Blood Feud between World Surf League and master surfboard shaper Matt Biolos intensifies after WSL’s repost of Ultimate Surfer contestant video, “They pulled back. Rescinded. Cancelled. They needed someone like me to show them how it was not a very good idea.”

Tables turned etc!

Less than one month ago, and with very little coaxing, surfboard shaper Matt Biolos unleashed on the WSL after the billionaire-owned sports league threatened legal action and the possible deleting of his personal IG account for reposting a photo of Carissa Moore. 

“If you’re incapable of breaking even without extorting your fans then you should be in the business,” Biolos, whose surfboards are, or were, ridden by world champs Carissa Moore and Tyler Wright, as well as Griffin Colapinto, Kolohe Andino, Yago Dora and Caroline Marks, posted in response. 

When BeachGrit called, Biolos said, 

“I have long-term friends working in the organization… But it doesn’t mean I’ll bow down to the barely-surfing- outsider-corporate-executives who invaded our culture and don’t really understand it but are willing to alienate the core followers and lifers who the precarious stack of cards is built upon so they can chase Main Street dreams. They are scared to death to charge pay-per view on the events because they damn well know that a lot of the public with tell them to fuck off. The viewership will tank to the point that sponsors will run for the hills. So what do they do? That come up with some scheme to come after us, the fabric of surfing’s existence, all us independently owned and operated surfboard builders who supply boards to the athletes.”

Now, a switcharoo after the WSL posted a video of Lost team rider Luke Davis, footage owned by Biolos. 

The WSL-supplied caption, a masterpiece of short-form prose. “When the barrel provides a head rinse, it’s on you to provide the shampoo.”

“I bought all this footage from Luke. Should I send you guys an invoice?” wrote Biolos, the mood of his coup de grâce emphasised with a laughing emoji.

Before being removed, the video had been viewed 137,000 times.

Users of Instagram were quick to side with the World War II enthusiast, whose surfboard models include the V2, named after the world’s first long-range guided ballistic missile that was hoped to be game-changer for the Third Reich, and who recently debuted his new cool-mom-that-will-let-everyone-drink-at-the-house-as-long-as-no-one’s-driving look, on Stab magazine.

“Solid,” wrote one.

“That was a little joke on my side,” Biolos told BeachGrit. “They pulled back. Rescinded. They cancelled the whole program (charging board builders a fee to repost content). Pretty smart on their part. They just needed someone like me to show them how it was not a very good idea. We’ve all had bad ideas.” 


The shadows draw long on Kelly Slater.

Just in: Surfing legend Kelly Slater signals potential troubling shift in social media tactics to his nearly 3 million Instagram followers!

Rats.

Any student of the professional surfing game knows that surfing legend Kelly Slater’s Instagram feed is the most entertaining space of all. Better than Rottnest Island, better than unboxing with Koa Smith, better than Zeke Lau as Ultimate Surfer.

The 11x World Champion dishes out a sometimes daily, sometimes weekly, helping of unfiltered opinion, advice, criticism, direction on issues as wide ranging as Britain’s royal family, Elon Musk’s cryptocurrency strategy and the silliness of those who believe the earth is flat amongst many, many other things.

Wonderful.

But his nearly 3 million Instagram followers were treated to a shock this morning when Slater cryptically, and without elaboration, posted the cover of Mark Meadows’ book titled How to Build Self-Discipline: Resist Temptations and Reach your Long-Term Goals.

Meadows writes of the book:

Although I’ve been a self-disciplined person ever since I can remember (thank you, Mom!), I always seek more information and advice about making myself more effective at resisting temptations.

Self-discipline is the key that will help you make these hard decisions instead of sticking with what’s easy and comfortable. People who focus on instant gratification – things that are safe, easy and comfortable – rarely reach their long-term goals.

I have no doubt there’s nothing more important to a successful life than to maintain a high level of self-discipline and keep growing on a daily basis. Hence, I wrote this book.

Most of the advice shared in this book is based on scientific research referenced at the end of the book. To help you get the most out of the book in the shortest time possible, I decided not to go into details about each study. Instead of sharing with you the detailed “why,” (with confusing and boring descriptions of studies) I will share with you the “how.”

How do you exactly build self-discipline in your life? How do you resist short-term rewards in order to reach your long-term goals? This book is the answer to these questions.

Is this going to alter Slater’s approach to social media?

It certainly would appear so.

Rats.


Watch, The Derek Hynd masterpiece, Pro Land: “Compare it to the heavy-handed narratives pumped out by the multimillion-dollar WSL ‘media house.’ By manufacturing drama, the WSL is robbing itself of the very magic it wants to create!”

As a psychological drama, surfing as storytelling, Pro Land is still engrossing, more than twenty years later. 

Derek Hynd’s movie Pro Land  follows the infamous 1999 world tour battle fought between, primarily, Danny Wills, Mick Campbell and Kelly Slater. 

You remember the story.

Baby-faced Danny and fiery Mick as tour frontrunners, seemingly destined to bring a world title back to Australia. Only for Slater to swoop in on finals day at Pipe and take crown number six.

One of the closer, grittier championship runs of the modern era. All documented by Hynd on a handheld camera, well before the days of webcast. The independently produced documentary was uploaded to YouTube a couple of years back with Hynd’s blessing.

Pro Land wasn’t the first behind-the-scenes look at the tour grind. Nor was it necessarily the best (see: Scream in Blue). Watching through a contemporary lense the surfing has dated.

The production quality is poor. There’s cringey, borderline voyueristic T&A smattered throughout.

But as a psychological drama, surfing as storytelling, Pro Land is still top notch. Engrossing, more than twenty years later. 

The narrative is simple.

Follow the top five surfers (Danny, Mick, Kelly, Beschen, and Occ) as they progress through the tour. Stick a camera in their face at opportune times. Document the story however it plays out. 

The film opens in Japan, after the Australian leg, and is a slow burn at first. There’s scrappy surfing in meagre waves. A reminder of the bad old days of world tour conditions. Short interviews with key players. An updated scorecard at the end of every contest. Otherwise, very little exposition. More Sarge’s Surfing Scrapbook than Scream in Blue. 

But form soon emerges.

As we move from comp to comp, Hynd the auteur begins to inject himself, and the storyline unfurls.

Just as Erik Logan and Pat O’Connell identified some twenty years later, it’s in the top five where the bone’s marrow lies. What a spread of characters Hynd had to work with. 

The re-emergent Occy, warming up for his eventual title run the year following. His small-wave game in particular is still incredible to watch. 

Slater, evergreen, at one of his many peaks. 

Beschen, the sage cynic, in whom Hynd surely sees the most of himself. Incredibly precise surfing, to the point of austerity (see: economy of movement). But also honest, cutting commentary both on his own performance and that of his competitors.  

Willsy and Campbo, the best friends. The heart and soul of the story. Two ocker Aussies, LMB tragics, ready to take back the crown for Australia. Just stinging for a fight, whether with each other or any other cunt willing.

As Hynd continues with his peppering of the subjects as they move from J-Bay, to Europe, to the US, to Brazil, nuggets of insight emerge. The interplay between best mates Wills and Campbell is absorbing. Willsy, the inordinately blessed talent that struggles with the number one target on his back. Campbell, the competitive animal who delights as the underdog. 

Then there’s Slater, the tritagonist, emerging from the shadows like some Dionysian villain to steal the show in the final act. 

This was DIY Reality TV. But it was raw. Honest. The human condition played out on a tinny VHS screen. 

Or at least it felt like it when viewed after a couple of Saturday afternoon tins.

The late David Forster Wallace said world-class athletes are profundity in motion: “To be a top athlete, performing, is to be that exquisite hybrid of animal and angel that we average unbeautiful watchers have such a hard time seeing in ourselves. So we want to know them. We want to get intimate with that profundity. We want to get inside them. We want the Story.”

So it goes with any type of sports journalism. Hynd got the Story. It ain’t hard.

That a lone operator with nothing more than a handycam and a nose for drama can create a compelling documentary shouldn’t be surprising. 

Pro Land treats its subject matter with the respect, earnestness, and subtle piss-take it deserves. It understands the product for what it is, and doesn’t try to make it anything more. 

Competitive surfing is like war. Long periods of boredom punctuated by short periods of excitement. It’s never going to be mainstream viewing, because it isn’t a mainstream product, no matter how you try to package it. It requires investment from both the audience and the director. 

But the hard work will pay off if you’re patient enough. Give ‘em enough rope and they’ll hang themselves, as the saying goes.

Pro Land takes us behind the veil.

It’s in the top five where the bone’s marrow lies, sure. But it doesn’t mean you should chuck away the rest. Just look at ‘99. The world title was decided on finals day, but we also got to see tour veteran Jake Paterson beat wildcard Bruce Irons in one of the most nail biting finals in Pipe’s history.

There’s storylines everywhere, if you let them breathe. 

Compare it then to the overproduced, heavy handed narratives constantly being pumped out by the multimillion-dollar WSL ‘media house.’ Top Five. Ultimate Surfer. By artificially manufacturing drama, the WSL is robbing itself of the very magic it wants to create.

Disrespecting and disservicing the sport it is so desperately trying to monetise. 

Any fool with a handycam can see it. 

But hey, maybe Trestles will prove me wrong. 


Aguerre (left) and Logan (right) mid battle.

Report: War between International Surfing Association chief Fernando Aguerre and World Surf League CEO Erik Logan reaches wildly dramatic grand finale!

Blood, tears. A victor?

And it is all, apparently, officially over. The war between the International Surfing Association and the World Surf League for the hearts and minds of professional surfers everywhere has ended with ISA chief Fernando Aguerre, allegedly, finally laying down his sword, blinking painfully in the blinding white of WSL CEO Erik Logan’s front teeth.

The fight, which had captivated the globe, began when surfing was officially introduced as an Olympic sport some too-many-years-to-remember ago. Aguerre’s organization, the ISA, would be the governing body, the top two WSL surfers, per country, on the Championship Tour would represent their United Stateses, Brazils, Australias, Frances, etc. and things were all fine and good until Covid-19 wrecked everything.

The WSL’s season destroyed. The WSL, itself, on the brink of destruction.

Aguerre with an advantage which he pressed, forced anyone who wanted to participate in Tokyo down to El Salvador for his World Surfing Games and not just a cursory appearance but opening ceremonies, heats, closing ceremonies.

Even those who had already qualified via the WSL.

Surfers were, allegedly, furious as was Logan but Aguerre was unbent and nothing could move him.

The World Surfing Games were his showcase and he would prove to one, to all, that it was the best show around. Could he take over professional surfing entirely?

Repechage to the moon!

Except, once again, Covid-19 wrecked everything.

Outbreaks in the El Salvador bubble caused even more furor and a highly placed source has just revealed, “Fernando blinked. After word got back of the positive tests and, allegedly, less-than-secure protocols, Logan, lawyers, agents, representatives continued to hammer Aguerre until he agreed that surfers only had to surf one heat then leave. A full concession. There is even talk of having him removed as nobody wants to go through him again. Lots of bad blood and grumbling.”

Oh, I can only hope that Aguerre is unbent, not broken. His pluck, his zeal, during these dark days is exactly what professional surfing needed.

Repechage to the moon?

This story will most certainly develop and as a former war reporter, I will be there.


Breaking: Beleaguered Owen Wright bucks trend of Olympic qualified surfers fleeing El Salvador; finds form and smashes Morocco, Sweden in repechage round at World Surfing Games!

Power moves.

The World Surfing Games in stunning El Salvador has developed into a white-knuckle narrative not seen in our favorite sport since… since… well maybe since ever.

There is, of course, the stress of surfers competing for the few remaining Olympic spots. There is International Surfing Association chief Fernando Aguerre staring down the World Surf League in a bold power grab. There are already-Olympic-qualified surfers fleeing the event without completing it.

There is Owen Wright.

Already on Australia’s team, the lanky blonde from Cuburra has had a rough few events and opened the World Surfing Games losing his Round 2 heat to Spain, Argentina and Brazil with a very poor score of 3.67.

Thankfully there is repechage.

Unlike his fellow Irukandjis, whose motto remains “Deadly in the Water,” Wright decided to stay and fight and fight he did regaining smashing form and mashing Argentina, Morocco and Sweden with a series of devastating slashes in chocolate surf.

16.26.

Could it be that Wright is finding his form, his momentum, at exactly the right time headed in to Tokyo?

Tell me this is not inspired surfing.

The only worry, I suppose, is the upcoming Surf Ranch Pro presented by Barefoot Wine.

Kelly Slater’s tub has undone the hopes, dreams, inspiration of countless lanky blondes.

White knuckle, I tell you.

The greatest time ever to be a professional surf fan.