One month after dramatic sacking of WSL CEO Erik Logan, new allegations suggest possible reason for dismissal

One that forced him to “fly home immediately,” according to one source.

And now we have finally arrived via voodoo, cachaça, endless transit hours, a fast setting South American sun, the worst food I’ve ever had in my life, too many texts and calls and emails with former World Surf League employees, current World Surf League employees, World Surf League contractors, Association of Surfing Professional relics, agents, professional surfers on tour, professional surfers off tour, order and progress.

The moment of revelation.

Why the World Surf League’s former CEO Erik “ELo” Logan got vanished so thoroughly and where he got vanished to.

But let us begin at the beginning, or at least the beginning as it relates to us.

Erik Logan came to the World Surf League as president of the newly formed “content, media and WSL studios” division from the Oprah Winfrey Network where he had worked for 10 years helping put closure on the daytime television show, moving to Los Angeles and “making OWN the most high-profile turnarounds in cable network history.”

During the vast majority of his days there, though, his name was actually Erik Logan Toppenberg. In a stirring feminist nod, he had taken his wife Erin’s last name as his own, enjoying those heady Hollywood days when Harvey Weinstein prowled sets, terrorizing actresses and celebrity jets whizzed to Epstein Island.

The married couple had two daughters and a seemingly idyllic existence in the ocean-front neighborhood of Manhattan Beach. Logan Toppenberg, lightly chubby with expressive eyes highlighted by non-descript glasses, a giddy smile, spoke at length in those years about how his wife had cured his fear of water by giving him a magic wetsuit of armor and how his children gave him strength and resolve.

At the time of his World Surf League hire, the 45-year-old took to Instagram, a platform that would consume him in the future, to declare:

Joining the World Surf League is something I never thought this kid from landlocked Oklahoma would say, but it’s happening. I’m beyond grateful to the WSL for the chance to join the already exceptional team for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

If I have learned one thing from Oprah over the past decade, it’s this: there is a “divine order” to the universe and our job is to get into that flow. We must LISTEN to what the universe is saying. So here I am. Marrying my passion with my career in this way is something only a higher power could forge for me. I’m humbled by this moment and still in a state of “I can’t believe this is happening!” But it is…. You’ll hear me say this a lot, but it’s true: #followyourpassion #liveyourpassion

The early days came in fits and starts. Mostly fits. Logan, who had dropped the Toppenberg, signaled a willingness to listen to the “core” community. “BeachGrit is hating on you hard…” a concerned observer penned. “Let’s call it constructive criticism from your peers. My advice for success at your new position in the WSL, watch some ASP content from the early 2000s. Surfing was like F1 back then… as in badass.” Logan, who had mysteriously dropped the Toppenberg, responded, “thank you for the note. 100% will be looking and have been for some time now. Also a LOT of reading… excited for what’s ahead.”

He proceeded to make nothing of note, save the incredibly dull Billy Kemper docuseries, a large order of Taco Bell for Kai Lenny and the dismantling of a surf journalist, alongside setting the wheels in motion for The Ultimate Surfer which was later dubbed “one of the worst reality shows in the not great history of network television.”

The family followed the last name and was dropped too, at some point in 2019, the same year he was officially tapped as CEO following Sophie Goldschmidt’s resignation.

There was no further public mention of wife nor daughters.

Under Logan’s reign, the mid-season cut was introduced alongside the “final’s day” at Lower Trestles. Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch returned to tour and sponsors continued to flee like rats off ship. The bright spot might have been the Apple Series Make or Break which received positive reviews for its first season though was cancelled after a less-than-remarkable season two.

Or the introduction of Bailey Ladders.

Through it all, the Oklahoman maintained a brave, increasingly handsome, face, declaring “the momentum of professional surfing” to be “real” and swearing to robust growth across all platforms, wild millions upon millions of new fans “engaging” at historic levels.

Logan suffered a medical condition during this time, described to me as a “stroke” by someone close.

A heart attack more recently.

And then he went to Brazil.

His behavior on social media, mostly Instagram, had become more frenzied over the course of his leadership. Odd for any fully grown, post-middle-aged father. Odder, still, for a chief executive officer. It regularly featured him appearing in to-camera pieces describing the inner-workings of the World Surf League, sitting very close to surfers or rubbing foreheads with them, asking them to take their shirts off because he just so happened to be wearing a replica of their chest tattoos, demanding a confusing amount of attention.

There was some tension before the Vivo Rio Pro, as three former champions, each Brazilian, had become frustrated with lack of judging transparency at the most recent Surf Ranch Pro. Brazil fans, never shy, had piled on, threatening death to Australian power surfers and such.

Logan responded in an open letter excoriating both surfers and fans that, according to one source, was not signed off on by the World Surf League itself.

His first multiple hours in the country of order and progress, though, hinted at no trouble. He continued to make personal content praising Brazil’s “passion” for professional surfing, touring the “WSL Academy” in Rio de Janeiro and penning, “As we take these learnings from Brazil to other parts of the world, I am filled with excitement and anticipation. Surfing is not just a sport, it’s a global community that connects us all. I can’t wait to see the ripple effects of this program across the globe. Here’s to fostering a deeper understanding of the beautiful sport of surfing, its business, and its power to inspire and connect us all.”

And then, like that, he was gone.

The World Surf League issued one of the most terse press releasees in executive firing history, reading:

Today, the World Surf League (WSL) announced that CEO Erik Logan has departed the company, effective immediately. As the WSL begins the process of identifying a new CEO, Emily Hofer, WSL’s Chief People & Purpose Officer, and Bob Kane, Chief Operating Officer & Chief Legal Officer, will jointly lead the company and continue to drive the WSL’s mission to showcase the world’s best surfers on the world’s best waves as the global home of competitive surfing.

A solitary line dedicated to Logan.

None dedicated to his work nor accomplishments nor wishing future success.



The lack of any information, whatsoever, from the World Surf League in the aftermath, alongside the “flabbergasting” lack of knowledge by those close to the levers of power, suggested an absolutely ruthless NDA.

A championship tour surfer had told me, directly, that Logan had made certain surfers “feel uncomfortable” with his behavior and by asking them to one-on-one dinners or drinks. He also, it was said, became “erratic” when he drank. The assertion of both troublesome requests and over-indulgent drinking was corroborated by at least two others, both with direct experience.

“He was getting away with it for a while,” another with first hand experience told me. “Lots of reports the last few events that he’s been drunk and making inappropriate comments to the women.”

Putting pieces together, it suggests the sort of firing that would deliver no praise and require an ironclad NDA. One almost certainly concerning personal conduct and needing the head of human resources and the head of legal to take over at a moment’s notice.

One that forced him to “fly home immediately,” according to one source, directly following his ouster.

Or as the great Jen See said, “clean up on aisle five.”

Which is where he is, today.

Eagle-eye’d citizen surf journalist sharing:

“On Sunday, I was surfing 2ft north side Manhattan Beach pier. About 7:30, I see a mirage of a stand-up paddler paddling towards where I was from under the pier. As he gets closer, I realize it’s him (Erik Logan) and he sees his buddy, another SUPer. ELo raises his paddle over his head with both hands and says to anyone within earshot, “I’m back, baby!” I honestly couldn’t believe how proud he was. I stayed relatively close to see if his buddy was going to ask him about his ‘exit’ but it was never mentioned. Saw him catch a small wave straight to the beach riding the foam (no turns). Saw him stumble off the board and trot around in the ankle high water. He pulled his leash to regain his board and paddled back out to the lineup where I heard him say to his SUP buddy, ‘just like riding a bike.’”

Leaving us the same way he came in.


Erik Logan has been apprised of the accusations, that the aforementioned is my understanding of what led to his extreme ouster. I gave him much time to correct the record, via phone calls, voice messages left plus text, to provide any insight.

He has yet to respond and my work here in Brazil is done.


Time for a sweet twenty-three hour next transit, assuming the airlines stick to their numbers.

Surfboard baron Kelly Slater taunts domestic shapers (insert). Photo: Firewire
Surfboard baron Kelly Slater taunts domestic shapers (insert). Photo: Firewire

In unprecedentedly hostile move, Kelly Slater owned Firewire slashes prices on boards for third time this year roiling fragile marketplace!

Brutal capitalism or good business?

There has, for years upon years, been a sort of decorum in the surfboard industry. Domestic shapers, aware of the high production cost, necessity for specialized labor, etc. have decided not to ruthlessly undercut each other on price in the marketplace. You will never walk into a surf shop and see a Channel Islands board going for $700, say, then see a similar model from Mayhem going for $400. Nor will you see such behavior online. Sales on surfboards, directly from the companies, are rare to non-existent and everyone lives in peace and happiness.

Enter Firewire.

The disruptive technology which allowed boards to be built in Thailand and shipped to Australia, America, Brazil (where the sun is currently shining through gathering clouds). Labor costs and materials are very much cheaper. The whole shooting match, in fact, one of premium margin enhancement.

Mister Business.

Surf great Kelly Slater, as you know, is majority owner of the company, having purchased a 70% stake some eight years ago and has recently decided to smash a fist into the face of competitors. Eight months ago, Firewire announced a “once in a lifetime sale” ahead of the holidays, slashing prices by 30% on popular models, which was magically extended.

Another 30% sale was offered and now, Thunderbolt surfboards, which utilize a similar construction as Firewire and is distributed by, is hacking prices by 30% as summer reaches its apex.

Why the sale?

Being produced, en masse and overseas, the pop-out board manufacturers are less able to calculate for variances in demand. When overproduction results, the excess inventory is liquidated in the same way as patio furniture or mattresses.

Everything must go.

“The market is so flooded with highly discounted product for, basically, the entire year,” a hard-toiling surfboard maker told me. “You can’t compete against that. In short, their greed and poor planning is ruining the lives of domestic board builders. Anybody that supports those companies are not worthy surfers.”

Do you agree?

Are you willing to pay the price necessary in order to assure that shapers, glassers, sanders, etc. can feed their families or are you a Darwinian capitalist through and through? Cut-throat to the core.

Believing, like the recently departed Pat Robertson, that “Feminism encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”

Oh sorry, wrong quote.

John John Florence hints, again, at quitting tour with latest post described as “a devastating throat punch to the World Surf League”

This year will be Florence’s last on tour. He won’t be any lesser for it, but the surfing world will.

Back in 2020, when John John Florence left Hurley,  I wrote an article imploring the flax-haired Hawaiian to go solo from the surf game. To free the shackles of both WSL and the mainstream brands. 

To wit, are we asking the wrong questions when it comes to John John, Kolohe and the Hurley crew?

Instead of guessing which brand they will go to next, we should be questioning why they need a brand at all?

They are the brand.

Etc. The article ruffled a lot of industry feathers at the time. 300 comments all told, many outraged that the double John would turn his back on the industry that so gratefully sustains him. That any of us would entertain the idea!

Yet in the intervening years he did go on his own way. The launch of his own mega-brand, Florence Marine X, appears to have been a success. And the article was somewhat prescient in terms of the rise of the YouTube surf star (if not nominating the wrong Florence).

But I’m not calling Nostradamus status just yet. There’s still one major recommendation yet to come to fruition. John John is still tied to the WSL. The question now being: for how much longer?

After another season of woeful waves and shoddy underscoring on his part, surely the stubbled one must be wondering himself.

Why bother with the WSL?

He’s done it all. Two time world champion. Greatest surfer in the world from two to twenty feet. Unmatched admiration from the surfing universe. Why stay chained to the tour when it delivers so little to him?

The recent comp in Jeffrey’s Bay brought that question to the fore. There was the much-covered ballyhoo in JJF’s semi final against Connor O’Leary. And rightfully so. But for me, there was another exchange earlier in the comp that would have been just as jarring for him.

JJF v Italo V Callum Robson in the opening seeding round. Head high sets with a slack wind but imperfect angle. Sectiony, fast. Contestable but by no means classic J Bay. Earlier in the heat Italo was rewarded an 8.17 for a single air reverse. A pump and spin hail mary that was impressive enough in its rotation and length, but also landed poorly. A messy foam recovery. Not the surfing we want to see at JBay. For context, this was also the same round and day as Yago Dora’s 10 for a similar single air.

With a few minutes to go Florence is in second place. He takes a smaller set wave with priority, and for his first turn nails a text book air reverse. Fins high and inverted. Not a full rotation, but a massive degree of difficulty for an opening move. He lands it perfectly and transitions into three consecutive lip hammers, all without a moment’s downtime.

Progression, power, flow. Aerial surfing incorporated seamlessly with critical turns. Exactly where competitive surfing should be in 2023.

The usually reserved Florence even gave the judging tower a subtle look back as he closed out the wave. How do you like them apples?

Only .1 of a point more than Italo’s air reverse, it would turn out.  And a full point and a half less than Yago’s. It was enough to put him into first place. But surely it must have left him wondering –  the fuck else do they want from me?

Italo and Yago’s airs were impressive. Jbay was a lot quicker, a lot less open faced than usual, so it could be argued they were surfing to the conditions with their single-turn waves. But that only makes Jon Jon’s four turn combination even more difficult. Surely we are past the days of excellent scores for single airs, unless they’re in the never before seen in competition realm. And what’s more, it’s a style of surfing that should be anathema to the world’s premiere down the line point break.  This was 2013-era scoring.

All of this is inconsequential, and has been argued ad nauseum. Surf judging will always court controversy. It’s as mired in subjectivity, in personal bias and opinion, as is politics and religion. Brazilian air surfing. Australian rail surfing. Hawaiian power surfing. Everyone gets under or overscored at some point. At the least it makes for great banter.

But in John John’s case, there’s nothing left on the tour for him. And with every underscore, every mistimed comp window, every title decided at 4 foot Trestles, with his little brother and the world slab tour beckoning, with the carrot of Olympic qualification dangling for a only a couple more months… the question must be asked again and again. Why bother with the WSL?

It appears the rot is taking hold. His recent Instagram post was a devastating throat punch to the League.

Thank you Africa! Had so much fun free surfing jbay, and hanging with the family. Here’s some frame grabs from our red Komodo-X.

Florence is no confrontationalist. Would never dream of passive aggressive open letters or impassioned Instagram posts.

But you don’t need to be trained in geopolitical diplomacy to translate the intended meaning. It’s as powerful in what it didn’t say as what it did.

“Had so much fun free surfing jbay.”

Free surfing. No mention of the comp, or the WSL. Ipso facto, EAD* WSL.

I’m calling it now. My 2020 predictions will finally come to pass. This year will be Florence’s last on tour. He won’t be any lesser for it, but the surfing world will.

If I am wrong, which I pray that I am, may I be damned to write for a click-bait-obsessed surf tabloid for all eternity.

* Eat a Dick.

Great White shark attack on Margaret River surfer captured on film!

"This is the moment an ocean predator launches… the surfer's board seen flying as the man is bitten on his leg.”

Yesterday morn, as you might’ve already heard, a surfer was hit by a Great White shark while surfing one of Margaret River’s best surf spots, a joint called Boat Ramp just south of where the annual Margaret River Pro is held.

Locals say the place can hold up to fifteen feet and has notes of Second Reef Pipe, a chip shot into a barrel that’ll test the stomach of any surfer. 

The man, who is in his twenties, was attacked, but not bitten in half as usually happens in these waters, and had to make his way almost six hundred yards to shore, bleeding like hell from a leg wound. There, an off-duty nurse attempted to stop the bleeding. 

“Shocked onlookers” drove the man to Margs hospital before being transferred to the bigger Bunbury Regional hospital one hundred clicks north. A Great White was seen in the area shortly afterwards and all beaches between Gas Bay and Margaret River Mouth were closed. 

Wild, enough, yeah, but the terrific collision between Great White and surfer was captured on film, an explosion that would be impossible to believe if you weren’t privy to vision of the event. 

Witnesses said the man had lost a hell of a lot of blood by the time he reached the beach but praised the surfer’s bravery and said “he saved his own life.” 

It’s the seventh shark attack in West Oz this year.

Photo: Fjordlapse Photography
Photo: Fjordlapse Photography

In bombshell announcement, Norway’s beloved crown prince declares he’d be a professional surfer if he didn’t have to be boring ol’ king!

“I am often asked what I would have done if I were not the Crown Prince..."

Erik Logan. Getting there, etc. but can we leave spiritism behind for a moment and focus on your perception of your life now versus your perception of what you thought you’d be when you were young? I first imagined Marine followed by marine biologist followed by Bible translator.

I became a surf journalist.

Haakon Magnus, who lives in Norway, imagined himself a Kelly Slater-esque professional surf legend.

He’s set to become a boring ol’ king.

Crown Prince Haakon made the shock announcement during an interview with Norway’s NKR declaring, “I am often asked what I would have done if I were not the Crown Prince. Then I would have been a pro surfer on the World Tour. Maybe an ex-professional by the way, because now I’m almost 50.”

The piece was accompanied by photos of the very handsome viking paddling a longer board with many more at the Royal House of Norway’s own site.

Back to you, though.

How has fantasy matched with reality?

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