Surfline Man does not want to look like a full-on amateur kook at the gym. That would be so embarrassing like high school all over again. Surfline Man shudders. 

Surfline Man builds fitness in readiness for big winter swells: “There’s a BJJ studio nearby, but it all sounds so sweaty. Also, he has trouble with the name. It just looks so much like blowjob.”

The winter swells are coming! Surfline Man has to do something! He can’t just sit here on the couch.

The winter swells are coming.

Every day, Surfline Man looks at the forecasts and every day, there’s a big swell on the models, just taunting him. It’s ten days out.

Now it’s fourteen days out.

Now it’s gone.

Now it’s back. 

Eventually, that giant swell will appear right here at his favorite beach. Just imagine! Swell lines stacked up to the horizon. Overhead sets. Dreamy green walls. Maybe he’ll even get barrelled. Surfline Man feels giddy just thinking about it. 

But there’s one problem. Surfline Man isn’t even ready for the big winter swells. 

For one thing, he needs a new board. He’s a good surfer now, and if there’s one thing Surfline Man knows, it’s that all good surfers have a step-up. Surfline Man does not have a step-up. 

At least not yet.

But Surfline Man is totally going to get one. Maybe something with more rocker. 

A guy in the parking lot was telling him all about his new board and how it had like, the perfect rocker. Surfline Man wasn’t about to confess that he has no idea what rocker is or how it works, but it sure did sound important. 

Maybe later he’ll cruise to the surf shop. Rocker. It even sounds fast. Surfline Man wants to go so fast on the big winter waves. He’s certain it’s going to be the best winter ever. 

But first, Surfline Man needs to get fit. Back in his San Clemente days, his ex-girlfriend used to drag him to the gym. He hated it, mostly. But it did keep him from turning into a total slacker and getting like, flabby and stuff.

Ever since he moved to Cardiff, Surfline Man has been slacking off on the whole work-out and healthy eating thing. He had big plans to go to yoga with the cute girl from the Swamis parking lot. Too bad he never got around to it. 

And sure, he gets on the ebike sometimes, but even Surfline Man knows that the ebike is not going to get him fit for the winter swells. 

Surfline Man needs a plan. He needs to get fit like, so fast right now. Hopefully, the internet can save Surfline Man from his bad decisions just like it has so many times before. 

Everywhere he goes on the internet, Surfline Man sees ads for Whoop. He loves how his favorite brands follow him around now. It’s so nice having friends wherever he goes. He doesn’t understand what a Whoop is, or what it does, but if surfers are using Whoop, it must be cool. 

Surfline Man is pretty sure he should get one. He punches Whoop into Google.

Oh, a Whoop will get him fit. This is so perfect right now. And there’s like a club he can join and coaching! His ex was crazy about Peloton and all the classes and instructors and stuff. She talked about them all the time, like they were her besties. 

Surfline Man knows himself. He’s not good at getting off the couch. Like, he will totally win the recovery part of training. But maybe if he has a coach he can do the sweaty stuff, too. Surfline Man can’t type his credit card number fast enough. 

While he waits for his new Whoop, which he’s pretty sure is going to change his life completely, Surfline Man figures he better get started with some training. It would be super bad for his morale if his numbers were all low. He wants to come flying into his Whoop training like a pro. 

What to do. There’s a BJJ studio nearby, but it all sounds so sweaty. Also, he has trouble with the name. It just looks so much like blowjob. He can’t even get past it. Surfline Man knows he should be better than this. But he’s totally not. 

Then Surfline Man has an idea. He should get fit the old-fashioned way. Go to the gym, and pump some iron. Surfline Man is going to get pumped up! Just like Arnold! He’s going to put on his lululemon and go to the gym, and get so jacked. He’s going to be so ready for the winter swells. 

Flipping through his phone, Surfline Man finds a gym. He squeezes into his lululemon and realizes that in fact, his fitness plan is just a little overdue. Even more determined than ever, Surfline Man fills his newest Hydroflask and grabs an organic food bar. 

Then Surfline Man realizes that he has no idea what to do at a gym. 

Back to the internet. Surfline Man plops down on the couch and pops open his laptop. Core work-outs. He’s pretty sure core strength is super important for surfing the big winter swells. Only Google can save him. 

Men’s Health. That sounds right. He is a man, and he is really into his health right now. Surfline Man feels like he is getting closer. The internet totally gets him.

25 Best Ab Work-Outs. Surfline Man is shocked. 25! That is so many ab work-outs. He had no idea that getting pumped up was so complicated. Arnold made it all sound so easy. Surfline Man feels like he has so much to learn. This whole fitness thing has more moving parts than the perfect cutback. 

Just then his phone buzzes. 

meeting up for beers later

wanna join?

nah i’m trying to cut back

gotta get fit for winter

getting on the whoop program and all

whoa badass

good luck with all that

Surfline Man is motivated. Look at him, skipping beers, making good choices! 

But he has to confess that he did not expect there to be 25 ab work-outs. He is going to have to study hard before he goes to the gym. Surfline Man does not want to look like a full-on amateur kook at the gym. That would be so embarrassing like high school all over again. Surfline Man shudders. 

The winter swells are coming! Surfline Man has to do something! He can’t just sit here on the couch. He needs to be fit and strong and prepared to surf his new surfboard, that he hasn’t bought yet, that will definitely have the most rocker. 

What in the world is he going to do now? Definitely, he is not prepared for the gym. 

Running. Surfline Man figures anyone can go running. With renewed motivation, Surfline Man bounds off the couch. Something in his hip or maybe his knee goes pop. Damn, he really does need to exercise. Well, he’s going to do that right now. He is so going to crush this run. 

Surfline Man rummages around in his closet for a pair of shoes. He really doesn’t have any shoes for running or going to the gym. Mentally, he adds shoes to his shopping list. He’s pretty sure his new besties at Men’s Health can help him solve this dilemma. 

Surfline Man unearths a pair of broken-in Vans. They don’t exactly scream athlete, but Surfline Man knows he has to start somewhere. He laces them up, and straps his phone to his arm. Playlist, baby! Surfline Man doesn’t know much about running, but he’s pretty sure he needs the right playlist to make it happen.

On the way out, Surfline Man grabs an old Vans hat and slaps it on his head. Surfline Man feels so good now. He likes his brands to match. He wonders if Vans makes work-out clothes. That would be so cool. Turning his Vans hat backwards, Surfline Man is so ready now. 

Out the front door, into the bright fall sunlight, Surfline Man bounds down the sidewalk toward the ocean. He’s going running and he’s going to run straight down to the beach. 

Surfline Man feels so free! He’s pretty sure he’s going to get this fitness thing dialed in no time at all. 

Then he remembers. Running hurts. It hurts so much. Surfline Man is pretty sure he’s been running for like, an hour already. The beach does not look any closer than it did when he left his driveway. His legs feel totally broken. And his lungs! His lungs, they burn! They burn so much. 

It’s really hard to breath right now and Surfline Man is pretty sure he is going to pass out right here on the sidewalk in Cardiff, not that far — but still way too far away — from the beach. 

Surfline Man catches sight of himself in a store window. He looks sweaty and disheveled and not even cool at all. 

His side! It’s so cramped right now! 

Surfline Man wants to lie down on the sidewalk. He’s pretty sure running was not his best idea ever. Clearly, he needs to prepare more carefully before attempting more fitness stuff. Surfline Man is certain the right shoes will totally help. 

Surfline Man turns around and heads home. It turns out that he has not traveled super far at all. He refuses to be depressed by his lack of progress. Surfline Man caught a wave at Malibu! He is pretty sure he can totally figure out how to get fit in time for the winter swells. 

Back home, Surfline Man bops into the kitchen. He doesn’t know much about fitness, at least not yet. But he does know that it’s very important to eat protein after a hard work-out. He nearly passed out on the sidewalk, so he’s pretty sure his run counts.

Digging around in his pantry, Surfline Man finds a half-forgotten canister of whey protein. He throws a healthy dose of protein in the blender. Then he adds kale, almond milk, peanut butter, blueberries, and a banana. All his favorite things! Surfline Man is eating so healthy now. 

Surfline Man kicks off his shoes, and heads back to the couch. He puts up his legs, which he’s pretty sure is important for recovery. He can’t even wait to figure out how to do fitness right. 

Surfline Man opens his laptop. The 21 Best Running Shoes for 2021. Yes! This is exactly what he needs. Surfline Man is going totally going to crush at running now!

His phone buzzes. 


Surfline Man flips over to Surfline and quickly scans the text. Solid NW headed straight for the California coast. 

A winter swell! Surfline Man suddenly feels light-headed. He takes a deep breath. He’s like so close to passing out on his couch and drowning in his protein smoothie. 

Seven days! Surfline Man only has seven days to get fit for the first swell of the winter. He doesn’t even know how he’s going to do it. And, he needs to find a new step-up surfboard with so much rocker. 

Surfline Man has way too much to do. Surfing is so important to him. It’s completely vital that he is totally ready the day the big swell arrives. He opens Google Calendar and marks the date. 

On a mission, Surfline Man heads out to the Sprinter.

He must get to the surf shop right away. He needs a step-up and he needs it right now. He only has seven days until the first big swell of the winter!

Surfline Man has no time to lose!

(Apologies for reconstituted photo. Better ones coming from Monster of Surf Photography Pat Stacy.

Surf Journalist takes brief detour on the road to fight greatness, re-visits Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch to face other erstwhile nemesis, fix kinks in surf game!

All Gogganses beware.

As you know, this weekend found me awash in ill-deserved wave at Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch there in Lemoore, California’s cow stink. I was supposed to be training for the greatest trilogy fight of the decade, running, squatting, pushing up, rolling around in pajamas on a squishy mat suffocated, but opportunity knocked and I simply had to re-face the machine that once brought me low, ripping my left arm from its socket as easy as a glance from Ritchie Vas.

That Plow.

Two days of surf were on hand, two heats per day, and while surfing has not registered as an “activity” on my WHOOP strap (buy here, use BeachGrit code for much savings), I wondered if technological advancements might create fitness, revenge, improved surf style and all knitted together.

A triptych of triumph.

Now, for clarity’s sake, Surf Ranch runs the day by slotting guests into one hour heats, with each guest typically surfing two heats a day, pre and post lunch. During Surf Journalist Day, some three years ago, the heats featured four or five surfers and waves were as precious as Jonah Hill.

I surfed four before my shoulder was undone. Derek Rielly surfed maybe six. Maximum, seven. Chris Cote, could not have surfed more than eight as the absolute winner.

This weekend, my Saturday heats consisted of three people. One, wife. The other, friend who had not surfed in quite some time. Surf Ranch kicks out one right, followed by one left, every 4 to 5 minutes. That meant, roughly, 15 waves during the heat, five “priority” per person plus all the poaches* that could be stomached.

It was the first of the day, air in the low 60s, water in the low 60s, and people panicked for 4/3s even 5/4s booted and hooded. I had a secret weapon, a once-brined Billabong Furnace Comp 3/2 all black, and knew it would be plenty warm plus give me a flexibility advantage.

I was correct, surfed around nine, poorly as evidenced by thoughtful video review afterward, but surfed nine whole-ish waves nonetheless one more than Chris Cote.

Afterwards, in the wood paneled locker room, personalized wood paneled locker, below my gorgeously printed “Charles Smith” nametag, I checked the ever-clicked WHOOP app on my cellular smart device and it measured 13 on the strain meter for the activity.

Thirteen and wow.

Running three miles, pushing up intermittently, planking, pouring sweat, almost dying well over an hour registered me an 11.4.


Surfing in the regular ocean didn’t register as an “activity” at all but maybe kicked to six.

What sort of magic was this?

Surfing an artificial wave the key to a solid right hook followed by a quick jiujitsu somethingratherelse plus decent-adjacent wave twerk?

Ashton Goggans doubly smashed?

Hope sprang eternal, in my treacherous heart while I snacked on healthy nut-based snacks, drank healthy coconut pulps, waited for my second heat.

One o’clock pm, air mid-80s, water upper-60s. Poorly surfed, again, though top turn to down carve nodding at coming together. Ten plus waves. Strain 12-esque adjacent.

Kelly Slater had unlocked the secret to eternal viability (environmental not included).

After a fine dinner organic dinner, a delicious gluten-free breaded chicken business, I was beat. Fight beat. Truly and properly exhausted. Shoulders aching, neck unable to twist, torso never able to twist but now mostover.

Chased the exhaustion with late night In n Out, not gluten-free but mustard fried with chopped chilis plus cheese, across the street from hotel, the very same In n Out across the very same street that the very Alejandro Moreda lusted over and still beat.

Didn’t sleep much due physical pain and thank you, in advance, for your sympathy.

Except surfing the basin a fitness revelation.

Next morning, first heat, early morning, muscles aching, neck not moving. Water colder, air colder. Same three surfers, wife, Nova Scotian, me. Billabong Furnace Comp not faltering.

Twelve waves poorly surfed.

Strain 11.

Last heat, a super one with twenty extra minutes tacked on to traditional sixty, only wife and I, Nova Scotian being relegated to another heat, nearly unheard of in the annals of Surf Ranching.

She a goofy, I regular.

She took all the lefts save the ones I poached. I took all the rights save the ones she poached.

The wind was blowing south, a rare occurrence, opening up the barrel for her and she becoming barreled while I got blown out the back on poached lefts, attempting Andy Irons off the lip.

I worked on turns, poorly, but countless waves surfed, poorly, but surfed nonetheless, a number of waves I can’t even remember to this moment not even caring. Only thinking about form, head, arms, unmovable neck, rotten torso.


Not hundreds, a mathematical impossibility, but hundreds-adjacent.

At the end of that super heat, back in front of my “Charles Smith” locker, I re-checked WHOOP.

9.4 strain and after hundreds of waves.

Dropping precipitously from its initial glorious heights.

And it was then that I realized, familiarity breeds conceit. The heart paranoid and striving, the heart that beats fear of failure, is the heart that pushes strain, and thereby fitness gains, and a person to the next level.

Once any odd thing is encapsulated as a known it dips, dips, then dips some more.

Keeping paranoid is what keeps us progressing.

I’m actually ready to fight, to enter the paranoid fresh wasted.

Rolling etc.

All Gogganses beware.

Morey '66 courtesy: The Encyclopedia of Surfing.
Morey '66 courtesy: The Encyclopedia of Surfing.

Tuesdays with Morey: An old surfer, a young surfer and life’s greatest adventure.

"I had never met a man as dynamic as Tom."

I met Tom in 2020 shortly before the pandemic.

My friend and owner of Tandm Surf introduced us and thought we would hit it off.

He was right.

We had lunch at a French bakery in North Beach, San Clemente equidistant from our homes, that first time. We talked for three hours. We covered everything from Velzy, noserider wing tip innovation, the invention of wakesurfing (which Tom stated he and a friend pioneered in Newport Harbor 20 years before it’s perceived inception during a long flat spell), aerospace, coding, Hugh Masekala, boogieing, parenting, and faith.

I had never met a man as dynamic as Tom. Tom had what one could call a magnetism and contagious energy, even at 85. When he gave me his number and told me to keep in touch, I took that request seriously.

Not wanting to appear too eager, I waited a week to give him a ring. His response my call was surprisingly to come to his house for a hang. I arrived with his favorite pastry, a Napoleon, not wanting to arrive empty handed, unsure of how to handle myself.

Tom made it easy, he asked me to take a seat, and opened computer where he showed me his newest passion project, Hometown Aerospace. He couldn’t see that well so while I looked over the materials in his computer, Tom waxed for over an hour about the democratization of aerospace and air travel. He showed me videos of his prized “power bowl”, an impeller based propulsion system where an impeller draws air into a bowl and expels the air along the edges, controlled directionally with rudders. He showed me prototypes of mono wing aircraft he had designed from card stock. Tom told me he envisioned a world where everyone had home build dirigibles thusly lessening traffic on the 5 northbound. It was at that point that I understood this man thinks way bigger than I do and was probably a genius.

Over my next few visits with Tom, we flew a lot of paper airplanes. Every time I arrived Tom had designed and created a new plane from card stock. He would talk me through the design and then he would show me how it worked. Sometimes the planes flew a few inches from the floor propelled from the rear by a box fan. Other times they glided across his North Beach apartment, other times they Kamikazed off his balcony. Each model had been thoughtfully drawn out on card stock and precisely measured for days before being built.

Over more visits, we shifted from airplane to surf design. I shape my own equipment, nothing special, just CNC cut Aku files for San Clemente beach breaks. Tom was quick to either clown on me or truly try to innovate. Several times I left Tom’s place with duct tape folded to a fin type structure, cut vertically to produce serpentine “water breaks” all over my board. I was too skeptical to give it a go, unsure of whether he was serious or clowning on me.

Most profoundly, after many hangs, I introduced Tom to my 5 year old son who has Autism. Tom said “cool”, slapped him five, and then told me about how the autistic brain was better in many ways, which I already knew, but nobody had ever told me. In fact, my own parents told me that my sons condition was “tragic” despite being gifted with the ability to construct geometric masterpieces from magnatiles and having a keen interest (bordering on obsession) in surfing. Tom watched my son, to the best of his abilities giving his limited vision, and praised his water awareness, gave him high fives, and told him he was awesome. Tom saw my son for who he is, met him there, and appreciated what he has to offer this world.

This is all to say that herein lies the beauty of Tom-he was a man that could get a 30-something to play with paper airplanes for weeks on end. He painted the future in broad strokes. He was a guy that left you quizzical, not knowing if he was fucking with you by sending you to the beach with a board covered in duct tape or if he was sincere in his designs. He accepted everyone at face value, no matter what.

Tom’s impact is palpable, as my son refuses to stand up, and only wants to boogie.

I am grateful that I got to know Tom for who he was, a kind and innovate prankster, even if only for a couple short years.

Waikiki surfboard racks set spectacularly ablaze for second time in less than two years: “We saw the flames all the way from Aloha Towers. I asked my husband, ‘What if the whole island catches fire?'”

A total loss.

Ten Honolulu Fire Department resource units responded to reports of a fire near the Moana Surfrider Hotel at 11:18 Sunday morning. When they arrived, they found flames “clinging” to the walls of the Honolulu Police substation and the Moana Surfrider, bursting forth from the Waikiki surfboard racks occupying the space in between.

It took less than an hour to extinguish the blaze and no injuries were reported except every surfboard finding shelter in those racks was completely destroyed.

It was the second time in two years that the racks have been targeted, last burning to the ground on February 27, 2020.

“It’s more than just a rack — it’s a community,” local surfer Theresa Strange told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. She lost a 10’6 glider shaped by Todd Ponder as well as a 10′ Nuuiwa. “It’s hard to get a spot so people tend to stay for years. The rent is roughly $25 to $45 a month and there are roughly 525 boards here.”

In the 2020 fire she lost a Takayama and a board shaped by Midget Smith.

“The board becomes an extension of yourself because you spend so much time with it,” she continued. “If you have a really good one it’s irreplaceable. There are nuances that make up each board that are translated from the shaper to you. I’ve had boards at the surfboard lockers for years,” Strange said. “In 46 years, this is only the second time that there was a fire — once in February 2020 and now.”

At time, it is unclear how the fire began with some witnesses blaming the homeless and others on rival surfing concessionaires.

The fire could be seen wide and far and worried both residents and visitors alike. Mandi Wojcicki, vacationing from Battle Ground, Washington told the Star-Advertiser, “We saw it all the way from Aloha Towers. We were nervous. I said, ‘What if the island catches on fire?’ My husband said, ‘Mandi, it’s a big island.’”

In truth, it is not. It’s Oahu and hopefully the perpetrators will be soon found.

Lifesavers break year-long silence on fatal Great White attack at Snapper Rocks and describe sliding door moment that nearly put a group of kids at the exact spot, “It was like a bus was coming through the water and took him underwater.”

The scene was “chaos” as spectators came to look while “others ran away screaming.” 

Last September 7, Nick Slater, forty-six, just finished work for the day, was shredding the little warm-water runners from Snapper through to Rainbow on his Morning of the Earth twin when he was hit again and again by a fifteen-foot Great White.

The first fatal hit on a Gold Coast beach since shark nets were installed more than sixty years earlier.  

As Longtom (RIP) wrote at the time, 

“Shallow water, it would have been waist deep on the tide. Clear water. Can’t pin mistaken identity on the shark. It must have come in like a polaris missile from the amount of water it displaced. There was no delicacy in the attack. The footage shows clubbie skis, three or four of them heading his way, to the rescue, I thought. But they didn’t respond.Others seemed to not notice, or scatter.Despite the crowd, an utterly lonely way to die.”

Dead long before he was dragged onto the beach. 

Now, more than a year after the attack, the clubbies on the skis, Iain Rogers and Geoff Carlin, along with Kane Haley, who’d just beached his ski and who split to get an ATV with first aid supplies, have spoken about the hit.

The fourth clubbie, Jason Baker, the man who paddled into the maelstrom to try and rescue Slater, is still too rattled to talk about it. 

Haley says he’d just wrapped up a training sesh with the local junior lifesavers, nippers they call ‘em in Australia.

Most times they’d head back out for a surf but, instead, he told ‘em to shower and go home.

It’s a decision he’s thought about ever since. 

“We nearly always had a surf after training,” Haley told the Courier-Mail. “And that’s exactly where we would have paddled back out. It’s such a sliding doors moment because if something had happened to one of the kids who had put their trust in me, I don’t know what I would do.”

Carlin, Rogers and Baker were on their skis after a training run to North Kirra and back when they saw Slater paddle over a wave before being hit “by an underwater bus.” 

“It was so quick,” said Carlin. “It was like a bus was coming through the water and took him underwater.”

Baker went to Slater; the others went to the beach for help. 

The scene was “chaos” as spectators came to look while “others ran away screaming.” 

Haley, whose daughter was surfing at the time, says he took a few days away from the beach but has since returned with this kid. 


“There’s not a day goes by that it’s not present,” he said.