Hypocrisy: West Australian paper calls out Medina/WSL!

Revenge is a dish best served cold!

Doesn’t this 2018 iteration of the World Surf League’s Championship Tour seem like it has been running for five years? Like, can your mind even stretch back into the mists of time and recall Julian Wilson’s victory at Snapper? What about Italo Ferreira’s victory at Bells? Ok, last one, what about Willian Cardoso’s victory at Margaret River?

Ha! Trick question! The Margaret River Pro was canceled due shark activity nearby even though there is always shark activity nearby and concluded months later at Uluwatu.

The state government of Western Australian, who pays handsomely for the event, was very clearly unpleased with the World Surf League for making a mockery of its “Visit WA” campaign. Life goes on, they say, but they also say revenge is a dish best served cold and the most august West Australian newspaper needled the League just three days ago at the conclusion of the J-Bay. I cannot do it justice so let us please read together.

The decision to send competitors back into the water sits in stark contrast with the events in Margaret River in April, where two shark attacks near Gracetown saw the WSL’s event at Surfers Point called off completely.

The Margaret River Pro is expected to remain on the world tour for at least one more year after signing a two-year extension late last year.

Brazilian surfing heavyweight Gabriel Medina spoke out after the South-West attacks, declaring he did not feel safe in the Margaret River region. His compatriot Italo Ferreira was also critical of the “very dangerous” conditions.

Medina was one of the first surfers back in the water after the second shark-enforced halt to competition at Jeffreys Bay on Thursday.

That is professional level goading right there. I am very jealous. But, while I have you real quick, what do you think Western Australia’s reception will be for Gabriel Medina next year and do you think Gabriel Medina cares either way?

Surf sports even happen in this inner city!
Surf sports even happen in this inner city!

Apocalypso: “Surf sports can take place anywhere!”

Anywhere in the entire world!

Have you ever heard the phrase “surf sports?” Oh I’m not talking about the classic shop names like Huntington Surf & Sport or Laguna Surf & Sport, I’m talking about “surf sports.” Like, sports that are surf related, I suppose.

I hadn’t until this morning when a press release from the International Surfing Association dawned my inbox.

You certainly remember the ISA from such recent hits as “getting surfing into the Olympics” and “getting surfing into the Olympics” but you may not be aware of the heavy push to include stand-up paddleboarding under the banner. There is a actually a very big fight between the surfing association and the kayak association for the SUPs. I’ve written about it before but apparently my words carry zero weight and the ISA is doubling down, trying to secure the SUPs ahead of Olympic qualifiers with the SUPers declaring their love for surfers.

And now let us read a statement from ISA president Fernando Aguerre:

“We are proud that the world’s best SUP athletes continue to support us as the sole governing body of Stand Up Paddle, and we are excited to see the passion for the sport in London this weekend.

Ultimately, it is the athletes who are the heart of the sport and we are delighted they continue to recognize the work we have done to develop SUP around the world. For more than a decade we have worked for their benefit, and I am proud of the great partnership we have with the APP to enable SUP to flourish for many more years.

The APP World Tour has grown into a truly incredible event series and I am excited by what the future holds for it. By taking the sport of SUP to the likes of London and New York, we are showing that surf sports can take place anywhere in the world, and are continuing to engage new, inner city fans and open up new markets. This is an exciting time for Stand Up Paddle and the ISA is proud to have worked so hard, and for so long, to grow the sport to this point.”

Did you catch that? Surf sports? Surf sports can take place anywhere in the world and are continuing to engage new inner city fans? Hmmmmmm. Surf sports.



Can you think of other surf sports you’d like to see now that this pandora’s box is open? Is skateboarding a surf sport?

Impregnable: West Oz gov to build 260km anti-shark maginot line!

"A matter of life and death," says environment minister.

You know, of course, the story of France’s Maginot Line. The French built a series of concrete fortifications after World War One to keep out the dang Germans.

Ten years later, the revitalised Hun marched around it and drove its long dick into Paris’ guts.

Gone in two weeks.

Recently, the state government of Western Australia announced it would build its own 260 kilometre fortification, deploying 180 electronic drum lines along popular Western Australian beaches (from Quinns Rock just north of Perth to Mandurah just south and from Bunbury to Prevelly, i.e. Margs etc). The drum lines will cover beaches where 11 out of 17 fatal shark attacks happened in the past 25 years.

How do the “non-lethal drum lines” work?

You got an anchor, a rope, two buoys and a satellite-linked comms unit attached to a boated hook. When a shark bites, pressure on the line triggers the comms unit which alerts Department of Primary Industries scientists “or contractors” who then respond and work out how to get the beast off the hook. Shark is taken a click offshore and released.

Maybe it dies, maybe it don’t.

Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said the drum lines were a matter of life and death. 

‘Given the high incidence of shark attacks in Western Australia and the recent release of a CSIRO report into great white shark numbers off the west coast of Australia, now is an opportune time for the Western Australian Government to take further steps to protect is citizens from shark attacks,’ he said.

Mark Zuckerberg wonders if the fin is facing the right direction because an executive at the World Surf League told him that the other way is cooler.
Mark Zuckerberg wonders if the fin is facing the right direction because an executive at the World Surf League told him that the other way is cooler.

WSL + Facebook: “👎🏼👎🏼👎🏼!”

Surf fans react!

I was forwarded a very fine story today titled Update: Streaming from J-Bay and while it would have looked much better if it was titled Update: Streaming from J-Bay! I still enjoyed it very much. Which parts? Funny you should ask. I enjoyed:

While many fans worldwide are experiencing our high-quality coverage of the Corona Open J-Bay on Facebook, there are some that aren’t at the moment.

We would like to apologize again for any inconvenience. The technical challenges are being worked on.

We remain committed and excited about sharing the stoke of surfing with Facebook, and to grow the audience for the benefit of the sport going forward.

But mostly I enjoyed what all those worldwide fans experiencing the WSL’s high-quality coverage of the Corona Open J-Bay on Facebook. They wrote:

Thanks, now that the men’s contest is over and, for the first time in years, I didn’t get to watch anything. 👎🏼👎🏼👎🏼



Facebook it is the worst ever, with a lot of cracks, please back to the last transmition or use the youtube for it, they are much better!!

anybody with a spine will not do facecrook, only the spineless will eat this crap. been watching wsl since it first hit the net and now to hear that they bent over for facecook

Facebook and the wallet of WSL’s CEO will be the only ones who will benefit from this new partnership! The number of new “surf fans” the WSL gains through Facebook will be minimal compared to the number of fans it will lose from its core audience by alienating them. On the other hand, any surfer who decides to signup for Facebook will end up being a net gain for Facesuck… Good luck WSL!

At last a bit of sanity prevails, the damage that going to Facebook has done to our sport is disgusting. Sophie and the rest of the hierarchy at WSL give yourselves an F for Failure for your ridiculous decision about Facebook. We the spectators of a beautiful sport will give you a small tick of approval for going back to your normal broadcast, but we won’t accept the rubbish you are attempting to force upon us. Spectators maintain the rage, weight of numbers have toppled governments, stopped wars and we can win this battle.

WSL you lost me as a viewer. Such a shame to see this direction your going.




Staggering: “Thousands” tune in to J-Bay Women!

Click to reveal the popularity, staggering or otherwise, of women's pro surfing v the men…

Transparency is a fine thing, in biz, relationships and so forth. Until it isn’t.

And just as YouTube views demonstrated a less than y0u’d expect viewership of WSL event clips, Facebook Live has done something no other app, news organisation or company has been able to do: directly compare viewership numbers between the men’s and women’s events at J-Bay.

This would normally be little more than a curio, a side-note, if it weren’t for the fury over a recent junior event where the winner of the girl’s received a winner’s cheque that was exactly half her male counterpart.

(In little-boy-standing-on-the-corner-with-newspaper-bag voice, “Reeeeeeead all about it!”)

So, in similar waves, on the same week, with the same infrastructure, how did the women rate against the men? I figured it’d be roughly half. Five k or so. I don’t miss a heat with Carissa, Gilmore, Ho or Peterson. The rest I don’t watch. By force of numbers I presumed the men would be twice as popular.

From a glitchy start (don’t worry, I called around to see if it was just my connection), numbers hovered around 500, gradually got to a thousand, climbed…climbed…and peaked, as far as I could see, at around 2200 heads watching the English feed.

The best I saw on the Spanish feed was 302. The Portuguese around 350.

I emailed a pal in the UK who replied: “Ok, you ready for this. In a marquee Rd 2 match up between Carissa and Courtney, the numbers are hovering between 240-270! Staggering.”

It’s here the WSL will interject, of course, and remind us that these numbers are geographically specific. Two thousand in Australia, 302 Spanish viewers in Australia, 350 Portuguese and Brazilians watching in Australia and so on.

And, yet, in the Australian feed.

“Hello from sunny Ireland!” wrote Paddy Keane.

And the names of fans liking the feed were distinctly monocultural. Was Australia’s famously surf-crazy Arabic community all tuned in to the women? Hello Mustapha! Hello Fatima!


At some point during the feed, the WSL switched their app back onto live streaming.

Did that drain the viewer numbers?

In Australia, was the nation tuned into the broadcast on Fox Sports?

A few minutes ago, and unprompted, a noted professional surfer texted me and asked: “Is the WSL or dead or is FB that’s dead? Or both? So fascinating how podcasts are so much bigger than everything.”

Still, the numbers aren’t definitive. Tonight, howevs, and thanks to an IT pro, we’re going to get numbers from every continent.

Stay tuned, as they say in the classics.