it was dusk, the worst time to do something like this and we were throwing all these pieces of meat right where he was going to land. Everything that lands, it’s food, we were conditioning them. The sharks were climbing all over each other. I saw a leaf land in the water and it got swarmed. It was soooooo bad, man, I wish we had you (Manny) there. Then it wouldn’t have happened.”

“When they go into a frenzy, they bite everything. They will eat you alive,” says guest Manny. “But you wanted to get that action.”


Watch! (Again.)

"You're my boy, Stevie!"

Obituary for world’s best surf contest analyst, “He watched so we didn’t have to!”

Our beacon of literary chops in a roiling, putrid sea of shark stories. Our unanimous sage. Our lynchpin. Gone.

It is with deep sadness, friends, that I must report our friend, Longtom (née Steven Shearer) has left the building.

Our clear-eyed purveyor of pro surfing, who watched so we didn’t have to.

Our beacon of literary chops in a roiling, putrid sea of shark stories.

Our unanimous sage.

Our lynchpin.


Some may wonder what took him so long. Some may wonder what pleasure he derived from watching Ian Gouveia long into the wee small hours, just to sling a few pearls before swine.

But, as Chekhov teaches us through the lunatic hallucinations of Andrei Korvin, it is indeed a fine and dainty dance between madness and genius.

Before the birth of BeachGrit and his renaissance period, Steve Shearer spent an undetermined number of years traipsing the outer reaches of surf media like Denzel Washington’s Eli, clutching old surf mags and spit-flecked fury ignited by Nick Carroll and Sean Doherty articles.

His BG arrival was announced with “5 RULES FOR THE GOLDEN AGE OF SURF WRITING!” which decried traditional surf media and hoisted the likes of Rory Parker and Chas Smith onto a pedestal. In hindsight, perhaps a claim that has aged less well than his rules for surf writing, including numbers three on his list: “Don’t be a comment coward”.

Is there anything lamer than someone who can punch in the co-ordinates but can’t deliver the ordnance in the comments section?

Answer: Nein, non, nyet.

Surf writer, you ain’t Moses strolling down from Mount Sinai delivering the Ten Commandments on stone tablets. So wipe that smug grin off your face. Everything you say is contestable and maybe completely wrong. The article is just the entrée, foreplay and nothing else.

Like Orwell’s stubborn refusal to prolong his life and put down the pen under doctor’s orders and in the death throes of tuberculosis, ol’ Longtom’s commitment never waned. He has always walked his talk and weighed in below the line.

It’s still worth reading.

It finished with a somewhat controversial list of the 10 greatest surf writers of all time. Upon publication of the seminal piece, surf history gatekeeper Matt Warshaw was aroused to Tweet: “I don’t know who Longtom is, but I think he’s just made his own list.”

And with that, the floodgates opened.

Steve “Longtom” Shearer found his groove in contest reporting. A grim, thankless task from which he somehow elicited high art.

Like an inky Spartan he relentlessly deconstructed the WSL with a two-pronged Grecian attack. With one hand, a pathos that would make Emily Dickinson weep; and with the other a bathetic rendering that left us unsure whether to laugh cry or cry wank.

Whilst not ashamed to scythe through the performance of the athletes with plain, beautifully brutal truths in the tradition of Derek Hynd or Lewis Samuels before him, Longtom saved his most choice lures and lethal barbs for the power brokers of professional surfing. Notably, those who came from the outside with designs and delusions of transforming the game he loved so deeply.

Sophie Goldschmidt fell. Backwards Fin Beth fell. Elo remains free falling.

All not so much gaslit by Longtom as flung on a roaring pyre as we danced around and squealed with glee.

Kept in check and on time by DR’s silken-gloved fisting, it’s fair to say he over-achieved and undersold at BeachGrit.

Imagine him now, if you will, cash-strapped and cold-shouldered by Charon, doomed to wander the shores, muttering something about the Oi Rio Pro and Nick Carroll.

Flirtations with serious journalism never quite sang with the same sweet symphonies of Lennox lore, big fish tales or his unique brand of pro surf prose, but far be it from this necrologist to judge.

One suspects that his afterlife might not be quite as much fun as here.

The adulation will be the same, I’m sure.

The money unquestionably better.

But it will be constricted. The liberty to coil up those words and sling the noose will not be the same.

He’ll be here, I’m sure. Hopefully not just lurking like the many ghosts of surf industry past, but opaque and present.

I would have liked to revisit some of my favourite Longtom work, to roll in it like a happy dog in autumn leaves, but I’m not scrolling through a few thousand Chas Smith articles to find it.

Can we have a searchable Longtom archive by way of memorial? A shrine, if you will.

We can only hope that manuscripts for the promised but unfinished memoir Big Tits, Blue Water are coherent and forthcoming from his estate.

Longtom leaves us having published zero books to Chas Smith’s three, and with a legacy of surf contest reporting that will never be surpassed let alone attempted at that hourly rate.

If we’re honest with ourselves we knew it was only a matter of time.

To paraphrase Ellis Boyd Redding, some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure.

Favourite memories, donations, thoughts and prayers below.

In setting out to create perfect high-performance wave, world’s greatest surfer Kelly Slater accidentally stumbles upon longboard paradise!

Surf Ranch is for nose walkers.

Surf Ranch, nestled in the abjectly terrible California Central Valley, was to be Kelly Slater’s crowning achievement. The apex of fevered dreams. A reflection of his ego that would dominate surfing long after his body has been cryogenically frozen.

A perfect wave. A perfect wave gurgling up from beyond the plow then growing, racing, reeling into a barrel, opening back up, barreling again and ending with a high-performance air-reverse section.

The World Surf League, rabid, purchased this chimera instantly knowing that it would profoundly change the future of professional surfing. Believing it would push progression to the limit of human capacity.

Except a funny thing happened on the way to radical. Six-odd years since the Lemoore facility was first revealed, it has become clear that Slater did, in fact, create a perfect wave but a perfect wave for longboarding, an ideal canvas for nose walking etc.

Tell me it is not the gorgeous Stepford Wife to South Africa’s handsome Cape St. Francis.

To that end, the WSL will host the Cuervo Surf Ranch Classic at the world’s best longboard wave beginning today, airing live tomorrow.

I asked Devon Howard, professional longboarding’s commissioner, what made it so fine and he responded, “I think the way that wave works makes so much sense for the longboard. It favors a horizontal surfing as opposed to up and down, or top to bottom.”

Don’t agree? Think otherwise? We will be airing live tomorrow and can discuss in the comments.

More as the story develops.