Owen Wright (right) becoming comforted.
Owen Wright (right) becoming comforted.

Saint Sally Fitzgibbons falls to eventual champion Caitlin Simmers in semifinals of Boost Mobile Pro as mainstream media turns attention to plight of Owen Wright: “It is undignified and beyond comprehension that a man of his stature, an Olympian no less, should be treated so barbarously!”

Save Owen!

It has been quite a week for professional surfing, maybe the most attention paid to our little corner of children who can’t read good by outsiders since 1976, but wow. Quite a week. It all got underway with the official release of Make or Break, a television show that might just may transform professional surfing into a sport watched by more than just thirty middle-aged men. Then came Margaret River and its mid-year cut. Possibly spurned on by the aforementioned Make or Break, mainstream media came swooping right down on the plan, decrying it as “brutal” and “thuggish” especially after surf darling Sally Fitzgibbons was marched to the guillotine and beheaded.

World Surf League CEO, Erik Logan, sensing a potential enraged public, opened up his shit hose full and sprayed The Guardian with, “The redesign has been met by the industry and fans with genuine excitement and we are already seeing significant increases in engagement and viewership. In redesigning the tours and competition framework, we focused on optimising the competition structures to create a dynamic, compelling and long-term sustainable format to compliment the incredible talents of the world’s best surfers. The mid-season cut is a cornerstone of the new framework and allows us to ensure that post-cut events can run in one optimal swell cycle, create a dynamic season-long narrative and drive fan engagement – all of which allow us to drive more revenue so we can continue to invest in the platform of the world’s best surfing.”

But alas, mainstream media followed the headless ex-championship tour surfers to Coolangatta wherein they were forced to compete alongside Adrian Buchan and Chelsea Tuach at the “challenger series” opener Boost Mobile Gold Coast Pro.

Well, Saint Sally inspired with news coming out yesterday that she would be given the “first half of the season” wildcard for the 2023 campaign and also making it into the semifinals where she lost to eventual champion Caitlin Simmers. Mainstream media, mollified there, turned its attention to poor Owen Wright, who, like Fitzgibbons, was decapitated at Margaret River but, unlike her, performed poorly at Snapper, bowing out in the round of 48.

Wright, also, was given no wildcards injury or otherwise.

Fox Sports declared Wright was “Brutally snubbed.”

Yahoo! Sports beat the drum of “unfairness.”

The Washington Post would have added, “It is undignified and beyond comprehension that a man of his stature, an Olympian no less, should be treated so barbarously” if it was not solely focused on covering the Trump presidency.

Logan is yet to respond.

But will this growing chorus provide wings for the Olympic bronze medalist like it did his countrywoman Sally Fitzgibbons? Will we see a tan, rested and ready Owen Wright ahead of 2023 ready to climb back to the top?

Also, does Rip Curl now sponsor 100% of professional surfers?

More questions that answers.

Quiksilver partners with troubled streaming giant Netflix, releases eighties-themed “Stranger Things” capsule, “A hot delivery of Surfer Boy!”

And releases spooky movie starring Mikey Wright and one-time world #1 Kanoa Igarashi!

Several years ago, on a warmish fall day in San Francisco, BeachGrit arrived in the famous port city to interview and film American musical act Metallica for a collaboration with surf co Billabong.

In a back room, I asked the band’s singer James Hetfield, a considerable man whose cowboy hat and high-heeled boots elevated him well above his interlocutor, if he had a private jet.

“No! Do you?” he said, apparently unaware of our comparative net worths.

Anyway, we had a lovely time, made some movies etc and Billabong shifted their Metallica themed merch.

Now, and in a similarly eighties bent, Billabong’s stablemate at Boarders Inc, Quiksilver, is releasing a series of Stranger Things capsules.

The first launches on May 20 and is called 1986.

One week later, along with the release of the fourth season of Stranger Things, Quiksilver reveals the Cast Wardrobe, Surfer Boy Pizza, Lenora Hills Surf Club and Hellfire Surf Club collections.

Stranger Things and Quiksilver ain’t a bad fit.

Quiksilver peaked design-wise in the nineteen eighties, Echo Beach, Warpaint and so on, the company changing tack when it discovered it was bland the people actually wanted.

The Stranger Things collab revives classic old styles from the ’86 and ’87 archives.

“I hope the clothes will resonate with a younger audience who is inspired by the fashions back then and be a friendly reminder to the stylish viewers who followed fashion in the ’80s,” Stranger Things’ costume designer Amy Parris, said.

If y’haven’t watched, Stranger Things follows the travails of a bunch of kids in mid-west America in the eighties whose town has been swallowed by demonic forces, government-fuelled, of course.

Horror-lite, the sorta thing I can handle without it interrupting my important sleeping hours.

To celebrate, Mikey Wright and the, briefly, world number one Kanoa Igarashi, star in a short film along with some other people I don’t know so well.

Steamy live chat, comment in real time as Boost Mobile Gold Coast Pro promises to deliver second-tier champions on final’s day!

Connor Coffin, St. Sally Fitzgibbons and more!

Extreme endeavor brand Roark releases gallery-worthy hardcover “Adventure Atlas” featuring stunning images from world’s greatest photographers, words from iconic writers!

Home improvement.

No proper home is complete without a fine coffee table and no fine coffee table is complete without a large hardcover’d book with glossy pages and colorful pictures resting on its surface. The publisher Taschen is known for printing such books but my persona favorite is the Italian house Rizzoli which just so happened to release the one you need today.

Roaming: Roark’s Adventure Alas is, truly, a work of art. The overall conceit is to “document the routes of a group of iconic surfers, and other adventurers seeking full cultural and thrill-seeking immersion” and includes “journeys to 16 global destinations illustrating the road less traveled, from surf expeditions to Iceland, the Falkland Islands, or Jamaica, to motorcycle journeys through Nepal, rock climbing in Argentina to cliff jumping in Northern Vietnam, and more.”

These traipses are, each, written up beautifully by Roark’s CEO Ryan Hitzel, onetime Surfing Magazine editor Beau Flemister and Roark’s designer Ryan Sirianni and photographed by the best to ever do it including Chris Burkhard, Dylan Gordon and Jeff Johnston.

Flipping through, you will be inspired to slam your laptop screen down and get out amongst it. To live like the pirate you once dreamed of being before that song got scuttled or at least to invite a slapping at a surf trade show.

Adventure awaits.

Buy here.

St. Sally.
St. Sally.

World Surf League slaps grieving public in face, awards rest-of-season wildcard to almost-forgotten phenom Caroline Marks over iconic symbol of the oppressed “Saint” Sally Fitzgibbons!

Can't win for losing.

If one thing has been made abundantly clear over these past seven years, it is that the World Surf League can’t win for losing. Since taking over the Association of Surfing Professionals in 2015 and branding itself “since 1976,” billionaire Dirk Ziff has preceded over a running comedy that would make Jerry Lewis jealous. From hirings to firings, unboxing videos to Ultimate Surfers, there have been many, many laughs directed Santa Monica’s way.

Well, it appeared as if the breakout success of Apple Television’s new “Make or Break” was all set to change the narrative, with mainstream media paying very much attention all leading up to the “mid-year cut.”

Oh how august publications like The Guardian and Yahoo! Sports bit straight into that juicy narrative, wailing and gnashing teeth on behalf of a grieving public when surf darling Sally Fitzgibbons was brutally guillotined, dreams dashed etc.

Saint Sally became an icon for the oppressed everywhere and the World Surf League could have buoyed war widows in Ukraine to down-in-the-dumps Johnny Depp fans by showing mercy and allowing Fitzgibbons to come back to the warm embrace of the Championship Tour but no.

The “rest of the season” wildcard has just been handed to almost-forgotten phenomenon Caroline Marks, though Saint Sally gets it for the beginning of next year right in time for nobody to care.

Per the press release:

Caroline Marks (USA) has been awarded the women’s 2022 WSL season wildcard, which gives her entry into Championship Tour (CT) events following the Mid-season Cut and entry into the first half of the 2023 CT season. The men’s 2022 WSL season wildcard was awarded to Gabriel Medina (BRA). Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) and Yago Dora (BRA) have been awarded the 2023 WSL season wildcards, which give entry to all competitions in the first half of the 2023 CT season.

As the WSL season wildcard for the remaining CT competitions following the cut, Marks’ points will be eligible for the WSL Final 5 rankings, where the Top 5 surfers on the men’s and women’s CT will compete in the Rip Curl WSL Finals to compete for the 2022 World Title. The same rules will apply to Medina’s competition eligibility as the men’s 2022 WSL season wildcard.

It goes on to say that Marks “withdrew from competition following the Billabong Pro Pipeline for medical reasons” but nothing more, the League perpetually enjoying much mystery.

Very big congratulations to her, in any case, but also to the WSL for continuing to fumble, bumble, stumble.

Laughs for days!