Lowe, pictured, with the pivotal Vans scene from Fast Times at Ridgemont High starring Sean Penn, inset.

Pressure builds on multi-billion dollar shoe empire Vans to cover medical bills of British big-wave surfer Tom Lowe almost killed in catastrophic Tahitian wipeout!

"He put his life on the line promoting the brand”

The British big-wave surfer Tom Lowe remains in a Papeete hospital following a catastrophic wipeout at Teahupoo, that dirty big hole at the literal end of the road on the island of Tahiti.

Lowe, who is twenty-nine, was pitched on the takeoff, busting six ribs and puncturing a lung in the subsequent collision with the famous reef.

The wildly talented Lowe, from the Cornish beachside hamlet of St Ives, has long been a stand-out at Irish big waves Aileens and Mullaghmore, as well as at Jaws on Maui, Mavs in California and at Mexico’s Puerto Escondido.

Our source tells us Tahitian authorities won’t let him leave French Polynesia until all his bills, totalling thirty gees, are paid. Now Lowe, who is on a retainer of a rumoured one thousand dollars a month at Vans and hence broke as hell after slinging ten gees at chasing this swell, is a little stuck after his medical insurance said they won’t pay up.

And, so, fellow big-wave legend Greg Long has put out a call for cash to get his pal fixed up and off the island.

During the recent monumental swell at Teahupoo, Tahiti, Tom endured a bad wipeout. His resulting injuries from hitting the reef required he be airlifted to the hospital where he underwent multiple emergency surgeries. He is currently in stable condition but will need to remain under close watch in the hospital for the coming days.

Unfortunately, Tom’s travel insurance will not cover his medical treatment, so we are seeking the kindness and generosity of Tom’s global surf family, friends and compassion of the community, to help assist with his ongoing medical expenses.

Anyone who has ever met Tom knows him as a humble, kind and talented surfer who is a dedicated family man to his wife Tess, daughter Tigerlilly and soon-to-be baby-on-the-way.

Tom has a long road ahead, but true to his nature, he is positive, in a fighting spirit.

Tom and his family extend their heartfelt gratitude for all the love and support during their time of need.


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Fans were quick to light up on Vans, the multi-billion dollar shoe empire owned by VF Corp, a behemoth in rude fiscal health that owns fifty percent of the US backpack market via its brands North Face, Timberland, Eastpak and JanSport.

How are the brand sponsors of the biggest names in big wave surfing not providing comprehensive medical insurance for this incredibly dangerous game they’re playing? Serious question.

The UFC provides health insurance that is better than all of the major four pro sports, which also does. I’m pretty sure Vans can afford a hospital stay.

reflects pretty poorly on endemic brands that they won’t cover medical expenses for chargers who are responsible for brand identity and ultimately dollars…

@vans @vanssurf should pay the bill.

Why does @vans not give this man proper health insurance or foot the bill? He put his life on the line and does a damn good job of promoting the brand.

And, pointedly,

So Corporate puppets who only care about revenue, profit, and increasing the stock price, encourage their contract surfers to engage in extremely life risking activities in order to acquire attention to sell product, yet when that surfer gets extremely hurt from doing those life risking activities, from their seat on their private plane, “Fuck you! You’re on your own.” is their response. Got it.

So far eight-and-a-half gees from the thirty needed has been raised.

Click here if you wanna tip in. 

Bündchen (left) and a sign.
Bündchen (left) and a sign.

Long-suffering surf fans spasm in ecstasy as Gisele Bündchen attends Met Gala in feathered wedding-style dress from the Kelly Slater years!

Smoke = fire.

Professional surfing, at the very highest level, has decided that it is best, most prudent, to take an entire month off between events in the middle of the season. The Margaret River Pro, as you may recall, wrapped its business on April 28. The Surf Ranch Pro will not kick off until May 29. A bizarre and needless long break which leaves fans of professional surfing adrift and otherwise troubled.

To what should attention be paid?

Oh certainly we have the NBA playoffs, dog day baseball, Miami’s F1 and the absolute best of all AFL (Go Pies) but, at the unfortunate end, we are fans of professional surfing and need storylines that World Surf League Chief of Executives Erik Logan can’t/won’t provide.

He’s a real bummer.

Well, Gisele Bündchen gracing the Met Gala solo can be applauded. The Brazilian supermodel, of course, attended the world’s most important fashion event, this year honoring Karl Lagerfeld whom The New York Times describes as “a firehose of offense.”

Gorgeously borrowing BeachGrit’s other tagline.

Hours ago, anyhow, Bündchen strutted in front of the camera wearing vintage Chanel. A feathered piece from 2007, wedding-style, right when she was dating Kelly Slater.

Without ex-husband Tom Brady nor the dashing jiu-jitsu instructor she has been allegedly seeing.

A certain sign.

The two reigniting their flame and, thus, ushering in a new surf shangri-la.

Slater, you may know, attended the Met Gala in 2015 and looked quite sharp in a classic tuxedo.

You must see the significance.

Must recognize this all as a sign.

27 days and counting to the Surf Ranch Pro.

26 days and counting tomorrow.

Light a candle in the meantime.

Hamilton (pictured) in a place she is no longer allowed. Photo: WSL
Hamilton (pictured) in a place she is no longer allowed. Photo: WSL

Surfline breaks with partner World Surf League over Bethany Hamilton ban, speaks glowingly of inspirational surfer-activist during live Teahupo’o broadcast!

"What Bethany does even today is incredible, riding waves with just one hand!"

It has been nearly three months since the World Surf League declared war on the inspirational one-armed surfer Bethany Hamilton. The shocking row began after the Santa Monica-based “home of professional surfing” adopted liberal new rules allowing transgender surfers with low testosterone, revealed through self-testing, to compete against women. While many cheered the progressive stance others were not so happy. Surf great Kelly Slater called for the creation of a trans division while Kauai’s Hamilton discussed issues of fairness.

Retribution was swift.

Surfers were not allowed to choose “Hamilton” for their jerseys celebrating International Women’s Day and commentators were not allowed to mention her name.

A brutal erasure.

Well, the World Surf League’s forecasting partner Surfline has decided to break ranks with WSL chiefs Erik Logan, Jessi Miley-Dyer etc. and spoke glowingly about the thirty-three-year-old mother of three during yesterday’s live broadcast of the XL Teahupo’o swell. Her unique ability to paddle, spin and pop up all with only one arm, her tenacity, highlighted.

There is no word, as of yet, how the World Surf League will respond to such provocation. Will Surfline be scrubbed entirely? Told to apologize and beg for forgiveness?

Sent to the gulag (Challenger Series)?

Currently more questions than answers.

North Shore strongman Eddie Rothman and world champion surfer Barton Lynch rail against drag shows for kids at surf mecca, “The end game is to normalise ‘minor attracted people’ which we have always called paedophilia”

"I will never accept the abuse and indoctrination of the youth with these ideas.”

Patrons of the much-loved Keiki Community Fair enjoyed a treat on Saturday in the form of noted performers, the drag mother and daughter duo Candi Shell and Tara Way.

Along with food, books, services, fun actives and lunch and all sorts of prizes, the happy little keikis, which is the Hawaiian word for children, were gifted a Drag Story Time, a now-common treat for kids in the United States and which has become a battle ground ‘tween left and right. 

The Right sees it as the unnecessary sexualisation of kids, the left feels it establishes a beachhead against intolerance etc.

Your ol pal DR, who ain’t adverse to a little dress-up, agrees with Az Hakeem’s take that “Drag makes a parody of what society believes to be the domain of either gender, in order to make us realise how tenuous and ridiculous such constructs are.”

Now, North Shore strongman and co-founder of Da Hui Eddie Rothman has hit back at the show, posting on Instagram, 


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A post shared by Eddierothman (@eddierothman)

“I would hate to think that This is what our government is promoting., anyone who would bring any child to these so called events definitely has a lose screw and is a total SICKO !!!!!!! What has this nation come to!!”

His post invited an eruption of commentary including from the 1988 world champion Barton Lynch, who cinched his title at perfect eight-to-twelve-foot Pipeline but is now more famous for his oratorical gymkhanas on his podcast The Stoked Bloke Show.

You’ll certainly remember when BeachGrit outed Barton as a filthy communist bastard, which you can read here, and which was swiftly refuted, here. 

Lynch writes,

The endgame for them with all this is to normalise what they call, minor attracted people which we have always called paedophilia, and I will never accept the abuse and indoctrination of the youth with these ideas.”

Other comments followed in a similar vein, which invites the question, should there be a Drag Story Time at the Billabong Pipeline Pro cum January and would you invite Candi and Tara or should the WSL go with a more diverse choice, LatinX Bianca Del Rio or BIPOC Shangela Laquifa Wadley maybe?

Watch the sizzle reel below!

Open Thread: Comment Live as Teahupo’o goes extra large on Surfline!

Who needs the WSL?