Give Former a chance!

Corruption: Surf industry pay to play!

Is the surf industry shackled by payola?

Surf industry award season is now finished in both The United States and Australian and what a thrill. What an absolute thrill. In case you are some sort of dipshit and NOT glued to your computer screen to catch all the star-studded surf industry action you can catch up on the SIMA awards (US) here and the SBIA awards (Aus) here.

Rip Curl did very well on both continents as did RVCA, Billabong, Oakley. Old wonderful standards of the surf industry game but you may wonder about newer brands like Rolling Death Maui, Necro, Octopus… Why no awards for them?

The truth may shock.

Both SIMA and SBIA make brands pay into the associations in order to be considered for the prestige of winning Manufacturer of the Year or Customer Service Department of the Year.

And don’t this just smack of payola?

From the turn of the century to the 1950s, the big record labels would pay radio stations to play their music. The practice essentially squished newcomer dreams while creating an impenetrable monopoly for the top players. An awful thing that was, thankfully, outlawed in the early 1960s.

And shame SHAME on the SIMAs and the SBIAs for holding the little guy down. For not allowing him even the CHANCE to lift a plexiglass trophy above his head and shout, “My short pants are winners!”


Yet I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our surf industry.

Five score years ago, a great American named Neil Ridgway, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of North Korean Rip Curl slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But a couple years later, the smaller surf brand still is not free. A couple years later, the life of the smaller surf brand is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. A couple years years later, the smaller surf brand lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. A couple years later later, the smaller surf brand is still languished in the corners of American and Australian society and finds himself in exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we’ve come to BeachGrit to cash a check. When the architects of our surf industry wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every surf brand was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, small as well as Billabong, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of plexiglass trophies. It is obvious today that America and Australia has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her smaller surf brands are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America and Australia have given the smaller surf brands a bad check, a check which has come back marked insufficient funds.

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this surf industry. And so we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and good placement in surf shops and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America and Australia of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of surf industry democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of financial justice. Now is the time to lift our industry from the quicksands of brand injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make surf brand justice a reality for all of God’s children.

I have a dream that one day this surf industry will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all brands are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the white sands of Snapper Rocks, the sons of Former and the sons of Quiksilver will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the city of Torquay, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream.

Come join me in this miniature tub!

Watch: I Dream of Greenie!

Wavepools crinkle their nose in disgust!

If you have social media, and the data suggests you do, then it should be no secret that the Goldcoast has had a damn good autumn.

Day after day my feed is clogged with images of two, maybe three-foot perfection peeling down the Superbank. The wind is light, the water is blue, and the barrels — well they’re plentiful.

But pictures lie. They sell beauty and prestige when oftentimes the reality is much more grim. The wave-of-the-day is made out to be the standard and every drooly-mouthed surf fiend is left feeling an innate sense of loss. This is, at least, what I told myself to avoid the pangs of surf anxiety.

Then this video comes out and ruins my little fantasy. It’s called Dreamount and affirms that the Superbank’s recent beauty wasn’t just an Instagram filter but in fact a warm, soft truth. Please see below for details.

Sure, the Slaters and Fannings and (Mitch) Parkinsons got their fill, but it’s the successes of the everyman that really gets my goat. It’s like, when you see John John get a good one at Backdoor you don’t really care, because that never could have been you. But when some random guy a beat-up stick and halfa skillset gets a proper screamer — that cuts deep.

Tube envy aside, I’m quite intrigued by the machinations of the Superbank. It seems to have changed drastically over the decades. When I was a kid, it was all about Snapper Rocks. As I got older, Kirra slowly started to return and had a few incredible moments. Nowadays, it seems that Greenmount is the hot ticket in town.

Aussie friends, what’s your favorite bank to get burned, frustrated, and occasionally tubed? Are you maybe in this dream clip?

France, number one! | Photo: ISA

Australians 12th best surfers in world!

But still better than Turkey and Greece (for now)!

Did you follow, with breath bated, nostrils distended etc, the travails of the ISA world titles in France?

I think it is on every year and, although it used to be an amateur sorta thing, now anyone can enter. Last week it was held in Biarritz, France, “the California of Surfing”, as the New York Times called it. The Mexican Jhony Corzo became the men’s world champion and France’s Pauline Ado the women’s.

France, according to the official arbiter of such things, is now the number one surf nation in the world, its winning total almost double the points totals of second place Portugal and third place Spain.

Australian, a country that forever boasts of its surfing prowess, meanwhile, finished twelfth, a handful of points ahead of England and Germany and well behind Japan, Peru and Costa Rica.

I also think the ISA is running, in conjunction with the WSL, the surfing part of the Olympic Games.

From The New York Times story.

The International Surfing Association’s president, Fernando Aguerre, lobbied the I.O.C. throughout his 23-year reign to get his sport into the Olympics.

“Our Olympic wave took me personally 22 years of paddling — a very long time paddling — but together, we’ve done it and now surfing is both an Olympic and a Pan-American Games sport,” Aguerre, 59, said, addressing surfers at the opening ceremony.

Leandro Usuna of Argentina, a two-time World Surfing Games champion, said surfers had earned their spot in the Olympics.

“We used to be seen like a rebel sport, but now people see how much we train, how much we sacrifice and how disciplined we are,” Usuna said. “Maybe back in the day, it was all rock ’n’ roll, but now if you want to be the best, you have to train like the best. That’s what the sport has come to.”

Olympic inclusion means potential new sponsors, public and private funding, support from national Olympic committees, greater demands and enhanced media exposure. Aguerre says he is not worried that surfing will become too mainstream, sacrificing its culture and its easygoing vibe.

“They say that size is the enemy of cool or that quantity and quality are inversely proportional, so I’m very aware of this,” he said. “My feet are on the sand, and when they’re not on the sand, they’re on the surfboard.”

Are you thrilled, like me, that surfing isn’t a rebel sport and how it used to be “rock n roll” but now requires all the tenacity of a Russian gymnast to succeed?

Here are the results.

Team Rankings
1 (Gold) – France
2 (Silver) – Portugal
3 (Bronze) – Spain
4 (Copper) – Mexico
5 – Japan
6 – Peru
7 – USA
8 – Brazil
9 – Costa Rica
10 – South Africa

View complete team rankings:

Open Men Medalists
Gold – Jhony Corzo (MEX)
Silver – Joan Duru (FRA)
Bronze – Pedro Henrique (POR)
Copper – Jonathan Gonzalez (ESP)

Open Women Gold Medalists (Women finished on May 22)
Gold – Pauline Ado (FRA)
Silver – Johanne Defay (FRA)
Bronze – Leilani McGonagle (CRC)
Copper – Bianca Buitendag (RSA)

ISA Aloha Cup
Gold – France
Silver – Portugal
Bronze – Peru
Copper – USA

Rip Curl wins Best Customer Service!

Now this is a story I can sink my teeth into.

I am back on dry land after five days in Laird Hamilton’s blueish-red ocean and sad. What in this surf world could possibly captivate me like Laird on menstruation again? Will the sun ever shine or will I spend the rest of my days wandering in periodic darkness?

Depressed, I scrolled on to Coastalwatch and saw that the Australian surf and boardsports association had their awards last night.

I wasn’t invited.

But I got to see lots of pictures and everyone looked like they were having the greatest time without me. Coronas. Poorly fitted black button-ups. Tom Carroll.

And then, near the bottom of the piece, I saw it:

“No strangers to the awards, Rip Curl took out Wetsuit of the Year with the 4/3 Chest Zip Flashbomb and Mirage MF Focus 21 winning Boardshort of the Year. The Torquay company also walked away with Swimwear of the Year and Customer Service Office of the year to round out the evening.”

Customer Service Office of the Year! Phones ringing. Answering calls about duckdive induced brain injuries. Answering calls about Kim Jong Un’s real designs on the Korean Peninsula. Not answering calls about returned products because duh. Flasher and MF never get returned.

No duh on the 4/3 chest zit Flashdance and MFuckus 21. Those bangers are best in class (I assume. North Koreans demand quality) but Customer Service Office? Now that is the coup of the decade!

Customer Service Office of the Year! Phones ringing. Answering calls about duckdive induced brain injuries. Answering calls about Kim Jong Un’s real designs on the Korean Peninsula. Not answering calls about returned products because duh. Flasher and MF never get returned.

I wonder who won the best Customer Service Office last year? Now this is a story I can sink my teeth into.

So long, Laird!

Hello, Torquay!

Justin Cameron and Lex Pedersen, founders of SurfStitch, the online retailer that scooped up FCS, Stab, among other enterprises. Now this gorgeous coupling has split. Is good? Is bad?

SurfStitch: “Who knows if it’ll trade again!”

Founder Justin Cameron says company's future is "very unpredictable."

Do you long for glory days? I don’t.

If it ain’t around the corner, it means life is on a downward slope, ending in the grave etc? Hence the danger of nostalgia.

One exception to the nostalgia-is-death rule must be granted to the online surf retailer SurfStitch. Oh, it was on such a high eighteen months ago. Worth almost half-a-billion dollars. Tens of millions of dollars shovelled into acquisitions.

Life was a dream. But so fragile!

Last week, SurfStitch went into a voluntary trading halt in response to a $100 million lawsuit from shareholders who say the company was a little florid in its profit expectations. One old man paid $2.12 a share only to see ’em worth six cents. And even if he wanted to cash out he couldn’t. The shares are in a trading halt, one that might last until August.

And in today’s Australian Financial Review the company’s co-founder Justin Cameron, a tough, alert and fiercely intelligent biz-man who quit SurfStitch last year to organise a private equity takeover of the company, said its future is “very unpredictable, who knows if it will trade again… Significant time and money appears to be focused on litigation as opposed to managing the business.”

Read how Cameron “stranded” his Jesus hairdo’d co-founder Lex Pedersen on a ship that appears stricken here. 

As for SurfStitch, 

The company said it would explore a way to settle the legal claim “at a level that would permit the company’s continued financial viability.” 

A few moments ago the company and its assets had a market valuation of $18.9 million.