Breaking: World Surf League has new logo and new longboard tour director!

It's morning in Santa Monica!

Don’t look now but the World Surf League is making good moves. Money moves even. Oh you know I’m very first in line to land a kick right in those totalitarian guts but… lately there’s nothing I can do except applaud. Have I gone weak or are you with me?

First, there was Pat O’Connell’s hiring. The Endless Summer II’s second most engaging star is a wonderful choice as commissioner mostly because he has a sense of humor about water dancing. He loves, like you, like me, but also thinks it’s funny, like you, like me and imagine that for a moment.

A sense of humor in Santa Monica’s High Castle.

Second, the League has jettisoned the ugliest logo in professional pastime history and replaced it with a chic, minimalist, Brooklyn Nets-esque design. It ain’t bad. It might even be nice and, if boozed enough, I’d consider getting it tattooed on my reconstituted shoulder.

Third, Devon Howard was just named the revamped longboard tour director and let’s read the press release.

Today, the World Surf League (WSL) announced updates to its longboard schedule with the newly structured Longboard Tour, a four-event longboard circuit. Timeless lines drawn by surfing’s most graceful longboarders will be on full display in the revamped Longboard Tour that will crown the World Longboard Champions at the end of the season.

The Longboard Tour will run events in Noosa, Queensland, Australia; Galicia in Spain; and Long Island in New York. These three events will be in addition to the Taiwan Open World Longboard Championships at the end of the year. The Longboard Tour will accompany the existing Longboard Qualifying Series events, which will now transition to Longboard Regional events.

Devon Howard has been appointed Longboard Tour Director and will oversee all of the WSL’s longboard events working closely with all areas of the WSL. Howard’s influential style has had an inspiring impact on surf culture, but more importantly, he will bring an impressive resume with a litany of skill sets and an intimate knowledge of surfing that will play a key role in the success of this Tour.

I hate longboarding but I love Devon Howard.

What’s happening? Have I caught Stockholm Syndrome?


"You're gonna get it, you're gonna get it, you're gonna get it etc."

Watch: (Very short) Surf Fight at Kirra!

A rational response to outrageous drop-in?

How many surf fights y’seen live? As in, punches thrown, landed and so on.

One of the better ones I’ve seen was at Burleigh Heads. A local man dropped in on an out-of-towner, not so much a Val, more the Emerging Intermediate. The Gold Coast points will forgive a multitude of sins, technique wise, and even a surfer who has yet to master rudimentary turns can appear competent on the easy long walls.

The EI didn’t say a word. The local did a roundhouse cutback off the guy and they disappeared. A few seconds later the local surfaced holding a clump of the shrieking man’s bristly yellow hair in his fist.

You had to laugh, I suppose.

Yesterday, at Kirra, a couple of surfers went at it after the usual drop-in.

If you’ve ever chased a cyclone swell, you’ll know how difficult it is to get any sorta wave, let alone something that’s going to make the trip worth the time and shekels. So when you’ve waited two hours, manoeuvred yourself through the pack, negotiated the ledge and someone else is gobbling up your tube steak?

Well, it makes your blood boil don’t it.

And who can be expected to act rationally in this scenario?

Who wore it best: The “Hawaiian Handshake” edition!

Everything old is new again!

Any true student of popular culture knows that nothing is permanent. What is considered en vogue today will be ruthlessly mocked tomorrow. Conversely, what is considered a fashion faux pas today will be celebrated as the standard tomorrow. Oh it’s a wild pendulum swinging back and forth, catching the flat-footed in awkward repose. Say in a pair of wrap-around Black Flys sunglasses, which may even be cool again, or tiny pair of Keds sneakers instead of Balenciaga-like foot boats.

One might have thought the proud and ancient “Hawaiian Handshake,” the shaka would be immune to such flippancy but nothing is immune. For years and years the shaka has gotten looser and looser and looser. The true, in-the-know shaka thrower would barely raise a pinky, barely extend a thumb and leave the middle three fingers gently curved, as if the whole hand had become paralyzed.

Well, it appears that now the “cool” thing to do is the opposite. A pinky extended wide to the left, or right, depending on the preferred shaka hand. A thumb jutting in the opposite direction. The middle three fingers balled into a tight fist and let us examine some of these new extra-tight shakas and see who trew it best.

New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady. Here we see the world’s alleged greatest football player making a shaka almost as big as his torso. Teeth gritted for maximum stretch.

World Surf League President of Content, Media and Studios Erik Logan. Here we see our shining light morphing the extra-tight shaka and “call me” symbol into one functional jive.

Australian Rules Football fan as found on the very funny @browncardigan. Whoa.

Aquaman and Khal Drogo Jason Momoa. Throwing two tight shakas, one up, one down, and pairing them with a playful smile.

Billy Madison and one-time Saturday Night Live star Adam Sandler. Here we have a chubby, tight shaka being passed down to the next generation, though by the time the little one is of age we can assume that the loose shaka will be trending once more.


Which do you prefer?

Also, did you know Mormons claim to have invented the shaka? It’s true! Read here!

Comedy: The WSL’s subtitle game at WQS in Brazil, “Auntie Vida is fast planning Yankee no hickey is saying finito!”

Translating Portuguese into English yields surprising results…

If you’re good at time zones, and you like to soak in world qualifying series events, you might’ve examined the Oi Hang Loose contest in Brazil these past few days, nights.

Big names in there: Gabriel Medina, Italo Ferreira, Mason Ho and so on, with an able supporting cast, and all of ’em putting it on in the wedges of Fernando de Noronha.

Here’s a taste.

Throw on the English sub-titles over the Portuguese commentary, howevs, and that’s where the laughs start.

BeachGrit reader and super surf coach, Ben Silk, was one step ahead of your old pal DR the other night when he screen grabbed the better comedic moments.

Does anyone speak Portuguese?

If so, do you think these translations are accurate? Are they wonderful Brazilian idioms, perhaps?

Or has artificial intelligence still got a little way to go?

Vulnerable Adult Learners hit again: Child born without brain learns to surf!

It ain't that hard (if you start before 12)!

I was in Jackson, Wyoming recently enjoying this crazy west coast winter. There was snow on the houses, snow on the roads and, most importantly, snow on those Grand Tetons. My daughter, six-years-old, loves skiing more than just about anything and it is pure pleasure trying to keep up with her. So there we were, anyhow, riding the chair up after another thrilling run, sharing the ride with one of Jackson Hole’s famous ski patrol. He asked where we were from, I told him Cardiff-by-the-Sea, and he told me that he had learned to surf ten years ago and it was the most difficult thing he’d ever done.

Oh it’s the classic adult learner story and you’ve heard it before too. Surfing is difficult to begin, impossible to master. Hours upon hours spent flopping around in the water etc.

I nodded and agreed with his assessment. “Yes it is very difficult. Impossible etc. and I was very fortunate to pick it up as a kid etc.”

Well, as it turns out, learning to surf as a child must be the entire key, even more important than we all imagined, for a British boy who was born without a brain just learned how and let’s learn his story together.

If doctors told you to terminate your pregnancy not once but five times, you might take them at their word.

But when Shelley and Rob Wall were advised to have an abortion after finding out that their baby had “no brain”, they stuck to their guns.

And six years on, their son Noah has defied the odds — by “growing” a brain.

The Sun reports that the plucky youngster appeared on Good Morning Britain with his parents to share his extraordinary story, which Richard Madley called “a miracle”.

Despite his parents being told that there was no chance of his survival, Noah has totally exceeded all expectations.

Before Noah was born, doctors doubted he’d survive.

Mr and Mrs Wall have dedicated their time to his brain development and have taken him to Australia to a radical brain training centre.

Here, he has learned how to sit up unaided and even managed to go surfing.

Noah now wants to learn to walk and wants to continue learning how to surf and even start skiing.

The treatment that Noah’s been having in Australia is called “neurophysics” — a mixture of physiotherapy and cognitive exercises.

Mr Wall explained that the experts don’t usually do give the therapy to kids because of the cognitive side of things but they were lucky enough to be able to persuade them to see and assess Noah and prepare them for when he’s old enough to have that cognitive treatment.

“It’s all to do with the brain’s ability to heal or correct the body’s nervous system”.


And there we have it. It is easier for a child born without a brain to learn our Pastime of Kings than it is for a VAL.