Kelly Slater (pictured) celebrating with non-alcoholic bubbly apple juice.
Kelly Slater (pictured) celebrating with non-alcoholic bubbly apple juice.

Kelly Slater bandmate and longtime friend Peter King teases new multi-billion dollar Saudi Arabia-backed professional surf tour!

A perfect storm?

The World Surf League, founded in 2015, has had a banner last few years according to Chief of Executives Erik Logan. The former Oprah Winfrey Network president has been nothing if not bullish, in his role as influencer, posting many Instagram messages wherein the unprecedented growth, synergies and vectors, partnership ragout, REAL MOMENTUM is highlighted and celebrated.

Bailey Ladders.

With the mid-season cut now in the rearview, the League can focus on the remaining stops leading to San Clemente, California and the crowning of champions at 2 – 3ft Lower Trestles.

Exciting but surf fans, ever grouchy, still find room to complain. Too many surfers, waves not good enough, judging dumb, Jessi Miley-Dyer’s sunglasses, grouse, grouse, grouse.

Might there be enough discontent for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to realize another grand sportswashing opportunity?

You certainly recall just last year when LIV Golf sprung to life heaping millions of dollars on participants who left the nearly 100 year old PGA Tour in the dust.

So long, suckers.

The thought of an fresh league upending an established one would have been impossible if not for Saudi billions and herein lies a delectable tease from Momentum Generation funnyman Peter King.

The photographer responded, days ago, to a disgruntled surf fan frustrated by the “nauseating” WSL and wishing professional surfers could “go somewhere else” by saying, “One is coming very soon. Think LIV your but for surfing.”

“Your” certainly code for “tour.”

And boom.

A paired down slam series featuring only the best surfers in only the best waves with only the best production team is certainly enticing, and long jibber-jabbered about, but what do you think? Which surfers would you like to see and where would you like to see them?

Kelly Slater, it must be noted, performs in a band with King, just got cut from the tour, has a history of biting the hand that fed (Quiksilver, Channel Islands) and would be a perfect frontman a la Phil Mickelson. His complete nonchalance after losing at Margaret River, staring at The Box, silently mocking the World Surf League was certainly telling.

But telling what?

The question must be asked, I suppose, if professional surfing would be worth anything to desert princes. The answer might be found in the World Surf League’s existing performative environmental silliness. Calling the ocean “our office and playground,” and vowing to protect it by having Connor O’Leary plant a bush in Torquay, Australia. Imagine how petrodollars could be cleaned with a semi-competent director pulling the strings.

Great Wall Motors.

Pro-trans website rejoices at Kelly Slater’s shock dumping from world tour declaring, “We hope he takes time to address his fascist tendencies”

"Being authentically trans is deep and heavy traumatic work. It’s ridiculous how much we have to go through just to even exist gracefully in this world."

A couple of months back, the most dominant surfer ever Kelly Slater broke the hearts of trans-girls everywhere when he responded to a WSL rule change that allows biological males, albeit with low levels of T, to compete, with a call for a “trans division.”

The knife was turned again when, in response to Kid Rock blowing hell out of Dylan Mulvaney-emblazoned Bud Light cans with an assault rifle, Slater commented, “Hahahaha. No words necessary.”

(Dylan Mulvaney, if y’don’t know, is a boy gone girl who likes “possums and twilight and pretzels.”) 

Now, the pro-trans website Surf Equity (“Access—Inclusion—Equity—Justice in Pro Surfing”) has danced on Slater’s still-warm competitive corpse posting an Instagram story with the worlds “We hope Kelly Slater takes time to address his fascist tendencies” over a screenshot of an OC Register story of his demise.

It ain’t the first time Surf Equity has had a swing at the Champ, pushing back on Slater’s supposed coup de grâce to “name a few women who have transitioned to men who are winning or even competitive in men’s sports divisions. I’ll wait.”

(Surf Equity suggests an examination of Schuyler Bailar, Tyler C Wilde and Lucas Draper.) 

Slater gets short shrift from Surf Equity’s followers, his words insulting, colour blind etc. 

“We don’t need kelly ‘defending’ women’s surfing…not from the same guy who publicly shamed big wave surfer maya gabeira after almost dying, and def not through transphobic garbage commentary like this. Identifying as a surfboard?! 11 titles and still a fkn kook!! At the least I hope this brought surf equity some publicity. Equal rights in sports is good for everyone.”

“As a trans person who has had to struggle my whole life to feel accepted, by Kelly saying “identifiying as a surfboard” is completely dehumanizing of me and other trans peoples experiences. You don’t just wake up one day saying “hey I’m going to identify as a surfboard”. Being authentically trans is deep and heavy traumatic work. It’s ridiculous how much we have to go through just to even exist gracefully in this world. and it’s idiots like Kelly Slater that keep gatekeeping us from belonging in all places we deserve to belong…. ALSO (cause I’m venting) you can’t just change your race. That’s so insulting and color blind and has nothing to do with transitioning genders!”

“Perhaps @kellyslater doesn’t even realize how deeply he’s influenced by and helping to perpetuate anti-trans misinformation and hate. And unlike other professional sports, the surf industry lags way behind in efforts to recognize, include, or support LGBTQ athletes. Here on North Shore O’ahu, it’s still the dark ages on these issues and concerns. Ugh.”

Back to the T-girl debate, I’ll ask again: is Valentina Sampaio, who appeared in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue and on the VS catwalk, your favourite crossover trans-model ? 

Or are you team Geena Rocero, a Playboy centrefold in 2019?  

Are you pre or post-op?


Are T-girls chicks with dicks or dudes with tits?

(I’ll go first: Yes, no, pre-op and depends on the gal!)

Multiple-time world champ Tyler Wright’s recent and shocking accusation of abuse at hands of father resurfaces age-old question: “Are professional surfers born or made?”

Social scientists confounded!

Days ago, Tyler Wright slipped into the soft cocoon hand-crafted by the World Surf League own Chief of Strategy Officers and lit a match. The Lineup, which generally features surfers and surf personalities spackling the patented Wall of Positive Noise, is not a place for hot takes but Wright, two-time World Champion, doesn’t play by those dull rules and used her almost two hour session to speak on many things including, the “different emotional and psychological abuse” from her father Rob.

“I experienced that and I worked with a psychologist for years to understand my relationship with surfing and understand how that was born, how it was really unhealthy for me,” Wright said. “I’m rebuilding a relationship with surfing because of the drastic and extreme circumstances that I was raised in…Look, this is not uncommon. Which is baffling for someone like me. If this is not uncommon, why don’t we have better solutions, better parenting programs, better informed industry? I’m not the first child this has happened to. I’m not the first child star this has happened to.”

Opinion on the champ “laying the boot into the old boy,” who suffers from dementia, was mixed, though did resurface the age-old question. Are professional surfers born or made?

Are “child stars,” as a whole, born or made, for that matter?

In Wright’s take, she was clearly exceptional from the womb and succeeded even though she was raised in “extreme circumstances,” i.e. a hard-driving patriarch with professional surfing dreams draped all over his three charges Owen, Tyler and Mikey. But what if Mr. Wright didn’t care what the children did? What if he let them frolic here and there, lick ice cream and play video games? Would they have all reached great success in professional surfing, Tyler the greatest?

Again, she seems to think the answer is “yes.” I suppose it follows that she would imagine Venus and Serena Williams, Tiger Woods, etc. reaching the heavens without their meddling papas, who should have been all slapped up the side of the head with parenting programs.

If she had chosen a different path, say avant-garde theater or racing horse trainer, her argument might more sense, to me, but I don’t understand how she can so deftly splice how she was raised from her surfing-specific success.

Can you?

What great truths am I missing?


The Inertia (right) waiting for Surfer's kiss.
The Inertia (right) waiting for Surfer's kiss.

Zombie website Surfer comes straight for The Inertia’s tender throat, posts “viral TikTok” showing one dog, three surfers “riding the ultimate party wave!”

"The bible of the sport" vs. "the definitive voice of surf and the outdoors."

The reanimated corpse of Surfer magazine has been one of the more fascinating stories of 2023. Murdered and buried in a shallow grave three-ish years ago, the “bible of the sport” seemed to be a victim of changing media dynamics, a contracted surf industry and David’s Pecker, who purchased the title, along with many others, and lathered them in debt.

Surfers mourned then carried on, as we are wont to do.

Well, magically, the rotting bones were exhumed, early 2023, by a me-too’d publisher much to the wonderment of all.


To what end?

It soon became apparent that the historically significant title would be shocked into zombie-dom and shuffle around the great internet, presenting stories from “proud owners of a Pyrnesse-mixes” living in East Tennessee.

After Emily Morgan was praised for her ingenuity, her ability to see surf all the way from those Smoky Mountains, her job was ripped away and the daemon Surfer was given a new purpose.

To suck the life out of rival The Inertia, stealing its life force by nursing on the place where a spine should, theoretically, be.


Yesterday, the house that Severson built published a cute video featuring açaí enthusiast Michael Rodrigues “getting dropped in on” in Western Australia by “locals” i.e. dolphins.

Classic The Inertia.

Today, we are served a “viral TikTok” celebrating the “ultimate party wave” i.e. three people, a dog and a soft top.

Classic-er The Inertia.

But do you think the “definitive voice of the surf and outdoors” founder Zach Weisberg is scared? Laying in bed at night, covers pulled up around chin, waiting for Surfer’s gums to come and suckle his milquetoast?

He should be.

We should all be.

The enduring thrill of surfing and the even greater thrill of power!

Byron Bay council to debate “legrope police on the beach and $1100 fines” after rash of gruesome injuries caused by loose surfboards

“How do you look your wife in the eye if you’ve knocked a kid out just because you didn’t want to wear a legrope?”

The ongoing battle between VALS living the retro-nostalgia dream of riding leashless logs in crowded lineups and regular joes wanting to swish around on a few waves without being decapitated will reach a head this week when a Byron Bay councillor introduces a motion to enforce the use of leashes. 

Cate Coorey, a progressive councillor who says “we must heal and restore this land and plan for a climate disrupted future” wants fines of up to $1100 and rangers and cops wandering the beach enforcing the law. 

“We would have to have the signage at the entrances to the beaches and then we would have compliance officers that would be on the alert for it,” Coorey told ABC. “We have officers that go along the beach, we have rangers and we have people in the parks.”

It ain’t the first time Coorey’s had a swing at leashless VALS. Four years ago, she campaigned for a safety awareness program to address the problem of “hipsters” surfing leashless in and around the Byron area.

“It’s mostly people riding long boards who seem to be having a love affair with times past, but we also used to drive without seat belts and there were many fatalities,” Coorey said. “A couple of times I’ve actually grabbed kids to keep them out of the way of the board.”

The latest motion comes two months after pro surfer Matt Cassidy “nearly bled out on the beach and nearly lost my arm when someone dropped in one me out two-foot Wategos without a legrope. After an hour on the beach being held together by some absolutely legendary humans I was rushed via ambulance then helicopter to GC where I’m currently awaiting specialist advice.”

You don’t have to trawl too far into the BeachGrit archives to examine the ongoing debate about leashless longboarders in Byron Bay. 

Six months back, an aged care worker and mother of a disabled kid was crippled after she got belted by an out-of-control surf pilot who then criticised her for damaging his board with her bone and tissue. 

“The Pass is full of kids, and I think there have been four incidents outside of mine in the last month or so,” Matt Cassidy told ABC from hospital. “How do you look your wife in the eye if you’ve knocked a kid out just because you didn’t want to wear a legrope?”