Winner: WSL unleashes most inappropriate headline ever!

And the award for Best Surf Writing goes to...

Can I shoot straight with you for one brief moment? It takes a lot to shock me these days. Aside from Stab laughing giddily at a poor boy who lost his penis and then his life there is almost nothing that turns my head. Click bait headlines have become such a commonplace component of all of our lives that I imagine it takes a lot to shock you too. Plus, someone’s always saying something crazy. From Rodrigo Duterte to Recep Tayipp to King Donald outlandish has become the parlance of our times.

And so today found me enjoying a moment of awe and appreciation for the World Surf League when I stopped by its official mouthpiece worldsurfleague.com earlier today. Awe and appreciation because the normally staid League succeeded in stopping me in my tracks with a headline so… fabulously inappropriate that I am still tickled.

Want to read together?

Watch: Mick Fanning Soaks Up “Infectious Grom Froth”

And one more time.

Watch: Mick Fanning Soaks Up “Infectious Grom Froth”

The beat writers who covered Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch escapades must be kicking themselves right now for not using the verb “soak” with the phrase “infectious grom froth” and fronting the whole thing with a command. “Watch.”

In truth, the story is the sweetest thing ever and you should soak it up too.

Watch: Mick Fanning Soaks Up “Infectious Grom Froth”


Scandal: Olympic surfing massively corrupt?

Payoffs, bribes, graft, death threats, prostitutes, cocaine!

I will tell you, as a non-fan of soccer, the greatest part of the World Cup has historically been the massive corruption in/around/under/on top of the governing body FIFA. It was so bald-faced, so ridiculous as to make for wonderful comedy. Payoffs, bribes, graft, death threats, prostitutes, cocaine… You can’t script this!

Like, Qatar getting to host a World Cup, for example. I feel this was the dollar bill that broke FIFA’s back, giving the event to the hottest place in the world filled with oil rich sheiks driving Bugattis. But still very very very hot though nobody even cared because corrupt money never sleeps (because cocaine) and then the back was broken and now there is a new process for potential countries who dream of hosting the event.

So maybe FIFA cleaned up but as we both learned in school corruption can be neither created nor destroyed. It has to flow somewhere and did it all flow to Olympic surfing?

The great Maurice Cole wondered two days ago, for example, what in the world Australia’s Olympic hopefuls were doing traveling to Lemoore, California to partake in a few days “training session” at Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch. Let’s recall his words:

Who’s paying for all the tickets? The hotels? The rental cars? The pool? What’s the total budget? Every single airfare is a couple of grand from Australia. It makes no fucking sense whatsoever.

Unless.

Unless.

It’s a WSL marketing exercise. Are they trying to put pressure on the ISA and IOC to use that pool for the Olympics? Why else would you be training in a pool? It’s the worst training you could do for Chiba. For fuck’s sake, send ’em to Chiba and train over there. It’s a lot cheaper and a lot more relevant to go to Chiba and surf two-to-three-foot beachbreaks and work on their technique there instead of in long lefts and rights.

Well, yesterday it was revealed that Chiba, Japan is indeed building a Surf Ranch that will be ready in time for the 2020 games. Derek Rielly wrote of this development:

“The planned construction site is on 57 hectares near the Tisayama Expressway. Land acquisition was completed by March this year. The size of the wave pool is 580 metres in length and 150 metres in width and equipped with a device that generates artificial waves by electronic control and generates waves up to about two metres in height.”

And this has payoffs, bribes, graft, death threats, prostitutes, cocaine written all over it! The World Surf League hijacking the Olympic Games in order to feature/sell more pools worldwide, etc. etc.

I will be pursuing this doggedly, like Rogers and Hammerstein, and will win a Pultizer and also Make Surfing Great Again because who doesn’t love corruption?


The remarkable Jackson Doz, son of Shane, getting revved up at Lemoore, maybe in time for the 2024 Games in Paris. | Photo: WSL

Just in: Chiba gets Surf Ranch in time for 2020 Olympics!

"A US company supervised by famous surfer has founded a Japanese corporation and started preliminary work."

In wonderful news for anyone who appreciates the superiority of wave pools over most city beach breaks, a Japanese website has reported plans to build a Surf Ranch in Kisarazu City, Chiba, a dozen clicks from the Tokyo Dome.

Two days ago, a residents “briefing session” was held with no objections.

According to the story prosaically titled, Artificial wave pool for surfing competition scheduled to open just before the Olympics in Kisarazu/Chiba,

“When completed it will be able to do a full-scale surfing competition and will host a pro surfer world competition and so on. According to officials, a US company supervised by a famous surfer founded a Japanese corporation (Minato-ku, Tokyo) last March and started preliminary work.

‘The planned construction site is on 57 hectares near the Tisayama Expressway. Land acquisition was completed by March this year. The size of the wave pool is 580 metres in length and 150 metres in width and equipped with a device that generates artificial waves by electronic control and generates waves up to about two metres in height.”

“Construction is planned to start in September and be finished by December. The company aims to open for biz between January and March.”

Yesterday, the great shaper and surfer Maurice Cole ridiculed, with dramatic zest, Surfing Australia’s decision to book out six days at the Surf Ranch in Lemoore in prep for the games. 

Two three-day blocks of exclusive “training sessions” at Surf Ranch. With coaches, shapers, surfers. The whole entourage is over there. And it poses one really fucking big question. Why the fuck is Australia’s Olympic squad training for a contest that’s going to be held in two year’s time in a two-foot Japanese beachbreak at a long, slow wave-pool point?

Are they trying to put pressure on the ISA and IOC to use that pool for the Olympics? Why else would you be training in a pool? It’s the worst training you could do for Chiba. For fuck’s sake, send ’em to Chiba and train over there. It’s a lot cheaper and a lot more relevant to go to Chiba and surf two-to-three-foot beachbreaks and work on their technique there instead of in long lefts and rights.

Surfing Australia’s decision to throw a couple of hundred gees, or whatever it was, at pool training is starting to look eerily prophetic.

(Thanks to DrunkenAngel for the link and tip.)


Watch: Dusty Payne in “They had to rebuild me!”

Lovely documentary of former pro surfer whose head was caved in by Backdoor Pipe… 

Nineteen eighty-eight was a helluva year. It birthed world title shots Jordy Smith and Julian Wilson and, perhaps most importantly since he’s the subject of this story here, that ol pussy-eating, red-haired devil himself Dusty Payne. 

Dusty, if you’ll recall, was lucky to make it this far.

In January, he went over the falls and was massaged, face first, into the Backdoor reef. He busted his jaw, fractured his skull, was knocked unconscious and spent three waves underwater. Pals pulled up him up by his leash and he was resuscitated on the beach.

Watch that here. (A good lesson in what to do in case of accident etc.)

Earlier this month, Surfer magazine and Volcom partnered on a lovely semi-short (it’s twenty minutes long) that follows “Payne before his near-fatal wipeout as he competed and freesurfed his way through Portugal and scored all-time sessions with friends back home in Hawaii. We also captured the wave that nearly spelled the end for Payne and the months-long battle he fought to return to the water.”

I think it would be correct to say that Dusty isn’t the most articulate of interviews. There are no startling revelations of life beyond the grave or fabulous epiphanies, but the story of having his head caved in, along with drone footage of the rescue, with Dusty unconscious and unbreathing on the beach, will make most us blanche a little.

And who doesn’t want to be blanched to the colour of moonstones?

Watch here!


Embarrassing: The connected surf groupie!

"Hey KELLY... glad you called ME..." etc. etc. 

Few things in this life embarrass me more than the connected surf groupie. The industry bro, surf journalist, beach announcer, hanger-on who has confused his proximity to professional surfing with actual friendships of professional surfers and also has confused professional surfers with actual famous people. Not that professional surfers make bad friends and not that they aren’t “famous” in their own small way but the industry bro, surf journalist, beach announcer, hanger-on should know, better than anyone how small that way is.

Oh, it’s a wonderful life and forgive my crankiness but I have had occasion to reminisce these past few days about the connected surf groupie. About his crowing on and on and on and on about all his famous professional surfer friends and how close he is with them and how they’re going on a surf trip together and… pause… wait for backslaps and affirmation and exclamations of “Oh what a wonderful life!”

I’ll always remember, as prime example and connected surf groupie par excellence, the onetime voice of extreme sport/pre-Kardashian E! television, Sal Masekela, at Surf Ranch. He was there participating in Surf Journalist Day even though he is not a surf journalist, enjoying both the left and the right and the hot tub filled exclusively with male surf journalists. At some point he announced, quite loudly, that he had been texting with Kelly Slater. Shortly thereafter he took a loud call from Kelly Slater in the hot tub filled with men, shouting, “Hey KELLY… glad you called ME…” etc. etc.

Now, this would very cute for a eleven-year-old boy with a social anxiety problem but was it appropriate in front of Vaughn Blakey and Sean Doherty and Surfline’s Marcus Sanders?

Maybe.

But probably not.

Or am I just cranky? Should I abandon this odd pet-peeve? Help me be a better man!