Meet: The World Surf League’s new President of Content, Media and WSL Studios!

What do Oprah, stand-up paddleboarding and professional surfing have in common? Come find out!

I’m gonna be honest with you. My eyes are still wet with tears over the sudden and swift departure of the World Surf League’s Chief Commercial Officer Beth Greve. Of course you and I know and love her as Backward Fin Beth. A wonderful ambassador of stoke and leisure, not to be confused with the World Surf League’s official Ambassador of Stoke and Leisure who is also currently missing.

Where did she go? Why did she go? I haven’t the faintest and so spend each day wondering and crying, intermittently.

But alas, the sun comes up once again, the world turns and the World Surf League hires a bold new friend directly from the very surf-centric The Oprah Network.

Let’s turn those frowns upside down and meet Erik Logan, new President of Content, Media and WSL Studios!

Erik enjoys warm nights and great friends.

Most days find him with a paddle in his hand and a smile on his face.

When he’s not getting out amongst it, he’s culturally appropriating at the SUP shop he owns in “the heart of downtown Manhattan Beach.”

But mostly you can find him with a paddle in his hand and a smile on his face.

What does the man himself have to say?

Today, I’m announcing that I will be stepping down as President of OWN, The Oprah Winfrey Network. Working for one of the greatest leaders in the world has truly been the most incredible opportunity in my career. I have learned and grown more over the past 10 years professionally than I did in the prior 20.

The accomplishments over the last decade have been many – from ending the Oprah Winfrey Show, transitioning the company to a studio, moving to LA, and making OWN the most high-profile turnarounds in cable network history. What has made these many years of work so memorable and enjoyable are the people who I had the opportunity to work and partner with.

My “Next Chapter” (as Oprah would say) is truly an opportunity of a lifetime. To marry my passion of surfing with my career is something that I never thought was possible or even imagageable 5 years ago. SUP, surfing, loving the ocean, were all things I’d never thought would be a part of my life. Now, it’s my life, my daily passion, and something that propels me into my next professional journey.

Joining the World Surf League is something I never thought this kid from landlocked Oklahoma would say, but it’s happening. I’m beyond grateful tothe WSL for the chance to join the already exceptional team for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

If I have learned one thing from Oprah over the past decade, it’s this: there is a “divine order” to the universe and our job is to get into that flow. We must LISTEN to what the universe is saying. So here I am. Marrying my passion with my career in this way is something only a higher power could forge for me. I’m humbled by this moment and still in a state of “I can’t believe this is happening!” But it is…. You’ll hear me say this a lot, but it’s true: #followyourpassion #liveyourpassion

What do I have to say?

I can’t wait for BeachGrit’s next billboard!

yago dora
Yago Dora, happy as a yam. Photo: WSL

Red Bull Airborne: “I really like the term ‘cork’. It reminds me of a corkscrew. Is that where it came from? Is it a corkscrew?”

The WSL gets airshow spectacularly right!

Did you watch the ‘Red Bull Airborne’, which was streamed live to an audience of almost thousands, during yesterday’s lay-day in the Hossegor Pro?

“Crowds love the athleticism and creativity of aerial surfing, and so do the surfers. Many say the future of surfing is in the air,” WSL CEO Sophie Goldschmidt had said in June, and which I’d jabbed at, airshows were a relic of the nineties and had died along with everything else ghastly in that epoch, but now I say…

How wrong could I be?

Even without Filipe Toledo and Gabriel Medina, who withdrew because, what, they win and everyone yawns, I told you so, or they lose, and the air crowd yaps about paper gods, the contest was an entirely blissful experience.

The Josh Kerr-confected air contest did two things.

It let the WSL loosen a few buttons on its starched pinafore and show that surfing didn’t have to be six hours of heats, grimly fought, like trench warfare. There was a spirit and, let me hitch my pyjama pants up for a moment, a joy to the game.

Eight months ago, Chas Smith wrote that “Todd Richards is the answer to all our surf commentary problems” and asked readers to email the WSL and demand his inclusion.

And there he was, just like magic, putting a ferocious amount of pressure on Peter Mel and Attack Tits Wasilewski. Kindly, but sternly, Richards responded to Mel saying goofy things like, “I really like the term ‘cork’. It reminds me of a corkscrew. Is that where it came from? Is it a corkscrew?”

Suddenly, pro surfing felt like surfing. Alive, unraped.

Accidentally, Red Bull Airborne revealed what the WCT still gets wrong, what the ASP got wrong. The events are too long, the roster of surfers is too unwieldy and, unless you’re swinging over the ledge at Teahupoo or Pipe, no one wants to see cutbacks and turns at three-foot beach breaks.

In the end, Yago Dora won with an ability to strike that isn’t always apparent within the strictures of a regular event.

Red Bull Airborne Final Leaderboard:
1 – Yago Dora (BRA) 18.27
2 – Griffin Colapinto (USA) 17.21
3 – Jack Freestone (AUS) 15.3
4 – Kalani David (HAW) 5.66
5 – Matt Meola (HAW) 5.40
6 – Eithan Osborne (USA) 0.00

Qualifying Round Leaderboard:
1 – Kalani David (HAW) 16.83
2 – Griffin Colapinto (USA) 14.29
3 – Yago Dora (BRA) 13.83
4 – Matt Meola (HAW) 12.46
5 – Eithan Osborne (USA) 12.34
6 – Jack Freestone (AUS) 11.26
7 – Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 9.84
8 – Jordy Smith (ZAF) 9.80
9 – Albee Layer (HAW) 9.76
10 – Eric Geiselman (USA) 9.60
11 – Mason Ho (HAW) 9.17
12 – Leif Engstrom (USA) 8.63
13 – Kael Walsh (AUS) 8.36
14 – Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 6.20
15 – Italo Ferreira (BRA) 4.96
16 – William Aliotti (FRA) 2.60
17 – Chippa Wilson (AUS) 1.46
18 – Sebastian Williams (MEX) 0.00

Journalism: Are wave tanks swimming pools or are they lakes?

Major newspaper investigates recent events in Waco!

I don’t use the word “shocking” lightly but I do use it here because “surfing” and “journalism” haven’t shaken hands since Brad Melekian’s icon “Last Drop” published eight years ago. That is a long time, especially considering our ultra-fast world where news and newsworthy events happen multiple times a day.

Let’s not discuss whose fault it is that “surfing” and “journalism” are so estranged. Let’s not point fingers at Nick Carroll but instead let’s see what it looks like by reading The Houston Chronicle (pronounced “Hyoo-stun” as opposed to “How-stun” like they do in New York).

And here we go.

The investigative piece first describes how a young man from New Jersey died from a brain-eating amoeba after surfing the BSR Cable Park in Waco, Texas. Then, if you can believe, the journalists asks a question. We’ll pick it up from there.

Stabile’s case raised questions about how water was cleaned at the surf park, a new attraction growing in popularity across the country, and one of two in Texas. State law strictly regulates a similar park in Austin, but it is unclear whether the Waco park fit the same definition. A spokesperson for the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District said they did not inspect the facility and did not further explain why.

It also highlighted a lack of protocol surrounding what to do when such an uncommon, bewildering infection occurs. The park told the local health district it would close the wave Sept. 28 — seven days after Stabile’s death. But patrons said they continued to surf there until Sept. 30.

One who visited on Sept. 27, surfing at a cost of $90 an hour, said he saw officials collect test samples but was not warned about what happened.

It also highlighted a lack of protocol surrounding what to do when such an uncommon, bewildering infection occurs. The park told the local health district it would close the wave Sept. 28 — seven days after Stabile’s death. But patrons said they continued to surf there until Sept. 30.

“I think they should have given us a choice,” said Edward Denton, 47. “They should have told us: ‘There’s a potentially deadly amoeba that has a 97 percent death rate, and it’s your decision.’… Now I could wake up tomorrow with a severe headache and have a three percent chance of living. ”


On and on it goes, each turn more stunning than the next, and you should certainly read and digest but the question is proffered, at the end, that interested me very much.

Are wave tanks swimming pools or are they lakes?

The regulations around both are very different. Pool owners must filter and clean the water. Lakes merely get closed down to the public if an outbreak of, say, brain-eating amoebas occurs.

It is a good question, one I’d imagine very much changes the fortunes of wave tank owners and hopeful wave tank owners.

Also, as it relates, the World Surf League’s number one financial play seems to be Surf Ranch. Right? Either Surf Ranch or the new and improved air-show format.

As first reported by The Inertia, Surf Ranch’s GM recently informed the Lemoore City Council that it would remain private, never actually “opening” to the public.

Do you think this in order to skirt regulations? Water quality issues etc?

Hmmm. This journalism seems exciting and I am going to call someone and ask.

Ouch: Australian cricket legend breaks neck while surfing!

Miraculously ok!

It was revealed yesterday that hall of fame cricket legend Matthew Hayden fractured his spine while surfing North Stradbroke, or Straddie, after running his forehead into the sandbar. Hayden, who is most famous for his ability as a batsman, holds the record for the highest score ever made by an Australian and the second highest innings by an Australian ever in India.

He was quoted in the Times of India as saying:

“It was an hour into the session and we had had half dozen waves together and I got this one right handed wave which I sort of ducked under and that is pretty much all I can remember.”

“I wasn’t knocked out. I was speared into the top of the sandbank onto the top of my head. Then it twisted my head with my own weight and the weight of the wave.”

“I heard this god almighty click in my neck. I did not get knocked out but I sort of came to and rolled up on my back.”

Hayden said he was able to get back onto the beach, but had scans later that day, which revealed the extent of his injuries.

It is a wonder, miracle even, that more surfers don’t get brutally and ghoulishly disfigured every day. Imagine all the things that can go wrong. Between water, rock, sand, kook, SUP, shark, brain-eating amoeba, etc. And yet imagine how rare news like actually is.

A miracle.

And back to cricket, briefly. It is not a popular sport in the United States, either to watch or play, and this is a great shame. I learned of the joys whilst in an Indian hill station many years ago. Sri Lanka vs. Pakistan was playing on the television in a coffee shop and a kindly Indian man spent two hours explaining the nuances of the game, the differences between test cricket and one-day cricket etc.

It very well might be the perfect game. Either cricket or Australian Rules Football.

Tell me a better. I dare you.

Surf Ranch
The beautiful pipes of Surf Ranch coming to an unlovely part of Australia. And next door, sorta, to the Webber pool! | Photo: KSWaveCo

(Hot) Rumour: WSL to build surf ranch next to Webber wave pool in Queensland crime heartland!

One of Australia's unloveliest towns to be gifted two wavepools! A Surf Ranch and a Webber!

Rumours are rarely as hot as this. From a source ever so well connected with the WSL, it has been revealed over the course of several long phone calls, that Logan, south of Brisbane, will be getting its own Surf Ranch on the site of the old Ingham Chicken factory – the second lousy town to be revived by the fantastic Slater-Fincham device.

And, said the source, the WSL wants to get it built…fast… as it tries to wrestle momentum away from American Wave Machines and Wavegarden with their commercially proven designs.

The name’ll be familiar because it’s where the company Tunnel Vision is going to build a Webber pool. The construction certificate, for that tank, is due to be passed within days. And if there ain’t complications, in come the diggers for a build that could take, in theory, as little as four months.

Greg Webber was in Thailand watching slow-motion footage of Kelly at his pool when BeachGrit started throwing lines at 4:53am, local time.

I wrote, “WSL building pool nearby, what’s happening with yours etc, could Tunnel Vision have changed tech and we’re talking about the same build?”

“Unlikely. They’ve asked me if it’s possible to make an unending ride with a looped linear. I sighed, thinking my god, asking for such a change so late but I went over it in my head and worked out that it’s possible.”

Did he believe Tunnel Vision will go with the endless loop?

“Yes, since it’ll make for a really novel experience. Trippy almost Going from a peeing point break stye with an acute ange to the gradient then bowly almost ninety-degree angled wall with a whitewash pal as you go around the end curve. Then, gradually getting faster and faster as it goes back to peeling pointbreak on the straight gradient again… No matte what there’ll be a wall where it hits the curved end pool step. It might not offer more than a cutback or two but who cars, you’ve just rounded the bend for your next high-speed run. Imagine, rippable first wall, ride the bend, then peeing pipe. Kind of fun…and…and exciting.”

How’d it change the design?

“Had to almost double the width of the centre island to do it. Plus other hub angle and speed changes.”

Of course, with the secrecy surrounding the building of pools and the millions of dollars involved, nothing is what it seems, and the proof will be, as they say in the classics, in the pudding.

If it happens, Logan, with its multi-generational unemployment, poverty and ultra-high crime rate (ram-raids, granny drug dealers, incest, murder, incest-murder, cop killers and so forth) might be changed forever.

And changed in the most beautiful way.

More as this story develops.