Surf Journalist discovers that sleeping better, not longer, is one very important key to a well-oiled mind!

A better life awaits.

Sleep. I’ve never been a huge fan of shut-eye, I’ll be honest. I mean, it’s ok but there are many more enjoyable things to do when the sun sets like driving to Las Vegas under the pale moonlight, eating sugar cereal, watching sporting highlights, playing iPhone blackjack, reading Matt Warshaw’s Encyclopedia of Surfing, scrolling through Donald Trump Jr. speeches but did you know that sleep, that shut-eye, is actually very crucial to a well-oiled mind?

It’s true but herein lies the quandary. Too much sleep means missing out on high-quality surf and especially during this holiday season.

Too little sleep means writing error-laden stories about the Caribbean.

How to find the balance?

Mercifully, my personal digital fitness and health coach is always on the job. My sleep WHOOP strap, perpetually gathering data, constantly tabulating heart and respiratory rates, overall strain, my various recoveries from previous days and allows me to sleep smarter, not longer. It gifts, “personalized sleep suggestions based on how strenuous your day is and when you need to wake up the following day” allowing the evolved to “set target performance goals so the sleep coach can adjust your sleep need suggestions so you can perform on days you need to be at your best and get by on days you can recover.”

Just before Thanksgiving, for example, I wanted to paddle for an early surf but would I make intelligent decisions in the lineup? Checking in with my WHOOP I realized that my recovery had been high, the previous day, and my strain within reason.


I knew that I could wake up early, select the right board for the conditions, the spot where it would be best and perform the right maneuvers in the right sequences.

I also knew that I could come home and write art-adjacent stories about my fitness and health journey that you could learn from, lessons that you could apply to your own situation.

Christmas is around the corner. Gift yourself a better life.

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

Moongie liked bikes, too!

Malibu surf icon Moondoggie whose legend was dramatised in seminal teen movie “Gidget” and who had disappeared at Venice Beach prompting an outpouring of grief found alive!

A Hanukah miracle!

Surfer, motorcycle racer, artist, hep-cat, and co-founder of The Royal Hawaiian crowd-clearing technique at Malibu, Billy al Bengsto,  is safe and sound and back with his family, although details are thin as to where he disappeared to and why.

Pretty much the only information that Bengston was home was one Instagram post announcing WE FOUND HIM!!!! by “Bluetica” on the last day of November, 2021.


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A post shared by bluetica (@bluetica)

An appeal to “Bluetica” for details came up with bupkis and that led to an internet search to discover who “Bluetica” is.

“Bluetica Bengston” got mixed results from Los Angeles to Rome, but it appeared there was a Blue Tica Bengston who was involved with the horsey and polo set in Santa Barbara.

A Google search for “daughter Billy Al Bengston” was revealing, as apparently this was not the first time Moondoggie split from Venice.

According to a story called Venice is losing a bit of its cool by Lousie Roug in The Los Angeles Times for 8-8-2004, Bengston was retiring and splitting from Venice to move to British Columbia,

“In mid-August, he’s moving to Victoria, Canada, with his wife, Wendy, and his 14-year-old daughter, Tica – a move prompted, he said, by Tica, who wants to live in ‘horse country.’”

So that was her, a daughter born in 1990 who was into horses. So that was revealing but more so about how an influential artist from the 1950s and 1960s was negotiating the years on either side of Y2K.

According to The LA Times, Bengston’s departure was seen as the end of an era and bad juju by the resident artists of Venice:

But by the early ‘90s, Bengston had nearly vanished from the art scene, showing intermittently and then, for long stretches, not at all. His friends developed theories: Bengston had given up on the art world, or the art world had given up on Bengston; he was a victim of changing sensibilities, or he had opted out of a corrupt system.

Bengston himself gave contradictory answers. ‘Billy Al is retired and in his retirement, doing all the things one shouldn’t do while retired,’ his website said.

Now, a show of old and new work, ceramics and paintings opens today at the Cartelle Gallery in Marina Del Rey.

The show is a farewell to Los Angeles. Billy Al Bengston, contrarian, is leaving town.

Matt Kivlin was done with surfing in the 1950s: “Too crowded” and went on to be an admirably prolific architect, working non stop as Los Angeles boomed after World War II.

Bengston also thrived as a post-war artist, but it took him longer than that to be over the art world, which he compared to the surfing world.

Later on in the article, Bengston found parallel lines between the surfing world of the 50s and the art world of the 1950s:

On a lazy summer morning, Bengston’s view was a Southern California tableau: An ocean breeze rustled the palm trees in his garden and rippled the surface of the pool. But Bengston was happy to be leaving it all behind.

“I’m so thankful I’m not young and having to do it the way they do it today,” he said. “It was a lifestyle when we used to do it. Surfing absolutely paralleled the art world: It used to be a lifestyle, it became a business. When things become a business, your values change. There was no dollar value in surfing, and there was no dollar value in being an artist.”

The real value of art, he said, is mystery and surprise.

“A work of art is always supposed to leave you, ‘I don’t understand that. But it sure isn’t boring,’” Bengston said.

The only function of art is to be “something that you ain’t seen before,” he said. “To be itself.”

If you’re interested, that Los Angeles Times article is a good biography of Bengston up to 2004, when Bengston apparently bailed to British Columbia.

At some point he came back, and then, more recently, he disappeared again.

Information on that is non-existent. But safe to say, Billy Al is safe and sound and bouncing babies.

Home for the holidays.

World Surf League flexes hard on long-suffering fans, forces them to enter “foil king” Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse in order to experience professional contest surfing!

Boss moves.

I met Adam Silver, the commissioner of the NBA, many years ago in New York and was impressed by both his vision and his approach. He seemed to know where the future of sport was headed and was guiding basketball there, turning its stars into international sensations. He was also very aware that he had an opportunity to grow a fanbase far beyond the United States of America’s borders. People watching, engaging, following the world over was what mattered and so he pivoted hard from the NFL and MLB models of restricting access to certain channels, suing wildly when logos, team names appeared anywhere unsanctioned etc. and let people take games, highlight clips, all of it and do what they pleased.

A winning strategy and now the NBA has more fans than the once all-powerful NFL.

Well, the World Surf League has decided that it has too many fans and, days ago, followed the iron fist model refusing for its surf contests to be embedded anywhere not Facebook, YouTube or

Forcing its fans to live inside “foil king” Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse.

Completely idiotic, I think. Santa Monica should be begging for any sort of engagement they can get, any sweet boy or girl to care about Conner O’Leary somewhere, anywhere. They should be trying to hide their player on each and every surf or surf-adjacent website out there but no, I suppose. Too many fans already, I guess.

David Lee Scales and I discussed Ben Gravy’s wedding for about three-times as long as we did Haleiwa yesterday, in any case. Maybe another worrying sign co-Waterperson of the Year Dirk Ziff and crew.

Listen here.

Surf Journalist taps in to bounty of data science and research, utilizes personal digital fitness and health coach to steal waves off the woefully unsuspecting!

Knowledge is power.

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year and I defy you to challenge me there. Defy you to tell me, straight faced, that when you enter a store and Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” is playing a shiver of pure joy don’t rush right up your spine.


Pure magic but a slight problem exists for us grumpy locals, we guardian angels of the sea.

The holiday season means that work is pushed down the daily list of “things that must get done” leaving ample time for the stoked-adjacent to head to the beach, paddle out and clog already choked lineups.

What to do?

Well, for the first time in my life I have a WHOOP strap, a personal digital fitness and health coach, that teaches me to be my very best and, moreover, employs a cadre of scientists and researchers to parse data, codify behaviors.

The team recently looked at holiday behaviors and, maybe shockingly, discovered that people drink more and sleep more during the time of year.

Per the just-published report:

To understand the relationship between holidays and changes in WHOOP data, we compared the population averages on each holiday and holiday eve to a baseline. We didn’t want any seasonal or weekday effects to muddy the results of our study, so our baseline consisted of the average of 8 other days–the 4 days of the same day of week preceding the holiday or eve, and the 4 days of the same day of week following the holiday or eve.

Using the baseline averages and the holiday averages, we found the average change in sleep and alcohol prevalence on each of the federal holidays and their eves. This illuminated which holidays correspond with significant differences in sleep patterns and alcohol prevalence and which seem to have little changes at all.

Bed time changed by around 16 minutes on average during holidays and their eves. Most differences in bed time were later bed times, when it was on average about 22 minutes later than usual. Each of the holidays with an earlier average bedtime were Monday holidays, indicating that members were likely taking advantage of the day off to catch up on some sleep during the work week.

Wake time changed by almost 25 minutes on average. Most holidays were associated with sleeping in and on those days the average change in wake time was almost 33 minutes later. Similar to bed time, the only holidays that were associated with an earlier wake time were Monday holidays.

As the changes in bed time and wake time indicate, WHOOP members were getting more sleep around the holidays. The average change in sleep duration on holidays and eves was 2.1%. Of the 20 holidays we analyzed, 15 corresponded to an increase in sleep duration for an average increase of 2.5%. Only two holidays corresponded to significant decreases in sleep, one of which was New Year’s Eve. Overall, holidays were associated with varying changes in sleep consistency–about half had an increase in sleep consistency and half had a decrease.

Genius and I realized all I need to do is keep my recovery in the green, or “ready for optimal performance,” during this crucial time, wake up an hour earlier and, thereby, catch so many more waves all by myself.

A Hanukkah gift that gives for more that seven, ten, even thirty days.

Worth every ounce of investment because how will you know, otherwise, that you have not succumbed to the inertia of this festive season?

Healthy sleep, recovery, strain data equals more waves.

You’re welcome.

San Diego surf icon, shaper and pioneer of Waimea Bay, dead at 85, “He was known as the boy-next-door barefoot adventurer who would pretend to step in a mound of poo for our lowbrow comedy pleasure!”

Rode Waimea in '57, hand-crafted gorgeous surfboards.

Dale Velzy is the first surfer Bruce Brown introduces in Slippery When Wet, Brown’s 1958 debut movie. Del Cannon is second.

The camera loves both, but for very different reasons.

Dale, with his crooked smile and Boozefighter haircut and a merchant marine tattoo on his bicep, is the lovable hustler on his way to a near-career-killing beatdown by the IRS. Cannon is handsome and innocent and reserved, with a hint of Buster Keaton around his soulful eyes. Dale was never again seen in a Bruce Brown movie.

Del was featured in most of them. It’s easy to see why.

Del looked and surfed like Phil Edwards’s understudy—Phil was every surf filmmaker’s go-surf surfer at the time, Bruce included—but was more accessible, more relatable, easier to identify with. Brown recognized the value of ground-level charisma.

Phil was a surf god. Del, although cool in his own right, leaned a bit sad-sack. At the beginning of Barefoot Adventure, he steps in a fresh pile of dog shit and responds with nothing more than a weary “why me” tilt of the head.

“Del was a San Diego guy, a good surfer and a great swimmer,” Bruce Brown later recalled, “but he was really great actor! He had screen presence. He could get a lot done with just the slightest expression. And he’d do anything you asked.”

Bruce, as you can see from the video here, was happy to film Del riding waves—but he was even happier filming him in the short comedy bits that popped up every ten minutes or so during the running time of a surf flick, as a way to break up the wave-riding action.

Cannon was among the group of surfers in ’57 who rode Waimea for the first time, and was later known for making high-quality surfboards.

Following his move to Hawaii, around 1970, he was a mostly-uncredited shaper for Lightning Bolt. But back in the sport’s pre-Beatles age, when hair was short and comedy was corn-filled, Del was known and appreciated as the boy-next-door barefoot adventurer who would pretend to step in a dog crap for our lowbrow comedy pleasure.

He was one of us.

(Matt Warshaw is the editor and archivist at his Encyclopedia of Surfing, where this story first appeared. It costs three bucks a month for the keys to surfing’s wild history. Essential.)