“When the model works, there’s nothing better. But recently there’s been an imbalance. You know what I’m talking about.”
There’s a friend I grew up surfing with who is really annoying. One of those guys who every time you see him can take you down with a simple, devastating quip.
Maybe it’s because of my hair. My weight. The board that I ride. The turn I just mired.
“Always fuck up those roundhouses I see,” my mate hisses as I paddle backwards.
He is nasty. Clever. Incisive. Sometimes I can’t stand pussy.
But damn, he can hit the bull’s eye. I’m getting balder, fatter. I ride ridiculous boards. I’m still a huge kook.
I will always love him. He holds me accountable like few others will.
Dude, you see, it’s kind of like BeachGrit.
Nasty. Clever. Incisive (or is it cheap, funny, character-revealing?)
Not afraid to say what everyone thinks. Pushing the boundaries in a way that is as instructive as it is destructive. It’s a nice quality to have.
Something I want to see continue here.
I want to take a second, if you will allow me, and consider this virtual establishment in which we find ourselves so regularly stationed.
Like you, I’ve been wandering BeachGrit for a few years now.
I have always been drawn to his honesty. Impetuosity. Irreverence. A pissing culture I first encountered as a kid, during the Rielly-Baker era of ASL and the Kidman-Sutherland era of Waves in the early to mid-90s (although it has deeper roots than that).
The surf media shaped me in my formative years. I hadn’t even started high school by the time I was conditioned by DC Green’s subversiveness, Gonad Man’s rudeness.
For better or for worse, I’ve always been suspicious of anyone who took themselves too seriously. In life and in surfing.
I started reading and commenting here around 2017. My first article was published about a year later.
Post Post-Surf, it was good to see this tradition of cuts continue.
Messrs. Rielly and Smith have developed a strategy for BeachGrit that is as simple as it is effective. Play the algorithm game without any pretension.
Master the art of self-referential clickbait.
By relying on Google Adsense and click revenue from non-endemic advertisements, the Grit has achieved true independence from the cottage industry of surf media. While raking in the biggest online audience of the moment.
A model to which the rest of the surfing world is quickly waking up.
Most importantly, this joint isn’t afraid to kill our idols when they need it. Tell the truth.
In a world of toxic positivity, Tall Poppy Syndrome isn’t the worst thing in the world.
It means certain sacrifices. Things can get a little nasty at times. The definition of surf and surf-adjacent can become blurred.
The Grit has been known to cross the line here and there.
But at its best, this place is performance art. Up-eyebrow-down-eyebrow.
Skewering the surf so gently, but doing it in a way that pays the ultimate homage to it.
When the model works, there is nothing better. BeachGrit and its Teflon Dons hold the surfing world accountable like few others can.
That’s why I come back several times a day. Why I can’t help but love the place. I’m sure it’s the same for you too.
But recently, there has been an imbalance. You know what I’m talking about.
The wild report on Giselle & Kelly. Tom Brady. Shakira. Seth Green. Bill Murray. emrate.
Blatant game of trending names and keywords. More and more loose links to all things surfing. The adjacent surf has become a false surf.
At least Jonah Hill has a tangible connection to our hobby. We could forgive the endless gossip and speculation about his love life, his acting career, his painful indy shake.
But these last efforts?
To paraphrase Colonel Kilgore, Giselle does not surf.
Every day I log on hoping things will fade away. But the hole keeps getting deeper and deeper,
I even listened to a recent episode of the Grit podcast with Chas and David Lee Scales. The Grit is usually a good time.
Voiced in the same idiom as its online sister publication, but with a knowing nod to the audience. An opportunity to point behind the curtain. Break the fourth wall.
Laugh at how ridiculous things are. A chance for DLS to bring Chas online.
But instead, even Scales had become a simpering lackey, pushing single Dorothy Dixers to Chas about her latest round of celebrity posts.
It was a bridge too far. If DLS wasn’t going to keep these bastards honest, who would? Me?
Alright, I can try.
Anyone with basic digital literacy can see this latest stream of content for what it is.
Search engine optimization. SEO. The other thing the Grit does so well. Google “surf” and you’re bound to find recent Grit articles in the top results.
This means they don’t have to rely on Instagram, Facebook or TikTok for their traffic.
But it seems the boys have discovered that just having surf-adjacent keywords isn’t enough to send traffic. Choose any trending topic and add some references in your title, the first couple and watch the clicks roll in.
The biggest little internet surfing website just got bigger. It was a smash hit in terms of ad revenue, I’m sure.
But at what cost ?
With each new celebrity story, I find myself less interested in committing. It’s like my buddy in the surf poring over some mommy jokes or internet conspiracy rants.
I turn off.
C&D worried about whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they had to.
What has been built here is important. It must continue. It’s still the hotbed of surfing dissent. Something to protect.
But the natives are growing impatient.
I recently read a good article on Stab. From a reader. A personal test. About the gentrification of his local break. It was excellent writing, if not fuzzy in places.
One of the best articles I’ve read this year, in print or on the web.
It’s the kind of reading you’ve traditionally come to expect on the Grit. Except it wasn’t.
Admittedly, it was behind the paywall. Even so, it had attracted fifty comments, and counting. More than a couple of household names on this side of the pond.
This could mark a turning point. Stranger things have happened.
Not that I’m giving up on this place. Not by far. Derek gave me my first good shot. Now blossomed into a nice little sideways scramble.
I am eternally grateful.
And as E-Lo, VALs and corporate greenwashers continue their inexplicable rise, this place matters more than ever.
I would love to contribute more, but life and other writing gigs get in the way.
Still, I will try.
I have some new old boards to review. A meeting with a VAL a few weeks ago that could make news. From the surf-bed that has been bubbling in my head for a few months now.
When I have the chance. When is it supposed to happen again?
But in the meantime, Chas and Derek have work to do.
To focus that sharp wit and exuberant anger on the targets that matter.
Like the shoulder-jumping pros and the walls of positive noise. Rogue Sharks and Matt George. Or was it Sam?
And for God’s sake, can you please correct the comment threads so they appear under the correct article?
Yours forever, surfads.