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Beach Grit

Surf Ranch and the Great White Conspiracy!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

What does it all mean, man?

I went to bed last night in New Jersey with the news that the World Surf League had cancelled the Margaret River Pro due shark activity. When I woke up this morning, still in New Jersey, Margaret River remains cancelled. The agony caused to presenting sponsor Western Australia’s Tourism Board and the World Surf League was detailed marvelously by the current best surf journalist in the world.

Agony ain’t the half of it for the tourism board. I believe this will go down as the worst public relations spend in history, knocking the 1930s campaign “Pedophiles love Pepsi!” from its perch.

For the league, though, this momentary sniff of embarrassment will be almost instantly replaced by the scent of cow turds. By the scent of farm laborer fears. By the scent of Immigration and Customs Enforcement SUV vanil-a-roma air fresheners. By the scent of Indian gaming parlors. By the scent of Lemoore, California.

And ain’t it just a neat coincidence that the next event, though not officially “an event”, is Founders Cup at Surf Ranch. A converted water ski lake some hundred miles from the nearest great white shark. A place that doesn’t have flat spells. A place that can charge 5000 people an admission fee. Like a dude ranch with surf. Surf Ranch.

The World Surf League’s financial way forward is undoubtedly the pool. It will showcase, sell, build and promote. The Championship Tour acts as a loss leader. The ocean as the biggest competitor. It is almost as if the League held the Margaret River event during salmon spawning season on purpose. Almost as if those dead whales were placed strategically around the event site. Almost as if certain Brazilian competitors were pushed forward with fear-filled social media messages.

And here, right here, in a nutshell, is why no conspiracy on earth is actually true. Conspiracies take many people working toward a common but largely secret goal all while keeping their mouths shut. They take unbelievable planning, coordination and skill. After completed they take a level of candor not seen since… since… since ever.

Can you imagine this level of institutional dexterity from Joe Turpel and 1989 World Champion Martin “Pottz” Potter? From His Honorable Judge Pritamo and CEO Sophie G.?


I can’t and I can’t imagine it from any other bureaucracy on earth either. Chem trails, 9/11 as an inside job, flat earth, radio ID chips being stuck in people, etc. have all effectively been rendered silly by the World Surf League’s general incompetence. Because the World Surf League’s general incompetence is the same as yours and mine and alls people everywhere. I mean, maybe a little more marked but…

It is funny, in the end, that the potential for any conspiracy theory to be true has been undone by Kelly Slater.

Isn’t it?