Clay Marzo opens his jets, Gnaraloo. Frame grab @superbrand

Tourism: Marg River Pro to move 1000 km away!

Blame Gabe!

Margaret River, a few hours south of Perth on Australia’s rugged western shore, is truly God’s country. Gorgeous hills dotted with vineyards, kangaroo farms and macrobiotic restaurants tumble into a sapphire ocean teeming with life. The towns are a postcard dream, impossibly cute with broad accent’d locals ready to serve you in any manner of ways.

It is truly perfection, a public relations department dream. Margaret River sells itself but what happens when Brazilian surfer Gabriel Medina hijacks the marketing? Margaret River turns into Uluwatu (in Indonesia some 3000 km away) or Gnaraloo station (in West Oz but 1300 km north) is what.

What an unmitigated disaster! But true. You recall this year’s Margaret River Pro, paid for by Tourism Australia, completed in Uluwatu. Well, there is discussion next year to move it equally far away (basically). And let us turn to the grand West Australian for more.

The Weekend West understands Margaret River Pro organisers met Shire of Northampton chief executive Garry Keefe and representatives from the Kalbarri board riders club to discuss moving the competition north. Kalbarri’s Jake’s Point (500km north of Perth) and Gnaraloo station (1000km north of Perth) are believed to be possible locations.

A State Government spokeswoman said Tourism WA had an agreement with Surfing WA to hold the Margaret River Pro next year.

“We are in early talks with Surfing WA and WSL about future years,” she said.

Then later…

The attacks (during this year’s event) prompted backlash from international surfing champions including Brazilian surfing heavyweight Gabriel Medina, who aired concerns about returning to the water.

Medina told his six million Instagram followers at the time that he did not feel safe training or competing in Margaret River after the attacks.

“They had two shark attacks on a beach close to where we’re competing,” he said. “I do not feel safe training and competing in this kind of place — anytime, anything can happen.”


Have you ever surfed in either Kalbarri or Gnaraloo station? Good? Fun?

Nice for competition?

And sharks?

Click here for Kalbarri. 

Here too. 

Here for The Bluff. 

Click here for Gnaraloo. 

And more importantly don’t you love how Australia kicks Gabriel Medina under the bus every single time there is a conversation about the cancelled Margaret River Pro? It is a well-executed campaign, no doubt, and I think that Gabriel Medina should move to Australia and become a villain.

Like, star in all the movies as the bad guy etc. Always shaking a fist at the camera and warning locals that he is one bad mama jamma.

And without further ado…

"We want to make sure that the correct decisions are made for the fans and the sport — so it can grow and thrive, and so we can continue to strategically invest in its development."

Surfline readers revolt after WSL PR spin goes wrong!

"Keep up the great work, losers…"

Earlier this week, the world’s biggest surf website Surfline, which has three million or so visitors every month, ran an interview with WSL CEO Sophie Goldschmidt.

It was called One Apology, a Dozen Promises and a Thousand Thanks from WSL CEO: After one year on the job, Sophie Goldschmidt’s learned plenty, but she probably taught us more. 

It was a cordial back and forth that read, to me, as an email interview. These are now the norm in what might politely be called journalism. You see ’em everywhere. Stilted sugarcane pulp.

The subject likes it ’cause they can vet everything that gets printed; the journalist is happy because it removes the need to talk to a human being and then transcribe whatever you record. All you gotta do is cut and paste the answers, file story, go home and be destroyed by your self loathing.

The uncredited interview, which initially had the byline Matt Pruett and which was later removed, is the usual inanity, the same fruitless labour.

“We thank the fans for their patience and support as we continue to work through the transition and the challenges with some devices, and we want to remind everyone that we’ve re-instituted the broadcast across our WSL channels until further notice.”

“We want to make sure that the correct decisions are made for the fans and the sport — so it can grow and thrive, and so we can continue to strategically invest in its development.”

“Gender equality is an incredibly important issue for us.”

“Who isn’t amazed by some of the waves ridden, such as Rodrigo Koxa on an 80-foot monster? Mind-blowing! The attention that great feat garnered for surfing was fantastic.”

“(Kelly) is a huge force for good in surfing, cares deeply about the environment, is the visionary behind a game-changing wave system, and more. We are very lucky he is close to WSL in many ways.”

Nothing offensive to beat the keyboard jockeys out of their peaceful drowsiness.

But, then, the kicker. 

Surfline: Finally, how did the new partnership with Surfline come about?

Sophie Goldschmidt: It was a logical and successful matchup benefiting everyone, most importantly the fans. Our Surfline partnership is a critical tool that helps to inform our WSL team to plan run days at times when there are optimal conditions. Beyond the detailed forecasting and support the Surfline team provides our event officials, fans benefit from the wealth of wave data that brings to life each wave on the Tour, as well as on-screen graphics and educational information shared with our broadcast team to create engaging content for our fans.

And the fans went fucking nuts.

The atmosphere was malignant.

Ninety-eight comments, a helluva response to a tame Surfline story.

All of ’em, except for whomever the moderator is, screaming “asshole!” and making obscene gestures.


Overall, this is like a “D” grade performance, and not something to be described with “growing pain” euphemism. Get back to Rabbit’s original model – go watch the original Billabong challenge and the 1995 G-land comp if you need an idea – and win back the serious fan.

She tried to bully City and County of Honolulu. Screw these suits, dicks.

Eds, please fully explain Surfline’s “new partnership” with the WSL. Mr. Pruett’s article looks like a corporate press release.

Is this garbage interview for real? Seriously. Are all of us who love this sport supposed to buy this junk?

No Triple Crown. No Trestles. No online viewing. Sorry, Facebook-only online viewing (which, btw, if you’ve been following the news and value your personal info, you might wanna stop using Facebook)
If I performed this poorly at my job I would be fired and so would most others. However, she’s a woman and an executive so she gets ‘special treatment’. What a joke. For the last 8 years I have watched almost every event. This year I have missed every event except for one. Keep up the great work losers.

One apology? How about apologizing for cutting Fiji and Trestles?? How about kneeling and begging for forgiveness for killing the Hawaiian leg??? Pipe? the Triple Crown?? She should be on the street by now

No Triple Crown, no Pipe Masters, this is the death of the sport.

It is not about the CEO. It is about the surfers and the product. By making it about her, she is setting herself up for failure.

If you want it to be about the CEO, ok: No CA contest (huh??) No Pipe masters? No Fiji? In any other business, a CEO pooches and event like Pipe masters, they are fired on the spot. It would be like the CEO of Nascar losing Daytona, he would be gone that day.

What a corperate hack job I have not and will not watch another contest broadcast. A non surfer running the WSL WTF. She has done more in one year to destroy Surfing contest then the WSL did in building the WSL.

I just read a commercial. Shame on me.

Maybe you’ll like the story. Everything we try to embroider around surfing is sterile, anyway. I wasn’t overly concerned but, then, I have a profound need for doom.

Read here. 

Scandal: Does the WSL support Holocaust deniers?

Marriage is a helluva drug.

Ooooooooooooh boy. Ooooooooooooh wow. Ooooooooooooh hell. And do you love an online dustup? Do you love when politicians or actors or musicians or notable personalities, in a moment of weakness, let slip some deep-seated personal bias and take the entire solar system orbiting their once bright and shining sun straight into the septic tank?

Ooooooooooooh damn.

Just yesterday discovered Facebook Founder-in-Chief Mark Zuckerberg in a heck of a pickle. He, somehow, became the patron saint of Holocaust deniers by claiming the denial of the Holocaust may be misguided but is not necessarily purposefully wrong.

Is there some validity to his position? Maybe Hitler didn’t off millions and millions of Jews? That is what Facebook Big-Dawg-in-Charge Mark Zuckerberg suggested through his support of Holocaust denier position.

Vice signaling etc. Dog whistling etc.

Social and normal media tee’d off on poor* him, of course, and by proxy tee’d off on Facebook’s newest live sport broadcasting partner the World Surf League.

Ooooooooooooh shit.

You’ve hinged on every single revelation as it relates to Facebook and its newest live sport broadcasting partner the World Surf League. You’ve invested not only time but time and is it possible, by proxy, that the World Surf League supports Holocaust denial too?

It is a very fringe opinion to hold and part of me wonders how the WSL will counter these charges, especially in light of a certain of its champions exhibiting….. oh never mind.

But you know what I’m talking about.

Ooooooooooooh yeah. You do.

WSL? Any opinions on the matter? Any official response or is supporting Holocaust denial the new prog?

Seriously… what would be the best course of action here? A full retraction of the Holocaust denier position by the World Surf League? A full support of the values of free speech?

WSL? Which is?

*poor as in….. ummmm… beleaguered..

Break out the Spam Musubi! The Great Eddie Rothman Just Turned Seventy!

He is no ordinary little man from Nebraska…

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it one thousand times. Eddie Rothman, co-founder of Da Hui, is one of the greatest characters of all and not just in surf.

From his backstory to his look to his specter which hovers over every inch of the North Shore… the man would be impossible to invent, much less replicate. He is truly one of a kind and today he turns 70. Can you believe it? Seventy whole years.

Da Hui’s Instagram account is filled with notables wishing Mr. Rothman a very happy birthday.

Etc. It will be very much worth your while to visit Da Hui’s feed and revel.

Here is poem about Eddie Rothman in a book called Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell which was apparently written seven years ago.

Theoretically Eddie Rothman is nothing to fear. Sixty-three years old and five foot seven, if generous, five foot six if honest, he could be a grandpa or a retiree. But he is not. He is roping muscle. His arms, usually bare, are perpetually flexed. His chest, puffed like a gorilla, vibrates aggression. His expression rarely changes. It is stone and his features are stone too. A pug nose broken more than once. A jaw that would be impossible to break even with a lead baton. He shaves his grey hair down to a fine stubble and the braided rattail that he once sported is gone. The neck that holds that head up is as thick as a tree. His eyes, when not covered behind wraparound sunglasses, are dull and probing at the same time. He looks through you, very slowly. He looks into you. The reality of Eddie Rothman lives up to the whispers. He is no ordinary little man from Nebraska, like the Wizard of Oz, hiding behind a disembodied, booming voice. He is a flesh-and-blood reckoning.

Happy birthday to Eddie!

Age shall not weary the Champ. | Photo: @sensitiveseashellcollector

Prediction: What surfing will look like in five years!

Will it be like a bland unresisting wax or something strong and hard?

Surfers, I think, might come from different stock but we have the same disposition to felony, gallant adventures, greed for solitude and a natural resistance to authoritarian masters. 

There have been so many unexpected turns within our little game within the past five years, pro surfing bought by a billionaire convinced he can turn it into a new NFL, wavepools that create waves beyond any dream, the death of the freesurfer, the rise of finless craft and so on, that I felt it time to peer into the future for another five. 

What will happen in the year 2023?

Oh, the things I see!

1. Greg Webber will announce a wavepool better than anything anyone has ever seen before! Everything from a a ten-foot Teahupoo ledge to a point better than J-Bay to an infinite variety of beachbreak wedges. And all on an endless loop. Open by the end of this year, says the grand master, now seventy five. “I’m patient and fucking determined,” says Greg, again.

2. John John Florence will win Olympic Gold at the 2020 Games…as a sailor. After exiting the tour in 2018, John John sails his 48-foot cat Falcor around the world, discovering a great love of the art of piloting a boat under sail. Dismissive of a tour that has four pool events, John John hits the Olympic sail trials and qualifies in seven different divisions. 

3. Los Angeles will become the tuberiding capital of the world after an earthquake levels the joint (one million people die) and lifts inshore reefs along the coast from El Segundo to Malibu.

4. The first of the wavepools will shut down. After only four years of operation, and despite much fanfare and bullish predictions of fabulous returns on the dollar for investors, Australia’s first wavepool is closed due to “disappointing” revenues.

5. A few days before his twentieth birthday, Maui’s Eli Hanneman rides out of the first 900, a move that’s been kicking around since the early 2000’s when Dane Reynolds almost hucked a double-spin at Canggu. Meanwhile, on the women’s tour, vet Silvana Lima completes the first alley-oop in a heat.

6. Kelly Slater announces he’ll be retiring, “this time for real” at the completion of the 2023 tour. But, adds, “I’ve said that before.”

7. Indonesia retakes Bali from Australian and American neo-colonialists, confiscating land and gorgeous beachfront bungalows with plunge pools and outdoor bathrooms. The heads of several prominent American pro surfers are set on pikes at Denapasar airport as a warning to others.

8. Foil-board fatalities for the year rise to an all-time high of seventy-five.

9. It’ll be the fifth year anniversary of the  death of a prominent surfer from a coke-related addiction. Sponsors, WSL, fans etc, act surprised. (Buy Chas Smith’s prophetic Cocaine and Surfing here.)

10. After the failure of, first, live streaming from YouTube and, then, Facebook Live, and a lower-than-expected response to pay-per-view, the WSL will be sold back to its old masters, the surfers, for one dollar and the assumption of existing debt, approximately 150 million dollars. Brodie Carr and Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew will combine to “restore surfing’s credibility.”