Futuristic solutions needed for dusty ol tour.

How to reinvent pro surfing: “The WSL is swaying on the withered branch of post-globalist capitalism along with other once-accepted ways of How Things Are Done!”

So what comes out the other side?

I’m missing the WSL. In all its stupid wonder.

I miss Gabe, Mikey, R Cal.

I miss being angry about judging calls and erroneous lay days.

I miss the heat strategising.

The crosses to Rosie.

The superflous ad breaks.

I miss the way it still manages to produce beauty in spite of itself.

In a world of increasingly cut-throat absolutism, I miss the vulnerable, earnest fun it provides.

I want it to come back.

Joker needs his Batman.

But, it too will never be the same.

The current model is dead. We all know that.

Erik is pushing for some semblance of normalcy for the end of 2020 but it can’t last. The format is rotten to the core. Swaying on the withered branch of post globalist capitalism along with so many other once-accepted ways of How Things Are Done.

What comes out the other side?

The proposed changes so far are just window-dressing.

Like society at large, it needs wholesale reinvention if it’s gonna work.

And with so little new info yet to emerge from the vacant, echoing halls of Santa Monica, I figured I may as well throw my own handful of shit against the wall, just to see what sticks.

My elevator pitch?

The world tour should be divided into four regional series that each produce a top four, male and female, who then surf off in a super series to crown the world title.

Concurrently, each region’s team surfs off against the others in a one-day specialty event to also produce a world team’s champion, Founders Cup-style.

(I should note in the outset I may have stole at least part, if not all, of this concept from somebody else. The amount of podcasts, articles, instagram comments, fevered dreams I’ve imbibed over the last four months have all blurred into one giant train of thought where I can’t separate fact from fiction, let alone from author. So if you think I stole this from you… please do let me know.)

Anyway, here’s the detail.

The world is broken down into regions. Conferences, if you will.

Let’s say:

Australia and New Zealand

US and Hawaii

Latin America

Eurasia and Africa

January through to September is a series of four qualifier comps for every conference. Think big, traditional Queys like Huntington, Manly, Rio, Gunston, Lacanau etc. These would be grand events. Built for spectators, tourism, sponsorship dollars etc. Corporate boxes out the wazoo. Only open to people born or claiming citizenship in the gazetted regions.

Each conference would have its own leaderboard. At the end of the series the top four surfers per conference then qualify for the final series, which is run over a further three comps.

Now, these’d be the pinnacle, surf-wise. The money makers. The content spinners. Top end sponsors. Full production crews. Premium quality waves. Big windows and able to run over one to two days max. Let’s say J-Bay, Macaronis, Pipe, in that order. Sixteen surfers a comp. Seedings and match-ups determined by placing in the conferences.

No dead air. No fluff. No repechage rounds. (Hopefully) no shoulder hopping. Just the world’s best surfers in the world’s best waves, crowning a world champion based on consistent performance on all stages.

Bing bang bong, and you get your individual world champ.

But that’s not where it finishes.

Sometime during the final series, a one-day teams comp is held. Let’s base it off the wildly successful Australian Boardriders Battle format. Hour-long heats where each surfer catches one scoring wave in a tag team.

Conference against conference. Country against country. Jingoistic pride abounds, giving the fans what they’ve always missed.

Also, this format works best with five surfers per team. So let’s allow each conference to choose a wildcard power surfer. No restrictions. No limitations, beyond previously mentioned birth/citizenship status. A true X factor.

It’s the most entertaining comp format in existence. Heavily scripted, yet entirely unpredictable. Entertaining to watch in pumping surf or absolute crap.

Imagine the thought of Noa beating Dane in a sprint up the beach to double whammy his power wave in the dying seconds of the tournament, winning the world title for the ANZACs over America.

Mouth watering.

So whaddaya reckon?

You get your big industry-pleasing extravaganzas. Your premium quality, high-end surf offs. You can side step a lot of travel issues. Ensure fairer representation and opportunity for all surfers, but still have the cream rising to the top.

Could it all work?


Will it fly? Probably not.

But fuck, what else are you gonna talk about why the world crumbles?

Increasingly weathered but still not entirely unattractive surf punter seeks your input.

Almost famous surf journalist rejoices at Seattle’s new Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone; Quietly wishes “Zone” would be spelled “Sone!”

The utopia we've been waiting for!

If you are aware, or aware-adjacent, of surf and surf culture you will know that surf culture’s only living historian lives in Seattle, a tiny walk away from Capitol Hill, where a new experiment is being tested.

The police free, racism free, business friendly Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, or CHAZ.

The police precinct near Capitol Hill was recently covered with plywood and abandoned. Protestors moved in, declared victory, and ask that the station be turned into a community center very much angering President Trump who tweeted, “Radical Left Governor @JayInslee [of Washington State] and the Mayor of Seattle are being taunted and played at a level that our great Country has never seen before. Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will. This is not a game. These ugly Anarchists must be stooped [sic] IMMEDIATELY. MOVE FAST!”

No word on if surf culture’s only living historian Matt Warshaw is enjoying freedom, true freedom, for the very first time but surf culture’s current number four journalist [following Nick Carroll, Derek Rielly and Steve “Longtom” Shearer] is planning a trip up in a few weeks with a message.

In accordance with shifting times, “Zone” should be spelled “Sone.”

The Capitol Hill Autonomous Sone, or CHAS, would be much freer, funner and less beholden to totalitarian “linguistics.”

You see the way I subvert totalitarian linguistics here everyday.

Imagine if we had a whole neighborhood in too play which.

Matt Warshaw there playing to.

Beautifull, nyet?

Feel free to join. I’ll post dates soon.


This latest decline and fall of western civilization will someday be tied back to the short-sleeved 2 mm full wetsuit!


We all feel it, see it, shaking ground under our feet, thick cracks in the once impossibly strong foundation of western civilization. It’s over, again, just may take a few weeks to fully teeter into collapse. Someday historians will look back into the crystal clear 2010-2020 and be able to finger where it went wrong.


It’s always wild, over the top decadence that sends once strong empires crumbling to the ground.

Rome burning while Nero danced with a new-fangled fiddle.

Marie Antoinette prancing through King Louis’s court smeared with fruity cakes and multi-colored macaroons.

Decadence but what is the high-water mark of decadence betwixt 2010-2020?


It is the short-sleeved 2mm full wetsuit.

Has there ever been such a creation so perfect yet meeting such a tiny window of “necessity?”

Water temperatures a smidge above normal 3/2 fulls. Water temperatures just a sliver below jacket and trunks.

A tiny window of roughly 1.5 degrees.

When I surf in my Matuse 2 mm short-sleeved full (currently sold out) I feel like the Dauphine himself and I gaze around the lineup at multiple other Dauphines and think, “We’re fucked.”


I don't know that I have ever seen an image of a professional surfer looking so beatific. St. Sally.
I don't know that I have ever seen an image of a professional surfer looking so beatific. St. Sally.

World Number 5 Sally Fitzgibbons declares major shift in women’s surfing when competition returns: “There will be a change!”

Time for quantum leaps.

A crackle in the air, energy, as people begin to emerge from their house caves, protest, eat meals in restaurants, take their children to the park, fly kites etc.

I only counted one solo masked drivers in car during a short drive yesterday afternoon. A heavy reduction from the two-in-three just last month.

Major news outlets are reporting deadly spikes in Coronavirus, a new hot (as in feverish) girl (as in overweight 80 year-old diabetic men with underlying heart conditions) summer that might see the death toll double in just two short months.

The the crackle, the energy is undeniable and life is returning to normal.

But can life ever be normal without professional surfing?

Certainly not and it must be on the verge of busting through the “abundance of caution.”

And when it does famous Australian and current World Number 5 Sally Fitzgibbons declares, definitively, “There will be a change.”



Aerial surfing, of course. In a recent interview with Olympics.org Fitzgibbons opened up about how she spent the quarantine hours, trying, trying, trying again to get consistent, watching video parts, dealing with the bumps and bruises, etc.

“I think aerial manoeuvres will make a huge push when we return to competition. There will be a change. They are so hard. The ones you see in all the surf movies getting stomped are just so technical. I’ve always had such a fascination in them.

You see some of the best [aerial] specialists in the world, like a Filipe Toledo or Italo Ferreira, the way they stomp them, and you think they have never been through the process of it being very awkward and getting hurt and the board hitting you every which way. You think maybe they just got them straight away because they make it look so effortless, but that’s the beauty in this sport. You can be inspired by the pursuit.

I have made some huge leaps in practice, but I think the quantum leap is putting them regularly into your competitive repertoire and under pressure going to them, even though they are super risky.”

Exciting but do you think she has watched BeachGrit‘s award winning serial Girl Goes into Orbit while training?

Many good tips from Filipe Toledo himself.

Five years ago, Derek Rielly interviewed Fitzgibbons about many wonderful subjects including her “air-reverse almost on tap.”

My how times have changed.

Do you wear a mask when driving alone in your car, though?

King Jesus with Chas, top, and DR, on bottom.

Listen: The King Jesus of Wavepools Tom J Lochtefeld talks “Bangladeshi workers locked in a sheik’s dog kennels”, why “wavepools are full environmental disasters” and how he’s gonna solve it!

The environmental paradox as explained by the man powering the waves at Palm Springs Surf Club…

There’s no bigger name in the wavepool game than San Diego’s Thomas J Lochtefeld, a former tax lawyer turned water park proprietor turned creator of surf dreams.

Lochtefeld got his surf chops threading caves at Big Rock in La Jolla, San Diego, and has spent the last thirty-five years trying to recreate similar thrills at the punch of a button.

In 1987, he sold his share in a bunch of theme parks for two million dollars and used that cash, as well the sale of his beachfront joint at La Jolla for 950k to create a standing wave, called Flowrider, that ended up being installed in over 200 joints in thirty-five countries.

In 1999, the Swiss watch company Swatch toured a souped up version of the Flowrider called Bruticus Maximus and that caused more permanent injuries in one year than Teahupoo in the last thirty, around the world: from Florence to Munich, Vienna, Hanover, Long Beach, San Diego, Manila and Sydney, with Tony Hawke, Kelly Slater, Chris Miller and Terje Haakonsen wowing crowds with a surf, snow, skate combo of airs and tubes.

Lochtefeld’s real goal, however, was a wave that didn’t involve standing waves and finless mini-boards.

As computer tech got better, he deepened his research on the different ways of making waves: hydraulics, ploughs, boats.

Lochtefeld ended up using pneumatics, which is pretty much wind power, to birth his newest invention, called WaveLoch, and being used, right now, as the tech behind the Palm Springs Surf Club, currently in the proof-of-concept phase and only half the size of his proposed build.

“It’s going to be an A-frame so you can backdoor it,” says Lochtefeld.

Lochtefeld ain’t afraid to call a spade a spade, as they used to say, and is a born entertainer.

You’ll dig this one.

Note: The surfer with the fabulous capacity for booze in between sessions on Bruticus Maximus and that Lochtefeld couldn’t remember during the interview was Matt Hoy and the ovum, egg story he references can be read by clicking here.

(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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