Filipe Toledo
The world number one, Filipe Toledo, with father Ricardo, pre-heat against Ryan Callinan. I have a lot of respect for Ryan (Callinan), he surfed really well,” Toledo said. “I’ve been on tour for six years but I still make rookie mistakes. That priority mistake cost me the heat and probably the yellow Jeep Jersey.” | Photo: WSL

Quik Pro Day 2: Tour Leader Filipe Toledo eliminated; Judges suffer psychic meltdown!

And Hermes quivers with rage!

Apparently Erik’s people were none too stoked on the tone of the coverage last night but there was no actual intent to abuse, humiliate or insult – more a sincere effort to bring in a little emotional heft into the trash talk ala UFC and see what happens.

Maybe it veered a little too close to homage but the WSL with it’s hire of Joe Carr who fattened and then steered through the sale of UFC to WME-IMG for 4 billion, surely could not be squeamish. You can’t imagine him, for example, getting all giddy like Pete Mel and pulling the mic on Gabe Medina when he said in a 2015 presser that if Glen “Micro” Hall told him to fuck off he’d teach him a lesson in Portuguese.

Remember that? Same comp Freddy P lined up the inside rock for a board slide. All scrubbed out by the hygienists at the WSL.

Round two heats lined up today and plenty of them, sifting through a tide ravaged French lineup that threw up random gems . I picked Wiggoly (d. Carmichael), Andino (d. Asing), Igarashi (lost to Duru), Wilko (d. Bourez), Pupo (lost to Cardoso), J-Flo (lost to Gouveia), Coffin (d. Mendes), M-Rod (d. February), Zeke (d. Hermes) and Fred Morais (lost to Yago Dora).

A long wait between excellent rides. In fact, one single eight-point was awarded to Yago Dora after 10 heats of pro surfing in good to great, albeit tricky, three-to-five-fot hollow (at times ) French beachbreak. And that eight was an over-cook, probably delivered in a moment of either frustration by Pritamo Ahrendt or some kind of psychic meltdown he felt from the death-rays I was sending his way through the computer screen .

No, the back half of the field did not cover themselves in glory.

Zeke and Hermes fought a great heat. Zeke put up his power turns and was slightly under-scored, like he was yesterday and a faint whiff of robbery was in the air.

Something strange happened in the booth… I can only surmise, maybe a bag of cookies bought back from Amsterdam was mistakenly handed out for afternoon smoko? These things can happen in even the most professional organisation. Something weirded out the panel because they started highballing the hell out of Hermes waves. That left Zeke chasing a high seven  that he never really should have needed and when he threaded a good but not mind-blowing tube on the buzzer they were forced into giving him the (over) score. At least they had the balls to over-score the fuck out of it so it looked emphatic. There’s nothing worse than a weak over-score.

Hermes was quivering with rage when Rosie, towering a whole foot taller than the Brazilian, tip-toed into the presser with a very soothing tone. Tomas gave Rosie a gobful ” I don’t understand”, he said. “I don’t even read the note they give us anymore.” It’s a cosmic leveling I wanted to tell him. Instead of admitting to mistakes, they level them up the next chance they get.

Hermes was quivering with rage when Rosie, towering a whole foot taller than the Brazilian, tip-toed into the presser with a very soothing tone. Tomas gave Rosie a gobful ” I don’t understand”, he said. “I don’t even read the note they give us anymore.” It’s a cosmic leveling I wanted to tell him. Instead of admitting to mistakes, they level them up the next chance they get.

Dora’s eight-point ride came in on the heels of the drama. The note from the judges had gone out and Innovation and Progression were at the top of the list. Curious on a day of such limited repertoire but Dora threw a carve, a straight up lip schwing in the lip and then a high-speed lip glide ala Occy ’83 for the eight. That made no sense either but here we were. Go check the analyser and see what you think.

Freddy did not dig it, he was waving his arms around and banging his chest. Last year they gave his brand of committed meat-and-potato rail surfing tens. This year it may as well be a bucket of prawns left in the hot sun. You could understand a man feeling….rejected.

Italo and Wilko opened round three with potential for the heat of the day as a south wind started to ruffle the lineup. A strong opening exchange was scored almost equally. Italo started freesurfing, throwing huge backside rotors into the wind. He must have read the memo. Nothing stuck. But the strategy seemed to bait Wilko into playing his game and going too big. Wilko fell. It was tight with a minute and change to go. They split a peak. Wilko threw two tight backhand hooks at a gurgly bowl. Italo threaded a clean tube and finished with clean power turns. Coin toss.

Scores took an age to drop. Long enough to check the ratings and see Wilko languishing in 36th place. I thought Italo had it, judges gave it Wilko. Will that be enough to restore the missing mojo, that is the question. Surely Wilko is too old and too ugly to go back to the q-ey.

Gloom rolled in. It looked like the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan. Connor squeaked past Yago, Jordy did the same to Gouveia. My feed was feeble and having to refresh and be force fed the Jeep ad time and time again literally turned my brain to mush.

Lets catch up on the rest of round three below.

(Editor’s note: this included the elimination of world tour leader, the Brazilian Filipe Toledo by wildcard Ryan Callinan in round three. From the day’s presser, from the very good Chloe Kojima: Callinan never looked defeated and fought back to take an incredible come-from-behind victory with his last two efforts of a 7.93 and an 8.87. The Australian, who received a replacement wildcard for being the best non-CT surfer on the Qualifying Series, played spoiler in the World Title race today by eliminating Toledo, giving Gabriel Medina (BRA) a golden opportunity to overtake his compatriot in the rankings.

“I was pretty lost in the moment, to be honest,” Callinan said. “I just built through the heat and the two waves that came to me just happened to be beautiful waves with no lumps. It’s amazing out there. I feel like I belong there now. When I was on tour, I had a lot of big heats like that were close but never seemed to go my way. It seems to be switching around in this event so it’s great!”)

Quiksilver Pro France Remaining Round 2 (H3-12) Results:
Heat 3:
Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 10.00 def. Wade Carmichael (AUS) 6.83
Heat 4: Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.07 def. Keanu Asing (HAW) 11.13
Heat 5: Joan Duru (FRA) 11.44 def. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 10.56
Heat 6: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 11.50 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 9.00
Heat 7: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 13.44 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 3.60
Heat 8: Ian Gouveia (BRA) 12.36 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 9.50
Heat 9: Conner Coffin (USA) 14.00 def. Jesse Mendes (BRA) 11.43
Heat 10: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 14.10 def. Michael February (ZAF) 12.93
Heat 11: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 13.93 def. Tomas Hermes (BRA) 13.80
Heat 12: Yago Dora (BRA) 15.77 def. Frederico Morais (PRT) 15.57

Quiksilver Pro France Round 3 (H1-7) Results:
Heat 1:
Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 13.90 def. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 13.84
Heat 2: Conner Coffin (USA) 10.43 def. Yago Dora (BRA) 10.27
Heat 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 10.50 def. Ian Gouveia (BRA) 10.30
Heat 4: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 11.13 def. Connor O’Leary (AUS) 11.07
Heat 5: Adriano De Souza (BRA) 15.20 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.14
Heat 6: Ryan Callinan (AUS) 16.80 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 16.60
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 11.33 def. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 8.37

Quiksilver Pro France Remaining Round 3 (H8-12) Matchups:
Heat 8: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) vs. Ezekiel Lau (HAW)
Heat 9: Mikey Wright (AUS) vs. Joel Parkinson (AUS)
Heat 10: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 11: Griffin Colapinto (USA) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
Heat 12: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Joan Duru (FRA)

What is a surfer
The surfer in its many curious forms!

Quiz: What is a “surfer”?

Are you a surfer and why?

Earlier today, a BeachGrit reader made a strong point regarding the surfer bona fides of the WSL’s new head of content, media and so forth, the “waterman” Mr Erik Logan.

“I know Elo,” wrote TheInertia regular KWhilden, “and he paddles out most mornings before dawn to surf, and then drives into work. It doesn’t really matter what he rides. In my book, that qualifies as someone who ‘surfs’.”

And so I wondered, is that all it takes to be a surfer? To enter the ocean on some sort of flotation device and express a devotion to this activity?

If I like punching things, growling at other men and wearing stretchy pants, does that make me an MMA fighter?

I’m hobbled by my own prejudices on the issue.

I don’t believe I can legally claim surfer status, even though its been my only game since I was twelve, because of the so many things I get wrong.

As for being a “waterman”, I think that requires a tremendous affinity with the ocean, not just an enthusiasm for big surfboards and spear guns.

Brad Melekian wrote about it beautifully in The Surfer’s Journal in the piece, What the hell is a Waterman? 

Think of today’s unimpeachables—Brian Keaulana, say, or Mark Healey, or Dave Kalama, or the late Rell Sunn—and you’ll find that you’re thinking of men and women who not only know or knew how to do certain things in the ocean with incredible skill, but men and women who knew why they were doing these things, and dedicated their lives to existing in deep harmony and accordance with that profound sense of purpose.

When we call someone a waterman, maybe what we’re really saying is that that person is entirely and uncommonly devoted—to their core, in a subculture already rife with uncommon devotion—to a coastal life lived in its totality, to the raw, edge-of-nature wilderness experience that the ocean can offer, and to the possibility that such devotion can lead to a better existence not just as a person in the ocean, but as a person in search of a meaningful life.

Now, you tell me: What is a surfer and when did you start calling yourself a surfer, if ever?

Listen: “Chris Binns to replace the ’89 World Champ Martin Potter in the booth!”

An unexpected potential miracle!

It’s World Surf League Day at BeachGrit and, seriously, what would we do without them? I would imagine a similar conversation is taking place in their rose petal-scented Santa Monica headquarters right now. I would imagine poor new President of Content, Media and WSL Studios hire Erik Logan is scratching his head and asking Chief Executive Officer Sophie Goldschmidt, “What the hell is this all about? What on God’s green earth would they do without us?” And I would imagine CEO Sophie Goldschmidt is looking over her shoulder for answers. Looking first for ex-CEO Paul Speaker and then for ex-CCO Beth Greve before shrugging when she can’t find either of them and responding, “I have no idea. We give the bastards crazy high quality free content at enormous sacrifice and this is how they repay us. Maybe they’re retarded?”

Of course Ms. Goldschmidt would never call anyone “retarded” but we are or at least I am. Retarded and proud! I’ve got two WSL scalps under my belt now. Speaker’s and Backward’s and I bet it aggravates them both to no end. I bet they try and spin why and how they left the WSL but we all know it was me. We all know that the incessant drum of the retarded drives even the most linked Linkedin mad. Like Poe’s telltale heart.





But, seriously, what would we do without them?

I’ll tell you what we’d do. Have a week like last’s. With half-baked stories that no one wants to write and no one wants to read.

But Erik Logan… are you reading now? Have I got your attention? I’ve got you as my third scalp and the only way out is to come chat with me face to face. You name the time. You name the place. You name the outfit. You can even bring the coffee table.

David Lee Scales and I spent much time discussing the brand new President of Content, Media and WSL Studios and his fate. All I want is to chat. All I want is for one of those high tower folk to recognize that the grumpy local is part of their audience and have a very fun, maybe even boozy chat.

More importantly, David Lee dropped an absolute bomb right at the beginning. There is a semi-legit rumor that ex-Australia’s Surfing Life editor Chris Binns is set to replace the ’89 World Champ Martin Potter in the booth in 2019. Exactly 130 years since he won his world title.

If this is true, I’m absolutely thrilled. If this is not then……. I’ll continue penning impotent rage.

Either way we all win or win-ish.

Listen here!

Jen See: “It’s like a highlight reel of my worst surfing nightmares!”

That’s what I thought when I saw the WSL's new President of Content's Instagram yesterday.

It’s like a highlight reel of my worst surfing nightmares. That’s what I thought when I saw Erik Logan’s instagram yesterday. Have you ever surfed a line-up crowded with stand-up paddle boarders? It’s like trying to cross the street in Los Angeles, if the drivers, in addition to piloting giant automobiles, were also carrying spears.

I have survived this ordeal and I have returned to tell tales of the horrors I have seen.

“Why aren’t you riding a longboard?” The disembodied voice comes from somewhere above me.

I look up and see a common sight: A middle-aged man, on a stand-up board, paddle in hand, who wants to tell me how I should be doing surfing. I’m not sure why he thinks I want his advice. I mean, I don’t, really! But men in the lineup are going to give their advice, whether or not I want it. If nothing else, this is a thing I’ve learned in this life.

I’m paddling to the outside at a local break whose main claim to fame is its proximity and convenience. Arcing ribs of Monterey Shale hold bars of sand haphazardly in place. The combination creates a peeling wave that doesn’t hold size — or really do much of anything at all. Occasionally on just the right swell angle, it approaches something resembling good. It’s the little point break that could. It’s almost endearingly mediocre.

The place also hosts every kind of surf-like activity you can imagine and maybe a few you can’t. Groms on boogie boards. Adult learners on 10-foot softops, being pushed into waves and falling in the shallows. Bikini-clad girls on longboards. Finless wavestorms. That one determined guy on the sinking shortboard, who knows better, but can’t help himself. Long-time locals on longboards, just looking to get a few before their sun sets forever. The skimboarder doing step-offs.

Then there’s the stand-up paddle boarders. They mostly live in the nearby neighborhoods. The money came late to this part of town, because for many years, it stood hard by the city dump. That’s long gone now and a two-bedroom bungalow will run you a million and change.

There are Sprinter vans in the driveways and stand-up paddle boards in the garages. The men, and it’s mostly men in the SUP ranks, walk down to the beach lugging their boat-sized crafts. They carry their paddles like spears into battle.

And a battle it very often turns out to be. There’s a heedless entitlement to these men. Who cares if their giant board comes flying through the lineup when they don’t make it over the set wave? We’re all just having fun here, right? Sure, I think, feel free to bash in my skull with your loose board. I didn’t really need that brain.

The men on SUP’s would never burn you, no way, they just want to share the stoke. It’s chill, right? Yeah, man, it’s totally chill. I totally love it when you burn me after I scrapped into a shit-small wave in a crowded line-up. “Go on, take everything, take everything, I want you to!” I scream in my best Courtney Love voice.

Sorry, I didn’t mean to hit your board! No big deal, I’m sure! Right, bro, I don’t care about my boards at all. I’ll just go home and cry while I stuff an entire package of q-cell in this giant hole. I didn’t really like that resin tint job, anyway. It looks better now with a mismatched blob of fiberglass on it. I’m pretty sure I’m going to start a new trend.

The first time I saw a foil SUP, I’m pretty sure I screamed out loud at the sight. Suddenly, a giant board with a guillotine screwed to the bottom appeared right in front of me. Dismemberment seemed inevitable. I was born to be shark bait.

Look, in all seriousness, ride the board that makes you happy. Surfboards are toys. They’re fucking toys we take into the ocean to have fun. That’s it! It’s easy to turn them into fetish objects. Who among us hasn’t smelled a board fresh from the glasser and smiled? But ultimately, the goal is to go outside, get a few fun ones, and go home happy. Surfing is our all-too-brief escape from a world that often feels a little too real and a little too much.

At the same time, surfing in places like California is a social endeavor, which is to say, it’s crowded as fuck. In theory it’s a delicate dance between you, the ocean, and a bunch of other humans, who all want the same scarce resource you do. In practice, it’s a mosh pit in full flight, all sharp elbows, fast-moving bodies, and a few stray shoes.

But even the most intense pit follows its own set of rules. There’s a fine line between getting your fair share and being an oblivious asshole. It isn’t actually all about you and your bros having a good time at everyone else’s expense — or which guy has the biggest stick. We’re all just trying to get through it and hoping that someone will find the shoe we lost along the way.

How much does surfing cost?
How much does surfing cost?

Announced: The World Surf League declares war on people who surf!

Yer kind ain't wanted 'round these parts.

This all started with Paul Speaker, some five or so years ago in a rose petal scented Santa Monica backroom. For it was then and it was there that the Association of Surfing Professionals was given, free of charge, to a small group of men backed by publishing magnate Dirk Ziff, who turned around and installed Mr. Speaker as the new CEO.

The name was changed, two years later, from Association of Surfing Professionals  to World Surf League and Mr. Speaker made the media rounds, visiting surf core favorites like Bloomberg and Fox Business wherein he extolled his broad vision for the future.

Surfing would be bigger than the NFL.

Hundreds of millions of people, billions even, were clamoring for the show.

Mr. Speaker did not surf.

Soon after he stepped down/was removed and Dirk Ziff acted as interim CEO while searching for a new candidate.

Mr. Ziff does not surf.

The committee found one in the ranks of professional tennis, a bright star named Sophie Goldschmidt.

Ms. Goldschmidt does not surf.

Then the hiring floodgates opened and Beth Greve was tapped as Chief Commercial Officer.

Ms. Greve did not surf.

While Erik Logan was given the title President of Content and Media.

Mr. Logan does not surf.

Worse, he SUPs.

Now, I understand that surfing helps absolutely no one be better at business. I think it could even be argued that some of the surf industry’s troubles over the past few decades were actually because everyone surfed. But I would continue to argue that surfing in the water on a surfboard sans paddle is essential, to… understanding why it all matters, what it’s all about, how it creeps into the cracks of busted lives and refuses to let go. Ever. Bottom line be damned.

Surfing is special, it matters and it belongs to surfers.

Now, a few hires outside of the ranks, some fresh insight, would have been applauded but the tone deafness has reached a point where I think the only reasonable conclusion is that the World Surf League’s upper management actively dislikes people who surf.

People who surf are the “grumpy locals” despised by Ziff. People who surf own brands being so pressured by the League that they’ve decided to give up sponsoring events. People who surf work at magazines, websites, podcasts, slaving for love rather than money. People who surf spend more time thinking about surf, traveling to surf, eating, drinking, sleeping surf than is healthy but cannot be marketed to because it ain’t a market. It’s a life.

People who surf don’t belong in the World Surf League.

Why the disdain? I don’t know. Maybe Speaker, Ziff, et. al. were made fun of by surfers in school and this is their grand revenge. Maybe they lost girlfriends to surfers even though they were all cool jocks. I really don’t know and can’t imagine I’ll get the opportunity to ask but am going hold out hope for Erik Logan. I’m going to  hold out hope that he is brave enough to come play with us and laugh because he also rides a longboard.

Maybe close enough.