Heartwarming: “Surfing is for everyone!”

A Rohingya girl shreds Bangladeshi waves and inspires!

When the act of surfing extends beyond sheer selfishness it sure does warm the heart. Julian bravely paddling toward Mick. Tyron Swan duct taping his friend’s paraplegic mother onto his back.

And here we have Nassima Akhtar in southern Bangladesh. Her story is a few years old, now, but even more inspiring than ever because the plight of her Rohingya people is increasingly bleak. The small minority group, predominately Muslim, hails from Burma (Myanmar) and is widely persecuted. The Burmese government does not recognize them as citizens. The women are sold into sexual slavery, the men killed. Pope Francis recently said that the Burmese government’s treatment of the Rohingya constitutes war against them. Thousands try to flee via rotten boats and are lost forever.

Nassima, pressing through not only ethnic discrimination but sexual too, is a true inspiration. Get that girl a sponsor! #ImWithNassima!

Predictable: The Kelly Kut Kanned!

The best recent edit of Kelly Slater pulled down for breach of copyright… 

The Kelly Kut, a free-time edit project that distilled twenty-plus years of the best surfer ever into a beautiful bite-sized morsel of awesomeness, is no more. A quick trip to Vimeo to give it a watch shows:

Vimeo has removed or disabled access to the following material as a result of a third-party notification by Poling Productions claiming that this material is infringing: The Kelly Kut 

I can’t say I’m terribly surprised. It was, after all, completely comprised of “borrowed” footage, and in this day and age it doesn’t matter how creative you are, a DMCA request will take you down in a heart beat.

Poling Productions, founded by Florida natives Jack and Clark Poling, undoubtedly has every right to protect their product. And, honestly, filmers don’t earn shit or get nearly the respect they deserve, so I can understand feeling salty when someone else reaps a ton of positive press employing footage they snaked from your product.

It feels petty, though.

When your website is dead, your company has no social media presence and the video the footage was lifted from is unavailable for purchase, what’s the point of enforcing your rights?

Sour grapes? Envy? Outright dickishness?

I know I’m not being fair, and I’m sure if I asked my lawyer wife about it she could give me ten million totally valid and fair reasons for the Polings to enforce their copyright.

But that doesn’t change the fact that it was a sick edit, a ton of work obviously went into it, and I’m kind of pissed because I wanted to watch it this morning while drinking coffee and trying to come up with an idea to write about.

Kelly Slater on Mr Porter!

Online clothes store makes wonderful interview with champ… 

Last night as I was strolling through the racks of Mr Porter, a little Saint Laurent here, Balmain there, can’t afford either, I bumped into Kelly Slater all trussed up in his new label.

Fast turnaround, that’s f’sure. One month ago, I was interviewing Kelly on whether or not the label actually existed.

Click here for that. 

Now it’s all over the world’s most prestigious online retailer of men’s clothes.

And whatever you think of a joint that doesn’t blink at trying to sell you two thousand-dollar sneakers (Berluti, Playtime high-tops) and plain grey tees for $1500 (Elder Statesmen, Cutter Cashmere T shirt) y’gotta admit, Mr Porter has…polish.

And, apart from its grating imitation Fantastic Man tone (Mr Kelly Slater this, Mr John Moore that), the interview with Kelly contained within its website as it launches Outerknown, is very, very good.

Kelly Slater Mr Porter

Here’s a taste. Link for the whole story below.

On style: Style, for a teen Mr Slater, was only something to be found in the sea. “The only style I recognised or understood was surfing style,” he admits. “The way someone’s arms looked when they surfed, the way someone bent into a turn, or whatever. I’ve never really thought of people as my fashion icons.” Mr Slater is both the archetypal surfer and the transcendental one. He still cuts an amphibious figure at surf competitions around the world but he’s also at home on the red carpet – recently donning a dark navy Brioni tux to the Met Gala, fashion’s Academy Awards. He’s representative of a new breed of surfer – evolved from logo-loving rebellious young guns and competition-rejecting rambling free spirits – into something more refined. These days, when he’s not surfing – or searching out new spots – Mr Slater enjoys the good life; fresh cuisine, rounds of golf and writing and playing music with his guitar (he downsizes to a ukulele on the road).

“I think that as a kid I always thought I’d have more of a home and a family, more of a normal life, but as I’ve grown and evolved, I think it’s not abnormal now [to be nomadic],” Mr Slater reflects. “Almost all my friends that I’ve made around the world are travellers of some sort. I don’t think I’ll ever be settled. I love too many places and people around the world to stay in any one of those places for too long.”

Kelly Slater Mr Porter

On his legacy: We all want to have a legacy of some sort. Although you can’t think too hard about creating it because then it’s not real,” says Mr Slater. “It’s pretty simple. I’d like to be thought of as a good, honest guy who stuck to his principles and followed them through.” He goes on to tell me about his daughter’s boyfriend’s graduation speech – the tale of how Mr Alfred Nobel turned his legacy from “the merchant of death”, as the inventor of dynamite, to one of ultimate pacifism, founding the Nobel Peace Prize. It’s one of many anecdotes that Mr Slater is able to bring to mind at any given time throughout our conversation. He seems genuinely amazed by these stories of wisdom, almost childlike in his curiosity.

The mention of his daughter catches me off guard. Would he wish his unorthodox life, I can’t help thinking, for her too? “It’s been fun and it’s been a blessing; the people I’ve met, the places I’ve gone and the access I have to experiencing different things around the world is really second to none,” he says. “I mean, yeah,” he continues, laughing, and reverting to something of a Southern drawl in his appreciation, “not to toot my own horn, but you’d have a hard time finding a better lifestyle than what I got.”

You can read the rest here. 

Inspiration: #ImWithMick!

WSL rallies the world to Mick Fanning's side!

This morning CEO Paul Speaker sent out a heartfelt email:

Hello Friends.

I hope this finds you well

As you may or may not be aware, I am the CEO of the World Surf League, the WSL.

On Sunday, July 19, time came to a grinding halt for the surfing world and then to the world at large when three-time WSL Champion Mick Fanning fought off a Great White Shark during the Final of the J-Bay Open on live television. It justifiably became the biggest story in the world and Mick’s actions during the intense encounter as well as his humility and candor in the press frenzy that followed have been nothing short of inspiring.

The experience has, however and understandably, left its mark on Mick. The WSL, with help from our friends, is putting together an #ImWithMick support campaign as he readies for the upcoming event in Tahiti.

Details are available in the attached document, but I would encourage you to join us in supporting Mick through this campaign in recording a short message of support for him as he prepares to reengage with his 2015 campaign for the world surfing crown.

  • Create a short video via your smartphone expressing your admiration and support for Mick in his journey back to competition in Tahiti.  Each video should end with “I’m With Mick”.
  • Post the support video on your social networks using #ImWithMick and @WSL

Thank you in advance.


CEO Speaker and the WSL rallying behind Mick is an inspiration! But maybe a touch clunky featuring bizarrely hagio… Oh never mind! #ImWithMick!

I quickly emailed our wisest scribe, Matt Warshaw, to see if #HesWithMick too. He responded:

My guess, Mick being Mick, is that he’s gone all Iron Man and will be perfectly fine at Teahupoo. This looks, smells and tastes like WSL trying to PR-spin the shit out of what happened at JBay. Ride that shark for as long as you can. I like to think that Bethany Hamilton has enough devil in her to be rolling her pretty eyes. While holding her newborn child with her remaining arm. 

Bethany Hamilton really and truly is the world’s greatest living surfer (nothing against Mick. #ImStillWithHim!).

Early British surfers explore their dismal options.
Early British surfers explore their dismal options.

Come: Surf the “British Bondi!”

The hottest (coldest) event of the year!

Newquay, England is 279 miles from London, near Cornwall, and the heart of the island’s super hot scene. “Once a sleepy pilchard-fishing village…” Britain’s Guardian newspaper writes “…Newquay has reinvented itself as Britain’s premier surf destination. The British Bondi is Newquay’s Fistral beach – where surfers speak reverently of its huge hollow waves and impressive swell.”

And right now the British Bondi is having its annual “Boardmasters” six-star WQS event which is more “festival” less “QS.” It is pouring rain and the people are miserable. Just like they like it! The surf is weird slop, everybody is soaking wet, keeping their skin as pale as possible for the upcoming year/decade, and the food is fried and the water is freezing cold. Paul Evans, editor-in-chief of Surf Europe said, “Why are you calling it Corn Wall? What is Corn Wall?” when reached for comment.

What do you think people in England think Bondi is like? Do they imagine it as a grey town filled with tracksuit-wearing Caesar cuts? Would you rather go to the British Bondi or the Australian one?