An immodest proposal: Give professional surfing judges term limits!

Long way to a ham sandwich but maybe food for thought!

Dear WSL Elite,

If I were surfing’s equivalent of a social justice warrior I would certainly demand a recount on the dimpled/hanging chad of the Italo/Kolohe final at Snapper. I would demand that your judges reconvene and rewind the tape and recount every drop of water displaced to right the injustice of scoring because my guy didn’t win. I would call you racist against Californians and hold my breath and start some half-ass hashtag that only covers one side of this issue in an attempt to drum up a narrative. Something like #OhBrother or #NotMySnapperChamp. Seeing how well that has gone for the far right and the far left in politics, I am here to take a kinder and more gentle approach to push for change.

What Snapper highlighted was something we already knew about your judging, it is objective. Objectivity is a strange beast as it cannot be distilled down into quantifiable inputs backed by non-biased data. It can be distilled into a number based on rules and criteria, but “that’s like your opinion, man” [said in my best Tommy Chong voice]. I don’t often have a problem with this. It works in the Olympics. It works in the X-Games. That being said, the World Tour is a completely different beast.

Unlike the Olympics, the World Tour is a string of events and the objectivity in judging has its obvious flaws when a judge is asked to pretend that every wave they are seeing is a single instance of performance. You are asking judges to continually forget performance in previous events and ignore title implications. You are asking judges to do what they can not- to turn off being human, shut down their memory, avoid creating a narrative, and avoid picking a team to root for.

Also, from what I am to understand, the Judges do not have any term limits and there are no conditions on how long they can remain in their role. You have essentially appointed an unelected surfocracy whereby we, as fans, are expected to never question the rulings of any of your panel and take their objectivity at face value. As we have seen throughout the annals of time, any non-elected body with an indefinite or permanent residency in a position of power often undermines the trust of the people. ***Cough Big Banking*** Cough CEOS*** Cough SCOTUS*** Almost every time someone tells you to trust them blindly, they are not worthy of trust and you, WSL, are rapidly approaching that inflection point. Your judging panel presents the same problem. Over time, your judges may be emboldened with power and may feel as if any questioning of their absolute power of determination of the World Title victor as a usurping of their divine gift of wave scoring.

I myself have found myself questioning calls over the years and know others have as well. I have seen online demands for a restructuring of the scoring, but will not push for change as radical as I feel that would be the functional equivalent of surfing’s Green New Deal- well-intentioned but ruinous to most of the things we hold dear. Instead, I would like to propose six-year “term limits” on CT judges (and Supreme Court Justices if anybody in the Judicial Branch of the US Federal government is reading). Moreover, I would like to propose that you create a bigger pool of Judges (you too SCOTUS) that are assigned, at random, to CT and QS events so each event is judged by a panel of divergent viewpoints and opinions.

Another further recommendation we the surfers would like to make is to remove the judges from the beach entirely and send them videos of the scoring waves to a clandestine war-room where they have to score in a vacuum, away from the energy and excitement of a crowd that can sway a decision. To pretend that Judges aren’t human and incapable of being swayed by an uproar of excitement from the beach is not only misguided, but it is also unfair to the judges who are being asked to make a fair and objective scoring evaluation in an environment filled with cheers, jeers, cowbells, and applause.

To your credit, this style of judging worked great for many years. Those around my age will remember getting snippets of contests from ABC World Wide of Sports or getting results weeks later in a magazine. We weren’t with you there. We didn’t have a live feed. We weren’t privy to live last-minute heroics or a swinging insider that could upend a likely heat winners victory. We had no reason to question you. But times have changed, and now, what was once a news feed is now a jetstream of bullshit and negativity that pushes to us a new negative headline every seven minutes. We have fun depression inducers in our pocket with apps where we can hide behind the anonymity of bravado and call each other “cucks” and “morons” without ever having to face the likelihood of getting socked in the mouth. That being said, you gave us these contests to watch live, and now that we have the full picture and can rewatch and dissect- you’re under the microscope and we have opinions about your opinions. We share our opinions on social media. The surfing community is not the shaggy hair stoners in a parking lot at the beach anymore; it is global, it is interconnected and online. As a result of all of the above, we talk and we’re all talking about you.

Any effort you make to increase the subjectivity and decrease the objectivity of your judging would be greatly appreciated, but I know you probably won’t listen. Also, I really understand how ironic it is that I am writing a letter to the WSL to ask them to change something that literally has no bearing on my day-to-day life and is frankly unimportant in the grand scheme of things but hey, I am a surfer who essentially blows off obligations to play in the ocean on a glorified pool toy, so from where I am sitting, this is pretty much par for the course.

What do you have to lose though? If you do it, you get to essentially tell a bunch of grumpy locals to go pound sand for complaining. If you don’t, well, we’re just going to sit here and whine, because as I eluded to before, surfers are pretty much children- especially those of us who watch contests.

Long way to a ham sandwich but maybe food for thought.

Respectfully yours,

Navrin Fox, survivor of the assault on his ass, and Woody Jack.

War in the Pacific: Chinese Gov distances superpower from reef-smashing developers; fiji court revokes permit!

Angourie surfers triumph, at least for the moment, over ass-invading developer… 

Those two Angourie surfers who threw their life-savings at a court battle with a Chinese developer in Fiji (read here and here) appear to have won, at least for the moment.

After international media attention, and the arrest of three journalists who tried to interview the developer, the Hight Court in Suva issued a stop-work injunction and ordered the company, called, appropriately, Freesoul, to clean its mess up.

Fiji’s environment department has also revoked Freesoul’s environment permit.

The country’s prime minister, the former naval officer and strongman Frank Bainimarama said, “The conduct of Freesoul Real Estate Development has been deeply concerning to me personally for some time. As both a Fijian who treasures our environment and a global advocate for sustainable development, I share in the public’s outrage.”

Woody Jack, who along with his buddy Nav Fox and Fijian local Ratu Jona Joseva bought a 99-year-lease on land on Mololo Island, told The Sydney Morning Herald, “This legal challenge was never about us; you have to do the right thing in regards to the environment no matter where you are.”

Meanwhile, China’s ambassador to Fiji, Qian Bo, has distanced the country and the glorious Communist Party from Freesoul’s brutish behaviour, which included a four-finger incursion into Nav’s ancient ass.

“This has nothing to do with the Chinese embassy or China,” he told Mai TV.

nav fox
The Angourie shredder Nav Fox stays calm despite rough handling and ass play by lil Chinese man.


Tragic: “Beach Bully” SUP pilot whacks man on head with paddle causing brain damage!

“This kind of behavior is not going to be tolerated by the `tribe!”

You and I both know that the SUP is a menace which should be confined to rivers, lakes and harbors. We have known this since the very first time we saw one stroking into the lineup with our own eyes. “What is this horror? Why is that man standing like a strange chicken on that flat kayak? Why is he sweeping the ocean with an oar?” None of it made sense until he lost his board near where we were duck diving and almost removed our heads from our bodies. Then the fear instinct took over and we were no longer afforded the luxury of wondering about greater meaning.

Well, it was only a matter of time before the standup paddle pilot became aggressive, like a caged mongrel, and lashed out at innocent surfers in the lineup and let us read the latest incident of a “beach bully” from Fox News San Diego. Let’s not delay because it could be your head on a paddle next.

Testimony began Friday morning in the trial of Paul Taylor Konen, charged with assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly striking Kevin Eslinger in the head with a paddle, as the men were out in the water at Sunset Cliffs on June 26, 2018.

Eslinger, 56, sustained a gash to the back of his head that Deputy District Attorney Matthew Greco said fractured his skull and caused brain damage, rendering him unable to speak at all until days after the injury. Greco alleged that an emergency room physician said the injury looked “like a hammer blow.”

The prosecution contends that after Konen nearly ran into Eslinger out on the water — forcing Eslinger to duck his head in order to avoid being struck by Konen’s paddle board — Eslinger objected to Konen’s flouting of proper surfing etiquette. Konen remarked, “If I can catch a wave, it’s mine,” the victim alleged.

Konen then allegedly ran into Eslinger’s wife and regular surfing partner elsewhere among the waves, knocking her off her board.

When Eslinger paddled out towards the defendant to ask him why he did that, he was struck in the head by an unknown object, which he later came to believe was an intentional blow from Konen’s paddle.

Defense attorney Brian McCarthy alleged that after the incidental encounter with Eslinger, Konen was simply trying to get away. He argued that Eslinger took umbrage and pushed Konen’s board away at first, which Eslinger testified was only to avoid injury.

After seeing his wife go into the water, McCarthy said Eslinger tried to cut Konen off, which Eslinger did not contradict, as he wanted to let Konen know “this kind of behavior is not going to be tolerated by the `tribe,”‘ according to Eslinger.

McCarthy alleged that Eslinger has changed his story several times since the incident, including telling an ER nurse that the back of Konen’s board struck him in the head.

“The question is did my client intentionally assault Mr. Eslinger or was there a situation where Mr. Eslinger got in front of my client’s path and got hurt?” McCarthy said.

Greco alleged that Konen admitted striking Eslinger to another person just before he was arrested. The prosecutor said Konen stated that Eslinger “was going to kill me” and that he swung at him to defend himself.

When you surf today, tell the nearest SUP pilot to head to the beach. Tell him to head to the beach and then find a river, lake or harbor in which to practice his deadly poison. Tell him “This kind of behavior is not going to be tolerated by the tribe!”

Livid fans blame Medina’s (relative) Quik pro failure on friendship with right-wing president, a soccer star and ass-shaking singer!

Are poon and politics distracting world champion Gabriel Medina?

Were you as surprised as me when the world champion Gabriel Medina, who seemed to have the Quiksilver Pro’s balls on the point of his knife, exited in a dull quarter-final with Jordy Smith, on a sub-ten point two-wave total? 

His fans, of which there are many millions, blamed three things: Brazil’s right-wing president Jair Bolsonaro, with whom Medina and his guy-pal, the soccer player Neymar, had been trading video messages, Neymar himself, and the poon-shaking singer Anitta, famous for her tight miniskirts, sequinned silver halters and precarious heels.

From one of Brazil’s biggest websites,

“The relationship of the surfer with the singer Anitta and the shirt 10 of the Brazilian national team Neymar do not do well to the athlete…In addition, some people point to Medina’s political stance as a problem. Last week, he and Neymar answered a message from President Jair Bolsonaro which divided his fans.”

From one: “He wants to be hated as Neymar is. He was never very smart and walking with Neymar and Annita and glorifying the myth. In the end the fans will turn against him, as with Neymar, an arrogant and uncultured person.”

Brazil media was also all over an old video of Medina filming a girl, cavorting I’d supposed you’d call it, in her underwear.

The clip, below, is pixellated for your safety.


Has the tinsel fallen off the Medina Christmas tree?

Or is it this very devil-may-care attitude that has made Gabriel the surfer he is today?


Listen: “Mick Fanning and Steph Gilmore are saving professional surfing from itself!”

Can you take us higher?

I sat across from David Lee Scales today inside the opulent conference room of the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center, perched high in San Clemente’s hills. Spring has sprung here in southern California bringing with it a super bloom. Flowers everywhere. Optimism reigning supreme.

Optimism super blooming in my heart. Oh David Lee couldn’t temper my joy even when he told me that Kelly Slater embarrassed himself in Duranbah’s mystical middle peak. That he was bested severely by no-name bottom dwelling surfers of indeterminate origin. That he was almost brought to tears afterward and that it is far far far past him to retire.

Of course it is, but I sensed a new and wonderful title looming on his horizon. A title even better than the 11 championships he has won. What if Kelly Slater charted an everyman course and attempted to reel off 11 straight year-end 22nd place finishes? Being the last one to make the cut until he is 57-years-old? Tell me that you wouldn’t, once again, adorn yourself in his visage. Tell me it wouldn’t give you a reason to cheer.

It would be phenomenal. A triumph for the downtrodden. For us.

We also spoke of Keala Kennelly’s deserving a big, fat contract. I’m tired of brands promising equality, crowing about equality, thinking about equality. How about paying one woman equally? Like, with money?

And then David Lee and I shifted over to gambling and tattoos for a moment before coming back to the best moments of the Quiksilver Pro, outside Kelly’s new mission. Namely, Steph Gilmore plying an underaged champ with booze and Mick Fanning singing karaoke. These two, alone, are wresting professional surfing back from the edge of corporate blandness. These two, alone, are showing the way toward a beautiful, tipsy, future.

At the end I sang my own karaoke, the hit Part of Your World from Disney’s Little Mermaid.

Our best show yet?

Without a doubt.