“From the very first session that I did, like five minutes in, I was like, ‘Where has this been my whole life?’"

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg dumps big-wave BFF Kai Lenny for UFC debutante Khai “The Shadow” Wu in shock pivot from surfing to MMA! “It really is the best sport…there’s just something so primal about it!”

Goodbye Kai?

The seemingly unshakeable friendship between Kai Lenny, the daring multi-discipline surfer with skin the colour of buttered cocoa, and Mark Zuckerberg, the world’s fifth richest man and founder of Facebook, appears to’ve floundered after Lenny’s former tow-buddy shared a video of himself training MMA with UFC debutante Kha “The Shadow” Wu, even calling it “the best sport.”

In the video, Zuckerberg, whose foil-boarding escapades along Kauai’s Ne Pali coast with Lenny had become the stuff of legend, rolls easily through the various disciplines of mixed martial arts, kickboxing, wrestling, jiujitsu, and at one point even arm-bars his quarry.


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A post shared by Mark Zuckerberg (@zuck)

Two-div UFC king Conor McGregor put aside his usually corrosive manner to write, “Yo!!! Fucking awesome Mark!”

On a podcast with Joe Rogan last week, Zuckerberg explained the pivot away from surfing.

“From the very first session that I did, like five minutes in, I was like, ‘Where has this been my whole life?’ All right. My mom made me do three varsity sports and my life took a wrong turn when I chose to do fencing competitively instead of wrestling in high school or something…

“There’s just something that’s so primal about it… Since then, I’ve just introduced a bunch of my friends to it. That’s been really fun, because now it’s like we train together and wrestle together. There’s a certain intensity to it that I like. Maybe there’s this cultural thing where a lot of people haven’t considered it. I’ve had 100 percent hit rate of introducing friends to it and converting them to people who now train. Every single person who I’ve shown it to is like, ‘This is amazing. This is obviously how I should be training and working out.’”

No word yet from Lenny who must be reconsidering his comments from a Wired interview just eight months ago where he described his former BFF as “super cool, super into water sport, really active. Super fit. Like … strong, strong strong. Physically strong.”

"What, me pay?"

Breaking: World’s cheapest surfer Kelly Slater allegedly fined by World Surf League for participating in unsanctioned event after extraordinary Four Seasons Maldives win!

Follow the money.

The champagne is not yet dry following almost fifty-one-year-old Kelly Slater’s stunning victory over the best surfers in a monumental generation at the Four Seasons Maldives specialty contest. Fans thrilled as Rob Machado, Taylor Steele, Shane Dorian etc. battled it out with single, twin and three-finned surfboards, Slater losing then winning the big money at the end.

Thrills and chills.


Was the event actually sanctioned by the home of professional surfing, the World Surf League?

The issue was floated after the just-announced re-imagined and anti-woman Pipeline Masters revealed that WSL surfers would be free to participate while turning equality’s clock back.

Slater, current World Surf League number fifteen, given a pass to perform in singlet?

Surf journalism says “No.” That Slater was reprimanded in the form of a fine.

As the world’s greatest surfer maybe owns a nibble of his employer, via the WSL’s acquisition of Slater’s Wave Ranch, further questions begin to percolate.

Does the potential fine flow back to the 11-time champion’s pocket or at least a portion of it? Sources close to the works suggest the exact amount is being debated.

While any ding could, should be easily absorbed by the multi-millionaire and paid with uncaring flair like Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban pays his, Slater is, by all accounts, notoriously cheap. Ridiculously cheap. Absurdly cheap.

Like, wow cheap.

Are you wow cheap?

If the fine doesn’t end up in his wallet will he be sad and/or finally retire in protest?

More as the story develops.

"All I wanted was to do was help sell the dream."
"All I wanted was to do was help sell the dream."

Vans parent company VF continues bloody “Laceration before Labor Day” knifing 600 employees and filling shallow graves with surf, skate, snow dreams!

"So I was sitting in my cubicle today, and I realized, ever since I started working, every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it."

Yesterday, surfers became extremely shocked to learn that forecasting juggernaut Surfline had celebrated the upcoming Labor Day celebration by giving many of its employees permanent time off. After receiving $30 million from investment first TCG barely two-years ago, the advertising, content, design, and data science departments were gutted along with the entire brand team, sent home to enjoy hot dogs and Pepsi served from nearby breadlines.

At the same time, but unknown to surfers trying to learn if the waves for the upcoming World Surf League Final’s Day are going to be 20 or 30 feet,  parent company of canvas shoe behemoth Vans, VF Corp., has followed suit and axed 600 jobs of its own.

An extreme sport “Laceration before Labor Day.”

Per Complex:

An internal letter from VF Corp. chairman, president, and CEO Steve Rendle obtained by the outlet expounded on the cuts but did not mention which locations or brands were affected by the layoffs. “We’re working to improve those areas of the business that need attention,” Rendle reportedly wrote. He said the company would take “a strategic and thoughtful approach to new roles going forward.”


While brands like The North Face experience record sales, Vans has struggled in recent years, with a noted sharp decline in China. Meanwhile, during a May earnings call, Rendle was optimistic about Supreme and hinted at opening new locations in Asia.

Vans workers taking the brunt for poor Chinese performance?

The just-announced re-imagined and thoroughly unequal Pipeline Masters under threat?

Whatever the case, surf, skate and snow dreams are now filling shallow graves.

Pour a Bud Light out for them today or tomorrow.

The wonderful Nick Chalmers and Angus McNicol, classic examples of Mr Frictions!

Australia’s legendary surf culture “on the brink of total collapse!” says anthropologist following two-week tour of coastal towns!

And how it might just be saved by a country boy from the nineties who once threatened Kelly Slater's dominance!

This writer was recently afforded the opportunity for a two-and-a-half-week road trip along Australia’s east coast, travelling from Newcastle in the south to Noosa in the north. A distance of roughly 570 miles each way.

Late winter.

Cusp of spring.

Usually a dormant time along this stretch, wave-wise, but an active La Nina cycle has seen a conveyor belt of easterly trade swells keeping conditions alive. A family holiday, so not dedicated entirely to surfing. But enough time was spent in the water to form a rough contemporaneous sketch.

In that time approximately ten different locations were surfed:

Delicate nobby
Broken head x 3
Suffolk Park
Sunshine beach x 3
Noosa (Tea Tree and First Point)
Pippys x 2
Angourie x 3

Such a mix of high-profile and lesser known spots allows the observer a unique transect of the current species of littoral fauna active in the Australian surf biosphere.

This is not a comprehensive list.

I have not attempted to catalogue all species encountered at each location given a) levels of duplication b) some rare solitary surfs and c) some people not being as funny as others.

This is meant purely as a guide. A reference point. A record of a moment in time. Picture a crystal, held in direct sunlight, its many faces beaming.

Let us begin.


Conditions: Glassy, 3-4’ SE swell hitting the inside section on a mid to low tide. Approx 20 subjects in water in total

Species observed:

Mr Go with the Flow
A middle-aged male raised on a steady diet of surf media consumption. Competent without rising above the pack. Likely to follow prevailing trends of board design though generally surfs well enough to understand the nuances of each. Rode a 6’3 x 18 ½ x 2 /14 in the ‘90s, a 5’10 x 19 x 2 ½ in the noughties and is now on a mid length when the conditions dictate. Will generally ride whatever he feels he is being told to. Being a wobbly right point with a flatter face, this particular subject was riding a new looking Christenson tracker, single fin, with no legrope. He subsequently lost his board on his first wave. Board went up and over the cobblestone point with owner catfishing behind it. Last seen heading back to car for said legrope.

Status: Of little concern. Plays an integral role as both predator and prey in the ecosystem. Population steady.

The big Aussie Battler
Usually a 40+ toiler who has been riding the same dimensions for the last twenty years with the motto Give me a 6’1 or give me death. Generally well built but with an expansive middle section, often alternatively referred to as a skinny fat cunt. Takes to a meandering, flat faced point wave with the same gusto he would a heaving Indo wall or a mid-morning pie from the local bakery. Admirable in dedication to the cause despite the overwhelming reality of the situation with which he is faced.

Status: While aggressive in small pockets and an important apex predator in the food chain, the big Aussie battler’s overall sparse distribution, dwindling population numbers and fatty diet mean that this species will soon be classified as protected.

Broken Head

Conditions: wobbly 2-3’ swell with ENE onshore winds. Coupla runners but.

Species observed

Mr Friction
Early-to-mid 30s. Tanned, taut skin. Impeccably built. Eyes to lose yourself in. Mr Friction most often works in the industry or industry-adjacent, and is a highly competent surfer. Most likely has been sponsored at some point. Always ahead of the pack. Rejecting the form and function of traditional high performance equipment, Mr Friction now rides a finless foamy in anything under 3 foot. Yet he still sprays innocent bystanders with the same fury he unleashed on his competitors in the U14s division at the 1998 Rusty Gromfest in Lennox Head.
Status: Steady. Plays an important role in the overall ecosystem, especially in crowded point waves.

The She-Rahs
An introduced species, usually hailing from European or South American countries. The She-Rahs travel in packs of 3-4, riding those DHD twins with the floral inlays and wearing hi cut Rip Curl wetties. They love good vibes, hi-5s and post-surf gin and kombuchas.

Status: A welcome addition to the ecosystem, though they do need to chill the fuck out sometimes. To monitor and evaluate at a later date.

Tea Tree

Conditions: 3’ runners, cleaner than an Inertia afterparty.

Species observed:

The Skullet
I dunno about this one. Was just a guy ripping on a mal at Tea Trees who looked like a cross between Owen Wright and Martin Bryant and had one of the best skullets (long hair with a bald crown) I’ve ever seen.

Status: a rare and beautiful creature. To be protected at all costs.

Sunshine Beach

Conditions: 4-5 E swell on the open beach with occasional bigger ones. some push to it. Solid wide sets regularly sweeping the line up.

Species observed:

The Board Guide Baron
The littoral zone encompasses not just the sea itself but the adjacent land. This particular species was observed in the Sunshine beach surf club, a popular watering hole that attracts a broad cross species of endemic and exotic fauna. Time was 330pm, Friday afternoon. Peak libation period.

The Board Guide Baron is the Antipodean cousin to the well known Surfline Man. Usually found buying overpriced surf gear and gentrifying coastal suburbs. Similarities to Mr Go with the Flow but two notable discerning features: Board Guide Barons have only recently started surfing and will take anything read online regarding boards as gospel. Kale Broccoli acolytes. Skill level is such that the minutiae of design they discuss make little to no difference to their overall performance.

Two subjects spotted on this occasion. Post surf. Well presented. Early 40s with youthful, soft faces. Dressed in what could best be described as Casual Friday work wear. Well-fitted jeans, unblemished Vans sneakers. Keys to late model SUVs, big-screen smartphone, schooner of mid-strength craft beer by their side.

“Bro I saw you have the new JS, tell me about it?

“Well I felt like it went really well out there today but I probably could have used something with a few more litres through the nose. From what I was reading online I think the Sharpeye would have been a better purchase for my skillset given the lower rocker entry but the online guide at Board Warehouse suggestd the JS with its more forgiving outline was the go. If it continues to disappoint I’ll most definitely be leaving them a bad Google review.”

“Right on.”

Status: Already overwhelming certain ecosystems. Targeted cull recommended.


Conditions: lazy 3 foot of E swell resulting in some runners but baby food in between. No sand behind the rock, so takeoff is around little mali. Paddle out is now behind take off zone, meaning anybody can make it out the back. An entire book could be written on this joint alone. Not just a microcosm of the genus surf but an exacerbation of it.

Ms. Ripper
Female version of Mr Go With the Flow, or even the Big Aussie Battler, but infinitely cooler. Usually a little older, still riding high-performance equipment. Practical. Wears a springsuit or utilitarian swimsuit. Could be riding a bigger board to be more competitive, but like the Aussie Battler steadfastly refuses to cede defeat. This makes her an easy mark, but anybody that paddles around or snakes her is a straight up kook. If you know, you know. Subsequently, she still gets her fill.

Status: to be protected, proserved, and promoted

The Transplant
A close cousin to The Board Guide Baron but usually on a mini mal or oversized funboard, wearing below the knees and bright rash shirt. Can surf but exploits extra length and width for own purposes. Talks loudly about how much more relaxed it is up the coast than back on the Northern Beaches as he takes his third set in a row.
Status: Quickly becoming a pest, but the transplant usually disappears once the surf gets over 4’ – as such he can be tolerated / burned in any other conditions.

The Go-Pro-in-mouth-clasping, barely intermediate bro. He writhes his way down the point on his new FireWire, filming content for his Nathan Florence knock off youtube channel with titles like ‘POV surfing crowded Snapper Rocks’ and is likely to sue you for assault when he drops in on you and dings his board.

Status: Cull with extreme prejudice.


Conditions: 4-5’ SE swell, slow but with the odd wrapper

Species observed:

Shane Powell
Powelly, man. Wow. He was looking lithe. Healthy. A little less grass on the dome but otherwise fighting fit. A walking contradiction in that he was wearing a camouflage wetsuit with a bright red board. Do you want to be seen or not?

But any chance of staying low-key went out the window on his first wave. Scintillating surfing. Tight, concise lines. Incredible to watch up close. Stylish, swooping turns, the type Angourie loves to tease out of you. But seeing Shane’s approach was mind blowing. There was one insane double tap of a slightly crumbling lip that appeared to defy the laws of physics. Even the Universe couldn’t keep up with what he was doing.

The sun pixellated.

Clocks clicked twice.

A cosmic moment.

Status: Shane Powell

"Please leave your employee Surfline subscription at HR on your way out."
"Please leave your employee Surfline subscription at HR on your way out."

Forecasting juggernaut Surfline rips hearts out ahead of Labor Day, shreds advertising, content, design and data science departments sending stunned employees to bread line!

Damn it feels good to be a gangsta.

The World Surf League exciting final’s day opens its window in days with forecasting partner Surfline calling for likely head-high surf which should excite all but current number one Filipe Toledo. Rosy, rosy, rosy sun shining bright on everyone. And, so, you can imagine the absolute shock when thunderclouds rolled over the aforementioned Surfline’s Huntington Beach offices and rained pink slips on disbelieving employees.

Per initial whispers from sources who have been chopped, the advertising, content, design, and data science departments suffered heavy casualties along with the entire brand team.

The shock made all the greater seeing that just over two years ago, Surfline was juiced with $30 million from investment and advisory firm The Chernin Group.

At the time, Mike Kerns, Chernin Group co-founder and partner, declared, “Surfline has established itself as one of the largest and most respected surf brands in the world through a decades-long commitment to serving its global community. At TCG, we achieve growth by partnering with passionate teams, engaged entrepreneurs who build out of love, and world class management. With Surfline, we have that combination in Jeff, Kyle and the entire team.”

Troubling wave calls have plagued the 2022 World Surf League’s Championship Tour, reaching peak absurdity with “cartoonish” nuttiness at the most recent Outerknown Tahiti Pro, but enough for a gutting?

Equity, I suppose, works in mysterious ways.

More as the story develops.