Dirty Nate's Teahupoo paddle-in from 2015 sure did the ring the bell that middle bro had arrived. | Photo: Tim Bonython/@tim_bonython

Nathan Florence: “I can’t do airs!”

Middle Flo don't have wings but watch his eyeballs oscillate when he sees big waves!

Twenty-ish years old and already the middle Florence bro has accumulated much street wisdoms. He ain’t one for getting looped but ain’t afraid of a beer or two either. And his eyeballs will protrude and oscillate wildly when he sees big waves.

BeachGrit likes! Let’s French!

What are your favourite sounds? 

I like the sound of the waves when I go to sleep. We grew up directly opposite the beach and it was always there. You don’t even realise that you like that sound until you stay the night somewhere where you can’t hear it. It’s an addicting sound. It’s a rumbling. There’s a constant static roar and then you’ll hear the sets break… purrrraaah… yeah, that must’ve been a big one. If it’s really big and you can really hear the big ones and the windows shake a little bit, that excites me. It’s a little harder to sleep when you know it’s going to be big in the morning and then it’s calming when it’s summertime and it’s just hitting the beach… super slow.

Tell me about where you live now…

We live directly next to the lifeguard stand at Pipe, right on the beach. My bedroom is in the middle. I share a bedroom with my younger brother Ivan. We have a bunk bed. He’s in the top bunk, I’m on the bottom bunk. It’s a little cave.

In your reading, what books have moved you? 

It’s hard to explain books because after you read one, you’ll always say that was the best book I’ve ever read. But then you read the next one and you’re, like… that one… was the favourite book I’ve ever read. Then you read another one and that is. As you read the next one you forget about the one before. I’ve never read a book I didn’t like ’cause after the first chapter, if I don’t like it, I just put it down. The ones that I finish are the ones that instantly drag you in. I read all the Game of Thrones books. I finished ’em a couple of months ago. Those things are… so… sick. I seriously finished them in a month, I read every one, there’s seven of ’em.

When do you read? 

Right before I go to bed or after surfing, whenever you have time to relax and lay down for a second. Especially in airports. That’s when you really fly through them. I get through, in a session, maybe a hundred pages. I never fall asleep reading. People say they get sick reading in a car but that’s my favourite time to read cause car rides are… boring.

What book inspired you to read when you were a child? 

The first book I read, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe when I was in third grade (six years old). Before that I hated reading. My teacher gave it to me and said, just read this book, maybe you’ll be more psyched on reading after this And I read it, and there’s like seven of those, and, she was right, I …so… psyched on it. And… boom… I read all that series. My grandpa reads a ton so he’s always sending me the books he finishes. He likes the same kinds of books that I like.

What is heaven for you? 

When the waves are firing at home in late winter. Pipe’s going off and everyone’s tired of surfing already ’cause it’s been, like, a week and it’s me and my friends cruising and we’ve surfed all day and relaxing, drinking a couple of beers. You look around, well, I do anyway, and say, yup, this is exactly how I want to live.

What is the most remarkable thing you’ve seen in big waves? 

I’ve seen some crazy stuff John’s done in person. John’s always blowing minds getting barrels. Koa’s last wave in Tahiti was pretty baffling. The Code Red swell (August 27, 2011) was the sickest thing I’ve ever seen in big waves. I love how they’re all eating shit on ’em. And these are the types of waves when people make ’em everyone says, “Oh, if you’d fallen you would’ve died for sure.” But, then, those guys were eating shit on the gnarliest waves possible and surviving perfectly. Nate’s (Fletcher’s) wave. Think about it. If he had made that wave, everyone would’ve said, “There’s no way you would’ve survived if you hadn’t made it. You would’ve died, f’sure.” But he ate shit in the gnarliest part and then…fucken… handled it. That’s the sickest part. When they get the bomb, travel, travel, travel and then… eat… shit. Wipeouts are my favourite.

Does it give you confidence in your own pursuit of big waves seeing guys eat shit and nothing happening? 

Definitely. Whenever you’re going into a big swell, your mind is…it’s a constant little stress case mind battle, I could die, I could die, I could die, but then the thing about those guys is that’s way gnarlier than anything I’ve ever surfed so it’s fate whether you die or not. You don’t have a choice. Those guys were surviving, so fuck…

How would you describe the hierarchy between the three brothers? 

We’re all even to each other. John’s obviously way ahead of me and Ivan performance-wise, I feel like. He has the super competitive drive. He loves the contests whereas I… hate contests. I can’t stand them. I’d rather chase a swell and surf by myself in bigger waves than go grind it out in the CT. Ivan’s the same way, kinda. But then, Ivan has a sicker style. His style is way sicker me or John’s. We each have our little pluses. John is a super human.

Describe Ivan’s style. 

I don’t even know how he’s so smooth, like, Tom Curren and then he has that little drop-knee like…that guy…that air guy… with the long, curly hair and he kinda drop knees…

Craig Anderson…

Yeah, yeah, yeah, he has a sick little drop-knee thing…

How would you describe the personality types of the brothers? 

Ivan is a serious little guy. Very serious little face. I’m more of the sarcastic one who’s making a joke out of everything and then John is just right in between. He can be super mature, just ’cause he has to deal with so many interviews and business-like stuff, but then at the same time he’s more immature than me and Ivan… especially when he gets drunk.

What does he do when he’s boozed? 

He looks like a little kid. He looks like a five year old.

When I was 10, John threw a rock at my face and knocked out all my front teeth. It was completely by accident. He meant to throw the rock at me but he didn’t mean to knock out all my teeth. He threw it from 50 feet away. He had perfect aim.

What’s the worst insult you’ve ever received? 

I’ve never been super super rousted or else I didn’t even take it to heart.

What’s the cruellest thing John or Ivan has said to you? 

I can tell you the cruellest thing ever done to me. When I was 10, John threw a rock at my face and knocked out all my front teeth. It was completely by accident. He meant to throw the rock at me but he didn’t mean to knock out all my teeth. He threw it from 50 feet away. He had perfect aim somehow. I was bodysurfing and he wanted to go up to the house and I said I wanted to stay bodysurfing and then he wanted to get my attention so he started throwing rocks at me. I remember, he was 50 feet away and he winged it, and I watched it arc up and I was looking at it and I was, like, ooh, that kinda looks like it’s coming at me and it was, like, shit, it’s going to hit me and before I could even try and dodge it the thing just smashed into my mouth. I was crunching and I thought the rock had broken on my teeth so I spit it all out and it was all my teeth. I ran up to the house…

What did Alex do? 

She was all pissed. We put ice on my teeth but all the nerves were exposed so the ice hurt super bad and then John got a spanking or something. He got rousted super hard for that one. I felt bad for him.

If you ever wanted to get under John’s skin, how would you insult him? 

Mmmmmm. Mmmmmm. By telling him he was cocky.

He doesn’t like that? 

No, he doesn’t like that. Telling him he’s number one, “Oh, sorry, sorry, John, you’re number one, you’re the guy, we’re sorry!” (Laughter) That’s upsetting to him. He tries to play it down, “Oh, you’re the guy, you’re the guy.” But he knows it’s half-true so he can’t deny it…compleeeetly… but he doesn’t want to be, he’s so modest that he gets super irritated that someone thinks he’s cocky.

What’s right with the world? 

I have no idea what’s right with the world? What do you think is right with the world?

I think what’s right with the world is that everyone is richer beyond their wildest imaginations and kids aren’t crippled with polio and there’s no world war…

…that’s true…

…and there hasn’t been a nuclear explosion in 80 years… 

Mmmmhmmm. Those are all pluses.

…and Obama’s president… 

You think so?

Oh, I do. 

I’ve never thought about presidents at all. I never focus on such things.

To me, it indicates the strength of American society when it elects someone as intellectual as Obama…twice…

I was actually thinking it would be sick if they chose the president by a Gladiator’s tournament. The guys have to be super smart but super good at warfare fighting stuff, too. Like they have to fight their way to the top. They put ’em through a maze kinda thing straight into a battle thing so that our president would be, like, the gnarliest fighter and (italics) the smartest. Then there’s not some guy just giving orders. He could go and destroy (italics) if he wanted to.

What do you like most about yourself? 

I seem to be able to get along with people. I guess that’s a plus.

What do you find hard? 

Airs. I can’t do airs, surfing.

At what level can’t you do airs. Can you land a straight air, a little air rev or are you bereft of wings?

I’ve landed three air reverses in my whole life.

Where does the problem lay, in the mechanics or the lack of desire?

First, I never thought of them. I didn’t care about ’em and then the way people started doing airs, like John, Matt and Albee, those things are actually nuts and then I started trying to do airs. And I just realised that I was a complete  failure at them. The mechanics are foreign to me. I can get myself in the air but no matter what, when I land on my board, I’m eating shit.

Is there anything you wonder about?

I wonder why I can’t be a super hero.

Do you want to be a super hero? 

Yeah. I would like to be Superman. I wonder why there’s none of those in the world. No straight super-humans. How sick would that be?

Oh, it would be a thrill!

I’m bummed I can’t be a super… human. Like the Spartans in Halo or straight Superman himself: laser vision, indestructible. How sick would that be? There’s nothing like that, there’s no way you could possibly beat that.

I wonder if life might seem unsatisfying without danger or fear.

I guess that’s true. There’d have to be some flaw involved. But I think it would be amazing, too. If you ever got frustrated you could destroy whole trees. You could destroy an entire village (with nobody in it).

That would be satisfying. 

Yes, that would be satisfying.

You are so wise for a professional surfer. 

(Mid-level shriek) Ha!

I don’t think I’ve ever encountered such wisdom…

Thank you, sir.

(Note: This story first appeared what feels like a zillion years ago here, hence the Obama refs. On the occasion of John John’s ascendency we reprint.)

GoPro CEO Nick Woodman (right) pleased with himself.
GoPro CEO Nick Woodman (right) pleased with himself.

Shit: “Thanks a lot, Nick Woodman!”

GoPro CEO Nick Woodman rides his company, and me, into the ground!

Nothing is worse than an armchair quarterback. Someone who lounges while proclaiming how, if they were in charge, things would be so much better etc. How, if it was their hand on the lever, things would be chugging right along.

And you know how, from time to time, I poke at the brands that deserved to be poked (All good-natured, Volcom! Dry those tears!) so one year ago I decided to invest my hard-earned dollars in two extreme sport companies. Quiksilver and GoPro. I decided to hop out of the armchair and into the game!

It has not gone well. Quiksilver, of course, bonked a while ago but I love the Mountain and the Wave so much that losing that money felt like a wonderful offering. It make-a me happy.

GoPro really tanked today and has not made me happy. Should we read from Business Insider?

GoPro shares fell 14% in early trading on Friday after the company reported quarterly earnings results that were worse than analysts had expected.

The shares fell 21% after regular trading hours Thursday, following a trading halt requested before the earnings announcement.

The maker of action cameras said its net income dropped 330% from last year and swayed to a loss of $84 million, or -$0.60 per share. Analysts had forecast a $0.36 loss according to Bloomberg.

GoPro’s sales totaled $241 million, down 40% year-on-year, and short of the estimate for $313 million.

These numbers reflect weak demand for GoPro’s handy cameras. In September, the company entered a new product category altogether and launched its first drone called Karma.

Its guidance for fourth-quarter revenue and earnings per share was also weaker than expected. The fourth quarter is crucial for makers of consumer electronics because there’s lots of revenue to be earned from Black Friday and Christmas shopping.

So you’re saying there’s a chance…

Just kidding. I know there’s no chance. But at least I’m in the game!

Noa Deane Morocco
Noa Deane, meanwhile, has nothing but fabulous stories about Morocco! "You pull up to this carpark in front of a wave called Boilers and it wedges off this thing and then it fucking breaks. It’s longer than Snapper to Kirra. When it’s huge it breaks out the back and and there’s a wedge way on the inside, a psycho wedge beach. There were 20 waves in a set and you could jump off your wave and catch the next one. Fucking crazy, right?" | Photo: Morgan Maassen

Parker: “The Squalid Glory of Travel!”

Or how to win friends and influence natives abroad!

I spent the last few months of 2007 selling most of my possessions. Suffering from a self-diagnosed case of ennui, I had chosen to self medicate through travel.

I unloaded most of what I owned, save boards, clothes and keepsakes, in order to partially finance my expedition. The plan was to take a trip around the world, spending a year exploring places I’d never seen, and, due to lack of surf, most likely never would.

For the first time in my life, I would leave my surfboards behind, probably not surf at all, and hopefully shake loose the middle class melancholy which had enveloped me in the preceding months.

I hedged my bets.

Though most of the places I planned to visit had only a passing acquaintance with the ocean, I couldn’t help but add one destination that might find me in some good surf. As my flight plan would take me over the northern tip of Africa, I decided to make a stop off in Morocco.

We would arrive towards the end of the season, meaning surf was not likely. Though as a well-known surf destination, I was fairly confident that should we encounter swell I would be able to find a board somewhere.

I would not be embarking on the globetrotting sojourn solo. Joining me was my then girlfriend, now wife. Life partner extraordinaire and the only woman I fully trust not to lose her shit when the going gets rough.

Morocco was an unknown entity. I’d done little research before buying our tickets, and beyond a vague notion of hash and cumin scented desert breezes, had no idea what we should expect.

We arrived in Casablanca on the red eye. After negotiating the standard third world airport, hands white-knuckled on bags to ward off thieves, we paid a taxi to deliver us to our initial destination.  We’d booked a hotel on the edge of the Old Medina, ready to experience a foreign culture in all its squalid glory.

The next morning found me unprepared. Though my wife was enraptured by the old world charm, I could not escape my own twisted view of reality. The Old Medina, though picturesque, was a labyrinthine warren, replete with hustlers, cut purses and hash dealers beckoning from darkened alleys.

We spent our days in a constant state of confusion, lost amongst switchback alleyways. My wife blithely shopped, I peered around corners, gripping a six inch folding knife in a sweating palm, ready to stab at the slightest provocation. After a week I reached my breaking point, and following an incident in which I punched a ten-year-old pick pocket in the side of the head and brandished my blade at a merchant, we decided a change of scenery was in order.

How we found our way to Taghazout is beyond me.

Somehow, using a mishmash of child level French and Spanish we were able to procure bus tickets to Agadir, and after an all day bus ride, and an hour spent wandering around the Agadir bus terminal, we ran into Sam. An amiable Kiwi on holiday. He was also on his way to Taghazout, and was equally clueless as to how we would go about getting there.

After some discussion we hailed a cab, engaged in the customary fifteen-minute haggle over fare, and were on our way.

We pulled into Taghazout after the sun had set. Our cab driver, who would eventually introduce us to Ahmed, the hash dealer and fixer we would employ during our stay, took us to a small, two-bedroom house on the beach front. He knew the owner, who soon arrived to talk rental prices. After another drawn out haggle session we acquired lodging.

The next two days were spent walking through town, which was nearly devoid of fellow travelers, and drinking mint tea until our hands shook from the caffeine buzz.

On the third day the swell arrived.

Anchor Point was overhead and perfect.

I spent the morning frantically scouring the town to find a board I could rent, borrow or buy. Most of the boards on offer were pop out Bics, an option I preferred to forego unless no other option presented itself. New boards were priced in the US $800- $900 range, which was completely outside my grasp. I persevered, and eventually came across a 7’6” minilog shaped by some obscure French guy. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a real board, so I made the best of the situation and paid in advance, offering a white lie to the owner of the small shop about passport theft. Convinced him to take a California drivers license as a deposit on the board.

The board had previously been broken, about a foot from the nose, and as my wife and I walked back to our rental I made a comment which would come back to haunt me.

“You know, it probably won’t go over well if I break this thing.”

So, of course, I broke it two days later.

I’d snagged a set off the point and connected through to the inside section. The tide was low, and as I came off the bottom I could see it was going to bowl and pitch. I swung the board around, stalled, and pulled in at an awkward angle. I watched helplessly as the lip threw out over my head and came down on the nose of the board, exactly where it had broken been broken before.

I came up to find the nose of the board floating next to me. It was a clean break, totally repairable, so I grabbed it and paddled in.

On the walk back to our house my wife and I discussed the best course of action. We decided that I should pay for the repair, so I grabbed some cash and went back to the shop I had rented it from.

When I showed up the owner wasn’t there. A younger kid was on duty, and as I walked up he didn’t recognize the board under my arm.

“Too bad friend. But we can fix it. Only fifty dollars American. We make it good as new”

Okay, fifty bucks. That seemed fair. I borrowed it, I broke it, I should pay to have it fixed. I pulled out fifty dollars, ready to pay. Then he noticed the board belonged to them.

“Wait, I must call the owner.”

Twenty minutes later the shop owner arrived. He took one look at the two pieces of board sitting on the ground and told me I owed him nine hundred dollars.

“For a used board? No way. It was broken when I rented it, and it broke in the same place. I’ll pay to have it fixed.”

“It was in one piece when you rented it. Like new. You owe me for a new board.”

“But it had been broken. It wasn’t broken when you rented it. We fixed it.”

“And your repair job sucked. I’ll pay to fix it. That’s all.”

“You pay, or we keep your passport.” (Which is why you NEVER give anyone your passport.)

This went on for some time, steadily growing more and more heated as the shop owner refused to budge on his price, and I refused to pay it.

Eventually our argument drew the attention of the various underemployed fellows who lounge about the town during the day, looking for an opportunity to make a quick buck. They started to gather around us. I was about to learn a quick lesson in group dynamics.

In short order I found myself surrounded by what seemed to be the entire male contingent of the town, a malnourished, underemployed crew bombarding me with a guttural cacophony of what I assumed to be arabic epithets.

As I continued to argue, now with the entire group, I noticed the crowd was quickly becoming a mob.  I began to fear harsh retribution, driven not by a sense of righteous justice, but, rather, propagated by their own disenfranchisement and boredom.

“You pay, you pay,” became their slogan.

Deciding rash action was better than martyrdom, I began to scream and swing my arms about wildly.  The mob backed off enough to provide a small opening, and I turned and ran. Whether or not they gave chase, I have no idea. I didn’t look back.

I made it back to our house, and collapsed on the sofa to relate to my wife what had just happened.  We decided that an early departure was most likely our best course of action. This decision was further supported when Ahmed stopped by that evening.

“Rory, I hear you break a surfboard. People are very angry with you.”

“He wants too much money for it. I offered to pay, but he’s not reasonable.”

“Yes, I know him. He is very greedy. But, maybe you should go. This town is not very happy with you.  Come back later, when people forget.”

A good plan, but with a small problem. Catching a bus or cab would mean walking through the center of town with all our gear, right past the shop which now, apparently, considered me some sort of criminal.

“My friend will pick you up early. Before sunrise. Pay me now and he will pick you up.”

Now, I liked Ahmed, as much as you can like anyone who is obviously a hustler. But I didn’t have much confidence we would ever seem him again, much less get a ride from his friend, were I to give him any money.

“I’ll pay him in the morning.”

“No, you pay me now, then he comes. Thirty dollars.”

This was extortion, plain and simple. He knew it, I knew it, but at the moment there didn’t seem like much choice.

“Okay, I’ll pay half now, the rest in the morning.”

“No, you pay it all now.”

Left with no other choice, and no better ideas, I paid him, packed my gear, and waited until morning, jumping all night long at any noise, terrified my door was about to be kicked down by a proverbial mob of torch wielding villagers.

At four am my alarm sounded, and I finished packing away any odds and ends I forgotten, and we waited. Five am came and went, then six. At seven we began to hear the town waking up, and I was certain we were lost.

Finally, at 7:15, Ahmed’s friend arrive, driving a tattered, ancient sedan. We loaded up our gear and prepared to sneak out of town.

“Where are you going?”

“To Agadir.  We told Ahmed.

“Yes, to Agadir is twenty dollars.”

“No, we paid Ahmed. He pays you.”

“Ahmed does not pay me. You pay me. Or you stay.”

His smile told me all I needed to know. I was paying, fair or not, whether I liked it or not. I pulled a twenty from our emergency stash and we were on our way.

On the way out of town we passed by the surfshop I’d had trouble with. The proprietor was opening up shop, and, as our car passed by, he and I locked eyes. He started shouting, what, I have no idea.

Our driver just laughed, but, for a split-second, he hit the brakes. It wasn’t for long, but it was enough to send my heart into convulsions.

Then we were out of town, driving past perfect point after perfect reefbreak, until we reached Agadir.

Note: Noa Deane’s experiences in North Africa, meanwhile, blaze and they heave. Read here or watch below!

Futures Fins Alpha
Don't you love the idea of a piece of surfing hardware with a dazzling Made in the USA stamp? (Lost Surfboards have it too!)

How to: Make Fins Great Again!

Discover a fin made with enormous, sincere and difficult effort!

We here joke about very many things because very many things are funny. Everything, in fact, in our surf world is funny except the actual feeling of surfing a wave. Can anything beat it? Does anything come even close?

No. It is as close as any one of us will ever get to redemption.

And so we take these bits seriously. Boards. And trunks. And wetsuits. And fins.

And there’s a fin out there you should back and it ain’t FCS. Oh sure I poke at them because are part of the larger Surfstitch x CoastalWatch empire but I also poke because they make an inferior product.

I have wandered Futures Huntington Beach factory more than once. I have watched the precision. I have seen the fire in my eyes. And so, like very few things, I completely back their product and… the only thing that matters… they work on a wave.

This fin is better than anything out there. Better than FCS’s molded plastic.

This is the only fin you should ride.

Titans of Mavericks Female Blunder

Cartel drags feet, pays price…

At a certain point you’ve gotta ask yourself, “Is there anything the Titans of Mavericks can’t fuck up?”

We’ve reached that point.

The event has been plagued by lawsuits, concert promoters, backroom politics, permit tussles, and accusations of sexism.

Yesterday the California Coastal Commission granted Cartel Management a permit to run this year’s event. Which may seem like a victory, but is anything but.

At issue was the inclusion, or lack thereof, of women in the event during the 2016-2017 season.

Brian Waters, Cartel COO, recently announced a plan to include women in the event, seemingly out of nothing more than a desire to see an equitable representation of sexes within the event.

Waters said the contest board had no reason for its seemingly sudden decision to include women this year other than, “It’s quite simply the right time.”

“There was no compelling driver other than it was the time to do it,” Waters said.

t seems as though Cartel’s strategy was to mollify, then ignore. Make promises, get permits, move forward.  Their problem came during the second step, forcing last minute adjustments, providing an only temporary reprieve from their ongoing permitting issues.

However, when the final roster was announced on September 29th, there wasn’t a single woman to be found. Instead, Cartel announced plans to run a women’s-only heat next year, during the 2017-2018 winter season.

It seems as though Cartel’s strategy was to mollify, then ignore. Make promises, get permits, move forward.  Their problem came during the second step, forcing last minute adjustments, providing an only temporary reprieve from their ongoing permitting issues.

Yesterday saw the announcement that a women-only heat would be added to this year’s Titans event, an action forced on Cartel by the California Coastal Commission through the efforts of the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing.

This morning I called the aforementioned committee and spoke with Sabrina Brennan, San Mateo County Harbor Commissioner.

I moved here the first year the event started in 1999, for the entire time that I’ve lived on this bluff overlooking the break there hasn’t been a woman to compete in the event. There have been women that have been interested, and obviously there are women that surf there, but it has not been a possibility.

They’ve said, ‘Oh yeah well, we’ve got an alternate.’ I think they’ve done that twice now, with a couple different women. But they haven’t made it into the event.  And the reasoning has always been, ‘Well, you know, they need to pump more iron.’ That’s from Jeff Clark. The girls aren’t good enough yet, and that’s what we’ve heard.

I hang out at the same yacht club that Jeff Clark hangs out at and he and his wife have a little stand up paddleboard business that’s right behind the yacht club, so I know their point of view on this.  Because when you drink with people you really hear it. You learn about where they’re coming from.  It’s clear to me that it hasn’t been a priority.

Unfortunately for Cartel and the Committee of Five, their priorities are unimportant. While they are in possession of a permit from the Harbor Commission that extends until 2021, their permit from the California Coastal Commission was up for renewal this year. The CCC refused to budge on the issue of female inclusion, forcing Cartel to conform, or lose their ability to hold the event.

Cartel’s decision to do the bare minimum, at the last minute, represents a token victory for female big wave surfing, but also a squandered opportunity for Cartel Management. The CCC granted a permit for this year alone, denying Cartel the ability to chase long term sponsorship money or streamline operations going forward.

[Cartel] literally had no choice, so they backpedalled again and decided that they would include a women’s heat. But they didn’t do it on their own. They were forced to do it.  And they could have done it on their own. They could have taken the initiative to work with women athletes over this past year and to develop a plan that was reasonable and everybody felt fairly good about. It could have been a win/win for the event organizer, and possibly helped them with their sponsorship problems, and they didn’t go down that path. For some reason this particular group of people doesn’t seem able to make good business decisions, and I don’t know why that is. I think a lot of people wonder about that.

It’s strange, they could have seen this as an opportunity to re-present themselves to the public, and polish their image and instead they have this action sort of forced on them.

It’s a public resource, so for that reason alone, it’s just not acceptable to have it benefit one gender more than another. I’m not saying that women should have fifty percent of the day, I know that it’s a smaller group of athletes. But there has to be reasonable plans in place to grow the sport for women and to include women.  It wasn’t until the Coastal Commission staff said to these guys, in the past couple weeks, ‘Look, you haven’t presented us with an acceptable plan, and if you don’t include something for women this season we’re not going to recommend approval for your permit.’ 

The problem is that these guys have not been acting in good faith. They have not proven themselves as being serious about the inclusion of women. They are the ones that didn’t get their act together and come to the commission with a plan that the commission could support.

While yesterday’s decision represents a small victory for Cartel, they are a long way from winning the war. Next year’s permit application will be held to a higher standard, and this year’s efforts will not be enough.

They were also told, at the commission hearing yesterday, ‘Do not come back here without a real plan, because you guys didn’t do what you were supposed to this year. Do not come back here like this again.”

We’re gonna go through this again next year and people will be looking carefully at how this worked, and where it needs to go moving forward.

They were also told, at the commission hearing yesterday, ‘Do not come back here without a real plan, because you guys didn’t do what you were supposed to this year. Do not come back here like this again.

As with Twiggy Baker’s blackball last year, Cartel, and the newly rechristened Committee of Seven, which includes photographer Nikki Brooks and injured charger Savannah Shaughnessy, couldn’t resist the chance to take a parting shot.

While the Coastal Commission was still in session it was announced, via Facebook, that Bianca Valenti, who had served as the face of the drive for female inclusion, would not be invited.

There was a reception held after the Coastal Commission hearing last night, that was at the same hotel where the hearing was. So I was in the reception and the commissioners started trickling in, and I had three different commissioners come in and tell me that they had already gotten the news that the Titans Facebook page had announced who the athletes were, and that Bianca wasn’t one of the athletes.  They were really shocked and disheartened and extremely disappointed. It’s, like, talk about not building good relationships with people.

They just saw her speak, and then that happened. Maybe they didn’t get the four season permit they were hoping for, but they got the permit, then they went and did this. They did not have a good taste in their mouth, and I didn’t either.

Especially knowing that Bianca really stuck her neck out there. She lives really close to the venue, and surfs Mavericks the most. She didn’t have to do that. It’s very bittersweet, all of it.

What really irked me, when I talked to Brian [Waters] (Cartel COO) last night, I just said, ‘Why did you do that to Bianca?  You didn’t need to go there.’

And he was like, ‘It wasn’t us. It was the two new women on the Committee of Seven. They decided.’

I’m like, ‘Oh, really?’ It’s such bullshit. 

It was really infuriating and frustrating that they would retaliate like that. Bianca has definitely earned inclusion in the event and she is definitely one of the four most decorated women big wave surfers in the world.  o to not include her was just wrong.

You can’t draw a more clear picture of retaliation than for them to do that to her right after she made public comment.  How else are we supposed to perceive that?

While the introduction of a women’s heat, and the addition of two female members to the formerly male-only Committee of Five, seems to hold promise for the future, Brennan isn’t so optimistic.

I just wonder about how manipulated these two committee members are gonna be, and whether they really had anything to do with the choices that just were made.  I kinda doubt that they did, honestly. I don’t even see how they had time to really seriously consult with them, given that they’ve been making this up, as they go, over the last couple days. It’s sort of just all a bunch of smoke and mirrors at this point.