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Millionaire surfers rejoice over Billionaire’s Defeat!

Steve Van Rees

by Steve Van Rees

The magnificent Surfrider Foundation cracks billionaire's private beach fantasy!

Close your eyes for a moment. Imagine you could live the perfect surf life.

What would it look like?

Just you and a couple of hand-picked friends surfing empty waves all day everyday, correct?

Gotcha!

Your fantasy is in violation of the law according to a California District Court of Appeals. Read the story from SFGate News then feel free to amend your dream:

“A state appeals court ruled Thursday that a billionaire landowner had no right to block public access to a San Mateo County beach without first obtaining a permit, rejecting arguments that a forced opening would be tantamount to stealing his property.

The 50-page decision by the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco affirmed a 2014 ruling by a San Mateo judge who ordered Vinod Khosla to give the public access to picturesque Martins Beach, near Half Moon Bay, which Khosla owns.

It was the latest slap-down of Khosla in a long, increasingly heated legal dispute with the Surfrider Foundation, which sued the co-founder of Sun Microsystems after he shut the access gate leading to nearly 90 acres of his coastal property in 2010. The nonprofit group founded by surfers charged that the closure amounted to development, requiring a permit from the California Coastal Commission. A judge agreed, prompting Khosla’s appeal.

“The courts said exactly what the Legislature said: The public has the right to access the coast,” said Joseph Cotchett, the lead attorney for Surfrider, in a hastily arranged news conference in his Burlingame office. “It’s their ocean. It’s their coast. It is not some private billionaire’s.”

Yes surfing, surfers, Surfriders, and the environment!

Good: 1 Evil: 0 

This might be a terrestrial victory but is it a moral one?

Are we really happy that a single tech billionaire’s property was taken near Martin’s Beach so that a mass of tech millionaires could invade come in? Was this fight about the ocean or our greediness for waves?

Let me poke a stick at our collective proletariat stance for a moment before we gloat too hard.

Are we really happy that a single tech billionaire’s property was taken near Martin’s Beach so that a mass of tech millionaires could invade come in? (On the side, I wonder how much Surfrider attorney Cotchett brings in?)

Was this fight about the ocean or our greediness for waves?

The Surfrider Foundation does some wonderful things, but this legal effort doesn’t sit well. This isn’t like Mark Z’s Facebook Kauai land grab. (Hawaiians Crack Zuck! Read here.)

After all, if the Foundation really cared about the preserving the environment, wouldn’t it be better if they fought to keep Martin’s beach away from unknowns and in the hands of a man who has the resources to keep its sanctity?

And don’t try to convince yourself if you started a giant tech firm that you wouldn’t be the proud owner of a private piece o’ shoreline.

Maybe this is where our thinking goes afield.

In America, we don’t really hate the rich— we want to be the rich! This thinking is common.

It’s the same reason so many rip mercilessly on King Kelly. They don’t actually dislike him; they wish they had his fame, talent, and 11 world titles.

Sure, it’s fun to play Communist with other people’s stuff. But while we don’t have the time to talk Adam Smith, we should consider what it will be like the evening when Elon Musk comes knocking at your front door with that smug smile informing you of your eminent domain notice to allow his hyper-eco battery train to save the average shmo from overcrowding.

Hey, not so cool, now, right?

Why? Because we aren’t billionaires. Our property is important.

Man, I’m glad that Khosla got his can handed to him. Not because of my elevated sense of duty to the environment but because I’m selfish and want to surf anywhere I please.

The same is true of Surfrider, and of you, I suspect.

Now, close your eyes once more and imagine a crowded beach jammed packed with high-tech daytrippers on custom-colored resin drip boards waxed by their assistants. Oh, and all your hand-picked friends can squeeze into the lineup, too.

See you at Martins Beach!

You may open your eyes now.

Day one, Tahiti: “Filipe ground to dust!”

Longtom

by Longtom

Filipe Toledo's title hopes shot. Jordy squeezes out of a hole.

News from the East, sire. Dawn breaks. The sky takes notes when we speak and Teahupoo whimpers to life. Conceptually, and as a sporting spectacle, the fire and fury of J-Bay was always going to be a hard act to follow. Maybe impossible. Impossible for surf writers too, and I think a fresh approach, experimental even, is called for.

The mental sloppiness of J-Bay has to be replaced by clarity so in deference to the missing presence of the greatest Teahupoo surfer ever, Kelly Slater, and the great and glorious backer of pro surfing Dirk Ziff, it’s time to go clear.

No booze, no drugs of any kind (even legal pharmaceuticals). Nothing ingested except the fruit of the tree, the fish and fowl slain by my own hand. I’m sure Andy would approve.

And the words of the greats to guide us. Someone mentioned Witzig, Kampion maybe Hynd, maybe Rottmouth? We take their words and feed them into a random generator, voila,  automated surf writing.

Is this legal? It is the future. Algorithms will make surf writing extinct in this generation and if I can help write the obituary, so much the better. Look for the double asterisk. **

It was heat five before a decent tube was packed in anger. Or nonchalance. JJF packed it nicely for a pair of sevens. The only true rivalry in pro surfing? JJF vs Portugese meat and potatoes surfing. The Hobbit and the Wolf are his kryptonite.

Who here has paddled out at Teahupoo? Surfed it without a sponsorship? As a recreational surfer, a donkey? Not you, Kelly. Allow me to guide. We begin the journey on foot, opposite the harbour a mile or so from the end of the Road.

Which way to go? Left, or right? Let’s ask a couple of day drinking fishermen wetting a line in the small mangrove lined lagoon next to the harbour. They speak no English. French or Tahitian only.

A toothless man pulls a warm bottle of Hinano out of a gunny sack filled with beer and offers it over. Without wishing to offend local hospitalities Shearer, née Longtom, accepts and using a proferred bait knife levers off the top. The danger in accepting beer from day drinkers is not having to drink warm Hinano, which is gaseous but not offensive, or getting glassy eyed and impaired before paddling out for a maiden surf at Teahupoo.

The danger is that the drinkers are now impossible to pass without sharing hospitality. And my liquidity is questionable because the little debit card I bought from Australia doesn’t work, so I am racking up a daily beer debt to the gatekeepers of the harbour. It will end with Longtom giving the shirt off his back – a Bob Dylan/Joan Baez Don’t look Back tee-o in organic cotton – to a 250-pound ladyboy friend to clear the debt. We digress.

We are walking the narrow road left, to the south-west towards a setting sun, past neat houses with bouganvillea hedges and roosters and chickens in every yard. Under shady trees rest big fucking dogs, mastiff and pit bull crosses lazily eyeing off chickens and pedestrians. Of which there are few in this heat of the afternoon. It reminds of Kahuku or some other sleepy windward Hawaiian village.

The road ends in a cul-de-sac encircled by ramshackle restaurants and fun houses. Coke signs, plastic chairs, red and white plastic table covers. A large Polynesian man expertly butchers a bull mahi-mahi with a twelve-inch blade on a fillet table in front of a smoking grill.

Looking seaward into the sun and the wave is impossible to see. It is below sea level and out and to the left, way past the reef pass proper. A blast of spit blown up into the tradewinds is the most obvious sign.

Where do you paddle from? Here or over the little creek which has a bridge across it?

There are children playing in the creek, in clear running water. Might as well jump in and start paddling seaward, out to the pass. Without a boat and with a beer buzz, it’s a long way. Maybe thirty minutes in Shearer stops, sits up and looks back at the mountains. Staggering.

Silently weeping, he paddles on, a changed man.**

Outside the lagoon the reality of Teahupoo sets in. It’s not a reef pass, it’s a crack in the reef a quarter-mile outside the reef pass. One paddles up to the wave and wonders what to do now. Catch a wave? Join the pack?

It’s breaking from the west-south-west, a peak that breaks so hard in such shallow reef and grinds into dry reef it doesn’t seem rideable. But it is, because a bunch of cackling pro’s are getting spat of of backlit caverns. Shearer gets pitched, hits the reef, rickrolled and then tip toes off it into the reef crack. As the sun sets finally gets a clean open cave, sucked backwards with the reef below and mountains framed by the falling lip then spat out, gliding over the shoulder. The paddle back across the lagoon in the twilight then the walk home along the road. The scariest thing. The pit bulls and mastiffs are awake now, sniffing for intruders and this whitey smells weird. Like stale beer and fear. Whitey picks up a stick and walks in the middle of the road. There is no traffic, only the sound of a man playing a ukelule and singing a lullaby.

Wilkinson through, JJF through. Medina through. The second most important heat of round two was Jordy Smith v Taumata Puhetini, a man who embodies the Tahitian goofy foot tube-riding technique of burying the arm and digging in like a tick on a bull, holding the wall until the channel. But there are no tubes on this gurgly, scrappy day and Jordy scrapes through.

The most important heat: Filipe vs Ewing. Ewing knocks out Toledo and any hopes for a Toledo title.

This is going to be a grind but there’s no way out when the comp is spit-roasted by a forecast as grim as the prospect of a nuclear war before the winner is crowned.

Still, I feel fine. Don’t know about you.

Billabong Pro Tahiti Round 1 results:
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 10.00, Jadson Andre (BRA) 8.30, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 7.50
Heat 2: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 8.77, Nat Young (USA) 6.27, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 3.63
Heat 3: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 12.50, Owen Wright (AUS) 9.40, Josh Kerr (AUS) 7.57
Heat 4: Joan Duru (FRA) 12.26, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 7.83, Ethan Ewing (AUS) 7.17
Heat 5: John John Florence (HAW) 14.90, Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 10.93, Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 9.37
Heat 6: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 7.33, Taumata Puhetini (PYF) 7.13, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 7.10
Heat 7: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 14.33, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 8.33, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 5.27
Heat 8: Julian Wilson (AUS) 12.77, Conner Coffin (USA) 12.40, Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 10.03
Heat 9: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.06, Stu Kennedy (AUS) 8.60, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 6.50
Heat 10: Connor O’Leary (AUS) 13.10, Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 11.94, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 10.64
Heat 11: Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.57, Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.43, Jack Freestone (AUS) 11.67
Heat 12: Ian Gouveia (BRA) 15.00, Michel Bourez (PYF) 10.67, Frederico Morais (PRT) 9.56

Billabong Pro Tahiti Round 2 results:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11.83 def. Taumata Puhetini (PYF) 9.60
Heat 2: Owen Wright (AUS) 14.50 def. Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 12.10
Heat 3: Ethan Ewing (AUS) 10.06 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 6.56
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.00 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 8.16

Upcoming Billabong Pro Tahiti Round 2 match-ups:
Heat 5: Frederico Morais (PRT) vs. Nat Young (USA)
Heat 6: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 7: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 8: Caio Ibelli (BRA) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (USA)
Heat 9: Conner Coffin (USA) vs. Stu Kennedy (AUS)
Heat 10: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
Heat 11: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Jack Freestone (AUS)
Heat 12: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) vs. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA)

Inertia: “Surfers to blame for genocide!”

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

The home of thinking surfers points the finger at you!

In a piece of alt-left performance art, Venice-adjacent #vanlife blog The Inertia published a piece this morning blaming surfers for genocide, violent expansionism, oppression, racism and proto-fascism.

It is almost too good to be true!

The Inertia editor, frustrated with surfing’s portrayal in mainstream culture, finds solace in an article by a different The Inertia contributor for KCET titled The Complicated History of Indigenous Knowledge and Colonial Entanglements in Surfing.

Should we read some select passages?

Duh!

A more accurate understanding of the history of surf culture in California, however, must consider the historical context of the state and its own history of genocide. Although surfing first appeared in 1885, it was fleeting. Surf culture is generally acknowledged to have been planted in Southern California in 1907, when a young Hawaiian named George Freeth was hired by land developers Abbot Kinney and Henry Huntington to give surfing demonstrations as a marketing tool to entice the sales of coastal properties.

Until then, most of the population in the Los Angeles area was concentrated inland. Coastal areas were relatively unpopulated, having been scrubbed of an indigenous presence due to the ravages of Spanish, Mexican, and U.S. colonialism. Those who survived the foreign diseases and the mission system had been forced to move away or into new identities under state and federal policies designed to eradicate them first physically via outright killing, and later through forced assimilation.

Coastal lands, now largely free of a visible indigenous population, had fallen into predominantly white ownership within a few short decades after California statehood in 1850. The large ranchos that descended as Spanish and Mexican land grants were swindled out of Mexican ownership by corrupt American laws designed specifically to enable white settler ownership.

In other words, from the very beginning, surfers have been blissfully unaware — or perhaps unconcerned — that their beloved sport was founded on a history of indigenous erasure, in both Hawaii and California.

Boom!

How much do you hate yourself right now? Like, enough to stop surfing? Like, enough to apologize for ever surfing in the first place? Like, enough to read The Inertia out loud every single morning while apologizing and not surfing to passersby as penitence?

I hope so, but there is no way you could hate yourself more than The Inertia. I can only imagine the interior of their #vanlife is filled with tools for self mutilation, posters of Edward Scissorhands and also a few longboard skateboards.

#vanlife!

Speaking of, I’m working on my doctoral thesis right now. It is titled The Uncomplicated History of Child Molestation and Hemp Fabrication in Van Life.

It should be done soon.

Unseen clips: Yago. Taj. Mason. Griff!

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

The best advertorial you'll swallow all day! 

Earlier today, I had cause to enjoy a conversation with the San Clemente-based surfboard shaper, Matt Biolos. I’d been asked to edit a paper surfing magazine (brazenly retro!) and wanted to create an out-of-the-box surfboard by getting Jon Pyzel and Matt Biolos to collaborate on a single design.

We’ll back and forth on email, set parameters, create a CAD file, send it to a machine and… pop!

Any time I get the ear of a shaper, of course, I point it at my own surfing. I told Biolos I hated being beholden to the decrepit rockers of Hybrids, the functional modern surfboard.

I said I wanted to lift my game a little. I want to transcend surfboard design.

Biolos said, “You saw the clip, right? All those unseen waves of Taj, Yago? The Pro-Formance one?”

I remembered receiving it, but didn’t watch. Who needs advertorial when there are so many flamboyant shorts out there. Pressed to examine and the short is revealed to be a wonderful two minutes of Yago Dora, Taj Burrow, Brother, Griff Colapinto, Ian Crane and so forth riding Biolos’ new Pro-Formance series.

“You ride a Pro-Formance board for one reason,” said Biolos. “Because you believe it will allow you to surf at a higher level and you’ll be able to do things that you can’t on a hybrid or fish.”

Sounds like me.

Pro-Formance ain’t for someone who’s forgotten how to generate speed, howevs.

“You better be able to pump and feel that the boards you’re riding are holding you back from doing the things you want to do on wave,” says Biolos.

Ah, my fatal flaw.

Maybe it suits you?

The Pro-Formance thing. Why?

“Honestly, the bulk of my day-to-day work life is building boards for competitive surfers,” says Biolos. “I spend 75 per cent of my work time focused on making the best possible  performance-minded boards, but the retail sales, and the boards going through our factory, are 75% hybrids and grovelers. It’s, like, exactly the opposite. I felt I could do a better job of presenting the boards we are working so hard on and reminding people that we make high-performance boards as well and you don’t just have to ride a Rocket-type board, RNF or a Puddle Jumper-type board from Lost.”

What is it you dig about Taj, Yago, Mason, Kolohe, Ian?

“They’re all individuals. Taj is a living legend. He’s so important in the the history of how al these young surfers promote and portray themselves. He is held in high-esteem from all camps and facets of surf culture. He went out on his terms and is the one guy who no one ever says a negative thing about. Lifestyle, surfing, you name it. Yago brings a laid-back casual to the competition scene. His surfing is perfect post-modern laissez-faire. The least polarising of the South Americans and the easiest for us arrogant Anglos to be attracted to. Kolohe is my muse. My MVP. He is the biggest reason I am so motivated still to do this. He’s the captain of the football team, Mr. America, The California Kid. No bullshit, athlete and performer. Ian Crane and Griffin Cola are classic examples of the easy-on-the-eyes California style. Ian will ride anything I toss at him and love it. He reminds me a bit of Mason. Mason is the living epitome of what we all want to be. He is Jeff Spicoli. He is the Beach Boys. He is The Endless Summer. From one-foot closeouts to twenty-five foot closeouts at Waimea Bay, he’s going to standout, and remind us what its all about.”

Watch! The best advertorial you’ll swallow all day!

 

…Lost Pro-Formance Series from Lost Video Productions on Vimeo.

Listen: “The Chinese ruined rash guards!”

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Come and feast on a new episode of Surf Splendor's Grit!

I am not a podcast man and, like you, generally believe they linger far too long. “Couldn’t everything said be boiled down to a relatively concise fifteen minutes?” I wonder before not listening. “Isn’t this all… ridiculously loquacious?”

As you may or may not know, I am a regular guest alongside the perfect host David Lee Scales on the podcast Grit! which is part of the Surf Splendor universe. We have done five shows now, I believe, and I enjoy talking to David but I also get so tired of hearing myself drone on and on. And when I read your comments like, “Fuck, Chas is boring…” and “…that was painful shoe-gazing.” I slowly nod my head.

Anyhow, I met up with David once again over the weekend at an architectural masterpiece between Del Mar and Rancho Santa Fe. It was midcentury modern, wonderfully appointed, with stunning views. Before we began I asked David, “Why do these damn things have to be so long?” He responded, “My regular listeners don’t think they are long enough. People on commutes, mowing their lawns, cleaning pools, etc. enjoy that topics can be fully and completely mined. That it’s not just quick sound bites.”

“Hmmmm…” I thought. “David Lee Scales has a point.”

We sat outside and chatted for two hours about surf media, asymmetrical surfboards, Chris Coté being wrong, etc. while I polished off half a bottle of vodka.

You can hear me get progressively drunk and then slander 1.35 billion people near the end.

This one goes out to you Mr. Commuter, Mrs. Lawn Mower, Mr. Pool Cleaner, China.

Enjoy!

P.S. It will totally go better if you drink booze too.