Volkswagen uses “Riot City, USA” as backdrop for unveiling brand new electric bus “synonymous with Southern California surf culture!”

"Surfing, the bus, the sun, the smoke from burning lifeguard stands... it's fantastic."

We don’t spend nearly as much time as we should discussing automobiles here. You drive one, I drive one and most of us drive one to the surf unless we are driving our electric bicycles. Cars and trucks, SUVs and vans are as much a part of our deal as the surfboards we so cherish. But what is your current vehicle? Mine is a 2017 Toyota Tacoma 4×4. It is black, has four doors, a cracked windshield, or windscreen for our Australian and British brothers and sisters, a sticker on the back right side featuring Cryin’ Jordy Smith surrounded by the words “I want my BeachGrit” and boasts 97,000-ish miles.

It has been very good to me and I have no complaints but in a perfect world I might have a 1971 Porsche 914/6 M471 with the “Competition Option.” I would not have a Volkswagen bus of any year though many consider it the “ideal surf transportation.”

Well, the German manufacturer just unveiled its redesigned all-electric version of the bus yesterday and chose Southern California’s Huntington Beach due its moniker “Surf City, USA.”

The Orange County Register reported that 100s of Volkswagen bus aficionados came out for the event and the day was dubbed “International Volkswagen Bus Day” by National Calendar Day founder Marlo Anderson. He receives 25,000 applications a year and only accepts 30 of them.

In any case, Volkswagen surrounded their new bus with surfboards borrowed from the Surfing Heritage Culture Center. Cameron Batten, senior vice-president and chief communications officer for Volkswagen Group of America declared, “The VW bus reminds us to smile, relax and take life a little less seriously.”

It is expected to sell for around $75,000 when it hits the market next year, though enthusiasts hope it will become a collector’s item.

Two such fans, Jan Engelhardt and Vera Sanders came all the way to Huntington Beach from Germany for the unveiling. “It’s a great show,” Engelhardt told the Register. “Surfing, the bus, the sun… it’s fantastic.”

If the two are lucky, they will might also catch one of Huntington Beach’s other specialties.

A good, old-fashioned riot.


Back to us, though. What do you think World Surf League CEO Erik Logan drives?

I’m guessing a Tesla Y model that he feels socially conflicted about.

A child warns John John of the lifelong humiliation should he lose to Czech Robert Vysloužil, Keith Lewis from Trinidad and Tobago and Taiwan's Liu Ming Jang in his repechage heat.

Bloodbath at Olympic surfing qualifier in El Salvador as WSL stars John John Florence, Joao Chianca, Ethan Ewing and world #1 Griffin Colapinto all lose in early boilovers!

And reigning world champion Filipe Toledo soundly thrashed by Ireland's Gearoid McDaid!

As Teams India, Netherlands and China soar to hitherto unseen heights at the ISA World Surfing Games, embarrassment for the cream of the WSL crop after the two-time world champ and the current world numbers one, two and four were beaten in their round two heats in El Salvador.

John John Florence, who blitzed his round one heat against Taiwan’s Liu Ming Jang and Korea’s Dohoon Yun, lost in the second round against German Dylan Green and the Brazilian turned Italian Jesse Mendes.

Griff, beaten by Alex Suarez from Equador and Italian Leo Fioravanti; Ethan by Bali’s Rio Waida and Argentina’s Leandro Usuna; Chianca by Colombia’s Giorgio Gomez and Spain’s Bryan Perez.

And, although reigning world champ Filipe Toled was soundly thrashed in his round two heat by Ireland’s Gearoid McDaid, the small-wave wizard automatically progresses to the third round after finishing the four-man heat in second place. 

John John, Chianca, Griff and Ewing all bundled into repechage heats, Florence in a must-win or endure lifelong humiliation scenario against Czech Robert Vysloužil, Keith Lewis from Trinidad and Tobago and, again, hapless Taiwanese shredder Liu Ming Jang who felt the double-champ’s blade in round one. 

In other news from the event, Gabriel Medina is coasting through his heats and China’s Siqi Yang gave spectators a little glimpse into what surfing is gonna look like in a dozen years when she smoked the field in her round one hit-out. 

Still a little unsure about how surfers are selected for the 2024 Paris Games, the surf event being held at Teahupoo?

– 2023 Tour:Highest-ranking 10 eligible men and 8 eligible women.

– 2022 & 2024 The winning teams by gender, will qualify 1 place for their respective country. The NOC will nominate the surfer to participate following the conclusion of the Qualification System.
– 2023 Highest-ranking eligible man and woman per continent from Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania (Total of 4 men and 4 women)
– 2024 Highest-ranking 5 eligible men and 7 eligible women

– Highest-ranking eligible man and woman in the surfing competitions will qualify a continental slot for the Americas.

– One man and one woman will be guaranteed a place for the host nation of France. If an athlete(s) from France already qualified, the slot(s) will be reallocated to the next highest ranking eligible surfer(s) from the 2024 ISA WSG.

– This is meant to promote development, provide opportunity to smaller nations, and progress the sport on a global scale. One man and one woman will earn a Universality Place, as per the IOC selection criteria. 

What is the over/under on Logan's remaining days?
What is the over/under on Logan's remaining days?

“Fair Weather Friend-Gate” stretches into agonizing fourth day as World Surf League Chief of Sport Jessi Miley-Dyer, Chief of Strategy Dave Prodan continue to stand by and silently watch barrel buddy Erik Logan sway lonely in the breeze!

But a sympathetic ear awaits.

All’s quiet on the social and regular media World Surf League front, today, disturbingly hush hush. You are certainly very aware that nearly a week ago, professional surfing exploded in a ball of pent up rage. An insurrection after judging at the Surf Ranch Pro was deemed entirely not good by three former champions, each hailing from Brazil. Surf fans and surfers, alike, took sides, most directing ire at the World Surf League itself for being confusing and dumb. Chief Executive Erik Logan thought it would be a good idea to victim shame and patronize and the insurrection morphed into a full on war mostly against him.

An all out boom.

Stories were written about the World Surf League’s major problem, even reaching the mainstream media. Surf media focusing on little else than incompetence at the top.

The most focused upon thing in World Surf League history save Mick Fanning’s dance with a South African shark.

Yesterday, Dave Prodan, the Chief Strategy Officer took to the airwaves for his podcast The Lineup and decided the chief strategy would be to entirely ignore Gabriel Medina, Felipe Toledo, Italo Ferreira and the burning landscape. He got together with Mitch Salazar, who was there in the booth, calling the action, and spoke only of Caitlin Simmers and the “winners and losers” of the Surf Ranch Pro with zero mention of the mess or defense of embattled leader Logan.

A wild bit of head-in-sand and/or utter condescension.

Completely wild.

Chief of Sport Jessi Miley-Dyer, never shy to pat her own back and celebrate herself and what she does for the World Surf League, equality, being an icon to the next generation, etc. has gone on a record breaking quiet streak, neither commenting nor storying for an entire five days. Her longest previous break was fifteen hours. No helping hand or rodeo clown attempt to deflect some of the heat from beset commander Logan.

Five days of standing quietly to the side and watching the Oklahoman Chief Executive, their barrel buddy, sway lonely in the breeze.

But have you ever encountered such a thing yourself? Attacked for some reason, or another, only to have colleagues or friends completely abandon you? It happened to me, once, when the aforementioned Mick Fanning complimented me but did so with a angry sneer. Fellow surf journalist Tim Baker was standing right there and could have had my back but did not and watched me get trotted out of the house against my will in order to receive punishment.

Tim Baker (center) not helping.
Tim Baker (center) not helping.


I wonder if Logan feels sad right now? Feels abandoned by his fellow chiefs. If he doesn’t, he should and can reach out for a sympathetic ear.

David Lee Scales and I, anyhow, discussed his ineptitude on our weekly chat, scooping Prodan, I suppose. I call him a boob multiple times so maybe he won’t reach out but you can listen and decide if I provided tough love or was simply tough in an unhelpful sort of way.

I appreciate it.

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.