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?

People who ride SUPs are giant kooks

And Jamie Mitchell makes me eat my words.

The time I met Jamie Mitchell…

He decided, last minute, to paddle his stand-up out to the reef pass instead of hopping a ride on the boat. Sure he had spent last night in agony with a busted eardrum from a thirty second hold down, but today was a new day and he may as well make the most of it.

His board was where he left it, leaning against one of the foundation posts of the Tahitian shack. And there was still ear blood mixed into the wax. He chuckled as he fished his paddle out of a pile of broken shortboards. The kids didn’t really know what to make of his gear but he didn’t let that phase him. The kids eventually become men and then they learn what’s what.

The boat arrived to thundering Teahupo’o and the surfers readied themselves for battle. A generally unkind surf journalist had somehow hitched a ride as well. He had no intention of paddling out, but had always wanted to watch the wave break. It was everything he imagined. Even more. And he stared at its grandeur with a slack jaw.

They had been on the shoulder for a mere ten minutes when the surf journalist went to light a cigarette. Facing the direction from which they just came, away from the wind, he saw a stand-up paddleboarder gliding across the horizon, toward them. “Look at that kook…” he said. The team manager, sitting next to him, didn’t respond. He knew that the “kook” could answer for himself. The surf journalist watched as he stroked past them with a smile and into the lineup. “His ear was so bad last night that he couldn’t sleep, but he didn’t want to disturb anyone so he waited until morning to get a ride to the hospital for antibiotics…” someone said. “He was packing closeouts over the reef just to do it…” someone else said. The surf journalist couldn’t take his eyes off of him. What was he doing out there with a busted eardrum on a stand-up paddleboard? He was asking for pain worse then death.

The set had been working its way toward Teahupo’o’s reef for two days. What started as an open ocean storm, furious and wild, and organized itself into straight lines that only needed reef, or rock, or shore to stand up and detonate. And it was here. The stand-up paddleboarder saw it first and paddled beyond the surfing pack. They hooted him as he went by. The surf journalist on the boat could not believe what he was seeing. What was this mad man doing? Why? His paddle dipped once, twice, three times. Shoulder muscles flashed. Teeth clenched. And then he was dropping down a beast. An absolute monster of a wave.

The surf journalist couldn’t believe what he had just witnessed and exclaimed, “That fucking stand-up paddleboarder just made me forever repent. He is a man’s man.” The team manager, sitting next to him, smiled and finally responded, “Ernest Hemingway once said, ‘As you get older it is harder to have heroes, but it is sort of necessary.’”

Mitch Coleborn
The Australian Mitch Coleborn delivers the opening gambit in Cluster, a celebration of lives realised away from competition. | Photo: Cluster surf movie

Opinion: Why “Fuck the WSL!” still has currency

Surfing is a contrived ritual and the freesurfer represents, beautifully, the pointlessness of the act.

The current crop of freesurfers have a hard time of it. People seem to hate that they get to surf all day and don’t seem to do anything meaningful.

BeachGrit has been unkind too: Chas pondered why they are such disappointments when they could turn things on their head. I, too, have been harsh. I concluded that they are knee-capped by confusion and their need to fuck. I suggested it was a malaise that plagued white kids in general. I’d go as far as saying it is part of the modern existence so many others have lamented.  I stand by this claim. Their so-called rebellious gestures are impotent (Noah and the WSL), their anger lacks gravity, their airs, though technical and impressive, are meaningless.

Yet, I admire them. I admire them for their ability. I admire them for their lifestyle and I admire them because they’re the embodiment of modern-day impotence. Why? Because I can’t escape that feeling of modern-day impotence myself.

I shouldn’t feel like this.

I’m 30, comfortable in my own abilities, in a healthy long-term relationship and I have a good job with excellent career prospects. But I feel empty, without purpose (the essential ingredient for impotence), prone to bouts of aimless anger and compelled to engage in empty gestures of defiance and stupidity. The highlight was being 19 and putting a shotgun in my mouth. I can’t remember if it was loaded or not and I’m not sure if I want to remember.

I’ve accepted living with these feelings, it’s OK. I just put in my ear buds crank up Minor Threat, Death and the Dead Kennedys as I walk to a dull government building and plan on how to destroy myself on the half-pipe or dream of barrels. It is also why I look to the Noah’s, Mitch’s, Dion’s, Creed’s, etc.

Those kids are useless in life like me (and I’m guessing you too, it’s probably why you may hate them). They’re pissing into the wind, they’re team average, they often don’t have nice styles and they ride strange boards. They’re imperfect.

They’re not like the Gods of the WSL. But perfection is boring. Mick surfs heats perfectly, great for winning world titles, but so boring to watch. He’s  70’s stadium rock to Noah’s punk.

Yeah, the freesurfers do contrived things, but who doesn’t?

Surfing (and I don’t care what the poet/surf scholar/ocean activist/ dolphin fuckers say) is completely contrived. The whole of human life is full of contrived rituals, if it weren’t, we’d be back on par with the animals. The fact that they are paid to be average seems obscene to you? It seems no more obscene than fat middle-aged men being called athletes and getting paid millions to walk around a golf course.

Yeah, they’re not going to change the world and they won’t be as interesting to watch as Arab kids trying to overthrow their government through revolution. Remember, though, revolution is self-defeating. It just replaces the status quo with a new status quo and you can’t keep a revolution going in perpetuity.

Slater was a one-man revolution, now he’s just staid and boring. The Brazilian storm will become a lingering warm front (boring light drizzle), and John John and Julian will become what the Cooly kids are now. Seriously, revolutions get boring.

I appreciate competitive surfing, but I want an alternative to that structured world. Dion and his gang is that alternative.

Yeah, they’re impotent modern youth, they’re not John John, they may have slightly dubious fashion tastes, they’re not going to change shit and are probably overpaid for what they do.

However, they do seem to have a lot of fun. And I want some of that cake. So fuck the WSL.

The Inertia claims victory in racist intrigue

Champagne bottles are popping in Santa Monica.

Yesterday, The Inertia contributor/poet/surf scholar/ocean activist Trey Highton began an online petition to Suspend & Fine Gabriel Medina. (Read here) Today, he claims victory. 51 people signed his appeal leading directly (apparently) to Gabs being fined an undisclosed sum by the World Surf League. The League subsequently released this statement:

“The World Surf League (WSL) Rules and Disciplinary Committee has completed its investigation into the Medina/Hall incident from the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast. Following conversations with both parties involved as well as reviewing broadcast footage, the Rules and Disciplinary Committee has determined that Medina was in violation of the athlete Code of Conduct and has been fined as a result.  

“Medina’s efforts following the incident to amend any public misperceptions about his and Hall’s relationship have been noted and appreciated.”

Ummmmmmmmm but is that really a victory? Was the petition to Not Suspend & Pretend to Fine Gabriel Medina? No? It wasn’t? Whatever the case, I don’t know how either The Inertia or Trey Highton could feel in any way good about taking an even pretend amount of money from a poor Brazilian man trying to scratch out a living beneath an unforgiving sun.

And, forthwith, in order to stop cynical race-baiting, BeachGrit slapped The Inertia with a heavy No Hate-Mongering in Surf Media by The Inertia petition. 50 people have also signed but victory is most assuredly not ours. Not yet. Victory will only be achieved when The Inertia takes public responsibility for its backing of hurtful language and pairing Teva sandals with oversized Banana Republic short sleeved button-ups. Sign today!