(From left) Longtom, Chas, you, our web developer Shaun, our biz guy James, Derek, Negatron.
(From left) Longtom, Chas, you, our web developer Shaun, our biz guy James, Derek, Negatron.

Tech: Pro surfing ain’t that bad!

We are entering a golden age!

BeachGrit is just over three years old now and what a wild adventure it has been, particularly as it relates to the World Surf League. When we first started the World Surf League was called the Association of Surfing Professionals and lead by the handsome + capable Brodie Carr. Soon, though, a no money bid was made + accepted and one Paul Speaker was introduced to us all. Clearly a tool from the start, Paul buttoned up his polo and headed on to business shows, spouting nonsense about how many people watch professional surfing, how much money Kelly Slater makes and how shallow Cloudbreak is.

All of a sudden the World Surf League was the easiest thing on earth of which to make fun. Completely out of touch with and dismissive of the poor wretches too desperately smitten by professional surfing not to watch.

We were caught in a bad romance and the WSL mocked us, rolling out the Channel Four News Team minus the laughs as our commentators while Paul Speaker went out seeking big-dollar non-endemic sponsors because why wouldn’t they want access to the 25 billion people around the world that he claimed were tuning in?

Things reached a critical nadir when title sponsor Samsung’s phones started blowing people’s faces off before pulling out entirely. Other sponsors fell away and the endemic brands continued on in their surf industry apocalypse unable to pick up any slack.

And then a spring. A thaw. It seemed the WSL gave up on attracting the mythical masses, recognizing it a failed strategy, and through nonstop needling, I got Paul Speaker fired. He was replaced with a Sophie Goldschmidt who seems kind enough and also not petrified of a one-one-one interview.

Most importantly, though, our own Steve “Longtom” Shearer became, de facto, the main voice of the League. His coverage over the past season is the envy of all other surf media and he has become the literate, fun, irreverent, knowledgable personality so desperately missing.

Which brings us to this new Facebook deal. Maybe it is exactly what we need. A simple, no nonsense media partnership that provides more bandwidth than YouTube but mostly for the already existing and/or genuinely probable fan. There will be more time, I would imagine, for interstitial programming and I would recommend that BeachGrit be given a show. It will star Longtom and there will be appearances by Nick Carroll, Negatron, Ashton Goggans (a rematch made in heaven), Derek Rielly, me and you.

Tell me it wouldn’t sparkle. Tell me you wouldn’t at the very least hate watch.

Kismet: A chat with the Monster Madam!

The most chance meeting!

My flight to Aspen today was absolutely plagued with trouble. Oh my, you certainly know the feeling well and in between delays, broken plane parts, a reroute to Fort Collins before finally and miraculously being sent on to Aspen I read a story about how Monster Energy is being sued for sexual discrimination and wrote a story about it on my phone that I emailed to my partner and inspiration Derek Rielly just before second take-off.

Of course the piece segued into the iconic Monster Girl and how could it not? The young-ish spandex short/halter top enthusiasts are the lifeblood of the brand. Its consumer-facing heartbeat. I have seen them performing at all manner of action sport events, chatting up lonely fathers, shooting t-shirts from cannons, being “Monster” as it were. As for the energy drink, I have never even tasted it and never met anyone else who has either. But the Monster Girl, she springs eternal.

I wrote about the sexual discrimination lawsuit anyhow and when I say “wrote” mean cut and pasted a Business Insider article and then posted a picture of the Monster Girls on my Instagram account because, again, what is more Monster than the Monster Girl?

Three or four hours later, finally in Aspen and waiting for the luggage after yet another malfunction I heard “Is that Chas?” through the din. Next thing I knew I was chatting with THE Monster Madam, the woman responsible all the young-ish charges. She had seen my Instagram post and might have been slightly off-put that I was equating the Monster Girl with the sexual discrimination lawsuit. In her mind the two were entirely unrelated. She was only concerned that I was suggesting the Monster Girls had something to do with the lawsuits.

I explained that it was a) funny (most importantly) and b) a testament to her hard work as madam. I never think of the “claw” when I think about Monster. I never think about energy or even action sports. I think of the Monster Girl. She had elevated them all near Swoosh or Mickey Mouse status. She had created icons.

American symbols.

The fact that Monster’s particular American symbols play very much on the idea of sexual exploitation in the #metoo era was anyhow entirely beside the point (albeit funny). We parted after a good five minutes, me hammering on about how nobody has ever tasted Monster but everyone knows the Monster Girl. She passionately defending the Monster Girl and the Monster Girl’s un-involvement in the current legal challenges and it made me sad for a moment because where does it all go from here?

Has sexual exploitation lost its home?

"When the live experience is as good or better then there'll be full migration to the the Facebook platform," the WSL's gloriously titled Senior Vice President of Global Brand Identity, Dave Prodan told BeachGrit. "Before that, it exists on the WSL platform." | Photo: WSL

Facebook Buys Exclusive WSL Broadcast Rights!

But no panic! Webcast still lives on the WSL site, at least for a little longer… 

Earlier today, the WSL announced they’d signed a two-year exclusive broadcast rights deal with Facebook.

All of the WSL’s big events, the men’s and women’s WCTs, the big-wavers, the WQS 10,000s and the World Juniors. Facebook has got ’em.

“This is game-changing for the sport in many ways and, with current and new fans front of mind, we can retain the free offering to fans, and it allows us to deliver the world’s best surfing to even more people on Facebook’s platform,” said the company’s lovely, if non-surfing, CEO Sophie Goldschmidt.

“We’re excited to help WSL continue to serve and grow this vibrant community and usher in a new era of surf broadcasting on Facebook Watch (the company’s US-only video platform),” Facebook’s Head of Global Sports Partnerships, Dan Reed said.

Which means, eventually, you’re going to have to sign up for a Facebook account, along with all its voyeuristic time-wasting and addictive stalking, to watch WCT events.

But not just yet.

“When the live experience is as good or better then there’ll be full migration to the the Facebook platform,” the WSL’s gloriously titled Senior Vice President of Global Brand Identity, Dave Prodan told BeachGrit. “Before that, it exists on the WSL platform.”

Prodan said there’s no time-frame on when it’ll become Facebook only, “Suffice to say that the current product is sophisticated. Facebook have talented developers so we’re excited to see what they come up with.”

Did Facebook cough up a little cash in the deal?

“It’s a media rights deal so a revenue component as well as promotion across the two-billion person platform. The WSL rights are very in demand.”

Of course, a Facebook-only broadcast kills the fun when your progressive workplace stiffs FB during operating hours, and only opens the gate for an hour at lunch.

If you live in Australia and have become panicked that Fox Sports won’t be running WCT events, you can relax. This is a digital-rights deal only.

“Linear broadcast ala Fox Sports in Australia won’t be affected,” said Prodan.

The Monster Girls in maybe happier days.

Shock: Monster Energy’s “mistreatment of women”!

Is Monster Energy not the bastion of feminism it appears to be?

Most mornings find the earth in the same rough condition it was in the preceding night. Governments plodding along. Businesses making a little money. A vague scandal involving African or Eastern European politicians.

Some mornings, though, find the earth shaken off its very axis by some shocking news that no one, not even the best minds, saw coming.

This is one of those mornings for it was revealed that Monster Energy, home of the Monster Girl, is being sued for sexual discrimination.

Give your heart a few minutes to take it in. Home… of… the Monster Girl.

And now let us turn to Business Insider.

“Monster Energy is in hot water after allegations of sexist and abusive behavior by executives.

“The Coca-Cola-backed beverage company has been hit with five lawsuits involving the mistreatment of women, HuffPost reports. In one case, makeup artist Sara Rabuse, who had worked with Monster, claims she was strangled by her then-boyfriend, an executive at the company.

“The ex-boyfriend, Brent Hamilton, was arrested on charges of assault in 2016 after an argument.

“Hamilton is still the head of music marketing at Monster Energy. Monster told HuffPost that there was nothing to suggest ‘he has a violent or abusive history or that he and his ex-girlfriend would have gotten into a private domestic dispute as alleged.’

“In another lawsuit, region manager Page Zeringue claims she faced sexual discrimination after she began dating a more senior executive, John Kenneally.

“After beginning their relationship, Zeringue was promoted twice by her boss, Kenneally. But later Zeringue claimed Kenneally threatened to fire her if she broke up with him, according to the report.

“Zeringue told HuffPost that when she brought up issues with HR, she received a write-up filled with ‘fabricated, illegitimate, vague complaints and issues.’

“Zeringue was fired two weeks later. Kenneally was put on paid leave after HuffPost reached out for its article, though Monster said that Zeringue’s departure was unrelated to the couple’s “consensual relationship.”

“Monster said in a statement to HuffPost that the lawsuits did not reflect a sexist culture at the company, and that the cases ‘are diverse, unrelated and do not remotely suggest a systemic environment of harassment or discrimination.'”

Home… of… the Monster Girl.

I still can’t believe it for I have attended many professional surf and professional skateboard events that feature these Monster Girls and their nitrogen-powered t-shirt cannons.

I have seen them “shake it” and “smile” while their dolled-up madam looked on.

Did you know they had a madam? An older women, maybe once a Monster Girl herself, that took care of the little things like touching up bronzer and mouthing the words “shake it” or maybe “shake them” (I am not a skilled lip reader) and “smile.”

First Harvey Weinstein and now this. I don’t even know what is happening.

The author applies the basic technique of Getting Spastic to get the (passably okay) shot, arms in the air, maybe screaming.

Democracy: Fake surf shots like a pro!

You ain't real good? It don't matter!

I’ll be the first to admit I ain’t the surfer I usually think I am. On a little runner, with easy-to-read shoulders, you might think, yeah, there’s something there.

But there ain’t.

Started too late, found solace in being too cool to try when I was on the cusp of being okay, didn’t join a boardriders club at an early-enough age, and the result is a sad lil man standing on a very crowded  wharf, the ship of good style and instinctive surfing long sailed.

One thing I do know, and this is something I learned from staring at thousands of photos as a magazine editor, is that you can fake a good surf shot.

Never had a good surf photo of yourself surfing?

Let me show you how.

Spastic isn’t a dirty word. On one hand, I’m glad we washed our hands of this epithet for anyone with cerebral palsy. How many kids did we torture with it at school? On the other hand, you’re not going to get a good surf shot if you think style means barely moving on a wave. The surf photos that work are the result of aggression and bold directional changes. Get spastic! Get your ass low to your board, coil up, throw your arms in the turn, scream if you have to. I know a guy who might be, and this is an extremely competitive division yes, the ugliest surfer in the world. I think he’s Swiss, maybe. Beautiful man, body like an Olympian. But the way he bounces on his board and throws himself at the lip makes for… photos. I watch him surf, spellbound sometimes, snapping the shots in my head, knowing, he could take some of these home and be on the cover of a magazine.

You’re not in the pocket and you’re nowhere near the lip. What a sad thing it is to see video of yourself on a wave for the first time. All those times you ragged on Alejo Muniz for not surfing critical enough? Oh god, look at this: you’re three pumps out on the face before you even started looking upward at the lip. Here’s the thing. If you think you should be stalling for the tube, that’s where you need to be doing your turns.

Airs go toward the beach not off the back. Running down the line and throwing yourself off the back of the wave won’t look like an air however fast your photographer hits the shutter button. If you want a flying kick-out shot to show your pals in Cleveland , sure, keep doing what you’re doing. If you want something approximating an air that’ll fool your pals at the beach, huck it towards the sand.

Think, one turn only: you’re not being scored on the wave, only the photo. Waste the entire wave if you have to. Murder five sections. Gather your speed and deliver.

Go retro-fab: Soul arches are the easiest damn thing in the world. Throw your back out, hands by your side, and collect your very 2009 photo at the door.