Ultimate surfers. Coming soon.
Ultimate surfers. Coming soon.

Cast finalized for new Fox television North Shore surf drama!

A thrilling blend of local motion.

The World Surf League badly failed with its foray into network television with its much ballyhooed reality series The Ultimate Surfer, the stink so bad that observers wondered if a surf project would ever get greenlit in Hollywood again. Good news, then, for surf and surf-adjacent actors as the Fox television network has finalized the cast for its upcoming North Shore, Oahu surf drama titled “Rescue: Hi Surf.”

Following “the personal and professional lives of the heavy-water lifeguards who patrol and protect the North Shore of O’ahu—the most famous and dangerous stretch of coastline in the world, each episode will feature these dedicated, heroic, and adrenaline-seeking first-responders saving lives in the difficult and often life-threatening conditions of Hawaii’s Seven Mile Miracle.”


But who will play this daring crew of Shepardsons?

Let’s, please, meet them.

Robbie Magasiva will play Harlon “Sonny” Jennings, a surfer, waterman, and North Shore lifeguard captain with deep ties to his community and an iron clad commitment to his team of heavy water first responders. A charismatic leader who inspires courage and loyalty, SONNY’S grief over his nephew’s death threatens to cost him the job and team he loves.

Arielle Kebbel as Emily “Em” Wright is a gal in a lifeguard force that is 90% male, yet still the best. A true maverick, EM is the first female lieutenant in Ocean Safety history, an accomplished surfer and record setting paddler who has her sights set on the captain’s job, a position currently held by Sonny, her struggling mentor and friend.

Adam Demos will play Mick “Micko” O’Brien, an Aussie surfer and certified lifesaver since his nipper days at the local board riders club, Mick came to the North Shore to challenge himself and stayed. Good-natured and loyal, Mick’s blue-collar work ethic and incomparable fitness means he’s game to tackle any situation the ocean throws at him.

Kekoa Kekumano as Keoni “Cheeseburger” Nozaki is confident, competent, and hilarious. Burger is an uber-fit Native Hawaiian lifeguard from Honolulu who patrols the busy North Shore beaches with a style all his own. Fearless in the ocean and never afraid of a good time, Laka loves his job and the lifestyle that comes with it.

Alex Aiono is Ezekiel “Zeke” Lau. Cocky and competitive, sweet but stubborn, Zeke was born into privilege in an upscale neighborhood just outside Honolulu. With a football coach father who’s on the rise, Zeke is defying lots of expectations (like appearing on, and winning, reality television programs) to be a rookie North Shore lifeguard.

And there’s a couple more characters, too, including the flashy Brazilian Philip “Pip” Toledo with oodles of talent yet a cowardly heart, Kelly “Slade” Slater, a former surf champion who just doesn’t know when to let go plus Kaipo “Kaips” Guerrero as himself.

Exciting days ahead.

Open Thread: Comment live on the Nazaré Big Wave Challenge!

Super size me!

Fantasy surf league
Fantasy surf league but ruthless and rich!

World’s richest but most ruthless fantasy surf league opens for 2024 WSL season

Seven thousand American dollars and a fleet of Panda surfboards in winner-take-all bunfight!

You all know the stories of fans winning the Surfer or WSL fantasy surf leagues, beating thousands of other keen surfers, and then getting stiffed of their rightful loot. 

Four years ago, the staggering lack of any prizes in fantasy surf leagues was brought into the spotlight when Berlin-based Australian surfer Shane Starling aka Zmonde, picked ten of the eleven event winners, although his victory came and went unacknowledged by the owners of the game. 

Surfer wasn’t any better, said Starling, describing it as a “dead platform.”

(BeachGrit remedied that situation when we despatched to the former home of the Reich a package of t-shirts and air fresheners,.)

Last year, the Australian husband of Lakey Peterson, Thomas Allen, won the WSL’s Fantasy League, beating an astonishing 115,000 competitors. His prize? Allen said, “I might have to buy myself a trophy”.

And, so, this is why the surfer Taylor Lobdell created Surfival League a few years back. You probs know the game by now, but, if you don’t, it’s real easy.

Instead of picking a team you pick one surfer to advance past the round of 32. 

If they advance, you advance. If they don’t, you’re out. 


And you can’t pick the same surfer twice. 

Last man, or gal, gets seven thousand American dollars courtesy of BeachGrit and Taylor and three Panda surfboards. 

Past winner of Surfival Fantasy Surf League include a construction worker from Colorado a butcher from Bondi and an Australia skipper. 

This year, is it you? 

Wanna put money where mouth is etc? 

Twenty bucks. 

We’ll be updating who’s in, who’s out, after each event.

Sign up here. 

Zombie surf industry apocalypse.
Zombie surf industry apocalypse.

Surfer Magazine robots quake in sockets as parent company lays off entire Sports Illustrated staff

It's a full zombie apocalypse.

The year 2024 has gotten off weird, let’s be quite frank. YouTubers calling out filmers for “blowing out spots,” icons retiring in prime, stickers being ripped off boards hither and yon. The World Surf League refusing to search for a new CEO instead depending on its PR chief and legal chief in order to govern the “global home of surfing.”

Most off, though, is the war between Surfer Magazine’s artificially intelligent robot staff and quaking in various wall sockets as Quiksilver, Billabong, RVCA, Roxy, DC’s owner shakes an angry pitchfork in the air, baying for digital blood.

But here we are and it’s true.

Days ago, Authentic Brands Group, which owns 90% of the aforementioned surf industry, told The Arena Group, which owns “the Bible of the Sport,” that it could not longer use the name or logo of the storied title Sports Illustrated.

You’ll certainly recall the dust up, two months back, when it was revealed that The Arena Group had used “fake AI writers” for Sports Illustrated pieces about playing frisbee, or some such. Surf fans were not surprised, in the least, as months before that, one Emily Morgan was introduced to us. A “woman” who lived in the shadows of Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains and “enjoyed” long walks with her “dog.”

The revelation tanked The Arena Group’s stock and led to the firing of its kinky CEO, who might and should be smashing LinkedIn messages to the World Surf League even as I type.

That was only the start of the troubles.

On Friday, every Sports Illustrated staffer was fired after The Arena Group missed a $2.8 million payment to Authentic Brands Group for the usage of the name Sports Illustrated.

“As a result of this license revocation, we will be laying off staff that work on the SI brand,” Arena Sports told the magazine’s employees in an email.

Surfer Magazine’s algorithm-chasing digital tools very clearly on notice that they, too, could easily become put in the desktop trash bin.

And isn’t it odd.

Zombie Quiksilver, Billabong, Roxy, RVCA, DC vs. zombie Surfer.

Would you have predicted?

Damien Hobgood on Black Death waves and the wipeout that nearly killed him

"Damien Hobgood acted like an animal. It was the most insane performance of talent and courage I’ve ever seen."

There are very few souls in the pro surfing game like Damien Hobgood.

I first met Damien Hobgood on one of my five Teahupoo campaigns at a homestay called Mama and Papa Teva. Along with his twin brother Cliff, Damien patiently and with good humour listened to my narrow-minded college-grad critiques of his religion.

Almost one decade ago, while filming for Strange Rumblings, Dion Agius and other Globe surfers including Creed McTaggart, sought out the circles of Greenbush in Sumatra, Indonesia. Greenbush is one of those waves where tuberiding to the death is preferable to opening the cat-flap or proning straight.

For surfers such as Craig Anderson and, in our case, Damien Hobgood, it is where their courage and their skills are most visible. I’d heard about Damien Hobgood’s solo session at 12-foot at Greenbush from Dion Agius and Creed McTaggart.

As I swooped on their drinks cabinet they mimicked what they believed had transpired. Giant drops beyond the vertical axis! Circles that were so big that even if a camera had been there it wouldn’t have been able to translate its enormity to pixels.

Damien, see, was in Bali and had heard the wave was going to be good and, short of partners, flew, drove and hopped a boat until he was sitting in the channel of an Indonesia version of Teahupoo, ready to surf solo. And solo he did. The following day, when the swell had dropped but was still a respectable, even horrifying, eight foot, Dion and Creed and the rest of the Globe gang arrived. And Damien, hardened from the previous day, owned it.

“Damo acted like an animal out there, like a man possessed. It was the most insane performance of talent and courage I’ve ever seen,” said Dion Agius. “He did not give one fuck and was getting bounced off the reef and bleeding everywhere and just kept charging.”

In this wide-ranging interview, Damien Hobgood talks hunting Black Death waves, the Teahupoo wave that nearly killed him and the true meaning of Christmas.