Big Waves: WSL ripping off surfers?

Is the WSL running a literal Ponzi scheme on the Big Wave World Tour?

It’s fitting the BWWT’s primary sponsor is a wristwatch peddler. So pointless, who still wears a watch? Who’s the market for bottom tier luxury watches? I understand the real nice ones are on the conspicuous consumption trip, but Tag Heuer’s priced low enough to be expensive to poor people, cheap to rich ones. Like a low end luxury car, the people you’re trying to fit in with are laughing at you, the rest of us just think you wasted your money.

(Editor’s (Chas) note: I love wristwatches more than anything else, maybe. I am wearing a vintage Rolex right now.)

On the subject of wasted money… Todos Santos, really? Are we pretending it’s still a relevant wave, in the context of top tier insanity surf? Cold, scary? Sure, but line it up against what’s going on at Pe’ahi, or Mavericks, or Nazare, and it looks like a big wave version of the US Open. The last time someone caught a wave out there that mattered was in ’98, when Taylor Knox scratched into a bomb. A big deal, at the time, but it’s been nearly twenty years, a lot has changed since then. Boards have gotten bigger, surfers have gotten crazier, I’ve grown armpit hair and a gorgeous chest pelt. Ch-ch-ch-changes…

Today ain’t great. Howling winds, interminable lulls, boredom kind of broken every twenty minutes when someone chatters down the face and kicks out. Big wave contest business as usual.

Speaking of business as usual, I wonder when the guys in the water are going to realize they’re being ripped off. Did you know that prize money changes depending on the size of the surf? It does, and in swells like today’s, running in 20 foot surf, the boys are on the low end of the scale.

First place gets $12.5K, not a substantial sum of money. Enough to buy a decent used pickup truck, though not once you’ve taken into account the cost of last minute flights and extortionate over-sized baggage fees.

But the real kick in the nuts comes lower on the totem pole. Of the twenty four guys in the event, no women because the BWWT is sexist as hell, the bottom 18 take home a whopping $1000! A little more than half my monthly rent.

Surf’s over forty five feet? Like, in the scary death realm? Then they double their money!

BWWT prize moneyConsidering the fact that competing is a losing proposition, financially, for pretty much everyone in the event, and that no one really cares who wins, I’m hoping it’s just a matter of time until some people start realizing that their money is better spent chasing swell for clips instead of results.

Or the WSL will stop being a bunch of cheap ass motherfuckers and start paying guys a living wage, which they deserve. But I’m not holding my breath for that one. I can hold my breath a long time, but not, like, forever.

(Editor’s (Chas) note again: I had no idea this was running and clicked on it and saw Josh Kerr and Damo Hobgood surfing in the final? Maybe the final? Who knows! But I’m invested!)


Vic Secret: “We’re making surfing cool!”

Models and actresses unite in dragging a nerd-fest into the warm light of popularity!

There are many, apparently, indoor surfing studios now in New York and why not? It is a wonderful thing to do! So wonderful, even, that Victoria’s Secret models are getting their get on! Martha Hunt, a lingerie angel, told Vogue Magazine:

“My core is on fire!” while whipping her ponytail back and forth. Here, in a sun-drenched Bowery studio,  she is trying out Surfset, a surf-inspired workout class that uses a custom-built balance-training board to mimic the ocean’s waves. Having just returned from a trip to Oahu, where she successfully surfed for the first time, Hunt is keen on honing her skills. “I got up on my first wave, actually, and my face turned from absolute fear, with my eyes bulging out, to complete wonder,” she says. “Now I want to surf all the time, and am looking for that core-balancing workout.”

But that’s not all! She is not content to stay indoors and do exercises. She has caught the stoke! The article continues:

…she’s already planning a second trip to Costa Rica this spring—and that at dinner with Helena Christensen, she learned that the Danish super had just started surfing, too. “We’re making surfing cool,” she says, laughing. “No, it was already cool.” That may be true—but watching Hunt gracefully twist along the board, she makes a good case for the sport’s body-transformative powers.

Great! And thanks!


Dru Adler is a Gold Coast surfer who, yesterday, posted a clip of a backside air reverse kick-flip or, in skate terms, a backside flip. Crazy, yes? Yes! But it ain't true! "I went for a surf that afternoon at Snapper and as I pulled up in the carpark I noticed that Owen Wright had shared it! I was blown away at how crazy this was getting," says Dru. "Then later that night I noticed that The Inertia had written an entire story on me and how I pulled it off for real! At that point I was starting to think, this is getting out of control. Then I noticed a comment where Kelly Slater had been watching it frame by frame to figure out it was fake!"

Backside flip: How I fooled The World!

Dru Adler reveals why and how he created his fake backside flip… 

Yesterday, the Australian surfer Dru Adler posted a backside air-reverse kick-flip or, in skate terms, a backside flip on his Instagram account. 

It was an odd little clip, a stutter though the horizontal spin, on a wave identical to another posted earlier in the week. Fake? Yeah.

The Inertia, and Owen Wright, were sold, however. And Kelly Slater and Ozzie Wright both examined the clip closely.

When The Inertia wrote a story on it, saying in part: “Dru Adler just set the bar of surf progression by being the first person ever to successfully land a backside flip on a surfboard” Dru lifted the curtain. He wrote: “It’s not real. I thought it would be funny.”

I thought so, too, and Chas Smith wrote about it here, but I also wondered, how’d Dru create it? So I asked.

And this is Dru’s reply.

“I’ve been doing my bachelor of digital media part time/fulltime at Griffith on the Gold Coast for 4 Years, majoring in digital design. I love editing and because I’m also into skating I own movies like ‘Yeah Right’ and ‘Pretty Sweet’ that were made by Girl Skateboards which not only feature the best skating but also have some funny scenes with special effects which really inspired me to do something similar and it seemed like really fun work.

“I’ve begun working at VO Group, a digital agency in Southport which transpired through a successfull internship as part of a subject for Griffith. The Creative Director Ray Bischop is a frothing surfer which helped land me the initial internship.

“One day last week on our car pool journey back from the office I showed him on Instagram that I was following @johannesgamble, who has posted some of his effects that he created for the skate movies that I mentioned plus a few extras. I started explaining that I think I could take one of my air clips and turn it into a kick flip, shooting my board on a few angles and then working some magic. He wasn’t sure that I could make it look real due to perspective issues so I decided to take on the challenge.

“I shot my board that day on a few angles and then a few days later on the weekend started piecing it together and it only took a few hours till I was done. I could’ve made it way better but it looked pretty cool and I wasn’t going to spend my whole weekend on it. But I could have made it so it looked like I kicked the board and a few other things to make it look even more realistic. But when I was making it I just thought I’d get a bit of a laugh on it and that would be it. I actually made it from a clip that I had already posted not long ago and put a #VFX hashtag on it as a clue, but I didn’t want to completely give it away just to see if anyone would think it was real.

“Once I posted it, I actually started thinking, it would be pretty funny if one of the big magazines ran it as a joke. Not long after that thought, Wade, the editor from Surfing Life messaged me saying he wants to do exactly that. Run it as a joke and that it would be funny. So I sent him the clip. There were a few surfing legend friends of mine that were already starting to share it, saying all types of nice things about me and how stoked they were that I pulled it, so I was quick to message a few of them and let them know that I was only mucking around because I felt a bit bad that they might feel a bit embarresed. But they all took it really well and replied with comments such as, “that is a classic, keep it going a bit longer”.

“I went for a surf that afternoon at snapper and as I pulled up in the carpark I noticed that Owen Wright had shared it! I was blown away at how crazy this was getting. Then later that night I noticed that The Inertia had written an entire story on me and how I pulled it off for real! At that point I was starting to think, this is getting out of control. Then I noticed a comment where Kelly Slater had been watching it frame by frame to figure out it was fake! At that point I decided that the joke was over and I edited the caption to,

“Finally pulled off the backside 180 kickflip! 😂 It’s not real. Sorry I thought it would be funny. Turns out it looks a bit too real! Mucking around with my digital media effects. But I’ve always wanted to pull it. Hoping it’ll inspire!

“I sent this message to a few people including The Inertia and Kelly. They both took it very well and Kelly even wrote me a direct comment to say, “I think it’s classic. And Yes… it’ll plant many seeds in kids’ brains”.

“I also enjoyed Ozzy Wright’s comment from the Beach Grit page explaining that he filmed his phone in slow motion in order to see if it was real and enjoyed the short period of wondering if it were possibly real.

“There have been a very few comments that I’ve read of people who have taken offence to it but I suppose that’s always going to happen. I’m definately stoked I did it because I was never going to claim it that I did it for real.”

 

Need surf coaching or digital tips for your own IG account? Click here. 


A counterproductive surfer!

Are you one?

Yesterday was the first day the doctors said I was allowed back in the water, and I was just chomping at the bit. Sitting on my fat ass for the last month and half was no fun at all, turns out that when you can’t play in the water Kauai doesn’t have a whole lot going on. You can only do so many drugs before it starts feeling repetitive.

I just didn’t have it in me to drive North and deal with 30 foot surf. Not in good enough shape, desperately need a warm-up session or two before venturing into anything substantially bigger than overhead. But the winds were great, so I found a fun little Eastside spot and paddled out.

It was only waist to chest when I hit the water, but it looked fun and I figured the swell wrap would fill in over the course of the next few hours. Which it did. Not terribly consistent, but an awesome little runner would roll in every once in a while, and I had the peak all to myself.

After about an hour I was joined in the lineup by a guy on a mid-sized epoxy Firewire. I don’t like big shortboard-like shapes. All the downsides of a longboard, none of the benefits of a shortboard. Makes the mental kook bell ring, that strange urge to ride a “shortboard” when you don’t actually have the ability.

I caught a fun one and, while paddling back out, watched the guy paddle over to exactly where I’d been sitting, lining up with a telephone pole on shore. Kind of annoying, but no big deal. I just changed course and paddled to the next peak over.

There was a long-ish lull, I caught another wave, and watched him paddle over to where I’d just taken off. So weird, but whatever. I went back to my original spot, caught a wave, and watched him do it again.

We went back and forth for the next hour or so. I’d catch a good one, he’d hurry over to where I’d been sitting, rinse and repeat. It never occurred to him to sit still and wait, so he never caught a wave the entire time, just followed me around the lineup.

People slowly trickled out from the parking lot, it was a very nice day with fun, forgiving waves, until it was, while not truly crowded, crowded enough that everyone just fell into the normal routine of trading off.

On the drive home I got to thinking about all the weird, counterproductive, shit that surfers do in the water.

The Shadow- Like the aforementioned homeboy, the shadow doesn’t understand how to lineup and position himself, and so uses better surfers to dictate where he belongs. Not obnoxious about it, he won’t usually engage in back paddling or hassling, but still manages to be a minor annoyance, like an errant grain of sand during a post session tug.

Mr Herd Mentality- There could a million miles of empty surf, but he’ll seek out the only guy in the lineup and sit shoulder to shoulder. Not really a problem if it’s consistent, trading off waves can occasionally make a good session seem great. You get to laugh and hoot and bond with a stranger over your shared joy. But once there’s two guys going back and forth you can rest assured the next ten people to pull up are going make a beeline straight for you both. Which sucks, sharing can be fun, but waiting your turn is not.

King Delusion- Brand new hiperf board, cunningly placed stickers, total inability to make sections, but loves to sit deep. Started surfing in his early to mid twenties, has enough years under his belt to understand what’s going on, but grossly over-estimates his ability. The type of guy who gets clipped in the head by the lip, claims it, and paddles out to tell you about the barrel he just got. Gets pissy when, after you see him blow the drop for the millionth time, you paddle around him and stop being considerate. He’d surf ten times better if he picked up something fat, flat, and thick, but that’s nowhere near as cool as his China white brand name sled. So he struggles on inappropriate equipment, but swears they’re awesome boards because an online volume calculator told him so.

Fat Guy on a rockered out log- A decent amount of ability, though not as good as he should be, considering how long he’s been surfing. But he let himself get fat, and now feels like a sack of shit whenever he tries to ride the shortboards he bought when he was twenty pounds lighter. Filled with a small amount of self loathing because of his equipment choice, well aware that his turns don’t look nearly as good as they feel. But I’m having fun, and I’ve been hurt really badly the last few years, so I try not to beat myself up too badly over it.

 


Fake: Kickflip fools The Inertia!

Dru Adler smears egg on much-loved, if racist, surf website's face!

Kickflips and surfing have been the strangest of bedfellows. Do you remember when Volcom offered a $20k prize for the first surfer to pull one and then Zoltan “The Magician” Torkos did and it looked so dumb that Volcom pretended they didn’t offer a prize? Relive the drama here!

But if you are a girl who lives in the present, more kickflip fun was had just hours ago! Dru Adler, a video analysis surf coach and brand ambassador from Australia’s Gold Coast posted one too his Instagram. “Finally pulled backside 180 kickflip!” he wrote and there was the video to prove!

Except many people instantly called fraud. Derek Rielly, in Bangkok catching flight to the Holiest Land (Hava Nagila!), texted me furiously. “Go to Dru Adler Instagram! Everyone saying his kickflip is fake…” followed by “No one else has! Scoop! Just boarding plane. He has an identical standard air rev from week before. I hope you can confuse my confusing texts!”

I was, of course, sleeping soundly in the mountains. But upon waking, jumped to! Straight on Dru’s Insta to feast!

But the man had lifted the curtain just minutes before, writing:

It’s not read. Sorry I thought it would be funny. Turns out it looks a bit too real! Mucking around with my digital media effects. But I’ve always wanted to pull it. Hoping it’ll inspire!

It did! It inspired the much-loved, albeit racist, volk at The Intertia to post:

BREAKING: WATCH THE FIRST-EVER BACKSIDE FLIP ON SURFBOARD

A surf coach and aerial specialist from the Gold Coast of Australia by the name of Dru Adler just set the bar of surf progression by being the first person ever to successfully land a backside flip on a surfboard. And he couldn’t have done it any cleaner. It’s what our skating brethrens would call “bolts” (a textbook landing).

Oops! It’s a good thing Thinking Surfers™ don’t actually surf or else I would have been busted for sleeping on the job!

Next time they should just ask Ozzie Wright. He was sitting next to Derek Rielly and said:

I thought his board had jittered through the air and wasn’t a kickflip. I filmed it in slow motion off Instagram and…it looked sorta real. It wasn’t one hundred percent convincing…it did hold my attention for two minutes. Which is an eternity nowadays…