Exclusive: Surf Brands to pull out of Tour!

Nothing recedes like success… 

According to a WSL insider who spoke with BeachGrit on condition of anonymity, there are some big shakeups on the way.

It’s long been an open secret that the new tour is operating heavily in the red, and the non-endemic sponsor dollars that ZoSea has been courting are proving increasingly gun shy when it comes time to sign on the dotted line.

According to our source, WSL brass have been “in talks with a global sportswear company,” the ultimate goal (from ZoSea’s perspective) being their name on all events.

While our source declined to name a specific brand, available information indicates an Oregon-based footwear manufacturer that has repeatedly dipped its toes into the surf market before eventually retreating to more lucrative shores.

Most unfortunately for Speaker et al., concerns regarding reportedly lackluster numbers from the Gold Coast webcast, exacerbated by growing doubt that ZoSea can properly administrate and monetize the tour, have thrown the proverbial monkey wrench into ongoing negotiations.

“The GC event looked really bad, and there’s been pressure to move more events into the mainland US. They want to dump Fiji in favor of the US Open as a late addition this year and add another event in CA for 2016…  [It] will most likely be an existing QS event to save money using existing infrastructure.”

This should come as no real surprise. The Fiji contest has long been a logistical nightmare and the remote nature of the break makes it impossible to recoup expenses with on the ground advertising and permitting.

“There’s a large contingent who feel quality of surf should be a secondary concern, compared to getting people to events. These guys come from mainstream media and don’t understand how bad it looks. In their minds it’s all about attendance numbers.”

Unfortunately, that’s not all. In response, all surf brands will pull out of their existing events, using various loopholes to escape contractual commitments.

Details are vague, but our source believes it is likely that Quiksilver will exercise a “mismanagement” provision in their contract, employing the Gold Coast event as a pretense in order to withdraw from the tour without penalty.

This marks the second time in two years that bad news for Quiksilver has been released on April 1st , no doubt lending doubt to its veracity. But, as with Slater abandoning ship in 2014, it is, sadly, deadly serious.

You can expect to see any mention of surf brands be quickly and quietly scrubbed from the WSL’s website, with litigation to follow.

Candid: Mason Ho Won’t Win a Heat At Bells

But his post-heat interviews will be uproarious! The spirit will soar!

Now before we get into this, let me make one thing clear, I love Mason to death. My favourite surfer? Yeah, he’s close. Head-checks, backside alley-oops, backside tweaked-out method grabs, disco floaters plus the general not-giving-a-fuck-what-anyone-else-in-the-world is doing, especially on a piece of foam and fibreglass. Mason Ho is fan-fucking-tastic, if I’m going to be honest.

The newly signed Rip Curl Hawaiian has the wildcard entry into the Bells Beach World Tour event and this will mark his first ever appearance in a World Tour event.

And he won’t make a single heat.

You see, Mason ain’t known for grinding out turns in creaky little waves. Against the three-times Bells winner Mick Fanning? Fred Pattachia? Those old horses who’ve thrown their lives at the Tour? Who understand, implicitly, what World Tour judges want?

Mason is the antithesis of Mick, and this is why Rip Curl signed the 26 year old. He makes surfing look like more of a hoot than anyone out there, hunting his closeouts on dry reef while riding those colourful beefed-out Mayhems.

Epic right? Well, not really. When was the last time you saw a chop-hop in a heat? A switchfoot? Or when someone got naked mid-wave? Mason is famous for fun surfing. But fun surfing is not World Tour surfing. Mason will have to change his entire wave outlook to stand a chance against any one of the world’s best.

Remember we’re talking about Bells here, the fattest wave on tour, where tubes are seldom seen and air sections are few and far between (unless you’re Kelly whose Bells huck-to-the-flats is surely implanted in your memory bank). The rail game has always reigned supreme out here and Mason’s rail game while solid is not the focus of his repertoire.

Bells also has a habit of eating rookies alive. The supernatural cauldron of eyes beaming down on you has played on everyone from Kolohe to Kerrzy and Mason is up against the wall. Having not shown the form to qualify through the WQS and a lack of winning experience at a wonky ole wave like Bells will leave Mason with his hands full from the get-go.

Oh yeah, and it’s cold. Like real cold. Hawaiian surfers don’t get a lot of full-suit time and have struggled here as a result. The last Hawaiian to make a final appearance out here was the late great Andy Irons with the new breed struggling to make an impact in recent years. Mason has the froth with his collection of brand new Curl steamers but that shiver sure is hard to shake.

Mason, I hope you read this and go out and prove me wrong. I want nothing more than for you to combo Fred and Mick in the first round. I want you to cheater-five all the way to the final and out-boogie the whole damn tour, come in, and then show ’em how to nail a post-heat interview.

Bring it on Mason, bring it on.

Mick Fanning Rip Curl watch
A month of surf with Mick Fanning! Two thousand waves! Thirty-two clicks an hour!

Hope: The new GPS watch will make you a better surfer!

Rip Curl will change your life with bulky plastic trinket!

I was in a cafe eating bagels when my companion reached for a slice of seared tuna from the unfinished plate of the just-departed diners next to us. As his arm reached across me, the shirt-sleeved pushed back enough to reveal a bulky plastic watch, the sort you might’ve seen on children in the eighties. It was a squared-off, all-black device that protruded from his wrist like a pyramid with the point sawn off.

“Rolex?” I said, irony heavy.

“Rip Curl,” he said, forking the tuna into his mouth.

By Rip Curl he meant the Rip Curl GPS watch, fashioned from the same technology that Billabong had knocked back during its terrible time with buy-outs and revolving CEOs.

I’d seen ’em online and knew Rip Curl had squeezed some of the most fabulous surf-centric software into its little anodes and transistors and valves. What use was irony to me now? What use was allegiance to everything hip when what I wanted, as a surfer, was here before me in this plastic shell?

I begged, “Get me one.”

My pal has contacts. Three days later, a box was dropped onto my doorstep containing my own GPS watch. The watch comes in a small white container with simple instructions and a charger that bites the undercarriage of the watch like an inquisitive shark.

Rip Curl GPS watch
It isn’t Rolex, sure, and pretty ain’t the first thing that comes into your mind when you look at it. But! It works!

I’ve had it for one week, or four surfs. I’ve ridden a total of 54 waves, paddled 14.5km, reached a top speed of just over 30 clicks and danced upon a wave that traversed over 140 metres of Pacific ocean.

Rip Curl watch GPS
…so this is what a surf will look like when you sync your watch to your phone.

I follow the surfers Mick Fanning, Owen Wright and Matt Wilkinson on the Rip Curl Watch app and find my numbers compare favourably, although mine are at Bondi; theirs are at Pipeline and Bells.

Rip Curl GPS watch
Mick just squeezes out DR on top wave speed, though the thinking surfer will point out the superiority of Winkipop as a wave for high speed counts.

Mostly, I’m a lazy surfer, or at least I was. Pre-watch, I’d paddle out the back, sing a few tunes, engage pals in conversation, wait for sets, get one out of every three if I was lucky, most surfs coming in at six waves or thereabouts. In and out within thirty minutes.

Now I’ve got a wave-count meter staring at me. How long can you look at the number one on your wrist? Or two? Fifteen is now my lowest acceptable number. Paddle distance enthrals me (fitness!) so I traverse the beach looking for banks, looking to up my wave count, of course, but also to get the kilometres ticking over.

The money figure is top speed. Who knew 30 clicks could be so fast? Who knew how often we stagnate at around 23 or 24 k’s or, if the surf is weak, between 12 and 16. If you really wanna go fast, you have to try harder, and harder than you think. Already, I’ve learned that one pump into a critical-enough turn will up the speedo. It’s addictive and I’ve developed a no-prisoner approach, even in crowds.

Are you really going to paddle over that shoulder and force me to lose precious momentum just to avoid you when my vanity is at stake? A stutter along the wave could mean the difference between something in the high-twenties and the thirties. What a thrill it is to skim your fingers and see your bewildered eyes!

Downsides? Yeah, there’s a few. Run fast and hard enough into the water and it’ll count it as a wave (but you can lose it with the software’s trimming device). Apparently if you pump your arm fast enough back and forth it’ll add a little too. If you thought surfing was a way of getting away from staring at your phone, well, don’t tell me you won’t be staring at his.

And, with precious data at stake, every surf becomes a heated battle with yourself.

I like it. I love it. I live for it.

When I forgot to charge it and arrived at the beach to surf yesterday, I didn’t paddle out.

What if I succeeded in creating a new benchmark in my stats? What use would it be?

Ricardo Toledo
Ricardo Toledo

Blood Feud II: Ricardo Toledo vs. All-comers

It just got serious.

I was routinely mocked for posting a 93 week old Instagram feud as “news.” “I’M SAVING EVERYONE A CLICK” @VishOnaMish tweeted and on the surface she was right. How can anything noteworthy exist so long ago? Except the journalist’s heart beats true. His nose can smell a story even through 93 weeks of stink. And I was right!

It turns out that Ricardo Toledo, young Filipe’s father, is a stone cold shred. Like, he really rips. And who would have known that, I ask? Who amongst you would have known that Ricardo Toledo is arguably the best surf dad out there right now? He even stone cold shreds in lycra short shorts making me rethink the boardshort altogether. So cumbersome! So much extra material! Jimmy Wilson, photographer extraordinaire and not one to pull punches says, “Did you know he was two time Brazilian champ? He’s a badass. I just watched him get spit out of barrels at Lakey Peak last week. I’m a big fan of Ricardo.”

So there you have it. As of right now, Filipe Toledo is the World Surf League’s first champion and his father, Ricardo surfs better than any other father who has a child on tour.

Dino, are you reading? Would you like to participate in a BeachGrit sponsored surf-off between you and Ricardo and prove me wrong? Ritchie Collins, do you feel that competitive fire burning? Mike Snips Parsons? Ummmm. You don’t count. Kolohe is not your son.

Blood Feud: Alex Gray vs. Filipe Toledo (‘s dad)

"...I am well settled sexually..."

Alex Gray is a fine young-ish (27, maybe 28) man who grew up in a Los Angeles costal suburb and has carved a name for himself chasing monster swells. He is, in my experience, very pleasant and easy with all manner of small talk. I believe our last conversation was behind a curtain backstage somewhere. Maybe during a Brian Setzer x Mike Ness show? I can’t be entirely certain. I only remember chuckling together. Apparently, though, not everyone feels the same.

World Surf League front-runner, and major part of The Brazilian Storm, (New York Times does piece today!) Filipe Toledo’s father thinks poorly of Mr. Gray, posting the above picture on his Instagram account with the caption:

“hei alex gay…sorry, gray, I think you this wanting suck my dick! sorry but will not give, I am well settled sexually, and besides, my wife will kill you!!! Fuck yourself…(winky smiley face sticking out tongue).”


Granted, the missile was launched 93w ago, an eternity in social media, but it has newfound value with Filipe’s rise to the top. Whatever could have transpired to cause such ire? Is it settled or does this blood feud stretch back generations? BeachGrit will not rest until we have answers, but until then you can ponder these other questions:

What is Mr. Toledo wearing whilst SUPping? Was Alex Gray SUPping too? Is it a SUP feud? If SUP feuds were televised as Mad Max meets Roman gladiator brawls (think beefy men with giant spikes on paddles, shields, etc. slowly meandering down the line toward each other…) would you watch? Who would be the WSL SUP FEUD WORLD CHAMPION?