Noa Deane: The New Bruce Irons?

The similarities are indisputable!

This isn’t news, but it’s still worth talking about. Noa Deane’s move from Rusty to Volcom is the biggest of his career. It’s also quite fitting. The young man seems genuinely passionate about not giving a fuck, and isn’t that what Volcom’s all about?

At least they used to be. When I was maybe 10, my friend Tommy Salvesen had the coolest rashguard. Black, long sleeve, with the digital representaion of a human skeleton across the entire front. I wanted it more than anything.

Somewhere along the sleeve were embroidered these three words: Youth Against Establishment.

In all its glory.

“What does that mean?” I asked Tommy, a knowledgable 14-year-old.

“It’s kinda like us kids saying F-U to The Man, and doing what we want.”

The coolest! But then in 2014 Volcom changed it’s slogan to True to This and it’s like… True to WHAT?

Watching this clip of Noa, I’m reminded of a man who was once very young and very against establishment. His name was Bruce and he was just as belligerently raucous as Wayne’s towheaded progeny. While Noa’s stylish approach, creepy fingers, and general disregard for life or limb are fair points of comparison to our beloved BI, those giant lien grabs are downright uncanny.

It will be interesting to what comes of Noa, who is dripping with talent but has an apparent proclivity for substance abuse. We’ve seen what happened to Andy, to Bruce, and to tens of other world-class surfers who were all but destroyed by their taste for the hooch or the crack or the smack

Stab reportedly offered Noa a profile concept in which he would get sober and fit for a month to see how a change of lifestyle would affect his surfing. Noa declined because he felt that it “wasn’t him”, and that it would hurt his personal brand in the eyes of his fans, most of whom are probably sixteen. That seems troubling on multiple levels.

But hey, welcome to Volcom!

Best Of… WSL CEO Paul Speaker!

Or when it was revealed that he demands two roses waiting for him when he travels.

Have you heard of celebrity riders? They are the lists of requirements the rich and famous demand from the service class. Some are normal, like water bottles and Butterfinger candy bars.

Others are honorable. Jack Johnston, surfing minstrel, insists that his music venues change all their lightbulbs to the energy saving sort and staff bike valets.

Still others are grandly bizarre. Iggy Pop stipulates that there must be seven dwarves at each of his shows dressed up like the famous Disney Snow White troupe. Katy Perry, a person to wash and cut her vegetables. Eminem, a koi pond. Dustin Diamond, that no person in his presence call him “Screech.”

What about World Surf League CEO Paul Speaker? Rumor has it that he requires two roses to be sitting on his limo/Towncar seat and two more in his hotel rooms.


The hell?

Totally amazing!

It it wonderful that Mr. Speaker has a rider at all, don’t you think? In his mind he must be a powerful lord overseeing a robust and thriving business. Or maybe in his mind he is a precious pop star whose every emotional whim must be catered to immediately?

Or maybe in his mind he is a renaissance painter and needs reminders that life is both beautiful but fragile always by his side?

Or maybe he is a li’l freak?

Ozzie Wright Israel
Ozzie Wright, as WSL surfer, with Joel Fitzgerald twin-fin, in Israel. What an enigma he is! | Photo: Derek Rielly

The WSL Doubles-Down on Israel!

The world qualifying series returns, with more cash and even more laughs!

There ain’t much else in this world I hate than saying no to a good time. And,  saying no to a trans-continental surf trip to the ground zero of outrageous fun kills me.


Oh, Israel.

Have I mentioned the joint before? It’s a bewitching sliver of desert and singing blue sea just to the right of Cyprus, atop Egypt, just left of Syria, and a day’s drive away from the bustling markets of Baghdad.

Of course, you already know that it’s the only country in the Middle East where democracy flourishes, where men and women are equal, where the booze flows and everyone dances and where you might meet a cute girl with a pistol strapped to her narrow waist.

A caveat: the famed machine-gut toting IDF girls are generally chubby, and only passably friendly.

Last year, I took Ozzie Wright and Otis Carey there for Israel’s first-ever WSL event. Oz was so thrilled he wrote a song called Jesus is the King of the Jews. 

This year, I’ve got an interview with a former Australian prime minister for a book project right in the middle of the waiting period.

Do I want to go to Israel? Yes!

Can I? No!

Anyway, the WSL event in 2016 was a 1500-point WQS. It was won by Pedro Henrique, studs, and Maude Le Car, gals.

This year there is more cash, the gals side of things has doubled in points, Reef has taken over from Billabong as the co-sponsor with Seat motor cars, and the event organiser, Mr Yossi Zamir, who rolls out the red carpet like no other, is asking all pro surfers to come, come, come!

The contest runs from January 19 to 28, and, as the WSL says,

The urban jungle of Tel Aviv, deserted South and the mountains in the North are just a fraction of all the beauty this country has to offer. And if you still need persuading, the locals incredible welcome will definitely win your affection.

Read more here! 

(And, for our pals who might harbour a little antipathy toward the Jews, read here.)

Trump Playboy
I'm not reproducing, what do I care about the future health of our environment? Fuck it, let's burn shit to the ground. Of course, the white bread faux-Christian mouth breathers who farted out a vote for Trump yesterday breed like a rats. Pumping out child after child, fruitlessly multiplying. They need a planet to host the poisonous detritus that springs forth from their wombs.

Rory’s Repeats: “Comedy comes from pain!”

A buffoon-in-chief will be hilarious!

Motherfucker. I truly did not see that coming.

Should’ve, probably. Just didn’t want to believe a campaign built on hate could win. But it did.  Wasn’t even close. Bigotry and fear took the day, get to run with the ball for the next four years.  Probably eight, if we’re being honest.

But the world isn’t ending.

Nothing has really changed.

We’re the same group of assholes today that we were yesterday.

Is it absurd that we elected a reality TV star to run our country? Yep.

Is he going to use the Senate and House majority to roll back every positive environmental and public health program we’ve got? Probably.

Am I allowed to call people niggers and faggots and beaners again? Looks like it.

To be fair, I’ll only be applying that license to the racial or ethnic or sexual minorities who supported him. They signed up for it.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Well, maybe mostly, but if you want to read that type of stuff you can find it anywhere at the moment. I’d prefer to focus on the bright side.

Comedy golden era

A buffoon-in-chief will be hilarious, there’s no way around it. Whether he’s committing social gaffes among his fellow heads of state, or engaging in late night Twitter wars with detractors, the presence of a President without a filter will make for endless opportunities for solid humor.

Sure, a lot of the laughing will be the kind you do in order to avoid tears. But that’s fine. Comedy comes from pain. Saturday Night Live will catch fire for a few years, South Park has Mr Garrison in the White House.

He gave a voice to the voiceless

But not really. He exposed a lot of people for the close-minded xenophobe bigots they truly are, and tricked them into thinking they were represented. But, the truth of the matter is, that fairly large subsection of our population has been largely ignored because they are stupid. Easily led, receptive to demagoguery, willing to believe anyone who spews venom that overlaps with their own. But first and foremost, stupid.

They may think they’ll get what they want, but they don’t know what they want. And no one cares anyway. The frustration as that fact dawns on them will be delicious.

The Red State Blues

The jobs are gone, they ain’t coming back. All the Rust Belt retards who think Heir Trump will somehow bring back all the off-shored manufacturing jobs are gonna learn real quick that those were just empty promises. The Trump presidency will be about putting as much money as possible in the hands of the ruling class. You don’t do that by paying a living wage. You definitely don’t do that by supporting unions.

“BUT YOU PROMISED!” they’ll cry, while fighting for crusts of bread in the gutter. “You said you’d make us great again. This isn’t great at all.”

Goodbye Obamacare

Thank jeebus I can afford private insurance. Great coverage, the best!

But guess what? Repealing the Affordable Care Act will mean insurance companies can once again charge more, or deny coverage outright, due to pre-existing conditions. Which is a serious problem if you’re an obese redneck motherfucker with adult-onset diabetes. Ditto if you’re an aging baby boomer about to experience the litany of ailments that comes with senior status.

Global Warming isn’t real

I’m not reproducing, what do I care about the future health of our environment? Fuck it, let’s burn shit to the ground.

Of course, the white bread faux-Christian mouth-breathers who farted out a vote for Trump yesterday breed like a rats. Pumping out child after child, fruitlessly multiplying. They need a planet to host the poisonous detritus that springs forth from their wombs.

Luckily for them, the type of half wit imbecile their tainted bodies produce will be well suited to surviving the aftermath of our planet’s destruction. Retreat to caves, return to their troglodyte roots.

They set a precedent

Fuck unity. Fuck brotherhood. Fuck national identity.

It’s us versus them, ain’t no two ways about it. Hopefully the more liberal-minded souls will finally realize that, if you want to fight a pig, you’ve gotta get down in the mud. No more attempts at discussion or ideological parity. Stop pretending there are rules, start doing what it takes to win.

It’s time to throw our idealism in the garbage, where it belongs. Face the cold hard truth that you’ve gotta employ violence to get what you want. That’s it’s okay to trample another person in your quest for a brighter tomorrow. That truth has no place in reality, and that the ends always justify the means.

The closest thing I have as a portrait of the two of us together.
The closest thing I have as a portrait of the two of us together.

Chas: “Why I’ll miss Paul Speaker!”

He is gone now and I am poorer for it.

My phone lit up like a pachinko game early this Japanese morning and of course you know why. The World Surf League’s CEO Paul Speaker has resigned. He has left the building. And many smiling faces and thumbs up and “whoas!” “yeses!” and “wows!” filled my screen.

But my own heart sank like a stone. Like a boulder to the bottom of the sea.

If you are a regular here you know that I have made it a part-time job to kick at Herr WSL CEO and I have taken that part time job very seriously. Why did I kick so often? So relentlessly? So pointlessly? For so long? Oh my memory is a rotted husk but if I sift through its soft bits I think I can find the root. And it is this.

Paul Speaker would never kick back.

I don’t know what surfing meant to him since he didn’t do it himself but the way he went about trying to sell it was, in my estimation, ludicrous. I believe, truly, that professional surfing is the most beautiful expression in the world. That old and young can discover and appreciate. That the possibilities for growth are endless. That it can be explained to the non-surfer and understood by them.

But it all starts with the rabble. For those of us addicted enough to wake up at 3 am to watch Jadson Andre vs. Wiggolly D. It starts with the junkies. And BeachGrit is the home of the junkie rabble. You and I and Nick Carroll and Matt Warshaw and Longtom and Derek Rielly. We are not of the “pro surfing is lame” set.

We love this game and love it more than any other.

And Paul Speaker should have recognized this. He should have drank a cup of concrete, hardened the fuck up and come a’ callin.

His predecessor did.

I kicked at then ASP CEO Brodie Carr when I first started covering the tour so many years ago. I poked at his clothes, at his style, at his overall deal yet he did not run and hide. He took my barbs with the most gregarious laugh and smashed me on the arm wrestling table and we have been wonderful friends ever since.

I wanted to be wonderful friends with WSL CEO Paul Speaker too. I wanted him to call me up one day out of the blue and say, “Is this Chas Smith? Oh you are a worthless cocksucker. Come up to Santa Monica and let’s drink some whiskey.”

I wanted to help him help professional surfing get better. I loved landing shots on his big cornfed jaw. I wanted to be his pal. But none of this will now happen or ever happen again.

WSL CEO Paul Speaker is gone, and I am poorer for it.