"I'm gonna keep calling it Ponto South until they drag me to jail!"
"I'm gonna keep calling it Ponto South until they drag me to jail!"

Popular forecasting site Surfline outrages traditionally conservative subscribers, follows “radically woke” San Francisco School Board lead in renaming offensive waves!

Save our spots.

Surfline, which until recently was the largest surf-based website in the world, has long enjoyed the relatively stable support from its subscribers. For a fee, the faithful are served up sensible stories about surfing and surf travel, tide charts and cameras recording the current conditions of favorite breaks.

The only flair has been comically exaggerated wave heights.

The only flair, that is, until yesterday.

For yesterday, Surfline’s top brass decided to follow the radically woke San Francisco School Board’s lead in renaming offensive breaks.

You certainly recall, nearly two years ago, when the powers that be in the City by the Bay scrubbed naughtiness from schools in its districts.

Per The Atlantic:

On January 26, the San Francisco school board announced that dozens of public schools must be renamed. The figures that do not meet the board’s standards include Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, Robert Louis Stevenson, Paul Revere, and Dianne Feinstein. A panel had determined that the 44 schools—more than one-third of the city’s total—were named after figures guilty of being, variously, colonizers; slave owners; exploiters of workers; oppressors of women, children, or queer and transgender people; people connected to human rights or environmental abuses; and espousers of racist beliefs.

The “School Names Advisory Committee” had done its research, discovered that “the majority of Lincoln’s policies proved detrimental to Native Americans,” Washington had owned slaves etc. and their names were instantly vanished from school walls.

In a similar vein, Surfline sent out an email last evening reading:

We’re updating some spot names to better describe their locations, which may affect spots in your Favorites, Surf Alert preferences, and Sessions clips. One example of a spot name that changed is Ponto, San Diego CA.

Previously, we had three spots here: Ponto Jetties, Ponto North and Ponto South. They are now combined as one spot and cameras viewable as multiple angles. Because these three peaks are in the same location, they’ll have the same forecast, and you can view all the information you need in one place.

Generations of North County, San Diego surfers have grown up calling Ponto Jetties Point Jetties, Ponto North Ponto North and Ponto South Ponto South. They will now be forced to call them all just “Ponto” or be faced with cancellation.

It is unclear how many other spots have been sanitized but protests are already being organized on Oahu’s famed North Shore to keep Backdoor Backdoor.

If your local spot name has fallen afoul of the times, please complain to Surfline or organize a social media campaign in support.

American surf fan (right) lost in despair.
American surf fan (right) lost in despair.

Australians weep with joy, Americans with bitter jealousy as Australian broadcaster inks deal to air every World Surf League tour stop plus eleven extra highlight hours for free!

Haves and have nots.

Americans woke up early to the most bitter shock, the sting of pure 24 carat jealousy burning hot, for morning headlines blared news that little Australia, far across the Pacific with a GDP but a fraction as much, had secured free-to-air broadcast rights for World Surf League programing on 7Plus television plus eleven extra hours that would be dedicated to a WSL highlight reel.

Head of Network Sport at 7Plus, Lewis Martin, mocking American pain, declared, “Surfing is a sport that draws a lot of passion from people all over the world, particularly Australians, so we’re stoked to continue our partnership with the World Surf League. As we sit at the precipice of a new era of surfing, it’s an incredibly exciting time for the much-loved sport. The nation’s golden girl of the waves, Steph Gilmore, is showing no signs of slowing down after claiming her eighth world title this year, and who could forget the greatest of all time, Kelly Slater, making history in the Pipeline last year? With the future of Aussie surfing in the hands of newcomers Molly Picklum, Isabella Nichols and Ethan Ewing, 2023 is set to deliver more stories and moments that you cannot miss, and you can catch it all right here on Seven and 7plus.”

Americans, on the other hand, forced to sit in front of small laptop computers to enjoy the precipice of a new era of surfing.

Required to hold smaller telephones up to faces, squinting, attempting to discern Griffin Colapinto from Kolohe Andino.

Oh, somewhere in this favoured land the sun is shining bright. The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light; And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout. But there is no joy in coastal towns or other surfer—heavy enclaves our national broadcasters have made us pout.

Italo, on wave and carrying surfboard. Inset, a movie representation of a shark attack on a surfer.

World champion surfer Italo Ferreira thrown from surfboard by shark in wild near-death encounter, “The shark appeared and knocked me out of the water!”

"I was alone, I was his only option! It's crazy."

The electric life of the 2019 world surfing champ, a man who already has the countenance of a surprised big-eyed animal, took a wild turn earlier today when he was attacked by a shark while surfing alone in Brazil.

Ferreira, who is twenty-eight, and a noted shark-phobic, alarmed his 150k followers when he wrote,

“In the best part of the surf session yesterday the shark appeared and knocked me out of the sea. I was alone, I was his only option! It’s crazy. The animal was about 2.5 meters.”

One sage fan wrote, “Lesson taught by an Australian: never go alone in the sea where there are sharks, you have a 100% chance in case of an attack.”

You’ll remember, Ferreira’s mortal fear of sharks following a couple of minor-ish hits around Margaret River, resulting in the cancellation of the event.

The Australian writer Tim Winton, whose surfing-themed book Breath had just been turned into a movie, described Italo and his countryman Gabriel Medina’s lobbying for the contest’s cancellation as “conniving”, as if their concern was contrived for competitive advantage.

If you could see Italo now when you start talking hits by Great Whites, the panic in his eyes, the stutter in his voice, you’d know the fear isn’t a confection.

“The energy is bad,” he told me.

Less existential, though no less alarming, was a post the day before where Ferreira spoke of a mysterious heartbreak.

Prayers etc.


Surf Journalist does hardest yards of life, heads into exclusive therapy session with “Heir to Miki Dora’s Malibu Throne” Jonah Hill for deep understanding of journey on learning to be happy!

Is your mother worried? Would you like us to assign someone to worry your mother?

Jonah Hill, actor famous for playing sexless butterballs, has also been famous at this BeachGrit since he discovered the profound glories of surfing, some few years ago, and thus staked his claim as heir to Miki Dora’s Malibu Throne. There was an attempt, earlier, to have him on the on-again-off-again podcast Dirty Water and a back and forth that ended him wishing this surf journalist “I hope you enjoy the journey of learning to be funny.”

As salient today as it was then.


Hill, in any case, has continued his stratospheric rise in both surfing and pop culture, signing on to play the Grating Dead’s Jerry Garcia in an up and coming biopic, transitioning to electric trucks for local longer board sessions, signing on to play golfer John Daly in another biopic.

Dating surf instructors, breaking up, dating others in the surf.

Releasing his directed and starred in Stuz on Netflix though bravely following Filipe Toledo’s lead and refusing to promote it publicly.

The film is an ostensible vehicle to share the wisdom he has learned from years of therapy with noted shrink Phil Stutz and before commenting upon felt it my duty, as a surf journalist, to watch the entire thing instead of just the trailer.

Hard yards.

And so, today, I sat down to do the work.

The film opens with Hill and Phil Stutz in a room, black and white, therapist explaining his philosophy, “tools,” Hill responding and reacting, attempting to deflect from himself, insisting this is a story about Stutz.

It quickly becomes a film about Hill.

There are bobs, weaves, peeks behind the fourth wall and purposeful tweaks of that fourth wall. Honestly, I’d image there is something to the overall message. Oh, it all smacks hard of the hero’s journey, which I loathe and purposefully mock in the properly uncelebrated Cocaine + Surfing, but Phil Stutz seems epic.


He seems gorgeously likable if not entirely obsessed with himself and his own journey of learning how to discover his own happiness.


Childhood trauma, self doubt, self realization, self, self, self, self, self, self, self, self, self, self, self, self, self, self.

It smacks of pure luxury.

Having the time to spend worrying and fixating upon the self, and the fourteen-year-old self, instead of having to get out of bed each morning and doing what it takes to get to bed each night.

Is your mother worried? Would you like us to assign someone to worry your mother?

I don’t know. I’m neither certified nor qualified to be offering mental help but ain’t a fixation upon self part of the problem if not the problem in its entirety?

Also, who amongst us looks upon our fourteen-year-old selves with great admiration? I was a straight kook at fourteen. Mark Hacker, quarterback, was not but who knows where that bro is now? I’d imagine nowhere. Both of us grew up in Coos Bay, Oregon.

Back around, though, ain’t that what has infected lineups, worldwide, in this the era of the Vulnerable Adult Learner?


A me obsession?

Me and my shit skills and my lack of understanding, research, care of me in a broader context?

Me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me.

Me floating in a glorious universe of me.


But also watch the entire film, yourself, and react.

Me is certainly off in me’s opinion.

Ask yourself this: if Kelly Slater, the man who has all you want and more, can’t find salvation in the ocean, how will you? | Photo: Four Seasons Maldives

Kelly Slater bares all in rawest interview of career, “The level of detail is incredible. Kelly’s history and insecurities all laid bare. So too his relationships, his rootlessness, his fragility.”

“It’s the most honest depiction of the chaos, contradiction and tortured genius that most of us know as Kelly Slater I’ve ever read.”

What drives you?

What’s the thing that keeps you wide-eyed and restless in long nights, or wakes you from a roiling, sweated sleep?

Our answers, of course, will vary on a wild spectrum of seediness, but I’ll presume that for most of us here surfing forms a large part of your agonies and ecstasies.

I’ve been interrogating surfing recently, as I am wont to do, and most especially after a recent trip to Portugal that took me through the rollercoaster of emotions that only surfing can – bliss, dejection, rage, longing…

The good moments were great. The kind that make me want to upend my life in service of this objectively pointless activity.

But this was marred by unpleasant, crowded line-ups. Deep, vicious tension in the water that escalated on a couple of occasions to punches thrown, boards speared, and drownings simulated.

I loved this area of Portugal once, but I can’t see myself rushing back.

It was infested with the Digital Nomad. Seemingly lacking any self-awareness in and out of the water and joyful in their amateurism. Perfectly happy, or so it seemed, with pearling take-offs and fruitless flirtations.

I listened one day to a conversation next to where I was changing. Some middle-european long-hair was making advances towards a middling girl shoving a midlength into the back of her van. He was showing her the t-shirts he’d made. Just knocked up the designs on someone’s borrowed laptop at the hostel, he announced, like he was Steve Jobs. She seemed genuinely impressed. I can only assume it was the residual decency of human politeness.

But the truth was, I was jealous. I didn’t want to be the embittered veteran. I wanted the simple joy of a new obsession once again. I was envious of their ignorance.

What to do?

Take up something new, leaving surfing to the angry, clueless masses?



In my existential despair, salvation and answers came from paradoxically the most likely and unlikely source.

I found Kelly.

I hadn’t been looking for him. It began by trawling through the archives of Sports Illustrated, specifically the work of Gary Smith.

If you don’t know Smith, treat yourself to some of his archive. In the late 90s and early 00s his deep-dive profiles of the most recognisable figures in sport were revered.

This Smith is the antithesis of our Smith in his approach to journalism. He wrote just four pieces a year, believing it was impossible to produce quality work quicker. His profiles asked Big Questions. The type of questions we’re all searching for the answers to.

A dream gig.

I read a profile of Mike Tyson. One of those rare things with the power to affirm or recalibrate your sense of the world.

Then, hungry for more, I came across a 2009 profile of our own Kelly Slater. It had the uninspiring title “Ready For The Next Wave”.

My instinct was to keep scrolling. Regardless of author, what could I possibly learn about Slater? Smith might be a far superior writer and mind than me, but when it comes to Kelly, I’d back myself.

(The offer to be your biographer remains open, Mr Slater, sir.)

I’ll have missed a few things along the way, like this Smith piece, but I believe I’ve read most of what’s been written about Kelly. But in all that’s been said, there’s very little I’ve actually found insightful.

Endemic surf media fawns over achievements and the way he rides waves; non-endemic coverage gets wrapped up in what surfing is supposed to be, rather than what it is. Much like the remote workers of Portugal’s Atlantic coast.

I’ve often considered that Kelly would be a particularly difficult profile subject. So little of what he says could be seen as objectively true, even when he’s talking about his own thoughts. There’s a chaoticness to Kelly’s mind and existence that I think has left him as confused as anyone else. What is the truth about Kelly? I doubt even he knows.

So on that basis I had little hope for this profile, regardless of the skill of the writer. Kelly will wriggle and squirm and present any side of himself he feels is the order of the day. Kelly controls Kelly’s narrative.

But I was wrong. The Smith profile is masterful.

Somehow, he acknowledges yet palms away all Kelly’s smoke and mirrors. He cuts to the heart of the things that make the man.

For the first time, reading this profile, it occurred to me exactly why Slater’s mind is so unruly. Why does he obsess over conspiracy theories? Why does he get embroiled in tit-for-tat arguments on social media? Why does he jump on every emerging trend or controversial take?

It’s because he feels there must be something else.

If he, a man with a lifestyle of travel, experience, beautiful women, adoration, passion and mastery, is still not content, there must be something else…

Smith identifies Slater’s discontent immediately, and doesn’t allow himself to be derailed by Kelly’s sleights of hand.

The level of detail is incredible. Kelly’s history and insecurities all laid bare. So too his relationships, his rootlessness, his fragility.

It’s the most honest depiction of the chaos, contradiction and tortured genius that most of us know as Kelly Slater I’ve ever read.

But as with all great profile writing, it’s what we can apply to our own lives that’s most valuable. We can’t ever be Kelly Slater (would you want to be?) but we can look at the blueprint he’s created in pursuit of something we also know and love. And we can lay that blueprint over our own experience and see what, if anything, shines through.

We all want to surf more. We think surfing gives us purpose, like it’s going to make us happy.

If all I could do was just surf, things would be great, you’ve certainly thought.

This is the dream. The one we’ve been sold and perpetuated. The archetypal narrative of what it means to be “a surfer”. The one all those crowds in Portugal are chasing: surf all you can, abandon all else. Saviour lies in the waves.

But ask yourself this: if Kelly Slater, the man who has all you want and more, can’t find salvation in the ocean, how will you?

If Kelly still wonders Why, then we know two things – surfing is not the answer, and neither is mastery.

Somehow, one of the most talented, wealthy and handsome men of our lifetime, a god in a sport of kings, is still just trying to find peace.

That’s not only a compelling story, but a valuable lesson for all of us.