"I cancelled my subscription years ago after realising how often I wanted to throw it across the room and set it on fire for its sexism and colonialism."

World’s most-loved surfing magazine The Surfers Journal under siege as pro surfer and “eco-feminist” charges title with the “blatant exclusion of female surfers writers, photographers!”

"The bulk of the commenters admitted to not actually reading the magazine. But they sure knew they hated it."

Some things are worth standing up for.

For me, it’s quality work, particularly the written word. Good writing is vital. It shapes our thoughts, communicates our shared experiences, and reminds us we are human.

Yet most writers don’t get paid very much. If you do it, it must be for the love.

Precious few publications still exist that might nourish and appreciate this love. Those that do are sacrosanct. Without them, we are left with a culture of internet-shaming and cancellation that pervades our society, and the sort of blind groupthink that festers because of social media.

A single post can be like wildfire.

The latest victim, you may have seen, is our own Surfer’s Journal. Not only consistently the finest surf magazine in existence, but also, crucially, one of the last.

The cross-hairs fixed on TSJ came via the Instagram (where else) page of Lauren Hill, whom you may know as the partner of Dave Rastovich.


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A post shared by Lauren L. Hill (@theseakin)

Hill’s attack, an accusation that there is a “blatant exclusion of female surfers, writers and photographers from the pages of TSJ”, was nothing new in surfing, and the sentiment, if not for the deliberately emotive and conclusively false statement, has some validity.

It’s her target and tone that’s deeply problematic.

In the interests of transparency, I’m lucky enough to have a story in the latest issue of TSJ. But my defence is nothing to do with the cheque in the bank, and everything to do with the work.

It’s my fourth piece for the Journal, and each has been approached with reverence and deep joy from start to finish. I’d be embarrassed to tell you how much time I’ve put into this writing, how many times I read and re-read every sentence. How much I agonise over phrase and structure and image.

I don’t regret a second. I know that it’s appreciated.

The Surfer’s Journal is unique. Unless I’ve missed something, there’s nothing like it anywhere in the world of boardsports.

In a flimsy world of throwaway things, it’s too important to dismiss based on someone’s Instagram post. It rarely misses a beat when it comes to quality, considered content. This should be cherished, not shamed. And certainly not misrepresented.

In one damming Instagram post, based on flicking through two issues, Lauren Hill condemned the entire publication.

She selected two issues (off a friend’s shelf, she doesn’t subscribe) and posted some images of women from the pages, without any context whatsoever.

Predictably, this led to furious uproar and a classic internet pile-on. Each comment strengthens the conviction of the next. No matter that you don’t actually read or subscribe to the magazine, or even really understand the argument, jump right in, feet first. There’s room for all types of hatred here!

Person X is saying it on Instagram, so therefore it must be right, and we will shake our fists with much fury and spray praying-hands and raise-the-roof and red-heart emojis, and we will damn The Thing to hell, and we will purge the world of this evil!

The bulk of the commenters admitted to not actually reading the magazine. But they sure knew they hated it.

And just theoretically, if The Surfer’s Journal compromised their editorial strategy in the wake of this pressure to include more women, would these people suddenly stump up the $7.99 a month for six issues a year?

Or would they just continue to consume low-quality, free surf content on the internet, and The Surfer’s Journal slowly ebb away to nothingness like everything else?

What Hill didn’t note in her consciously inflammatory post, was that five of the nine pictures she flagged up (all those with women in bikinis or topless) came from one story. It was a profile and portfolio of a photographer called Slim Aarons, who took the pictures from the late 50s through to the early 70s. All were of wealthy people with a mostly tenuous connection to surfing, as was his goal.

The accompanying story literally includes the lines,

“His surf shots are all golden; the people are young and strong. Nothing wrong with this, of course – but it serves to illustrate Aarons’ maxim: Attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places.”

These were not gratuitous pictures of women presented for the titillation of men in a surf magazine, as presented by Hill on her Instagram page, they were simply the correct shots to accompany the story and represent the figure being profiled.

I guess she missed the ten-page, several thousand word profile on Joey Hamasaki, written by another woman, Mindy Pennybacker. (Issue 30.4)

Or the profile of Andrea Moller, written by Gabriela Aoun, also running to ten pages. (Issue 30.5)

Or photographer Daniela Caram’s pictures in Issue 30.6.

Or the ten page spread on Imogen Caldwell, focusing on her surfing, not her modelling career. (Issue 31.1)

(Perhaps Caldwell had forgotten, too, when she chimed into Hill’s comments with a praising-hands emoji.)

This is not meant as tit-for-tat. Although Hill has grossly misrepresented the magazine, there is an imbalance of men and women in TSJ.

Guess what? Line-ups are still like that, too.

The Journal needs to cater to its demographic to stay alive. And if consistency has kept the lights on whilst everything else has died around them, it would seem a reckless gamble to change tack at this stage.

The greater issue, and the reason, perhaps, that there are few female voices in The Surfer’s Journal, is simply a lack of female surf writers.

In 2022, I’m not sure that this is because of a lack of opportunity. I know for a fact that the BeachGrit proprietors would welcome pitches from female writers with open arms and encouragement.

In my WCT coverage, commenters have occasionally asked why I don’t cover the women’s tour. The events run concurrently, mostly I’m watching it anyway. The reasons are two-fold.

First and foremost I’m not paid to do it.

My agreement was for the men’s tour only, and despite the fact I think there are some fascinating storylines on the women’s side (and the evolution of women’s surfing is infinitely more interesting than men’s) I just don’t have the bandwidth or time to make a good job of both.

(This isn’t a full-time gig, you know.)

But a greater reason for me not to do it is because I’m not the right man for the job. I could, and I’d enjoy it, but do we really need a male perspective on women’s surfing?

Women’s surfing needs more woman’s voices, particularly in writing, and that’s a fact.

I feel certain that the editors at TSJ judge each and every pitch on its merit. Does it fit the voice of the magazine? Does it present a story or viewpoint that you won’t read elsewhere? Is it interesting, quality work? The gender of subjects and creators is irrelevant. A good story is a good story. It just so happens that more men surf than women, especially when we consider history as often excavated in the Journal. To present it any other way would be disingenuous.

The status-quo exists to be challenged. That’s what good art does. But compromising quality for the sake of equality is not a step forward.

Is the magazine overtly male in tone and content? Definitely.

But this isn’t the same as deliberately excluding women’s voices, as accused by Hill.

If there are women who love to write, and for some reason would channel this talent into writing about surfing, I’m sure they would find a willing audience. No surf publication is turning down quality work on the basis of gender. If more women want to be heard in surfing, they should speak up.

WSL CEO Erik Logan (pictured) showing how many scrapes his right foot received.
WSL CEO Erik Logan (pictured) showing how many scrapes his right foot received.

Panic begins to grip public as World Surf League CEO Erik Logan gone missing after suffering life-threatening reef injury in Tahiti and undergoing emergency procedure!

Save Erik.

It has been over twenty-four hours since World Surf League CEO Erik Logan bravely turned his camera on and documented a potentially life-threatening reef injury suffered while possibly surfing or or piloting a SUP. Viewers cringed, grasped their stomachs, gasped for air as Logan filmed his foot, scratched and lightly bleeding, while World Surf League deputy commissioner Renato Hickel sternly said, “We have Erik with his first Tahiti tattoo and he already poured some alcohol on it but we gotta go lemon, lime.”

Surfers everywhere, instantly, knew how serious the situation was as staph infections can easily take hold causing loss of limb, even death.

World Surf League head judge Pritamo Ahrendt assisted, with commentary, as Hickel rubbed lemon or lime into Logan’s wound while Logan writhed in pain, groaning, squealing, stomping his uninjured foot.

Overnight, candles were lit for the Oklahoma native’s full recovery, flying lanterns sent into the air with scraps of paper inside reading “Save Erik.” And this morning, surfers everywhere and maybe Oprah Winfrey too, logged onto Instagram to see if there were any updates.


And, now, over 24-hours on, still nothing.

Absolute crickets.

Surfers everywhere began chewing finger nails down to nubs, problem drinking, checking themselves into mental health facilities as the minutes stretched on with no updates.

Oprah Winfrey completely missing in action.

While it is never encouraged to lose hope, now might be the time.


Igarashi (pictured) much desired.
Igarashi (pictured) much desired.

Fragile civility between Orange County, California and Japan threatens to come undone as both attempt to stamp Kanoa Igarashi as “homegrown” ahead of World Surf League “Final 5” season championship!

Scary times.

Last year, the World Surf League introduced a brand-new format to competitive professional surfing, The Final 5, wherein the top five male and female surfers travel to Lower Trestles’ cobbled stone and go against each other for the the title fulfilling the classic old adage “if it is broken fix the part that isn’t.”

For those who need a refresher, number five goes up against number four, the winner goes up against number three, the winner goes up against number two, the winner goes up against number one, the winner is the winner.

Exciting and this year, on the male’s side, we have Kanoa Igarashi going up against Italo Ferreira first.

Igarashi, who was born in Huntington Beach, California to Japanese parents has grown into a “global superstar” over the past two years, slingshotted into the stratosphere when surfing was introduced into the 2020 summer Olympics in Japan where the Surf City boy surfed for his parents’ home country.

Orange County would have certainly been hurt but maybe also understood the opportunities, for the handsome young man, associated with competing with the home nation’s flag on his tracksuit.

Now, though, that “Final’s Day” is here, and that it is in San Clemente, Orange County is laying full claim with the county’s official organ, The Orange County Register, releasing a most provocative issue today, headline screaming “OC SURFER IGARASHI EARNS SPOT FOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS AT TRESTLES; CONOLOGUE WINS BIG IN TAHITI


Japan has, thus far, remained quiet but experts in international relations worry that a response is being crafted in the Yakusuni Shrine to punish California’s third most populous county for such insolence.

What might it be?

Fu-Go bombs floated in early September?

A Manchurian Candidate-esque plot wherein a SUP enthusiast from Oklahoma is secretly groomed to be installed at the very pinnacle of professional surfing power?

Scary times.

It is uncertain he will survive whole, as staph infection is a real worry, though we can conjure hope by remembering when Arizona surfer Rick Kane suffered a similar injury at the Banzai Pipeline, decades ago, and was cared for by Sam George's ex-wife.

World Surf League CEO Erik Logan suffers life-threatening reef injury in Tahiti, dramatically stabilized by deputy commissioner Renato Hickel and head judge Pritamo Ahrendt while camera rolls!

Light a candle tonight.

Hearts briefly stopped, around the globe, when news began trickling out that World Surf League CEO Erik Logan had suffered a potentially life-threatening surfing injury in Tahiti just hours ago.

In a wrenching video, posted to Instagram, deputy commissioner Renato Hickel stares gravely into the camera and declares, “We have Erik with his first Tahiti tattoo and he already poured some alcohol on it but we gotta go lemon, lime.”

The camera then goes to the gruesome mess, a few just barely bleeding scrapes on Logan’s handsome right foot.

The World Surf League’s head judge, Pritamo Ahrendt, acting as Hickel’s registered nurse, adds, gamely, “We’re going deep.”

Hickel then boldly applies the lemon or lime to Logan’s wound causing him to groan and writhe in pain, stomping one foot uncontrollably.


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A post shared by Erik Logan (@elo_eriklogan)

It is uncertain he will survive whole, as staph infection is a real worry, though we can conjure hope by remembering when Arizona surfer Rick Kane suffered a similar injury at the Banzai Pipeline, decades ago, and was cared for by Sam George’s ex-wife.

Kane, by all accounts, survived.

Will Logan?

Light a candle tonight.

What, me worry? | Photo: Steve Sherman/@tsherms

Heartbroken San Clemente surfer Griffin Colapinto “wept” following shock fall from crucial top five thereby missing title showdown at Lowers in September, “It was so weird the way everything unfolded, almost so much that there was a greater power telling me something”

"Maybe now is not my time. Maybe there are more lessons for me to learn. I have to evaluate my life and the decisions I make every day."

It’s been a hell of a season for the San Clemente surfer Griffin Colapinto, two wins from the ten-event circuit, and yet still not enough to secure a position in the crucial top five and thereby missing the chance to win a world title at Lowers, Griff’s home break. 

What killed Griff was his four seventeenth finishes, wiping out early at Pipe, Sunset, Bells and Rio. Shock results given his ability to tear hell out of anything from one to fifteen feet. Further proof, I suppose, of the vagaries of professional surfing. 

You’ll remember after his El Sal win over Filipe Toledo, Brazilian surf fans went nuts, threatening protests, even death, claiming the fix was in for the gringo, a white conspiracy and so on, the hashtag, #worldshameleague a viral hit.

Even Filipe Toledo’s daddy got into the mix, “We really hope that something will be done, and that this will change, as it is becoming unbearable to see and hear the things we are hearing. during the events, I am embarrassed for the others.”

Anyway, following his ninth at Teahupoo and failure to make Finals Day, the twenty four year old has taken to Instagram, telling his quarter of a million fans of the emotional toll of not getting the opportunity to snatch a title at home, how he wept but how maybe it’s part of a higher plan etc. 

“Ahh man.. I haven’t cried from a loss since I was 12 years young and yesterday I did,” he writes. “I don’t know what was going on but it seemed there were 3 or 4 moments that were just centimeters away from things going my way and making it into the final 5. It’s hard to try and understand. I put my heart in soul into it and it just didn’t seem to be enough.

“It was so weird the way everything unfolded, almost so much that there was a greater power telling me something. Maybe now is not my time. Maybe there are more lessons for me to learn. I have to evaluate my life and the decisions I make every day and the person I strive to be and the person I am. This last 2 weeks here in Tahiti have been a great experience learning how to handle the pressure of so much consequence. I absolutely enjoyed every up and down about it.

“Thank you to the people that have reached out and my friends and family that make life so much fun. It really means a lot. Although the year had to end this way I’m proud to check off my goal of winning 2 events this year. I’m going to use this loss and think about it everyday to blow oxygen on the fire within. 2023 it’s fuckin On!”


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A post shared by Griffin Colapinto (@griffin_cola)