Premier snowboarding event Natural Selection makes absolute mockery of World Surf League on live television!

Do yourself a favor and watch even five minutes.

And this. This is what it looks like when core members of a niche extreme sporting community launch a competitive tour with the goal of pushing boundaries, shattering perceptions, scaring the goodness gracious out of those in rider’s vests, dropping jaws of those watching at home, diluting none of the love, passion, raison d’être.

Natural Selection’s Revelstoke stop showed what is possible in wildest dreams instead of cursed Oklahoma-by-way-of-Oprah-Winfrey-mush.

For those unawares, the aforementioned Natural Selection was Travis Rice’s answer to Olympic snowboarding. Driven by a love of nature and wild backcountry feats, he wanted it to be more honest, closer in spirit to what turned him on rather than halfpipe trick ponying and/or artificial slopestyling.

And now in its third year, after Jackson Hole, Bald Face and Alaska features this Revelstoke business is… mind bending.

A playing field so wide, with so many native features, cliffs, chutes, crazy steep and just plain crazy as to utterly boggle.

To strike fear into the heart of the passive observer and the willing participant alike.

I attended the press/athlete mixer last evening before today’s running, the fact that they allow press and rider to mingle over alcohol, a feat in and of itself, but last evening no athlete was drinking. Terror clawed as Rice had naturally selected the apocalypse. I have, truly, never seen professionals so green in the face, outside Filipe Toledo at Teahupoo.

Jared Elston, the youngest rider and son of a professional surfer, said that he had been studying the course as much as he could (riders are not allowed on until their first run but can examine maps and drone angles) but Rice was the only one of them who had ever ridden anything quite like this.

Mikkel Bang, a viking, wasn’t drinking though I coaxed him into one beer. A proper viking. One beer.

The morning broke, blue sky’d and glorious, but a heavy chill hung in the air. The wife, who has collaborated with Rice for 20 years and was out the door for a sunrise helicopter to the course muttered, “Why did Travis have to pick this. Why couldn’t he have just gone a little more mellow.”

As if to rub everyone’s noses right in it, Rice elected to drop first into the untracked wild. I won’t get into the contest format, here, (though it is better than professional surfing in every way) and there he went, commentators holding breath, drones buzzing. The next four-plus hours featured some of the most stunning extreme sport in history. The best snowboarders in the world getting lost in the trees. The best snowboarders in the world getting hung up mid cliff and having to sort a way off as it would have been virtually impossible to help them. The best snowboarders in the world being forced to push the very boundary of potential, flipping, twisting racing down sheer vertical drop and not for some fake midwest fan, either, but for the core of the core.

For each other.

It was for snowboarders, by snowboarders and it sang.

Oh the women were there too. There was no quarter for them, no easier line or more comfortable conditions, and they made history, from Zoi Sadowski-Synnott to Hight to Kimmy Fasani fresh off beating cancer throwing some of the biggest hammers of the day.

In an alternate universe, World Surf League Chief of Executives Erik Logan and his Chief of Sport Jessi Miley-Dyer are headed to Austin, Texas for South by Southwest in order to speak on “Surfing’s Swell of Success and the Business Behind it” and praising themselves on social media for it.

They honestly suck.

President Trump (insert) and Asai-gate. The last interesting event to happen in professional surfing. Photo: Bystander.
President Trump (insert) and Asai-gate. The last interesting event to happen in professional surfing. Photo: Bystander.

Award-winning documentarian likens surfing’s most famous murderer to US ex-President Donald Trump!

"It is now a thing to run for elected office in our society and when you lose to just declare that you won."

Surfing is currently experiencing a vast character deficit. Men or women who slide their boards exceptionally but are also magnetic, polarizing, mildly interesting out of the water. Like Michael Dora, Michael Tomson, Micheal Peterson etc. Mercifully we still have Michael Ho but, unfortunately, the room is seasoned with so much Michael Rodrigues that it is sometimes difficult to taste.

Which makes the just-released four-part documentary series Murph the Surf that much more essential. Award winning director RJ Cutler tells the fascinating tale of Jack Murphy, a champion surfer who stole a very famous jewel, went to jail, came out and was convicted of murdering two women, came back out and preached redemption.

Murphy, though, was also a storyteller very much in love with his own narrative, though not the murder portion. Famous surf podcaster David Lee Scales once interviewed and said he would not want to talk about that bit and/or aggressively steer the conversation away, placing the guilt upon a make-believe fifth man.

Cutler agrees and likens Murphy to one Donald J. Trump in a new interview.

Per Newsweek:

He intended to dominate the conversation and to assert his will, and his desire for the series to be something [positive] which viewers of the series will be clear on. It was very important for him to kind of control the narrative, and he was very committed to that, and he went on [when speaking]. He reminded me of a certain recent president of the United States who I had the experience of meeting a number of times and who also liked to speak a lot, and without a particular interest in other people in a conversation speaking.

Jack is a bit of a Trumpian figure, and I think that this is another instance where you experience that there’s no limit to not only what he’s willing to fabricate as truth, but the fact that he thinks that people will swallow it, perhaps because so much of the truths he’s fabricated, or of the truths he fabricated over his lifetime, were swallowed by so many.

Maybe not the best personality trait but it would be welcome reprieve from cardboard cutouts surfing has now. Michael Pupo? Weary fans turn their lonely eyes to you.

Super yacht that ran aground on reef at “the ultimate wave, the best wave in the world” finally freed after leaking diesel into pristine waters for two weeks! “Every time Haoles are around the water they steal it, pollute it, poison it and even drown in it!”

“And they say plastic straws are killing the ocean…”

For the past two weeks, grave fears were held for one of the world’s best waves after a ninety-four-foot super yacht ran aground at Honolua Bay, the one-time site of the WSL’s women’s tour finale.

Videos on Instagram showed the four-bedroom, five-bath Nakoa high and dry on the rocks in front of where surfers paddle out to the world-famous righthand point.

Honolua’s place in surf lore runs deep with four-time world champ Mark Richards describing the joint as “the ultimate wave; the best wave in the world.”

Community feels ran hot as news spread through the island.

“Thanks elites…Your dream life fucks up our only life. Send dis guy back. With massive fines that go back to restoring land and water in Hawai’i. Too many fuck ups over here. We cannot overlook anymore. Barred. No can ever return.”

“Haoles should be banned from water,” said another local. “Every time they around it something goes wrong. They steal it, pollute it, poison it and even drown in it!”

Earlier today, and after a rigging crew spent all day Saturday preparing the Nokoa to be pulled off the reef and aided by favourable weather conditions, the stricken yacht was dragged to open waters.

The marooned Nakoa, landlocked for two weeks at Honolua Bay.
Riggers work to secure the stricken Nakoa.
Riggers work to secure the stricken Nakoa.

“I’m beyond words,” said Dan Chang, Chair of the Department of Land and Natural Resources. “We all thought today was it. It was either going to happen or not. I’m extremely pleased.”

As the Nakoa was dragged out to sea a pod of humpback whales began following the Nakoa and the two salvage boats as they headed west.

“If you’re Hawaiian you think about hō‘ailona, or sign. There was no wind until we saw the whales and it suddenly picked up. We all had chicken skin,” Chang said.

Update: Even after a salvage job reported to have cost half-a-million bucks the Nakoa now appears to be sinking just offshore.

"I don’t want to fail in my relaxation time – I just want to go with the flow and soak in the fun. No pressure, only carefree, uncomplicated enjoyment. I simply want to enjoy the ride.”

Vulnerable adult learner surfer preaches the joy of mediocrity in devastating essay, “I’m happy being a below-average surfer”!

Do you like sucking? Or does it break your heart and haunt you in your dreams and across every waking second of your life?

The surf world was rocked this past week when a long-time adult learner wrote convincingly of the joys of being a kook for ultra-left wing Brit newspaper The Guardian. 

The Adelaide-based writer Kerri Duncan, a “thirty-something” who has been “surfing for almost twenty years” says despite two decades in the ocean she still “frolics in the whitewater with the little tackers, whooping when I manage to stand up on a wave like a kid cycling for the first time without training wheels.” 

It’s the sort of return on investment that would have most wannabe surfers quitting the sport in disgust. 

But, not Duncan. 

“Supportive friends and well-wishers have suggested I take lessons, offered to be my mentor, or insisted I could improve if I trained harder. The implication is if I’m passionate about something, I should also be proficient. I say thanks, but I’m happy being a below-average surfer.

“While I get a sense of fulfilment from developing certain skills, I want to reserve some activities purely for imperfect pleasure. I would go so far as to say I need to reserve some activities purely for imperfect pleasure, for the sake of my mental health. 

“Psychologists have been spruiking the positive effects of hobbies on psychological wellbeing for years; we get those essential happy hormones from losing ourselves in a chosen activity, giving us a sense of meaning and purpose, while being blissfully distracted from everyday stressors.

“When I focus too much on getting better at something, it creates room for failure. I don’t want to fail in my relaxation time – I just want to go with the flow and soak in the fun. No pressure, only carefree, uncomplicated enjoyment. I simply want to enjoy the ride.”

And, in words that will be a salve to anyone who’s been plateauing at a low-to-intermediate level for years, Duncan writes, 

“I don’t need to improve at something in order to enjoy it. If I find an activity that brings me simple happiness, I can permit myself to treasure it as it is – whether I objectively suck at it or not.”

Do you like sucking? Or does it break your heart and haunt you in your dreams and across every waking second of your life, your asshole puckering at the sight of any wave over six feet?

I stand in group two.

Winfrey (pictured) touring Maui. Logan (insert) a li'l angel. Photo: Instagram
Winfrey (pictured) touring Maui. Logan (insert) a li'l angel. Photo: Instagram

Oprah Winfrey purchases “big chunk” of Maui for $6.6 million prompting surf enthusiasts to wonder if former acolyte Erik Logan still in media mogul’s ear!

Kelly Slater's Ulupalakua Surf Ranch on the way?

News broke overnight that Oprah Winfrey, very famous and worth some $2.7 billion, had purchased a “large chunk” of Maui for a reported $6.6 million. The plot of land, 870 acres in total near Kula, in the Valley Isle’s guts, formerly belonged to the Ulupalakua Ranch which specializes in elk hamburgers.


As you certainly know, the media mogul owns property in Montecito, Chicago and Colorado, three places that don’t feature surf nor Albee Layer and her sudden interest in the birthplace of the Sport of Queens has surf enthusiasts wondering if her former acolyte, one Erik Logan, is in her ear.

Logan, the World Surf League’s current Chief of Executives, previously served as the Oprah Winfrey Network president and kicked the then-struggling television operation to great success. Coming over to the WSL, the Oklahoman was named head of studios, which promptly shuttered, and failed upstairs to the number one slot.

Winfrey’s new holding is exactly 12 miles from Jaws and 40-ish from Honolua Bay making it the perfect spot for an artificial wave facility.

Kelly Slater’s Ulupalakua Surf Ranch.

Rings, no?