"If I ended up sleeping in the dunes at J-Bay or holed up in Morocco: somewhere with lined up Points that regularly get strafed by howling offshores the Vector-Cuda would be the indispensable one board quiver. No question." Here, we see the author at home in Lennox.

Board review, Aleutian Juice Victor-Cuda: “Transformative. Will heal the injured and comfort the elderly!”

More importantly, "mid-lengths won't fuck your shred…"

God, I’ve changed so much since I started writing for the Grit. Pushed out of my comfort zone so far.

Wearing Italian flat caps, getting in beefs with local enforcers and Murfer hubbies who take umbrage at what I write. Derek Rielly is always sending me provocative little ideas with a “You got this?” And seeing as I got the arse from bus driving I don’t have any choice, if I want to keep the bills paid, then to sit down and grapple with concepts that are deeply uncomfortable and will involve clear blowback.

To put out there, as the old French cock Sartre said, “Confused, vaguely questioning ideas that then fall apart.”

The old days of surf media seem so paradisiacal and sure footed by comparison: bit of advertorial, bit of hagiography, paid trip to the Tuamotus with some B-grade pros. Heaven.

I know a lot of modern surfers feel the same discomfort about mid-lengths, which is why today I bring a custom 7’3” Parmenter shaped Aleutian Juice Vector-Cuda into the classroom for show and tell. It is appropriate given Greg Webber’s 7’3” for sale and the stunning mid-length surfing laid on by Torren Martyn in Mexico, which I’m sure you have seen.

The chief argument against the mid-length is that it destroys the ability to shred on high-performance equipment. A subsidiary argument is that the mid-length identifies one as a hipster and that may not be appropriate; because either one is incapable of making the cut (too old, too fat, too ugly) or feels too much self ridicule at the potential mis-identification.

Despite these substantial concerns, the positives far outweigh the negatives.

One thing that has never changed in me is easy access to a mid-length. I can’t even remember how far back it started; finding a Mitchell Rae Outer Island seven-footer somewhere in a shed and adopting it for baby food out the front of a friend’s house on the Sunshine Coast is where it officially began, but I’m sure it goes back further.

That was before mid-lengths became fashionable and acquired a serious step up the value chain.

The old slur of mini-mal still resonates in Australia, if not elsewhere but the name change to mid-length came with a major increase in cache.

Who knows why?

As part of a continuing push back against pro surfing by a new generation who weren’t scared of being labelled pseudo-hippies or looking like victims of boomer nostalgia would be my best guess. The pay-off for the skilled becomes immediately apparent for anyone who has seen footage of Terry Fitzgerald at J-Bay: early entry, line drive, logarithmic momentum by laying trim line on trim lines.

At the other end of the scale, gliding on petite peaks or joining the dots on disconnected short-period rubbish removes the need to generate speed through monkey pumping.

The big step up the value chain is a major disincentive.

Previously, I’d surmounted the problem by acquiring a hipster board from a Byron Bay factory. Enough laps on a Friday afternoon with a six-pack of Coopers would see a second-handy in mint condition that needed to be liquidised.

A returned custom that had the wrong spray, in this case.

That resulted in a beautiful 7’1” that I passed over to my gal as a gift, and she shredded on it. A day before we were due to leave on a surfing/camping holiday I ripped a fin out rocking off at the Point and the middy was still in the car. Half-an-hour later, a freak set landed on my head and the board was in two. That was three years ago and the opportunity to replace it had not come up.

The opportunity to replace the offending husband, very much so.

Around about then or before or later, don’t cross-examine me on the timeline, there was a secondhand Parmenter Aleutian Juice in a Byron surf shop with Jeff Hakman’s name on the stringer. The Holy Bible has no injunction about coveting surfboards and I did covet it, a lot. Seven-three with an outline that was half-Hawaiian seventies shortboard and half double-ender. Pulled in nose, diamond tail. Widow maker fin set-up.

I wanted that board so bad. As a retirement plan, to put under the house and pull out when I’m 60 or my shoulder carked it or something else happened.

The following sequence of events was pure serendipity.

Parmenter was coming to Australia in Feb to hang out with Andrew Kidman and was taking shaping orders. No chance, I thought. A wonderful board builder from Oregon named Bryan Bates, who is a spitting image of Chas Smith, also from Oregon, and who now makes boards in Byron Bay, made contact with me.

I’d helped him out and now he had a deal for me. A real great deal as Jerry from Fargo would say. Dave would do the shape job and Bryan would glass the boards. Bryan has the full skill-set of resin tints, deluxe glass jobs etc etc. My last pay packet from the buses had just enough cream to cash out Bryan for the deal and wait. The board would be presented to my gal as a birthday present.

Email exchanges with Parmenter ensued.

It’s one of the great blessings of an Aleutian Juice custom. He remembered the Hakman board, put it straight into it’s historical perspective and intended usage which from my perspective was a board that could, “paddle like a barracuda and still have easy turning off the template and rocker curve, as well as the ability to lay it over off the bottom on a wind-ribbed double overhead Point wave at maximum velocity”.

For my gal I desired, “easy paddle-in, nice glide and something that turns freely and without complication and can build speed on speed if she snags an offshore set wave that runs down the sandbank”.

He named the resultant design a Vector-Cuda.

It was a great deal.

Parmenter shaped the blank and Bryan made it deluxe. The steep-angular rails were from the Brewer school, the template was tits and the widow maker fin cluster was glassed in.

For a Parmenter custom I had it in almost record time. My pal wasn’t so lucky. Shite can go pear shaped when OS shapers outsource boards to glassing houses which then get lost. His board got lost in the system and took months to get done.

A good paddler. Sometimes I wonder if people even understand the meaning of that phrase. Its transformative power. Its ability to heal the injured and comfort the elderly.

I had to patiently wait for my wife to put the first ding in it before riding it and when she ground the tip of a side-fin off on a mistimed rock off it was time.

A good paddler. Sometimes I wonder if people even understand the meaning of that phrase. Its transformative power. Its ability to heal the injured and comfort the elderly. The Vector-Cuda is glassed heavy, to last. Heavy boards follow the most basic laws of physics. Momentum = Mass times Velocity squared. Momentum joins the dots on disconnected point surf, cuts through wind, glides on little peelers. Momentum is a gal’s best friend.

I get to see a lot of insane mid-length surfing. Torryn Martyn, Joel Fitzgerald, Dave Rastovich all live in the hood and frequent the Point. Some is performative, with cameras at the ready. Seventies posing will never go out of style.

Sometimes though you’ll see Rasta at the Point on raggedy swells with no-one around. The lines he draws on a middy are pure function. A single haiku from start to finish. Completely wasted lateral surfing by CT standards.

I don’t ride it all the time. Don’t need to. Sometimes if a swell cycle is imminent it’ll get used as a deliberate strategy invented by Derek Hynd to upshift and then downshift through a quiver. You ride a 7’3” for a day or a session and then go down to a 6’0”. Your legs feel like steel springs.

And, here, the author scrambling down the rocks at The Point, the photograph showing the distinctive outline of the surfboard and the glassed-in fins.

I doubt Dave Parmenter would approve.

Being Catholic with board choices is a luxury for the few.

If I ended up sleeping in the dunes at J-Bay or holed up in Morocco: somewhere with lined up Points that regularly get strafed by howling offshores the Vector-Cuda would be the indispensable one board quiver. No question.

The takeaway, as Derek would ask for?

1. Mid-lengths won’t fuck your shred.

2. Good deals can turn bad but great deals can be awesome.

3. A good middy can be a reliable and trusted ally to help you negotiate the stormy vissicitudes of life.

4. You won’t find one on the rack.

Surfing or Flurfing? | Photo: WSL

Bold: Travis Ferré demands wave tank “surfing” be renamed something more fitting!

Introducing "flurfing!"

You know, and therefore love, California’s Travis Ferré for his now decade plus long plus run documenting our pastime of kings. The onetime Surfing magazine editor-in-chief, founder of What Youth and BeachGrit contributor has made an indelible mark and its difficult to pick a favorite moment, favorite piece, but his refusal to surf Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch must be near the top of the list.

Can you imagine getting invited and turning it down? But can you really?

It was one of the boldest stances our surf industry has ever seen but he is not finished. On his new project Inherent Bummer he suggests that calling the activity that happens in war tanks “surfing” is not accurate and demands we change the moniker.

Shall we taste?


Surfing and wave pool riding are not and have never been one in the same. No longer can they be linked under the surfing name. Since I know I can’t stop the gold rush of new pools and wave parks, I’m launching a campaign against the name. We must make history together and change the name of riding waves in wave pools and never refer to it as “surfing “again. Just as riding wakes behind boats is fun, it’s not surfing and so we don’t call it surfing. Why should wave pools be any different?

He builds a very compelling case, likening surfing and wave tank riding to smoking and vaping. Accurate, I think, and then offers that we come up with a new name for wave tank riding together.

His suggestion is “flurfing.”

It has a powerful ring.

Do you think it will stick?

Do you have a better option?


From the bargain-bin dept: Buy a Greg Webber surfboard for $1000 and get 1000 free waves in his debut pool!

“Free waves from me when the god forsaken projects start exploding on the scene.”

The Australian surfboard shaper and pool/reef designer, Greg Webber, has made an offer almost too good to refuse, wouldn’t ya say?

Webber, whose travails I have covered in forensic detail over the past few years, here, here, here, here, here and here, (wait, here, here and here, too) is offering a seven-three diamond tail that he’d made for himself to offset the increasing generosity of his middle belt.

But, now, having put the cakes down, he’s auctioning the board, starting at four fifty and if it hits a thousand or beyond, the winner is going to get a thousand free waves in Webber’s first wave pool.

“Go on you fuckers!” writes Greg, on a recent Facebook post. “Free waves from me when the god forsaken projects start exploding on the scene.”

Thousand bucks, A, is a little under seven hundred bucks US.

A board, maybe a year’s worth of waves?

“I’m patient and I’m fucking determined,” Greg told me two years ago.

Contact Greg to buy board and reserve your thousand waves here.

Hey Tits, wanna explain to me how Carissa's wave was a nine five and Pip's a 9.43?

Jen See: “It isn’t enough that we cover women’s sport. We also have to justify its existence!”

Sports both reflect and communicate the values of the cultures that surround them, writes Jen See.

A few weeks ago, Derek sent me a link over email, hoping to prod me into writing about women’s sports and pay equity. A male columnist had sat down at his keyboard and pounded out an opinion piece about how boring he found the women’s World Cup soccer matches.

I did not read past the first paragraph.

(Editor’s note: But you can! Click here.)

I have reached a point where my brain simply shuts down when men begin to tell me about how women’s sports bore them or how women athletes don’t deserve equal pay. It turns into word salad, maybe coleslaw, with its tiny shredded pieces and all that pale green cabbage, mostly water, with next to no nutritional value. It takes up space on the plate, but there’s not much there.

Four years ago during the last World Cup, an editor sent me a similar link and assigned me to call up some women athletes and formulate a response. That the link four years ago was a different male writer hardly matters.

It’s a familiar genre. Man watches women’s sports. Man declares women’s sports too boring. I rolled my eyes, but dutifully called up several women — intentionally choosing a couple sources purely for their sense of humor and their ability to deliver a sick burn — and wrote the story.

It has become the job of women writers to do these stories. It isn’t enough that we cover the sport. We also have to justify its existence. And that double-duty weighs still more heavily on the women who train their asses off to succeed in their chosen sports.

They can’t just win. It has to be scintillating. They have to win the game — or the race or their heat — and then win over the men, who are just waiting to tear them down, just waiting to say, they shouldn’t be out there at all.

It’d be nice if women could just ignore all of this. Play our own games and write our own stories. And tell the men with their doubts and their boredom to go to hell.

But nothing is ever easy in this world.

Men continue to hold tight the keys to many gates — the gates to media attention, sponsorship, prize money, and a living wage. No athlete is necessarily entitled to such things. But if men have them, and in many professional sports they do, why shouldn’t women?

Thanks to their control of the gates, men have made their sports the norm. You never envision a world without men’s sports. Of course, men play sports. No one ever asks out loud if men’s sports should exist, the way they do about the women’s analogues. By using their power over cultural narratives, men have made their sports the default, while along the way, reinforcing in a myriad of ways, a hierarchy that ensures their power goes unchallenged.

Why should women have space to play sports?

Turn the question around. Why should men?

Every time a men’s sports event fizzles, you become obligated to defend it. Oh, Bells was super boring this year, men shouldn’t make as much money as women, and really, why do they even have a men’s event. If that line of argument sounds weird or wrong to you, well, imagine being a woman athlete, who hears those questions on repeat and rarely can avoid answering them.

In truth, women’s sports matter in far-reaching ways to the athletes who play them. Studies have shown that women who play sports through their high school and college years are less likely to be victims of domestic abuse. Women who play sports also ascend to higher levels in their professional lives.

And sure, while some girls look up to fashion icons, others simply do not. Imagine you’re a girl who can’t sit still. Imagine you’re a girl who isn’t all that interested in fashion. Wouldn’t you want to see someone like you out there, rather than feeling alone and out of place? If your imagination fails you on this question, I can tell you that you would.

The most common argument against equal pay and prize money equity is that women’s sports draw a smaller audience. In the US media, editors and television producers devote less than 5% of their sports coverage to women. I don’t have numbers for the surf media, but anecdotally, it isn’t much better.

A woman pro surfer I interviewed said she didn’t ever look at magazines.

“They don’t cover the girls.” (Women among themselves frequently refer to one another as girls.)

Maybe you’re about to argue that women simply aren’t interested in sports.

Sure. I got that one.

At the college-level in the US, nearly half of student-athletes are now women. Title IX and subsequent case law required colleges to offer equal opportunity and funding for women’s sports — and women have seized those opportunities and run as far and as fast as they can with them.

All the same, it remains difficult, if not impossible, to build an audience for a sport without media coverage. Look at how many hours of free publicity the NFL receives from Sports Center and the like. Little wonder that football draws a giant audience. The media outlets provide fans with the backstories and the water-cooler banter. When you know the narratives, when an athlete becomes more than a colorful jersey, a sport comes alive. And women’s sports are uniformly denied the oxygen to fuels that transformation.

If your friends watch women’s sports, you likely will, too.

During the 2015 World Cup finals, I happened to be in Sun Valley, riding mountain bikes with a crew of women. We’d shredded some prime singletrack, as the saying goes. Then one of my besties and I headed to a local coffee shop-brewery to watch the game. I remember hanging out at the counter, drinking a beer, chatting about riding and sports with a good friend. And then, seeing women on a massive stage, doing the performance of their lives. It was enthralling and inspiring — all the more so for being shared.

I think to appreciate women’s sports, you have to engage them on their own terms. Which is to say, if your constant frame of reference is the men’s analogue, if you watch women’s surfing with the men’s version always in your head, you will never entirely enjoy it. You will always compare it — and most of you, I think, will find the women’s version lacking.

I would argue that’s your fault for imposing your own notion of value on the game, not the fault of the competitors.

This dynamic lies at the heart of the debate over whether the judging standard should be the same across genders. It reflects an inability to watch one without reference to the other. I can’t say I care if the standard is the same.

After all, there is no Platonic ideal of the perfectly surfed wave. A ten is always relative to what’s happened in the heat before it, and during the contest as a whole. I see no reason why women shouldn’t be judged against women, and men against men.

Eventually, I think your relationship with women’s sports depends on why you watch sports at all.

For me, whether I’m watching a women’s surf heat or the men’s Tour de France, I am drawn to the human stories that come out of them. It’s not about the absolute level of the competitors, necessarily. I don’t care how high Carissa Moore can throw an air — or if she throws one at all.

I am drawn instead to the dynamics of the competition between her and her opponent and what’s at stake for each of them.

And none of that has anything to do with the men’s event running in parallel.

In a recent New York Times story, Lindsay Crouse recalled the famous moment when Brandi Chastain whipped off her shirt to celebrate victory in the 1999 world cup. She saw it then as a sign that women’s sports had finally arrived.

In retrospect, Crouse views that moment as bittersweet. We thought the battle was over, she says, but we were wrong.

I know this won’t be the last time I write this story.

In truth, I feel like I write it every time I sit down to tell a story about women’s sports or about the athletes who pour their hearts into competing at them. Maybe at the end of one of those stories, one less man feels compelled to tell me that it’s all too boring to watch.

Here we are, I think, as I sit at my keyboard wearing a sports bra in the summer heat.

Here we are still fighting the same battles for equity and opportunity.

Sports both reflect and communicate the values of the cultures that surround them.

Here we are fighting for equity, not just in sports, but on just about every terrain.

And maybe in the end, this is why women’s sports matter.

Rumor: Nike looks to sell Hurley as “surf brands have lost appeal among non-surfing consumer!”

Uh oh!

As reported in Reuters today, Nike is “exploring options” for Hurley “including possible divestment” according to “people familiar with the matter.” Oooooee! And not necessarily a bombshell, Hurley has always maintained its own look/feel/design, but the reasons for Nike wanting to get out of the surf game are… let’s call them “problematic” for our World Surf League and I won’t prance around the bush any longer. I won’t waste your time with half-baked metaphors. I’ll get right to the heart of the matter which, according to Reuters, is…

Nike’s potential retrenchment from the surfwear market is emblematic of the stance of most major consumer companies towards the sector. Surf brands have lost their appeal among non-surfing consumers, who now prefer boutique brands and retro streetwear.

Now, as you know, the grandest plans coming out of Santa Monica’s High Castle have included turning on those 300 million people “interested” in surf around the globe. Don’t you recall ex-WSL CEO Herr Paul Speaker’s television interview where he boldly declared surfing would soon eclipse the NFL because so so so so many more untapped “surfers” existed? And while the numbers he threw, and his smug face, were very embarrassing from a public relations standpoint, that idea is still at the core of the League’s business model.

Now, if this consumer does exist, by the hundreds of millions, and is just a few turns of the screw away from embracing the pastime of kings, wouldn’t you think that Nike should be doubling down on its surf investment? With Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch just about to expand surfing beyond the beach, the Olympics one year away from showcasing the best and brightest to millions beyond the hundreds of millions already “dabbling” and World Surf League President of Content, Media and Etc. Erik “ELo” Logan doing a development deal with the folks that brought us Wicked Tuna wouldn’t you think Nike should be tripling down?


I know that the “surfwear” market and the “surf watching/consuming/doing” market is not necessarily the same thing but… never mind. It totally is.

So at the end we have two competing outlooks. That of Nike plus most major consumer companies…. a world where grumpy locals rule, hand-stitching their own boardshorts from seaweed and plastic drinking straws because there are only 349 of them and that of the World Surf League…. a world where every person on planet earth lives to shred and photos of the ’89 World Champ Martin “Pottz” Potter rest on every other mantle from Montego to Madagascar.

Which do you believe?