"There’s only so long even the best athletes can stay at the top. Kelly’s clock is ticking down. Make the most of it, drink it in. The day slips away so fast." | Photo: @wiggingoutwithkellyslater

Pre-Surf Ranch Pro Power Rankings, “Kelly Slater’s clock is ticking down. Make the most of it, drink it in. The day slips away so fast!”

"One way or another, Kelly always wins. He loves adversity and social media hate just makes the fire burn hotter. Kelly wants that Olympic spot so badly."

There are far too many men in the draw. This is the conclusion I am forced to reach as I read through the lengthy list.

In fact, I’m pretty sure some of these people are just random names included to confuse me.

Do they even surf?

I remain unconvinced. 

I considered only writing about the top 12, because equality and all of that. I only wrote about 12 women.

Why do I have to get to know so very many men? But I didn’t want to disappoint you! I felt like you would be very sad if I did not write about every last one of these guys. Or if not you, then maybe their moms. (Hi mom!) 

Here is part 1 of the extremely casual BeachGrit men’s power rankings. Please enjoy!

24. Kelly Slater. We have already talked at some length about the shenanigans involved in awarding Kelly a wildcard after he failed to make the cut. Either the cut matters or it doesn’t. Too bad if you’re just some guy trying to have a career: One way or another, Kelly always wins. He loves adversity and social media hate just makes the fire burn hotter. Kelly wants that Olympic spot so badly. But increasingly, his body is failing to match the powerful will that drives it. There’s only so long even the best athletes can stay at the top. Kelly’s clock is ticking down. Make the most of it, drink it in. The day slips away so fast. 

23. The mysterious event seed! Feel free to imagine your own surfer here. He will go to Surf Ranch and hopefully make it beyond round 1. Or not. 

22. Ian Gentil. A Maui boy, Ian quit surfing for three months at age 20. He’d spent his life until then chasing sponsors, making freesurfing videos, and trying to qualify for the CT. It turned out there was more to life than surfing and he says he returned with a more balanced perspective. Like most Maui surfers, Ian’s at home in heavy surf, wind, big barrels. Weak ass beachbreaks, not so much. Now 26, Ian managed to survive the cut in his first year on Tour, which is no small thing. His best results were a pair of ninths at Pipe and Portugal. Tahiti should be good to him. 

21. Liam O’Brien. Nicknamed LOB, Liam is best known for breaking his ankle just before his rookie début at Pipe last year. In a solid display of resilience, he did his rehab and hit the Challenger Series. He says it took a long time for his ankle to recover, so it’s entirely possible we haven’t seen his best surfing yet. This year, he’s back on Tour after Morgan Cibilic fell short. LOB got off to a good start with a quarterfinal finish at Pipe where he lost to Caio. Thanks to the miracles of WSL seeding, he’s met Griff three times in early rounds, and lost each time. LOB survived the cut. Nowhere to go, but up. 

20. Caio Ibelli. Somehow Caio got third at Pipe this year, and Leo Fioravanti beat him. That’s like the ultimate back end of the rankings cage match right there. Caio first qualified in 2016, and I’m not sure I’ve ever watched one of his heats. I mean, of course, I’ve watched heats he’s surfed. But I’ve never like, gone to the replays and pulled up a Caio heat just to see how it went for him. Maybe I should. Maybe I’m totally missing out. 

19. Leonardo Fioravanti. At Pipe this year, Leo beat Jack Robinson in the final. When I read that result, I forgot for a minute how it actually happened. The final took place in shit small onshore surf. No barrel for you! Thanks to that result, Leo made the cut this year. Without it, he’d be looking at another trip to the Challenger Series. In his only trip to Lemoore, Leo finished ninth in 2021. He has a knack for pulling out one big result each year, and well, he almost won Pipe already this year. I’m not feeling hyped over here, is what I’m saying. 

18. Rio Waida. A hard luck story, Rio grew up poor in Bali. In 2016 he won the Quik Young Guns event, a combo of video and real-life contest, which launched his career. He represented Indo at the Tokyo Olympics, and 2023 is his first year on Tour. In Portugal, Rio made the quarters where he went down to Jack Robinson. On Instagram, he described his round 1 heat against Gabby and Jordy as “the biggest heat of my life.” He also won it, and left Portugal ranked tenth. That was a high point. Australia wasn’t kind to him with two straight 33rds. Rio’s relentless positivity is extremely endearing. I hope he gets shacked out his mind in Teahupo’o this year. 

17. Connor O’Leary. A consistent run of quarterfinal finishes sent Connor over the cut line this year. A goofy footer, his best results have come not surprisingly at Fiji (2017) and G Land (2022). His mom Akemo Karasawa surfed competitively in Japan and growing up his favorite surfer was Rob Machado. Surf Ranch has not been kind to him and he’s lost out early to both Medina and Griff. He’s powerful, but not super inspired or stylish. It’s was a surprise to me that he beat Yago at Margaret River when I rank Yago more highly here. I am not infallible. 

16. Seth Moniz. Rookie of the Year in 2019, Seth was the last guy over the cut this time around. That says less about the Hawaiian’s surfing than it does about the lack of good waves on Tour so far this year. In 2022, he finished second to Kelly at Pipe in firing surf. Suck it, Leo. Seth says he surfs with Griff on the North Shore a fair amount, and he could use some of Griff’s knack for winning heats in less-than-awesome conditions. Seth’s a quality surfer in good waves, and if Tahiti turns on, he’ll shine. In 2019, he made the semis there. I don’t expect much from Seth at Surf Ranch, but I can’t hate him for that.

15. Barron Mamiya. A quarterfinal finish at Margaret River launched Barron over the cut after a lowkey first half of the season. His only appearance at Surf Ranch came in 2019 and he finished 17th, so he’s not going to suddenly spring up the rankings overnight. Barron’s career best result came last year when he won at Sunset as an injury replacement. A Hawaiian, he’s predictably at his best in good waves, which have been few and far between this year. Hopefully for all our sakes, it gets better. Surfing, it demands so much optimism. 

14. Jordy Smith. Somehow Jordy is ranked higher than Italo, and I had to squint my eyes and read it twice to believe it. That’s not saying much, since he’s still down here in the teens somewhere. At least he made the cut. There are few people who can lay down a turn on a big, solid right better than Jordy. Lately, the Tour hasn’t featured those conditions all that often. In his two previous visits to Surf Ranch, he’s lost to Medina both times with a quarterfinal and ninth-place finish. Jordy’s been on Tour since 2010 and he won J-Bay in his first year. After blowing up young, how does a guy like Jordy stay motivated? Where’s the inspiration to throw down hard, put all the chips on the table, and try to win a world title? I wonder if even he knows the answer.

13. Callum Robson. At Portugal this year, Callum scored a sick barrel and a perfect ten. From Evans Head, a small town in Australia, Callum made the Australian Rural and Regional News for his performance. Callum first qualified in 2022. Unlike many first-timers, Callum survived the cut, thanks to a second at Bells where he went down to Filipe. No shame in that, by any means. He also made quarters at El Salvador and Brazil. Callum has power to burn, likes the barrel, and his freesurfing clips show some legit airs. His heat surfing still suffers from some inconsistency. At Sunset this year, for example, his wave choice let him down. He also wanted to barrel a little too badly. Who among us, etc. All these things take experience and seasoning. Callum’s made the cut two years in a row which ain’t nothing. Let’s see what happens next. 

Part two, twelve through one tomorrow! 

Current number seventeen on Qualifying Series “banned from all surfing competitions” for reason so shocking even hardened surf journalist howls at moon in disbelief!


Though you would never guess from BeachGrit and its regular flow wildly salacious stories, surfing, by and large, is not very scandalous. Oh certainly, there is the Scandoval implicating Mr. Pipeline Gerry Lopez, world’s worst entrepreneur Kelly Slater lending his name (minus vowels) to yet another soon-to-be-struggling business venture, surf fans getting repeatedly burned by hot wax etc. but, otherwise, the Sport of Kings is relatively tame.

You can imagine my shock, then, yesterday, when I read a blaring headline declaring “Josh Burke banned from all surfing competitions for rest of year.” Immediately I began to imagine what horrible crime the Barbadian standout, and current number seventeen on Qualifying Series (according the the World Surf League), Josh Burke had committed.

The twenty-six year old was last seen barely losing to Brazilian champion Italo Ferreira at last year’s Surf City El Salvador Pro but what had he done thereafter?

Cold-blooded murder?

Absconding with top secret documents from the White House and failing to properly store them?

Deadnaming Elliot Page?

I then began to skim:

Josh Burke has been slapped with a ban from all local surfing competitions for the remainder of this year.

President of the Barbados Surfing Association (BSA) Paul Bourne confirmed the news to BARBADOS TODAY moments ago, after a meeting between BSA officials, the athlete and a representative, along with the Barbados Olympic Association.

Bourne said the disciplinary action against Barbados’ best surfer is with immediate effect following a reported allegation which suggest that Burke and coach Allan Burke left their national duties in Panama at the 2023 Pan American Surfing Games in a premature fashion while still in the competition.

Rubbing my disbelieving eyes, I read again.

…a reported allegation which suggest that Burke and coach Allan Burke left their national duties in Panama at the 2023 Pan American Surfing Games in a premature fashion while still in the competition.

While that sinks in, please prepare yourself for thirty stories on who reported the allegation, the tone of the suggestion, the scope of national duties and how pre the premature.


Days before Surf Ranch Pro kick-off, World Surf League introduces wild night surfing session allowing losers one more shot at glory!

What will Santa Monica dream up next?

The Surf Ranch Pro swings its gates wide in less than ten days and are you excited? Setting time aside to watch the world’s best attack the mechanical right, and left, with well-timed snaps before crouching in a mini-barrel and exiting to light cheers from otherwise confused industrial farmers?

Clearing the schedule of all but the most pressing concerns?

In truth, the event, which happens to be number six on the Championship Tour, is not a favorite. The fans don’t like it as evidenced by drastic cuts in ticket prices year over year. The surfers hate it as revealed by surfers saying they hate it. And Bailey Ladders, the World Surf League’s greatest and most faithful partner, has opted not to participate.

And yet, the aforementioned World Surf League pushes on, re-introducing it as a stop over many loud complaints, attempting to juice the affair with a patented combination of PositiveSpeak™ and last minute format changes.

This year, surfers who find themselves second or third in their four man heat will be forced to compete “under the lights” for a chance to move on but don’t take my word for it. Let’s all turn our attention to Chief of Sport Jessi Miley-Dyer.

And I suppose that I was wrong in suggesting that nobody likes events at the tub. Retired Australian stand-out Owen Wright commented “siick.”

Commentator Joe Turpel deposited a light brown shaka emoji.

Strap on and get ready.

I mean in.

“It’s always a positive for the surf industry at large when one of the world’s top brands gets involved with a surf company,” says Paul Naude, Vissla's daddy. “It endorses our efforts when these types of collaborations take place.”

French fashion house Dior partners with Californian surf brand Vissla for world’s first five-thousand dollar wetsuit!

"The Diorivage motif celebrates the bewitching beauty of the aquatic world through an underwater snapshot."

Our dear friends at the Californian surf brand Vissla, you’ll remember our sell-out backward fins collection with ’em from a few years back, have become the official wetsuit partner of French fashion house Dior.

Dior, very famous, very high end, thousand dollar jeans, couple of gees for Chelsea boots etc. Even your ol pal DR got seduced into a few Hedi Slimane pieces back in the slim-fitting days circa 2006 when a skinny boy could shine in a crowd with a few well-curated pieces.

For five-thousand-and-four-hundred Australian dollars or $4100 for the jacket you can adorn yourself in a wetsuit that, and we’ll defer to the suit’s description here,

“…combines innovation, couture spirit and respect for the environment. Part of the Beach Capsule collection, the Diorivage motif celebrates the bewitching beauty of the aquatic world through an underwater snapshot. Crafted from eco-sourced neoprene made from limestone, the wetsuit offers superior comfort, elasticity and heat retention, while guaranteeing a limited ecological impact thanks to its composition that combines innovative and upcycled materials. The jersey panels are knit from polyester thread created from upcycled plastic bottles and the elastane used comes from fabric waste. Thermal jacquard lining featuring the CD Diamond motif offers additional insulation and is crafted from both upcycled polyester fibers and solution-dyed polyester*. Thanks to its hybrid system and U-shaped zip closure on the chest, the wetsuit is optimally waterproof while guaranteeing a high capacity for movement. Specially designed for colder waters, this high-end wetsuit is a true example of Dior and Vissla’s commitment to respecting the environment and oceans, and it can be used along with the Beach Capsule surfboard and accessories.”

“What’s really interesting about it is the level of detail that those couture brands put into product,” says Vissla’s founder and daddy Paul Naude. “It’s really staggering and was a great learning curve.”

Want the matching sunglasses? Or thousand-dollar boxer shorts?

Buy here! 


Surfers, talking story.

A rebuttal to WSL tour correspondent JP Currie’s famous refrain, “Better to burn all weekend like a flare than fizzle like a damp sparkler in a crumbling, onshore rivermouth”

"Surfing only has its 'heroin cool' factor if you keep pushing yourself. Otherwise it’s as domesticated as the gym."

To all the sad sacks of BeachGrit: if you’re saying surfing isn’t core anymore, that’s ‘cause you’re not core anymore.

Surf scribe JP Currie wrote a piece of “quit lit” a few years ago that annoyed me so much I remember it three years later.

After abandoning his family to go surfing for the weekend, he got skunked, concluding that it would have been more fun to get pissed with his mates.

Some of my favourite lines included: “Better to burn all weekend like a flare than fizzle like a damp sparkler in a crumbling, onshore rivermouth” and “Not worth putting on the sodding wetsuit.”

Plus: “Can’t remember any turns. Whole weekend gone.”

That’s got to hurt.

But, here’s the thing, JP: surf trips aren’t about doing turns. They’re about getting pissed with your mates.

Here’s some friendly advice from an Australian with no experience of Scottish winters, living inland or maintaining surf buds into middle age: find someone who is even more stoked on surfing than you are to trip with (and go surf some slabs, before you’re too old to try).

Before you call me out for being a hypocrite, I also struggle with shit weather. And I can take your story of having to go to bed in your van at seven (“Nowt else to do this far from home, at this time of year” – my god the bitterness) and trump it.

Over Easter, I had to go to bed in my tent at 5:30pm because of a storm (there was nothing else to do but sit in the car or watch my awning get railed by the wind). Although I will admit, I got fun waves the next morning.

Yes, this whole piece is a low-key brag that for once I got some waves

What I’m trying to say is you need to get good waves.

I also struggle with motivation as my best mate has stopped caring about surfing. But I’ve kept the stoke by surfing with different people (found one dude with a mad Jetski/Toyota Camry set up) and by doing more solo road trips.

I’m still a giant kook, but it’s way more fun, and the people are way friendlier because the element of danger (and wildlife) means there’s a sense that you’re all in it together.

Back to you: there are heaps of slabs in Scotland and, unless I am very much mistaken, when Mason Ho was there surfing them you made some feeble excuse about being in a “COVID afflicted pedagogy” (whatever that means) as to why you weren’t getting amongst it.

I’m not sure sure what “pedagogy” means, but for now I’ll take it as: “I am scared of waves over three feet.”

If Torren Martyn can do it on a mid-length, surely you can do it on a step up?

Or if big waves aren’t your dram, that right hander Mason Ho surfed. I’ve seen steeper takeoffs at Malibu.

You could literally surf this on a foamie.

Oh and: pics or it didn’t happen.

Yours insincerely,


PS:  If your rebuttal has anything to do with the risks of violent personal injury, I refuse to accept it. I’ve surfed heaps of slabs (admittedly always on small days) and never got hurt. Nearly broke my neck though surfing my local beachie as I aggressively claimed a low-tide closeout from a friendly backpacker and caught my outside rail.

PPS: From the Longtom Trainspotting Department (choose Surfing, not Life!), surfing only has its “heroin cool” factor if you keep pushing yourself. Otherwise it’s just as domesticated as the gym.

If you keep surfing the same beachbreak with the same fuckwits and the same board (and I admit I am coming at this from a very Sydney perspective; your local might not even be a beach), you’re bound to be tempted to give up surfing.

For me it’s those rare adrenalin sessions that make me remember why I surf. And the good thing about surfing is, if you don’t die doing it, it won’t kill you! It might even make you live longer (albeit deaf and with pterygiums). And unless you’re surfing Jaws, or you’re old and have a heart attack or something, that’s pretty unlikely, I think?

Anyway, I’m sure you don’t care what I think, but thought I’d lay you the challenge, as seeing footage of you going over the falls on some kind of Scottish Scalpel would give me an entertaining five seconds on my next lunchbreak phone scroll.