Brave chevalier dives headlong into seedy world of online surf coaching programs (part two)!

Be better than best.

Two days ago, one Com Curren wondered allowed, “Should life-long mediocre surfers who strive to improve upon said mediocrity for the first time as an adult be relegated to the same surf caste as the VALs?” and proceeded to dive headlong into the seedy world of online surf coaching. Part one featured OMBE.

Today we Wave Ki.

In the previous segment, we discussed a phenomenon that you might have been familiar with—the Mediocre Adult Developing (“MAD”) surfer. We also discussed my unsuccessful foray into the Jurassic-era surfing method of OMBE.

Having failed at becoming a surf dinosaur, I was not done trying to foolishly throw money at the mediocrity problem. Indeed, there was another, much different iSarf Program that seemed to offer a proven track record of both success and failure developed by a much more acclaimed former pro.

The iSurf Program: Wave Ki
The Pro Surfer Owner: Brad Gerlach

Resigned to the fact that T-Rex surfing just did not comport with my body type and determined that I would still find the one true magical remedy for my mediocrity, I looked elsewhere and found a program with an entirely different approach—Wave Ki.

Wave Ki is the brainchild of Brad Gerlach. For those unfamiliar with him, Gerr was a force to be reckoned with on the tour in the 90s before bowing out for personal reasons (which I’m guessing was little more than his recognition that no one was ever going to beat Kelly). He also appended a nice little coda onto his professional career by making a name for himself as a big wave tow-in surfer in the early to-mid-00s. And like Greg Noll, who surfed an impossibly giant wave at Makaha and seemingly disappeared for the next decade, Gerr won the XXL awards in 2006 for a monster 70ish footer he rode at Todos Santos in 2005, but then quit surfing altogether to join a clandestine monastery of warrior monks in Tibet known as the League of Shadows.

Ok…that last part was referring to Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins and not Gerr, but I have no idea what he was actually doing for the next decade after winning the XXL, so I’m sticking with the Batman explanation, particularly given the martial-arts approach to Gerr’s Wave Ki system (more on that below).

It is beyond dispute that Wave Ki has proof of concept. To this point, Gerr has worked with Conner Coffin for years, meaning that Wave Ki is capable of skyrocketing a pro surfer to #4 in the world in one year, yet resulting in that same surfer being axed in the midyear cut and failing to requalify via the QS in the following year. It is undeniably a system of surf instruction equally capable of producing excellence as it is capable of producing bitterly disappointing shortcomings.

Wave Ki’s approach involves no surf skates, bosu balls, blow up dolls, or any of the other accessories required for OMBE. All you need is a space to practice Gerr’s forms on land, which are much like the katas that I learned in karate as a kid. These are slow, repetitive movements designed to be ingrained into your muscle memory over time to apply on the wave. Think Mr. Miyagi’s muscle memory chores in the Karate Kid, but actually explaining the techniques for which you are waxing cars and painting fences to train.

The thing is, the martial arts katas I learned at the YMCA karate classes as a kid never really worked for me. I had my ass absolutely beat down by the bigger kids doing anything resembling kata movements and until I grew to be big enough to stomp them via less elegant means. In that sense, Wave Ki might not prepare you for taking an 8-foot set on the head.

In furtherance of its martial arts-like approach, Wave Ki starts you at the beginning at the pop up, but any further progression is not “unlocked” until weeks thereafter. Is it a methodical approach designed to make sure that you master each movement before moving on to the next, or just a clever business tactic to keep you paying money every month to unlock the next level not unlike the Church of Scientology? I never quite figured out the answer to that.

Given that Gerr was someone I had at least heard of and who had achieved success both in the competitive and coaching arenas, I stuck with Wave Ki for the better part of two years. At the end of the day though, Wave Ki proved to be less of the 2021 Conner Coffin and more of the 2022 Conner Coffin for me. I was still just as mediocre as I was when I started.

I will admit though, I still do Wave Ki on a regular basis along with Gerr’s instructional videos, and namely because that voice of his is just that preternaturally soothing. The guy really could have a second gig as a DJ for late night jazz radio or recording stuff for the Calm App.

I am still not any better of a surfer, but Gerr’s silky-smooth intonations within Wave Ki’s practice modules are practically hypnotic and seem to melt away my anxieties, fears, and insecurities, if only for a moment.

In the next segment, we’ll have a BeachGrit exclusive, and all I can say about it right now is that this is going to be very, very big.

Ch-ch-ch-changes (pictured). Photo: @Instagram
Ch-ch-ch-changes (pictured). Photo: @Instagram

World Surf League CEO Erik Logan telegraphs “seismic changes” for current tour format in explosive new interview!

"It's about how we're driving the sport..."

The World Surf League’s Chief of Executives, Erik Logan, has been on the job now for a plus-sized handful of years and my how the time flies. If you recall, the handsome Oklahoman, who first came to surfing by way of Oprah Winfrey, began as head of media and studios before being promoted to the top slot. Those studios have since been shuttered, Jeep replaced by exciting ladders, the fifth best surfer an opportunity to win it all and a mid-year cut that sprays open-jawed surf fans with fresh blood.

Much innovation, though in an explosive new interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, Logan telegraphs “seismic changes” just over the horizon.

We want to get through this year before we make any seismic changes. Once we get through 2023, 2024 is an Olympic year. That’s a good opportunity to evaluate what’s working and what’s not. And I think it’s fair to assume that we as a league will make refinements to these [formats]. We’re always talking to our surfers about ways to enhance the competitive arena… how we think about the finals formats and also the mid-year cuts. It made huge news and there was a lot of drama when it was introduced at Bells and also at Margaret River. The mid-season cut raised the stakes right in the middle [of the season] and it really drove more viewership and more engagement (including a 35% uptick in “consumption). And then the second year of running the Ripcurl WSL Finals was massive drama and massive stakes, when we watched what Steph Gilmore did by running the table and winning her eighth world title. It’s about how we’re driving the sport and how we’re going to make these improvements in the sport and having a smaller field post-cut yields all these other advantages.

I’m having trouble finding the potential for earthquakes in that tasty word salad but, at the end, Logan does say he “respects” Bethany Hamilton’s views regarding the World Surf League’s new trans-inclusive policy.

Very cool.

Kelly Slater echoes Voltaire with impassioned defence of “hateful, misleading” social account LibsofTikTok, “Aren’t left-wingers losing their minds at Elon/Twitter exercising their rights?”

“Context matters Kelly. Exercising your right to denigrate marginalized communities is not equal to exercising your right to defend them.”

A brushfire of sorts on Twitter after the world’s greatest athlete stepped in to defend the right of social account LibsofTikTok to continue reposting the most insane excesses of so-called progressives.

If you don’t know, LibsofTikTok is an “anti-woke” account, Instagram, Twitter etc, millions of followers, run by LA-based right-winger and Trumpist Chaya Raichik, who was anonymous until last year when she was doxxed by the hysterically hysterical left-wing quasi-journalist Taylor Lorenz.

Here’s a taste of its flavour. Maybe it pulls on the draperies of your outer vagina, maybe it don’t.

Anyway, when a cat called Brian Krassenstein, who dutifully pushes every left-wing cause however insane, tweeted about Libs being banned on TikTok, Slater waded into the imbroglio.

Krassenstein wrote,

“Breaking: Slack has just banned the account of the hateful, misleading Libs of TikTok. While right wing users are losing their minds because a private company exercised their right to remove an account of a customer who broke hte terms of service, I’m happy to saw we that we live in a free society under a Constitution which protects companies from being forced to keep disgusting individuals on their platforms.

“For those who don’t know, the Libs Of TikTok account once tweeted a misleading message claiming that “Boston Children’s Hospital is now offering gender-affirming hysterectomies for young girls.” This was an outright LIE and led to multiple bomb threats against the hospital and closed the hospital down for some time.

“I commend Slack’s decision and will always stand up for a company’s right to uphold their terms of service. And as for Libs of Tiktok, you deserve this!”

To which Slater replied,

“So we just have to go look at those accounts to see the same exact posts instead? Reposting it is seen as hate speech but posting the things they do in the first place is respectable? And aren’t Left wingers losing their minds at Elon/Twitter exercising their rights?”

A victory for common sense, yeah?

When other “progressives” began to twitch, Slater was quick to shut ‘em down.

“Kelly I can’t believe you are a part of the divisiveness. Everyone has a right to their opinion and I respect that, but using terms like left wingers adds to the chaos. I am heart broken to see someone I viewed in high regard be so trashy. I hope this is not really you.”

Slater: “You’re heartbroken about this? Is the term right wing (users) equally divisive cause that’s how the original tweet was posed? Left wing and right wing are frames of mind/POV’s with neither being inherently bad.”

“Nobody has lost their minds to our knowledge. Twitter just became a lot meaner and toxic is all. Elon Musk is a provocateur fanning the flames of bro culture.”

Slater: “When covid happened I saw a tweet saying anyone who doesn’t get vaxxed should be lined up in front of mass graves and shot. No warning to them for it. Not taken down. So you’re saying tweets have gotten meaner and more toxic since Elon? Examples?”

On a slight tangent, did you know the famous Voltaire quote “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” wasn’t actually said or written by the French Enlightenment writer but conjured up by a twentieth century biographer to describe Voltaire’s beliefs on freedom of speech? 


Picklum (pictured) safe from WSL torture (for now). Photo: WSL
Picklum (pictured) safe from WSL torture (for now). Photo: WSL

Current world number one Molly Picklum describes devastating emotional toll of World Surf League’s “sadistic like a snuff film” mid-year cull!

Evil has a name.

We are now two events into the World Surf League’s 2023 season which means, officially, three to go before the purposefully sadistic mid-year cull. Oh you certainly recall the joy, the sheer glee, displayed by the top brass leading up to the mass decapitation and the absolute pleasure Chief of Sport Jessi Miley-Dyer oozed when looking forward to re-watching the bloodletting on Make or Break.

Like a snuff film.

Well, the emotional toll on the surfers has been, more or less, kept under wraps, or at least until now, as Molly Picklum, Australia’s great hope, has shared details of the torture.

In a tender interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, the current world number one said it would “hours to unpack” the damage with her coach, Glen “Micro” Hall adding that she “couldn’t surf” afterward.

“There were these really fun little waves at a [Qualifying Series] contest in Ballito, just perfect waves,” He said. “But Molly just couldn’t surf it. It sounds like I’m exaggerating, but she just could not complete a wave: couldn’t stay up and finish her turns, couldn’t make manoeuvres she’d normally do with her eyes closed. She was trying so hard, had pushed herself so long. You could just see that she cared too much; she was trying to improve her surfing and compete and go to another level. That’s where the mid-year cut, all the emotions of it just bubbled to the surface.”

World Surf League sadism did not derail Picklum entirely, and thank goodness, but do you imagine the aforementioned Miley-Dyer, her Chief of Executives Erik Logan and gang have other tools in the dungeon to illicit pain from its charges.

A quarter-year cull, for example.

I suppose we’ll all soon find out.

“I am a woman living alone – I wish protection from the wind and privacy from the road and a house as enduring as the rocks but as transparent and charming as the waves and delicate as the seashore. You are the only man who can do this – will you help me?”

Frank Lloyd Wright house fronting surf spot described as “one of the prettiest beaches in the world with electric blue water” sells for eye-watering $22 million!

“Where architecture and surf join in perfect melody!”

You know Frank Lloyd Wright, yeah? The American architect famous for his organic builds (who don’t love Fallingwwater) and a wild personal life that included mass-murder and a near-lynching (read TC Boyle’s The Women for a heated-up version of the story)?

Yeah, well, the only oceanfront he ever designed, called Cabin on the Rocks at Carmel-by-the-Sea in Monterey County and  built in 1952, has just sold for $22 mill. 

Ol man Wright only agreed to design the joint, whose front looks like a ship’s bow setting forth into the ocean, after the client, Della Walker, wrote an impossible-to-ignore brief. 

“I am a woman living alone – I wish protection from the wind and privacy from the road and a house as enduring as the rocks but as transparent and charming as the waves and delicate as the seashore. You are the only man who can do this – will you help me?”

“The overall effect is quiet,” Wright said a couple of years after the build, “and the long white surf lines of the sea seem to join the lines of the house to make a natural melody.”

After staying in the Walker family for seventy years, it just got sold to Monaco businessman Patrice Pastor, whose been buying up land in town over the past eight years. 

“I have admired this wonderful ‘Cabin on the Rocks’ for many years, now, and have always dreamed of one day owning it,” Pastor told The Carmel Pine Cone. “It is truly a fantastic piece of land and an amazing house by one of the world’s most renowned architects.”

And surf? 

Gonna turn to Surfline for this. 

“One of the prettiest beaches in the world. The sand at Carmel Beach is fine and white and squeaky clean, and sometimes the surf is, too… The water is electric blue…The kelp and cove protect it from winds, so it can be offshore when everywhere else is blown out. Every now and then, there are serious tubes to be had. It’s all just a matter of looking.”