Better to destroy everything than surrender… | Photo: Monster Children

Surf Quiz: “Are you a high-level kook?”

A short self-examination you can do at home…

Who can forget Dane Reynolds’ effortless sweep of everything bad from last week? According to Reynolds, cities are soulless voids, Kelly Slater is too serious about a bat-and-ball game, the WSL’s Instagram exploits surfing and so on.

(Click here for the film.)

Dane is a great champion and while he isn’t surfing’s golden pet anymore, his opinions on surf do cut heavily.

Toward the end of his little short, he defines a kook as this:

“I hate…kooks. And I don’t mean that, it has to do with your level of surfing. I define ‘kook’ as a lack of awareness, someone who is utterly unaware of their surroundings, unaware if they’re cutting in line or being obnoxious or annoying people around them. That’s a kook.”

This definition is an overhead smash, I think.

And it made me consider other behaviours that define a surfer as a high-level kook.

These include:

  1. Still arguing the point that rotations must be counted exactly as per the geometric scale. Air 360s instead of 540s, 810s instead of 720s. If the science of climate change is settled, as is common opinion, we can now say the same for airs.
  2. Examining the judges sheets at a local boardriders’ event and claiming your threes should be three-fives etc.
  3. Behaving as if the world has suddenly fallen off its axis if a beginner tumbles off his board near you.
  4. You say there are surfers at your local beach better than guys (and girls) on the WCT and that a surf industry conspiracy keeps ’em out of the spotlight.
  5. Going leashless on a crowded day. “I never fall off.”
  6. Turning sessions at remote reefs into some sort of WQS heat, paddling for everything, sighing at people missing waves, grunting etc.
  7. Like the princess and the pea, you say you can feel even minute differences in your surfboard.
  8. An obsession with personal surf shots.
  9. You self-identify as a “surfer”.
  10. You refuse to travel anywhere unless there’s a coastline with rideable waves

Are you a high-level kook?


The WSL's head of content (elect) Erik Logan plays paddle swaps! #blueangels #liveyourpassion

Listen: “Surf shaming is working at the very highest level!”

Or is it?

The sun has just poked its head into Cairo’s hazy sky and my eyes are burning red. 20-odd hour flights are hell on the eyes, skin, etc. but it’s what we suffer, no? The best surf is always a 20-odd hour flight away unless you happen to live in Australia and then it is very close but America and Europe are far.

There is no real winning, only 20-odd hour flights at every turn.

I’ve got a job to do here, anyhow, and have to get out amongst it but before I do can we talk about surf shaming? I stopped by the Surfrider Foundation on my way to the airport yesterday to chat with David Lee Scales about all manner of thing but also about the World Surf League President of Content, Media and WSL Studios-elect Mr. Erik “Elo” Logan.

He is going to get on a 20-odd hour flight soon, for Fiji, and he is very excited but do you what? It seemed there, on his Instagram feed, that he felt surfing’s collective sigh and dropped the paddle.

Can you believe? Can you even believe? Is there someone installed, or almost installed, in Santa Monica’s High Castle who listens to our pleas?

Just think of the power! Think of all we can accomplish by employing the tool of shame!

Oh.

I just went back to his Instagram feed and see that he has picked up the paddle once again and is running down the line of the World Surf League’s other favorite. A walled closeout.

Damn it. We were close but maybe there is a crack?

You can listen about surf shaming, Joe Rogan, wedding rings and…. jet-lag is really clouding my memory but it is for certain our best one yet.


The WSL's disappeared vision of perfection, preserved, here, in perpetuity via screen grab.

From the paradise-found-and-lost department: WSL Disappears Controversial Instagram Post!

Was it racist, daddy?

It’s been a torrid week for the WSL. Four days ago, the privately owned governing body of surfing unveiled its vision of perfection in an Instagram post titled “Paradise found.” 

Click on the link.

Oh it’s gone.

It was a short clip of a closeout onto dry reef with a SUP pilot viewing from a distance. The WSL’s followers wondered, “What am I missing here” and “If you like closeouts and reef cuts??”

The following day, the former world number four surfer and one-time best surfer in the world, Dane Reynolds, was filmed shooting the WSL account down in hell-flames for the magazine Monster Children.

“I hate WSL’s Instagram,” said Dane. “Pro surfing and perfect waves. It’s just the worst pandering bullshit that’s just, like, exploiting surfing.”

Question: Does paradise no longer exist?

Or could paradise, the sort favoured by surfers, be something more than a stretch of straight tropical reef populated by naked-thighed SUP pilots?

And would you like to hold Dane Reynolds and his big sippy cup in your lap, cool leather against your nakedness?


Chas Smith, on an earlier adventure to Yemen. "The Middle East used to be my rising and setting sun. Now it is only part of my past with surf replacing."

Announcement: Chas Smith has fled to the Middle East!

Where do dreams go when they die?

Well son of a bitch if I ain’t very boozed with two Americanos thrown on top in order to throw the Islamist boarding agents off my tail.

Yes, I’m headed back to the Middle East and it has been far far far too long. Very far too long but it feels like yesterday that I was doing this same exact dance.

I can’t tell you why I’m going, not to be needlessly secretive, only that I am and only to apologize.

The Middle East used to be my rising and setting sun. Now it is only part of my past with surf replacing.

But do any youthful passions ever actually get replaced? Where do dreams go when they die?

I don’t know.

If I did I’d be in that dream graveyard sleeping the dreamiest sleep. Feeling accomplished instead of failed. Living the unencumbered life exactly like Garrett McNamera or Erik Logan.

Well, c’est la vie as they say.

We are surf journalists now and proud but the past, rearing its head, can’t be ignored and that’s why I apologize to you because maybe it should be ignored. Probably it should be ignored but I ain’t nor will I ever.

Middle East über alles though I will catch you on the flipside, hundreds of thousands of miles from anyone who cares.

So long and God bless. Viva the youthful passions.

(Editor’s note: Chas will be writing when he can from Cairo and surrounds where he has been called on urgent personal business. Hopefully, all will, or can, be revealed in a week or so.)


From the wsl’s-mind-games department: John John Florence and Kelly Slater now “currently in draw” to surf Pipe Masters!

See if you can find the trivial but fateful detail!

As the afternoon ripens into evening, let’s unbutton our pinafores, pour a cherry cola and play a game. If you’re west of the date line it’s almost the weekend; east, it’s Thursday and everyone loves Thursday. Live a little.

Examine this photo and accompanying words from two days ago.

And, now, today.

The difference is subtle but significant, yes?

Did you guess the trivial but fateful detail?

Two days ago, the surf media, of which we are proud to belong, dutifully aggregated a World Surf League story that promised John John Florence, Kelly Slater and Caio Ibelli’s return to competition at the Pipeline Masters this December.

Today they’re “currently in the draw” for the Pipeline Masters.

I would suggest that one of the three made a telephone call or sent an email reeking of sap to the WSL, putting the company on notice that they may, or may not, surf the event, depending upon various things, motivation etc, and that the WSL had no right to presume their attendance.

Who made the call to the WSL you think?

Kelly?

John?

Ross?