Hurt: Turn Volcom’s frown upside down!

The Stone has hurt feelings but I know a perfect cure!

(A version of this story appeared first on LodgeGrit. Your other least favorite website!)

I have been a fly in surf’s soup for the better part of fifteen years. I laugh and kick and poke and cajole and bop and twirl and laugh again. Oh it’s all part of my dance, baby, and I have the most anti-depressive fun ever but it’s a dance that enrages, every once in a while, and particularly enrages the brands.

Their feets just sometimes get in my way. Their Volcom Creedlers. And I stomp and laugh and grind and bounce and laugh again but the owners of the Volcom Creedlers are not amused. They are not having fun.

What do you think they do though? Do you think they shout at me? Do you think they scream, “Nobody is enjoying themselves except YOU, asshole!” Do you think they holler, “Get off the floor, prick!”


They don’t.

And here’s the craziest thing. I have never once in all my better part of fifteen years been called by a brand for laughing and poking and kicking. Not once. I sometimes hear through friends of friends of friends that such and such a brand is apoplectic or upset or hurt but nobody from the brand ever calls me.


And the flailing brands, the Volcoms, wonder why their sales are down through the floor and the dream is slipping from their grasp. We used to be outsiders all of us. We used to really and truly be against the establishment. We used to know, deep in our hearts, that what we did was not serious and that is exactly why we did it. We used to laugh and not be afraid to laugh even when other’s poked fun because we were all in on the same joke.

We used to step lightly.

Though no longer. Now dark and serious clouds fill the horizon. A Heavy and depressed march. Not reaching sales goals. Not matching market expectations. Stock prices slip, slip, slipping.

I will say, though, the brands lost their senses of humor long before they lost their sales.

So here we stand. Impotent rage boiling but never given release. A private gnashing of teeth. A public miscalculated failing.

But Mr. Brand Manager who refuses to call, would you would permit me one small bit of analysis? The posted fun-making stories about you soar. Their traffic goes through the roof and do you want to know why? Because when you forgot who you were and chased a market that doesn’t exist your core consumer was left heartbroken and alone. So now he cheers for your demise. Now she mocks your failure. Now he shares stories stomping your Creedlers.

Oh It’s not too late! The heartbroken are only ever waiting for love to come calling again. For love to present a hand and loosen its hips.

And while I have you, Mr. Brand Manager who refuses to call would you permit me to share one story?

When I was so fresh in the professional surf game I followed the tour through Europe, reporting on the World Surf League when it was called the Association of Surfing Professionals. The then CEO, for whatever reason, got caught in my crosshairs and I would laugh and kick and poke at him for Stab (when it was alive) about his baby blue shirts etc. etc. etc.

I made so much fun!

Would you like to know what the then CEO did? He challenged me to an arm-wrestle! He bounded through the door of the bar where I was drinking a stolen beer and arm-wrestled me into sweet submission!

I have loved Brodie Carr dearly ever since.

The moral? Let’s arm wrestle Mr. Brand Manager! Or tango! The music is still playing and it’s oh so anti-depressive!

Coastalwatch sues, tries to buy Surfstitch!

Surf forecaster offers fifty-mill for a company worth half-a-billion less than a year ago… 

Did you know there’s money in surf? Even in its supposed decrepitude, it’s still one of the great spinners of cash for nothing.

But it ain’t the early two-thousands when all it took to shave a piece off a marketing budget was a few cocktails and a half-convincing spin. Now, if you want to soak in the real money, you’ve got to know finance. You’ve gotta know how to create a company that, while losing money, and even while making acquisitions so outrageously bullish you know the house of cards has to fall, you can peel off a nice mill-a-year salary. With stock. Which you sell prior to the collapse.

Now, as reported by the Australian Financial Review, the owners of the surf forecast site Coastalwatch, which is suing Surfstitch over a content-sharing deal that put twenty-mill on the Surfstitch balance sheet, has offered to buy the whole thing for fifty-ish mill.

A little less than the half-a-billion dollars Surfstitch was worth last November.

From the AFR:

Not content with suing Surfstitch over a failed content deal, a media company from Sydney’s Northern Beaches has now lobbed a $55.4 million takeover offer for the embattled surf retail and media business.

Surfstitch revealed on Wednesday that it had received a non-binding proposal from Coastalwatch, a website that delivers surf reports and forecasts, to buy 100 per cent of the company.

A vehicle linked to Coastalwatch, Crown Financial, became a substantial holder in Surfstitch in September and has since bulked up its holding to 10.4 per cent.

Street Talk first revealed in August that Three Crowns Media Group, which is the ultimate holding company of both Crown Financial and Coastalwatch, as well as other media outlets including magazine Surfing World and snowsports website Mountainwatch, was the mysterious third party embroiled in legal action with Surfstitch over a content-sharing arrangement gone wrong.

 And to make matters more confusing, Surfstitch had once considered buying Three Crowns before its own troubles deepened. Now the tables have turned.

white man with afro

Parker: “Hunting Corruption in Hawaii!”

Enough to make you laugh. Partly from true amusement, partially from sorrow and disgust…

Lots of legal fun going on in our beloved archipelago. Enough to make you laugh.  Partially from true amusement, partially from abject sorrow and disgust.

Let’s start with the fun stuff first.

Yesterday Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi was found not guilty on all counts stemming from his blatant misuse of his government issued credit card.

Kenoi faced a couple felonies, a couple misdemeanors, thanks to poorly considered decisions to use government money to pay for a stand up paddle board, bicycle, a shitload of booze, and multiple trips to Oahu buy-me-drinkee bars.

If that last term sounds a tad racist, that’s because it probably is.  The polite term is “hostess bar.”

Kenoi’s a larger than life figure who often finds himself in the public eye thanks to good-natured, if somewhat foolhardy, shenanigans.  His drunken tirade at a private party following Hawaii Congress of Planning Officials Conference made the rounds on social media this past September.

But Big Island loves Uncle Billy, and the result was never really in doubt. No way was a local jury gonna find him guilty.

On the sad, or rather so-rage-inducing-that-it-makes-me-sick, end of the spectrum, former Kauai Vice Lieutenant Karen Kapua was given a weak slap on the wrist after pleading guilty to the theft of $75,000 worth of federal grant money intended for use in undercover drug buys.

Kapua played the woe-is-me card, citing financial hardships, and the 2011 death of her daughter, to justify her blatant theft.

She was a good cop, she swears. Just made some bad decisions.

Of course, that argument ignores her participation in the department’s harassment of Darla Abbatiello, which cost the county $980k.

Abbatiello was deemed a snitch by her fellow cops after reporting to the department that Kapua’s husband, Irvil, was serving as protection for local meth dealers.

Irvil Kapua was allowed to resign rather than face charges, while his wife remained of the force, steadily working her way into a position of power.

Karen Kapua was ordered to repay the money stolen, plus an additional $25k, and sentenced to sixty days in jail.  She will be allowed to serve her time on the weekends.

Sadly, the poor fuckers she framed in the course of her employment weren’t given the same leniency. She had to cover up her theft somehow, what better way than claiming it was used via confidential informants to conduct drug purchases which, obviously, never actually happened?

Jon Pyzel John John Florence
Says the stud on the left: This may sound cheesy but just knowing how much joy a surfboard can bring to people individually and how that can actually spread to all the people around them. I know I'm a better husband, a better dad, and just a better person in general if I go for a surf every day. Surfers are tapped into something magical, something that can be a really positive force, so I'm just stoked to be a part of that in other peoples' lives.

Meet: the Stud who makes John John fly!

Let's get a little closer to Jon Pyzel, the shaper to world champion John John Florence!

Some of the most exciting surfboard design is coming out of a little factory in Waialua on Oahu. Here, you’ll find the shaper Jon Pyzel, who is forty-eight, building boards for the new champion of the world John John Florence. Pyzel is also, nominally, the “best shaper in the world” after winning a blind-fold contest starring Dane Reynolds, that appeared in Stab magazine. 

Pyzel has been making boards for John John Florence, who has just-turned twenty-four, since the kid was five; since his mama Alex brought the boys to see him at his old bay at Sunset Beach and gave him two-hundred dollars for materials to build John a board. The yellow four-six with  halo of orange rails is “hideous to look at” but now exists as a memorial of sorts to a boy destined for greatness.

This interview was recorded between Waialua, Oahu, and Bondi, Australia.

BeachGrit: Is that the fabulous Mr Jon Pyzel? Tell me everything! Tell me about your current emotional position. Your boy wins the world title; you scoop up the Stab prize as #1 shaper.

Pyzel: I don’t know about fabulous but it’s Jon Pyzel! I’m pretty fucking happy. Happiness mixed with a little relief. I don’t know. It seems like it’s been a long road.

BeachGrit: You must’ve seen John’s world title coming a long time ago…

Pyzel: I felt like it was coming for a long time. It’s one of those things, you never know until it happens. I believed in it, but cautiously believed. I knew he had the  talent, put it that way. And I think the one thing that stands out the most to me in this whole thing, especially being in Portugal and seeing his whole situation, was that I literally feel like he…chose… to win the world title. And it happened. He just went, ‘I’m really going to do this.’ Without sounding arrogant, because that’s not what I mean. I feel like the guy can do what he wants in surfing. So he went, ‘Ok, now, this is what I want to do.’ Choosing to be in that frame of mind, cleaning his way to do that. Pretty fantastic.

BeachGrit: In the final, he really loosed himself. 

Pyzel: That was the after-party right there.

BeachGrit: Tell me about his little crew in Portugal?

Pyzel: He was staying with his girl Lauryn (Cribb), his filmer Erik (Knutson), and a good friend Brandon Wasserman, who’s like his road manager. He does everything. Makes everything easy. That whole group, they get along really good. It’s not some team that’s…working. They’re a group of people who are happy to be around each other. No one’s discussing heat strategies. All the pieces were already there.

BeachGrit: I was surprised Mom John wasn’t there when the champagne rained.

Pyzel: I know, Alex was super bummed. I mean, she was super stoked but sad she wasn’t there. Those guys didn’t know the numbers, that he could win the whole thing there. No one was breaking down numbers at the dinner table.  Once he was in the quarters, or maybe even the fourth round, there was a point when we realised… you can win this. It got down to, win three heats and you’re the world champion. Six good waves. It was pretty radical.

BeachGrit: There was very little negative electricity clouding the air when he scooped up the title cup. 

Pyzel: Such a good thing, such a good feeling. Even the guys who could’ve won it were stoked. I talked to Jordy and he was stoked for John. No one was, like, ‘Fuck that guy!’ The best surfer is the world champ. That’s a cool thing to see happen ’cause it doesn’t always work out like that. As surfers it’s killer. It validates pro surfing. This is the guy we think is the best surfer and he won.

BeachGrit: Did you dance the night away?

Pyzel: Everyone was drinking beers at a nine-thirty in the morning. There was a big fridge of Coronas and Sea Bass was leading the charge. Even Kelly was drinking a beer and that’s rare. After lunch we split. I went back to my hotel and had a nap. Woke up at six, went to John’s house and him and his friend Kieron were just getting in from surfing. He’d gone and surfed for two hours.

BeachGrit: Is there any amount of money, you think, that could convince him to ride for another company?

Pyzel: I don’t know. You’d have to ask him. We’ve been through a lot. He’s had people obviously come to him, and he’s ridden different boards. And there’s been different times when I felt some pressure coming from big companies. And I’ve told him, too, ’cause we’re pretty close friends, don’t feel like you have to ride my boards, because we’re friends or because you owe me anything. What has happened, for me, having a kid of that calibre, is it’s challenged me and kept me working hard. I don’t want him on other boards. I want him on my boards. I don’t think money is a worry for him. He’s doing alright. If he was losing, or doing shitty, he’d be looking for different boards. He’d change it. We’ve had times when the boards weren’t working great so we worked on it.

BeachGrit: In detail, can you describe his go-to board for average three-foot waves. For waves most of us schlep around in?

Pyzel: The Bastard is his favourite. He’s been riding it for three or four years now. (Either a 6’0″ by 18.63 by 2 1/4 or 2 3/16ths.) More than a lot of surfers who ride a totally different board in different conditions, he prefers to have a consistent feel – straight up, standard short boards, made a little bit for better waves than worse waves. He’ll make it work when it’s less than perfect. My boards tend to be a lot flatter than a lot of shapers. But this design is pretty curvy, with a single concave through the bottom and a tiny, tiny double concave in the fins. It tends to have a little more volume though the nose and under the chest. Being bulkier up front helps in landing is when the front foot is on the nose. It stabilises stuff there, keeps the board out of the water.

He also tends to ride boards small relative to his size. He has a narrow stance, watch him pumping down the line. Wide boards and narrow don’t fit. The board will also hold. The things aren’t sliding out. It’s not going to let go. He likes sensitive boards that you can push hard.

BeachGrit: What’s your design philosophy?

I don’t have some sentence written down, but if you look at my boards, they’re simple, they’re clean and I try to make ’em look pretty.

BeachGrit: What did you shape today?

Pyzel: I shaped a ten-five, four inches thick, a monster for a six-eight water polo playing guy. I just shaped a couple of six-o’s for Jack Freestone. I shaped a ten-o, an eight-six, two six os, I shape everything. And I just cut a new ten-five for John, another big Bay board.

No one should ever have to apologize for having a good time. The Globe crew having the best time!
No one should ever have to apologize for having a good time. The Globe crew having the best time!

Read: The 5 Greatest Surfer Apologies!

Apologies can be difficult to deliver but they soar like poetry when done right!

Oh we humans sure are error prone! Always just putting our foot right in it! I make enough mistakes for two people every day. Sometimes three! But it’s how we react when caught out in some mistake that defines us, no? A great apology makes up for a thousand sins. Let’s read some of the best mostly context free surfer apologies of all time!

Mick Fanning: Prior to the exchange with the reporter, I had refused to speak with him because I understood he worked for Stab magazine and that it had previously published articles which I believed were racist and anti-Semitic. I strongly object to views, statements and comments of that nature.

I acknowledge that my decision to use words that were inappropriate – albeit in an attempt to be ironic, knowing they were of the type favoured by the magazine – was misjudged and wrong. I don’t have or condone any form of racist or, more particularly, anti-Semitic view.

Wait. Is this an apology? No matter, I suppose. Bravo!

Noa Deane: I would like to apologise for my actions 2 nights ago at the surfer poll awards, it was incredibly stupid, what I said was not targeted at any of the surfers on tour and they are on there because they are the best surfers in the world I truly respect them and above all I’d like to apologise to the people of Hawaii and any kids watching. I’m meant to be a role model in surfing and my actions on the night were not appropriate and that was not the time or place to voice that opinion.

My only goal was to raise the point of surfing not becoming a corporate sport like football but I can see and acknowledge how I came across and I am sorry…. I’m truly humbled to receive the AI award someone who I looked up to as a kid and loved his surfing, and can’t believe that I over shadowed the honour of with my actions later in the evening.

Yes! full-throated and complete! Everyone included in the apology party! But also totally unnecessary. Fuck the WSL!

Jamie O’Brien: I shook hands, everything was cool, but he asked me to put my head down when I shook the hand, and I was disappointed with the, like, “Jamie O’Brien bowing down to me” thing. I went back and apologised and did the right thing, but hey, he did wrong too, I wasn’t the only one. I’m not an asshole and that’s not what I was pushing for. But it took off on social media.

Ricardo Dos Santos was a fighter and a stud. So is Jamie O and this apology sings!

Kelly Slater:




Remember this apology from the great Kelly Slater for stealing Adriano de Souza’s thunder by releasing footage of his magnificent wave pool not 10 hours after ADS won the crown? Adriano doesn’t remember it either!

Australia’s Surfing Life: At Surfing Life we absolutely abhor racism of any kind and actively work to eradicate it from our culture. In the same issue, we extended five pages of free advertorial space to a charity active in remote Indigenous communities and while our respect for Otis is primarily driven by his incredible talent as a surfer, we also admire the fact he is a role model for many Indigenous Australians. 

An apology plus advertorial! A gift that keeps on giving!

Mick Fanning: It’s always great being home, it was great to see everyone getting barrelled, everyone just sort of is laughing. Obviously the crowd can be a bit crazy, but apologise to anyone we burnt, but you know, when the waves are that good…

Wait. Is that an apology? No matter, I suppose. Poetry!