Collaboration: Swedish giant IKEA teams up with WSL to “engage the surf community!”

The more than "370 million people around the world interested in surfing" rejoice!

Oooooee it will be impossible for many, many months to top Derek Rielly’s fine work yesterday and of course you didn’t miss it. Of course you saw his innocent face splashed across newspapers from Australia to England to New York City. His innocent face just signing some books underneath bold headlines declaring:

“Instagram model, 24, reveals why she was so offended by middle-aged author’s ‘disgusting’ threesome question.”

Yes, it will be impossible for many, many months. Years even but thankfully there is always our World Surf League and just today it was announced that the governing body of professional surfing is teaming up with Swedish modular furniture manufacturer IKEA in order to “engage the surf community” on “what it takes in areas such as organisation, mobility and humidity when you are constantly on the go.”

And the press release is so full of artfully crafted phrases that I must post here. Do you mind? Of course you don’t. This is BeachGrit where “swinging throuples” are a way of life!

In a new collaboration with World Surf League (WSL), IKEA is diving into life around the water, connecting sustainability with an active life and mobile living. With around 70% of its surface covered by oceans, Earth is rightly known as the blue planet. The ocean is also a major producer of the oxygen we breathe, making it a crucial part of our everyday life regardless of where we live.

IKEA is teaming up with WSL to better understand the everyday life of people that have a mobile and active way of living in close rhythm with the ocean. There are 370 million people across the world interested in surfing and more than 40 million active surfers. No sport relies on the ocean as much as surfing, which is why sustainability and protecting the ocean are naturally important to surfers.

Through this partnership, IKEA and WSL will team up for a project to raise awareness about the climate challenge and inspire action to reduce plastic pollution in the oceans. IKEA and WSL will also collaborate on a jointly designed surf-centric range of products, using recovered ocean-bound plastic where possible.

“At IKEA we’re excited to start a collaboration with the World Surf League and engage with the surf community on life around water. We’re curious to learn what it takes in areas such as organisation, mobility and humidity when you are constantly on the go. And we both share the ambition and passion around sustainability, so we want to keep the wellbeing of our ocean at the heart of it all,” says James Futcher, Creative Leader at IKEA of Sweden.

“We are very excited to collaborate with IKEA and look forward to working together on a product collaboration around surfing that is using ocean-bound plastic,” said WSL CEO Sophie Goldschmidt. “IKEA’s sustainability initiatives really align with our own and we’re both dedicated to protecting the ocean.”

IKEA wants to have a positive impact on the ocean, engage in projects to clean plastic pollutants from the ocean and proactively prevent ocean plastic pollution. Therefore, this collaboration also has the ambition to connect to the other ongoing initiatives on ocean bound plastic and ocean plastic that IKEA is currently working with, to get a holistic approach towards life in and around the oceans.

A few things that stand out to me. 370 million people across the world interested in surfing and more than 40 million active surfers? Yeah? Ok.

Also, “IKEA and WSL will also collaborate on a jointly designed surf-centric range of products, using recovered ocean-bound plastic where possible.” When these products come available will you prefer the plastic sheet set featuring Julian Wilson or the one featuring Gabriel Medina?

And, “We’re curious to learn what it takes in areas such as organisation, mobility and humidity when you are constantly on the go.” Do you know what it takes?

Care sharing?

"Love it" one day, "Ambushed" the next!

From the mining-tits-for-clicks dept: Morality police storm BeachGrit!

Lewd! Ambush! Surf star disgusted!

Two afternoons ago, the morality police, in the form of a gossip writer for a major Australian daily newspaper, came banging on the door of your old pal DR.

The day before, I’d written what could loosely be called a “story”, an interview with Gold Coast surfer Ellie-Jean Coffey who’d just told her one million followers she was “single as fuck” after a recent breakup. 

Mining tits for clicks, as they say.

I texted EJ and asked if she would agree to let me mine her breakup etc.

“Hello darling. 100% agree call me now.”

I called, bad line, turned to text. 

A little banter etc, asked about the joys and challenges of a three-way relationship, she wrote, ‘What’s that haha” and “Nah I’m too jealous haha.”

Asked for a photo, she sent it. 

Sent story, she wrote: “Love it.”

The gossip writer emailed:

1) What was the purpose of the article?
2) Why did you think it was appropriate to ask a 24-year-old about her sexual preferences? Especially in the age of the Me Too movement when reporters are constantly being shut down for asking sexist questions?
3) Do you moderate the comments section on the website?

I replied, one, mining for clicks, like you.

Two, Because she’s a brave revolutionary who isn’t afraid of subverting the strict morality imposed on public figures.


Three, Does a Persian cat like to loll in the sun?, a line I think I stole from Longtom.

I heard about the story, headlined Lewd ‘ambush’ leaves surfer gritting teeth when EJ called to apologise and to tell me her words were twisted etc.

“Coffey said she was disgusted by the questions and that she was ambushed by the interview…’I was getting on a bus, I had a really busy day, the bus was crowded and I got ambushed…I got a phone call and boom.'” 

Earlier today, a couple of helpful BeachGrit readers forwarded a screen shot.

What thrills most is the writer, a country kid whose talents were forged in the fires of the Gold Coast Bulletin where she broke stories like the ‘The man who supplies luxury toilets to the stars’, wrote breathless recaps of Bachelor in Paradise and whose current paper has been ordered to pay out almost three million bucks for defaming Oscar-winning actor Geoffrey Rush, may not be the shocked matron she portrays.

On her Twitter feed, which you can examine here, there is a reference to men “fingering other men’s buttholes” and another instance where she announces, “Why does it matter who we f*ck?”

Hypocrisy is the grease that keeps society functioning in an agreeable way, as they say.

3 VALs down, 33 to go!

Innovative: World Surf League opens Surf Ranch for the “ultimate VAL experience!”

Where surf hats are encouraged and the only bad questions are those that go unasked!

When Kelly Slater revealed his Surf Ranch for the very first time, trampling the title celebration of a young, hard-working Brazilian boy who had dragged hisself from a poverty-stricken favela to the top of the world we all gasped. It was… beautiful and took us all a while to get over seeing a barrel in Lemoore, California but as soon as we did get over it, we began wondering.

“What’s the end game here?”

It was imagined that many Surf Ranches would be built across the globe. Zero have been.

It was imagined that Surf Ranches would be center pieces in bold new mixed-use housing/retail developments from Vladivostok to Virginia Beach. They aren’t.

It was imagined that a user friendly version would roll out that allowed more than four people maximum to surf at a time. No.

We all know how much the damned thing costs to run per day, how many gallons of water and gallons of diesel etc. How expensive it is and we scratch our heads, these two years on, and wonder.

“What’s the end game here?”

Well, in an email sent straight from the World Surf League’s Santa Monica High Castle to a dear friend we finally have answers.

Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch will turn into a VAL paradise where surf hats are encouraged and the only bad questions are those that go unasked. Would you like to learn more?

Let me take your hand!

Throughout 2019, we will be introducing a new set of pilot experiences at Surf Ranch for individuals and smaller groups. Kicking things off this month, we’re launching Progression Sessions, a training program aimed at those looking to boost their surf skills.

As a past Surf Ranch guest, you, as well as your friends and family, have the first crack to take advantage of the limited number of sessions.

These personalized training experiences aim to advance your surfing skillset during the day and reward you at night with healthy food & beverage experiences, music, and a relaxing onsite stay.

Experience highlights include:
3, 1-hour Surf Sessions
In water coaching and guidance
Video capture of all waves​
Personalized video review​ with our coaching staff
Equipment education and use of full Firewire demo quiver​
Access to wakesurfing sessions throughout the day on our adjacent 20-acre recreational lake
And much more, see the attached brochure for all the highlights

You can click on the brochure here but, real talk, let’s get to costs. For one day in the tank with eighteen likeminded VALs divvying up three one hour sessions it’ll run $3500 per person plus if you want to bring a friend that’ll cost $500, also capped at eighteen. So… 36 surfers?

Like, twelve surfers in the water at a time?


If you would like to stay, on site, in an Airstream that’ll run $550 – $650 more.

And there we have the future.

So, are you pleased? Is it going to be wildly successful? Are you thinking about booking a session right now?

Hurry fast! Limited supply!

Horrifying: Family attacked by vicious sea lice while frolicking in the surf!

Have we have gotten too myopic, focusing only on sharks and brain-eating amoebas to the detriment of bluebottles, tangly seaweed and sea lice?

We all know there are a lot of very bad things that can happen whilst surfing, sharks, brain-eating amoebas, etc. and we do our best, here, to warn you about them but I fear we have gotten too myopic, focusing only on sharks and brain-eating amoebas to the detriment of sea-needles, bluebottles, tangly seaweed and sea lice.

This morning, as I was enjoying a hot mug of green tea, I stumbled upon a story in the Virginia-Pilot that terrified me and, I think, will terrify you. Would you like a peek?

When Heather Browning and her family set out for Dam Neck beach Wednesday, they hoped to swim, eat some hoagies from Wawa and relax.

The Hampton native lives in Fredericksburg but has a condo in Virginia Beach, so she and her family come to Hampton Roads about once a month. Wednesday was their last beach day, said Browning, 40.

By 4 p.m., they’d been in the water for about 30 minutes, Browning said. All was swell until she and her brother noticed something odd.

“We were just messing around in the surf,” she said. “I looked at the water and noticed this patch of what looked like a cloud of sand. It wasn’t moving right.”

Browning said that when waves break near the shore, they kick up sand. The clumps she saw were behind the waves, floating in the water on their own, she said.

Turns out, it was sea lice — tiny, semi-transparent creatures with blue or brown spots.

When she recognized them, she yelled for her 15-year-old brother to get out.

“He was already running out of the water and stripping off his swim shirt,” she said.

The patches, she said, were stinging like “absolute fire,” so she ran to the sand and pulled off her bathing suit.


It goes on for a few thousand more words, discussing what locals told Heather Browning to do in order to salve the wounds and also revealed that sea lice are actually baby crabs and the burning sensation is them pinching the skin with their miniature claws.

That last bit sounds totally unbelievable but the Virginia-Pilot is not known for trafficking in fake news so we must trust the veracity.

Anyhow, I hope you keep sea lice in the back of your mind when you paddle out for your next surf.

Also, do you have a story to share that’s as terrifying as Heather Browning’s?

Please do!

Lastly, Derek Rielly and I keep regular track of BeachGrit‘s high-water mark.

His recent interview with Ellie-Jean Coffey is currently it. This story here might be our low-water mark. Has there been another this tangentially related to surfing and of less merit?

I think not.

J-Bay Day 3: “Kelly Slater rediscovers old strengths; Kanoa Igarashi hits world-title form!”

Also, shocking the masses, Kanoa Igarashi gives honest post-heat presser!

Three am or close enough PST, California sleeps, forty-seven-year-old Kelly Slater showboats into a frothy milkshake tube at something like pumping J-Bay on his Final Year on Tour and on his way to a clear win over Caio Ibelli.

An inside source at the former ASP told me J-Bay has one of the smallest online audiences because North America with its millions upon millions of fans sleeps. So J-Bay was cut from the schedule in 2010 as the tour teeter-tottered on the edge of the surf industry apocalypse, then reintroduced by a Paul Speaker in 2014 desperate to throw red meat to the base and stabilise the roster.

Paul went, Sophie came in; we kept J-Bay and lost Cloudbreak thus eviscerating the Grand Slam leg of the Tour which has always been the touchstone of world champions from Kelly Slater to Andy Irons to Gabe Medina.

It seems the Global South + Europe can sustain the event without the patronage of the imperial north and here we are: 16 over-lapping 45 minute heats in pumping surf at one of the world’s best waves.

Lumpy early with a wind that veered around to the devil direction. That seemed no big problem for the big dog Jordy Smith. He hacked and floated – three times- with an undeserved claim for a well over-egged 8.5 that seemed to both fuck with the scale and frustrate natural foot efforts to come to grips with the lineup. Jordy’s anti-aerial rant in the booth looked like a cute game of rope-a-dope in retrospect after he threw down a toy alley-oop into the breeze.

His easy win over Soli Bailey also set the tone of a day of mismatches. There were many. Early heats could blame devil winds and creases to make turns hard to stick and rails fluttery through carves but even when the surface greased out there was a lot of underwhelming surfing.

Gabe Medina, ranked nine, tightened the noose on Griffin Colapinto, ranked 27, outside the cut, with vertical blasts and fin drifts on the close-outs. A very successful formula.

But where was the natural foots advantage in repertoire, the Fanning power torque wrap? By the twenty-minute mark of the heat, as their priority started Medina had already kicked open the trapdoor and left Colapinto dangling in the wind.

He looks half the surfer this year.

With 45 minutes there was no lack of opportunity. Andino and De Souza rode eight waves each. Flores rode twelve. Andino scratched up two sixes. Both Flores and De Souza failed to find chemistry or rhythm – lots of flubbed turns, falling off, bad body language, obscene gesticulating etc etc.

It was great sport if very ordinary surfing.

Could Pip light it up? Pip could not light it up. Well, he kind of did.

Skipped out of the gates like a two-year-old at a barrier trial for a mid-seven and everyone held their breath. Then he fell asleep like a Persian cat sitting in the winter sun.

Mikey Feb was never going to win, I think we can admit that. Even Barton admitted he don’t quite have a CT level skill set.

But it gave Pip fans nervous moments before he slammed the door in Mikey’s face with a seven. Pip at fifty percent? About that.

It took eleven heats before a score was able to broach the high moat set by Jordy Smith. And two consecutive heats where natural footers finally opened up repertoire, turn angle, turn speed and control of the arc.

Seabass nailed a perfect one for a nine and got the Fanning power-whip on full power. Bourez in the next heat took a more vertical approach with massive vertical punches which he finished with a full whip. He floated and spiked a wave that quivered like half set gelatine.

It was incredible judges squashed the spread between him and Ricardo Christie to the extent Christie was still in the heat with five to play. Bourez smashed him.

Who was going to grab the day by the scruff of the neck?

Who was going to set the pace down in deepest, darkest Africa?

Not Kimba the white lion but Kanoa Igarashi the Japanese American. I hate to crib comments off the Grit live comment feed but sometime during the heat Superworm came on and called Iggy the best surfer in the World. And after seeing the Top 32 all surfing perfect J-Bay that call, ridiculous on the face of it, suddenly seemed very, very tight and right.

More Toledo than Toledo.


He had the speed, the flamboyance to loose the fins or carve the arc and a faux-aggro mojo so ostentatious that in spite of its tendency to alienate we are now learning to love. He freely admits this mojo is not his but a product of his coach Jake Patterson and after donning this cape so many times it’s starting to fit. Iggy in the yellow jersey.

Iggy winning Pipeline.

Iggy taking the World Title.

All these things could happen.

Joe Turpel called Kelly’s heat “vintage Kelly” and it was. This will sound even queerer than calling Kanoa the best surfer in the world but I’d suspected J-Bay was becoming a weakness for Kelly, with his penchant for chattery, skittery equipment and tendency to fall apart in heats.

It’s not strictly true that he’s turned a weakness into a strength. More, if you indulge my argument, that he has rediscovered an old strength and renewed it. Like a couple who, after twenty years of bickering, redo their wedding vows and find a new spice to the old ways (not me and my gal).

Kelly took some licks and gave Caio too many chances but by surfing the way he did he had upped the ante and prevented any chance of Ibelli finding a comfort zone. In the pressure thus applied Ibelli cracked.

Two magical things happened concurrently during the Kelly heat.

Kanoa gave a candid presser calling out the disingenuous calls of his fellow surfers who claim not to care or know about the numbers. He said he knows the numbers and it makes it easier. How could this manufactured pro surfer, I mean like from birth, or even before birth, become our lord and redeemer from the bland post-heat presser?

The second thing.

If this was manufactured – stroke of genius – they got De Souza in the booth to commentate Kelly’s heat. It was delicious to see Adriano soaking up the attention talking about his World Title while Kelly battled it out.

That too was delightfully candid. A little bit of cosmic rebalancing.

Italo played it by the Gabe Medina template. Big backside hooks, no bobble, no breaks in the turns. Fin drifts on the close-out section. A very easy win for him over Jack Freestone. Très entertainment.

Even if North America slept through it, the people of the Global South kept it down.

J-Bay Men’s Round of 32 Results:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.67 DEF. Soli Bailey (AUS) 10.74
Heat 2: Owen Wright (AUS) 11.40 DEF. Joan Duru (FRA) 11.27
Heat 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.00 DEF. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 10.00
Heat 4: Ryan Callinan (AUS) 13.10 DEF. Yago Dora (BRA) 11.33
Heat 5: Kolohe Andino (USA) 12.33 DEF. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 9.80
Heat 6: Deivid Silva (BRA) 13.43 DEF. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 11.70
Heat 7: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 11.60 DEF. Julian Wilson (AUS) 10.56
Heat 8: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 14.74 DEF. Conner Coffin (USA) 10.86
Heat 9: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 14.77 DEF. Michael February (ZAF) 10.40
Heat 10: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 14.03 DEF. Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 12.10
Heat 11: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 14.94 DEF. Wade Carmichael (AUS) 11.50
Heat 12: Michel Bourez (FRA) 13.60 DEF. Ricardo Christie (NZL) 12.83
Heat 13: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 17.53 DEF. Frederico Morais (PRT) 13.50
Heat 14: Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 13.50 DEF. Seth Moniz (HAW) 11.66
Heat 15: Kelly Slater (USA) 13.57 DEF. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 11.90
Heat 16: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 15.16 DEF. Jack Freestone (AUS) 9.70

J-Bay Men’s Round of 16 Matchups:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Owen Wright (AUS)
Heat 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Ryan Callinan (AUS)
Heat 3: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Deivid Silva (BRA)
Heat 4: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS)
Heat 5: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Willian Cardoso (BRA)
Heat 6: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Michel Bourez (FRA)
Heat 7: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) vs. Peterson Crisanto (BRA)
Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Italo Ferreira (BRA)

J-Bay Women’s Round of 16 (H1 – 6) Results:
Heat 1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 13.27 DEF. Silvana Lima (BRA) 12.50
Heat 2: Caroline Marks (USA) 16.67 DEF. Paige Hareb (NZL) 7.90
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 14.83 DEF. Keely Andrew (AUS) 11.30
Heat 4: Johanne Defay (FRA) 16.00 DEF. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 12.20
Heat 5: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 13.33 DEF. Macy Callaghan (AUS) 11.93
Heat 6: Malia Manuel (HAW) 11.50 DEF. Brisa Hennessy (CRI) 8.97

J-Bay Remaining Women’s Round of 16 (H7 – 8) Matchups:
Heat 7: Courtney Conlogue (USA) vs. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)
Heat 8: Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Bronte Macaulay (AUS)

J-Bay Women’s Quarterfinal Matchups:
QF 1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Caroline Marks (USA)
QF 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Johanne Defay (FRA)
QF 3: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Malia Manuel (HAW)