Murf (pictured) center. Photo: Murf the Surf.
Murf (pictured) center. Photo: Murf the Surf.

Semi-recently deceased surf champion-cum-jewel thief Murf the Surf gets second life with new documentary from award-winning director!

Hot fuss!

The Billabong Pro Pipeline is off, will likely be off tomorrow, and only fairly bleak days of waves look to be over the horizon. Oh, we shall undoubtedly gather together whenever it runs and open thread this, while live chatting that, because there are multiple storylines at stake. Which professional surfer will kick the year off well even in subpar conditions, for example? Who will put themselves square behind the eight ball with only four more events prior to the dreaded mid-year cut? Is there an early favorite in the World Surf League’s appropriated “Stab in the Dark” now called “Poke in the Pants” competition?



Matt Mayhem?

While on the subject of mayhem, a new documentary has just been released about Murf the Surf by award-winning filmmaker R.J. Cutler titled “Murf the Surf: Jewels, Jesus and Mayhem.”

Do you have thoughts on the man?

The movie, which chronicles a truly wild tale of professional surfing, jewel thievery and prison stints/stunts, seems like a fun ride and I appreciate the over-the-top cinematic elements that Murf, or Jack Murphy, adopted in his life though have ringing in the back of my head the impression David Lee Scales was left with after interviewing him for his Surf Splendor podcast. In a word, or so, and if I properly recall, he found Murphy to be a great showman but also unable, or willing, to own up to real nasty bits in his story. Namely, I suppose, that of being involved in the grisly murder of two women.

Well you can, and should, learn more about Murphy at the Encyclopedia of Surfing whilst subscribing.

Be better.

Also, listen to the interview here.

Be best.

Just another day in New Smyrna (pictured).
Just another day in New Smyrna (pictured).

Florida’s New Smyrna beats out the fearsome Banzai Pipeline to be named “deadliest beach in United States!”

A shocker.

The Billabong Pro Pipeline will very likely be off again today with a positively rotten forecast. Surfline, not even beginning to pretend anymore, calling the typically menacing Banzai Pipeline 3 – 4ft with lousy winds and, honestly, nothing really over the horizon. A slight bump on Monday with strong easterly trades all but guaranteed to chew it up.

So far, on the men’s side, Josh Moniz, Imaikalani deVault, Matt McGillivray and Jadson Andre have been sent packing. Four names in two days, though they might be pleased to not have to splish-splash in the ugly.

The upcoming round of 32, rebranded the “bracket round,” will likely be a bloodbath of big names going down in sloppy conditions but at least sitting world champion Filipe Toledo, up against Carlos Munoz, will not have to be scared of big towering waves. Those who picked him to surfive must be pleased.

In another blow to Pipe’s fearsome reputation, Florida’s New Smyrna smashed it to be named “America’s Deadliest Beach” by Travel Lens. Per a commissioned study, the excursion website examined “hurricanes, surfing fatalities and shark attacks” to determine which stretch of coast was the most frightening and it was New Smyrna with scored an 8.4 out of a possible ten.

“The deadliest beach in the US is Florida’s New Smyrna Beach,” as the piece goes, “with an overall danger score of 8.14. New Smyrna Beach had more shark attacks than any other beach at 32. This was more than twice as many as any other US beach. However, this beach isn’t all bad. The food scene is excellent, where you can visit some of the best restaurants in New Smyrna Beach.”

Second place was Kelly Slater’s Cocoa.

Sixth, the Hobgoods’ Melbourne.

Pipeline was, in fact, nowhere on the list.

When it comes to surfing fatalities, alone, Warren Smith’s Panama City, Florida beat all-comers by a whopping amount.

Whatever happened to Warren Smith?

Should we send out an SOS?

Two of the most influential surfers in 2023, Sasha Jane Lowerson, left, and Kelly Slater.

LGBTQ+ community cock-a-hoop as World Surf League tentatively opens door for transgender women to compete at highest level despite Kelly Slater arguing for a “trans-only division”!

But opposition! "Women’s sports is not a backup plan where you can’t win a trophy (and $) in the men’s division."

Through the middle of last year surf fans were gifted the rare sight of a transgender woman tearing hell through the women’s long boarding league over there in Western Australia. 

Sasha Jane Lowerson, a svelte forty five year old with terrific arms, transitioned into womanhood in 2020 shortly after winning the men’s longboard div as Ryan Egan and didn’t look back, adding a new trophy ever other weekend it seemed to a mantlepiece already groaning with trophies.

“Trans-girls aren’t going to take over the world, we just want to be included, we’re humans too,” Lowerson said. “I’ve been hiding in this male shell up… for 42 years. To still be made to be that guy that I’m not, it’s shattering,”

A feel-good story for the times.

Surfing’s reactionary core was laid bare, however, when Momentum Generation funnyman and Kelly Slater bandmate Peter King waded into the trans-athlete imbroglio saying,

“Stay out of women’s sports where you miraculously win after being an average performing man. Women’s sports is not a backup plan where you can’t win a trophy (And $) in the men’s division. Leagues like WSL and sponsors like Red Bull will you now stand up to this now instead of harming women’s sports?”

Kelly Slater added, “Make a trans division and we don’t have this confusion.”

Of course, when Lowerson failed to win the  Australian longboard title, the media was conspicuously silent.

“It’s pretty amazing the message that you guys the media send to us all!” Lowerson wrote in an Instagram DM. “I just finished fourth in the Australian titles and nothing but the sound of crickets! Listen, I am happy that there isn’t disgusting skewed opinions being published about my inclusion. However, I’m sure as two well-educated men that you two are, both of you can surely see the irony of what I’m pointing out right now! The press love to chant about how it’s only unfair when we (trans-athletes) win!”

Now, the World Surf League, has tentatively opened the door to trans-women competing so long as they’ve been a gal for at least twelve months and their hormone levels are real low ie less than 5 nanomoles per liter continuously for the previous 12 months (biological men hover between 10 and 35, bio-gals under three), although the WSL won’t be doing the testing.

Instead, each athlete will supply their own supporting documents. 

“The WSL is working hard to balance equity and fairness and it’s important for a policy to be in place,” the WSL’s newly anointed Chief of Sport Jessi Miley-Dyer told the oft-controversial adult learner surfer website The Inertia. “We recognize that the policy may need to evolve over time as we get feedback and see new research in the field.”

Now, again, one more time, and more importantly, and since we couldn’t agree last two times, what are your favourite tranny-themed movies?

Or, perhaps closer to home, describe your favourite encounter with this exotic species?

Gilmore (pictured) giggling. Photo: WSL
Gilmore (pictured) giggling. Photo: WSL

Reigning world champion Stephanie Gilmore suffers shock Pipeline defeat, sets up gorgeously to make second consecutive run at mocking professional surfing brass!

Hero to zero.

Professional surfing at its highest level was off today, providing millions of fans around the world a moment of respite, some precious seconds to gather thoughts and ponder what we have all witnessed and what we can hope to expect. Bad waves and at least three missed waves, per heat, all but guaranteed. Schizophrenia taking serious hold amongst the commenters.

Yesterday, after the day wrapped, for instance, Ross Williams, usually adroit in mind, was on the highlight show and began saying how lousy the waves were, ending with what a thrilling day of surfing it was.

Chicken skin.

Joe Turpel agreed, also speaking out of both sides of his mouth, and Megan Abubo agreed with everything.

The big note, I suppose, was that reigning champion Stephanie Gilmore lost to two youngsters and was booted from the competition altogether.

“It’s funny, I feel like I’ve gone from hero to zero,” she said afterward. “Surfing has a way of keeping you humble, that’s for sure. Caity [Simmers] did really well, she sat and waited, and got two really good waves. But that’s the sport, that’s the way it is, and there’s no better motivation than to have a shocker and want to come back better.”

The beauty is, that she sets up perfectly to make a mockery of the sport exactly like she did last year after barely sneaking into final’s day with the fewest points of all then running the table and winning it all.

World Surf League CEO Erik Logan and Chief of Sport Jessi Miley-Dyer seemed to love the scene, having invented it then pointing to the aforementioned millions of fans as proof in pudding. The newly appointed Khan of All Words, there on Lower Trestles’ cobbled stone to witness live, was lightly more circumspect, enjoying Gilmore’s moxie and mockery but feeling that Hawaii’s Carissa Moore had been brutally robbed.

Well, fans of mockery can certainly hope that Filipe Toledo ends in the fifth slot this year, opposite Gilmore, and the two of them dance to twin defenses of championships.

Chief Executive and Chief Sport fist pumping in the wings.

Let’s go.

Khan of All Written Word (pictured) with some.
Khan of All Written Word (pictured) with some.

Media watchers astounded, opinion split as surf journalist promoted to “Khan of All Written Word!”

A major step up.

Ripples are spreading through the media world, this morning, after it was revealed that Chas Smith, BeachGrit surf journalist and author of four books, one award nominated, had been promoted from his current position to “Khan of All Written Word.”

Smith, who got his start as a contributing writer to Vice, transitioning laterally to Stab then climbing to editor-at-living-large at Surfing before ending up as a surf journalist, and co-founder, of BeachGrit has split opinion in his new role.

While some were quick to praise, adding both fire emojis and heart eye emojis into the social media press release, others consider the controversial figure ill-suited to carry the weight of his title.

“Khan of All Written Word” is a very important job,” one correspondent stated, anonymously so as not to cause an embarrassing row. “And while Chas Smith does have an indefatigable, often infuriating, thirst for pumping out many, many jots and tittles each day, the quality of them has been rigorously debated. I belong to the camp that his grammar, alone, should disqualify him from such an august post.”

In any case, Smith will be expected to work closely with the World Surf League’s new Chief of Sport Jessie Miley-Dyer who, herself, was recently promoted to that position from Senior Vice President of Tours and Head of Competition.

“The announcement comes,” according to that press release, “in conjunction with the start of the 2023 WSL Championship Tour (CT) season with the Billabong Pro Pipeline on the famed North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. In this role, Miley-Dyer oversees the entire competitive landscape for the WSL’s Tours and competitions, including the World Championship Tour, Challenger Series, Qualifying Series, Pro Junior Series, Big Wave, and World Longboard Tour, and specialty events/series. In addition, Miley-Dyer oversees the athlete development pathway as well as the integrity of the sport through judging, scoring operations, and sportsmanship.”

Exciting times.