World number three comes out swinging against surfing's Olympic inclusion…
Owen Wright is seen, is some ill-informed camps, as a jock-ish athletic type surfer. The sort who prefers doing sit-ups and kettle bells/balls to being the life of the party. And it could have been thought that the possibility of surfing’s inclusion into the Olympic games would have thrilled him beyond. Not only because of he sit-ups but because he is an Australian and all Australians are rabidly nationalistic.
But guess what? Owen Wright agrees with Matt Warshaw! He thinks the Olympics should butt the hell out of surfing!
In case you have been living under a rock, Matt Warshaw rocked the surfing world, recently, when he told a reporter from Surfer Magazine, “Fuck the Olympics.” (Read story here). Yesterday, Owen Wright followed by telling a Reuters reporter:
“I think surfing in itself is more of an art form and an expression so I think the Olympic banner doesn’t really suit the sport of surfing. It suits a lot of other sports but I think surfing is more like judging an art work. It’s kind of hard to put it under that one banner. If you had one event and named the Olympic champion? I think in the world surf league we have a bunch of different canvasses, they’re all totally different waves, and by the end of it you get the winner. I think it has to be like that, to have a bunch of different inclusions to get the one champion.”
And ain’t that refreshing. As iconoclastic as he is fit. And handsome.
Remember, what was it, a year ago, when we first heard about Kelly’s new clothing label Outerknown? It was to be produced by 24-billion-dollar-company Kering, that behemoth of the luxe clothing world, owners, among other labels, of Saint Laurent (I’m wearing the 17cm jeans now!), Christopher Kane (tiny little surf trunks, I own a pair!), Gucci (kinda yuck) as well as surf co’s Electric (those watches!) and Volcom and it would “blend the relationship between style, sustainability, and travel. I believe we have an obligation to build better products and understand the way our consumption impacts the world around us.” So wrote Kelly Slater in a press release last September.
It sounded so fantastic. I like the world too! And there was more!
“The name Outerknown references the furthest reaches of our knowledge today,” wrote Kelly. “As designers, it challenges us to build better, more sustainable products. As producers, it asks us to lift the lid on our supply chain bringing the consumer along on our journey to transparency… it offers the opportunity to observe this multi-cultural world we live in and bring together seemingly unconnected people and ideas for the purpose of discovering the next Outerknown.”
Kering actually used to be called P.P.R. (short for Pinault-Printemps-Redout). The name Kering was chosen in 2013 because it can be “pronounced and understood as ‘caring.'” The company chose an owl as their logo, said company CEO François-Henri Pinault, because, “it is a discreet and protective animal.”
Anyway, a cursory Outerknown website appeared (click here). An Instagram account started uploading photos, mostly, it seemed, of the designer John Moore’s musings, even his kids. (Click here for the IG.)
An industry insider told me I should I do a story about what had happened to Outerknown. He’d earlier predicted that when Kelly first setup shop with Kering, that Kering would sign Kelly with promises of a label and then, when Kelly lost interest and went surfing as he apparently tended to do, the label would disappear and he’d end up wearing Volcom.
If proof was needed, why wasn’t Kelly, the insider asked, now, on the eve of its launch, wearing the gear now or even surfing with an Outerknown sticker on his board. According to the WSL, they just booked 29-million viewers in Brazil alone.
I looked at the website; I looked at Instagram.
“Launches July 2015,” the homepage said.
Wait, what date is it now? June 23? That’s one week away! Something had to be happening.
How about I ask Kelly?
So, I did, and Kelly who has to be the most contactable sporting icon in the world, didn’t blink at me waving a rumour mill in his face. Turns out they’re launching July 13 (three weeks away) and he’s actually been wearing Outerknown for months. Said that they’re “deep in ranges but women’s is on hold for now.”
Said that it isn’t an endemic brand (i.e. so not surf-surf) and it “ended up in a more fashionable world once our designs were created.”
Kelly said that he’s “just not that into talking into it’s reality” and that he’ll have logos on his board “soon enough. Just haven’t worried about it,” he said, adding:
“It’s nice to not have any for a change after thirty years of having ’em.”
Forbidden Trim will forever change the way surf movies are viewed, maybe even made…
I’m not a fan of crowdfunding. Internet begging is just so déclassé, and I’ll be damned before I give some “entrepreneur” shithead a penny of my wife’s hard-earned money.
Creative stuff is another matter entirely.
Nothing wrong with artistic types living off the patronage of their more fortunate peers. I’ve been operating on that model for years.
Forbidden Trim, a beautiful title evoking images of 70’s era lesbian prison dramas, is a 90-minute, low-budget film shot on Super 8 film over the course of four years by San Clemente’s George Trimm and starring Jared Mell and Alex Knost.
It just occurred to me that the title is a pun.
“A film about a commando’s mission to unveil a global crime syndicate. Using surfers as cover, he travels deep into the unknown.”
The trailer is deliciously absurd, which is how I like my surf movies. Nothing worse than trying to force some sort of spiritual significance on our selfish little ocean dance.
The filmmaker wants to raise thirty-gees to shoot the final scene and to pay some of the post-production expenses. With 24 days to go, they’ve got 49 backers for a total of $7197.
Chip in a twenty and you get a digital download when it’s released (September 2015). A hundred and fifty will get you a collab surf trunk with Birdwell Britches, the movie download, a DVD, a soundtrack download. Another hundred and a Matuse wetsuit jacket is yours.
What do you call a good job nowadays? A doctor, who earns his bread by foraging around in the putrid holes of humanity? A lawyer, so well-paid, but tied to a job that is menial and tedious?
For a cat like Eric Soderqvist, who set up shop as a 27-year-old boat skipper and surf guide in the Mentawais back in 2004, the concept of “good job” takes a sharp turn.
Eric, and his twin bro Jason, were scooped up by the surf explorer and entrepreneur Martin Daly when The Crossing came by the Turks and Caicos Islands where Eric lived. Eric ran the Indies Trader II for a time. Now he’s working part-time on what used to be called The Indies Trader IV but is now the Ratu Motu after it was sold to Quiksilver founder Alan Green for around five mill.
Eric ain’t rich but he’s got a bitchin’ 48-foot catamaran called Tank Girl. (Watch the movie below.)
He can fix any damn thing that breaks.
He can spin a laptop on his finger, walk on his hands across the entire helipad of the Ratu Motu (12 metres up) and then front-flip into the drink.
He can skipper a boat, whatever size you please around the world, navigate by the stars, stitch a wound (just ask Matt Biolos who was sliced from eyebrow to ear out there and got 19 stitches, including a few internals) and resuscitate a guest who’s gone overboard after several well-prepared cocktails.
And he can surf, man, can he surf.
On the deck of Tank Girl, as the sun peeled behind the horizon, and as Eric showed me star constellations in the equatorial sky using a green laser pointer, I asked Eric to brief me about his fabulous job.
Why work as a skipper out here?
You get a sense of freedom, it’s the wild blue yonder still. If I was working back in the western world, I’d be running some silly white boat, have all these epaulettes and kissing ass to all these people. One of the things, working on a surf charter, I can tell you, ‘Go you soft cock! Fucking go! Scratch! Bite Get into that thing! It’s It’s more salty out here.
How about change, how about crowds, how about the shifting goalposts in paradise?
Change comes everywhere, nowhere likes to see it change. It’s getting busier and we lose one of our secret waves every year. It’s good in a way, you see infrastructure, you see roads, so I’m not against it. It’s good for the people.
Gimme some advice on how to get a gig out here…
The first thing to do would be to get some sort of a captain’s license. It’s pretty easy to do. You need some type of skill. A lot of people want to come out and get barrelled, and I think that those are the guys that never last out here. If you’re a lifeguard or a medic or a captain or have some boating or engineering skills, there are always places for those people.
Tell me about sewing up the guests…
I’ve seen a lot of shit, basically, I do a lot of the sutures, even for a number of the boats. For my captain’s license I did a three-week course called Medical Person in Charge. I sutured fake arms, pretended to deliver babies. Spent a week riding around in an ambulance. I actually learned to suture, in the real world, from another skipper out here, Albert Taylor. A of the times we’ll have doctors on boardand pick up bits and pieces from those guys.
What about the time you stitched Matt Biolos back together?
Matt cut his head from the rail of his board from eyebrow to ear, 19 stitches, a couple of internal ones. I’d just helped do a really bad one on this boat. Fifty stitches, guy duck driving at Pit stops and he literally, pushed into the reef, broke his nose, half his skull was peeled off. Luckily, we had a doctor on board, and I wrote notes down on what he was doing. Matt was a year or two later. I had more confidence because of that bad one…
How would you describe your life? You work on the Ratu Motu, but you’ve got your dreamy cat just moored hither and yon whenever you want to split.
Yeah, if I don’t have a charter going I just get to play on my boat. Go surfing… try and get girls out…
Do you use the miracle of Tinder to recruit gals?
No Tinder, although I should be on it. Id say that, I’m getting creepier and creepier in all honesty. This year is the first I haven’t spent much time in Bali, lately, so my pool of girls is getting smaller and smaller…
Cruel! Y’ever taking this boat back to the Bahamas to run sunset tours?
If I even think of a sunset sail and drinking rum punch I throw up in my mouth a little. The monotony of it!
WSL CEO Paul Speaker tells the Fox Biz Network Kelly Slater ain't short of a shekel…
When my wife and I first moved to Hawaii roughly eight years ago, we were so horrendously broke that we couldn’t afford cable. Going set-less wasn’t meant to be a permanent thing, I do enjoy television.
Beyond the empty mind escapism it provides it also helps keep me balls deep in the zeitgeist. And I do run the risk of becoming dangerously disconnected, living as I do in semi-hermitage on a remote tropical island with almost no real connections to the rest of the world. Seriously, the internecine conflicts with Kauai County have far more influence on my life than whatever rich white asshole buys his way into the executive branch.
Thanks to advancements in online piracy, and even though we can now easily afford a big, dumb flat-screen and a premium subscription, we got used to scraping all the shows we want to watch off the web.
One thing I can’t get much of off the various private torrent trackers of which I am a member is the top notch spectacle that is Fox News.
It’s problematic. How am I to know how threatened I currently am by racial minority uppity-ness? What rhetoric should I employ to sabotage my own self interests? In what manner is my straight while maleness under attack?
Lucky for me they post drips and drabs of content online, most recently a hard-hitting interview with none other than the WSL’s Paul Speaker.
Some highlights below:
Slater makes $20 million+ per year. This is a great exchange between host Stuart Varney and Paul Speaker.
Varney: “I’m going to ask you a question that you may or may not want to answer… can that superstar, whose name I’ve just forgotten…
Speaker: Kelly Slater
Varney: Can he earn, say, 20 million dollars a year?
Speaker: Has and will probably for a very, very long time…
Varney: Really? Twenty million?
Speaker: Way more than that.
The most popular surfing spot in the world? Hawaii!
Surfing may or may not be bigger one day than the NFL.
The WSL has advertisers? I guess so, Fox News says so.
Twenty-two million people tuned into a WSL webcast in Brazil alone.
Viewers are tuning in in order to watch people wipe out.