Sabre Norris Today Show
I got a new favourite pro surfer and she's eleven years old! Hello Sabre Norris! Brilliant and punchy!

Meet: Your new fav pro surfer!

Sabre Norris is punchy and brilliant!

You’ve got to love a pro surfer kid born without a censor button. Sabre Norris, who is eleven years old and lives in the provincial Australian city of Newcastle, got on national television yesterday morning, called her former Olympian dad “fat and said he “has to suck his gut in for photos” and admitted that, even if she comes last in the Sally Fitz contest she’s a wildcard in, is going to drop the $250 prize money on doughnuts.

Sabre Norris, in case you missed the torrent of clips and stories over the last couple of years, is punchy and brilliant on a skateboard (watch her 540 as a nine year old, here), tears hell out of waves, has a dazzling website  and, I will predict although predictions of this sort are damn easy, will be a Carissa Moore-esque game-changer on tour.

As the always-wonderful Sean Doherty reported:

As a grown man, and a proud and crabby ol’ bastard, it’s hard to describe the feeling of being outsurfed by a 10-year-old girl.

After the initial denial that it was actually happening, it made me think deeply and depressingly about my life. I knew this moment would come, a sad sign of inevitable decline, but I expected I might be at least 70 years old when it did. Instead here I was, seemingly in my prime, my ego being shredded by the forehand turn of a killer smurf.

My sense of self-loathing, however, was soon overwhelmed by a sense of unbridled joy. It’s impossible, you see, to watch Sabre Norris surf and not be spellbound. “Cute” isn’t the right word for her surfing. She’s too damn good to be cute. A searing, grab railed, laid over cutback isn’t “cute”. Steph Gilmore describes Sabre’s surfing as “badass”, and this was a badass turn. Halfway through the turn, somewhere, surely, a single tear was rolling down Matt Hoy’s cheek. On Sabre’s next wave she threw a forehand air reverse. Then she got tubed. Blam! Blam! Blam! Between waves she was effervescent company. She never stopped moving and there was no dead air. “How sick was my last one!” “How much fun is this!” And, finally, “That last turn of yours was really, err… interesting.”

God she’s good. Now watch her light up the Today show!

Film: We put the F U in FUN!

Rotten to the Core is a film that captures your imagination!

Today Matt Wybenga releases the right movie for the right fucking time. It is Rotten to the Core! Come marvel at surfers using crass language, sticking out, getting pounded, dancing the glorious dance! Bruce Brown, Archie, Jordy Smith!

Come re-witness Bobby Martinez’s rant at the fucking tennis tour. Come listen to grindy guitar and come watch some very gorgeous surfing.

Oh it’s good to be alive!

Rotten to the Core from matt wybenga on Vimeo.

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?