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. 

In a post, website Beach Grit stated, "We believe Andy should be held accountable for his actions, and feel that this needs to be brought to the attention of the wider community, as well as the surfing community as a whole to show that this sort of behavior is unacceptable." | Photo: @pauly_matt_war_shore

Omertà-abiding surf website BeachGrit wrongly fingered by august Malibu newspaper as morally tight Karen-esque name-and-shamer in ongoing “angriest man in surfing” drama!

Fake news!

Those who know, and love, this BeachGrit also know, and maybe love, that an older ethic usually applies in covering stories in and around our wide world of surfing. Namely, moral high horses, Karen-esque name and shaming, clarion calls for cancellation are generally to be avoided. That is the modus operandi of The Inertia.

Well, in a wild curlicue not one grumpy local saw one saw coming, the omertà-abiding website was, just this morning, viciously described as finger wagging tattletale in an august Malibu broadsheet that is delivered to the doorsteps of the rich and famous including, but not limited to, Jeff Bezos.

At hand, the recent drama featuring Malibu local and former real-estate agent Andy Lyon. Derek Rielly recapped, “Five days ago, Andy Lyon, the Malibu realtor and First Point surfer of fifty years achieved a considerable notoriety when he threw a rock into another man’s surfboard following an entanglement, the video of the event going viral.”

There have been many shock twists since, including an exclusive interview with Lyon and him later offering an olive branch to the other man, but none greater than this morning when The Malibu Times described the incident and fallout, writing:

In a post, website Beach Grit stated, “We believe Andy should be held accountable for his actions, and feel that this needs to be brought to the attention of the wider community, as well as the surfing community as a whole to show that this sort of behavior is unacceptable.”

BeachGrit NEVER stated such and this sort of pulpit-ism does great harm to a reputation as rude, snarky, toxic, etc. that the website has been carefully cultivating over the past decade.

If Rielly, and his partner me, are forced to call for acceptable behaviors amongst surfers as a result of this smear…


I can’t even imagine.

I cannot even imagine.

Filipe Toledo (pictured) the cowardly lion.
Filipe Toledo (pictured) the cowardly lion.

Terror, now fully occupying Filipe Toledo’s mind, moves to small-wave maestro’s lion-adorned heart as “itty-bitty Tahiti” called off for two more days!

4 of 10 days gone...

A menace is headed for Tahiti, a lurching, growling horror that takes the form of angry water that will, when it arrives, buckle over Teahupoo’s famed reef, looking to chew up and swallow anyone in its gaping mouth. Teahupoo, currently, appears paradisiacal. Soft winds blowing over impossibly blue water. Verdant cliffs climbing skyward.

Little waves breaking fun.

As we all know, though, thanks to our World Surf League’s official forecasting partner, all of that will change with the arrival of a “double-overhead+” swell due to arrive in the latter part of the Outerknown Tahiti Pro.

Current world number one, Filipe Toledo, must certainly have an eye on the models while maybe pleading with the WSL’s deputy commissioner to get underway as soon as possible. He is, of course, a small-wave maestro, the best surfer in the world on waves under three-feet, but what about when waves get large?

I suppose we don’t really know as he often bravely refuses to paddle.

Thankfully, for him, none of this really matters. He has a dominant lead in the rankings and is a lock for “Final’s Day” at never-scary Trestles and the only indignity he will suffer, if he doesn’t commit to the maw, is a thoroughly tattered reputation which begs an interesting question: would you rather be world champion or highly regarded?

In any case, the World Surf League, calling the event off in two-day-at-a-time chunks makes me wonder if they are paying the commentary crew only on days that they show up to work.

Cost saving.

The world’s poorest billionaire Dirk Ziff using Joe Turpel’s per diem to buy his own coffee.