CEO Paul Speaker was right! Pro surfing becoming bigger than God!
And it is time, once again, to take stock of professional surfing’s place in our sporting landscape. How our favorite pastime stacks up against other passions. Don’t you recall when our proud leader WSL CEO Paul Speaker blasted onto the scene and promised to smash the very popular National Football League?
So I looked today through the various social medias (Facebook and Instagram) and, if you dare believe, the World Surf League is 1/3 as big as the 74 billion dollar NFL making it worth, roughly, 25 billion dollars.
What a wonderful investment for the Ziff family who put up 0 dollars and now have 25 billion jingle-jangling in their pockets!
Even more surprising, though, I discovered that the WSL is bigger than both Nascar AND Formula 1 almost combined! The World Surf League boasts 5, 622, 834 Facebook followers and 2.2 million Instagram followers. Nascar swings in with 4,656,531 on Facebook and 634,000 on Instagram. Formula 1 has 2,897,961 and 1.9 million on Instagram.
Children across the globe used to dream of zipping through foreign cities, or around oval tracks, in souped up machines. Now they dream in barrels and airs. Of Filipe Toledo and Glen “Micro” Hall.
It might be a bit strange, maybe, that Formula 1 has 3000% more views on Youtube than professional surfing and that 30000% more people go watch Nascar live than professional surfing but… oh never mind.
You’re almost there Herr CEO Paul Speaker! Almost the biggest sport in the entire world!
A few hours ago, a surfer was hit by a shark at Booti Booti National Park right there in the dreamy southern corner of Seven Mile Beach, near Forster on Australia’s mid-north coast.
Sixty-five-year-old Colin Rowland was hit from below and dragged underwater by his legrope. His board was ripped in two but the only injuries he suffered were deep cuts to his foot. Relatively minor when you consider the commotion that must’ve gone on in the battle between man and misunderstood beast.
Check out the photo here. What kind of shark’s going to hit you from beneath and bite your sled in two? Ol Mr Whitey, yeah? Newspaper reports suggest a 10-foot White.
Anyway, paramedics swooped, drove Col to the local bowling club where a rescue chopper flew him to hospital, Col giving the thumbs up to photographers. All good, mostly. Lucky escape etc.
So where is this joint?
If you know your surf movies, and your photos, you’ll have seen the waves around here a thousand times. Blue water. Dreamy, sometimes empty, peaks. Three-and-a-half hours drive north of Sydney. Look up the oeuvre of Newcastle’s Bosko to see a catalogue of the joint.
Sharky as all hell, always has been. I was surfing a little peak at nearby Seal Rocks two weeks ago, closing on dusk, when a kid started screaming to his little brother that a shark was next to him. Next thing, a local paddles out and says an eight-footer swam under his board while he was riding a wave. Of course I shrieked and windmilled to shore, kissing the sand, panting etc.
I remember a wonderful story, years ago, written by Nick Carroll, where he came face to face with a shark underwater and totally fronted it. Stared at the fucker until it left him alone.
(Nick, if you’re reading this, do fill in the blanks.)
And, the board pictured. The JS. Does it not strike you as remarkable that a senior rides such a modern piece of equipment? It ain’t even sorta fishy. Usually, the aged totter around on SUPS or ancient longboards or some kinda deadly hybrid. This stud must rip and therefore we wish a swift recovery.
(Note: JS Surfboards is going to replace the mutilated sled. Col? You out there? Contact Curt Emerton at JS Surfboards.He’ll sort you out. Also, Dayan Neve from FCS is going to supply the leash, the grip, the fins.)
Meanwhile, Seven-Mile Beach and nearby Boomerang and Blueys have been closed while authorities, well, they can’t do much. But closing beaches does give the appearance of doing something.
Anyone got any good Forster/Pacific Palms shark stories?
You know the recent fortunes of Surf Hardware International (FCS is it’s primary biz) ’cause we covered the sale and the resale in terrific detail.
SHI had been in a helluva state prior to sale. Between 2012 and 2014 it had lost over eight mill pre-tax, was being sued by one of its co-founders and directors warned it was close to pulling down the shutters.
So after paying out the final legal costs of the suit in 2015, the owners, Macquarie and Crescent Capital, put the company up for sale.
In stepped SurfStitch, paying $24.3 mill, almost eight times SHI’s forecast earnings and more than double what the Macquarie and Crescent Capital paid in 2003.
According to Australia’s Financial Review.
The sale price stunned the close-knit Avalon surfing community. “Everyone was shocked they paid close to 10 times [historic] earnings,” said one source.
Of course, maybe it wasn’t the sharpest deal for SurfStitch. As the Fin Review reports:
Less than seven months after the deal SurfStitch’s new board and management, led by veteran retailers Sam Weiss and Mike Sonand, came to the same conclusion as bemused Avalon locals – the online retailer had paid too much.
SurfStitch slashed the value of SHI by $6.5 million, including $5.3 million of goodwill impairments, and put the company up for sale, saying it was no longer core to the group’s strategy.
Now, says the newspaper,
SurfStitch is expected to announce a deal as early as this week, possibly with US surfboard maker Firewire.
And the price?
SurfStitch shareholders fear SHI could fetch as little as $12 million, leading to further losses. SurfStitch declined to comment.
It ain’t a secret that Kelly’s ain’t exactly loose with his cash but buying a company at half the price of its sale last year?
What keeps Austria awake at night? (Hint: It's not caffeine!)
Your favorite energy drink company lives life on the very edge. Wingsuiting, race car driving, jet whooshing, wow! But I was just told there is one thing that is a little too hot for Red Bull to handle. One thing that causes sleepless nights. Much hand-wringing. Nervous sweat dripping down mock turtle necks.
What could this one thing be?
What could it possibly be?
Race car driving?
Cold brew coffee?
Taurine getting reclassified as a DEA Schedule 1 drug?
Your third favorite surf-based website, allegedly, is too hot for Red Bull to handle! Too scandalous for it it touch! Too dangerous for it to even look at! Oh how this rumor, which was whispered from deep inside Austrian unterteilung no. 3, makes me proud!
Die hässliche und schlecht geformte Website BeachGrit verspottet die konservativen Werte, die Österreich und die ganze Welt lieb haben. Es verspottet guten Geschmack. Sie verspottet Turtlenecks und sollte so schnell wie möglich nach Polen geschickt werden.
We are a fierce and roaring lion! A garden where the most stringent frowns turn upside down! A movement born deep in the hearts of surfers yearning to be free.
“Make Surfing Fun Again!” They shout and by “fun” I assume they mean heaping portions of lascivious gossip, unfounded rumor, cheap journalistic stunts, tabloid headlines, poorly produced videos and a couple of gals who just want to put smiles on faces.
BeachGrit! It’s got what surfers crave! It’s got electrolytes!
Can you explain: cancer in children, archaeological evidence of dinosaurs millions of years prior to the fabled garden of eden and the Orient not being privy to the revelations of the monotheistic religions until the nineteenth century therefore condemning millions of Asians to a fiery hell?
And… red-heads. Tell me a benevolent god would deliberately curse but one of his children with a ginger crown? That said, gal reds are gorgeous.
“Red-headed women buck like goats,” said James Joyce, and this I can vouch for.
It’s interesting to note that there has only ever been two professional surfers with red hair and even more interesting is the fact both come from Maui. There is Dusty Payne (who, again, interestingly, claims to have “auburn” hair) and Cheyne Magnusson, the one-time star of the 2007 MTV reality show Maui Fever.
I loved Maui Fever (even if I got it confused with Living Lahaina). Cheyne, who is now thirty three years old and married and living in Oceanside, was the star of the short-lived series. It may be hard to believe, but, often, Cheyne had to contend with myriad women fighting to have their wombs scraped by his crooked sword.
Cursed by god, but succeeding beyond all measure, how could anyone not admire Mr Magnusson. Plus, he ripped. Anyway, yesterday, totally out of the wild, Cheyne sent me a very kind email. It read:
Just wanna say first and foremost I’m a big fan of your blog. Its my favorite one to look at because you guys tell it like it is. Big fan. Anyways, thanks for pushing that Clay baja edit a couple weeks ago I was super stoked you guys picked it up. I have been trying to help him out and get another large scale film project going with him and the brand JSLV. They are rad, trying to make a push in surf but keep it core and take care of their athletes. Anyways I got some residual clips while chaperoning Clay around and they were cool enough to produce an edit for me. Just passing it your way to see if you guys have any interest in putting it out there. Keep fighting the good fight for the industry. Loving all the articles. Also, you are spot on about the inertia.
I replied that I loved Living Lahaina and said I would run his little short.
Cheyne wrote back:
Oh my god. It was maui fever goddamit!!! HAHAHAHA. Now i like you guys even more. ❤️❤️❤️❤️
I wrote: I sat by my television for years waiting for a new season!
Cheyne wrote: I layed in the fetal position for years hoping people would forget about it! 😜😜😜
I asked: Whatever happened to that super cute gal you used to nail on Living Lahaina?
Cheyne wrote: Well for one it was called maui fever. The other one that was called living lahaina was a bunch of surf instructors that weren’t from maui. I’d actually like to publicly apologize to anyone who had the unpleasant experience of watching it. The blondes name was Anna. She moved to Hollywood after the show and there was a rumor flying around that she dated marilyn manson. Not sure if thats true. She still lives in LA. Randomly, I am actually engaged and having a kid with a girl that she met when she moved here. Completely coincidental. Small fuckin world. I actually hate that chapter of my life but hey, it made me a stronger, smarter ginger on the back end.
Finally I asked Cheyne two things:
Has being red been an impediment in your life and how can a red find love and sex?
Yes, it has impeded my ability to blend in anywhere in the world except for the country of Ireland. Also, since being red makes me a ginger, I have no soul, which means I shouldn’t be trusted so that sucks. That being said, I quote the great eric cartman who stated “better red than dead.”
That’s easy, first, impress them with your shredding skills on the board. Next, dazzle them with some tequila shots and a freaky dance move like the worm. Third, bust out the burning bush, chicks dig red pubes. You heard it here first, and probably last. But remember, I shouldn’t be trusted so thats actually a load of crap and I just got extremely lucky and I think my chick has terrible eyesight! Good luck out there fellow rangas.
Don’t you love a story of a man triumphing against the odds? Watch his nice movie here.