"Nick Carroll got my hopes up but thankfully Chas Smith is here to make me hang my head in sorrow again."
"Nick Carroll got my hopes up but thankfully Chas Smith is here to make me hang my head in sorrow again."

Counterpoint: Nick Carroll malignantly wrong about John John Florence, the Olympics and surfing’s future!

For shame.

Nick Carroll is a gift to surf journalism, our rank’s preeminent voice, and the rest of us all, from Derek Rielly to Sam George to myself are merely giants standing on the shoulders of a midget. When he finally leaves this gorgeous world life sized statues will be erected in his honor and carried around in elementary school children’s pockets, his face carved into granite cliff sides all jaw and more jaw, but even the mightiest can make altogether misguided and just plain wrong assertions.

For in a recent Surfline piece, Carroll reacted to Stab magazine’s whimpering over the mass layoffs of professional surfers by Hurley and shall we take a little nibble together?

Being a top pro surfer is infinitely the best gig in the sport, possibly in the world. Everyone else works like dogs, while things just fall in your favor. The surf industry booms and pays you a fortune. It runs out of spare cash, and a billionaire shows up! Then before you know it…along comes the Olympic Games.

Fine and good until the “along comes the Olympic Games” bit but excuse me for interrupting.

This is just one thing the stories about JJF have missed. The Olympic Games is about to open new doors for him and a few other first time Olympian surfers, doors that’ve been shut for generations.

The Olympics is a great lever for a big surf star to break open the bigger world of endorsement, the banks and the big athlete brands and such. These companies have seen what happened with snowboarding. They want the next Shaun White, and they will figure that surfing might be the way to get him and/or her.

Indeed it’s already begun.

And ok now. Here we have an essential misreading of history especially as it relates to Shaun White and snowboarding. The “Flying Tomato” won his first gold medal in 2006. A high water mark for still-fresh extreme sports, in general, at a time when cable television, as opposed to anything “on demand” ruled media.

White also dominated a discipline that was easy for the “non-core” viewer to understand. Men spinning wildly high above the earth, short runs, easy to spot mistakes. Everyone could be an “expert” at who performed best and why while sucking down ice-cold Coors Light.

In between his Olympic smashes, White had a yearly X-Games schedule, aired in primetime with much ballyhoo, on ESPN and ABC and an easy-going, magnetic personality that made his interviews and press outings at least appear dynamic. Covers of Rolling Stone and other magazines that used to exist. Celebrity girlfriends and small-time TMZ trouble for inappropriate halloween costumes.

He was America’s favorite red-headed stepchild all “rock n roll” yet mama-approved “safe n cuddly.”

Now, back to John John. Extreme sports are old and not fresh. The Olympics has shed viewers as more and more people “cut the cord.” In the United States, still the only market that matters in terms of seven-figure endorsement deals, much of the programming has been shifted to weird NBC channels like Bravo and Oxygen.

The X-Games is but a hollow reminder of what it once was and doesn’t include surfing.

John John has a public facing persona as vivid as oatmeal sans brown sugar and televised surfing in tiny Japanese waves where the “tricks” etc. are near impossible for the non-surf fan to gauge and/or compare won’t catch any real interest especially when the Coors Light warms up after 40 damned minute heats.

Of course Japan will push Kanoa Igarashi and his story will be cut into a nice YouTube package but that will be the extent of surfing’s Olympic bounce.

If a star comes out of the 2020 Games it will be in skateboarding’s park discipline where men spin wildly high above the earth in short, timed runs with easy to spot mistakes.

Blood on the concrete etc.

The ball is in your court, Nick Carroll.

Top Secret: A new ocean denim that appears to protect wearer from amputation by Great White Shark!

Have we surfers been duped?

There have been many, too many, “shark bite deterrents” marketed to us surfers, us naive suckers, over the past decade plus including, but not limited to, Shark Banz, eyeball decals, PowerBalance and Chomperz.

None of them have worked, obviously. More sinisterly, some have even acted as “shark bite attractants.”

Oh who wants us surfers in the world, us royal jerks?

Nobody is who and that’s why we don’t get eyeballs on the technology that appears to actually work.

Like Lee Jeans for Men, worn over wetsuits, that must do something as scientists etc. wear them while petting “man-eating” Great Whites.

But we must examine this just leaked photograph (above) from Ocearch, a leading shark tracking organization striking fear into the hearts of men, in greater detail.

And one more zoom.

Are those not Lee’s for him worn over a wetsuit?

To stop Great Whites from munching?

Tell me you wouldn’t style those in the lineup all day long.

Tell me these have only been kept from us because the world prefers its surfers in wheelchairs.

More as the story develops.

RIP: Surf Legend Bob Cooper “famous in surfing for being famous; for having been around a long time; for having a beard” dead at 82!

The prophet on a wave!

Now, it ain’t a tragedy by any measure, a man dead at eighty-two, but when a someone like Bob Cooper evaporates from this earthly plain, surfing loses an important strand in its DNA.

In these instances we turn to Matt Warshaw’s Encyclopedia of Surfing for his back story, why he matters.

Cheerful, freethinking regularfoot surfer originally from Southern California; popular throughout the 1960s, and regarded as the original surfing beatnik. Cooper was born (1937) in Santa Monica, California, the son of an aerospace engineer who died around the time of his birth. He was raised in the Los Angeles-area suburbs of Culver City and Mar Vista, and began surfing in 1952 at age 15, at Malibu; eight years later he was one of the first American surfers to visit Australia.

Cooper earned a reputation not as a contest champion or a big-wave hero or even a small-wave performer—although he had an appealing, loose-limbed style, and a fine sense of trim—but as an articulate, slightly eccentric surfing character. In “Bob Cooper: Prophet on a Wave,” a glowing 1964 Surf Guide magazine profile, he’s lauded for his “Mount Everest beard, radical sandals, spectacular shirts and tunic of a thousand colors,” as well as his ability to “remain composed and totally unaffected even at the most radical parties.” The Bob Cooper Blue Machine signature model, produced in 1967 and early 1968 by Morey-Pope Surfboards, was the only board of the era to feature an asymmetrical fin setup.

Cooper, who was a Mormon which led to him quitting surf contests ’cause they were run on Sundays (“I could have become a professional surfer. But I wanted the blessings that were there”), spent the last fifty years of his life living on Australia’s east coast, first in Coffs Harbour where he kept a surf shop (Cooper Surf Shop, naturally) then headed north to keep his bones warm on the Sunshine Coast.

Given his beliefs it’s likely Cooper is now exalted in a celestial kingdom, covered in divine glory.

“I can go back to surfing and it’s great, but it doesn’t give me the satisfaction that I get out of doing what I’m doing now. You know, wife, family and kids — eternal concepts. Knowing where I came from, what I’m doing here, where I’m going, what the purpose of this existence is and dedicating my life to it. And the more effort I put into it, the more rewards come back,” Cooper told The Surfer’s Journal in 1999. 

(Side note: The author of the story, Mike Perry, gave your ol pal DR his start in the biz. Beautiful man.)

Lest he be remembered as too serious, Cooper also said he was, “famous in surfing for being famous; for having been around a long time; for having a beard.”

Surfers make me SO MAD!

Thumb your nose at Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Hillary Clinton and all other “surf hating” Presidential hopefuls!

Youth(ish) Against Establishment!

It is President’s Day tomorrow in America, I suppose today in Australia if Australia was a truly free country untethered from London like those beautiful Sussexes. Brave, young, multi-racial, wealthy the whole entire world (Canada) filled with unknowable possibilities (various charities) but I digress.

Technically, President’s Day is George Washington’s Birthday but other Presidents, hungry for any spotlight they can claw have narcissisticly made it about themselves too.

All fine. The more the merrier, as they say, and since they say it, why not open up President’s Day to Presidential Hopefuls too, even surf hating ones like Mayor Pete Buttigieg and his best friend Hillary Clinton?

A wonderful idea and much easier for us to show our youth(ish) against establishment credentials by flipping a defiant (metaphorical) middle finger?

What is the very most rebellious thing to do?

Sucking on Ultra Hard Surf Candy right in their faces!

Right now, for 24(ish) hours every piece of BeachGrit clothing is on sale. Freak flags that strike fear into the hearts of Da Man.

Or what about a red, white and blue traction pad? Pretty much like stomping all over Da Man and his colors of oppression.

At these low, low prices whatever you decide won’t be wrong.

And there is free shipping worldwide.

You can flip a defiant (metaphorical) middle finger from anywhere the Sussexes might go (Toronto)!

Savage: Woman who had been told sea lions were gentle creatures bit through thigh by “aquatic pitbull” in Western Australia!

Bad days.

If it swims in the ocean it must not be trusted. This rule applies to “man-eating” sharks, to rapist dolphins, to sneaky stingrays, heartless jellyfish and crusty, grumpy, mean-spirited surfers. Jerky, rude, foul surfers.

Sea lions too.

And I’ve always been very wary of the aquatic pitbulls. They don’t look nice, that’s for certain, but a tourist in Western Australia felt differently after locals told her that region’s sea lions were gentle creatures.

Well, as one does in Western Australia, she went swimming in a pack of them with her friend. It was such a wonderful pleasure she returned and repeated the activity for a second day. Even better than the first and so back for a third when a savage beast turned on her and…

“…all of a sudden, all I saw was a sea lion in front of me, and when I turned my back, he bit me.

“It was on the back of my right leg, and straight away I could see he had drawn blood.”

The tourists didn’t think the animals were dangerous, or that a tour guide was needed to swim in the area.

Elena Precillia (pictured) with her attacker.
Elena Precillia (pictured) with her attacker.

“Locals had told us that the sea lions were friendly, and that many went there without a tour guide or anything like that,” she said.

“It was an amazing experience, as they liked to dance with us, playing and jumping out of the water.”

But when a sea lion decided to have a taste of the backpacker, she was in a state of shock.

“The pain was shock – I couldn’t really feel thanks to the adrenaline, but I couldn’t swim to get out of the water.”

Thankfully Ms. Precillia was with her friend who took her to a hospital which charged her nearly $5000 dollars because sea lions contain a rare bacteria in their mouths very bad for human beings.

The moral of this story?