The WSL's miracle worker Andrew Stark, far right, at the announcement of the Narrabeen contest. Former pie shop owner Dooma Hardman in spotty shirt, Tom Carroll, chic in floral shirt, Laura Enever, flared trousers, O Wright, real tall, Simon Anderson, tall too, not as big as O. | Photo: WSL/Tom Bennett

WSL’s Andrew Stark rescues 2021 world surf tour: “Last week, Stark was riding a donkey in the desert, today he’s in the penthouse toasting four CT’s in the house and a well of human hatred run shallow and dry!”

This cements Starkey's future as WSL CEO and the eventual rehoming of the WSL downunder.

High, high times for hacks in the surf-jern biz. Glorious Woz Piñatas swinging in front of us on the daily.

Temperance and accuracy can go to hell when hitting the keys is this much fun.

Today tops all.

Starkey and the Australian taxpayer have double-handedly rescued the 2021 World Tour, in a stunning power move that reflects the historical and current reality of Oz as the centre of gravity of professional surfing.

Last week, Stark was riding a donkey in the desert, today he’s in the penthouse toasting four CT’s in the house and a well of human hatred run shallow and dry.

It was the brute force display of power I’d expected all along from my man.

Let’s be clear: his methods may be Machiavellian but Stark has kept the lights on in the building in a way no-one else could.

Imagine Elo trying to seal these deals across state borders with multiple political realities and stakeholder pressures?

Poor flim-flam man folds like wet lettuce and can’t even get the paperwork tight and right. This cements Starkey’s future as WSL CEO and the eventual rehoming of the org. downunder.

His pasodoble with NSW Deputy Prem John Barilaro has been legendary. Think of a famous pairing: Beavis and Butthead, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Fish and Chips, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Ali and Frazier, Batman and Robin, Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth, Don Quixote and Pancho Sanza, Sonny and Cher, just off the top of my head.

Stark and Barilaro best all of them without a doubt.

The line-up, as we already know, is a mixed bag, but generally praiseworthy.

Newy will be the weakest link in the chain for quality surf. Narrabeen offers a rare, quality left beachbreak with punchy rights at the Alley and excellent pies at Ocean Blend, the cafe directly across the road from the Northy carpark, the former site of Damien “Dooma” Hardman’s pie shop.

Maggie River we are well acquainted with along with the outrageous advantage offered to JJF at Mainbreak Rights and Jack Robbo at North Point or the Box.

Rottnest or Rotto, as DR has pointed out, suffers under the weight of a very dark history as both a penal colony and site of unimaginable animal cruelty when the inevitable Quokka kicking episode occurs during the islands regular Bacchanalian convulsions.

There are numerous B+ reefs on the Island with competition likely to run morning times before the dreaded Fremantle Doctor “breeze” blows out the main spot of Strickland Bay. A kind of cool-temperate reverse poor man’s Keramas if you need a mental image to sustain you. Very fun wave.

Five events locked in. Teahupoo likely. Tub, Trestles final. Australia, Hawaii, Tahiti, California. A Pacific World Champ.

Leaving aside that WA faces the Indian, it’s a concept too beautiful not to pay lip service to.

In a final sign of the ascendancy of Australia Bureaucratic Dominance and the shifting of power from USA to Aus, poor Patty O has been permanently benched from his role as Senior Vice Prez of Tours and Head of Competition after deciding “to transition out of his role to pursue new opportunities”, which I believe is polite corpo-speak for being shown the door but having as much time as you need to collect your stuff from under the desk.

Patty is being replaced by former CT competitor Jessi Miley-Dyer.

Pat’s reign was memorable for, um……. I haven’t got much except missing the day of the waiting period at D-bah on a bad judgement call trying to get Snapper in 2019 when he was newly minted in the role. He brought a cheery presence and an understated credibility to video presentations with Elo and will one day have an excellent memoir ghost-written about his time at Santa Monica.

Australian Company Rip Curl, which sold 70% of the biz to NZ outdoor apparel Company Kathmandu in late 2019 for 350 mill and which has been enjoying bumper Covid induced sales has stumped up an undisclosed figure for the naming rights to Newy, Narrabeen and Rotto, the latter under the dormant Search Banner.

To the best of my knowledge I can see no resistance to holding comps at any of the proscribed locations, which makes Covid19 and the Great White Shark the only remaining challenges to getting things run and done.

Third most popular Endless Summer II cast mate Pat O'Connell (left) pictured in better times.
World's third most popular Endless Summer II star Pat O'Connell (left) pictured in better times.

Breaking: In another stunning move, world’s third favorite Endless Summer star Pat O’Connell leaves World Surf League ahead of just-announced Australian Tour!


There is love, there is loss. Today, our World Surf League officially announced the officially locked n loaded 2020/21 Championship Tour which may or may not end at Lower Trestles.

WSL CEO Erik Logan, per his preferred communication platform Instagram, declared THE TOUR IS BACK and it is, or a “version” of a “tour” but bravo, nonetheless.

We professional surf fans are all convicts, after all, and deserving of whatever slop we get.


Not ladling that slop, allegedly, will be the world’s third favorite Endless Summer star Pat O’Connell who has officially left the building.



Tours, events and whatnot left in the very capable hands of Jessi-Miley-Cyrus.

A very fine wrecking ball but…

…Pat O?

Yeah gone.

History will write his World Surf League epitaph (read: BeachGrit) and much curiosity where he will land (read: BeachGrit) but…


A major move, in any case, right at the beginning of the TOUR BEING BACK.

Australia, the future of professional surfing, but let’s take a minute and mourn Pat O.

World Surf League officially cancels Snapper Rocks; confirms four-event Australian leg: Merewether, Narrabeen, Margaret River, Rottnest Island!

One contest to run on former penal colony famous for having "the largest mass burial site in Australia." Can you guess?

As reported yesterday, the WSL has iced its Snapper Rocks event after the Queensland state government refused to cover the cost of quarantining surfers and the WSL’s entourage and NSW and WA state gov’s turned the money spigot on, offering five million bucks or thereabouts per event.

The Australian leg of the CT is gonna be, Rip Curl Newcastle Cup pres. by Corona: April 1 – 11, Rip Curl Narrabeen Classic pres. by Corona: April 16 – 26, Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro pres. by Corona: May 2-12, Rip Curl Rottnest Search pres. by Corona: May 16 – 26

It’s got a whiff of the old Billabong Junior Series events, which ain’t a bad thing.

And Rotto, where your ol pal DR once lived and loved, is one of the dreamiest joints on earth, a government-run, mostly no-car limestone and coral outcrop paradise, famous for its giant rats (hence name, Rat’s Nest) and a bumper crop of Great Whites.

Read, Discover Rottnest’s Wildlife here, spearos getting charged by a White, here, a father-and-son being circled by a White in their lil boat, here, the swimmer doin’ the Perth-to-Rotto race and being followed by a White, here, diver killed by a Great White at Little Armstrong Bay, here.

“Cowardly” Italo and Gabriel are going to love it. 

Rottnest was also, at one point, a penal colony for indigenous Australians and features “the largest mass burial site in Australia.”

Reports ABC News, 

“More than 371 men sent to the Island died as a result of disease, torture, execution and murder and their remains lie in an unmarked grave.”

You’re not gonna be able to watch, howevs, broadcast only, no spectators. Contest held at Strickland Bay, a fun peak, short right, longer left over coral floor.

Rip Curl, meanwhile, has scooped up naming rights to three of the contests.

From the presser,

“When the WSL told us they had three alternative World Tour events to sponsor after the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach got cancelled due to Covid 19 we did what comes natural and got involved,” said Rip Curl Founder Doug ‘Claw’ Warbrick. The former WSL judge, competitor and Board Member sees it as a great opportunity to keep pro surfing rolling. “Newcastle, Narrabeen and Margaret River have long-term pro surfing histories; and Rottnest Island gave us the chance to bring back the Rip Curl Search, which hasn’t run since twice world champion Gabe Medina won in San Francisco a decade ago. The Cup, The Classic, The Masters and The Search. That’s a great Quaddie to go for! Congratulations to WSL. They are working very hard to keep the Tour alive and we are privileged to be onboard. We love watching the world’s best surfers ripping in great waves.”

More from tour correspondent Steve “Longtom” Shearer shortly.

Professional surfing and the Fetishization of Youth: Oakley cuts tour vet and current World no. 9 Caio Ibelli after sixteen year relationship!

"I can't understand things, I swear!"

Oh to be young and talented, the eyes of the world gazing lovingly at all that potential, nothing but blue skies and green pastures ahead. Or, in our water world, blue skies and tasty waves. Surf and surf-adjacent brands so happy to ink sponsorship deals, to release glowing press releases about etc.

Father Time, though, he is an unrelenting menace and soon the young and talented turn twenty-seven and talented and those same surf and surf-adjacent brands hold their nose, turn the other way while whispering, “It smells like Geritol.”

And let us read from the Instagram of twenty-seven year old World Surf League Championship Tour veteran Caio Ibelli who was just dumped by Oakley even though he is currently sitting 9th and could easily win the year as he is a proven competitor.

Per the translation:

16 years ago I joined the team @oakleysurfing were many trips and dreams conquered together as pro junior world champion, Brazilian champion Junior champion WQS, rookie of the year … It was a lot of money invested getting ready to get where I am today, in the world surfing elite. I am very grateful for everything they did for me but I can’t understand things, I swear! Today I am in the elite, without a main sponsor and I lost another co-sponsorship! But that’s it, let’s go in love, and appreciate who’s on our side!



That is primetime, not old, and what is surfing’s major malfunction? Does it fetishize youth, like an unfortunate pervert, not properly valuing talents reaching their own?

Should surfing be forced to register as a sex offender?

Much to ponder but while you are pondering, come listen to Caio Ibelli on Dirty Water and feel the rage boil at his dumping.

This is the end...
This is the end...

Eastern Seaboard VALs discover waves are better in winter horrifying longtime surfers: “Last year there were one or two people out, this year there are twenty-five!”

But who could have ever guessed, who could have ever possibly imagined, what toll the Covid-19 pandemic would have upon our little ol’ surfing? Less than a year ago we were happily plying a trade that had been forgotten, more or less, by the mainstream. One-time World Surf League CEO Paul Speaker’s pronouncement that The Sport of Kings would soon eclipse the National Football League as laughable as any Louis C.K. comedy sketch.

The surf industry apocalypse stretched far into the past and farther into the future.

Then came the lockdown orders, the quarantining, the social distancing, the no traveling, working or leaving and those who lived near a coast decided to paddle.

Soon, surf shops couldn’t keep wetsuits in stock, Costco couldn’t keep Wavestorms, and lineups swelled with new faces.

On the east coast, where freezing cold winter waters long kept vulnerable adult learners out, they now looked at better waves peeling, bought thicker wetsuits and kept paddling.

In a just-published The Philadelphia Inquirer piece titled “More brave souls try winter surfing during the pandemic, with sales and traffic going up,” the real troubles are exposed.

After 35 years of surfing, Chris Konicki particularly loves winter surfing — for the intense waves, often bigger than at other times of the year, and the solitude. Yet this season, he’s not quite alone.

“I was out in early December …,” said Konicki, a Strathmere, N.J., resident. “There were maybe 25 people out. Last year or the year before, you’d maybe see one or two.”

He’s not thrilled about that, preferring the tranquility of solo surfing or with just a buddy when, in the winter, he hits the waves about once a week, the water temperatures as low as the 30s and the air as cold as 20 degrees.

On it goes, detailing horror story after horror story. VALs wonderfully impressed by the bracing chill, the feeling of aliveness, the wonders of modern wetsuit technology. How surfing is naturally socially distanced and close, or close enough, to millions upon millions of Jersey-ites, New Yorkers, Philadelphians etc.

And who could have predicted that a general surf apocalypse would follow the surf industry apocalypse?

Not me.

Not in one-million years.