Clue: Did a provocative photo of a Wavestorm-wielding muscle-stud turn Oprah Winfrey’s Erik Logan onto the marketability of surfing?

A wild theory.

Rare, I would suggest, is the surfer who can forgot the warm October day in 2018 when the WSL announced it had appointed the president of Oprah Winfrey Network and “avid waterman” Erik Logan as President of Content, Media and WSL Studios, effective the following February.

Even a sceptic hardened by the revolving door of non-surfers taking up prime positions within a company owned by a non-surfing billionaire that had bought the ASP for a handful of shekels in 2012, had to concede: here was a man, finally, who knew his chops.

As was reported at the time, Logan was a media executive without peer, who had “led OWN’s turnaround from 2011 and has positioned the company today as the #1 cable network in its target demographic with 5 of the top 20 shows in scripted cable programs for women ages 25-54, more than any other cable network. Before OWN, Logan was Executive Vice President, programming and broadcast operations for XM Satellite Radio, where he helped build the subscriber base to over nine million subscribers, negotiated partnerships, and managed day-to-day relationships with major content providers including Major League Baseball, PGA Tour, CNN, Clear Channel Communications and Fox News.”

Logan’s waterman bona fides are impeccable: he is the co-founder of Shred and Speed, not sure if it’s a SUP shop or distributor but I think is big in the SUP game, SUP brand Infinity, and he owns a store for watermen in LA’s Manhattan Beach called Nikau Kai Surf Shop.

It is “Inclusive” and “welcoming” and was “Born out of the desire to expand our horizons and open new doors in surfing and what surfing means to us.”

Beautiful sentiments to complement a dazzling CV.

But, at what point did he think, I can sell pro surfing? 

What precipitated his decision to leave Ms O?

Earlier today, a reader sent an Instagram post from February 2018, eight months before the WSL’s announcement, with a telling comment from the SUP-riding, VAL-championing CEO.

It is revealing, as well as a little titillating.

On the IG account, Hotsurferguyzz, which delivers a cavalcade of muscle-studs to its one hundred and eighty-five followers, under a photograph of twenty-four-year-old Hawaii-born Jay Alvarrez holding a Wavesetorm surfboard, and beneath the hashtags #hotsurfer #hotguy #surfing #sun #beach #cutesurfer #cuteguy #sixpack #eatsurfpartysleeprepeat #surfingisfun #surfer #staysalty

Logan writes,

Wow, I love this! 🏄 🌊

 

Alvarrez, of course, is without peer in the surfer-hunk game, as evidenced by his six-and-a-half mill followers, more than Kelly Slater, Julian Wilson, John John Florence, Italo, Jordy Smith combined, with three million in change.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bm_K5zXnPmo/

https://www.instagram.com/p/BRnnhzOBvxh/

 

What did Logan see in the photo of Alvarrez?

Unlike the average man who might be tempted to linger a little long on the surface anatomy of Alvarrez’ abdomen running from the iliac crest to the pubis, Logan, in my opinion, saw the marketability of surfing to the fabled American mid-west.

What girl, what boy, could resist a sport that was able to produce seemingly endless images that emphasise the predominance of the sex instinct?

A marketer to the bone.

Am I right? Or am I right?


Photo of seminal eighties band Surf Punks by @billdanziger

Listen: “And that, dear children, is how the phrase ‘If you don’t live here, don’t surf here’ was reintroduced and the VAL uprising crushed!”

Go home!

I wake up this morning an outlaw, a misdemean* with a rotten attitude and matching sneer. Parents pull their children six feet away from me when I saunter down the street. Grown grandchildren pull their grandparents even further.

A real tough, which is yet another silver lining to this Coronavirus Apocalypse where totalitarianism reigns and surfers must learn to fight The Man once again.

The Man and the VAL.

But do you think it’s possible that this moment right here is the moment surf localism takes root once more? That our own grandchildren will someday sit on our knees while we regale them with stories about once more becoming bad?

I hope.

I trust.

David Lee Scales and I chatted with Ron Shine of Boardporn fame, from bad Rockaway Beach in New York, about surfers hardening up. About surfers flexing dormant muscles and shouting at interlopers then David Lee and I peeled away and chatted other various nonsense.

Our best show yet?

No.

We did it remotely and will never do such again.

Shame on us.

*If a felon commits felonies I assume that a misdemean commits misdemeanors.


Three-time world champ Tom Curren in game of White Face. | Photo: Andrew Kidman

Listen: Soul Queen Andrew Kidman and Lit-God Longtom hit the WSL’s “utter bastardisation” of surfing, the murder of surfing’s greatest underdog and the “value of freedom for surfers, right now!”

Who got killed in his bath on the North Shore? The mystifying behaviour of the WSL! The joy of early infection! And why three-time world champ Tom Curren likes to play "White Face"!

Today on Dirty Water, which is episode three, we’ve got two special guests, the creator of game-changing surf film Litmus in 1996, its 2019 sequel Beyond Litmus, the surfboard design documentary On the Edge of a Dream where an impossible to ride board is filmed ruining the live of myriad surfers, the queen of soul Andrew Kidman.

Kidman also made the films Single, with Stephanie Gilmore, Glass Love, and Spirit of Akasha, a sort of sequel to Morning of the Earth, which premiered at the Sydney Opera House.

He’s also made myriad album with The Windy Hills and The Val Dusty Experiment,  shapes boards, takes photographs, writes books and produces a tabloid-sized, although far from tabloid in nature, newsprint surf magazine.

The Surfers Journal describes Kidman as “our equivalent of a roving medieval ascetic, spreading his high-consciousness idealism to the four corners of the surfing world.”

But don’t think Kidman, who is a former Australian champion surfer, is gonna put you to sleep.

He works from the angle that he has to produce work that offsets the WSL’s “utter bastardisation” of his beloved sport.

The second guest is BeachGrit’s star writer, Lennox Heads’ own Anton Chekhov, Steve “Longtom” Shearer.

There’s a little synergy there.

Both live around Byron Bay, Longtom in a joint so close to Lennox Point you could toss a rock out the window and hit an inflatable mat rider; Kidman on a farm near Mount Warning, in a little hamlet thirty minutes drive inland from Murferville, that Vanity Fair-profiled haven of narcissism and clandestine infighting.

Chas is here, too, begging to be infected with COVID-19 and, me, as always, unable to shake off the dust of delusion.

Listen etc. It ain’t too long.

(Buy DVD/digital download/hard-cover book of Beyond Litmus, here.)


Not masked, not scared.

Watch: “Exceptionally depraved” juvenile Great White shark attempts to eat man, pregnant fiancée out practicing responsible social distancing!

Equally scary and rude.

The beaches are closed, the world cancelled, surf breaks policed, Ministry of Health gestapo jackbooting through parks, public squares, shopping center common areas swinging six-foot long billy clubs and smirking. Those not smacked in the head are severely vibed by neighbors in full protective gear for daring, daring to asymptomatically shower the world with their likely Coronavirus infection.

But where is a man supposed to take his pregnant fiancée for a little space? A little fresh air and responsible social distance?

If that man and his pregnant fiancée live in Western Australia, near the famed Margaret River etc. then out fishing on a ski. Far from others. Catching a dinner that has not been coughed upon at the grocery store.

And that is where we find Simon Tien, forty, a paramedic at a mining site in north-west WA, five hundred clicks inland from Exmouth, and his pregnant fiancée. Simon does one week on, one week off, although in the apocalypse it’s now two weeks on two weeks off. Nightshift worker, deals with medical emergences etc.

They’ve been doing a lot of fishing lately because the surf has been so crowded.

Responsible.

So, they’re fishing off the back of the ski and caught a big two-foot King George Whiting. “Unhead of down here,” Simon says and a queen snapper. Just before sunset his girl hooks a big jewfish.

A Prize sorta fish.

She’s fighting the thing until exhaustion at which point Simon takes over, eventually pulls it in and…

…just a head.

A menacing calm fills the air. Silent. Even the various Coronaviruses hovering about are still. Frightened.

Then the shark appears as if a sick joke. A violent prank.

Initially, Simon doesn’t know if it’s a juvenile White or a big Mako. It’s eight feet long, has the white belly etc.

“Same markings. But it was stealth,” Simon says.

Shark.

It swings back around and tries to bite Simon on the foot, which is resting in the ski’s gunwale, then has a go at biting the transom of the ski. Really digging in with all its vicious, exceptionally depraved might.

At which point Simon hammers the throttle and makes a run toward the shore.

“It was an adrenaline rush with a pregnant fiancee,” Simon says. “It had big eyes and it came straight out of the water. I thought, fucken hell, is this thing going to get us? One of those crazy situations.”

Classic Australians. The sort you’d be lucky to share the apocalypse with.

“We both though it was pretty fucken good.”

Simon says he’ll use a sled off the back of the ski to put a bit of distance between him and the next shark.

Wise.


The owner of professional surfing and co-Waterperson of the Year Dirk Ziff (far right) in happier days etc.

Hot rumor: World Surf League even odds on canceling entire 2020 Championship Tour!

Another Coronavirus bite?

And this nasty Coronavirus business just keeps getting worse and worse and worse and worse, if a less dire than predicted death toll is left out of the equation. Schools cancelled,  hugging cancelled, eating outside of the home cancelled, performing personal hygiene after using the toilet cancelled, office picnics, movies, jog-a-thons, double dates cancelled, cancelled, cancelled.

To make things even worser, a new hot rumor floating straight down from 3 – 4 bedroom homes in the greater Santa Monica/Manhattan Beach corridor whispers that the World Surf League is 50/50 on cancelling the entire season, not just the first handful of events.

Executives allegedly complaining that “millions have been lost…”

Which begs a few questions.

How much does Australia pay for Snapper, Bells and West Oz?

Millions?

Also, does the rest of the tour also lose millions so carrying on without Australia becomes a loss on top of a loss?

Also, can the World Surf League survive as a “content producer” without a tour? Publishing exciting podcasts about body shaming etc.?

Also, will you be depressed?

Oh, let’s try not to be so dour. This is an anti-depressive place. Glasses half full etc. so there are also even odds on saving the rest of the 2020 Championship Tour.

I take those every time I cross the street and am still alive!

Let’s clink half full glasses in celebration. A roar back to action in Brazil circa June.

No?

More as the story develops.