Like a superhero who vanquishes one foe only to discover a far more menacing danger lurking right behind, Kelly Slater’s exclusive Surf Ranch rose from the land of cow stink and made the Hurley Pro’s multi-tiered VIP wristband system seem positively egalitarian. Surf Ranch is like the Palace of Versailles. Kelly like Marie Antoinette looking down upon us and muttering, “Let them drink Michelob Light…” | Photo: Steve Sherman

Surf Ranch “Palace of Versailles!”

Kelly Slater surfing's own Marie Antoinette!

Since my Hurley Pro conversion, where I saw the light on the cobbled stone and realized that you are all that matters in this crazy world, you the non-VIP, you the full-retail paying, I have been on a quest to rebalance the scales. I am a surf populist from the soles of my Louis Vuitton drivers to the very tips of my manicured fingers and together we shall overcome.

To be quite honest, I thought we overcame at the Hurley Pro. I thought that the Michelob Ultra set realized the error of their tented ways and understood that the bread of the people is more satisfying than even the freshest chicken ceasar salad wrap.

Oh how I was wrong! Like a superhero who vanquishes one foe only to discover a far more menacing danger lurking right behind, Kelly Slater’s exclusive Surf Ranch rose from the land of cow stink and made the Hurley Pro’s multi-tiered VIP wristband system seem positively egalitarian.

Surf Ranch is like the Palace of Versailles. Kelly like Marie Antoinette looking down upon us and muttering, “Let them drink Michelob Light…”

So out of touch, so mean, but the walls were too high so we had to retreat. To plot another attack. But to attack well we must understand our skill set. Who are the people? Who are we?

Well guess what?

I found out exactly who we are tucked into a story about The People’s Wave Tank in Austin, Texas! Would you like to know thyself?

Surfing’s a multibillion-dollar industry around the country. Surfers — and tourists who want to try surfing — spend money in the coastal towns of California, Florida and Hawaii. Studies show surfers don’t fit the stereotype of uneducated, pot-smoking slackers, either. A 2011 study by the Surfrider Foundation with Surf-First, titled “A Socioeconomic and Recreational Profile of Surfers in the United States,” concluded that the average American surfer was a 34-year-old, educated and employed male who earned $75,000 annually and hit the waves 108 times a year, spending at least $40 a visit.

How did I miss A Socioeconomic and Recreational Profile of Surfers in the United States? Oh I know that 2011 was an economic lifetime ago but still. You are a 34-year-old, educated and employed male earning $75,000 annually and the tears are welling up in my eyes right now. How do you even live? How do you even begin to live?

I feel all of your pain and so let us gather your Toyota Tacomas and Toyota Tundras. Let us put the few Sprinter vans out front and let us rush the gate.

A reckoning is coming to surfing and its name is Slightly Lower Middle Class.

1%, you have been warned.


Prediction: Four event wins for Filipe in 2017. | Photo: WSL/Sherman

Adjusted ratings: Filipe’s title surge!

Filipe #4; Sally Fitz drops from first to fourth!

Shortly after the Lowers contest, which Filipe Toledo won with a madness not seen since the routine pleasures of Kelly Slater in the nineteen-nineties, I did a rough calculation and determined that Filipe was now top five, and therefore in a position to surge to the world title.

A bounce to the WSL website ratings, however, revealed Filipe to still be seventh, despite winning J-Bay and Trestles.

Seventh?

Of course. The adjusted-non-adjusted ratings conundrum.

Does it strike you as odd, as it does me, that on a tour that only has eleven events, only the best nine results are counted? And that the ratings, as the WSL posts ’em after each event, are misleading?

Drop the two worst events and Julian Wilson drops from third to fifth, Owen fifth to sixth, Adriano sixth to seventh, Wilko jumps from fourth to third and Filipe…Filipe… seventh to fourth.

The women’s ratings are more dramatic. Tour leader Sally Fitzgibbons drops from first to fourth.

Of course, the decision to drop two shitty results was made to allow for a bad event, lulls, conditions, whatever that don’t go a surfer’s way.

And the WSL posts the cumulative results until the men get through their tenth event (dropping their worst result) and the women through their ninth.

If the tour were to finish suddenly, as it did in 2001 when troublemakers from Saudi Arabia belted America in the face, Courtney Conlogue would be the gal’s champ, and Jordy the men by a minuscule 200 points from John John.

Prediction: Filipe semi’s or betters in France and Portugal. Finishes third at Pipe. Wins title.

And I win a thousand bucks (Sportsbet is paying $21 for a Filipe title).

Click here to secure the same crazy odds! 

(And thanks to Balyn McDonald from SurfStats for the adjusted ratings.)


Elitist: Did WSL forget to invite America?

Were no heartland surfers at the Future Classic? Let's look!

Have you already begun painting your signs for our resistance People’s March on Lemoore? What slogans are you using? I think “We Are Surfing’s 99%” is a good one, if you haven’t decided yet. “Resist Genetically Modified Surfing!” is another. A third? What about “Let America Surf!” because did you know that there might not have been one professional surfer who makes his or her home in the contiguous 48 in the Future Classic?

Could it be true?

Nate Yeomans, salt-of-the-earth fella who sometimes sports a truly American handlebar moustache took to Instagram yesterday, writing:

I think we can all agree to that @kswaveco pretty much looks like the best thing ever. The event the other day looked all time!!! Question? Did anyone else think it was extremely odd that this wave pool sits smack dab in the middle of the Golden state, but yet there wasn’t a single mainland American involved in the event???

If this thing was located down under and not a single Aussie was involved I’m sure you would have heard an up roar. At least a good ribbing from a couple close mates. Am I just a Jealous Seppo that somehow wishes a golden ticket would come my way? Either way, I believe there are plenty of well qualified men and women that would gladly chuck some tail with the best of them.

And yes, Nate, I thought it was odd. I thought it was odd that the World Surf League took the people’s pastime, shared in God’s blue ocean under God’s yellow sun, without thought to race, religion, color or creed and put it in an exclusive swimming pool. I thought it was odd that they put that exclusive pool in the heartland of America where hard working ranchers and farmers toil for the nation. I thought it was odd that they built a severe wall around it and served ice-cold Michelob Ultras to the hyper-wealthy inside, who had flown there on private jets, while the people outside strained their necks for even the blurriest glimpse and that I only had warm Veuve to slake my thirst.

I thought it was odd that Kolohe Andino, Connor Coffin, Nat Young, each more American than the last, were left at home, quietly humming the Star Spangled Banner to themselves. Tears in their patriotic eyes.

I THOUGHT IT WAS ODD THAT…

Oh wait. Kelly Slater just weighed in:

5/18 surfers were American (excluding me who was injured). Weird post. Kind of complimentary and kind of backhanded.

And lots of other people weighed in too, listing Courtney, Kanoa, Sage, etc. who were there behind the wall drinking ice-cold Michelob Ultras with the upper crust. And Nate then laughed and said the above post will be the end of his ranting on social media career.

Shit.

Well… don’t let this cool your fire. The march is still on we’ll just sort out a third slogan to use. Maybe, “Mr. Slater… Tear Down This Wall!” Or “My Body My Choice!”

What do you think?


Fact: The people despise Surf Ranch!

The masses chant "Fuck the WSL!" just like Noa Deane!

Oh how my soul has been buoyed today by you. By the people. The bald clouds have officially left my sky and the sun shines through upsold Stuttgart tint illuminating both my spirit and path forward in this new dystopian world.

We will overcome!

We are the resistance!

99% lyphe!

Yesterday, you see, Derek Rielly and I both put out starkly opposing viewpoints on Kelly Slater’s Wave Ranch. I hate it and hate it honestly and truly and with everything in me. Seriously. Much of what I write here flips between semi and hyper ironic but that fucking wave pool. Ooooooh. I want, as I said on the Grit! podcast, for Kim Jong Un to sic his hydrogen bombs upon it.

Derek Rielly loves it. Loves it to the point of lusty tears. Loves it and would give up on most everything to be able to surf it everyday.

Who is right?

I am.

You have spoken. You and scientific analysis. For our impassioned pleas were offered up and you have chosen and you have chosen that Kelly’s Modern Hell is a gutless abomination.

My story received (at last count) 160 BeachGrit hearts (shares).

Derek Rielly’s? A mere 57.

So what do we do about that shit, assuming Kim Jong Un can’t quite target nor intercontinental yet?

Should we stand outside Surf Ranch with picket signs? Should we propose a general strike?

Help! I’m new to the people! How do we shut down Wave Ranch forever?


One day y'gonna ride your last wave home. | Photo: DJ Struntz

Surfer Dies in Outer Banks Storm Swell

No dumb jokes here.

Irma and Maria, stirring up a fine bitch’s brew, claimed another surfer this Thursday.

Irma stole Barbados’  Zander Venecia, who was seventeen, two weeks ago. He was young, full of everything possible, his life pinched  short.

The man who died in Hatteras was 66.

Here’s the brief from AP:

The National Park Service says a surfer pulled from the water off North Carolina’s Outer Banks has died.

The federal agency said in a news release Thursday that a 66-year-old man with a surfboard attached to his ankle was seen floating face-down in the water north of Rodanthe at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
Dare County emergency medical service workers and park service rangers determined the man was dead.

The cause of death has not been determined.

We can appreciate the statement regarding the undetermined cause of death, but the evidence clearly shows he died from doing what he wanted. Thursday’s waves were just about as daydream as any east coast surfer can imagine. Nice, warm clean sets all day.

Who wouldn’t take the day to get wet?

There’s something which pounds at the chest thinking of dying at such a seasoned age whilst surfing. A lifetime of waves kept this cat coming back into his sixties and it’s aspirational.

Now, I’m sure this is causing the most wrenching emotions among his family. But, maybe there’s proverbs in the pain here.

There will be a concluding wave ridden for each of us: the final paddle strokes, last hard bottom turn, then down the line, and so forth. We’ll be grossly unaware of when this will be, however. Maybe appreciation of what we have is only realized when others lose it.

Sixty-six years old.

The man’s death won’t change our behaviors, of course, and there’s nothing romantic about drowning. We waver at the “ultimate act, ultimate price” maxim.

But, certainly it forces us to question the far bookend of our life and how we would like to leave.

Not that we have any lousy choice.