If you were CEO of the WSL you'd be smirking too!
If you were CEO of the WSL you'd be smirking too!

Wow: Is Paul Speaker crazy rich?

Does the CEO of the WSL make 34 million dollars a year? Should he?

It was disclosed today that commissioner of the National Football League, Roger Goodell, made 34.something million dollars last year pushing his nine year total to 180.something million dollars and wow! Who knew sports were so lucrative? I should have gone to commissioning school instead of getting a graduate degree in Applied Linguistics!

Which brings us to our own commissioner. No not Kieren Perrow silly goose! Our own version of Roger Goodell, WSL CEO Paul Speaker! It is no secret that our league models itself directly after the NFL. CEO Speaker compares the two, regularly, when he decides to chat with the non-endemic media. So what do you think he makes? Do you think he clears 1.something million dollars a year? Do you think his salary is performance-based? Do you think he is worth every penny? Do you think when he goes to dinner parties he unbuttons the top button of his pants, after dinner of course, sits back and says, “What do I do? Funny you should ask. I am the CEO of the WSL.” Do you think the other guests whisper “What the hell is a WSL?” in each other’s ears?

I would ask CEO Speaker himself but he hasn’t granted my multiple requests for an interview yet. Maybe you can help! What do you think?

Watch: a new film from Octopus!

Octopus has quietly become the biggest surf company in the world. What is? Come find out!

Did you imagine that when you woke up in February of 2016 that a traction brand would be the biggest surf company in the world?

In case you don’t have cool friends, let me tell you, Octopus, the brain child of Dion Agius, Nate Tyler, Chippa Wilson and Joe G has very much taken over. Shops can’t keep the pads in stock. I’ve seen kids in Newport Beach trying to peel one off a surfboard while its unsuspecting owner was chatting up a cute girl.

And why? Why traction? Why now? Maybe because so much of the surf industry has moved so far from the actual surf that to make something for actual surfboards is straight up rebellion. Is it a giant conspiracy? Nefarious hands pulling levers behind a black curtain? A pathway to perdition? Will you crave a t-shirt or socks from Octopus once you try the traction? Is the company slingshotting off your addiction? Maybe.

And the first clip. Does your heart soar when the drone crashes? Do you wish for a return to simpler times?


Slate: “Hipsters are Ruining Surfing!”

And, “Mobs of newbies are polluting the soul of the sport”….

I don’t think anything, except maybe plucking the flower of a delectable lover, gives me as much a thrill as reading a new surfer’s complaints about the game.

You know these pests in the surf: oblivious to nuance, barking “but I was on the inside”, rigorously paddling for every single wave, maybe dressed head to know in some kind of lycra suit, with hat secured to head via chinstrap.

Today at Slate, for instance, Sarah Gold, a veteran of six years, throws close to 1500 words at her complaint that too many people surf in her piece, “Hipsters are Ruining Surfing”.

Let’s examine.

“…when I finally hefted my first hulking, foamy soft-top board into the waves, I plunged immediately back into my old love affair with the ocean. And I’ve tried since then to arrange my spare time around it: driving out of town to surf on weekends, planning holidays in spots with good beach breaks. Since I learned to surf, though, I feel like I’ve been mainly chasing—and hardly ever finding—that elusive sense of solo communion with the sea. The reason is simple: increasingly thick hordes of other surfers.

“As a relative newbie myself, I recognize the hypocrisy of my complaint, which certainly isn’t a new one. After all, surfing veterans have been grousing for decades about the ever-growing ranks of “kooks”—clueless rookies—invading their home breaks. But even a fledgling surfer can see that overcrowding on the waves these days is real—and posing a threat to what many long-timers call the “soul” of the sport.”

The risks to surf spots have become so critical, in fact—and the desire to standardize waves for surf tournaments so fierce—that in the past decade, at least eight attempts have been made to engineer artificial breaks. These have all, thus far, been unsuccessful—but the latest, a much hyped inland wave pool unveiled in December by legendary surf champion Kelly Slater, has yet to prove itself one way or another.”

Why are so many people surfing? This is where the story slips from its hinges.

The reasons are listed: because GQ and other sexy fashion mags are doing stories on it; the “steep increase in competitive surf tournaments” … surf spots are disappearing!

Did you know? Let me throw back to the author.

“The risks to surf spots have become so critical, in fact—and the desire to standardize waves for surf tournaments so fierce—that in the past decade, at least eight attempts have been made to engineer artificial breaks. These have all, thus far, been unsuccessful—but the latest, a much hyped inland wave pool unveiled in December by legendary surf champion Kelly Slater, has yet to prove itself one way or another.”

Online democracy is the great equaliser, of course. And the comments below the story tee off on the author.

Summon the Whaaaaaaa-mbulance! Would you like some cheese with your Whine?”

“You know, once you get past being a teenager, you are supposed to grow past the whole “ugh, people who wanna do the same things as me are so lame”. 

“Jesus. Full of yourself much? Devoting one sentence to saying “this may be kind of hypocritical” does not mean you’ve addressed the issue. This sounds like an incredibly dull and meaningless non-issue. You did not help it become more interesting but my eye-rolling did increase.”

“This reads like a midwest transplant whining that Brooklyn used to be great before all the outsiders ruined it. “

“This article could have been written at any time from the 1950’s onward. It will probably be written again 50 years from now.”

Maybe you agree with the author’s sentiment? Do you? Or are you similarly haunted by these mouth-y pests?

Tanner Gudauskas surfing the wave of your dreams!
Tanner Gudauskas surfing the wave of your dreams!

Incredible: You can surf Jaws too!

Video proof shows that Maui's most famous big wave is actually super manageable!

Jaws, or Pe’ahi, has been the clear star of this year’s El Niño winter. It has been so very big, like jaw-droppingly so, and remember that contest? It is especially impressive in light of the canceled Eddie and the just completed Titans of Mavericks.

Could you surf it? Of course not (unless this is Albee Layer reading, resting on his couch, being fed from the hand of a Michelin star’d nymph). But what if you had only ever seen the GoPro angle? What if you had only ever looked up the nostrils of your favorite surfer and watched a playful head high wave dance behind him?

If that was the only angle available, I reckon I’d fly straight to Maui and take it on. I just got out of the water here in Cardiff-by-the-Sea and this clip below is how it felt to me. It was 2-3 max and I sat on the inside and caught the ones that sort of ran along the reef. Exactly how you see it in this clip below.

SayNoToGoPro commented on a recent story, writing, “I miss the days before GoPro made everyone think their surfing was worth viewing from horrible, unflattering photographic angles.”

I know there is some technical reason why the POV angle shrinks the background but maybe people should stop using it, entirely, on big waves? Yeah? I think so too!

Miracle: VonZipper rises from dead!

The iconic sunglass company is back/never left! What other bits of 2000s nostalgia do you long for?

Last week was a stunner, no? First the Eddie was on and then the Eddie was off but it was OK because Jaws. Then the Titans of Mavericks was on and Nic Lamb won and the Committee of Five nodded solemnly. And then Red Bull found it in the goodness of their hearts to point cameras at Pipeline and let us gorge off the teat all day long.

What else happened? Justice Scalia died in his sleep sending Rory Parker into a fit of ecstatic paroxysms, Nazarè put on a wonderful show, Kelly Slater turned 44 and iconic sunglass brand VonZipper was announced dead also in its sleep. The reporting entity stated the reasoning was that VZ made sunglasses that, “swallowed the entire face.”

And so sad. Parko, Taj, the late, great Andy Irons each made VonZipper mainstays of the 2000s. Bold, colorful, sassy and fun. Sure maybe a little large but everything was oversized at that heady turn of the century from pant legs to paychecks. The times, they were as big as our dreams.

Yes, the passing saddened me and partially because it feels, stylistically, that 2000-2005 is ripe for a nostalgic comeback. We could all use a dash of bold, colorful, sassy and fun in our ready-to-wear. It would show ISIS that we are unbowed. It would let Putin know to leave the West alone or else. Without VZ shielding our eyes from the horrors of a refugee crisis, stalled Chinese economy, racial tensions in Europe and the US, a raging Zika epidemic, stagnating global wages, though, things would not feel quite right.

But how our emotions can turn on a dime! This morning I woke up to find a retraction of the VonZipper obituary buried at the tail end of a different story! It read:

Oh, and please consider this is an official retraction from the Stab Department of WordPress CMS Login Details. Stab reported in Gossip Girl a few days ago that we’d heard a rumour that VonZipper was closing its doors. Well, we got it wrong. Very wrong. VonZipper is alive and well, and any surf industry whispers are false. We for one, are glad that one of the most beloved eyewear brands in the game will be continuing. We sincerely apologise to all that were affected by our inaccuracy.

And this has made my day! I know how fickle rumors can be. How, in trying to artfully recreate a style of reportage, in trying to rush first to market, important details can slip away. I mean, I don’t know but I’ve heard. In any case, welcome back to the land of the living VonZipper! May your future be as bright as your past!

And while we are discussing 2000-2005 nostalgia…which bit would you most like to reconstitute? Kelly already has a lock on the potato chip surfboard but what else? What would you like to see? What do you miss?