Rough justice straight from the Nathan Strom dispensary! | Photo: Derek Dunfee/@joeljitsu

News: Joel Tudor Angry Again!

"Go suck a dick!"

For a long there it was hard to beat the social media performance art of San Diego longboard virtuoso Joel Tudor.

His Instagram account @joeljitsu (Joel is a black belt grappler) is, or least was, a hive of incendiary opinion.

Do you remember, Bullfight: Joel Tudor vs Shawn Stussy? 

Blood Feud: Joel Tudor versus the World?

Blood Feud: Joel Tudor versus Kelly Slater? 

 Tudor: “Crying is for girls!” 

Never pompous, Joel, who is forty-one years old, had a refreshing lack of fear in his ferocity. Lately, his account had gone so quiet, free of any scalding bile, that I had simply stopped looking.

Earlier this morning, a pal alerted me to a new storm brewing. Accompanying an excellent Derek Dunfee photo of Nathan Strom colliding with a fellow longboarder, Joel wrote:

“Getting faded.”

Joel’s almost ninety thousand followers were, mostly, thrilled. Five thousand of ’em liked it. And the comments were, again mostly, positive.

“Free channels for you, brother.”

“Love it. Gotta teach the new kids about traffic control and ding repair.”

“Speed bump.”

And so on.

Then in stepped someone called @byronthekid, who threw a towel over the circle jerk.

“Really? He could not have gone up and above or down and around? It’s just surfing…fucking play time in the water. I am so tired of this egomaniacal mentality. It’s not tough, cool, or respectable. It’s just fucking stupid. I used to have a ton of respect for you Joel, but encouraging this kind of shit as a grown man? It’s lost on me. Rise above.”

This made Joel pleasingly angry.

Joel: “I didn’t ask your opinion nor do I give a fuck ….dude is lucky Nate can surf & was able to turn away avoiding conflict or injury- Nate did the right thing ….anyone who thinks differently is a kook who don’t understand the lineup….get the fuck outta the way!”

From @byronthekid: “No Joel, I know you don’t give a fuck. That’s point and that’s the sad part. I understand the lineup. Fuck I learned from guys like you, but making a spectacle of this shit gets old. In fact, you told me in the Cardiff parking lot about 12 years ago that this very mentality needs to change because kooks aren’t going anywhere and people are going to keep crowding the lineups. I guess you for got that. Keep on keepin’ on.”

The spigot was opened.

Another follower wrote:

“To much drug mr tudor, do you have always bad coment with the peoples, too much drugs you are crazzy, ex Champion you be tooo old need more education mr marihuana.”

Joel replied: “Go suck a dick!”

Back in form! And don’t it feel good!

Read the exchanges here, and thrill to Nathan Strom’s back and forthing too. 

Writer (seen acting xenophobic, addicted, addled and obsessed with appearances)
Writer (seen acting xenophobic, addicted, addled and obsessed with appearances)

Help: Am I a “self-destructive virus?”

Am I an "addicted derelict obsessing over appearances while harassing those unlike me?"

Almost every single morning I wake and chuckle at the surf world around me. It is all so marvelously absurd, so wonderfully silly, marked by moments of profound connection with you my brothers and sister (hi, Jen See)  and such a pleasure to wade through.  I wonder what adventures will present themselves. What storylines will unfold. What funny jokes will appear and turn my chuckle into a rolling laugh. Usually I look toward Venice-adjacent, home to The Inertia and Stab, for the funny jokes.

And this morning I stumbled upon a film review The Inertia’s Arianna Huffington, Zach Weisberg, wrote titled, The Tribes of Palos Verdes Eviscerates Southern California’s Entitled, Xenophobic Surf Culture. Such a mouthful and sure to hold bountiful treasure so I dove in headfirst. Would you like to read some snippets?

“Medina (the main character) never self-identifies as a surfer, which makes her observations more honest and interesting. She loves the act of riding waves. That’s it. Not the bullshit trappings of surf identity marked by understatement, fashion, and exclusivity.”

“In fact, the only characters that identify as surfers are, unreservedly, pieces of shit.”

“While Medina humors the Bay Boys by adopting some of their behaviors for the express purpose of increasing her wave count, she never converts to become a tattooed member of “the tribe,” so to speak. She’s too curious about the world around her for that. The self-proclaimed surfers in the film are uncurious assholes.”

“We can only hope that she doesn’t turn into a xenophobic, sexual predator like all the surfers she met at home. We can only hope that she doesn’t become the self-destructive, entitled virus colonizing Southern California’s most breathtaking coastal real estate. We can only hope she doesn’t become the addicted derelict obsessing over appearances while harassing those unlike her. For her sake, we can only hope she doesn’t become the thing so many of those shitty people who caused her misery proudly call themselves: a surfer.”

Oh the chuckles dried right up. I couldn’t help but think that dear little Zach saw himself as “Medina” and I was one of the “Bay Boys.” A “shitty person causing misery proudly calling myself: a surfer.” An “uncurious asshole.” A “self-destructive, entitled virus.” And it made me wonder, is he right?

When I started in surf journalism, almost a decade ago now, it felt to me the same as it does now. Marvelously absurd, wonderfully silly, marked by moments of profound connection with you and I thought we were all in on the same joke, to some extent. I thought insults/fun-making/cajoling were all part of this good-natured dance. When surf magazines very first moved online, many years ago, I loved going to see to my little stories and read the accurately brutal assessments of my skill in the comments below. It was fun and fun is what this is all about, no?

But maybe I am wrong. Maybe time has marched on and what used to be fun is now just mean and unredeemable. Maybe it looks just plain bad. Maybe I am the only one laughing and Stab and The Inertia and Paul Speaker and Graham Stapelberg and Oakley Razorblades and Rip-Current Rory and the cameraman in Oregon and the People’s Republic of China and the city of Lemoore and Mick Fanning’s beer sandal, etc. are all just shaking their collective head at my pathetic lonely display.

So I turn to you, my brothers and sister, for advice. Is it not funny anymore? Was it ever? Should I just stop with the fun-making once and for all and focus on… ummm… just BeachGrit?


John John's demented oop from the last time the tour hit Keramas. | Photo: WSL

Candid: No Tears for Lowers!

Keramas is the new big shot on tour!

It was curious, yesterday, to read the extraordinary descriptions of the horrors of a tour minus Lowers.

BeachGrit principal Chas Smith complained of a “broken heart”. What Youth‘s Travis Ferré said he felt “icky”.

It was reminiscent, of course, of the epic tantrums thrown when the WSL threw on a test event at Surf Ranch two months ago. Chas said he hated the pool more, even, than the Apple Genius bar. Travis called it “elitist and weird.”

(Read that here.)

Calendar-wise, the Lowers event is replaced by five days of Surf Ranch gymnastics. And, here, you can subscribe to sentimentality (Kelly’s dominance of the wave) and existential worries and tie yourself up in contradictory knots and say it’s the end of surfing and so forth, but it ain’t. It just ain’t. (Did the vibrator replace the phallus?)

A more worthy discussion is whether or not Keramas, which swings into the Cloudbreak slot and which now become’s the tour’s high-fidelity event, is better, or not, than Lowers.

And let’s be frank.

Keramas is twice the waves Lowers could ever be. Three times.

Oh, on its day, Lowers delivers ripe, spilling lips, both left and right, which allows a wallow-and-suck orgy.

But only on its day.

How many days does it have? How much blue compared to grey? And that sudden arrival of a Great White colony? That ain’t no fun.

Keramas has push behind its Indian Ocean swells which allows a surgical virtuosity y’aint always going to get at Lowers.

Plus, you can watch the Keramas event from a pool, the bedroom of a five-hundred-dollar-a-night villa, and all through the bottom of a gin and tonic brought to you by a gorgeous indigenous host with honey streaks in her hair, spongy upright tits and skin the colour of an Ubud sunset.

Watch John John and Seabass at Keramas here, the Mad Huey event from last year below that, and tell me Lowers is better than Keramas.

It don’t come close.


Historic: Surf Ranch “first-ever CT event!”

Erasing the entire past!

I’ve been an angry man of the people this week. Cantankerous. Hot under the baby blue Yves St. Laurent collar. First it was the finally-sunk-in realization that the Pipeline Masters is really and truly getting pushed to the start of the calendar instead of ending the season like God decreed many eons ago. Then it was that Trestles and its social stratification leveling charm was being removed from tour altogether.

Now it is the wholly expected hype the Surf Ranch event is getting/will get. Kelly Slater appeared on many social media feeds yesterday declaring it will be so outstanding that we’ll basically forget the ocean entirely. Stab, trying to outpace Venice-adjacent pal The Inertia by fluffing Kelly went one further and declared, “Lemoore’s May event will mark the first-ever World Championship Tour event in history.”

The first-ever World Championship Tour event in history.

Oh I know that a word or two was simply left out of the sentence. I imagine it was supposed to read, “The first-ever World Championship Tour event to take place in a wave pool in history.” Or probably, and less balky, “The first-ever surf pool event in World Championship Tour history.”

In any case, I feel what was actually printed is a better representation of how the event will be billed.

Hyperbole will fill the air. Superlatives. First-ever. Best ever. Perfect. Perfection.

And listen to me. Grumpy. Grouchy. Anti-anti depressive. What the hell is my problem? I don’t want to be the luddite. I don’t want to be the man ludicrously pushing against the march of science. I want to love a level playing field, chance being erased from the game but… I don’t know. It all feels…. sad. Maybe I’m just not ready yet. Maybe I’m still mourning Trestles. Maybe I need to stop drinking bourbon and get back to fruity vodka drinks.

Am I wrong? Will the Michelob Ultra Surf Ranch Classic be the most exciting event on tour? Do I need to get back to fruity vodka drinks?

Is bourbon souring my disposition?

The best marriage ever!
The best marriage ever!

Podcast: “Gimme 20 Pipe wildcards!”

Gimme surf as blood sport!

What a wild few days it has been, earth quaking tour moves from the Santa Monica offices of the World Surf League blasting our complacency, making us question the very meaning of life. What is it all about? What does it all mean? When is ok to do right to do wrong to do right? Where have all the flowers gone?

Why doesn’t the World Surf League allow 20 Hawaiians into the Pipeline Masters?

I wondered this, two days before the League issued its memorandum on the updated tour schedule, in front of David Lee Scales during our bi-weekly chat.

He had argued, a few days prior, that the World Surf League should treat Hawaii like it does every other stop on tour. That it is an “international competition” and that the rules have to be the same at each location in order for it to mean anything and this sent me into an introspective pit.

Why do I watch professional surfing? And I realized that I don’t care at all about discovering who the “best surfer on the best waves” is. It is either John John or Filipe and the WSL could save much money by flying those two around and having them fight it out. No, I don’t care about “bests” or even “goods.” I watch professional surfing purely on a heat by heat basis and want each one of those heats to have much drama. I want each one of those heats to have its own live-or-die storyline. I want the possibility for glory or devastation in every 30 minute nibble.

I want surfing as blood sport and tossing 20 Hawaiian hand grenades into the carefully laid plans of mice and men delivers this precisely. I have neither the time, nor inclination, to enter into a discussion or race, or of Hawaii being surfing’s “birthplace” etc. I just want to be wildly entertained and tell me, tell me with a straight face, that Hawaiian wildcards don’t make the Pipeline Masters the most watchable event on tour.

But damn it. Damn all. Pipe is moving to the front end and it’s lost its wildcards and California lost the people’s event and it was replaced by country club surf club and where have we come from? Where are we going?

Tell me!

And while you’re thinking, David Lee Scales and I also talk about high performance longboarding and how awful it is. A truly unredeemable thing to do and I think we can at least all agree on this. But will it be enough to build a new foundation of trust and understanding?

Listen here!