The world's greatest surfer delivers an object lesson!
Gender fluidity is the buzziest thing since wearing jeans backwards. It is all over the place and I’m not just talking about the TQ in LGBTQ. I’m talking everything from Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik sharing a wardrobe all the way to the non-binary scene. Those who don’t identify as male and don’t identify as female.
And we all have learned the proper way to respond to the genderqueer/agender/gender non-forthcoming. If a person tells you, for example, they are not a mr or a ms but an mx then you know to nod and say, “Nice to meet you, ze or zir…” while not smiling but also not not smiling.
But back in the dark old days of 2010 it was not easy. We were ignorant like cattle and thought humans were either male or female. Like cattle.
And let us watch a video of the world’s greatest surfer encounter Zazon in France in 2010. She claims to simply have been born a boy but transitioned to a girl so she could win the heart of Kelly Slater. Tres romantic and not at all even very fluid. And how does Kelly respond? Let’s watch!
Oh no. Oh no no no. No no no no no no no. This is like listening to my grandma talk about race relations back in the 1980s. No. No no no oh no. The real problem is that he dares correct zim’s assertion that “I am a huge fan of yours since I’m a little boy…” by saying, “Little girl.”
Such a cisgenderist! Such a dualist! Such a bianist!
I totally assume Kelly Slater knows the correct verbiage/understanding now and of course we don’t hold this against him but we also kind of do if ze’re going to be honest.
Ravishingly insolent surf star scrupulously examined!
Filipe Toledo is a ravishingly insolent surfer who does not pull punches or take prisoners. His double-oop at J-Bay stood as a corrective to the safety surfing of Jordy Smith; the recent win at Trestles, uncomplicated by any hiccup or discontent, enforced the cult of Filipe.
Released a few hours ago is the eight-minute short film Flowness which profiles the recent history of Filipe, his move to San Clemente and so forth.
The effect of Family on Filipe is scrupulously itemised: the group prayers, Ricardo helping sticker up the boards, mama T helping with his baby Mahina (the little girl he created with model Ananda Marcal whom another pro surfer described to me as the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen up close), Filipe skateboarding down his street in San Clemente with Mahina in his arms, the clapping, the dancing, the soccer.
This short film is a moving examination of a boy in the modern world, the trials of sport and the importance of love.
Filipe’s surfing, of course, is of a standard few are able to envisage let alone formulate.
It has been a year or such since the announcement that surfing will be included in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and we’ve all had time to digest. While I have gone on record to point out that surfing in the Olympics will be “stupid,” I am quietly intrigued by various storylines.
Like… the nationalist fires that will begin to burn. Maybe? I mean, I can’t imagine caring if an American wins and I can’t imagine you caring if an Australian wins but for sure all of Brazil will care if a Brazilian wins. They will care to the point of becoming super annoying thus pushing Americans and Australians into naturally xenophobic positions which could easily be mistaken as broadly racist positions. Will surfing then become the favorite sport of the alt-right? Will BeachGrit do a deal with Breitbart? I told you. Intriguing.
Also… coaching. Bede “The White Fijian” Durbidge has already been tapped to lead Australia’s contingent but today Mick Fanning raised his hand and asked for an assistantship. Let’s read olympics.com!
Back to the sport he has served with such distinction for the past 14 years. Fanning was over the moon when he heard that surfing will be on the programme in Tokyo in 2020.
“I’m a big sports fan and I always enjoy watching the Olympics so I can’t wait to see what kind of performances and pressure we see with medals up for grabs,” said the man who was champion surfer in 2007, 2009 and 2013.
At 36 and currently sitting outside the top 10 of the WSL Tour ranking, Fanning is not certain of exactly how he wants to be involved, he just knows he has to be there.
“I guess I wouldn’t completely rule it out (competing in 2020) but there’s so much talent coming through the ranks at the moment and my guess is that by 2020 there will be better prospects for medals for Australia,” he said. “If that’s the case I’d love to assist an Aussie team in a coaching role.”
Now that is a super coaching duo. Bede n Mick. I totally bet Joel comes on too and they all aggressively drink Balter in between heats.
But who do you think will coach the U.S. team? I’m putting my money on Brett Simpson. I think he would do well. And I think he will tap Taylor “Cap’n America” Knox for his number two.
And Brazil? I’m going with the surprise announcement of player/coach Neco Padaratz with the surprise selection of Sunny Garcia as his second.
And when they do come, you’ll want a board that fits whatever pool you’re swishing around in.
And Matt Biolos aka Mayhem, the San Clemente-based shaper to the stars and owner of Lost Surfboards, has ridden the original Wavegarden in the Basque country (hint to visitors to that swathe of land that south of Biarritz and around looping around Bilbao: don’t call it Spain), their new version called Cove, twice, with all its different wave settings and the Wavegarden in Texas. And he’s had feedback from his teamriders Kolohe Andino and Carissa Moore on the Slater pool.
He knows what works.
In between watching his gal Carissa own the Roxy event in France, Biolos whispered a few secrets about boards in pools.
BeachGrit: You’ve surfed Wavegarden #1 and #2, the fabulous Cove. So tell me, what did riding those joints tell you about board design?
Biolos: My personal opinion is that wavepools are like natural waves. Each one is its own animal and each one benefits from different tweaks in boards. No different to the idea that Snapper and Bells or Pipe and Sunset lend themselves to different boards. The Cove is short and punchy with quick transitions. It likes a little bit of rocker and epoxy seems really good there. You don’t need a lot of momentum. It’s more about quickness. The original, Wavegarden, N-Land, are more momentum and inertia-based waves – long rollers where flat rockers tend to keep you going better and stay in the wave better when coming off the top. We took Jett Schilling, Eli Hanneman and Eric Geiselman to N-Land. Jett had a lowish-rockered Driverthat just looked like on an invisible underwater track. Eli had a rockered-out Whiplashand that looked twitchy and over sensitive. A little PU weight helps as well. Like when surfing mushy offshore waves. That said, I think
a low-rocker epoxy ( like a RNF in carbon wrap) works great at N-Land. My GM, Ben Kelly, was ripping on one there. So, really, you’re not designing boards for pools so much as boards for specific pools. Just like natural waves.
BeachGrit: For your top-shelf rider, how’s the board going to differ if he’s in a contest in Lemoore compared to, say, Snapper?
Biolos: Well, Carissa won The Test. She said she was perfectly stoked on her normal board. But looking at the footage, I think her board could have had a bit more drive and resistance under the rear foot during her full-rail turns. A little more momentum and stiffness. But I think I know exactly what to do after watching the clips. Next time she will have a couple of specific boards. I did not get to have a guy in the comp but Kolohe went a week or so before – a consolation prize? – and felt his super grovel boards worked best. Flat rockers for momentum but short to fit into the on again/off again tight and kinky transitions. I saw a wave of him on the left that was more impressive than any complete waves I saw from the comp footage.
BeachGrit: Do you see tanks as great testing machines? For fins, designs, or are they, necessarily, specific, and whatever you learn about design in a pool doesn’t necessarily translate to the ocean?
Biolos: I know the relentless repetition will advance design quickly but how those quick advancements directed at specific waves translates to varied ocean waves remains to be seen. That said, one afternoon at Cove last week allowed Kolohe, Carissa, Griffin and grom Winter Vincent, and me, to quickly ride close to 50 waves each. Once your over the novelty and laughing and playing, you could easily get a lot of work done testing boards and fins. Progress will happen shockingly fast. Like all these soccer parents teaching eight year olds to do technical airs in giant halfpipes on snowboards and skateboards. The static playing field will drive radically fast progression. This is an undeniable fact. How that relates to eight-foot Sunset Beach, Teahupoo or or Pipeline is another story.
BeachGrit: And, tell me, as an every man, or better than every man, describe your wavepool experiences. Fabulous beyond belief?
Biolos: Harder than you think. I would say the same thing when describing Surfing at J-Bay. “Easy to surf / Hard to surf well.”
Cracks are forming in the WSL's wall of oppression!
I have had a number of important jobs in my life (submarine driver, zipline operator) but none more satisfying than the Voice of the People. None more important. For where would you be without? If you were mute? I will tell you where. Trodden under the World Surf League’s authoritarian foot. Forced to endure a khaki-hued professional surf world with Ross William’s new slow-motion 1000 yard stare the most exciting bit of commentary.
I treat the responsibility bestowed up me with the upmost gravitas.
I also know how the great James Hoffa feels for, if you recall, I was forced to unionize surf media as a response to unilateral WSL exclusivizing. Turning our egalitarian spirit into a place where the 1% hide behind a wall and feast upon Michelob Ultra, mocking those outside. I was forced to threaten a boycott of the finals of the France Pro.
Well, I can report great success. While I was busily working the phones, barking at heads of the World Surf League in order to improve the people’s position, Longtom was undermining their product by detailing the very core of the League’s problem.
“The problem: too safe surfing when big numbers were needed….” he wrote “And that is a structural problem for both. Becoming so used to conservative surfing they lack the neuro-muscular circuitry and psychological toughness to go big.”
Stab, meanwhile, was holding the line on the boycott, refusing to publish anything about the finals because they couldn’t get Longtom to write their coverage. And Surfline put out fake fake news about Kelly Slater not surfing in Portugal, which he is.
When the day ended, I sat back, smiling, and sipped a humble Stolichnaya and pamplemousse. I could feel the cracks in the WSL’s wall of oppression. The people are on the march. The people are coming.
Yes, this is the most important job in my life and the most satisfying.