Luke Stedman
"I am not someone who likes cocktail parties or large dinner parties," says Luke Stedman, "but I have to attend them often. I much prefer very small dinners with close friends. I eat at the same restaurants in London most nights: Scott’s, No. 35, J. Sheekey, Mark’s Club, Harry’s Bar, or Cut at 45 Park Lane. If I am meeting someone for drinks first, I always like to go to the Fumoir at Claridge’s. My favorite evenings are actually spent at home. My lady is a great cook, and I love dinner in the kitchen with just the two of us and the dogs."

Exclusive: 24 hrs with Luke Stedman

And you thought it was easy being the king?

Big Shipwrecked Tanker With a Smiley Face Anchor from Francesco Thilo Sili on Vimeo.

Ex-professional Luke Stedman has left the glamorous world of contest surfing for the even more glamorous world of high fashion. His brand, Insted We Smile, is equal parts chic and playful. I want almost everything he makes and someday I will have it. Being so in demand, though, is equal parts exhausting and fancy. Tuck in to a day with Luke and then go buy whatever you can afford (here).

4:30 A.M. I never really sleep much and often start my day at this time. When I am very lucky and sleep through the night, I might get up at 7:00, but that is rare. The first thing I do when I get out of bed is weigh myself. I do this every morning, and if I have gained more than two or three pounds, I try to eat fruit and vegetables exclusively for a couple of days until my weight is back to my ideal. I make myself a tall glass of iced espresso (I don’t like warm drinks), get into a hot bath, and slowly sip my drink as I come to life. Often I lie in the tub for a half hour and just let my mind wander. I find a bath meditative and usually prepare myself for the day in this manner. Once out of the tub, I throw on my gym clothes.

8:00 A.M. Typically, I answer my e-mails. On average, I get about 100 per day. Then I do a bit of work before working out with my trainer at 8:00. The home page on my computer is set to’s While You Were Sleeping, Bite Sized! section, an excellent summary of the news of the day from different surf publications around the world like BeachGrit and The Encyclopedia of Surfing. I work out at a gym at home with Pilates equipment, cardio equipment, and free weights. I usually do about 30 to 45 minutes of cardio and then a half hour of crunches, push-ups, stretching, and other exercises using my own body weight, as I can tend to bulk up quickly if I use weights more than occasionally.

9:15 A.M. After working out, I have a breakfast of whole-grain muesli or bran cereal, half a banana, and several slices of pineapple. Then I take another bath, this time with soap, and wash my hair. Naturally, I use my own beauty products; I wash my face with either my cream cleanser if my skin feels dry or gel cleanser if my skin feels particularly oily. I then trim my beard and brush my hair into place. I use my daily moisturizer and take my small makeup brushes to touch up any skin blemishes or dark circles with stick foundation (color no. 7). I put on my “uniform”: a white shirt, a dark tie, a gold collar pin, a black or dark-gray single-breasted peaked-lapel suit, and black cap-toed shoes. I wear a variation of this look every day that I am in a city. (My other uniforms are for Santa Fe, Mustique, or a ski resort or Venice, California or Bondi, Australia.) I carry my computer and other work to the office in one of my black leather bags. Because I rarely walk in Venice, I never wear a coat. Actually, I tend to walk much more in New York. In L.A. and Santa Fe, I drive. I have a driver in London because I am slightly dyslexic and cannot drive in the U.K., even though I am Australian. After all, the traffic runs the opposite way to that in the United States. I think. An International Herald Tribune is always waiting for me; I find it the perfect newspaper for me, quite condensed with a quick global perspective on the news. Reading, or skimming, the paper usually takes me precisely the same time that it takes for me to get from my house to my office. I don’t carry a phone with me because I hate talking on the phone and especially hate talking on cell phones. I do have an iPhone, but I use it primarily for music and as a camera. In an emergency, of course, I use it as a phone. I am not really even sure what my number is. I have an iPad but use it just for reading books or screenplays, and I carry my MacBook Air with me everywhere.

10:00 A.M. I usually arrive at the office by 10:00. I have a weakness for doughnuts and often completely ruin my diet by eating a doughnut or two when I arrive. As president and CEO of the company, I spend a good bit of my day in business and design meetings. These might be women’s ready-to-wear fittings, men’s fittings, handbag-prototype reviews, footwear fittings, jewelry-design meetings, cosmetics meetings, or eyewear meetings. I tend to work on several different product categories on the same day. My executive team is scattered around the world, in London, New York, Los Angeles, Milan, Florence, Hong Kong, and Tokyo offices. Consequently, our meetings are often via Skype.

1:00 P.M. I hate going out for lunch during a workday because it slows down my pace and ruins my rhythm. I prefer to eat at my desk. Actually, I wander around the design studio with a plate in my hand as I dine on, for example, salmon sashimi and a salad of tomatoes and mozzarella. I often have a bit of dark chocolate after lunch.

6:00 P.M. Most nights, I work at the office until anytime between 6:00 and 8:00, depending on whether or not I have to go out to dinner. If I do have to go out at night, which I do about four nights a week, I try to take a 45-minute nap, have another hot bath, and put on a clean shirt.

8:00 P.M. I am not someone who likes cocktail parties or large dinner parties, but I have to attend them often. I much prefer very small dinners with close friends. I eat at the same restaurants in London most nights: Scott’s, No. 35, J. Sheekey, Mark’s Club, Harry’s Bar, or Cut at 45 Park Lane. If I am meeting someone for drinks first, I always like to go to the Fumoir at Claridge’s. My favorite evenings are actually spent at home. My lady is a great cook, and I love dinner in the kitchen with just the two of us and the dogs.

10:30 P.M. When we come home from a night out, my lady and I walk the dogs around Grosvenor Square and then head up to bed. Believe it or not, I usually take another hot bath and wash my face. Then we watch a bit of television (usually things we have recorded) or read and go to sleep. I don’t wear anything in bed. In fact, I rarely wear clothes at all when I am at home.

MIDNIGHT I am usually in bed and with any luck will get a few hours of sleep!

The author (seated on ground) and the subject.
The author (seated on ground) and the subject.

Kelly Slater Firewire
Hello French surfing fans! See what happens when you ride a regular PU board? Wouldn't happen if I was on that scramble of styrofoam, wood and epoxy called Firewire. | Photo: WSL / Damien Poullenot/ Aquashot

Just In: Kelly to own Firewire in nine days!

Sale of third-biggest surfboard co in world to proceed in time for Easter… 

On Thursday, April 2, on exactly the same day the prophet Jesus Christ ate his last supper (Maundy Thursday) almost 2000 years previous, Kelly Slater and, one suspects, some kind of consortium, will take full control of Firewire Surfboards.

A few more signatures with a deadline of April 2, y’see, and the deal is sealed.

Firewire, if you didn’t know, is a surfboard brand that builds boards in Thailand, sells ’em for almost $1000 apiece, and counts Michel Bourez as one of its surfers, and Matt “Mayhem” Biolos and Daniel “Tomo” Thomson among its guest shapers.

The original technology contained within those signature Firewire boards that Taj turned the world onto around 2008, was a styrofoam, epoxy, wood veneer sandwich, developed by the Western Australian shaper Bert Burger (Surfing magazine’s shaper of the year in 2007; now the owner of Sunova surfboards).

It was taken to the world by the Western Australian-born shaper Nev Hyman under the Firewire label.

When Clark Foam shut its doors in 2005, Firewire saw a biz opportunity to take the technology to a world suddenly starving, if briefly, of PU blanks. Firewire had the muscle to do it, counting former Billabong GM Dougall Walker and the brains behind the Billabong float Matthew Perrin (although this brain has had its glitches, including pending charges for fraud. Read here) among its original investors.

So it got big. Real big.

Who’s bigger than Firewire? Channel Islands, yeah, Lost, JS, maybe Hayden shapes, and that’s it. I’m saying it sits in third behind CI (who’s way ahead) and Lost.

Ask around the various store chains, industry players, and you’ll get a figure of around 20,000 boards sold a year at just under a grand apiece. Sell ’em wholesale at around 600 and you’ve got a 12-million a year biz.

After costs, let’s give it a profit of $1.5 million. Street value of the biz? Around four mill. At least, four mill, if it were a bank or Warren Buffett doing the buying.

But then there’s Kelly who has the unique ability to really take the brand somewhere, to give it a legitimacy it sometimes struggles with. If the 12-mll a year biz turns into a 30-mill a year biz, it wouldn’t be out of shape to imagine Kelly (and pals) dropping five or six into the can.

Anyway, in just under two weeks, the press release will drop.

Tell me, does the spectre of Kelly Slater zooming hither and thither on his segway around the company’s south-east Asian factory, iPhone 6 Maxi holstered on his belt, as he refines the Firewire product, stir its finger in your vitals?

Just you plus 1.59 billion of your closest friends!
Just you plus 1.59 billion of your closest friends!

1.5 billion people watch-ish professional surfing!

The world just can't get enough of Jack Freestone.

SwellNet’s Stu Nettle, who might be a good looking man though it is hard to find many online pictures of him, just did a post-Snapper state of professional surfing’s union and it is great. (read here).

There are many nuggets but the best is that the Quiksilver Pro creates “approximately 19 million in tangible media value,” according to the World Surf League. $10,131,631 is attributed to “social media buzz value.”

“$10 million in social media buzz value?” You ask, nose scrunched all cute like maybe Stu Nettle scrunches his nose all cute (again, difficult to say since lack of online pictures). “How did they arrive at that number?”

Easy! 1.6 billion people love watching, or reading Twitter feeds, about surfing! 1.6 billion, or as Stu Nettle points out, over 1/5 of the earth’s population. Eyes are glued in Tibet, Yemen, Mongolia, Bolivia. The people can’t get enough. The people crave Nat Young’s stylish goofy-footed attack. The people must know that @Mick_Fanning thinks “Bells!! Some people love it and some people hate it. Personally I love the feeling of going really…”

1,600,000,000 people.
Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 12.17.02 PM

And this 1.6 billion was calculated after last year’s Margaret River Pro, so it can be reasonably assumed that a few extra million checked in on the new season.

1,637,000,000 people.

A company named Repucom figured out that 1.6 billion people consume online surfing. Repucom’s head of US Consulting, Michael Lynch, used to be the World Surf League’s Chief Marketing Officer.

It is truly an amazing number and I am sorry for every poking fun at the World Surf League’s revenue projections. Professional surfing is the world’s 4th largest sport. Barely smaller than basketball but lots bigger than tennis. The NBA recently signed a 24 billion dollar television deal. The WSL’s upcoming television deal might be a touch less but not by much.

Do you think, when the WSL inks their upcoming television deal, Graham Stapelberg will buy me a Winston Cocktail (one part Cognac Croizet 1858 one part Grand Marnier) or will he buy one for Stu Nettle instead? Do you think Stu Nettle is better looking than me?

Gabriel Medina and Kelly Slater
Who is the most overrated surfer in the world? It's so not Gabriel or Kelly!

What Your Favourite Surfer Says About You!

Are you a Kelly, Mick, John John or Gabriel kinda gal?

Who knew your favourite surfer could reveal so much! Just as riding a Hypto-Krypto tells the world you wear Kanye West signature kicks as booties and riding a Firewire signals you are a stay-at-home dad with a bar fridge full of Pepsi Cola and a 1 TB hard-drive full of she-male porn, your choice of surfer determines your style of clothes, your style of living, even your moral framework.

But enough chatter! Prise the curtain open, maestro!

Kelly Slater: Let us get the obvious out of the way first. You’re at least 40, you’ve only surfer once or twice a year for the last ten years but you still tell everyone in your office that you’re a surfer, big time. You’re the kind of person that just doesn’t know when to quit because you’ve convinced yourself that you will somehow go out on top no matter how long you wait. You are absolutely dying in anticipating of OuterKnown because you still wear nothing but Quiksilver t-shirts and too baggy jeans, or boardshorts, every weekend.

Gabriel Medina: Who knew eyebrows and body hair could become such a fixation? You jerk a shaver violently over your body each morning, and each night, and trained beauticians arrange the curve in your brow bi-weekly. Sometimes little things make you cry.

Mick Fanning: You believe in honesty, in your surfing, in your relationships, in life. It’s a man, his dog, his jetski, and mateships sealed in beer, occasional cross-dressing and public nudity. You believe all men are equal but this hasn’t come easy nor at minimal cost. 

Alex Knost: You believe the seventies were a utopia of droopy hair, droopy brown tits wrapped in knit bikinis and tanker single-fins. You enjoy Peter Pan and like to re-enact the battles of the lost boys, pirates and Indians.

John John Florence: You are either very young and love the fact that one of your peers has a legitimate shot at beating Slater or you’re a middle-aged woman who still remembers the little towhead from Highwater and all those magazine features. There’s also the outlier possibility that you’re a creepy old dude and think that liking JJF will somehow lead to relations with Alex. Regardless, you’re the kind of person who likes fresh, new, things and buys into the idea that John John becoming a prodigy was simply a happy accident and not the maneuvering of a not-quite-so-laidback mother taking advantage of proximity to all that surfing knowledge.

Kolohe Andino: You’re all about the hype and the money. You are probably also a Yankees, Lakers and Real Madrid fan. Image is all that matters to you and to you image is strictly a function of how much money is on display at any given moment. You haven’t actually surfed in years, for fear of damaging your expensive hand-shaped board, by some famous shaper, and you wouldn’t be caught dead on a board you would be willing to damage. If you have kids, you are a total soccer Dad, screaming at them and the referees whenever possible. If you don’t have kids, your Dad was a soccer dad and despite talking to him twice a year you still refer to him as your “best friend”.

Dion Agius: You’re such an adorable  little hipster. All your music comes on vinyl and all your photos come from 1980’s Russian film cameras. You refuse to watch the WSL for being too corporate and you think your hero, Dion Agius, is a sellout for attending Surfer Poll, regardless of how awesome you think Xanax is. Even though he is your favorite you still consider yourself to be better dressed, better exposed to music, and in general more cultured. You claim to have been a fan of Dion before anyone else outside of France.

The Hobgoods: You’re a redneck, a bogan, a chigger. You come from a working-class background, from a working-class region of your country and you think of yourself as a good ol’ boy. You have simple tastes in beer, food, music, movies and life in general. You’re always happy, you can have fun anywhere, and you own a 4×4 vehicle that you actually take offroad. You’re polite, you always respect your elders and you have zero in common with Dion Agius’s fans.

Makuakai or Koa Rothman: At some point in the last year you really fucked up and said the wrong thing, within hearing of the wrong person, and you live on the North Shore. In order to hide what you said, or did, wrong, you coat yourself in the camouflage of being Makua, or Koa’s, biggest fan. You even have downloads of Makua’s music constantly blasting from whatever speakers are near you. Even if you’re just walking down Ke Nui you play the music through your shitty smartphone speakers. You used to be a Mick Fanning fan and probably own a Micktory shirt.

Jamie O’Brien: Who is JOB? Only the coolest freaking dude in the world, says you. You love to party and you love anything that gives you a rush of adrenaline and dopamine. You grew up with some hook that made people want to be around and so you’ve been used to crowds of people your entire life. You make friends easily and sometimes you take advantage of that by abusing those friends and making them do really stupid things to entertain yourself. You love Jamie for constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible at Pipeline and can’t wait for him to switch from a boogie to a SUP to a hydrofoil to body surfing and back again all while pounding a Red Bull and operating a GoPro.

Dane Reynolds: You’re Californian, or at least you pretend and act like you are, and that means you’re laidback, you’re chill, and you’re super easy to get along with. If you’re married with kids then your wife is beautiful and your kids are great. If you’re not, you could be but you’re waiting for the right woman to come along. You’re extremely good at what you do but because you’re not flashy and in-your-face about it people sometimes forget just how good you really are. Whatever your field, you constantly push the boundaries of what is possible regardless of any personal changes that may have happened.

Sunny Garcia/Kala Alexander/Dustin Barca: You’re honestly a bigger fan of UFC than surfing these days, which is why you love guys who can charge on a wave or in an alley. You never actually enjoy yourself surfing because you’re too busy watching for any perceived slight that gives you a chance to try and point someone to shore so you get to hit someone. You spend a lot of time watching YouTube videos of surfer fights and even if you live somewhere like Oregon, Maine, British Columbia, Alaska, or anywhere that has completely un-crowded lineups, you still try and police visitors like you’re 1970’s era Da Hui.  You’re actually very unhappy and wish that people would stop thinking of you as nothing but a thug.

Michael Kocher:

You are an incredibly generous person who loves great writing and your close friends. You’re so generous in fact that knowing your favorite surfer, Michael Kocher, has a malignant tumor is all you need to know to pull out your check book and donate here (link:

In all seriousness, the author is currently facing a challenging medical adventure and could use all the help he can get because of the general failure of American Imperialism to care for its legionaires. If you want to keep reading lovingly crafted articles like this, head here to help out.


The WSL's chief counsel and date!
The WSL's chief counsel and date!

New WSL: Old-style dot-com bust?

So no one told you life was gonna be this way?

Surf Splendor is a wonderful podcast. It meanders, gracefully, because time does not exist on the radio and in the most recent episode hosts Scott Bass and David Lee Scales meander right into a dark and murky pit!

The two uncover a cache of the WSL secrets. You can and should listen here but the nut is this: WSL CEO Paul Speaker and WSL executive vice president/general counsel Jonathan S. Marshall both used to work for a film company called The Shooting Gallery in the late 90s early 2000s. And it was strong, robust even, but then crashed, ingloriously, because, in simple terms, the powers tried to turn a traditional film company into a new media company. Or to quote The Village Voice, “The company got away from its core business…They had a radical philosophy change from being a tightly run, fiscally conservative company that watched every dime to turning around and trying to create a vast dotcom company…In the most simplistic terms, they tried to be a dotcom and crashed like all the others.”

The company was sued and while Speaker was not listed, Mr. Marshall was. He also maybe dated Monica Lewinsky!

And what does this have to do with the WSL? It certainly seems like the powers are intent on reliving the past by trying to make professional surfing something it ain’t… A traditional sport league/event with traditional revenue structures, desks, graphics packages and offices. And if not that then a pay to view sort of thing. But will either work? Will the ocean ever consistently perform? Will the masses ever truly crave an Adriano de Souza vs Dusty Payne round 2 heat? More to the point, why does it matter? I suppose it totally doesn’t. It is just fun/stomach turning watching ex-Hollywood dotcomies come in and try to make surfing broadly understandable/palatable. It like watching Chasing Mavericks.

If you were going to create a 90s dotcom right now what would you call it? Would you rollerblade around your offices or ride a razor scooter?