Surf Journalist realizes road to greatness filled with many kinks, unexpected bends, takes role of iconic “Mother Ginger” in famed Nutcracker ballet in order to push fitness goals to heretofore never-imagined levels!

All the world's a stage.

It was a mere three weeks ago I made the uncomfortable realization that I had fallen into a morass of mental, physical inertia and purposed to fight toward greatness once again. The impetus? Watching my young daughter toil under the heavy yoke of classical ballet, the greatest artform ever gifted our undeserving world.

Tendu, arabesque, rombe de jambe, pirouette.

Unlike our surfing, there’s no “almost good enough” in ballet.

No “close.”

Ain’t horseshoes nor hand grenades in the greatest artform ever gifted us from Italy, France, Russia.

Every sinew is either properly aligned or else it is properly not and if it is properly not then angry barks rain down from unrelenting masters.

Perfection demanded.

I watched her grit, felt  my deep shame, purposed to knock Ashton Goggans out in the greatest trilogy fight of the decade but a funny thing happened on the way to the octagon.

I was asked to play Mother Ginger in San Diego Academy of Ballet’s upcoming performance of The Nutcracker.

Originally choreographed by the legendary Marius Ivanovich Petipa and scored by the even more legendary Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker has become one of the most iconic ballets ever.

A pure work of art.


And there I was, taking young daughter to days’ long rehearsals, endless classes, watching her reach levels of talent that I had never even sniffed when the call came in.

“Would you be Mother Ginger?”

For the boorish, uninformed, Mother Ginger is a pivotal character in The Nutcracker. She shuffles on stage, garishly, in the second act during the “Land of Sweets” arrangement. She is pure divertissement, enjoyable diversion, entering stage with a host of Bon Bons, or tiny dancers, under the broad folds of her skirt whom emerge, dance, get scolded, slide back under her dress while she shuffles off to rapturous burst of applause.

Historically, Mother Ginger has been played by a tall man in drag as it takes a tall man to support the skirt folds necessary to hide many Bon Bons, and it was my destiny to be this tall man… in drag.

Sensing the important kink in my road to greatness, I accepted at once showing up to my first rehearsal with ever-present WHOOP strap affixed, twenty-odd Bon Bons scrambling, giggling, choreographer exhausted, me, in skeleton of broad skirt, trying not to step on them, trying to vamp appropriately.



In my premier, and much-loved, WHOOP missive telegraphing that pivot to greatness, the august Travis Edgar suggested, “Maybe just do ballet with the kid” instead of training to fight.

He had no idea how stressful, how taxing, how completely impossible the whole business is.


I was sweating profusely whilst trying not to step on Bon Bons whilst attempting to remember my choreography whilst waving my arms, garishly, fabulously, whilst hoisting my skirt skeleton.

A fitness bonanza.

My WHOOP measured a heretofore record 9.8 of strain.

The most strain yet and I defy you to come close, challenge you to affix a WHOOP strap to your own wrist (an unheard of fifteen percent off if use the code BEACHGRIT at checkout).

I was just also cast as “Party Dad” in the equally iconic Party Scene.

Strain numbers through the roof.

Gogganses running for the hills.

Black dance shoes ordered.

More as the story develops.

Ticket information forthcoming.

Rumour: Vans and Quiksilver in wild legal war over use of checkers on Quik’s “The Original” surf trunks!

Spicoli vs Wright!

Rumour to hand via the miracle of inside sources is that Vans has taken the legal sword to Quiksilver for that company’s re-release of their trunks, The Original, which feature a checkered stripe running down each femur. 

Vans, makers of checkered slip-on shoes ever since ol Pauly Van Doren, god rest his soul, saw skaters using Sharpies to draw ‘em on their kicks in their seventies, is fiercely protective of what they regard as their company’s trademark. 

And, last year, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office sorta agreed with Vans after the company filed an application to register the checkerboard mark, on shoes, on pants, sweats, trousers, leggings, capris or shorts. 

Sorta ‘cause even though they told ‘em checkers “do not function as a trademark to indicate the source of applicant’s clothing” the USPTO granted ‘em the registration to use it on “apparel, namely, bottoms.” 

Ten days after that, Nike, a company with a thousand times more legal heft that Vans, said hell no, arguing that since the eighties it “has sold and continues to sell” apparel products that include “checkerboard patterns of various sizes, shapes, and colors placed in various locations on shirts and pants, such as the front, side, back, and inside thereof.”

Anyway, our Quiksilver source, hunkered over their (note use of pronoun) machine in Huntington Beach there, ears popping, says Vans came after ‘em, hard, following The Originals campaign.

Tried to take ‘em to court but lost ‘cause Quiksilver has been running that same print for forty years. 

And, says our source, allegedly, Vans told ‘em they will not sponsor any Quiksilver surfer with shoes and that Quik can’t use any Vans products in shoots or marketing. 

Good to see a lil fire between companies now that Quik and Billabong, once the most vicious of enemies, sit cheek by jowl in the same Huntington Beach office, same masters etc.

In entirely unexpected twist at inaugural Surf Park Awards, quaint Lemoore, California comes within striking distance of besting Melbourne, Australia as “most appealing” place to experience artificial waves!

Much surprise.

Aftershocks are still reverberating through the surf community after last night’s earthquake (feat. Chris Cote) at the inaugural Surf Park Central Surf Park Awards. Recap here, but for those short on time/attempting to preserve remaining brain cells, the shocker occurred when Spain’s Wavegarden snatched “Most Appealing Wave Technology” from the grasp of Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch.

Audible gasps and shocked sighs filled the lushly wood paneled public library community room somewhere in San Diego.

Surf Lakes, Yeppoon clutching a bespoke monogrammed Occy clutch to breast. Waco, Texas taking the stage unexpectedly, standing there in front of Wavegarden saying, “Yo, Wavegarden. I’m really happy for you, Ima let you finish, but Kelly Slater made one of the best waves of all time. One of the best waves of all time.”


So much wildness that, as reported earlier, URBNSurf, Australia there just off Melbourne’s International Airport, almost didn’t hear its winning of “Most Appealing Surf Park Destination.”

Melbourne, a world-class city, would have been completely confident going against Yeppoon, Waco, Spain, Lemoore ahead of the awards but, as a surf journalist, I would like to call for a recount on the votes.

Berlin was on the list.

And so was Lemoore.

Surprising at it may seem, I have been to Melbourne’s Crowne casino and I have been to Lemoore’s Tachi Palace.

Sorta potato, potato there.

Much closer than it would otherwise appear.

Melbourne has superior fussy cuisine, Lemoore a superior Applebee’s Bar + Grill.

Potato, potato?

Where would you rather vacation?

Waco (in black) defends Kelly Slater's Surf Ranch as Wavegarden (in white) looks on befuddled.
Waco (in black) defends Kelly Slater's Surf Ranch as Wavegarden (in white) looks on befuddled.

Public shocked, flabbergasted as Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch wins “Most Popular Surf Park for High-Performance Surfing” but loses “Most Appealing Wave Technology” to Wavegarden at inaugural Surf Park Awards!

"Ima let you finish..."

Audible gasps, shocked sighs, filled the lushly wood paneled public library community room hosting the first-ever Surf Park Central Surf Park Awards, last evening, when the penultimate satin envelope, containing the winner of the coveted “Most Appealing Wave Technology” award, was opened.

Up until that point, there had been few surprises as master of ceremony Chris Cote, nattily dressed in a short-sleeved Hawaiian print button-up buttoned all the way up, announced the results of a global consumer opinion survey which had garnered over 2,000 votes.

Most popular surf park for beginners and intermediates: URBNSurf, Australia.

Most appealing deep water standing wave technology: City Wave, Germany.

Most appealing amenities: URBNSurf, Australia.

Most popular surf park for high-performance surfing: WSL Surf Ranch, US.

Kelly Slater’s brainchild, crowning California’s industrial farming Central Valley, has experienced somewhat of a renaissance of late, what with erstwhile grouchy surf journalists being won over by its charm, and Team Surf Ranch confidently, yet graciously, accepted the honor only smirking ever so slightly toward Team Surf Lakes Yeppoon.

Cote then began another patented charming spiel before segueing into “…and the winner of the most appealing wave technology is…”

Team Surf Ranch readied itself to stand and make its way up front, gingerly fingering the acceptance speech it had written last night.

“… Wavegarden, Spain.”

Audible gasps.

Shocked sighs.

Such commotion that URBNSurf, Australia also taking “Most Appealing Surf Park Destination” went almost unheard, Melbourne quietly happy not to have lost to Lemoore.

But Wavegarden taking out Surf Ranch for “most appealing wave technology”… what do you think about that?

Which would you rather dance upon?

Watch the drama unfold here.

John John Florence wakes up, talks WHOOP with middle bro Nathan.

A plastic wrist-band convinced me to temper combat sport training with surfing, respect sleep and achieve sexual transcendence!

When John John Florence and middle bro Nathan wake up all they can talk about is WHOOP!

The last time we spoke, me admitting a fitness strap had become the fulcrum on which my life now rests, the reader outraged we could pivot so hard to an advertorial-combat sports model, I revealed my latest existential crisis. 

Was jiujitsu actually gonna work in a surf fight? 

That story followed three previous stories detailing a year of Brazilian jiujitsu.

Exploring the nexus between the art of strangulation and surfing!

The blissful joys of hypoxia and the realisation that twinks raised on surf can roll with bears!


Confession: I was grotesquely complicity in the demonisation of the vulnerable adult learner surfer but through daily suffocation and strangulation learned to find common ground even empathy for VALS. 

Had I spent six days a week learning to operate a vehicle that was already obsolete? 

No need to go into details again, click here to read that bonanza of genius, but the realisation that strangling other men wasn’t going to have any real world effect, coupled with shock data from my fitness strap that showed the combat sports of jiujitsu and wrestling didn’t come close to surfing for fitness benefits, brought me full circle.

I would now apply the John John Florence model to my life.

Surf, sleep; examine breathing and recovery. 

(The WHOOP recovery algorithm tracks four key baseline metrics—resting heart rate, heart rate variability, sleep and respiratory rate.)

Two-time world champ Florence, who has been using WHOOP for three years, is the last custodian of the old way: talk softly, carry a big stick, surf with power and brilliance. A man whose approach is effortless and fearless.

By using his WHOOP, Florence has already determined the exact amount of days he must enter a hyperbaric chamber before a surfing contest (“On the third day my recovery would go down and then a day after it would shoot back up really high… I made sure I didn’t use it a day before a heat”) and says he talks to middle brother Nathan “all the time” about his WHOOP metrics. 

When they wake up all they talk about is WHOOP!

If I shared my bedroom I’d be the same!

“Before that we never thought about heart rate or anything. Now it’s all we can talk about after we’ve surfed for six hours,” says Florence.

On the metric Recovery, he goes hard, multiple surfs when it’s green, does light exercise mixed, called active recovery, a little swimming etc, when it’s in the red. 

I prefer to hammer hard day after day, not chasing the supreme triumph of Florence, but the occasional top of the surf and jiujisu charts. (You join online groups, compete against ‘em.) 

You wake up a couple of wild days of swell, you’re suddenly in the red. And you feel it. 

Been lazing around, green.

Y’feel that, too. 

A side bonus has been the incentive to punch up the numbers during long afternoons awash in libidinal heat, imagining a sword between the hips, undulating like an eel etc. Numbers track between five and fifteen. I record it as High Intensity Training.

Buy your WHOOP here, fifteen percent discount if you use the code BEACHGRIT at checkout. 

Next week: The pro surfer, not Florence, using a WHOOP to monitor his ailing daddy!