Revisionist history: Kelly Slater and the “surfing was not a career path” fallacy!

A lie but a beautiful lie!

I am very excited to watch the Momentum Generation, it’s true, though wasn’t always. When I very first heard of the concept I was dubious. It’s not like the stars of those Taylor Steele films, Rob Machado, Kelly Slater, Benji Weatherly, Ross Williams, Shane Dorian, Kalani Robb, etc. had disappeared without a trace. They had each been fixtures in the surf industry, their stories well-known and well understood. What could a modern film about them teach us?

David Lee Scales watched the film at the Florida Surf Film Festival, though, and told me it was great featuring introspection and moments of beautiful tenderness. It won the best documentary feature there, will certainly win many more awards and will also play on HBO on Dec. 11. An early Christmas treat for all.

In any case, I have read a quote from Kelly Slater taken from the film many times now, most recently this morning in a Washington Post story about Stephanie Gilmore and equal pay.

“Surfing was not a career path,” Slater recalled of his youth, in the HBO surf documentary “Momentum Generation.” ‘’It was just something you enjoyed doing.”

The first time stumbling across it I wrinkled my nose. The second time I scratched my head. The third time I said, “Really?” but quietly in my mind. The fourth time I said, “Did Kelly confusingly think he was part of the Bustin’ Down the Door generation?” out loud and thought it very clever but no was around to hear it so I’m typing it and still think it very clever.

Because what the hell?

Kelly was born in 1972, winning every amateur competition at 11, turned pro at 18 and directly won the Body Glove Surf Bout at Trestles which boasted a purse of $100,000 after which he signed a six-figure deal with Quiksilver. Not only was there big money in that early 90s surf industry, it had ballooned in the generation proceeding Kelly’s with Tom Curren, Tom Carroll, ’89 World Champ Martin Potter, etc. each making a good living out of nothing but surfing.

It certainly was a career path and a well-established one at that.

Kelly’s revisionist history makes me smile, though, because it proves the “surfing as rebellion” narrative is still tucked somewhere in the folds. I don’t doubt that he really believes it wasn’t a career path for him because that makes surfing like accounting, computer programming, dentistry or any other career path.

Something you have to do.

No, surfing is a passion, man, a feeling that moms and dads and the system just don’t understand and I am very much looking forward to The Brother Movie airing on HBO in 2030 where a grey Kolohe Andino looks at the camera and says, “Surfing was not a career path… it was just something you enjoyed doing.”

Viva the rebellion!

From the Sunday realty papers: John John Florence’s $5.3 mill Off the Wall house still for sale!

Get a piece of OTW. Tube wrangling skills not included.

I doubt, even if you were to comb all of the world, you could find evidence pointing to any wrongdoing at the hands of John John Florence.

The just-turned twenty-six year old has a meticulous and classical grace and an infinite skill.  He is a rare fish and, I think, pro surfing is lucky to have him rather than the other way around.

Six month ago, John John listed his surplus Off the Wall house for $5.3 million, 700 gees more than the $4.6 mill he paid two years earlier.

If my information is correct, which is rarely is although I do continue to believe, the Off the Wall house served as his photographic lab and darkroom and had a little cottage for guests, while mama Alex lived in their original Pipeline rental next door and John occupied his Log Cabins compound a little further up the road.

The OTW house, at 59-461 Kamehameha Hwy, was built in 1941, has five beds, four shitters and a hundred feet of ocean frontage.

In realtor-speak, “Stunning Oceanfront estate on majestic Sunset Beach. Indoor / Outdoor living at its best and most luxurious. Expansive decks and gardens. Incredible attention to detail. Beautiful Wood Floors, legal seawall and so much more!”


Petey Johnson, bro of the guitar slinger Jack, is selling the joint.

Click here to buy. 

Investigation: The BBC ponders, “Is surfing a new form of therapy?”

Is wave riding, especially in the North Atlantic, a key to emotional wellbeing?

There are two, maybe three, supremely important news organs in the world and the British Broadcasting Corporation is one of them. The BBC has won thousands of awards and reported on some of the most important stories in modern history and so it only makes sense that it would ask the pressing question, “Is surfing a new form of therapy?

And let us read together:

The frigid water of the Atlantic on a windy November morning is not enough to deter some budding surfers on the north coast.

Barbara Marshall, a respite foster parent, brings her three girls to Benone beach almost every Sunday.

“The excitement in the morning… they are up, ready and organised,” Ms Marshall says.

“I’ve been bringing them a few Sundays but they absolutely adore being here.”

The girls are participants in the Wave Project, which is being piloted in Benone and Portrush.

The Wave Project is a surf therapy charity that works with vulnerable young people struggling with their emotional wellbeing.

This can include young people who are struggling with low self esteem, low self confidence, high levels of anxiety, who have been through trauma or who feel alone and isolated.

“I’m really hoping that it keeps going next year because it’s just such an adventure for them, in fact I know that the eldest wants to become a volunteer,” Ms Marshall says.

Ok ok ok… ummmm let’s pump the brakes here. I may be in the minority but vulnerable young people struggling with their emotional wellbeing, including low self esteem, low self confidence, high levels of anxiety and feeling alone and isolated should probably not surf. I can’t imagine it helping any of those things and I can also imagine it making all of those things intolerably worse.

So kids, if you are feeling emotionally unwell, might I suggest lesbianism instead?

It seems like the way to go.

From the wet-games dept: WSL Longboard world champ reveals secret to winning: “I drink other men’s urine!”

Jeffrey's Bay shredder turned longboarding nymphet wins world title in Taiwan, reveals sexy secret…

Yesterday, the Jeffrey’s Bay shredder and occasional WCT wildcard Steve Sawyer won the 2018 WSL World Longboard Championship at the Taiwan Open of Surfing.

His ability to metamorphosise from six-o performance to logging brings a needed respectability to the longboarding tour, I think.

Sawyer, who is twenty four and anything but a brute, is also a lovely and clever and funny and popular man who, one would imagine, is currently thrusting himself up to the hilt into an engaged fan.

(Actually, no, Christian etc.)

From the presser:

His combination of traditional longboarding manoeuvres with speed, power and flow was impeccable, and he needed it all to overcome Sallas in the Final to best his runner-up finish at the 2016 World Championship. Sawyer had a massive crowd supporting him on the beach who erupted every time he caught a wave, making the atmosphere electric. 

His fans, one might imagine, were won earlier in the event when Sawyer gave a revealing post-heat interview.

“I need to call (the American) Kevin Skvarna out,” said Sawyer. “This morning he gave me a power juice while I was driving in the car. It was still dark and I had two coffees. I said I needed water and he cracked this bottle. I took a sip and…mmmm… flavoured water. I said, what is this, and it was Kevin’s pee bottle.

“So I had two gulps of it.”

Cue half-crazy, enchanted laughter.

Watch here! (Comes in towards the end.)


From the Wanaka-Beerworks Department: Two New Zealander surfers make the World Tour!

Celebrate Negatron all season long!

It is a historical day down other under. For the first time in recorded history there are two New Zealander surfers on tour at the same time. Two. Ricardo Christie officially stamped his dance ticket yesterday by advancing through his round 3 heat at the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach, North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii. Paige Hareb, on the women’s side, made it on before the penultimate event.

Both are wonderful surfers and very much deserve to be on tour but the feat is made even more impressive when New Zealand’s size is taken into account. The nation’s population is 4,749,598 making it the 126th most populous in the world.

The United States has a population of 366,726,948 and has 1.5 surfers on tour.

China has a population of 1,415,045,928 and has 0 surfers on tour.

Scotland has a population of 5,373,679 and has 1 surf journalist (J.P. Currie) but 0 surfers on tour.

Mexico has a a population of 350 migrants in a caravan and has 1 mother with 9 children but 0 surfers on tour.

Norway has a population of 242,256 reindeer but 0 surfers on tour.

Japan has a population of 1 Kanoa Igarashi and is in a dispute with the United States so may have one surfer on tour but also may have 0 surfers on tour.

Russia has a population of 43 communists in the State Duma and has 0 surfers on tour.


And as you can see New Zealand’s two surfers on tour is an unprecedented feat.

Please congratulate Negatron in the comments and also send him a gift. Something culturally appropriate.