A brief history of Fuck The WSL: “The backlash against billionaire-backed organisations like the WSL acting as moral arbiters has legs”

The original comment by Noa Deane has assumed a quiet staying power and historical significance.

Fascism is very topical right now, very hot, and I will not throw two cents into the bubbling pot except to say anyone interested in the phenomenon is obliged to read Chapter 51, page 201 of Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate.

Back to rebellion though, which was deemed “sexy” by Dave Prodan in his recent poddy with Nick Carroll and lamented for it’s lack, or lambasted for being mere “pageantry”.

I don’t believe I’ve misqoted him or misrepresented his words. If I have I’m sure he will correct me below the line.

I merely ask (apart from Medina’s revolt), what could be sexier than a genuine recreational surfer revolt against the WSL

Answer: Nothing.

As for what is mere “pageantry” and what is authentic, we will need five years to elapse before history can determine a judgement on that question.

I believe, having witnessed it first hand, that the successful recreational surfer revolt against the proposed WSL contest at Lennox Head, will pass the authentic test.

The other, more performative gestures being championed by Dual World Champion Tyler Wright, we will see.

I have an open mind on the question.

The revolt against the WSL comp at Lennox was about the loveliest, most genuine, inclusive, spontaneous thing I’ve ever witnessed in surfing. It united young and old, guys, gals, poor, rich etc etc.

No-one sought to self-aggrandise or boost their profile. Their was zero corporate sponsorship, virtue signalling or profit motive. It wasn’t sponsored by Rip Curl, not supported by Nike. There were no leaders, no followers.

I loves me a peasant revolt and this was about as pure an uprising against devious corporate control as you can get. Right up there with my fav uprising: the 1917 Kronsdadt Mutiny*.

Most beautifully, when it was done and dusted people put their heads down, waxed up whips and went back to the business of shred, without a skerrick of animosity.

By Prodan’s own measure, this was as good as it gets. It just so happens the organisation he represents was the “oppressor”, and thus surgically excised from his moral calculus.

Of course, much of the power and ready made branding of the revolt came down to the already extant slogan, #FucktheWSL.

If Prodan and Carroll wish to come to grips with anything counter-culture left in surfing, and stop chasing “sad echoes of what was cool” then it’s sitting right there in front of their noses via this simple slogan.

The response of the WSL to the overwhelming rec surfer revolt at Lennox?

Yep. No surprise. Cone of silence.

Bit of bitchy sour grapes sniping from Fanning in his “Getting Heated” ep with Ross.

The original comment by Noa Deane, who was a mere four months into his post-teen life, was ridiculed and moralised by the usual suspects but has assumed a quiet staying power and historical significance.

It’s worth a minor examination.It’s a sliding doors moment.

Then CEO Paul Speaker only announced the changeover from the ASP to the WSL on Sep 12 2014. At the time of Deane’s comments, the Surfer Poll Awards in early December of the same year the changeover hadn’t yet occurred.

It was still the ASP Pipe Masters.

If Deane had said “Fuck the ASP” the slogan would have dropped stone dead into the deep, dark well of history.

Like other outdated slogans such as “It takes a Tour to make a Title” and “world’s best surfers in the worlds best waves”.

How a twenty-year-old Deane was prescient enough to use the new organisations name in his slogan will go down as one of the great acts of future proofing what was left of the counter-cultural spirit of revolt left in surfing.

Which was the whole point: Deane’s missile was aimed at the corporatisation, the bland homogeneity of the Ziff takeover and push to Middle America.

The immediate blowback for Deane was swift, but the usual evangalizing nonsense missed the mark big time.

Fuck the WSL has endured, the blowback is long forgotten.

The results: Deane signed a five year 500K a year deal with Volcom in Jan 2017, not quite the fuck-you money Dane got from Quiksilver, but better than the deal for free wetsuits that Matty Banting signed this year.

No one knows how this will play out.

But the backlash against corporates and billionaire-backed organisations like the WSL acting as moral arbiters has legs, as evidenced by the enduring appeal of Noa Deane’s deathless phrase.

Woz might want to look in the mirror at its own social licence before they ride the woke hobby horse into the future.

Or not.

*Sailors not peasants and brutally suppressed by the Red Army.


Listen: In stunning move, professional surf fans rise up as one, choose Caio Ibelli as champion, seek to wrest levers of control for The People™!

It's a revolution!

When your great-grandchildren look up at you lovingly, eyes innocent, and ask “Where were you when The People™ regained control of professional surfing?” will you be able to answer them “On the front lines, for you sweet one… On the front lines for you.”

An important question because here, now, is our opportunity to wrest the levers of power away from sullied interests, from private equity firms and born-billionaires.

Project Ibelli was first floated on last week’s The Grit! episode, a brilliant concept from a Boulder, Colorado master of business administration who suggested a way forward.

Have The People™ take ownership of a surfer, Caio Ibelli the obvious choice as he was just recently dropped by Oakley and is the only professional surfer to follow BeachGrit on Instagram, amongst getting robbed in an injury wildcard kerfuffle and has the ire of Gabriel Medina.

In stunning move, Chas Smith didn’t just jabber but reached out to Caio after the show and received an encouraging response. David Lee, per the norm, did the rest of the work.

And now here we are.


The GoFundMe reads:

PROJECT IBELLI evolved from years of witnessing a decline in pro surfing’s chosen path and was spurned by a synchronicity of current events: 1) Caio removing his marquee sponsor’s sticker from his board after being dropped, and 2) the financial market coup perpetuated by Redditors who exposed large hedge funds via the GameStop stock pump. Herein, we immediately recognized an opportunity for an epic controlled-disruption and social statement to be carried out by The Grit! podcast community utilizing grassroots tactics similar to the aforementioned melee on Wall Street.

PROJECT IBELLI’S mission is to take back surfing by crowd-funding support of our favorite surfers, individuals who align with our core values and are often neglected or maligned by “industry” support. To kick off PROJECT IBELLI, listeners of the The Grit! podcast (and the community at large) will be given the opportunity to crowdfund a cash deal to have The Grit! sticker placed on the nose of Caio Ibelli’s boards for the just-around-the-corner Newcastle event.

Want in?

There’s no minimum.

Every time he dips into the competitor’s area, World Surf League CEO Erik Logan will be forced to recognize his gauzy dream has come to this.

Do it for your great-grandchildren.

Play here.

Listen here.

Haircut Inspiration profiles all 15 surfer hairstyles, reveals secret to acquiring: “If you’re looking to rock a surfer hairstyle, the first step is letting your hair grow long!”

Very cool.

In a move that both surprised and delighted, Haircut Inspiration profiled the “surfer hairstyle” this month, lovingly detailing each of the fifteen varietals.

The very popular style website placed the look in its “tousled hairstyles” which are “purposefully messy, disheveled, and untidy, but still look the part” and gave an etymological nod, revealing it “takes its name from the stereotype of a hardcore surfer whose hair has been bleached by the sun, soaked in salty sea waters, and received minimal care” before divulging a long-held secret to acquiring.

“How to get surfer hair? This goes without saying, but if you’re looking to rock a surfer hairstyle, the first step is letting your hair grow long. Be sure to resist the temptations to just ‘trim a little off’ when your hair gets to an impractical length, as otherwise, you’ll never quite manage to grow it long enough!”

Then it was off to the fifteen individual representations, in no particular order.

-Wavy texture with high volume

-Messy bun and highlights

-Messy curls lying around

-The surfer messy hairstyle

-Touseled hairstyle

-Undercut surfer hairstyle

-Curly medium style

-Wet iconic surfer style

-Medium straight hair

-Shorter curly style

-Messy surfer hairstyle

-Where are the waves?

-Just outta waves

Fourteen and fifteen appear to be missing but could be greatest surfer in the world Kelly Slater bald and cool mom fab.

Which one do you have?

Good choice.

"A creative, brain-storming mastermind."

Exclusive: Philippines-based “Global Head of Talent” accidentally reveals two-time world champion John John Florence’s surprise pivot away from professional surfing and the shucking of his famous double-barrelled name!

"A creative, brain-storming mastermind."

The Cebu-based Chief Operating Officer with recruitment software biz Hire With Leo has accidentally revealed the career pivot of two-time world champ John John Florence in a recent post on LinkedIn. 

K Childs, a certified hypnotherapy practitioner and co-founder of various start-ups, made the post five days ago.

It features John Florence (not John John, tellingly) searching for work as a software designer. His salary expectations are modest, $39,000, considerably less than the thirty-mill deal he commanded with skincare and inflatables brand Hurley, an indication perhaps of tough times in the Florence camp.

An examination of the post also reveals Stephanie Gilmore, a seven-time world champion and Gabriel Medina, world champ twice, also vying for work on the platform, although both appear under pseudonyms, Anastasia Demetriou and Lucas Grey respectively.

Medina also reveals he won’t work for anything under forty-five k.

No work yet on whether Florence, Medina and Gilmore will appear on the remainder of this year’s truncated world tour if applications are accepted.

World Surf League Chief Strategy and Brand Officer lambasts political right in scorched earth screed: “The number of conservative, whining, f*cking fascists in the surfing world, some of which hold esteemed positions in companies and on Olympic teams, is pathetic!”

"I mean, come on. That is straight out of the fascism playbook."

The World Surf League is not generally known for stoking fires, but that all changed over the weekend when Chief Strategy and Brand Officer Dave Prodan took a torch to the political right.

Prodan, who has been with the League since 1976 and also hosts the very successful podcast The Lineup, introduced his 61st guest, Jordy Smith, with the following monologue (listen here).

Thank you to everyone who sent us notes on last week’s podcast with Nick Carroll, many of you saying it’s the best one we’ve ever done and, of course, as those who listen to it know, Nick was fantastic in it. The comment that the WSL social team pulled to promote the episode on Instagram was Nick asking if online trolls in the surfing world were the counter-culture rebels they so desired to be or just their parents. A reference to the vitriol someone like 2x World Champ Tyler Wright suffers for choosing to speak her mind. And that post, and you can still check this yourself, drew the now standard complaints from this very same community.

(Breathless voice) “All lives matter.”

“Keep politics out of surfing.”

“How great would it be to watch a surf contest? Shrug emoji.”

All of which, un-ironically, proved Nick’s point for him. The number of conservative, whining, fucking fascists in the surfing world, some of which hold esteemed positions in companies and on Olympic teams, is pathetic.

You don’t have to agree with what surfers are saying on the platforms they more than earned, however, to cry foul on them to be able to use their well-earned platforms at all? I mean, come on. That is straight out of the fascism playbook. And this cancer, in my humble opinion and the humble opinion of this podcast, has been rearing its head in The Lineup circle ever since George Floyd’s murder last may and our decision to acknowledge it.

Last week, here in the United States, eight people, six of which were Asian American women, were gunned down in a hate crime by a white supremacist male in Atlanta. There’s absolutely no justification for it. And it doesn’t have a chance of correcting if you continue to avert your eyes or or choose median opinions that are more comfortable to you.

Me bringing it up here is not politics, it’s reality. And the surfers whom you bitch about raising attention to racial and gender violence and on platforms that they have earned is not politics either. And if it makes you uncomfortable, good. That’s a human response. It makes me uncomfortable too.

And again, you don’t have to agree with everything they’re saying but they have earned the right to say it. And I hope they keep saying it.


Extremely thinly veiled jabs at certain well-known conservatives in esteemed positions at companies and Brett Simpson.

The League, which has pivoted hard woke in recent months, is clearly tired of certain elements in its fanbase which raises the question.

Is Prodan correct in his broadside or is he, himself, using “fascism’s playbook” to silence oppositional thinking?

It seems he is brandishing an awfully big brush with which to paint, no?

Or actually no?

More as the story develops.