Bankruptcy: Is the WSL next?

WSL CEO Paul Speaker is basically selling the PacSun model. Oops.

As anti-depressive as our wonderful BeachGrit is, sometimes hard truth must be looked in the eye. And a hard truth is that the surf industry is in deep and abiding depression. The appetite for surf apparel etc. has, more or less, completely dried up after a few decades of rolling good times. Kids in Kansas City don’t want Rip Curl t-shirts anymore. They don’t want to step foot in a PacSun.

The reasons are many and varied. We have a small video presentation on the horizon featuring the wonderful Michael Tomson addressing systemic failure. A major component, though, is that those who don’t surf just don’t care. And while the numbers of actual surfers is growing at a normal-ish rate, it doesn’t grow enough to legitimize massive businesses. And so Quiksilver files for bankruptcy. Then PacSun. Sport Chalet filed yesterday and they carry lots of Hurley, Billabong, etc. Dark-ish days.

And over to the World Surf League. The whole Speaker model is based off non-surfers embracing the action, right? Of non-surfers tuning in because they like the game just like non-baseball players tune in to Major League Baseball or non-football players tune in to the National Football League. Yeah? That’s where his millions upon millions of viewer projections come from. Motherfucking jerseys etc.

CEO Paul Speaker doesn’t surf. You know that, of course, and that is totally fine. The problem, though, is that only surfers consume the product the WSL is peddling. And surfers are the only group they take entirely for granted. I’ve been begging insiders for an interview with CEO Paul Speaker since the inception of your third favorite surf gossip website (BeachGrit). I never hear back and never will hear back even though we are, for better or worse, his market. It would be like NBA commissioner Adam Silver or NFL commissioner Rog Goodell refusing to look at ESPN. Of course we are not ESPN but has Speaker spoken with Surfline, Surfing or Australia’s Surfing Life? No. Because he thinks he has bigger fish to fry. Unfortunately those bigger fish are watching soccer or something.

Ziff money can only take massive losses for five years (I think) before the venture becomes a “hobby” and no longer gets to suck money. Let’s say there are three more years worth of minimal tourist board sponsorship dollars before Ziff tanks the thing. Will we miss it? Will we miss the dream tour?

Unfortunately, and to add to the depression, yes. Or at least I will.

P.S. Mr. WSL CEO Paul Speaker…If you are reading, and I know you are because you definitely have Google Alerts and BeachGrit stories about you account for a full 4/4 of those…I still promise to stop joking about you for one interview. One. Only one. 1. And I won’t even ask about your love of skiing backwards.

Fantasy: “I ride Caio like a steed!”

We are almost 1/3 through the season and how is your fantasy team performing?

We are fast approaching the 1/3 mark of 2016’s World Surf League Championship Tour Season and doesn’t it only seem like four years ago that Snapper first kicked off? Yes, the Australian leg sure did drag its feet at times. Longtom’s assessment was exactly right. Every jot. Every tittle. And now off to Brazil, a country mired in crisis. Social, economic, political, you name the varietal and Brazilians are in the streets gnashing their teeth. Mothers throwing newborn children toward visiting American businessmen and pleading, “Senhor, senhor! Take-a my bebē with-a you to America! Give-a him life!” Fathers weeping openly between sips of caipirinha and samba swivels.

But how is your fantasy team doing? This is the first year I’ve ever played properly, like ever changed my team before events and I am doing very poorly. BeachGrit has a group with 125 souls inside. You can join here, if you are not already a member. 125 and I am 52 making me a little better than average even though all I have to do every day is think about professional surfing.

I had Julian and Italo both on my team for Margaret and they both did good but I also had Kelly and he did dumb. And the heart stays with Jordy even though failure is inevitable. I ride Caio like a steed but his legs buckle before he gets me across the line. Kolohe? Don’t get me started. Don’t even get me fucking started.

And how is a team supposed to be picked? What are your fantasy secrets? Seabass Zietz? Is he your fantasy secret? Well you forward thinking pimp. I’m impressed.

Do you think WSL CEO Paul Speaker plays fantasy surfer? Do you think if you mixed in pictures of the surfers on tour with pictures of players on Leicester City’s football club and showed him asking, “Surfer or Socceroo?” he would guess right even half the time? Less than half?

Mick Fanning

Mick Fanning Leads Adjusted Ratings!

Imagine if the tour ratings reflected average heat totals not heat wins… 

Have you ever wondered what the tour ratings would look like if it was adjusted for a surfer’s average heat total? After all, isn’t that the ultimate measure of a surfer’s entertainment value, his ability to dazzle with consistent high scores, as opposed to his ability to wring heat wins with low totals?

Of course, for all that, you would presume that a surfer’s average heat total would roughly equate to his standing on the ratings. That Matt Wilkinson would be top three-ish, that John John Florence would be well out of the top ten.

A little pen on paper, a few clicks hither and yon, and we discover the wildly divergent nature of average heat totals versus actual heat wins. Mick Fanning rockets from seventeenth to first, Filipe from eighteenth to second.

Sure, there’s the complexity of Filipe having only surfed one contest and Mick only two, but ignore that for a moment and note that John John Florence (third) is almost a full point ahead of current yellow jersey owner Matt Wilkinson (equal thirteenth with Julian Wilson), Gabriel leaves his eighteenth place ghetto for the more salubrious seventh position and Jeremy Flores shoots up 13 places, 23rd to tenth.

Meaningless? A little rainy day mathematic fun? Maybe.

But look at the HTA Top 10 and tell me that ain’t a measure of whose heats you want to watch…


WSL Ratings, adjusted for heat score totals

1. Mick Fanning 15.50

2. Filipe Toledo 15.15

3. John John Florence 14.90

4. Joel Parkinson 14.76

5. Jordy Smith 14.69

6. Sebastian Zietz 14.59

7. Gabriel Medina 14.39

Equal eighth: Kolohe Andino and Nat Young 14.19

10. Jeremy Flores 14.18

Equal eleventh. Wiggoly Dantas and Italo Ferriera 14.16

Equal thirteenth: Matt Wilkinson and Julian Wilson 13.96

14: Adriano De Souza: 13.76

15. Taj Burrow 13.73

16. Conner Coffin 13.58

Equal seventeenth: Ace Buchan and Michel Bourez 13.37

19. Stu Kennedy 13.04

20. Dusty Payne 12.72

21. Caio Ibelli 12.69

22. Adam Melling 12.67

23. Kai Otton 12.36

24. Jadson Andre 12.34

25. Kelly Slater 12.25

26. Matt Banting 12.04

27. Josh Kerr 11.86

28. Davey Cathels 11.81

29. Keanu Asing 11.78

30. Ryan Callinan 11.70

31. Kanoa Igarashi 11.69

32. Miguel Pupo 10.99

Actual WSL ratings

1. Matt Wilkinson

2. Sebastian Zietz

3. Italo Ferreira

4. Kolohe Andino

5. Joel Parkinson

6. Caio Ibelli

Equal seventh: Julian Wilson and Jordy Smith

9. Nat Young

10. Ace Buchan

11. Conner Coffin

12. Stuart Kennedy

Equal thirteenth: Adriano De Souza, Michel Bourez and John John Florence

17. Mick Fanning

Equal eighteenth: Gabriel Medina, Filipe Toledo and Kanoa Igarashi

21. Leonardo Fioravanti

22. Davey Cathels

Equal twenty-third: Jeremy Flores, Davey Cathels, Taj Burrow, Miguel Pupo and Josh Kerr

Equal twenty-eighth: Kelly Slater, Kai Otton, Matt Banting, Jadson Andre, Alejo Muniz, Ryan Callinan, Adam Melling.

35. Dusty Payne

37. Keanu Asing



N one other ting: FUCK U FCS!!!

Fuckning asssshoes. Fukin dickwods!!!!






fuckn dikcs.

makeing me bleive n shit.



13 / 13!! in a fuckn row n now we haf to start al over?? Now we hve 0/0? Wat kinna bullshit iz that? Wat kinna mutherfuckinggg bulshot iss dat???





0/0. Thets wat life iz. A big fckin 0




remember that kidzzzzz. life gives you lemon n you make FCS finz.


They looook ll hot. Thy look lik u can bang em n shit. but ther nuthin.jus a big fuckin 0.



Morrriss Cole knows wat im talkng about. he know hartache n shit. don u morris?

FUCK u FCS: u brake my hart!

FCS itz all a lie. A big motherufcking lie.

Itz harrd to see my cmputer scrrren rite now thru the teers in my fukcing eyes n also the whisky. The streek is ded. THE STREAK IZ FUCKINGG DEAD!

Ben up all nite. Been wandering da mean streets of CardifffbytheSEE slugging frm a botle of Jack. Almst finished and the son jst cam up n jest cant get my hed around it FUCK. FUCK! Seabazz. CBAS? Who even iz he? Were did he evn cum from? SeeBazs?

Julien I know and wanna know y? Becuz he rides F   C  s! Becuz heridez the ONLY FIN THAAT WINZ!

so WHAT HAPPN? Tlee me goddmanit! HOW    DID   C-BOSS WIN?


He don rid no Fcs.



HE don ride no fcken FCZ.

hez not on thaat teem. Hiz finz don cum out if he bangs them on a bench or char or somewhere els that ppl can sit or eat or shit.


13/13 unluck fockin 13. It ended at 13. culdnt go 14/14 becuz SEE BASS.


Im gonna book a flite to Asralia ostrala ag[hoiha Auustria rite now and fck thos judges up.


u brake my heart.


AN fcuk u 2 FCS! u mad me beleve. U made me think that humanity culd stil be grate. that we culd stil bild the piramids n shit. tat we culd stop global warming n make world peece. But itz all a lie. A big motherufcking lie.



life iz shit than u die. Rmember that kidz. Don fall 4 it wen a totally bangable fin company cums around promising grateness. 14/14 will nver happen. Ever.