Later, VAL.
Later, VAL.

Tybee Island, Georgia’s most popular surf spot, experiencing horrific surge of headless roosters, cups of blood being left on beach as experts wonder if voodoo is being practiced to cull herd of VALs!

The answer?

The VAL-pocalypse is truly upon us, each and every one, but how many brand new adult learners do you see around your local lineups each day? Ten? Twenty? Fifty? Seventy wouldn’t be out of the question and we surfers, we proud few who first paddled out before the age of twelve, are left with a real quandary.

What then shall we do?

Well, a brave soul in Georgia may have stumbled upon the answer.


Georgia, directly above Florida and much like it except with a good college team, is not known for its surf but certainly has some and mostly on Tybee Island. Many surf schools there. Much soft top though also headless birds left on the beach and cups of blood.

Per a report from Atlanta’s Channel 2 Action News:

Someone is leaving what appears to be animal sacrifices on the beach at Tybee Island. Channel 2 Action News has learned that police have found headless birds on the beach five times in 2021.

“I touched one, but it sure looks like blood to me,” said a witness on police body camera video. “Yeah, those would be roosters,” replied the officer.

Police said two headless roosters and six red plastic cups with dried blood were found on the beach in late September.

“Oh, cups of blood! No, I don’t know if they were performing some type of ritual or what, but I don’t like it,” said Stephanie Keeler of O’Fallon, Illinois, who was visiting Tybee Island’s beach.

Channel 2 Action News filed an open records request with the City of Tybee Island and learned that headless birds were found on the beach five times in 2021.

“We don’t know exactly why it keeps happening. The way appears to be ritualistic, but we don’t know whether it’s part of organized religion or what the intent might be,” said Lt. Emory Randolph with the Tybee Island Police Department.

I think brilliant.

I think if we, each and every one, purposed to leave headless birds and cups of blood on our favorite VAL infested spots we’d soon clean it all up.


A better idea?

Well, spill those beans.

The bad old days.
The bad old days.

Reaching peak abundance of caution, New Zealand lifeguards ordered to wear masks when plucking drowning swimmers, surfers from Davy Jones’ Locker!

So long, CPR.

It is summertime in beautiful New Zealand, or almost summertime, and the beaches are filled with happy locals who have spent much of the last year-plus locked indoors. They are out now, and free, but maybe too free flocking to beaches and forgetting how to swim, surf.

There were two mass rescues, yesterday. One in Raglan after hundreds of people got sucked out to sea in a giant rip tide. Fourteen souls were saved and none lost. Another in Auckland where thirteen souls were snatched from Davy Jones’ Locker and none lost.

Lifeguards, brave and bold, hoisting dripping wet, gasping men and women into boats, helping them to shore.

Lifeguards, courageous and resolute, pumping chests and not performing CPR with their mouths because their mouths and noses are covered with abundant caution.

Yes, New Zealand became the first country to require its lifeguards to wear masks whilst on duty. Raglan’s patrol captain Molly Abrams told Radio New Zealand that all lifeguards had been given cotton masks to wear “when practicable” but that “saving lives was still a priority.”

CPR seems outdated, anyhow, so all good.

Wavepool war heats up.

Wild West-style showdown looms in Queensland wavepool war as developer declares, “There’s only room in this town for one of us!”

Get your guns, boys.

It’s a little ironic that the Sunshine Coast, sixty miles of warm-water coastline that includes the iconic points of Noosa Heads, is the site of three proposed wavepool developments.

You’ve heard about the WSL’s $1.2 billion Slater pool and “intensive housing” development on a Sunshine  Coast floodplain.

(For background read: Longtom investigates WSL’s billion-dollar wavepool development, parts one and two, here and here.)

The other two tanks include a “$130 million mega waterpark” featuring an Endless Surf wavepool, and a $25 mill Waco-style pool (American Wave Machines) on the site of an old gas station in the Glass House Mountains. 

The Endless Surf tank, part of a $130 mill “mega water park”.

All of ‘em are “holistic” and promote “wellness” and “yoga and meditation.” 

Now, the developer of the $130 mill park, which has already been approved, has made a submission against the Glass House Mountains pool claiming the Sunshine Coast ain’t big enough for the both of ‘em.

American Wave Machines tank in the Glass House mountains, RRP $25 mill.

“It is considered that the market for more than one surf park facility on the Sunshine Coast is unsustainable at this stage,” the submission reads, adding a pool needs a quarter-million customers a year to work and that ain’t gonna happen if the joint is littered with the things.

Howevs, of the 980 submissions made in regards to the Glass House Mountains pool, most were in favour. 

The Kelly Slater WSL development, meanwhile, promises a 20,000-capacity stadium, 1500 “waterfront homes”, a six-star eco-resort, restaurants, bars, a retail village and “an environmental education centre based on the site’s wetlands and nearby waterways.” 

And that’s before you even step into the main arena.

“Our Kelly Slater Wave Co technology is the biggest wave height wise and by far the longest man made wave in the world and will stage WSL events,” World Surf League Australia general manager Andrew Stark’s told the Courier Mail. “(The wave pools) could coexist on the Sunshine Coast as the product offering is very different.”

Stark has described the local surfing community as “ecstatic and excited.”

Cold water Teahupo'o.
Cold water Teahupo'o.

Surprising new study suggests that surfing in Ireland leads to profound improvements in mental health: “Immersion in cold water releases feel-good endorphins, exposure to burly man-eating slabs puts a pep in the step!”

Hearty folk.

One of my very favorite people in the metaverse* is Jimmy the Cynic née Saint who can often be found right here on BeachGrit sharing various wisdoms and hot takes. Now, I have always assumed the aforementioned to be Irish living in Ireland and I feel that I am correct so you can imagine my pleasure, today (on my 11th wedding anniversary), when I stumbled across a report on Raidió Teilifís Éireann that definitively suggested surfing in Ireland improves one’s mental health.

Per a just-released report:

Early findings have shown surf therapy to boost factors that help protect against the development of mental illness, such as resilience, confidence, social skills and emotional regulation. Furthermore, young people reported feeling happier and physically fitter. At the same time, parents noted improved communication and progress at school following a six-week surf therapy course.

However, the question remains, how are these therapeutic benefits achieved through something as simple as surfing? One of the many unique aspects of surf therapy is its use of Ireland’s beautiful, rugged coastline as a therapeutic space. Offering programmes in less traditional, non-clinical, informal environments can reduce the stigma and shame often associated with help-seeking for emotional problems. Moreover, the natural environment may be part and parcel of the power of surf therapy.

Wonderful to know and also makes me very much more in awe of Jimmy and his brethren, sisters as the only surf spot I know in Ireland is Mullaghamore, the “cold water Teahupo’o.”

That making anyone happier is… something.

Viva Ireland.

*Is the internet called the metaverse now or did I miss a turn somewhere?

See, babes, I blew off the Ranch for Jalama, daddy wanted to tube, wrapped it with a shred at Rincon. Now let's get a burrito.

Surfline Man blows off The Ranch for Jalama, “No dumb boat ride. No angry locals. No getting shut-out at some random spot that probably isn’t that great anyway!”

Surfline Man is going to Jalama and he’s going to get so pitted.

When we last saw him, Surfline Man was driving west on Highway 1, looking for the Gaviota Pier.

He had big plans! Surfline Man was going to the Ranch and he was going to score the best waves ever.

It turns out that Surfline Man is very bad at reading a map.

Surfline Man is so confident he is going to make it to the Gaviota Pier on time. But somehow, when he looks around, Surfline Man discovers he’s nowhere near Gaviota.

Instead, he’s in Lompoc. This is very confusing.

How the fuck he ended up in Lompoc, Surfline Man is not at all certain. But he is certain that he’s totally not in Gaviota. He should have been there an hour ago. Surfline Man has missed the boat.

Surfline Man is not going to the Ranch today, that’s for sure. Surfline Man feels very disappointed. He was so looking forward to scoring such perfect waves with his bros. But now there’s no bros and no perfect waves. What the hell is going to do?

Surely, he can find a beach and go surfing. It’s California. There are beaches everywhere.

Surfline Man feels certain he can find one. There must be waves around here somewhere. Determined, Surfline Man pulls out his Google Maps. Better later than never.

Jalama. Surfline Man swallows hard. Of course, he has heard of it. Cold water. Big fish. Big waves. He’s never actually been there. Summoning up his courage, Surfline Man decides that now’s his chance!

Surfline Man is going to Jalama. Forget the Ranch. Surfline Man’s day is going to be so much better!

No dumb boat ride. No angry locals. No getting shut-out at some random spot that probably isn’t that great anyway. Surfline Man is going to Jalama and he’s going to get so pitted.

All he has to do is follow Jalama Road until it ends. Though he has to confess that he has not been crushing it on the whole directions thing lately, Surfline Man is pretty sure even he can figure this one out.

Follow the road. Get pitted. So simple.

Meanwhile in Gaviota, things weren’t exactly going to plan.

The hoist proved more tricky to maneuver than expected, and the boys nearly dropped the Zodiac. Once loaded up with bros and boards and the super essential cooler of beers, the rubber dingy sat low in the water. Like, super low.

And then the onshores started. Surfline Man loves his charts and graphs and forecasts, but no one ever got around to checking the weather report. Sagging deeply into the windswept seas, the rubber boat made very slow progress.

Suddenly, the beach appeared, and it was like really, really close. Blown by the wind, the bros and the boards and the beers ran aground. Shipwrecked!

The bros had not prepared for this eventuality. Bumping and grinding on the razor rocks, the boat quickly became well and truly stuck. Even worse, it seemed to be deflating! The air began to leak out of their boat. The bros, so stranded!

They had made it to the Ranch, sure. But now they had no boat, no surf, and no way home.

Resigned, the bros heave their sad, flaccid Zodiac up to the beach. They’re definitely not getting any farther by boat.

Abandon ship! They leave the boat right there on the beach. Nothing else to do.

Tucking their boards under their arms, the bros trudge toward Gaviota. They don’t know how far they have to travel, or how long it will take. At least the tide is low. For now.

Blissfully ignorant of his friends’ desperate fate, Surfline Man sprinters toward Jalama. Singing along to California Girls, Surfline Man can not even wait to see the waves! He’s heard so much about awesome barrels and stuff. Surfline Man is north of Point Conception, and he’s feeling so core now.

Reaching the end of Jalama Road, Surfline Man turns into the parking lot at Jalama.

To his surprise, it’s mostly empty. Surfline Man looks around amazed. No crowd! He’s totally going to score so many waves. Solo time with the ocean, this is exactly what he needs.

Surfline Man bounds out of the Sprinter and hurries to check the surf. He can’t even wait to see all the barrels out there, just waiting for him. His friends are going to be so jealous! They’re so going wish they’d come here instead of he stupid Ranch.

Standing on the beach, Surfline Man notices the wind for the first time. Sand whorls down the beach. Staring at the sea, Surfline Man sees an angry soup of swirling white water. Surfline Man is definitely not getting barreled today.

Surfing is just so frustrating sometimes. You try so hard, and it doesn’t even work out. Surfline Man drove all the way here. He slept in his Sprinter between the freeway and the freight trains. And he’s not even getting waves. Surfline Man is so sad now.

As he drives back along Jalama Road, even the Beach Boys can’t console him. This is not at all how it’s supposed to work. Surfline Man reads the charts and the graphs. He always knows before he goes. He always knows where to find waves. Skunked! Now he doesn’t even know what to do.

What he needs is a burrito. Surfline Man must find a taqueria as soon as possible. Burritos understand. Burritos understand when you miss the boat. Burritos understand when you drive two days to surf and get nothing. Burritos make everything better.

When he reaches Santa Barbara, Surfline Man pulls off the 101. There’s a taqueria with the best burritos ever. Surfline Man just has to remember where it is. Waiting at a stoplight, he pulls up Google Maps and has a look around. Engrossed in his phone, Surfline Man doesn’t notice the light turning green. Cars honk behind him.

Haley Street. That sounds right. Surfline Man pilots the Sprinter toward the half-remembered taqueria. The one-way streets confound him. Nothing is going right today.

Just as he places his order, Surfline Man sees the “cash only” sign. Shit. Surfline Man darts out to the Sprinter and digs around in the glove compartment. He must have this burrito. He finds a pair of twenties tucked away for emergencies. This is totally an emergency.

Reverently, Surfline Man unwraps his burrito. The first bite feels like heaven. It warms his soul or whatever it is that burritos warm. This is the best burrito ever.

The burrito revives Surfline Man’s spirits. This whole trip was such a learning experience! Surfline Man is totally going to be a better surfer because of it. Even the best surfers get skunked sometimes! He just needs to get smarter. Next time is going to be so different.

Surfline Man is going to read the weather reports so carefully now. It’s true that they don’t have as many pretty colors as the surf forecasts. Also, they have so many big words and the maps have all these weird squiggly lines. It’s hard to make sense of it all. Sometimes a man has to work for what he wants.

Packed with cars, the freeway rolls slowly. Surfline Man cues up some Grateful Dead and settles in. He’s so over the Beach Boys. They’re such a cliché. Surfline Man is going to listen to some real music now.

The Grateful Dead! They’re like so creative.

The time passes quickly as the Sprinter inches down the road. Surfline Man is not exactly making progress, but he doesn’t even care. Whatever. Just give him some good tunes and an awesome burrito, and he’ll get there.

Around sunset, Surfline Man reaches Rincon. From the freeway, he looks over his shoulder just in time to see a set roll through the cove. Gold-tinted spray shoots into the air as head-high waves tumble on the cobbles. A light breeze tickles the wave’s faces. It’s a dream of California.

Surfline Man considers turning around. He could paddle out and get waves. But as soon as he thinks of it, the perfect golden light fades to grey. Surfline Man is too late.

Shoulda been here an hour ago.