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


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.


More as the story develops.

Watch: San Diego surfer stages brave rebellion against draconian anti-surf laws; holds sign declaring “Give me waves or give me COVID!”

Heroes will rise.

It has been pouring rain for over 24 hours across much of southern California, threatening to wash the bottom half of the state into the mighty Pacific. If that were to happen, city officials from San Diego up through Santa Barbara would have a large dilemma on their hands as playing in the ocean is currently outlawed. Banned. Barred. Met with heavy fines and frowny-face’d tsk-tsks from Ken “Skindog” Collins.

Would the officials have enough pages in their ticket books? Enough judges to process all the cases? Much stress.

Well, during any time of wanton oppression, heroes rise. Two days ago we met Don Abadie who took his boat and made a brave attempt on empty Lower Trestles.

Today, we meet Jack Silverwood and let’s go straight away to San Diego’s local news for details.

Encinitas surfer Jack Silverwood believes this overarching order is infringing on his constitutional rights.

He spent the day Thursday protesting the beach closures at the famous Cardiff Kook with signs that read, “Commies can’t surf,” “Give me waves or give me COVID,” and “Kim Prather is a Kook.”

Silverwood is pointing out the actions of our local government have been overreaching, like a communist regime.

A communist regime or a fascist regime.

When reached for comment, World Surf League CEO Erik Logan said, “We feel very good and very confident that we can monetise this global audience of surfers through a variety of different business models. Direct-to-consumer is a powerful one, but not the only one. However, in the near term, given where we are with the crisis today, it is something that we have off to the side.”

But do you have a protest planned? An act of defiance? I’m cooking one up both literally and figuratively.

More as the story develops.

Rumor: World Surf League handing out onerous contracts to all surf media (save your BeachGrit) in order to meet CEO Erik Logan’s bullish pledge!

Rebel tour time.

But don’t you remember, at the beginning of this Coronavirus Apocalypse, when freshly appointed World Surf League CEO Erik Logan, fresh from roles as World Surf League President of Content, Media and Studios and President of the Oprah Winfrey Network declared…

I’m very bullish that the other side of this is going to be a more robust media property with the World Surf League and a more inclusive media property for our endemic partners, our surfers, and our fans. And, I think, a more widely consumed product than we’ve ever had before because of the platforms, so I’m energized by the opportunity we have to think about the business.

That energy has led to many, many offers from the World Surf League’s Santa Monica headquarters to existing surf media properties including……… oh I can’t say but have heard and also heard the offered deals are completely onerous and outright laughable. Like, laughable even from hardened and desperate souls begging to sign anything at all.

I don’t know, officially, though because, also rumored, the World Surf League has assured potential takers of the onerous deals that your BeachGrit, specifically, is not included.

If this is it, if the war is finally all the way here and it’s The People™ vs. Co-Waterperson of the Year Dirk Ziff, who is no doubt quarantined to the gills, then I am weeping with happy and weeping even more with happy when the World Surf League presents Stab High re-emerges after this epoch subsides.

Will it subside?

Will we ever hug again?

More as the story develops.

Surfline Man still gets up every day and checks the cams. Look at those sets! It’s totally firing. Should he drive up to Huntington? He could go surf Huntington, but would it even be worth it? Probably not, really. He considers sneaking into Trestles, but how super embarrassing would it be if he got caught.

The Return of Surfline Man: “He believes the Coronavirus models as devoutly as he ever believed the surf forecasts. We’re gonna get through this, man, we just have to wait 23 more days. That’s what the model says!”

No surfing! How will Surfline Man survive this strange and uncertain new world.

When we last saw Surfline Man, he was bobbing around the lineup, explaining to his friends why their boards were all wrong.

You know, that board would work totally better with different fins.

Oh, you got Futures? I always get FCS2.

They just work, you know? You should try them sometime.

Surfline Man was busily tracking forecasts, following the multi-colored blobs as they headed straight toward his favorite break.

Two weeks from now! Two weeks from now, it’s gona be firing, brah!

That’s all over now.

Surfline Man is stuck at home in San Clemente. His shiny Sprinter Van sits idle in the driveway. His quiver stands untouched in the garage, dry and lonely. No surfing! How will Surfline Man survive this strange and uncertain new world.

Surfline Man still gets up every day and checks the cams. Look at those sets! It’s totally firing. Should he drive up to Huntington? He could go surf Huntington, but would it even be worth it? Probably not, really. He considers sneaking into Trestles, but how super embarrassing would it be if he got caught.

That’s bad vibes, brah, he texts his buddy.

Gotta respect the rules, you know?

Don’t want to be like those guys in the boat!

Surfline Man is many things, but he tries really hard not to be an asshole. It’s just that all that trying doesn’t always work out for him.

Even though there’s no surfing, Surfline Man is keeping busy. He would not want to waste time with, like, doing nothing or chilling on the couch. Surfline Man is not chill, generally.

So he bought some kettlebells and twice each day, he does a work-out he found online.

He’s also been trying yoga. So good for my back, brah, I feel like a totally new person! I’m going to surf so much better when this is all over.

Can’t wait to hit the water!

The new foam roller he ordered from Amazon is doing wonders. It hurts like a motherfucker, but all the pros use them, you know. And he’s fucking crushing his ab workouts. Surfline Man is gona be so ripped when all this is over.

You just gotta be consistent, you know? Every day, man, just don’t skip a workout ever. Surfline Man has a lot of advice.

Surfline Man gets text messages (Somehow he has friends): hey im playing halo this afternoon, come hang on twitch

Surfline Man: Sorry, brah, can’t. Baking bread. Got a new sourdough recipe!

Surfline Man is really into bread now. He got this killer sourdough starter from his ex-girlfriend’s best friend. You have to feed it all the time, you know. But fresh baked bread is so good.

I’ve been working on my technique, just checking out different recipes and all. I think I’ve got the perfect one now. You gotta try it! No more grocery stores, man, I’m going to make all my own food from now on.

Surfline Man made his own cotton mask, too. There’s instructions on the internet, you just sew it together. Super easy! Come on, man, it’s the right thing to do.

Surfline Man always does the right thing. You should wear one. Here, I made this for you. Sorry it’s pink! My ex left her t-shirt at my house, figured I might as well use it.

Eventually, Surfline Man gives up on surf forecasts, I mean, if I can’t surf, why check it, right?

Instead, Surfline Man is tracking Corona cases hour by hour.

Oh, shit, Truckee is looking hot.

Watch out Brooklyn, it’s coming for you. Check out Seattle, though, they’ve got it together there.

Nah, that’s not the right model to watch, you got to watch this one!

This one is totally accurate. Surfline Man believes the Corona models as devoutly as he ever believed the surf forecasts. We’re gonna get through this, man, we just have to wait 23 more days. That’s what the model says. Surfline Man believes in science, especially when it tells him what he wants to hear.

Why would it lie?

It’s going be firing, brah!

Gabriel Medina, two crowns on the back of his magic Johnny Cabianca-shaped sleds. | Photo: WSL

Longtom: Surfboard makers cling to life during pandemic; Shaper to two-time world champ “fixing dings”!

"I don’t know how long we can survive.”

Surfboards, the indispensable item.

Surfboard shapers, designers, glassers, sanders, our indispensable craftsmen.

World-wide they are being hit hard by the pandemic, or more accurately by the response to the pandemic.

Europe is the worst hit.

Zarautz based builder Johnny Cabianca who puts the steeds under Gabe Medina has been essentially shut down since Spain introduced almost total lockdown on March 23.

“My two employees can’t come to work, it’s not allowed” he said via Whats App. “ We’re a young company, only four years old and without cash flow I don’t know how long we can survive.”

The shaper to a dual world champ, for now, is fixing dings and finishing boards that have been sitting in corners of the factory.

“For us it all depends on how things evolve. When the beaches open again and when the shops open again, worldwide, as most of the boards we do are for export.”

Collapsing export markets have hit closer to my home, too.

Lennox-based Steve (Shuey) Shubonj of Glassing Division laminates for DHD and LSD. Glassing for DHD makes up eighty percent of turnover and has come to a complete halt.

“It’s put me in a precarious position,” he said. “I’ve already put two people off. As long as people can keep surfing around here, it’ll keep ticking over, as long as the landlord cuts me some slack, but I’m doing it all myself now.”

San Clemente-based builder Timmy Patterson was working around the clock to get boards ready for Italo Ferreira’s title defence.

A last-minute drive to LAX to meet Italo en route to the Gold Coast and handover boards was stopped at the eleventh hour as the tour opening was cancelled.

The undelivered quiver sits in a corner of the factory, “like a stash of gold.”

Patterson is still building boards at a reduced level behind locked doors with the shop shut, for now.

Marcio Zouvi of Sharp Eye surfboards is in a surer footed position than most.

“We own our own building, and our employees are on the payroll,” he said. “It’s the sub-contractors who are in trouble. Our business is diversified, we export a lot. We’re still servicing orders from Japan.”

Zouvi says the virus catastophe may precipitate a shake-down in the surfboard building game.

“We have very little receivables, we’re fine. Others have very high overheads. Rent, insurances. There’s an ageing workforce. There’s a question over how many factories will survive.”

The shake-down could extend to shops with “retail also struggling. There’ll be some impact, how deep we don’t know.”

Zouvi also worries with clothing companies struggling that payments with team riders are being suspended in an effort to bring surfers back to the negotiation table, presumably for far less shekels than currently offered.

His main concern is with the sport’s governing body.

“I hope the WSL can weather this out. We need an organisation such as WSL to standardize a format for competitive surfing which we can use as a reference. It’s very important for my business, with the type of boards that I make, to really gauge who is who, what they are riding and how they are riding.”

Ballina-based builder Gunter Rohn has been in the game for a long time.

He describes a board-cutting facility as being down from 400 a week to 100 a week.

Things are “patchy, but not dire” for him, with a loyal custom clientele still ordering boards as shop sales go through the floor. He sees surfing as important for “mental wellbeing” and hopes beaches stay open but admits lots of people will fuck it up.

Conspiracy theory pisses him off.

“I have to tell people to stop sending me shit,” he says.

Fellow Ballina shaper Wayne Webster is also surviving from custom orders, with his shopfront closed.

“I’ve had pneumonia twice, I can’t risk it. But the landlord wants full rent and I’m not eligible for the Government stimulus money, so I keep going.”

He describes success in these “absolutely nuts” times as “not going broke, having a house and food. This virus is polarizing and magnifying everything.”

For Webster, this is the start of a potentially long journey.

“A lot of people might feel like they are on holiday with no work, they’ve got more time to surf. That won’t be the case in a couple of months. Social distancing is here to stay. Who knows how long my showroom will be shut for.”

Not everyone is in crisis mode.

Maker of the hottest item since custom face masks, the mid-length channel bottom twin*, Simon Jones is in a good mood on this day that Jesus got nailed on the cross.

“Touch wood, and I feel I’m tempting fate,” he says, “the orders are still coming in.”

Where from? USA, Japan and Australia.

“Shipping is more expensive, I won’t be shipping until next month. It’s a time to catch up on domestic orders.”

For now, Jones has his eye on a local break.

“Gunna head down on a seven footer and try and dodge the crowd.”

The virus might be global, but the solutions will be local.

Happy Easter comrades.

*As ridden by Torryn Marten.