Breaking: Dirk Ziff, owner of World Surf League, also co-owner of plantation that once housed over 500 slaves but is now America’s “most expensive – and snootiest – private club!”

"The price of a membership is $1 million. It costs $85,000 per year after that."

History is a real bastard and a special bastard when viewed from the gimlet eyed high pass of our future, where we, of course, dwell. Everything clear and pristine. Our signals of virtue shine in the sky like gorgeous beacons, unfettered, unchained, clear and pristine.

A fine thing that we are so good.

Speaking of, our World Surf League released a statement this just passed International Surfing Day which declared “Surfing is for everyone” and committed to “Build a diverse and inclusive work environment, advancing equality, cultivating where everyone feels welcome.”


Contributions have been pledged to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and continued support of the Creative Futures Collective where “We believe someone’s current circumstance shouldn’t dictate their future.”


A very fine thing.

As you well know, publishing billionaire and co-Waterperson of the Year Dirk Ziff purchased the Association of Surfing Professionals for free in 2013, or thereabouts, rebranding it World Surf League in 2015.

The League has had four CEOs since, Dirk Ziff himself as acting CEO in 2017 while winning his co-Waterperson acclaim.

The very same Dirk Ziff, you may not know as well, also co-owns Cherokee Plantation, a “Spanish-moss draped monument to selective southern hospitality” in South Carolina that Forbes also calls “the most expensive–and the snootiest–private club in America.”

Cherokee Plantation was built in 1690 as part of a land grant to Joseph Blake, who cultivated rice amongst other things. His son Daniel inherited the property and, “as slave owners go” was considered “a pretty swell guy” who “despised affectation and looked with perfect contempt upon all snobbery.”

He built a church on his property, enjoyed by his 559 slaves, as well as providing clothing and moderate working hours.

The plantation was badly damaged during the Civil War but rehabilitated, changed hands a few times, and today co-belongs to co-Waterperson Dirk Ziff.

Forbes continues:

The price of a membership is $1 million. It costs $85,000 per year after that. Some of what Cherokee offers is familiar country club stuff, such as horseback riding, tennis, fishing and golf. But at Cherokee, there’s no such thing as a tee time. Golfers on the 18-hole Scottish links may find their only company is an alligator that has lumbered onto the lawn from the Combahee River. And members who hunt quail can use a $100,000 Purdey house gun and enjoy an outdoor banquet–complete with tablecloths and candelabra. In the evening, members and guests are invited to pluck a stogie from the walk-in humidor in the grand plantation house. When guests climb into bed, they find a flannel-covered hot water bottle tucked between the sheets, even in summer.

A very, very fine thing and it must be assumed that contributions are equally pledged to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Creative Futures Collective.

Comment has been requested from his World Surf League.

More as the story develops.

Revealed: Flowrider not to blame for “janky” tsunami surf scene in Escape from L.A. but rather damned skateboarders Tony Hawk and Chris Miller!

They wreck everything.

Skateboarding has been a little bastard since surfing pushed him out of the womb in those halcyon Southern California post-war years. Imagine how much better off we’d be without those four wheels and a deck of sin. Imagine how much happier.

We’d be able to name our grabs and airs for one. Instead of “method” and “melon” etc. we could use the more sensible “spinny” and “twirly.”

Also, Escape from L.A.’s tsunami surfing scene would be a cinematic high water mark, if you’ll excuse the pun.

Two days ago, we heard from computer graphics supervisor David Jones who was inspired by the newly invented Tom Lochetefeld Flowrider.

“I’d seen reference to a standing wave surf park in Texas. You see them on cruise ships now where you blast water up a wave shaped thing and you can surf by basically standing in the middle of the curve and the water’s rushing under you so it’s supporting the board. The first of these had just opened in Texas and got on the nightly news. I said, ‘Oh, it’s no problem, chaps. We’ll just go down to Texas, put green screens up behind the standing wave and shoot it there and then we can comp it in. It’ll be marvelous.’”

Well, as the story continues, “That’s what we did. The thing that I could’ve taken into account is back then it was very, very difficult to stand up and surf on those things. Professional surfers couldn’t do it. Only the guys that worked at the Texas place could do it. They looked janky. It did look janky.”

As revealed just last evening via secret email, however, the Flowrider was not to blame but rather the stunt doubles surfing the Flowrider.

Who were they?

Professional skateboarders Tony Hawk and Chris Miller.

Of course it looked janky. Skateboarders don’t understand fluid dynamics at all. They don’t understand much of anything else either, as it goes.

Hawk is currently teaching a “master class” on tricks etc.

Not recommended.

Dez lets out a long moan. "Ohhh, you have the most…" His voice splinters. "Beautiful little baby biceps."

Listen: “BeachGrit is an anti-val stronghold cheered on by a homoerotic cheerleading squad (and is) the most successful media outlet of any board sport!”

"BeachGrit has an insane amount of page views, visitors, zero advertising constraints, they say what they like, and they're now in a position to make masses of money!"

One of the more enjoyable aspects of creating a website without any sorta ideology beyond having a little fun and being able to lay on our lazy asses all day, is hearing other people talk about it.

In this podcast, which was prepared by English snowboarder and late blooming surfer, Matt Burr, we are gifted an opening monologue that describes BeachGrit as the biggest thing in board sports even if everyone who reads it wears bikini swimsuits and covers their bedroom walls in magazine ads of buff boys in frilly dresses; men who with effortless fluid motions can wink an eye, throw a kiss and toss their hair at the same time.

Matt believes that the “vast majority of interviews you see, read or hear tend to be anodyne, reductive, dull and often ill-informed” and, therefore, if you close your eyes during this interview with Charlie Smith, you can feel the empathic warmth Burr envelopes Charlie in.

“I’ve always been intrigued by Chas,” writes Matt in the podcast notes. “Firstly because I met him last year and found him to be utterly charming. Secondly, because in its way this persona as as much of a cliche as the very surf conformity he has spent his career railing against, and I’ve long suspected that nobody is more aware of that than Charlie himself. All of which begged a fairly obvious question as I sat down to interview him for this episode of the podcast: where does ‘Chas Smith’ end and Charlie Smith begin?”

The homo stuff is in the beginning.

The face of privilege.
The face of privilege.

Long Read: “The sport that helped popularize the graphic T-shirt, birthed skateboarding and gave the world a name for loafing online is, like other American subcultures, confronting a scourge of racism that has thrived within its own ranks!”


A longer new piece on today’s NBC News explores surfing’s very racist past. I am sometimes surprised to read the opinions of professors of surf journalism, founders and directors of university centers for surf research and authors of political histories of surfing of whom I’ve never once heard.

Surfing is, to me, a small bubble where all the players are known or known adjacent but I suppose in this day of hard interior looks, that is simply my bubble perspective.

I don’t know, however, how a piece can be written without a chat to author of The History of Surfing and the Encyclopedia of Surfing Mr. Matt Warshaw.

In any case, journalist Dennis Romero writes, “The sport that helped popularize the graphic T-shirt, birthed skateboarding and gave the world a name for loafing online is, like other American subcultures, confronting a scourge of racism that has thrived within its own ranks.”

The Outrigger Club in Waikiki in 1911 culturally appropriating surfing and making it white, localism as a form of racial discrimination, The Endless Summer leaving out the word “apartheid”, Windansea kids traveling up to the 1965 Watts Riots for “entertainment”, Jeff Spicoli representing privilege and the racist sentiment associated with those who oppose the “Brazilian Storm” are all probed.

An accurate portrayal?

I don’t think so, especially not where it relates to localism as a form of racial discrimination. I’m certain there are racist locals but surf localism is much broader along with rage-filled surf tribalism and very rude surf shaming, as my transition to mid-lengther is teaching me.


I am also a white male so my opinion counts for zero but what is your opinion? What do you think?

Just kidding. Your opinion counts for zero too.

Read here!

Beschen, main photo, orange Dez, top, and Cabo Chas, below.

Listen: “Least huggable pro of all” Shane Beschen reveals his and Derek Hynd’s failed world tour putsch, “gnarly racism to haoles” and the dirty secret/lonely rendezvous he shares with super shaper Jon Pyzel!

"Like Medina, he never put on an act for anyone."

Today’s guest on Dirty Water is the former world title contender turned super coach Shane Beschen.

He was one of the first surfers on tour to regularly bring airs into heats, he scored the highest total ever in a heat, thirty points via three tens on three waves, and he’s an in-demand coach with two shredder kids.

He abhors mediocrity in anything and his face has a fragile look as if it might have been broken and stuck together again, or like a gun no one knows is loaded.

Two years ago, Beschen was described by the Encyclopedia of Surfing’s Matt Warshaw as “the least huggable pro of all” and said he “never put on act for our benefit. Kind of like Medina, but even less fucks given.”

On today’s podcast, Charlie in Cabo, Beschen in his beach shack at Rocky Point, me in Sydney, we talk about San Clemente when it was a wild little town run by Matt Archbold, Christian Fletcher and Martin Potter; seeing multi-generational change on the tour; the rebel tour he tried to launch with Derek Hynd and the fear it struck into little Taj Burrow’s heart; the “gnarly racism to haoles” in Hawaii, his secret east-side getaways with notorious North Shore heartthrob Jon Pyzel and the three stupid mistakes every damn intermediate surfer makes and how you can cure this hole in your heart.

Of course, no conversation with Shane Beschen would be complete without an examination of his famous US Open final with Kelly Slater in 1996.

Leave a review on Apple podcasts, good, bad, five stars or zero, just gotta be entertaining, send us the link and we’ll send you a tail-pad, anywhere in the world. Yeah, they’re that tough to move.

(Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcast, Stitcher, TuneIn + Alexa, iHeartRadio, Overcast, Pocket Cast, Castro, Castbox, Podcast Addict, Podchaser, Deezer and Listen Notes.)


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