Little John and Happy Hawaiian Carissa, heading to second Olympic Games.

John John Florence favourite to win Olympic gold after qualifying for 2024 Paris Games at Teahupoo

And Carissa Moore, already a gold medallist, swings under the hood to qualify for Team USA too!

After a controversial couple of weeks where the two-time world champ hinted at quitting the tour after a bad decision at J-Bay, John John Florence has become the favourite to win Olympic gold at Teahupoo in 2024 following his provisional qualification for the Paris Games. 

Florence, who’ll be almost thirty-two by the time the Games rolls around, secured his position in the American team by swinging through his first heat at the Tahiti Pro, held in pretty ordinary sorta four-footers.

“It feels super good. To have a second chance at the Olympics again, especially coming back here to Tahiti, I’m really excited about that,” said Florence, who finished ninth at Tokyo in 2020. 


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Carissa, who won gold in 2020, banged through a heat and gets the red-white-and-blue liveried tracksuit, obvs hoping for a redux.

“Oh my gosh. I just found out that I provisionally qualified for the Olympics 2024, here in Tahiti. I couldn’t be more stoked. I didn’t win my heat, but this feels like a little win.”


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What’s the criteria to get into the Games?

It ain’t easy to qualify nor understand criteria!  

1. 2023 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour: First 10 eligible men and first 8 eligible women.

2. 2023 ISA World Surfing Games: 4 men and 4 women selected based on their continent. Top finishing eligible surfer of each gender from Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

3. 2023 Pan American Games: First eligible man and first eligible woman in the surfing competitions.

4. 2024 ISA World Surfing Games: First 5 eligible men and first 7 eligible women.

5. 2024 ISA World Surfing Games: The winning teams by gender, will qualify 1 place for their respective country/NOC, regardless of the 2-per country quota limit.

“Hustling, media-obsessed” surfer-artist Herbie Fletcher to headline LA gallery exhibition alongside Hanai Usuki and Barry McGee

Whether you consider Herbie Fletcher Moses or Pharaoh, his influence on surf is undeniable. 

There is little evidence that genius transfers. Take Lindsey Lohan and her singing career.  Kanye and politics. Kelly and critical thinking.

It’s the rare bird who can slide discipline to discipline with respect. Herbie Fletcher might be such an animal. 

Fletcher, 75, is showing his artwork at the new hip T & Y Gallery in Los Angeles at the end of the month. The collection includes a dozen or so paintings, sculptures, and photographic collages and will hang alongside artists Hanai Usuki and Barry McGee in “The Thrill is Back” exhibition opening this month.

Artwork will include both new pieces and a few from Herb’s previous collections including his celebrated “Wrecktangled” series, a wall collage of broken boards from his Wave Warrior’s missteps. 

Historian Matt Warshaw calls him a “hustling, media-obsessed surfer/manufacturer/impresario” from San Clemente. Whether you consider Fletcher Moses or Pharaoh, his influence on surf is undeniable. 

Born in ’48, the California native flew to Hawaii at 16 and quickly established himself as a legit bull rider as well as a blue-ocean prophet. By the late-seventies, Fletcher was playing around with the idea of using jet skis to tow into waves too heavy, too fast for paddling. Ten years on, his Astrodeck traction pads were stuck on every plank in the ocean. The Wave Warrior video series followed, featuring a catwalk of the best surfers showing off their Astrodeck: Curren, the Ho brothers, Potter, Dino, Archy, and a good look at his oldest son, Christian. 

Both of Fletcher’s sons, Christian and younger brother Nathan, possess preternatural surfing gifts handed down from Herbie. Most of the family dabbles in the art world, too, although all lesser talents in front of the canvas than their old man. Even grandson Greyson is endowed with the Fletcher’s genetics, skating with the abandon of Christian and easy flow of Uncle Nathan.  And not since John Cardiel has one shown such style and guts in the pool. His art, too, hangs in galleries, though would be better served if he would choose to paint with the lights on. 

Herbie’s art, on the other hand, shows genuine aplomb and the kind of compulsion and spine that drives an artist to originality. His “Blood Water” paintings, for example, feature single black line waves standing tall like Giacomettis against an earthen background created from dirt taken right from the Wiamea River. “They feel like ancient petroglyphs etched in the oxide rich red earth from the river with Kaena Point barely visible in the background,” Fletcher says.  

In addition to Blood Water works, the show also will highlight works from his “Returning to the Source” collection, canvases covered in scraps found around the beaches of Hawaii and dashed with minimal flashes of paint. The compositions hint of Mondrian on smack.  

“These pieces are my way of sharing the lifelong love affair I’ve had with surfing and the beach culture,” Fletcher says, “and the opportunity to create a vocabulary that hopefully will speak to the coming generations.”   

“The Thrill is Back” show opens August 29. If you are in the area, check it out, but bring plastic if you are serious about taking home Herb’s vocabulary. While prices are not disclosed to the public, similar works have gone for heaps of green. “California Dreaming,” for example, shows a supersaturated pic of sunbathers on the beach with a few sexy rights peeling behind. Herb threw in a couple orange swipes of color over the blue sky. $2800. It works.

Herb’s “California Dreaming”, a little under three gees.

Warshaw’s hustler also offers “Teardrops,” a collage of broken skate decks. Stickered at 20 grand, it’s the only piece available that wants to be traded on the Fletcher name alone. Like Fran Liebowitz said good art is what I like. Bad art is what I don’t.  And I don’t. Save your money for a work truck.

In all, Herb’s work is certainly an expression of his pulse. Perhaps in the spirit of the fauvist (“wild beast”), he translates his history of the ocean directly into his art with the smarts not to confuse the sensual with the sentimental, that rotten mix of privileged theory and horse dung. Hold his art up against images of him surfing the big stuff. No need for speculation; it slaps you low in the jaw as intended.

Fletcher says his craftwork “seems to be an extension of the last, from doing Astrodeck in the 70s’, Wave Warrior’s in the 80’s, shaping surfboards for decades, being in -out whatever in the surf industry.”

It’s all one, long, fantastic story, and the greatest ride I could have ever imagined.” 

Open Thread: Comment Live, day one of the Tahiti Pro coming straight from menacing Tear-hoo-poh-oh!

Kelly Slater's last dance?

"When you're a skid you're a skid all the way..." Photo: West Side Story
"When you're a skid you're a skid all the way..." Photo: West Side Story

Western Australian skids rejoice as casting call seeks “BMX-riding, beer-delivering trouble causers” for new Nicolas Cage film The Surfer!

Drama nerds need not apply.

The great actor Nicolas Cage is, of course, a global treasure. The 59-year-old, who was born in Long Beach and carries the very famous Coppola surname, has appeared in more iconic films than you, I or Filipe Toledo could shake a stick at. From USS Indianapolis to The Boy in Blue, the ruggedly handsome Cage never fails to leave an impression and so you can imagine the thrill, the frisson bubbling currently in Western Australia where his next film, The Surfer, is set to begin shooting.

The Surfer, which was first reported upon in in May, is a sort of grumpy local revenge porn. The Hollywood Reporter describing thusly:

In The Surfer, when a man (Cage) returns to his beachside hometown in Australia, many years since building a life for himself in the U.S., he is humiliated in front of his teenage son by a local gang of surfers who claim strict ownership over the secluded beach of his childhood. Wounded, “The Surfer” decides to remain at the beach, declaring war against those in control of the bay. But as the conflict escalates, the stakes spin wildly out of control, taking “The Surfer” to the edge of his sanity.

Well, besides Cage and grumpy locals, the film also requires teenage toughs and skids. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has reported film producers have even begun searching for local baddies, sending out a casting call that reads, “We are looking for kids who are really confident with a bit of ‘attitude’ … we see them riding their BMXs delivering beer and generally causing trouble around town.”

A drama teacher at Margaret River Senior High School, Amy Johnstone, told ABC, “As soon as we found out, we put it out in the school notices, and we had a stack of boys lining up at our office door by recess, these guys are pumped to be in a movie. We will be holding lunchtime sessions where we can help give them some tips on audition techniques, how to present and maybe little monologues. Some of these boys who have put their hand up are not necessarily drama kids, it’s really awesome to see the different range of ages and kind of guys that are interested in doing it.”

Toughs and skids, man.

Theater nerds need not apply.

But did you ever harbor Hollywood dreams? That someday you might become a famous actor, yourself, much loved and desired?

I’m sorry it didn’t work out.

Indian sports tabloid wrongfully accuses leading surf influencer Jonathan Wayne Freeman of the mid-wave assault that has gone viral worldwide!

"Freeman describes himself as a coach and spiritual mentor. With the divided aggression of the community, what is your take on his vision?"

Three days back, a short clip of a man being attacked mid-wave at Byron Bay went viral, surfers divided on the merits of giving hell to kooks who drop in. 


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“This is exactly What!, you DO!!!,” wrote one. “Don’t let anybody snake you!!! And add a face punch!!” 

A riposte, “No doubt he’ll explode with road rage on the way home then beat his wife and kids. An upstanding citizen.”

In the comments, a couple of wags likened the attacker to the surfer-comic Jonathan Wayne Freeman, a man who last appeared on BeachGrit when he publicly challenged Facebook founder and MMA enthusiast Mark Zuckerberg to a cage fight. 

“Two Years Ago I was Privileged enough to Teach @zuck how to surf at the World Famous Doheny…not gonna lie…the cat was one ☝️ of the worst I have ever coached . He requested a @gathsports Helmet after his first wipeout and a Band Aid for a small boo boo he received on his elbow from a fin cut. My Favorite part of the Lesson however was when I spoon fed him with a shovel on The Art of the Towel Change. I hate to call him out on this but since @kookoftheday has been gone and we have to use our backup account @kookofthedayog the Gloves have come off. We could have had something Beautiful @zuck . I eagerly await your response about our MMA Fight. If I win @kookoftheday goes back up. If I lose…my Family disowns me and I am mocked for generations to come. We can do it at @rvca HQ or Kauai now that my ban has been lifted for daring to poke fun at the Greatest Singer/Surfer/Songwriter/Designer Power Couple of our Time.”

Now, the Indian sports tabloid Essentially Sports, infamous for spitting out four hundred clickbait pieces a day (like a souped-up BeachGrit minus the scorching tenderness) has wrongfully accused Freeman of being the attacking surfer in the story, “Too Much Violence, As a Fight Breaks Mid-Wave, the Surfing Community Rehashes the Debate Around Wave Etiquette.”

Author Divya Purohit, a gal who enjoys canvas painting, reading research papers, and playing badminton, bares her teeth but is poetic in her description of  Freeman. 

Jonathan Freeman, an active surfer from North County San Diego was seen hopping onto another surfer’s board while riding a wave at a popular surf spot in California. The violent and daring nature of Freeman’s surfing technique has made him well-known on social media. A video of the incident was shared on Instagram by @kookoftheday with the caption, “Incase you missed the fight.” Many criticized Freeman’s behavior for being risky and rude as the video rapidly went viral.

While Freeman is a free spirit, he regularly surfs big waves and uses his surfboard to the fullest extent possible. Surfing has been his first love since he was 15, the next year he committed to the sport for the rest of his life. Before his video went viral, he was also known for his appearances in a number of YouTube videos, one of which was an interview with The Temple of Surf. He has also been featured in the Ultra Core Surf Hour series, where he paddles big waves and seeks out sponsorship deals.

Knowing about his presence is already a source of great inspiration, and from all of his interviews, he comes off as a real surf geek. The knowledge that one earns despite being away from the competitive business but surfing between North and South jetties twice a week. He previously bragged about being an elite-level surfer in an interview and identified himself as a potential surfer in his 40s. When not surfing, he works across the state as a comedian and paramedic. While Freeman returned to work, it doesn’t seem like the internet is getting over this incident anytime soon.

After having spent more than 20 years in the waters, Freeman describes himself as a coach and spiritual mentor for surfing journeys. With the divided aggression of the community, what is your take on his vision?

Freeman was golfing when news broke of his supposed attack, filming his response for his more than one hundred thousand fans. 

“They’re very complimentary, yes, I do charge big waves, I am a free spirit so click on the link. Wow.”

And, via DM.

“My wife says I should sue for slander but I love everything this sweet lady reporter says about me!”