Kelly Slater (pictured in hat) unveiling comedic legend "the noogie" on professional surfer Silvana Lima.
Kelly Slater (pictured in hat) unveiling comedic legend "the noogie" on professional surfer Silvana Lima. | Photo: Steve Sherman/@tsherms

World-famous surfer Kelly Slater boldly defends the right to free speech in our troubled time: “I got no problem when a woman makes fun of a penis and calls it small or whatever!”


Oooooeeeee these here are the most dangerous of days for which to open a mouth and use that mouth to utter words. How many celebrities have been recently “canceled” for past remarks? Completely erased from the hearts and minds of a once adoring public for saying, even thinking, currently out of vogue things. How many ordinary folk have been set upon by the mob, houses figuratively, jobs literally, burned?

Very many.

The field of discourse, once relatively open and sun-dappled, is now pitch black with landmines littered everywhere, big holes dug with pointy sticks placed in their bottoms too.

Well, at least free speech has a great hero in the form of world-famous surfer Kelly Slater. I am not allowed to see what Kelly writes, or thinks, due to the fact that he cancelled me, but wonderful friends forward his important missives and here we see him wading into the Instagram comments of his great hero Joe Rogan.

You’ll recall Slater’s recent appearance on Rogan’s podcast where the 11x professional surfing champion tried to make the fight enthusiast and comedian like him.

Rogan’s most recent guest is a comedian named Bill Burr. Rogan declared, “Spent 3 hours smoking cigars and talking shit with my brother @wilfredburr! We had a great fucking time and I hope you enjoy it.”

All fine but somebody must have become sad by something Burr said, something maybe sexist and/or racist, and let it be known in those Instagram comments.

Kelly Slater, defender of free thought, free speech, wasn’t having it, responding:

“It’s called comedy. If it was too real for you to hear without being triggered you might have some issues. Sometimes you need to hear other people’s perspectives and understand them to acknowledge situations properly. But it doesn’t sound like You heard what he said much and are gonna turn it into some anti women rant. Good humor pulls no punches. His just wasn’t outright comedy like we are used to. I got no problem when a woman makes fun of a penis and calls it small or whatever (smiley face emoji).”


And my heart is beating out of my very chest. I wish so much that I could go do applause hand emojis or even raise the roof emojis but, alas, my perspective is not one of the ones Kelly Slater needs to hear to acknowledge any situation properly.

Still, it makes me impossibly happy that our GOAT is out there defending free speech for some and also free speech for women making fun of penises and calling them small or whatever.


Listen: “What the world needs most right now is two straight, white, cisgender male self-identifying surfers opining on race, surveillance and vaccines!”

Come feel the noise.

Hot button, I’ll tell you what, the world is one big hot button with every topic, every discussion, every point of view ready to explode into a fiery ball of cancellation, mob Twitter justice, rage, hurt, anger, shouting but also real attempts at understanding. A bulldozing of long-held suppositions.


Never have two straight, white, cisgender male self-identifying surfers been…

…more valuable, desired, important.

Every ear titled our way.

David Lee Scales, named after David Lee Roth, and Charles David Smith, named Charles David Smith, recognizing the gravity of the moment, decided to further discuss race, gender identity, Edward Snowden, Bill Gates, government surveillance, vaccines and Bruce Irons new dad bod with the well-reasoned, well-researched perspectives that you have come to appreciate.

That the world is craving.

In any case, you’re likely an equally important class, if not more equally important, and your voice is being craved too.

I think.

Maybe I’m missing something here…

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.”