Earlier today, a BeachGrit reader made a strong point regarding the surfer bona fidesof 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.
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!”
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.
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.
Announced: The World Surf League declares war on people who surf!
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.
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.
Quik Pro Day 1: “Who is the quivering coward? The fanboi bitch?”
Metaphysical questions plague the gorgeous French beachbreak!
Used to be it seemed a year long tour was a grand idea. But if I’m being honest, which is what they pay me for, I’m suffering extreme pro surfing fatigue by the time the European leg rolls around. My interest seems to peak sometime around J-Bay or Tahiti with maybe a late flare up for a classic Pipe finish.
Having to wade through the whole 34 man field again, not once but twice just seems cruel and unusual punishment. A two-week long Test Match between Bangladesh and Afghanistan was how BG principal Derek Rielly phrased it in a text message. Minus John John and Slater I want match-ups with contenders not another two-day slog before we get anywhere near the chase.
Sophie wants to grow the audience, new hire Erik Logan calls the league brimming with “untapped potential” and they keep throwing out the same product.
How to actually grow the audience? An answer may lay in pro surfings sister sport, MMA and it’s pro league UFC. I’m not a fan, the equivalent of Backwards Fin Beth, what hard-core fight fans derisively term “casuals”. But the pre-fight hype for the Conor McGregor/Khabib fight effortlessly drew me in …..did you see? Presser one in NYC Conor (biggest sports star in the world) told Khabib to “shut yer mouth ya mad backwards cunt”, called him a “little fanboi bitch”. Called his manager a ‘terrorist snitch”, his Dad a “quivering coward”.
Not to everyones taste, but Joe Carr former UFC exec, now chief strategy officer for WSL must have gazed longingly, lovingly at it. That ability to generate hype, draw a crowd, get the fucking despised casuals to get drastic with the plastic; what a dream for Sophie and the new hires.
Who would be the mad backwards cunt? Who the quivering coward? The fanboi bitch? ….assuming Pro Surfing dropped the #blessed and went full UFC.
Sunny days in France playing happy families while we wait for a roughie to bolt from the back of the pack is lovely stuff. Touching. Chances of that drawing in a casual= nil. Chew on that Erik. You can draw up all the direct to consumer pseudo pay-per-view the Universe directs you to but unless you build a proper drawcard, you ain’t got shit. The same thing we’ve had since J-Bay. Two thousand hard-cores sipping peppermint tea on Facey cheering on their gal.
In perfect French beachbreaks with a ton of waves ridden Jordy sneaked past Zeke, a mild robbery , with a neat little left tube on the buzzer. An entertaining heat.
Italo was several notches ahead in speed, power and repertoire in his Rd3 heat against Yago and Asing. A huge dagger knifed into the neck of a throaty closeout – a turn only he and maybe Colapinto can pull – was lowballed for a 7. Other waves pushed him into a comfortable lead that was never headed. Any hopes Dora might ride some momentum from his silky Air Show victory were quashed by a bumbling performance.
Julian Wilson laid down the best ride of the morning, a deeply threaded tube, greased alley oop and hammer finish for an 8.5. The days first excellent score. It looked like the Day of the Decade at a Coolum beachie and he treated it just like that. Easy win…..but in the post heat presser there was still that suspicion that J-dub was over-analysing during heats, leading to mistakes in execution and decision making. Not in this heat, but that is the pattern. Everything is going fine, until it’s not. Maybe he can overcome that mental weakness. Maybe not.
Medina started cool in heat 5 against Tomas Hermes and ex rookie Ryan Callinan , then just cooly opened up on two rights to ice the heat. 80% winning percentage in Europe. Mad cunt. I don’t mean that rudely, just using it as an example of what a spicy presser to build an audience might contain Erik. The biggest sports star in the world calls his opponent a mad backwards cunt, in public, in front of an online audience in the hundreds of thousands. I mean mad cunt in the Australian sense as a term of praise.
What? Surfing’s different you say?
No it’s not you mad cunt, well only in the sense that it’s spent the last 30 years trying to build an audience by throwing out the same moldy product the mainstream has rejected time after time after time. Listen to your chief Strategy officer Joe Carr who said there are a “ton of parallels between both companies (WSL and UFC).” If there is a difference it is that UFC doesn’t seem intent on dumbing down the product to piss off its hard-core fan base. It’s not the broadcast, it’s the build-up. Good heat in perfect surf. Medina in total control.
Filipe was off in the next heat. A little flakey. Nervey. Couldn’t quite nail a lofted lien air, was out of rhythm, got frustrated and dropped his bundle. He didn’t need much against a strong Connor O’leary and french wildcard Couzinet. But he could not get it done. My view: I would like to see Filipe win next two events and clinch the title before Pipe with a delicious low stakes victory lap at the Pipeline for the haters. Chances of that happening: next to nil.
My favourite wave was ridden in the next heat by Adriano De Souza, owner of the most improved skill set in pro surfing. He sizzled one right hand wave with so much extra torque in the turn it made me pine even harder for John Florence. Midnight in Australia, just me and my 2 thousand homies watching… I have to look up the results to see who won heats 8 and 9.
I watched but I must have been wide awake dreaming. Pat Gudang won on a bright yellow board with two big styled out backhand thwacks. Ace sliced and diced….he would definitely not be the fanboi bitch, or the quivering coward.
Too good. Lordy, lordy. Can you shorten this Euro leg as first order of biz Erik?
Pretty please you mad cunt.
Quiksilver Pro France Round 1 Results: Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.86, Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 13.33, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 11.07 Heat 2: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 10.70, Owen Wright (AUS) 10.56, Joan Duru (FRA) 9.50 Heat 3: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 13.40, Keanu Asing (HAW) 10.70, Yago Dora (BRA) 4.57 Heat 4: Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.67, Frederico Morais (PRT) 10.46, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 7.74 Heat 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 11.93, Tomas Hermes (BRA) 11.26, Ryan Callinan (AUS) 10.33 Heat 6: Connor O’Leary (AUS) 10.17, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 9.10, Jorgann Couzinet (REU) 4.00 Heat 7: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.50, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 8.50, Wade Carmichael (AUS) 8.00 Heat 8: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 13.43, Ian Gouveia (BRA) 13.23, Kolohe Andino (USA) 9.97 Heat 9: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 13.90, Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 6.67, Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 1.50 Heat 10: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 14.24, Michel Bourez (PYF) 11.90, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 10.83 Heat 11: Mikey Wright (AUS) 15.30, Conner Coffin (USA) 13.73, Michael February (ZAF) 10.77 Heat 12: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 10.93, Willian Cardoso (BRA) 8.67, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 5.90
Quiksilver Pro France Round 2 (H1-2) Results Heat 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 15.84 def. Jorgann Couzinet (FRA) 7.77 Heat 2: Ryan Callinan (AUS) 16.10 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 12.17
Quiksilver Pro France Remaining Round 2 (H3-12) Matchups: Heat 3: Wade Carmichael (AUS) vs. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) Heat 4: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Keanu Asing (HAW) Heat 5: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) vs. Joan Duru (FRA) Heat 6: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) Heat 7: Willian Cardoso (BRA) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA) Heat 8: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Ian Gouveia (BRA) Heat 9: Conner Coffin (USA) vs. Jesse Mendes (BRA) Heat 10: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) vs. Michael February (ZAF) Heat 11: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) vs. Tomas Hermes (BRA) Heat 12: Yago Dora (BRA) vs. Frederico Morais (PRT)
Jon Pyzel and Matt Biolos by @theneedforshutterspeed/Step Bros