Rumor: WSL loses major sponsor!

Tears flood WSL's Santa Monica office. Tears and frowns.

Of course you follow the women’s surf game. How could you not? Some of the most exciting players are rising through those ranks. Is it possible to say no to Carissa Moore? What about Tyler Wright? Tatiana “The Mother of Dragons” Weston-Webb? The Taggart Women’s Pro in Craig Anderson’s hometown of Merewether, Newcastle is on hold today but you know what will not be on hold ever again maybe? The Target Maui Pro.

The final event of the season, taking place on gorgeous Honolua Bay, Maui, has allegedly lost its sponsor, Target. The rumored reason? Insufficient value to cost.


Remember when America’s second favorite big box discount retailer got into the surf? Signings of Carissa and Kolohe Andino, a house on the North Shore, event sponsorship, the works!

But now, many years on, the powers have glanced at the ledger and found return on investment to be wanting. One would maybe have to assume that Carissa/Kolohe sponsorships get dropped next.

Really, though, Target jumping ship begs a larger question. The World Surf League has tucked one full season under its belt. CEO Paul Speaker did the business television show circuit, promising to grow our beloved pastime massively. “The world surfs!” he shouted, jabbing a thick finger in the air. “And brands are going to want to reach those multiple tens of millions of people. Yes, the world surfs even though I don’t!”

Except maybe uh-oh? There hasn’t been one major sponsor coming on board. There have been major sponsors jumping off board. Could it be possible that basically only me, you and the other two people in BeachGrit‘s comment section care about surfing?

Will you miss Target? Will CEO Paul Speaker? If you formed a shell company right now, how much do you think it would cost to be title sponsor of a World Surf League event? Do you think $50 and three packs of gum would be enough?

Test: Are You A Surf Clown?

Is there anything better than mocking beginner surfers? Maybe not!

Is there a word for the type of middle-aged guy who’s achieved success in one facet of life and thus assumes he can succeed at anything? Hubris describes the state, but I’d like something a little more specific. Maybe a nice little portmanteau. Hubridiot? Egotard?

Those are terrible, but you know what I mean. It’s like when my father in law, while asking me about my freedive adventures, decided to spout, “Yeah, but you use weights and fins. I can do eighty feet without either.”

But when the beginner in question is riding some high-priced, name-brand glass, whether it’s a beautiful …Lost hiperf or a tarted out $1200+ Hatzikian hatchet fin log, that’s comedy. The contempt I feel for that shit definitely stems from childhood, talking shit about the spoiled rich kid whose parents always hooked him up with brand new sleds and that season’s hottest wetsuit, but somehow never learned to link a bottom turn to anything.

Hard to believe, since he’s built like a potato that can’t admit it’s going bald. And as someone who’s gotten pretty close to that depth, with weights but sans fins, it’s harder than you’d think.

It’s definitely made worse when they’ve got the financial wherewithal to stroll into a shop and kit themselves out like a pro. Top of the line everything, I look just like everyone else! I belong!

Which is hilarious in itself. I try not to mock beginners, we all started somewhere, and not everyone was lucky enough to grow up with a father who surfs, always an easy bike ride from the beach.

But when the beginner in question is riding some high priced name brand glass, whether it’s a beautiful …Lost hiperf or a tarted out $1200+ Hatzikian hatchet fin log, that’s comedy. The contempt I feel for that shit definitely stems from childhood, talking shit about the spoiled rich kid whose parents always hooked him up with brand new sleds and that season’s hottest wetsuit, but somehow never learned to link a bottom turn to anything.

Last Summer, when Hawaii was surrounded by triple hurricane heaven, I found myself lined up off the point when a guy on a 10-foot-plus longboard somehow managed to splay leg paddle his way into the lineup.

Immediately headed a few feet deeper than me to set up shop, which is always annoying, but whatever. I’ve lived on Kauai for about a year and a half now, and even though the haole rules of invasion make me a full blooded local, I let him be. Plenty of waves to go around, and if I’m being totally honest, I was kind of scared. It was fairly big, I wasn’t in great shape, spent most of the session dodging sets and hoping I could luck into a roll in.

Sick little right rolls right to us, and I watched as he put his head down and paddled as hard as he could. Kind of confused, because he was really far out in front of it, pretty much where the lip was headed.

Went as well as you’d expect. Full might of the Pacific Ocean straight to the small of his back, board flying, everyone in the lineup doing the prairie dog. Heads up, scanning, making sure the guy doesn’t drown. Deserved or not, no one wants to witness a death. That’s a great way to ruin your day.

But he got lucky. Beat all the way inside. Probably thought he’d just had a ten-minute hold-down, next few waves pushed him all the way to the beach, where I saw him drag his carcass up the berm and collapse.

This movie says everything…

SURF CLOWN from Ralph’s Pic Of The Week on Vimeo.

Tom Rezvan
The forty-year-old Huntington Beach surfer Tom Rezvan is a hunter of waves. This is Rezzy at the Wavepool Wadi Adventure Park in the UAE. What sorta man spends his life chasing wedges? "You know those guys who invite you to go to Lowers and then has to stop to get coffee, a bar of wax, chats on the phone, and then wants to grab a quick burrito for when he’s down on the beach? Yeah those guys can’t do this."

Meet: The Janitor Who Surfs the World!

Tom Rezvan works as a janitor and… surfs the world! Eight international trips a year! But, how?

In the dismal days of job automation, a hankering surf habit and a case of wanderlust are the kiss of death. Many are perfectly content with 14 days of freedom out of 365, but for us real adventurous mother fuckers. Staying put is a death of everyday truth. 
We must runaway to remain sane, but international vagabonding costs a fortune and bouncing around within one’s borders just doesn’t quite have the same appeal.
So how does one go about funding such a life?
Do you hawk morality and skip out on youth, only to wash up on the shores of middle-aged existence, a flabby failure with pale cold hands gripping money hard earned? No, that would take too long. You need to leave right now. 
What if I told you that Tom Rezvan, 40, has been pushing, on average, eight international trips a year since 2011 and contrary to rumors, he is not an heir to a trust-fund, a drug smuggler or a spy, but works part-time as a janitor for a school district. 
If you pay homage to his Instagram or Facebook page, you’ll scroll through a dazzling feed rich with stories of travel and photographs from strike missions in the name of surf and culture. All of these jaunts across the globe however are done in three or four day hits, just enough to sedate the aesthetic voyager in Tom before he heads straight back to work on Tuesday. 
You know those guys who invite you to go to Lowers and then has to stop to get coffee, a bar of wax, chats on the phone, and then wants to grab a quick burrito for when he’s down on the beach? Yeah those guys can’t do this.
But how does he afford to decorate his passport so extravagantly? BeachGrit called to find out…
BeachGrit: How do you get off work on a Friday and decide to go to Rome, or Egypt for the weekend?
Rezzy: I’m one of those people who can’t sit still and am lucky enough to be able to disappear whenever I want.
BeachGrit: So how do you do it? Do you buy an around the world ticket in the beginning of the year or do you have a sugar mama? 
Rezzy: No, one of those tickets would cost way more then what I do and women slow me down. I am on a high-priority standby list courtesy of an anonymous employee of a major airline. I pay the taxes for the flights which comes out to be 10% or less of the ticket price.
BeachGrit: How do you navigate your way through new locales”?
Rezzy: I use this app called Navmii, it downloads the entire map of the country you are in. Every satellite view of every road that you need to know. It downloads a shit ton of data though but I have entire maps of most of Europe. 
(Author’s note: I imagine Tom riding on a buddy pass in the middle seat with his knees drawn towards his chest, breathing like a Buddhist monk. Perfectly calm, harvesting his chi to unleash once the plane touches down and he clears Customs and Immigrations. He would then take out his iPhone on airplane mode, hail a taxi,  and carry on with reckless abandon like an Indiana Jones in boardshorts.)
BeachGrit: How do you sleep on planes?
Rezzy: This isn’t a normal buddy pass, I’m fortunate to fly business class most of the time and with this particular airline, they have fully reclining beds. I sleep most of the flight and then only sleep three to four hours while I am traveling.  Not everyone can do what I do. I have to map out and plan everything as much as possible because getting stuck at an airport or a train station means the strike mission is over”. 
BeachGrit: What kind of person do you have to be to pull this off? 
Rezzy: You know those guys who invite you to go to Lowers and then has to stop to get coffee, a bar of wax, chats on the phone, and then wants to grab a quick burrito for when he’s down on the beach? Yeah those guys can’t do this.
BeachGrit: No laggers allowed, got it.  Do you always travel solo?
Rezzy: Yes, I have too. Nobody I know has this buddy pass so I would get bumped off the flight as well. Most of the time, I’m the last guy on the plane. How this works is that my golden ticket allows me to fly direct to major airports that the airline is headed too, but the connector flight I book and pay for myself. Sometimes I have multiple flights reserved at once, like when I went to Egypt I had five flights reserved at one time with destinations heading in every direction to avoid getting stuck and missing out on the experience.
Beach Grit: Tell me. Highlights?
Rezzy: The greatest aspect of what I’ve been able to do is score waves that rarely break. I’ve scored Mundaka and Desert Point absolutely flawless by tracking a swell a few days in advance, and spending countless hours investigating what was the best and cheapest way for me to get there. I flew from Lax to Singapore and straight into Lombok to surf Deserts. Most people hang out in Bali for months hoping to score Deserts, and they have to slug it out on a ferry with flies and no sleep. I bypassed that whole part of the journey and arrived ready with my tent and bug repellent.
There was the last swell of the winter in northern Peru a few weeks ago and I’ve always wanted to go to that area and surf those lefts. I’m also super into archeological stuff as well so I wanted to see Machu Pichu and Nazca Lines (geoglyph portraits of animals handcrafted by the Nazca circa 500 B.C). Most people do that in two weeks and I was trying to do it in five days. The goal was to get there in time for the strike and then get south as fast as possible and do the ancient ruins. I had to take nine planes in total, two trains, and two busses, leave boards at the airport in Lima, and get my boarding pass 24 hours in advance. I thought I had thirty minutes to board the plane from Cusco to Lima, but I actually had no time at all. So I paid a taxi driver double to pull off the impossible and get me there before five pm and he did it. I was picked up from my hotel in Lima the following morning and saw the Nazca Lines.
BeachGrit: What have you done to fund these travels? You don’t have to tell me if you’re 007.  
Rezzy: (Laughs) Everybody thinks that I am a spy. I was being paid professionally to surf two years ago and had a decent career in the 1990’s and 2000’s and once scored a back cover in a surf magazine as well. I have had four different ways of obtaining income and that has varied in the recent years. I used to have a travel company called “Rez Charters” that took pro surfers to the Mentawais islands (Wilko, Eric G, Tonino, and Simpo included) , and have traded stocks. I’m not from a rich family. My father is retired and in a nursing home. The whole short trip idea started because I was looking after my dad’s health. He suffered a major stroke and I couldn’t be gone for long periods of time for fear that he wouldn’t get the health care that he needed. So after six months of visiting the hospital two times a day every day of the week, just totally burnt out and exhausted,  I thought I would go to Egypt for three days. I made some phone calls, looked at flights and accommodation, booked it and made it work. From the success of that first trip, I knew that with this buddy pass, I could leave the country, and get back home to work and take care of my father.
BeachGrit: You’ve ridden the world’s best wave pools far before the surfing media even knows they exist. How do you have your finger on the pulse of these machines? 
Rezzy: I have surfed Wadi in Dubai, Wave Garden, and Snowdownia. The trip to Dubai was my most successful surf trip ironically. I caught three hundred waves in four days and returned home with a hard drive full of images.
Tom tells me that he has to get off the phone because that he is packing for a swell headed to Desert Point. His board bag weighs exactly 50 pounds and he’s going to be back to work on Tuesday. He’s a genius, a magician of the system that keeps wild men rooted in their location. I am envious of Tom and the way he seems to teleport across the globe. 

Jamie O with bum out of the wall!
Jamie O with bum out of the wall! | Photo: Laserwolf

“Regulars stick their bum in the wall!”

Why can't screwfoots win Pipe? Come and read last week's best story!

Do you ever look at Surfing magazine’s online portal The numbers suggest probably no but you totally should! Behind a balky exterior lies the most high performance action on the planet. Pete Taras curates his dream photographer staff’s work like Allan Carr in his prime. Brendan Buckley directs stories that shine with both humor and candor.

Take this wonderful piece that you didn’t read. It is by Michael Ciaramella and examines why screwfoots cannot win at Pipe. I’ll admit, I had not really considered it but it is true. It should be a goofy’s dream to round the final bend of the season with the magnificent left-hander standing between him and a World Surf League championship trophy. Did you know, though, that no goofy has won in the past fifteen years? A decade plus!

Mr. Ciaramella talks to three Pipe Masters, Kelly (regular), Rob (goofy) and Jamie O (bi) spinning the most thoughtful, clear and concise examination of the subject matter. He doesn’t dress it in nonsensical hyperbole. He lets it breathe and the reader comes away with true knowledge.

How does Jamie O’Brien account for the regular foot dominance? “While goofies have to pump and weave through the right (which is extremely difficult backside) the regulars can just stick their bum in the wall.” but you should do yourself a favor and read in its entirety HERE.


Florida: Man takes selfie with shark!

Is Florida the greatest human experiment?

Florida is a very strange place. Some of the souls I love most on this earth hail from its curvy shores. But also Marco Rubio. I had never been until four years ago and hated it from afar but then thought it was time to test my regional bigotry so went and drove almost every inch of its coastline in a white Fiat 500.

I wrote a story called THE STATE I HATE for Surfing Magazine and you can read it or just the last paragraph here:

Florida is home to the best of the best. Home to people who, when the lunatics grow exhausting, are there to take you into their homes and families and hearts. The worst and the best. No lukewarm in Florida. No Ohio blandness. And, in really experiencing this lack of blandness, the stone of my prejudice became dust and blew away. Florida is no longer “The State I Hate.” It is now and forever, affectionately, “Fucked Up.”

Guess what happened in Palm Beach, near Miami, yesterday? A man sporting a thick top bun and what appear to be Rip Curl trunks pulled a shark from the Atlantic so that people could take his picture with the animal. He kneeled behind it, one hand on tail fin the other hand on head, in a very sexually provocative pose. Like he maybe just had his way with it. Onlookers squealed with delight.

Witnesses later said the shark washed back up onto the sand and died making animal rights activists very angry/sad. One wrote that this man should be waterboarded for his crime. Would you like to take a portrait with a shark? Do you think if Mick Fanning could turn back the clock he would take a portrait with that South African shark? Would you like to maybe have some sexy time with one too? Are you more angry that this man killed a shark or that he sports a thick top bun? Do you love Florida like I now do?