Listen: The WSL’s kingmaker reveals all!

"I don’t think Kelly will ever win another world title."

Hope Hicks is gone but dry your eyes because we have Dave Prodan and we always will. The World Surf League’s senior vice-president of global identity predates the WSL by a good five years. He was there, when professional surfing was called the Association of Surfing Professionals. He will be here when professional surfing is called the Indoor Surfing Club. Dave Prodan is eternal.

I first met the man in Europe, I do believe, in the early 2000s. He was then CEO Brodie Carr’s right hand and executed his duties with a wry sense of remove. Nothing but nothing could ruffle Dave Prodan’s feathers. Nothing but nothing can still. He is able to walk the very fine line between corporate and core interests somehow deciphering one to the other. I don’t know that he has ever said or written a wrong word and would imagine that future heads of state will someday look at his body of work, call and say, “Dave Prodan? My name is Oprah Winfrey, I am President of the United States and I’ve been following your career. What would you say to coming to work with me in the White House as communications director?”

“I’m truly honored…” Dave Prodan will respond “…but the Indoor Surfing Club has just released its tour schedule, including Dubai and Midland, Texas. It will be an important year and I must sally forth.”

He is honorable yet he just sat down with provocateur David Lee Scales for a podcast. What WSL secrets slipped out? Well there’s this…

We do not have a permit for Pipe in 2019. The mayor has acknowledged that the permitting process is flawed. They’re tearing up the permitting rules and rewriting them from scratch. It’s my understanding the Da Hui Backdoor Shootout did not receive their 2019 permit either. Hopefully we end up with Pipe back on the schedule in 2020.

Is true? Da Hui got slapped by bureaucracy? Son of a bitch.

Come listen for more!

Just in: Mavericks cancelled for the year!

A speed bump!

The feel good storyline of the year hit a massive speed bump today as it hurtled toward a cinematic conclusion. Today is the final day of the Big Wave Tour Mavericks Invitational presented by Hungry-Man Fillin’ Philly Cheesteaks and Slut Sity Adult Entertainment.

The event did not run the year’s promised surf failed to materialize rendering the season un-surfed.

As reported by the Bay Area’s local NBC affiliate:

Wednesday marks the final day that the competition window for the Mavericks Challenge contest is open, but unfortunately for surfers, Mother Nature is not and has not been cooperating this season.

“Unfortunately, an appropriate swell didn’t materialize in the window because…, but we’re excited to see it come to life next season,” Dave Prodan, World Surf League’s Senior Vice President of Global Brand Identity, said in a statement.

As NBC Bay Area has been reporting, the WSL bought the rights to the surf contest after the previous organizers declared bankruptcy.

And that was the feel good storyline of the year. The WSL wresting control of the iconic event from the grubby hands of diet product entrepreneur Griffin Guess. The event running in perfect conditions. Local legend Shawn Dollar winning and donating his proceeds a nearby animal shelter just in time to stave off the evil bank manager.

Griffin Guess was going to be played by Christopher Lee.

Shawn Dollar = Chris Pratt

Dave Prodan = Elijah Wood

The kindhearted animal shelter owner = Jennifer Aniston

The evil bank manager = Kevin Bacon

Surf Dawgs would have been lauded for its touching depiction of big wave surfing and socially conscious message about spaying and neutering pets.

Yago Dora
Yago Dora has an…ability, as well as a terrific itch to surf Teahupoo. | Photo: WSL

Watch: Yago Dora in “I Have An Itch!”

Captivating short film about Brazilian WCT rookie… 

Yago Dora. Great name. Beautiful stance. Stands way back on tail. Moves north when he wants to go up.

The almost twenty-two-old Brazilian WCT rookie, who is the son of former pro Leandro Dora and who grew up in gorgeous Florianópolis (lowest homicide rate in all of Brazil), will bring, I think, a romanticism to the tour, which is the freesurfer turned contest slayer.

Do you remember, last year, when Yago beat Mick Fanning, Gabriel Medina and John John Florence on the way to the semis of the Oi Rio Pro?

In the excellent short, below, we learn that Yago started surfing relatively late, eleven, that he has an itch to surf Teahupoo better than anyone has a right to expect, and he is experiencing a terrific ongoing joy at joining the WCT, for the order it brings to his chaotic world.

Switch on the sub-titles if your Portuguese is a little shaky.

The gorgeous Amelia Maltepe, born into a strict Muslim family before transitioning into a girl and, wisely, getting the fuck out of Bangladesh.

Board review: “I’m in love with Asian Transsexual!”

A board review that hits Rousseau, Voltaire, Dostoevky and gorgeous women who used to be men!

Nothing but nothing marks a gal as reactionary, out of date and surplus to requirements as resistance to our modern gender fluid world. At least in the west. In the east it is still considered a noble virtue.

So, what to do, if you’re a hetero-normative piece of shit like me and feel a desire to “experiment”, to expand your horizons in a sublimated completely psycho-sexual way?

I have a solution and it’s called an asymmetrical surfboard.

This one I have in my possession is Asian made, designed by a delightfully fruity Japanese man named Cuts under the Insane label, hereafter known as the Insano. It came from the Surfboard Agency in Byron Bay, because made for a goofy, and I, goofy. They needed a goofy to ride and report.

Let us first acknowledge and bow deeply to the Asian elephant in the room. I do not own any Asian-made surfboards, apart from the Insano. Any prick with five minutes to spare will find acres of ranting from L. Tom on the issue and I now have to admit my position has become more nuanced.

No money exchanged.

The Insano is EPS core, biaxial epoxy lam, not my usual choice of materials for reasons to be discussed. It’s a wide-outline, flat fish with neutral rails and a shorter rail line on the toe-side edge and two channels running through the bottom from the fins.

Let us first acknowledge and bow deeply to the Asian elephant in the room. I do not own any Asian-made surfboards, apart from the Insano. Any prick with five minutes to spare will find acres of ranting from L. Tom on the issue and I now have to admit my position has become more nuanced. I have seen many local manufacturers I respect experiment in asian board building. I am happy to see Cuts get a cut of the action, and others, growing older, like Dick Van Straalen find a passive income in retirement from licensing his designs.

Yet I can’t quite get behind the D. Rielly position that a brother is a brother is a brother. That’s fine sentiment but not how most people operate, most of the time. According to Indian essayist Pankaj Mishra, author of Age of Anger, much of the humiliation and anger felt by peeps across the world (especially sanders/glassers/shapers) can be sheeted to a sense that their lives are being radically disrupted by cosmopolitan, transnational elites.

The author and the Insano surfboard and a message that benefits all of mankind! (Even if his Indian essayist in the story disagrees.)

People feel solidarity with the local community, not the globalised elite or even the asian workers making the sleds, computers, clothes etc etc.

Kenchy (glasser/sander), Brown-eye (glasser), Gypo (shaper/sander), Jules (sander) mean more to me than the brothers in Thailand. Human nature. But the guys who own Surf Agency are local surfers, they got families to feed, bills to pay, and as Snoop Dog says in Coach Snoop “Man do what he gotta do to take care of his motherfucking family”.

My moral certainty is shattered ladies and gentlemen of the jury, stuck between Voltaire’s cosmopolitanism and Rousseau’s communitarianism.

It took a while for the Insano to get out the back of the Camry. For shame. And weirdness. I eventually got it finned up with an MR twin on one side from Alkali fins Ballina and a quad set on the other, also hand foiled fibreglass made in Ballina. I couldn’t get a take on what an asymmetrical set-up was supposed to accomplish and so the board languished.

What happened next was a surprise. I’m a terrible surf snob. I cross the street to avoid shit surf and I know shit surf. Got my chops growing up on Bribie Island, a South Pacific backwater that makes Florida look like South Sumatra. In my world view a working gal with a family to raise monkey humping a high volume groveller in slop counts as a crime against humanity. To make a simple equation: Riding shit surf = taking the piss.

I ain’t no leave passer or  board hider but after a couple weeks on the Insano Daddio Longtom started getting creative with little “chores” that had to be done in Ballina instead of making an honest living. Tiny little monsters stirred in his loins at the sight of weak 2footers. After work surfs in C and D grade summer Point surf started stretching into dusk and Pappy’s home life started to suffer.

The grass grew high around the house, so high we lost our only son in it. Pappys Jade stalk and Mammy’s sacred valley grew tangled and overgrown with neglect. Pappy was spending too much time with an asian asymmetrical and not enough on Mammy’s ski jump boobies and derriere you can crack a flea on.

The Insano was champagne and Ritalin*. Loose, unpredictable, slippery, light headed, unreliable, hyper-reactive. Dangerous fun. Like teenage sex. Experimentation for the gal with a family to go home to.

Why so? Because the experience was intoxicating. With a Ghost and the Insano in the Camry I had the high and the low end on lockdown. The Ghost was a buzz from a couple of Sierra Nevadas, maybe a brace of Bush Chooks necked post-surf in the desert lefts. The Insano was champagne and Ritalin*. Loose, unpredictable, slippery, light headed, unreliable, hyper-reactive. Dangerous fun. Like teenage sex. Experimentation for the gal with a family to go home to. Materials that once felt like a liability in good surf now felt like a revelation.

There is benefit to a certain species of human being in pursuing an asymmetric design path. As Dostoevky’s Underground Man in Notes from the Underground was paralysed by ennui and inactivity I see a Hypothetical Man of Means suffering under the weight of mortgage stress, marital and familial responsibility and boredom. And when I say Man I mean Woman and Man and every sexual flavour in between. Life grinds one down. Existence is an emptiness we must populate with meaning as best we can and if riding an asymmetric Asian-made fish in shit surf helps you get through the night then I say more power to your arm babe.

Existence is an emptiness we must populate with meaning as best we can and if riding an asymmetric Asian-made fish in shit surf helps you get through the night then I say more power to your arm babe.

Perfect waves are hard to come by and even harder to appreciate on their own terms. The wave-tub experiences of BeachGrit principals and surf hacks at Lemoore have taught us that. So I say, unless your name is Ryan Burch or Bryce Young, experimenting with asymmetricals in good waves is too risky. Choose a more reliable dance partner.

But if one turn and a close-out reo is your daily bread and you’re bored with white bread missionary attempts to couple with it, I implore you to loosen up the program. Does our Man of Means need an asymmetric fish? Only in the way a fish needs a bicycle, but what’s need got do with surfing? If this one wasn’t a goofy set-up I would jump the morning Jetstar to Sydney and personally hand this over to D. Rielly in exchange for a smashed avo and ristretto at the Trio Cafe.

The other great unexploited ecological niche for a design such as the Insano is as a low end travel board. We approach our OS surf trips with such high expectations – quivering up with sleek designs to ride dream waves – but the truth is underpowered reef breaks and thin-lipped tradewind swells are just as likely. Nothing is more dispiriting to the soul of our Hypothetical Man of Means than paying top dollar to jockey for position at an underpowered Maldivian reef with a posse of Israelis fresh out of the military. That’s exactly the time when you need fruitiness and unreliable handling in a surfboard. Sri Lanka, Maldives, PNG, Costa Rica, Europe, maybe even the motherfucking Mentawais if the forecast is flaccid. All could be rescued from being BS snorkelling trips by a gender fluid little small wave toy.

The Underground Man’s story went tits up, mired in shame, humiliation and self disgust: a precursor to the fate of the internet commenter.

Our story has a more anti-depressive ending.

With TC Gita approaching L.Tom put the Asian cue in the rack ,stopped at the servo and got flowers, cut the grass and once more Pappy’s jade stalk and Mammy’s sacred valley united and the ghetto cow paddocks of Lennox Head reverberated with moans of pleasure all fucking night long.**

To quote the Underground Man, “it seems that we may stop here”.

*Ritalin is Methylphenidate, an amphetamine analogue prescribed to kids with ADHD. It’s a helluva performance and cognitive enhancing stimulant and tremendous fun mixed with booze.

** PG recommended because drugs are stupid and parental sex is gross.v

RIP: Mick Fanning’s career!

"Over-surfing is a self-indulgence..."

Mick Fanning’s career, whose chiseled, slightly melancholic good looks, baritone near-bogan twang and pure speed down the line made it an unforgettable presence on the Association of Surfing Professionals/World Surf League’s Championship Tour died early yesterday at its home in Coolangatta, Australia.

It was 17.

Fanning’s career, born in 2002 with a wildcard win at the Bells Classic, often played out as morally anguished though usually displayed grace under fire. Sometimes it was filled with booze and boozy slurs. Sometimes it was clean and precise, headed to the gym for much training and sweating, but it was always there near or at the top of the professional surf ranks.

In its most memorable role, punching a South African shark in the nose in 2015, Fanning’s career garnered international acclaim for being cool, calm, collected.

It won Surfer Poll’s number three that same year for its performance as a focused Australian Gold Coaster who incurs the wrath of the ocean while defending itself and its fellow competitor Julian Wilson’s career.

Throughout, its persona as the embodiment of Australian decency made it a persuasive advocate for Red Bull, Rip Curl and Stance socks amongst others.

Its honors included Micktory, Tales of a Fucking Jew, White Lightening Strikes Twice, and Micktory III.

In its leisure time it supervised the brewing of beer.

Fanning’s career highlighted that the professional surfer’s main obligation was to entertain, never to bore, and to perform with precision, professionalism and charm. ”Over-surfing,” it once said, ”is a self-indulgence, while under-surfing comes either through a lack of talent or a lack of courage.”

It sometimes succeeded and is survived by Kelly Slater’s career and Martin Potter’s slightly agitated aspiration.

Funeral plans are still incomplete.