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 NFLShop.com,” 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?”

Bobby Martinez recognised the false, rotten economy of giving people what they ask for, and of bending to the will of others. He refused to bow to money or influence, turning down over a million dollars a year because he saw the truth. History remembers him favourably. Orwell would surely have approved.

New premium surfing series likened to “half-plucked birds with festering sores stumbling through the semi-darkness, bleeding from their anus”

"One might liken it to enjoying a roast chicken, without the need to dwell on the dank, darkened hanger in which it once lived."

Dear Mr Sam McIntosh, despite the fact we have never met, I feel compelled to send you a second letter in as many days.

Upon the advice (nay, behest!) of our great protector, our benevolent watcher, our curious, cross-platform Disqus pervert, Negatron, I have now watched the first three episodes of How Surfers Get Paid.

In alternate waves of shame and delight I must concede that I found it to be fine entertainment. Even, to some degree, educational.

Yes, I would have to admit that I found it to be thoroughly educationally entertaining.

And so, in the spirit of truth, and not avoiding difficult conversations that may conflict with my personal ideologies, I felt I must write to you again to say Well Done. I admire the content you have produced, if not the ethos or methodology in how it was produced.

One might liken it to enjoying a roast chicken, without the need to dwell on the dank, darkened hanger in which it once lived. There’s really no need to consider half-plucked birds with festering sores stumbling through the semi-darkness, bleeding from their anus. I shouldn’t think of them dead or dying in a sea of faeces. I shouldn’t think of that at all. I should just tuck into the succulent breast on my plate, close my eyes and be grateful for the delicious end product.

Because yes, it’s true, Stab certainly have access to the cream of surfing’s talent, in and out of the water. And yes, as a conceptual video series How Surfers Get Paid may be poorly named but is very well executed. The editing is very Gen Z, and a little derivative, but that doesn’t impair the overall production.

So far, it’s a nostalgic delight. What’s particularly shocking is that we should feel nostalgia for such a recent past. It’s arresting to see the timelines laid out in back and white, and to understand just how much of a blip the success of pro surfing and the industry at large was. Really, it was over in the blink of an eye.

So what do we learn? Well, I can only comment on episodes 1-3 (though I will most certainly be retaining my Stab subscription for access to more).

Fundamentally, it seems the message from the series is how money fucked things. How those with power and influence, the magazines, the filmmakers, the clothing manufacturers, wielded it in a way that destroyed the industry. There was no trust, no morality. Backstabbing, undercutting and one-upmanship were all par for the course. And in the end, the game was a bogey for everyone.

Of course, that’s what happens when human beings are given too much power. It’s what happens when ruthless capitalism is allowed to fester. People get drunk on power. George Orwell dedicated a life to warning us of that.

I couldn’t help but see Paul Naude’s face flicker from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again as he recalled his jealousies and brutalities in the name of business. There he was, drunk in the farmhouse whilst all the other animals shivered in the yard.

But the folly of letting people of influence control the narrative is telling if we examine the surfers who form the bulk of the interviews in the series so far. They are those with the most lucrative contracts in surf history: Jordy Smith, Dane Reynolds, Julian Wilson, Kolohe Andino.

Ask yourself: beyond money and early fame, what else unites them?

Lacklustre careers, unrealised potential, personal unfulfillment.

When money becomes the bottom line, it seems no-one wins in the end.

Jordy’s had a decent pro career, but it’s been nothing if not underwhelming. Reminders of the potential that led Paul Naude to sue him, and for Nike and others to engage in a furious bidding war for his services, are quite shocking. The hype was justified. Jordy’s old clips stand up today. Watching them again, it’s hard to reconcile the fact he didn’t go on to dominate the surf world in its entirety and collect more than one world title along the way.

Julian, too. Solid, respectable, but a million miles away from where we thought he might end up.

And what did Kolohe Andino get for his unparalleled ten-year deal at seventeen years old? Over-confidence? Too much security? A sense of entitlement? Not a single Tour victory, at any rate.

Dane Reynolds is asked about the fact he had the most lucrative contract in surf history. “If that’s the case,” he chuckles, bemused, “where did it all go?”

All of them went in hands and feet first. They each grabbed bags from sweaty executive paws. But what good did it do them, or their brands, or us?

The one who didn’t, as recalled in the series, was Bobby Martinez, a man who should be a hero to all. He recognised the false, rotten economy of giving people what they ask for, and of bending to the will of others. He refused to bow to money or influence, turning down over a million dollars a year because he saw the truth. History remembers him favourably. Orwell would surely have approved.

So, Mr Sam McIntosh, whilst I still find the term “access journalism” abhorrent, much less the justification of it, I do have to concede that you have produced some rather excellent content. I shall be watching more, and I would strongly recommend others do the same.

Hopefully the message of the series remains Orwellian: “Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.”

Yours in truth, JP Currie

U.S. Presidential race upended as “surf deity” Laird Hamilton and Kelly Slater break for fit and fabulous disruptor Robert F. Kennedy Jr.!

The all-important surf vote!

It is impossible not to be at least vaguely aware that citizens of these United States will march to the polls in just over a year’s time with the task of electing our next president. Conventional wisdom suggests only two viable options. The same two options as four years ago. 80-year-old “Sleepy” Joe Biden and 77-year-old Donald Trump.

On the Republican side, the base seem to truly love their aged showman (Trump) and are not put off by his age or antics. On the Democrat side, though, there is much consternation about putting up an octogenarian with, clearly, diminished facilities and an almost universally disliked VP.

One might think, therefore, that other options would be welcomed but no. The Democratic National Committee has preordained Biden, like it did last election, and he will be wheeled out come hell or dementia.

Thus making Laird Hamilton and Kelly Slater’s public backing of a “disruptive” candidate that much more intriguing.

Who could have ever imagined a man, or woman, carrying the surname “Kennedy” would be a Democratic outsider but here we are in brave new days.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., extremely muscular, tan, married to Larry David’s television ex-wife, son of the assassinated Robert Kennedy, nephew of the assassinated John F. Kennedy, should be the savior of the left but the DNC has decided it hates him, the mainstream media following suit, tarring him wherever he goes.

Laird Hamilton and Kelly Slater, though, ain’t sheeple and have thrown their weight behind baby RFK, flying right into the teeth of “the way things are supposed to be,” even attending fundraisers even though Slater has a reputation of being notoriously cheap.

Kennedy, taking to X, wrote, “At Kennedy for President fundraiser in Malibu with Big Wave surf deity Laird Hamilton and his wife volleball champion @GabbyReece + With @KellySlater, 11 time World Surf League Champion at Brentwood fundraiser.”

Photo: X
Photo: X

Will they be punished for the move? The New York Times publishing a nasty expose on Slater’s environmentalism? The Washington Post putting Hamilton on its front page as “cancellable cultural appropriator?”

I once promised the all-important “surf vote” to Republicans in Florida even though I couldn’t really deliver.

Politics, man.