Surf Journalist shocked to discover that alcohol consumption is not the pathway to healthy sleep, recovery!


New Year’s Eve is a time for many activities that would, on any other day, be frowned upon. There is the wearing of strange cardboard glasses and/or hats, the lighting of explosives, the public singing and, of course, the consumption of alcohol.

Now, any other New Year’s Eve I would have enjoyed a glass, or two, of champagne without thought. This New Year’s Eve, though, I was in Italy with my personal digital fitness and health coach, my WHOOP strap, and drinking one, or two glasses of Prosecco without thought.

That night, after wandering past many Italians lighting explosives, publicly singing with the number 2022 covering their eyes, I made it to bed and proceeded to have a fitful night’s sleep.

Consulting my WHOOP, the following morning, I realized that my measurables were all over the place. Wacky heart rate variability and resting heart rate numbers. Lousy recovery.

Intrigued, I immediately dove into the research. According to WHOOP’s many scientists:

Heart rate variability (HRV) and resting heart rate are two of the most useful metrics for quantifying your fitness on a daily basis. Consuming alcohol causes your HRV to drop (bad) and your resting heart to rise (also bad).

With the WHOOP Journal feature, our members are given the option of noting whether or not they have any alcoholic drinks each day. From a Performance Assessment analysis representing everyone on WHOOP, when they report consuming alcohol (even just a single drink) their HRV drops by an average of 7 milliseconds, and their resting heart rate increases by an average of 3 beats per minute.

It should come as no surprise that of all the behaviors available to record in the WHOOP Journal, drinking alcohol is the one with the single greatest negative impact on next-day recovery. On average, WHOOP members’ recovery is 8% lower when they log consuming alcohol the day before (again, this includes everything ranging from one drink to several).

Well who would have ever guessed? Speaking of, did you read about CNN’s New Year’s Eve program co-host Andy Cohen continually say he was “over-served” after delivering many snarky remarks on air?

“I was a bit over-served…”

What a dumb turn to phrase.

2022, anyhow, already seeing a better me.

Buy a better you here.


America’s sweetheart Kolohe Andino set to join Jordy Smith, Soli Bailey on O’Neill’s high-powered internationally diverse professional surf team!

Exciting days.

Surf teams used to mean so very much. In my youthful mind’s eye, those professional surfers who shared a sticker were the very best of friends, hanging out after surfs, drinking hot cocoa, calling each other late at night to gossip about who likes who etc.

The surf industry apocalypse, and Hurley turning into a men’s grooming product company, have damaged that ideal of the team but that all might be changing with America’s sweetheart set to join South Africa’s Jordy Smith and Australia’s Soli Bailey under the O’Neill banner.

On the surface, it is a wonderful fit with O’Neill as a very American company, though with pure Santa Cruz roots. Andino, of course, is the breathing face of San Clemente but might he consider a move north? Westside or Eastside?


I think, with things the way they are, that surf teams should force all their surfers to live together in a compound year ’round, much like they do on the North Shore, except film them non-stop, much like they did in The Ultimate Surfer.

A sort of renaissance.

“I'm in the red, Charlie. How can I possibly be expected to handle work on a day like this?”

Plastic fitness tracker frees surf journalist from idealogical prison of hard work and into a guilt-free and dreamy languor resulting in injury-free surfing

VAL sourness from tongue gone, too!

Until recently, I was a devout believer in the notion that success wouldn’t come unless I was immersed in the reservoir of hard work.

Put the time in, don’t slack, rewards they come. 

The result, a salad of injuries, back, a hip, broken teeth, temporary blindness.

This has been highlighted over the past year as I’ve thrown an already genetically weak body, a slim, small and somewhat ridiculous figure, into combat sports and by surfing only a spot famous for its collisions and hierarchal breakdown.

Driven by ego, position, identity and competition, of the metrics available to the WHOOP user, sleep, strain, recovery, I used only the first two (read Surf journalist discovers “antipatico” towards fellow surfers key to improved performance!” here). 

But what if I leant over to the recovery side of the ledger and trained and surfed only when the meter read green? Might the replenishment of the well mean less pinched nerves, tweaked knees etc? 

Recovery, of course, as pertaining to WHOOP “reflects how well prepared your body is to take on Strain, and is a measure of your body’s return to baseline after a stressor. The size of these stressors, illness, exercise, psychological stress or sleep deprivation, determines how much your body needs to recover. When your Recovery is high, your body is primed to take on strain. When your Recovery is low, you may be at greater risk for injury, or overtraining (during intense workouts).”

Four metrics make up your recovery, heart rate variability, resting heart rate, respiratory rate and hours of sleep. 

Your score is either green, 67% or above, “body primed to adapt to a larger training load,” yellow,  34% – 66%, “body able to adapt to high training load but might be compromised based on the lower end of the spectrum” or red, 33% and below, real easy to blow out.

I adapted around each colour.

The results were three-fold. 

Upon waking if WHOOP was below thirty-three, it gave me permission to give in to the urgent softness of my bed, a throwaway text message to my biz partner indicating I’d be unable to work for the day. Result, an avoidance of injury due to safety of bed. 

Second, it freed me from the idealogical prison of hard work and put me in a guilt-free and dreamy languor. Less stress.

If green or yellow, which came relatively seldom, I’d surf longer and with more intent, the breaks in getting in the water removing the VAL sourness from my tongue and the growl of violence from my gut. and found a notable improvement in performance.

This is the third benefit of swinging to the rhythm of WHOOP.

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

North Shore.
North Shore.

World’s richest man Jeff Bezos steals gorgeous look from surfing legend Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew for New Year’s Eve beach bacchanal!

Bustin' down the wardrobe door.

The new year is here, though young, and how is it going so far for you? Many laughs and early betting wins? Empty barrels bereft of VAL on Christmas soft top? The joy but do you wish you were the world’s richest man, instead, enjoying the life of a divorcee on the island of St. Barth getting widely ridiculed for his choice of clothing at bacchanal with his new wife’s ex-husband?

The mainstream media lit up, overnight, as pictures of Jeff Bezos dressing in purported 1970s fashion were released.

Much fun making.

Though I, as a surf journalist, saw only one thing staring back at me and it a glorious thing.

70’s era Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew.

Surfing champion, one-time owner of the game itself, legend.

Note the tight shirt, tighter pants, sunglasses and mouth lightly open.

Livin’ laughin’ lovin’ life.

Am I wrong?

Negroni delirious?


Nancy (pictured) shaming Kelly Slater.
Nancy (pictured) shaming Kelly Slater. | Photo: Julie Chandelier

World’s oldest surfer credits vegetarian lifestyle with keeping her in the water at 92-years young: “I also avoided sugars from an early age!”

Kelly Slater taking notes.

I am still in Florence having just attended mass at the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in stirring Gregorian chant. The painted ceilings, marble sculptures, incredible architecture are truly beyond description and very much worth a visit. The whole city is, in fact, a jewel that has stood the test of time much like the New Zealander Nancy Mehrn who, as the new year rung in officially became the world’s oldest surfer at 92-years young.

Though she has put her body on a boogie, or rather a 42-year young piece of foam she stole from her son, she awes her follow wave sliders.

According to reports, “at the surfers club in Sumner, the small town in southeastern New Zealand where Nancy lives, those who stand admitted their elderly fellow ‘is an inspiration to all of us, but also an uplifting one for everyone.’ The club’s director, 63-year-old Simon Brown, admits he is very skeptical that he, too, will be able to surf to Nancy’s age. The secret of Ms. Mehern’s resilience lies in a constantly active life, from vegetarian, and emphasizes – ‘to avoid sugar from an early age.'”


If someone told you that you, too, could boogie until 92 but had to be a vegetarian without eating sweets would you say Yes!” or begin penning your final piece of quit-lit?

Much to ponder, for us, but very much congratulations to Ms. Mehrn who really put Kelly Slater to shame and there is no doubt he will push to 100 just to rub her face in it.