Digital assets. Photo: Surfer magazine

“Tech-powered” media company with alleged naughty CEO loses ever loving mind, purchases defunct Surfer magazine, Men’s Journal for $25 million U.S. dollars!

Butts n boobs for the win?

Now, I am not what would be described a “financial wizard.” But I have shared, with you, the time that I was invited to interview David Petraeus onstage in Miami and some ultra-exclusive moneyman gathering. The conference’s founder loved having a “wild card” at each of his events, thus me, and there I sat in a comfortable chair chatting Middle East business with the general.

Smith (right) and Petraeus having a little discussion.
Smith (right) and Petraeus having a little discussion.

Afterward, mingling with the hundred, or such, millionaires and billionaires, I got to speaking of my own investment strategies with the owner of the Boston Celtics basketball team. He listened, carefully, then said, “You are a unicorn. You get it exactly wrong such a large percentage of the time that you become valuable. Basically whatever you do, I would do the opposite and win.”

Yes, I have rotten instincts and so maybe the just-announced purchase of defunct Surfer magazine, plus the digital assets of Men’s Journal, Skateboarder, Snowboarder and other dribs and drabs from David Pecker’s a360 by “tech powered” media company The Arena Group for an alleged $25 million United States dollars makes all the sense in the world because I think it is stupid.

Per reporting, The Arena Group, which counts more than 240 titles including Sports Illustrated and Parade, the magazine that comes in newspapers that grandmas love, its own.

Ross Levinsohn, Chairman and CEO of The Arena Group, who had a spot of #MeToo trouble, bullishly declared, “For years, consumers have trusted Men’s Journal for exclusive lifestyle content and guidance on travel, gear, the outdoors, style, food & drink, and more. Additionally, the titles within the Adventure Network have long stood for excellence with passionate enthusiasts within the Ski, Surf, Biking, and Skateboarding communities. There are natural synergies between these brands and our existing audiences we can leverage and enhance through integration, distribution, and our playbook, driving incremental value, growth, and profitability. This strategic investment underscores our commitment to diversifying and devoting resources to opportunities where we see the most value across The Arena Group.”

Synergies.

Nice.

Not as nice as vectors, certainly, but still very cool.

A dear friend in the media space said unto me, “Hard to overstate how insane the $25 million figure is given that Men’s Journal was the only title driving any revenue at all and it’s unlikely it was doing more than $8 – $10 million, 90% of which was print and they’re shuttering print.”

Which leaves Surfer.

Was the butts n boobs contest a wild financial success?

Perfect for Levinsohn’s “frat house behavior trail” in any case.


Butterball comic Bert “The Machine” Kreischer wows fans with surprising anatomical detail in hot and heavy workout with sexy Hawaiian Only Fans star nicknamed “Nasty”!

A work of mastercraft of the most noble dimensions. A royal column!

Three months ago, Hawaiian surf royalty Nathan “Nasty” Florence and Koa Rothman went on a podcast hosted by comedian and the inspiration behind National Lampoon’s Van Wilder, Bert Kreischer, and threw arrows and barbs and whatever else was at hand at BeachGrit.

Per Chas Smith’s story,

“Here’s my question, is surfing like comedy where the gossip is what would sell?”

Florence ponders for a moment before answering, “I don’t think it would. There are some platforms that do sell on gossip but I wouldn’t say they’re the biggest.”

Bert, curious, wonders, “You talking about BeachGrit?”

Florence, without pause, says, “Yes.”

Rothman, the handsomest of his brothers adds, “They suck, they suck.”

Bert, laughing, describes how the lovable surf tabloid pops into his feed. Florence tells him to “get it out of there.” Rothman interjects, “They’re not even big either. They talk shit about anyone.” At the same time Florence says, “They just make up stuff. They just straight make up stuff.”

Rothman ends with, “It’s crazy,” shaking his head.

All true of course and they might have added hysterical and petty for good measure. 

On a recent North Shore morning, Kreischer, who is fifty, and the twenty-something Hawaiian Only Fans star and Powerlifter Nathan Florence,  combined for a hot and heavy workout in the grounds of the Sunset Elementary School.

The “brutal field workout” contrasts the maddeningly cool Florence with the furnace-face greasy Kreischer, sweat already beginning to sluice down his face and body even before the calisthenics begin.

But what should be a comedy of fat man vs athlete becomes wildly erotic as the viewer is gifted what appears to be the outline of Kreischer’s forbidden curves, a work of mastercraft of the most noble dimensions. A royal column!

Or is Kreischer carrying another tool of some sort.

More questions etc.

 


Movie freak wave and Durban tragedy.

Surfers slam US news giant CNN after clumsy reporting of “freak wave” that killed three and injured seventeen in gruesome mass drowning!

A wilful ignorance.

Earlier today an email, written in a breathless did-you-hear-this style and cc’d to a broad cross-section of surfers and media, arrived from the former Surfer staffer, Ben Marcus. 

Marcus, whom you may know from his wild below-the-line harangues and one-man blood feuds here at BeachGrit, sent a CNN report of a “freak wave” that had caused a mass drowning in Durban, that surf-soaked city on South Africa’s Indian Ocean coast.

When I worked at SURFER there was a story about a freak wave that came from out of nowhere on a calm night in Daytona Beach,” Marcus wrote. “Swept the beach and shoved some Mopars around but no one killed. No seismic activity and they figured out later it was a downdraft far out at sea. What was this?”

The story, headlined, ‘Freak’ wave kills 3 beachgoers and injures 17 in South Africa, is classic mainstream press. 

You know the drill.

The ocean is a malevolent, sleeping beast, awakening here and there to drag swimmers to their doom.

Killer Rips. Freak Waves. 

Enter the brine at your peril and so on.

Per the report,

CNN  — Three beachgoers were killed by a “freak” wave in South Africa’s coastal city of Durban on Saturday, according to local emergency medical services (EMS).

“EMS responded to reports of a freak wave that swept a group of beachgoers against the pier causing multiple injuries,” spokesman Njabulo Dlungele said in a statement published on Twitter on Sunday.

He added that a teenager was among the three people declared dead at the scene at North Beach, which was closed off after the incident.

Another 17 people were injured, according to the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government, which said in a statement posted on Facebook on Sunday: “The details of the incidents are still sketchy at this point, however, it is believed that a freak wave put many people into distress while swimming and they tragically drowned.”

The EThekwini Municipality said on on Facebook on Sunday that a team of 35 lifeguards undertook a mass rescue effort and paramedics attended to more than 100 people involved in the incident. It said those who died were swept out to sea by rip currents.

The head of the provincial government, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, has called for a full investigation into the “terrible tragedy” and urged “all authorities and operators manning the beaches and sea areas to ensure adequate and preventive safety measure are in place to avoid any further loss of life.”

Terrible, terrible, yeah, but as the South African big-wave icon Grant “Twiggy” Baker responded, 

“It wasn’t a single wave, it was the result of too many bathers coming down on a public holiday and a pushing tide onto a shallow bank. At one stage the tide got too high and a set washed all the bathers off the bank at once (200 odd) and into the rip next to the piers. The lifeguards couldn’t save everyone in time.”

These grey oatmealy realities don’t have quite the same ring as “freak waves”, and I often wonder how many swimmers have panicked to their ultimate doom, gulping water the moment their feet leave a bank or a long-period set wave hits ’em, ’cause of this sorta reporting.

That said, BeachGrit readers may experience a similar panic if buzzed by a Great White.


Toledo (pictured) number 1. Photo: WSL

The five most explosive surf controversies of 2022!

Jaw dropping!

And here we are at the tail end of 2022. But how did the year treat you? Full of surprises? Wonderful little gifts? Or was it one nasty blow after another? I certainly hope for the former but if the latter was your bag then don’t fret. 2023 will certainly be better but also you can etch your name alongside those who suffered through the most explosive controversies in surf.

Oh but what were they? In order from least to most incendiary.

5) In early October, or thereabouts, the World Surf League released its next year Championship Tour schedule. Gone were Padang Padang and quality. Re-introduced, Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch. The most unpopular surf contest on earth. Surf fans, and professionals surfers, growing furious with its continued malingering. Wondering what sort of nefariousness is being made in the World Surf League’s Santa Monica offices.

4) One month earlier, sitting longboard champion became spanked on the buttocks at his home break of Cardiff Reef, California by a SUP pilot. A very public spanking.

3) Respected surf voice JP Currie declared that Kelly Slater is not, in fact, the greatest athlete of all-time, writing,”At the highest level of sport, the kind of level reserved for people dubbed GOATs, sport influences culture, brings people hope, and instigates change. Kelly Slater isn’t even close to being the GOAT, and I’d bet, in the cold light of day or the throes of an ayahuasca-led vision quest in Costa Rica, he might just admit that, too.”

2) Rip Curl, home to brave Tyler Wright, sponsored a butt n boobs sexy contest in Jacksonville, Florida. Girls only but no surfing. Just butts n boobs.

1) Eventual World Champion Filipe Toledo reprised his brave act of cowardice and refused to paddle for a wave during a heat with Kelly Slater and Nathan Hedge, preferring to bob out the back and let two elderly gentlemen swap perfection.

And there we have it. All in all a fairly tame 350-something days.

Unless I totally forgot something.


Enslaved dolphins (pictured). Photo: YouTube.

Director James Cameron excoriated over having enslaved dolphins perform stunts at premier of surf blockbuster “Avatar: The Way of Water!”

No no.

Now that the Pipe Masters is, officially, over and the Pipeline Pro still over a month away, we surf fans, we liquid prancers, can turn our attention to matters of great import. Will American Meghan Markle topple the British crown? Does the tripledemic matter? Should we go watch James Cameron’s surf-inspired follow up to Avatar, titled Avatar: The Way or Water, or should we boycott after he used enslaved dolphins to entertain ahead of the film’s Japan opening?

Oh, many people, of all stripes, are furious at the stunt. As you know, Kelly Slater and a host of other surfers have campaigned for our captive sea friends for years upon years. Those, for example, locked into amusement park tubs etc. and also those dolphins slaughtered in Taiji, Japan each and every year.

Cameron seemed unfazed by the outrage even though he is a vegan, joking, “I’m sure everybody asked their permission to be in the show. I love these animals, I love their intelligence.”

PETA let him, and the film’s stars, have it in a scathing rebuke.

“To see James Cameron, Sigourney Weaver and Sam Worthington sitting there applauding was shocking. The trainers were treating those dolphins like circus clowns. They were riding on the noses of the dolphins, I mean, that’s as bad as it gets.”

Is that as bad as it gets, though?

Like, what if the trainers made Tiny Taiji in the tank, whipped out samurai swords and chopped the creatures into sashimi?

Worse, I’d argue.

Even with the controversy, Avatar: The Way of Water has had one of the largest opening in cinema history. At time of writing, Kelly Slater has not signaled if he will take it in or boycott.

Me?

Oh, I’m looking forward to hate watching. Avatar was one of my least favorite movies of all time.

Even less favorite than Sex and the City II.

Wow.