Do you know where this wave is?
Do you know where this wave is?

European news service breaks number one rule in surfing, commits cardinal sin by outing secret location of heavily localized wave!

Heads will roll.

There are a good handful of rules in surfing that we, on the inside, know and generally respect. Person closest to the peak has priority (unless the person not as close to the peak has been surfing the spot for fifty-plus years then he or she is allowed to drop in and also throw board rocks), don’t paddle out at a new spot with more than two Brazilians in tow, ride each wave all the way to the beach and throw a shaka when fins hit the sand etc. but none is as precious as NOT outing the location of secret waves.

Breaking that rule is to commit surfing’s cardinal sin and, thus, surfers around the world woke this morning, mouths agape, to the revelation that, a major French television, radio station and internet news service, not only outed a wave but provided detailed directions on how to get there.

The headline of the story screamed, “This secret surf spot 15,000km from Paris is hosting part of the 2024 Olympic Games” and, once clicked upon, read:

The next Olympic games will take place in Paris in 2024. However, it’s just been announced that the surfing competitions are going to take place a little further away from the French capital than you might expect…

15,716 kilometres away to be precise, in the village of Teahupo’o on the island of Tahiti in French Polynesia.

It’s around a 20 hour flight to Papeete, the island’s capital. After that visitors need to cross through the rural areas of Tahiti’s jungle to get to the southern part of the island.

There in black and white, or white and black if you prefer the reverse screen on you phone/computer.

Teahupo’o which can be accessed by flying to Papeete then crossing through rural jungle to arrive south.

Like providing a map and putting a big X where the treasure is.

"X" not exact.
“X” not exact.

There is no telling how Teahupoo’s locals will react to this indignity but if they are anything like Lunada Bay’s Bay Boys, across the Pacific in California, things might get very dicey.

More as the story develops.

Five-to-seven-feet and offshore Teahupoo.

Surfline’s already cartoonish wave-size calls reach hitherto unseen levels of absurdity as “five-to-seven-feet and offshore” is deemed too flat to start Outerknown Tahiti Pro!

Don't believe your eyes!

This morning if you were to take Surfline, the preeminent surf forecaster and official partner of the WSL, at their word you would’ve predicted the door on the Outerknown Tahiti Pro, which has been on standby for the last four days, would’ve have been flung open.

According to the official Surfline forecast, and as published by the WSL, today’s surf is “five-to-seven feet, offshore.” 

If you’ve ever been to Teahupoo, you’l know that anything over four foot and the joint starts to light up, at least if the swell has a little west in it to kick the bowl into life. 

Five foot-plus polished by a light trade wind is the stuff of dreams, perfect, perhaps, to give the gals a taste of non-lethal Teahupoo

Yeah, wave size is a subjective thing, one man’s four foot is another man’s six, etc, but over the course of things we’re all roughly equal or within a twenty percent margin. 

Turn on Surfline’s cam at Teahupoo this morn and it’s two-foot, max.

Enough, barely, to propel an SUP or one of those fantastic pedalo devices that so thrilled spectators at Burleigh Heads last week. 

On Wednesday, Surfline  promises “ten-to-fifteen feet, offshore” which is, according to my accounting, one of those Code Reddish sorta swells, barely rideable monsters, wrangled by only a very few surfers such as Matahi Drollet and co.

Which raises the question, I think, what’s it gonna be when it hits?

Four foot? Six-foot?

Or something historic?

And, maybe most importantly, when are the gals gonna get a chance to shine?

New York's finest etc. | Photo: NY Times

See the insane moment New York cops wrestle and cuff a swimmer at Rockaway Beach for the crime of not surfing, “You should’ve brought a surfboard!”

“I’m not allowed to be in nature? In NATURE??”

Ain’t this a switcharoo. 

Surfers, long accustomed to being blackballed so swimmers can frolic unmolested and without fear of being decapitated during the hot summer months, watched, maybe a little confused, as a man was dragged off Rockaway Beach in cuffs for not surfing on Friday. 

Andres Velasquez, who is thirty-three, was having a little spritz in the warmish waters off the famous Queens neighbourhood when he heard a whistle and a phalanx of cops waiting for him on the sand. 

His crime?

Swimming in an area “designated solely for surfing and where swimming is always prohibited” and swimming after six pm.

A video posted by the New York Times finds the man shrieking, “I’m not allowed to be in nature? In NATURE??”

“Yessir,” chime the cops or New York City Parks Department patrol officers, if you wanna be precise. 

“Dude, I have friends that surf? It makes no sense,” says Velasquez. 

“Where’s your surfboard?” asks cop, wearing a fluoro snoot. 

“At the beach house!” 

“You should’ve brought your surfboard…” 

One of the chief lifeguards at the beach Janet Fash said the arrest was “kind of outrageous.” 

“I feel like what happened, it’s so wrong to do to someone,” Valasquez told the Times. “We’re just swimming at the beach, we’re swimming in a natural body of water.”

Watch here!

Jack Robinson (pictured) golden.
Jack Robinson (pictured) golden.

Iconic left-leaning British newspaper heralds return of “Golden Age of Australian Surfing” in form of towhead-to-dishwater blonde honey pots Ethan Ewing, Jack Robinson, Callum Robson!

Black blonde Connor O'Leary too!

Jingoism, in professional surfing, used to be very much part of the joy of watching, cheering. Australians, in my memory, made much better fun of Americans, who were slow and clumsy in understanding how to employ Cockney rhyming slang (see: Yank = Septic Tank = Seppo). South Africans were easy targets, French surfers easier, Brazilians the easiest of all.

Those days are gone, now, with only Brazilians, lonely on the World Surf League’s YouTube feed, shouting “WORLD SHAME LEAGUE” to each other in the side bar.

Posting green and gold emojis.

Well, iconic British newspaper The Guardian surprised its readers, yesterday, by heralding a return to “The Golden Age of Australian Surfing” in the form of Ethan Ewing, Jack Robinson, Callum Robson and Connor O’Leary. Surprised because the the hair color of the first three ranges from towhead to dishwater blonde, because we all now know that white masculinity has actually destroyed surfing and because any idea of a return to a “golden age” is generally colored caucasian.

At least Connor O’Leary, half-Japanese, held down the diversity, though he is still, at time of writing, male.

The Guardian, anyhow, exploded out of the gate:

Against a backdrop of successive eras of champions, the past few years have been a fallow season for Australian men’s surfing. For decades they were a dominant force on the World Surf League and its predecessor competitions. The reign of Mark Richards, known simply as MR, in the early 1980s led into Tom Carroll’s two world titles. A golden era followed in the 1990s and early 2000s, when Mark Occhilupo, Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson went head-to-head with American superstars Kelly Slater and Andy Irons.

But since Fanning won his third and final world title in 2013, no Australian man has ended the season atop the rankings. It has been an era of Brazilians and Hawaiians. Australians have still been present – Julian Wilson placed third in 2017 and second in 2018, while Owen Wright has been a consistent presence and secured bronze at last year’s Olympics. But in 2019 only Wright flew the Australian flag in the year-end top 10, in ninth. Last year Morgan Cibilic was the lone Australian to qualify for the WSL finals, a new format to determine the title involving the top five ranked surfers (Cibilic qualified fifth and did not progress beyond the opening round).

In 2022, the Australians are back with a bang. A new golden era of Australian men’s surfing beckons.

As the competition window for the final event of the regular season opened this week at the Tahiti Pro, four Australians sit within the top 10. Connor O’Leary and Callum Robson are ninth and seventh respectively, while Ethan Ewing is third and Jack Robinson in second place. Three members of this quartet are under 24.

Brushing toxicity aside, very fun though not as fun for Americans, who only have Griffin Colapinto, Kolohe Andino and Nat Young, ranging from dirty blonde to blinding, in the mix.

No “golden age” there.

The question, I suppose, how will Brazilian surf fans react?

Calls to riot on The Guardian’s King’s Place, London porch?

Filling comment sections under stories about Salman Rushdie’s recovery with “CRY IS FREE!”

Our British journalist friends should brace themselves.

“OK, on the count of three, name your favorite white surfer. Don’t even think about it; just do it. One, two, three.”

Bombshell essay reveals “Whiteness” as the poison killing modern surfing, “Less like a fun pastime and more an offshoot of a grim regime dependent on toxic chemicals, mass death, and uncheckable greed”

"The performance of masculinity in settler states like Australia and California is tightly linked with upholding colonizers’ whiteness."

A bombshell essay on the news blog Zócalo Public Square has revealed “whiteness” to be the poison that has made the seemingly innocent pastime of surfing “dependent on toxic chemicals, mass death, and uncheckable greed.” 

Author Maya Weeks self-describes as “a white settler transdisciplinary artist, writer, and geographer from California working on ocean justice with particular attention to climate, pollution, and gender.”

Her ethical surfing bona fides are beyond question.

“I sit on my log in the lineup, waiting, watching the horizon (no glasses, no contacts, just vibes) in between bits of conversation. I say hi to everybody; I’m from a small town. I call my board a log but it’s not, it’s a performance longboard for a man twice my size, a literal dad board for going fast and doing longboard cutbacks. I prefer riding hand-me-downs. It’s another way to be connected with the people I surf with and the water I surf in.”

The essay nails, point by dreadful point, the descent of surfing from joyous, shared pastime of Hawaiians to the vile broth of “white masculinity” it is today.

Important passages, though I recommend reading the essay in its entirety. 

“Surfing has a reputation for embodying all the most annoying and violent aspects of white masculinity, and for good reason. Contrary to its roots as a kānaka maoli (Native Hawaiian) cultural practice, modern surfing as widely distributed by white men has been a font of rugged masculinity, hyperindividualism, and conquering (especially when it comes to big waves). I’m thinking of white locals in my hometown telling visitors “we grew here, you flew here”; of white men stealing the waves of people they don’t know; of the way professional surf contests as late as the 2000s were set up to give women the worst conditions to surf in as well as far-from-equitable prize money; of white American men leasing private islands to capitalize on as surf resorts; of literal surf Nazis.”

“At the Chevron Estero Bay Marine Terminal, crude oil was loaded onto tankers from 1929 until 1999. In 1940, the U.S. Navy “established an amphibious training base” in Morro Bay due to its coastal location and harbor, town boosters Roger Castle and Gary Ream report in Images of America: Morro Bay… These industries offered high-paying jobs that afforded their employees—mainly white men—the ability to live on the coast. The white men who dominated these industries were, therefore, the same as those who dominated surf lineups. They brought the mentalities of the industries into the lineup with them. With this information, surfing begins to look less like a fun pastime and more an offshoot of a grim regime dependent on toxic chemicals, mass death, and uncheckable greed.”

“The performance of masculinity in settler states like Australia and California is tightly linked with upholding colonizers’ whiteness. Whether those who perform them realize it or not, the aggressive behaviors listed above are grasps to maintain a status quo that overwhelmingly favors a white patriarchy that manages how wealth, power, and free time for recreation flow.”

Too many good, if painful, points to mention. 

Read now.