Tom Dosland wipeout

Opinion: Pe’ahi has ruined us all!

Do you think having a contest at Jaws ruined Titans of Mavericks?

Sal Masekela surfs fairly well (Click here). Not by pro surfer standards, of course, but that’s a bit much to ask. His ability is pretty typical for surf media types, not counting those who started as pros and transitioned when the paychecks stopped coming.

It makes sense, we all wanted to surf for a living but one day realized the talent wasn’t there, and hard work only takes you so far. Maybe I’m projecting, but I remember the day it dawned on me that all those lost NSSA heats didn’t bode well for my career. Better to move behind the scenes and spend my days employing envy to tear people down.

Sal Masekela talks very well. Straight man commentator, not incapable of humor or cleverness, but he excels at using the other guys to provide context. Slow moment? Why make an inane observation when you can ask the talented fellow sitting next to you a question? Provide prompts, help them articulate all that awesome knowledge they’ve spent years acquiring but never really learned to express. Crucial for a solid broadcast. Laugh-a-minute goons are a dime-a-dozen, but the straight man carries the weight, keeps it flowing, does his damnedest to eliminate dead air.

I missed the early heats of Mav’s Tits. Burdened with a neurotic trashcan dog for the next four days. “Oh, don’t worry about him, he’s crate trained.” Code for pissing everywhere and yapping all night. Finally got to sleep around five am Hawaii time, now running on four hours and watching what’s left.

I ain’t impressed. Pe’ahi has ruined us all, the swell ain’t nothin’ special, and the back room bullshit that built the event soured me before things even began. I do adore the Committee of Five. Not its existence, just the term. Sounds like something you’d find in a fascist thesaurus, a synonym for the guys who deposed Mussolini.

The WSL is supposed to be all about promoting surfing. Building the sport, evolving performance. Get us in the Olympics, earn those dollars for the industry.

But Red Bull is all about using spectacle to sell addiction, and I love them for it. Have you ever watched the Red Bull Rampage, where they pay mountain bike psychos to flip off sheer cliffs? It’s beautiful, superbly produced, everything I want to see. Always makes me think, “I should buy a mountain bike!” Then the wife reminds me I’ll end up in the ER immediately. And she’s right, I never learned to fall off a bike safely, and 35 is way too old to start. Busted my collar bone spearfishing year before last, shit hurts, not an occurrence I’m looking to repeat.

But, good gravy, could you imagine the spectacle Red Bull could produce if they dumped the big wave angle? Run a whip-at shore pound air contest, drag some B-level kids to a bone dry barrel and let ’em have at it? Red Bull’s a big dog, the type of company that laughs at the surf industry’s combined gross. The surf world is nothing but medium sized fish in a tiny fucking pool, Red Bull could kick all the small minded fuckers to the curb and bring us something amazing. Employ their Escobarian reach to making magic.

But maybe they don’t need to dump the big waves, just shift the paradigm. That’s marketing speak.

Run a non-competition event at Pe’ahi, logistics be damned. Film from the water on an epic swell, come-one-come-all, kick down cash to the best performers of the day. No politics, not heat scores, just a clever way of snatching exposure while paying out much needed cash to dudes who do it for the love. Can the talking heads, broadcast raw. Stop partnering with low level night club promoters to bring us an endless barrage of tedious cold water slop.

After all the hype, the in-fighting, the lawsuits, the politically motivated blackballing of worthy competitors, we’re headed into the finals, with only one thing that stands out.

Chris Cote, tearing down pictures of competitors, wadding them up, throwing them away. This guy’s garbage, this guy’s garbage, that guy’s garbage. During all the effort that went into getting this event run, I can’t believe no one stopped and said, “Hey guys, that’s a bit on the nose, huh?”

How to: be a Titan of Mavericks!

Are you community and eco-minded? Are you drug free?

The “Criteria” to be considered as an invitee to the Titans of Mavericks event (as approved by the Committee 5) is very subjective, and therefore is biased by personal and organization politics.

I copied and pasted the criteria directly from the website and listed each point in bold below. I added my own critique of each point in parenthesis.

Yes, I have a lot of time on my hands today…

Titans of Mavericks CRITERIA

  • Dedication to surfing Mavericks (self-explanatory, but does this mean a few recent red-hot sessions or 10 + years?)
  • A person who is athletically in top, peak physical condition to handle the rigorous conditions and hazards of Mavericks. (What if the person looks like they are in top physical shape but has an underlying medical condition?)
  • An accomplished big wave surfer that has surfed Mavericks before or whom has put recent time in that proves eligibility. (How can you put in recent time without surfing it before?)
  • A proven waterman: person that has dedicated a portion of their life staying involved with the ocean. (No one who even thinks about surfing Mav’s hasn’t done this already)
  • Person who promotes ocean conservation and lives a healthy lifestyle. (By what measures?)
  • Person who is drug free and doesn’t take performance enhancing drugs. (It’s hard to believe there isn’t one person in the draw who doesn’t take drugs… is there drug testing to prove this?)
  • Person who is respectful to his/her peers and has Character in and out of water. (Doesn’t the respectful part immediately disqualify Skindog? Oh wait, the “peers” are probably the Committee 5; what does “Character” actually mean and why is it capitalized?)
  • Person who puts time in at Mavericks during the pre-season (I thought we discussed this above. Technically wouldn’t the preseason be summer?)
  • Person who understands the water safety rules, and is knowledgable of the inherent dangers of Mavericks. (Misspelling “knowledgeable” on the website tells me they may want to research and clarify what “knowledgeable” actually means.)
  • A person who provides community service efforts in their local community. (I’m guessing that Anthony Ruffo’s version of community service doesn’t count?)
  • A person who is associated with one or more community organizations. (What type of community organization, what exactly does “associated” mean, and why isn’t this criterion combined with the above statement?)
  • A Person whom is educated on the ecosystem, waterway, and cold water conditions surrounding Mavericks. (Randomly capitalizing the “P” in “Person”. What constitutes “educated”, and why did they mention “cold” before water?  Furthermore, “Waterway” and “cold water” conditions are a part of the ecosystem.
  • A person that understands that participation at Mavericks is a privilege, not a right. (What does “understand” mean – do they write it on a chalkboard over and over like Bart Simpson? Just like driving, at anytime those privileges can be revoked, especially if you say anything to piss off the Committee 5 – just ask Peter Mel and Twiggy).

Furthermore, the inconsistencies in grammar (like “A person”, “person” and “A Person”) and other typos prove that not much time was put into creating this joke of a “Criteria.”

All that aside, are you watching Titans of Mavericks?

Did you see Jamie Mitchell and Tyler Fox swallow those bombs?

Entertaining? Yes!

Keep Watching: Titans of Mavs!

But let's ask some questions!

But with these questions in mind.

  1. Did Shane Dorian not make the trip because the forecast looked like shit or is his back really hurt from a while ago?
  2. Where on God’s green earth is Mike Parsons from? That accent? Do you like? It is very strange.
  3. Are the event organizers bummed because it doesn’t look like Jaws?
  4. Is Grant Washburn angry that Dave Wassel totally smashed him?
  5. What did Mike Parsons mean when he said, “Their leashes are probably all tangled up and they went over the falls together…” ?
  6. Do you wish Red Bull did WSL broadcasts?
  7. Does Nic Lamb look cool in a suit or does he look like he is trying impossibly hard?
  8. Competiting.
  9. What did Nic Lamb mean when he said he saw a poster of Richard Schmidt surfing Mavericks and was “absolutely polarized by it” and really really wanted to surf Mavericks himself?
  10. Do the surfers call themselves “titans” when out of the water? Like, “Hey titan…good to see you.”
  11. Do the Committee of Five members have Committee of Five embroidered jackets?

What questions do you have?


Watch: The Titans of Mavericks!

In the water now!

Sal Masekela is on the mic and the Titans of Mavericks are in the water! Come spend your friday watching cold yet very sunny big waves throbbing, pulsing. Who is your favorite? The unsung local grinder? The big name Hawaiian? Pete Mel? He’s my favorite but he is not there. Boo.

Committee of Five. Do you like the way that sounds? I don’t. I think it sounds stupid.


Kelly Slater Doped Youth
Today, Kelly Slater, the 11-timer, is 44 years old. Hard to believe, yes? Do you think, like me, that his 2003 cameo in Vaughan Blakey's Doped Youth was the high point of his career?

Birthday: Kelly Slater turns 44!

Let's celebrate with the most dazzling moment in his thirty-year career!

Today, February 12, is the birthday of Kelly Slater, who was born in 1972.

And what a year it was!

Israeli athletes murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the Munich Olympics, a Ford Pinto cost two grand, a gallon of gas was fifty-five cents, Nixon was sunk by the Watergate break-in, The Godfather was the movie to see if you were a sharp sorta cat and if you turned on the radio, you’d be swallowed by the guitars of a new Brit band called Led Zeppelin.

Forty-four years old today. Can you believe? Slater’s lived through Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush snr, Clinton, little Bush, Barack Obama and maybe, soon, Hillary Clinton or mad old Bernie Sanders.

And so many career highlights: eleven titles, fifty-four tour wins, more time racked up on social media than any other surfer, pro or otherwise.

But the highlight that sings to me, and probably to you too, is when the former Waves magazine editor Vaughan Blakey, convinced Kelly, then 31, to cameo in his film Doped Youth. Who knew Kelly was a natural in front of the camera?

Watch here! (And, yes, that’s your favourite WSL commentator Ron Blakey at the end!)

Kelly Slater in Doped Youth from BeachGrit on Vimeo.