Surf fans thrill for coming “Battle over Beard Oil” as Quiksilver, Billabong, RVCA set to challenge Hurley’s market dominance!

Halcyon days here again!

We are but hours away from Authentic Brands Group official purchase of Boardriders and, already, surf fans are celebrating. As you know, the ABG juggernaut, owners of the Shaquille O’Neill, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, though not Marilyn Manson licenses (Manson’s has grown icky) and valued over $20 billion dollars, became excited by Boardriders, home to Billabong, Quiksilver, RVCA and decided to acquire months ago.

After a few hiccups, the deal will be finalized on Aug. 31 and announced to the world by a dumping of Billabong and RVCA shirts into Costco, surf fans buying them up for pennies on the dollar.

What thrills even more, however, is the anticipated “Battle for Beard Oil” with rival Hurley.

Bob’s baby, acquired by Bluestar Alliance in 2019, immediately pivoted factories from best-in-class boardshorts to inflatable pool toys, fingernail clippers and, of course, men’s grooming products.

It has come to dominate the surf-branded unnecessary and landfill-ready market so much that, for the past four years, surf fans felt that they would only have one option for Chinese-made reading glasses.

Now, with Quiksilver, Billabong, RVCA, Volcom (purchased by ABG in a separate deal) all ready to make junk, which will rise to the top?

The early money has to be on RVCA. The “balance of opposites” already pivoted, successfully, to the fight game, years upon years ago and I’d imagine various creams and salves can be put on the market straight away.

Like Goldbond but hip.

Quiksilver might be a sneaker, though, with the “mountain and the wave” the best logo of the bunch and ready to adorn bottles of fingernail polish or baby teething toys.


I don’t really see it.


Lewis (insert) making tears. Photo: Mad Men
Lewis (insert) making tears. Photo: Mad Men

Tears flow at BeachGrit’s near-decade old twin desks as surf blog lord Lewis Samuels declares: “Frankly, I don’t know if I’d consider them an established platform”

What have we gotta do to make you love us?

We are coming up on a very important anniversary, here. Ten marvelous years of ultra hard surf candy. For it was on January 24, 2014, that Derek Rielly and I, sitting at a weathered zinc countertop, pressed “publish” for the very first time on BeachGrit. We toasted champagne, or maybe white wine, not knowing where the journey would take us.

Who could have guessed all the adventures we’ve been on, together and by “together” I very much mean you too. From blood feuds to backward fins, Kelly Slater saying this to Kelly Slater doing that, the transition of the Association of Surfing Professionals into today’s World Surf League, Covid, ELo, Surf Ranch, Ashton Goggans of Shire Gogganses, historic zero point heat totals at Teahupo’o, Olympic medals, surf equity.

A decade of Jen See, JP Currie, Steve Shearer, VONR, Negatron, Pauly, Ricmatic and good times.

Alas, tears flowed in Cardiff by the Sea, California and Bondi, Australia overnight when blog lord Lewis Samuels detonated it all in a devastating interview with Stab.

Samuels, you certainly remember, launched the notorious PostSurf decades ago, providing a very refreshing, critical take of professional surfing. His wit and candor drew thousands of fans and those fans grew wildly depressed when he turned off the lights in order to focus on his career at search giant Google.

Rielly recalled meeting him in a piece published five years ago, noting:

I spent a night with the one-time most notorious surf writer in the world, Lewis Samuels, then in his late-thirties. I fed Lewis pastry and crème patissiere straight from the spoon which he described as “gay.” Soon, his mouth was open and he was begging for the eclair, greedily rimming the spoon. He wore a red flannel shirt, some sort of oversized pants and rectangular spectacles usually worn by English women who search for romance in Kenya.

I, unfortunately, blew my opportunity to share delicate desserts with Lewis. I had been in San Francisco, not long after BeachGrit’s launch, and somehow we connected, via text. We made a time to meet at his Google office. I assumed it was for the next day and woke up bright and early, excited to meet the man behind the myth. He was nowhere to be found and the office was strangely quiet. After waiting a few moments, I texted. He replied, “Nobody works on Saturday” and seemed, rightly, grouchy about my absentmindedness.

In any case, overnight, Lewis sat down with the premium surf organ in a wide-ranging interview on all things surf.

When asked, “Is it becoming harder to be critical of professional surfing — especially behind established platforms — nowadays?”

Lewis answered, “I don’t know if anyone’s doing it. There’s people on BeachGrit that are super critical of professional surfing, but frankly, I don’t know if I’d consider them an established platform.”

Ten years-adjacent?

Six published books between the two principals?

Getting called a “bad dog” by The Inertia?

Blocked multiple times across every social media account by Kelly Slater, Filipe Toledo and others?

What have we gotta do to make you love us?

What have we gotta do to make you care?

What do we do when lightning strikes us?

And we wake to find that you’re not there.

So sad etc.

At the end, Samuels did praise the aforementioned Currie and Shearer, though.

Champagne being sent to Scotland and Lennox Head.

"Y'see this here? This is the sorta day only mad dogs and fools or Lewis Hamilton would attempt to ride." | Photo: Surf Channel Television Network

Racing car superstar Lewis Hamilton almost dies on “25-foot” wave at Pipeline after dare from Kelly Slater!

"This thing was massive, a huge tunnel, and I could see Kelly coming right down it in front of me."

The last time we saw the world’s greatest racing car driver and keen surfer Lewis Hamilton on these pages he was embroiled in a racism row with former FI champ Nelson Piquet after the latter described the former using an epithet outlawed to whites and to escape the noise had fled to Malibu.

With trademark sun-kissed braids pulled into a sensible bun, Hamilton was subsequently filmed polishing off a wave with a cool “what-me-worry” style.

“The guy clearly knows what he’s doing … propping himself up on the board and maintaining his balance throughout the run (no porpoising here, thankfully),” wrote TMZ Sports.

Lou’s surf bona fides have long been documented. A regular at the WSL’s Surf Ranch, he has ridden the Melbourne tank and in 2021 posted a moving tribute to Kelly Slater on his Instagram account.

“He probably doesn’t know this but Kelly changed my life for the better. I want you all to know how great of a human being this man is. I am forever grateful for the time you have given me, for the insight and your passion for the waves. Thank you @kellyslater! Can’t wait until we can hit the waves again (praying hands emoji).”

It’s a perilous relationship and reminiscent of Sean “Poopies” McInerny and Jamie O’Brien’s dangerous friendship, the master and commander of the ocean taunting his fall guy into waters far out of his depth.

In fact, Hamilton says he nearly died at “25-foot” Pipeline following a dare from Slater. 

In an interview with the Robb Report Hamilton lays bare the shocking event.

“When someone says ‘you can’t climb that tree,’ I’ll climb it, even if I’ll almost certainly fall out of it.” As if to prove the point, he tells a story about a near-death experience a couple of years ago when he paddled out to Hawaii’s notorious Banzai Pipeline, an iconic surf break, with surfing legend Kelly Slater. “Kelly was like, ‘there’s no way you’re going out there,’” Hamilton says, his eyes sparkling at the memory of the 25-foot wave. “And I was like, ‘Kelly, I’m going out.’”

He paddled to the edge of the wave. “This thing was massive, a huge tunnel, and I could see Kelly coming right down it in front of me,” he continues. “And I just had to make sure I didn’t get sucked in. So I dived down and grabbed the reef and prayed. I could hear the thing land behind me, like a bomb going off. My board got ripped off and snapped in half. I was very close to the end. But that excites me for some reason.”

Couple of takeaways.

You think Lou told the reporter the waves were twenty-five feet or was that an embellishment or presumption of the writer? If he did say it was twenty-five foot, what was the actual size?

Did Lou really grip the famous Pipeline reef and pray?

And how close to the end? Really close or vaguely adjacent?

BIPOC surfing icon Selema Masekela is a tribune for Black surfers, “I’m the son of a South African political exile and a Haitian immigrant. Surfing wasn’t supposed to happen to me”

"If I’d listened to the people who said surfing wasn’t for me due to the melanin my skin possesses, I’d have a different existence."

I doubt if there’s one person who’s ever met Selema Masekela, apart from Chas and Circe and I’m not exactly sure what happened there, some sorta heated legal poison although I don’t dare ask, who doesn’t walk away firmly under his spell. 

Let’s take a snapshot of the first time I met the extreme sports identity. It was 2017 and, along with Chas, I was visiting the Kelly Slater Surf Ranch in Lemoore, California at the invitation of the WSL’s Dave Prodan.

Occupying one of the bench seats in the Surf Ranch’s heated jacuzzi aprés after our allotted waves was Sal, he was Sal back then, and just as I was about to enter the swirling maelstrom, heated to a pleasing one hundred degrees and offering needed respite from the winter cold and a possible cure for a dreadful hangover, his telephone rang. 

Sal asked me to rummage through his colourful outfit which was bundled on a barrel, enough clothes to suggest, or was I hoping, he was nude in the tank, and to pick it up.

It was Kelly Slater. 

“Answer it,” he commanded, which I did. Kelly remained silent when he heard my voice, an early portent of the blood feud that would simmer for the following six years. 

After a howl of laughter and some chortling Sal hung up. Despite an expanded adiposity, he gobbled protein bar after protein bar, informing me of the health-giving properties of the foil-wrapped chocolate chip treats.

Stories flowed like a river of honey and I left, like everyone who spun in his orbit that day, a fan for life.


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A post shared by Selema Masekela (@selema)

I didn’t heard from Sal again, only knew in passing that he’d transitioned to  Selema, but today I saw that he had turned a ripe old fifty-two and to mark the occasion had written movingly of his life as a surfer.

Picture number one was taken 35 years ago by my Mom @b2bharmony. Picture number two was taken last week by @patstacyfilm. Today, August 28th, is my 52nd Birthday. The 17 year old in the first slide had no idea where the board under his arm would take him. All he knew was that the moment he stood up for five seconds on that first wave at Cherry Street in Carlsbad, California 1988, his life was changed forever. Addiction ensued.

Since that day, a relentless pursuit of ‘the feeling’ has taken me beyond my wildest dreams and transported me to oceans and seas across the planet. It’s given me deep, meaningful, life long friendships with some truly magnificent human beings and helped me create and evolve a storytelling career I continue to enjoy now more than ever.

On paper, none of this was supposed to happen. I’m from the St. Marks Apartments in Staten Island, NY with a brief cameo in Attleboro, Massachusetts. I’m the son of a South African political exile and a Haitian immigrant. Surfing wasn’t supposed to happen to me but it did. If I’d listened to the people who said surfing wasn’t for me due to the amount of melanin my skin possesses, I’d have an entirely different existence.

There is no box other than the one society works overtime to put you in. Get weird, try some shit that’s not supposed to be for you and see what happens. Oh, and while you’re at it… JOYFULLY TAKE UP ALL THE SPACE YOU CAN.

Ain’t that the truth!

Readers, contribute your Sal stories below. Chas, not you.

Cheap shirts and culprit (insert). Photo: Pauly_Matt_War-shore (I think).
Cheap shirts and culprit (insert). Photo: Pauly_Matt_War-shore (I think).

Boardriders new owner Authentic Brands Group wastes no time flooding Costco with “extremely uncool” Billabong and RVCA tees

And a quick question for your consideration.

BeachGrit principal Derek Rielly, just yesterday, covered the renting out of Billabong’s once-proud and palatial Gold Coast offices, also touching briefly upon big box retailers receiving dump truck loads of Billabong and RVCA t-shirts which are being sold for, basically, free.

$13.99, in fact, more than the World Surf League.

Authentic Brands Group, which almost owns Billabong, RVCA, Quiksilver, Volcom (sale finalized on August 31), wasting zero time in slashing any idea of “core.”

The issue, I suppose, is do you care?

Do those old flushes of excitement when donning a stylized wave or, for our younger brothers and sister, RVCA’s fighting poom poom shorts, feel whorish now? An embarrassment that will be taken to the grave? Or, as a price point shopper, are you excited to get your hands a new fall/spring wardrobe for pennies on the dollar?

In your opinion, is surf culture alive, just thriving in different soil, dying or dead?

If dead, who killed?

Let’s name names.