"It's morning in Orange County..."
"It's morning in Orange County..."

Southern California’s surfers attempt to secede from inland hordes as state re-draws district map: “There’s this localist strain that if the beach is in my neighborhood then I have rights to the wave that other people don’t have and that localist strain tends to be a very White, privileged one!”

Good Republicans dead.

The Golden State of California is a magical place where starlets sprout in Hollywood Hills, butterballs wash up on Malibu beaches, Facebook founders and CEOs e-foil patriotic lakes and the people live in wonderful harmony, all showering in the warmest rain of Papa Gavin Newsom.

Except every ten years a Hunger Games-like phenomena occurs wherein the public is carved into different voting districts and then utter hell breaks loose.

This decade’s edition has seen surfers emerging as a powerful bloc able to drag the entire fortunes of California with it.

Per a just-released report in Bloomberg:

California’s mapmakers will soon decide whether to keep the district as a coastal enclave or to redraw the map so coastal towns are joined with areas further inland. Surfers and other ocean lovers have argued they need to remain in a single district so they can speak with a unified voice in Washington. The seemingly nonpartisan issue could help shape the political future of Orange County, a traditional Republican stronghold where Democrats have been making gains.

To combat gerrymandering, California and six other states have taken the job of redrawing congressional boundaries out of the hands of partisan legislators and given it to independent panels. The state requires the panels to group together communities with shared social and economic interests. But such “communities of interest” are often proxies for partisanship, especially as the U.S. becomes increasingly polarized along lines of income, education, and race. And defining them can be subjective and fraught with controversy.

In Orange County, which hugs the Pacific just south of Los Angeles, some residents say that keeping coastal neighborhoods together would help promote the vital tourism that surfing brings and the lifestyle that goes with it.

And later…

Huntington Beach, with a population of 198,711, brands itself as Surf City USA (the moniker prompted a trademark dispute with Santa Cruz, six hours to the north; Huntington Beach prevailed in 2006). It’s home to Boardriders Inc., which includes the Quiksilver, Billabong, and Roxy brands of boards and apparel, and the surf forecasting company Surfline\Wavetrak Inc., as well as dozens of retail surf shops, the annual U.S. Open of Surfing, and the Surf Walk of Fame.

Surfing historian Scott Laderman says that while issues like coastal preservation and beach access can galvanize surfers, there’s not much else that unites them politically. “Looking historically at the surfing community, they tend to be an apolitical bunch,” says Laderman, author of Empire in Waves: A Political History of Surfing. “Most surfers will tell you that’s what they like about it—it allows them to transcend the everyday concerns that they might otherwise have to deal with and escape the social, economic, political turmoil of the outside world.”

But there are commonalities that have little to do with recreation, Laderman notes. “These tend to be overwhelmingly White, upper-middle-class areas,” he says. “There’s this localist strain that if this beach is in my neighborhood, then I have rights to the wave that other people don’t have. And that localist strain tends to be a very White, privileged one. It’s probably easier from a redistricting point of view to identify that as a surfing community of interest than a White, wealthy community of interest. That probably wouldn’t fly very well.”

Before putting the whole business into greater context…

It’s not unheard of for districts to coalesce around local industries. Coal mines in western Pennsylvania, oil refineries along the Gulf of Mexico, and tourism in central Florida have all been used to draw legislative maps. Still, Orange County’s surfers will have to compete with other interests.

Before ending with a banger.

“This was the place where Ronald Reagan said good Republicans came to die,” Smoller, the political scientist, says. “Now I think Orange County doesn’t know what it is—it just knows it doesn’t want to be Los Angeles. They want to retain their separateness, but they’re holding on by their fingertips because, like the rest of the country, it’s going to be majority minority.”

California surfers: Good Republicans dead.

Very Halloween, no?

Constructing a surfing persona for him, consciously or not, would be child’s play. He gets it. | Photo: Cover shoot for GQ by Ed Templeton

Why I Love “Ultimate Instant Surf Boi” Jonah Hill!

Be like Jonah!

You can’t help but admire the way Jonah Hill has dropped in on surf culture with the insouciance of a grumpy old local.

The peroxide hair. The tattoos. The ironic shirts. The 88 soft tops. The GQ photoshoot. Chuck him in a car park at Wategos, Waikiki or Malibu and nobody’s gonna bat an eyelid. He’s the ultimate instant surfboi. The Sex Wax simulacrum.

Add in his associated social media commentary and perceived woke hypocrisy, and it’s safe to say the Oscar nominee’s got many surfing purists in a twist.

Jonah Hill ruined surfing. Or so the sticker goes.

But I reckon there’s more to it. Jonah didn’t come down in the last VAL shower like one of the core’s other recent arch villains, Mr E.Lo.

We live in a post-factual world where everything is subjective. Opinion and counter opinion rule. Objects are only made real by the meaning you attach to them.

It’s the sort of environment where a cultural agitator like Jonah can thrive. He’s a provocateur, operating in a hall of mirrors.

Consider it.

This is a guy that’s been in the mainstream media spotlight since his teens. Seen it from every angle. Experienced first hand the vapid rapaciousness of tabloid media, and by extension social media.

He knows how the game works. Probably has an axe to grind. Something to say.

He’s a character actor, a damned good one, and his Oscar nomination would agree.

To be that requires incredible self-awareness. Watch him play himself, pun intended, in The End of The World. Happily skewering his public persona, all with a knowing wink to the audience.

He’s a master at taking the piss.

Every move Hill makes in the public eye would be calculated. He knows what the reaction is going to be. The reaction to the reaction. The opinion and the counter opinion.

Jonah knows how a subculture works.

He might be a kook, but he’s not some ignorant Inertia VAL fumbling his way into a world he knows nothing about. Go and re-watch mid90s. As a film it’s not perfect. But the way he painstakingly, lovingly re-creates the minutiae of that deep sub culture is top shelf. Skate memes, by the original definition of the word, make the surf world look one dimensional.

Constructing a surfing persona for him, consciously or not, would be child’s play. He gets it.

Even the choice of 88 surfboards can be examined. The 88 team have subverted surf culture so far that they’ve travelled beyond the 360 degrees. Post-revolution. They’re the ultimate rejection of form. By riding them, Jonah’s chosen the perfect vehicle for his act.

Which gets us to his act: Jonah becomes so surf it hurts. Overtly embraces the culture, to the point of parody. Then Jonah starts a commentary around body image. Writes some impassioned messages to Chas. Says some stuff which on face value is all entirely valid and agreeable.

But Jonah knows how the commentary will play out. The point and counterpoint. The rabid and hypocritical response of the social media world, whether it’s angry surfing purists or dog-whistling wokes. The ultimate vacuousness of the entire exchange, where the original intention is so far twisted that it no longer holds any weight, pun not intended. Sharon Stone, etc etc.

This is absurdist theatre. Think Joaquin Phoenix in I’m Still Here. Jonah’s playing it like a cheap guitar. And we’re getting to enjoy it first hand, for free.

You can’t help but smile.

It’s all driven by an original, organic truth. Jonah’s been through some heavy body struggles. I certainly dunno the guy. But by all reports his embrace of both the pursuit and the culture is genuine. Jonah loves surfing. Jonah looks happy. John doesn’t like being body shamed.

Fair cop. More power to him.

But whether it’s deliberate or not, I’d argue the public character that he’s built over the last two decades can only lead us to this conclusion. That this is all performance art.

By engaging in this play he’s holding a mirror back to cancel culture. To surf culture. And having fun while he’s doing it.

So being outraged by Jonah is like being outraged by BeachGrit. It means you’re missing the point.

If you judged each article on here by its individual merit (other than mine) you’d be left curled up in the foetal position, horrified at what surfing and society have become.

But lay it out more broadly. Consider the context. The collapse of surf media. The invasion of the culture by dilettantes and manipulators trying to turn it into something it’s not. And then you realise this whole thing is an art project. Social commentary. Meta comedy.

BeachGrit and Jonah Hill are one and the same. Shit stirrers. Treating surfing with exactly the level of respect it deserves. ‘Cause  it’s equal parts the greatest and stupidest thing you could ever try and do.

As Livia Soprano says, it’s all a big nothing.

So be like Jonah.

Enjoy your journey with surfing, and comedy, and live life accordingly.

Hawaii’s state Board of Land and Natural Resources approves eight surf school permits on heretofore pristine Kahaluu Bay: “This is now officially the VALs world, we’re just caddying their soft-tops!”

Paving paradise.

Any grumpy local, worth her salt, would quietly grumble that surf schools, or places vulnerable adult learners go to discover confidence in the surf by being pushed into waves on giant soft-tops, have spread too far, too wide and should be culled. But the grumpy local, worth his salt, has not one friend, not one natural ally and so is ignored as surf schools spread like TikTok-induced tics.


Most recently, the Hawaii state Board of Land and Natural Resources has amended rules and is allowing eight surf schools to open shop on The Big Island’s heretofore pristine Kahaluu Bay.

Once home to important royal residences and a grand heiau used to view the surf, Kahaluu Bay has been a beautiful respite from VAL who, before now, had to drag their soft-tops all the way from across the street in order to bend at the waist where princesses and princes once slid proud. It is also right around the corner from Kealakekua Bay, where Hawaiians beat Capt’n James Cook to death after a small misunderstanding.

Surf schools.


Dirty Water: “Chubby” and “bearish” Maurice Cole talks death, the decimation of Australian surfing and the joys of being broke, “I’ve had the millions and I was a dickhead with it. Poverty is a state of mind. It keeps me hungry!”

"I got a borrowed car, no money, no assets but I own a couple of great guitars. I've never been happier."

Today’s guest on Dirty Water, Maurice Cole, is described in the encyclopedia of surfing as “chubby”, “bearish” and “with a hair-trigger temper”.

Cole, sixty-seven, was there at the birth of the surf industry in Torquay in 1969, first sewing wetsuits for Rip Curl, then as a sponsored shredder for offshoot boardshort company Quiskilver. 

In 1976, and shortly before a two-year stint in jail, he was Australia’s most highly paid surfboard shaper. 

Through the seventies and into the eighties, with black hair long-bobbed and flying, he was one of the world’s best surfers. 

Long before it became a byword for beach break barrels he moved to Hossegor, France, and it was here he met an American ex-pat, a soon-to-be-world champ called Tom Curren. Their friendship peaked with Curren’s 1990 World Title on Cole’s boards and the reverse vee design of 1991.

He pioneered tow-in board design and surfing wild offshore reefs with Noah Johnson and Ross Clarke-Jones and, for a time there, with his happy koala bear logo, was the most in demand shaper in the world, Kelly Slater a vocal fan. 

In 2003, Cole became a part of the mega-surfboard company BASE, which would collapse eight years later, millions of dollars in debt, and leaving our guest, in his own words, “disillusioned, bitter and twisted and in a very dark place.”

Perhaps his most marked characteristic is his extraordinary ability to go right to the heart of a problem and reduce difficulties to their right proportion. 

Note to listeners: the interview ends suddenly due to audio blow-out.


Online sleuths converge to discover which professional surfer is the most “hideously rude, irredeemably entitled” professional surfer of all time!


Now, entitled behavior in the face of beautiful service employees is always rotten but in the day and age of Covid, when service employees are taxed to the maximum?

Well oh my goodness.


Yet even so, a professional surfer has allegedly pushed a hotel front desk employee to the maximum by pretending to be “passed out” after finishing 2nd in two surfing competitions with hideously rude, irredeemably entitled behavior.

Per the Reddit /TalesFromTheFrontDesk sub:

Hi all, first time poster long time lurker.

A little info before we start this lovely tale, we have been having issues with our reservations teams reservations actually making it into our system. (we don’t take walk-ins so all reservations are through the reservations team or online)
So this situation happened about a week or so ago. People included in this story is Myself, and Surfer guy (SG for short)

SG: Walks up to the desk huffing and puffing holding his surfboard. “Hello, I have a reservation. Make it quick please. I’m super super exhausted. Just finished 2nd in two surfing competitions”

Myself: “I’ll be as quick as I can. May I see your ID, card and vaccination card?”

SG: Huffs some more and hands it over.

It’s during this moment I don’t see the name on the arrivals list and have a feeling the same issue that’s been popping up the last few nights has occurred. After a few questions asking if It could of been under some other name, and for the confirmation number he starts to get pissed off.

SG: “I just got done with two surfing competitions and now I have to deal with this?? Of course It’s under my name. I just got done with two surfing competitions and I’m very tired. I am going to pass out. Can you give me a key to my room and we can figure the payment out later? I just got done with two surfing competitions.”

Myself: “Unfortunately, Sir, I am unable to provide you with a room unless I have a payment method. I’m going to contact reservations and see If they can transfer the reservation over. I apologize for the delay.”

SG: “This is embarrassing! I’m never staying here after this.”

He ends up walking over to one of our couches in the lobby and flops down, head resting against the backboard. Within a few moments I was able to have the reservation sent over, and printed out the form for him to sign. (just agreeing to our policies)

Myself: Hello, Sir. I have the reservation now. I just need your card and your signatures and we’ll be done.
He continues to pretend to be passed out. To prove a point of how tired he is? I’m not sure. It’s obvious he’s awake as his eyes are only partly shut and I can see him blinking. It takes a few moments before I am able to “wake” him up and get him to sign his forms.

SG: “I’m never staying here again. This is humiliating and cruel. I just got done with two surfing competitions and you didn’t allow me to go to my room. I’m about to pass out.”

Myself: “Have a good evening!”


So which professional surfer was this?

We for sure know.

Two competitions, second place.

The only clues we need for public flogging.

Which surfer pretended to pass out?