Matt George responds to criticism re: million-dollar-winner-take-all surf contest!

"Is it possible to ban someone for their ideas and opinions? Isn’t freedom of ideas and opinions, especially those that are outside the box, isn’t that what the Beachgrit forum is all about?"

(Editor’s note: Six days ago, the writer Matt George proposed a two-day, million-dollar winner-take-all surfing contest, and which was warmly received by readers. Mostly. Below, Matt responds to various criticisms.)

The readers have spoken…and many are correct.

Some great ideas here regarding this new contest concept based on the ancient Polynesian format. The comments were a valuable forum when it comes to the idea of creating an alternative to the current format of professional surf contests rather than just criticizing them.

I respect the forum Beachgrit provides and continue the discussion below. My answers are in bold.

Sunova Surfboards N.Z.
putting it perfectly ..
“In order to heal the pain a great many of us feel regarding the WSL’s
hijacking and re-branding of the professional aspect of our sport as a
soulless pansy fest, please consider the following:”

MG: Thank you.
Okay I admit it, I’m confused. Is this supposed to be a joke?

MG: No.

paulo de tarso
The Global World Soul Surfing Championship Cup… the perfect name
We can revive Rasta, Donova Frakenroiter.. reiter, raiter… whatever… with his sensationals belly-carving and belly-ass cut back…
Finally May Son Ho and Bruh C. A. Rooms wiil have their chance!
Oh… and Day Ane Ray Nolds! I can’t help losing this championship!
MG: I agree. First come first serve. And you are correct about the name of the event. That was my mistake. It must change. See my point below regarding event name change. (“Italo post heat” comment).
in tubo veritas
So we aren’t able to watch clips longer than 30 seconds but we are going to pay attention to two complete days of surfing..

MG: I agree. You are right. Too long. Ok, here’s an idea: We create a 45 minute film of the event instead. Broadcast friendly. And drop it on sports television stations at first, then social media, etc.
Bubba Zanetti • 4 days ago
Matt seems like a perfect fit for the Inertia.

MG: Thank you.


Justin Housman
They kinda did this in golf with the Tiger v Phil thing and it was unwatchable.

MG: Yes, I get your point, but that was Golf. We create this thing and present it to the public as a true showcase of great surfing and its spirit which is rooted in ancient Polynesian tradition. Plus, that Tiger thing was man on man. We have ten different surfers, ten different approaches. More to watch?
Poker, but for surfing!

MG: Sure. Betting on ones own belief in ones own ability is an exciting concept. A whole new way to watch sports. With the players actually having their own skin in the game.
Luke Egan’s Shoulder Fetish  David • 3 days ago • edited
And with no money for the house! It is brilliant!

MG: Incorrect. Event Sponsors would be involved. TV Rights, etc. Money would be made for the house, money would be donated for the preservation of the surf spots, Money would be donated to clean up the Ocean.
grumpy local • 4 days ago
Having one “master observer” determine the outcome is a fuckwit idea. What if he needs to take a shit and misses Owen get the barrel of the day? The WSL’s judging system (5 man panel, highest and lowest scores dropped) actually makes a lot of sense, it’s just the judges themselves that have the issue.

MG: Again, as a panacea to the WSL format, lets stick to the Polynesian format. Where a King would be the decider. We are trying to get away from a “Panel” . From “Averages” . From the WSL that Beachgrit is so adamantly against. I figure a guy like Tom Carroll or Mick Fanning or Gerry Lopez could handle the two days. If he took a break and missed a great ride, I would trust him to watch a replay.
Chad Lebrone  grumpy local • 3 days ago • edited
Have you ever watched the mum of an aspiring silver-spoon pro at a Junior event? They’ve proven time and time again that they are surfings infallible experts and demonstrated that a person does have the capability to sit, watch and critique for an entire day without stopping to eat or even piss.

MG: Yes. Correct. I have sat with both Tom Curren’s mom and Kelly’s Mom and done exactly the same. So it is possible to do. But it doesn’t need to be so grim. See answer above.
Ricoimmo  grumpy local • 3 days ago
the idea is solid just can’t be 1 person only.
I’d say 3, like in boxing.
no scoring every wave, just an ultimate – who won the day criteria.
i’d watch.

MG: I agree that the tendency to judge any athletic performance leans toward creating a panel. But in this case, and considering our disgruntled attitude toward the WSL model, this concept is designed to move away from anything familiar. And to maintain the Polynesian influence. Yes, the three man panel works nicely. Like the O’Neill Wave of the Winter. So again, this kind of judging works. So I agree with you. We could adapt and a three man panel could be considered. No points, just insights. Very possible.
bex vidina • 4 days ago
Who won?
Goofy,white board?

MG: The prototype event? Tai Graham earned the win facing a very strong challenge from Chris Ward. (See link below for contest).
Mark Mogga Sutton • 4 days ago
I’ve got a better one…a surfing version of Survivor (obviously called Surfivor!) 10 go into the jungle (grajagan) and instead of challenges they surf. The locals make the call on the winner each day who then gets immunity and then each night they all vote someone out…’s gold I tells ya!!!!!

MG: Love the name of your idea. I suggest you contact Mark Burnett, Executive producer of the Survivor series.
Italo Post Heat Interview • 4 days ago
How about upgrading the title to: ‘The International Global World Surfing Championship Cup’?

MG: You are correct that the name is wrong. I was going for Global in the spirit of the Japanese baseball players who scoff at the USA when Americans call our championship the World Series, when in fact it isn’t. But again, you are right. Let’s try a new name: The World Cup of Surfing?
Throw in planet, worldwide and pole-to-pole.

MG: You are right. The name needs to change. See above.
Claiming Meds • 4 days ago
I can already imagine the Brazzo backlash if the experienced master surfing observer is a white anglo-saxon and doesn’t select a Brazzo winner.

MG: I have found the Brazilian’s mostly gracious in both victory and defeat regardless of the nationality of the judges. The beauty of this new contest is that you lay your money down and take your chances regardless. And, as mentioned, sportsmanship will be considered in the final decision.
There are actually several things in pro surfing i dislike ahead of the whole Jack Robbo thing , i just cant think of them at the moment.

MG: Please respond when you can think of them.
Derek Hynd’s Missing Fins • 4 days ago
When did Matt George become an “our?” After the last pish rant isn’t he permanently banned from the lineup?

MG: Did you mean “Piss” rant? And is it possible to ban someone for their ideas and opinions? Isn’t freedom of ideas and opinions, especially those that are outside the box, isn’t that what the Beachgrit forum is all about? Still, I would understand if you would care to ban me from the line-up for my opinions or say, the color of my skin or my spiritual beliefs. You have the right to your freedom of speech. That’s what an open forum is all about. And I would defend that.
Matt George, along with Sam Smith are now they. Not we, as in you and me, but they as in them. The Matt Georges and Sam Smiths of the world can’t be confined be the I’s, me’s or even we’s, but who are they to tell us what we, me and you, should think about them. Sam George is still him, he and his preferably title “it” guy, not themselves Matt Georges or Sam Smiths types. No, not them again.

MG: Please clarify?
Derek Hynd’s Missing Fins
Sam lacks the balls to use longtom’s name, while Matt acts like he and longtom are board caddies for one another.

MG: Are personal attacks the best you can do when considering a new idea?
Desperate fucks needing a spotlight they only shined on themselves.

MG: See above.
Dogsnuts • 4 days ago
Hmmm, fans crowd funding the surfer they want to win and also getting a slice of the prize might work, other than that fucking hell.

MG: Interesting. And something to be considered. But I still lean toward the surfer betting on himself to win. The inherent drama in someone having skin in the game. Of course each surfer could try the crowdfunding approach to raise his entry fee dough. And I do like your idea. Would have to look into the legalities here.
Alec Eiffel • 4 days ago
There should be a Sam/Matt George award (I have no clue who’s who) for the biggest cop out in big waves. It can only be judged by Sam/Matt per his instructions.

MG: See “Derek Hynd’s Missing Fins” above. And I look forward to another round of insightful ideas and opinions regarding this new contest format designed to present surfing in a different light.


Funny Malibu.

From the surf-mag-fails dept: Can…you…correctly identify this wave?

Come see Malibu like you've never seen her before!

The print magazine, god love it and thank god it’s almost gone, was an unforgiving master. One lazy typo and your carelessness was enshrined forever like a bad tattoo.

Once, many years ago, I pranked a pal who rarely sub-edited the work that flowed through his magazine by including a passage featuring graphic sex between a preacher and a member of his congregation.

“Mine is a magic wand to make any wish come true when you make it cry tears of joy,” said the preacher.

“I put the long, crooked thing in my mouth until I spat its slimy tears.”


It was only a sharp-eyed printer that discovered the joke, and just hours before it was due to go through the print rollers.

A few days ago, an astute, and very famous, reader, sent a photo of a surf spot guide from the British magazine Carve, a venerable title that’s been around since before the turn of the century and that is often served at international airport newsstands.

The reader writes,

“In what could be the most epic fail in surf journalism, the new issue shows a two-page spread of ‘Malibu’ complete with hand numbered descriptions of the various  take-off zones and arrows to Point Dume to the north! One minor problem. Despite the caption and lengthy paragraph describing the photo and wave. It ain’t Malibu.”

Do you know the name of the wave?

And, surf mag fails, do you have a favourite?

History: Bruce Brown, iconic filmmaker and member of the “Dana Point Mafia”, immortalized in bronze!


I can’t tell you how many times I watched Bruce Brown’s The Endless Summer as an Oregonian boy but it was certainly enough to singe my frontal cortex. Oh I loved everything about that film from Mike and Robert’s black suit/sunglass combination to the exotic lands they traveled to the dad humor jokes to the driving mission. The primary urge to get out there and discover.

And so it was with un-ironic, non-sarcastic pleasure that I read, this morning, about a giant bronze statue erected in Dana Point of the young visionary pointing his camera out to sea.

Borrowing from the Laylan Connelly, the Orange County Register’s resident surf journalist and iconic herself:

They were dubbed ‘the Dana Point Mafia.”

Hobie Alter shaped his iconic surfboards, ridden by style master and friend Phil Edwards. John Severson created Surfer Magazine, running ads and features on surf world happenings. Bruce Brown documented and shared with the world surf adventures that transported people to the waves.

“That’s why Dana Point is the most historic surf town in California, by far,” said Dick Metz, a friend who was also part of the tight-knit group that transformed the surf scene in the ’60s. “We really did kind of control the industry, in a small way. That’s why we had the name Dana Point Mafia.”

Stories flowed at a gathering at the Watermen’s Plaza on Thursday, Sept. 19, where a bronze statue with filmmaker Brown’s likeness has joined surf and sailing icon Alter, the first to be put up just south of the bridge over Pacific Coast Highway, and Phil Edwards, an iconic surfer who made waves decades ago as the best surfer of his time.

Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG
Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG

Ahhh Dana Point and you know how much I hate nostalgia but don’t those Dana Point Mafia days seem like such halcyon hours? Progressive surfboards being carved, tested and tried. A magazine conjured from thin air, the “Big Bang” moment for surf journalists around the world. Bruce Brown documenting it all with verve and style. Short shorts, robust tans and a blue sky filled with dreams.

Well, I’m sticking to my guns. Nostalgia is a mental disease and today’s Santa Monica Mafia is just as wonderful. Instagram celebrities being invited to inland wave tubs, contests being staged in the heat of a dying planet, Joe Turpel documenting it all with a stream of never-ceasing upbeat positivity.

When crime families fight it’s always more fun, or have you not seen Godfather II? The only question I have is what can our mafia name be? The Grumporra? The Core-a Nostra?


Come surf happy thoughts and tubular athleticism!
Come surf happy thoughts and tubular athleticism!

Propaganda: Rolling Stone becomes mouthpiece for “tubular perfection of artificial wave pools!”

The Wall of Positive Noise!

The World Surf League and Rolling Stone collaboration was announced a handful of weeks ago and caused much head scratching amongst people who actually surf. Rolling Stone? Isn’t that a mostly defunct music magazine? The “My Life in 15 songs” featurettes began appearing on the WSL website as well as Rolling Stones. Professional surfers shared their love of “Hotel California” (Connor Coffin) and Black Sabbath’s NIB (Steph Gilmore) and it seemed a clunky fit, though sort of “on-brand.” Still, though, why did the League need this sort of partnership?

Today in a story titled “The World’s Best Surfers Take Rio” the Rolling Stone x WSL collaboration begins to make sense. Forgetting, for one moment, that the Oi Rio Pro concluded three months ago we must read the opener together for it reveals much.

The chillest sport is getting serious. As surfers prepare to make a splash at the competition’s debut in the 2020 Olympics, athletes known for their cool are fighting for position. Only the top two men and top two women from each country will qualify for the Tokyo games — and the ranking shifts with each meet. To make the cut, members of the World Surf League ride the line between ocean and sky, unleashing acrobatic feats increasingly tested in the tubular perfection of artificial wave pools, a new training technology.

As surfing has gone mainstream, it’s extended beyond traditional centers of power — Hawaii, California, Australia’s Gold Coast — to Brazil. A new generation of talent has been lured by the country’s warm waters and beach breaks, surfing with more speed, greater athleticism, and bigger air.

On and on it goes, praising the League for being the home of surfing and surf culture, layering in “surfy” words like “chillest” “tubular” and “greater athleticism.” It’s almost as if Rolling Stone has become the mouthpiece for the Wall of Positive Noise and that, I’d imagine, is the exactly what has happened.

The WSL now has a propaganda arm that could theoretically appear “independent” and “respected.” Rolling Stone will drive the VAL narrative, free from pesky criticism and negativity, into the very heartland of America where Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranches will begin popping up in abandoned automobile part’s factories with many tax breaks and ribbon cutting ceremonies.

All those “cool kids” who read Rolling Stone will be pumping their fists, very excited to be part of this “new generation of talent” and World Surf League Presidents and Vice-Presidents will be smirking at me, at you, because we are grumpy and mean and not invited. Moreover, we’ll be driven to “re-education camps” where Joe Turpel will teach us many things.

Speaking of, did you ever listen to Propagandhi?

More as the story develops.

Photo: Joe Mault/Orleans Camera
Photo: Joe Mault/Orleans Camera

“Man-eating” Great White shark makes unwanted “possibly sexual” advances toward shy Cape Cod surfer!

Stunning photo shows troubling evolutionary indicator.

Scientists and folk etymologists have long considered Great White sharks the “Weinsteins of the Sea.” As apex predators they operate with seeming impunity, taking what they want, when they want, how they want without considering the feelings of others. Their reputations for destroying lives and/or careers precedes them and victims often describe a sense of helplessness when coming face to face with the toothy beasts.

As we have learned, the “man-eaters” are just that, preferring the taste of men very much over the taste of women yet this truth, along with the wild spike in Great White populations off New England’s Cape Cod and Autumn being peak shark season didn’t appear to worry a coquettish surfer as he paddled his baby-blue round-nose midlength out to catch swell from tropical storm Humberto.

Joe Mault, a local photographer, happened to be down on the beach and captured what can only be described as a “cruise” that was “possibly sexual” in nature.

As described to The Boston Globe:

“All of a sudden I saw the wake and then the fin, and it was pretty evident thereafter that it was a shark,” said Mault, owner of Orleans Camera. “It was within feet of him.”

He said he was snapping photographs for a bit when he spotted a surfer out on the water and turned his camera to the man in the wetsuit.

“I thought I’d be catching him catching a wave,” he said.

Then, Mault said, he noticed something rippling in the water. At first, he believed it was the leash to the surfer’s surfboard. It quickly became clear, however, that it wasn’t.

“It turned out it was the wake of the shark,” he said.

Mault said he kept taking pictures, realizing that the surfer was already aware that the shark was nearby.

“He was fortunately aware of it and booked his way out of there,” he said. “He was immediately aware of it; there wasn’t much we could do. I continued to shoot hoping that it was all it was going to be.”

When the surfer returned to the shore, he spoke with Mault and told him that he had heard the noise of the shark cutting through the water nearby.

“He thought maybe it was a seal popping his head out of the water but when he looked over his shoulder it was pretty clear it wasn’t a seal,” Mault said. “It’s a pretty scary thing.”

The fact that the Great White did not attack straight away but instead appeared to flirt is a troubling evolutionary indicator. Fear and not wanting to be left alone with the rotund monstrosities is often what keeps humans safe but if these instincts begin to erode there is no telling the damage that might be done.

More as the story develops.