Surfline forecasting team (pictured). Photo: Revenge of the Nerds
Surfline forecasting team (pictured). Photo: Revenge of the Nerds

Historically important liberal American magazine publishes steamy expose on forecasting giant Surfline!

"A single website has a choke hold on surfing..."

The World Surf League’s 2023 Championship Tour is now in the rearview and along with it all the flotsam and jetsam of professional surfing at its highest level. Bailey Ladders, Candy Crushes, Jessi Miley-Dyer’s increasingly “cry-for-help” fashion choices, the ghost of Erik Logan, mid-season culls, suspect forecasts and lousy waves.

The penultimate in that incomplete list came courtesy of Surfline, the World Surf League’s official forecasting partner, and the Huntington Beach-based website has had quite a few years. From absorbing Magic Seaweed, getting a $30 million dollar infusion from The Chernin Group to the recent sudden departure of a visionary CEO and seeming pivot away from fresh ideas, Surfline has been on a ride.

No space in our cloister is as polarizing as Surfline, some enjoying, others hate-using, others still just hating. The heat growing so hot that even The Atlantic felt the warmth and touched with bare hands. In a just-published expose, steamy, the historically important liberal American magazine asked a who’s who of relevant surf players, including Matt Warshaw, William Finnegan and “grumpier critics” in an attempt to discern if the tool is a “this big kind of evil corporation.”

A brief description of Surfline leads into concerns about post-pandemic overcrowding and Surfline’s “strangle hold” on forecasting’s role in the mess.

Head forecaster Kevin Wallis, a name very familiar amongst surf aficionados, is consulted and attempts to puncture rumors that untrue forecasts are purposefully delivered and that Surfline employees turn off cameras near their favorite breaks in order to minimize crowds.

“There’s a real sense of responsibility,” he said. “It would be terrible for our business model to do anything but our absolute best in providing people with the most accurate information.”

The whispers are left at that.

At the end, Finnegan stands up for Surfline, declaring, “I live in Manhattan, and I do not know how we surfed from here without Surfline. There are really good waves within an hour of New York City. But you really, really have to nail it.”

Warshaw too, adding, “The whole history of surf is taking advantage of everything you can to surf better to get more waves. If you’re in the ocean, that’s all that counts.”


Surfline Man was, somehow, not consulted.

Read in entirety here.

Carissa Moore’s sister slams surfing’s Finals Day format after tour-leader’s heart-breaking loss for the second year in a row!

"This is extremely discouraging to people like my sister who show up number 1 seed 3x in a row, and are robbed because of a ONE DAY event."

For two consecutive years, the Hawaiian Carissa Moore has dominated the regular season only to be kneecapped at three-foot Lowers, by Gilmore last year and Caz Marx on the weekend. 

“Carissa is the rightful world champion, Steph said from the podium with characteristic grace,” wrote bikini-wearing journalist Jen See in 2022. “It was hard to ignore how far ahead in the rankings Carissa started the day and how much she lost by the end of it. I doubt Carissa especially liked being reminded that she should have won. Surely that felt like salt in the wounds.”

It sure didn’t feel right to Carissa’s little sis, Cayla, who let the WSL have it on their IG post celebrating the Floridian Commie’s win.


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A post shared by World Surf League (@wsl)

“Caroline surfed great, however I must say this format is not showing a true world champion – someone who shows up consistently at each event and has a wide range of attributes and skills through each location, wave, spot on tour through the year,” wrote Cayla. “This is extremely discouraging to people like my sister who show up number 1 seed 3x in a row, and are robbed of their hard work and effort all year long because of a ONE DAY event. Fix your format. The WSL Finals is not a good reflection of World Champions. 7 Xs for Riss”

It’s a popular sentiment. Almost seven hundred followers liked it and seventy-three were moved enough to reply, most in the positive column. 

Exactly last year your sister had a 2000 pt lead over 2nd place. At seasons end! Only to lose it in this new format. Why should she have to win it twice!  Same thing again this year. To me she is the real champ! Last year and this year! Keep your head up Riss!!

so flawed! Imagine if you won every event on tour leading up to this event. And then you lose two heats and you’re not world champion bc of a bad day in horrible surf.

greed!  We love our mana wahine @rissmoore10 and this format is flawed in so many ways. Over it @wsl!  Even Stephanie said it!

t’s extremely discouraging to surfers where soft lowers doesn’t fit their surfing as much.  Been a gift for Toledo this thing isn’t ending at pipeline.  That being said Caroline really did surf great today and is such a cool person she will be a great world champion.

this is an absolute disrespect for all the athletes and for the sport itself. This format is an outrageous disrespect for the athletes that work hard all year long for a championship that should give the title to the surfer that was better all the season, and not to the athelete that, despite being in the top 5, is “lucky” enough to wake in a good day, find all the good waves and surf in his/her favorite beach. Your sister is the true champion for two years in a row, and it’s really sad to not see more athletes with enough courage to stand up against this ridiculous fornat. I can’t believe that any real athlete can be in favor of this casino style contest!!!!

I like the all-or-nothing Format, although, yeah, Lowers ain’t the Colosseum the grand final needs.

But if Teahupoo is a little off the shelf, technique wise, where y’think?

matthew mcconaughey-surfer

Conspiracy rumours haunt surfing’s world title showdown after Matthew McConaughey predicts exact score needed by Griffin Colapinto three days prior!

“Why is no-one talking about this?"

A few days prior to Griffin Colapinto’s unsuccessful shot to become California’s first world surf champ in three decades, Matthew McConaughey stunned surf fans with a stirring speech to Griff delivered via Instagram. 


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A post shared by Quiksilver (@quiksilver)

Hey Griff, I want to get your ear before you get all in your head about this world title business. I want to share a perspective that has helped a lot of my dreams come true. 

It’s called be less impressed and more involved. You see, when we are just impressed our dreams are nothing but fairytale dust clouds that we bend our neck to see and never grab a-hold of. 

But, where we’re involved, we grab a-hold of those clouds. We grab that fairy dust. We look ‘em in the eye and make ‘em a reality. 

You see, this moment that you are in, right now, right here, is a classic yin and yang. It’s a balance of make it happen, let it come. The reason…and… the rhyme. The balance of the engineered and the mystical. 

And, the hard work and the dedication and the principals and the goals you have committed to, you engineered those. A hundred percent fact! And the mystical, that stuff that sends you a set wave you need with fifteen seconds on the clock in the final heat of the final event. That out-of-body stuff at that precise moment you need an 8.89 to decide the world title and you surf your way to a nine. Yeah! You gotta keep your antenna tuned to that music as well! 

Now, look, it is no accident that you are here right now. Hell, you called your shot a long time ago. These heights that you’re on, now this is your new normal. It’s where you belong. On the way to where you are going! 

So remember, how you got here, look this moment in the eye, and own it. Cause the roof is a manmade thing, Griff, and…you…have no lid. 


Griff didn’t fly, sadly, sputtered on takeoff and plunged into the cold and unforgiving Pacific Ocean, but McConaughey, star of Surfer, Dude, and The Beach Bum, did correctly predict the score he would need to get a shot at Filipe Toledo. 

That out-of-body stuff at that precise moment you need an 8.89 to decide the world title and you surf your way to a nine. Yeah! You gotta keep your antenna tuned to that music as well! 

As online sleuth and Ain’t That Swell listener Chris Fowler pointed out, 

“Why is no-one talking about this? This fruitcake called Griff sat waiting for an 8.89 – fucking 8.89, his exact score needed was an 8.88. Jesus it’s wild listen to now after the fact.” 


Oh, but we are now!

Conspiracy? Genius? None of the above?

Kelly Slater out of water for three months following major hip surgery as champ considers experimental post-op stem cell and platelet-rich treatments!

"A significant surgery, for sure."

The so-called King of Shade, Kelly Slater, who announced he was recovering from major hip surgery just before the first finals final heat between Caroline Marks and Carissa Moore but refused to give further detail, has finally opened up on the op. 

“[They did] a labrum reconstruction, removed scar tissue and bone spurs on femoral head, shaved the socket joint, and removed bone pieces and foreign objects floating in the joint,” Slater told The Inertia’s Alexander Haro.  “A significant surgery for sure.”

Readers taken aback by a first read might think labia reconstruction, and be thrilled the Champ had undergone a gender switcharoo, although this is not the case. 

The Champ said he was gonna be outta the water for three months but, “I’ll throw everything I can at it to get back by winter. Rest first then PT and any dietary stuff I can do; lots of deep tissue massage once the labrum is settled and attached. Obviously if there are any protocols from PRP to stem cells I can do, I’ll look into that.”

If you didn’t know, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatments are getting a lot of heat in the field of post-surgery recovery and tissue regeneration. They use the body’s own healing mechanisms to speed up the healing process and enhance tissue repair. 

Way it works, platelets from the Champ’s blood would be injected into the surgery site to accelerate the body’s natural healing processes. Platelets, y’see, are rich in growth factors and cytokines, which play a pivotal role in tissue repair and regeneration. Quicker recovery times and less pain. Big among athletes etc. 

Stem cell treatments you might’ve seen on Koa Rothman’s vlog where the handsome middle son of North Shore enforcer Fast Eddie Rothman and brother to big-wave world champion Makua, goes to San Francisco and gets his stem cells harvested from his spine then injected straight into the site of his foot injury. 

As for Slater,“Post op is looking positive…Everything how it should be.”

A CrowdFund account has been set up to cover medical costs, loss of income and so on. Click here. 

bikini swamp girl massacre
A scene from my fav film of 2014, Bikini Swamp Girl Massacre.

Surf journalist famous for reporting in red bikini almost perishes in Oceanside hotel fire on day of world title showdown!

Live dangerously.

I awaken to a loud clanging and a rude woman yelling at me. I can’t remember where I am or why. I just want the loud woman to shut up and let me sleep. But no. She just keeps bugging me. The hotel is on fire, she says.

Well, I guess I better get the fuck out.

This is not my first time for this kind of thing. I grab my phone, wallet, and room key. My backpack and clothing for Trestles are by the door, so I grab that, too. Never leave the laptop behind.

It’s four floors down to the sidewalk, where half-asleep guests, most of them in hotel robes have congregated. We walk around the block to the hotel entrance. Oh, we cleared the alarm, you can go back to your rooms. Sweet. Good talk. I head back up the stairs.

An hour later, my alarm goes off. This time, I remember what I’m supposed to do. Trestles. The hotel coffee machine pumps out hot water. Desperate, I burn through three coffee pods. No coffee. I wonder if I’m capable of operating a motor vehicle without coffee. Only one way to find out. Live dangerously.

Just after 5am, I’m on the freeway heading north from Oceanside. I exit Christianitos and drive uphill, past an already long line of parked cars. I slip into a slot. Around me, ebikes pile out of trucks and surfers ready their boards. A crew of Toledo fans walk by, carrying beach chairs and wearing t-shirts with their favorite’s name screened in bright yellow.

In the early dawn light, I flail around my car with clothing and snacks. Then I begin the long walk down to the beach. I have a house full of bikes. Did I bring one? Well, no. I curse my stupidity.

Up on the bluffs above Lowers, I can see the flowing swell lines. How often have we all been seduced by that view? From a long way up, every swell looks so beautifully perfect. I stand there for a few moments and allow it to work its wiles on me. It looks so good from up here. What if it’s actually awesome?

But even from above, I can see the warble in the swell, caused by the hurricane’s swirling winds and the comparatively close proximity of the storm. Down on the beach, the bump becomes more pronounced. The swell’s steep angle forces the waves to run up the point.

I see lots of closeouts. Towering peaks drop to nothing. There’s only a few good rights out there. It’s the kind of day when you paddle out hopeful, but are almost certainly going to leave frustrated. Wrong swell, wrong place. Maybe next time.

But here we are. Walking up the beach, I run into friends. We set up umbrellas in front of the competitor’s area and settle in. As the warm-up session is ending, Jack Robinson is still out there. Every wave I see, he falls. The beach announcer begins trying to clear the lineup. A number of die-hards milk it as long as they can. Eventually he tells them to bellyboard, and counts it down.

On the beach next to me, a box of Caity Simmers t-shirts springs open, and a pool of blue spills over the nearby crowd. Caity Simmers, Pride of Oceanside, they read. Caity’s up in the first heat of the day, and they’re ready.

An enigmatic presence, Caity saunters down the beach to start her heat. Molly Picklum runs. Caity looks detached, as though she’s watching this whole thing happen to someone else. She has a kind of unapproachable cool. She looks like she’s heading out for a surf on a typical Saturday, like there’s nothing at all on the line.

But Caity surfs fully committed. She finds one of the good rights, and displays her dynamic style. She’s creative and electric. Nearby, an enthusiastic fan finger surfs one of her turns. The blue t-shirts cheer loudly after every wave as Caity zips past on the ski, and they erupt when she beats Molly.

But Caity’s free-flowing approach leads her to make mistakes, too. Against Caroline, she falls on a scoring wave, and takes a left that doesn’t have much to offer. She’s not yet a match for the polish that Caroline has acquired in her five years on Tour.

When Caroline ends the dream, Caity’s fans stand silent, and I can feel the weight of their disappointment. I want to tell them to hang in there, it’s coming. Caity has so much more to show than these two heats at Trestles, no matter what stakes have been assigned to them. A prodigious talent, Caity’s still 17. Time is on her side.

I’m standing with the Channel Islands crew when João Chianca sends Jack Robinson home. Over the heads of the crowd, they celebrate with Britt Merrick, who stands in the competitor’s area. Against expectations, their guy beat his seed. The day’s already a success for them.

By now, the sun’s hot overhead. I pull on a bikini and jump in the ocean. I almost lose my bottoms in the shorebreak. Amateur. I float in the shallows and let the waves wash over my head. Just like heaven. Surf contest. What surf contest. At Uppers, someone straightens out on a right. Wrong swell, wrong place.

On the upper level of the competitor’s area, Griff dances, headphones on. His fans pack the beach, carrying signs. The San Clemente mayor Chris Duncan introduces Griff before his heat. Square-shouldered and wearing a cap, Duncan looks exactly how I’d expect. It’s all set for a story-book ending.

It’s impossible to move on the beach now, and Griff’s crew extends over the low tide cobbles, and into the shallows. American flags wave. Red shirts blanket the beach. It all feels very wholesome. They’re here for their guy, and they give a shit about this thing. In this moment, pro surfing matters. If they could win it for him, they would.

Ethan ends the fairytale almost before it begins. Ethan’s turns fucking bang. He places them so precisely on the wave and he wraps the arcs so tightly. There’s no wasted movement, no flapping arms, just pure power. Standing on the beach where there’s no broadcast to distract me, and without the flattening distortion from the video cameras, I can finally see his surfing clearly. Holy shit. How is he even doing that?

Griff looks rough around the edges, as though the nerves and the atmosphere have gotten to him. He claims for the crowd on the beach, and they love it. What looks awkward on the video feed, feels right in the moment. They all want it so badly.

Not this time, not this year. When Griff loses, the beach thins out, but much later, a crew of groms stand behind the competitor’s area chanting for Griff, still waving their signs, still committed.

I find a spot on the beach for the women’s final, and pull a towel over my head against the sun. It’s too late for another dip in the ocean. After security moves the crowd, a spot opens up in front of me. A group of girls hesitates. Should they stand there? Is it okay? I encourage them to crowd in. This is their time. This show is for them.

When Carissa Moore and Caroline Marks paddle out, there’s a wind on it and the swell has turned inconsistent. The complexity works to Caroline’s advantage. She’s spent so many hours at Lowers and it shows in her wave selection. She knows exactly which waves will hold up for her and she makes the most of them.

That Carissa would have the same advantage at Sunset or Haleiwa points to mismatch between the nature of surfing and this one-day showdown. The fickle ocean creates an uneven playing field and always will. We all dream of that one perfect day, because it’s so elusive. Awarding the world title on series points may not feel as dramatic, but it fits the wild, ungovernable nature of this strange dance we love.

Peering through the sea of umbrellas, I catch one exchange between Filipe Toledo and Ethan. Both hit it hard. I can’t imagine how to score the difference in their approaches. Filipe’s unpredictable airs versus Ethan’s controlled power: the judges rightly rule in Filipe’s favor, but it’s closer than I’d imagined it would be.

Meanwhile, Filipe’s fans have filled in where Griff’s left off. They chant his name, drawing out the syllables to make it sing. Brazilian flags wave high and the energy is straight fire.

I want to be happy for Caroline, but honestly, I find the two women’s heats excruciating to watch. I want to cover my eyes, watch through my fingers, like the scene in a scary movie. Seeing the title slip through Carissa’s fingers yet again feels painful. She doesn’t have a good read on the wave and can’t put it together. Two women in front of me wear matching, pink Carissa t-shirts. They look crestfallen as the clock ticks down.

After her final heat, Carissa comes up the beach, head down. She looks crushed. Reaching the competitor’s area, Carissa disappears quickly into the darkness. I can’t help but wonder where she goes from here.

Behind her, Caroline’s fans flood into the water, floating on alligator blow-up toys. Florida flags wave, and when Caroline reaches the beach, Lisa Andersen waits in the shallows with a bottle of Champagne. They flood into the podium area, celebrating wildly. A first world title is something special, and Caroline says later that she’s traveled a hard road to get there. She deserves to enjoy this one.

When the WSL executives file onto the stage for the podium ceremony, it feels like the parents have shown up to break up the party. All day, the energy on the beach felt authentic. The people who showed up to Trestles, they care about contest surfing and they reacted to just about every turn. A combination of the Brazilian fans, the 2% crew around Griff, and the teen groms created that atmosphere.

With the departure of Eric Logan, the WSL and pro surfing stands at a crossroads. Logan’s era of the League burned through talent and relationships, and there’s rebuilding to do. What comes next will almost certainly stand or fall on its ability to engage the people who show up and care. Hold the interest of the groms with their fan t-shirts and signs, and I’m pretty sure you’ve got something.

As Filipe receives his trophy, the chants deafen. His fans are alive in the moment. And they’re just as willing to cheer for Caroline. They create a chant for her, too, drawing out the syllables of her name. Carol-EEEEN-AH! I’m close to the stage, and I turn to see it from the surfer’s perspective. It’s a wall of people, pressing in, hands and phones and flags in the air.

Then just like that, it’s done. The lineup immediately fills, as surfers emerge seemingly out of nowhere to paddle out and get a few. Picking up my bag, I begin the long walk home through the dry Southern California dust.

At the top of the bluffs, I stop and take one more look back.

The waves still roll in.

Sun shimmers over the wind texture that mars the surface. It’s never as perfect as we hope. Up on the overpass, a red banner for Griff flaps in the onshore breeze.

The next day, when I drive back north, it’ll already be gone like none of it happened at all.