Fantasy WSL: Create your own surf tour!

What would you do if you had the keys?

Harping from the sidelines is a sport I prize. But, then, who doesn’t get their kicks from rolling their eyes at the stupidity and inertia of institutions, at the establishment?

When you’re not working the levers, whatever you say is theoretically…correct. Who can disprove it?

Some month ago, I presented my Five Ways to Improve the WSL Right Now! The ideas were hardly revolutionary, a snip hither, a cut yon, and I present them below.

1. Reduce the tour from 34 to 12

Truth is, unless you have some kinda personal contact or affinity with anyone outside the top dozen, watching ’em tag waves to the beach does nothing for you, for me, or for the supposed greater audience the World Surf League is chasing. Sure, having 34 surfers guarantees a career for men who, let’s face it, ain’t Stevie Hawkings and would therefore be laying concrete or slapping paint on walls, but it ain’t taking the game forward. It’s making up numbers. And making up numbers means…

2. You’ve gotta finish an event in two days, max

Four days for men, three days for women. Two-week waiting periods. Endless calls. Endless standbys. It’s the most lurid tempo! No wonder such a ferocious sex hunger develops around tour events. You want to see an exciting sport. Go to Speedway. Three hours. A few heats and a winner-takes-all final. Spectators with no interest in motor sports are captivated. Surfing needs a full-day super jam, two if conditions turn to grease. Which means…

3. Forget combining men’s and women’s events

Oh! You get to use the same infrastructure thereby reducing costs? How ideal! It’s an uneasy coexistence. How many joints do you know can deliver a week of good waves within a two or three-week period, across all tides? It don’t happen. And so you’re left with crucial heats running in the crummiest and most inconsistent closeouts.

Speaking of tides and inconsistent closeouts…

4. Portugal has to be iced

What should be a sideshow of tuberiding and shorebreak tumbling has become the event where world title hopes and dreams of victory are dashed upon Supertubos’ shallow sandbank. Kelly knows. And Jordy Smith, the best surfer there last year, sat in a miserable ocean and caught one wave in the final That ain’t sport at its best.

5. Live a little
Bottom line, y’ain’t ever going to get even a slice of the football or soccer or basketball crowds. Surfing is too subjective, too hard to understand. So, live a little. Let the guys on the mic, all of whom know a thing or two, loosen up.

And, you?

What would you do if you were the CEO of World Surf League? Would it be called World Surf League? Would it be a combined men’s and women’s tour? How many surfers would compete? How many events and where?

Present your tour masterplan in the comments pane below. The five best ideas will receive a pair of the new Need Essentials technical surf trunks.

(Click here to see!)


Rumor: Twiggy Baker un-invited to Mavs!

Why is the big wave world being all like that?

The window for Titans of Mavericks opens Nov. 1, a mere 10 days away and exciting. Big scary El Nino fueled waves bashing up on the rocks. Men, braver than you or I, bobbing on slender, long boards ready to conquer God’s creation. But guess who (allegedly) won’t be there? Shockingly, South African former champ Grant “Twiggy” Baker.

Baker, who won the event in 2006 and a Red Bull event there in 2014 along with the Big Wave World Tour in 2013/14, has been cut, my inside source tells me, due to a feud with Mavericks’ discoverer Jeff Clark. Clark famously saw Mavericks when he was seventeen years old and surfed it all alone until the 1990s when “California’s Waimea” blew up. He has had a cantankerous relationship with events at the wave for the past few years. Lawsuits, counter suits, etc.

What did Twig do to (theoretically) anger Mr. Clark? It is unclear but don’t worry! BeachGrit is working the big wave scene and I never knew it was so thrilling, so filled with pain, anger, spurned love. This dust-up following closely on the heels of the brouhaha between Kelly Slater, Ken Collins, etc. over Jaws (read here).

I once told Peter Mel that I wanted to paddle out to Mavericks with him but now that I am older it doesn’t sound very fun. Twiggy thinks it’s fun though. Watch him here because you won’t be (purportedly) watching him this year.

Twiggy Baker Mavericks Champion from Isurus Wetsuits on Vimeo.


Yo: Surfing’s hottest crews!

Which was the greatest of all-time?

Surfing is generally such a solitary sport. A woman or man, a board, the ocean…except for when it’s not and individuals get together to form a solid-gold crew. The idea of the crew has been owned this past decade by dancers. The Jabbawockeez, The Mos Ripe Crew, Quest, I.aM.mE etc. are popular with the kids along with movies like Step Up, Step Up 2: The Streets, Step Up 3D, Step Up Revolution and Step Up: All In.

But the crew belonged to surf before it belonged to dance. Da Hui made it look downright fierce. Maui’s Strapped Crew made it look strange. Pipeline Posse had a nice logo, the Wolfpak had the best knuckle tattoos, the Momentum Generation had the most world titles, the Coolie Kids had the second most world titles, Santa Cruz’s Eastside had Pete “The Condor” Mel, Santa Cruz’s Westside Daryl “Flea” Virostko, the Bra Boys had a wonderful handshake, the Modern Collective had a giant glowing pyramid etc.

Crews are easy to get behind. Easy to cheer for. I feel, though, surfing is kind of crew-less right now which makes me sad. There was the makings of a good one from San Clemente feat. Kolohe Andino, Luke Davis, etc. but they never formed up properly. Never got tattoos. Craig Anderson could probably gather a pretty tight crew and do shit and, if Ethan Carlston was invited, that crew could probably throw down some tight raps. Mitch Crews is the only one I can think of currently in operation and I don’t think they are accepting applications.

Which crew would you have liked to be a part of? Which can you see forming in the near future?


Blood Feud III: Jay Alvarez v Ethan C

Surprise final instalment!

Four weeks ago, BeachGrit reported on the blood feud between the two dazzling surf creatures, Jay Alvarez and Ethan Carlston.

Read, here…

…and here…

Both stories combed the feud’s themes of fantasy, juvenile egotism, anxiety and contempt, arrested adolescence, heterosexual activity, obscene ruthlessness, virulent sexism and a childish fantasy of power.

Compelling, in other words.

Today, the final word in the blood feud comes from a surprising source: a middle-aged bicycle enthusiast (Durianrider) from South Australia, whose YouTube channel has over 150k subscribers and over 100 million views. He has no connection to either surfer and yet shears the feud in two in a three-minute video of homespun wisdom.

To Ethan he advises:

“You’re stoned out of your mind, you’re glazed as fuck… I was a stoner when I was your age and you’re missing out on a lot, man. (Jay’s) going under your rug because you’re stoned and floundering around and he’s cutting through. He’s getting it. You sound really jealous that Jay’s banging Alexis… what  I’m going to say, mate, until you get off the bongs you’re not going to pull chicks like that.”

Three minutes of funny.

Watch here.

And you can buy Duranrider’s book Carb the Fuck Up! (Follow your heart with no fucks given) here.

(Click!)

 


Oahu: Three shark attacks in one week!

Wait, one of 'em was a ferocious eel!

Three shark attacks in the span of  a week have the island of Oahu whipped into a hysterical fervor. The shores are lined with spear-wielding locals, a fleet of fishing boats combs the coastal waters destroying everything in its wake.

Residents have joined together in one voice and made their intentions clear: the shark scourge will be wiped from existence, no longer will humanity cower in fear, reluctant to leave the safety of dry land!

Not really.

There were three attacks, kinda.

The third attack was at Waikiki, and was, according to officials, an eel. Which is kind of neat, eels aren’t usually aggressive unless provoked, so the dude basically won the animal attack lottery. Only the prize sucks, eel bites are horrific, though less severe than that of a shark.

Two unfortunate souls were hit by large tigers, one while surfing Leftovers, another while making the swim from the Mokes outside Lanikai to shore, losing one leg below the knee, and both above the ankle, respectively.

shark attack
This is what a shark attack looks like. The man, above, was swimming to shore at Lanikai, on Oahu. He was recused by a man and his kid who happened to be nearby in an outrigger canoe. “It was just, go go go,” the kid said. “My dad just kept him talking to keep his mind off the giant holes in his legs.”

The third attack was at Waikiki, and was, according to officials, an eel. Which is kind of neat, eels aren’t usually aggressive unless provoked, so the dude basically won the animal attack lottery. Only the prize sucks, eel bites are horrific, though less severe than that of a shark.

Derek talked to Laserwolf, North Shore resident, photographer extraordinaire, family man, and all around cool guy, to get his take on the situation.

“I’m surprised I haven’t been bit yet… but you can’t be mad at the sharks. It’s like a hiker who goes in the woods and then is surprised to get attacked by a bear. I don’t kill sharks. I don’t fish for them for sport and I don’t support it. Hopefully, my respect for the ocean and its inhabitants is returned until the end of my days…

“Everyone shark fishes where I come from. Everyone. All my friends I grew up with do it. I never once partook. What’s the point of dragging something around by a hook in its mouth for hours on end just to take a picture and then release it if it happened to survive the fight? Could you imagine if someone did that to a dog or a horse or some other tamed animal? Society would lose their shit!”

There’s been no real talk of a cull, killing sharks is something that generally isn’t done in Hawaii, despite the fact that attacks happen fairly frequently in our little archipelago (26 in the last three years).

The local blend of judgmental Christianity and convenient animism leads to many identifying sharks as their ‘aumakua, a kind of ancestral spirit animal.  No one wants a lame ‘aumakua, so it’s sharks and turtles all around.