French surfer Justine Dupont keeps pressure on extraordinarily tone-deaf World Surf League: “I want to remain consistent in my approach and I therefore decline their invitation to participate in French Rendezvous of Surfing next week.”

Mr. Logan... Mr. Logan...

The World Surf League, based in Santa Monica, California, released its much anticipated winner of the women’s cbdMD XXL Biggest Wave Award last week and was immediately engulfed in an inferno of criticism.

The award went to Brazil’s Maya Gabeira and released a breathless report detailing how the wave also set a new Guinness World Record for “Largest wave surfed (unlimited) – female.”

France’s Justine Dupont immediately pointed out a cornucopia of dubiousness, writing via Instagram:

The @wsl announced that the record for the biggest wave surfed would be awarded to a surfer who does not finish her wave. I decided to smile about it even though I am deeply hurt to be subjected to a decision that I believe is totally unfairI’m especially disappointed and ashamed of this league which claims to represent our sport.

They are based on a report from scientists who use the word “approximate” in front of each of their statements. It is stipulated among other things that:

-The size of the 2 surfer girls is approximately identical: FALSE (at + or – 10cm)
-Our two waves are approximately the same distance from the photographer: FALSE these are 2 different peaks on the biggest beach break in the world.
-They define the bottom of the wave of my competitor about 2m below where the lip of the wave breaks.
-Images of the other surfer were used after the publication deadline.

Most importantly, as noted in the opening salvo, Ms. Gabeira did not complete her ride.

Today, Ms. Dupont doubled down on her frustration by refusing entry into the upcoming French Rendezvous of Surfing, writing again via Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/p/CFFf9ceHbcx/

I have always loved surfing in Anglet. Having still not received a response from @wsl to my questions regarding the many aberrations in their report, I want to remain consistent in my approach and I therefore decline their invitation to participate in #frenchrendezvousofsurfing next week.

I wish a nice day of surfing to all the competitors. In the meantime, I resource myself for a few days in France before tackling winter full. Thank you again to all of you for the support these last days you have been amazing. It’s heartwarming.

Very polite but I’m also confounded by the fact that the World Surf League has not reached out to her. Let’s be honest, there is very little happening, currently, in professional surfing. Ms. Dupont’s confusion about the award is legitimate and deserves, at the very least, personal explanation.

Like, what else is WSL CEO Erik Logan doing aside from getting his side all waxy in Manhattan Beach?

Certainly not fielding calls to sponsor upcoming Bumbles at the Ranch.

And so, Mr. Logan, on behalf of Justine Dupont and French speakers everywhere, I look at you and say:

We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the World Surf League can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. CEO Erik Logan, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the World Surf League and surf culture in general, if you seek liberalization, come here to this comment section. Mr. Logan, open this gate. Mr. Logan…Mr. Logan, write Justine Dupont an explanatory letter regarding the cbdMD XXL Biggest Wave Award.

Do you think it will work?

More as the story develops.


Inspirational fisherman befriends 10-foot Great White Shark off Cape Cod: “It’s a very rare occurrence that it happens!”

Have we got them all wrong?

Students/victims of the World Surf League’s preferred medium Tik Tok have most certainly been made aware of the song that has turned into a meme of a young girl singing about her friends. “Friends, friends, friends I definitely have friends, friends, friends, friendly friends time to meet my friends.”

In all honesty, her “friends” are not what would be considered as “worthwhile” but therein lies the great travesty for who amongst us is so worthy as to disparage others?

No none of us, is the answer, we are all rotten nerds. Vicious and mean. And so it is with great pride and pleasure that I bring you the story of Eric Morea, a Cape Cod fisherman, who made besties with a 10-foot Great White Shark.

The beasts usually get a very bad rap but Mr. Morea brought with him neither fear nor prejudice as he was out two days in a row, galavanting with his new buddy.

The customers on his boat were very excited.

“Most of the time, people say they want to come to Cape Cod … to see the sharks, and I say it’s a very rare occurrence that it happens.” he told the local Fox News affiliate “And it just happened to be that this was the right day for it.”

The Great White put on a docile show for its new friends, presenting its belly to be rubbed etc., for two days in a row, spending much time floating and being a silly goose which very much begs the question: Are Great Whites merely snuggly beasts that don’t know their own strength?

Like Lenny in Of Mice and Men?

Has Kelly Slater read Of Mice and Men?

Much to ponder.


Tyler Wright's 439 second knee and raised fist in support of BLM was the most noteworthy thing by a country mile on the opening day of the Tweed Coast Pro held in head-high, join-the-dots gurgle. It marks a complete transformation of the Sport from reactionary backwater to woke darling. | Photo: WSL

Longtom on the WSL’s woke pivot: “I want to honour the intent but the corporate embrace of woke culture makes me deeply queasy; a commodified product to sell in the guise of moral purity”

Would they back an environmental protest against bulldozing floodprone wetlands to develop canal estates and power-hungry wavepools? What about Brother if he wanted to wear a MAGA hat in a heat?

Surfing has had a reactionary edge to it, at least in popular culture, since Day Dot.

The Hawaiians were hierarchical to the core, Kilgore’s napalm-loving Colonel loved dealing death cards before go-outs, Puberty Blues was full of blokes munching on chiko rolls and telling shielas they should stay on the sand.

Matt Branson used to bash queers before realising he was gay himself, never coming out as a pro.

Point Break’s Bodhi was a quasi-fascist spiritual criminal. The one truly progressive act surfing, especially pro surfing can claim is the boycott of South African apartheid by Tom’s Carroll, Curren and Cheyne Horan in ’85.

Which makes Tyler Wright’s 439 second knee and raised fist in support of BLM the most noteworthy thing by a country mile on the opening day of the Tweed Coast Pro held in head-high, join-the-dots gurgle.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CFFxvQVnGzD/

It marks a complete transformation of the Sport from reactionary backwater to woke darling.

Worth counting the ways, I think, for the historical record.

Pro surfing has long been considered famously homophobic. Gay surfers, especially women, dare not come out without risking sponno dollars. Long-board World Champion Cori Schumacher claimed her achievements were silenced and erased due to her being openly gay.

Keala Kennely claimed sponsors deserted her after she came out.

The reaction to Tyler Wright coming out last year?

Silence.

Absolutely nothing.

Not a word written, no nasty internet comments, no censure whatsoever – not that anything overt would happen – from sponsors. Total support from WSL.

This, of course, after raising the pay of women pros to equal the men, despite a smaller field with less heats to surf.

In one fell swoop, pro surfing went from the back to the front of the pack, if you dig equality.

The BLM embrace seems a slightly more dangerous pose, with much greater chance for blowback. Not so much in Australia, where the push for indigenous recognition is not tainted by the screaming images of cities burning nor the Marxist undertones of the American movement.

How far the WSL’s support for other political statements which make claims on the humanity of the athlete, as Wright suggested, is up for debate. Would they back an environmental protest against bulldozing floodprone wetlands to develop canal estates and power hungry wavepools? What about Brother if he wanted to wear a MAGA hat in a heat?

But in America, the home of the WSL, the pushback against BLM, is real.

Andrew Stark was all over the media this morning, giving interviews where he expressed the WSL’s “total support” for Wright’s gesture which Bede Durbidge claimed was “totally remarkable”.

How far the WSL’s support for other political statements which make claims on the humanity of the athlete, as Wright suggested, is up for debate. Would they back an environmental protest against bulldozing floodprone wetlands to develop canal estates and power-hungry wavepools? What about Brother if he wanted to wear a MAGA hat in a heat?

As for the statement itself, I guess we have to take it at face value. No doubt the blackfella in Australia has been subject to terrible program of racism.

But it’s not racism that keeps black kids out of the water.

Racism is not the sin to blame when it comes time to ask why the WSL has barely featured indigenous surfers. Black kids barely surf because they can’t afford to live near the ocean. Rich whities have bought up all the coastal real estate and flipped houses and turned them into Air BnB’s.

Would Tyler look at her own real estate portfolio?

Would WSL consider letting black kids use wavepools for free, like basketball courts and truly “democratize” surfing, as Kelly promised.

If they intend to honour Tyler’s wish that “surfing is for all” then you can’t have a sich where only rich white kids can get near it.

How’s it sitting with you?

I want to honour the intent but the corporate embrace of woke culture makes me deeply queasy. Another commodified product for the corpos to package up and sell in the guise of moral purity.

It feels hard not to gag on the hypocrisy.

It obviously did Tyler no harm, not only did she suck all the oxygen out of the WSL’s return to competition, she won the event as well.

Who’ll be the first male surfer to take the knee?

I’d love to say Kelly.


Listen: Superstar TED-talk photographer Chris Burkard on buying Icelandic citizenship, the ghost of Brigham Young and dying of hypothermia on an Arctic Beach: “I saw a seagull circling above me…and I was thinking, cool, this is how I’m going to die.”

A life lived rich and beautiful.

Today’s guest on Dirty Water, Chris Burkard, is to surf photography what Galileo was to astronomy; he is a man who was courted by TED talks, an organisation that has hosted Alain de Botton, Malcolm Gladwell and Bill Gates, who warned us in 2015, of the certainty of a pandemic.

Burkard is thirty-four years old, comes from San Luis Obispo in Central California, and made his name, initially, as a surf photographer via work with Transworld Surf, Surfer and Surfline, before swinging into filmmaking (See Netflix’s star-porn film Under An Arctic Sky).

He has been swamped by innumerable photography and filmmaking awards, has published half-a-dozen books and made four feature-length films, including the aforementioned Under an Arctic Sky.

Best of all, Burkard brings the spirit of Brigham Young into the modern age, although we hope, like Young, he isn’t brought to a premature end by cholera morbus and inflammation of the bowels. 

A highlight, of the interview, at least for me, is Burkard describing how he had to barricade himself in his hotel room on magazine surf trips to avoid collisions of the flesh etc.


Kelly Slater with faith healer pal Charlie Goldsmith from an episode of the WSL's excellent Sound Waves series. | Photo: WSL

JP Currie analyses Kelly Slater’s performance on Tim Ferriss podcast: “Please tell us more about this random friend who happens to share a name with the author of a book you haven’t read…”

"I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Kelly hasn’t actually read many books, including the two he recommended. Call it intuition honed by listening to high school kids lie about reading."

I love deconstructing Slater’s attention whoring. I’m like a dog, rooting around its scummy blankets before curling up, happy.

It’s my genre.

And he listens. I know he does.

Zach Weisberg fielded his ire on my behalf. Ashton Goggans recently mailed me a lovely little ditty. It goes like this:

“So probably my best day of surf last year was the evening after they called off Jeffrey’s, the day before the final. Like six-foot, bigger sets, a little stormy and lurchy but just fucked up fun. Jed Smith and I were surfing Supers and Kelly was surfing past us over and over again, on a heater, while Jed and I just sort of hunted inside scraps, super stoned and just kind of tripping on the whole scene. Everytime he’d paddled by he’d make some little remark, and I kicked out kind of close to him on one of the better waves I think I’ve ever caught in my life, and he yelled at me: which one of you is fucking JP Currie, you or Jed?”

I loved Slater once. I wouldn’t say he was my hero. I didn’t love him like Steve Shearer does, or Negatron, and almost certainly not like Nick Carroll. And absolutely, definitely, 100% not like Eric Logan. But I did have a deep admiration for him. Not

Oh, Kelly Slater, what are you thinking?

But more to the point, why are you thinking about it?

You ought to be better than this.

I loved Slater once. I wouldn’t say he was my hero. I didn’t love him like Steve Shearer does, or Negatron, and almost certainly not like Nick Carroll. And absolutely, definitely, 100% not like Eric Logan. But I did have a deep admiration for him. Not so much anymore.

The coup de grace is long overdue. But his acolytes quiver around him, knowing they’ll never deliver the blow.

It’s a sad truth that the older we get, the less visible we become. Our glory days are all relative, but for those who have tasted adulation, like Slater has in spades, it’s tough to fade away.

So they shout louder, views become more extreme, opinion becomes spittle-flecked conviction. Social media accounts burn with white hot nonsense.

Notice me. Talk about me. Love me.

When a mate Whatsapped me – Kelly Slater on the Tim Ferriss podcast, check it out – little frissons of excitement ran from my fingers to my toes.

Yes, I thought. More Slater puking conspiracy theories and half-baked thoughts into the airwaves.

I readied the popcorn, and Slater went full chameleon.

Tim Ferriss is not Joe Rogan. He’s earnest. His bag is life-hacking, health, performance, experimentation. So, in inimitable fashion, Slater delivered a Tim Ferriss podcast rote perfect.

It was a little too earnest for my tastes. Some of it was even, dare I say, interesting?

But there was some stone cold bullshit, too.

To the layman Tim Ferriss listener I’m sure it flew under the radar, but my ear is tuned to Slater.

So what did we learn?

We learned that he likes to take two-hour baths and drink hot water with lemon in the morning. (From this we can infer that his social media outbursts are likely menopausal.)

He didn’t rate Parko as an adversary. “I felt very confident I could beat Joel and would beat Joel.”

He refers to his battles with Andy as “light and dark, good and evil.” (But which does he think he is?)

He was awfully shy as a boy. (What a transformation!) He remembers his first autograph as a mildly traumatic event that he spent a long time over and didn’t know what to do. (No shit, Kelly. You were ten years old.)

We learn that he has scoliosis. Sounds serious. Is this news?

He loves Jackson Dorian (henceforth to be known as “My Godson”) and is almost certainly to be credited for some of My Godson’s talent because My Godson has learned all his skills in My Wavepool.

Everyone he knows is one of his best friends.

He’s not ready to quit competition because he doesn’t feel the need to go out on top. He’s not concerned about being the best anymore. (LIE).

Ticking off a Ferriss trope, he says his message and goals are no longer centered around his ego. (MASSIVE LIE).

He desires personal growth, he’s magnanimous and willing to imbue strangers on the internet with his wisdom. He embraces humility. He believes teaching is the best way to learn.

And none of these things are in any way connected to the key phrases and themes of nearly five hundred other Tim Ferriss podcasts.

He’s done “courses” and “learning”.

You know, metaphysical stuff.

No?

Me neither. And I suspect Kelly least of all.

Just as Kelly came front loaded to Joe Rogan ready to blast off the latest viral memes, UFC stats and big scary animals to shoot/get eaten by; so Tim Ferriss gets both barrels of self-help, learning and growth.

But he did drop some fucking clangers.

Like when he was asked about books. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Kelly hasn’t actually read many books, including the two he recommended. Call it intuition honed by listening to high school kids lie about reading.

Try it for yourself.

All you need to hear is four words from Kelly just after the twenty-nine minute mark, when Ferriss asks him about The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. A book Kelly references in his contribution to Ferriss’ book Tribe of Mentors.

“It’s a great book.” Kelly claims.

But the tone of it, the inflection, screams: I HAVE NOT ACTUALLY READ THIS BOOK AND NOW I’M PANICKING.

This gut feeling is compounded by Kelly’s response: “God, that’s so weird you brought that up…”

Is it, Kelly? Because I thought he introduced it by saying it was a book you told him about?

In a desperate attempt to tread water and steer the conversation away from books that have influenced him that he hasn’t actually read, he offers “one of my best friends is called Kahlil…”

Fascinating, Kelly. Fucking riveting in fact!

Please tell us more about this random friend who happens to share a name with the author of a book you haven’t read…

One of his best friends (what other type is there?) Big part of his life. Ex drug addict. Nearly died etc. Now owns a “bunch of smoothie stores in LA”.

Apropos of absolutely nothing.

But then…it comes flooding back: his mum gave him the book. It became his bible. A Cliff Notes for life. You only need to read one or two pages every couple of years, apparently.

Appropriately symbolic of Kelly’s depth of knowledge on every subject except surfing, I would suggest.

I’d be surprised if Kelly has read any whole books. He doesn’t have the concentration. He flits merrily from idea to fad to viral sensation. There’s no depth, not really. He’ll say he reads, but only because it’s cool to seem intellectual and informed. He’s probably in triple figures of unused Audible credits.

He‘s dipped his toe in a million pools.

He’s tried everything, spoken to everyone, been everywhere.

In closing, Ferriss asks him what’s next?

What does he still want to do?

Kelly says he’s addicted to watching van conversion videos on YouTube. He fantasises about living on a van or a boat, stripping things back, making life more simple. Yet with the very next breath he says that he has too many surfboards and golf clubs, and there are too many different countries he likes being in.

I’m not Kelly’s brain nanny, nor am I expert in anything in particular.

But for me, one thing remains clear: somehow, Kelly Slater still doesn’t quite know who he is or what he wants.

Obviously mastery of surfing isn’t enough, and maybe that’s his real lesson to us.