One woman play pitting surfing against God and the destruction of a marriage opens to tepid reviews at Brighton Fringe Festival!

To the WSL community...

I am generally not a huge theater goer. I have fallen in love with ballet, as you know, and adore attending the symphony but live theater, either dramatic, comedic or musical, often leaves me feeling slightly awkward. There’s something about the ramping up of over-earnest emotion, maybe. Having to sell love, hate, sadness, joy to the back of the room and I’m near certain I would have felt slightly awkward sitting in the audience of Surfing the Holyland, a one woman play currently running at Brighton Fringe there in coastal England, though I would have very much wanted to support and felt bad in my heart for it.

The staged story deals with Heather, a native Ohioan, and the culture shock she experiences when moving to Tel Aviv with her husband Zach who proceeds to “find God” in Orthodox Judaism. She, herself, finds surfing and experiences “life and companionship in the waves” from her “sexy surfing instructor.”

Plastic boxes are used as surfboard and re-arranged for different surfing scenes.

While reviewers praised the actor/writer Erin Hunter’s athleticism, and adored the “oodles of charm,” there was some complaint.

“It does not always feel deep enough in its switches between light and dark,” Arifa Akbar of The Guardian wrote, “and the analogy between surfing and Heather’s life – from her drowning in a new culture to learning to navigate its waves – does not feel penetrating. Zach stays a caricature and we cannot believe in the marriage. When it all comes to a head, we do not care enough; it is Heather we root for, and the awakening she experiences on her surfboard.”


When Erik Logan writes and performs his own one man play about the awakening he experiences on his surfboard do you think he’ll include the recent scene with Gabriel Medina, Filipe Toledo and Italo Ferreira or leave it on the cutting room floor?

Let’s read his letter once more, just for fun.

To the WSL community,

I want to address the conversation that happened in our community following the recent Championship Tour event at the Surf Ranch. As you likely know, a small number of athletes made statements questioning the judging of the competition and the final results.

I want to respond directly to those statements, however, we first need to address a much more important issue. In recent days, a number of surfers, WSL judges, and employees have been subject to harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence, including death threats, as a direct result of those statements. Those things should never happen in our sport or any sport, and we’re devastated that members of our community have been subject to them. It is an important reminder to us all that words have consequences. We hope the entire WSL community stands with us in rejecting all forms of harassment and intimidation.

In terms of the statements made, we completely reject the suggestion that the judging of our competitions is in any way unfair or biased. These claims are not supported by any evidence.

Firstly, the judging criteria are provided to the athletes ahead of each competition. All athletes competing at the Surf Ranch Pro received these materials on May 20th. Every athlete had the opportunity to ask questions about the criteria at that time. None of the athletes who made these statements took advantage of this opportunity at the Surf Ranch Pro.

Secondly, our rules allow any athlete to review the scoring of any wave, with the judges, and receive a more detailed explanation of how they were scored with the judges. This process has been in place for a number of years, and is the direct result of working with the surfers to bring more transparency to the judging process. It is not acceptable, and is a breach of league policy, for surfers to choose not to engage with the proper process and instead air grievances on social media.

A number of athletes at the Surf Ranch Pro received points for elements such as progression and variety, so it is simply incorrect to suggest these are not taken into account in the judging criteria. Furthermore, our rules have been applied consistently throughout the season, including at events this season that were won by athletes who are now questioning those same rules.

Surfing is an ever-evolving, subjective sport and we welcome a robust debate around the progression of our sport and the criteria used to judge our competitions. However, it is unacceptable for any athlete to question the integrity of our judges who, like our surfers, are elite professionals.

No one person or group of people are above the integrity of the sport.

Erik Logan
WSL Chief Executive Officer

That’s better.

World’s most famous beach house designed by surfer-architect Harry Gesner and the secret inspiration for Sydney Opera House lists for almost $50 million!

"I wanted the house to have the look of a giant wave at the peak of its strength"

Last year, Harry Gesner, the surfer-architect and epic swordsman whose blade was rarely in its sheath, died just three orbits short of his centenary.

They sure don’t make ‘em like Haz anymore, a former GI who stormed the beach at Normandy in 1944. In a short but very good profile published in The Surfers Journal called Wild at Heart Haz recalled D-Day.

“They put us in a boat and just loaded us with equipment—backpacks, eating equipment, sleeping blanket, all this stuff,” he said. “Then they sent the boat to the shore. Nobody knew what they were doing,” he says, looking pensive. “It was just terrible.”

As the boat approached the beach, Harry watched as the soldiers in front of him were blown to bits by enemy fire. Those who weren’t tried to jump overboard but quickly drowned under the weight of their backpacks. “I knew I’d die if I didn’t get all that stuff off me,” he said. Harry stripped off his gear and dove into the ocean before the boat blew up. “If I hadn’t surfed my whole life, there would have been no way I would have made it.”

(I suggest you click here to feel the legend of Gesner.)

Anyway, Gesner’s Wave House in Malibu, which was built in 1957 and occasionally listed as an inspiration for the Sydney Opera House (Danish architect Jørn Utzon’s design for the iconic Sydney harbour build was submitted in 1957 and he later called Gesner to congratulate him on the joint) has come onto the market for $49.5 million.

It ain’t in the same price league as the two-hundred mill Beyonce and Jay-Z spent on their “cement monolith, designed by architect master Tadao Ando, home right up from First Point” but what you miss in lavish you get in soul. 

Again, from the Journal,

To get to the “soul of the site,” he’d surf the breaks in front of beachfront properties he was designing, giving him a perspective on the landscape and the area’s relationship with the ocean. During one of these “soul sessions” in northern Malibu in 1956, he sketched a design for a particularly wild and jazzy house with a grease pencil on the deck of his board. The result was his most celebrated creation, the world-famous Cooper Wave House built in 1957… The Cooper House especially pulls from an eclectic patchwork of design hooks—the buttressed beam framing of Notre Dame; Richard Neutra’s blurring of indoor and outdoor space; the fluid and refined lines of Frank Lloyd Wright; the space-age, B-movie psychedelia of Barbarella. Harry credits his style to a lack of formal training and to the improvisational skills he developed surfing. “I’m not sure my way of self education is the best for everyone,” he told me in 2007. “But I guess it speaks to originality and individuality.”

Six beds, seven bathrooms, 6208 square feet built right there on the sand on Malibu.

“I wanted the house to have the look of a giant wave at the peak of its strength,” Gesner said.

If fifty mill is a little too rich, down-shift to Gesner’s Sandcastle House right next door for $27.5 million. Just as pretty, save twenty-ish mill. 

Harry Gesner’s Sandcastle House. Photos: Compass

Or buy both! 

Tell ’em your pals at BeachGrit sent ya. 

Papa Logan in happier day with, left, Jackie Rob and, right, Pip Toledo.

World Surf League CEO Erik Logan slammed over response to Surf Ranch Pro furore, “The WSL might be your golden chariot, but it is their career, their passion. Their voices should be more important than yours”

"You perpetuate your own myths, half-truths and propaganda inside the WSL echo chamber. Daddy knows best!"

To Erik Logan and the “WSL community” (whatever that means),

I wish to address your recent letter, written in response to the judging criticisms from Surf Ranch. 

Once again, you respond to criticism of the WSL (from your athletes, no less, your most valuable commodity) with a tone that lies somewhere between a dictator and a domestic abuser.

“It is an important reminder to us all that words have consequence,” you write.

Let’s ignore the poor sentence construction for the moment and focus on the sentiment. Words do have consequences, Mr Logan, they absolutely do. And of course you well know this, because when you’re not wielding corporate psychobabble like a weapon, you’re spinning language into something so inconsequential it might as well be gossamer on a breeze.

I would suggest the words of your athletes are not just words in the way you understand them. Rather, it’s their voices, and you might do well to listen to them.

You reference the “WSL community” but what or who is this exactly? Is it just you and JMD? Does Prodan get to join the tea party sometimes? What about the rest of the Santa Monica office? Because honestly, your organisation couldn’t feel less like a community. All I see is a corporation fluffing their own feathers in wanton ignorance of their fanbase. Clique yes; community, no.

“We completely reject the suggestion that the judging of our competitions is in any way unfair or biased,” you say.

But of course you do. 

The response of any organisation that cannot justify its actions is to batten down the hatches. And you might snarl from the corner asking where’s the evidence? Where’s the evidence? But the very same question should be levelled at you. You are the authority and the defendant. It’s up to you to produce the evidence.

You make the point that the judging criteria is provided to the athletes prior to each competition, but what do you mean? Do you mean the generalised judging criteria that applies to all surf competitions, that being: Commitment and degree of difficulty; Innovative and progressive maneuvers; Combination of major maneuvers; Variety of maneuvers; Speed, power and flow? All judged on a scale of 0-10? That same, wishy-washy, opaque criteria that has been in place since 2010?

If so, then why would the athletes question it? And what would they hope to gain by having the criteria for all competitions reiterated?

If not, and what you are referencing is more specific information about which elements of this criteria might take precedence over others, then can that be shared publicly?

Judging criteria needs tweaked depending on the wave, as we know. You can’t well judge J-Bay in the same way you might judge Teahupo’o, but in the pool surely it’s all on the table?

Despite this, the crux of the complaints is that the judges placed flow above all other elements (contrary to Richie Porta’s pre-comp judging explainer). Was this stated to the athletes?

You mention transparency of the judging process, and the protocol you have in place to allow any athlete to review their judged waves. I’d be interested to know how many athletes are aware of this protocol and how many have utilised it.

Furthermore, why not make this information public, in the same way the NBA provide referee reports for the final two minutes of officiating? It would seem a sensible and efficient way to address the concerns of the fans and athletes if you were to release justification of the scoring publicly. Far more sensible, say, than penning a letter condemning your athletes for questioning your process.

It seems to me that your judging process has always been shrouded in mystery, perhaps deliberately. It took a third party documentary TV series to finally give us some sense of how this process works, and that in itself left more questions than answers (see my previous report).

You say “a number of athletes at the Surf Ranch Pro received points for elements such as progression and variety” but this is disconcertingly vague. Are you saying that specific points were allocated for these elements? How many? To whom? Whilst I appreciate you cannot address all scores, this statement is just as dismissive and unhelpful as you believe your athlete’s opinions are.

You say that these athletes have no cause for complaint because they have won previous events this season, and because your rules have been applied consistently, but there are two major issues with this statement.

Firstly, your athletes are not questioning the rules, they’re questioning the judging process, specifically. A rule is hard and fast. Judging criteria is vague and seemingly flexible.

Secondly, to condemn them for questioning an inconsistent process, simply based on the fact they’ve had past success, is condescending in the extreme. It is precisely because they have had success that they have a right and cause to question the process.

The WSL might well be your golden chariot, but it is their career, their livelihood, their passion, their talent that they have sweated and bled for. Their voices should be more important than yours.

But of course, you “welcome a robust debate” right?

Since when? This is a flat lie. 

The WSL is tone deaf to the core of its fanbase. You shun outside media, ignoring requests, emails and critique from surf media. BeachGrit is persona non grata, Swellnet, too. There are active communities on these sites who care about what you do. Foolishly, perhaps, we cling on, hoping things can change, like victims of domestic abuse. But you don’t listen. Our voices are tiny and insignificant.

The WSL is tone deaf to the core of its fanbase. You shun outside media, ignoring requests, emails and critique from surf media. BeachGrit is persona non grata, Swellnet, too. There are active communities on these sites who care about what you do. Foolishly, perhaps, we cling on, hoping things can change, like victims of domestic abuse. But you don’t listen. Our voices are tiny and insignificant.

Instead you perpetuate your own myths, half-truths and propaganda inside the WSL echo chamber. We’ve been complaining about the quality of the production, and specifically the broadcast team for years. Where is your action there? Where is the robust debate about this or the direction of the Tour? The last time a robust debate was threatened because of the mid-season cut, you shut it down, scalding the athletes like children. 

Daddy knows best!

You reference your judges as “elite professionals”. For one,  it seems ironic that you might shun the views of elite athletes whilst propping up the claimed professionalism of your judges; and for another, to borrow your own appeal, where is the evidence? Where are the judges’ credentials? And why are they kept locked away and silent like prisoners?

Finally, you say that “no one person or group of people are above the integrity of the sport” yet this is exactly the manner in which you operate. The fact that you can claim to know what the integrity of the sport is might be questionable for people who’ve been involved with it their whole lives. Rather than, say, someone who has discovered it in later life as a byproduct of slithering up the greasy corporate pole.

Fans of this sport, true fans, (whose commitment appears not to matter to you unless it comes with financial value) feel disenfranchised by the direction of the WSL, but you don’t seem to care.

The final five, Trestles as a venue, the mid-season cut, alignment with ladder companies, cups of noodles, Kaipo Guerrero… none of this is about protecting the integrity of the sport.

So when you belittle the opinions of all those who care about the WSL in the name of integrity, it comes across as nothing if not disingenuous.

But never mind the little people like us, you might do well to remember that without your athletes, your stars, there is no sport.

Champion Joel Tudor (pictured) hyped. Photo: Instagram
Champion Joel Tudor (pictured) hyped. Photo: Instagram

Longboard champion Joel Tudor, freshly released from World Surf League jail, celebrates the decimation of e-bikes by rogue wave at Lower Trestles!

A golden surf era.

Between surf champions Kelly Slater and Joel Tudor, surf chiefs Erik Logan and Jessi Miley-Dyer, surf heaven Brazil and surf hell Lemoore (see: the Satanic mirror) do you think we are right in the midst of a golden surf era? Oh sure it is easy to complain now and again, I’m certain there was grousing about lousy art in the midst of the high renaissance or grumbling about crap plays when Shakespeare was penning in his prime. People gonna people but back to Slater and Tudor et. al., we have a wonderful array of places to look, opinions to fondle, fun to have.

And let us examine the latest from Tudor. Longboarding’s GOAT, recently released from an absolutely draconian suspension for daring have an opinion contrary to the World Surf League, lit up social media this morning with a post celebrating the mass destruction of e-bikes at Lower Trestles.

“Not all cam rewinds are equal,” the jiu-jitsu master wrote “……this one of high tide lowers and all the e-bikes getting washed away might be the greatest moment in rewind history! Zoom in and enjoy.”

The video featured exactly that. Many e-bikes getting washed away.

Reaction was mixed, especially when one of the most handsome men to ever call the surf industry home, Frankie D’Andrea, replied, “Digging Deep for content these days. More surfing and heritage post, less eggy negativity Joel posts.”

Frankie is an e-bike aficionado, you see.

While many called him a “Karen” and a “barn” others agreed, wondering, “When everyone first started riding skateboards down the trail, did the old guys complain about them like Joel does the e bikes?”

Then there were the folks who just don’t jive with Tudor’s rancor.

“Crying and bitching post #233345,” wrote Papa Sunny.

“Tell me you have a e-bike without telling me you have a ebike bwhahahahhahahaha,” Tudor responded.

“An e-bike, not a e-bike. Left school at an early age I don’t blame ya. Hating must be exhausting,” Papa Sunny shot back.

“*An. We start sentences with capital letters around here. Detention for you,” Ob_toon launched in.

“Around where exactly? I wasn’t writing a sentence, I was paraphrasing one. Look it up if you don’t know what that means,” Papa Sunny swung.

“Daddy left you at a young age?” Juicwah asked Papa Sunny, getting in on the action.

“Yes he met your mom on the sidewalk and ran off the bastard,” Papa Sunny replied.

“That was deep! Never aim for the head when ya can drop em with a body shot hahahhahhhahahahaha,” Joel Tudor exclaimed, entering the chat once again.

And what did I tell you.

A golden surf era.


Old chestnut “no good deed goes unpunished” proven true as waterman from Hawaii blasted with heavy fine for saving drowning newborn baby bison!

It's a cruel world.

The calendar has flipped to a new month and I’d imagine various chiefs inside the World Surf League Santa Monica headquarters are momentarily relieved. Things cannot possibly go worse in June than they did in May. Steam is still rising from Lemoore, California in the wake of the Surf Ranch Pro wherein Gabriel Medina, Felipe Toledo and Italo Ferreira, each former champions, all from Brazil, raised their voices as one and demanded account for questionable judging in Kelly Slater’s tub.

The furor from fans, from surfers, from industry stalwarts across the ideological spectrum was unlike anything seen in professional surfing since… well, maybe since ever.

Such was the brouhaha that WSL CEO Erik Logan was forced into writing a completely misguided open letter filled with paternalistic condescension and victim shaming making matters very much worse. Hoots of derision from the cheap seats. Calls for public termination.

But imagine being Dirk Ziff. Imagine being the benevolent billionaire who purchased professional surfing for free some eight years ago in order to make it bigger than the National Football League only to have CEO after CEO after CEO brought low by those dwelling in a “trash palace.” Imagine knowing all the good being done, a bush being planted to save the environment, Joe Turpel being gainfully employed, equality everywhere.

“No good deed goes unpunished,” he very likely moans to himself while wiggling his sad little toesies in equally sad little bunny slippers.

Well, he can at least take solace in knowing that old chestnut was, once and for all, proven true for, yesterday, a waterman from Hawaii plead guilty to saving a cute little bison baby from drowning and was slapped with a heavy fine.

According to reports, Clifford Walters was vacationing in Yellowstone National Park on May 20th when he saw a newborn calf struggling in the water after being separated from its mother. Waterman gonna waterman, of course, so Walters jumped into action, wading into the river and pushing the dear little thing to safety.

Park rangers later found the sweetie and tried to reunite it with the herd but it was rejected so they killed it dead.

Walters was charged a $500 fine, a $500 community service payment, a $30 special assessment and a $10 processing fee.


And you’d think there would be Good Samaritan laws for this sort of thing but, then again, I’d think Dirk Ziff would like to see Good Samaritan laws for rescuing professional surfing too.

It’s a cruel world.