And we need you…
(I drove up from bucolic Cardiff-by-the-Sea to Santa Monica yesterday and parked across the street from the World Surf League’s headquarters. It didn’t look like a High Castle at all. More like a Low Bungalow. It was impossible to find the entrance but when I finally did was let in and sat on a supple leather couch near a reclaimed metal coffee table. After a few minutes I was taken out back and severely beaten.
No, I was walked through a parking lot then to another back building which was, in fact, the High Castle. The WSL is full of tricks. I waited in a glass box conference room and then BOOM though the door strode Erik “ELo” Logan. We will chat soon on podcast and you will hear the answers to my questions (why the hell do you insist on SUP? etc.) but for now, I’d just like to write a letter to him if you don’t mind.)
Dear Erik Logan,
You had me at Opie and Anthony. I never listened to their radio show but was vaguely aware of their proto-shock jock antics and of course aware of Howard Stern, your other charge, the man who changed American media. The man who brought unfiltered steam-of-consciousness to the main mainstream.
And because of that, because of your dirty roots in naughty radio, I know you’ll understand.
Laird Hamilton is a kook.
Yes, he got very barreled at Teahupo’o, paddle not even able to reach cascading lip. Yes, he made the cover of Surfer magazine under the unfortunate “Oh My God” headline. Yes he owns Cloudbreak.
Yes, he is likely the greatest “surfer” to ever walk and/or surf the earth but he’s still a kook and that’s the beauty, the glory, of our little backwater.
Talent, skill, ability, pedigree, strong jaws, epic tans aren’t what actually matter and, to be honest, I don’t know why. Laird should be our god but wiggolly’s paddling style is instead. Phat-wan kerr, dogsnuts, nug, ScottSanDiego are instead of Laird “Handsome” Hamilton with the legendary surf step-father and North Shore of Oahu classroom are and why?
Because surfers are shitbags. Surfers are incorrigible. Surfers don’t use paddles. Surfers are beastly and only looking for selfish fun and afterward an easy laugh.
To paraphrase Scott Bass, voice of surfing on San Diego’s local NPR affiliate, founder of The Boardroom Show, “surfers are the worst.”
But the damned Grumpy Local is your friend and you know it. Underneath all the Oprah, Hollywood executive, Power of Now rhetoric you are infected. Oh sure you ride a SUP and it’s as inexplicable as it is unforgivable but you left your legitimate job at a legitimate network, forsaking, no doubt, a hundred better jobs to come here.
To come to surfing.
Because you are diseased.
You are one of us, unfortunately for you, unfortunately for us. Your apple-cart-upsetting inclinations, your desire to smash the current product, is exactly right.
More opinion. More individuality. More fun. Less control.
More surfing (but not “more” as in longer competition windows… as you know).
You’re right and you’re a fucking Oprah Hollywood Laird Hamilton kook. Probably what we need, to be honest, because professional surfing don’t sell itself and begs for help. Because you feel it. Because you are deeply afflicted down the very core of your Oklahoma heart.
You are the first person from the World Surf League iteration of professional surfing to reach out, in any case, and your greatest inspiration is here.
Oh not me. I’m a kook from Oregon and not Derek, he’s from Perth, but from our Nick Carroll.
Just kidding and don’t worry, Erik. Nick knows he doesn’t belong to BeachGrit. He belongs to Kuuuurungba, or whatever shitbag blog he currently writes for but professional surfing is BeachGrit’s world and it’s time for the people who take time out of their workdays, who commit to damned professional surfing to own it.
What do they want to see? What do they want to read? Who do they want to cut from the roster?
I’m so happy we got to meet today but purely for them because, Scott Bass is a damned liar. Surfers are the best and will make this thing the thing you want.
And when we don’t?
Oh, no worries!
Fewer folk in the lineup!
Ain’t it hell to be part of a business where success counters success?
Welcome to surfing and I can’t wait to keep this conversation going.