Chris Cote live behind the Wall of Positive Noise, with the biased judges (dressed in Surf Ranch swag).
Chris Cote live behind the Wall of Positive Noise, with the biased judges (dressed in Surf Ranch swag).

Brilliant: Ivy League student seeks to uncover “nationality bias” in World Surf League judging!

Blame Australians (I think)!

I sometimes wonder how the world would be different if I had been born smart. Could I have written a Pulitzer prize winning book about The Surfing Life? Could I have discovered the cure to some heretofore uncurable disease? Might I have been able to write the phrase “…discovered the cure to some heretofore uncurable disease…” without trying and failing to spell uncuralbe six different ways before looking it up and realizing it’s incurable thereby saving twenty-odd seconds?

We will never know because I was born me but if I had been born smart, like super Ivy League smart, I can assure you that I would have employed my brains to uncover inherent bias in World Surf League Championship Tour judging.

Thankfully, Cornell’s Jojo Aboaf, who will graduate in three years, is doing the Lord’s work and let’s go straight to The Cornell Daily Sun for more on his findings.

According to Aboaf’s initial calculations, not only did the scoring panel reflect traces of bias, but the application processes and interviews did as well.

Aboaf also noted that “correlation does not equal causation,” and said that other factors, like event location, might also be relevant to his results.

He created his model by collecting data from the World Surf League website sifted through thousands of data points and web pages using a web scraper — an automated software that extracts data from websites.

In 2018, there were 6,600 waves ridden over the course of the entire competition circuit, Aboaf said, and was able to get information on 6,300 of the wave time frames using his software. Although Aboaf is very tentative on making decisive conclusions because he is “a third of a way in[to]” his project, here’s what he says he’s found so far:

“Most of the people who surf internationally in competitions come from the US, Brazil, Australia, South Africa, Portugal and France,” Aboaf said. “The judging panels are made up of that same core, compact group of countries.”

As he delved deeper into his research, though, Aboaf uncovered “nuances in statistics” that contradicted his earlier predictions and further enriched his findings.

“The data might tell you that an Australian judge on average gives Australian surfers higher scores than non Australian surfers,” he said. “[But] you also have to analyze how Australian judges perform generally speaking because Australian judges could just like to give higher scores.”

“No matter what the outcomes are,” Aboaf said, “there needs to be an emphasis on diversity on judging panels.” From the hiring processes to the review boards, Aboaf deduced that “promoting diversity in those contexts … reduces the chances that biases have true effect.”

Aboaf hopes to publish his findings in an academic journal and inspire Cornell students to take a critical eye to existing systems.

Oh man, I’m so lost. Can you explain to me using what my fifth-grade teacher called “li’l words?”

I’d be greatful.




Question: What is the greatest compliment you have ever received in your life (up to this moment)?

Who do people think you are?

I’ve been Tony Hawk’d my entire teenage’d life ’til now life. Skinny, tall, a bird-like nose. Stringy. Shifty. Well-meaning folk have stopped me in the airport. Arby’s employees have asked if “Charles Smith” ain’t but a nom de plume. I’ve signed autographs for thirty-year-olds who loved playing video games and I wasn’t about to burst their hideous bubble. Tony fucking Hawk has haunted me like an AIDsy scarecrow. An honest-to-goodness Grim Reaper and who wants to be that oft married man? Who wants to cheat on his third wife with the wife of the best man at his first three weddings then marry her too making a hat trick plus one?

Tony Hawk has been my cross to bear.

Until today.

For today I shuffled my six-year-old daughter to Party City in order to purchase her school Halloween costume (different from regular Halloween night obviously). She was prepping to be a zombie Pink Lady from the musical Grease. Zombie obviously again because what right-minded person doesn’t zombie Halloween? She’ll be zombie Marie Antoinette for real Halloween with a red stripe across her delicate neck etc. but I digress.

So there we were in Party City buying zombie makeup and a Pink Ladies jacket (official Grease merchandise). I sauntered to the checkout man, arms full of wares, and he said, “Do you know who you remind me of? I mean, look exactly like?”

I winced and responded, “Yes.”

He answered, “Yeah. I bet. Matthew McConaughey in True Detective. The moustache. The hair. The whole thing.”

And I have never been more elated in my life.



A look I can actually aspire to.

But it made me think. What is the greatest compliment you have ever received in your life (up to this moment)?

Also, I surfed a bunch of knee-high closeouts yesterday. It was fun.

So surfing. But more importantly who do people say you look like?

President Aguerre. Cool.
President Aguerre. Cool.

International Surfing Assoc. president lectures Olympic colleagues: “The ‘old sports’ need to adapt, be ‘cool’ and ‘young’ like surfing!”

Change or die.

One thing people universally love is for someone new to come into their ranks, be it school, at work, in sport, and tell them what’s wrong, outdated, needs to alter. Much like early-2000s dot-commers whipping in and informing the blue-chips that the economy had fundamentally reformed, man. Exactly like International Surfing Association president Fernando Aguerre instructing the Olympics, running intermittently since 776 B.C., to “change or be changed” as surfing comes swinging in to Tokyo this summer.

Cowabunga, hodads and barns.

And we must discuss more but first let’s get all the spicy talk straight from President Aguerre himself in Reuters, which has been around since 1850 and began disseminating news by utilizing homing pigeons.

The additions are part of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) bid to reach a younger audience and International Surfing Association (ISU) President Fernando Aguerre said the impact of the changes could not be overstated.

“The IOC, and I think the world, wanted youth,” Aguerre told Reuters at last month’s ISA World Surfing Games in southern Japan.

“So in the beach and ocean, coolest sport? Surfing. Streets, coolest sport? Skateboarding. Outdoor coolest sport? Climbing.

“So suddenly, in one giant stroke they add the three environments; the outdoor, the ocean and urban.

“It will be the single most important program change in decades, probably ever.”

Instead of leaning on the experience of established Olympic sports in preparing for Tokyo 2020, Aguerre thinks some of the traditional disciplines could learn a thing or two from surfing, which has also been provisionally included in the program for Paris 2024.

“The old sports need to adapt,” said Aguerre.

“(IOC) President (Thomas) Bach is very clear about that from the first speech he made when he accepted his election he said ‘change or be changed’.”

“The evolution of the species is one of those that change… or the ones that didn’t change that are nowhere to be found.”

And President Aguerre just dropped hammer after hammer as “cool” sports start a rockin’ and a rollin’ and HELL YEAH!

Change or die discus, get out da way pole vault, screw you 100 meter dash. Surfing is here with groovy pals skateboarding and rock climbing. It’s like a boy band of pure rad and steeplechase better be quaking in its soggy sneakers. Steeplechase better be thinking of ways to add ‘gators wearing wrap-around shades to the water if it has any hope of survival. Greco-Roman wrestling better incorporate some YouTube influencer-style. Like, “Subscribe to my suplex #KatyPerry.”

Marathons better…

Wait, is surfing “cool?”

Is “cool” still “cool?”

And how do you think President Aguerre’s comments went over with his Olympic colleagues? Was everyone busily taking notes or…?

Store open: Dangerous and Radical surfing equipment for sale!

Inspired by the great fashion houses of Shanghai, vulnerable adult learners as well as the stench of cheap teenage perfume…

Days in the making, and inspired by the great fashion houses of Shanghai, vulnerable adult learners as well as the stench of cheap teenage perfume, BeachGrit announces, proudly, the reopening of our online store.

Here, you will find:

VAL t-shirt: Don’t be afraid to show the world you stand in solidarity with the Vulnerable Adult Learner surfer or VAL. This t-shirt, which is only available in white, features a chest and back print that was crafted by the noted artist Paul McNeil. Do you dare?


I Want My BeachGrit car air-freshener
: Bring the anti-depressive smell of BeachGrit into your car, office or home! Comes embedded with special cheap perfume scent reminiscent of teen parties!

BeachGrit tailpads (in myriad colours): This three-piece tail pad, with a striking design that calls to mind the super graphics of Barbara “Bobbie” Stauffacher Solomon, will thrill its new owner on several levels: it’s made in the same factory as the market leaders, whom you know, and uses the same EVA lightweight premium foam and 3M glue. Its most compelling  feature, of course, is what we might, euphemistically, call the “breakthrough price.”

I Want My BeachGrit coffee mug: This exciting item has been designed to handle heated liquids such as coffee but its opaque finish also enables the discreet sipping of spirits during work hours.

The Girls t-shirt: And, here, BeachGrit‘s newest and boldest graphic yet. Created by our go-to artist, the noted sculptor, painter and graphic designer, Paul McNeil, this t-shirt commands attention with bikinied women and a masterly use of typography, a McNeil specialty.

And, more! Click here to visit store. 

All prices in US dollars. Free shipping to anywhere in the world.

Note: T-shirts begin shipping in two weeks, printed in Australia, hand-screened etc.

Terror: Largest ever recorded “man-eating” Great White stalking southern California coast!

"He was in attack mode. He thought we were prey."

And did you see the Jason Statham, Rainn Wilson vehicle The Meg? I watched the first thirty or so minutes on a flight to Copenhagen. From what I gathered scientists were doing sciencey things in a state of the art oceanographic research center when they stumbled upon a 75-foot shark thought to be extinct. I switched over to the Elle Fanning masterpiece Teen Spirit which brought me to tears and didn’t return to The Meg so don’t know how it ended but fear I may find out in real life for it was revealed just today that “one of the largest sharks ever recorded in the area” is terrorizing southern California. Eating kayaks and other horrifically uncouth behaviors.

Our very own M.E.G.

Man-Eating Great (White)* and these ill-mannered beasts used to know better. They used to congregate in South Africa and northern California leaving our sun-drenched, star-soaked paradise alone but no longer. The Great White apocalypse is fully upon us and we must turn to San Diego’s NBC affiliate for the very latest.

Two San Diego men are thanking their lucky kayaks for taking the brunt of a great white shark bite near Catalina Island over the weekend.

Danny McDaniel and Jon Chambers can call two large shark teeth souvenirs, or maybe even good luck charms, considering the shark they once belonged to.

The two experienced scuba divers were taking a break from their diving trip, coordinated through La Jolla-based company Power Scuba, to kayak to Ship Rock near Catalina Island when Daniel felt a strong push.

“I look back and I see this giant, actually just a snout was on the boat as he was chomping down on the kayak,” said McDaniel.

“He was in attack mode. He thought we were prey,” said Chambers. “It was petrifying and amazing at the same time.”

Once they realized they both were OK, they waited for a few minutes to make sure the shark was gone before starting their 25 minute paddle back to Catalina Island.

“I said, ‘Jon I got a tooth.’ He goes, ‘Yeah, is there another one?’ It was a good experience that I would never want to do again, but it was a good experience,” said McDaniel.

Chambers and McDaniel said experts at Scripps Institution of Oceanography estimated the shark was around 19 feet long based on the size of the two teeth. It could be one of the largest ever recorded in the area.

19-feet long. That is two-plus Shaquille O’Neals one standing on the other’s shoulders. Four Jason Stathams who claims to be 5’10 but we all know is 5’8.

19-feet long. How did this beast grow so huge? How many men has he already eaten? How many men can he eat at the same time?

These are questions we must find answers to and I think it is time for us to start our own non-profit research and education center. We can call it Surfers Against Man-Eaters or S.A.M.E. and carry out important duties like telling all kayakers and stand-up paddleboarders to get out of the ocean because there is 19-feet of hell coming their way and beach clean-ups.

Can I count on your participation?

*Man-Eating Great (White) can also be written M.E.G. White. Like Meg White of the White Stripes and her erstwhile bandmate, Jack White, just played Surf Ranch. A conspiracy? I feel it coming…