Stephanie Gilmore
"I'm not trying to be adorable. I'm trying to be ferocious."

Visit: Steph Gilmore’s Port Dume Rental!

The bleak hopelessness of Tweed Heads swapped for Malibu!

Yesterday, the video channel Nowness, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, posted a lovely three-minute short of Stephanie Gilmore at her Point Dume beach house.

Stephanie shares the modest, although one uses the term modest in relative terms for the area is an enclave of the wealthy, with her sister-manager Whitney and, without being too cruel, is so superior, so vastly different, to her old hometown in Tweed Heads that it must feel, sometimes, as she’s living on a different planet.

Malibu/Dume: dazzled by wealth and stars. Leo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Ellen DeGeneres and so on.

Tweed Heads: homelessness, drug abuse, poverty. Seven years ago, Stephanie was belted with an iron bar by a homeless stalker, busting her wrist and cutting open her head, her attacker jailed for four years.

These sorts of edits, where the celebrity peels back the curtain of their living quarters, where they eat, dance, make love, cry, laugh, plot, succeed and fail, are compelling voyeurism.

Of course, Stephanie Gilmore isn’t the only famous surfer living in Point Dume.

Come visit the Man with the Attack Dog Tits here. 

And watch Stephanie at home, here.

The dreamiest years!
The dreamiest years!

Economics: Is the “Dream Tour” dead?

Time to embrace the dystopia!

Do you remember when the World Surf League, then called the Association of Surfing Professionals, shifted focus from hosting contests in population centers to having the “world’s best surfers on the world’s best waves?”

What a novel idea! What a boon to surf fans everywhere! Now instead of watching the Huntington Hop we would get gifted iconic locations, generally good conditions and all for free. It truly was a wild fantasy.

Times change, though, and people change and I wonder if the “dream tour” model is now officially dead in the water, as it were.

The events are expensive, costing some 2 -3 million per. Online traffic is stable but not seeing stratospheric growth. Blue-chip sponsors are not knocking down the door trying to get a piece of the market. The rumors that first appeared on BeachGrit wrapped in irony then Stab in a more appropriately serious tone do make sense. The field will likely be trimmed and the locations might be trimmed too.

And now we have the official announcement that the WSL will host its first proper event at Surf Ranch in May 2018 (coincidentally the same time the highly anticipated Cocaine + Surfing: A Love Story! is set to release).

I am seeing a future where Pipe, Teahupo’o, J-Bay and Rio are sprinkled in to five different pool competitions and that is the tour. Not exactly a dream but… I don’t know. Beggars can’t be choosers.

Sophie Goldschmidt

Revolting: WSL Fans Turn on New CEO!

The perilous magic of being a non-surfer in a surfer's world!

Let’s drive the French Revolution metaphor into the dirt, yes? Last Tuesday, the WSL’s new CEO, the former tennis pro Sophie Goldschmidt, wrote a kind letter to surf fans explaining the surf ranch event, which appeared on the organisation’s website.

Let’s read a small part.

Today, we’ve brought a cross-section of the world’s best surfers here to test this groundbreaking new WSL facility, technology and also showcase what an event can be like and we’re very excited. Having the ability to replicate, even partially, the power and shape of ocean waves for anyone in the world, in any location and at any time is a truly magical thing.

One thing that will never change for the WSL, however, is that surfing in the ocean remains foundational to what the WSL is and we will always have ocean competitions. As this technology continues to evolve, we see significant opportunities in the competitive arena…and we look forward to bringing you along with us when that happens.

But while the tone of the letter was beige with the business-speak that so bedevilled Billabong and Quiksilver and SurfStitch as they chased corporate gold, I found it charming in its inoffensiveness.

Readers on the WSL site, however, were stirred into action.

Oh they combusted!

From Mik:


since you have no idea what’s happening in the surf world, here’s a plan:

find out how many viewers are online @ each location

find out the total cost of award money plus cost of event staging

find out the total income from advertisers

then determine a fee for online access to @ event, and package deal for entire season.

If there’s a million viewers, then $5 per event / $29 entire season.

no fee for wave pool event. because we’re not paying, and after 10 minutes,we’re not watching.

eliminate the shit waves and replace with Indo or similar. cheaper because less scaffolding costs. film from boats.

maintain contest structure and overall sequence. it works.

get rid of the 3 of 5 Aussie Judge bias: throw Porta overboard and 1 other Aussie Judge — whomever else is also most blatantly crook. replace with equal representation from USA Oz Hawaii Brazil EU; all former pro surfers.

And again,

Yeah. wave pools are fun. this one is the best.

but what happens if there are 50 of them in the USA; and they are training 200 newbies a month. 12 x 200 = 2400 newbies a year x 50 wave-ranches = 120,000 new surfers a year, with skills, heading to the better surf spots, of which there may be 30 truly good spots in CA. That’s 40,000 potential more people heading your way. The first year.

Do the math, know it all.

I can surf BTW. Cloud break, Pipeline, Indo, entire West Coast… Probably better than you…

And I’m not stoked about this possibility.

The WSL is dreaming if they think people will watch wave pool events in the same way as real surf spots. They’ll watch 15 minutes, and done.

If Sophie doesn’t realize this, then the WSL just hired a CEO-clone of Carly Fiorina.

Ask HP how that went?

John: How does this not end up like Olympic snowboarding? ( how can we make sure this doesn’t become sanitized and predictable? )

Bad Medicine: Thank you for taking us back 22 years to a classic AOL style live blog and chatroom style event that most of the readers of this comment section were not even alive to witness at the time. At least the video clips are higher res!

And, cuttingly…

Nicholas Tee: Welcome Sophie …. which waves were you surfing in London?

The perilous magic of a non-surfer in a surfer’s world!

Sensitive gentleman of the jury, let me ask: will the new CEO last?

Best of: Surfer Out of Water Portraits!

Come and witness the best non-surf photography around!

You and I both know that professional surfers are photogenic masterpieces when plying their craft. A picture of Filipe Toledo hanging in the air or Michel Bourez planted deep in a tube is enough to rock our worlds and to rock them for days. We dream in the medium of surf action photo but ain’t it grand when our favorites get out of the water and look just as stunning?

And I would like to share with you my favorite from a collection I keep called Surfer Out Of Water Portrait. Someday its entirety will end up in the Broad Museum but here’s a sneak peek. For you.

Who’s that up above, floating on a magic carpet? It’s world number 2 Taj Burrow. Oh sure he’s not exactly “out of water” but his joy is impossibly infectious. Here’s to you, Taj!

And who is this? It’s Anastasia Ashley captured crossing the street in New York City. So casual yet so… not.

Yoga? Did I hear you say yoga? Well sure it straightens the spine and is good for the diaphragm but Julian Wilson shows it’s also good for the eyes.

Jogging is an upper middle class hallmark and who better than to do, and to do nude, than Kelly Slater? Near perfection!

We all get tired and here John John Florence is tired in front of the great designer/artist Hedi Slimane. Do you get tired? Do you even know Hedi Slimane?

Ooooee it’s hard to professional surf for a living. Sometimes you just need a super casual beer with your super casual friend. Know what I mean?

That’s all I gots for now. Do you have some photos stashed away of surfers not surfing? Would you like to share?

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.