From the anti-colonialism dept: Brave Costa Ricans say “Beat it gringo”; turn tables on white surf instructor!

"War parties fell into line on either side, dredging up old grudges under the banners of a new conflagration. At one point a jungle sicario was even mentioned."

You been to Costa Rica before? It is to the US as Bali is to Australia. A tropical getaway close to home.

Comfortable. Non threatening. A modern-day ctrl alt dlt for $499 return.

It’s a beautiful place. Tacos and dime bags and warm water. Consistent, user-friendly waves. A culture going back thousands of years (the Guanacaste tribes predated even the Maya). Old jungle.

I worked there for a couple seasons as a surf instructor. My secret shame. Pushing god knows how many VALs into their first waves. VALs that should now, by my calculation, be paddling in front of you on their 7S fishes, and, in some cases, for the more advanced, Hypto Kryptos, in the fight for two-foot closeouts at your local.

VALs that are penning op-eds on The Inertia about how surfing needs to become more inclusive and democratic.

But I jest.

I met many lovely people. Made friends for life from all over the world etc.

Surfing is massive for the country. The town I lived in was essentially built around the first surf school, circa twenty, twenty-five years previous. It’s now a thriving wellness centre with dozens of high-end surf and yoga retreats, holidaying A-List Hollywooders and supermarkets selling expensive cheeses.

The Ticos are a well adjusted, friendly people. Progressive. No standing military since the forties, despite having the fight-loving Nicaraguans on their northern border. Powered by 98% renewables. Per capita one of the happiest places in the world.

But, like any developing country with a reliance on western tourism, there’s an undercurrent of antipathy towards gringos. Especially ones like me that move there and take jobs. Me and the Mrs was robbed twice in one three-month stretch.

Home invasions, everything gone. Perpetrated by the same little crew. We knew who they were. They knew we knew. Things got pretty heavy. War parties fell into line on either side, dredging up old grudges under the banners of a new conflagration. At one point a jungle sicario was even mentioned. Can you imagine it!

In the end, we decided to split. It wasn’t our turf. We got the message. A lesson for me on staying in your own lane. Plus I’m a massive, massive fucking wuss.

But, I digress.

Costa Rica loves surfing so much that they’ve gone and made a National Day for Surfing, in recognition of its value to the country.

Well, ain’t that swell? Will we ever see one in Aus, US, NZ, EU?

What would you do on your National Day of Surfing?

Would you celebrate it in the water with all your new VAL friends? Or would Australians, say, marinate at home with a Skegss album, a favourite piece of quit-lit, braiding beards and wondering where it all went wrong?

And, tell me, what’s your best run in with the locals story?


Perversion: Great White sharks, long thought to be introverts, regularly meet with “friends” to feast on baby seals in carnal orgy!

"A grotesque version of a dinner party."

It seems as if every single day brings a new disturbing revelation as to the morals of the ocean’s most feared predator. We have long known Great White sharks are “man-eaters,” that they have no qualms with turning the ocean an ugly shade of blood red even when there are whale watchers present, that they sneak around scaring, biting, menacing and growing to a rotund 40-feet but what I learned today is simply a bridge too far.

A sort of amorality that we haven’t seen since Humbert Humbert was speeding across the country.

Great White sharks, it seems, are not only child predators but meet up with other likeminded Great White sharks to participate in a carnal bacchanal, feasting together on baby seals in a bloody orgy.

On land, we have a name for this. The National Man Boy Love Association. I don’t know what the sharks call their “friendly get togethers” but we must immediately learn for if we don’t our own baby seals may fall victim to their sickly charm. Come read with me and let us learn what Great Britain’s leading scientific journal has to say about this perversion.

Great white sharks, long considered savage solo predators, may have their own grotesque versions of dinner parties.

Scientists have tracked the oceanic beasts routinely meeting up in the same groups to feast on baby seals together.

And they say the sharks form ‘distinct communities’ and spend time with the same comrades more often than they would if the meetings were random.

The discovery, by researchers at Macquarie University in Australia, turns theories about the sharks’ social inclinations on their head, the team said.

They had been watching almost 300 great white sharks off the country’s southern coast for four-and-a-half years.

Returning to feed at a seal nursery in the Neptune Islands, off the coast of Adelaide, the sharks appeared to meet up with purpose.

In the past the gatherings had been assumed to be random and simply a result of all the sharks going where they could find the most food.

And I simply cannot read anymore just like I couldn’t finish watching the film Call my by your Name.

Disgusting.

Absolutely disgusting.

Artist rendering of a Great White shark tenderizing a baby seal.
Artist rendering of a Great White shark tenderizing a baby seal.

Erik Logan (pictured), one of the dapper, suit-wearing execs at the WSL.

Breaking: World Surf League reveals “tremendous opportunity around how to monetise our fans!”

Hello, hardened purist.

World Surf League President of Content, Media, Studios and Big Mouth Burgers Erik “ELo” Logan gave a long and wonderful interview to the industry website SportsPro yesterday and it was so very elucidating. You know how difficult it is for us to peer over that Wall of Positive Noise no matter how we try. Almost impossible for The People™ to see the gilded wonderland beyond but thankfully SportsPro was there for us and so was ELo but almost not for, as he revealed, he nearly missed the interview due to “taking one too many extra waves this morning.”

Who he took them from was not shared.

Oh it is purely fascinating and I won’t even try to summarize. I’ll give you the view straight and without my breathless editorialization. Let’s dip our paddles right in.

On leaving Oprah to join the World Surf League: “As an active surfer myself, and a storyteller working for Oprah and others, I thought, ‘wow, what an amazing opportunity to take storytelling in the sport to a new level’. The idea around this is to be just a massive storytelling engine where we can connect the humanity and the power of surfing to the masses. What we’re creating on our platforms is this very broad diversity of ways to elevate and deepen engagement with the sport.”

On giving Gabriel Medina a voice: “I think it’s important to really note that the way we’ve approached it from a studio perspective is we view our athletes as partners. If we do our job right, we can make them bigger and more powerful stars globally. That not only benefits them, but when that happens it benefits the league and benefits the studio.”

On turning lead into gold: “Surfing is a universally accepted global sport, it’s a very personal sport because of the individual nature, and it’s always you against mother nature. Because of that alchemy for what exists in the ocean, it really gives a great arena for rich and layered stories.”

On getting rich or dying trying: “We think there’s a tremendous opportunity around how we can monetise our fans on a one-to-one basis incredibly well. We want to try to figure out the right way to do that. What a broader content offering does is allows us the opportunity to do it beyond just what our play-by-play rights could be. We see a very holistic ecosystem out there around the sport of surfing that is inclusive – not only content, but also acquired content, live play-by-play, ecommerce, endemic partnerships. We see a very robust horizon for us.”

On choosing either red or blue pills: “That matrix of rights, and that matrix of thought, in terms of how the league is maximising our rights and also growing our audience at the same time is what we and the ownership group are really talking about a lot. How that needle is threaded is one that we spend a lot of time thinking about and trying to figure out where we want to put those bets.”

On and on it goes and you must thread the needle through that robust horizon yourself but before we leave each other, I am beyond pleased, tickled even, to report that The Biggest Little Surf Website in the World, and its Longtom, snuck onto ELo’s stage. Shall we read together?

There are factions within the surfing community who have their doubts, however; in short, some hardened purists are not buying what the dapper, suit-wearing execs at the WSL are selling. One writer for the satirical surf outlet BeachGrit recently described the tour’s latest ventures in content as possessing ‘a schmaltz problem’, singling out Brilliant Corners, a slickly produced yet syrupy travel series hosted by former European longboard champion Sam Bleakley, as ‘very nice, very pretty and as obedient as a tame animal.’

Oooooeee! Hardened Purists! Maybe even better than Grumpy Locals!

We need t-shirts stat and I’ll inform you of when they’re available.

In the meantime, buy a regular ol satirical surf outlet one here!


A little over a week after his twenty-sixth birthday, this journeyman of five feet and six inches who nobody pays attention to although they should, he was catapulted into the world of thirty million souls as the bogeyman who stole Gabriel Medina's dream for a third world title. | Photo: WSL

Audio: Caio Ibelli responds to “thousands and thousands and thousands” of online threats!

From the milk-a-story-until-its-teat-is-dry-and-withered department…

May God bless the underdog Caio Ibelli whose beautiful brown eyes are so full of pain, so filled with tragedy.

A little over a week after his twenty-sixth birthday, this journeyman of five feet and six inches who nobody pays attention to although they should was catapulted into the world of thirty million souls as the bogeyman who stole Gabriel Medina’s dream for a third world title.

You know the story, recap here etc. Here. 

And here.

In this phone call with the Australian journalist Anthony Pancia, which you can listen to below, Caio talks through the interference, the caustic response and how Jadson Andre, another unfancied surfer, brought in “core surfers” to restore a little sanity.


Free free speech: “I’m mad as hell about our collaborationist Surfing Nanny State and not going to take it anymore!”

Let's shake the world!

A handful of days ago Facebook’s founder-ish and CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivered a much anticipated free speech (I assume he took no fee seeing that he owns many billions of dollars) on free speech to a group of Georgetown University students. There he stood, black dry-fit shirt wicking moisture from his peach-like bosom, behind an earnest mahogany lectern, brave and glowing, the thrill of a Kai Lenny tow-foil session certainly still warming his cockles and/or the rouge applied to his cheeks.

He was ready to defend his platform, including our participation on it, and I couldn’t wait to listen.

Oh his free free speech had absolutely everything, a revisionist origin story, righteous indignation, chest pounding, moisture wicking, a patented Kai Lenny glow but best of all the complete repudiation of censorship. There Mark Zuckerberg stood tall-ish, saying, “People having the power to express themselves at scale is a new kind of force in the world. It is a Fifth Estate alongside the other power structures of society.”

And…

“We are at a crossroads. We can either stand for free expression or we can decide the cost is simply too great. We must continue to stand for free expression.”

My own heart melted at this last statement, though I had no moisture wicking dry-fit to clean it up, and I felt we had broken through a major wall. Maybe even the World Surf League’s Wall of Positive Noise™. As you certainly remember Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook and our World Surf League entered into a 30 million dollar partnership a few years ago. The consummation of that union, as you must recall, was the deletion of my “edgy” but popular Instagram (owned by Facebook) account ReportsFromHell which specialized in surf memes and penis ping-pong videos.

And I raged inside.

Burned hot.

Surfing is but penis ping pong on the water and the fact that Santa Monica’s High Tower couldn’t recognize that, couldn’t withstand very dull barbs, criticisms, honest hot takes, made me crazy inside.

How dare they.

How dare they cancel a very poetic expression. A true-to-life rendering of what we all love more than.,. anything.

Well, I celebrated Mark Zuckerberg’s rebel yell by posting a very poetic image of a brave young man choosing freedom of expression over the stilted norms of his family. An image that has come to mean so much to me over the years. My own Joan of Arc. My north star.

The post was flagged and removed within seconds and I know exactly by whom.

The same entity that asked for the deletion of ReportsFromHell.

That cursed World Surf League.

And it is so far beyond bad enough that the “democratic” powers-that-be capitulate to China’s version of authoritarian control. Mark Zuckerberg has been proven a liar, Facebook but a lowly and crude hitman for Santa Monica’s totalitarian whims.

Vanishing iconic content. Content as iconic as the brave young man who stood in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square.

Stab and The Inertia are just as bad, vanishing comments, restricting speech, dancing to the guzheng strum of tyranny all while positioning, I imagine, to be State Television for Professional Surfing and it’s Olympic Successes. Millions of people falling in love with the Pastime of Kings. Billions even, with China happily involved.

The censorship… it’s wild and drives me crazier.

We surfers, we used to know better. We used to be raw, legendary surf journalist Drew Kampion raw, willing to to shoulder the terror of Richard Milhous Nixon in order to be free. To be us.

To be surfers.

Well fuck Facebook. Fuck the WSL. Fuck collaborationist surf media including, but not limited to, Stab and The Inertia and of course the propagandist mouthpiece Surflie.

I’d conclude with “Delete your Menlo Park owned/Santa Monica directed social medias!” but that reads ineffective and impotent.

But just imagined if we did. If all surfers deleted Facebook and Instagram on principle we’d shake the world.

Should we shake the world?