WSL ambassador of stoke and leisure
Zach and John John at the Pipe Masters. "I'm a small-town kid who grew up in the Marshall Islands, my dad was the principal of a school there for six years. I took a year off during college to teach fifth grade on Pohnpei. When I heard stuff like, "Oh, privileged white male", I didn't realise the extend of internet bullying. The thing was, they could've picked a Brazilian, a guy with nothing, people would've been, like, "You should've picked a girl!" or they would've picked a girl and other people would've complained."

Found: The WSL’s Ambassador of Stoke and Leisure!

Nice man gives up dentistry and sells car to pursue WSL dream. And then disappears!

Earlier today, I interviewed the WSL’s Ambassador of Stoke and Leisure,  Zach Brown from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Zach was crowned Stoke Ambassador amid much fanfare last November after an exhaustive worldwide search by the WSL where applicants were invited to submit a video CV.

Do you remember Zach? A likeable, goofy twenty-five-year old whose catch-cry was, “Hire me WSL and get me out of my mom’s house”?

If not, refresh here.

Like most, I presumed his job was to become the every-man face of the WSL during the Triple Crown events.

But then he just…disappeared.

“I don’t really know what to say about that,” says Zach. “A lot of people told me the same thing. Stab wanted an interview but never called me. The whole thing was built up so much. The WSL really pushed it on their website, their social channels, and then it didn’t get shown around that much.”

Perhaps the organisation was a little rattled by stories like this where Zach’s all-American ethnicity and gender might be thought tone deaf.

“I heard that a couple of times,” he says. “It’s hard to say. I’m a small-town kid who grew up in the Marshall Islands. My dad was the principal of a school there for six years. I took a year off during college to teach fifth grade on Pohnpei. When I heard stuff like, ‘Oh, privileged white male’ I didn’t realise the extend of internet bullying. The thing was, they could’ve picked a Brazilian, a guy with nothing, and people would’ve been, like, ‘You should’ve picked a girl!’ or they would’ve picked a girl and other people would’ve complained. Somebody is always going to be disappointed for whatever reason. Obviously, I submitted my video like everybody else. It was a bummer to hear that. I don’t feel any more privileged than anyone else. I actually had to sell my car to buy the camera to go out there.”

(Zach’s car was the formidable Nissan Xterra, which he loosed for $2700. He also quit his job at the ticket desk at Delta for the WSL gig.)

Zach says he thought his job was going to be “similar to Peter King’s TourNotes: behind-the-scenes interviewing the surfers, the raw feel of what’s going on. That’s what I envisioned. But they had a pretty curated day-to-day schedule, what they wanted me to do, events I was attending.”

These included playing golf at the Turtle Bay hotel, zip-lining, kayaking, staying at an Air B n B joint and a hotel in Waikiki.

“There was one time when I was in Waikiki during the Sunset competition and Sunny Garcia invited me to come and hang in the channel with him and be the caddy for Zeke Lau. I wasn’t able to make it time because I was on the other side of the island.”

Zach says the WSL’s intention was for him to push it on his own social channel (he currently has 6248 followers on @zacharyjdb. “Jesus, Drones and Oreos,” is his new catch-phrase) but says the WSL did interview him twice during the live contest feed and posted some of his stuff on Instagram and Facebook.

He says that while being ambassador didn’t exactly pan out how he wanted it to, he did get close to the broadcast crew and…epiphany… decided he wanted to pursue a life in film and not dentistry. (Zach has a degree in health sciences, step one in becoming a mouth mechanic.)

Today, Zach, is living in Clermont, Florida, thirty-five clicks west of Orlando, and an hour-and-a-half from his go-to surf spot, as he fulfils his dream of working in film and production for the YouTube channel of wake-skater Matt Manzari.  

(Oowee, it’s…gory.)

The deepest shame on Stab magazine

That piece of shit deserves to disappear forever.

I have stopped going to Stab entirely. The enjoyment I used to feel in making a little fun has evaporated and that rudderless ship has nothing to offer anyhow. I haven’t missed it. I haven’t thought about it until I went just now, prompted by a comment here about the shark story.

“What shark story?” I thought while punching an erstwhile name into the bar.

And there it was. Anonymously written, mocking a boy killed by an attack in Brazil for straight clicks, offering condolences at the end, comments turned off.

It is honestly one of the most disgusting moments I have ever witnessed in my 20 odd years dancing through this surf world and deserves serious, serious chastisement. Climbing up on a non-satirical high horse is the most uncomfortable thing in the world but shame on every single person there. Shame on the advertisers who give them money. Shame on the contributors who will continue on. Shame on the Venice-adjacent landlord who provides them rent.

That piece of shit deserves to disappear forever.

Yet despite all the rage, despite the dreadful cancer of the white and bald middle-aged male surfer moments of beauty still exist 'tween man and woman. Here, post-panty raid, two human beings reflect on their profound connection.

Opinion: “Surfing on a perfumed cloud of rage!”

The rage is real, but feminism ain't an excuse for snaking…

If your boobs grow too big, you won’t be able to surf. You’re going to get fat and then you’ll be slow. Nearly every time I interview a woman athlete, they tell me about how someone tried to cut them down, tried to tell them they didn’t belong in their sport, and tried to tell them they’d never succeed.

None of this is about their bodies, really. It’s just another way to tell them, no girls allowed.

My friends sometimes ask me to write about sexism. In truth, I write about it all the time. I just don’t always call it out by name. In nearly every story I write about a woman, she’s succeeded by burrowing under or climbing over or smashing through or taking the long way around the walls that a still predominantly misogynist culture uses to keep her contained.

She’s not thin enough. She isn’t good enough. She should just work harder. She should always work harder. The bricks stack up one upon the other.

And it’s as though I write about the air I breathe. It’s ubiquitous, relentless, claustrophobic. It’s like being crammed in a box and having someone stand on the lid. Eventually, it’s hard not to believe them. Maybe I should try harder, I think. Maybe I’m crazy. But I know I’m not. They’re the ones who are crazy.

the writer argued that as the only woman, she could and should drop-in without apology. She suggested that her no-apologies approach to the male lineup served as redress for decades of surf culture shot through with misogyny.

Five days or so ago now, The Inertia published an essay from a woman about her reaction to being the only woman in the lineup. In the essay, which has now been removed, she described a session in the Maldives in a lineup peopled entirely by men. There are few more entitled lineups than a tropical reef populated by well-off vacationers.

In the essay, the writer argued that as the only woman, she could and should drop-in without apology. She suggested that her no-apologies approach to the male lineup served as redress for decades of surf culture shot through with misogyny. According to the writer, surfing’s etiquette, drummed into the heads of generations of groms by their elders, is a stand-in for male dominance. Women had no say in these rules, she asserts, so why should she follow them.

When Chas profiled Lisa Andersen for TSJ, he described her as surfing on a perfumed cloud of rage. In doing so, he saw straight through to the heart of it all. The rage is real. We cover it up in all kinds of ways.

The essay seethes with rage. And if there’s one thing you shouldn’t dismiss about this essay, it’s that rage. Behind their smiles and their hair flips, most of your women friends feel it. Maybe not all the time. But I can tell you that at one time or another, we’ve all felt it.

When Chas profiled Lisa Andersen for TSJ, he described her as surfing on a perfumed cloud of rage. In doing so, he saw straight through to the heart of it all. The rage is real. We cover it up in all kinds of ways.

If the worst thing you do with your anger is snake a bunch of guys in the lineup, that’s no great crime. Some of them almost certainly deserve it, if we’re being honest. And to be clear, there’s no reason a woman can’t regulate a lineup like a man does, if she chooses.

Someone’s getting too many waves? Play the enforcer, if that’s your thing.

But I’d ask what exactly you’ve accomplished at the end of the day. Sure, snaking has gotten you more waves and you’ve made a few men angry. And there’s likely a nice, feeling of revenge in that male anger. See, this is how it feels to be us, you say, as you exit the water in triumph.

But have you really changed anything at all? I’d argue that you haven’t.

As we all know, surfing is an essentially selfish endeavor. As surfers, we want what we want. Etiquette exists as a suggestion, an appeal to our better selves, which often deserts us as soon as we see a perfect set wave on the horizon. We froth and spit and hassle. We want our fair share.

What’s worse, we all know better. I think we’ve all experienced the joy of a smooth-flowing lineup – the one where everyone takes turns and everyone gets waves. But if you live anywhere near other people who like surfing, that experience is notable for its rarity.

Securing equality for women is a collective project. It requires changing deep-seated norms and attitudes. It requires changing a narrative that consistently depicts woman has lesser and not enough. It requires engaging the rage women feel and the reasons for it.

I’m not sure there’s an easy way to square the circle between the selfish desire we all have for waves and the collective effort that equity for women requires. Snaking all the men feels like selfishness cloaked in the guise of feminism. You get what you want, sure, but what then?

Smash down the door.

Then reach out and bring another woman across that threshold with you. Because somewhere, there’s still a girl being told that she isn’t good enough, that she isn’t thin enough, and that she isn’t smart enough. She’s being told that she doesn’t belong and can’t succeed.

Isn’t that what we should be trying to change?

Recovered: What The Inertia tried to hide!

An affront to their involuntarily celibate ways!

This future we live in is a wonderful place, don’t you think? Sure there are wars and rumors of wars but there is also Internet accountability in the form of websites that exist solely to hold misogynists’ feet to the fire. The wayback machine, Apple News, Google Cache etc. If you happened to be following along this morning you’ll remember how I wept openly about missing out on a The Inertia piece on empowering women that was ruthlessly erased. I wondered why?

Are the editors at Venice-adjacent’s other favorite water lifestyle website incels? Could they be?

The answer, assuredly, is yes. For thanks to six of you I have been sent the disappeared story and it sings. Please read in its entirety here and find my favorite lines below.

In a sea of fifty or so middle-aged men from Japan, Israel, Europe, and Australia, there was enough male pattern baldness to rival the Trump administration.

When one guy paddled right past me and back up to the peak after taking a set wave? Yes. You’re damn right I dropped in.

It’s not as much an issue of respect, I find, as it is an assertion of belonging. It’s an expression of being a woman in the sea; that despite the barriers that stand in our way, we will remain powerful, as women of the waves.

You think I’m wrong for dropping in? You think I should wait my turn? You think I should follow the status quo of surfing etiquette?

Trust me. I’ve waited. Any woman in the ocean on a day with decent size, like today, has unquestionably waited her turn. We’ve waited in lineups that make us cry, on days when only the boldest among us would dare drop in.

We’ve waited while our brothers of the sea ogle our bodies and objectify the skin we surf in.

We’ve waited while aggro kooks drop in far too deep, knowing they’ll never make the section, all while we’re in the perfect position just a little farther down the line. All this because they would rather take a heavy lip to the face than back off and let a woman enjoy her ride.

Fuck you. We’ve waited. So you think I should wait my turn?

I think you should wait one goddamn second and tell me what it feels like to be the only woman at the peak in a lineup of fifty middle-aged men in swollen seas and heavy winds, 10,711 miles from home. Let me know how that tastes on your tongue.

Then you tell me to wait my turn.

I’m done waiting.

And I only wish the involuntarily celibate men who run The Inertia would have had as many guts as this author here to leave it up.

Surf website reveals misogynistic core!

The Inertia erases important female story!

I have been locked into an awful technological whirlpool these past few days. My phone reached critical planned obsolescence forcing me to get a new one which either doesn’t have any memory and/or is broken. Maybe broken as last night it began vibrating and glowing green. Whatever the case, I have been missing very important developments in the surf world. I wish I could blame yesterday’s being scooped on bad tech but I can blame missing an important The Inertia piece that was violently evaporated.

By way of explanation, Jen See texted me a link to some The Inertia piece a few days ago that I was not able to open. The title was something like “I can drop in on whoever I want because I am a woman…” or something like that but more The Inertia-y. I begged her to write something on it anyhow and she laughed and agreed. Then, a handful of hours later, texted a horrified scream.

The Inertia had disappeared the piece!

I feel very angry at technology and The Inertia right now. Did anyone else read the story? As far as I can tell it rested on the premise that women deal with misogyny, paternalism, sexism etc. every single day and probably especially in the surf and, therefore, are entitled to any and every wave they want ignoring both traditional lineup rules and mores. Like restitution, I suppose, and a powerful sentiment. One that resonates in these dark days.

Why then did The Inertia vanish the work like it never existed in the first place?

I can only assume that behind the progressive stances on ecology and SUPing that The Inertia is a place like too many others where female voices are canceled out when they speak up. Where women are better seen and not heard. Where misogyny reigns supreme.

It is sad, beyond sad, that a surf website seems to hate women but I guess not surprising. Have you not heard of incels? The involuntarily celibate? Urban Dictionary defines as:

Incel aka “involuntarily celibate”, a person (usually male) who has a horrible personality and treats women like sexual objects and thinks his lack of a sex life comes from being “ugly” when its really just his blatant sexism and terrible attitude. incels have little to no self awareness; even when they see other “ugly” men with girlfriends, they consider these men to be tricksters who have somehow beat the system and can get women despite being cursed with unattractiveness (in other words, theyre respectful to women and women are attracted to their personalities, but incels cant comprehend such a phenomenon).

Yeah, it is a nasty nasty dark place but makes much sense that everyone who works for The Inertia is involuntarily celibate.

Very sad.