“At some level I’m super impressed that WSL put it out there. It feels incredibly fifth column. It’s like if Wild Wild Country was released as a promo for Rajneesh.” Matt Warshaw on the WSL’s Sound Waves episode featuring Kelly Slater and mystic Charlie Goldsmith.

The 50 Best Quotes in Surfing, “Kelly Slater in middle age is anti-factual, irresponsible, and flagrantly narcissistic”

The Matt Warshaw edition!

Yesterday, we presented part one of our fifty best quotes in surfing special, a search engine optimisation story designed to be evergreen and which was forcefully suggested by a man in Chicago who is an expert in these sorta things and who comes highly recommended. 

A terrific gap, of course, with the exclusion of Seattle-based surf historian Matt Warshaw, a man whose striking and vivid stories grip the reader like no other writer.

Here, therefore, are twenty-five of Warshaw’s best although the list is in no way complete or exhaustive. Feel free to add yours below the line. 

“He was the slouching near-mute apotheosis of surf-cool: draining an afternoon beer, flicking a cigarette butt to the side before riding the biggest, thickest, meanest wave of the day.” Matt Warshaw on Pat Curren.

“Surfing is no longer hip or cool; who cares? We’re still out there riding, surrounded by ocean…” Matt Warshaw. 

“The target, or sweet spot, or pleasure zone, got smaller and smaller, and I got tired of firing and missing. It dipped way below that 9-to-1 ratio, and I buckled. From age 45 on, my rails were stickier, the takeoffs were harder, and next thing I’m kicking the trashcan like Coach on Letterkenny screaming ‘It’s fucking embarrassing.’” Matt Warshaw on quitting surfing in middle age.

“Waves are the whole show. Waves are the only interesting thing about surfing. You’re a poetry-hating anti-New Age atheist with a penchant for hardcore rationalism? Same here. But at some level we know, we feel, that we are riding ocean-transported sunbeams, and it is magical.” Matt Warshaw on the indefinable joy of surfing. 

“We’ve traded magic for perfection.” Matt Warshaw on the unveiling of Kelly Slater’s Lemoore wavepool in 2016.

“Surfing in a wavepool is… take your pick. Parkour, half-pipe, gymnastics. Except worse, because those sports will never be any better or worse than what they are, while surfing in a wavepool you’re kind of sticking your finger in the eye of the whole deal.” Matt Warsaw on wavepools.

“John Florence, to me, is the blankest of all slates. I don’t say that to be cruel. But it’s like the way people talk about Ronald Reagan, where you try and look inside him and just get… nothing.” Matt Warshaw on two-time world champ John John Florence. 

“One hundred percent bullshit, all of it. But that doesn’t take anything away from how full-on addicted we all were, maybe still are, to riding inside the tube. I can’t explain it.” Matt Warshaw on the mysticism of tuberiding. 

“Surf media is always 95% crap and 5% great.” Matt Warshaw on the gatekeepers. 

“The Endless Summer showed what it’s like to be a surfer on the hunt — or the family-friendly version, anyway; no drugs, no drinking, no pussy.” Matt Warshaw on the most popular surf movie of all time. 

“At some level I’m super impressed that WSL put it out there. It feels incredibly fifth column. It’s like if Wild Wild Country was released as a promo for Rajneesh.” Matt Warshaw on the WSL’s Sound Waves episode featuring Kelly Slater and mystic Charlie Goldsmith. 

“It’s an embarrassment. Not for Keala, but the WSL.” Matt Warshaw on Kauai’s Keala Kennelly winning a big-wave world title without successfully standing up on one wave.

“Suicidal jihadists gave us a world champ, and I think it’s surfy to laugh at that.” Matt Warshaw on CJ Hobgood’s 2001 world title. 

“Ewing’s surfing is beautiful, you could admire it all day, but Toledo leaves you on the edge of your seat.” Matt Warshaw on Finals Day, 2023. 

“Fail-wise, it was just beyond epic.  And so very public… Filipe’s deal is un-spinnable. He isn’t ready for prime time at Teahupoo…Matt Warshaw on Filipe Toledo’s zero heat total at Teahupoo in 2015. 

“WSL decision-making is so bad it feels like performance art.” Matt Warshaw on the World Surf League’s direction, leadership etc.

“Martin Potter’s jaw-grinding voice sounds as if its been filtered through six espresso shots and a migraine headache. Ross Williams’ has me considering preemptive adenoidal surgery for my son. Rosy Hodge? Who can hear her above the angel choir and softly strumming lutes?” Matt Warshaw on WSL commentators. 

“I’m going to hate-watch the Surf Ranch Pro, and hope it fails so badly that Sophie flies to Honolulu and throws signed checks at the feet of the powers that be to restore the Pipe Masters.” Matt Warshaw on the wildly unpopular Surf Ranch Pro. 

“Pottz just seems irritated at all times. He’s kind of a bully. He likes to intimidate. He’s always been that way, even at 15. It made him great as a surfer, but it doesn’t work in the booth.” Matt Warshaw on now-disappeared commentator Martin Potter, also the 1989 world champ. 

“Joe brings nothing to the table but mellow, mindless enthusiasm, and yeah it drives me nuts.” Matt Warshaw on milquetoast ball-by-ball commentator “Smoking” Joe Turpel.

“Filipe Toledo and Stephanie Gilmore are both righteous champions atop a glitzy, flimsy, hapless professional organization.” Matt Warshaw on the Finals Day concept. 

“Surfing, like all forms of entertainment, need villains, and because Medina is as good a villain as he is a rider of waves the sport is infinitely better for his presence.” Matt Warshaw on triple world champ Gabriel Medina.

“I find it refreshing, purifying even, that Medina goes about his work with so few fucks given as to what we all think about him.” Warshaw on Medina. 

“The mute button is Viagra for my WCT attention span —the quieter it is, the longer I last.” Matt Warshaw don’t like WSL commentary. 

“Kelly Slater’s life as a surfer of incomprehensible talent, in and out of the contest arena, at this point seems completely divorced from his life as a surfing entrepreneur. I can’t square the two.” Matt Warshaw on the greatest athlete in history Kelly Slater. 

Taj Burrow at Cloudbreak. Memories... Photo: WSL
Taj Burrow at Cloudbreak. Memories... Photo: WSL

Jeffreys Bay officially out, Cloudbreak in, Lower Trestles to crown Filipe Toledo (again) as World Surf League releases 2024 Championship Tour schedule!

Let's get ready to grumble!

The World Surf League snuck its official 2024 schedule to collaborationist surf media, overnight. BeachGrit’s spam folder lonely. But let us not be sad. Let us, instead, be mad or glad.

The tour kicks off at the Banzai Pipeline at the end of January followed by Sunset, Peniche, Bells and Margaret.

Mid-season cut.

Then straight to Teahupo’o in May, El Salvador, Brazil and… Cloudbreak, making a triumphant return.

The Final 5 showdown left open at Lowers.


Filipe Toledo’s third consecutive championship assured.

Carissa Moore’s robbing also guaranteed.


Decorated skier Lindsey Vonn desperately seeks surfer help after getting stung on buttocks by massive jellyfish!

"...at least I caught some waves before."

We surfers, we riders of the sea, are not good for much. Selfish, generally poor at time management, forever crafting plans to sneak away from family functions in order to smack a little lip. BUT there are certain times, certain places, where our expertise is absolutely essential. Navigating airline check-in counter bag weighing machines, for instance, or knowing how to properly deal with painful jellyfish stings.

And thus we have Lindsey Vonn turning her eyes, welling up with tears, in our direction, begging for our help.

The last we saw from the highly decorated skier, she was learning the art of the e-foil while being forced to deal with thirsty messages from a testosterone-soaked Mark Zuckerberg.


Today, though, she is desperate.

Taking to Instagram, the one-time all-time leader in World Cup race victories shared:

“What started off as a great day ended in a giant jellyfish sting/bite… I literally rode over it as I was getting up on the wake surf board. thanks to everyone who gave advice on remedies. Think it’s gonna leave a mark for a while … at least I caught some waves before!”

It was, of course, the surfers in her feed who gave advice on remedies.

The most popular?


Or them telling her she was “hot AF.”


But how do you deal with the painful barbs of the mean ol’ jellyfish?

Do you soak in a nice hot tub, drinking a glass of chilled rosé or… something else?

“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.  | Photo: @lewishamilton/WSL/@erikelologan

The 50 Best Quotes in Surfing

“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?)

Sites claiming best quotes in surfing, however, have always been a disappointment. Nice enough, words from Bethany Hamilton, Laird, Phil Edwards, Miki Dora etc, but y’heard ’em all before am I right?

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. 

Kelly Slater at J-Bay. Both likely gone. Photo: WSL
Kelly Slater at J-Bay. Both likely gone. Photo: WSL

Jeffreys Bay cancellation by World Surf League all but certain as South African media reports its “potentially criminal” demise

"It seems that El Salvador will be the replacement..."

Two days ago, the surf world was shocked when a rumor, or rumour, leaked that the “global home of professional surfing,” or World Surf League, was set to cancel the Jeffrey’s Bay stop after the event became “financially unviable.” Per Derek Rielly’s crack reporting:

It ain’t cheap to run a CT surfing contest. For the construction, the broadcast, for Smoking Joe Turpel to mouth inanities for a week straight, it’s gonna be three mill, and then some.

The publishing heir Ziff, who’s worth around six billion, threw twenty-five mill straight into the pro surfing hole and by 2016, according a 2017 lawsuit filed by a minority owner of the WSL, had spent fifty mill, although this did include Slater’s Lemoore pool, the WSL’s one glittering investment.

Rumours of the WSL being shopped around for sale with at ticket price of 150 million remain strong, however, including interest from oil-rich Arab states where the first Slater pool outside of Lemoore is being built.

Still, a smart man ain’t gonna throw good money after bad and, now, one of the most popular events on the ten-event tour schedule, the Jeffreys Bay Open, is on the cutting block according to sources who say the blue-chip contest is “financially unviable.”

Or, in shorthand, no government body in South Africa is prepared to throw millions into a two-week contest that delivers a short-lived boost to the local economy.

Now, according to the South African surf site Wavescape, the sad business is all but confirmed. According to the piece “J-Bay Cancelled:”

Sources close to the matter say that the J-Bay leg of the CT had a significant shortfall in 2023, and that the total income locked down for 2024 meant a similar loss next year, and time – and patience – has run out. This comes not for want of trying to secure the event’s future.

“In a country like Australia, state governments are falling over themselves to host more WSL events in an already congested lineup of events in Australia because they appreciate what this does to the local economy, with a huge economic injection when thousands of local, state and overseas visitors come to a town for 10 days.”


“It seems that El Salvador will be the replacement,” the source said, adding that it was a cruel irony that here in South Africa, there was little broader political appreciation of what it meant to host a global sport event of this magnitude, of being one of 11 high profile stops on a global tour not dissimilar to Formula 1 in some respects, especially considering things beyond the hard cash element. Things like prestige, gravitas, and a platform for local regions to showcase themselves to the world.

I’d argue that the billionaire-owned World Surf League should actually do South Africa a solid and pay for the honor of hosting an event at J-Bay, not the other way around.

Though in any case, how do you like them apples?

While I’m certain the sentiment inside the World Surf League is, “Quit your whining you degenerate ingrates,” the disappearance of one of the best waves in the world and its permanent replacement by El Salvador won’t exactly be a ratings or reputation boon. Possibly even potentially criminal with much distress and purposeful angst being caused.

As below average waves now make up the vast majority of the tour, will viewers stick around?

Will surfers?

Further rumors that the World Surf League is set on hosting each and every finals day from here on out at Lower Trestles shreds some of the last bits of dignity though, if other rumors are true, none of it matters. Namely, the aforementioned of the whole shooting match being shopped to sheiks who would move the competitions to Qatari pools and pay enough for competitors to shut their mealy mouths.

Filipe Toledo easily surpassing Kelly Slater’s heretofore untouchable 11 titles.

Time as ripe as ever for a “rebel tour.”

Or is professional competitive surfing finally and officially dead?

Also, and last question here, will the vanishing of a true surfing icon (J-Bay) be too much for Joe Turpel, Strider Waz, Pete Mel etc. to take? They are all true surfers to the very core and I’d imagine it’d be difficult not to at least publicly mourn the world’s greatest right hander.

Or have they all sold soul entirely?

Bahrain bound.