Photo: WSL

Surf Journalist caught flatfooted as Kelly Slater named “top surf influencer of 2022!”

How was I to know?

Not being allowed to follow Kelly Slater across various social medias has finally but finally sunk its pearly white fangs into my bottom. When the 11x World Champion originally blocked me, BeachGrit, Derek, my wife etc. on Instagram, Facebook etc. some time ago, I initially thought “Ha! I don’t need to follow you to see what’s going on. I got friends, man. Friends who screenshot. Friends who email. Following is so 2012.

And I would get those screenshots and I would feel that I was up to date on Slater’s various musings and goings about.

Alas, it appears I was only being served a portion of the pie, a little bite size of reality, for the truth has revealed that not only is the world’s oldest Pipeline Pro, he is also 2022’s top surf influencer.

According to important social media ranking site Starngage, which “tracks a total of 830 influencers in the United States with between 1000 and 10 million followers,” Slater came out on top.

Once an 11x champion, always a champion.

Nipping at his heels, in second was Bethany Hamilton followed by Alana Blanchard and then the business goes fuzzy, asking for a sign up to “view the full list.” Since the Indian flag hovers proudly on the banner of the site, I declined.

Oh, I have nothing at all against India. I once flew to Bombay with my best friend in order to search for the headwaters of radical Islamic fundamentalism. The journey was going to be filmed and sold to television but we quickly realized the budget had been compromised so tried to buy a monkey, in order to give him or her freedom in a famous monkey temple in Pakistan, but buying monkeys had been made illegal and the monkey black market was full of crooks and charlatans.

After that things got better. We ditched the film crew in Delhi by sending them to the Taj Mahal while we raced to the train station and booked tickets to the farthest hill station possible then railed to Calcutta and toasted the future.

India is fantastic.

Heading back soon, with Derek, to deal with another crook-ish charlatan-esque website that is not involved in influencer rankings but will certainly steal this story.

Adventure forthcoming.


Explosive allegations rock surf world on eve of Hawaii’s most prestigious surfing contest the Vans Pipe Masters, “They straight-up copied Da Hui’s Backdoor Shootout!”

“And, if John John Florence and Kelly Slater aren’t in it, is it really a Pipe Masters?”

Koa Rothman, the middle son of North Shore enforcer Fast Eddie Rothman and brother to big-wave world champion Makua, distinguishes himself among surfers, and media, for his candour.

A few years back when there was a there was a commotion over a minor wrestle between the Hawaiian Tanner Hendrickson and Brazilian Michael Rodrigues that ended with Tanner being fined and disqualified from the Pipe trials, he described the WSL as “a bunch of fucking corporate pussies…Are they fucking out of their minds?”

Rothman also said Rodrigues was a “pussy” for calling the cops.

Not long after, Koa posted a provocative pre-North Shore winter message telling surfers he’d be “going on whatever wave I want at pipeline. So. That being said, there is only a few people out there that I will not drop in. So. Yeah. No hard feelings. I’m not trying to be a dick. I’m just letting you know now that is what is going to be happening. So have a great day and watch out.”

It was a gauntlet beautifully thrown. 

Now, the twenty-nine-year-old with the golden-brown glazed handsomeness, has gone after corporate shoe maker Vans for their “reimagining” of the iconic Pipe Masters, which’ll likely run this Saturday. 

In an explosive piece to camera on YouTube, Rothman accuses Vans of copying the format of the Backdoor Shootout, which his family runs each year, of turning the event into a shoulder-hopping air contest and of inviting surfers who, by any measure, shouldn’t be surfing Pipeline. 

“They invited a lot of people who’ve never surfed Pipe,” says Rothman. “If John and Kelly aren’t in it, is it really yet Pipe masters? If I won, I wouldn’t consider myself a Pipe Master.” 

As for his own inclusion in an event he disowns, Rothman says the opportunity to pocket the one-hundred gees first place cheque is incentive enough. 

After only one day, the post has accumulated a stunning almost-nine hundred comments, all taking Rothman’s side. 


Gilmore (pictured) with new stablemates. Photo: WSL

Surf idol Stephanie Gilmore signals stunning career pivot, signs with talent agency famous for representing Alex Jones, Simon Cowell and Blink-182!

Real fame and/or notoriety await!

Stephanie Gilmore is, truly, a surf icon. Winningest female competitor of all time, very picture of grace and flow, hero to boys and girls everywhere. Last season, you certainly recall her basement-to-penthouse run through the World Surf League’s Finals Day there on Lower Trestles’ cobbled stone. Eight million (and counting) fans watched her dispatch one challenger after another until hoisting the trophy at the end.

And she will start this 2023 season as the one to beat except might her focus be slightly shifted? Not so surf-centric? In a stunning move, it was revealed days ago that the eight-time champion has signed with the YMU Talent Agency. According to film industry source Variety:

At YMU she will be repped by the group’s LA-based executive manager Alex Frankel, who will work with Gilmore across film, entertainment, publishing, IP and brand development, live events, marketing, digital and social strategy and Web3. Frankel will also work with Gilmore’s manager and sister Whitney Gilmore and NC Management’s Nikki Craig to oversee Gilmore’s surfing and Olympic agenda.

“I met Steph when I played at Australia’s ‘Big Day Out’ music festival in 2009,” said Frankel. “Since then, it’s been a pleasure to watch her become an eight times world surfing champion and Olympic athlete – as well as to use her platform to advocate equal pay for female athletes. It goes without saying, but it’s a true privilege to represent Stephanie in this next chapter across literature, film, music, brand endorsements, and whatever else she dreams up. On behalf of the larger YMU team, I enthusiastically welcome Steph and can’t wait to add value to her already astonishing career.”

Literature, film, music and wow!

Making sure Gilmore is in good hands, I searched through YMU’s roster and was shocked to discover they represent Alex Jones.

Stunning.

Further searching, though, learned me that Alex Jones is also a female Welsh television host not only a controversial founder of InfoWars.

YMU also calls The Voice judge Simon Cowell, the pop punk band Blink-182 David Walliams and Matt Lucas its own.

Did you ever watch Little Britain starred in by Walliams and Lucas?

Very funny.

Bravo to Gilmore and I am excited to watch her silver screen turn.

And/or bombastic fire starter one.


Visually stunning big wave film “Ground Swell: The Other Side of Fear” starring Kai Lenny, Makua Rothman, Bianca Valenti and narrated by sultry Josh Brolin releases exclusive trailer!

Only for BeachGrit!

If there’s one thing we can all agree upon, it is that surf filmmaking is as important now as it ever was. As vlogs and TikkeyTokketies, Instagrams and OnlyFanses become more and more abundant, the craft of long form, thoughtful storytelling shines even brighter. The Florida Surf Film Festival is one such example of greatness, showcasing curated piece of art after curated piece of art.

Paul Taublieb is another such.

The multi-time Emmy winner, in his prime and best known in our world for producing Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau, has spent the last three years of his life following some of the world’s greatest big wave surfers around the globe, including Kai Lenny, Makua Rothman, Nic Von Rupp, Bianca Valenti, Matt Bromley and Torrey Meister catching their never-before-heard stories, capturing never-before-seen visuals including history’s first ever 100-foot wave and all narrated by the one-and-only Josh Brolin, whose sultry baritone makes everything better.

The film will be released on January 20th in theaters but you can watch an exclusive trailer, gifted only to BeachGrit, here.

I reached out to Taublieb, curious as to what inspired the whole business.

“I was wondering why the hell do we care about watching crazy people riding giant waves,” he responded. “What makes it interesting and compelling? And not from me, but the surfers talked about how they face fear and if a kook like me can see them overcome fear in the water, I can think about overcoming fear in my life, from asking for a raise or trying my real best. That fear is a tool, fear is a device and if in watching a maniac riding giant Nazare or Pipe or Mavericks and overcome their fear, maybe I can a tad little bit better in my life.”

Dare not to be moved.


Azealia Banks (insert) hating Australian surfers. Photo: Doped Youth

Acclaimed rapper Azealia Banks utterly ravages surf mad Australia, refuses to ever perform in Lucky Country again: “Y’all got a whole different culture around here… this place makes me utterly miserable!”

WEAK ASS CURRENCY!

Any surf fan worth her salt is well aware of Australia’s importance to our space. Not only is surfing the Lucky Country’s national sport, not only would the World Surf League host 11 Championship Tour events a year there, if it could, not only is Mick Fanning a national hero, Joel Parkinson a well-respected park ranger but… well, I guess that’s enough.

Now, the most surf mad region of the surf mad nation is the state of Queensland, which boasts the Gold Coast and Surfers Paradise. Its turquoise water producing many iconic waves. Its capital Brisbane set to host the 2032 Olympics which will heavily feature surfing.

Except not everyone, apparently, is a fan. Acclaimed rapper, 31, Azealia Banks recently vowed to never perform in Australia again because she finds Brisbane abominable. After cancelling a show she declared in a to-video piece:

I’m so sorry you guys – actually I’m not sorry – but listen: last time I was in Brisbane and y’all threw shit on the stage and damn near almost fucking hit me in the face with a fucking bottle of soda or whatever that shit was. That was the most racist, most demoralising experience of my fucking life and right now I’m on a really good track.

Sydney and Melbourne are the only cities I really want to play. Y’all got a whole different culture around here. I am too far away from home … I am a beautiful black woman and I am not going to get in front of some audience of white people for them to be throwing shit at me. I am so not sorry. I am not sorry at all. Brisbane, y’all are just going to have to take the L and smoke it.

After this run this will be my very last time touring Australia. This place makes me utterly miserable and I’m too black and beautiful to have a bunch of white people in my face playing with me over their WEAK ASS CURRENCY!

Wow.

In the award-nominated Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell, I described Queensland’s Gold’s Coast as “humid and cancerous” because the “ozone is rotted above Australia because Australian girls love hairspray.”

Pretty rude but no “WEAK ASS CURRENCY” rude.

Ouch.