Chouinard (right) under fire from the left-leaning.
Chouinard (right) under fire from the left-leaning.

Noted left-leaning financial news service bluntly questions altruistic motives behind Yves Chouinard’s shock decision to give company away: “Patagonia billionaire skirts $700 million tax hit!”

Surf great Kelly Slater's ears perk.

But do you remember where you were when you first heard that Patagonia’s founder Yves Chouinard was giving his 3 billion dollar company away in order to save the environment? I was in Newport Beach, Fashion Island to be exact, sipping a cappuccino, wondering if I should get a fussy hamburger or French dip sandwich for lunch in a few hours.

Decidedly not saving the environment.

The move seemed groundbreaking, company head putting money where mouth was by transferring the whole shootin’ match into a trust, every ounce of profit-after-cost going to green causes and pressure immediately began building on noted sustainability activist Kelly Slater to place his own Outerknown into an earth-scrubbing trust.


Were Chouinard’s motives pure as driven, though rapidly melting, snow? Bloomberg has picked up a handful of salt to throw directly in game. Under a blunt headline reading “Patagonia Billionaire Who Gave Up Company Skirts $700 Million Tax Hit,” the left-leaning financial news service declares:

While many billionaires make living donations with tax and estate planning as the primary considerations, Chouinard seems to have structured his Patagonia transfer with at least a few purposes in mind. Holdfast is a 501(c)(4), a nonprofit that can make unlimited political donations — unlike its cousin, the 501(c)(3). For that reason, any giving to a 501(c)(4) isn’t eligible for income-tax deductions. In addition, the Patagonia founder will owe $17.5 million in gift taxes for the shares he transferred to the trust.

Still, the moves mean Chouinard won’t have to pay the federal capital gains taxes he would have owed had he sold the company, an option he said was under consideration. On a $3 billion sale, that bill could be more than $700 million. It also helps Chouinard avoid the US estate and gift tax, which is a 40% levy on large fortunes when they’re transferred to heirs.

While a Patagonia spokesperson flatly denied the trickeration, attention has returned back to the aforementioned Slater. While his green bonafides need no burnishing, it is known that the many-time surfing champion likes to not spend his money. Might tax relief be the finger that tips the scales?

Outerknown 501(c)(4)?


Surf icon Kelly Slater stuns fans of sustainable outerwear line by brazenly using adults-only language in mass-mailed fall catalog!

Shield the children's eyes.

Mere days ago, the world was stunned when Patagonia founder and chief Yvon Chouinard transferred his family’s ownership of the company into a trust and no-for-profit, “created to preserve the company’s independence and ensure that all of its profits — some $100 million a year — are used to combat climate change and protect undeveloped land around the globe.”

Patagonia, a multi-billion dollar darling, could have been sold, transferred to a child, taken public all generating hundreds of millions for Chouinard or his kin but he has always been vocally against the hoarding of riches and put his money where his mouth was.

Pressure immediately built on sustainability activist and iconic surfer Kelly Slater who, himself, owns and operates the environmentally-conscious label Outerknown. Would he, too, put his money where his mouth is and gift the brand to causes near and dear his heart?


Though, just today, Outerknown’s mass-mailed catalogue landed in the mailboxes of those who asked for it and also those who didn’t. Flipping through images of light green flannels, sustainable denim, home, small business and apartment owners were assaulted with the shocking words, “The coziest damn shirt ever made. 100% organic cotton and buttons made from nuts.” laid over the image of a man named “Andy” with pronounced Adam’s apple turning away from the camera.

I’d imagine many horrified that children were near enough to read both “damn” and “nuts.” Parents and guardians scrambling to pretend they were not looking at that page and/or breaking down in tears. Others attempting to have too-early conversations about naughty words and/or anatomy.

Marketing is, of course, a rough gig in an ever-saturated landscape. How to draw attention? How to make the otherwise inundated stop and look?

Swearing and crude language one way but the proper one?

Furthermore, will buttons made from testicles, however sustainable, actually hold?

Currently more questions than answers.

Dreamy beachside house of surfing’s OG feminist and Malibu icon lists for $2.59 million, “Whenever (she) caught a wave, everyone — truly everyone — backed off and gave her the right of way!”

“She embodies everything about female empowerment. Doing what you want to do, how you want to do it, on your terms.”

Back in March, one of California’s original gal shredders, Janet MacPherson died, although it wasn’t exactly sudden, the old broad was eighty-four.

MacPherson, who started surfing after a trip to Hawaii in 1955, said sometimes men would chuck rocks at her ‘cause they didn’t dig a gal surfing.

It didn’t last long.

In an obituary in the NY Times, her son, the hotelier Shaun MacPherson, told ‘em, “Whenever Janet caught a wave, everyone — truly everyone — backed off and gave her the right of way. Janet was in a category of one.”

In the same obit, her daughter-in-law, Rachelle Hruska MacPherson, founder of the Lingua Franca label, said, “She embodies everything about female empowerment. Doing what you want to do, how you want to do it, on your terms. She never once mentioned being a feminist. She didn’t have to — she just was.”

Janet, still enviably hot in 2018, aged eighty-one. Photo: Pamela Hanson, via MacPherson family

Anyway, by virtue of being one of the first on the scene, ol Janet accumulated a vast property portfolio along the Malibu coast. And following her death, the family has been slowly offloading each piece, pretty house by pretty house.

A joint in Malibu Canyon fetched $4 million, another on PCH across the road from La Costa Beach is under contract for $2.6 mill.

Until her death in March, the house pictured, four beds, three bathrooms, along with a garage and a separate studio apartment, was bringing Janet ten grand a month.

If you want to buy the place it’s hovering around two-and-a-half mill, and you can buy the “California coastal-chic furnishings” if you want to chip in a little more.

Important note: if you buy, you get membership to La Costa Beach & Tennis Club, built right on the sand there on one of Malibu’s quieter beaches.

Yet to go on the market is a three-unit apartment building on Carbon Beach, a duplex looking over Broad Beach and another three-apartment complex above Point Dume.

A windfall for the kids, yes?

Elo? Is you?
Elo? Is you?

Music industry desperately seeking “voice of a next generation” as mysterious jazz funk remix leaks from World Surf League headquarters: “Teahupo’o… as the locals prefers to call it.”

As beautiful as it is informative.

Now, I know that you, here, don’t regularly listen to The Grit! podcast oh not because you don’t want to hear everything David Lee Scales and I chat about but… because you’re extremely busy? Don’t have access to quality headphones? Amish? Whatever the reason, I know that it is good but this week’s chat is worth dipping into if only for 1:07.

For there you will find a stunning new jazz funk remix that has, somehow, someway leaked from the World Surf League’s Santa Monica headquarters. On vocals is CEO Erik Logan and his delivery is so smooth, so rich that music industry executives are scrambling.

A hit.

A hit grander than Jiggle Jiggle.

Don’t believe?

Scrub to the 2:00 minute mark and listen for yourself.

We also discussed being limelight hoggy at other people’s birthdays and Ronnie Blakey’s future.

Enjoy (for 1:07) here.

For the gold!
For the gold!

Red Hot Rumor: Source within wave pool industry claims 2028 Los Angeles Olympics “almost certain” to be held in tank as “vagaries of surfing in ocean” annoying!

But which tank?

In an earth-shaking-esque rumor coming straight from a well-placed source with tentacles into the growing wave pool industry, there are rumblings that a tank is being heavily considered as host of the surfing portion for Los Angeles’ grand 2028 Olympiad.

Japan 2021, and the grand debut of Olympic surfing, ran its surfing in small to small waves down just down the beach from Tokyo. While the viewing numbers weren’t great, nothing near the just-wrapped World Surf League Rip Curls Finals Day and its billions upon billions, the International Olympic Committee was pleased with a younger viewing demographic but also became annoyed by the “vagaries of the ocean.” Schedule and timing is everything and having to wait on “swell events” etc. not conducive with broadcast television.

As you certainly know, Paris 2024 will send its surfers halfway around the globe in order to dance with Teahupo’o providing viewers at home with much picturesque beauty, scary fear, the trembles of Filipe Toledo in 4k glory. All a risk very much worth taking that waves will not play.

But enter Los Angeles.

While Huntington Beach and San Clemente will each make a heavy case, a wave pool is currently favored both the aforementioned scheduling reasons and for the fact that surfing could be run at night under the lights. The question is, which pool? According to the source, Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch is not favored as the wait times between waves is longer than ideal and the “proven distaste of the competitors for the venue” is well-known.


Many tubs are currently in the works, from Palm Springs to Oceanside, but few have broken ground.

What are your thoughts here?

A believer in the future or a traditionalist?

Also, is “source within wave pool industry” trustworthy or maybe carrying secret agenda?

More as the story develops.