I've got friends in high places!
I've got friends in high places!

Breaking: Oprah Winfrey’s one-time advisor and confidant Erik “ELo” Logan becomes World Surf League’s new Chief Executive in “bloodless coup!”

The Power of Now!

Today, January 14, 2o20 might be my favorite day in not only my life but also the history of the world. Yes, a man ate a baby dolphin on Laguna Beach and yes a Kansas husband has requested “trial by combat” with Japanese swords in order to settle a custody battle with his ex-wife.

But those two pale in comparison to the earthquake shaking Santa Monica’s streets for it is there that the announcement was just loosed.

One-time President of Content, Media and Studios Erik “ELo” Logan has become the World Surf League’s Chief Executive Officer, vanquishing Sophie Goldschmidt in a bloodless coup.

Let’s read the press release together while I fasten my apron.

LOS ANGELES, California (Tuesday, January 14, 2020) – The World Surf League (WSL) today announced that Chief Executive Officer Sophie Goldschmidt will be stepping down from her post and that WSL’s President of Content, Media and Studios Erik Logan has been named as CEO, effective this week.

“Sophie has had a huge impact on the WSL. She is responsible for transforming both our business capabilities and culture in her tenure as CEO,” Dirk Ziff, WSL Owner and Board Member, said. “With the converging trends in sports, media and entertainment, we mutually agreed it was time to make a change. Erik Logan is a proven leader and a world-class media executive with a profound personal connection to the sport of surfing. We are excited about what he will accomplish as CEO. We will always be grateful to Sophie for her contributions to surfing and we look forward to the WSL’s next chapter.”

Goldschmidt, who took on the CEO role in 2017, led the transformation of the WSL’s organizational structure, refocusing the business with an emphasis on the opportunity around the sport and lifestyle of surfing. During her tenure, she led the institution of equal prize money across men’s and women’s surfing, negotiated a historic 10-year surfer agreement, secured the first-of-its-kind Facebook partnership and unprecedented levels of linear and digital distribution. She also delivered the first-ever competitive events at Surf Ranch (the WSL’s wave technology facility), relaunched the organization’s ocean health advocacy program WSL PURE, significantly raised the WSL’s profile globally and built a dynamic new leadership team.

“It’s been a privilege to collaborate with the caliber of colleagues, athletes, partners and communities around the world that I have during my time at the WSL,” Goldschmidt said. “Surfing is unique, captivating and inspiring and leading the WSL has been a professional highlight for me.”

“With the WSL now ready to become a more focused content and media company, the Board and I have mutually agreed it is the right time to make a change,” Goldschmidt said. “Having worked closely with Erik, he is the right person to lead the WSL into its next era. I am excited about what lies ahead for the organization.”

Following the transition, Goldschmidt will continue to help the company and join its Advisory Board.

Logan, who previously served as President of the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) and Executive Vice President at Harpo Studios, has operated as the WSL’s President of Content, Media and Studios since February 2019, revamping the organization’s live broadcasts, leading the development of off-platform content including its first non-scripted TV series, in partnership with ABC, Ultimate Surfer (airing Summer 2020), as well as 24/7: Kelly Slater on HBO. In his role as WSL CEO, Logan will utilize his decades of international business and media experience to continue to transform the WSL into a world-class live events, experiences and media company.

“The World Surf League is the most exciting, inspiring and promising opportunity I have ever encountered,” Logan said. “The power of the organization’s platform, the history of championing the world’s best surfers, the global fan base and the opportunity to accelerate the WSL as an international sport and media powerhouse is absolutely incredible.”

“Surfing is powerful. As someone who came to it later in life, I personally understand the impact surfing can have on individuals, communities and the world at large,” Logan continued. “To be able to lead world-class people at the WSL and combine my professional and personal passions is a dream come true.”

I’m having a full blown heart attack combined with an aneurysm.

Ohhhhhh this coming season is going to be the very, very, very best ever.

Off to the hospital I go!

Screen grab courtesy of the "Tarzan of LA" facebook.
Screen grab courtesy of the "Tarzan of LA" facebook.

Veal of the Sea: Survivalist called “Tarzan of LA” sparks blinding outrage by butchering, eating “adorably tender” baby dolphin on California beach!

"Definitely gamey."

But let’s very seriously look each other in the eye and have an honest, thorough discussion. What is the cutest animal you have ever eaten? A veal scallopini, made from ambrosial wee calf, as tender as the final scene of Ryan Gosling’s The Notebook? A melt-in-the-mouth pork cutlet shaved from the rump of a toddler pig all pink, round and innocent? Kangaroo tail soup where only a joey’s li’l end bit will do?

Adorably tender baby dolphin?

I would imagine the last is very difficult to find at your local meatery but a lucky survivalist who calls himself the “Tarzan of LA” happened upon one washed up on Laguna Beach and let’s learn about this brave epicurean together. Let’s flip through our cookbooks at the same time, thinking about various sauces and sides.

Gary Golding, who has made several appearances on Discovery show Naked And Afraid, was on Laguna Beach recently when he happened upon the animal carcass.

Golding filmed himself kneeling down in the sand before whipping out a hunting knife and carving up the creature.

He can be seen slitting the animal’s stomach open and removing its heart before starting to hack the meat off its sides.

Moments later, Golding is shown grilling the meat and some of the organs on a portable barbecue.

‘Definitely gamey,’ he tells the camera, before dipping a piece of heart in what appears to be mustard and adding: ‘Probably not seasoned the best.’

Quickly, how would you have seasoned it? Did you find any recipes? Maybe a Baja-style creamy white fish taco sauce? Something more hearty?

Well, the general public was not happy about the video Mr. Golding posted to his Facebook.

“Very disturbing.”

“I hope you go to jail.”

“Rot in hell.”

“I wish someone would carve you up in the same way.”


And, not to rain on a perfectly good outrage parade, but by the looks of him, I would imagine the “Tarzan of LA” to be even more gamey than angelic baby dolphin. Theoretically, though, what would be the best sauce?

A rich béarnaise?

A ragú with extra garlic?

Any “outside the box” ideas?

Watch here!

"For science!"
"For science!"

Modern biologists take Stalin-esque approach to endangered shark species, encouraging the killing of “vicious apex predators” to obtain “lethal samples!”

"You can't make an omelette without breaking a few Chondrichthyes."

Except where do you place yourself on the sliding Hippocratic scale? The “Do no harm” one? Let’s place Jains at one end, carefully tiptoeing around so as not to step on and thereby kill any bugs. Wearing face masks so as not to breathe any airborne organisms in thereby killing them and let’s place cattle butchers on the other end. Big burly men whacking gentle cows in the head with some giant bolt that penetrates their brains.

But where are you? Do you eat Impossible Burgers sometimes or never?

And where would you place conservationist-leaning biologists?

I think you’ll be as surprised as me to learn they are much closer to the butcher than the Jain and let’s learn all about their bloodlust for “lethal samples” in the very latest Scientific American.

Sharks are some of the most fascinating, most misunderstood and most threatened animals in the world. Many scientists of my generation chose to study these amazing animals explicitly because they’re threatened, and because science can help; this was a major motivation for my choice to pursue a career as a marine conservation biologist, and a major influence in similar decisions by other shark researchers whom I surveyed. As we progress through our education, some of us are surprised to learn that effectively protecting entire species of sharks sometimes requires killing individual sharks—and many non-expert shark enthusiasts are outright shocked to learn this.

Every once in a while, this conflict between the goals of animal welfare and the goals of species-level conservation spill out into the world of social media, when non-expert shark enthusiasts discover that sometimes scientists work with fishermen to gather research samples from the sharks those fishermen have (legally) killed. This happened again recently, when just such a partnership was criticized on twitter by some non-experts.

The truth behind this ‘controversy’ is simple: many of the most important types of scientific data that we need to effectively monitor and conserve shark populations require lethal sampling. To quote a 2010 essay on this topic, “Although lethal sampling comes at a cost to a population, especially for threatened species, the conservation benefits from well‐designed studies provide essential data that cannot be collected currently in any other way.”

On and on the piece goes describing, in vivid detail, the barely concealed joy these scientists take in fishing endangered sharks. I’d image it is the same thrill the hunter feels when bagging one of the last remaining Javan rhino.


Maybe I should re-read.

But quickly, where do sharks land on the sliding Hippocratic scale?

Closer to the butcher than killer whales?

Than king cobras?

Much to ponder.

Terror on the Sand: In what is being called “The Night of Long Boards” State of Hawaii seizes control of surf schools at popular Big Island beach!

"Locals describe a frenzied scene..."

But what is your favorite historical totalitarian regime of all time? Oh I know these matters are not polite to discuss but if you had to choose. Are you a Khmer Rouge kinda gal? Did the very talented Nadia Comeneci give you a taste for Nicolae Ceausescu’s Romania? Does Eritrea’s People’s Front for Democracy and Justice float your boat? Benny Mussolini?

A very difficult decision but let me make it even more so by adding the State of Hawaii which just nationalized the surf school permitting process at the popular Kahaluu Bay on the Big Island.

And have you been to the Big Island? Shane Dorian lives there and hunts wild pig but apparently there is an epidemic of surf schools crowding lineups too, unregulated, causing much hurt feelings and annoyance.

Surf schools, am I right?

Well, the State, in a decisive authoritarian action being called The Night of Long Boards, decided to cap the number of schools at four and to control the permitting process but we must learn more from regime organ West Hawaii Today.

“The State fulfilled its obligation but the County ran into difficulty with selecting which four commercial surf school companies would receive permits. The State was asked to take the lead and is working closely with the County of Hawaii to amend the current Hawaii Administrative Rules to determine the appropriate number of commercial surf school permits that should be issued for Kahaluu Bay,” the division stated, but did not provide the number of permits being considered.

Ossian Farmer, sole proprietor of FBI Surf School, said the surf schools operating at Kahaluu remain in the dark on the issue as they haven’t been kept in the loop unless speaking with one another or pressing the DLNR. He thinks the previous determination of four schools with eight students each was correct.

“That’s 32 people in the water — not including instructors — already that’s pretty crowded,” said Farmer. “Right now, there’s probably 10 surf schools taking out as many people as they want. We just need to do something.

Very wonderful except it would be even more wonderful if the all-knowing State capped the number of surf schools across all islands at zero.


Do you make a living from the surf school trade? Do you hate all forms of totalitarianism wherever, whenever they appear? First they came for the soft tops and I said nothing because I don’t ride a soft top etc.?

Launch a lightly funded insurrection!

More as the story develops.

Longtom graduates from Matt Bromley's Get-Gooder-At-Surfing-At-Home online course. | Photo: Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Longtom buys online surf-improvement course: “The truth is most of our skill sets are baked in by the time we are twenty!”

Can a lifelong intermediate surfer break out of entrenched patterns? Or are you doomed to repeat the same dreadful mistakes over and over for eternity?

Look, if the Devil himself showed up tomorrow with a red button to push to kill the internets, I’d hit it in a heartbeat.

Not even give it a second thought, despite the fact I’d be nothing without it.

Compounding the stupidity is the fact I’m a total slut for what you might call internet self-improvement. Open online courses in economics, agriculture, subscriptions to every publication I can get my hands on etc.

Can’t shovel the shit in fast enough.

Ergo, it didn’t take much for me to pull the trigger on a surfing self-improvement course by South African charger Matt Bromley, which promised to help me smash through the intermediate barrier.

Fifteen bucks, can’t remember whether he charged in Rand or USD. Either way, about a schooner of craft beer and a shandy down at the local pub.

It’s a secret conceit of every surfer to get better but the question is: Can you skill build?

Derek Rielly in his UrbnSurf experience was able to identify the flaws in his own surfing. ID’ing the problems is one thing, doing something to fix them is another.

Catching more waves, whether they be natural or man-made, might not be a solution.

The world is full of leatherbacks who’ve caught a million waves and who rode the millionth exactly the same as the hundredth, if you get my drift.

You have to do something different.

Hence this tutorial offering from Bromley. A kind of online coaching resource, featuring video and text.

I barely read the text. The quantity of video information is huge.

My strengths are the intangibles: speed, power and flow in good surf. I can stitch an aesthetically satisfying ride together on a medium-sized wave. Knife a drop on a reefbreak. Reading a lineup, identifying and executing strategies to pick the best waves out of a crowd, thats my jam. Love to put a subtle hustle on. Patience.

Weaknesses: lack of vertical, poor rotation in shit surf, entrenched patterns.

Was there anything I missed as a fifteen-year-old that I could improve now?

Success came straight away.

The opening two videos: “where you look is where you go” and “generating speed” cracked open movement patterns that were as calcified as old bones. Waves helped. A few fun sessions in light onshore head-high surf had a pal commenting on the vertical turns. That little ego boost helped my confidence, fed a raging surf fever.

For the first time since I learnt to take a late drop I was on the improve again.

It didn’t last.

I kept working through the videos.

The waves got worse, then better, then worse.

Trying to do different things, keep them in mind, a strange sense of dissociation came over me. I was trying to watch myself, as I was doing it, in order to make judgements about whether I was improving according to the instructions offered.

In so doing I became mired in a swamp of self-consciousness. Over-thinking it. Bad hell. No fun.

To use the sexual metaphor, too much mind = performance anxiety.

So I dialled it back.

Cut down on the information and went back to the beginning.

To what worked.

In the end, there are only three factors at play in the equation. There’s you (with your skill set), the wave and the surfboard.

Of the three, skill set seems the hardest to budge.

Good waves can always be tracked down. I believe that is the surest path to improvement: riding better waves.

Boards come in close behind. They can be changed, radically or incrementally.

Changing skill set though, oh boy.

Even on the CT, at the elite level, skill sets calcify or degrade. A trend towards conservatism is the most common outcome. Mick Fanning was doing airs in competition in his early/mid career. They disappeared from his skill set.

Changes are the exceptions.

Surf improvement is a burgeoning field in the age of the VAL as beginners transition to intermediates and lifer intermediates dream of better feelings through better surfing.

The truth is most of our skill sets are baked in by the time we are twenty. Maybe twenty-five if one can postpone adulthood and keep the go-outs at a certain volume. The one ray of hope is a rec surfer can improve, albeit incrementally and at a snail’s pace well into their forties and fifties with a Herculean effort, most of it mental.

Matt Bromley’s surf improvement course offers a useful rope to cling to as an aid on that dizzying journey.

The new X in the equation is the existence of guaranteed reps in the wavepool and the possible rise of middle-aged, middle-class Fight Club-style support groups where the beleaguered rec surfer can work on her skill set in a new safer space for improvement.

Not saying that will happen, but it might.

A new surf community has already sprung up around the Tullamarine facility.

I’ll be there tomorrow.

Report to follow.