The problem is schmaltz, the problem is too much vanilla, the problem is lack of drama, conflict; even anything as basic as a sense of winning and losing. | Photo: @elo_eriklogan

The schmaltz problem: Has the WSL’s Erik E-lo Logan lost the room?

We gave him the floor, listened and watched without prejudice. What did we get? Films as obedient as a tame animal…

Since Erik Logan quit his post at Oprah Winfrey Network on October eight last year to head up the newly formed WSL Studios, he promised to shine the light on countless stories from compelling characters, both within and beyond the reaches of competition.

We gave him the floor, listened and watched without prejudice.

Judged on the output of nine months worth of labour, I think he’s lost the room.

I’ve never met the cat, but from the spicks and specks I heard from Chas’ podcast he sounds like a sterling dude with the white hot charisma and confidence only the bona fide American winner can project.

A genuine and untouchable positivity exudes from every pore.

The problem is schmaltz, the problem is too much vanilla, the problem is lack of drama, conflict; even anything as basic as a sense of winning and losing.

As a human being it’s a recipe for success, as formula for content; as basis and lens with which to tell story of compelling character and story it bores terrifically.

The problem is schmaltz, the problem is too much vanilla, the problem is lack of drama, conflict; even anything as basic as a sense of winning and losing.

The much ballyhooed Sound Waves series where CT surfers are mic’ed up could be sick. It’s a slog to get through a ten-minute ep. The second one with Connor Coffin at perfect Keramas, a comp that had incredible drama, performances and world-title implications had 18 thousand views on You-Tube, with 18 comments.

An ep of Koa Rothmans This is Living stacked 224, 579 eyeballs to the screen and garnered 265 comments.

The latest series, Brilliant Corners, hosted by Cornish longboarder Sam Bleakley is very nice, very pretty and as obedient as a tame animal.

The first two eps are focussed on Madagascar, très interesting. The most vital scene is the mild but palpable sexual tension between Sam and the proprietoress of the hotel as she tries to teach him some words of Malagasy in a low-cut red dress.

Surf travel is grand. It’s great.

In the Phillipines with two pals we ended up in the market town of Tuegugaro, sandwiched up on a high plateau between the Sierra Madres mountains to the east and the Cordillera mountains to the west. The last holdout of the New People’s Army, a Maoist insurgency famed for levying “revolutionary taxes” on regional small businesses and attacking isolated garrisons. We slept on wooden benches outside the bus station until woken by a Jeep carrying soldiers armed with M-16’s.

Minutes later, we’d been transported to a bar in the red light district of the town, nothing more than a pool table on a slab of concrete surrounded by shanties with prostitutes washing their hair into muddy ditches.

A huge black-and-white pig lay on its side by a heap of dumped vegetables.The Captain wanted to drink and toast the good fortune of the unexpected arrival of foreigners. He woke up his pal, who hosed down the concrete and fetched us cold San Miguels.

From there, it gets blurry.

In the northern Phillipines it’s customary, in between beers, to drink shots of gin. A small shot glass is filled, drunk and then passed around, until the bottle is empty.

A karaoke machine will be found in even the smallest village, powered by battery, or generator, or solar panel. The Captain called his pals in: the Mayor of the Baranguay, the chief registrar.

By midday, we were so drunk our eyeballs were sweating. The Captain looked like Charles Bronson in Death Wish, his pals looked like Charles Bronson.

More bottles of gin, more beer.

Then the Captain pulled a nine mm pistol out of his back pocket and started waving it in my face while I was singing Air Supply’s Love and Other Bruises. He was saying something about his daughter – had I offended him? – no not me, thank God. Anyone who screwed with his daughter he would shoot and feed to the pigs.

He waved us into his jeep with the registrar up front. We drove about ten miles out of town to a small clearing where some mangy cattle grazed.

Was he about to execute us?

Even in my drunken state I exchanged nervous glances with my companions. We were completely at the mercy of the captain.

No, the Captain merely wanted to loose some rounds on a shooting range. Ping, ping, the bullets richocheted off the small metal targets scattered around the clearing.

“You shoot, you shoot!”

I waved the gun away. Since my aunty got shot in the face by her husband in a shooting accident, I could not stand the sight of guns.

I’m not saying guns, booze and prostitutes are a stable foundation for WSL studios to showcase sustainable surf tourism. Just noting they make for interesting tales.


Remember him? I know, you’re sick to the back teeth of the Russians. He was sent into House 6/1 to deal with a rogue Captain who was holding off the German advance single-handedly and did not take kindly to having his balls busted by a Soviet apparatchik.

The Captain shot Krymov.

The wounded Krymov wrote his report from hospital denouncing the Captain only to find the Germans had over-run house 6/1 and the men were now official Soviet War Heroes.

It was Krymov who was denounced and thrown in the Gulag.

I’m not saying the WSL should arrange to have a CT athlete arrested and thrown in jail for arbitrary reasons.

But what a secret thrill to even imagine some mad little drama happening.

Like when unofficial John John Florence security detail Peter King tried to manhandle me off the beach.

My own fucking beach! Glorious.

Elo, you’ve lost the room.

Until you can find a way to put some grit in with the corn syrup you’re going to find yourself shouting into a whole room of nothingness.

ISA/Pablo Jimenez
ISA/Pablo Jimenez | Photo: ISA/Pablo Jimenez

License to Thrill: Olympic preview ISA World Surfing Games feat. Kelly Slater set to run this weekend!

A who's who of surf stars!

And we’ve been so busy discussing sharks and things that we haven’t caught up with Olympic surfing in quite some time. Are you still on the edge of your seats about who will qualify and for which country? You should be. Things are very tight after the just wrapped Tahiti Pro Teahupoo presented by Hurley.

As you well know, the top two surfers per country on the World Surf League Championship Tour rankings are invited to attend but they also must attend the 2019 or 2020 International Surfing Association World Pyramid Scheme Games, this year in Miyazaki, Japan. Very close to where the Olympics themselves will be.

Therefore, a who’s who of surfing celebrities will be participating including, but not limited to, Kelly Slater.

The greatest competitive surfer of all-time is currently number 10 in the world, behind Seth Moniz, John John Florence and Kolohe Andino. John John Florence is currently injured and will likely fall down the rankings… or will he? Kolohe Andino has not shown a stretch run gait yet in his career, Seth Moniz is too young to get a proper read on and then there’s Kelly Slater, surfing in his own pond next, surfing France, Portugal and Pipeline after that. All waves he can successfully weave assuming he doesn’t get cute like he did in Teahupoo.

So let’s say Team USA will be Kelly and John John.

Team Australia, as it stands now, will be Owen Wright and Julian Wilson

Team Brazil will be Filipe Toledo and Gabriel Medina

Team South Africa will be Jordy Smith and Michael February

Team Japan will be Kanoa Igarashi and Shinzo Abe

Team France will be Jeremy Flores and Yves St. Laurent

Team Portugal will be Pastel de Nata and Sopa de Pedra

Very exciting.

The World Pyramid Scheme Games kick off Sept. 7 and runs until Sept. 15.

I might be busy but you should watch here.

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.