WA: While you were sleeping!

Jimmy Wilson snags a gorgeous "what if...?"

There has been enough talk about how Margaret River’s Main Break is a tired, sluggish affair. A wall. A few carves. A rock landing. But, let us be honest here, it does look kind of fun, no? It looks like a suitable canvas. It looks like a proper dance floor. Until, apparently, one looks away. Surfing magazine’s phenomenal Jimmy Wilson posted the above image on his Instagram this morning with the caption:

Hard to concentrate on shooting a contest at Main Break when people are doing shit like this out at The Box.


And look at that. Beautiful composition, great color, a good narrative but mostly wow. I don’t know who the surfer is but what if this was being judged instead of, you know, that?

Oasis: “Surfers are idiots!”

Liam Gallagher from 90s BritPop band Oasis tees off!

This video has been making the rounds and it is very funny, I think. The witty Surf Europe writes:

You’re familiar with Noel, no doubt. From britpop giants Oasis? Not the licensed buffoon with mediocre voice and inflated ego who once rang room service at his hotel and tried to order a trampoline, claiming simply, “I like to bounce”; but the wittier, slightly less buffoonish one with mediocre voice and inflated ego who used to be good at writing stirring albeit crudely derivative pop songs, and is now just good at giving amusingly provocative interviews. Yeah, him!

But, all punditry aside, listen to what Liam says. It is hard to disagree, no?

Taj Burrow
The recently retired Taj Burrow needed little convincing to compete in the qualifying event at Keramas, Bali, last year. Good times? Good waves? A little pocket money? How could you say no? | Photo: WSL

Is the WQS the new dream tour?

Does a tour with Martinique, the Mentawais, Bali and Hawaii thrill you?

Trying to squeeze money out of pro surfing is an erratic business as the various owners of the IPS, ASP and, now, the WSL can attest.

Do you chase eyeballs on the beach with contests at mostly city beaches or do you sell the dream and broadcast from glamorous tropical reefs? Do you run contests wherever and for whomever can stump up the cash? Or does the quality of the game matter?

In the eighties and nineties, you got the former. Then came along the ’78 world champion Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew who headed the ASP in 1998 and created what became known as the Dream Tour.

In a revealing interview with Sean Doherty for Surfer magazine in 2011, Rabbit described the transition.

“It was a revolving door at the ASP in 1998, because as I walked in Kelly Slater was walking out in disgust. There was a lot of unrest and here was the six-time World Champion and the most decorated surfer ever, saying, ‘I’m over it.’ There was a lot of unrest amongst surfers because the thinking of the Tour at the time was still very much ‘the endless summer,’ bums on bleachers, and surf quality was not an issue.”

Read more about it here.

As the Champion Tour got better, the Qualifying Series was correctly regarded as a terrific grind, spitting good surfers into the wilderness as they burnt ’emselves out chasing contests for little prizemoney in one-foot waves.

Recently, however, the table has been upturned.

While the best surfers on tour have been dumped at a couple of crummy old-school reefs in Victoria and WA, and soon Rio, surfers on the Qualifying Series are reaping a cornucopia of riches.

The Martinique Surf Pro starts this weekend with events to follow at Lance’s Right in the Mentawais, Keramas in Bali, Ala Moana in Hawaii, Cloud 9 in the Philippines, Santa Cruz in California, and all wrapping up with three events on the North Shore.

Yeah, sure, there’s still the usual despair in between (Fistral, Virginia Beach, New Jersey etc) but if you’re smart, you could have the year-long holiday of a lifetime and, if you nailed a contest or two, you might even qualify.

Think: while Jordy Smith, John John Florence, Wilko, Joel and the rest are in Rio, what we’ve come to regard as the bottom-feeders of pro surfing will have just wrapped up a contest at Keramas, Bali, draining champagne bottles and god knows what else in one gulp.

Mark Healey spearfishing
Leading the spearfishing zeitgeist is the Hawaiian Mark Healey, five-foot-one and tons of fun! He gets the woman, he gets the fish! | Photo: @donkeyshow

Revealed: How Fresh is Your Fish?

Do you suspect the farm-to-table movement is bullshit, too?

If you ever worked in a restaurant you’ve probably long suspected that the farm-to-table movement was bullshit. Too difficult, too expensive. Profit margins are low enough already.

The idea that restaurateurs would find a way to jack up prices with pretty rhetoric, then cut corners to bolster the bottom line is far from unbelievable. To be expected, more like.

A lot of the time it doesn’t matter, taste wise. An order of battered and deep fried fish and chips slathered in tartar sauce tastes much the same whether the fish in question is wild caught Alaskan halibut, Vietnamese gutter fish or koi the dish washer snatched from some rich dude’s reflecting pool.

I see it most often with seafood. Pretty easy to tell the difference between truly fresh and previously frozen ahi. Or when the waiter says their ono was caught yesterday, but you know it’s off season and none of your fishing buddies are seeing more than one or two at a time. A lot of the time it doesn’t matter, taste wise. An order of battered and deep fried fish and chips slathered in tartar sauce tastes much the same whether the fish in question is wild caught Alaskan halibut, Vietnamese gutter fish or koi the dish washer snatched from some rich dude’s reflecting pool.

Happens at the farmers market too. “Heirloom” tomatoes that are suspiciously firm, uniformly red, and totally unfragrant. Or “local” Dole pineapples, when everyone knows there’s almost zero chance they were grown in Hawaii. Much easier to keep a cutesy project farm on Oahu, but import the things from Honduras, or wherever.

Not that I think it truly matters, beyond the sting of being misled and overcharged. If food tastes good, it tastes good. Apples don’t grow well in Hawaii, better to import them and use the land for something that thrives. And I rarely order fish when we go out to eat. Ever since I got balls deep in the spearfishing game the stuff you pay for tastes like garbage to me. Fried baloney, I want filet mignon.

The Tampa Bay Times has an amazing article up online about the topic now. The writer went deep, contacting farmers to see if eateries were buying from them (they aren’t). DNA testing seafood to see if what’s advertised is actually being served (it isn’t.)

For several months, I sifted through menus from every restaurant I’ve reviewed since the farm-to-table trend started. Of 239 restaurants still in business, 54 were making claims about the provenance of their ingredients.

For fish claims that seemed suspicious, I kept zip-top baggies in my purse and tucked away samples. The Times had them DNA tested by scientists at the University of South Florida. I called producers and vendors. I visited farms.

My conclusion? Just about everyone tells tales. Sometimes they are whoppers, sometimes they are fibs borne of negligence or ignorance, and sometimes they are nearly harmless omissions or “greenwashing.”

To a certain extent, I’m fine with industrial farming. Getting produce out of season is great. If I lived in some frozen Northern tundra I’d want fresh veg year ’round. Pickles and preserves taste great, and are fun to make, but they don’t scratch the same itch the fresh stuff does.

Straight up charlatans, on the other hand, fucking suck.

My wife forced me to buy some “organic” beef recently. Marbling was terrible, I knew it would taste like shit. The red dyed store line looked better. But, even though she doesn’t eat meat, I’m not allowed torture beef. Only that’s all eight dollars a pound will get you. Still haven’t found a proper butcher on Kauai, you’ve gotta make do.

I ate less than half, gave the rest to my dog. He seemed to enjoy it, though I later remembered why you shouldn’t serve a french bulldog large quantities of beef.

While you eat your cheese at up to $26 per pound, he will show you his “bible,” a photo album of his water buffalo.

It appears his bible is a fairy tale.

While he once sold his cheeses at St. Petersburg’s Saturday Morning Market and other outdoor stands, questions arose that he was substituting cow’s milk from Dakin Dairy in Myakka. Jerry Dakin confirmed he was selling milk to Casamento, but said Casamento hasn’t bought any in the past year.

In January 2015, Casamento was accused of animal cruelty over a calf in Plant City found tied to a post too tightly, with an eye injury and a rope embedded in the muscle tissue of its neck. In February 2015 he signed a settlement with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office relinquishing ownership of the calf and agreeing to have Brandon veterinarian Mark Mayo inspect his herd.

“He really did love on ’em,” Mayo said of his visit. “They were a little down on weight. I wouldn’t say it was a severe animal cruelty case. People have good intentions and sometimes things don’t go well.

“He was talking about selling his herd.”

According to EcoFarm’s Jon Butts, Casamento sold his water buffalo about a year ago, many for their meat. Butts took two males and a female at his Plant City farm, but said Casamento has not been buying their milk.

You can read the entire piece here.

Very well written, superbly researched, worth your time. Even if you’re not some overly concerned foodie, it’ll give you ammo if you feel like fucking with the ones you know.

Gabriel Medina
"I’ve seen Gabriel Medina’s backside flyaway to crash in the flats a dozen different ways by now," writes Surfline's Matt Pruett. "It’s not an epic moment. It’s not even an epic fail. It’s garbage. It’s a vanity clip more appropriate for a first-year skimboarder than a World Champion."

Surfline: “Stop blogging dogshit!”

Surfline issues a harsh edict to the World Surf League!

Surfing’s most storied, albeit dull, forecasting website had harsh words for its partner, the World Surf League, yesterday. “Stop blogging dogshit and calling it a garden gnome!”

The incendiary phrase was lobbed from Surfline’s Huntington Beach headquarters toward WSL CEO Paul Speaker’s Santa Monica office in response to a Facebook video of 1x World Champ Gabriel Medina pitching an air to the flats. Surfline writer Matt Pruett wrote:

I’ve seen Gabriel Medina’s backside flyaway to crash in the flats a dozen different ways by now. It’s not an epic moment. It’s not even an epic fail. It’s garbage. It’s a vanity clip more appropriate for a first-year skimboarder than a World Champion. Yet, on Monday, the WSL proudly posted the clip on their Facebook feed, and actually captioned it with the following: “Counting the minutes for more of that!” Embarrassingly, they even replayed the catastrophe in slow-motion…

Come watch the offending clip HERE

And such fire! Surfline and the WSL have enjoyed a cozy relationship since the very beginning. Peter Mel regularly, and lovingly, discusses the “purple blobs” etc. which throws the rage into stark relief and also begs the question, has it become de rigueur to bash the WSL? Is it a necessary component of modern surf coverage? Does it make you feel a little bit sorry for the hapless league or do they deserve unbridled scorn from even the most prosaic of corners?