Photo: @badboyryry_
Photo: @badboyryry_

Rumor: Billabong turncoat Griffin Colapinto, now surfing for bitter rival Quiksilver, allegedly has more cold-blooded treachery up sleeve!

Naked ambition.

But you thought surf intrigue was dead? And ha! Here, thrillingly, we have the tale of America’s top surfer Griffin Colapinto’s flip from the iconic Billabong to bitter rival Quiksilver. Hours ago, San Clemente’s second finest put pen to paper on a contract with the Mountain and Wave after years spent riding for the Wave on Wave.

How did such a thing come to be?

Such infidelity?

Well, while you are busy thinking about that, rumors are percolating, exclusively, that Colapinto has even more treachery under his 2mm short-sleeved full wetsuit. Now, allegedly, Colapinto, who currently surfs the Monster Claw very much desires to carry enemy number one Red Bull’s banner and WHOA!

Straight cut-throat.

As any student of professional extreme sports knows, the mark of a Red Bull athlete is the flat-brimmed baseball cap that he or she wears 24/7 featuring two Red Bulls about to butt horns. Sometimes, I suppose, it can also be a stocking cap or even a beret. In any case, Billabong has, since time immemorial, had its surfer adorn their heads in Billabong-branded hatwear and, thus, an impasse, and, now, a desired flip to a cursed enemy.

The question keeping surf fans up at night, will all Griffin Colapinto’s dreams come true? Mountain and Wave covering heart, Red Bull over brain, Billabong and Monster but casualties laying on the slopes of Mt. Naked Ambition?

Also, does this level of savagery indicate the young San Clemente surfer may have what it takes to pocket America’s first World Title since John John Florence circa 2017?

Has any professional surfer ever been so absolutely brazen?

David Lee Scales and I didn’t discuss any of this, which leaves our most recent chat as a beautiful surprise for you. Like should people ride motorcycles, jump off cliffs into the waters?

I think yes, DLS no. Enjoy as is your wont.

Here's the nasty truth, getting off balance is the joy of this place, or at least for me. Becoming stuck into man-eating Great White sharks, WHOOP, Gisele, Kelly, etc. Doing what feels fun, funny, all else be damned.

In defense of Gisele Bündchen, her scintillating dreams of grand reunion with surf great Kelly Slater, Jonah Hill’s pivot to clean n green electric trucks and the indefensible!

Dead horse kicking.

Let’s get right down to it without any poor first-sentence grammar. Let’s just tuck right in, you and me.

I completely understand SurfAds recent beautiful critique and love him for it, agreeing that balance has been off here lately.

Too much adjacent, not enough surf.

But, and here’s the nasty truth, getting off balance is the joy of this place, or at least for me. Becoming stuck into man-eating Great White sharks, WHOOP, Gisele, Kelly, Diplo etc. Doing what feels fun, funny, all else be damned.

No corporate overlord or corporate anything frowning from a distance. Zero finger wagging aside from you. Sitting at computer and making myself laugh, trying to make Derek laugh and laughing more when frustration boils and laughing again when the joke becomes the joke.

It’s not a great ability but its the one I have.

Dead horse kicking.

Now, I know that rarely makes you laugh, especially these sad days, but you make each other laugh despite me and there I am laughing even more. Oh, surfing is a ridiculous thing. It is the one constant theme in my work. Surfing is ridiculous and so much more than ever as it gets coopted by the Dirk Ziffs and Erik Logans and Jessi Miley-Dyers and Jonah Hills and stinking Diplos of our modern ridiculous world.

It’s funny. It’s absurd. I love it.

So of course it might seem like I am simply attempting to “game” an algorithm by pumping famous names into surf-esque stories but anyone who has ever toyed with online anything knows it ain’t that easy. The robot is weird. Unfortunately, I suppose, what I write here, daily, makes me chuckle.

No more.

No less.

I spoke with Eddie Rothman the other day.

He accidentally called me, trying to call someone else, but then we got to talking and, again, laughing. He said a writer had recently come out with a mandate to capture his story but had to fly home because he developed PTSD hanging there on Oahu’s fabled North Shore.

“You never got PTSD,” he laughed his low rumbling laugh and it is true.

I don’t get PTSD even though I probably should.


Also, stick around? Eight years and nearly 5000 posts in, you are, warts and all, BeachGrit.

America’s highest ranked surfer Griffin Colapinto stuns fans by jumping from long-time sponsor Billabong to bitter rival Quiksilver!

Wild times.

Surf fans, generally reeling, were dealt another blow this morning when news leaked out that the highest-ranked surfing in America, and its best hope for a championship in the next decade, had left his longtime sponsor for its most bitter rival. Griffin Colapinto, who hails from San Clemente and surfs extremely well, has long been a darling and also major piece of Billabong’s best-in-class field.

Continuing the legacy of Joel Parkinson, Andy Irons, etc.

In wildly unexpected news, though, Colapinto just put pen to paper, signing his name alongside Mikey Wright, Zeke Lau, Kanoa Igarashi as part of Team Quiksilver.

Per the press release:

Quiksilver, the original boardshort company, is proud to introduce Griffin Colapinto to its global surf team. The San Clemente, California–based professional surfer is currently ranked No. 7 in the world and is the leading American on the World Surf League (WSL) Men’s Championship Tour. Quiksilver has entered into a multi-year contract with Colapinto, with the ultimate goal of supporting him on his quest to become a world champion.

Colapinto has been commanding the lineup from an early age, competing in numerous surf competitions and championships, winning notable titles and consistently progressing his career. Following his successful Hail Mary aerial reverse in the 2016 Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa, Colapinto finished the 2017 season as the WSL Men’s Qualifying Series champion and has since won numerous additional titles. Colapinto also became the first Californian to win the prestigious Triple Crown in 2017. Today, Colapinto has positioned himself as a potential candidate to compete for Team USA at the Paris 2024 Olympic games.

“Griffin Colapinto’s incredible determination, character and talent is inspiring,” states Quiksilver Global General Manager Brad Blankinship. “He’s an essential part of the team that will help lead Quiksilver into the future.” Drawn to his ambition in and out of the water, Quiksilver is honored to support Colapinto’s endeavors and is excited to partner with him on notable content projects and signature products. In addition to his incredible talent on the board, creativity comes naturally to Colapinto; he and his brother, Crosby Colapinto, have a production company, Cola Bros., where they document their sibling bond behind the scenes of competitive surfing.

“When you evolve your personality, you evolve your reality and Quiksilver is now a part of my personality,” says Griffin Colapinto.

Colapinto’s consistent forward momentum is a welcome addition to the Quiksilver team and aligns with the brand’s commitment to support determined and genuine athletes. “Since 1969, Quiksilver has been supporting the most talented surfers in the world. However, talent doesn’t measure itself solely in the water, but also through action off the board,” says Quiksilver VP of Global Marketing Bobby Gascon. “Griffin’s unique and honest personality provides a truly relatable approach that we trust will inspire fans for many years to come. We are truly honored to have him join our brand, and we look forward to our partnership.”

Oh, I suppose it must be noted that Billabong and Quiksilver are both owned by the same parent company now but do you imagine peace reigns in the Boardriders halls or do you imagine the rivalry is wickeder than ever? I once worked for Surfing magazine that was owned a parent company that also owned Surfer.

Much hatred in those halls.

But will Billabong attempt some sort of revenge?

A cubicle toilet-papering?


World Surf League CEO Erik Logan ferociously bullish on upcoming 2023 season: “This year will be a record-breaking revenue year for the history of professional surfing on a couple of different vectors!”

V is for Vector.

The start of the World Surf League’s 2023 Championship Tour is, still, months away though if I were in Santa Monica’s C-Suite, I might be worried that it would be impossible to top 2022. But who could forget the never-before-seen growth that one iconoclastic season would bring? Millions upon millions engaging, millions upon millions chanting “give us us surfing!” in unison.

The League’s CEO, Erik Logan, gave a series of speeches after the final’s day bell rung, touting the windfalls, leaving our JP Currie to write:

Plain and simple: the WSL’s numbers are ludicrous. It’s a campaign of such deliberate misinformation and manipulation of statistics that it amounts to sheer lies. The quest for data is a goldrush. It’s the mark of Erik Logan’s media savvy, if you could call it that. Whilst new for surfing, it’s hardly an original tactic. In fact, internet culture is predicated on it.

And how could it be beat? It would certainly make me a nervous wreck but in a new and scintillating interview with shop-eat-surf, Logan has doubled down and promised even MORE MORE MORE growth.

“This year will be a record-breaking revenue year for the history of professional surfing on a couple of different vectors. Not only in terms of revenue, but equally as important, in terms of a record number of partners that are on and how we’re seeing the renewals going down the road in terms of the partners re-signing. This is truly exciting.”

Vectors for the win.

But are you excited?

What is a vector?

"You could say Stab is the best thing that ever happened to me."

World’s biggest surf website faced with existential revolt from readers, “What’s been built here is important. It needs to continue. This is still surfing’s home of dissent. Something to protect!”

"When the model’s working, there’s nothing better. But recently there’s been an imbalance. You know what I’m talking about."

There’s a mate I grew up surfing with who is a real pain in the arse. One of those guys who every time you see him can cut you down with a simple, devastating quip.

It might be about my hair. My weight. The board I’m riding. The turn I just bogged.

“Still fucking up those roundhouses I see,” my mate will hiss as I’m paddling back out.

He’s catty. Clever. Incisive. Sometimes I can’t stand the cunt.

But god damn he can hit the mark. I am getting balder, fatter. I do ride ridiculous boards. I am still a massive kook.

I’ll always still love him. He holds me to account in a way few else will.

My mate, you see, is a bit like BeachGrit.

Catty. Clever. Incisive (or is it cheap, funny, character revealing?)

Not afraid to say what everyone else is thinking. To push the boundaries in a way that’s as instructive as it is destructive. It’s a fine quality to have.

Something I want to see continue here.

I want to take a second, if you will indulge me, and consider this virtual establishment we find ourselves so regularly posted up in.

Like you, I’ve been kicking around on BeachGrit for a good few years now.

I’ve always been drawn to its honesty. Brashness. Irreverence. A culture of taking the piss I first came across as a kid, under the Rielly-Baker era of ASL and Kidman-Sutherland era of Waves in the early to mid-90s (though it has roots deeper than that).

Surf media shaped me in my formative years. I hadn’t even started high school by the time I was being conditioned by the subversiveness of DC Green, the crassness of Gonad Man.

For better or worse, I’ve always been wary of anyone taking themselves too seriously. In life and in surfing.

I started reading and commenting here back around 2017. Had my first article published a year or so later.

Post Post-Surf, it was good to see that tradition of muck-racking enduring.

Messrs Rielly and Smith have cottoned on to a strategy for BeachGrit that’s as simple as it is effective. Playing the algorithm game without any pretences.

Mastering the art of self referential click bait.

By relying on Google Adsense and click revenue from non-endemic advertising, the Grit has gained true independence from the surf media’s cottage industry. While raking in the biggest online audience around.

A model the rest of the surf world is quickly waking up to.

Most importantly, this joint isn’t afraid to kill our idols when they need it. To tell the truth.

In a world of toxic positivity, Tall Poppy Syndrome ain’t the worst thing in the world.

It does mean certain sacrifices. Things can get a bit nasty at times. The definition of surf and surf-adjacent can become blurred.

The Grit has been known to cross the line here and there.

But at its best this place is performance art. High-brow-low-brow.

Skewering surfing so sweetly, yet in doing so in a way that pays the ultimate homage to it.

When the model’s working, there’s nothing better. BeachGrit and its teflon Dons hold the surfing world to account in a way few others can.

It’s why I keep coming back multiple times daily. Why I can’t help loving the place. I’m sure it’s the same for you too.

But recently there’s been an imbalance. You know what I’m talking about.

The wild reporting on Giselle & Kelly. Tom Brady. Shakira. Seth Green. Bill Murray. Emrata.

Blatant gaming of trending names and keywords. Increasingly loose links to anything surf related. Surf adjacent has become surf spurious.

At least Jonah Hill has some tangible connection to our pastime. We could forgive the incessant gossip and speculation over his love life, his acting career, his achingly indy quiver.

But these latest efforts?

To paraphrase Colonel Kilgore, Giselle don’t surf.

Each day I log on hoping for things to be toned down. But the hole keeps getting dug deeper, and deeper,

I even tuned into a recent episode of the Grit podcast with Chas and David Lee Scales. The Grit is generally a good time.

Expressed in the same idiom as its online sister publication, but with a knowing wink to the audience thrown in. An opportunity to peak behind the curtain. Break the fourth wall.

Have a chuckle at how ridiculous things are. A chance for DLS to pull Chas into line.

But instead even Scales had now turned into a simpering lackey, pushing simple Dorothy Dixers to Chas about his latest rash of celebrity articles.

It was a bridge too far. If DLS wasn’t gonna keep the bastards honest, who will? Me?

Well ok, I can try.

Anybody with basic digital literacy can see this latest seam of content for what it is.

Search engine optimisation. SEO.The other thing the Grit does so well. Search “surf” in google and you’re bound to find recent Grit articles in the top results.

It means they don’t have to rely on Instagram, Facebook or TikTok for their traffic.

But it appears  the boys have discovered it doesn’t just need to be surf-adjacent keywords to send the traffic. Pick any trending topic and add a few references into your headline, first couple of pars and watch the clicks roll in.

The biggest little surf website on the internet has grown even bigger. It’s been a wild success in terms of ad revenue, I’m sure.

But at what cost?

With each new celebrity story, I find myself less interested in engaging. It’s like my mate in the surf stooping down to mum jokes or internet conspiracy rants.

I switch off.

C&D were concerned about whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.

What’s been built here is important. It needs to continue. This is still surfing’s home of dissent. Something to protect.

But the natives are getting restless.

I recently read a good article on Stab. From a reader. A personal essay. About the gentrification of his local break. It was excellent writing, if not unfocussed in parts.

One of the best articles I’ve read this year, in print or on the web.

It’s the sort of read you’d traditionally expect on the Grit. Except it wasn’t.

Admittedly, it was behind the paywall. Even so it had pulled in 50 or so comments, and counting. More than a couple of familiar names from this side of the pond.

It could mark a shift. Stranger things have happened.

Not that I am abandoning this place. Not by a long shot. Derek gave me my first proper shot. Now blossomed into a nice little side hustle.

I’m forever grateful.

And as E-Lo, VALs and corporate greenwashers continue on their inexplicable ascent this place is more important than ever.
I would love to be contributing more, but life and other writing gigs are getting in the way.

Still, I’ll try.

I’ve got a coupla new old boards to review. A run in with a VAL a couple of weeks back that could make for a novella. Some surf-lit that’s been bubbling around my head for a few months now.

When I get the chance. When is that supposed to happen again?

But in the meantime, Chas and Derek have a job to do.

To focus that razor sharp wit and ebullient anger back on the targets that matter.

Like shoulder hopping pros and walls of positive noise. Rogue sharks and Matt George. Or was it Sam?

And for fuck’s sake, can you please fix up the comment threads so that they’re appearing under the right article?

Yours forever, surfads.