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Overt: Billabong caught being sexist!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Surfwear giant gets nailed!

Yesterday, I was sent the story F*ck You Billabong. No Seriously F*ck You. multiple times. It appeared on a web aggregator called Medium and written by Karen Knowlton, who was enraged by the surfwear manufacturer’s overt sexism on its website’s landing page.

Ms. Knowlton wrote:

Forgive me my outrage, but this sh*t really burns me up. How is this the best you can do? How is this the first impression you choose to deliver to visitors of your site? Are you even aware of what you are doing?

I sincerely hope not, so let me break it down for you:

Man as subject, shredding waves. Woman as object, back arched and head dropped back for ultimate titillating effect on the viewer. This doesn’t even pretend to be an image of a woman having fun on the beach, actually enjoying her beautiful body in the perfect swimsuit. It’s just straight objectification.

You are ostensibly an athletic apparel company, yes? And you presumably have a fleet of badass female surfers you could photograph and display actually surfing? Or even just frolicking on the beach in their perfect bodies and pretending to have fun? You know, images of women as actual people who have experiences in their bodies, rather than the female body as simply an object to be viewed and consumed by others.

You could even pick out just the right action shots to make sure you don’t lose the sex appeal. You know, wet hair sexy and tousled, models looking extra focused and a bit pouty, perfect bums on display as they wait for a wave. But at least get one of these girls on an actual surfboard, would you please?

Of course she is right in every way.

And Billabong appears to have gotten the message, though the company didn’t respond by releasing a statement or apologizing. That would not be the Billabong Way™. Adjusting but pretending like nothing happened is the Billabong Way™ and today its website’s landing page looks like this.

Which, in turn, enraged me.

Now we have a beautiful surfer girl being pouty and cruisey but I can also see her entire bikini. The damned man? Like, I can’t even see any boardshort at all because his giant throw away air is in the way. Would it have been so hard to objectify him for once?

Would it?

I give you the the following images as an example of what I’m talking about Billabong.

Obviously don’t apologize when you swap something similar in tomorrow on the man’s side. Life is Better When You Bury Your Head in the Sand™.

Don’t Weep: Bede Durbidge retires!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Stave depression off and remember the good times!

Fiji’s greatest ever World Championship Tour surfer, Bede Durbidge, announced his retirement over the weekend in order to pursue his other great love, coaching. His hometown Gold Coast Bulletin reports:

Today, Bede is embarking upon another battle — that for Olympic glory — after being appointed as Surfing Australia’s elite program manager for the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games.

He will take up the role in early 2018, when he officially retires from competitive surfing at the end of the Australian leg of the World Surf League tour at Margaret River.

Announcing his retirement at Snapper Rocks today, Durbidge said he was stoked to take on the new role with Surfing Australia, albeit earlier than he had initially planned.

“I thought I would stay on tour for a few more years but this opportunity arose and I had to go for it,” Durbidge told reporters.

“It is a perfect transition for me to retire and move into that role.”

And while it is easy to fall into a massive depression with this news let’s not think about how much we will miss Bede on tour. Let’s think of all the good times we had together

And now, in honor of Bede, let’s also read a passage from the award-nominated book Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell (buy a second copy here please). This scene takes place as the author is approaching the Turtle Bay resort compound on Oahu’s famed North Shore.

And I continued walking while my heart beat harder. Faster. Had I manifested a riot? And it was so cold that I lit another Camel Red. I saw Bede Durbidge standing just inside the entrance talking on a cell phone bouncing his adorable new baby. Bede is a rangy, tall, blonde Australian with a smile as big as the moon. He is friendly and well liked and I once wrote that he is so bland that when he paddles out for competitive surfs everyone leaves the beach and goes for champagne brunches instead. Or at least I do. He looked at me and grimaced. His baby was beautiful and I felt bad for what I wrote and for smoking near her and for smoking in general and my soul was dark. Fox, Bede’s main sponsor, pulled all their ads from Stab because of the story.

Let’s remember Bede like that. Ok? Can we promise each other we’ll read this passage at this same time every year?

Watch: Mikey Wright’s Root!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Australia's favorite surfer goes and gets it done in Western Australia!

Ain’t life a wonderful surprise? Some mornings you wake and are dealt very much bad things. Like… mid-2000s dubstep and lady folk. But then other mornings you wake and are dealt very much beautiful things like… Turbonegro and Motörhead.

Like today!

Mikey Wright just dropped a wild n wooly masterpiece from the western half of Australia where it is said he filmed for two-ish weeks.

Do you love the way Mikey surfs? Does it inspire you to go out and surf the same? Do you think some day he will tone it down, slightly, and join the tour? Do you think his frontside air is better than Dane Reynolds’ frontside air? Be serious. Do you?

The clip is called ROOT and when I first moved to Australia, many years ago, I would ask people which Aussie Rules team they rooted for and they would look at me strangely while responding, “You mean barrack?”

Root in America means “to cheer for.” Barrack in Australia means “to cheer for.” Root in Australia means “to have sex with.” Barrack in America is the first name of our ex-President Obama.

And without further ado…

Get Rich: Teach surf in Norway!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

The "learn-to-surf" economy is booming up north!

Has your life plan stalled? Looking for a change? A way to maybe even get rich? Well look no farther than Norway! Scandinavia’s crown jewel offers stunning vistas, universal healthcare, zero “immigrants” and surf instructor jobs that pay $128 per lesson.

That’s 50% higher than the closest competitor! Or something. I failed math!

But how do I know what the various worldwide surf instructor rates are? Oh, well, surfholidays.com just released their patented Surf Lesson Price Index™ and let’s briefly scan the whole list.

It would be hard to make a fine living in even Ecuador for $22. Australia’s paltry $49 per lesson is not enough to buy an avo toast + long black. How many lessons do you think Rihanna has taken in Barbados and did she get a discount or pay the full $77? Sitting in Cornwall’s freezing cold stew does not seem worth $39 and while it is cute that Puerto Rico considers itself a first world country, I can’t imagine anyone there having $80 let alone paying that much for a surf lesson. It seems like a scam.

Many questions and thoughts but Norway. Will you quit your current job and move to Norway? I feel it would be a power move. A good look for you.

And now let us listen to Norway’s other best thing… Turbonegro.

Breaking: Night surfing makes news!

Steve Van Rees

by Steve Van Rees

Does this look fun? But what if you had MDMA?

According to a recent CBS news report, a New Breed of “daredevils” attempt to avoid crowds by surfing at night. Oh, how inventive.

Watch the clip here!

Night surfing. So what, right?  We’ve all had our fun without the sun. But watching this got me thinking. These guys are a little too stoked to be fumbling around in the water at night.  What might their motives truly be?

I’m guessing they are all playing a little unfair game of “Did you see me on that last wave?”  (Answer: Of course not.)  In fact, a night surfer could claim just about anything without the slightest detection of a blind audience, yes? Flailing arms, stink bugged legs, and an all around kook-style become irrelevant.

After all, something tells us that the New Breed is not much concerned with the particulars of a sharp rail game when their number one priority is having florescent lights inserted into the back half of a surfboard.

Just a hunch.

But do you night surf Malibu? Are you a daredevil?