So much of surfing is all the time in between. Driving around California with boards in the back of the car totally counts as surfing.

The surfer’s essential guide to a Californian road trip, “If you don’t have to slam on the brakes and send your boards flying through the front window, did you even drive the 405?”

"I have a deep fear of the 405, so I could not stop to surf, even though Zuma looked surprisingly inviting. I kept driving, but not without a wistful view in the rearview."

Last week, I hopped in a rented white Jeep, slid onto the 101, and headed south. I drove past Rincon, where the tide was too high.

I followed the maze of freeway construction toward Ventura. They’re remaking the 101. When it ends, no one seems to know. Keep left. Merge right. No outlet. Do not enter.

Looking over my shoulder, I could see the ant farm swarming small peaks at Emma Wood.

We really should rename the place to Dane’s. What’s Emma Wood ever done for us, anyway?

I always wonder who names surf spots and which name after what must be so many tries finally sticks. I always imagine Hobson as the drunk in the parking lot, the guy who sat there every day, beer in hand, telling stories about that one day over and over. Hobson was probably the rich guy who owned all the land for miles around, but I like my version better.

I was on my way to do a launch party for a guide book to Southern California surfing that I helped write with the crew at Wildsam. Yes, I helped write a guidebook. I definitely gave away all the secret spots, because if it has a parking lot and a bathroom, it’s definitely a secret spot.

I have a deep and abiding fear of the 405, so I could not stop to surf, even though the north end of Zuma looked surprisingly inviting. I kept driving, but not without a wistful view in the rearview.

In fact, the 405 was mostly behaving, if rolling 80 mph with all your closest friends is behaving. If you don’t have to slam on the brakes and send your boards flying through the front window, did you even drive the 405?

I bounced off the freeway at Bolsa Chica and headed to the beach in search of a bathroom. I did not know there was a $15 day use fee at Bolsa Chica State Beach. You live and learn in this life, and sometimes you pay $15 to use the bathroom.

The tide is too high, the wind is too much — surfing likes to make it hard. I got to Huntington with time to surf, but the wind got there, too. I sat on a bench with a Spindrift and watched someone launch over the falls on a walled up set. A couple of guys scrapped around a tiny inside peak.

Maybe I should surf, I said to no one in particular.

Then I thought about pulling on my suit, and walking across the long stretch of sand. I thought about going over the falls on the closeouts, and the meager insiders on offer.

Maybe tomorrow. Maybe never.

Later that night I sat around with some newfound friends and talked about surfing. Thanks to the Covid years, I forgot how to talk about things in front of people, so that was exciting. I probably sounded just as dumb as I do here. It’s good to stay on brand.

The subject turned to surf films. Five Summer Stories. Sprout. Punk and airs, I said. I just want to watch some airs.

The next day, sitting on the 405 again, I thought about my favorite surf films. Do I even have any?

I was struggle-bussing to Venice for coffee, and I was not making all that much progress. The slow crawl through Carson left me with plenty of time to think, though not many brain cells to do it.

I tried to make a list: Trilogy, Lost Atlas, Psychic Migrations, and Leave a Message. But surely, I missed something. The lack brain cells, you know.

I drank an amazing espresso at Alana’s on Venice Boulevard, a crowded joint with a patio out back. Like a tourist, I cruised Abbot Kinney. Then suddenly, I was back out at the beach in Santa Monica.

After stopping for a sandwich in Malibu, I tried to get back in the white Jeep. There was a woman sitting in the front seat, talking on the phone. I had opened the car to the wrong white Jeep. What if this was my car, I wondered. What if I was this woman talking on the phone? I wonder if we could be friends.

Eventually, I found my own white Jeep, the one with the surfboards and the melting wax in the back.

Maybe I can make it to Rincon before sunset.

Maybe this time the tide will be right and the wind won’t be on it.

I drove past Rincon without even stopping, and made it home without ever taking my boards out of the back.

So much of surfing is all the time in between. Driving around California with boards in the back of the car totally counts as surfing.

Go on, change my mind.

Gerard Butler (pictured) paddling poorly.
Gerard Butler (pictured) paddling poorly.

Vulnerable Adult Learners from Lady Gaga to Gerard Butler rejoice as new electric surfboard promises to make pesky arms redundant; opens door for complete lineup domination!

A farewell to arms.

A real problem for the VAL, or vulnerable adult learner, is paddling a surfboard. Oh he, or she, might be able to pop to feet with little problem, may be able to point eight feet and six inches of foam in one direction or another. Hop off at the end of the ride, tug the leash and bring their board back to them, but paddling.

Paddling is a tricky one.

First there is the balance, laying not too far back, nose sticking straight into the air, not too far forward, nose dipping in the water. Then is, then the “feeling,” knowing when a swell will take over and the arms are no longer needed. Mostly there are those arms, noodle-esque and not very strong.

Silly little water slappers.

Most difficult but a new company, Jetson Surf Technology, has maybe cracked the paddling code, giving he VAL the keys to every lineup in the world.

Per Robb Report:

The Florida startup’s board features a built-in jet drive motor like the rest of its peers, but it only runs for short bursts, according to New Atlas. This helps creates an experience closer to that of traditional surfing, and also allows the rider to go longer periods of time between charges.

Most electric surfboards let you control their motor via a squeeze throttle or handheld remote. On Jetson’s board, it’s controlled by a waterproof touchpad integrated into the top deck. From the pad, you can select one of four surf modes: Take Off/Boost (which temporarily gives you access to 100 percent power), Impact Zone (75 percent), Paddle Out (50 percent) and Eco Mode (25 percent). Select a mode, stand up and you’re ready to go.

Specs are:

Shortboard 6’8″x 21.5″ x 3.3″, Volume 45 L, 19 lbs.
Fun Shape 8’0″ x 23″ x 3.5″, Volume 61 L , 21 lbs.
Longboard 9’0″ x 23″ x 3.5″, volume 76.5 L, 23 lbs

Short bursts of power, no fussy throttle. Too good to be true? Get yours here.

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?