Fascist: WSL to regulate surfboards!

A secret and nefarious plot to save the environment!

Don’t you love your freedom? The feeling that you can do whatever it is that you want to do each and every morning? Like, maybe you’ll go get a donut and some coffee. Or maybe you’ll drive down to the beach and check the surf. Maybe the waves are small but the sky is warm and you’ll go for a swim. Or maybe you’ll pull your trusty 5’9 Matt Biolos Short Round out and go for a surf.

Maybe you’re a pro and proud member of the World Surf League and maybe you’re in Portugal and are ready to go for your very first major win and you pull out your Matt Biolos Sub Driver and…



Does this far-fetched ridiculousness seem straight out of the terrifying fiction The Man in the High Castle which depicts a world where Nazi Germany won World War II?

Well guess what? It also depicts this world where World Surf League CEO Paul Speaker rules like a pugnacious dictator!

It’s true! Our own (he’s not really our own but a gal can dream) Nick Carroll has just reported on a top-ish secret meeting where the WSL and various shapers kicked around banning toxic surfboards from competition! Let’s read a little!

Early in September, around the time of the Hurley Trestles Pro in San Clemente, California, the WSL management convened a very hush-hush meeting.

Invited was a range of surfboard makers, surfboard materials manufacturers, and green-thinking consultants. The meeting was designed to sound out a notion of quietly radical proportions — so radical nobody’s ever dared bust it out before.

Pro surfing’s owner and governing body may soon begin to regulate the equipment ridden by its elite competitors. In other words: tell ‘em what sort of boards they can ride.

This notion is being driven by a seemingly laudable goal: sustainability. It’s been widely known for decades that the classic PU/PE board is an environmental peril of sorts. Blanks and resins involve toxic chemicals, including known human carcinogens. Exposure to these chemicals and others has taken a small but steady toll on surfboard workers worldwide over the generations.

On top of that, the things are effectively inert, taking centuries to break down in surface landfill. And speaking of breaking — they break. Especially if you’re a pro. The CT’s surfboard disposal count is off the charts.

Not exactly sustainable.

On and on Nick goes, as he is wont to do, cracking the most important/radically fascist plot in surfing’s storied history! You must read in its entirety here…

But let’s do what we do best and quickly opine without full comprehension! Do you think the World Surf League should become a nanny or do you think the surfers should decide for themselves how best to protect/destroy the environment?

Fiesty: New Byron Bay Shark Attack!

Fresh attack as protesters rail against shark nets… 

Do you remember, and you should because it wasn’t that long ago, when shark attacks were big news? Even a little snap on the leg’d run on the front page of the daily newspapers, the victim a sudden celebrity. A guy where I live in Sydney had a white eat his hand and he wrote a book about it. 

Now? Now?

If you live on that little stretch of coast from Ballina to Byron Bay, once known as the birthplace of soul surfing in Australia but now better known as the great white capital of the world, a reporter would hardly get his pen and notebook out unless it’s a fatality, or an amputation.

And, so, when a surfer got hit at Suffolk Park, on the southside of Cape Byron, a few hours ago, but was only bitten on the thigh… who cares?

Of course, there’s the issue of shark nets, an obvious solution to the absurd spike in attacks. In which case, the latest hit deserves note. Let’s examine.

From The Australian

Veteran surfers in northern NSW are “really shaken up” after another shark attack in their region this morning.

A surfer sitting with a group of about 15 others 200m from shore at Broken Head, south of Byron Bay, was bitten on the thigh.

He suffered puncture wounds and was able to get to shore and take himself to hospital.

The shark wrapped its mouth around his leg and the tail of his surfboard. As has been the case with several other recent attacks, it appears the fin of the man’s surfboard has discouraged the shark from biting harder, and swimming away.

“When he got hit, he started screaming to the others, ‘Shark!’,” said Byron Bay Boardriders president Neil Cameron, who had come in from a surf and was in the car park when the attack occurred.

He said the group of surfers who came in with the attack victim were “really shaken up”. He added that all the surfers in the region were tired of waiting for the government to act.

Belinda Holland, a witness, said she saw his board go “flying” in the attack.

“I’m pretty sure his board went flying into the air and he got … a chunk out of his leg and side. There was a lot of blood,” she told the Today show.

Robert Fenech, who was surfing at Broken Head this morning as well, said he was about 100m from where the man was attacked about 7.30am.

Broken Head, just south of Byron Bay, where the shark attack occurred.

“There hadn’t been any waves for two weeks,” he said. “The internet says there’s surf, so we all went out there. It was packed. I go out there all the time.

“Everyone’s pretty vulnerable. It’s pretty close to home. There are so many girls and young guys,” he said. “We knew there were sharks there, but it’s the first time someone’s been snapped for a while.”

Mr Cameron told The Australian this morning that the local authorities now had two options. “One, they install nets and drumlines, like we’ve been saying they should; or, two, the council puts up signs saying ‘Do not enter the water’. That’s what it’s come down to. This is about protecting people who want to use the water at a major tourist destination.”

He said today’s attack was the “final nail in the coffin”.

He said that in the past, whenever there was an attack in the region, everybody knew there would not be another one for six or seven years. “But now, the next one could be this afternoon.”

He attributed the problem to local green politicians. “There is an extremely big and strong green factor in Byron Bay. There’s been a strong push by the average punter and the media to stop nets being put in.

“They have so-called experts, but they keep coming up with irrelevant facts. These experts don’t know as much as surfers and fishermen.

Ironically, if irony works any more, “hundreds” attended a protest against the installation of shark nets in Ballina yesterday.

“People want to see something that’s sustainable, that will keep ocean users safer, that’s not going to decimate our wildlife,” said Ballina Greens MP Tamara Smith. 


The always fabulous Nick Carroll debunks the hysteria about shark nets here. 

Kip Dynamite
I woke up super congested this morning. Gnarly sinus headache to boot. Fucking sucks, I really wanted to go dive. Try and kill some fish. But you can't do that shit when your head tubes are jam-packed with mucus. Or you can, but you'll only do it once. Sinus squeezes hurt like a son of a bitch. | Photo: @mtv films

Parker: “Why the WSL Makes Me So Sad!”

Greasy, wobbly tables on the Dawn Patrol show, for one… 

I’m spending the day chasing down a podcast guest. Excited to have him on. Bit of a curve ball, should turn out well. But he’s begun hemming and hawing. Not saying no, but obviously trying to throw a dodge my way.

Which I understand, it’s uncomfortable talking about yourself for an hour. Gotta be viciously self involved to enjoy it. I say that as a person who is, in fact, viciously self involved. I fucking love talking about me.

But I’m not giving up. This is work. Gotta put in the effort. Try my damnedest to create something that shines. Or, failing that, doesn’t totally suck.

It’d be a lot easier if I had a bunch of money to play with. Lure people on trips, wait ’til they’re comfortable, weak. Then pounce.

Sure wish we had a billionaire backer. I could do something with that.

Or maybe not. The WSL has the Ziffs keeping them afloat, can’t manage to wring a solid production value out of it.

Last night/this morning, depending on where you are, the Dawn Patrol show was a perfect case in point. Event’s gone mobile, they had to leave the aquarium table behind. Understandable. Aquariums aren’t easy to move. Heavy as hell, you’ll end up killing the fish. Or lobsters. Tasty ocean bugs. I wonder who’ll get to eat the pair when the event’s over?

But, I mean, surely they could’ve taken the time to rig up something that looks good, in the case they had to move. Prep something pretty ahead of time. Doesn’t need to be solid, just a facade. They’re making TV magic. Don’t need no depth.

Two wobbly tables. Uneven. No point to their existence. Didn’t even bother to wipe the greasy fingerprints off the support bars. Gross. Someone needs to wash their hands more often.

WSL tables
Do these tables enrage and sadden you too?

I could go on and on about things that’d improve the WSL webcast. Canned athlete interviews to run post Dawn Patrol show on lay days. More profiles. Better music. Trained broadcast professionals.

But all that stuff is crazy expensive, I know.

The WSL is putting their production house on snails and commercials that try to be funny. A Laird Hamilton doucmentary, maybe. Haven’t heard about that in a while.

Maybe not enough to go around?

Penny wise and pound foolish, I say. Sure sure sure, gotta promote. Find a voice that attracts those landlubbers.

But, while they’re at it, maybe they could toss some cash at sourcing a canopy?

Beware: Viking surfers to conquer!

Do you love your significant other? He/she may leave you soon!

Do you watch Vikings on television/Amazon? Oh it is the grandest show on earth! I usually loathe when my wife finds other men cute, writing vicious articles defaming their characters in response, but the lead character, Ragnar Lothbrok played by Australian Travis Fimmel, is so dreamy that if given the chance I might leave her for him.


In any case, did you know there was surf in Norway? Of course you did. There is surf everywhere now even Austin, Texas but if you have a woman or a man you should be very worried about viking surfers. If Ragnar Lothbrok is any indication of how they look our entire structure is set to collapse. The New York Times did a piece on these Northmen. Should we read a little?

This was all new to Tim Matley, a thin and boyishly blond Australian, who found himself above the Arctic Circle for the first time in this remote village with as many surf shops (two) as sheep farms.

His usual itinerary was six months of surfing in Australia, then six months in Indonesia. If the waves were high, that was great, as long as the temperature was higher. He had never before worn a hood, gloves and boots in a competition. In fact, he had seldom worn a wet suit.

“I like to feel my toes in the wax,” Matley, 34, said. “In boots, I can’t feel anything.”

His girlfriend, Guro Aanestad, a three-time Norwegian surfing champion, had just won the women’s title at the Lofoten Masters on Oct. 8. It is billed as the world’s northernmost surfing competition. Now Matley awaited the men’s final.

The valley at his back rose to a mountainous amphitheater. A crescent bay opened before him, its exposed, rocky points known for catching North Atlantic swells the way a net catches fish.

“It’s unreal how many people surf in conditions like this,” Matley said. “It’s beautiful, but it’s so cold. At least I got to see my first northern lights. That was good.”

Wait. I’m super bored! And Australian viking Tim Matley sounds….. Inertia-like. If you ain’t read the rest here but while I have you… Do you believe in the concept of “hall passes?” That your significant other can stray for a decided upon choice?

I don’t. If you are mine than you are mine and all others can go to hell.

(Unless Travis Fimmel is around)

Chris Burkard
The desire to always be busy goes beyond passion and the need to make a living. In many ways it's a defense mechanism for dealing with harder things. Adjusting to the fact that I chose my career over friends at a young age and lost touch with people that meant a lot to me. The feelings of being an inadequate father since I didn't know mine. | Photo: Chris Burkard

Chris Burkard: “What is joy without pain?”

The noted photographer searches for higher meaning through work… 

Everything comes at a cost. It’s not a secret that at times in my life I have put work first. A workaholic? Yeah, maybe.

I’ve often tried to make sense of my need to continually create art and travel. The desire to always be busy. It goes beyond passion and often the need to make a living.

In many ways it’s a defense mechanism for dealing with harder things. Adjusting to the fact that I chose my career over friends at a young age and lost touch with people that meant a lot to me. The feelings of being an inadequate father since I didn’t know mine.

I burnt bridges and during the process of traveling lost who I was hoping that if I looked deep enough and traveled far enough I would find myself again. This isn’t fun to write. It hurts to think about. All along I have had this feeling that maybe I could work my way out of it all… that all it would take is a little more effort.. so I kept pushing. And If I got to a certain point.. a certain level.. maybe I would end up with a fresh start.

So why share this ? Well, is everything on social media meant to be picture perfect? What is joy without pain? What have I learned?

Maybe nothing.

I struggle with this every time I step onto a plane or grab my packed bags by the door. I’m learning more and more how to find balance and separation between work and life.

Constantly trying to decide internally what my intentions are. Am I running from something or am I going to bring back something worthwhile? If everything you experience…everything you internalize and feel way out there in the world isn’t shared with those you love then who does it serve?

If you choose this path as a career. These are questions you might want to ask yourself. You might want to consider what you really hope to find.. out there.

(This story first appeared on Chris’ excellent Instagram account. I liked its electricity, it’s openness. Hence it appearing on BeachGrit.)