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Slaves: WSL surfers sell souls?

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

What would you pay to use your favorite surfer in any way you saw fit?

A few weeks ago, Albee Layer posted an Instagram shot of himself cruising Jaws that had been used by Apple in an advertising campaign, writing in the caption:

I don’t remember agreeing to this. I should sue apple haha. But on a real note I think it’s kind of weird that people just show up to places like jaws take photos or video with no ones permission then make money off of it with no benefit to the surfers.

Something about it struck me as funny but I moved on without giving it much more thought… until the same image popped onto my screen as I was sending a large file using Wetransfer (above). There he was again. Cruising.

Then again on a World Surf League Jeep ad. Cruising.

And then epiphany! There is no person showing up to places like Jaws taking photos or video with no ones permission then making money off of it with no benefit to the surfers. The World Surf League must be doing it! Am I right? Which made me wonder, does the WSL own the rights of any/all professional surfer images? Like, if you sign up for one of the tours/WSL specialty events from the CT to the QS to the Big Wave do you also sign over your likeness? And not just surfing in the event, as the Albee photo is not from competition?

I totally bet so!

And if the League is then theoretically turning around and selling images to Apple, Wetransfer, etc. what else are they doing? Are there lots of Tindr profiles feat. Kanoa Igarashi and Leo Fioravanti? Grindr profiles? Is there a booming Jack Freestone screensaver trade in India? Is Kolohe Andino the face of Bolivia’s McDonalds?

How much for an Albee? What about a Kanoa or Leo? Is Kolohe a great price conscious alternative to John John?

Who should BeachGrit buy?

Breaking: Shark Kills Teenage Surfer in WA

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

Seventeen-year-old girl killed while surfing with her father… 

A teenage surfer has died after a shark attack in Esperance, seven hundred clicks south-east of Perth. The girl, who was surfing with her dad, is believed to’ve lost a leg in the hit. She was treated on site by ambulance officers and later taken to Esperance Hospital where she died from her injuries.

Her mother and two sisters were on the beach.

The attack occurred at Kelp Beds, east of Esperance.

As reported by The Australian,

Shark sightings are a regular occurrence off the Esperance coast. In October 2014, 23-year-old Sean Pollard had an arm and another hand bitten off by a shark while surfing at Wylie Bay near Esperance.

Local surfer Tilo Massenbauer said there hadn’t been many shark sightings lately. “There’s been the odd one, but nothing like there was a few years ago. It’s a little bit early (in the year).

“They’ve had more run-ins at Margaret River, where they’ve had a lot of salmon.”

He said the water had been murly lately from a lot of swell activity, and the sky had been overcast since Saturday.

“It’s been grey on grey, which just adds to the risk.”

Mr Massenbauer said the most common shark encounters were with juveniles about 3m in length.

“They are more agitated and bullish. They will charge you a few times. The big ones swim up to you and have a sniff and trail you, but it never feels as bad as the 3m ones.”

He also said the surfers in town were concerned for swimmers in the town’s wide open bay. “Swimmers and snorkellers are more vulnerable than us – at least we have a board between us and the shark.”

Mr Massenbauer’s most recent encounter was last year, when a 3.5m great white charged at him. He said the shark came at speed towards him then diverted 45 degrees when it got 3m away. He attributed this to the electronic deterrent device attached to his surfboard.

“There’s usually got to be reasons for sharks to come in close,” he added.

A local fishing website reported this month that salmon were being consistently caught at most Esperance beaches as well as “loads of small pink snapper”.aa

Last June, Doreen Collyer, 60, died after being attacked by a large great white as she scuba dived off the Perth coast.

In October, 2013 diver Greg Pickering was attacked by a shark about 180 kilometres east of Esperance.

Easter Miracle: Kelly and Mick look awful!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Two of the greatest surfers on earth bog and flail! They're just like us!

Did you stay up late (in America) or spend your holiday (in Australia) waiting for Kelly Slater vs. Mick Fanning in Round Three of the Bells Classic brought to you by Barton Lynch and ski gloves? The match materialized, after Fanning beat Ethan Ewing. Kelly Slater had gone straight from Round One after beating Josh Kerr and Ian Gouveiar. It was hinted that this was the earliest in a professional surf event the two titans had ever met.

It was an Easter Miracle!

Both surfers have been on, or near, the top for so long that expectations soared. Plus the waves at Winkipop seemed custom made for a clean, knowledgeable attack. And lets not forget Mick’s attempted take-down of Kelly at Snapper. Asking him about his oven mitt or something to which Kelly kicked Mick under the nearest passing bus.

They paddled out, the world on the edge of its seat, and…

…surfed terribly! Both of them! Hitching turns, bogging rail, falling, falling, falling, mistiming sections, claiming 6 point rides, paddling way to far up the point, falling.

I have no idea which angle Stab was watching. Their morning’s coverage reads:

The biggest matchup of the day went down between Mick Fanning and Kelly Slater in heat four of round three. And while Kelly certainly showed up, Mick was efficient, utilising a similar tactic in vein to his heat prior with Ethan. Mick’s critical wave selection provided him with the long, open faces he needed in order to wrap and run circles around Kelly. With two scoring rides of a 7.00 and 6.50, Mick sent Kelly packing from the Australian leg of the tour after he managed to pick up only a 6.83 and 5.60.

None of this happened, other than the scores, which brings us to the true Easter Miracle.

For one brief 40 minute window in time every third surfer from Tijuana to Ventura and every second surfer from Melbourne to Surfers Paradise was better than both Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning. Pat yourself on the back and order yourself a custom made WSL singlet with your name on it.

Way to go, tiger. You earned it.

Slater Pool vs Scientology!

Michael Ciaramella

by Michael Ciaramella

Family enlists Kelly Slater in bid to woo estranged brother away from religion…

About a month ago, our comments moderator Negatron urged me to follow up on an interesting comment left on Chas’ article Awards: Enchantment Under the Sea.

Here’s what the poster had to say, in regards to Chas’ Scientology spiel.

I took Negs’ tip and contacted Brett Reisdorf, who just so happened to live in Encinitas, CA, to see if he’d be keen for a chat. The following conversation was recorded on sunny, if somewhat blustery, afternoon at Seaside Reef.

MC: What’s your family’s connection to Scientology (click here for a brief history of the religion)?

BR: My grandparents (on both sides) were the first generation to get involved with Scientology. L Ron Hubbard was doing lectures at this time – that’s where my Dad’s dad bumped into it in Iowa back in the fifties. This was before it was Scientology, when it was still called Dianetics. My mom’s side of the family got involved a little later, so both of my parents were born into it. Then they met on the ship that L Ron was traveling on. My dad was a deckhand and my mom was one of L Ron’s caretakers.

Have you ever been a Scientologist?

Right before I was born my parents were kicked out by the current leader. When I was born we moved back to South Africa to live with my mom’s parents, who were still very high up in Scientology, and they safe-housed us without the Church knowing, because otherwise they would have made us disconnect (the Church forces parishioners to cease all contact with family members who actively speak against Scientology). So I grew up in the house with it, but I never grew up in the study room.

I watched your episode (click here) on Leah Remini’s show, Scientology and the Aftermath, and found out that your brothers got involved with the organization. What’s the deal with that?

We all grew up in California and were not connected to the Church, but occasionally we’d travel back to South Africa, where my brothers would see the other side of the family who were still Scientologists – my mom’s sisters and stuff. At some point their prodding got into my brothers heads, and it was like this little seed that threatened to grow.

Eventually we went back to South Africa for my wedding, and my youngest brother Craig, who had just graduated high school, was supposed to go from South Africa to Oz and then Indo in order to surf and explore the world. He was 18 and ripping.

At some point my mom’s sister put this guilt trip on him, and it worked. So while I was there from the wedding I was literally watching my brother become a Scientologist. Craig bailed on his trip to stay in South Africa and study the religion.

When Craig came back to San Diego he officially joined the Church then got my other brother to join. My parents saw the writing on the wall that disconnection was gonna happen, so they just started pretending. Their efforts in rejoining were purely to keep the family together.

But you were able to get your other brother, Brandon, back. How?

Someone brought up the HBO show, Going Clear, on social media, and my brother defended the Church. That was an opportunity for us, because we knew the guy he was arguing with, so we actually fed this guy a bunch of info, like, “Say this to Brandon as if it were coming from you.” In Scientology, you’re trained to not look at the media, so this was one of our only ways in. Even if they do see it, they generally don’t believe it because they’re taught that these evil people are just trying to go against what’s right.

Our friend really helped out with that, then we got Brandon a trip to Las Gaviotas, and we brought a few ex-members of the Church to help with de-programming him. We had Brandon down there in Mex and he didn’t really have the ability to get away, so we just kinda laid it on him. Then he finally caught onto all the lies and kinda snapped, and that’s when he went and threw a hammer at the Church (as seen in the Leah Remini episode). He was just yelling like, “I want my brother back!”

But you haven’t had so much luck with Craig?

No. At this point Craig was slowly cutting ties. He wouldn’t answer phone calls or come visit so it was pretty obvious what was happening (disconnection). We’ve tracked him all over southern California. We’ve found him a few times and sent him messages of love, but it’s almost impossible to get a hold of him. We actually need to find him again, because he keeps moving.

We explained the situation to Kelly and asked him to help us get Craig back. I brought up the concept of having Kelly tell my brother he won a ticket to the wavepool through some online drawing, because there was no way Craig would turn down that opportunity. From there, our whole family would be waiting at the pool to meet him.

But you’re thinking that surfing can help lead Craig back home?

We hope! We’ve certainly been trying. For instance, Craig’s allergic to neoprene, so if he gets a new wetsuit he’ll break out in a full-on rash, but if he gets a used one he’s stoked. I’ve been giving him my old suits, trying to remind him that we love him.

And what about the Kelly thing?

I sent a letter to the Kelly that I hoped would help win Craig over, because I know that my brother looks up to Kelly similarly that he would David Miscavige (the current Scientology leader). Basically we explained the situation to Kelly and asked him to help us get Craig back. I brought up the concept of having Kelly tell my brother he won a ticket to the wavepool through some online drawing, because there was no way Craig would turn down that opportunity. From there, our whole family would be waiting at the pool to meet him. The only hitch was the plan included Leah Remini’s camera crew, because they were super interested in that idea for the show.

To my surprise, Kelly responded and was really into the idea. He was like, “Yeah, let’s do this! How do we make it happen?” But when the show’s producer wrote a letter to Kelly’s agent, they unfortunately had to decline. Supposedly ownership of the pool denied it.

And that was interesting to you…

Yeah, well first of all, Chas has often hinted that Kelly has ties to Scientology. I like to think this isn’t true. We’ve talked with a lot of ex-higher-ups, like Leah Remini’s co-host Mike Rinder, who have assured me that if Kelly played any role in the Church, they would know. What’s interesting, however, is Dirk Ziff.

You know how the WSL bought rights to Slater’s pool? Well that makes Dirk Ziff its legal owner. It also turns out that Dirk’s uncle, David Ziff, was/is (there is a discrepancy within the Church over David’s status as alive/dead) a major player in the Scieno community. The only other thing that ties Dirk to the Church is that he’s used the company Gensler for multiple projects throughout his career, and Gensler builds all of the Scientology Ideal Orgs (high-end churches). It’s not much, but it’s something.

All I know is, Kelly seemed really keen on helping out but then his manager got back to me saying ownership of wavepool denied request with no further comment.

Anything else?

I just ask that people are kind to myself, my brother and the rest of my family. This is a very delicate situation and it affects us greatly.

____________________________________________________

Boy do I love a good conspiracy theory! The Ziff-Scientology-pool thing might be stretching things, howevs.

While this story intrigues, it’s clear we don’t have all, if any, of the answers. Do any of our readers have a connection to the Scientology world? If yes, please share any thoughts and info on the subject!

We wish the best of luck to the Reisdorf family in rescuing their estranged brother/son Craig, and if you feel so inclined to join Brett’s crusade, go ahead and like their Facebook page Surfing to Stop Scientology.

Ron Blakey and the magic “R!”

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Plus other observations from a fabulous day of professional surfing!

I don’t know how any true surf fan could be frustrated whilst enjoying yesterday’s Round 1 action of the Rip Curl Classic. What was lacking in high risk/high reward was more than made up for by statesmen-like approaches to simple 2-3 foot waves. The true surf fan doesn’t always need to be wowed. He appreciates the subtleties. The “small but sturdy house” to steal a phrase from Matt Warshaw.

Here are my questions:

Is Ron Blakey now your official favorite commentator? Do you think he is more handsome than Turps? More well-spoken than The Condor? Do you love his easy-going Australian flair? His adding the letter “R” to Brazilian names? That’s one of my favorite parts. Gabe Medinar, Ian Gouvier, Adriano de Souzer, Miguel Pooper, Filipe Toleder…  It is good.

Is Ross Williams the best coach ever? John John Florence is fresh of his maiden world title yet is exhibiting zero sophomore slump. His foot, if anything, is pressing even harder on the necks of the competition. At this rate he will have title two wrapped by Fiji and I think we have to credit Ross. Don’t you? Like San Antonio Spur’s coach Gregg Popovich, he digs under what should be complacency and lights a fire.

Will Kolohe Andino someday win a title? He looked good out there. Not John John good but good enough to win if John John got hurt which makes me wonder if Kolohe is currently the second best surfer in the world? What do you think? Do you think he is better, at this moment, than Gabe Medinar?

When will professional surfing finally become what it was built for? I watched many heats with a good friend and it was, as previously noted, enjoyable but it would have been much better in a comfortable velvet chair in Las Vegas beneath a giant screen. Imagine the bets you could make. Obviously which surfer will win each heat but the over/under on, say, Glyndon Ringrose. If Barton Lynch will start his post-heat interview with the word “Mate.” The number of times Gabe Medinar will look back at the judges. It would be the greatest five hours ever spent.