Listen: “The Adult Learner x World Surf League axis is bringing surf culture to its knees!”

At least we still have each other. And Wagner Lima.

Yesterday was a violent day in our surf world and it made me so wistful, so teary-eye’d and thankful for they are very rare now. Almost extinct. And I was thinking about this as I drove north to the Surfrider Foundation offices in piquant San Clemente on the very same morning to talk with Surf Splendor’s David Lee Scales.

Derek Rielly had forwarded me yet another The Inertia-style website over the weekend and with the combination of that, all those other ones, the actual The Inertia and the World Surf League’s forward facing image being that of an elf-costume wearing SUP riding adult learner made me wonder if finally, after all these years, surf culture is crumbling to nothing. Finally shedding any last trace of rebellion, angst, exclusivity and… cool.

Oh I know that it is trendy to think surfing isn’t “cool” and maybe never was, that surf culture is just a silly, unnecessary appendage to the act of surfing itself, but I’ve always disagreed. As a backward Oregon youth I loved to surf so very much but also needed the culture. Tom Curren and Gotcha ads defined my parameters and without them, without the VHS tapes and magazines, surf shops and surf brands I would have drowned in a sea of redneck.

Surf culture floated my dreams and still does. I put the question forward to David Lee, anyhow, the very minute I pushed through Surfrider’s doors. “Is this the actual end? Does the adult learner x World Surf League axis bring surf culture to its knees? Is this the real apocalypse?”

He thought I was hysterical, as he often does. Overly-emotional because he is a reasonable man but it didn’t assuage my fears. The day unfolded with Justin Housman attacking William Finnegan and Tanner Hendrickson attacking Michael Rodrigues and I thought, for one glorious minute, “We’re back!” Until the World Surf League suspended Tanner for simply doing what surfers on the North Shore do.

Well, son of a bitch but I am not about to be discouraged because we still have each other and we still have Wagner Lima even though, try as I might, he won’t return my calls.

Wagner? Are you there?

Listen to the rest of the show here!

Trending hashtag #letthemswing: Tanner Hendrickson vs Michael Rodrigues

"The surf world is turning into a bunch of pussies."

Earlier today, the Maui surfer, Tanner Hendrickson, and the WCT rookie Michael Rodrigues, who is from Brazil, got in a little wrestle near the Volcom house at Pipeline.

A standard sorta roll between two surfers who’ve got the shits with each other. Rodrigues’ pals stood back to let the pair duke it out while the guy filming for IG Live fled the scene.

A minor event and something that gives the North Shore its frission of cool, its danger etc.

Better, than, say, the pallid grey of Surf Ranch with its scattered old ladies, men in singlets and poker-faced serving girls.

The WSL, whom we must picture as adult learners in surf hats and elf suits, threw the book at Tanner, pulling his entry from the Pipe trials where he was slotted into heat four against Mason Ho.

From the WSL’s website:

BANZAI PIPELINE, Oahu/Hawaii (Tuesday, December 11, 2018) – The WSL has provisionally suspended Tanner Hendrickson from all competition until a full investigation can be completed following an incident involving Championship Tour athlete Michael Rodrigues. Hendrickson has been removed from the Pipe Trials draw.

Koa Rothman, son of Fast Eddie, brother of Makua, and master of the fabulous This is Livin’ blog, responded:

Can’t believe the @wsl kicked @tannerhendrickson_ out for this. Looks like a fair fight to me. The surf world is turning into a bunch of pussies. #letthemswing

Let ’em swing?

Let ’em swing. 

Blood Feud: Surfer magazine’s Justin Housman vs. The New Yorker’s Bill Finnegan!

"...lazy, derivative, and two years too late!"

Yesterday, or maybe the day before, William Finnegan’s masterful 12,000 word feature on the meaning, value and future of Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch was released to almost as much fanfare as his Pulitzer Prize winning memoir Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life.

Praise poured in from all surf corners.

Stab magazine, even swallowing bitterness at not being mentioned, wrote: “How fortunate are surfers to have someone as sharp as Bill Finnegan speaking to The Elites on our behalf?” The Inertia added, “…particularly poetic.”

Surfer magazine’s Justin Housman took a different path, though, writing on Twitter: “Meh. The New Yorker article was fine I guess, but also a bit lazy, derivative, and two years too late. Didn’t raise any interesting questions or cover any new ground.”


A certifiable literary blood feud not seen ’round these parts since Joel Tudor went after Noa Deane for penning a three-eye’d smiley face.

And whose side are you on?

Do you think that William Finnegan gets heaped with flowery praise by sycophants too enamored to be honest or that Justin Housman is blinded by possible jealousies?

Are you Team Surfer or Team New Yorker?

Promoted: Last chance to win silky three-board quiver (shipped anywhere in the world)!

A generous arrangement…

It’s Christmas. And who don’t need a three-board quiver delivered to the door of their hovel, whether you’re in Germany, Iran or gorgeous potholed Yemen (Plot spoiler: setting of Chas Smith’s new book)?

As noted a couple of weeks back, The Critical Slide Society, a swinging art-based surf brand whose Bondi store is festooned with a giant mural of Patrick Swayze as Bodhi, is offering a three-board quiver if you sign up to their newsletter.

A small entry fee, I think.

From the company:

Dreamed of walking into the garage and having your pick of 3 fresh slices of foam? A longboard from the king himself Thomas Bexon (Doc), a perfectly hand shaped fish from Josh Keogh and a soft top from Catch Surf for those smaller fun days.

Free boards aren’t something we take for granted, in all honesty, we’ve never got any freebies, and why should we. There’s definitely been the barter economy, a nice piece of art for an addition to the quiver. So the labour cost should roughly balance each other out! In this don’t have to be on the world tour… just be the lucky name that gets drawn out of the hat.

Winners receive ~

– 9’9 Thomas Step Deck

– 5’6 Keogh Fish

– 8′ Catch Surf Plank

Sign up, maybe win, here. Entries close December 14, 2018.

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Holiday cheer: The World Surf League President-elect of Content, Media and WSL Studios brightens your season!

Ho ho ho!

We are in that time of year when “Surfing Santas” become as ubiquitous as Christmas trees in any and every coastal/surf community across the globe. Cocoa Beach, Florida, Kelly Slater’s hometown, tries to boast that it is the Surfing Santa capital while Huntington Beach, California and Bondi, Australia fight for recognition too. I suppose it is cute, or cute enough, but not nearly as cute as the World Surf League’s President-elect of Content, Media an WSL Studios dressing like a stick-wielding elf in a Manhattan Beach, California.

To be honest, I didn’t know that Santa’s li’l helpers carried sticks but that is a sniveling critique to make when faced with such wonder, with the very embodiment of Christmas cheer. I don’t want to write this because I feel it might be perceived as unnecessarily hurtful, but doesn’t ELo look like a…. I’m searching for a word that’s not “pimp” but has the same meaning. A…. flesh-peddler? In the best sartorial sense I mean.

I don’t have anything more to say, other than I look forward to finally meeting Mr. Erik Logan in less than a month for in less than a month he sheds the “elect” in “president-elect” and actually takes his proper place in Santa Monica’s high tower, lording over content, media and WSL studios. He promised to chat, I think, and I have no doubt that he’ll understand our humor, that he’ll see us as a valuable addition to the World Surf League family.

Don’t you think so?

I have never met a man who rides SUPs, religiously, that doesn’t have a finely-hewn sense of humor. Also, I’m certain the World Surf League is thrilled with our twin billing in today’s The New Yorker.

How could they not be?