Feminist hero Lucy Small telling us now's the time. Photo: Owen Tozer
Feminist hero Lucy Small telling us now's the time. Photo: Owen Tozer

Feminist hero Lucy Small invites BeachGrit community to select surfing’s political bent

Is surfing a Democrat or a Republican?

Now, I don’t have to tell you that we live in hyper polarized times. Those on the left, haughty and cocksure, growling at those on the right, angry and befuddled. Folk generally sticking with people who share the same bent, fraternizing in similar spaces where challenges to an overarching worldview are non-existent. Echoes bouncing off digital walls.

Except, that is, for BeachGrit where people from all walks come together and share in the simple joys of Kelly Slater.

Well, it appears those days are over. In an overnight call to action, feminist hero Lucy Small has declared this, and other, surf communities must once and for all sign surfing up for a political party. “Surfing is political whether we like it or not,” she plainly stated. “So it’s up to us to choose what those politics are.”

Further explaining, she wrote, “I’m working on this theory that basically everything we do is political (I did not make that up) but the access we have to the beach, to surfboards, to travel, to hotels, to surf media, to social media, to surf films, the health of the ocean we surf in etc is all political and our surfer dollars and surfer voices are always contributing to something.”

And continued, “I have been doing some deep deep thinking about all these things lately, reading some books and watching lots of films, trying to understand where surfing is situated in this political universe. Its role in history has mattered a lot and it continues to matter now. So yes, I do understand surfing as a political thing and us surfers are little political beings riding our little political wet energy mounds. Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments and welcome the opportunity to learn more :).”

I honestly have zero idea how “everything we do is political” or what utterly myopic thinker came up with that as the governing principle for life but here we are, I guess. The moment of truth. Is surfing a Democrat? A Republican? Labour? Comités Jeanne? Khmer Rouge? Shining Path?

Other?

Please be a good sport, once we decide, and accept the group decision. Surfing certainly doesn’t need any more splinter factions.


Coffs Harbour surfer Kye Schaefer, stabbed to death in beach carpark.
Coffs Harbour surfer Kye Schaefer, killed in beach carpark after morning surf.

Parents of young surfer stabbed in beach carpark plead for killer to turn himself in

"He didn't do anything wrong. He was just going for a surf before he went to work."

A couple of weeks back bright-faced young surfer Kye Schaefer, twenty-one, a stonemason, had just wrapped up a surf and was readying for work when, well, no one knows exactly what happened, but he was stabbed by an unknown assailant and found dying in the beach carpark, still in his wetsuit.

A local homeless man told local news he saw the surfer, Kye Schaefer, drive into the carpark at six am.

‘This guy’s been coming about six o clock, last three or four days, putting on a wetsuit and going surfing even when it’s flat. Likes to get wet, I guess. I just saw him drive in… did some stretching, came back, and it looked like he was sitting down on the ground against his driver’s door. All I could see was his black legs in his wetsuit. I just thought it was another guy on his phone.”

Kye Schaefer was found suffering multiple stab wounds in his chest and neck beside an orange sedan just before seven am and taken to hospital where he died.

With his alleged killer yet to be caught, Kyle’s parents, ruined by grief, their lives irrevocably darkened, are pleading with the man, or woman, to turn ’emselves into the local cops and atone for his, her, “senseless” act.

“Just be honest and own up for your mistakes in life,” Kye’s Dad, Tony Schaefer, told the press. “Everyone makes them, that’s all I can say.”

“I think no words can sort of ultimately describe how we’re feeling,” said Kye’s mum, Pam Schaefer. “Just the sheer loss of our faith in humanity, really — that’s pretty much it… He didn’t do anything wrong. He was just going for a surf before he went to work.”

Mama Schaefer went on to thank the Coffs Harbour community for their support.

“The love and support of our family and friends have been absolutely phenomenal,” Pam Schaefer said. “That’s what’s kept us out of this black hole.”

As I wrote at the time, the darkest secret of the supposed milk-and-honey run from Sydney to Byron is how soaked so many of these supposedly happy holiday hamlets are in meth and its various cuz’s, its mesmeric pull and fascination swallowing so many souls, as well as the accompanying gun-wielding outlaw motorbike gangs and a general gangster mentality.


Tom Cruise (pictured) naked from the waist up. Maybe.
Tom Cruise (pictured) naked from the waist up. Maybe.

Aged male surfers gape as Tom Cruise takes shirt off on beach

Essential viewing.

An important part of surfing is, of course, getting undressed. Whether in warm climates where toplessness is required or cold where toplessness is a step from clothing to wetsuit, male surfers are forced to take off their shirts. Now, as happens, and especially with surfers, judgements of small details are both important and encouraged. Did the fellow standing nearby shave his chest, for example, and was it a good idea? Did the other fellow, showering off, drink too many beer? As the male surfer ages, these critical perceptions become even more nuanced and valuable.

Enter Tom Cruise.

The 61-year-old movie star is currently filming Mission Impossible 8 in Spain and went to the beach for a swim break thereby jettisoning his blouse.

Fox News described his “toned abs.”

Page Six opted for “chiseled physique.”

New York Post went with “ripped abs and strong muscles.”

While Daily Mail went hard rude, commenting on his “sagging” skin and openly posited that the Top Gun hero had undergone some sort of cosmetic surgery.

And, thus, your expertise is required. If you saw a topless Tom Cruise next to you in the car park, what would you immediately think?

Peek here.

Essential.


Tracks publisher (pictured) seeking to destroy Australia once and for all.
Tracks publisher (pictured) seeking to destroy Australia once and for all.

Iconic surf magazine seeks two traitors to “promote Australia as top surfing destination” on reality tv program

"The ultimate ‘F You’ to mainstream Australia."

If there is one thing surfers like most, when surfing, it is not many/any other surfers. Lineups around the world are incredibly crowded in these the post-Covid days of our lives. Stressed to the breaking point with all manner of new comer, old head, spicy grommet, perpetually immature Gen Zers and worse.

It is with much chagrin in Australia, then, that iconic surf magazine Tracks has partnered with Wanderlust in order to send two 18 – 25 year-olds off on a converted bus in order to promote the country as a “tourist surfing Mecca” for a new reality show.

They will be paid $50,000 Australian dollars each for selling their friends and neighbors out.

“We’ll foot the bill for pretty much everything as you travel up and down the coast attending major surfing events and music festivals, eat and drink at the best pubs and great local restaurants and capture everything in between,” Tracks editor-in-chief Luke Kennedy told the legendary onetime surf journalist Fred Pawle.

“Questioning societal norms is as relevant today for Gen Z youth as it was for surfers living on the fringes of society back in October 1970 when Tracks first appeared in newsagents,” the magazine’s publisher Peter Strain declared, adding, “That’s our magazine’s DNA. The Vietnam War polarised society and dropping out of society and surfing was seen as the ultimate ‘F You’ to mainstream Australia.”

Waving a middle finger in the air, forming mouth into snarl, Bondi surfer/musician Ethan Eshuys has already tossed his wide-brimmed hat into the ring, sharing, “Surfing by day and playing gigs at local pubs by night is a killer combo. This job would let me connect with fellow surfers, enjoy the best waves, and further my music career by hitting up new venues. Plus, promoting Australia as a top surfing destination on a reality TV show is an awesome bonus!”

Rock and roll will never die.

Oh wait…

Apply here.


Transgender surfer Sasha Jane Lowerson, inset, and Blaze Angel, female from birth surfer.
That's Blaze Angel on the right and, inset, celebrated T-Girl Sasha Jane Lowerson striking a coquettish pose.

Pushback against trans-women in surfing continues as top surfer says, “Sasha’s knocked me out of contention for an Australian title… twice!”

“Sasha can duckdive a nine-six longboard. I’ve never seen a woman in my life duckdive a longboard. Never. That in itself is an advantage.” 

Now, before we begin, the usual caveat. The Sydney surfer, Avalon if you wanna be specific, Blaze Angel, hasn’t got a damn thing against any biological man who wants to switcharoo to womanhood. 

“I want to make it obvious, very clear, that I have nothing against transgender people in general. I’m a pretty nice person. I’ve got a transgender member of my family.” 

Blaze, who is twenty-two, even has “You Do You” tattooed on her upper torso.

But, when it comes to former men competing against the girls, well, having surfed against the celebrated, inspirational and, as her last Instagram post demonstrates, wildly glamourous trans-surfer Sasha Jane Lowerson, Blaze says there’s a few things you should know, and probably haven’t thought about. 

Like, paddle speed. 

“When I first met Sasha at the Noosa Festival of Surfing, I was quite intimidated, based on her size and stature. I’m five-foot-two…tiny!… and when we surfed against each other there was one situation when we were both paddling back out and we were in a paddle battle to get priority. She just absolutely zoomed past me and I was paddling my little heart out! But she zoomed past so quick and I was, whoa, I can’t compete with that. My little arms won’t go that quick.” 

Blaze Angel, surfing.
Blaze Angel, styling in a heat.

And, duck diving. 

“Sasha can duckdive a nine-six longboard. I’ve never seen a woman in my life duckdive a longboard. Never. That in itself is an advantage.” 

Blaze says she’s beaten Sasha Jane Lowerson, who won the WA’s men’s state title in 2019 back when she was a he, a couple of times, but, more often, loses to her physically superior counterpart. 

“She’s knocked me out of contention for an Australian title twice now which is pretty frustrating. It’s discouraging for a lot of young girls. I’m old enough, I’m an adult, I can handle it. If I was a kid I’d have been so upset losing out on an Australian championship to a biological male.” 

Blaze Angel is a rarity  for calling, to use a hackneyed expression, a spade a spade. She says she’s had hundreds of positive comments, and a handful of nasty as hell messages, too, in response to her post on TikTok siding with Bethany Hamilton in the trans gals in surfing debate.

I ask her  if she believes there’s an undercurrent of opposition to transwomen in surf contests but other girls are too unafraid to give their opinion, publicly. 

“I’ve had so many messages, like, thank you for standing up for us, we’re too scared to do that because as soon as you say something you’re labelled transphobic. In particular, a couple of surfer girls reached out to me and said, ‘Hey, we competed against Sasha and lost the WAL state titles and we were really upset and didn’t know what to do and we’re scared to say anything. We have to face the facts, the testosterone levels, even at the WSL-ISA approved levels, are still so much higher than that of females. And that causes unfair advantages.”

So many sides to story!