Open Thread: Comment live on day three of World Surfing Games from superlative El Salvador!

Better than work!

Bored at work after a glum Memorial Day?

Tune into the World Surfing Games in superlative El Salvador.

Heads rolling.

Olympic dreams dashed and made.

Watch here.

Comment below.

Debate over shark deterrent technologies re-ignites after Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg seen wearing electromagnetic bracelet: “These Sharkbanz act only as a psychological safeguard. They have no effect at all.”

Outrages claims, counter-claims!

The insular surfing debate over the efficacy of shark deterrent technologies exploded into public view, overnight, when photographs of Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg foiling in Hawaii and revealed he was not only wearing a helmet, but a Sharkbanz bracelet, and had painted the bottom of his board in zebra stripes to boot (view here).

Many abundances of caution.

Sharkbanz, the company that makes the bracelets that emit an electromagnetic charge in hopes of scaring sharks, immediately admitted that the 4th richest person in the world had, in fact, purchased its product from the website.

Maybe not great privacy settings.

The mainstream media pounced, taking sides in the pitched dispute. Business Insider posted a quote from the late Erich Ritter, famous for diving with bull sharks, who once said, “These Sharkbanz act only as a psychological safeguard. They have no effect at all.”

Also retold was the story the sixteen-year-old Florida boy who received a Sharkbanz bracelet for his birthday, put it on and was immediately bitten.

At the time, Sharkbanz founder Nathan Garrison told CBS News “I’m really relieved he is ok and he was super positive about his recovery. What happened here is essentially the rarest of shark encounters where Zack jumped off his board and pretty much landed on the shark. If anything it probably helped clear the shark out of the area quicker.”

Classic victim shaming.

Lad Bible, on the other hand, defended the devices as “fancy” and Zuckerberg’s behavior as “taking no chances.”

Have you come down on one side or the other yet or waiting for Taj Burrow’s medical opinion?

More as the story develops.

World Surf League CEO Erik “Elo” Logan breaks self-imposed silence in bombshell interview as he prepares surfers for unprecedented VAL invasion: “There are 380 million people interested in surfing globally… We’re in the growth phase of our sport”

"Once we actually get the Olympics up and going that amplification will continue."

Oprah Winfrey’s former righthand gal turned CEO of the World Surf League, Erik “Logan”, has broken a three-month silence to reveal his terrifying vision, to turn almost half-a-billion people into pro surfing fans.

Speaking to Sports Section on “growing the sport, Olympic participation,” Logan says,

(On Growth)

There are some 380 million-odd people interested in surfing globally. My job is to find those people, introduce them to competitive surfing, and get them to watch our content.

An average event for us in terms of our digital and also linear distributions is about 10 million.

It’s truly global (and) the consumption continues to go up year over year. We’re seeing the sport really grow in terms of its youth. We’re one of the youngest sports on the planet, and we’re probably one of the most global sports. Surfing really is a global sport.

What we’re finding is that instead of always making people come to us, which is a heavy lift, we’re actually going to where they are. So we’re getting a lot more mainstream adoption. Because of that, and also because of surfing being in the Olympics for the first time, we’re getting mainstream press on a level we’ve never had before.

It’s already had a massive impact, and once we actually get the Olympics up and going that amplification will continue.

We’re in the growth phase of our sport. And we feel like we’re really well-positioned. We perform all around the world at different hours, so no matter where you are in the world, you’re going to have an event in your time zone.

(On the title decider at Lowers)

We’re taking the Top 5 points for men and women over the course of this year, and they’re going to actually compete in a one-day ladder tournament. What that assures us is a massive media moment  — we’re going to have that world championship moment that our sport has never had in its history.

(On shark deaths)

What’s so different about surfing than every other sport is that the golf courses aren’t moving, and the tennis courts aren’t moving. There’s nothing that’s going to eat you. 

Logan finishes, as is his form, with a little schmaltz,

When I think about how I’d like to see the company evolve, it’s in finding a way to harmonize this large contingency of avid surf fans and lovers and the professional side of our sport with these elite world-class athletes doing these super-human things.

Read entire interview here. 

Blood Feud: Aerial surfing pioneer Christian Fletcher vs 21st century Evel Knievel Robbie Maddison (and his wife)! “Obviously you don’t know much or else you wouldn’t be married to that lame bogan!”

Deft use of social media… 

Hawaii-born air pioneer Christian Fletcher has used Instagram to relay his tremendous displeasure at moto superstar Robbie Maddison’s use of the word Maddhouse to describe his house and track setup in Southern California. 

Maddhouse, of course, is a play on Maddison etc. 

Five years ago, Fletcher, the son of Astrodeck’s Herbie and Dibi, brother to Nathan and daddy to Greyson and who turns fifty this year, shaped, sprayed and glassed surfboards for Madhouse Kustomz, and which were sold for fifteen hundred dollars, although the website has since disappeared.

“The most bitchin boards you’ve ever seen,” wrote The Inertia at the time.

Background on Robbie Maddison. 

Maddison is thirty-nine, has ridden a KTM250 with skis at Teahupoo, holds the world record for jumps (three hundred and fifty feet) and once leapt onto the Arc de Triomphe at the Paris Casino in Las Vegas and back down onto the strip.

I interviewed Maddison at the time, and which you can read here. 

It’s hard to tell whether Fletcher is baiting the Maddisons, it does seem to stem from a dispute over whether or not a surfboard was paid for, or whether he is genuinely aggrieved at the use of a not entirely original name, Madhouse used for everything from an animation studio to an Australian bakery, famous for its delicious brownies. 

You can read the exchange below.

Perhaps of even more entertainment value is this exchange between Fletcher and an unnamed suitor.

My favourite memory of Fletcher came in 2004 during a holiday together to Malaysia where he administered therapeutic tablets to ease your writer, and his then biz partner’s, terrible anxiety at missing a flight from KL to Singapore.

Glory days etc.

Surfing’s greatest statesman Kelly Slater endorses jiujitsu-style belt system to ease overcrowding at popular Santa Cruz wave, “Non-compliant surfers will be expelled from the water immediately. Fraudulently obtained gets will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law!”

“You have my total support,” writes eleven-time world champ Slater.

A novel idea to force surfers at Pleasure Point in Santa Cruz to wear “duly prescribed color-tiered belts” has met with the enthusiastic approval of eleven-time world surfing champion Kelly Slater. 

First, the proposal from @newpointlocal

“After much discussion about tactics for handling the presently unregulated crowds, the Pleasure Point Community Surfing Association issued a new order today that mandates all surfers wear their duly prescribed color-tiered belt while surfing on the Eastside. Belt designations are ordained by the Executive Committee, which is made up of 25+ year locals. See the chart above for each color tier’s timing and merit qualifications. Non-compliant surfers will be expelled from the water immediately. Fraudulently obtained belts will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

“You have my total support,” wrote Slater.

Pleasure Point, on Santa Cruz’s Eastside, and so-named ‘cause of a prohibition-era speakeasy that sat atop the joint in the twenties, is a long righthand point and one of those sorta waves that’s crowded as hell: easy to access, has chubby sections for VALS, as well enough action for shredders. 

Maddening, you could say.

In response to Slater’s approval, he was granted an honorary blue belt, eleven years credit, one for each of his world titles. 

“NO ONE GETS INSTA-LOC STATUS ON PLEASURE POINT! Had to manage expectations and execute fair belt promotion on another @newpointlocal . When Cormier was automatically advanced to a brown belt in BJJ, the world of martial arts was put in juxtaposition; everyone else had to work their way up through the belt system, but Danny kicked all of their asses so in a way he earned it. Still, there were questions. We won’t have that here on Pleasure Point, we must remain beyond reproach when it comes to belt promotions toward advanced Loc status. In all transparency, we gave @kellyslater one year of credit for each championship he earned, which got him through the lower ranks. That said, everyone must work their way up honestly and diligently, putting in equal time and effort through the higher ranks (belts), before earning their place in the lineup. Even the GOAT.”

“Love it,” wrote Slater. 

Obvs, a gag, though not entirely unserious.

Now that localism is being recognised the latest manifestation of racism in the genocidal hell-hole once known as the United States of America, do you think some sorta hierarchical system, although one more practical than belts and less litigious than violence, might have legs?

(Note: @newpointlocal has been sought for interview. More etc.)