Kelly Slater and John John Florence
Kelly Slater holds his trophy for wave of the year in 2014; John John Florence, for breakthrough performer of the year. Y'ready to pay to watch these game changers? | Photo: WSL

Revealed: Get ready to pay for WSL webcasts!

Are you ready to pay to watch professional surfing?

Considering how much attention the recent New York Times article on the WSL paid to the organization’s assocaition with YoutTube I was surprised to notice, after the feed went down during Slater’s first sound heat, that the contest was actually being streamed via something called NeuLion.

What is Neulion?  It’s the web player used by the NFL, NBA, NHL and UFC. It is, “the premier solution for delivering live and on-demand sports in an unrivaled interactive digital video experience that gives fans an action packed experience anytime, anywhere.”

(Click here) 

Why the switch?  ZoSea made a big deal about their “partnership” with YouTube last year, part of an announcement that was disingenuously touted as big news prior to the lackluster reveal. Sure, every moron teen on earth can stream via YouTube, but like they demonstrate time and again when they release their laughable viewership numbers, ZoSea doesn’t shy away from polishing a turd ’til it gleams.

Why was the switch made silently? Wouldn’t a move to a broadcast platform used by mainstream sports be something to crow about, a reason to make one more completely manufactured and largely imaginary claim of legitimacy? The unlisted nature of the YouTube stream combined with the fact that Neulion is flash-based only served to create headaches for viewers on mobile devices, including those owned by the WSL’s own Samsung-ian overlords.

Two minutes on Neulion’s website turns up a pretty likely answer. Monetization is the name of the game, and Neulion provides a platform that excels at locking content behind a paywall. Call it a pay-per-view, season pass, or subscription, the move to Neulion is a ZoSea dipping its toes in the water before making another grab at some cash.

This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.  The WSL has plans to start making actual content to fill the broadcast gaps currently filled by mindless blather and their 6000-square foot studio in Santa Monica ain’t gonna pay for itself. The big question isn’t if, but when the WSL will go full retard and lock everything down.

I expect we’ll see slow rollout.  Low effort bonus content sometime around the end of this season; take a look at Medina’s house, watch the Roxy B-team frolic in paradise with nary a surfboard in sight. Next season will see a VIP subscription, higher quality bonus content hidden from free views until it’s ripped and reposted elsewhere.  2017 will bring the season pass, and I’ll be watching an illegal stream on firstrow, or just not watching at all.

Chelsea Cannell
Meet the World Surf League's new announcer, Ms Chelsea Cannell. Her late dad Stevie created 21 Jump Street, can y'believe! She's TV royalty!

Revealed: The WSL’s New Commentator! (She’s cute!)

Meet the World Surf League's highly credentialed new announcer, Chelsea Cannell… 

There’s a new face on the beach at Snapper Rocks but totally unfamiliar! At least to the non-American.

In brief, Chelsea Cannell is an almost-six-foot tall, 33-year-old television reporter from Los Angeles.

Among her many achievements, she has “hosted Dick Clarks New Years Rockin’ Eve backstage interviews with the performers, covered the BCS National Championship game for, appeared in a skit for ‘attack of the show’ and Host of a LIVE nationally syndicated morning Program geared at a younger Demo on E!”

And she comes from television royalty! Her pops Stephen J. Cannell was an Emmy award winning producer of dozens of television series including The A-Team and 21 Jump Street.


Read Chelsea’s full bio here! 

Jeremy Flores
"I never saw any sharks growing up over there and there were never any attacks because there's a lot of fishermen so the sharks were staying away, fearing the fishermen." Shit has changed.

Jez Flores: “There’s nothing left to eat but surfers!”

Sharks cost Reunion Island $36 million, says new report… 

Tourists getting their legs bitten off and subsequently dying on the beach is ruining tourism on that Indian Ocean-Franco paradise, Reunion Island. Y’ain’t seen anything like this Creole version of Tahiti, with its volcano and reef passes and exceptional boulangeries.

And the people! Some dark, some light, most possessing some beguiling physical characterstic, blue eyes popping out of choco skin, for instance.

But ever since a marine sanctuary was created in 2007, the bull sharks have taken hold of the ocean.

“From generation to generation there were always fishermen and then people from overseas, environmentalists, came and they stopped fishing in a 10-kilometre area where all the shark attacks are now happening,” explains the Reunion-born surfer Jeremy Flores. “That was eight years ago. By the time they stopped fishing the sharks didn’t have anything to fear anymore so they started coming and now it’s dead territory. They ate everything. There is no more life. There is no more turtles. There is no more fish. No more nothing. No more reef sharks. Because the bull sharks have eaten everything. And now, because there’s nothing left to eat, it’s the surfers”

And according to a report submitted to the Department for the Environment, Physical Planning and Housing (IEB), the island has lost $US36 million in tourism over the past three years.

Money? Yeah, you can wear it if it starts to improve.

It isn’t improving and it it won’t.

I mean, who wants to go to Reunion Island when swimmers, surfers and divers are being killed metres from the shore?

Does there come a point when sharks, in this case the bouldogue, are recognised as fish and not some mystical super creature? And are treated accordingly? ie. served as delicious steaks in beachfront restaurants.

(Can you read French? Here’s the source for BeachGrit’s story.) 

Thanks GOPRO!

But is it really "surfing"?

Or is it something else? Like waterskiing? Or……………………

Laird Hamilton caught mocking humility!

And saving the English language!

The Ultimate Waterman (a competition in New Zealand. Read here!) is, clearly dumb, as is Laird’s hydrofoil surfboard, but I must say, as cynical as I am, it might maybe maybe look cool if he wasn’t wearing three bulletproof vests underneath his teal sweatshirt.

In any case, the Ultimate Waterman is dumb. But the best part of this whole video clip comes at minute 1:17 when Laird says, “Well you know for me when I look at the ultimate waterman…the ultimate waterman is…is…gonna be…uhhhhh humble.” And then he goes on a cackling spree. He cackles like an evil step-mother at the massive irony of using the word “humble” to describe anything he does. And, if I’m going to keep being honest, I love it!

Athletes have been using the word “humble” to describe their super humanity for so long that it has just become a part of the post-event interview process. “Ohhhhh that victory really humbled me…” “It humbles me to win the most valuable player award…” “I’m humbled by being the best…” It is said so often, and so straight faced, that the very word has lost any real meaning. But Laird Hamilton correctly realizes the satirical nature of a man such as himself using a word like “humble” in any context. And it is amazing.

Thank you Laird for being a total dick. You are doing your small part to save the English language from the likes of Russell Wilson and Roger Federer and Sally Pearson. Humble. CackleCackleCackleCackleCackleCackle.