Zuck to unleash war on Freeman!

Leading “surf influencer” challenges Mark Zuckerberg to high-stakes cage fight following cancellation of much-loved Instagram account, “Two Years Ago I was privileged enough to teach @zuck how to surf…not gonna lie…the cat was one of the worst I have ever coached!”

"I'm a very lonely man but I will unleash the war!"

A couple of months ago, the much-loved (two million-ish followers) Instagram account @kookoftheday,  was clipped after repeated copyright breaches, following another adored account @beachgrit down the virtual drainage pipe. 

Now, after recent footage of Zuckerberg’s pivot away from surf and to combat sports was revealed, Kook of the Day’s leading man Johnathan Wayne Freeman has challenged Zuck to a cage fight. 

Freeman writes, 

“Two Years Ago I was Privileged enough to Teach @zuck how to surf at the World Famous Doheny…not gonna lie…the cat was one ☝️ of the worst I have ever coached . He requested a @gathsports Helmet after his first wipeout and a Band Aid for a small boo boo he received on his elbow from a fin cut. My Favorite part of the Lesson however was when I spoon fed him with a shovel on The Art of the Towel Change. I hate to call him out on this but since @kookoftheday has been gone and we have to use our backup account @kookofthedayog the Gloves have come off. We could of had something Beautiful @zuck . I eagerly await your response about our MMA Fight. If I win @kookoftheday goes back up. If I lose…my Family disowns me and I am mocked for generations to come. We can do it at @rvca HQ or Kauai now that my ban has been lifted for daring to poke fun at the Greatest Singer/Surfer/Songwriter/Designer Power Couple of our Time @thebarn808 #letsgozuckerberg #itwillbefun #playalong #thepublicwillembraceyouifyoudothis”

The smart money is on Zuck.

He is younger, trained in the art of strangulation and striking by a UFC debutante and some twenty years younger than the late middle-aged Freeman who carries a distinctly bourgeois body.


World Surf League CEO Erik Logan goes “full Brazilian” ahead of Final’s Day with wildly flamboyant claim: “We have not even had the biggest day in pro surfing yet and we’ve already eclipsed some of the most amazing milestones we’ve seen in the history of the sport!”

Set to inspirational music.

“We have not even had the biggest day in pro surfing yet and we’ve already eclipsed some of the most amazing milestones we’ve seen in the history of the sport. Already this has been the most consumed live digital audience in the history of professional surfing before this day has ever happened. We’re up 13.4%, precisely, we like precise numbers. We’re ahead of that before the biggest day in professional surfing.

The momentum of the Championship Tour, the World Surf League and professional surfing is real.”

-World Surf League CEO Erik Logan.

(Mic drop)


Owen Wright (pictured) headless but happy.

Hurricane Kay to possibly destroy wave quality during World Surf League Final’s Day, according to official forecast partner, leaving surfers decapitated by “mid-season cut” to wonder if karma is real!

Putting the K in Karma.

The World Surf League’s much-ballyhooed Final’s Day is but hours away and, thus, Surfline, the official forecast partner, has released its calculation.

Usually cocksure in predicting never-before-seen, historically-significant, twenty-foot-plus swells with other ideal conditions ahead of each tour stop, Surfline has gone noticeably tepid in front of Trestles, declaring, “Hurricane Kay a major wildcard for waves, wind and weather Thursday – Sunday,” adding “uncertainty exists on exact details for wind speed and direction” even though Thursday and Friday will see “7 foot sets.”

The prognosis only extends through September 12 with the waiting period lasting all the way to the 16th and so all is not lost but surfers decapitated by the controversial “mid-season cut,” rolled out for the first time this year, must be wondering if “Kay” actually stands for “Karma.”

The pop interpretation of the Hindu belief posits that future beneficial effects are drawn from past beneficial actions but most vindictive westerners really enjoy the darker side of nasty effects drawn from nasty actions.

Walk an old lady across a street, win the lottery, sure, but deprive professional surfers of their livelihood, cop a hurricane, better.

What are your thoughts on eastern religious philosophy, in general, and how it pertains to the World Surf League, specifically?

Discuss at length.


Intrepid reporter paddles into lineups and carefully documents important conversations happening around her: “Malibu is one of the most dangerous surf spots — it’s Peahi, Pipeline and then Malibu.”

Fascinating.

For me, and my money, the best lineup is a relatively quiet one. I do not paddle out to jibber jabber or small talk. Sure, if some bit of conversation naturally blooms so be it, but I attempt to keep it all within close proximity and not widely share nonsense where it doesn’t otherwise belong.

I don’t generally get upset at others who chatter… unless they are upper-middle aged gentlemen riding longer boards talking about years’ ago trips to Mexico, college aged men riding soft-tops talking about weekend plans, tech bros talking about anything.

Otherwise, I’m relatively ok.

Yesterday, a bit of “overheard in the lineup” that I enjoyed came courtesy of lower-teenagers. One said, “I really want to get a Lost Puddle Jumper.” Another said, “Those are made by Lib.” A third added, “Mayhem is a style of surfboards from Lost, I think.”

Informative but not as valuable as the anthropological work of Los Angeles Times reporter Jackie Connor who paddled from Malibu to Lowers collecting bits of verbal flotsam.

“Like walking through a bar or concert,” she begins, “you can’t help but overhear casual convos while surfing. The chatter can range from trash-talking the last person who caught a wave to uncovering relationship drama, like why someone’s clothes were tossed on the lawn in trash bags.”

A sampling:

Surfer 1: “Taking off on a wave is like surfer bowling out here. How do you not decapitate someone?”

Surfer 2: “You just gotta go — everyone usually knows what they’re doing, but maybe there are some groms with missing limbs.” (Lower Trestles, San Clemente)

Surfer 3: “I wanted that wave. You were in my f—ing way. I get whatever the f— I want out here. Don’t get in my f—ing way.”

Surfer 1: “You shouldn’t have f—ing pulled my leash when I was taking off. You keep getting all the waves. It’s my turn.”

Surfer 3: “You want to fight?! Go to the beach. I’ll take you out any day, and I’ll pull your leash every time you get in my way.” (Second Point, Malibu)

“Malibu is one of the most dangerous surf spots — it’s Peahi, Pipeline and then Malibu.” (Second Point, Malibu)

“I don’t know why we keep getting skunked on these surf reports. Everyone I know hates Surfline. It’s all about Wavecast.com — the guy updates it three times a week, and it’s way more accurate than Surfline, or should I say ‘Surflie.’”(Northside of Huntington Pier, Huntington Beach)

Surfer 1: “Did you see?! I got so much air on my last wave. I think it was bigger than yours.”

Surfer 2: “This isn’t a pissing contest, bro.”

Surfer 1: “It is now. Sack up and keep up with yo’ man bustin’ fat airs.” (Upper Trestles, San Clemente)

Etc.

But how do these bits compare to the conversations in your lineup?

Add to the cultural study below.


Walt Disney, left, and Nazi rocket engineer Wernher von Braun.

Historian reveals how surfing’s post-war obsession with Nazi weaponry “which first rained holy terror on London and Antwerp” led to one of the sport’s great design breakthroughs!

"The V-2 rocket or penis obsession—boys and their toys, am I right?"

Watching movies with my 13-year-old son is mostly down to throwing a lot of Netflix-Hulu-HBO against the wall and seeing what sticks, and while I have passed on to him a few traits and characteristics that I wish I could delete,

I am grateful that, like me, he has a congenital indifference to fantasy and superheroes, which means our movie-night hit rate is pretty high.

We are currently on a roll, here in these last couple of weeks of summer. Forrest Gump (better than I remembered), was followed by Bridesmaids, then The Right Stuff—which is still a thing of cinematic beauty, and Sam Shepard as Chuck Yeager is fourth-dimensional flyboy cool, although the movie at times launches itself pretty far its own hyper-virile Mach-One ass. 

Two great Right Stuff moments occur almost back-to-back, in the same scene, which is set deep inside the Pentagon. It is 1957. The Russians have just launched Sputnik 1 and, this being peak Cold War, American politicians are now frantic to one-up the Soviets by putting a man in space.

A pair of fast-talking young NASA recruiters (Harry Shearer and Jeff Goldblum, both having a blast), with the aid of a film projector, are pitching President Eisenhower and Senator Lyndon Johnson on the type of men needed for space flight.

The projector rolls.

We see circus performers, high divers, race-car divers (“they already have their own helmets”) and—surfers, yes, because they would be naturals for the mission-concluding splashdown.

All are rejected. Eisenhower wants real test pilots; men with the Right Stuff. But let’s be clear—Phil Edwards would have made a Life-cover-worthy astronaut. 

The second great bit in that scene is when Johnson looks across the room and asks the top rocket engineer if it was former Nazi scientists now working for the Soviets who had produced Sputnik.

“Was it them?” Johnson asks. “Was it their German scientists that got them up there first?”

“No it was not, senator,” the rocket engineer calmly replies. “Our Germans are better than their Germans.”

That unnamed rocket guy is a proxy for Wernher von Braun, the famous Nazi-turned-American-turned-Disney-pitchman who, during World War II, while still a bad guy, designed the landmark V-2 rocket—V for “vergeltungswaffen,” or “retaliation weapon”—which first rained holy terror on London and Antwerp and then sparked a global fascination for rocketry and space travel and to this day is the sleek and pointed four-finned vehicle that comes to mind when we think back to when space flight was sexy and awe-inspiring instead of a budget-sucking black hole.

Germans, Americans, Russians—everybody put aside their differences when it came to loving the V-2 and its rocket-spawn.

I am not even half-joking, in fact, when I suggest that the V-2 is how we ended up with Australia’s absolutely bonkers “racing 16” board design, which was used for both for paddling and wave-riding.

“Racing 16,” as in 16 vertical feet of lumber and plywood, and okay maybe you’d mess around with something that huge for paddling, but for riding waves? You know what, never mind what I have to say, just watch the last two waves on this video and sort out for yourself if there was any other reason apart from the fact that the board looks like a maritime V-2 rocket that you’d ever want to paddle that thing into a wave.

Except a lot of times you couldn’t paddle it into a wave.

Not by direct means, anyway.

Follow closely, because this is how the hot Aussie surfers of the day would take off, while on a racing 16, if the wave jacked up. This is so un-V-2. You’d paddle like mad until just before the wave broke and the front of the board lifting off the face, at which point, still prone, you’d scoot forward and whip the board round 90 degrees so that the nose went parallel to the wave-crest in one direction and the tail did the same in the other direction. I know, it’s hard to picture. In other words, your body would be like the fuselage while the board itself extended from your chest and shoulders like airplane wings.

From this position, you would plunge down the face, let the wave break, then swing the nose back around 90 degrees and stand up. This was actually easier to do than to try and navigate the drop, on a normal point-to-shore trajectory, without poking the nose.

I’m laughing here, but my God the skill it took to pull this off, without fragging any nearby swimmers and bodysurfers, is Chuck Yeager-level.

Once the Yanks showed up and began zipping hither and yon on their nine-foot Malibu chip boards—no over-the-falls crucifixion takeoff required here; just hop to your feet and start surfing—local surfers realized that the V-2 racing 16, gorgeous as it looked while resting against your tanned and muscled shoulder on the beach, was not the thing for riding waves.

The Aussies were humble for about 15 minutes and then, look out world, here comes Midget Farrelly, Nat Young, Wayne Lynch and the rest, and basically, performance-surfing-wise, it was game over. (The actual V-2 rocket itself, by the way, like the racing 16, often did not perform as well as it looked.)

It occurs to me that if I’d spent the week revisiting William Finnegan’s “Playing Doc’s Games,” about San Francisco surfer-doctor Mark Renneker, this story may have gone in a different direction completely.

While trying to figure out what drives Renneker to take on huge waves, Finnegan consults Edwin Salem, a mutual surfing friend, and reports back: “Edwin’s theory is that Mark is driven to surf big waves by the rage and futility that he feels when his patients die. Mark says that’s ridiculous. Edwin’s other theory is Freudian. (Edwin, remember, is from Argentina, where psychoanalysis is a middle-class religion.) ‘Obviously, it’s erotic, he says. ‘That big board’s his prick’.”

The V-2 rocket or penis obsession—boys and their toys, am I right?

Let’s not even get started on surfboard fins.

LOST.TV – FLIGHT OF THE V2 ROCKET from Lost Video Productions on Vimeo.

(You like this? Matt Warshaw delivers a surf essay every Sunday, PST. All of ’em a pleasure to read. Maybe time to subscribe to Warshaw’s Encyclopedia of Surfing, yeah? Three bucks a month. Tell me that ain’t a deal.)