I wish this picture was wearing a yellow beanie.
I wish this picture was wearing a yellow beanie.

Cursed: World’s biggest surf tradeshow cancelled due to threat from hurricane!

But which hurricane?

It was announced, two days ago, that the world’s largest, the world’s oldest, the world’s most important boardsports and beach/lifestyle tradeshow would be cancelled due to potential damage from an impending hurricane.

The pageant is conducted bi-annually, once in January, again in September in Orlando, Florida’s Orange County Convention Center very near other attractions like Disneyworld and Crazy Horse Gentlemen’s Club.

Now, Surf Expo’s official press release reads:

Due to the continued threat of Hurricane Dorian on Orlando, the state of Florida, the southeast and the east coast, Surf Expo announced today that it will cancel the 2019 event, as well as the pre-show outdoor festival, Waterfest, on September 4, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. Surf Expo’s leadership team has been constantly monitoring the storm closely and evaluating information from both local, state and federal officials and partners to determine the best course of action.

But I wonder if there were some other gale force winds playing into the board’s consideration. Powerful nine-mile-per-hour gusts swirling behind the mighty fistpalm of Stab magazine editor-in-chief and heavyweight Ashton Goggans.

You haven’t forgotten, have you? Haven’t let the recollection of the Punch of Social Justice slip from your memory? For it was at the last running of Surf Expo that Stab magazine editor-in-chief and Urban Outfitter ring aficionado Ashton Goggans uncorked his Storm of Hurt Feelings and sent that mighty fistpalm right into my jawneck and my vintage Ray-Bans to the floor. I fixed them very easily though they did break a month ago when I leaned over to take a sip of tea and they slipped from my nose onto the zinc countertop.

Those were the days and I truly hope Surf Expo was canceled because of Hurricane Dorian not because of Hurricane Ashton but if it was cancelled because of Hurricane Ashton then at least I had a small part in it.


Fashion: Helmets, long the domain of jocks and young children with misshapen heads, are back in vogue!

Will you be sporting one next time out?

While Owen’s helmeted Chopes heroics have eaten up column inches in the surfing press, mainstream media outlet The Guardian has swung its left-leaning spotlight onto the broader issue of head injuries in surfing, with a story on big-wave surfer Mercedes Meidana’s post-concussion injuries.

Read here.

Or if you don’t read it, here’s the gist: Mercedes wiped out in a comp up at Nescott Reef in Oregon back in 2014. Head injury, minor abrasion etc. Thought it was ok at the time but has since had her world crumble as the full extent of the damage played out.

It’s a heartbreaker, absolutely.

A few interesting points from the article, though, which seems to be pushing for increased regulation and cultural change in big wave surfing.

The researcher quoted says big-wave surfing has a gung-ho, anti-safety culture. Would you agree?

Big wave surfers are explorers, yes. Constantly charting new territory. And like explorers, they need to be intrepid. A level of risk must always be factored in. Mark Foo’s quote about the “unridden realm” still rings.

But I’d argue the elite crew (Mercedes included) are meticulous in their preparation. Training, gear, support crews.

So why don’t we see more of them wearing helmets?

Because they inhibit performance?

It didn’t slow Owen down.

(As an aside, his absence from this article is a big boo boo. Like writing a story on professional golf’s sex culture and leaving out Tiger).

Flores, Vaast, Seabass, O Dog. All rocked Gaths at Chopes, and they were the form surfers of the comp.

A million copywriters on a million Macbooks couldn’t match Owen’s line “I remember thinking, you’ve got a helmet on, just go!”

Are Gaths due for a comeback? If they can avoid more horrific injuries like Mercedes and O-daddy’s, ain’t that a good thing?

And have you ever worn one? Do they hinder your performance? Are you Liam McNamara? I’m keen to know.

So many questions. One helmet-curious surf writer seeking answers.


"Don't flatter yourself, babe. Where's your boyfriend?"
"Don't flatter yourself, babe. Where's your boyfriend?"

Scientifically proven: “Man-eating” Great White sharks hate the taste of women!

Very un-PC. Extremely not equal-opportunity.

And I am absolutely certain you’ve been following along with this Summer of Great White Sharks that is mercifully drawing to a close. In case you’ve been away, a quick recap. Numerous Great Whites moved in to my once placid North County, San Diego Shangri-La in June and turned it into a vicious, fear-stricken Hades. Across the country, in Cape Cod, these same Great Whites multiplied like Mormons and started nipping folk, causing mass panic. A call went up from town halls to Fenway Park to club baby seals in response. Where did they come from? Likely Cape Town, South Africa which lost all of its Great Whites thereby cratering local “shark diving” operations.

Well, according to science the Summer of Great White Sharks is actually only the appetizer for Great Whites, and other sharks, favorite season for man-eating is actually the Fall. What is more, Great Whites, and other sharks, prefer surfers to all other ocean hobbyists, and most prefer male surfers. Even our most set-in-their-ways grandparents know to keep that sort of sexism to themselves but that’s partially why sharks are so nasty.

Per the respected scientific journal Daily Star:

Statistically, September is the most dangerous month for shark attacks.

More people are bitten by sharks in the waters around the the Florida coast than anywhere else in the world. Since 1882, 827 unprovoked attacks have been recorded in the Sunshine State.

But sharks are not equal-opportunity attackers. Historically, 93% of shark attacks have been on men. And, in particular, surfers. Around half of the people bitten in any one year will be surfers.

Statistically, the most likely time to be bitten by a shark is between 2 and 3pm. Locations of shark attacks are most commonly within 6 feet of the surface and within 100 feet of the shore.

Proving that sharks aren’t singling out humans for attack, a polar bear’s jawbone was found in the stomach contents of a Greenland shark, answering the age-old question of which one of these deadly predators would win in a fight.

Well that’s a lot to chew on right there. Men should not surf in Florida or anywhere, for the next three months except Cape Town, between the hours of 2 and 3pm within 100 feet of the shore. Also, finally we have definitive answers on the Shark vs. Polar Bear debate that has gridlocked the brightest human minds for years. I’ll be trying to comfort Team Polar Bear’s co-captains Neil deGrasse Tyson and Malcolm Gladwell tonight.

More as the Fall of Great White Sharks gets underway.


Family Feud: Surfing’s once stodgy tour explodes with middle-fingers, split ranks and the return of a legend!

Get ready for a war in New York!

While we were busy complaining about the lack of… fire in the booth at the Tahiti Pro Teahupoo presented by Hurley a rumble was cracking the very ground asunder all the way across the globe in Spain. A quake ripping the oldest sort of continually inhabited surfing apart at the seams. A fissure split wide for the world to see and, yes, this was all happening during the World Surf League’s revamped Longboard World Tour and I know you don’t care but you will now.

In a quiet move, the WSL tapped egg aficionado, and all-around stylish man, Devon Howard, to be commissioner of the tour, stretched from one event to four with stops in Noosa, Galicia, New York and Taiwan. The rules were also adjusted to reward the sort of longboarding we all enjoy-ish watching (traditional) as opposed to the sort of longboarding that mocks human development and common sense (high-performance).

And let us read from the rule book:

Article 70: The surfer must perform controlled maneuvers in the critical section of the wave utilizing the entire board and wave using traditional longboard surfing. The surfer who performs this to the highest degree of difficulty with the most style, flow, and grace will receive the highest score for a ride.

So, you know, noseriding, control, footwork and whatnot.

Well, the high-performance longboarders on tour are NOT HAPPY and one in their ranks, E. Delpero, became furious after losing to a traditional longboarder in Spain and let fly a series of middle-fingers at the judges, the cameras and, I must assume, the commentators.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B19gaR9nS3T/

This family feud packed its bags right up, wounds still festering, and is coming to New York this weekend where Hurricane Dorian will be there to greet them. What is more, the famous Joel Tudor is set to surf in the event, his first in years. He, you know, is the godfather of modern traditional longboarding and I have to think that the high-performance crew will be waiting for him at JFK airport with zip guns and bicycle chains. Come read the comments on Joel Tudor’s oft utilized Instagram.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B11QWQnJ8Fn/

How did longboarding become such den of intrigue? I honestly don’t know but will be watching when the New York event kicks off and if there is a fight in the water I will actually become a fan and stop throwing rocks at leashless longboards that wash up on the beach when I’m sunning after my normalboard surf.


Gorgeous photo by the one, the only, Steve Sherman @tsherms
Gorgeous photo by the one, the only, Steve Sherman @tsherms

Watch: New TV show follows Eddie Vedder, Jack Johnson, Kelly Slater and other “Surfing Rockers!”

Get ready for a little night music!

There are good ideas and then there are great ideas. A good idea is to make a movie following three young surfers on a roller coaster action tour of the globe’s most exotic and dangerous surfing spots. They travel to Madagascar, Mexico, Bali and Hawaii seeking the ultimate wave, a 40-foot force of nature that travels at speeds up to 35 miles per hour.

A great idea is to make a television show about rock stars who have a passion for surfing and how the ocean has influenced their lives and music.

Guess what.

Today is your lucky day for… A day after the new Pearl Jam album is revealed band members from Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, and Red Hot Chili Peppers announced that they are set to appear on a new television series next year.

‘Surfing Rocker,’ the new TV show is about rock stars who have a passion for surfing and how the ocean has influenced their lives and music.

The TV show will be feature Anthony Kiedis, Ben Harper, Billie Joe Armstrong, Kelly Slater, Taylor Hawkins, Kirk Hammett, Jack Johnson, Jim Lindberg, and Eddie Vedder. Surfing Rockers is set to debut on TV February 2, 2020 in Brazil.

And I seriously don’t know how the World Surf League’s President of Content, Media, Studios and Outback Steakhouse’s Bloomin’ Onion Erik “ELo” Logan let this concept slip through his fingers. It’s what we, in the biz, call “synergy.”

Speaking of, did you know Billie Joe Armstrong’s surf van is still for sale? If you act fast it can be your lucky day x 2.

Also, if you were tasked with making a television show about a subset of surfers which would you choose? Surfing Techies? Surfing Businessmen? Surfing Businesspeople? Surfing Chiropractors?

Other?