Provocative: World’s best surf journalist tells world’s greatest surfer, “You’d have to pay me $10,000 to surf your stinking tub Kelly!”

"Surf Ranch does not seem to 'spark joy' amongst the world's best. They look exhausted and depressed after a ride…"

Pursuant to watching every single wave of the 2021 Surf Ranch Pro which followed from watching every single wave of 2019 Freshwater Pro and 2018 Surf Ranch Pro and 2018 Founders Cup a comment from former surfer and Surfer Magazine caption writer Ben Marcus got me thinking.

Marcus claimed in a comment directed at critics of the Tub that we were all essentially pseudo-intellectual blowhards who would “kill to surf the thing”.

Kill?

Kill what, kill who?

The only thing I felt like killing after Surf Ranch was myself.

It made me realise though, that I really and truly wanted no part of Kelly’s power-hungry, water-wasting machine wave. In fact, you’d have to pay me to go there and surf it.

You scoff Kelly, but I’ve got a figure in mind.

You won’t like it but I think it’s fair and reasonable.

Ten thousand. US dollars.

Plus expenses and travel, of course.

This miracle of modern technology which causes technophiles like Marcus to spasm with envy and admiration, is it really so special?

Creating waves, in the end, turned out to be a relatively simple engineering challenge. At last count, there were about twenty different methods creating commercially viable wavepools.

This ain’t the I-phone or birth control pill. Anyone who has watched a boat wake break on a shallow bank has seen the template for the so-called “groundswell” technology used by the Surf Ranch. Basically, put a hull through the water and surf the wake as it breaks down a shallow edge. The Kelly Slater Surf Ranch is a glorified boat wake.

Twenty.

This ain’t the I-phone or birth control pill. Anyone who has watched a boat wake break on a shallow bank has seen the template for the so-called “groundswell” technology used by the Surf Ranch. Basically, put a hull through the water and surf the wake as it breaks down a shallow edge.

The Kelly Slater Surf Ranch is a glorified boat wake.

The tub, now that we are well past the blitzkrieg marketing and every pro has had a swing at it, does not seem to “spark joy” amongst the world’s best. They look exhausted and depressed after a ride, unless they just won of course.

Watching Strider Wasilewski live commentate a ride made me realise I would surf it worse than him, but make the wave. Which means I’d safety surf my four waves probably without the intellectual balls to kick out early on the left. I’d get two half barrels on the right, probably get necked on the end section or dodge it all together like Jadson Andre did.

Magical thinking persists with the pool fans, though.

What is miraculous about waves is the physics of water. It’s dense, 830 times more dense than air. It’s incredible how much energy it takes to heat it, cool it, make waves in it.

The physics of water ain’t gunna change.

Which means all the guff about “just wait until the next one when it’s eight foot and barrelling” etc etc is pissing in the cosmic wind.

Already, Slater’s power hungry tub is sucking out Solar power from PG and E’s solar plants which could power homes etc etc. Until a tub can be hooked up to a nuclear power plant we’re going to be squatting right down to fit it into those tiny toobs. The increase in energy required is logarithmic, not linear. Which means to make a wave twice as big takes eight times as much energy etc etc.

Or something like that, don’t quote me on the math.

What do you get for your ten grand, Kelly? You get to humiliate me in public.

Get a loudhailer, or get on the mike and heckle me live as I’m up and riding. It will very much be an enjoyable experience for you, I promise you. I will sign an NDA, promising never again to mention the Tub in any way, shape or form. Nothing. You get silence for life.

Ten grand. That’s pocket change, even for someone as notoriously short armed and deep pocketed as your self.

They are fighting a proposal to bulldoze bushland on floodplain in the heart of a “blue zone” to build a wavepool and enormous canal estate development in your name, which they call a “Trojan Horse for ill-conceived urban sprawl” , which must be “rejected outright”.

And the money?

I won’t even take a cent of it. I intend to donate the entire ten grand to a grassroots environmental organisation. A real one, not a second-rate Greenwasher.

Maybe you’ve heard of the Sunshine Coast Environment Council? They are the peak environmental advocacy group dedicated to protecting the beautiful Sunshine Coast. There are a lot of environmental threats there.

They are fighting a proposal to bulldoze bushland on floodplain in the heart of a “blue zone” to build a wavepool and enormous canal estate development in your name, which they call a “Trojan Horse for ill-conceived urban sprawl” , which must be “rejected outright”.

So what do you say Kelly?

I know you are reading this.

Ten grand won’t get your soul back but it will be one less annoying mosquito to have to respond to, and we know that keeps you up at night.


Breaking: 3000-year-old shark attack victim, world’s oldest, discovered in birthplace of Olympic surfing Japan!

"There were so many tooth marks all over the skeleton that the attack must have lasted for some time."

This year’s staging of the XXXII Olympic Games has been nothing if not easy. Host nation Japan has had to battle Covid-19, a less-than-happy population, staggering costs, nightmarish logistical challenges, a year’s delay and no way to call the whole thing off.

Surfing, which will make its grand debut, seems particularly snakebit with many injuries, Kelly Slater recently declaring that competition could happen in “lake-flat conditions” since the governing bodies chose not to hold the event in his eponymous tank and now the discovery of the world’s oldest shark attack victim.

Surfer?

It cannot be ruled out.

The body was found by Oxford scientists all the way across Honshu island from Tsurigasaki, where Olympic surfing will take place.

Researchers told CNN, “We were initially flummoxed by what could have caused at least 790 deep, serrated injuries to this man. There were so many injuries and yet he was buried in the community burial ground, the Tsukumo Shell-mound cemetery site. Through a process of elimination, we ruled out human conflict and more commonly-reported animal predators or scavengers.”

Which left either the mighty Great White or extra-vicious Tiger.

After mapping his wounds and creating a 3D model of his skeleton, it was concluded that the man was still alive at the time of the attack.

“We suspect that the man was probably out fishing with some companions in the Inland Seto Sea in southern Japan. They could have been fishing from a boat, or diving for shellfish. Perhaps they were even hunting sharks, as shark teeth are sometimes found in Jōmon archaeological sites. One or more sharks — we suspect one but can’t be certain about that — attacked the man either while he was already in the water, or perhaps he lost his balance and fell, or was pulled overboard if the shark was on a fishing line — this would not have been a small shark. There were so many tooth marks all over the skeleton that the attack must have lasted for some time.”

Will the brutal, lengthy and likely very painful strike be weighing in on the minds of Olympic-bound surfers as they ready to paddle into the nature Kelly Slater warned about?

How could it not be.


"The insane passions of men!"

Enhanced Audio: Listen to explicit hot mic conversation captured during WSL’s live stream at Surf Ranch Pro, “I’m horny, you’re horny… Open your mouth…ass play… suck your dick… stick a finger in…oh no!”

A marathon of lust-making.

Three days ago,  an epic finals day at the Surf Ranch Pro, won not unexpectedly by Filipe Toledo, was overshadowed by a “shockingly naughty, extremely explicit hot microphone controversy”, unidentified men blasting the event with their full sexual force.

Any hole, any pit, the souped-up pent-up voltage of cocks ready to spring!

The sound, faint, muffled, hidden further by background noise, featured a behind-the-scenes locker-room conversation revolving around various sexual adventures, artificial phalluses absent sadly, and when one man conjures up the apparition of a monster (digital exploration administered woman to man) there is much panic. 

This version, cleaned up by a noted music producer, still ain’t the clearest, but do listen, headphones with volume up, to see what little pleasures you might find among the insane passions of men.


DH, king of the no-fins program. | Photo: Andrew Kidman/Beyond Litmus

Surfing’s Greatest Influencer releases capsule of epoch-defining surfboards, “Hybrids disgust me. Modern surfing is a cop-out of how we make things easy, easier, easier still. They ruin the soul of the art form.”

VALS encouraged not to apply… 

Necessity may be the mother of all invention, but when it comes to re-invention, Derek Hynd is daddy.

Hynd has worn so many hats over the last five decades it can be hard to keep up.

Competitor. Writer. Coach. Contest director. Administrator. Free friction advocate.

He is a field of constant motion. A spinning maelstrom of progression.

Chaotic? Yeah.

But look deep enough into the chaos and common threads will appear.

The latest iteration: Hynd, the surfboard shaper.

Launching 4/3/21 HyndLine.com will be offering a series of thirty hand-shaped board models – or codes – representing 30 years of his surfing progression from 1973-2003.

Ten boards being shaped per code. Designs from the likes of the Campbell brothers, Terry Fitz, Tom Parrish, Skip Frye, to name but a few. All re-shaped by Hynd.

Three hundred in total. Bit over two thousand Australian dollars each.

Hynd’s career on fins, as surfed.

But here’s the rub: all boards will be re-produced as they were shaped at the time. No modern-day tweaks or concessions. Faithful reproductions intended to be ridden warts and all.

It’s certainly not selling itself to the modern surf dilettante, so used to forgiving all-rounders and easy riders.But according to Hynd, that’s the point.

“These boards are true to form and mostly require learning and acceptance because most of these boards aren’t dead easy pieces of sponge cake to jump,” says Hynd. “This is the way I’ve always appreciated it, and the way most modern surfers do not like it.”

It may seem like a swerve on a straight track. Who cares if Joe Blogs wants an easy-rider for his weekend rip?

As with all of Hynd’s projects, HyndLine is part of an organic yet linear narrative, both in his own evolution as a surfer, and in his commentary on the current state of things.

“Hybrids, particularly Fish hybrids, disgust me. Modern surfing is a cop-out of how we make things easy, easier, easier still. Hybrid boards do this. They ruin the soul of the art form. Moves to soft rails to leg ropes to grip pad to tail blocks to easy rider rockers, likewise.”

Hynd traces this softening way back to the literal anchor of modern-day surfing: the fin.

“Tom Blake’s first skeg was pure surfing’s loss,. the advent of surfing’s Americana, how to make things easier despite the nuances of difficulty and challenges of mastery, which had left surfing for a few thousand years justifiably unique to human pursuits. It did not need to be dumbed down.”

It’s a perspective that puts the apparent militance of Hynd’s initial finless response into frame.

“This is my seventeenth year of riding nothing but free friction. I still feel the speed, still get a thrill. The reason for getting into it in the first place had a lot to do with getting as far away from predictable board design (as possible).”

HyndLine is the next step.

“I’m now going the other way, to tap what I knew so well before the easier toys took hold. Give me errors any day and sketchy moments going with it, but give me something to work out.”

Hynd has the knowledge. He’s lived through every major design progression since the early 1970s. Ridden most of them, too.

“I never sat pat on a design,” says Hynd. “Once through the tour and getting serious about J-Bay I had enough nous to tune into boards left to me by other people and purpose new ones. I’m getting way back to progress my surfing. Many a lost flash sits back there.”

This is the heart of Hynd’s agitations.

The common thread running through his many guises. Using the past to inform the future. Whether its competitive formats or board design, many of the questions we grapple with today have already been answered in some form, if only we’d look.

“Anyone spouting crap about Now being better than Then for design hasn’t factored in Impossibles doubling up from six-to-eight feet with a Parrish 8’2″ under your feet. The way it pivoted off the bottom then stalled into a fin drift in the pocket, slipping down onto the foam ball, then biting into a locked in groove…I’ve never felt so peaceful in a heavy situation.”

That extreme specificity to a particular moment is the common thread you will find in these designs, which will range in size from 4’10″ to 11’1″.

“Every one of these HyndLine boards hinged on something unique. I know surfers under fifty go hard on modernity being king, but remember something. Simon sacrificed his master tube work, notably on the backhand with the hook into layback, when he invented The Thruster. And then there’s MP weaving, freight training with peerless jitterbug precision, TF soul arching, MR and GT laying it over off the bottom, Cheyne at sixteen snap stalling into pits the likes of which have never been seen again, Richo doing it all at Black Rock on his channels, Kong the boy monster rewiring the works, Mikey Meyer gun riding at any size J-Bay, with way better line than any modern surfer. Why go back?”

It’s the ascetic quirks of the designs that most excite Hynd.

“When it comes down to it the difficulty factor in wiring a board is the best thing for me. The eleven-footer that Rich Pavel did to my instructions, ironing board, late 1950s elephant gun outline but with a tight swallow, was impossible to ride at the start, until I changed my thinking. It’s been my go-to board for over twenty years, first with fins, then without. Hilarious.”

Hynd is cagey on the detail of the remaining 29 codes though he has them all sketched out. And like any good shaper he will be testing the craft. Which also means, for the first time in seventeen years, the fins will be going back in.

“I’m still only free friction, but not for long. One of every ten boards made for every year will be sold with dirty wax.”

HyndLine isn’t just an altruistic gesture to the surfing world. The boards ain’t cheap. Daddy’s gotta eat. But a portion of each code’s sale will be going to the original shaper.

It’s a fitting homage to the forward thinkers of the board design universe.
Mitchell Rae. Rod Dahlberg. Greg Webber. Roger Erickson. Bruce McKee. Col Smith. Again, to name but a few.

And while it’s never going to have mainstream appeal,the conversations that it should start around board design will be of value to the surfing world at large.

“Why HyndLine? I guess the historical record, knowledge, is the impetus. Bringing what I knew then right up to what I know now is reason enough. Delivering non modified true boards to anyone interested in journeying with me seems worthy enough, be it one person or a ton.”


Photo: Steve Sherman/@tsherms

Legendary Kelly Slater opens up about surfing’s Olympic debut, John John Florence injury, in candid interview: “I’m from Florida but I don’t necessarily feel like an American. I feel like I came from the Earth.”

"I think there is a good case to be made that you should take the top 10 in the world wherever they are from and then figure out the teams.”

For all of Kelly Slater’s many foibles and personality quirks, often dissected then put on display here, one phenomenal thing about him is his candidness. The 11x World Champion, arguably greatest surfer ever, is not prone to sugar coating or wall of positive noising.

When asked, he will answer and answer what he really thinks.

San Jose’s Mercury News sat down Slater, during the just wrapped Surf Ranch Pro and mined some gems.

On making it to the Olympics via John John Florence or Kolohe Andino injury:

“I don’t want to make it that way. But if that is what it is I’ll take my spot.”

On the current state of Florence’s knee:

“(I saw him paddle boarding and he wasn’t kicking with his knee) so it makes me think he is in pain or really, really protecting it just to be careful. It’s going to be up to him to decide but he is going to be really susceptible to injury again.”

On the Olympic selection process:

“I literally missed making the Olympics by one wave, by one heat. If I had won one more heat from the whole year I would have made the team.” (And in reaction to Filipe Toledo not being on the Brazil Olympic team) “They couldn’t make a little more room for clearly the best guys. I think there is a good case to be made that you should take the top 10 in the world wherever they are from and then figure out the teams.”

On the quality of surf in Japan:

“That time of the year it literally could go lake-flat for a week. That could be much more harmful to our sport than helpful. If guys can’t speed up and do aerials and do the good standard of surfing that we have it’s just going to be a non-event really.”

On which country he would compete for, ideally:

“I’m from Florida but I don’t necessarily feel like an American. I feel like I came from the Earth.”

Team Earth for the win.

Enjoy the rest of the piece with cameo from World Surf League CEO Erik Logan here.