Yo Morgan, wake up, wake up baby Mmm, yo... Yo Morgs, wake yo' ass up c'mon I'm up! I'm up. I'm up , I'm up Morgs, wake up! I'm up Mick, what the fuck, man? What's up? C'mon now it's a quarter to six we got the 7:30 heat etc.

Route to victory: How underdog Australian Morgan Cibilic can “corner Gabriel Medina like a rat” in a “ridiculous, peculiar” Trestles Finals Day, “Perfect in the context of the WSL whoring its credibility out on the most sexless, boring reality show in human history!”

It's a dream outside lane run for Morgs at a dream location. The draw could not be more favourable for him.

Let me make two t’ings perfectly clear before laying out Morgs’ pathway to victory, why Nick Carroll is full of caca, and why Morgan Ciblic is the World Champ we need this year.

First, in the same vein that Kelly Slater is the smartest guy in any room he finds himself in, I am the biggest Medina fan in any given situation.

Second, I loathe the accidental champion.

I believe that is a Derek Rielly line and a lot of people don’t realise how Ol DR is the iron fist in a silk glove when it comes to management of his surf writing team*. A real Stalin. As I recall DR sent me a text maybe three or four am one night just to check I was on the tools and it contained that deathless line: I loathe the accidental champ.

Which I wholeheartedly agree with.

Worst days of my life watching Fred Morais beat JJF at J-Bay or Keanu Asing win the French Pro in the shorebreak.

I want the best being the best or GTFO.

That said: it’s a dream outside lane run for Morgs at a dream location. The draw could not be more favourable for him.

The first scoring ride of the day will be the most crucial of the day for him. If judges dictate that Aussie blue-collar progressive power** surfing is in the good to excellent range then the rest of the day essentially unfolds on terms he has already set.

If they low-ball three big turns and a close-out smash then he’s cooked from the beginning.

He gets past Connor Coffin.

Toledo panics. Tries to play Aussie surfing power games, falls on an air.

Sits and waits like an Easter Island statue. Gets beaten with two mid sevens.

Italo feels his manhood very much threatened by this insolence. Falls on three massive airs. Lands a sketchy one for a mid-six. Ciblic rides set of the day for an easy win.

Gabe is now what is known as cornered rat- rata accorolada in local parlance.

“I do not like this format, it is unfair,” starts to ring in his ears.

This is the most unfair manifestation of the format.

A guy who a year ago was on the beach with a t-shirt trying to get a signature off Medina now about to challenge him for a Title that according to 40 years of Pro Surfing dynamics should already be his.

This thing fucking with Gabe, pride.

Medina hustles, gets physical and earns an interference.

Heat One lost.

Heat Two, Gabe goes massive and falls, unstoppable Ciblic wins World Title.

Ridiculous. Peculiar. But perfect in the context of a Sporting Governing Body whoring its credibility out on the most sexless, boring reality show in human history.

There are many objections to this pathway to victory.

Nick Carroll, in a summation for Surfline, said many things including this: “I haven’t seen any indication this year that anyone in the field can take them down in a best-of-three match up, whether it be Lowers or anywhere else”.

To which I would reply, did he not watch the Olympics? Gabe choked two heats in a row.

Did he not see Surf Ranch where he folded in the Finals against Toledo.

Gabe is eminently beatable, especially at a wave where he has such a poor record.

Carroll then played the fatigue card as a major factor. To which I would respond: there is no location on the planet kinder for multiple heat surfing than Trestles.

No current, no big paddling, no crowd, long waits for sets.

The average ride at Trestles is between 13-20 seconds with most being between 15-17 seconds long. Morgan, like Jordy Smith and Mick Fanning, catches few waves in a heat (three or four on average).

When you do those sums, a minute of surfing in a 30 minute heat, he could get the job done with five actual minutes of exertion over the day, with tons of recovery between rides.

This is not Pipeline or Cloudbreak where a single wipe-out saps the tank.

Certainly not a combat sport, as Carroll clumsily compares it to.

If a surfer of Morgs calibre can’t surf five minutes in a single day then the whole concept of surfer as elite athlete is an absurdity.

It’s just a silly piece of nonsense, like The Ultimate Surfer.

Two set waves per heat, expertly ridden, will get the job done. No need to reinvent the wheel either, as Carroll insinuated.

If judges score eights for big turns in one heat then they’ll score them eights all day long.

Morgs can do it on the left as well, as we saw at Narrabeen.

One of the more absurd outcomes of this glorious path coming to fruition is a better future for Pro Surfing.Elo and the Woz are playing with fire double dealing the Australian taxpayer by going all in on the Ultimate Surfer, trashing the integrity of the QS system that has been funded by the Oz govt for years.

You don’t fuck around with the main squeeze, as Amy Winehouse counselled: you keep your dick wet with your same, safe old bet.

If the scorned Aussie taxpayer turns their back on the Woz it’s game over.

I don’t think Elo realises that.

A Morgan Ciblic victory ensures another decade of clean funding down the Pipeline.

It keeps pro surfing dreams alive on the Island Continent and enrages an entire nation, thus ensuring a better 2022 than could have possibly dreamed of in the Santa Monica high castle.

Please tear this logic to shreds, I would very much like to hear the counter-arguments.

My Final Call: Italo Ferreira for World Champ.

*Very much justified in this case.

** No oxymoron

Florida's fav ever surfer, CJ Hobgood! | Photo: Steve Sherman/@thserms

Will much-loved world champion surfer CJ Hobgood win BeachGrit’s inaugural Surfival League? “I only win things with an asterix next to them!” says champ.

Blood, sex and tears!

It’s been a wild inaugural Surfival League season, I think very safe to say.

If you’ll remember, the Surfival League was launched as an alternative to Fantasy Surfer. A place where you could win real prizes (see here, here), one where you only root for one surfer, one where you didn’t have to worry about tiers, points, or budgets. 

Simplified Fantasy.

Need a quick refresher?

Four rules.

1. Pick one surfer each event.

2. Surfer must advance past The Round of 32.

3. You can’t pick same surfer twice.

4. Winner takes $1,000 and a custom-shaped Panda Surfboard.

A little over three hundred BeachGrit commenters, WSL staff and fantasy dorks tried their hand predicting which surfer will have early round success.

We are now down to 11. That’s three percent of the Original League. 

There were massive cullings at Pipeline (Seth Moniz, Julian Wilson), Margaret River (Jack Robinson), Rottnest (Callinan, Toledo, Colapinto), and Barra (Toledo, Colapinto, Igarashi).

Out of the 11 Surfivors, one Hobgood remains, one event remains.

All that’s left is to choose one surfer to win at Lowers (and combined heat score of winning heat to settle ties).

I asked Clifton, would a Surfival win be better than a 2001 crown?

“I only win things with an asterix next to them so yes it would be right up there,” said the Champ, adding if he did win he’d be giving his prize to the runner-up. 

The finalists are, 

And, ‘cause everyone’s money is on Gabriel Medina or Italo Ferreira, what if Conner, Filipe or Morgan wins?

Tie-breaker rules below! 

Gather around, friends, and listen to the cautionary tale of how a careless surf journalist almost burned San Clemente to the ground!

Or how the World Surf League final's day at Lower Trestles was almost undone.

Yesterday afternoon David Lee Scales and I met together, virtually, to record our 131 episode of The Grit! The podcast has added many features over these years including a subscription option and a call-in line and an email inbox, which happens to be my personal favorite. And that same yesterday, an email came in reminding me of the time I almost burned San Clemente, home of the World Surf League final’s day, to the ground.

It was from the old facilities manager of Surfer and Surfing magazine, which once shared an insurance-esque office high in San Clemente’s dry hills. He spoke of cutting out, some eight-odd years ago, for a surf. When he returned he saw a large oil slick leading up to the parking lot and ending underneath a 1994 Ford Bronco that had once been white, exactly like the one OJ Simpson took for a famous low speed cruise, but had somehow turned charred and black.

It was mine.

I had left my Cardiff-by-the-Sea home, that morning, to attend the weekly editorial meeting in Surfing‘s windowless cubicle. It was a hot one with dry Santa Ana winds buffeting the already dry land and my windows were down and I hummed along to Miley Cyrus’s “We Can’t Stop.”

Things were normal as I exited the 5 freeway, normal as I headed northeast on Avenida Pico, normal as I swung right on Calle del Cerro, then became very abnormal as I climbed the final incline to the soulless white cube.

A loud thump canceled Cyrus’s croon, white smoke filled the Bronco’s interior and almost all power was lost.

“Hmmm,” I thought, limping into the parking lot and settling in a far corner overlooking parched grass and hill.

I got out and headed for the door when a woman shouted, “Your car is on fire!”

I looked back and it certainly was, the entire hood engulfed in angry flame.

“Uh oh,” I thought as I studied the parched grass and hill and felt those bone dry Santa Ana’s blowing right out over San Clemente.

Pep in step, I rushed to the door then to the Surfing offices asking if anyone had a fire extinguisher.

Surfing‘s photo editor and all-around icon Jimmy Wilson asked why and I told him my Bronco had combusted.

He found a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, returned to the parking lot with me and sprayed the angry flame but it didn’t mind and kept raging.

“This is how San Clemente comes to an end,” I thought as I studied the parched grass and hill, again, felt those hellish Santa Ana’s unabated.

But, miraculously, San Clemente did not come to an end. Eventually the last drop of oil dripped from the engine block and the fire went out leaving only the husk of my OJ Simpson Bronco. I tried to start the engine to see if, miraculously, it would run but alas.

Not ending up in jail, responsible for multiple deaths and billions of dollars worth of damage good enough, I supposed.

Days later, the facility manager called and asked me to remove my vehicle. I ignored him as I considered it public art. He implored Surfing‘s then-editor-in-chief Taylor Paul to convince me but I ignored him too as I considered myself Banksy-adjacent.

It was eventually towed, which I considered an insult, but I didn’t pay for it so, again, good enough.

The lesson?

Public art is in the eye of the beholder.

Listen here as David Lee reprimands me for being thoughtless and then we discuss The Ultimate Surfer and sexless butterballs (a new cocktail).

A fine show, all things considered.

Top ten surfers “summoned” by World Surf League to speak with New York Times about new season-ending format; Medina bites hand: “I don’t like it because I don’t think it’s fair.”

"Suck it, Logan."

Yesterday, or possibly the day before, the World Surf League “summoned” its top five male surfers and its top five female surfers to the San Clemente pier in order to sell the new season-ending one-day surf-off to The New York Times.

The journalist, John Branch, wrote of the forced junket, “Surfing works hard to project a carefree attitude. But there is a persistent churn around the business of professional surfing, a decades-long undercurrent to the culture. It is the indefatigable belief that there are more fans to hook and more money to be made. That is why the World Surf League is operating this year with a jolt of urgency. Under new leadership, it hopes to ride a swell from surfing’s Olympic debut in Tokyo while overhauling its schedule and, most notably, the way it crowns champions.”

He described the overall scene on the pier as “predictably mellow” even with the ten best surfers in the world “milling about in flip-flops and caps bearing sponsor’s logos” then approached Gabriel Medina, current number one on the men’s side, who certainly would have been wearing Reef flip-flops and a Rip Curl hat, for a positive take on the new model.

Medina told him, “I don’t like it because I don’t think it’s fair. You spend your life, a year long, and now the last event in September, you’re gonna decide all your year?” He then shrugged and added, “I don’t know about business, I don’t know how it works. They tried to do something different.”

World Surf League CEO Erik Logan, who was described as wearing “sunglasses, a trim beard, faded jeans and clean Vans” certainly would have overheard Medina’s take but tried to wash it away with positivity saying, “The opportunity to win it in the water, in the arena, is a really unique opportunity in surfing that really hasn’t happened. We were very blessed in 2019 to see that with Italo and Gabe at Pipeline, and just the intensity of that was really codifying for a conversation that already had been going on.”

Then added, “That amplification will trickle down into the growth of the sport, the growth of the W.S.L., the growth of the industry. That’s why it’s a good thing.”

Branch ended the piece with a dagger, suggesting that Logan “might want to explain that all to Medina.”


World’s most graceful surfer Stephanie Gilmore poised to become “greatest of all time” surpassing Layne Beachley, Kelly Slater, with Lower Trestles win!

History in the making.

I mocked, and mocked hard, when the World Surf League rolled out the concept of a super-charged final day, some who-knows-how-many months ago, pitting the top five surfers (both men’s and women’s) against each other for all the glory. Previously, organized professional surfing had hung itself on the tagline “It Takes a Tour to Make a Title.”

Now it takes a day.

Blah blah blah lame blah Gabriel Medina dominant blah blah Stephanie Gilmore.

Speaking of, the current world number four on the women’s side, and roughly 5000 points behind leader Carissa Moore, is in position to make history at Lower, Trestles (likely Sunday) with a win and another crown.

In so doing, Gilmore would vault from seven World Titles to eight thereby passing the great Layne Beachley.

Is Beachley made furious by this potential injustice? This quick changing of the rules?

Unfortunately no, for in a recent Guardian interview she proclaimed, “She’s already referred to as the GOAT. I don’t know how many more times she’s going to have to win before she truly lays claims to that. She’s already the GOAT and I’m not sure another world title will change that at all.”


Is Beachley actually the most graceful surfer in the world?


But back to this one day final nonsense, Pip Toledo scared out of the water, ‘Rissa Moore maybe coming undone by fate and history and Gilmore etc.

Pat O’Connell, architect of this great mess, was right.

We needed this.

It Takes a Day to Win Over Mentally Lazy and Challenged Surf Journalists.