Surfers stage unity paddle outs to honor George Floyd, protest police brutality, in Maui, Santa Cruz, Encinitas!

Youth against establishment!

And what times we are living through, what wild times where the fabric of society seems ripping apart all around us, riots lighting up global cities in response to one too many unarmed black men being killed by the police, surfers near the front lines of demanding justice for the traditionally marginalized.

But what?


Though it’s true as the past few days have seen well-attended paddle outs and demonstrations in beach communities not traditionally associated with civil disobedience.

From Maui we read:

Over 300 Maui residents attended a “paddle out” at Laniapoko Beach on Sunday to remember George Floyd, a black man who died while under Minneapolis Police custody.

Makawao resident Jennifer McGurn learned of the floating memorial through word of mouth.

McGurn posted photos and videos of the memorial on Facebook. It’s since been shared over 43,000 times.

“The feeling on the beach that day was incredible and true aloha. From comments I read, I think people just want beauty and light in their lives right now. It’s been a pretty dark time the last few months. First COVID-19, now this,” she said.

From Santa Cruz:

Organized by Megan Rodriguez, dozens of surfers met for a Paddle Out for Peace to spotlight the racism and discrimination displayed in and out of the water.

Rodriguez, who is of mixed race, moved to Santa Cruz in 2015 from New York. Coming from the diverse community of New York to witness and feel racial tension in the Santa Cruz waters was a bit shocking, she said.

“Most of the racial comments came from the children,” she shared. “I’d ask them why they said certain things, and they’d say that they heard these things from their parents.

And in Encinitas, some five-thousand met at Moonlight Beach with hundreds paddling out.

In the direct wake of George Floyd’s killing, a well-meaning but very upset friend rage-texted me many times that surfers are awful, horrible, protesting beach closures but staying silent about more serious, heartbreaking, tough issues. Yesterday’s protest and paddle in Encinitas dwarfed those others.

Of course, protesting is only one form of action but there does seem to be an appetite for greater change. A desire to check a broken system that has stretched from the cities to the coast.

The youth agitating against the establishment once again.

"Hey Tom, you know what's good for shoulder pain? " "What"?" "If you lick my butthole."

Longtom on WSL CEO Erik Logan’s promised June 1 tour change reveal: “ELO’s made a career out of the illusion of control, but when you let the narrative twist in the breeze for three long days that illusion starts looking very shaky!”

A silence louder than bombs.

Surf jernalizm is a queer calling at the best of times in the best of circumstances, and I use the word queer in the oldest of oldest school ways.

Pro surfing jernalizm is an even weirder little corner of the “content creation” universe to inhabit.

You gots to pay close attention for a meaningful period of time to something that very few people give a fuck about. You have to adopt, consciously or unconsciously the edict of famed NFL coach Vince Lombardi who said, on the subject of football, “You have to be smart enough to figure it out and dumb enough to think that it matters”.

Or something like that. 

So you forgive old Longtom for being in a state of tumid excitement for roughly the last month since a haggard and pale ELO dropped his latest clip with the huge news that a major, major restructure of the Tour was in the offing.

Pro surfing, as we knew it, was essentially dead and something almost entirely new was about to emerge from the ashes.


The sport has been  ripe for change for years; really, since the 2011 mid-year cut that brought us both John John Florence and Gabriel Medina. That process of cutting numbers, changing the rotations of surfers in and out of the championship Tour was a beginning, not an end, but surfer dissatisfaction stopped it dead in its tracks.

ELO promised some more meat on the bone June 1.

On Hold until June 1, he said.

Great, I’ll be there June 1, stay up all night if I have to, to watch the unboxing. Four am Aussie time, I got the coffee, the new pen, the notebooks ready. The WSL website is devoid of announcement, no video presser of ELO dropping the new Tour in our lap, or at least a rough sketch with a few more details.

Nothing all day.


That’s weird.

What other sport would promise fans a huge shake-up of the Tour and then just deliver radio silence?

June 2.

Nothing again.

A silence louder than bombs.

What happened to the timeline?

Did ELO forget?

There is a lot going on.

Was the Tour restructure delegated to an intern, maybe the same one who left on the Corona Bali Open VIP ticket experience despite the fact Bali is dropped from the Tour this year?

Were they too busy creating new engaging content to film ELO giving us the lowdown?

I can only speculate.

Not even a leak to a favourable media organisation was forthcoming. 

June 3, seventy-two hours after the promised call about both this years Tour and the major restructure a simple social media tile was released.

On hold until early July. 

What happened in that three days?

Did they not know?

Were they waiting for something? 

For the average gal on the street, no news is good news.

For a global sports governing body, a delayed announcement and then an even fuzzier promise to update looks kooky. It doesn’t inspire confidence in the man from Oklahoma. ELO’s made a career out of the illusion of control, but when  you let the narrative twist in the breeze for three long days that illusion starts looking very shaky.

So, what now?

Interest drips away.

We wait, I guess.

But can we be honest, amongst pals?

Yes? Good.

Pro surfing has never been an American thing. Never. It’s sputtered and fizzed out, occasionally flashes of interest light up the sporting landscape on the back of once in a generation talents like Curren or Dane, then long periods of torpor or outright hostility follow.

It’s an Australian thing. Has been since it’s inception, or since the southern-hemi upstarts stole it off Fred Hemmings and Randy Rarick, to be more precise.

No offence to my American colleagues but Australians have a talent and temperament for pro surfing that simply does not exist in the American soul.

The headquartering of WSL in Los Angeles will one day be registered as a grand failed experiment, precisely because it’s antithetical to attracting the best talent, which is Australian.

Run this thought experiment with me.

Posit a hypothetical, let’s say, Commissioner. Highly talented, highly intelligent, highly respected. Loves his surfing, loves his family, loves his quality of life.

Why would this hypothetical talent, who could be a grand bridge between American capital and the pro surfing fan base relocate to Los Angeles, when he could live, lets say, on the North Coast of NSW and enjoy the best of what life has to offer a man of his talents and proclivities?

Well, he wouldn’t would he.

Which means the WSL doesn’t have the calibre of his intellect in the room when the blue-sky thinking and implementation is taking place. The directional pull for global talent is generally considered to be towards the United States but in this case it’s the reverse.

You see what I’m saying, right?

ELO’s a great flimflam man.

But he’s not got the skill set, as they say, to restructure the sport.

Meanwhile, the clock ticks.

Injury, CoronaVirus and now administrative incompetence robs us of three years of John John Florence mastery.

The greatest Top Ten in the history of the sport languishes while Global Sport announces plans to get back to work.

Elo, where’s the motherfucking plan at?

Scared. Defiant. | Photo: Sunshine Coast Daily News

Heartbreaking: Brazilian SUP pilot says “bullying and abusing” and possibly racist surfers left him too traumatised to return to ocean; cops refuse to pursue issue!

Man told, “There aren’t any waves for you…”

A Brazilian retiree, devotee of the art of stand-up paddleboarding, and wearing a camera affixed to his brim of his surf hat, has told of the horror of being targeted by cruel surfers during a recent surf at Moffat Beach on Australia’s Sunshine Coast.

In a chilling recording captured by his POV camera, Jose Coelho is told by surfers – longboarders admittedly so hard to take a side here – to “fuck off” and “there aren’t any waves here for you”.

Coelho replies, ‘You’re bullying and abusing me.”

One of the surfers says, “Yeah, that’s right.”

The Sunshine Coast Daily reported the event thus,

Partner Kath McConnell was stand-up paddle boarding in the deeper, calmer water and witnessed the encounter.

She said it was “heartbreaking” that Mr Coelho was too scared to return to the surf.

“It’s such a shame because that’s his passion,” she said.

Caloundra Police officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant John Mahoney said occasionally police received reports of physical and verbal altercations between surfers.

Mr Coelho’s incident was reported to police, but Sen Sgt Mahoney said there was insufficient evidence to take the matter further.

Sen-Sgt Mahoney likened it to road rage, and said it only increased when there were more surfers on the water. He said it rarely resulted in charges being laid.

“Obviously there’s surfing etiquette and certain people feel aggrieved if that etiquette isn’t followed,” he said.

Of course, no news story is complete without use of that most magical of all words, just six-letters long, that sets nations on fire and drives entire peoples nuts with collective guilt.

Mr Coelho, the paper reported, said he believed he was targeted because he was on a stand-up board and because of his accent.

Of course!


What else could it be?

No reports of Moffat Beach businesses being looted…yet.

Far-right extremists co-opt floral Hawaiian shirts as “…a seemingly goofy uniform that, within the ranks of their movement, signals adherence to a violent, divisive, anti-government ideology!”

A troubled landscape for surfers everywhere.

First they came for mid-length surfboards, then they came for Vans slip-ons and now far-right extremists have taken floral Hawaiian shirts as symbols of violent white nationalism, or at least according to The Washington Post.

The surfing life, co-opted.

But have you heard of the Boogaloo Bois? Aware of their cause?

Per The Post:

A Tampa television reporter was broadcasting live from protests last weekend when two young men in Hawaiian shirts moved in front of the camera and began chanting the name of an obscure white nationalist group, drowning out protesters shouting “No Justice, No Peace!”

The incident was one of a growing number in which far-right extremists who once organized mainly online have been inserting themselves into the real-world protests roiling much of the nation, sowing confusion about the nature of the protests and seeking attention for their causes.

They’ve appeared, sometimes carrying assault rifles, at protests in Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Dallas, Atlanta, Philadelphia and dozens of other cities, often wearing Hawaiian shirts — a seemingly goofy uniform that, within the ranks of their movement, signals adherence to a violent, divisive, anti-government ideology.

Not a very pretty picture, though one disputed by Patrick Fairbairn, an administrator of several Boogaloo Facebook groups, who told Politico that most people affiliated with the movement were showing up at at sites of unrest to protect protesters, and he offered praise for Black Lives Matter.

“If they haven’t been heard and they need to be heard, they’ve got to do it their way,” said Fairbairn, who identified himself as a 23-year-old electrician. “The worst thing is to have this artificial separation between the people.”

But back to the Hawaiian shirts. Have you ever dabbled stylistically? Non-ironically? Will you be more likely to wear one now that they are attached to the far-right or will you put yours in a box filled with old surf magazines?

More importantly, will the World Surf League utilize for its commentary crew ever again?

Much to consider.

"I just can't help craving that surfing life!"
"I just can't help craving that surfing life!"

Looters go crazy for Vans, breaking heart of woman who pleads: “We don’t want Trump re-elected, please don’t do this!”

Craving the checkerboard.

Riots have shaken these United States of America to its very core over the past week. A much needed jolt to a nation being confronted with its very bad record on race, most especially when it comes to policing and the judicial system.

In a thought provoking piece, writer Matt Taibi traces today’s horrors back to the antebellum south and draws a line through the heavy-handed “broken window” policies of today which have prisons stuffed to the gills with mostly black and brown men even while crime rates have plummeted.

…the history of policing in our country, especially as it pertains to minority neighborhoods, has always rested upon dubious justifications. The early American police forces evolved out of slave patrols in the South, and “progressed” to enforce the Black Codes from the Civil War period and beyond, on to Jim Crow through the late sixties if not longer.

In an explicit way, American policing has almost always been concerned on some level with enforcing racial separatism. Because Jim Crow police were upholding a way of life, the actual laws they were given to enforce were deliberately vague, designed to be easily used as pretexts for controlling the movements of black people. They were charged with punishing “idleness” or “impudence,” and encouraged to enforce a range of vagrancy laws, including such offenses as “rambling without a job” and “leading an idle, profligate, or immoral course of life.”

An idle, profligate and immoral course of life is, of course, very familiar to surfers everywhere and many have taken to the streets in support of wholesale change.

Sometimes, though, in the middle of demanding justice etc. a protestor, especially a surfing protestor, is confronted with extremely desirable trinkets of the surfing life. Two days ago, we witnessed the looting of various mid-length surfboards from a Channel Islands shop in Santa Monica.

Today, we have an unquenchable lust for Vans. The shoe has been synonymous with the surfing life since Jeff Spicoli and there were protestors, again in Santa Monica, smashing windows, overturning boxes, in order to own a pair of slip-on classics.

Per a Buzzfeed reporter on the scene, a woman stood outside the store begging people to stop because “it will help get Trump re-elected.”

“We don’t want Trump re-elected…” she begged “…please don’t do this.”

Alas, her words went unheeded but do you think pilfered Vans will truly lead to the re-election of Donald J. Trump?

Much to ponder.