Did Griffin Guess (left) steal his wife's sunless suntan product and use it all up? Photo evidence suggests yes.
Did Griffin Guess (left) steal his wife's sunless suntan product and use it all up? Photo evidence suggests yes.

Breaking: Maverick sale in trouble!

A tawdry soap opera featuring supermodels and sunless tanning!

The champagne has not yet dried in Half Moon Bay but tears may soon replace its glistening shine. Tears or rain. You recall just two weeks ago when the World Surf League scored the deal of a lifetime by purchasing the Titans of Maverick contest for a song from Griffin Guess’s Cartel Management.

The world’s second most famous big wave surf contest is where it has always belonged. In Pete Mel’s ample back pocket. Kelly Slater could have surfed the event. Josh Kerr too. Any and every World Surf Leauger who dared to dream.

Well, today that dream may have died and all thanks to sunless tanning.

Griffin Guess’s Cartel Management, you see, was originally trying to sell the rights to Maverick for at least $1,000,000.00. When nobody bid the WSL swept in with a 1/2 price offer that was accepted. Apparently, though, $500,000.00 is not enough. Let’s turn to the august Monterey Herald.

Segler Holdings ranks as one of Cartel’s largest creditors. Last November, Segler won a $700,000 decision against supermodel Marissa Miller, a Santa Cruz native, for breach of contact for failing to promote a sunless tanning line. Cartel, which is owned and presided over by her husband Griffin Guess of Capitola, served as her agent in the transaction.

Four months after Segler Holdings won its suit, Cartel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In all, it and Titans of Mavericks owe their creditors about $3 million.

The permits are considered one of Cartel’s few valuable assets, as it acknowledged in its own filings to the court last month.

A decision by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court’s Central District is expected by Sept. 13. After that, the sale would still be contingent on the harbor district approving the sale and the transfer of the permit at its Sept. 20 meeting.

Who would have ever thought sunless tanning could lead to such trouble?

The best wetsuits in the game and what personalities in their surf team! Mr Fanning and Mr Ho!

Just in: Rip Curl Readies to Sell!

Three hundred mill? More?

Five years ago, almost to the day, Rip Curl’s three major shareholders figured they’d sell, but only if they could get close to half a billion dollars.

It was an ambitious, and not entirely unrealistic, amount arrived at by the founders Doug Warbrick and Brian Singer (who jointly own seventy two percent) and founder of Rip Curl in Europe, Francois Payot (eighteen percent).

It didn’t come off. A sale price of ten times earnings multiple ain’t an easy play to make. But worth a try. There’s a lot of dumb money out there.

Two years ago, Rip Curl was valued at $310 million after the board approved a share buyback from former senior ­executives no longer with the company.

News in today, suggests Doug, Brian and Francois are spit-polishing the biz for another swing at selling the house. Doug and Brian have appointed the Australian company Gresham and the US investment firm RW Baird and Co to manage the sale process.

According to the Australian Financial Review,

Private equity buyers are likely to be in the mix in the latest sale process for Rip Curl, particularly those who missed out on Billabong three years ago, including Altamont Capital Partners, which teamed up to bid with clothing giant VF Corporation, and Sycamore Partners, which backed former Billabong boss Paul Naude’s unsuccessful offer.

Ain’t it crazy? Who would’ve thought an American investment bank might one day own Billabong, Quiksilver and Rip  Curl and then merge the sons-a-bitches.
Twenty years ago, Billabong and Quiksilver were the kings of surf. Both of ’em went public, loaded up on debt, and crashed hard.
“It’s the end of an era. Look at Torquay. Two billion dollars worth of wealth and none of it put back. None of the owners’ kids work for the companies.” Maurice Cole 
Rip Curl survived because it stayed private, because it wasn’t beholden to the strictures of a public company, of reporting the bad news, of the constant grind to satisfy shareholders and keep the stock price moving upwards.
Of course, there’s the issue of Doug and Brian hitting their seventies. Almost sixty years of surfing apiece. Sometimes it ain’t a bad thing for an old man to step back and enjoy the fruit from his orchard.
In a beautiful world, it’d mean entrusting the company to a son or daughter groomed in the family biz. But that ain’t happening here.
As for the noted Victorian shaper Maurice Cole told me the other night.
“It’s the end of an era. Look at Torquay. Two billion dollars worth of wealth and none of it put back. None of the owners’ kids work for the companies.You look at Patagonia, (founder Yvon Chouinard’s son) Fletcher’s in there, Yvon’s wife is in there. It’s a family business. You can’t find anybody in surfing able to get their kids involved in the companies, and you got gotta ask why.”

Filipe Toledo
Who's gonna come and wipe Filipe Toledo off at Trestles, in some of the smallest waves ever seen for the event? Maybe Mick Fanning! The statistics says so! | Photo: WSL

Trestles: “It’s Filipe and Mick all day!”

How to Moneyball the Hurley Pro at Lowers.

Statistics are cold. There ain’t no heart beating. No soul.

But their impersonal rationale often trumps the emotional decisions we make, particularly when it comes to sport. Balyn Macdonald is a thirty-something primary school teacher whose website surf-stats.com reveals the effectiveness of statistics and how it applies to professional surfing.

Just before the first school bell rang to signal the imprisonment of children for the day, Balyn delivered a compelling raft of stats and how he sees the game playing out next week when a little swell will creak into Trestles and kickstart event number eight.

Here’s how he sees it playing out.

First, “It’s Filipe and Mick all day,” he says. Mick has the best average heat scores in one-to-four-foot waves and the second best in point breaks (which is what Lowers is considered to be). Filipe’s average heat score at Lowers is a full point above anyone else and he’s second, to Mick, in one-to-four-foot waves.

Jordy has won it the last two times he competed. He missed 2015 ’cause of injury but won in 2014 and 2016. “Jordy is killing it. He’s light years above everyone else in win percentages and average placings.” Interestingly, his heat scores ain’t the greatest and in one-to-four-foot waves he comes in eleventh. How big’s the surf going to be? Two foot? Yeah.

Bal’s Fantasy Surfer team for Trestles based solely on the numbers: Mick Fanning, Gabriel Medina, John John, Filipe Toledo, Joan Duru (crazy stats in left and right peaks), Fred Morais, Italo Ferreira, Hiroto Ohhara and Zeke Lau as the alternate.

This’ll be the first WCT Trestles event Kelly Slater has missed.

John John? He ranks sixth in small waves. Fifth in peaks. And eighth at this event. Still, Bal likes his form. “Even when he’s not winning, John is scoring well. His average heat score for the season is still well out in front, and his ‘poor run’ for the past two events has consisted of two fifths. John is still in the driver’s seat for a back-to-back title, but he’ll have to convert those big scores into another big result soon.”

Don’t jump on Seb Zietz. He’s won only one heat in four years.

Wilko ain’t so hot here either.

He’s never made it out of round three. “They’re fighting history,” says Bal.

Meet: Surfing’s most famous scam artist!

A scam too wonderful to believe!

Scamming is for sure an art, which is why those who excel are called scam artists. And I thought BeachGrit, Home to the Pro Surfer Jumbo Jet, was also Home to Surfing’s Most Famous Scam Artist until yesterday.

You most certainly recall our Michael Kocher. The war veteran who pretended to have brain cancer in order to get money from you in order to buy drugs. A low-level scam to be sure but amplified in when he later died in a police shootout while maybe taking people hostage.

He was number one and I know that many people would argue Miki Dora was way more famous than Michael Kocher and a bigger scam artist and those people would be right except but let’s not get all bogged down in “details” because yesterday it was revealed right here by the Right Reverend channelbottom that an even BIGGER surfing scam artist is prancing on the earth.

Let’s meet Brazil’s Eduardo Martins!

Eduardo Martins’ story was too perfect even for the world of internet celebrity.
The 32-year-old from Brazil said he had been abused as a child and beat leukaemia as a young adult.

But he had turned his life around and now worked as a UN photographer whose experiences helped him connect with human suffering in some of the world’s most dangerous conflict zones.
His work appeared in reputable international outlets such as Getty Images, The Wall Street Journal, Vice and BBC Brasil.

In between trips to Mosul in Iraq, the Syrian city of Raqqa under the control of so-called Islamic State (IS) and the Gaza Strip, Eduardo Martins enjoyed surfing.
He shared glimpsed of his life with his almost 125,000 Instagram followers.

Until it all came crumbling down when a BBC Brasil investigation found out that Eduardo Martins was a completely fictitious character.

For years, someone using that name had been stealing pictures taken by professional photographers who had risked their lives in conflict to get them.

Eduardo Martins fooled journalists and picture editors by making slight alterations to the images, such as inverting them, just enough to elude software that scans pictures for plagiarism.

As Eduardo Martins’ list of clients grew and became more impressive, it became easier for him to distribute the next lot of photos. He further boosted his profile by giving interviews to websites and magazines.

“Once in Iraq shooting a conflict, I stopped shooting to help a boy who was hit by a molotov cocktail, dropped the camera and helped get him out of the conflict area,” he told Recount Magazine in October 2016.

“In scenes like this, which are common in my work, I stop being a photographer and become a human being. I cannot be impartial in these moments.”
Fabricated identity

He kept his cover going by stealing images of Max Hepworth-Povey, a British surfer, and photoshopping him into pictures of war zones.

Mr Hepworth-Povey remained completely unaware of the fraud until it was exposed.
“When a friend showed me the pictures, at first I thought it was a joke, someone making fun of me,” he told BBC Brasil.

“But actually my pictures had been stolen. It is mad that a random guy has decided to use my image amidst so many options on the internet.”

The 32-year old from Cornwall said some of the images stolen from him date back five years.
“I work very far from war zones, with surfing trips,” said Mr Hepworth-Povey, who has been living and working in northern Spain for the past three months.

“I don’t like the idea of creating an aura of glamour around a country in conflict.”
Fraudster busted

Eduardo Martins’ career came to an end after he contacted Natasha Ribeiro, a BBC Brasil contributor based in the Middle East.

She became suspicious because neither she nor any others among the small pool of Brazilian journalists working in the region had ever met an Eduardo Martins in person.
So she started digging.

BBC Brasil got in touch with the UN, which confirmed he was not employed by them.
Organisations that the fraudster claimed to have visited around the world were also contacted and none of them recognised him.

Mr Hepworth-Povey told BBC Brasil that back in 2014 he had been contacted by someone identifying himself as “Bruno” who wanted to talk to him about some work related to surfing.
But when the pair tried to have an online meeting, “his video wasn’t working and eventually I said I was no longer interested”, Mr Hepworth-Povey recalls.

The surfer says that a week later, a fake profile of his appeared on Facebook, which led Mr Hepworth-Povey to close his Facebook account. “It was all very creepy,” he said.
The timing coincides with the period that Eduardo Martins started sending pictures to publications around the world.

It could also explain why editors contacting Eduardo Martins via Skype would see a picture of the handsome surfer before the connection allegedly dropped and the conversation with the fake photographer moved to voice and text messages sent via messaging service WhatsApp.

BBC Brasil has also been in contact with one of at least six women, all young and professionally successful, who say they had romantic online relationships with Eduardo Martins.
None of them has ever met him in person and they all have asked to remain unidentified.
Once it was clear Eduardo Martins was a fake, BBC Brasil took down a story it had published about him and issued an apology to its readers, adding that the case “will help reinforce our verification procedures”.

Oh the story goes on and on and on. Nobody knows who “Eduardo Martins” really is and this makes him bigger and better than anyone ever. Congrats “Eduardo!” But I still have lots of questions. Primarily, if you were Mr. Hepworth-Povey from Cornwall wouldn’t you be crazy hyped and thankful to “Eduardo” for taking your sissy last name and making you an international war hunk?

Twelve gorgeous men board a private jet to joust in ten-foot reef waves. All broadcast in sizzling high-definition. It would work, yes? | Photo: WSL

Rumour: Sweeping Changes to WSL Tour!

Surfers dramatically reduced! One-day events! Maybe a private jet like the Rolling Stones!

In twelve hours, the greatest assemblage of surfing talent ever will leave their five-hundred-dollar-a-night houses and hotel rooms and stare at two-foot Lowers.

The contest will be called off and the surfers will return to their temporary homes to attend to Facebook, Instagram and Netflix. Some will hit golf balls. Others will go bowling.  The hundred or so workers busy with broadcast, construction and hospitality duties will be sent home and a skeleton crew of security will be left to fend off barbarian fans.

This will go on for around one week until a rideable swell arrives and the contest begins. But it will begin, as it must for there are thirty six surfers, with a numbing six hours of non-elimination heats.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Time and money wasted. Core fans bored. Non-core fans not interested.

What’s right with this picture?

The best surfers in the world. Dazzling infrastructure. Slick broadcasting. A sugar daddy who don’t mind being fifty mill in the hole.

The answers will define pro surfing beyond the transitory years of 2017 and 2018.

Pro surfing, and the WSL knows it, can’t continue in its antiquated form.

I was spitballing my ideas for an improved tour, the one-day event, a dozen surfers, an event every month, a private jet to take the whole show to meet a swell at Teahupoo, at Fiji, with a WSL employee and he nodded his head vigorously.

“Yes, yes, we know, we know. There’s going to be changes,” he said. “You’ll be very surprised.”

Can you imagine how fabulous pro surfing would be if a WSL-branded jet flew a dozen of the best to ten-foot Teahupoo?

And you…knew… the event was on so you could arrange to drop everything a couple of days before?

No dozen unimportant heats before the real action began?

No Renato or Kieren Perrow looking sad into the camera and telling us competition is off for the day or, worse, on stand-by leaving the viewer in purgatory.

The best surfers actually in the best waves? And with all the filler removed?

It’d be like the Kelly-John John semi at Teahupoo over and over again.

Tell me pro surfing won’t soar.

Tell me the ink of the WSL ledger won’t colour red to black.

And the pool, don’t forget the pool.