The view from the inside! Reporter grills Japanese and American team riders. | Photo: @redbull/no contest

Jen See advises surf media: “Raise that middle finger high. Be rude. Be authentic. Avoid the cool kids and their velvet ropes!”

Recognize that a wink and a nod toward the sheer ridiculousness of the pastime that consumes us provides an essential guardrail against over-sentimentalizing the whole thing…

Last week on a Thursday afternoon, Deadspin died. You are wondering what the hell this news, which is now a week old, because I am not very fast with the typing, has to do with surfing.

She made us read about her bikinis, the red one and the mismatched one, and we put up with it.

She told Stab to fuck off, and we played along, even though we still sometimes go there. Do you think she knows? (Yes, I know.)

Now, she’s making us give us a shit about a website we never read and doesn’t even cover surfing. Who the fuck does she think she is, anyway? Fucking wannabe surf writer who has never been to Hawaii.

Does she even surf? Fucking jock, going to the gym all the time. She probably doesn’t even surf.

This part is true, actually. I don’t surf! There are no waves! I’m pretty sure there are never going to be waves again. I have tried every possible sacrifice, and none has so far worked.

Times are desperate. Send help.

Back in the time when magazines roamed the earth in herds (rather than the few hardy survivors who remain today), Chas had a column: This has nothing to do with surfing. Of course, wherever he started, he would end up writing about surfing.

I think that’s because eventually, everything is about surfing. This story is like that. It will be about surfing. I promise! And I would never go back on a promise.

Last Thursday, Deadspin died after management told the editorial staff in no uncertain terms to stick to sports. If you read the site regularly, you will know that straight-up sports coverage was one element of a mix that included an annual review of the Williams-Sonoma catalogue, withering critiques of the Trump presidency, and advice for layering season.

The editorial staff refused to bend to management’s edicts. Management fired the deputy editor (the editor-in-chief had already resigned).

The writers walked.

What made Deadspin good was the joy and talent its writers, allowed a long leash, brought to the project. The results were not always good! Blogging is writing as a live performance, and quite honestly, even the best among us, sometimes fuck it up. But the writers at Deadspin played this game better than most.

There will always be the lure of becoming an insider, of sliding under the velvet rope in the hope of becoming one of the cool kids. It won’t work, though. Writers can never be cool, not if they are actually going to do the work of telling stories that are authentic, and especially not if they’re going to be rude.

Until the end, it was one of the sites that I read more days than not — and I don’t generally care about mainstream sports at all.

What also made the site good and necessary was a relentless determination to puncture the egos and pretensions of the powerful, in sports and beyond. Those take-downs took many forms from detailed investigative reporting to straight mockery. Powerful people, in general, do not enjoy mockery. Oh it burns! It burns so bad!

And there it is, right there in the internet for everyone to see and all their money and power can’t make it disappear (Sometimes they can! But it requires lawyers and stuff).

Deadspin was one of the last of the “rude press,” says Alex Pareene, a former editor of Gawker, one of our era’s original rude media outlets. “Rudeness is not merely a tone. It is an attitude,” Pareene wrote in an essay published on Thursday. “The defining quality of rude media is skepticism about power, and a refusal to respect the niceties that power depends on to disguise itself and maintain its dominance.”

Around the time the Deadspin writers were heading for the exits, Chas dropped a post here asking what the surf media should look like.

If you could wave your wand, what would you want to read and watch about surfing?

(See, I told you! Surfing!)

You all had plenty of answers to this question. For me, the surf media should be fun. Leave the earnestness to the New York Times and their ilk. It should be authentic and real — while recognizing that authenticity is not only the job of writers and creators.

It’s a two-way street, and the characters who populate our little island need to meet us halfway. Give it naked emotion, both good and bad.

Show us what’s at stake, whether it’s a contest heat or an interview.

And recognize that a wink and a nod toward the sheer ridiculousness of the pastime that consumes us provides an essential guardrail against over-sentimentalizing the whole thing.

The surf media would do well to take a page from Deadspin’s playbook and be rude. Raise that middle finger high. In truth, the necessary skepticism should come easily for us.

How often have you read a surf forecast and believed it?

And do you actually think it was better yesterday?

No, of course you don’t.

Surfers already have the required skepticism burned into their well-brined souls. It remains but to use it.

There will always be the lure of becoming an insider, of sliding under the velvet rope in the hope of becoming one of the cool kids. It won’t work, though. Writers can never be cool, not if they are actually going to do the work of telling stories that are authentic, and especially not if they’re going to be rude.

Eventually, to be one of the cool kids or the pretty people, you have to sell out, and that negates the possibility of ever writing anything that’s good and real.

(Selling out because you need to eat is an entirely different situation. Please sell out, if you need to eat. That is just common sense and anyone who judges you for that can suck it!)

There’s nothing especially complicated here.

Be rude. Be authentic. Avoid the cool kids and their velvet ropes.

Write what’s real. Keep your stiletto at the ready.

Mock pretension. Find joy in the stupid details. Laugh as much as possible.

That’s it. That’s all there is to it. Now, let’s build it.

Listen: “A pack of already boozed surf journalists, accountants, firemen and historians walk into a bar!”

Injury-inducing pornography!

I got in big trouble on today’s podcast, our 51st, for raging against the World Surf League’s Wall of Positive Noise without having a stable, well-thought, good-ish enough concept of how to replace it. Kevin Miller, worshiper of President Erik Logan and co-founder of the Florida Surf Film Festival was incensed, outraged that I dare destroy instead of build.

Oh, my response to him was too easy. Destruction is the skill I have. Construction is for others but we (read: you) cannot construct without first punching giant holes into Santa Monica.

The Encyclopedia of Surfing’s Matt Warshaw joined and provided historical clarity. You must please donate to his labor of love, our memories here. Scott Hulet of Surfer’s Journal fame also sat behind a mic hating every minute but also providing the best of them. Kevin Miller and Florida Surf Film Festival John Brooks were also in the bar.

John, a fireman, had just come from an emergency situation where a man was masturbating so heavily to big-screen pornography in his house that he fell off his bed and hurt himself to the point of calling 9-1-1.

Our best show yet? With that nugget I don’t know how it couldn’t be.

Shark bites surfer.
Shark bites surfer.

Massive shark eats man celebrating birthday in Reunion; grieving wife identifies remains from wedding ring on severed hand!

A particularly egregious mauling.

I am writing today from the shark bite capital of the world, New Smyrna Beach, Florida. The weather is currently a touch gloomy and threatening rain but the surf this morning was very fun. Peaky. I rode a Machado Seaside and it went fast and loose though was not good for all the Gorkin Flips I was attempting in honor of New Smyrna’s first son Aaron Cormican.

I failed to land one.

I’ll admit to thinking it would be fair if a shark bit me out there, thinking that it would even be valuable because imagine the damage I could do as a shark bite victim. Think of outrage I could manufacture. The undiluted outrage.

Alas, I was not bitten but a 44-year-old Scotsman celebrating his birthday in Reunion with his wife was. Not only bitten but completely eaten in a theoretically “shark free” swimming pond and it is our solemn duty to read the very latest from Scotland’s favorite newspaper Daily Mail.

A British tourist eaten by a shark was snorkelling in a designated ‘safe’ Indian Ocean lagoon – and was identified by his wife who was shown the wedding ring found on his severed hand in the beast’s stomach, it was revealed today.

Richard Martyn Turner, 44, and Verity Turner, from Edinburgh, were staying at the five-star Lux Réunion resort in Saint-Gilles on the paradise island of Reunion – 100 miles from Mauritius.

The couple (pictured) in happier times.
The couple (pictured) in happier times.

The civil servant was reported missing by Mrs Turner and she identified his remains after reportedly being shown his wedding ring found on a finger attached to his severed hand and arm pulled from the 9ft-plus shark.

The Foreign Office declined to comment on the victim’s identity yesterday. DNA tests are being carried out on the remains found inside the tiger shark to confirm that they belong to Mr Turner, it is understood.

The other three sharks will also have their stomach contents examined.

The Hermitage Lagoon was deemed safe for swimmers thanks to its calm, shallow waters of less than 6ft and its dense coral reef, which serves as a barrier that helps keep sharks out.

Damn those “man-eaters.” Heartless. Heartless each and every one from the Great White to the Tiger to the Hammerhead swimming around in theoretically safe lagoons and man-eating husbands. I think it is not safe for anyone else to surf today, especially married men. I think this particularly egregious mauling will inspire other sharks to perform copycat attacks.

Again, no surfing today.

Or tomorrow.

Watch: “I am the voice of the voiceless, a Gandhi-like figure to oppressed professional surfers everywhere!”

The time for words is over. Action is now demanded.

Two days ago I stumbled across one of the most insidious throttlings of personal freedoms to ever appear on this green earth. No, it was not in some new edict issued by North Korea’s Kim Jong Un nor was it related to China’s Politburo. It sprang, rather, from the World Surf League’s very own rule book. From behind Santa Monica’s Wall of Positive Noise itself and let’s read Article 189 together again.

Individuals bound by this Policy shall not engage in any conduct which could cause damage to the image of the sport of surfing. For purposes of this Article, “damage to the image of the sport of surfing” is defined as any act, regardless of time or place, which casts the sport of surfing or WSL in a negative light.

The words seared my eyes as I read and forced a groan from my chest. Professional surfers, our professional surfers, are gagged, bound, held captive. Forced to head to Lemoore, California yearly and forced to say they like it and no.

No, I say for if one surfer is enslaved then all surfers are enslaved. For once, I decided action was needed, not just words, so baked the World Surf League’s President of Content, Media, Studios and Storytelling a cake demanding that he abolish the article.

Yesterday, I rode it to the post office on my bike and mailed to him.

He now has nine days, or maybe eight days to respond before the next act of civil disobedience happens. I was thinking of going old-school and picketing the World Surf League’s Santa Monica Global Headquarters this on Nov. 16th until I realized it was a Saturday so we should shoot for Friday Nov. 15th instead. Would you join me there? We’ll set a time that works for you and I’ll buy the cocktails afterward plus will provide light refreshments during the picketing so we don’t cramp up. Bananas and such. Maybe coconut water.

After that, if President Logan’s ears remain closed, what should we do? I’m running out of ideas and so you should join with me on Discord, a new social media thing that pokes the World Surf League’s evil partner Faceboook in the eye. A private link is at the end of the video.

And keep professional surfers in your thoughts and prayers today. Julian Wilson, Kolohe Andino, Kanoa Igarashi, Gabe Medina, etc. may look like they have everything; looks, skills, beautiful wives and girlfriends, money but without freedom it is all worthless.

All but filthy brass.

Wall of Positivity report: “Elo is serving us a breakfast television schmaltz double down, fronted by twin Ellen DeGeneri and supported by compliant Labradors”

This isn't sports programming. This is morning TV.

Chas already broke the news of the WSL breaking the news that they actually had very little news to break at all about next year’s tour schedule.

We already knew about G-Land.

The Freshwater subtraction we were hoping for didn’t materialise.

Added together it equalled continual disappointment for surf fans. The arithmetic of failure.

Snapper, Bells, Margaret River, G-Land, yada yada. Are we 2019 or 1995?

Have you watched the video in full? The entire thirty minutes of overproduced, self-congratulatory onanism that should have been pissed into the wind as a Friday afternoon press release?

Here’s what the WSL’s own fans thought.

Jeff • 2 hours ago
Get rid of Freshwater… back to Trestles for crying out loud, enough already. Straight snoozer.

john • 3 hours ago
No Cloudbreak , well you are not putting your surfers in the best waves . Some contests this year were pathetic .

R.A. • 3 hours ago • edited
just skip to the 29 minute mark so you don’t have to watch all the BS.
Bring back Trestles and get rid of the Freshwater Pro!

kolbyp • 4 hours ago
No more Trestles, No more Fiji…. Missing some of the best waves in the world. Freshwater pro is boring, reminds me of the beginning of the movie, North Shore. I understand why they go to Rio, huge market. More rights than lefts, it seems like the destinations can use some improvement.

Teddy • 4 hours ago
Chris Cote is the single reason why I stopped following WSL.

Jo • 4 hours ago
“The best breaks in the world” — and you put in Rio! 🤣🤣 👎👎
Where’s Cloudbreak? Fiji’s out, and we ALL have to suffer Rio!
“Best breaks”… we’re not all suckers! 👎

The Wall of Positivity/Schmaltz shows cracks from the inside!

And my thoughts?

Watching, I imagined Chas as Colonel Kurtz, stuck like a prize pig by Chris Coté after being lured to some supposedly conciliatory pre-screening in an abandoned Santa Monica warehouse, slowly bleeding out, gasping in his last breaths, “the schmaltz, the schmaltz,” while Coté stands over him, bloody shiv in hand, and calls E-Lo on his flip phone to let him know, “It’s done.”

My favourite bits?

The Get Sent-esque void of repartee between Cote and O’Connell. Pat looked like he’d just rolled in from a Tijuana bachelor party. Chris looked pained. There were mistimed high fives. Forced humour and positivity. It had the awkward vibe of a YouTube clip of Friends where the laugh track is removed.

The “crosses” to the live booth for each reveal, which had Rosie and Strider and Pottz and Pete (no Ronnie) appearing as floating upper torsos forever trapped in their timber-panelled prisons, the stilted looks on their faces screaming ‘nuke the entire site from orbit, now!’ As one of our commenters asked, do you think they were just sitting in a room next to Chris and Pat? Either way it was L-O-L stuff.

The muzak for each location reveal, which sounded like the playlist in a noughties TV executive’s rape dungeon.

About half way through the broadcast it dawned on me.

This isn’t sports programming. This is morning TV.

E-Lo is serving us a breakfast television schmaltz double down, fronted by twin Ellen DeGeneri and supported by a coterie of compliant Labradors.

Bright lights. Upbeat music. Smiles! Smiles! Smiles! It’s all cream and no coffee. All pastry and no meat. All yin and no yang.

This is surfing’s soul, gutted, with extreme prejudice.

And now I see it’s not just Chas lying bloodied on the floor, but Derek too, and LT, and Jen, and JP, and Warshaw, and Negs, and Wiggoly’s Paddling Style, and Nick Carroll, and Maurice Cole, and Hynd, and Samuels, and Pezman, and Kidman, and Fletcher, and Reynolds, and Martinez, and Drouyn, and Dora, and Mike Boyum, and Banks, and Lynch, and they’re all crying out in unison: the schmaltz, the schmaltz!

… and I rejoice because I realise, what would a part time, amateur surf writer rant about without the continual misfirings of the WSL?

They… complete… me…