I, for instance, find the color of Kai Lenny's tan interesting. I also enjoyed his barrel advice, though I think it's time to reclassify Surf Ranch's barrel as something else. It's a little bit unfair to all those who had to figure out shifty, weird, crowded, inconsistent barrels in the wild for Steve Aoki to claim "I got barreled."

Experience: the World Surf League’s newest program “Surf Ranch Sessions” feat. Steve Aoki and Kai Lenny!

Very cute!

Now, I’ve been entirely remiss in bringing the World Surf League’s newest programming here for discussion. If honest, I’m only vaguely aware of the new shows, concepts and episodes coming out of Santa Monica’s Studio division which is somewhat odd seeing that I peruse, read, watch and think about surf and surf content almost every minute of every day. Until today, the WSL’s slate of programming has not forced me to stop. Oh I understand, somewhat, that what they are producing is not for me and not for you but rather for the surf fan of the future. The non-grumpy un-local. And so I skip right over it in my email’s inbox and my Instagram feed exactly like I skip over served ads for Sofi fee-free personal loans.

Today, though, I not only stopped but watched the pilot episode in the WSL’s newest series Surf Ranch Sessions. I engaged partially because of the attached picture featuring DJ Steve Aoki and Kai Lenny jumping but also because I was emailed the three minute video eight or nine times, DM’d another ten or fifteen and texted twice.

A breakthrough.

Though there is no description, Surf Ranch Sessions seems like it will be a serial that features a celebrity surfing Surf Ranch for the first time paired with a professional surfer.

In this episode, DJ Steve Aoki declared that it is one of his three dreams to get barreled at Surf Ranch. The others were DJing in space and swimming cage-less with sharks. Kai shows him the ropes, there is a climax of sorts and then the two sit and discuss parallels between DJing and surfing. Pushing through boundaries, past fear, etc.

I insist you watch here before further discussion.

And I know the brass in Santa Monica believe we are only filled with bitterness and gall. That we love nothing more than sitting in our shit shack and throwing rocks at their fine glass tower but let’s really try to find things we like. Let’s focus on the positives.

I, for instance, find the color of Kai Lenny’s tan interesting. I also enjoyed his barrel advice, though I think it’s time to reclassify Surf Ranch’s barrel as something else. It’s a little bit unfair to all those who had to figure out shifty, weird, crowded, inconsistent barrels in the wild for Steve Aoki to claim “I got barreled.” In fact, he clearly didn’t as the camera cuts away very abruptly at the end. I understand the producers had to give the episode its seminal moment but even if he had shot out with the spit, we should call it something else. “Water parked” or “flushed” or something and uh oh…

….here comes the grumpies!

What the fuck was that? Who was it for? Steve Aoki fans? Kai Lenny fans? It certainly wasn’t for damned surf fans, I’ll tell you that right now. It was devoid of meaning, contrived and driving the shallowest, most manufactured narrative of “stoke” and surf as a conduit for conversation. I get that Surf Ranch is custom made for this sort of content but if the point is “bringing disparate folk together” then why not invite some crusty, WSL hating hick and try to convince her that pools are glorious? Or Wiggolly’s Paddling Style and WSL President of Content, Media, Studios and Applebee’s Loaded Fajitas Erik “ELo” Logan? Or Eddie Rothman and Ian Cairns who still have wonderful, simmering beef tracing its heritage all the way back to those “Bustin’ Down the Door days. I know that would be very “inside” very “small” but DJ Steve Aoki?

Trading on a celebrity culture that peaked eight years ago is not only tired and boring, it’s fucking embarrassing. I think, and I could be wrong, that the “surf fan of the future” might actually enjoy  a view into what surf culture actually is as opposed to what Santa Monica is attempting to create and sell. Again, there are so many potential partners with whom the World Surf League could team to deliver these stories. The Surfing Heritage and Culture Center, The Surfer’s Journal, Jamie Brisick, Hardcore mag in Brazil, Jed Smith and Vaughn Blakey, Zigzag mag in South Africa to name but a tiny fraction.

Matt Warshaw, yet another glorious potential partner, gifted me with an introduction to Cocaine + Surfing (buy here) that I ponder regularly. He wrote:

We should know better- we used to know better – than to try and reshape surfing into a sport that fits into a Mutual of Omaha ad campaign, or an Olympic telecast. Selling the sport isn’t a crime. But sell it on our own terms, the way Bruce Brown did with Endless Summer. Make them come to us. And if they don’t, so what? But no, we continue slicing off our legacy of cool, of independence, piece by piece, in exchange for a seat in the nosebleed section of mainstream culture then we compound the error (not ‘we’, actually but the World Surf League, the NYSE-traded surfwear companies, and whoever convinced the IOC to make surfing an Olympic sport for the 2020 games in Tokyo) by passing this auto-swindle as growth and progress.

Fucking shit fucking fuck and… breathe.


Serenity now.

Serenity now.

I also watched a few episodes from the series Transformed feat. Shaun Tomson. Heartstring tugs, inspirational stories using surfing as a platform for overcoming obstacles etc.

Very cute though I do have MAJOR problems with the Afghanistan feature-ette but let’s save that for another day, shall we?

Brazil, best surfing nation on earth, it's official etc. | Photo: ISA

Italo Ferreira wins ISA World Surfing Games; Brazil officially world’s #1 surfing nation!

Meanwhile, once-great surf country, Australia, barely scrapes in front of Germany and Canada…

Miyazaki, Japan: Brazilian wizard Italo Ferreira has weaved his way through the Byzantine web that is the ISA World Surfing Games, with its hundreds of hours of heats and losers rounds, and emerged as gold medallist, beating Kolohe Andino, Gabriel Medina and Japan’s Shun Murakami in today’s final.

Italo, of course, made headlines four days ago, when he arrived for his opening heat with no board, wetsuit or surf trunks and with nine minutes remaining. He won. Of course.

And, today, in reasonable sorta rampy junk that gave multi-faceted surfers such as Italo, Gabriel, Brother and co untold advantage, Italo hucked his way to a narrow win over Brother.

Italo’s backside air, below, scored ten points. A frontside air of Kolohe’s, a 9.43.

Here, the ten.

And, here, Brother’s 9.43.


If you want to go by nation, Brazil is officially number one, USA, number two, followed by Japan, New Zealand, Peru, South Africa, Portugal and the once-great surfing nation, Australia, who did finish slightly ahead of Germany and Canada.

The event, despite its convoluted nature, proved to be surprisingly pleasing with an earlier heat, a portent of the final as it turned out, featuring Kolohe Andino, Gabriel Medina, Italo Ferreira and Kelly Slater.

A heat don’t get much more stacked than that.

Full results here. 

Horrifying: “Man-eating” Great White shark terrorizes innocent children by turning ocean “crimson red!”

"Weeping could be heard from children, curled in the corner begging God to make it stop."

We surfers, we non-canoers, know intimately how vicious those exclusively “man-eating” Great Whites can be but the general pre-VAL population has no idea the horrors that are in store for them. Of course you have been following along with this unprecedented summer, now autumn, of sharks. Of course you have been saddened at how they turned my once sylvan North County, San Diego into a bubbling cauldron of pain. Of course you have been mortified at how they have repopulated New England’s traditionally chill Cape Cod, eating longtime residents while injecting a sickly “looky-loo” impulse into visiting hordes.

Well, those who think Great Whites are a beautiful dancing gift were treated to a harsh truth just yesterday when a whale watching tour was derailed by an obscene feeding frenzy. A completely uncalled for bacchanal that turned the ocean a “crimson red” and in front of weeping children and their horrified mothers and let us turn to the scientific journal International Business Times for the latest:

The whale watchers could be heard screaming as the scene unfolded just a few yards from the deck of the boat. One of the onlookers could be heard crying as the boat continued its journey.

Great white attack terrified tourists as the water suddenly turned crimson.

Families watching aboard a whale watching tour vessel witnessed the attack as the shark tore a seal apart near Green’s Point Lighthouse in Brunswick, Canada.

Initially, not much could be seen as the majority of the fight took place beneath the surface. The fin came out as the seal began to thrash around trying to get away.

That was the time the water turned a deep red with the blood of the victim. The shark as if excited, accelerated its attack.

One of the women began to fret about the seals they had viewed earlier in the tour. She was worried one of those could be at risk of becoming prey for the shark.

Another person reassured her they were not the ones to alert the seals considering the attack may well have scared the rest of them away.

Weeping could be heard from children, curled in the corner begging God to make it stop.

I’ve been telling you. I’ve been telling you all along. Any creature as insensitive to the psychological needs of young children as Great White sharks should never be trusted.

Never ever and the hit song “Baby Shark” has officially been rendered troublesome. Put into the exact same category as Billie Jean.

Indecent Proposal: The Great Pip Toledo should represent the United States in the 2020 Olympics!

He lives in San Clemente so why not?

Unless you have been living under a rock, you may have heard that surfing will be included in the upcoming Summer Olympics in Japan in 2020.

With limited 20 spots available for both men and women, there have been some big moves made to jockey for Olympic positioning. Kanoa Igarashi hails from Japan now and his decision to fly the Rising Sun had some interesting dynamics associated with it when his recent CT victory went to Japan, thusly depriving California of its first CT victory in over ten years, even though the trophy for the Corona Bali Protected is likely sitting in a home somewhere in Huntington Beach.

Similarly, Tatiana Weston-Webb has also opted to eschew US affiliation and is instead aligning herself with Brazil to guarantee her Olympic seat as la surfista Braziliana numero um, much to Silviana Lima’s chagrin.

Two of the most interesting Olympic discussions circle around Brazil and the United States men’s teams. Wait, no, the discussion is a god damn snooze fest. I know pretty much next to nothing about surfing in Japan other than that Shida, the venue of choice for the Tokyo games, is well known for shitty and fickle waves. The practice event was run in one-to-two-foot onshore slop with the fog socked in, which makes it pretty evident to me that the Brazilian and US teams, based on the current roster, will be top contenders for the men’s podium spots.

With JJF questionable post-injury, US is looking like Kolohe and Kelly on the draw with Connor Coffin in the alternate seat for men’s seats.

Brazil is currently looking like Gabriel and Filipe on the draw and Italo on deck.

A trifle dull, no?

Please allow me to suggest a twist, an indecent proposal, that will invigorate.

With all the surf-related expatriating that’s already happening, Filipe is now well situated to mix things up big time. His current residency in San Clemente, when paired with his blacked-out Indian motorcycle riding, low-fade slick back rocking, full-sleeve/hand tattoo having, black skinny-jean/black tee wearing antics firmly solidify him, at least physically and culturally, as an Orange County resident and, ipso facto, a good candidate for expatriation to the US and making the Olympics potentially interesting.

Let’s say Filipe did flip to team USA, what does that look like?

Bye-bye Kelly!

Filipe claiming USA as the “man in the yellow jersey” would push Brother into the second spot, push Kelly into the alternate, and would bump Mr. Coffin off the Olympic bubble. For Brazil, a Filipe expatriation would have the effect of lifting Gabs up into the one spot, pulling up Italo into the number two spot, and would put David Silva in the alternate spot.

Bumping Kelly from and elevating Italo into the Olympics is something I would LOVE to see. For almost the entirety of my brief 32 years on this blue marble, Kelly has been winning events in all types of conditions but his surfing has always proven especially deft and dangerous in small waves.

I would rather watch a newer crop of hungry guys fight for W’s than to watch an 11-time World Champion and one of the most winningest athletes on earth casually three-to-the-beach his way to any sort of victory, let alone Olympic Gold, on a phallus-shaped board of his own namesake to check some competitive box that only lives in the brain of Kelly Slater.

Being that 2020 is our first go around as surfers with Olympic validation as “athletes”, wouldn’t it be great if it was exciting?

Wouldn’t it be great if, when someone asks you who you think will win Tokyo 2020, you could respond with “I don’t know!” rather than “Kelly”?

Kelly, by his own admission, is just “having fun” on tour and it seems transparent that his lackadaisical approach is merely to keep him high enough in the WSL and ISA rankings to get Olympiad qualified for the US team.

Italo, on the other hand, has scrapped and fought every step of the way for Olympic qualification. Most recently, in what I initially thought to be a Rinsed Magazine parody headline, Italo showed up to the ISA Games in Miyazaki after a host of Kafka-esque mishaps, late to his heat with nine minutes remaining and already in a combination situation, only to fight his way out of a corner to a first-place finish on a board he borrowed from Filipe, all while wearing denim shorts. 

That event alone tends to demonstrate that Italo has the fight and spirit of an Olympian while, on the other hand, Kelly is approaching Olympic qualification with the same level of entitlement that Kim Kardashian is approaching admission to the California Bar, that is to say, avoiding the hard work and instead relying on undeniable affability and name recognition, rather than hard work, to open the doors.

In that sense, a Filipe declaration of US alignment for the 2020 Tokyo Games could be a move of extreme Brazilian patriotism to oust the entitled Slater, and instead, forfeit his position to allow for his very deserving Brazilian statemen Italo to enter the games in a meaningful way.

What say you, Filipe? Viva Estados Unidos? Viva revolução!

Update: The nasty battle for stand-up paddleboarding’s misshapen soul!

"Hey, that's my garden."

And do you have any friends or close acquaintances, other that the World Surf League President of Content, Media, Studios and Olive Garden’s Bottomless Salad and Breadsticks Erik “ELo” Logan, who SUPs? Racking my brain, this fine southern California morning, I don’t think I do. I don’t think I have one friend or close acquaintance who uses a paddle whilst trying to “surf.”


A curiosity, I suppose, but anyhow we’ve discussed the nasty battle for SUPing’s misshapen soul between the International Surfing Association and the International Canoe Federation. As a surfer, I don’t understand how/why the ISA wants to keep SUP. As someone who has seen The Wizard of Lies, though, it does make sense. Common sense would have suggested that this war would have been over by now seeing we’re under a year away from the Olympics where SUP will make its debut and let us turn to Yahoo! News for more:

The protracted dispute is expected to be settled by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) before the championships scheduled to start on Oct. 24.

An ICF-backed SUP World Championship in Portugal was cancelled last year after the Portuguese CAS ruled the country’s surfing association held the rights to the discipline.

ISA President Fernando Aguerre says it should be an open and shut case in favour of his organisation’s rights to SUP events.

“It is 10 years we have been supporting and promoting the stand-up world championships yet they never organised anything. Not even one (event),” he told Reuters at the World Surfing Games in Miyazaki on Saturday.

Both sports claim historic ties to SUP, which requires athletes to stand upright on their board and use a paddle to move.

However, Aguerre is adamant the sport was invented by surfers and accuses the ICF of wanting to usurp the discipline once it became popular.

“It is inevitable when you have a nice garden with nice flowers and nice fruits hanging from the trees that your next door neighbour says ‘hey, that is my garden,'” said the Argentine.

“You never planted a tree, never mowed the lawn, you didn’t do anything. So I think the case is very obvious. It is a sport invented by surfers, it is a surfboard, you paddle in a surfing, standing position.”

“I understand their desire to take away something that they didn’t realise was cool, or existed even. They came up with a typical solution – let’s take it away.”

A couple things. Have you ever looked at a garden that you liked then said, “Hey, that is my garden.”? Has something like that ever happened in your neighborhood or to someone you know? I’m curious because if that’s a thing people do, I’m going garden shopping this afternoon.

Also, is SUP cool? Do you think the International Canoe Federation thinks, “Look at all those cool SUPs…” and then went to take it away?

Much to ponder.