We are living in weird times. The far left loves the FBI, populists love corporate tax relief and the World Surf League was not able to grease Honolulu’s civic wheel enough to move its Pipeline Masters permit to January for the 2019 season. Would you like me to recap?
Earlier this month it was revealed that the WSL missed its filing deadline in order change its current permitted window from mid-December to mid-January for 2019. This is necessary, of course, for the new-look tour which begins in Hawaii and ends in Indonesia with stops at not Trestles and Surf Ranch along the way. Honolulu’s mayor, Kirk Caldwell, took a hard line initially, press releasing his displeasure at the WSL’s strong-arm tactics.
WSL CEO Sophie Goldschmidt flew to Hawaii in order to work out details but today, Mr. Caldwell rejected the bid in the name of “fairness.”
“Please know the city fully appreciates the economic spending the WSL brings to the islands, but as I’ve stated, this is an issue about fairness, not about money. You have stated that the changes are minor, and if this is truly the case, we are perplexed that you would jeopardize your relationship to Hawaii on a minor change. I sincerely hope the WSL will continue to hold events in Hawaii, the birthplace of the sport of surfing.”
What happens now? Everything will get fixed and quick is what.
Of course this story can be rolled and spun and chewed as WSL incompetence and/or Honolulu greed and/or some fat transplant’s chance to riff on “the way things are done on the islands” but really who the hell cares? Professional surfing is an important economic/cultural driver in Hawaii. The World Surf League is the only organized multilateral representation of professional surfing. The two will very soon work out a proper way forward and that will be the end.
But we do live in weird times so I’ve already read lots of surf media posts punctuating the importance of getting paperwork in on time and playing by the rules etc. What the hell is that?
The only thing I want is more local wildcards in the Pipeline Masters. I want Honolulu to press its momentary advantage and stick 30 of ’em in there. Don’t you?
Are you, like me, easily lulled into complacency? Expecting that nothing is going to really change, that the status quo has too much inertia? Then one day as you are doing your normal routine you realize BAM some great shift has occurred and you were too slow, to dense, to see it coming?
Like Bitcoin. I remember first hearing about the cryptocurrency a few years ago and thought, “Lame-o. Now computer nerds can have something to trade when they’re not trading Dungeons and Dragons stuff.” And then I was left behind, the river of progression sweeping past as I entertained myself with dated caricatures.
I don’t want to be backward and so this morning I read of a new currency trading in Australia and thought it would be remiss not to at least bring it to your attention.
Self-portraits of Chinese people surfing have become valuable commodities.
The Newcastle Herald reports:
“For Australians, splashing in the water is something we’ve done since we were kids. For Chinese visitors, however, it is something unique and can be very daunting,” says Dr Gardiner.
She says they want to experience the surf and have a quintessential Gold Coast holiday.
“From a tourism perspective, being able to get an amazing photo of (themselves) riding a wave on a surfboard that they can share with their friends in China is by far the most sought-after Australian experience,” she says.
“It even tops a photo with a koala.”
And can you imagine that? I bet the “photo with koala” industry in Australia does very well, generating millions of dollars of revenue and hundreds of jobs. You don’t have a koala but you do have a surfboard and a phone. What’s stopping you from cutting off a slice of this new pie? There would be some danger, I suppose, in approaching what you imagine to be a Chinese man with with your board and phone and have that Chinese man turn out to be Peter Schroffbut fortune favors the bold.
Don’t be sitting at home when your neighbor becomes the multi-millionaire Chinese Surfing Selfie King.
Well, not exactly quits, concede a brother the chance for a clickbait headline, but former Head Judge Rich Porta will soon “transition into a development role for the WSL.”
In a press release received a few minutes ago,
“The World Surf League (WSL) announced the appointment of Pritamo Ahrendt as WSL Head Judge. Ahrendt will take over the position previously held by Rich Porta, who will transition into a new role for the League.
“Ahrendt joined the Championship Tour judges’ panel in 1999, and has worked closely with Porta and the WSL Commissioners’ Office in recent years, serving as an Associate Head Judge at the Championship Tour level. As WSL Head Judge, Ahrendt will oversee the consistency and accuracy of scoring across the judges’ panel alongside his other Head Judge duties. He will also work within the Commissioners’ Office team to further develop WSL Judging programs.
“It has been an honor to work for the WSL/ASP for the past 19 years, and I am humbled to move into the role of WSL Head Judge,” said Ahrendt. “It has been a privilege to watch the highest level of surfing and to critically analyze it. I am excited for this opportunity to oversee the panel and ensure the judging is fair and consistent, while also adapting as the world’s best surfers break down new performance barriers.”
“Ahrendt brings over 19 years of experience to the WSL. He began as a Touring Judge at age 21 and was key to modifying the judging criteria to reward progressive maneuvers. Ahrendt’s vast knowledge and foresight will be invaluable in evolving the judging criteria in step with the progression of the world’s best surfers.”
It’s true, Pritamo does rip, he’s a decent sorta cat and will serve the role with distinction.
As for Rich, he wore a lot of heat as Head Judge, some of it warranted – the obsession with “Wraps” and the deluge of tens last year for example – but mostly not. What I liked about Rich was his transparency. It was a candour that would take you by surprise and make you wish you had a few harder questions up your sleeve
“As I enter what I will later learn is called the Circle of Overscore, pro surfers wander naked serving food. Two of the four “studs” or “cockmongers” (a young pro chosen for his large penis) fondle each other in front of the judges, which arouses them greatly. During a search for the “cockmonger” with the firmest buttocks, the Brazilian Felipe Toledo is chosen and is gifted a win in the US Open, which will conclude the following afternoon.”
I do wish Rich the very best. A job well-ish done, I think.
A debate on the delicate topic of made-in-Asia surfboards…
If you’ve kicked around here even for us the past few months, you would’ve seen the myriad stories about shaper Peter Schroff’s war against made-in-Asia surfboards.
The sixty-three-year-old shaper from Newport Beach in California, the darling of eighties surf chic, has fashioned himself as the anti-imported surfboard and fiercely anti-Asian, provocateur.
He has used a chainsaw to cut in half an (imitation) Hypro Krypto and, lately, he’s been targeting the Kelly Slater-owned Firewire surfboards and Slater Designs, all of whom manufacture surfboards in south-east Asia.
(They’re not the only countries who enjoy the considerable economic benefits of Asian labour, of course. Most of the carbon-wrapped boards you see are made in Thailand or Vietnam. JS, Lost and so on. Have a look at the tail of your board.)
Two days ago, Shane Dorian, whose son Jackson is Kelly’s godson, who rides Slater Designsand who was a guest at Surf Ranch, weighed into the debate on Schroff’s admittedly poorly subscribed Instagram account on the side of Asian-made boards.
“Imported goods don’t sell because they’re imported,” wrote Shane. “People buy the board they want to ride. Just like you buy the car you want to drive and the food you want to eat. If you have an imported car, shop at Target or Cosco or wear Italian sunglasses y8ou are unable to preach about buying local. The surf shops are not the problem, imported boards are not the problem The problem is people don’t want to ride your boards.”
Valid points, yes?
There’s a lot of back and forthing on the thread, which you can read here, but it gets good when the longboarder Joel Tudor suddenly bites after one commenter wrote:
“Ask @joeljitsuwhere his values were when he had a full line of surftech longboards before he went all elitist and purest. Look to the past and you’ll see your old weed maps black belt buddy riding surf tech China longboards. While I don’t mind a change of heart, be transparent about your past. Those boards paid the bills at the time, now his child labor footwear does.
To which he replied, “I quit doing it because I saw the damage it was doing to friends in surf factory’s here at home/also wasn’t in retirement mode that I needed the extra income at the cost of local builders …,takayama & velzy were the ones who originally talked me into it ….over time realized that royalty wasn’t worth the damage it was causing to the industry! Yes i smoke weed ,witch has nothing to with this conversation- enjoy your day.”
And, pointedly, to Shane, “Call me sometime & we can chat about this stuff – I can give you some helpful insight on all this stuff & where all the old school crew are coming from ….this isn’t just a here at Home issue ….this effects all the factories world wide that are owned & operated by surfers …the very people that created the industry & write our checks all stated out mowing foam or were around surf manufacturing! The easiest solution to all of this is build them locally in each hub of sales …aus , Europe , Hawaii , Japan , USA , Brazil have excellent factories & builders who actually surf ….hence keeping it in the hands of surfers …also most the countries with exception to Brazil have a active EPA that call bullshit on all the corners FireWire is cutting to avoid losing profit …..acetone recycling…charcoal filters …fire marshals …EPA are all realistic things we should deal with in a attempt to keep our stuff somewhat clean – pretty much a way of life for most world who build Surfboards.”
Shane replied, “I agree with a lot of what you are saying. All I’m saying is complaining about imports or anything else does nothing except make people look like whiners. Anyone can talk, and there is a lot of that here. It’s easy to see the problems and point fingers and place blame. Anyone can do that. The surf businesses, including the surf shops are adapting just to barely stay alive. It’s all changing so quick and to me it looks like trying to stop the tide from coming in, unfortunately.”
You, yes you, tell me: are Asian-made boards a tide coming in? Does it matter?
The possibility of a Pipeline-free 2018 world tour a quiet reality!
And oooo-ee things really are on a collision course on beloved Oahu between the World Surf League and Honolulu’s city council. David Lee Scales informed me of the kerfuffle during yesterday’s podcast recording, even using the word “kerfuffle” to describe (listen here!) but at the time I was slightly underwhelmed. It seemed like trivial posturing that would inevitably work out. Today, though, the sky is ominous and could the WSL actually get booted from Pipeline?
By way of recap and according to Hawaii’s ABC affiliate, the League was late turning in permit paperwork and hoping to shift the window to late January, where Volcom holds its Pipeline Pro contest now. It seems like the sort of thing that gets worked out quickly and with a few greased palms but after a night of long knives the troubles seem more intractable.
Honolulu’s mayor said, “The Department of Parks and Recreation must remain fair to those who followed the rules. However, WSL believes the city should grant their request without hesitation, outside of the established rules, because of their economic impact to the community.”
Fred Hemmings, father of modern professional surfing, parried, “I find it ludicrous that civic leaders can’t see the wisdom in highlighting the Triple Crown as an asset to Hawaii. And giving it the permits needed to continue this tradition.”
To which the WSL responded it is, “reluctantly exploring alternative solutions.”
Volcom/RedBull, who have the now coveted January spot, have not released a statement but Da Hui, which runs the Backdoor Shootout, released the following, “By eliminating another event (the Pipeline Pro) that gives them (Hawaiian surfers) opportunities that will be detrimental to them. Although the WSL caters to worldwide surfers, here in the Hawaii we’re family — we’re concern about our own kanaka maoli surfers.”
It is impossible to imagine the World Surf League not somehow working this out but if it has, indeed, lost its permit will the lack of Pipeline on the calendar taint the eventual 2018 champ? Furthermore, can professional surfing at the highest level work without Pipeline? I argued yesterday, on the podcast, that it cannot. Pipeline is the most iconic wave in the world and the only one that is an absolute necessity. Teahupoo could go away, J-Bay could go away, Snapper, Bells, Supertubos could all go away and it would be sad but not devastating. Losing Pipeline would be devastating.
Could it really happen?
More as it develops.
Jon Pyzel and Matt Biolos by @theneedforshutterspeed/Step Bros