Smith and Scales (pictured) riding shotgun. Photo: Barbie
Smith and Scales (pictured) riding shotgun. Photo: Barbie

Barbie bomb drops on surf journalist and surf podcaster as Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing savages pair for being “Puppets of the Manosphere!”

Scorched earth.

A surf journalist and his longtime surf podcasting partner were staggered this morning after a devastating fusillade from the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing. The bombs and missiles were unleashed in the wake of the 228th episode of The Grit!, a weekly show wherein Chas Smith and David Lee Scales discuss surf adjacency. This Thursday’s chat ended with a open conversation on the feelings had when a man is witnessed sitting shotgun while his wife or girlfriend drives.

Smith had to admit, against all sense or evolution, that it makes him feel awkward. That even though he, himself, is a worse driver than his wife, he feels odd and squirmy when not behind the wheel. Antiquated to the core, but also so hardwired in that it has been difficult to reroute, and that he feels less for men who sit shotgun while wife or girlfriend drives.

Scales almost went down the path that men are superior drivers to women, genetically, but deftly pivoted to suggest some deeper primordial problem with men needing control and women not minding so much, overall.

In any case, The Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing, which usually trains its potent ire on women, ripping them from limb to limb in the public square, took time out to, rightfully, scorch the aforementioned Smith and Scales

“Have you considered who drives the (car emoji) in a same sex relationship?” The Committee asked. “You’re (sic) disgust with men driven by women is not only gender discrimination it’s also homophobic. I imagine that’s already understood however it was not covered in your conversation with David. We get it, you and David are puppet$ for the manosphere…”

The “puppets of the manosphere” line particularly damning especially in light of the wildly successful Barbie film.

Have you seen? I finally did just last night and it is very well done, especially in mocking the patriarchy and Kens. Not to spoil, but Barbie’s longtime male companion attempted to turn Barbieworld into a toxic man cave with bad taste and excess testosterone spewed here and there.

Hummers, saloon doors and brewski beers.


Thankfully, everything was put right, in the film, but I can’t help but wonder if this “manosphere” is a version of what Ken tried to create.

Matchbox 20, beach and oiled muscles.


But also, do you have an opinion on who drives and who rides shotgun? Hop in. The water’s warm.

On day one of the Tahiti Pro, Kelly Slater’s commitment to his art was evidenced once again. Straight from Skeleton Bay, Namibia, he came, into woolly, windy Tahitian tubes!

"Not the worst day of competition we’ve seen this year, not by a long chalk, but nothing like we hope for at the iconic Tahitian reef that tongue-ties surf scribes and simpletons alike."

It was fine. Just fine. Not the worst day of competition we’ve seen this year, not by a long chalk, but nothing like we hope for at the iconic Tahitian reef that tongue-ties surf scribes and simpletons alike.

I’m fine, too. Thanks for asking. Or I’m not. Really I’m not quite sure anymore. I’ve been away a bit over the past couple of weeks, scrabbling to rescue something from the ashes of another summer break which has smouldered to an uncertain close.

Each man’s choices come with their own pain. I’ve wished, throughout my life, to be more like Kelly Slater. Not specifically. Not even in skill, and certainly not character. But simply in being utterly besotted and entirely consumed, by one, single thing.

I’ve never found it. It’s why I write, I think. Because I’m searching. I look for answers by dipping vicariously into the lives of others, like a swallow on a summer river, flitting joyously in and out.

Except it’s not joyous. Not always. Mostly I just find it hard to feel satisfied with the stultifying ordinariness of existence, despite recognising my objective, multitudinous privilege. People tell me I should get therapy, but that seems too American, and more than a little conceited. There’s no reason or solution I can think of for such aching discontent.

Yet. Yet…

However, this summer I’ve come to a decision: after this school year I’m taking a break. I plan to pour myself into writing, for better or worse. Some ideas are half-started, some aren’t even that. I certainly haven’t worked out how it might work financially. It’s a gamble, sure. But if I don’t do it now, then when?

So if anyone out there wants to hire a writer of questionable temperament and moral fibre but unflinching commitment to the betterment of his art, I’m here for it.

Slater’s commitment to his art was evidenced once again today. Straight from Skeleton Bay, Namibia, he came, straight into woolly, windy Tahitian tubes.

Hardly for the first time, I was stunned by the endurance of the man. Nevermind the competition, and the various stresses on the meat suit he’s been punishing for more than half a century. What about the travel? The endless drudgery of getting from one place to the next. The waiting. The queues. The planes and trains and boats and hired cars. How many flights? How many connections and phonecalls and room bookings and card payments? How much stress? How does he take it?

I have no idea, but it tightens my chest just to think about it.

Teahupo’o was windy, sick looking, today. Not sick as in radical, but sick as in aw, that’s a wee shame you’re no feelin well. Slater was in heat one, and surfed with a freshness that belied the air miles. But the early heats were mostly decided in quite un-Tahitian fashion by turns rather than tubes. He did own the best single wave of his heat by some margin, a high six for a deep and technical barrel he airdropped into, but the relentlessness of Yago Dora’s hunt for a title shot was too much.

It’s painful watching the WSL broadcasts like this. Everyone knows what we’re watching is sub-standard, but no-one wants to say it. Instead, we get a veneer of positivity, the claptrap of disingenuity. I get it. No-one wants to watch a broadcast full of soorpusses, but who are the fans swallowing the narrative? Only the most ardent or naive.

Days of poor waves can’t be avoided, in competition or in life, but this season more than any has proven that scheduling the Tour stops around peak swell times is paramount. It seems trite to state this, but it’s not happening. It simply must be bulletpoint number one for ELo’s successor.

And what of the top five / Final’s Day structure, do we ditch this now ELo is gone? I’m not sure. Location notwithstanding, I quite like the concept. Surfing, on a pure sporting level, does need to feel more critical. There are very few heats where it feels like much is at stake. The Final’s Day structure theoretically goes some way to solving this, but the two we’ve seen have been lacklustre, and it brings its own set of problems.

JMD crept into the booth briefly today, sheepishly resplendent in lime green. She informed us, clinically, that the injured Ethan Ewing would not be replaced at Trestles. Noticeably absent was her lightness of manner during the Logan era. Gone is the insidious bluster of that time.

There was lots of talk of wildcards today, justified by the fact that Teahupo’o is a specialist’s wave where wildcards have done well. But only one, Mihimana Braye, a surfer whose name is new to me, prospered in the mediocre conditions.

Griffin Colapinto and Joao Chianca are the unfortunate top seeds that draw Matahi Drollet and Kauli Vaast in the elimination round. Good for betting, if you like that sort of thing. Bad for Chianca’s chances of going to Trestles.

Should we make more of this wildcard potential in surfing, as a USP, if you like? If there’s anything comparable in professional sport at the highest level I can’t think of it right now.

Or does it just point to the fallacy of judging one man’s surfing against another in a timed, restricted format?

There was no fallacy in the surfing of Gabriel Medina, John Florence and Jack Robinson today. Crucially, all are vying for a top five place (I’ll leave it to Joe Turpel to explain the ramifications of this) and each won his heat in convincing fashion.

It’s hard to accept that Gabriel Medina hasn’t nailed down a top five slot by now, but that’s the world we’re living in.

Also in with a shout of making the top five (as dull as that might be) is Leo Fioravanti. The Italian laid down the highest heat total of the day with 16.93. It’s still conflicting to me that the lone European on Tour is an Italian surfer. Not that he’s had a traditional upbringing in the country of his birth, plainly.

I have nothing against Italians. In fact, I quite admire their general vanity and arrogance. It’s just Italy is a place you go to smoke cigarettes and drink coffee, not to surf.

So we go to elimination. The interest lies in the battle between Medina, Robinson, Florence and Fioravanti, all chasing Chianca and Dora to fill the final two spots in the top five.

There is a glimmer in the forecast. Just a glimmer.

In surfing, as in life, that’s what we must hold onto.

Hawaiian hunk Jason Momoa excoriates tourists daring to see planned Maui vacations through in brutally honest riposte

"Do not convince yourself that your presence is needed on an island that is suffering this deeply."

The devastation suffered on Maui due to an out-of-control wildfire has not quite settled. 80 confirmed deaths and counting. Over 2000 structures burned. Historic old Lahaina town taken to the ground. Thousands of lives forever changed. It is both heartbreaking and sobering.

Surf great Kelly Slater shared with TMZ Sport as he flew from Africa to Teahupo’o, “Everyone within our surf community is rallying to get boats in, supplies, donate money. but that’s all not organized yet.” He vowed his help but said its difficult with communications still down and the harbor choked with debris. “One friend lost everything he owns but he was able to save his dog and a backpack and that was about it,” the 11x World Champion added. “I know at least two friends, right now, that lost their houses — actually three. I just got a text about another one, but that’s just the beginning.”

Hawaiian heartthrob Jason Momoa is also helping, financially, pointing people in the right direction and, importantly, excoriating potential tourists considering seeing their long-planned vacations through.

Taking to Instagram, the Aquaman star declared:

Maui is not the place to have your vacation right now.


Do not convince yourself that your presence is needed on an island that is suffering this deeply.

Mahalo to everyone who has donated and shown aloha to the community in this time of need.

Momoa added the same link provided earlier by Ian Walsh, the Hawaii Community Foundation Maui Strong Fund.

Good advice, I think. It would be difficult to sit poolside enjoying a frosty Mai Tai or trying to poach a corner at Ma’alaea Bay.

Bad form all the way around.

Little John and Happy Hawaiian Carissa, heading to second Olympic Games.

John John Florence favourite to win Olympic gold after qualifying for 2024 Paris Games at Teahupoo

And Carissa Moore, already a gold medallist, swings under the hood to qualify for Team USA too!

After a controversial couple of weeks where the two-time world champ hinted at quitting the tour after a bad decision at J-Bay, John John Florence has become the favourite to win Olympic gold at Teahupoo in 2024 following his provisional qualification for the Paris Games. 

Florence, who’ll be almost thirty-two by the time the Games rolls around, secured his position in the American team by swinging through his first heat at the Tahiti Pro, held in pretty ordinary sorta four-footers.

“It feels super good. To have a second chance at the Olympics again, especially coming back here to Tahiti, I’m really excited about that,” said Florence, who finished ninth at Tokyo in 2020. 


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Carissa, who won gold in 2020, banged through a heat and gets the red-white-and-blue liveried tracksuit, obvs hoping for a redux.

“Oh my gosh. I just found out that I provisionally qualified for the Olympics 2024, here in Tahiti. I couldn’t be more stoked. I didn’t win my heat, but this feels like a little win.”


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What’s the criteria to get into the Games?

It ain’t easy to qualify nor understand criteria!  

1. 2023 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour: First 10 eligible men and first 8 eligible women.

2. 2023 ISA World Surfing Games: 4 men and 4 women selected based on their continent. Top finishing eligible surfer of each gender from Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

3. 2023 Pan American Games: First eligible man and first eligible woman in the surfing competitions.

4. 2024 ISA World Surfing Games: First 5 eligible men and first 7 eligible women.

5. 2024 ISA World Surfing Games: The winning teams by gender, will qualify 1 place for their respective country/NOC, regardless of the 2-per country quota limit.

“Hustling, media-obsessed” surfer-artist Herbie Fletcher to headline LA gallery exhibition alongside Hanai Usuki and Barry McGee

Whether you consider Herbie Fletcher Moses or Pharaoh, his influence on surf is undeniable. 

There is little evidence that genius transfers. Take Lindsey Lohan and her singing career.  Kanye and politics. Kelly and critical thinking.

It’s the rare bird who can slide discipline to discipline with respect. Herbie Fletcher might be such an animal. 

Fletcher, 75, is showing his artwork at the new hip T & Y Gallery in Los Angeles at the end of the month. The collection includes a dozen or so paintings, sculptures, and photographic collages and will hang alongside artists Hanai Usuki and Barry McGee in “The Thrill is Back” exhibition opening this month.

Artwork will include both new pieces and a few from Herb’s previous collections including his celebrated “Wrecktangled” series, a wall collage of broken boards from his Wave Warrior’s missteps. 

Historian Matt Warshaw calls him a “hustling, media-obsessed surfer/manufacturer/impresario” from San Clemente. Whether you consider Fletcher Moses or Pharaoh, his influence on surf is undeniable. 

Born in ’48, the California native flew to Hawaii at 16 and quickly established himself as a legit bull rider as well as a blue-ocean prophet. By the late-seventies, Fletcher was playing around with the idea of using jet skis to tow into waves too heavy, too fast for paddling. Ten years on, his Astrodeck traction pads were stuck on every plank in the ocean. The Wave Warrior video series followed, featuring a catwalk of the best surfers showing off their Astrodeck: Curren, the Ho brothers, Potter, Dino, Archy, and a good look at his oldest son, Christian. 

Both of Fletcher’s sons, Christian and younger brother Nathan, possess preternatural surfing gifts handed down from Herbie. Most of the family dabbles in the art world, too, although all lesser talents in front of the canvas than their old man. Even grandson Greyson is endowed with the Fletcher’s genetics, skating with the abandon of Christian and easy flow of Uncle Nathan.  And not since John Cardiel has one shown such style and guts in the pool. His art, too, hangs in galleries, though would be better served if he would choose to paint with the lights on. 

Herbie’s art, on the other hand, shows genuine aplomb and the kind of compulsion and spine that drives an artist to originality. His “Blood Water” paintings, for example, feature single black line waves standing tall like Giacomettis against an earthen background created from dirt taken right from the Wiamea River. “They feel like ancient petroglyphs etched in the oxide rich red earth from the river with Kaena Point barely visible in the background,” Fletcher says.  

In addition to Blood Water works, the show also will highlight works from his “Returning to the Source” collection, canvases covered in scraps found around the beaches of Hawaii and dashed with minimal flashes of paint. The compositions hint of Mondrian on smack.  

“These pieces are my way of sharing the lifelong love affair I’ve had with surfing and the beach culture,” Fletcher says, “and the opportunity to create a vocabulary that hopefully will speak to the coming generations.”   

“The Thrill is Back” show opens August 29. If you are in the area, check it out, but bring plastic if you are serious about taking home Herb’s vocabulary. While prices are not disclosed to the public, similar works have gone for heaps of green. “California Dreaming,” for example, shows a supersaturated pic of sunbathers on the beach with a few sexy rights peeling behind. Herb threw in a couple orange swipes of color over the blue sky. $2800. It works.

Herb’s “California Dreaming”, a little under three gees.

Warshaw’s hustler also offers “Teardrops,” a collage of broken skate decks. Stickered at 20 grand, it’s the only piece available that wants to be traded on the Fletcher name alone. Like Fran Liebowitz said good art is what I like. Bad art is what I don’t.  And I don’t. Save your money for a work truck.

In all, Herb’s work is certainly an expression of his pulse. Perhaps in the spirit of the fauvist (“wild beast”), he translates his history of the ocean directly into his art with the smarts not to confuse the sensual with the sentimental, that rotten mix of privileged theory and horse dung. Hold his art up against images of him surfing the big stuff. No need for speculation; it slaps you low in the jaw as intended.

Fletcher says his craftwork “seems to be an extension of the last, from doing Astrodeck in the 70s’, Wave Warrior’s in the 80’s, shaping surfboards for decades, being in -out whatever in the surf industry.”

It’s all one, long, fantastic story, and the greatest ride I could have ever imagined.”