Fantasy surf enthusiasts around the world react to the harsh news.
Fantasy surf enthusiasts around the world react to the harsh news.

Conspiracy: The WSL closes Fantasy Surfer for the Surf Ranch Pro!

It's an Orwellian Obscenity!

Now, you would think after my most recent Namotu fiasco that I would be on my best behavior double then triple checking rumors that float across my sky. That I would be on the horn with people who know or people who know people who know. That I would be fact checking late into the evening. That one more mangled piece of gossip could potentially sink us and I would be tireless, absolutely tireless, in making certain that only the absolute ungarnished truth gets shouted from BeachGrit’s rooftop.

You would think, but in reality I can’t even be bothered to log on to Facebook today to see if this newest rumor, that the World Surf League is not offering fantasy picks for the Surf Ranch, is true.

Is it true? A wonderful source informed me via Instagram:

Grab a vodka coconut water and let the BeachGrit readers know the WSL don’t seem to be running fantasy picks for Surf Ranch!!! What is this madness? Would it offer up too much enjoyment?Too much choice? Freedom? First they take our wave choice, then they take our team choice, what is this Orwellian Obscenity?

The fact that he used “Orwellian Obscenity” makes me believe it is entirely true but why?

Maybe, and this would be very smart of the World Surf League, fantasy is going away because reality is coming. Have you read news of the NBA’s embrace of real gambling? It is the first league in America to team up with a sportsbook (MGM) and the thinking goes now the door has opened all other leagues/associations are going to hop right through.

According to ESPN:

What did MGM get?

MGM gets the rights to NBA league and team logos, highlights, access to the official league data feed and the tag of being the “official gaming partner” of the NBA and WNBA.

What’s in it for the NBA?

The deal, according to sources, is believed to be $25 million over three years. That’s small change for the NBA. The value, though, may come through the creation of a market for their direct data feed. Now that MGM has signed up, other competitors have a decision to make: Is the access to data that the NBA is offering worth it?

Professional surfing should be right behind the NBA. I’ve written before that surfers are like magnificent horses and perfect to bet. High stakes players could visit the professional surfers on the sand before they paddle out and run our hands along their muscles. It would be wonderful and make for a wonderful time. Surfing was made for losing and winning but mostly losing money. Don’t you agree?

But if the WSL did not close their fantasy chamber because real gambling will be offered at Surf Ranch then why?

What could possibly be the reason?

Instant Success: BeachGrit reader claims prize in race to locate Mick Fanning’s wave!

One thousand dollar reward smokes out location! And it's a…surprise!

The game moves fast in this gorgeous connected world. Within minutes of posting a one-thousand dollar reward for any information that led to the whereabouts of Mick Fanning’s secret wave, an email and a telephone call had sorted out the necessary details.

There were the usual guesses: India, Christmas Island etc.

But as it transpires.

It’s in Africa. (Although a different part of the continent to what I’d supposed.)

And it needs a south swell, a real big south, to break.

Some other notable information. There’s a simple beachfront resort with air-conditi0ned rooms nearby with a tariff to please the budget traveller

English is the official language.

The local people sure do like to party.

The children are lovely and are very good dancers.

The region was featured in an extremely famous surfing movie.

The food ain’t bad. Hell of a lot of fish. No fun for happy vegans.

At night, the equatorial sky is of such a deep blue cosmic presentation one can lose complete orientation.

Celebratory cocktail?


Announced: Mikey Wright gifted wildcard for Surf Ranch Pro!

Which brand of metal is this?

The rise of Mikey Wright, younger brother of Owen and Tyler is either dull or sort of interesting though I can’t tell which. On one hand, the boy had seemed to position himself on other side of professional surfing’s spectrum where cigarettes n rock n roll rule. Where competition is for geeks. Where Owen and Tyler can keep it cuz rock n roll.


On the other hand, he is currently number 11 in the world, is an almost sure thing to be on tour next year and was just gifted the men’s wildcard for this weekend’s Surf Ranch Pro in Lemoore, California alongside Hirohito Ohara.


Wright told Australia’s 9 News:

“It’s definitely taking me some time to figure this wave out (Surf Ranch) but I’m getting there and it’s really fun. I’m pretty stoked to get the wildcard.

“I’ve been lucky enough to get a few this year and I’m really looking forward to the event.

“I’m not on tour yet so this year has been a real learning experience for me and I’m just trying to take it all in and hopefully next year I’ll make it.”

Those are all very appropriate things to say. Very WSL approved and maybe I’m the one who is dull for thinking there is still a dichotomy between “free surfers” and “champions.” I don’t know. Is Mikey’s rock n roll act just that? An act? Or did the World Surf League pitch a big enough tent for all to belong that I somehow missed because I was too busy being irrelevant and grumpy?

Is Mikey Wright more Poison?

Or Babymetal?

Or Slayer?

Waco wavepool
Nine-year-old Cruz Dinofa, from Jersey, gets behind the wheel of a people's classic.

Listen: “Surf Ranch is a Porsche! Waco is a Honda Accord with upgraded sound system!”

Come hear a pool by pool comparison! Surf Ranch v Waco v NLand… 

I chatted with David Lee Scales today for the first time in seemingly forever and what a chat it was. The man had just returned from northern Texas, surfing both the NLand pool outside of Austin and the Barefoot Ski Ranch featuring American Wave Machines technology near Waco. A few months ago, directly after Derek Rielly and I, he also surfed Surf Ranch in Lemoore, California giving him an official hat trick.

Oh I had a thousand questions. Which one is best, which one worst, which most fun and which least? How do they all compare? Which technology will be our future? You will learn many things while listening to the podcast and if you are not thrilled to go to Waco, when it is finished, then I don’t know if we can be great friends.

Just kidding, I am friend to all but back to which technology will be our future… I really needed to know and asked… is Surf Ranch a Bugatti while Waco is a Hyundai?

“Absolutely not.” David Lee said. “Surf Ranch is a Porsche and Waco is a Honda Accord with all the bells and whistles. Leather interior, upgraded sound system etc.”

I was perturbed by the comparison and pressed him further. “Both get you where you want to go…” he said “…the Porsche just comes with status.”

And I let the conversation drop at that point but shouldn’t have. Driving a Porsche is not about status, or not just about status. The way it handles, the way it accelerates and decelerates, the way the doors close and seats feel is… a revelation. From the outside, maybe, it seems like any other car but it is not. The Porsche is a joy. The Honda Accord is… not a chore but just meaningless.

Now, it goes without saying that my own personal Porsche experience is ill-gotten, though I have lusted over them since I was five-years-old but that doesn’t negate the truth of the sentiment. Which brings us back to our comparison. What sort of car is Surf Ranch and what sort of car is Waco? We can agree that NLand is a Kia Forte but what about the other two?

Help would be much appreciated but I think you should listen to David Lee Scales describe each first. It is, thanks to his experience, our best show yet.

Listen here!

The universal surfer.
The universal surfer.

Watch: Surfing as a decadent escape from hyper-masculinity!

Come and learn about Rocinha in Brazil!

National Geographic magazine is like The Surfer’s Journal of real life. Every story it touches turns to absolute gold, every pictorial between its thick, glossy pages grabs and refuses to let go. I remember spending hours, as a young boy, flipping through and learning about worlds beyond tiny Coos Bay, Oregon. About Mongolia and Burma, Argentina and Yemen.

The country/city features were always my favorites. I was never the biggest fan of dinosaur or science segues but the social studies were… perfection.

And today we learn about surf and surf culture inside one of Brazil’s largest favelas.

The piece begins:

A GROUP OF boys holding surfboards dash into the sea, smiling and laughing as golden light beams down on their wet skin. Here, in the water, they have found reprieve from the chaotic, cramped, colorful streets of Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro’s largest favela, a low-income urban neighborhood in Brazil.

Residents in Rocinha are plagued by violence and crime—children play in the same tight alleyways where drug traffickers work. One avenue away from the conflict: the ocean. The Surf Association of Rocinha (ASR), a local surf community and group of instructors, work to pull kids away from the dangers of the city and into the water, every day of the week.

Unfortunately, the community also struggles with widespread pollution and insufficient sanitation. The issue is a reality for all the favela’s residents, but it is uniquely problematic for those who spend time in the ocean. Much of the neighborhood’s waste flows straight into the nearby sea, leaving surfers and beachgoers to swim in tainted waters. Though the battle against this pollution seems monumental, ASR integrates eco-conscious activities into its sessions with the local kids—planning beach clean-ups and supporting environmental education.

After meeting this group of surfers while teaching English in the region, London-based documentary filmmaker and founder of the socially conscious Goma Collective Mikey Krzyzanowski knew he wanted to share their stories. He pulled together a crew of friends to help him produce the film, including director Sirus Gahan, co-producer Joseph Izzard, and assistant producer Gilvan Oliveira.

An interview with Mr. Kryzanowski follows and it si both illuminating and good. My favorite part is:

Why do you think surfing is important?

For these boys, they are faced with hyper-masculinity—having to live up to this big, strong stereotype. It’s a difficult thing for many kids, and I think surfing lets them escape that for a little bit.

A perfect summation of surfing everywhere and I completely agree. Surfers, even when pretending to be hyper-masculine, are either basically nude or wearing pantsuits in the water. We are all dancers. Dancers in the largest musical ever.

Watch here!