Outgoing hero Jacinda Ardern (insert) shining upon incoming hero Darren Kiwi. Photo: JCL
Outgoing hero Jacinda Ardern (insert) shining upon incoming hero Darren Kiwi. Photo: JCL

New Zealand surfer rescues family of three from certain death, goes on to win 50+ group at National Surfing Championships thereby erasing painful sting of Jacinda Ardern resignation!


Your BeachGrit strays from its anti-depressive raison d’être from time to time, focusing on unseemly influencers and George Santos-esque lies, but always finds its way back toward inspiration. Toward the feel-good moments you have come to crave and require.

And you certainly are welcome.

The latest, in an almost decade long series, comes to us from New Zealand where a surfer recently saved a father and his two children from certain death via rip current.

But not just any surfer. The country’s future 50+ champion.


Fate found the poetically named Darren Kiwi surfing near his Arataki home when the surf started to climb and he figured he should head in for his gun. As he neared shore, he spotted a family some 30m (98ft, 1345sfln*) from the sand struggling mightily and knew, instantly.


They were getting pounded by 2m (6ft, 27sfln) waves and he knew the situation was dire. In an exclusive interview with the New Zealand Herald, Kiwi says, “So I jumped back on my surfboard, paddled over to them and got a hold of the young girl. The father and the brother were out there as well, so managed to get a hold of them and just keep them all together actually. We managed to work together to actually get us all [to] safety. It seemed like it took forever because it was a horrendous rip. The girl was in a very distressed state and I totally understand it because the whole family had been dumped by a good-sized shore break wave, consistently followed by enough solid shore break waves. They were totally heading towards Motiti Island, that’s it. It was going to rip them right out to the back.”

But through heart, and perseverance, Kiwi navigated them all to shore, losing not one soul and etching his name in the book of heroes.

Reflecting afterward, Kiwi sighed, “It was actually one of the worst situations I’ve ever been involved in in my 35 years plus of surfing … I knew that if I wasn’t there, I knew that they would’ve been probably in a dire situation. Afterwards, they all just said a massive thank you and went their merry way.”

Well, those fates later shone upon Kiwi. A few short weeks after his benevolent act, he took out all 50+ comers at the National Surfing Championships held in pumping Piha and what could be better?

A good deed actually going unpunished.

New Zealand could very much use the great news as much-loved Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that she would be leaving the post due burnout.

Kiwi for the top slot?

Leadership etc.?

Hope springs eternal.


Bilzerian (pictured) unlovable. Photo: @danbilzerian
Bilzerian (pictured) unlovable. Photo: @danbilzerian

In blistering attack on surf industry, social media influencer Dan Bilzerian declares “nobody likes surfing pictures on Instagram!”


Erik Logan, Ben Gravy and a host of other personalities stretching across this surf industry woke up this morning profoundly depressed, questioning life choices and not in a good way. Sadness. A sadness bubbling from a truth spoken into the universe by a one-time extremely popular influencer.

Dan Bilzerian, who rose to wealth on the wings of a wealthy father, became famous in the early Instagram days for his curated lifestyle featuring multiple buxom companions, large guns, human growth hormones, trips on yachts, enjoying hot tub time, wake surfing and, once, almost real surfing.

Bilzerian, who was recently on Jackass alumn Steve-O’s podcast, described the time fate found him in Kauai where a friend insisted they go to an outer reef and tow. He tells the story with much humor, how the friend’s friend was shocked that he had never surfed large before, warning him that he could die, the way it felt to skip at 50 mph down the face of a beast, the joy at conquering nature afterward but then, in a shock to the aforementioned Logan, Gravy et. al., how the images of him surfing did the absolute worst on his feed.

“Nobody likes pictures of surfing,” he said.

Steve-O and his co-hosts agreed wholeheartedly. How they, also, liked to try to surf but their posts never received “likes” from fans.

A gut punch.

But do you agree? Is our favorite pastime essentially unlovable?


Weary of battle, perhaps, Logan eventually allowed a second version of the bombshell allegation to run unmolested.

Surf fan slams World Surf League CEO Erik “Pure Miami” Logan after tour head deleted bombshell comment that threatened to shatter organisation’s Wall of Positive Noise!

"I felt like a longboard world champion… cancelled!"

Mere hours after the US awoke to a court judgement that determined public figures were forbidden from silencing constituents in the landmark Miko v Jones case, a decision that has opened Kelly Slater to multiple class actions, a surf fan has accused WSL CEO Erik Logan of erasing a comment from his personal Instagram account.

The surfer, named Carlos, says he had engaged on Logan’s post detailing the CEO’s attempt to capture California’s once-in-fifty-years swell with his old Nikon D7000 writing,

“The fact that you were taking pictures of this historic swell instead of surfing it is what wrong with the current leadership of the WSL.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Erik Logan (@elo_eriklogan)

Within an hour, says Carlos, the comment was gone.

“I felt like a longboard world champion… cancel,” he told BeachGrit, referring to the unprecedented decision by the WSL to suspend three-time world champ Joel Tudor from all competition, alleging unsportsmanlike conduct, damage to surfing’s image and verbal assault.

That suspension followed a heated series of posts, interviews, with and from Tudor following a rumour, possibly started here, that the World Surf League was gonna slash cut the longboard world tour from three events to one.

Tudor was very angry and especially so after the WSL featured women’s longboarding heavily during its Pro Pipeline event.

“(They) want to run this fake shit about equality and inclusiveness,” Tudor wrote. “Don’t be a bunch of fucking phonies.”

In the case of Carlos v Logan, the story has a twist for when a second version of the bombshell comment was posted, this time with a J’Accuse…! prelude, Logan allowed it to run  unmolested.

Weary of battle?

Aware of the then still-ongoing Miko v Jones case?

A subtle mea culpa, guilty as charged and so on?

More questions etc.

As “Papa Surf” Barton Lynch continues to sprout most luxurious facial hair on planet, surf fans are left to wonder if longtime sponsor Hurley is responsible for greatest marketing stunt ever!

Marketing 101.

Four exceedingly long years ago, the surf world was absolutely rocked when, overnight, fitness giant Nike sold its surf label Hurley to Bluestar Alliance. Founded in 1999 by surfboard shaper Bob Hurley, the eponymous brand soared to success on the wings of its fantastic design, cutting-edge materials and best-in-class team featuring everyone from John John Florence to Kolohe Andino to Julian Wilson etc.

Heady times.

But, alas, all great things come to an end (save BeachGrit), somewhere along the way Hurley was sold to Nike who, in turn, sold it to Bluestar Alliance who, in turn, canned most of the surf team and began producing fingernail clippers, inflatable pool toys and beard oil.

Not canned, strangely, was elder statesman Barton Lynch who continued to sport the iconic )( on his t-shirts and hats and, mysteriously, began sprouting the finest facial hair since Karl Marx.

The dots were not connected until just today when an eagle-eyed podcast listener emailed David Lee Scales and wondered if the whole plan, all along, was to conquer the hirsute space while using the 1988 surf champion as its champion.

If yes, it completely worked.

And I defy you to tell me that if Hurley’s beard oil left your face looking like Lynch’s you would not use.

Handsome and luxe.


Scales and I, anyhow, discussed beards and other surf adjacent matters while sipping champagne. This was our 200th episode, each one more enjoyable than the last leaving this the most enjoyable of all.


California VALS undergo rigorous pre-big wave training using methods learned online.

Emergency edict issued to vulnerable adult learner surfers following myriad catastrophes during California’s once-in-fifty-years swell!

"Those who did make it out among the real men and women became traffic, at best; land mines at worst."

The big fifty-year thing is closing its blinds in California.

Whether you ate straight from the buffet or watched each day’s waves on your phone snuggled in your bed, you saw some of the best rides from the coast in years. Heaps of audacious drops, barrels, and escapes from the best in the west.

You likely also noticed the mass of bodies that had no business going out…

Piles of blissfully ignorant VALs failing to get out past the whitewater. No timing, no duck diving, no experience evidently: A timid walk into the shore break, a few frightened bird arm swoops, then flipped up and back to whence they came, rung bell in head and such.

Those who did make it out among the real men and women became traffic, at best; land mines at worst.

Just look at all the reports from the past few weeks of dangerous conditions created by the unlicensed. It’s endless.

And it made me wonder why these fools, wet and without hope, would ever believe they could ride waves of such temper.

Where are they getting such whimsical ideas? Pacific Beers ads? There’s got to be more.

I think reading is to blame.

It’s overrated. (You’re here, after all.)

A Google search of “How to surf and survive big waves” returned a full run of written advice. Sites untrustworthy as a fat junkie.

For example, the article “How to Survive a Wipeout Like a Pro” found on booksurfcamps.com suggests that when faced with complete obliteration, one should be measured and consider the following:

Jump away from your surfboard.

Jump as you would in shallow water.

Jump butt first.

Cover your head.

Remain calm.

A simple and profound checklist to run through as your lungs are ripping apart and your leash bow-tied around your shoulders.

Or how about the piece “Big Wave Surfing—101” on leux.com.

Here a curious newbie can learn everything required to conquer the big stuff.

If the sections titled, “Where to Find big Waves” and “Surfboards for Big Wave Riding” aren’t enough, the how-to portion brings it all together.

Make sure you do some “underwater rock running” and plenty of “yoga.” While they’re at it I’m surprised the site doesn’t recommend diving the reef with Chandler when it’s flat.

I’m all in for people trying to lift their ability level to that of their guts. Everyone has the right to play the lottery. And I’m all for ignorant risk-takers and those insecure about their talent because they have none.

But there are just certain activities which seem more fitting to be described on a page than attempted. I want to read about a candy-assed reporter and his friend kidnapped in Lebanon; I do not want to get dusty.

And as for surfing massive swells, no set of instructions found on simplysurf.com is going to help.

If a person earnestly reads these sites as a means to big-wave heroics, it should be a bright red flag to that person that he or she is not equipped.

An admission: I once sought out bowel-shaking waves in South America and found them. When I stood there cotton-mouthed scared on the cold sand face to face with blue-black walls, I turned and walked home, pallid, ostensibly having left my testicles in my other suit. After spending a week lying face down in shame, I regrouped.

I did not, however, turn to E-WikiHow.

But I’m nobody.

So, for some corroboration, I asked a pageant line of big-wave greats if they learned to surf by reading.

Here are the reports:

Darryl “Flea” Virostko (3x Mavericks champ, Fleahab founder)
“I never read about how to surf especially big waves. These sites really don’t bother me because I’m not looking for this crap.

“We learned from experience and the older guys helping us out in the water. Getting donuts and figuring it out. We worked our way up with the size surf we rode. Learning how to ride bigger boards. And just bring it great surf shape.

“There’s so many surfers now and a lot of them are beginning so I could see why these sites exist.

“I think people should put in the work but I’m not letting these sites bother me. They definitely make it more crowded with people that have no etiquette or understanding how lineups work. They’re missing the stuff that’s learned in the water. I just think it’s unsafe for everyone, but what, you’re gonna police the web?”

Nic Lamb (2016 titans of Mavericks champ, creator of the fabulous Icebeanie)

“I learned by observing taking consistent action and putting myself in a surfing environment. I started with small waves and progressed gradually to larger and larger surf.

“I’m all for learning and absorbing knowledge however application and environment is superior to information. I’d check the author and their background. Big wave surfing is risky enough. Be cautious who you take advice from make sure they have a track record otherwise you are taking on additional unnecessary risk.

“Look, there is so much nonsense out there with the blind leading the blind.
Some things can’t be googled. You must immerse yourself entirely. On the one hand sure some of this stuff is a how-to be a liability handbook. On the other hand, I say leave it be and let the chips fall where they may.”

Felipe Pomar (1965 World Surfing Champ, rode a tsunami in 1974)

“I think there are pearls of wisdom in that material, and you have to be experienced enough to recognize them.

“In my day there was nothing in written form about riding big waves. I learnt from surfers that were older than me and gave me advise, shared surf stories, and personal experience.

“My best advice is that you learn to ride bigger waves incrementally by surfing bigger waves (being exposed to bigger and bigger waves) until you find your personal limit. Another would be to always surf with a mate, or two and do not attempt to surf big waves unless you are a confident swimmer. Last advise be careful of being overconfident, that can be deadly. Always remember that the ocean, while beautiful, and sometimes peaceful, is not your friend.”

So, Godspeed to all those ambitious readers out there. You are as brave as you are stupid. At least the worst of Roman insults does not apply to them.

“Woe to him who can neither read nor swim.”