Give it to us!
Give it to us!

Listen: “I am at a complete loss as to why the World Surf League didn’t ram whatever tour it wanted down its surfers’ throats then scream in their faces, ‘Suck on that ultra hard surf candy!'”

The Goggansification of surfing!

David Lee Scales and I sat across from each other in Album surfboard’s upper room this mid-morning and I worked myself into a thick lather. We were at least six feet apart, not the twenty-seven that Barack Obama and Joseph “Bad Grandpa” Biden prefer, but it wasn’t fear of Covid that got me all worked up.

It was preeminent surf journalist Nick Carroll’s integrity-laden analysis of the World Surf League’s announced tour changes.

On Coastalwatch, a surf website for the immunocompromised 75-year-old + set, he detailed the various and sundry shifts and the vast minefield WSL executives had to cross in order to reach some working program.

Per Carroll:

The surfers are the power in the room. They’re also the most vulnerable. THEY need pro surfing. But Dirk Ziff had specifically instructed Pat O’Connell and his team not to point the money gun at them. Rather than coerce, Ziff wanted the surfers to see the opportunity for change, in a moment when big change was not only possible, but necessary. The world itself is changing; no pro sport can afford to sit on its hands, least of all our dicey little darling.

As Pat laid out the options before the talent, he found them split on a range of issues. One option — favoured by Kelly Slater, by the way — was a continuous Cut throughout the season, a whittling at every event, so each CT featured fewer surfers than the one before it. Another involved dropping any non-elimination rounds — lose a heat, any heat, you were done. Neither of these got a lot of backing.

Instead, the process turned into a slow nursing of opinions and details, giving something here, asking for something there. The Cut was set two seasons down the track, instead of straight up. The non-elimination rounds were left intact. Both spared the concerns of the pros, who didn’t like the idea of travelling halfway around the world for one heat, or getting slung off tour after five such heats.

But wait.

Why are the surfers the power in the room again? Aside from wave quality, locations and days that should be contested, who cares what they think? I understand that Peterson Crisanto may be sad to fly halfway around the world, lose his Round 1 heat and get bumped from the event then get bumped from the entire tour after three such performances but the viewer isn’t sad.

So long, Crisanto. Better luck next time.

It boggles my mind that Santa Monica is using kid gloves with the one asset it should be man-handling. Shoving whatever version of the tour is workable down their throats and telling them to suck on it.

Whether or not they enjoy it is entirely immaterial.

What’s the surfer option? A rebel tour? Going to work for Hurley? Starting a sunglass brand?

The World Surf League, in any form it takes, is all they have.

Co-Waterperson of the Year Dirk Ziff and CEO Erik Logan should have showed real hardbitten leadership, instead of trying to be bros with the pros, and dished up an offering tailored for the viewer. A cutthroat competition that dropped Round 1 heat losers into an alligator pit where they had to fight other Round 1 heat losers for their very lives.

Or something.

The Goggansification of surfing is what we’re left with and it won’t work and it has never worked. Being bros with the pros will garner a loose shaka, a “Hey, brah…” a “siiiiiiick…” but not a functioning professional tour in the time of global pandemic.

Ziff wanted the surfers to see the opportunity for change.”

Awesome. That’s not what surfers are good at especially when getting paid a decent wage under the current model. Ziff, ELo and the rest should stop trying to give back rubs and step up to a very winnable challenge.

This was professional surfing’s greatest opportunity and it was blown.

Want more froth?

I also get firmly behind Kanye West.

Listen here!

P.S. When the august Nick Carroll is googled, this is how it comes up.

Tom Carroll’s brother? I’m offended on behalf of surf journalists everywhere.

Close Shave: Hurricane Douglas barely misses direct hit on Hawaiian islands, skirting just north of Kauai!

"We hope we dodged a bullet."

A rare hurricane heading directly for Hawaii shifted slightly to the north and spared the iconic island chain of much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Hurricane Douglas had been tracking to land somewhere between Oahu and Kauai with National Weather Service meteorologists calling the storm a potentially deadly performer “bringing a triple threat of hazards, including, but not limited to, damaging winds, flooding rainfall and dangerously high surf.”

But have you ever known anyone who practiced musical theater? In that field a “triple threat” is someone who can sing, dance and act. Very devastating, leading to much destruction in the form of Cats, Rent and Into the Woods to name but three.

Some rain fell in Kauai and some rivers got choked out. Gentle rain fell in Oahu while blustery wind slapped palms. One small tree was false cracked on Maui and dropped onto a road.

Hawaii’s Governor David Ige told the press, “We hope that we dodged a bullet. We were fortunate in that we did not have major flooding or major dislocations.”

I had a major dislocation, once, at Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch in Lemoore, California. It was uncomfortable and lightly embarrassing though not as uncomfortable nor lightly embarrassing as Nick Carroll getting snaked by Vaughn Blakey and Sean Doherty on the final wave of the day.

Did you know that when you Google “Australian surf journalist” it comes up like this?

I hope Tim Baker doesn’t feel too comfortable with his Wikipedia and walled off “top of the pile” positioning. That’s our Longtom right below him and, unlike Hurricane Douglas, he will not shy away from a direct hit.

You’ve been warned Tim Baker. Best to start filling sandbags and laying them below your “featured snippet.”

Surfing’s lunge for middle America: A persuasive case for the WSL Tour showdown in Lake Michigan!

"Half of the year is basically uninhabitable. If you bring it, we will watch."

Hey Elo,

I just want start with saying I love what you’ve done with the 2021 year.

I’m with you, Pipe has already had its due. Let somewhere else have the spotlight.

And Hossegor? Snoozefesttttttt.

If I wanted culture and pumping beachbreak barrels, I’d move there.

I know you haven’t decided on the final yet, so I wanted to come out and say that Michigan is interested.

Yes, I know it’s not the obvious choice, but let’s make some waves, shall we?

And I know you miss Oprah. Chicago is right down the road. Don’t you want to show her what you’ve accomplished?

The Great Lakes may not be the obvious choice, but as a fellow Mid-Westerner, I hope you’ll hear me out.

1. Synergy
I actually don’t even know what this means, but I’ve got you hot and bothered now huh?

2. Danger
I know Pipe is the most dangerous wave in the world, Turpel and Pottz mention it every time Pipe even tangentially comes up. But you know what’s really dangerous? Hypothermia. I want my champion to have to brave the elements. You could even tweak into a Survivor-type challenge. Let’s be honest, were not concerned with the best surfer in the world anymore. That went out the window when Kelly built his own event. We want entertainment. I want to see a surfer lose a toe, now that’s a champion. Plus, a little more synergy for ya. You can turn it into a reality show. Somewhere between Deadliest Catch and Ice Road Truckers. I know WSL Studios needs some more content.

3. The Best Surfer Will Win
Anyone can make an eight-foot Pipe wave look good. Even the wipeouts look good. You really want to know who the best surfer in the water is? Put him in a 6/5 with lobster gloves and tell him he’s surfing one foot at five seconds slop. Now that’s a real champion.

4. The Jeep Leaderboard Actually Works Here
You don’t drive a Prius ‘round here. Michiganders drive cars made in the US of A baby. And you know that really kooky commercial where Filipe “surfs the air?” That will kill here. Plus, added bonus, you don’t have to change the voiceover, Michiganders will never realize how kooky it is.

5. There’s No Sharks Here
We all know we’re in the midst of a shark-emic. Just scroll through BeachGrit on any given day. We are under attack. Now, I don’t know the WSL’s financials, but based on quality of your product, I’m guessing there pretty piss-poor. My guess is you just can’t handle any liability right now. And your other options, namely Lowers, reek of radioactive water and baby Whites. Sure, we have our fair share of hepatitis, but by the time the “athletes” figure it out you’ll be in the clear.

6. Freshwater is the New Salt Water
Freshwater is in. The Surfer’s Journal just did a feature on river surfing. Pro surfers are leaving San Clemente and Hawaii to surf two-foot waves in Waco. Tosh Tudor, the son of the most prominent salty purist around, has been dropping Waco clips, albeit on a mid-length (I can’t pass up an opportunity to piss off Joel). Waco.Have you ever been to Waco? Me neither.Yes, I’ll give you credit Elo. You played a role in bringing in the freshwater era when you told Kelly he could have his own wave. But Lemoore just feels, stale. Waco is Twitter and Lemoore is Facebook. That’s as clear as I can put it.

Now, I don’t want to completely blame you. But the clip of your seated tube really didn’t help. Everyone knows that as soon as the old people start to like something, the young people bail. Your viral elation evaporated any “cool” that Lemoore had left.

7. Mid-Westerners Are Clamoring for Surfing
Okay, maybe not. But hear me out. You want to expand surfing? You’ve been doing it all wrong. Bring it to them. Those coastal cities already have surfing. If anything they’re pissed their break is closed during the best days of the year. They don’t appreciate what they have.

Quick fact for you. Detroit and Milwaukee, two Great Lake cities, have less people combined than San Diego, but San Diego has one major sports team to their seven. Those pesky city elites are plenty busy with their yoga and acai bowls. They’re too busy to watch sports. Mid-Westerners, on the other hand, have an abundance of time. Half of the year is basically uninhabitable. If you bring it, we will watch.

8. The Pabst Blue Ribbon Pro
It speaks for itself. Possibly the best event name of all time. You already have Jeep, now let’s double down with the most mid-western beer ever.

This is how you advertise to middle America. It just screams ‘Merica.

P.S. I can’t wait for the Ultimate Surfer. I can’t think of anything more entertaining than watching perennial QS’ers stuff themselves into a chest high barrel for 40 seconds. And if the surfing gets old, the drama will be riveting. Lemoore is notorious for its night life.

Introducing: New and exciting evolution of “international surfer hand sign” the shaka!

The bleeding edge.

I consider myself something of an expert in the Hawaiian hand symbol that has been adopted (read: appropriated) by surfers worldwide. The “shaka” is ubiquitous on beaches from Manly to Martinique, Huntington to the Hamptons and in the award-nominated book Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell (buy here) I wrote about it on Oahu’s North Shore.

I look away from Dusty and see Damea Dorsey, a photographer on retainer at TransWorld surf magazine, fiddling with a camera in the middle of Ke Nui near the Billabong house, and he motions for me to come to him by throwing an ironic shaka. The shaka, or hang-loose sign, is the classic hawaiian greeting. hawaii’s national wave. Thumb and little finger extend.

Index, middle, and ring finger bent into a fist. Those fresh from the mainland throw very tight shakas. That is to say, the smallest finger and thumb are made very straight and the rest of the fist is balled up very tight. hawaiians, and those who have been here many times, throw very loose shakas. They extend their open hand with smallest finger slightly above the ring finger and the thumb slightly open. how a man throws a shaka speaks volumes.

I used to throw ironic shakas, like Damea, all the time but it accidentally got into my blood and now I throw real shakas, loose hawaiian shakas, everywhere. To starbucks baristas in New York City and Parisian taxi drivers. I walk over to Damea.

Very fine but I have noticed, of late, an evolution. The ring finger has been pulled into the equation, generally extended ramrod straight in a slightly different direction from the pinkie. Like scissors maybe. Or one of the peace signs Justin Bieber/your streetwear wearing nephew makes when posing for pictures.

Note famous big wave surfer Jamie Mitchell’s usage.

And I would recommend adopting into your own shaka for you, too, will look like a famous big wave surfer and/or on the bleeding edge of Hawaiiana.

You’re welcome.

Watch: Just released footage reveals deadly Great White Shark attacks may be avoided by utilizing “naughty puppy” nose shove!

"The best solutions are often right in front of our noses."

Australia is experiencing what experts are calling a full “Great White Crisis” that is only tangentially related to the race/equality protests roiling the United States. Up over, hundreds of years of oppression etc. have come to a head as all manner of brown and black people have risen up and said “enough” cancelling many whites, some great ones included.

Down under, the juvenile Great White shark population has exploded, endangering any person dare dipping a toe in the ocean. The situation has become so dire that our own Longtom is suggesting violence toward the young beasts. “…we’ll have to find a way to co-exist and if that means juveniles need to learn a little fear and caution of these skinny limbed mammals who play in the surf zone then so be it.”

And while spanking, whipping with a belt or wooden spoon, etc. was once an acceptable form of punishment, times have changed and the general public may not have the appetite it once did for sharks on drum-lines getting “roughed up.”

What then can we do?

Just released footage of a viciously rotund Great White menacing two divers may hold the answer.

As you can see, the shark spots the divers and turns to eat one of them, white teeth bared, eyes rolled back in head.

The diver, unafraid, simply redirects the beast’s nose as if he were a boisterous St. Bernard puppy and have you ever had a St. Bernard puppy? I have. They are wonderful animals but so big and playful and often cause accidental damage. The “naughty puppy” nose shove becomes a tool of great value when utilized correctly.

Has anyone in Australia tried yet?

Does anyone in Australia own a St. Bernard puppy?

The best solutions are often right in front of our noses.