Pictured left to right: White, Hawk. Kelly Slater in middle of back seat.
Pictured left to right: White, Hawk. Kelly Slater in middle of back seat.

Kelly Slater, Shaun White, Tony Hawk announced as presenters for the 2022 Academy Awards causing much consternation amongst serious film critics: “What is going on with the Oscars this year?”

The world’s greatest surfer, greatest Olympic halfpipe snowboarder and great X-Games halfpipe skateboarder were, moments ago, announced as the newest presenters at the 2022 Academy Awards.

Kelly Slater, Shaun White and Tony Hawk will be joining DJ Khaled, Sean “Puffy” Combs and Elliot Page on the gilded stage of the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California in order to hand little naked male statues to film, acting, sound production etc. winners.

While the extreme sporting world celebrates the recognition, serious film critics are confused and frustrated by the seeming non sequitur. The New York Times pop culture reporter demanded to know, “What is going on with the Oscar presenters this year?”

Others felt the gravitas of film was being purposefully and routinely disrespected with an Esquire writer declaring, “The action sport community has in it the biggest concentration of alarmists, cranks and extremists this side of the giggle house.”

Whatever the case, you can watch Slater, White and Hawk participate in a game of Carpool Karaoke together here.

Does Slater look sad to be in the backseat?

Tune in March 27th to see the trio shine. Maybe we Open Thread Comment Live?

Freelance writers, filmmakers, editors become latest victims of World Surf League content purge; Join previously expelled “WSL Studios” employees in Santa Monica’s swollen breadlines!

If a professional surfer hand jams in the woods but nobody sees it, does it make a sound?

News has trickled out from behind the World Surf League’s Positive Wall of Noise, over recent days, suggesting gloom and doom reign in Santa Monica. Wails and much gnashing of teeth. You will certainly recall one month ago when, overnight and without warning, the League detonated its much ballyhooed WSL Studios, axing tens of employees and abandoning the ambitious vision of ex-Oprah Winfrey executive Erik Logan to turn professional surfing into a media titan.

Films, television programs, viral YouTube hits.

The film Billy materialized. It was about Billy Kemper and maybe not very well-received. The television program Kelly Slater’s Ultimate Surfer also came to life. It was accepted with frowns and almost complete lack of audience.

And so the WSL Studios became no more but sources claim the bloodletting did not stop there as the League is cancelling any content initiatives whatsoever, sending freelance writers, filmmakers, editors to the same breadlines swollen by Studios employees and other hard-luck Harrys.

“Work has dried up,” one jettisoned writer told me while gnawing a moldy crust.

At time of writing, the World Surf League’s website appears to be functional though no telling how long Chief Strategy and Brand Officer Dave Prodan will be able to shoulder the entire load by interviewing Griffin Colapinto.

If, indeed, the WSL is out of the content game altogether, how will legions of would-be fans discover that it is their favorite thing to watch?

If a professional surfer hand jams in the woods but nobody sees it, does it make a sound?

More questions than answers.

Rumor: Brazilian stud and sitting World Champion Gabriel Medina to possibly make 2022 season debut at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach!

Ring that thing.

Tea leaves are tea leaves, difficult to read, open to interpretation, necessitate an old Chinese woman etc. Difficult to say, for certain, what the future holds by looking at the bottom of a demitasse. The World Surf League’s Fantasy Surfer app, on the other hand, is the World Surf League’s Fantasy Surfer app and tells, clearly and definitively, which professional surfers will be surfing the upcoming contest.

The next one on the calendar happens to be the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach there rimming Torquay, Australia.

The sitting WSL champion and Brazilian stud Gabriel Medina is available for choosing.

Medina, who declared that he was going to take some me time following his dominant 2021 season, made good on that promise by not coming to Hawaii, staying in his home country while his personal life seemed to unravel somewhat. Messy tabloid divorce, bizarre sex tape claims etc.

He was not available to fantasizers for either the Billabong Pipeline Pro nor the Hurley Pro Sunset.

Available, again though, for the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.

Do you think he is done with self care and ready to report for duty once more?

Has scanned the horizon and seen Kanoa Igarashi, Kelly Slater and Barron Mamiya as one, two and three?

Is there a “performance bonus” as part of his Rip Curl contract too juicy to pass up?

An expensive boat he has in his sights that would be absolutely perfect for evening floats with best friend Neymar Jr.?

More questions than answers.

Hello and welcome to Kelly Slater's The Surf Ranch!

Surfline Man goes to Surf Ranch, “The closer he gets to Lemoore, the more anxiety he feels. No amount of singing along to Jack Johnson can make him feel better!”

Surfline Man is certain that a terrible surfing disaster awaits him.

When we last saw him, Surfline Man had just received an invitation to surf the world’s most perfect wave. That’s right, Surfline Man is going to Surf Ranch and he can’t even believe it.

Surfline Man is pretty sure he is the luckiest kid in the whole world right now. 

The invite to Surf Ranch came from Trey, the former VP of Marketing and Sales at Elevate!, the start-up where Surfline Man tried to win capitalism. 

Of course, the startup failed and Surfline Man did not win capitalism. 

But he did find surfing, so that we all could win. 

Trey is not Surfline Man’s favorite person ever and Surfline Man is totally over that whole phony tech scene. 

But if Surfline Man is honest, and most of the time he is, he will admit he would pretend to like just about anyone to go to Surf Ranch. 

For the past month, Surfline Man has prepared meticulously for his big trip. Surfline Man is feeling so much pressure right now. He simply must surf better than Trey and the other tech bros. It’s like, so essential to his sense of self and important stuff like that. Surfline Man is so good at surfing now. 

He just has to prove it. 

Ahead of his big day, Surfline Man has been working out super hard. Abs, he really must have good abs. They help with surfing so much! Surfline Man isn’t sure exactly how good abs will help him, but he’s pretty sure he read something about it on the internet once. 

Surfline Man has been working his very hardest, and if he doesn’t quite have six-pack abs, he is not about to admit it. The abs on those magazine covers at Whole Foods are definitely photoshopped, anyway. Surfline Man is sure of it. There are just so many lies in the world. It’s hard to keep track of them all. 

Surfline Man has also spent way too much time obsessing about his board choices. He has learned that some of the very best pros surf epoxy boards at Surf Ranch. It seems there’s something about fresh water and less buoyancy and stuff. Surfboards can get so confusing so quickly. It’s just so overwhelming!

Surfline Man has zero regrets about the Pyzel Ghost he impetuously bought. But he’s thinking maybe he should have some options. 

And, let’s be real. 

How fucking rad will he look rocking up to the Ranch with a quiver of boards under his arm. Very fucking rad. This is very important what with the tech bros and the vibes. Surfline Man is determined to look so pro. 

Then, suddenly it’s time to go. 

Surfline Man packs his Sprinter with the most care ever. Just the essentials! Fresh avocados. Organic bread. A box of GoMacro bars. Emergency organic mac ’n’ cheese. Yeti soft cooler full of his favorite Kamboucha. Rinse kit. A stack of freshly washed towels. Surfline Man always buys organic towels. So good for the environment! New organic blanket. Perfect for bringing the beach vibes!

Surfline Man agonizes over his wetsuit selection. 

He’s pretty sure his 4/3 makes him look fat, but he’d hate to be too cold to surf awesome. And Surfline Man really wants to surf awesome. Better take one of everything, he figures. Maybe he’ll get lucky and it’ll be warm. Surfline Man always feels fabulous in his Patagonia long john. His shoulders look so super jacked. 

Board choice. OMG, the pressure! 

Surfline Man went to, like, three different shops and couldn’t find any epoxy surfboards. Another one of those supply chain things or something. Surfline Man has decided the internet is totally lying to him and he doesn’t need a stupid epoxy board anyway. He’s certain he’ll be just fine. 

Still, Surfline Man bought two more boards. Surfboards! How could he possibly resist? He just loves them so much. 

Surfline Man carefully slides his Pyzel Ghost, his CI Happy, and his CI Happy Everyday into his van. With the whole tech bro reunion and the nerves of surfing the world’s most perfect wave, Surfline Man feels like he needs all the Happy he can get. 

Then he adds his red fish from Mike the Shaper. Surfline Man is pretty sure he is not going to ride his red fish that Mike the Shaper made just for him at the Surf Ranch, but he feels certain that it adds to his cred. 

Surfline Man is pretty sure none of the tech bros have a perfect custom, hand-made board. Also, the resin tint looks so sweet. 

It would be so much more pro if all Surfline Man’s boards were the same brand. But Surfline Man is determined not to let his mismatched quiver and not-quite-visible abs keep him up at night. 

Life is imperfect. A man can only do the best he can. 

Driving north on the 5, Surfline Man begins the long climb up the Grapevine. Just past Gorman, he stops at the Flying J and fills his Yeti mug with fresh coffee. The donuts look so good, but mindful of his hard-won abs, Surfline Man regretfully skips the pastry case. He tops off the gas tank on the Sprinter and rolls out. It would be super bad to be late. 

Sprinter van swaying like a ship at sea through the corners, Surfline Man descends into the Central Valley flatlands. He read somewhere that the Valley runs slightly uphill from south to north. But he can’t even tell. Probably another lie. Surfline Man feels a moment of indecision at junction of the 5 and the 99. The 5. He wants the 5.

Surfline Man is getting so close now. 

As he swoops through exit to the Kettleman City, the nerves take hold for real. His hands sweat on the steering wheel. He’s pretty sure his organic tee totally has armpit stains right now. Ugh. 

The closer Surfline Man gets to Lemoore, the more anxiety he feels. No amount of singing along to Jack Johnson can make him feel better. Surfline Man is totally afraid he’s going to fall on his face or miss the barrel or cut himself on his fins. 

Surfline Man is certain that a terrible surfing disaster awaits him. For sure, all the bros are totally going to laugh at him. He should have brought some of those CBD gummies or something. In a haze of anxiety, Surfline Man nearly misses his turn. 

Then he’s there. 

Surfline Man is at the gate. Surf Ranch! 

He stretches his super toned arm through the window the Sprinter and punches the button on the intercom. A metallic voice asks for his name. Surfline Man is so excited he can barely remember. 

Trent, he blurts. 

Slowly, the gates swing open.

Maya rules the big waves!

British academic claims women’s surfing “exists as a category because the dominance of men athletes was threatened by women competing”!

“Women are crushing big-wave surfing… ”

A British academic has lit up Twitter with her posit that men and women are separated in sport only because men are terrified they gonna get beaten by the gals. 

Posted a few days ago, Dr Sheree Bekker’s twenty-part Twitter thread has snowballed 2130 comments, 18.1k retweets and 43.3k likes, ok by Instagram metrics, phenomenal on Twitter. 

Click here to read the whole thing, but here are the main points, edited et.

On the history of (the segregation of) women’s sport

I have been hearing more and more frequently the narrative that women’s sport apparently exists as a ‘protected category’ so that women can win (because on this account no woman will ever win again without this protected category).


a) is not the reason why women’s sport exists as a category, and

b) it is not true that no woman will ever win again.

This narrative is also profoundly paternalistic and keeps women small.

I wanted to unpack this a little:

A. It is important to know that women’s sport exists as a category because the dominance of men was threatened by women competing.

We see this over and over again in the history of sport:

Women’s inclusion was on the terms of those in power. They didn’t want women ‘taking opportunities’ away from men so they segregated women.

It was never about a benevolent (still sexist) aim of supposedly ‘giving women a chance to win’.

It was about control.

And the narrative (B) about women being inherently physically inferior to men?

Concocted as a reason to segregate us without threatening masculinity.

There are once again greater fears here that women may start to challenge men’s dominance more broadly.

Indeed we are already starting to see this:

Exhibit B2: women are crushing big wave surfing (in 2020 Maya Gabeira surfed the biggest wave of the year in a record-breaking feat, Maggie Mertens explains here why you wouldn’t have heard about her feat).

Sport isn’t inherently gendered. We manufacture strict binary gendered differences, and then we naturalise them. Understanding and interrogating this helps us to understand the panic and fearmongering around women’s sport right now, and where we might go next.

I’m on the side of Bekker, as you might imagine.

Two months ago, I gave hell to the WSL when it refused to throw the best girl surfers in the world at epic Pipe. 

Proof, I  believed, that the chauvinism so rightly hit with the spotlight in Girls Can’t Surf hasn’t gone anywhere; that when the waves are perfect, the girls are given the revoltingly slimy end of the stick, so to speak. 

“It was a fucking joke and a disgrace to all equality in sports pushes ever,” one top female pro told me.

The opposing argument is that female dominance over men is a fantasy, proponents pointing to the sudden rise of Lia Thomas in women’s college swimming and to the time a has-been German tennis pro, rated 203, smashed hell out of teen superstars Serena and Venus Williams, back to back. 

Where do you stand?