Parable: I once knew a woman who appeared on a second-tier reality television program. At the time it seemed pretty cool. In retrospect, it was extremely embarrassing!

Hindsight etc.

The Ultimate Surfer, set to air Monday, August 23 2021 at the enviable 10pm time slot (ET/PT) is the high water mark of World Surf League CEO Erik “ELo” Logan’s tenure.

The Oklahoma native, who enjoys SUPping his home break Manhattan Beach and long walks to various FroYo parlors, came to surfing via the Oprah Winfrey Network and so a reality television program as his crowning achievement no surprise.

After the official announcement, there was much high-fiving and happy emojis passed back and forth between ELo and the contestants on Instagram.

“Stoked!”

“Can’t wait!!!”

“Go time!!!!!!!!”

Etc.

Exclamation marks growing with each and every exchange.

World Surf League commissioner Jessi Miley-Cyrus even got in on the act even though she has been a fine champion for diversity and the cast is a fine shade of eggshell.

The thing about reality shows, though, is…. yikes.

I’ve been through it, or through it-adjacent. A one-time friend appeared in a design competition on a respected network back when the format still had some small energy.

We’d gather together with friends and friends of friends to watch, weekly.

At the time it was ok, her hustling around doing this and that, getting into petty arguments with the other contestants, looking too tired and too excited by turns.

She made it to the final three before losing in a less-than-dignified challenge.

Looking back on it all, I’d imagine she only feels shame. The producers call the shots, own the day, know what they are looking for and make it happen. Editors, with those producers looking over shoulder, carve and cut to achieve the narrative they want.

They drove her to look, and act, like someone else. Crying over ribbons etc.

Embarrassing.

The participants in The Ultimate Surfer will be met with the same ignominy. Network producers will create whatever they desire without one ounce of pushback from Santa Monica because Santa Monica has absolutely zero clue or leverage.

The farm, they say, has been sold.

Some, like ‘Stasia Ashley, won’t care. She already is reality television. Some, like Kai Barger, might.

Kelly Slater?

Oh man…

Ohhhh man.

There will be no winners, in any case, save us and Zeke Lau. (read hot scoop here!)

This pure, wonderful entertainment.

Thanks, ELo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


"We're gone next!"
"We're gone next!"

Opinion: The World Surf League broke the motivation of its stars to participate throughout the year with its ill-conceived “top five get title shot at Lower Trestles” nonsense!

Backfire.

Being right certainly does feel wonderful. But days ago, there I was sitting on my stool, wondering out loud if the world’s greatest surfer Kelly Slater had set the stage, so to speak, for his grande finale.

Olympic gold.

Gazing out across the horizon, he would have seen a grueling Australian leg followed by weird International Surfing Association business all enveloping multiple long monotonous quarantines.

Did he not decide to get healthy by surfing on his broken-for-four-years foot, eat right, rest well?

Well, now look. John John Florence, heading into the quarterfinals of the Margaret River event drops out citing knee injury. Off Rottnest too. Certainly not headed to El Salvador.

Kolohe a further high ankle sprain away from waving sayonara to the WSL/ISA himself.

When Slater refused to go to Australia, I’ll admit I found it strange. He was sitting 3rd in the rankings, after a 3rd place finish at Pipe, and maybe could have put up more results at Narrabeen, Margaret (if Box), Rottnest.

A 12th crown not entirely out of grasp.

Likewise, I found Florence’s latest announcement strange. He is, also, currently 3rd in the world and surely one of three title favorites. Why not just keep battling it out? His Japanese prospects do not look good what with the 2ft closeout beachbreak certainly on tap.

Then, like a bolt of white lightning, it hit me.

The big names on tour just don’t care. They can drop in and out as they like and still snag a year-ending 5th.

That’s all that is needed, remember, to punch a ticket to Lower Trestles for the exciting final’s day dreamed up by the World Surf League’s Kansan CEO Erik “ELo” Logan whilst trying to re-create the excitement from a pre-Covid Italo vs. Gabriel 1 vs. 2 final heat of final event bacchanal.

In so recreating, though, ELo stripped his stars of motivation and by “stars” I mean Gab, Pip, Italo, JJF, Caio. They simply don’t need to go to every event anymore and can cherry pick at will.

Who wants to be the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors?

Best regular season record in basketball history only to run out of gas a few inches shy of the finish line, losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the finals.

Not John John Florence, that’s for sure.

I bet not Gab, Pip, Italo either.

Watch them each go down with one injury or another at some point during the year only to come raging back to a miraculous 5th.

Caio will fight the good fight, though.

Clocking in daily just like us.


Founder of multi-billionaire dollar Vans shoe empire Paul Van Doren, dead at ninety, one week after launching memoir, “Authentic: A Memoir by the Founder of Vans”

A life well lived and a legacy not forgotten… 

Pauly Van Doren, the legendary founder of the world’s most enduring surf-skate grand Vans, who was born just as the Great Depression was kicking into gear, has died, aged ninety.

Van Doren, a high-school drop-out, whose nickname was Dutch the Clutch, created the Van Doren Rubber Co in 1966 with his little brother, James, who died in 2011, and their pals Gordon, Ryan Emmert and Serge D’Elia. 

The first store, in Anaheim, California, sold American-made shoes direct to the public with the slogan, “Canvas Shoes for the Entire Family” at prices between two and four dollars a pair. 

The first Vans store in Anaheim, CA.

On opening day, Pauly forgot to put cash into the register. 

“It was so stupid,” he said, telling customers to come back with the exact cash. “We sold something like 22 pairs of shoes that first day, and the remarkable thing is every single person came back and paid. Treat people like you would want to be treated.”

An early pair of VDs.

“Paul was not just an entrepreneur; he was an innovator. The Van Doren Rubber Company was the culmination of a lifetime of experimentation and hard work in the shoe industry,” the Vans company said in a statement. “Like Paul, from the first day of business, Vans was uniquely innovative. When the first Vans store opened, there were no stand-alone retail stores just for sneakers. Paul’s bold experiments in product design, distribution, and marketing, along with his knack for numbers, and a genius for efficiency turned Paul’s family shoe business into an all-American success story.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/COlMFzWBg93/?utm_source=ig_embed

Y’don’t have to trawl too deep into a surfer or skater’s wardrobe to find a dirty ol pair of Off the Walls or Authentics, shoes mercifully unchanged in almost fifty years.

Unchanged in almost fifty years,

The passing of an icon.

As Stacy Peralta said: “Vans is one of the greatest legacy companies not only in skateboarding, but in the worldwide community of action sports.”

Final words go, as they must, to Sean Penn, who used his own pair of Vans OTW  slip-ons in the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High, a decision that would propel sales of the show into the stratosphere,

 


Students of professional surfing will, no doubt, know that the United States team consists of Florence and Kolohe Andino with the world's greatest surfer Kelly Slater as first alternate. | Photo: Steve Sherman/@tsherms

Breaking: John John Florence withdraws from remaining Margaret River, upcoming Rottnest Island contests citing injury; Kelly Slater one step closer to Olympic dream!

Plan coming together?

In shocking news, the World Surf League has just announced that Margaret River favorite, and title hopeful, John John Florence has withdrawn from the rest of the Margaret River event, as well as the upcoming Rip Curl Search Rottnest presented by Corona, citing injury.

In a just released statement, Florence declared:

“Unfortunately, I hurt my left knee on the end section of a wave during my round 16 heat two days ago. I was able to surf the rest of my heat, just kind of feeling it out, but I knew something was off. It’s not the same knee I dealt with last year so that’s good, but with the Olympics coming up this summer I’m going to focus on healing up and getting strong. Thanks to everyone for the support and to Australia for having us. We’re very appreciative and had a great time.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/COlanHvp4I9/

The Olympics coming up being key.

Students of professional surfing will, no doubt, know that the United States team consists of Florence and Kolohe Andino with the world’s greatest surfer Kelly Slater as first alternate.

Slater, citing a four-year-old foot injury of his own, opted out of the Australian leg and the upcoming World Surfing Games in El Salvador in order to heal by surfing very fine barrels right in front of Florence’s childhood home.

It was posited here, days ago, that he may have calculated the grueling schedule and put himself in position for a sneaky Olympic birth.

Gold his final act?

More as the story develops.

P.S.


Art: KVF

Listen: Champion of The People™ Caio Ibelli gets put through everyman grinder in Australia; a lock to win the Rip Curl Rottnest Search presented by Corona!

True grit!

Near the end of March, the surf world was rocked by a new project as revolutionary as it was ambitious. Brazilian Caio Ibelli, the first, and for years only, pro to follow BeachGrit on Instagram had just ripped one of his sponsor’s stickers off his board after being unceremoniously dropped.

Of course being sponsored is at the pleasure of the brand, of course the powers can do whatsoever they desire but the dropping of Ibelli felt personal.

He may not have been as flashy as some, as young and handsome, but he had a giant killing mentality, a fearlessness in big waves, a hamburger outlet back home.

He was us and his dropping felt personal and so, as mapped out by a wonderful listener of The Grit! podcast, David Lee Scales and I set out to sponsor Caio for The People™ ahead of the first event of the rejiggered Australian leg Newcastle.

$15,000 for a sticker on the nose.

The People™, hearts touched, dug deep. David Lee and I, while not being wonderful project managers, dropped many balls but even so, by mid event we had raised just over half.

$7500 for a sticker midway down the board somewhere.

A better solution seeing as his hamburger outlet had its rightful spot on the nose.

And so we aimed for Narrabeen but getting stickers made etc. a nightmare. Saints emerged to help, designing inspirational stickers, hand-cutting the vinyl to form them into shape.

Margaret River, the perfect place, a place where he has slayed before.

Hand-cut stickers dropped in the Australian Post, rushing west.

Caio emailed just ahead of the first hooter, wondering where they were.

David Lee sent him a tracking number.

Caio followed up, day two, as the tracking number revealed they had been delivered to the post office not his hotel. He raced to the post office where they told him no stickers were there. They might be back at the hotel.

He raced to his heat.

Day three, overlapping heats, back on the case, the Australian Post told him they were, in fact, at the office, or maybe, and maybe locked in the hotel’s box to which they did not have the key. He was ready to race there once again when word came down.

Overlapping heats.

He would be on earlier than expected and had to race, once again, to the venue where he subsequently lost to Italo Ferreira.

Now, most professional surfers would have team managers, brand managers, coaches to help them with ever little detail, including stickering a board but not our Caio. He is us and grinds like us.

Running errands with crying babies, while rolling work calls. Making dinner while preparing school lunch while rolling work calls. Cleaning sewers, stacking bricks, giving IV injections, washing dishes, changing oil, unloading pallets, loading pallets while commenting live.

And this grind, this true grit, will vault our Caio into a top 5 finish this year, sending him to Lower Trestles with a possibility of being crowned champion.

But he is already our champion.

The Champion of The People™.

Listen here as we also discuss Kanoa Igarashi’s klaim game and Tyler Wright wilting under the weight of woke.

A fine show.