Jeff Bezos organ The Washington Post describes Olympic surfing with never-before-seen flourish: “It’s big enough for her to barrel – riding through a cascading tunnel of water!”

Get barrel.

I watched the Tokyo Olympic opening ceremony, this morning, and thrilled at the pomp, the circumstance, the gorgeous tinged with melancholy performance. Empty seats, apocalyptic overtones but gorgeous because of more than in spite of.

As much frustration as there is in Japan, over hosting an international spectacle in the teeth of pandemic, the proud island nation owned the moment and none other could do it better so here we are. Surfing’s grand Olympic debut set against a rich backdrop it may not even deserve.

There is much interest in our Sport of Kings and Jeff Bezos organ, The Washington Post, is here to explain the nuances, the li’l bits. In an interactive feature titled S U R F I N G, the Post uses Florida’s Caroline Marks as proxy. Shall we read one nib?

It’s big enough for her to barrel – riding through a cascading tunnel of water – but also easy to navigate, allowing Marks to build speed and use the wave lip like a ramp, launching her and her board into the air for twirling tricks. The mere idea of this mythical wave makes her smile.

I’ve made it part of my life’s work to make the world “barrel” a verb, as it relates to surfing, and you don’t know how proud I am at this moment.

This isn’t about me, though, it’s about all of us and we should, each and every one, keep scrap books of our favorite grand Olympic debut moments.

Let’s barrel.

Wresting “mantle of cool” back from equestrian showjumping, Olympic surfers “gleeful” about approaching destructive typhoon!

And we're back.

World media was shocked, days ago, when it was revealed that an Australian Olympic equestrian showjumper would be forbidden from attending the Tokyo Games after testing positive for cocaine thereby ceding the “mantle of rebelliousness” from heretofore derelict surfers.

Victoria’s Jamie Kermond declared the result came from “a single use of the drug” and was very remorseful but the damage was done.

Kermond, pictured, throwing shakas and grabbing surfing's cool. (Courtesy Facebook)
Kermond, pictured, throwing shakas and grabbing surfing’s cool. (Courtesy Facebook)

Surfers, now cast as “goodie-two-shoes” and “mamas-children,” reeled and none more than Australia’s Irukandjis whose motto remains “Deadly in the Water™.”

Hours ahead of surfing’s grand Olympic debut, though, surfers are attempting to wrest pronouns like “thoughtless” and “irresponsible” back from showjumpers by greeting a potential destructive hurricane with wanton joy.

As reported by Reuters:

Japanese residents may be worried about the prospect of a typhoon forming off the coast next week, but the surfers taking part in the Olympic Games are welcoming the possibility of some big waves with open arms.

Reports of a possible typhoon off the coast were greeted with glee by some competitors. “It’s small but there is swell on the way! Let’s go,” wrote Australian surfer Owen Wright on Instagram following his first practice session at Tsurigasaki Surf Beach, where competition begins on Sunday.

No matter how rough the weather gets, New Zealander Ella Williams said competitors would take it as it comes.

“We’re prepared for that, we’ve been preparing for a while. It brought us here and we’ll be fine,” she said.

And we are back.

Laz Page, right, hot-tubbing in the early Google days with Sergey Brin.

Google founder and world’s sixth wealthiest man Larry Page riding out COVID pandemic at Fijian surf resorts Tavarua and Namotu; local sources report use of “traditional and electronic surfboards!”

"Escape the pandemic to paradise," Fijian government tells billionaires.

Google co-founder and surf enthusiast Larry Page, net worth $117 billion, is reported to be hunkered down in Fiji’s Mamanuca archipelago, switching between Tavarua and Namoutu islands, both of which he is rumoured to now own.

You’ll know Namotu from the Cloudbreak contests.

It’s smaller than Tavarua but cuter and with better joints to sleep in. It was also home, prior to the Page sale, to the twelve-shot cocktail, the Skulldragger, and hence very popular with Australians, Americans preferring the tennis courts and light beers of Tavarua. 

Namotu’s former owner, Scotty O’Connor, a pro windsurfer from Sydney’s northern beaches picked up the island for $224,000 in 1994; the sale price, one suspects, was considerably more. 

In a blog post last August, Italian sailor Lorenzo Cipriani wrote, 

The government are promoting a campaign welcoming those who have a lot of money to spend and are awaiting the arrival of hundreds of luxury yachts, who according to the slogan wish to, ‘escape the pandemic to paradise’.

To give an example, Larry Page, the founder of Google, bought the island of Namotu (just a few miles in front of us), and arrived there by private jet to spend three months on vacation with 30 of his staff. Whilst they are here, some local suppliers and tourism service agencies will work almost exclusively for them – escapees from the pandemic who have landed in paradise.

Sources report that Page and his wife, the scientist Lucinda Southworth, have been seen surfing on “traditional and electronic surfboards” near the country’s islands, and that “he’s good at it, too.”

Shock: Shark Week’s experts almost entirely “white or white-passing” and show uses mostly heteronormative pronouns in online biographies and during episodes, “There’s more guys named Mike than there are women!”

Representation matters!

Who don’t love a little Shark Week, Caged in Fear, Science of Shark Sex (“It’s violent!”), Island of the Mega Shark and so on?

Tits and ass for lovers of nature’s freaks, essentially.

Every episode is dressed up in environmental bona fides while winking at its audience, we know you came for the splatterfest… now watch this bloodthirsty leviathan launch itself thirty feet in the air with a seal in its jaws! Oowee!

“At its best, Shark Week educates people about the most misunderstood animals on our planet while inspiring them to protect the ocean. At its worst, it perpetuates fear and misunderstanding,” huffs Wired’s David Shiffman.

Now, a new shot across the bow of the much-loved show with the revelation that “93.7 percent of experts were perceived by coders as white or white-passing”,


“79 percent of hosts/experts use he/him/his pronouns in online biographies or during the show.”

Can you believe?

The matter was brought into relief recently by research scientist Dr David Shiffman (@WhySharksMatter) and Dr Linda Whitenack, a biology and geology professor.

Neither dig Shark Week.

In a harrowing long-form piece for Scientific American, Catherine Macdonald writes,

Women of color in shark science must deal with the intersecting effects of sexism and racism. Amani Webber-Schultz, a co-founder of MISS, shared that she chooses whom to work with carefully because, in the face of potentially violent racist threats, “I need to feel that whoever I am working for or with will have my back and stand up for me in situations where it is not safe for me to stand up for myself.” Alongside physical dangers exacerbated by race, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex, age and level of power, overwhelmingly white and male scientific spaces send unwelcoming signals to students about who “belongs” and who is likely to be given the chance to succeed in shark science.

All shocking and important, are you an ally or are you complicit etc.

Listen: World Surf League officially announces new format change on Instagram; breaks records, convention, by receiving exactly 0% support!

Historical first.

Human beings are strange creatures, each with a mind of her own, decision-making facilities untethered from self-preservation, common sense, the greater good. The heart wants what the heart wants even if what the heart wants is absolute nonsense etc.

Thus, it is completely understandable to find a small cadre of human beings supporting the most utterly bizarre platforms. Cannibalism, for example, is supported by .9% of the population. Kelly Slater’s new cryptocurrency by .9%.

The World Surf League’s new one day champion crowning contest at Lower Trestles?

An unheard of 0% support.

Cannibals and Kelly Kryptos in agreement with you and me.

The WSL, misguidedly, posted the official format to Instagram, days ago, and the comments flowed.

100% against.

It’s worth a scroll through the comments and very funny but, my goodness, I have never witnessed anything like this, though I imagine this is exactly for what the Wall of Positive Noise™ was built. I’d imagine WSL CEO Erik Logan, in his high Santa Monica Tower, thinks that the unwashed surf masses have no idea what they want and when Filipe Toledo beats Gabriel Medina for the title that the unwashed surf masses will cheer like yokels because they will have forgotten Medina’s year-long dominance and embrace Toledo’s air reverse over the cobbled stone.

Will we?

I don’t know but I’m definitely watching The Ultimate Surfer also starring Kelly Krypto.

David Lee and I, anyhow, discuss the World Shame League, Battle of the Personal Brands, hawks killing pigeons and county fairs.


Who even knows anymore.