Santa. Photo: @barton_lynch

“Papa Surf” Barton Lynch sets internet ablaze as children mistake Australian legend for North Pole fixture: “Mama, how is Santa Claus ripping so hard?”

Feliz Navidad.

It very much goes without saying that Barton Lynch is a gift to surfing. From the BL Blast Off Challenge to his various podcastings, Instagram messages and general tone, the Australian legend brings a sort of genteelness to our space. Something typically in short order.

Now, it would be thought that his admixture of experience, his trained eye and his ability to speak about nuances would have make Lynch the ideal color commentator for the World Surf League. Indeed, he did spend a year, or such, shoulder to shoulder with Joe Turpel, Ron Blakey et. al. giving surf fans the most aural joy of all but then, like that, he was brutally disappeared. Told that “his services were no longer needed.”

Why?

Well, rumors percolated through the industry that his “politics” had become an issue.

His politics?

Surf fans scratched their heads furiously trying to figure out which of his “politics” were off-brand for the WSL. Which would cause troubles. Or scratched their heads furiously until days ago, that is, when an image was leaked featuring Lynch engaging his rail in a picture-perfect bottom turn at Sunset, white beard fluttering in the stiff breeze.

While the connection to Karl Marx and his various theories on production and workers etc. is readily apparent to adults, children around the globe made an instant connection to an earlier hammer of naughty and nice.

A pre-industrial revolution red.

Santa Claus.

Now, anyone who has ever studied political theory is well aware that the aforementioned is the ideal communist. An authoritarian who delivers gifts created in factories where no wages are paid or collected to everyone who has kept their heads down during the year and stayed off his enemies’ list. A singular figure who works to banish scarcity by delivering toys, without cost, to homes everywhere in the world.

A beacon of egalitarianism.

It is odd that the World Surf League would be so anti-communist, especially in this day and age where many more pressing troubles boil and bubble, but at least children can enjoy Santa absolutely ripping.

Feliz Navidad.


Three-time world champion surfer reignites decade-old jiujitsu blood feud with Kelly Slater in explosive new interview, “You’re embarrassing yourself! You’re embarrassing surfing!”

"(Slater) was putting a blue belt on and he was literally doing it because he didn’t want to look like a white belt. And in this sport, that is the corniest thing you could ever do."

The three-time world longboard champion and jiujitsu black belt Joel Tudor has breathed new life into his wild decade-old blood feud with the world’s greatest athlete Kelly Slater.

If you’re of a certain age, you’ll recall the ancient blood feud between the pair from 2015 when Slater appeared in a photograph at jiujitsu gym wearing a blue belt.

Tudor, who owns the Surfight Jiujitsu academy in Del Mar, California, was enraged by the photo.

“Crock of shit – the guy has been wearing a blue belt for years in pics and always made excuses when I would call him on it! If he wants his belt , tell him to go sign up and put in the work like everybody else who starts at white and goes through hell to graduate to blue – anybody on here talking shit to me more than likely doesn’t train and has zero clue about Jiu Jitsu.”

For those who don’t know, or care, the blue belt is the second rung in the jiujitsu ladder, white, blue, purple, brown and black, and takes at least two years of training five days a week to achieve.

Now, in an interview with Dave Scales on the Surf Splendor podcast, Tudor, who is forty-six, has reprised the famous feud explaining,

“In the jiujitsu world belts are fucking important and how people earn ‘em is super important. The hardest belt to earn is white to blue because you get fucking destroyed in the process to do it, the whippings you take is nothing you’ll ever forget. (Slater) was putting a fucking blue belt on and he was literally doing it because he didn’t want to look like a white belt. And in this sport, dude, that is the corniest fucking thing you could ever do. And we’re friends so I was just telling him, dude, you know how legitimate I am in this shit, you realise how fucking corny that is that you’re doing. You’re embarrassing yourself, you’re embarrassing surfing. You know how many surfers have gone through the wringer to their belts? It’s kind gnarly.”

Tudor then described the hoots of derision Slater would receive in his Surfight gym “if I explained to everybody, what if somebody gave themselves a blue belt?”

The famous flickering pointed tongue comes out and Tudor hisses,

“They’re gonna get smashed! They’d have a target on their heads!”


Surfing's only Nepo Baby (left). Photo: Supplied.

As “Year of Nepo Baby” controversy grips Hollywood, professional surfers jealously ponder which amongst themselves has benefited from ill-deserved gain!

Or is professional surfing a perfect meritocracy?

Those, here, who indulge in more than simply surf news are certainly aware of the “Nepo Baby” controversy exploding throughout Hollywood. Long simmering, New York magazine’s Vulture released a cover featuring children of movie stars, who have become movie stars themselves. Children with a path to fame and fortune, connections and name recognition already pioneered for them.

Nepo babies.

The piece begins:

Like psoriasis, the label was something you were born with, and those who had it found it equally irritating. Maude Apatow (daughter of Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann) told Porter magazine the term made her “sad.” It filled Zoë Kravitz (daughter of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet) with “deep insecurity.” Gwyneth Paltrow (daughter of Blythe Danner and Bruce Paltrow) commiserated about it with Hailey Bieber (daughter of Stephen Baldwin and niece of Alec) on the latter’s YouTube channel: “People are ready to pull you down and say, ‘You don’t belong there.’” Scratching the itch could only make it worse. At 16, the model and actress Lily-Rose Depp landed her first campaign with Chanel, the same house her mother, Vanessa Paradis, worked with; the year before, she’d made her film debut alongside her father, Johnny Depp. In a November Elle profile, she brushed off suggestions that her path had been cleared for her: “It just doesn’t make any sense.” The response was swift. On TikTok, floating heads begged Depp to “shut up and stop being delusional.” Her fellow models castigated her on Instagram. “i have many nepo baby friends whom i respect,” the top model Vittoria Ceretti wrote in an Instagram Story, “but i can’t stand listening to you compare yourself to me. i was not born on a comfy sexy pillow with a view.”

And erupts from there. A full historical analysis, current cultural ramifications, what it means, where it’s going.

In the aftermath, celebrity nepo babies are lashing out. Ice Cube’s baby saying he “gets his ass up and works everyday.” Kate Moss’s sister Lottie “so sick of others blaming nepotism for their lack of wealth.”

Etc.

While many fingers are being pointed, professional surfers are busily patting themselves on the back. There are currently only two males on tour from professional surfing stock (I think): Kolohe Andino and Seth Moniz. Maybe none on the female side (unless I’m missing one).

Thus the question is begged, is surfing a paradise of meritocracy where hard work and devotion are the only things that matter and will bust down any door?

Should Hollywood turn its eye toward the beach and learn valuable lessons?

Currently more questions than answers.


Brutal. Photo: Surf cam

Florida wildlife officials desperately seek surfer help in identifying man who bludgeoned shark to death with hammer and dragged its lifeless body around beach!

Barbarian days.

Florida wildlife officials are desperately seeking surfer help with identification after a wave camera captured footage of a man appearing to beat a shark to death with a hammer and then parade its lifeless body around the beach. The man, who seems to be middle-aged with a classic surfer, maybe SUPer, mop, blue sleeveless shirt and blue trunks was said to be fishing when he hooked a larger shark and proceeded to bust his skull in with a series of decisive blows.

While the act may not have been illegal, if the shark had been fried up and served alongside chips, the viciousness of the killing is being questioned, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission investigating “potential resource violation,” while local news broadcasters horrified, warning viewers at home to shield their young children’s eyes.

Brutal.

But if you were watching your local wave cam and saw this bashing of brains out of a toothy fish, would you become enraged and do your best to see the perpetrator brought to justice or would you simply shrug and sigh, “To each his own…”?

What if you lived in Florida where it must be imagined all sorts of funny business is regularly caught during surf checks?

Between the poor surfer caught in Huntington Beach and this, the coming war between surfers and fishermen appears to be growing nearer.

Where will you cast your lot when it begins in full?

Barbarian days.


Tyler Wright (pictured) riding on the shoulders of giants. Photo: WSL

New York Times profiles Keala Kennelly, Tyler Wright, door bustin’ women surfers ushering in era of equality at world’s most famous wave!

Blue crushing it.

As grumbly and grouchy as surf fans can sometimes get, there is no denying that we are all in the middle of a glorious, gilded shift. Namely, women professional surfers and their meteoric rise. While the men’s draw coming into the 2023 Championship Tour season is littered with familiar names and styles, it is the women who are providing true excitement. Rookies like Molly Picklum, Sophie McCulloch, Caitlin Simmers join the already exciting Caroline Marks, Isabella Nichols, Carissa Moore in what is certain to be a knock down drag out brawl to the dastardly mid-season cut.

Well, The New York Times, finger ever on pulse, has recognized this brave new world and, minutes ago, published an exhaustive profile on the state of women’s surfing, focusing particularly on Pipeline.

The piece begins with a recollection of the film Blue Crush, which depicted a fictional surf contest between women at “the world’s most famous wave,” and how it took one of its stars, Keala Kennelly, all of those two decades to bring it to reality. “It had been a dream of mine to have a legit women’s event at Pipeline,” she declared before the just-wrapped Pipe Masters which was won by the aforementioned Picklum.

“If I had known it would take half a century to get a contest at Pipe or pay parity, I probably would have given up,” added Patti Paniccia, one of professional surfing’s founders.

The work of Kennelly and others is chronicled, building to the present day with Tyler Wright about to paddle out at Pipe, declaring, “It takes a lot of minor, small, minute shifts for progress to really happen. My view of the overall picture is that women’s equality takes a long time because we’re only getting the investment today. Give us 50 years of insane money and equality and access and value and inclusive lineups and you’ll have a pretty similar product (to the men’s side).”

The future is then presented in the form of Moana Jones Wong, how she battled through social perceptions that women did not belong out at Pipeline in order to carve a place for herself and others, before ending appropriately with the world’s greatest surfer Carissa Moore then back to Picklum and the glories just over the horizon.

You must read in full but tell me you aren’t appropriately moved.

Tell me you aren’t equally excited for the women this year.

Equality for the win.