"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.
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.