Revealed: Why surf funnies from Wilbur Kookmeyer to the WSL’s Get Sent! fail miserably!

Welcome to peak funny!

Do you recall some… I don’t know… six months ago (?) when the World Surf League, based in Santa Monica, California but represented globally through a series of pay-to-play pimp schemes rolled out their comedy show Get Sent! inspired by Instagram bloopers?

I barely do either and thought they cancelled it though a quick search reveals it is still alive. I wrote a little something uninspired and embarrassing about it then (read here) but was quickly reprimanded by none other than Chris Cote who informed me that the principals “Chad” and “JT” were genuinely funny.

A quick Google search revealed that Chris was totally right. Chad and JT are actually hilarious playing surf schlock to a non-surf audience.

But their meme show falls flat and why? Even with the power of millions of World Surf League Instagram fans it has failed to garner more than 8000 followers and how?

Well, I’ll tell you. Our surfing world, with everything it encompasses, is difficult/impossible to satirize back to a surf audience because everything we do is inherently satirical. From waxing surfboards to putting on black pantsuits to getting furious at men and women, in their black pantsuits, trying to dance next to us in the ocean while dolphins look on, chuckling.

Surfing is ridiculous and I think most surfers, or at least most surfers who have accidentally gone all in on an OK hobby (me, you, every person here) recognizes it as such. Fun, of course, but ridiculous. Very much like Alec Baldwin playing Donald J. Trump. It’s fine, I guess, but Trump does Trump so so much better. It is why @KookOfTheDay @KookSlams etc. work brilliantly. They simply hold a mirror up and allow us to laugh at ourselves instead of attempting some sort of heavy-handed schtick.

Or to laugh with Erik Logan.

Can any comedy bit outshine the World Surf League’s President-elect of Content, Media and WSL Studios shredding an @infinity_sup, wearing @outerknown 4-way boardies by @kellyslater whilst on his month long Fijian vacation?

No.

It’s as funny as it gets. Funnier than me, you, every person here because Elo is also holding a giant paddle.

Ha!


From the I-must-break-you Dept: Gabriel Medina foregoes early Hawaii to GET RIPPED in Brazil!

Current world number 1 gets PHYSICAL!

In what is now a 40-year-old tradition, the normally bucolic North Shore of Oahu has come to life in recent weeks, teeming with professional surfers both competing, practicing and tasting sweet Hawaiian justice. Titans of surf industry sit on shaded verandas and do key bumps of mid-grade cocaine while the sun sets (buy here!). Young boys, shipped over by hopeful parents, get whipped in dungeons then screamed at in overcrowded lineups. Sluts roam the bushes looking for prey.

It is an earthly paradise and everyone one is there. Everyone save current world number 1 Gabriel Medina for he is back home in Brazil GETTING RIPPED.

And have you seen Rocky IV? It is the best of the classic series by far where we are introduced to the Russian Captain Ivan Drago (played by the Swede Dolph Lundgren). He was a machine, an absolute machine and put the Philadelphian Rocky Balboa to merciless shame. Smashed him to a bloody pulp. It was so brutal that I had to turn the film off in the 14th round and I believe Drago’s success can be attributed to his training. Let’s watch him in action.

Now let us examine some side by side images of Ivan Drago and Gabriel Medina who is doing much the same thing in his home country.

Julian? Are you watching?


jew surfers
Calling all Jewish surfers!

Let’s go schlepping! Surfing gets into 2021 Jewish Olympics!

Are you Jew? Do you want to compete for medals and prizes? Apply here.

Has it already been four years since I claimed, here, that Israel was the “raddest surf trip on earth?”

Five, since a barrage of phone calls led Dion Agius, Craig Anderson, Josh Kerr and Creed McTaggart (“I love the Jewish steeze”) to an Israeli surf trip filled with the happiest chaos of endless drop-ins and beachbreaks resembling Duranbah?

Two years since Ozzie Wright and Otis Carey made startlingly successful cameos at the country’s first WQS event. Oz celebrated with a song called King of the Jews, which he performed on his ukulele and I recorded. (Listen here.)

Yesterday, I received an email from my very good Israeli friend, Yossi Zamir, who wrote: “I just got surfing into the next Jewish Olympic games (third biggest event in the world). They can pay to get some famous Jewish surfers to the event, all inclusive. Maybe we can put the word out to Jewish surfers around the globe?”

The Jewish Olympics he refers to are the Maccabiah Games which, like the Olympics, run every four years and have done so since 1932. To enter you either gotta be Jewish or an Israeli.

Are you one or both?

Do you shred?

Do you, therefore, want a free trip to the happiest kingdom on earth? Where the desert blooms and there lives a hard-charging deaf big-wave surfer? Where pretty army gals with freckled faces wear fitted khaki uniforms and machine guns on their backs and where smoking in restaurants is still a thing?

Or do you subscribe more to the views of the six-year-old Palestinian girl who, on national television in 2013, recited a poem that went a little like this:

“Oh, you who murdered Allah’s pious prophets Oh, you who were brought up on spilling bloodYou have been condemned to humiliation and hardship.

Oh Sons of Zion, oh most evil among creations

Oh barbaric monkeys, wretched pigs…”

Triggered!

Anyway, if you want in for the 2021 shred-fest, leave a comment below and we’ll put you in touch with the Maccabiah Games people.


kelly-slater-filipe-toledo
As anyone who has ever had one too many drinks will appreciate, knowing when to leave the party is far more difficult than it sounds. “What harm could one more drink do?” you tell yourself. Or, “Who knows, I might still pull.” And the party is, after all, where the party’s at. Home is so boring by comparison. | Photo: WSL/Steve Sherman/@tsherms

Opinion: “Kelly Slater has left us a story that is profound and strange!”

Is the 11-timer a tragic hero, ageing gracelessly, losing his grip on both power and reality? And will Pipe provide a happy end to the Slater psychodrama?

At the risk of kicking a dead horse, or a moribund GOAT, let us turn our thoughts once more to the ever-fascinating case of Robert Kelly Slater.

Yesterday, during a four-hour round trip to the surf, I finally brought myself to listen to Slater on Joe Rogan’s podcast. They weren’t the two most riveting hours of my life but actually I didn’t think he came across too badly, and certainly not as some kind of irredeemable bell-end.

Oh, I’m not saying he isn’t prone to narcissism, or that he doesn’t deserve the criticism. I do not mean to defend Kelly Slater, as such, but to defend the idea of Kelly Slater.

The world needs heroes.

It also needs villains.

But heroes and villains are crude archetypes, the stuff of children’s stories. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with children’s stories in themselves, not even when read by adults. They can be edifying and life-affirming and all the rest of it. But to go no further would be to deny life’s depth and complexity, and to deprive ourselves of so many of its joys.

How much more fun, how much more interesting, how much more conducive to online speculation and shit-talking, to have characters who do not fit neatly into either category; characters who resort to villainous means in their pursuit of heroism, or attain heroic status in their very villainy.

JP Currie wrote last week that there is a time when even our deities should “slip away with dignity to burn brighter in our memories with every passing year”.

He is right, of course. A man should know when to leave the party.

But as anyone who has ever had one too many drinks will appreciate, knowing when to leave the party is far more difficult than it sounds. “What harm could one more drink do?” you tell yourself. Or, “Who knows, I might still pull.”

And the party is, after all, where the party’s at. Home is so boring by comparison.

Speaking of leaving the party, and of burning brighter in our memories with every passing year, JP’s article put me in mind of the trajectory of another sporting great. In extra time of the 2006 World Cup final, the game he’d already announced would be his last, Zinedine Zidane head-butted a member of the opposing team in an off-the-ball incident, and was duly sent off. The other player had whispered something in his ear, and Zidane flipped. It cost France the final. It was unthinkably stupid.

Shortly afterwards, the novelist Javier Marías wrote a column for one of the Spanish dailies, arguing that, thanks to the headbutt, the story of Zidane’s career had been elevated to the status of great literature, and would linger far longer in the collective imagination.

“Yes, in a sense it’s a shame what happened,” wrote Marías, “but in another sense you have to thank the great Zidane, who in his final hour has left us a story that’s profound and strange, whose surface is uneven and furrowed, and not a tale so predictable and polished it cannot be reread.”

Slater has never been the violent type and his final hour has been drawn out to over a decade. And yet, while his defining gestures have lacked the cataclysmic poetry, the dramatic finality of a Zidane head-butt, they have been exquisite in their own way.

Telling Andy Irons he loved him moments before a Pipe Masters final.

Unveiling his new wave pool the day after de Souza won the world title.

The numerous minor incidents that have generated content on this website and others.

The point is that Slater, too, is a tragic hero. He is part King Lear: self-obsessed, ageing gracelessly, losing his grip on both power and reality. He is part Narcissus, even to the extent of owning his own pool – a pool in whose convex surface he can, on glassier days, see his own reflection. He is part Achilles, if only in his vulnerability to foot-related injuries.

Unlike us, he is a freak, physically and perhaps also mentally. But like us, he is flawed, and thus his is a story that keeps on giving. He isn’t perfect, but then as his own wave pool has demonstrated, perfection grows old pretty quickly.

In the late-17th and early-18th century King Lear was often altered to incorporate a more cheerful resolution for the benefit of audiences who couldn’t handle the tragedy of the original.

The Slater psychodrama has not yet reached its conclusion. Pipe is just around the corner.

One can appreciate the truth and power of tragedy while still hoping for something approaching a happy ending.


From the Better Business Bureau: Is the World Surf League a bedazzled international pimp?

"The fees have become part of the furniture..."

Nick Carroll brought up a very interesting point yesterday on the tanned heels of Joel Parkinson’s win at Haleiwa. He wrote, “The WSL makes a lot of money out of the QS. All the entry fees, all the licensing fees. Millions of dollars.” And the statement could be dismissed but Nick Carroll is the only living surf journalist so we must take it seriously.

Nick then went on to add:

The fees have become part of the furniture, something all the associations and leagues etc etc have come to depend on to some degree, and something the surfers just assume has to be paid. The fees have expanded in all manner of odd directions. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the CT seeded pros actually had to loan back money to the ASP as a special fee, so the organisation could manage to pay its bills. Today the WSL has centralised its entry fee collection, so everyone pays directly into a competitors’ portal which aggregates everything; this gives the WSL full control over every QS entry fee, which runs as high as $350 per competitor in a QS10,000. This money, which in the past was split 50/50 between the organisation and the event, is now held solely by the WSL; a portion of it is sometimes handed back to the event if the WSL deems it necessary. Which is not very often.

And yes, I am repurposing here, an ugly bald-faced grab, but the points raised are just so juicy, just so delectable and beg the overall question. Is the World Surf League, as Nick Carroll suggests, a fabulous international slum lord?

Or similar, a bedazzled international pimp?

Promising glory while charging for a dank room in Warsaw, Poland and/or passage to France on a dank vessel?

That’s what I’m picking up here and all of a sudden the whole dog and pony show snaps directly into place. What happens at the top with the Jeep Leaderboard and Yellow Jersey etc. is pure sleight of hand in order to get mama and papa to cough up those very first entry fees which continue to get coughed up until junior is 22 and the dream is officially dead.

Of course it’s all a victimless crime. Mama and papa get to be involved in junior’s life. Junior gets to dream. And Erik Logan gets to go to Fiji.

Speaking of, Elo update coming soon!