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.

Surfers rally around Aussie surf star gravely ill in Bali hospital, “He doesn’t have time!”

“We are desperately seeking funds to medi vac him from Bali to save his life.”

A couple of days back, the four-time Australian champ and 2011 World Master Mark Richardson put out a call for blood from his hozzy bed in Bali.

“Hey guys, this is a bit of a serious post. I am in a Bali hospital and desperate need of some blood transfusions. I have lost a lot of blood. My blood type is rare to find in Indo and I am looking for anyone who is a negative or O negative to help me recover from this problem I have been facing.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Mark Richardson (@markrichosurfcoach)

Pretty serious is right.

Now, Richo, who was famously stripped of his 2011 World Masters Title two years after winning it for testing poz to weed, has sent a fresh call for neg blood types.

Looking like hell from his bed, colour drained from his tanned face he writes, “Hey guys still needing more donations of negative blood. If you already donated and didn’t use the slip on my last story I am not getting the blood so please use much appreciated.”

One pal ain’t happy to wait and see what happens in Bali. She’s organised a fundraiser to get the fifty k needed to medi vac Richo back to Australia.

“Hi my name is Fiona Meyer and we are desperately seeking funds to medi vac Mark Richardson back to Australia from Bali to save his life. Insurance is taking forever and he doesn’t have time. He is currently in ICU, and needs to be in Australia.”

In four hours, almost ten k has been raised, CT stars Liam O’Brien and Callum Robson throwing in five hundred apiece and gal shredder Isabella Nichols two-fifty.

(Fiona has thrown in five hundred, too.)

Still no word on what put Richo into intensive care but if you want to help get him on a bird home, throw some cash here.

Surf fans (right) wary. Photo: Don't Worry Darling
Surf fans (right) wary. Photo: Don't Worry Darling

Premium surf blog Stab drops self-affixed “trusted media of core surfers everywhere” moniker after marriage to World Surf League revealed!

But is the union already troubled?

The raging surf media war, which has captured hearts and minds over an otherwise dull weekend, is sadly dying down. Though who could have seen a poorly conducted, though otherwise innocuous, interview with the World Surf League’s Chief of Sport Jessi Miley-Dyer on the premium subscription surf blog Stab exploding into mutually assured destruction?

“Mutually” referring to Stab and the World Surf League, of course.

Certainly not me, referring to the “seeing it.”

But let us review the past few days’ events.

On September 20th, Stab published the World Surf League’s 2024 Championship Tour schedule hours before any other surf outlet, chasing it, later, with a softball interview with the World Surf League’s Chief of Sport Jessi Miley-Dyer, where no tough questions were asked.

After a small bit of tweaking from readers and anti-depressive surf sites over the goofy softball business, Stab’s founder Sam McIntosh became angry enough to publish The Dickhead Index in which he, very white teeth flashing, defended the commercial art of being a pussy.

JP Currie responded with a fierce takedown which led to comment threads here and there with even more revelations, from Stab’s editor-in-chief Mikey Ciamarella, detailing that the aforementioned Jessi Miley-Dyer was only allotted fifteen minutes of chat time and required a North Korea-esque minder to be on the phone.

Now, Sam and crew could have easily let the Miley-Dyer interview slide, taken a few licks in the comment section and moved on. In trying to defend, their cozy relationship was spectacularly blown up in what can only be called an act of sheer editorial incompetence.

“Paid media” is never supposed to be obvious. The payer, in this case the World Surf League, is already struggling with legitimacy and, therefore, attempting to curry quiet favor through favors (“access” and footage). The payee, in this case Stab, was supposed to simply provide cover while accepting said favors.

Instead, Stab made the notoriously controversy averse World Surf League look thirsty then pathetic, and also the center of an unfortunate story.

No doubt McIntosh is beating himself up, tonight, over the disaster he created.

World Surf League brass, likely, quietly fuming and reconsidering the coupling.

Well poisoned.


Another casualty?

Stab’s Google byline.

It used to read “Trusted media of core surfers everywhere.”

Now simply “We are writers, video editors, and photojournalists. But mostly, we just like to surf.”

Goodbye, integrity. I’m flying over you.

Two-time champ Tom Carroll and ancient head wound.

Iconic news broadcaster shamed after running three-year-old Tom Carroll head injury story!

"Four days ago," says Tom Carroll, "my fin collected me in the head."

A few days back, an item appeared on the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s news site, repurposing an Instagram story where the two-time world champ Tom Carroll recounts a terrible head injury at Off the Wall.

“So there’s my nicely broken, beautiful, six-five Rawson TC Impala…a beautiful quad fin that I broke at off the wall about four days ago during a wipeout, just pulling in. You know, pretty standard, pull in, jump forward, the board broke, the tail followed me in the barrel and the fin collected me…”

Here Thomas, who will turn sixty-two in November, peels off his helmet, which he wasn’t wearing in the wipeout to reveal a skull half peeled open with stitches from forehead to crown. 

“…just there! It would’ve been covered had I been wearing this puppy. This is a soft serve helmet which would’ve done the job. Even though it’s kind of annoying to put something on your head when you surf it’s not a bad idea. It would’ve saved me!”

Thomas, vividly described as “small and well-muscled with huge energy-storing thighs” and “a power surfer with uncommon finesse” then moves into some criticism of the helmet, some believing it might’ve made things worse. 

“See, the edge of this, there’s a little impression on the edge of the cut. Some may say that it could’ve lifted the edge of this up and possibly forced the board back into my eye. I’ve talked to some people about this…and…deliberated, as we do as humans, we like going over things, right, fact is, I’ve still got an eye, thankfully, and I’m wearing this more often!” 

I used to be a surfer once, and during my belle epoch years even travelled every year to the North Shore, and so a little alarm bell chimed in my head when I saw the piece. 

September? A little early to be getting decapitated at Off the Wall, no? And when was the last time Tom hit the North Shore so early? 

Turns out ol Tom got sliced in February 2020, shortly before a terrible pandemic shook the world off its rocker.

More poetry on Tom from you know who,

“In waves from four to 20 feet Carroll was a marvel: planting his back foot squarely over the tail section of his board and assuming a fencer’s stance, he adapted perfectly to the given surf break, drawing long and sinewy lines across the bottom-heavy rollers at Sunset, or hooking fiercely under the curl at Bells Beach, or flying arrowlike through the tube at Pipeline.”