Darren Criss (left) and his onscreen love interest ponder Brother (insert).
Darren Criss (left) and his onscreen love interest ponder Brother (insert).

Former television star comes under fire for naming son after famous professional surfer

"You know he's never going to win a World Surf League Championship Tour event now, don't you?"

There was once a musical comedy on Fox television called Glee. In it, actors, playing high school students, used the songs of Journey and Bonnie Tyler to help them through their struggles with their sexuality. There were many stars including Lea Michele, Mark Salling and Darren Criss who brought Blaine Anderson to life. First appearing in season two, Criss performed “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry and was so popular that show creators paired him with the much-loved bullied gay character Kurt.

The two were later married.

Offscreen, the classically handsome 37-year-old is married to a woman named Mia, the two just welcoming their second child, a son.

And this is where our trouble begins. Criss and wife introduced the boy on Instagram, as couples do, declaring that he had named his son after famous professional surfer Kolohe Andino.

“M & D (Mia and Darren) just delivered their follow-up single. Brother László Criss. 6/3/24. And yes his first name is Brother 💛.”

Ridicule was swift.

“Darren… I adore you… But you just doomed your kid to mockery for the rest of his life,” one fan penned.

“If you need to say ‘yes his name really is…’ chances are you picked a bad name. The future girlfriend/boyfriend is gonna be calling him Brother,” another added.

Twisting the knife, a third declared, “You know he’s never going to win a World Surf League Championship Tour event now, don’t you?”

Criss, thus far, has maintained his silence but I think Brother is as fine a name as any and should be considered by our own Surf ads as he embarks upon his own journey.

Don’t stop believin’.

Surf fight
Kung fu fights, a regular occurrence on beaches during the nineteen-eighties as alpha males fought over the ownership of waves.

How a beautiful form of surfing localism emerged from its dark roots of violence, misogyny and child abuse

Anybody still pushing toxic localism needs to get their head checked. It's gone the way of landlines and affordable housing.

It’s the year 2000. A camping ground near a quiet back beach on the mid north coast of NSW, Australia. Sometime around midnight. A 15 year old surfads huddles silently in a cheap two-man tent with four or five other grommets, while anarchy descends outside.

“WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU JUST CALL ME, CUNT?: comes the scream from some tortured, torched demon, only metres away.


“FUCKEN DO IT THEN, CUNT,” is the twisted response.

We’re on a boardriders club weekend trip. For a few of us it’s the first time we’ve been away without our parents. Our first-ever real surf mission.

Excitement levels are high. After somehow getting the ok from my parents, a towel and a wetty were thrown into an old school bag along with a change of shirt and my favourite SMP hoody. A new wax job on the 5’7″ and I was set to go. Dropped at the pick-up spot five Saturday morning with a crew of about 30 of the core local crew, and our meagre junior contingent. The only groms in the club.

It started out well. We arrived mid-morning Saturday on the tail end of an east coast low to find a premium A-frame beachie doing its thing with not another soul around. Memorable sessions were had.

After a day of pumping surf the older crew had hit the cans. Hard. It was all laughter and good times to begin with. But when the grommy contingent went to bed around nine, things quickly devolved.

It wasn’t like we’d gone away with a group of strangers. We had all spent time with all the older heads in the water. At comps. On the beach.

But it was their alter-egos out that night. The crazy ones. Characters we had only heard about in whispers and hushed tones were now roaming around the campsite, juiced up and seemingly ready to kill.

What the fuck was going on? Were they gonna come for us next?

In the tent, one curious grom switches a torch on to try and get a look at what’s going on out there. We quickly pull him back in. It’s like we’re stuck in Jurassic Park.

Someone’s laughing now. Or are they crying? There’s an eerie quiet. More shouting. Unintelligible words.

A blood-curling scream. Like a pig being gutted. Broken bottles. The thud of heavy feet running on the ground. Somebody being crash tackled.

Then right out the front of our tent.


We cower in the dark, waiting for one of them to tear the zipper open. To rip us apart like a velociraptor or the Yowie we’d heard so many stories about on the drive up. An evil spirit that carries wayward grommies off into the sand dunes, never to be seen again.

I switch off the torch, sit dead still. I pull my hoody up over my face and try to disappear completely.

But the attack never eventuates. The evil spirits spare us. They wouldn’t touch the grommies. At least we hoped they wouldn’t.

Finally there’s an unbroken silence. Safety in the quiet.

“Fucken hell,” one of the other groms whispers from the dark. “This is sick.”


It’s been said many times that localism is a disease. If it was still 2000, and I was still that grommy cowering in the tent, I’d agree. Fuck, even 2010 was pretty backwards.The surfing community in general has always systemic issues with violence, misogyny, substance abuse etc etc. Many of them are still there today.

I cut my teeth surfing in a working class town. Most of us kids were from middle to low socio-economic status, like the generations before us. You either grew up in the housing commission flats on the beach or caught the bus in from out west. Lots of single parent families. Absent role models. A reputation for hard hitters and enforcers who weren’t scared to throw down at the slightest perceived transgression. And that was before they hit the piss.

We looked up to the best and the strongest and the scariest.

But that’s all changed. Rock up at my local – or any regulation beachie outside the skitzo Superbank/Pass/Bondi zone – and you’ll find a completely different scene.

Crowds are still worse than they ever were. Tempers still flare. But fist fights are a thing of the pansubsst. There’s still a few heated words and splashes on busy days, sure. But I could count on one manicured hand the amount of fights I’ve seen in the surf in the last ten years. They’re now the last resort, instead of the first. And more often than not it’s between local crew as opposed to being inflicted on outsiders.

Localism is moving with the times. It’s less a rigid set of teachings than an ideology. Creating a community through surfing.

The way it was taught back in the day was, with the benefit of hindsight, wrong. Especially by today’s standards. But the fundamentals are still there. Respect. Support. Community. The ideology is sound.

It’s just the tactics that have changed.

I’m still a part of that same boardrider’s club. It’s developed from being an excuse for a monthly piss up to an active and engaged member of the local community. It supports junior development with specialised training. The women’s division is going from strength to strength and was an early adopter for awarding equal prize money.

It donates to local charities and progressive causes. Builds what the corporates would call social licence to operate. It also enforces good behaviour amongst its members. It’s a family club first and foremost. You fuck up at the beach or out on the piss in front of the rest of the community and you’ll be sanctioned for it.

It’s stayed in touch with its roots. A lot of the crew who were around back in the wild old days are still there now. But they’ve mellowed with time. And the culture of the younger crew is different.

This is par for the course at most urban and regional beaches.

But one thing that hasn’t changed is line up meritocracy. Talent plus time in the water at certain spots still dictates the hierarchy, especially at some of the more guarded spots.

It’s not just where to sit, where to jump off. There’s line up etiquette. Who you can jostle with. Who you should avoid. The sort of things you take with you when you visit other breaks.

The ocean belongs to everyone, sure. But like with any pursuit in life there’s rules and law you’ve gotta abide by. Dues to pay. Time. Repetition. Commitment. Good will. Selflessness. Practise those and you will be rewarded.

There’s always going to be arseholes around. But anybody still pushing that ‘80s brand of toxic localism needs to get their head checked. It’s gone the way of landlines and affordable housing.

But that’s just like, my opinion, man.

How’s the localism scene play out in your neck of the woods? Still as potent as ever?

Or perhaps it’s now only channelled into the online space? Angry, anonymous, anachronous voices flailing against the progressive tides of time?

Surf and Mrs. Ads and li'l baby Siobhan.
Surf and Mrs. Ads and li'l baby Siobhan.

Beloved surf personality asks fellow derelicts to name unborn baby daughter

"Throw your best suggestions at me and perhaps BeachGrit can call naming rights for its first ever human."

Now, I know some reading this very post don’t listen to The Grit! (subscribe here) and actively oppose its very idea. I’d get it, if it was just me n David Lee shootin’ the breeze, but the program has become so much more than that. Somehow, in some way, it has become a gathering place for the best and brightest to share inspiration, provide helpful advice and correct my sometimes dangerous opinions.

An aural homestead, if you would.

Today’s episode featured the most uplifting story you will ever hear about a man meeting his childhood idol, Tony Alva, and it exceeding expectations, an important lesson in “enshittification” and…

…our beloved Surf ads asking for help.

“Mrs Ads and I are currently expecting baby number 2 and find ourselves right in the thick of the naming process” the multi-hyphenate writer-commenter-instagram-impressario began. “Long lists create short lists which go back to long lists again when we draw from the multitude of reasons to not stick whatever particular name we find. Wife has been critical of my level of involvement thus far in that my only contribution has been the name “Goody” for a girl, which is rather problematically stolen from The Crucible (Goody being short for the common Puritan term ‘Goodwife’). So I thought fuck it – why not crows source the work instead. Throw your best suggestions at me and perhaps The Grit!* can call naming rights for its first ever human.”

Well how do you like them apples?

David Lee Scales and I, of course, dove right in, providing the best practices for naming though I didn’t stumble upon what I feel to be a perfect choice until the very end. Oh you must listen to find out what it is, but in the meantime, what’s your suggestion?

Help a brother out.

Here’s also a hint regarding my suggestion.

*Baby names that come from the podcast audience will be thoughtful and lovely. The ones generated here will either open the very gates of hell or be works of art. Probably the former, tbh.

Bethany Hamilton (left) pictured infuriating folk. Photo: Sharkbanz
Bethany Hamilton (left) pictured infuriating folk. Photo: Sharkbanz

One-armed surf legend Bethany Hamilton flogged in public square for promoting shark deterrent device

"Burn, Bethany, burn!"

It would, and maybe should, be thought that Bethany Hamilton could do no wrong. The Kauai-based professional surfer needs no introduction. Her bravery and poise after losing an arm to a tiger shark at 13-years-old, is the stuff of legend. Hamilton went on to surf and inspire, coming as close to superhero as modern humanity has.

And yet, somehow, she has become a lightning rod. Her stance on sporting transes likely set off a snarling opposition and now, I guess, her partnership with shark deterrent bracelet (or anklet) Sharkbanz.

The mother of four took to Instagram, three days ago, in order to share that, “Sharkbanz are designed to help you overcome your fear of sharks 🦈 and to minimize the risk!”

Thus opening the floodgates of rage.

Commenters denounced her for “capitalizing on fear” following the horrific attack in Florida wherein a young girl lost an arm and a leg. Others slammed her for “those scam bracelets that supposedly give some good vibes in your life.” An underwater photographer sneered that Sharkbanz are “great for a false sense of security,” adding that an underwater photographer friend hand fed sharks while wearing one.

On and on and on it went and my goodness gracious. I understand making light fun of Sharkbanz technology (read here) but tarring and feathering the courageous Bethany Hamilton?

What have we become?

The Egan House at 411 Woolooware Road, Burraneer, NSW.
Bulldoze if you wanna destroy the ambience or give the joint a quick blow and go to make it liveable and move straight in.

“Best all-round surfer in the world after Kelly Slater” lists multi-million dollar beach shack on sprawling quarter-acre estate!

Unpolished mid-century diamond a short drive from a litany of world-class waves seeks new owner…

A little over one year ago, the former world #2 Luke Egan, described as the “the best all-around surfer in the world after Kelly Slater”, sold his redundant beachside bunker for six-mill, shovelling $3.5 mill from the sale into a a mid-century shack on a sprawling hunk of wildly fertile dirt wrapped in a downy luminous green grass.

The Morris House, as it was called, was offered for the first time in sixty-four years and, even in its slightly run-down form on Sydney’s exclusive Burraneer peninsula there it had a gorgeous skeleton that required little more than a quick blow and go, as they say, to make it spectacularly liveable.

Surprise, then, when the joint reappeared on the market recently, listed for auction on June 29 with hopes, obviously, of a little more than the three-and-a-half the Egans, which also includes his Fox Sports presenter wife Jess Yates, paid in December 2022.

With buying and selling costs hitting a quarter-of-a-mill anything under four mill will be considered a rare misstep for the home-flipping whiz, whose real estate chips are the stuff of legend. 

Egan, who turns fifty-five this year, retired from the world tour prematurely, it was felt, in 2005 to become a marketing manager for Billabong, leaving eight years later.

Egan shifted his myriad surfing skills into a gig as an elite surf coach, helping propel Joel Parkinson and Caroline Marks to world titles and, lately, was in Cole Houshmand’s corner when he drove his jackboot into the neck of Gabriel Medina to win the Bells Beach  tournament.

Want to buy 411 Woolooware Road, Burraneer, and live a decent life with sunshine on your face, grass to gambol upon and all a shortish drive to world-class waves?

Contact the selling realtor here.