Victory: World Surf League achieves gender equality!

No more problems ever again!

Oh what a sticky wicket the World Surf League found itself in just a month ago. Do you recall? When the male winner of a South African professional surfing contest earned exactly twice as much as his female counterpart and for the same work? It was an innocent mistake, like they always are (very complicated math equations to blame), but thrust the WSL into the gender equality spotlight.

Some brave souls were quick to reach for the pitchfork and attempt to organize a march on the WSL’s Santa Monica office in order to rectify. Though this never happened it does seem that the the powers that be understood that some change needed to be made. That it is rarely a fine look to trot out men holding large checks and large numbers next to women holding large checks and small numbers. But what?


Well, it appears that a decision has been reached. A very fine BeachGrit reader noticed at the just wrapped Paul Mitchell Pro in Oceanside, California (billed as the largest female surf event in the world) that the women were simply called men.

It is a very progressive solution, one that I think might be replicated across all sport and maybe, if we are lucky, across all society.

Everyone is now a man!

No more pesky large check problems. No more problems of any kind and if all goes to plan the World Surf League’s contributions to women’s rights will be celebrated in museums around the genderless world.



The World Surf League knows that money never sleeps!
The World Surf League knows that money never sleeps!

Disaster: The North Shore’s new permit process!

Not good for the events or the community!

Last year, the World Surf League’s newly appointed CEO Sophie Goldschmidt flew to Honolulu at the last minute in order to petition the city government. The grand hope was a shifted Championship Tour season which would begin at the iconic Pipeline instead of ending at the iconic Pipeline. The reason? Officially to launch with much excitement but really, maybe, to de-emphasize Pipeline’s importance and pave the way for an eventual Surf Ranch finale.

Anyhow, I would imagine Sophie sitting there in her business class Hawaiian Airlines seat, sipping a green tea with mint, thinking to herself, “What a grand adventure I’m on.”

Then she landed and things went to hell. The city government rejected the WSL’s proposal and fighting and crying and much posturing combined with gnashing of teeth.

Well, things are still moving and yesterday a new plan was announced. Was everyone very happy? Let’s see!

A revamped North Shore surf calendar that now runs on a three-year cycle rather than a one-year cycle has been decried by some North Shore surf meet organizers. Some North Shore surf meet organizers and supporters are unhappy with new rules that went into effect Monday for the granting of permits for North Shore events. Key to the new rules is a revamped North Shore surf calendar that now runs on a three-year cycle rather than the old one-year cycle.

The current calendar schedule has been slotted through Aug. 31, 2019, and those who want to hold surf meets between Sept. 1, 2019, and Dec. 31, 2021, will need to submit applications by Sept. 28 this year. Another major change is that applicants for permits will no longer have an appeal process. Mahina Chillingworth, who organizes Da Hui Backdoor Shootout for Hui o He‘e Nalu, said both the new three-year cycle and elimination of an appeal process aren’t good for her event or others in the community. “It doesn’t give an applicant who was denied a permit due process to question and go through an appeal process to fight for their permit and to prove the city wrong,” Chillingworth said.

The three year cycle and zero appeal does seem custom made for the very strong (read fascist) arm of the World Surf League.

And do you think Ms. Goldschmidt is very pleased? Do you think she’s sipping an English breakfast with milk nodding subtly?

Cap'n Timmy in wheelhouse of beached boat.

Meet: the Man Whose Boat Got Clobbered at Nias! “I cried but then I smiled too because no one got hurt!”

Skipper Timotius Wau makes public apology for losing his boat at Nias in biggest swell in twenty years…

How about last week’s swell at Nias that yielded, apart from Nathan Florence’s homicidal tube, vision of a local boat owner’s vessel being thrown to the lions. 

In a lesser man it might’ve provoked a suicidal gloom, a self-pity, a hatred for the gods and a bitterness for fate.

Its owner, Timotius Wau, who makes his living with a surf camp and surf charters, was anything but discouraged by the event. In a short piece-to-camera he made for Facebook a couple of days ago, he politely introduces himself and explains how his pretty little boat happened to end up in the line-up on the biggest day in twenty years.

Timmy was away on his biggest charter boat, the Ono Niha, when he got a call from his wife telling him his other vessel, “got smashed by the swell in front of our house!”

“I apologise to all the surfers in the lineup that time, I’m very happy, very glad no one get hurt. If someone got hurt with the boat it’s gonna be very, very sad. A lot of my guys, a lot of my friends who stay with me, they tried to save the boat and push it away from the waves, but it didn’t work out because the sets coming. They get smashed and it’s not gonna be fun.”

Compelling viewing.

Which of these two gorgeous surfing champions transitioned from man to woman and then back again? A gender waterfall.

Chas Smith: “How I’m Going to Raise My Gender Neutral Surf Kid!”

What surf lessons would you teach your beautiful gender neutral child?

Good morning from Tisvelde, Denmark and oh hell. Oh damn. I just spoiled my secret beach town and now everyone is going to come and it will be wrecked like Skeleton Bay.

Well, we have bigger mackerel to fry anyhow.

You know that there has been much discussion in both the real world and the surf world about gender. Sexism, misogyny, pay discrepancies etc. These are radically shifting times and very important but in our surf world a certain segment has been left entirely out of the discussion.

The gender neutral. 

And how should these young thems navigate?

How should them move through the surf and the surf shop and the surf trip?

These are the lessons I would impart to my own imaginary gender neutral child.

  1. Surf alone: There are generally more males in the water than females and they are generally rude though females are also generally rude so it is best to ply your craft away from others. More pleasure will come in the solitude.
  2. Unless attractive: the lineup is a great place to flirt and be flirted with. Lulls between sets etc. provide ample time to start little heart fires and the world will be your oyster. 
  3. Kook is beautifully neutral itself. Neither male nor female. He’s a kook, she’s a kook, they’s a kook. Celebrate. 
  4. The fins of the surfboard point toward the tail, not toward the nose (even though this seems overly binary). These can be confusing waters to wade but help is always close. 
  5. Rip Curl’s male clothing offering seems made for aggressive lesbians by egalitarian North Koreans so may be the best fit, though experiment with all surfwear brands. 
  6. Ride asymmetrical surfboards
  7. Stay away from Venice-adjacent late at night. Twin surf websites The Inertia and Stab both employ many incels and they will not be kind nor sympathetic. 
  8. Drink rosé
  9. Enjoy the delicate pairing of Martin Potter and Joe Turpel who, together, form a perfectly gender neutral soul. 
  10. If able, drive a Tesla with a Tesla/…Lost surfboard strapped to the roof. 

There are many more but what would you gift to your beautiful gender neutral child?

What lessons for surf?

Kolohe Andino, a boy with a soul pure as snow! Photo: WSL

Day One, US Open: “The most unimpressive and humiliating conditions in professional sport!”

Five observations painted in broad strokes cuz it’s about the forest not the trees!

“There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part. And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it – that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!” – Anonymous surf fans, Huntington Beach, July 30, 2018

Waist-high, tide-addled Huntington Beach. Really? A professional surf contest at Huntington Beach in 2018? In the summer?

Wait, every summer? Since, like, forever?

Yup, good old HB is still the time-tested venue of the US Open, that mid-summer affair that showers a bounty of qualification points onto an always impressive field of global surf talent as compensation for willingly subjecting themselves to some of the most unimpressive, uninspired and humiliating conditions in professional sport.

It is almost inexplicable — and wholly inexcusable — as to how and why this contest continues to dole out ten full racks of qualification points for a formula-driven tag on the outside, a coupla hops through the middle and a generic closeout bash or twist onto the sand. 

Save me the tired old “the whole industry’s around the corner, bro” spiel: Huntington should have passed from relevance as of the Momentum generation, much less when their kids are knocking on the World Tour’s front door.

And just in terms of this year’s QS, Huntington ain’t a top ten venue, not even close. Did you see Arica or Iquique? Or the string of 1500-point comps in South Africa? Acapulco pumped… for a measly 1000 points. Even the usually HB-like Los Cabos Open went batshit and this year it was exclusively a women’s contest! For anyone other than the pedestrian beachgoer or guy drinking a beer on the pier at 8:30am, there is no legitimate reason that the Huntington comp should exist.

And yet the US Open persists. One of the world’s biggest contests in some of the world’s most lackluster surf. It’s never going away, even if every other contest on the QS were to go absolutely best-day ever for the next twenty years. Much less under the WSL reign of old backward-fins whats’er name.

Huntington is as close to the stadium experience as surfing has ever had, VIP experiences included, and you betcha that the WSL is hedging their bets on replicating it in the wavepool era, even if it’s in a ski lake in scenic King’s County.

But as much as I may snipe at the OC — perhaps unfairly, but more likely completely fairly— and deride the US Open as a scam, a farce, an exercise in the futility of properly governing professional surfing, there’s something to this here contest.

There’s something, there’s lots of something, that is ridiculous and completely idiotic and devoid of reason about the US Open.

Yet there’s also something completely familiar to every California surfer. And that is why I watched. With a full docket at a new job, I watched every heat of the US Open today, a display of masochism that might only be explained by… I don’t even know how to explain it, but I’ll be damned if I don’t try.

Had I not been watching a surf contest with my very eyes, I would have thought that Mel and Coté’s responses to Kobayashi’s interviews were talking about how great the new hire from Pepperdine is at meeting his quarterly sales quota. Vanilla is not the word. Uninspired is not the word. “Professional” is.

Here are five observations from day one of the 2018 US Open, painted in broad strokes, cuz it’s about the forest, not the trees!

  1. The everyman’s struggle is real at HB. I’m not talking about the generic pro’s struggle or some other tired narrative. Oh no, not even. I’m talking about you, me, and every other plebe who crawls out of bed at five am to try to find some pocket of mediocre surf on weekend mornings around two kids, questions of livelihood, and the soul-crushing weight of adult responsibility writ large. The fact that this godforsaken contest gives away so many points and cuts a decent check puts a big segment of the world’s best onto a wave that is all too familiar to the time- and cash-strapped Californian who often has no recourse but to jump in at onshore, high-tide beachbreak X to stay sane. California has its gems. But we also have far, far more crumbly, gutless waves that are a quick turn and a couple of hops and a prayer for an end section. The US Open is impossible not to watch because of the same terrible surf that makes it so loathsome: Tom, Dick, and Harry and Mariano wanna see some top-form grom or big-name pro tear the shit out of the same surf that we subject ourselves to for too much of the year.
  2. The complete and utter lack of falling. This was in part because the waves were, well, shitty. But they were shitty in that way that enabled guys to catch the wave mid-pier, tag a round turn out the back and hop or pump to an inside reform where one last maneuver awaited. It was shitty surf complemented by perfect surfing. Perfectly safe, perfectly predictable, perfectly uninspiring, a real representation of what surfing looks like without judging criteria that can adapt to surfing post-Dane. That is, unless you’ve found yourself trying to milk that same hack-pump-pump-pump-air reverse combo out of shit surf. And if that is your struggle, then every heat was a clinic in how to best surf that crappy summer shorebreak peak just down the road from veritably every California surfer anywhere in the state. You may not get wowed, but you’d be hard-pressed not to learn something about surfing shitty waves from watching the US Open.
  3. Professionalism is the go. The poor up-and-comer on the QS who isn’t a teetotaling Ned Flanders…after every interview, your favorite voices of reason bent over backwards to congratulate the maturity, professionalism and polish of a bunch of late adolescent kids who, by my estimations, would be way more interesting if they were fucking or fighting their way through life and surfing. This was especially true with San Clemente boy wonder version 6.0 Kei Kobayashi. Had I not been watching a surf contest with my very eyes, I would have thought that Mel and Coté’s responses to Kobayashi’s interviews were talking about how great the new hire from Pepperdine is at meeting his quarterly sales quota. Vanilla is not the word. Uninspired is not the word. “Professional” is.
  4. In spite of Kobayashi’s top marks on the day, California doesn’t have another WT candidate at the moment, much less a title contender waiting in the wings. Every corner of Southern California was represented in the early heats and it is official: the next generation is hopeless for raw talent, leaps and bounds behind the Brazilians and Aussies. I don’t say it out of spite or favoritism. I say it because it’s true. The average performance by Californians reminded me of college kids interviewing for internships as tax professionals. And that was the surfing, not the interviews.
  5. WSL propaganda is, uh, lacking. Based on the fact that they talked about beer as if it was a cleaning product that my kitchen just couldn’t do without out, I’ll be passing on any Michelob purchases in the near future. After seeing them on camera, I also wouldn’t trust the people that make Michelob Gold with my children, not even the female one. I also wouldn’t trust anyone hosting an Air BnB WSL Experience with my money (or my children). And to round out the ads cycling through, I’m pretty sure Wade Carmichael put his wetsuit on over his Australian Merino wool WSL embroidered sweater in his advertising debut. Somebody please confirm whether this was homage to Victorian seafaring culture or just poor editing.

Vans US Open of Surfing Men’s QS Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Kei Kobayashi (USA) 13.37, Reef Heazlewood (AUS) 11.83, Kalani Ball (AUS) 5.93, Imaikalani Devault (HAW) 5.83
Heat 2: Mateus Herdy (BRA) 13.34, Tomas King (CRI) 12.43, Jordy Collins (USA) 10.74, Tomas Tudela (PER) 9.76
Heat 3: OneyOnwar (IDN) 13.10, Joh Azuchi (JPN) 12.90, Shane Campbell (AUS) 10.60, Santiago Muniz (ARG) 7.30
Heat 4: Mitch Crews (AUS) 12.50, Finn McGill (HAW) 9.53, Rio Waida (IDN) 8.27, Krystian Kymerson (BRA) 2.94
Heat 5: Beyrick De Vries (ZAF) 11.87, Tanner Hendrickson (HAW), 10.83, Ryland Rubens (USA) 10.37, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 8.94
Heat 6: Mihimana Braye (PYF) 12.60, Cody Young (HAW) 11.20, Koa Smith (HAW) 10.70, Jacob Wilcox (AUS) 9.17
Heat 7: Parker Coffin (USA) 10.33, Timothee Bisso (FRA) 10.06, Jackson Butler (AUS) 8.27, Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) 3.37
Heat 8: Marco Fernandez (BRA) 13.70, Kyuss King (AUS) 12.70, Samuel Pupo (BRA) 12.20, Marco Fernandez (BRA) 11.77

Vans US Open of Surfing Men’s QS Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Kei Kobayashi (USA) 13.17, Ryan Callinan (AUS) 12.04, Willian Cardoso (BRA) 11.90, Carlos Munoz (CRI) 11.70
Heat 2: Keanu Asing (HAW) 14.34, Heitor Alves (BRA) 14.30, Marc Lacomare (FRA) 13.06, Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 10.77
Heat 3: Reef Heazlewood (AUS) 13.17, Yago Dora (BRA) 11.50, Marco Giorgi (ARG) 10.14, Mikey Wright (AUS) 8.74
Heat 4: Ramzi Boukhaim (MOR) 13.86, Adriano De Souza (BRA) 13.83, Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 12.13, Mateus Herdy (BRA) 11.64
Heat 5: Kolohe Andino (USA) 12.63, Dion Atkinson (AUS) 11.63, Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 11.37, Tomas King (CRI) 8.90
Heat 6: David Van Zyl (ZAF) 14.13, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 12.56, Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.80, Wyatt McHale (HAW) 10.50
Heat 7: Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 13.23, Lucca Mesinas (PER) 12.96, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 8.70, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 8.70
Heat 8: Joshua Moniz (HAW) 14.57, Griffin Colapinto (USA) 14.23, Barron Mamiya (HAW) 11.74, Oney Onwar (IDN) 9.30

Upcoming Vans US Open of Surfing Men’s QS Round 2 (H9-24) Matchups:
Heat 9: Frederico Morais (PRT), Deivid Silva (BRA), Victor Bernardo (BRA), Joh Azuchi (JPN)
Heat 10: Ezekiel Lau (HAW), Jorgann Couzinet (FRA), Noe Mar McGonagle (CRI), Mitch Crews (AUS)
Heat 11: Ian Gouveia (BRA), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Rafael Teixeira (BRA), Cam Richards (USA)
Heat 12: Luel Felipe (BRA), Bino Lopes (BRA), Thiago Camarao (BRA), Finn McGill (HAW)
Heat 13: Italo Ferreira (BRA), Hiroto Ohhara (JPN), Flavio Nakagima (BRA), Beyrick De Vries (ZAF)
Heat 14: Joan Duru (FRA), Jadson Andre (BRA), Gony Zubizarreta (ESP), Hiroto Arai (JPN)
Heat 15: Sebastian Zeitz (HAW), Peterson Crisanto (BRA), Kiron Jabour (HAW), Tanner Hendrickson (HAW)
Heat 16: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Ricardo Christie (NZL), Charly Martin (FRA), Mihimana Braye (PYF)
Heat 17: Michael Rodrigues (BRA), Seth Moniz (HAW), Soli Bailey (AUS), Cody Young (HAW)
Heat 18: Connor O’Leary (AUS), Jack Freestone (AUS), Mitch Coleborn (AUS), Matt Banting (AUS)
Heat 19: Patrick Gudauskas (USA), Ethan Ewing (AUS), Lucas Silveira (BRA), Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 20: Conner Coffin (USA), Maxime Huscenot (FRA), Cooper Chapman (AUS), Parker Coffin (USA)
Heat 21: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), Nat Young (USA), Aritz Aranburu (ESP), Timothee Bisso (FRA)
Heat 22: Tomas Hermes (BRA), Alejo Muniz (BRA), Ian Crane (USA), Marcos Correa (BRA)
Heat 23: Michael February (ZAF), Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA), Benji Brand (HAW), Hizunome Bettero (BRA)
Heat 24: Wade Carmichael (AUS), Evan Geiselman (USA), Davey Cathels (AUS), Kyuss King (AUS)