Maz Barnes on his one-twenty-six-footer. | Photo: @masonhycebarnes

Little known surfer from North Carolina, USA, shatters 100-foot wave barrier at Portugal’s Nazaré!

Surfing's sound barrier smashed!

Aside from the all the fighter pilot downplaying bullshit that surfing has suffered when it comes to wave size calls since the beginning of time, let’s do the surfer science together.

We’ll start by throwing out the Hawaiian scale, the biggest offender, and get down to the reality of the size of the waves we are riding once and for all.

(I mean really, three-to-four-foot Sunset? Spare me),

Look at this photo of North Carolina’s Mason Barnes at Nazaré.


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I mean…Good God. Look at this photo.

Here is the new global formula:

Mason Barnes is 6’2” inches tall.

In his crouch on this wave he is 5’ 5” inches tall.

Surfers surf the faces of waves from crest to trough.

That is irrefutable. So that is what we will measure.

From crest to trough the face of this wave measures 23 units of Mason’s crouching height of 5’5” inches.

23 X 5’5” = 126.5 feet.

Therefore in a surfers reality, since we surf from crest to trough, since this is our actual measurable playing field, this wave is 126.5 feet tall.

And Mason is riding it successfully.

And even if we knock off a cool 25 feet for those loyal to the time-honored yet downright ridiculous approximations of the current wave height calls, this wave still comes in at over 101.5 feet.

And mind you, this unit of measurement is nothing new.

Doesn’t anyone remember the Billabong XXL?

Where the biggest wave went for a thousand bucks a foot?

This was the measurement system that was used. It is laughable that it was ignored immediately after the checks were divvied out.


Ok…so your loyal to the old code? I get it. It’s sad, but I get it.

But keep in mind the fact that when Kelly Slater, who is 5’8” in heels, nabs a stand up barrel at Pipeline, it’s not a six-foot wave. It’s a fifteen-foot wave.

And when you surf your local beachbreak, and you are six feet tall and while standing erect in the trough of the wave the top of the wave comes to your hairline…you are surfing a six-foot wave, not a two-foot mushburger.

So if we ever want our sport to be taken seriously…no…wait…if we ever want to take ourselves seriously, we are going to have to stop the lies.

And for those of you gritting your teeth at all this?

If you just aren’t up to taking the true measure of the actual size of the waves we surf?

Send your photos to me…I’ll do it.


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Developers ready bulldozers for assault on world’s most perfect surf spot, “This has brought such sadness to such a great surfing place but we are strong and we will protect our beautiful wave!”

"Right now we need surfers who love this wave and know how to advocate and create fundraising and who want helps us."

It was only a matter of time before they noticed.

Even though surfers have been making the trek to one of the greatest barrels on earth for decades, Desert Point, that tiny bend on Lombok’s north-west coast, is now rumoured to be under the threat of development.

“The other day a man from a development company showed up,” says Budi Man, the unofficial surfing mayor of Desert Point who runs a simple surfers cafe, “and this guy says they are gonna offer us 15 million rupiah each (AUD $1,450) before moving in with tractors to clear us surfers off the point! This is our life and has been for generations. We are over 2,000 local people that depend on the international surf community…we must stop this.”

After all, a group of developers are finishing up an enormous Moto GP Track smack dab in the centre of Kuta Lombok – Lombok’s other surfing area. The new Moto GP facility and surrounding infrastructure and accommodation is meant to establish Lombok as a world-class destination for motor sports much like Abu Dhabi.

Desert Point could serve as a feather in the island’s sports destination cap as it is said the developers want to partly convert Desert Point into a “World-class surfing competition venue”.

Complicating things is the fact that just like Grajagan, Desert Point is on National Park land and despite the locals having been there for generations the legalities of land ownership is foggy. Further rumors abound concerning plans for a large Eco-Resort on Desert Point and a marina development at nearby Bangko Bangko.

There’s been no word yet on any plans to make the wave accessible to the droves of international surfers who worship the place. If access became exclusive, then that would mean the modest boat operations from Bali and the few tiny prahu fishing boats that serve the spot would explode in popularity, if in fact they were allowed.

With all the facts difficult to come by, understanding what effect the development would have on the environment, the local culture, and the surfing experience is anybody’s guess.

“This has brought such sadness to such a great surfing place,” says Usman Trioko, local surfing pro and stylish tube-rider who grew up in the spinning barrels of Desert Point, “but we are strong and we will try and make sure we protect our beautiful wave. It is like a family member to us.”

To that end, Budi Man and Usman Trioko have begun a grass roots fundraising effort for what may become a contentious legal battle. This could become yet another David and Goliath environmental donnybrook and it is Budi and Usman’s hope that all who have ever ridden the wave will support their campaign and give generously.

“After all these years of perfect waves it is only fair to ask for help from our visitors,” says Budi, “I mean, where are we gonna go? This is our home. Forever. Right now we need surfers who love this wave and know how to advocate and create fundraising and who want helps us. Our own resources are too small.”

Obviously, if this rumored development moves forward, it’s going to be a long game.

If interested in helping out, you can contact Budi Man at  [email protected]

Stand by for more updates.

World’s most loved surf broadcaster in wild Great White encounter at Byron Bay as sharks feed on livestock following devastating floods!

Beloved surf identity calls for prudence in the ocean as sharks driven insane by floating cows.

It would hardly be a stretch to describe Jedaum Smith, co-host of the insanely popular podcast Ain’t That Swell, as one of the world’s most loved surf broadcasters.

Smith is rowdy and insolent, rarely sycophantic, contains an infectious vivacity and is, I think, at the zenith of his powers. 

(His writing, which is part Hemingway, part Gertrude Stein, part Mao Zedong, is a highlight on the Stab website.)

Almost tragedy then, yesterday, when a Great White shark, likely a juvie, six feet or so, lit up in a feeding frenzy next to Smith and former champion Western Australian surfer Geremy Blake at Belongil, that gorgeous sandspit that runs north of Byron Bay. 

The pair were surfing four-foot brown-water tubes when the shark hit, “smashed a fish near me and Gezza and did a triple spinning pike flip,” says Smith, who issued a public service announcement about the encounter, warning surfers of the danger of sharks, all gassed up and feisty as hell as they feed on livestock washed into the ocean. 

“Twenty cows headed out the Tweed River from Murwillumbah. Watch them Noahs,” warned Smith. 

Belongil ain’t a stranger to hits from Whites.

Three years ago, a Byron surfer had to be airlifted to hozzy after being bitten on the thigh by a juvie White.

A pal described the scene as, “a lot of thrashing and splashing. He started screaming, we didn’t realise until we paddled back to the beach that there was a big chunk taken out of his leg. There was a lot of blood, a lot of bleeding. When I heard the screams he was making in the water and then I saw a chunk of his board floating off, that’s when I realised it was pretty bad. He was conscious but … his eyes were drifting around a bit, he seemed a bit dizzy. He was saying his breathing was labouring … overall I think he was alright, he was just in a bit of shock.”

A good time to be prudent in the surf.

World surfing champion Joel Parkinson’s house ransacked while he was saving the wretched during cataclysmic floods, “Some people just want to do bad. We rescued 30 to 40 people each as well as six dogs, three cats and some chickens!”

“All day I’d been helping people who were close to losing their lives and their houses and I came home to that," says champ.

It ain’t all palm trees and water so warm you feel like you’re sloshing around in mammy’s womb up there in northern NSW and the Gold Coast

There’s a dirty undercurrent of violence and ruined people with veins peeled open by the spike, brains scrambled by booze.

I lived there ten years, got beaten unconscious, attacked with a glass bottle by a famous shaper (the swing missed me and hit pal), got picked up on the street mid-fight with a drunk girlfriend by undercover cops who pulled her aside and told her, “You want us to hurt him? We can hurt him”, houses broken into, cars stolen, usual.

It didn’t surprise when Stephanie Gilmore got belted by a homeless schizophrenic junkie in the stairwell of her apartment in Tweed Heads in 2010.

Nor did it surprise when Mick Fanning came on the radar of a stalker who broke into his joint and sent him letters accusing him of pedophilia while also confessing her love. 

Today, biz as usual on the GC, when Joel Parkinson, returning from another day rescuing the wretched from floodwaters described as “one in one-thousand years” from homes around nearby Tumbulgum and Murwillumbah.

Parkinson, who is forty, came home, found the garage door open and his wife Monica’s car gone. 

“All day I’d been helping people who were close to losing their lives and their houses and I came home to that,” the 2012 world champ told the Courier Mail.  “There were so many people out there trying to do good but some people just want to do bad. We probably rescued about 30 to 40 people each as well as six dogs, three cats and some chickens. We went to one farmhouse that I thought was one-storey the water was so high. But it was actually two storeys and I was jet skiing over their cars to get to them. We yelled out ‘is anyone home?’ and this four-year-old kid in a life jacket answered the door. We grabbed him, his mum and the dog and got them out of there. Another guy was up in a treehouse with all his supplies.

Parko and pals enter the top floor of a two-storey house.
Checking to see if the pub is still serving.

How bad was the flooding?

“I’ve never seen the Tweed River looking like that … it was angry,” Parko said. “I don’t think I can look at the river the same any more.”

I really need to get out of the habit of underrating Brisa. I ranked her way down in fifteenth last time. Eesh. | Photo: WSL

Post-Sunset and Pre-Portugal Women’s WTF Rankings, “Sunset exposed the one-trick wonders. Many women wanted to fit their usual turns into the unruly Sunset lineup. It did not work super great!”

"I have renamed this feature. It’s my party and I can do what I want. Power, it sounds so masculine! So definitive! And I am neither of those things."

Welcome back to the Women’s Power Rankings. BeachGrit official! 

I have renamed this feature. It’s my party and I can do what I want.

 Power, it sounds so masculine! So definitive! And I am neither of those things. 

WTF also captures the chaos of this particular CT season so far. Sunset upended the rankings in so many surprising ways. I’m not sure it’s my favorite ever CT event, but I don’t hate it. If it happens again next year, I will not be sad. 

One thing I did like, is the way the Sunset lineup exposed the one-trick wonders. Quite a few women wanted to fit their usual turns into the unruly Sunset lineup. It did not work super great. 

Lots of the rookies found more success than usual, maybe because they came to the whole thing without a lot of preconceptions. Just surf some waves. So simple. 

Next up, it’s beach break time in Portugal. It is cold. The contest is mobile with multiple breaks and wind directions. Apparently, there are lefts. Not my favorite! But I am not trying to win a world title, fortunately. 

To the rankings! 

18. (-4) Moana Jones Wong 

She’s still surfing’s new It Girl, but she didn’t make her heats at Sunset. No one should be given a free pass to the CT on the basis of a single result, no matter how badass that result is. This is my firm stance. With Vahine Fierro rippin’ it up in Tahiti, a wildcard for Teahupo’o isn’t assured for Moana. I hope she gets fired the fuck up, hits the QS, and destroys. If she does have what it takes, it will be very fun to see her on Tour. But she needs the results to back it.

17. (-6) Bronte McCaulay

I gave Bronte an overly optimistic billing last time, and she promptly went out in round two. To be fair, she was fresh off the plane with almost no time in the Sunset lineup. I got carried away by the clips I’ve seen of her in heavy surf out there in West Australia. This, my friends, is why I do not bet on surfing. Bronte returns as a wildcard for Portugal. The WSL gave her the nod after her contest season was interrupted by travel restrictions and family tragedy. The lefts in Portugal should favor her and I’d expect her to move on up the rankings real soon here. 

16. (-14) Steph Gilmore 

At her best, Steph is still a lovely surfer. But these days, she has trouble with the grindy heats, the heats where the waves aren’t super perfect. Steph doesn’t like to surf bad waves. I mean, honestly, who does? But that makes it hard to be a successful contest surfer, since you have to surf the waves you’re given. Drifting around the lineup, looking for waves that aren’t there, well, that isn’t going to win a contest. Steph spent a lot of time drifting at Sunset and not much time surfing. She lost her round one, squeaked through round two, then went out in three. Not exactly a world champion trajectory. Time to grind, Steph. 

15. (-7) Courtney Conlogue

This was definitely not the Hawaii campaign Courtney hoped to have. She trains her ass off and might be the most jacked woman on Tour. Respect. I like how fearless Courtney can be. She’ll go for the gnarly section every time. She just needs to make them more often. Easier said than done. She nailed a solid two-turn combo for a nine in her opening heat at Sunset. In fact, she might have had one of the highest heat totals of round one, but she couldn’t keep it rolling. Consistency is her weakness and it sent her home early in Hawaii. 

14. (-8)  Tati West

After her high finish last year, I expected Tati to come out swinging in these early events. Also, she grew up in Kauai. Surely, she learned something there. Nope. She went down in round three to Luana Silva. I can’t say I remember much about her Sunset heats at all, but her Pipe surfing was… not great. Portugal should go better for her. 

13. (+0) Sally Fitzgibbons

Regardless of sport, some athletes benefitted from the Covid break, but many didn’t. I’d put Sal in the second group, and I’m not entirely sure why. I do know she put a priority on airs in recent years, and has put in many hours in onshore crap working on them. It’s hard to be good at everything at once, and that may explain her underwhelming Hawaii performances. If she wants to make the midyear cut, Sal has work to do. 

12. (+0) Isabella Nichols

I really liked Isabella’s surfing last year. She’s stylish and dynamic. But it’s possible her skillset is tuned for beach breaks and not much more. We’ll find out soon enough. Certainly, she wasn’t super at Sunset, and she had one legit high-scoring barrel at backdoor. She’ll need more than that to stay on Tour. Isabella’s currently safe from the midyear cut, but there’s some talented women hot on her heels. 

11. (-6) Lakey Peterson

Back at Pipe, Lakey made the semis. It should not have been surprising. She does her homework, and her Backdoor surfing looked alright. Honestly, I expected more from her at Sunset. It’s a right. She has plenty of power. What could go wrong? Lakey’s weakness is her reliance on her one turn. When it works, the judges love it. She’s fast, she can connect many, many turns given the right wave. But Sunset didn’t cooperate. And Lakey didn’t really have an alternate plan. She went down in round three to Bettylou Sakura Johnson. 

10. (+8) India Robinson

I’ll confess I didn’t know where to put India in these rankings last time around. So I put her last. Oops. Her powerful surfing matched Sunset well, and she sent Sal home after scoring a pair of sevens. In the quarters, India couldn’t keep it rolling against local girl Bettylou, who’s pretty obviously a future world champ in the making. Still, a solid performance from India, and Margaret River should suit her well, too. 

9. (-6) Tyler Wright

After making the semis at Pipe, Tyler went out in round three at Sunset. I don’t understand anything. Tyler won Sunset as a wildcard. Sure, I thought, she can do well there. Like Lakey, she kept trying to fit her signature turn into a wave that just wasn’t having it. Girl, you can do more than a layback. I know you can. Get creative! 

8. (+9) Luana Silva

I badly underestimated Luana, a local girl who has surfed Sunset many, many times. Sometimes, I am stupid. In her quarterfinal heat against Gabriela Bryan, Luana scored a 8.83. Too bad she couldn’t back it. Luana leaves Hawaii with a ninth and a fifth. She’s sitting just above the midyear cutline with a horde of other women. A good result in Portugal will help her cause, and I would not bet against her getting it. I’m stupid, but apparently still capable of learning!

7. (+9) Molly Picklum

After Caity Simmers turned down her CT spot, Molly got a late call-up. She didn’t have a ton of time to learn the lineups in Hawaii, but she charged anyway. I like her style. At Sunset, she took down Carissa Moore by going on bigger waves. That’s it. Sometimes, simplicity works best. Molly lost to eventual winner Brisa Hennessey in the quarters. She’s close to cutline — like everyone else, really — and probably wishes that Pipe result was better. I watched her on the Challenger Series, but fuck if I can remember how her backhand is. I’d expect her to go well at Margaret River, though, easy. 

6. (+3) Johanne Defay

Leaving Hawaii with a pair of quarterfinal finishes is a solid start for Johanne. Consistency is one of her strengths, making Johanne basically the opposite of Courtney. At Sunset, she lost to Malia Manuel, who was on a heater surfing at home. No shame for Johanne there. She’s headed home to Europe and beach break surfing suits her. Also, she gets to go left. Johanne should move up the rankings here after Portugal, but you know how well my predictions turn out. Spoiler! Not super good!

5. (-5) Carissa Moore

I’ll confess I didn’t really know where to put Carissa in the rankings this time around. In the actual not-WTF rankings, she sits fourth behind Brisa, Malia, and Moana. Carissa finished second at Pipe to Moana. Sure, she wanted to win, but second to the local specialist is not too shabby. But her performance at Sunset, a wave that should suit her, was underwhelming. Carissa lost to Molly with an 11-point heat score. That was a winnable heat for Carissa, but her wave choice looked super sus. The judges rightly rewarded Molly for charging on bigger waves. It’s been a minute since Carissa went home in round three. She’s still in the top five, but she needs to go to work if she wants to stay there. 

4. (+6) Gabriela Bryan

Watching Gabriela Bryan take down Steph in round three gave me so much joy. Not because I have any hate for Steph. Quite the opposite, I’m a Steph fan, for sure. Instead, it was the fearless exuberance Gabriela brought to the thing. She just fucking went for it. She got smashed in a section, went back out, got another wave. I love the competitive fire Gabriela brings to her heats. And, she’s got power to burn. One of the unpredictable and talented rookies on Tour, Gabriela could well go far this year. 

3. (+1) Bettylou Sakura Johnson

I expected Bettylou to do well at Sunset, and she did not disappoint. She took down Lakey in round three by working with the wave, rather than against it. On paper, I would have expected her to beat Brisa in the semis. Turn for turn, Bettylou looked better, but she didn’t pick waves where she could really open up. Lots of getting smashed in closeouts for her in that heat, which is not exactly a winning strategy. All the same, for the women looking to move up the rankings, I’d expect Bettylou to be difficult to dislodge.

2. (+4) Malia Manuel 

What a bittersweet result for Malia. She’s made seven finals and never yet won an event. But her surfing in Hawaii was so good. A quarterfinal finish at Pipe and a final at Sunset. I thought I was rating her too highly ahead of Sunset and I am super happy to be proved wrong. After Sunset, she posted a photo of her dad surfing Sunset. They share a similar stance, which is lovely. Malia picked up one of the year-long wildcards and it’s nice to see her making the most of it.

1. (+15) Brisa Hennessey

I really need to get out of the habit of underrating Brisa. I ranked her way down in fifteenth last time. Eesh. In my own defense, she fell off Tour last year and had to hit the Challenger Series to requalify. Well. She is certainly storming it this season, so far. At Sunset, she won her first ever CT event. She also made quarters at Pipe. She leaves Hawaii as the world number one. Brisa, good at surfing. Got it.