“You’re fired!” ASP lashes out

Star surf commentator sacked, maliciously, by the Association of Surfing Professionals.

Paul Evans was affectionately known as the “Luscious Limey” in surf commentator circles. His posh British accent combined with quick wit and encyclopedic surf knowledge made him a rising star in the ranks. And even though he was calling one star WQS events in strange countries and girl’s junior pros in lakes the consensus was that he would end up in the big leagues.

One frightful, but beautiful late August week, however, his career came to a stunning and inglorious end. He didn’t know at the time but the Swatch Girls’ Pro, France would be his undoing. Sitting next to Chas Smith in the booth, the two would laugh and drink beer and call what Bethany Hamilton termed, “The best commentated surf contest ever!!!” Chas mostly said rude things. Paul mostly said intelligent things punctuated with just the right amount of wit. It was as fun as it was funny.

Two months later he was gone. Banned. Well, not quite banned. “It was more like a deselection of a persona non grata…” he told me while eating an herb Provencal tartlet. “An email went out with a list of commentators for women’s WCT in Portugal with my name on, to which a reply came from someone at ASP saying, ‘Sorry, but we can not use Paul Evan’s on the Women’s WCT. Please let him know?’ I think I was more aghast at the apostrophe on Evan’s than anything else. I am led to believe it had to do with guilt by association with the evil, subversive Chas Smith…”

Now, in all seriousness, Paul really was far better than the ASP deserved. And his sacking, or deselection, proves the organization has lost its damned mind. It rewards anything that smacks, even remotely, of good time/intelligence/semi-adequate understanding of the English language with a swift kick to the curb. The powers that be are taking a wonderful pursuit, surfing, and layering it so thickly with bland bland boring bland in an attempt to what? Appeal to sixty-something Bible-belters? Bring more investment? Steal the “No Fun League” moniker from the NFL? Whatever the case, it is not working. Numbers are down and money is drying up and WSL sounds dumb. Multiple sources have told me that judges and commentators have not been paid for months. It is bleak.

I suppose, though, at the end of the day, ASP Chief Strategy Officer Graham Stapleberg is enjoying the fruits of his labor. If you are too, let him know he is not alone! Email [email protected]

Paul Evans (Evan's) in happier times.
Paul Evans (Evan’s) in happier times.


Ask Pam Reynolds: Quick and Dirty (Now animated!)

Loneliness? The ailments of modern living? The French bulldog owned by Dane Reynolds and Courtney Jaedtke solves!

How can anyone resist the titanic pull of the four-year-old French bulldog owned by the surfer Dane Reynolds and his falconer and designer girlfriend Coutney Jaedtke? Over the course of the last three months, Ask Pam, an advice column that has covered topics as diverse as the insignificance of life and the Solange-Jay-Z rift, has become a  much loved and much visited part of BeachGrit.com. 

At first, Pam’s answers were simple keystrokes. I’d send Courtney the emails; she’d fire back Pam’s replies. Then Pam wanted audio. And so we set-up a little soundcloud account for Pam to upload her answers.

And, now, thanks to the computer skills of her master Dane Reynolds, Pam has become… animated!

If you’d like to be included on Ask Pam, send an audio file (voice memos on an iPhone works perfectly) and a photo of y’self to either [email protected] or [email protected].

Now let’s toast episode one and celebrate our glorious futures before they become our dim and dismal pasts!


ASP changes qualifying series format. Slaps loom.

Or to quote Jules Winnfield, "The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men."

Professional surfing has come to Oahu and tension hangs thick in the tropical rot and slaps are certainly waiting in the hydrangeas. Differences between the ASP and local interests have already reached a boiling point with still a month to go in the North Shore season. Issues surrounding how many Hawaiian wildcards will be allowed to surf in the Pipeline event, how the event is run and who will patrol the water scald.

Today, the ASP announced it is changing the WQS star system to some odd QS1000-QS10000 format but, structurally, it is the same thing. Issues surrounding the way points are given scald too.

“Money equals stars, stars equal points…” Eddie Rothman tells me on a bright sunshiney day, his growl seeming more angry and more exasperated at the same time. And points equal a birth on the World Tour and minor glory and very low level fame. The Sunset Pro, which is in its waiting period, is a mere 4 star (or QS3000) while the Burton Toyota Pro, in Newcastle, Australia, is a six star (or QS6000). Eddie’s beef is that the stars don’t reflect wave quality/difficulty. They simply reflect how much a sponsor paid for the event. “How many professional sports events in the world are fucken run like that?” He asks. “Those kids out there putting it on the line at Sunset, a serious wave, and they get less points than some shitty little beachbreak contest in France? Come on, how does that work?”

I don’t have an answer for him but I am sure Graham Stapleberg does and if Eddie can make it through his paid-security detail he should ask.

Kauai mayor Bernard Carvalho
The incumbent mayor Bernard Carvalho beats former ASP surfer and MMA fighter Dustin Barca for the Kauai mayoralty. Celebrates with cake. No I kid! Thin people are beautiful but fat people are adorable! | Photo: Ed Morita

Just in: Carvalho beats Barca for Kauai Mayoralty

Incumbent mayor beats pro surfer and MMA fighter Dustin Barca for the Kauai county mayoralty. The earth weeps!

Bernard Carvalho, the former football star (Miami Dolphins!) incumbent mayor of Kauai, has rolled back into office after today’s electoral win over the pro surfer Dustin Barca.

Carvalho has received 10,835 votes or  66.2 percent of ballots counted so far. Barca has received 4,634 votes.

Close? No it ain’t.

As Mark Rose predicted on BeachGrit yesterday, “In the primary elections, Carvalho smoked Barca with a 2-1 vote advantage (over 10,000 vs 5,000) votes. They will go head-to-head in the general election and Carvalho will walk away easily with a second term. Why? All those Barca4Mayor signs and bumper stickers are not on the lawns or cars of most locals. The South Park temporary-locals of Hanalei give a false illusion of support but most of those haoles can’t even vote on in Hawaii. Move away from Haole-Hanalei and it’s clear that the working class core of the island on the east side, south, and (most most definitely) west side will never support someone with ‘haole’ support who appears to threaten their livelihood.”

(Full story here! Click)

Barca, y’see, pledged to tackle multinational chemical companies he says are using the island as “an open air experimental lab. The root issue we are fighting against is poison,” said Barca. “Poison in our air, Poison in our drinking water and water tables. Poison in our soil. Poison on our reefs. Poison around our homes, schools and hospitals. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that that much poison is not good for us.”

Barca ain’t giving up.

Again, as he said yesterday on BeachGrit (Yes! Click!), “Quitting is not a option when you are fighting for the health of your ‘ohana (family) and ‘aina (natural resources). On Kaua’i, we are born and raised to protect what we love and right now, with the world environmentally at a tipping point everybody needs to unite no matter what color or creed they are. Everyone needs to get their heads out and realize what’s going on.”

He’s right! It’ll only when the last tree has been chopped down to make a disposable IKEA Alvar Aalto ripoff and the last tuna has been squeezed between thin sheets of seaweed at that sushi bar down the street and the last bee has been shot for its fur, that man will realise that money can’t be eaten etc.

Candid: Print is Dead! Long live What Youth!

How Travis Ferré and pals decapitated Surfing magazine to create a media hothouse. What Youth is #1!

“Don’t try.” –  Chuck Bukowski’s epitaph, Green Hills Memorial Park, LA.

Our story, which is the story of What Youth, begins on the balcony of Mr Travis Ferré’s Huntington Beach apartment four-ish years ago. Chicken fries on the Weber hot plate and Coors Light is served. The writer Stuart Cornuelle recites Bukowski poems in a corner while Travis rubs the cover of his Keraouc book Big Sur as if it is the holy koran.

Travis is the editor-in-chief of Surfing magazine, a high-volume title produced by Source Interlink, who are the also owners of Surfer. In a rare departure from the magazine’s usual style, Travis has given his latest issue over to Kai Neville’s newest film, Lost Atlas.

Travis is pleased with the result. And, so is Kai. In the wings, Surfing‘s gun writer Stuart Cornuelle and their New York-based designer Scott Chenoweth also feel an unusual fizz.

But, what is this fizz?

Very soon they will recognise it as the first electrical impulse of a great idea, one that will soon have them emptying their desks, seeking an investor, and moving out of the comfortable world of mass media and into independent publishing.

This impulse has been turned into What Youth, the online portal (featuring Kai’s latest clips) and the quarterly magazine, now up to issue nine.

Every couple of months when a new issue of What Youth appears I’m taken aback a little. Isn’t print dead?

Well, yeah. But here’s a secret about the publishing biz. It’s a house of cards, a Ponzi scam, built entirely upon the premise that all that expensive advertising actually works. That anyone even connects with print anymore. How do you consume your surf news? Online, yeah? Magazines are a curio, a novelty from a past when screens didn’t soak up our lives. There’ll come a day, and it’s a day coming real soon, when the backbone of print, advertisers prepared to piss away five or 10k for a few pages, say, no more.

What Youth will survive the carnage. It’s online, it’s film, it’s paper, it’s whatever you want it to be. Print is dead. Long live What Youth. Now let’s talk to one of its founders and print editor, Travis Ferré, on its birth and adolescence…

How about you tell me how it all metastasised, you slick bastard.

That’s the most loaded question! Well, Kai and I had such a good time working together and it started out as that casual barbecue conversation. We just thought it’d be cool if we could put a lot more energy into Kai’s films and into print pieces and into a daily online approach to how it all comes together. I was pretty happy being editor at Surfing. But, at the same time, I was up for a challenge. I was 29, with no mortgage, no kids, nothing to hold me back. We were all in the same position. Leaving good opportunities to try something wild is easy when you ain’t shackled.

What limitations did you have at Surfing?

I liked what we did, like, I didn’t feel like an idea wasn’t doable, but it’s a brand that’s been around since 1964 and it’s surrounded by a lot of infrastructure to make it what it is, and you lose a little flexibility in connecting. Starting fresh, for us, was what we felt needed to be done. Surfing’s a big ship that’s not going anywhere, but it was time for someone to jump and start a title that was a little more manoeuvrable.

Did the decapitation of your masters at Surfing (the editor-in-chief, the designer and their best writer all leaving) cause poor vibrations? 

Oh, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It was the only place I’d worked since I finished school. There were so many good people who’d given me everything. When I told them, there were no freak-outs, only a kinda sadness.

Oh, you paper over the cracks! Breaking up ain’t never easy!

Well, I respectfully made my transition. I didn’t want to make it hard on anyone. I stayed and smoothed the transition as much as I could. I wanted to make sure the final issue I was involved in was finished. I did what was needed. I was there for two more weeks.

Investors or y’stump the cash y’selves? 

We had a little bit of both. We had a private individual put in some of the initial costs of the building, but, it was really, like, we had a lot of support from industry out of the gates. They put faith in the product they knew we could create.

Who came up with the name? 

Coming up with the name was one of the funnest processes. We had a few names early on, names we worked art direction around. None of it worked. And, then, Stuart said, “What Youth” one night when we were talking names. And, after weeks and weeks, it sounded exactly like what wee doing and it epitomised what the current generation is about and it worked graphically.

What is the current generation, and by extension What Youth about? 

It’s top-notch surfing interacting with the world around it and doing it with good photography and design and doing it thoughtfully. We have this saying, Radical Class, that represents that. Being radical, but doing it with class, doing it well, thoughtfully, paying attention to the world around you and participating in it. This generation is full of really interesting thinkers, who think about the big picture, and about what surfing means.

What does surfing mean? 

I guess, surfing is, like, this thing we all do no matter what and we’ll always do it. What Youth leads with that, with some of the best sequences, some of the best high-performance surfing to always lead with that, some of the best sequences, some of the best high performance surfing in it. A magazine that shows what our culture means, what guys are into, like photography.

As a percentage, what was your pay cut when you left Surfing? 

Forty per cent, maybe more. I didn’t get paid for the first eight months. I was living off my savings, spending maybe $1500 a month. But, that kinda sacrifice comes with the territory. And, I didn’t have any obligations that beyond being a surfer in California. And, I just knew I had family and friends so if shit hit the fan, I’d land somewhere kinda soft.

Now, the first issue is back, what did you like about it? 

Obviously, it’s really exciting to see modern surf imagery that big on really nice, thick paper. I really liked the feature and interview with fashion photographer Dan Martensen. Felt unique and a departure for a surf magazine. And, we all liked keeping the interviews candid and casual and authentic. We want to give an accurate portrayal of what these guys are like when they’re on the road, what they’re talking about.

What didn’t work as well? 

Nudity doesn’t work in America. We found that out. Magazine shops in America aren’t quite ready for that.  I think we underestimated that a touch.

What is the single most important, pivotal issue, in surfing? 

We focus on, like, less like an issue, being critical of things and trying to…  uh…  install the zest for travelling with your friends and surfing. We want What Youth to be aspirational, about the pairings of guys having more to do with style and personality than what brand they ride for. Hitting the road for other reason that just to do it. Documenting that in an authentic way.