"Whats so special about surfing? Surfing is to... be with that mystery. To ride that mystery for as long as you can. And then when it's over that's cool because you know what? You were there, in line and on time."

Celebrity historian feted by The New Yorker attempts to answer perennial question, “When did surfing stop being hip?”

The ride is all that matters. The ride and the ocean setting. Right? It should be, but no.

Surfing is no longer hip, but lack of hipness doesn’t matter. 

When it stopped being hip is open to debate—somewhere between Gidget and the recent announcement of Seaworld Orlando’s admittedly freaking awesome Pipeline Surf Coaster, although my strong belief is that, hipness-wise, we voluntarily tore off our own epaulets in the late 1970s, when we leaned hard into stickers and logos. 

The more interesting question is: So what? 

Surfing is no longer hip or cool; who cares? We’re still out there riding, surrounded by ocean—we are leaving wavepools out of the discussion; I’m barely juggling the topic as is—and in that moment surfing at its core is the same half-magic ultimate-pleasure activity it was 50 or 100 or 500 years ago.

At the end of History of Surfing, which is by and large a 500-page overview of change and transition, and how such developments can be both thrilling and discouraging, I talk about our “appreciation for what can’t be changed.”

No violation against any accounting of surf history is committed by pointing out that eras, movements, innovators, and champions are all secondary ways in which surfing defines and distinguishes itself. What counts the most—the only thing that counts, in the final tally—is the ocean setting. The sport is attached to the hem of a natural force so vast it can drain the power from a howling continent-sized storm, refine it, and deliver it ten days and 3,000 miles later in a smooth and elegant ocean-going processional. For a few seconds at a time we get to ride that current. Surf history is so many banners and streamers waving from this single, incredible natural fact.

Hipness, you would think, is one of those streamers flapping around back there, beaver-tail-like.

The ride is all that matters. The ride and the ocean setting. Right?

It should be, but no. 

Not for me, anyway, not in my heart. 

I want hip. I miss it. 

In 1977, publisher Steve Pezman approved a three-word SURFER cover blurb, just above a back-lit photo of a non-celeb riding an unnamed Hawaiian break, that read “The Secret Thrill.” 

I bring this up because doing something as arcane (“secret”) as it is attractive and compelling (“thrill”) is itself a not-bad definition of hip. 

Surfing at that point was still off to the side, culturally, and valued as such. A long time ago I asked Barton Lynch what his greatest achievement was as a surfer, and without pause he said, “Driving to the beach when everyone else is driving the other way.”

Lack of hipness is not a deal-breaker, obviously. 

Hip doesn’t last. 

But still—the cake is nicely sugar-dusted and cherry-topped when everyone else is driving the other way.

(This story is an abridged version of Matt Warshaw’s Sunday Joint, a compelling and finely put-together essay that is sent to Encyclopedia of Surfing subscribers every Sunday. Three bucks a month to open the archive and to get Warshaw’s weekly essays. Join the gang here.)

Rumors boil and bubble that Gisele Bündchen has hexed Tom Brady amidst quarterback’s uncharacteristic troubles though are surf fans’ mass candle lightings for reunion with Kelly Slater accidentally to blame?

Uh oh.

The power of surf fans, and their mass candle lightings, has suddenly taken on new intrigue. Rumors are currently breaking across TikTok that Tom Brady’s uncharacteristic performance struggles are directly related to his estranged wife, Gisele Bündchen and her various sagings plus visits to spiritual healers.

A hexing?

Brady, the greatest football player of all-time, has fallen hard of late, an embarrassing 21 – 3 loss to the lowly Carolina Panthers the most recent in a season-long string of bummer.

No touchdowns.

Much sad.

One-time coach and respected analyst Rex Ryan declared afterward, “This team is searching like crazy. At least they’re trying, they’re searching, but Tom Brady looks like a shell of himself. You look at him even physically. His personal life, obviously, is having an effect too. I get it. I don’t want to minimize this. It’s a factor. Obviously it’s something. This looks like there’s no answer because there’s no speed on the field.”

While Bündchen is taking most of the heat, surf fans are turning inward, wondering if the mass candle lightings undergone in a hoped-for reunion between the Brazilian supermodel and her beau from 2005 through 2006, Kelly Slater, are, in fact, to blame.

As you know, the two formed up the most powerful surf couple during those years, Bündchen at the height of her model powers, powers that have made her vastly richer than her current husband. Slater bagging two of eleven world titles.

As you may not know, candle lighting is essential to occultic practices.

Oh, I’ve never wanted you, us, to travel that dangerous path. I have encouraged purchasing various pumpkin spice offerings from Yankee Candle, but maybe you got lazy?

Maybe you accidentally bought candles from the witch down the street?

It’s one thing for us to hope for a grand romantic reunion. Quite another for us to curse a generational talent.

Driftwood, jasmine, raw coconut.


Maybe check your stock?

Do you remember when 90% of BG's imagery came from Napoleon Dynamite? Happier times.
Do you remember when 90% of BG's imagery came from Napoleon Dynamite? Happier times.

Grumpy locals losing war against VAL invasion as respected mental health expert declares learning how to surf “improves self-esteem!”

Do better, please.

The VAL, or vulnerable adult learner, invasion is well and truly upon us, a proper war between the aforementioned and grouchy locals who began their surfing experience somewhere between 1970 and 2000. Lineups cluttered with soft top. Going left on rights, or vice versa, a proper new “move.”

Oh we are out there, you and I, fighting the good fight and maybe, sometimes, imagining that we are winning this grand conflict. I, personally, have yelled at least three Covid babies near tears over the last three months, others, braver, have picked up rocks and bashed away but, alas, it appears as if it is not enough.

For a new just-released study published by Roxy Davis, a qualified surf coach and registered psychological counselor currently completing a PhD in surf therapy, the battlefield is “cultivating self-esteem” amongst beginners.

Per healthline.com:

Never thought you’d be able to stand up on a surfboard and ride a wave? Trying activities you once considered “impossible” may help you:

cultivate self-esteem

trust yourself more easily

feel more confident in your own abilities

Davis says she’s noticed, over the past 2 decades, that learning to surf seems to foster self-esteem among her participants.

“Say you’re a child who’s come from a school where, maybe, you’re not the top of anything in academics or sport, and your coach says to you that your goal is to stand up. When you stand up and ride the wave, you feel like, ‘Wow, if I can do that, I can do anything,’” she says.

A small 2021 studyTrusted Source with nine Australian teenagers found that an 8-week surf therapy program seemed to improve their self-esteem and resilience.


Do better, please.

Slater (left) listens to Murray.
Slater (left) listens to Murray.

Will surf great Kelly Slater walk away from dear friendship with iconic comedian Bill Murray after new allegations of unwanted touching emerge or hold fast to love, warts and all?

"The first thing he did was take my shirt out of my pants and start tickling my stomach.”

The odd pairing of the iconic comedian Bill Murray and his wonderful friend, surf great Kelly Slater, is one of the more endearing. Murray doesn’t seem like a surfer, though was there at the founding of the legendary G-Land camp. Slater doesn’t seem funny, though provides more honest laughs than most.

The two golf together, smile together, look fantastic together. The only cloud floating across their shared sky, a recent spate of re-surfaced complaints against Murray.

Days ago we learned that Seth Green, an actor from yesteryear, had accused the Saturday Night Live alum of dropping him into a trashcan for failing to get off the couch. Whilst it seemed very much deserved, to me, mainstream opinion seemed to go very much against Murray.

And now we have an old Arsenio Hall interview come back to life wherein Murray does unwanted touching to co-star Geena Davis.

Per Variety:

Geena Davis’ uncomfortable experiences with Bill Murray extended beyond the set of their 1990 crime comedy “Quick Change.” Davis has already spoken about her “bad” audition for the film, which allegedly included Murray trying to use a massage device on her, but in a new interview with i magazine she addressed a press tour interview the two did in which Murray took down her dress strap and repeatedly touched her arm. The actors were on “The Arsenio Hall Show” to promote “Quick Change.”

“Oh, you saw?” Davis asked the reporter who brought up the Arsenio Hall interview, which is still available to view online. “Isn’t it stunning? It’s awful.”

During the interview, Murray touched Davis’ arm as Davis told Hall, “I did have to audition. It was a lot like this in fact.”

“He touched you a lot in the audition?” Hall asked Davis.

“Yeah, I swear,” Davis responded. “The first thing he did was take my shirt out of my pants and start tickling my stomach.”

Davis told this story to Hall with a light attitude and a smile on her face, but reflecting back on it she now said, “I forgot that. Telling it that way, just as a humorous anecdote, I must have thought, ‘Well, it’s ultimately funny, or makes a good story,’ when in fact it was so devastating.”

Not a very flattering portrait under the lens of modern times but, also, not even flattering under the lens of Arsenio Hall heydays.

Murray has yet to respond but do you think the Life Aquatic star will be able to come out, career unscathed thanks to the support of his friend Kelly Slater or do you think Slater will jump ship, as it were?

You can read, and watch, a beautiful exchange between the two here.

Tough days.

Hill, inset, and Daly, billowing cloud.

John Daly says Jonah Hill’s weight struggles make the Malibu VAL the perfect fit to play him at boozy, fatty peak in upcoming biopic, “I’ve been a Miller Lite guy since I was eight!”

“Jonah Hill wants it really bad!”

As reported by BeachGrit one week ago, the Hollywood funnyman and Malibu VAL Jonah Hill will play brawling, gambling, raising hell golfer John Daly in an upcoming biopic.

Daly, a mulletted good ol boy from Arkansas, now fifty-six, was a journalist’s dream during his nineties peak, dem smoked and pickled tonsils rarely out of form.

Some of his iconic lines,

“I believe nicotine plus caffeine equals protein.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever stepped into a gym – they won’t let me smoke there.”

“I will just put four or five extra packs of cigarettes in my bag and I will be fine.”

“Do I have to know rules and all that crap? Then forget it.”

“There are probably some things I could do to keep my flexibility up, but I’d rather smoke, drink diet Cokes and eat.”

“I was never able to have three of four beers. One’s too many, and ten just ain’t enough. Basically it’s the way I’ve been since high school.”

In a 2016 interview with Graham Bensinger, Daly said he drank somewhere between a case of beer and 40 beers a day and that if he got a bit of a roll, he could get on the turps for three months straight. 

Anyway, Daly, has responded to reports Jonah Hill is gonna play him an upcoming biopic, in a piece to Instagram.

“Jonah Hill he wants it really bad and the way me and him have fluctuated with weight in our lives, and no disrespect to him, cause I love him, I love him an actor… he wants it bad and I think he’d be great.”

Why does Hill, a serious thespian, want it bad, y’think, particularly given his struggle with fake cocaine following his role as Donnie Azoff in 2013’s The Wolf of Wall Street?

Hill, you’ll remember, was hospitalised with bronchitis following the seven-month shoot. Even though the fake coke was vitamin powder, it didn’t matter said Hill ‘cause “if you ingest that much matter into your lungs, you will get very sick” and added, “It’s interesting pretending to be on drugs.”