Freestone (pictured) getting bashed. Photo: WSL

Blood Feud: Jack Freestone declares “all respect lost” after professional surfing’s premium safe space Stab does him dirty!

"So lame. Always twisting questions and answers. All respect lost."

Live by the access journalism, die by the access journalism, as the old adage goes. Stab burst onto the scene just last week after its co-founder completely unnecessarily admitted that the premium surf blog gladly trades soft coverage for entre. Sam McIntosh, Stab’s co-founder responding without being asked to a milquetoast interview with World Surf League Chief of Sport Jessi Miley-Dyer, declared his raison d’être for publishing is to be liked by his subjects.

And in so being liked, he can pass along press releases, dressed as news, to the paying consumer.

A win-win. Or rather, a win-win-ish.

In the latest and much-praised episode of How Surfers Get Paid, former world no. 14 and wunderkind Jack Freestone unloaded on professional surfing’s safe space after he was outed as being unkind to surfboards.

According to a well-placed source who watched, shapers Darren Handley and Jon Pyzel outed Freestone as “one of the more difficult riders to deal with” after the relationship between board sponsor and sponsee was highlighted. The vast majority of surf talent don’t get their boards for free, they belong to the shaper, and so Freestone punching his board, say, after a loss is a direct financial attack.

Stab teased the drop by praising Freestone, declaring, “Also, a big thanks must go to Jack Freestone. This episode featured some loose ends and ‘off the record’ quotes from our talent. We interviewed Jack and he was gracious, good humoured and totally unperturbed to have a few jabs by shapers let in.”


Apparently Freestone wasn’t completely appraised of how the scene would play out and/or lied to. The handsome Australian took to Stab’s own Instagram to state, “So lame. Always twisting questions and answers. All respect lost.”

Tweaking a pro goes directly against Stab’s ethos and I wonder if consternation is burning hot in Oceanside tonight.

Investigative access journalism on the ropes.

Stab, in any case, has yet to respond but surf media watchers are hoping McIntosh pens The Dickhead Index Pt. 2 tomorrow morning wherein he passively-aggressively re-throws Freestone under the bus while signaling that editorial meetings are now being conducted at NeueHouse.


I, anyhow, had the privilege of briefly interviewing Freestone when your BeachGrit was involved in the Billabong x Metallica collaboration. I was very impressed by his candor and handsomeness and made a point not to do him dirty though, in truth, he didn’t do or say anything remotely controversial.

A new access journalism sheriff in town?

More as the story develops.

Papa Phil and Andy's kid Axel. | Photo: Lyndie Irons

Surf world mourns loss of “Papa Phil” beloved father of Andy and Bruce Irons

"Feels so sad and lonely without him here on Kauai. I can feel his happiness up there with Andy and it makes me smile and cry."

The surf world is in mourning after the death of Phil Irons, the much-loved daddy of Andy and Bruce and granddaddy to Andy’s kid, Axel. 

“Grief is a b*tch,” wrote Andy’s wife Lyndie. “Been MIA for a bit sifting through my heartache of losing Axel’s special grandpa. Even though we know it was coming it doesn’t make it easier. Axel and Papa Phil made a pact these last few months leading up to his passing that anytime Axel was in Hanalei he needed to run in the house and give him a hug. Axel is a man of his word and made that happen with not one complaint. 

“We spent as much time as we could together. I wrote Papa Phil my favorite memory in a card and he told me that it was his favorite memory together too. When Andy was here and surfing hours on top of hours like he always did. And I would find myself in papa Phil’s house on Weke Rd and we would talk for hours about surfing. I enjoyed every minute. 

“I moved to Kauai at 21 but mostly lived on the road but when I was on Kauai in Papa Phil’s house it felt like home. Papa Phil loved his boys deeply and helped them in every aspect of their surfing career. He was a sweet soft loving man that loved us so much. I’m so thankful to have had Phil and Danielle all these years. I miss him deeply. 

“When I just got in my truck at the airport yesterday something had died I think in the engine🤢 and I went to pick up my phone to call Papa Phil to to see what I should do and than burst into tears. He has been more of a dad in my adult years. Feels so sad and lonely without him here on Kauai. I can feel his happiness up there with Andy and it makes me smile and cry. Just miss Papa Phil and will try to take the lessons he taught me and use them always.”


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An outpouring of condolences followed, from Alex Florence, Jack Robinson, Mick Fanning, Jamie O’Brien, Joel Tudor, Selema Masekela, Luke Egan, Coco Ho, Shane Dorian and more. 

“So sad to hear Phil passed. Had some great chats over the years. Sending lots of love to you and Axel,” wrote Mick. 

“We’re at that age my dear where our elders are passing us the torch! Love to you and the rest of family!” wrote Tudor. 

Californian-born Phil Irons moved to Kauai in 1970 “and spent two years living out of a beachside tent on a diet of rice, bananas, and avocados”.

Andy, who was christened Phillip Andrew Irons, was born in 1978 and Bruce was born the following year.

Phil and wife Daniel divorced in 1989 and Phil moved the nine miles down from Haena and to the beach at Hanalei Bay, a decision that would prove pivotal in the boys’ surfing.

For five hundred bucks a month he rented a hundred-year-old shack from the Hanalei Bay Liquor Store. Danielle rented a joint 150 yards down the road and Andy and Bruce split their time between the pair. 

Andy’s son Axel was born on the opening day of the Pipeline Masters in Memory of Andy Irons on December 8, 2010, thirty six days after his daddy’s death. 

Swift (left) and what might have been. Photo: WSL Store (hee hee)
Swift (left) and what might have been. Photo: WSL Store (hee hee)

John John Florence, World Surf League rue what might have been as the NFL’s Travis Kelce sees jersey sales spike by 400% amidst rumors of Taylor Swift romance!

"Lately we've been dressing for revenge..."

The World Surf League has made a near infinite amount of blunders since billionaire Dirk Ziff took ownership some eight years ago. From Paul Speaker declaring professional surfing would soon be bigger than the National Football League to Erik Logan becoming unceremoniously fired in Brazil, there have been, really, an unbroken string of LOLs. Rare in this day and age when a chuckle is quickly followed by cancellation.

Russell Brand.

One of the consistent funniest of funnies, though, has been the attempt to normalize “surf jerseys.” Who could ever forget Japan’s silver medalist Kanoa Igarashi being branded Igarshi for the Surf Ranch Pro or Tyler Wright in general?

The whole business reached peak ridiculous during the just-wrapped Finals Day wherein the World Surf League decided to adorn the garments with “stunningly bad” limited edition slogans.

The Pride of Culburra.

I’d imagine children in Sri Lanka are being forced to wear after unsold stores are shipped off shore, though oh what might have been.

ESPN is reporting that the Kansas City Chief’s tight end Travis Kelce had his jersey sales spike by 400% after rumors began swirling that Taylor Swift, currently the most famous person on the planet, was his love interest.

Per the “worldwide leader in sports:”

Taylor Swift’s trip to watch Kansas City Chiefs star Travis Kelce play football Sunday didn’t just have the internet talking nonstop.

After the 12-time Grammy Award winner’s appearance at Arrowhead Stadium, jersey sales for the All-Pro tight end seemingly skyrocketed.

According to sportswear and fan merchandise company Fanatics, Kelce’s jersey was one of the top five for the NFL on Sunday. He “saw a nearly 400% spike in sales throughout the Fanatics network of sites, including,” a spokesperson told The Associated Press via email.


But you are certainly old enough to remember when rumors swirled that Swift was smitten with our very own John John Florence some decade ago? A golden and singular moment where all of Dirk Ziff’s hopes and dreams might have come true.

Alas, it all proved false but how depressed is the World Surf League today?

400% jersey spike?

They retail for around $50 meaning John John’s would have brought in a whopping $20,000 total.


Though, is the aforementioned Erik Logan to blame?

You are also certainly old enough to remember when the Oklahoman with a magical wetsuit of armor castigated Swift in a red hot tweet, pegging the beloved singer-songwriter with, “For someone who draws such power from being the ‘voice’ and against all the things you talk about, I’m watching you violate what you allegedly stand for. You’re the real bully.”

Some things age well.

Others don’t.

Like Erik Logan.

Or the World Surf League.

Shore Acres and sucker.
Shore Acres and sucker.

Northern Californians, Oregonians begged to not turn backs to ocean as massive storm surf hits the fatal shore!

"There will be no safe area along area beaches during this time.”

Summer is, officially, over in the northern hemisphere. Autumn has fallen, bringing with it Laird Superfood pumpkin spice non-dairy creamer, a honeyed crispness in the air, and, in Northern California/Southern Oregon the first proper storm, an “atmospheric river” even, bringing with it light but consistent rain and large angry waves.

Growling, snarling, man-snatching waves.

Untrustworthy waves.

The National Weather Service, panicked, declared that in Oregon,”There will be no safe area along area beaches during this time.”

Not one.

100% dangerous.

Coos Bay was singled out as particularly critical.

It added, “Large breaking waves of 22 to 25 feet. Occasional breakers may exceed 35 feet. Large breaking waves will create hazardous conditions along and within the surf zone, and could inundate beaches and low lying shorelines. Beach erosion is possible, and exposed infrastructure may be damaged.”

In Northern California, officials released a beach hazard statement imploring residents to “maintain a safe distance from the water and NEVER turn your back to the ocean.”

Sensible but you, as a surfer, might be shocked to learn how often that this piece of advice is ignored.

I used to live in the aforementioned very perilous Coos Bay and when these sorts of storms whacked the fatal shore, inland folk would drive down to watch waves bash the rocks, especially at Shore Acres (video below). They would often try to get close and get pictures of themselves standing in front of a menacing plume of water. Back to Pacific. These were pre-selfie days, too, and I’d imagine its much worse now. Just waiting to get sucked into the Devils Churn.

People, man.

Back to big surf, though, Surfline is calling Maverick’s 10 – 15 feet and the camera shows a knot of dedicated hellions out getting it.

Good for them.

Activist Robert Taylor. Photo by Lewis Arnold.

Chilling documentary reveals surfers complicit in gruesome deaths of historically enslaved African-Americans!

"Surfing has a dirty secret... and people are dying."

A terrific new investigative documentary called The Big Sea has laid the boot into surfers and their complicity in the “deadly shadow” which hangs over the wretched “descendants of slaves” in Louisiana in America’s deep south. 

The Big Sea points at the surf industry’s “hidden links to Cancer Alley and the wetsuit world’s toxic addiction to neoprene.” 

Cancer Alley, if you didn’t know, refers to a stretch along the Mississippi River in Louisiana where locals have uncommonly high cancer rates. It’s also home to the the Denka Performance Elastomer plant, the only joint in the US that produces chloroprene, the key ingredient in the production of neoprene and which is also a “likely carcinogen.” 

(It’s why Patagonia and Billabong use Yulex, a natural rubber grown in Arizona.) 

The movie’s message is plain enough, surfers, drunk on greenwashing, ballet on waves while the great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandchildren of slaves die terrible deaths, mostly from liver and lung cancer. 

Surfing is killing it. This $10 billion global industry – built on a clean, green dream – has never been more popular. Surfing has set out its stall as the champion of environmental issues. But surfing has a dirty secret… and people are dying. 

Filmed over three years, in the USA, Australia, France, Spain, the UK and Ireland Lewis Arnold and Chris Nelson have followed the story from the communities of Cancer Alley in Louisiana, through to the sun drenched surf rich beaches of California, to the heart of the surf industry and beyond. This independent investigative documentary is about the power we have as individuals to effect change.

Speaking with surf brands, industry leaders, activists, scientists, oncologists, surfers, cultural commentators and environmental campaigners, The Big Sea asks: “Can you live with the true cost of surfing?”