Nina Dobrev before (left) and after with Shaun White (insert) sad.
Nina Dobrev before (left) and after with Shaun White (insert) sad.

Shaun White’s actress girlfriend Nina Dobrev hospitalized after gruesome wipeout on “rabble kook scum” electric bike

"Charlatans all. Including of course the plebeian aspiring surf stars who whore themselves out to the lowest bidder."

Nina Dobrev, the longtime actress girlfriend of snowboard spectacular Shaun White is currently receiving care in a hospital after suffering a gruesome accident on an electric bicycle. The Canadian, who made a name for herself on The Vampire Diaries, had shared a self portrait straddling the machine, cheekily penning “How it started vs how it’s going” underneath.

The next slide should have included a trigger warning. The 35-year-old is lying on a hospital bed, possibly emergency room, with a neck brace, knee brace and maybe bicep brace.

Nina Dobrev (pictured) inert.
Nina Dobrev (pictured) inert.

While not explaining what led to the accident, fans were quick to point out that she wasn’t wearing a helmet though her head does seem to be in working condition. Others, more famous like Sophia Bush, who recently came out as queer, wrote, “Nooooo! You poor babe,” while Dancing with the Stars’ Julianne Hough added, “That’s my girl! 🫠 Obviously wouldn’t make jokes if you were not ok…”

It was not necessarily obvious to those who know neither starlet.

BeachGrit readers will recall the e-bike furor that engulfed our surfing world two years ago when shaper Tyler Warren circulated a petition to have them banned at Lower Trestles. Andy St Onge, author, responded, “The recreational integrity of surfing has been so hopelessly degraded by the combined compounded impact of unrestrained commercialism with hordes of par venu kooks and their endless gear fetishes. Charlatans all. Including of course the plebeian aspiring surf stars who whore themselves out to the lowest bidder. Rabble kook scum one and all.”

BeachGrit readers will also recall when conservative longboard firebrand Joel Tudor posted a video of e-bikes becoming washed away and declared it, “the greatest moment in rewind history.”

So, after the latest Dobrev dustup, where do you stand on e-bikes? Still the future of transportation or a grave menace?

More as the story develops.


Chas Smith salutes the glittering career of retiring world surf champ John John Florence

"You were no Slater. You were Florence."

Yesterday came the unsurprising news that John John Florence, the two-time world champ and most favoured to win this year’s Olympic gold medal at Teahupoo, was, according to a well-placed source, set to retire following the season finale at Lower Trestles in September.

John John Florence, who is the proud daddy to newborn Darwin and husband of model turned horticulturalist Lauryn Cribb, will busy himself with business duties surrounding his eponymous brand FLORENCE, which now employs middle brother, the surfer of the year Nathan Florence, and, most importantly, enjoy the brutally short time on earth we have with our children.

In this, the 100th episode of Chas Smith Hates Surfing, Chas salutes the glittering career of John John Florence

“One thing I would love to do with surfing is retire from it,” says Chas. “I would retire from surfing, not as an old man, aged and broken, I would like to retire from surfing in my prime.

“And that is what we have John John Florence doing. He has thrilled since he was a pint-sized tow-head packing barrels at Pipeline. An impressive young man who grew into an impressive older man.”

But, says Chas, “When people retire in their prime, who’s to blame? I think we know who’s to blame. The World Surf League.”

Essential.


Portugal's Erica Maximo swings at Willow Hardy in "squalid act of surf comedy."
Portugal's Erica Maximo swings at Australia's Willow Hardy in "squalid act of surf comedy."

Historian Matt Warshaw weighs in on “squalid surf comedy” of “bungled hit job” at world junior surfing titles

"Allow the surfers to touch each other. Encourage it. Let my opponent look at me and say 'Let’s fight it out to the end.'"

You’d need to be a lot deeper in the competitive surfing weeds than I am these days to have seen, live, the bungled hit job Erica Maximo of Portugal laid on Australian Willow Hardy during a four-surfer repecharge heat at the recent ISA World Junior Championships in El Salvador.

The set-up is a little complicated (read here), but basically time was running down and Hardy needed a low score to advance.

Maximo herself was out of contention, but her teammate would be eliminated if Hardy got the score, so Maximo decided to sabotage Hardy final wave and take the interference, to ensure her friend would advance.

The result was a squalid bit of surf comedy. Maximo, paddling out, turns around and sneaks into the wave behind the already-riding Hardy. Maximo rides prone for a bit, stands, and immediately shoves and bumps rails with Hardy, who is now hopping and turning as she looks for the score; Maximo then leans forward and yells something at Hardy. A few moments later, falling off her board, Maximo reaches out and tries to pull Hardy’s leash.

The Aussie, somehow, remains unfazed throughout. The response was swift. Online uproar, public shaming, official statements, DQ for Maximo, followed by her tearful Instagram apology.

 

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If you’re jaded enough to see humor in this woeful little pas de deux, as I am, do we also agree that the best part is the announcer, lashed to surfing’s Wall of Positive Noise (or Positive Void, in this case), absolutely refusing to call the action?

“Blue up and riding, 45 second remaining.”

Mayhem onscreen—silence on the mic. Time passes.

“Thirty-five seconds.” More dead air.

“Twenty-five seconds.”

Continued silence as the rides finally plays out, with Hardy stepping off her board, turning, and flipping off Maximo. She got the score. Her result helped push Australia to victory in the Teams competition.

What would Peter Drouyn think?

More specifically, how would he score it?

Drouyn is remembered today for many things, and although I wish his actual wave-riding were ranked higher among his achievements—for five or six years, beginning in 1966, Drouyn was a dark horse contender in any robust world’s-best-surfer debate—I suppose his greatest gift was to promote surfing’s one-on-one competition format.

You silverbacks out there will recall that this happened in 1977, at the debut Stubbies Pro, held in fantastic overhead point tubes at Burleigh Heads. What you may not know is that Drouyn had what he thought was another ace up his kimono: Contact surfing.

“We’re gonna see guys trying to make it through to the next round any way they can,” Drouyn said to Phil Jarratt before the Stubbies contest while discussing the new “effective cheating” rules Peter had just unveiled.

The conversation continued:

Meanwhile, the judges are still awarding points for surfing, the same way they would in a standard competition.
It’s surfing in two categories, yes—physical and creative. The cheating rule is there to give the contest character.

By “character” you mean…
A bit of bloody flair. Something more concrete than what you get in a regular contest; some contact, physical and mental. The surfers need to vibrate off each other in a way that the judges and the spectators can really feel and appreciate. Like in boxing. Allow the surfers to touch each other. Encourage it. Let my opponent look at me and say “Fuck you,” or ”I love you,” or “Let’s fight it out to the end.” Let’s have some contact.

But surely you’re not suggesting that surfing is a real contact sport?
Phil, it can be. I feel it’s the only way surfing is going to become a big money sport. Contact both physically and mentally. A blow must be thrown. I mean, I can dance around a ring for my whole heat, showing style, but what’s the judge going to say? “Oh, Drouyn’s got a lot of style. He would have done well if there’d been a fight.” There must be contact in surfing. A guy can actually whip his opponent off the wave, and they come onto the beach and have a fight if they like. That’s okay. We won’t give any bonus points for it, but the important thing is that they can beat each other up.



One-on-one heats were a hit, contact surfing was not, and I think we all agree that was the right way to go. But credit Drouyn for keeping things interesting and entertaining—for always giving us, as promised, “a bit of bloody flair.”

Here we are 50-something years later having a laugh at the idea—but we’re also fascinated by an Instagram clip of two young CT hopefuls going at each other just as Drouyn envisioned in 1977, which maybe doesn’t prove his point, exactly, although I’d say it pretty strongly makes the case that surf competition by and large remains, as Peter suggests, a quart or two low on flair.

(I’m of the firm belief that Matt Warshaw, along with Dane Reynolds, John John Florence, Stephanie Gilmore, Matt Biolos and a few others, is a keeper of the surf culture flame. These weekly essays are sent to subscribers of Warshaw’s Encyclopedia of Surfing. You can join the club, here, and you should, for five bucks a month or fifty for the year. It’s a million-plus word archive you can bury yourself in for years.)


BeachGrit friends (pictured) sexually confused.
BeachGrit friends (pictured) sexually confused.

Director of Cannes darling ‘The Surfer’ accuses grumpy locals of being “confused about their masculinity”

"They listen to Joe Rogan and Jordan Peterson, explore neo-shamanism and long for a tribe..."

There is nothing more exciting on our surf-adjacent horizon than the new Nicolas Cage vehicle “The Surfer” which brought Cannes’ discerning audience to its feet and kept them there for six minutes. Its Irish director, Lorcan Finnegan, has crafted a rich, lush, sun burnt ode to Australia New Wave cinema of old and recently sat down with Variety in order to provide further insight into his vision.

He shared about how the film is not a “sexy” exploration of our favorite pastime but rather a tense and raw descent into madness. The interviewer, picking up on surfing’s gorgeous image versus what appears on screen, wondered about why everyone was so “aggressive and territorial.” Finnegan, wise, answered, “We talk about pain in this film, so they had to be mean to him. It’s a weird therapy he undergoes in order to find himself, but surf localism really does exist. And not just in Australia! A lot of surfing beaches tend to be in wealthy areas. You have bankers, CEOs, all these ‘strong’ guys who are confused about their masculinity and fall into a weird trap. They listen to Joe Rogan and Jordan Peterson, explore neo-shamanism and long for a tribe, which makes them vulnerable to ‘father figures’ like Scally, played by Julian McMahon. We had fun exploring it in the film.”

Oh.

Shoot.

Are you a “strong” guy confused about your masculinity and stuck in a weird trap?

An explorer of neo-shamanism and Joe Rogan listener?

Vulnerable to a father figure named Negatron?

Fairly damning, I guess.


Kelly Slater and John John Florence.
Who gonna retire first, Kelly Slater, 57, or John John Florence, 33? | Photo: @tsherms/Steve Sherman

John John Florence to retire at end of year after one final swing at winning third world title

“Last year on tour for John John Florence. Will do all stops then say ‘see ya!’” according to the source.

Yesterday, the lovely revelation that two-time world champ John John Florence had just welcomed a baby boy with his wife Lauryn Florence neé Cribb and had named him Darwin after the noted English biologist.

Exhilarating, audacious and in-step with his own mama Alex naming him after the brave little boy, not even three years old and trussed up in a powder blue peacoat, saluting his dead daddy’s casket in 1963. 

A lesser known fact, of course, is John F Kennedy junior got the John-John tag from a White House reporter who misheard JFK senior calling him John twice in a row. No one in the Kennedy fam used it. 

John John Florence turns thirty-three in 2025 and, if the rumour is to believed and it comes from if not ringside, the next row behind, he’ll quit professional surfing to chase waves with his surfer of the year brother Nathan Florence, pursue his business interest with the high-quality surf brand FLORENCE, which now employs Nathan, and enjoy the profound thrill of being a daddy to little Darwin. 

“Last year on tour for John John Florence. Will do all stops then say ‘see ya!’” according to the source.

It makes more than a little sense. 

With small-wave wizard Filipe Toledo, who is virtually unbeatable at the world title decider which is held every September in weak two-foot waves off the tour, John John could conceivably win the third title that has eluded him since his two-pack in 2016 and 2017. 

The retirement will continue the WSL’s leakage of big-name world champs from the tour, including Carissa Moore and Stephanie Gilmore, who may take another swing in 2025 although after watching a year of Molly P and Caity Simmers and with Erin Brooks coming online maybe not, and, possibly, the madcap queen of drama himself Kelly Slater.