Matt Wilkinson WSL

Rip Curl Donates Profits to Amnesty!

"Rip Curl takes its duty as a good corporate citizen seriously"…

April 1, Costa Mesa, California: In a surprise press release issued April 1, Rip Curl has announced it will donate all proceeds from its winter 2015 line to Amnesty International after a small batch was produced by what the Sydney Morning Herald described as North Korean “slave labour”… 

From the release:

Since its creation, Rip Curl has strived to produce the finest in athletic sportswear, while ensuring profits enable the brand to continue expansion. Unfortunately, in their quest to lower the bottom line, certain sub-contractors engaged in conduct which we cannot sanction.

Therefore, Rip Curl has recently hired an independent team to evaluate all current production facilities, as well as the working conditions experienced by our sub-contracted manufacturers.

Rip Curl takes its duty as a good corporate citizen seriously, and we apologize for failing in our responsibility to conduct some of our operations in a manner consistent with the bare minimum of human decency. 

Finally, in an effort to demonstrate that there was no intentional wrongdoing, Rip Curl will be donating the net profits from its 2015 Winter apparel line, some of which was produced in North Korea, to Amnesty International. We hope you will bear with us as we endeavor to repair the damage caused by a very small number of unscrupulous sub-contracters.

BeachGrit will deliver more news as the situation develops…

Matt Wilkinson
Y'see WIlko's on-the-money 9.57 yesterday? The kind of surfing y'know these cats can do, but so rarely see. Man, it was something… | Photo: WSL

B-Lynch: “Surfers are tedious pricks!”

A discussion on the state of backhand surfing…

Do you like surfing on your backhand? When a teepee pops up, say, and you are exactly on its peak with priority either way do you go frontside or backside? Let us say each direction offers equal quality and no barrel. Just a fun shoulder high wall. Frontside? 75% of the time? 100%?

As a regular footed man, if I’m surfing a left I enjoy. I like the extra oomph off the top, but all things being equal, prefer life facing the wave. I assume most do and never thought about it much more than that before accidentally catching Heat 4 of Round 4 yesterday afternoon. It was a lethargic affair with Ciao Ibelli vs. Michel Bourez vs. Davey Cathels. Barton Lynch was invited into Ronnie Blakey and Ross Williams Lair of Boredom™. Ross tried to serve Barton some lukewarm fare, “How insane is the tour now! What’s your take on the evolution?” And Barton countered with a very thought provoking monologue. He said:

I do feel that when you watch the traditional backhand line that there has not been as much exploration into the possibilities of backhand surfing as there has been on the front side. If you take Conner or John John for example there’s just so many variations of the frontside turn that they have to add variety to their attack but I don’t feel that’s been explored quite so much on the backhand. The traditional straight up, straight down lots of board in the pocket, in the lip, is so consistent, delivers results, delivers points and is so consistent that people haven’t strayed far from that. So I think there’s a lot of opportunity, personally, I think there’s opportunity in the exploration of that backhand line.

And how great is that? How often do you hear a fairly technical description of surfing that makes you wonder? Never! I thought about it through the rest of the day pondering the state of backside surfing. I thought about Barton Lynch, who I never felt one way or the other about before. Matt Warshaw writes, in his grand epic The Encyclopedia of Surfing:

Lynch earned a reputation as one of the sport’s wittiest and most articulate figures, and for his willingness to express views outside what he correctly viewed as a narrow surf world orthodoxy. Surfing, he said in a 1989 interview, was nothing more than “another outlet for making yourself feel good,” and shouldn’t serve as “the be-all and end-all of your life.” Surfers, he continued, were on the whole the most “self-righteous, cocky and judgmental group of people you’ll find anywhere in the world.”

Which made me continue to ponder why he is not part of the commentary crew? There was a long pause after Barton Lynch finished his excellent discussion on the state of backhand surfing before Ronnie Blakey said, “Fun day out there today, Barton. Heats aren’t just won with the surfing on the wave alone.” Maybe that’s why he is not part of the commentary crew. Because he is not clinically retarded.

What do you feel about the state of backhand surfing? Will you be thinking about it next time you paddle out? Will you try draw a different line?

Jalian Johnston
Jalian Johnston! Remember him? Born Alan, he changed his name to Jalian because of... spiritual stuff, I assume. Very soulful, he's all about the earth. And garbage, dude loves himself some garbage. Gluing it to stuff, sewing it to other stuff.

Eco Stud Named in “Surf Gang” Lawsuit!

Garbage connoisseur Jalian Johnston named in Lunada Bay suit…

You’re no doubt aware of the current lawsuit regarding Lunada Bay. Good times, will be even better if they pull off the gang injunction and get the dorks banned from their beach. Don’t know if it’ll work, Palos Verdes swings an awful lot of money and influence. But it’s not important, the bad press is reward enough.

What’s especially fun is that the guys were named in the suit. Most of them are nobodies. PV-bred losers, spoiled rich kids. There’s a mediocre shaper in there too. 

And, oh my, Jalian Johnston! Remember him?

Born Alan, he changed his name to Jalian because of… spiritual stuff, I assume.

Very soulful, he’s all about the earth. And garbage, dude loves himself some garbage. Gluing it to stuff, sewing it to other stuff.

I’ve long wished I could cover myself in the detritus of the modern age, Jalian really scratched that itch. Without his help I’d’ve been stuck taping tampon applicators to my hats for forever. I’d much rather pay him hundreds of dollars to do it for me.

I remember, when I saw a piece on Fuel TV many years ago, thinking to myself, “How’s this dude traveling around the world supporting himself?” I mean, I know he calls himself a pro surfer, but the brands aren’t exactly cutting checks for fly-away airs these days.

Maybe that’s not a fair representation of his ability. After all, he’s surfing somewhere other than PV. And Justin Cote is a fan!

“I like Jalian’s part because it was so different than all the other entries. In case you’ve never heard of him, the dude wears handmade leaves, sticks, twigs and shit, super out there but a ripper nonetheless. His part also had some random spots that I didn’t recognize—no shitty little Lowers for Jalian! Yeah mon!”

Anyway, then I remembered, I’d seen him around the South Bay. He didn’t have a fringe of blonde pubes encircling his face, and he went by his original name. But he was from PV, I knew that. Explained where the money came from.

So now Jalian is in trouble. Accused of being a gang member, of sexually harassing female strangers, not good. But I’m sure Mommy and Daddy can afford a good lawyer, so I’m sure he’ll fine.

Then he can go back to his true love, digging through trash cans for inspiration.

Official: Soccer the world’s worst sport!

Soccer is so bad it'll make you stand up and cheer WSL CEO Paul Speaker's strange creation!

Aren’t you glad surfing isn’t a sport? Oh the World Surf League can dress it up in strange jerseys, rip the fun out of each and every seam, reward mediocrity with arbitrary points, put headsets on monotone voices, drug test (j/k) and still it remains a strange ballet.

But let’s talk about real sports for a minute, while we’re here. Which do you think is the worst? Soccer? You’re right! Of course you know about Sepp Blatter and the massive corruption that guts international play, the cheating, the rolling around and crying, the And today something even worse. The United States women’s soccer team filed a federal complaint because they are paid a fraction of what the men get.

Now, in some sports it could be argued that the men bring in more money, eyeballs etc. In the United States, though, the women’s side is a rare bright light. Let’s read from the New York Times:

U.S. Soccer, the governing body for the sport in America, pays the members of the men’s and women’s national team who represent the United States in international competitions. The men’s team has historically been mediocre. The women’s team has been a quadrennial phenomenon, winning world and Olympic championships and bringing much of the country to a standstill in the process.

Citing this disparity, as well as rising revenue numbers, five players on the women’s team filed a federal complaint Wednesday, accusing U.S. Soccer of wage discrimination because, they said, they earned as little as 40 percent of what players on the United States men’s national team earned even as they marched to the team’s third world championship last year. The five players, some of the most prominent women’s athletes in sports, said they were shortchanged on everything from bonuses to appearance fees to per diems.

In a statement released Thursday afternoon, U.S. Soccer recounted the leading role the federation has played in the growth of women’s soccer, including its introduction to the Olympic Games and in providing full-time salaries for top players. And it said it was willing to discuss compensation as part of continuing talks with the women’s team over a new collective bargaining agreement.

“Our efforts to be advocates for women’s soccer are unwavering,” it said. Sunil Gulati, the president of U.S. Soccer, made no public comment.

And really it is almost unbelievable. What a giant piece of shit. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy about this.

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Long read: The Aloha State Debate!

Should Hawaii be a separate country and other such things!

Hawaii is our Shangri-la. The stuff our dreams are made of. Have you been? Have you walked that sacred soil? Been baptized in that holy water? It’s place in surf culture/history is undeniable. Let’s chat about it’s competitive landscape, shall we?

I sat down recently with Surfing Magazine’s Beau Flemister and we discussed many things as it relates to the WSL, Olympics etc. Fascinating? Certainly. Read here!

Scene opens at Starbucks…

Beau: Hi Chas, have a seat. You want a coffee?

Chas: Aloha aina, Beau! From here? Hell no!

B: [laughs] Mine’s delicious. Kona coffee, obviously. Best stuff in the world. Speaking of which, let’s get into it: I believe Hawaii should stay its own sovereign surfing nation. The HAW abbreviation should stay.

C: Of course you’re on the side of Hawaii. You’re Hawaiian, right? Flemister…that’s the ancient Hawaiian term for…lost Flemish tribe of Niihau. Just kidding, so on what basis?

B: The original reasoning behind the “HAW” distinction stems from the Makaha International Surfing Championships, the first surfing world championship, so to speak. And the first Makaha contest ran in 1954, before Hawaii was an official state of the Union, so Hawaiians classified themselves as such — a different entity than the Mainland — and then it just carried over to now.

C: So, is that really true, though? Is that really a fact?

B: Absolutely, it is. You disagree with the oracle and sage Matt Warshaw and his sacred electronic text, The Encyclopedia of Surfing…dot com?

C: Well, I think that the HAW is how Rabbit Bartholomew first delineated it. I think that he gave Hawaii its own slot in the contest and it was just accepted. That’s what I heard. But you or Matt Warshaw could be right.

B: So you don’t buy the “before it was a state” theory? You think that Rabbit just did it to kiss up to Hawaiians?

C: Yes, to appease them. I think that Rabbit had a little Stockholm syndrome. I honestly think that he came to love the oppressor [Hawaiians] after taking so much shit for so long. When I say shit, I mean almost getting killed by Da Hui like in Bustin’ Down the Door. But I also think Rabbit’s relationship with Hawaii is too tangled to ever really know what’s going on or how he feels or why the HAW delineation happened. I’m sure that he loves Hawaii but there’s probably a fine line between what’s appeasement and what’s respect. But I would say that it’s appeasement.

B: Well, despite the dubious origin story, I’d say that Hawaii has and always has had enough good surfers to sustain itself as a separated surfing superpower. Hawaiians created the damn sport and were practicing it for centuries before it was spread globally. One could maybe say that surfing existed in Hawaii before the United States was even a country. But I’d have to consult with Matt Warshaw on that.

C: Let’s look at it this way: If Hawaii wanted to secede and become a sovereign nation, they’d have good reason to, what with the overthrow of their monarchy and the division of land by missionary families, but as long as they’re a state, then Hawaii is a part of America as far as I’m concerned. I think the surf world’s artificial respect for their “nation” is silly. Especially when Hawaii’s current guys on tour were mostly Caucasian. John John, Dusty Payne, Seabass. It’s not like giving Hawaii its own delineation is helping actual Hawaiians or guys with Hawaiian blood to get on tour. If anyone is prospering it’s just the haoles from that artificial delineation. Like, I could see how if a Duke Kahanamoku-type surfer got on tour again, Hawaii would want to claim him as a figure. Or, some Hawaiian with a Hawaiian name and Hawaiian blood. But to see the Hawaiian flag next to John John Florence’s face…does that make actual Hawaiians proud?