McNamara: There are “tens of thousands” of waves like Pipeline around the world!

Also the top six deadliest waves rank in order!

The very famous big wave surfer Garrett McNamara was interviewed by men’s interest magazine D’Marge recently and gave his list of the world’s 6 deadliest waves. We will get to them soon and also a fascinating statement about the potential volume of these sorts of waves but first I must report that I just returned from an assembly at my daughter’s elementary school. Some children were receiving awards for good behavior and others were entered into a drawing for bigger prizes. The principal read them out while the children listened with rapt attention. A Nintendo Switch. The children oooh’d. An Apple Watch. The children aaah’d. A surfboard. The children went mental, clapping and screaming and hooting.

We still got it, baby.

Back to Garrett. The D’Marge piece begins thusly:

Ranking the most dangerous waves in the world is like measuring your dick with Apple’s latest app: controversial. To reduce the subjectivity of judging something that literally changes with the wind, we hit up Garrett McNamara, legendary big wave surfer and 8 year world record holder for surfing the world’s biggest wave, to understand which of the world’s famous big waves are the most dangerous, and why.

Oh and a side note: McNamara says, “There are definitely big waves all over the world that are unchartered and that people aren’t talking about—and a lot of them get overlooked because we’re focussed on where we’re going… I guarantee you there’s tens of thousands of waves like these around the world, and we don’t go on the days when they could be good because we’re at our spots—everybody goes to the wave they like and they know.” For now, this is what we’ve got…

Before we discuss the deadliest six, are there really tens of thousands of unchartered waves like Jaws, Pipeline, Teahupoo etc. around the world? Tens of thousands is a lot but Garrett has seen a lot more than me. What do you think? Tens of thousands?

And now the six from least deadly to most.

6. Jaws: “Jaws has a barrel without too much risk.” It’s also, he tells us, “Pretty deep and there’s a defined channel.” Of course the risk of being underwater for a hell of a long time is there, but if you’re towing you’re pretty safe.”

5. Mavericks: Throughout this time there have been a number of high profile drownings at Mavericks, due to “The Cauldron”, a “hidden threat” just beneath the massive peak which Grant Washburn, longtime Mavericks devotee explained to National Geographic as, “A deep hole in the bottom of the ocean (that) inhales seawater, surging violently with each passing swell… responsible for regular two wave hold-downs, and the deaths of Mark Foo and Sion Milosky.”

4. Shipstern’s Bluff: “Shipstern’s is super high risk,” with a less objectively perfect reward (i.e. it’s not a perfect cylinder like Pipeline or Teahupoo). “The reward is there,” he says, “But the potential for injury is higher because it’s not perfect.”

3. Pipeline: Coming in at number one on most “Most Dangerous Waves” lists, more people have died surfing Pipeline, on Hawaii’s North Shore, than any other place (since 1989 it has taken the lives of seven surfers, and threatened the lives of countless others). However, contrary to popular belief, a wave’s death toll does not reveal its lethality so much as it indicates the number of people that surf it regularly.

2. Teahupoo: Garrett concluded that Teahupoo provides the greatest risk and greatest reward of all the waves he’s surfed. Since discovering Nazare (the world’s biggest wave, which doesn’t really barrel) back in the late 2000’s, Garrett’s focus has now changed: “I’d much rather get the best barrel—I searched for the biggest wave in the world and found it. I still go back there but now my focus is perfect barrels.”

1. Nazare: “It’s way harder than jaws—it has every bit of the challenge as Jaws as far as the wave and the chop, but it moves around and there are no channels so you’re never sure if you’re ok.”

Do you agree or are you out trying to find one of those tens of thousands gems?

Admit it, kook: you hate the ocean!

Tell the truth: What is it you “love” about surfing?

Do you like to treat waves like a submissive concubine? Are you in thrall to the movements of mother ocean?

It ain’t that hard of a question. What do you love about surfing?

You talk about it. You spend all your time doing it.

You wouldn’t dream of travelling somewhere that didn’t have at least a semblance of a wave and if you do it’s only because you’re on some bullshit couple’s trip (Oh love, why did you forsake me?).

I got thinking about this because of all the wavepool chatter. I’m in the water every day, except for weekends ’cause they too crazy, and I’m getting all dried up waiting for a tank to be built.

“Imagine,” I said to a pal this morning, both astride our boards, sun out, four feet of picture perfect waves but actually shitty as anything, “If we could drive for thirty minutes inland and get ten good waves in an hour.”

So what do I love about surfing?

I like paddling where there’s no current, sitting by myself and popping my tit muscles through my wetsuit, catching smooth waves, going fast and looking for air sections to blow.

Oh I quite like the ocean with its happy fish (although I don’t blame the Japanese for serving dolphins on rye with kewpie mayonnaise) and those tropical reefs and its moods and colours and blah blah.

But, if you want honesty, if there was a wavepool nearby that was keenly priced or offered some sort of season pass or incentive program which fit my budget, and the ocean suddenly dried up.

Well, I wouldn’t give one royal fuck.

So what is it about surfing that you love?

Perfection: Professional surfing set to dominate HBO*!

The biggest stage! Finally!

Please forgive me for being optimistic. BeachGrit’s tagline after “Ultra Hard Surf Candy” is after all “Anti-Depressive.” And what’s more anti-depressive than hope? Than optimism?

And so please forgive me for dreaming that professional surfing in either World Surf League iteration or wildly successful Stab High iteration unproven but gold BeachGrit’s Everyman Challenge iteration can win hearts and minds in this ultra-fractured era. An era where bloodsport feels redundant. An era where even sweet science feels obsolete.

ESPN, the leading live sport broadcaster in the United States and I therefore assume world, has decided to untangle from boxing after 45 years and are looking for fresh sporting stories.

45 years.

And it would be rude not to read ESPN.

After 45 years as the broadcaster for most of the biggest fights in boxing, as the platform that created modern pay-per-view and as the launching pad for most of the sport’s biggest stars for decades, HBO announced on Thursday that it was dropping its coverage by the end of the year.

“Our mission at HBO Sports is to elevate the brand. We look for television projects that are high-profile, high-access, and highly ambitious in the stories they seek to tell and the quality of production in telling them,” HBO Sports said in a statement. “Boxing has been part of our heritage for decades. During that time, the sport has undergone a transformation. It is now widely available on a host of networks and streaming services. There is more boxing than ever being televised and distributed. In some cases, this programming is very good. But from an entertainment point of view, it’s not unique.

Did you read the same words I did? “We look for television projects that are high-profile, high-access, and highly ambitious in the stories they seek to tell and the quality of production in telling them.”

Well did you?

The only word pumping through my mind is “professional surfing.” I mean the only two words. So which should HBO scoop up for 2019? The World Surf League? Stab High? BeachGrit’s Everyman Challenge?

I’m totally biased here but think the only way for HBO to go is World Surf League. Just think how fabulous Gabriel Medina would appear in their hands. Just think how fabulous.

Have you ever watched a 24/7?

I’m multiple vodka………..what? Lime-flavored Perrier’s in but I can’t wait to see Gabriel Medina and Felipe Toledo in an HBO 24/7 that follows the World Surf League Championship Tour for 9 months and…

Lemmmmmme pour another one real quick.

*Dunno how to make this happen but let’s try? Let’s… talk to people?

Discrimination: Canadian surfers must answer math question to win WSL entry!

A vile plan to repress The Great White North!

The World Surf League and Red Bull have had a notoriously frosty relationship though it does seem to have entered a detente. In less than two weeks, in France, the two will jointly host Red Bull’s Airborne, a version of the re-popularized air format. The WSL describes thusly:

For the first time in history, the World Surf League (WSL) will be hosting an aerial specialty event combining a cross-section of the world’s best surfers from the elite Championship Tour with a global field of specialists for the Red Bull Airborne France this October.

Josh Kerr, former Championship Tour (CT) surfer and universally-regarded as one of the most progressive aerialists in the history of surfing, is one of the co-developers of the Red Bull Airborne France and will serve as Event Director in October.

The Red Bull Airborne France will feature an 18-man field across six qualifying heats and a Final, and will run in conjunction with the Quiksilver Pro France – the 9th Stop on the 2018 WSL Championship Tour.

Two remaining spots for the Red Bull Airborne France will be determined via an online submission site at The submissions will be judged by a panel including Event Director Josh Kerr, former CT stalwart and progressive surfing deity Taj Burrow, Ventura innovator Tim Curran and Santa Cruz’s aerial virtuoso Jason “Ratboy” Collins. The most deserving contestants — one surfer over 18 and one under 18 — will be awarded a spot in October’s competition.

Would you like two be one of the wildcards (enter here)? Do you have what it takes? Well, if you would like and do have what it takes but are also Canadian then there are extra hoops for you to jump through. Shall we read the fine print?

Winner Notification: The Winners will be notified by email, on or about September 16, 2018 and must acknowledge receipt of Sponsor’s notification within 48 hours. All decisions of Sponsor are final. All selected Winners are subject to verification of eligibility and compliance with these Official Rules and will be required to sign a Declaration of Eligibility, written acceptance of agreement to these Official Rules, as well as enter into an Athlete Agreement and other requisite documentation in order to participate in the Event. In addition, potential winners from Canada, if any, will be required to correctly answer a mathematical skill-testing question without aid or assistance before being declared a winner.

What the hell WSL? What is this sort of punitive slap at The Great White North? It seems aimed at making sure that Canadian surf aerial specialists are both disenfranchised and shamed into not competing. Imagine winning one of the coveted wildcard spots. Imagine you have put it all together, the best airs of your life, and you’re set to go to France to compete both with and against your heroes. Then imagine an official from the World Surf League knocks on your Tofino door (or Vancouver, Toronto, Winnipeg… wherever your Canadian dream home is) holding a mathematical skill-testing question. This WSL official takes your phone and any calculators away, clicks her stopwatch and says, “Begin.”

Would you pass? I wouldn’t. I would fail even if the mathematical skill-testing question was 6 x 7.

And now we have a very real scandal on our hand.

What do you have against Canada, WSL?

I need answers and I need them now, eh.

Broadcast wars: Stab High crushes WSL viewership numbers!

Live surf viewing is a growth industry!

The just wrapped Stab High was a wonderful event, something I was very happy to watch live across the vodka-cocos from David Lee Scales, and comment upon. It was the first vision of broadcast professional surfing we have seen since the Association of Surfing Professionals transgendered into the World Surf League and I was hungry, starving for a new, different interpretation.

Oh it was fun and of course just an airshow and in a pool but different and new. We all wag our tongues at what we are given for free by the WSL. We all wag our tongues and complain about blah blah blah and blah blah blah and sour grapes and Joe Turpel’s vacuousness because we are bastards. And bitches. All of us are bastards and bitches.

But how would different look? How would new look?

How many people spend either $9.99 (pre-book) or $14:99 (day of) to watch an airshow in a pool?

I enjoyed every second until the Acid Drop bit, though I did have a few heartfelt critiques, but overall was over the moon because it was different and new and hoped that hundreds, maybe even a few thousand, were enjoying with me. Hundreds maybe even a few thousand seeing a different, new interpretation of professional surfing.

Well guess what?

The numbers Stab is telling brands absolutely dwarfs anything the World Surf League has ever done aside from Mick Fanning getting bumped by a Great White Shark in South Africa.

20,000 purchases.

20,000 people logging on at either $9.99 or $14.99 starving, hungry for professional surfing.

Oh the number absolutely crushes anything the World Surf League has ever done (aside from Mick Fanning + Great White Shark) and we have Facebook to thank for that or at least Facebook to thank for some visibility here.

Of course we are talking concurrent viewers here but still, the WSL has never seen that windfall and especially not for people willing to part with money. An incredible number an amazing number and it gives me hope that our future is bright. That surf websites can harness an appetite for humor-filled good times and earn near $200,000 or $300,000 in pay-per-view revenues alone.

We’ve all made fun of the World Surf League’s response to lower than awesome numbers enough. The league’s “these-are-regional-representations” etc.

Let’s just all be transparent. Let’s just all let the freak flag fly.

Why not? We live in a beautiful world where plucky media properties can dance with billionaires.

We live in paradise.