Rumor: Quik and Billabong to merge!

Bloomberg Biz reports there might be... "One surf company to rule them all..."

BeachGrit‘s desks in both Bondi and Cardiff-by-the-Sea are vibrating wildly these days. The phones howling nonstop with too-crazy-to-believe-yet-maybe-true tales! The MacBook Airs so hot that Derek Rielly had to douse his with vodka! The latest? Quiksilver and Billabong, both helped along by Oaktree Capital Management, may be merged to form one big thing.

Bloomberg News, leader in finance reporting, says:

Oaktree Capital Management LP may consider combining bankrupt surfwear retailer Quiksilver Inc. with Billabong International Ltd., a brand the investment firm already owns a stake in, a judge in Delaware was told Wednesday.

Durc Savini, an investment banker at Peter J. Solomon Co. who is working with Quiksilver, testified that “at some point” Oaktree may put the clothing companies together if it’s able to bring Huntington Beach, California-based Quiksilver out of bankruptcy under its control.

And who could have ever seen this coming? Maybe the Brothers Marshall who have been making a QuikBongRip t-shirt for years (buy yours here!) but who else? Not me. It seems even hard to fathom. Both brands are iconic but in very different ways. Their teams and ethos feel, well, different. For Taj to don the Mountain and Wave tastes heretical. For Kelly, I mean Dane, I mean Jeremy Flores to affix the woodcut two black and white wave thing smells off.

I hope, unlike every other rumor that BeachGrit sends your way, that this particular one is untrue. Or to quote surfing’s version of Bloomberg (Boardistan), “Guess the media just get to make stuff up and then we can link to it like it’s news.”

Gabriel Medina wins Quiksilver Pro France

Sweet science: Gabriel Medina wins Quik Pro!

And the world title race tightens up!

The Quiksilver Pro ended moments ago with your champion, Gabriel Medina, being walked up the beach atop a throne built of countrymen. They shouted, “Long live the champ! Long live the champ!” it can be assumed, in Portuguese.

The final pitted Medina contra Bede Durbidge and it seemed a touch unfair. Bede found himself an alien-resident in the bleak country known to WSL announcers as “Comboland” from the start. At the end he tried to punt and flopped, helplessly, into the lip.

Gabriel caught the next wave of the set and boosted, effortlessly, into a hands free full rotation and landed like he never even took off, twisting the knife as it were. Was Bede, bobbing in the whitewash, totally gutted or relieved do you think? Did he feel, “Whew. I never even had a chance. I am a yeoman and fought the good fight and now, mercifully, it is over…”? Or did he feel, “Shit…”?

Whatever the case, the changing of the guard is well under way except maybe it is not. Michael Eugene Fanning still holds the number one spot with just two events remaining. Adriano de Souza is hot on his heels, only 450 points behind and both come from a different era. They come from Bede’s era.

Let the generational struggle continue!

(Watch the final here!)

(And final’s day highlights here!)

WSL Men’s Top 10 (after Quiksilver Pro France):
1. Mick Fanning (AUS) 49,900 pts
2. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 49,450 pts
3. Owen Wright (AUS) 43,600 pts
4. Julian Wilson (AUS) 41,450 pts
5. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 40,650 pts
6. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 40,200 pts
7. Kelly Slater (USA) 34,150 pts
8. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 34,100 pts
9. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 33,000 pts
10. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 31,200 pts


Dustin Barca and the absurdity of Kauai!

It is the stuff of legend. I mean wonderful amusement.

My favorite place to get the down and dirty on Kauai’s often absurd small town political dynamic, as well as the myriad movements constantly sweeping a minuscule island full of people with too much time on their hands, is Joan Conrow’s Kauai Eclectic.

Packed to the rafters with delicious snark and a spare-no-feelings honesty, Conrow addresses everything from the millionaire bleeding heart morons feeding feral cat colonies on the North Shore, to our very zealous but poorly informed local anti-GMO movement, to the hotel funded battle against the construction of a local dairy. It’s all great stuff, even when I disagree, and in a place where you’ll undoubtedly run into anyone you piss off, she exhibits a remarkable amount of don’t-give-a-shit.

Today, on Kauai Eclectic, she addresses an article posted on Stab yesterday, by none other than the glorious Jed Smith. Titled The Lost Coast: The Deep Lines of Kauai Localism, Smith’s piece focused on the Garden Isle’s rampant localism.

Which I can vouch for. This place is terrifying, stay the hell away. The only reason I’m not treated like an outsider is because I moved here an entire year ago, and am therefore pretty much local. And I truly support any and all xenophobia that exists. I got mine, now y’all need to stay the fuck away.

Conrow’s piece starts off guns blazing, and takes no prisoners.

“I’m not sure when Jed Smith, the guy wrote the piece, actually came to Kauai. It sounds like maybe 40 years ago, given his fantastical accounts. Still, I can see why Jed ran into trouble. It’s because he quotes only Dustin Barca, who, to put it kindly, is factually — not to mention historically — challenged…”

This isn’t the first time Conrow has tangled with Barca. They stand firmly on opposite sides of the battle over local ag law and land development, with Barca striving to shut it all down and Conrow struggling to inject facts into dialogues built almost exclusively around emotional appeals and misinformation.

“The writer then goes on to claim that Dustin and the boys are ‘maintaining constant vigilance in the face of not only disrespectful surfers but also development proposals, as evidenced by the recent defence of Hanalei Ridge.’

‘We had 500 people in a room raging against it and it never happened,” says Barca of the successful campaign to defeat the proposed developments overlooking the wave which he, Andy, Bruce and many more cut their teeth on.’

Uh, you mean it never happened yet. That project ain’t dead. (Read here!)

Can you say blowhard?”

After taking a shot at Barca’s legitimacy as a Kauai spokesman:

“I just love, though, how Dustin, who isn’t even kanaka, establishes himself as the arbiter of cultural mores…”

She goes on to link some of the more hilarious comments from the Stab article. Which are worth reading, because they are an amusing blend of self righteous indignation and racism. Which, I suppose, is nothing new on that front.

However you feel about Conrow’s opinions, I suggest making her blog a regular stop on your internet time wasting schedule. We’ve got an acrimonious local election coming up, and things are already getting ugly. I’ve been privy to a few of the scandals about to make their way into our public discourse, and it’s sure to be an exciting romp in the world of medium fish in a tiny pond battling to see who gets to on the receiving end of whatever bribes the rich fuckers who control this place decide to kick down to their running dogs.

I may even decide to write about some of it myself, though I do need to consider the fact that it’s small island, people hold grudges, and my wife needs to stay employed so I can enjoy this glorious lifestyle to which I’ve become accustomed. In the meantime, an article about an article about an article will have to do.

Quiksilver Bankrupt

Rumor: Dane Reynolds to leave Quiksilver!

When God closes a door he opens a window.

BeachGrit’s desks in both Bondi and Cardiff-by-the-Sea have been humming lately. The phones ringing non-stop with substantiated rumor! The MacBook Airs on fire! The latest? Dane Reynolds will no longer be surfing for the greatest brand in the history of action sport. That’s right. No more Dane Reynolds x Summerteeth Quiksilver.

If you have been following the news, and of course you have, you are aware that Quik has entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. As such, contracts etc. are all revisited and, possibly, downsized. Dane signed a massive twenty-some-million dollar deal a few years back. Was he asked to take a cut? Who knows! But it seems, for whatever reason, he is headed out the door. Say hello to my big back porch!

Should Quiksilver be happy? Maybe. Dane is one of the greatest surfers of the decade, possibly the greatest, but the money could be spent developing hot youth like Mikey Wright. Does Mikey surf better than Owen? Maybe. He has long hair. He doesn’t care.

Stab reported yesterday that it would be “unlikely” for Dane to split. BeachGrit takes pole position in the race for surf journalism’s first Pulitzer Prize!

Dear WSL: Run events like God intended!

It is time for the lay day to go away!

We are smack dab in the middle of the “most exciting time in the history of professional surfing” and you know what? Yawn. Because lay day. Because the waves are zero feet zero zero inches. Because there is no swell left in France. Because the fucking swell ALREADY CAME AND WENT AND NAT YOUNG SURFED IT AND GOT A 4.67!

Now, I ain’t a real businessman but I am an Internet one (hello, BeachGrit visitors!) and if I have learned one thing it is that the people must be entertained. When we do not post things, or post bad things (hello, Sweet Sugar: The Inertia Describes New York!), our traffic wanes. It is digital law.

The World Surf League may think of itself as a “league” but it, like BeachGrit, is merely an Internet business. Revenue and growth depend almost solely on unique views/hits/likes/blah. And, as such, it depends on a regular and steady stream of measurable eyeballs. When events don’t run for a day, or six, those eyeballs don’t stay. Eventually they won’t even come. Certainly there are weeks between events but those weeks could actually be filled with consistent programming. Interesting interviews, behind the scenes, set ups, etc. And then the event comes and it builds to a crescendo that satisfyingly delivers a champ within 2.5 days.

Lay days let the air out of a narrative balloon completely. Exciting performances, upsets, big moments are forgotten and lost. The whole event must, from a story-telling perspective, start over in the quarters. That isn’t enough time to get weirdly and embarrassingly thrilled.

How can the WSL accomplish this? Cut down the number of surfers (goodbye, Nat Young!). Do away with meaningless no-loser heats. Done.

And you are welcome Graham Stapelberg!