“It’s better to burn all weekend like a flare than fizzle like a damp sparkler in a crumbling, onshore rivermouth.”
One of my odder compulsions, apart from checking Facebook marketplace every thirty minutes for Italian furniture being sold by deceased states or first editions of Golda Meir’s My Life, is reading historical quotes, letters between authors and reportage from great events years after the fact.
(Quick aside: is this the best piece of reportage you’ve ever read?)
And there’s always a symmetry to ’em, a variation of the “Surfing is the source swear to God” line from 1991’s Point Break.
So, I figured, we’ve been around nine years, there’s been a fine run of writers above and below the line, let’s remember the 50 best quotes in surfing, as seen through the eyes of BeachGrit.
(Twenty-five today, twenty-five tomoz.)
“I’d be mad too if I was James Hewitt’s unacknowledged, illegitimate kid, got essentially kidnapped and held hostage by the royal family, was forced to pretend that boring, square Prince Charles was my dad all those years, then they cut off my trust fund, and disapproved of my hot, American wife cause it didn’t fit into their ongoing inbreeding program.” Kelly Slater feels Prince Harry’s pain.
“He is afraid of hitting the coral … It’s something that stays in his head.” Ricardo Toledo on two-time world champ son Filipe’s fear of Teahupoo.
“Sorry, Gray, I think you wanting suck my dick! Sorry but will not give. I am well settled sexually, and besides, my wife will you!! Fuck yourself…” Ricardo Toledo, again, this time in an online blood feud with big-wave surfer Alex Grey, words posted along with a photo of himself in a bikini brief.
“Mastery can be motivation. With it must come a deep rooted fear that you might be knocked off at any moment, a hunger to keep proving you’re the best. Toledo has a world title already, but it hasn’t lessened the chip on his shoulder.” JP Currie on Filipe Toledo’s win in El Salvador, 2023.
“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.” JP Currie understands the rise in quit-lit all too well.
“It’s better to burn all weekend like a flare than fizzle like a damp sparkler in a crumbling, onshore rivermouth.” JP Currie
“Surfing ain’t rebellion from anything, least of all the trappings of the post-modern capitalist surveillance state. Still, it remains a far better addiction to grow old with. The best ever.” Steve “Longtom” Shearer ain’t down with quit-lit and gonna surf till he dies.
“I can feel the pressure wave on my legs. White shark does a slow circle around me. I can see it the whole time in the crystal clear water. Comes in nice and slow right underneath me and rolls over. The big pectoral fins look like a plane, the white belly almost gleams in the sun against the dark rocks. We eyeball each other.” Steve “Longtom” Shearer meets a Great White at Lennox Head.
“There is no fear, no frozen feelings, no panic. Just a profound moment of inter-species communication across the gulf of millions of years of evolution. In that black eye I can already see it has decided I am not prey.” Steve “Longtom” Shearer meets a Great White at Lennox Head.
“Writing me out of the blue talking shit is such a crock of shit. Accusing me of being a racist? My girlfriend is Chinese. You’re on glue. You’re a miserable coward. And now you’re blocked.” Kelly Slater hits back at an online troll.
“You just like to drop in but when someone returns the favor you are the biggest whining bitch in the world then after you are done whining you go call the police!!! Is that what you (t)each as a life coach, who to be a whining bitch go back to Africa Kook!” Christian Fletcher on surfing hall-of-famer Shaun Tomson.
“Fuck the WSL” Noa Deane.
“The guy has been wearing a blue belt for years in pics and always made excuses when I would call him on it! If he wants his belt , tell him to go sign up and put in the work like everybody else.” Jiujitsu black belt and three-time world longboarding champ Joel Tudor on Kelly Slater posing with a blue belt, the second in the five-belt BJJ grading system.
“So that’s it, that’s a wrap, I’m hanging up my Mavz Gunz and never going to paddle out again. I don’t want my last day to be an injury, because I feel too old, or I am bitter at the crowds. It’s because I am 50 years old (old af) and the timing is perfect. The day was perfect, the vibe was perfect, and my time to kick out…..perfect.” Ken “Skindog” Collins quits surfing Mavericks.
“In an era where Australia is being subjected to incredible levels of suppression of free speech and medical choice Kelly Slater should be applauded for taking a public stand for use of alternative treatments and opinions that have always been our prerogatives as Australians.” Testosterone-squirting big-wave icon Ian “Kanga” Cairns.
“The apex predator of the patriarchy is white men.” Lucy Small, longboarder and activist.
There’s a reason that Surfer has not been in politics and that’s because surfing is a place where we can retreat from name calling and shit-fuckery over politics, race, gender, religion etc you just shat where you eat. Surfing is about a great family where all that bullshit doesn’t matter. It’s one of the last places where we collectively agree about one thing: are the waves great.” Ian “Kanga” Cairns.
“(I’m) a direct recipient of sexism, homophobia and inequality.” Two-time world champ Tyler Wright.
“I’m rebuilding a relationship with surfing because of the drastic and extreme circumstances that I was raised in.” Two-time world champ Tyler Wright.
“I’m the only queer person on tour, so my wife is the only other queer person I know most of the time. I love everyone around me but she makes such a difference in a way only she really can.” Two-time world champ Tyler Wright.
“I’ve surfed in sharky areas my whole life, I actually love that feeling of going into the wilderness where it’s dangerous. I just don’t want my kids to get eaten.” Ian “Kanga” Cairns.
“I have a huge THANK YOU to Dirk Ziff for supporting pro surfing, but, ethically, I don’t believe in any one person being the owner of the sport.” Ian “Kanga” Cairns.
“No other place on earth is so falsifiably mytho-poetically rhapsodized over by post-modern knowledge workers.” Steve “Longtom” Shearer on Byron Bay.
“It’s a monument to greed wearing a spiritual cloak. A glittering dream metastasized into a malignant nightmare. The bastard spawn of unhinged neoliberalism and grinning hippy capitalists running riot in an orgy of aimless consumption in the spiritual supermarket. Ayn Rand on a mid-length.” Steve “Longtom” Shearer on Byron Bay.
“This thing was massive, a huge tunnel, and I could see Kelly coming right down it in front of me… 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.” Racing car driver Lewis Hamilton confronts death on a wave he describes as 25 feet.
“Take your shirt off.” Former WSL CEO Erik Logan to world champ Filipe Toledo.