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.

"Judghead, he's a hellman. He proved it, literally," says filmer Tim Bonython. "He's a crazy motherfucker, as they say. Fuck, it doesn't matter what happens, if he had a wheelchair he'd still get out there and take off. He's nuts but that's what makes him unique. It's why we love him."  | Photo: Tim Bonython

Shipstern Blood Bath: Big-Wave Charger breaks back, ribs, spits blood from collapsed lung!

"If he had a wheelchair he'd still get out there and take off. He's nuts," says big-wave chasing filmer.

Last Wednesday, a troupe of big-wavers, which included the Australian Justen “Jughead” Allport and nine-time bodyboarding world champion Mike Stewart, threw ’emselves at a ten-to-fifteen-foot swell hitting Shipstern Bluff in Tasmania.

The action was to be captured as part of a new reality TV series called Swell Chasers, and created by the noted filmmaker Tim Bonython.

“The place turned on, that’s for sure,” says Bonython. “There were twenty-foot bombs. And Judghead, he’s a hellman. He proved it, literally. He’s a crazy motherfucker, as they say. Fuck, it doesn’t matter what happens, if he had a wheelchair he’d still get out there and take off. He’s nuts but that’s what makes him unique. It’s why we love him.”

Bonython says a wipeout in his first session sent Jug back to the support boat, bleeding from the mouth and complaining of a terrible stiffness in his back.

“He got a twenty-footer straight off the bat, then a fifteen-footer and he fucking got annihilated,” says Bonython.

After an hour-and-a-half on the boat, Jug wanted more.

“And he jumped off the boat, paddled into the line-up by himself, got a bomb and fucking got pitched.”

As Jug, who works as a firefighter, recalls from his bed at Gosford hospital, tubes stuffed into the cavity between his lung and chest to drain the blood and wearing a neck brace, “I was watching from the boat and it looked like it was getting better and I thought, ‘I’m not going to be here tomorrow.’ You can’t go all that one way for one surf. ”

Jug, seven busted ribs, broken back, collapsed lung.

Jug, who is forty-five, says his fingers were freezing which made it difficult to paddle his six-four quad-fin Wizstix with any great speed, but he kept telling himself, keep it together, just paddle hard and get one.

“So I saw this and I knew it was going to be a good one. It had a ledge that lets you in. I put my head down, paddled hard, told myself, ‘Even when you think you’re on it, take three extra strokes’, but then the wind got under me and I was held in the lip and free-fell. I got to my feet…just.”

Jug gets to his feet, briefly. Photo: Tim Bonython

He was sent over the falls, could’t pin drop ’cause the wind had hit him off-axis and got washed over the rocks.

The surfer Kip Caddy and Mike Stewart came with the ski.

“I knew I had done some serious damage,” says Jug.

Mike Stewart and Kip Caddy grab Jug.

Still, he had to get back to base via a ninety-minute boat ride through four-foot chop while laying on a stash of board bags.

Jug ain’t one for histrionics so he didn’t go to the doc that night. Instead, he suffered, alone, in bed.

“It took me four hours to move position, to get the courage to put myself through the pain to get up, to get my brain to say, you can get through the pain.”

The next morning he flew home to NSW’s Central Coast via Sydney.

He took his kid to school, walked into hospital, was x-rayed, (busted T11 vertebrae), and admitted immediately.

“The doctor says he could’ve died easily on the flight with the blood in the collapsed lung,” says Bonython.

When I call, I make a joke.

Through his busted lungs, and with breathless speech due to his one-functioning airbag and seven broken ribs, he wheezes,

“I’m trying not to laugh.”

Jug added that he may take a few days off from work while he recovers.

Listen: “Dear World Surf League, take that damned carrot and shove it up your fucking ass!”

Today is my snapping point.

I don’t know why today is my snapping point with the latest iteration of the World Surf League but it is. Rage pulses through my veins. Pure, boiling rage and white wine from New Zealand’s Marlborough region. The morning started normally enough. A quick scan of surf news, a post on surf and wellness, a drive up the coast past shuttered nuclear reactors to talk surf with David Lee Scales.

We opened light, chatted about this and that before circling down to this week’s sizzling hot rumor that Surf Ranch was being taken off the World Championship Tour and being shuttered to clarification from the WSL that it is robust, healthy and alive, to further confirmation that it is indeed being taken off tour because “the pros hate it.”

In the midst of my back and forthing with Santa Monica surrounding the rumors, yet another carrot was dangled. Any time the biggest little website in surfing gets too far out of line, the “Stewards of Professional  Surfing and Surf Culture” let it be known that if I can fly straight for one minute and tow the company line, great collaborative opportunities exist.

There were moments, a few years ago, where I thought, “Amazing. Let’s actually do something together. Let’s actually involve the people who have given their lives to surfing, the grumpy locals, the salty nobodies, in a meaningful way. Let’s figure out a way to showcase them, what they love, what they find fascinating and, not appropriate but… celebrate it in a way that brings honor.”

Nothing has ever happened in those few years, save a trip to Surf Ranch for a bunch of crusty surf journalists and a few group emails to that same group from WSL CEO Sophie Goldschmidt.

And so, at this point, the carrot not only feels absurd, it feels insulting.

Then on my way home from chatting with David Lee I got a text from Jen See. She had been invited to a “Women’s Round Table” being conducted in Lemoore during the Surf Ranch run. She wants to go but the Tachi Palace doesn’t have any rooms, nor do the surrounding hotels, so she is planning on staying two hours away, driving in, driving out.”

“The WSL invited you to a ‘Women’s Round Table’ and isn’t putting you up?” I asked. “I’m just random freelance media dude.” She responded.

And God bless Jen See but she is not “just a random freelance media dude.” She is the most important female voice in surf journalism without peer and the WSL wants her to drive to hell on her own dime for a ‘Women’s Round Table’ that will certainly be marketed as progressive and thoughtful through their channels while not putting her up?

Fuck them.

Fuck them for trying to launch a new “suite” of podcast programming that not only doesn’t include Ain’t That Swell, Swell Season, Surf Splendor etc. but nobody from Santa Monica even reached out to those who work tirelessly for zero dollars simply because they love the game. Nobody in that cursed High Tower thought, “There’s already a bunch of fantastic surf podcasts. Let’s throw them some resources and empower the core.”

Fuck them for, as Chief Marketing Officer Pri Shumate says, “…expanding from competition to community. If before our goal was to have this amazing home for core surf fans, we’re expanding into creating a community through surfing.”

The WSL is creating a community though surfing?


Well fucking guess what? That “community” already exists, has for a long, long, time and the bastards in Santa Monica ignore, belittle, undervalue it at every single turn, only treating it as a roadblock to unfettered and glorious mainstream growth.

Fuck them for acting like they are doing surfers, real surfers, a favor by broadcasting a high-quality stream “free of charge” littered with idiotic “Jeeps surfing the world” commercials and a level of commentary that would make the lobotomized cringe.

Fuck them for perpetual obfuscation, corpo-speak, press release, tennis tour nonsense.

Fuck them for dangling a carrot of partnership with no intention of ever truly partnering.

Fuck them for not recognizing they are beyond lucky, as lucky as we all know we are even in our worst moments, to get to be part of surfing.

That said, we’re here and we could all do something very fun but I’m tired of waiting and we don’t need, or want, that fucking carrot.

Dirk Ziff, I look directly at you and say, “Figure it out. Start by peeling off some of your billions and buying Jen See and her colleagues rooms, lunches, dinners, drinks and a day shopping for California Central Valley trinkets. Just figure it fucking out.”

And World Surf League President of Content, Media, Studios and Matcha Green Tea Crème Frappuccinos Erik “ELo” Logan? Either shit or get off the pot.

Need more soapbox? Don’t worry! I’ve got you!

Health: The ill-conceived quickie wedding of surfing and “wellness!”

It's not a love story.

Spring has sprung in Australia and what a wonderful time of year as the bleak winter transitions to warmer days and warmer nights. It is no secret that love often blooms in spring, alongside flowers, and usually it is glorious but there has been one romantic union that has me down. Namely, the coupling of our surfing and “wellness.”

The two have been inseparable for the past few years. Joined at the hip. A surf vacation can’t just be a surf vacation anymore. It has to be a “surf and wellness” vacation. A professional surfing tour can’t just be a professional surfing tour anymore. It has to be a professional surfing and wellness tour. A wave tank can’t just be a wave tank either. It has to be a “wave facility and wellness center” exactly like it is in the brand new “wave facility and wellness center” set to open in Melbourne. Australia’s first and let’s turn to GQ Australia for an update:

URBNSURF can create gentle, rolling white-water for learners, through to steep, barrelling waves that would challenge the most experienced riders. With state-of-the-art sports lighting, you can be sure that the waves will be pumping all year-round, day and night.

The idea originates from founder Andrew Ross, who aimed to create a new experience for Australians wanting to surf more. “Surfing is a sport and pastime enjoyed by millions of Australians, but getting in the water is often limited by geography, weather conditions, and having the time to chase waves,” he said in a statement.

“URBNSURF unlocks these limitations by providing a safe, convenient and accessible alternative – it’s the perfect supplement for Melburnians, who have to travel hours to surf on the coasts, and will be a must-do for interstate and international visitors.”

The facility also boasts al fresco dining and wellness activities.

See right there? Damned wellness activities. Yoga, I’d imagine, and some holistic something rather.

Now, I have no problem with “exercise” and can see how, to the untrained eye, surfing looks like exercise but we know it’s not. We know it is a quick burst of energy followed by much sitting followed by alcohol and cocaine (buy here). We know that the bitterness that pumps through the body while doing all that sitting corrodes the arteries and leads to early death and/or dementia. Bitterness from missing waves. Bitterness from watching others surf better than you. We know surfing is down next to mining and marathon poker as one of the unhealthiest things a person can do which makes the union with wellness so odd.

Have you ever seen a “wellness surfer” out in the wild? I live in North County, San Diego so have. It’s ugly and sad.

I really don’t want to be so judgmental but also don’t want surfing’s heart to be broken when wellness splits to shack up with inline rollerskating. Again.