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?

Feminine, passive, older: Surfing’s new Fascist World Order!

Rights are assumed in the surf now, not earned. An insoluble problem when the numbers exceed the supply of waves.

What a week here*, what a month! Surfing in the dock on two fronts.

The hottest new species of VALs shish-kebabed by a respectable bourgeois publication, the mighty Vanity Fair and then it’s inner entrails cut out and examined in the sunshine (in forensic detail) by the magnificent Magistrate Karen Stafford in the Ballina Courthouse.

Appropriate time to ask, as Sally Fitz would say, “Where you at?”

Surfing in the age of the Tub has become almost a byword for techno-utopianism for a new species of masters and mistresses of the Universe. The soft fascism of market-mediated narcissism peddled by the Murfers, as they are now tagged, rolls on with momentum undiminished by the Vanity Fair hit piece.

In fact, the photographer became insta-pals with the Murfers, the network extended, greater reach into American markets etc. These are the new, modern day Darwinians.

The Murfers have inverted the usual Darwinian rules of modern, crowded surfing and life.

Ruthlessness does not happen in the water or in the glossy shots but in the background as a red in tooth and claw version of self-branding total commercialisation.

To look into their hot soft eyes is to believe in a version of innocent theme park narcissism.

Darwin showed us that humans are like other animals. We compete for mates, for resources.

In the surf we compete for waves. Implicitly or explicitly.

Our animal inheritance is a consequence of the evolutionary success of what English local John Gray calls “an exceptionally rapacious primate”.

To believe otherwise, despite 50 years of a surf media ever ready to pander to self-mythologising grinning-hippie capitalists, is to deny reality.

I saw that reality relentlessly and surgically flayed and exposed in a court last week.

More on that in a moment.

Like all animals our existence and access to “our playground” is conditional, subject to all kinds of local and regional vagaries and territorialism, even sometimes to the threat or reality of violence. If Kala Alexander shows me his knuckles and tells me to beat it kook at the Pipeline, or Tahiti, or even Indonesia it’s likely I will submit. Even under the protective umbrella of the rule of law I may submit to the law of the Wolfpak.

The genie of technology can not be put back in the bottle. The bitter irony is the Murfers cause more harm with their soft fascism than the direct output of violence in the name of self-interest, but also tolerated by the community in the name of order. These are slimy, slippery eels to grapple with.

The VAL fantasy is access to a playground of uninhibited freedom accessible to all.

But this is a lie.

Like all animals our existence and access to “our playground” is conditional, subject to all kinds of local and regional vagaries and territorialism, even sometimes to the threat or reality of violence. If Kala Alexander shows me his knuckles and tells me to beat it kook at the Pipeline, or Tahiti, or even Indonesia it’s likely I will submit. Even under the protective umbrella of the rule of law I may submit to the law of the Wolfpak.

The rule of law which protects the VAL is the ultimate human construct. The ultimate freedom they fantasise about is only accessible in an even more mechanised playground, and it comes at a very high price.

These strangely fruitful internal contradictions constitute the new surfing myth and the true work of the surf writer in our new woke age.

Jodie Cooper, of course, is very far from a kook or a VAL. The violence perpetrated against her is of a kind that is much more repellent, even amid the chaos of the most crowded day of the winter. Even considering the breakdown of order during a tourist invasion which threw the vibe for the season from its normal strict but sunny disposition (the most noted local enforcer told me: “I’m a fucking mirror, they bring smiles and good manners that’s what they get back. If they’re cunts they get a smack”) into a dull, sullen resentment.

Something had to crack.

The perpetrator had few, if any, allies. Trussed up in an ill-fitting suit and clutching a mat, his last stand as some kind of local enforcer was now in the hands of two barristers and a solicitor.

The one, with a massive lionine visage and physique shaped by expensive wine and cheese.

The judge put the aggression of localism in the dock and found it wanting, not strictly on its own terms, but because it violated Cooper’s rights as an experienced surfer to her “perfect wave” .Rights are assumed in the surf now, not earned. An insoluble problem when the numbers exceed the supply of waves. Still, violence has decreased. Old hardheads mellow out or become legit family guys. The culture has become more feminised, more passive and older.

His sidekick: a version of Robert Duvall from Apocalypse Now who had been cryovaced for 30 years and then microwaved a little too long to thaw him out.

The judge did not share my appreciation of the comic effect of the barristers talking about a mat’s inability to cut back. She put the aggression of localism in the dock and found it wanting, not strictly on its own terms, but because it violated Cooper’s rights as an experienced surfer to her “perfect wave”.

Rights are assumed in the surf now, not earned. An insoluble problem when the numbers exceed the supply of waves.

Still, violence has decreased in the surfing world.

Old hardheads mellow out or become legit family guys.

The culture has become more feminised, more passive and older.

You’ve pretty much got to travel to the Third World, or Victoria, to be threatened these days. The Carcass case looks more like the last of an endangered species being put against the wall than any kind of brave new “Straw Dogs”** world.

Violence is more sublimated now into a soft fascism: my life is superior to yours, you can’t afford it etc.

Blocking and ghosting takes the place of the open fist but the Darwinian reality remains. The human animal will stay the same: a highlyinventive species that is also one of the most predatory and destructive.

More, much, much more to come.

*Boring Bay/Lennox Head/Ballina.
**Sam Peckinpah Film with Dustin Hoffman.

Apocalypse Now: “Bible of the Sport” Surfer magazine officially endorses electric surfboard!

"Sit outside with the long boarders and catch more waves than ever before!"

I’m not one for nostalgia, no not at all, and generally concur with psychologists of old who classified it as a mental disorder. Time moves along, things change, no epoch was ever better than another or else Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris was written, produced and directed in vain. As you well know, Midnight in Paris showcased star turns for Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Adrien Brody, Marion Cotillard and Carla Bruni, who also happens to have the voice of an angel, and was not written, produced and directed in vain.

Which brings us around to Surfer magazine, the most important and historic voice in surf media. Matt Warshaw once edited the proud title which featured some of the best writers and editors to ever do it. Names like John Severson, Drew Kampion, Steve Pezman, Paul Holmes, Evan Slater and Sam George. For many years it set the tone of our conversation and still does, to a certain extent, which makes me wonder if electric surfboards are an exciting new opportunity.

For just yesterday the Bible of the Sport officially attached its name to Jetson, “…a surfboard that includes a miniature jet which gives you a boost at the most important moments: paddling momentum to take off on your wave. It is a surfboard that will allow you to catch more waves to make the most of your surfing experience.”

Jetson offers the 8′ Wahoo funboard quad ($4895.00) “Our 8’0” will be your go to board for those who want to ride a fun shape without loosing the paddling speed of a long board. Sit outside with the long boarders and catch more waves than ever before.”

The 9′ Grouper longboard quad ($5295.00). “Our 9’0″ will increase your wave count even when the crowds are heavy or the current is brutal. You will power into position and catch waves with ease and leave the crowd behind.”

And a 10’2 rescue paddle board ($6195.00). See Nick Carroll for details.

So tell me, are you excited about this new development? All this catching everyone else’s waves etc.? Did you hop on the last technological wave, excuse the pun, when Garrett McNamara showed us the great possibilities of the WaveJet in 2011? Would you like to make more of your surfing experience? The most even?

More importantly, will we even be able to discern VALs in the lineup anymore as they “paddle” into waves so far out on the horizon as to exhibit a Kai Lenny-esque ability to read the ocean?

Don’t let the VAL take your sea lumps. Buy here with no shame. It’s Surfer magazine approved!

(0% financing available now)