Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes (right) and WSL acolyte.
Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes (right) and WSL acolyte.

Famed Silicon Valley advisor compares World Surf League to Theranos, Frye Festival in damning op-ed!


I am here to tell you the WSL is dead. They will crash and burn. No doubt.

I have spent the majority of my career in and around Silicon Valley as a founder, advisor and consultant. Over the last decade, I have learned what makes a startup successful and where the warning signs for failure are.

I have for years been saying that the WSL has the hallmarks of a rapid-growth startup- venture backed, charismatic leadership, desire to change the world, etc. That being said, the startups that the WSL is following aren’t the FAANG high performers. Instead, the startups that the WSL is emulating are the ones that have Netflix documentaries made about them, the Theranos, the WeWork, the Fyre Fests.

These startups have all followed a simple playbook of promise innovation, create a cult of personality, lie about success, silent dissenters, under deliver, allow execs to self deal, and ultimately burn in a blaze of non-glory and scandal, below is a sampling of how the WSL fits this mold and will ultimately crash and burn.

Initially, the WSL promised innovation and reinvention, much like WeWork, Theranos, and Fyre Fest, but much like those startups, failed to meet the mark. Teranos never delivered on the promise of the Edison the same way the WSL has failed to deliver on the promise of becoming a media company, elevate the sport, innovate competition, or doing really anything. The innovation that was promised has never been delivered upon and in the same way that the Edison was a shittier version of a Becton Dickinson Blood Reagent Analyzer, the WSL is a shittier version of the ASP.

In the same line of thinking, Silicon Valley has a long history of CEOs who become synonymous with their companies, like Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos and Adam Neumann of WeWork. WSL leaders have been treading a similar path. Markedly, Erik Logan had moved from an administrative role to an omnipresent figure at WSL events, eclipsing even the surfers at times, demonstrated at peak self-aggrandizing with a Filipe Toledo shirt wearing debacle . Similarly, Jesse Miley Dyer, through leadership seminars and public events, is actively molding herself as a poster figure for the sport. Additionally and in the same regard, Dave Prodan, via his podcast, doesn’t just commentate on surfing, he often sets the moral and ethical tone of surfing, becoming an arbiter of what’s right and wrong in the sport and making things about him when they’re not.

Much like Silicon Valley companies that allegedly suppressed internal critics, including the documented instances of Theranos counsel harassing whistleblowers, the WSL has shown similar tendencies. The controversial decision to prevent surfers from sporting Bethany Hamilton jerseys signaled an authoritarian streak in this same regard. Moreover, Logan’s public warning against raising concerns over potential judging bias displays an intent to control the narrative at all costs. Additionally, Prodan’s approach, particularly his political name-calling and the quick removal of dissenting “Dave Prodan Killed Surfing” stickers at Trestles hints at an intolerance for alternate viewpoints.

Misrepresentation of success metrics, a tactic Silicon Valley snake oil salesmen, such as Holmes’ fudging of the Edison’s accuracy or Fyre Fest’s misrepresentation of Fyre Fest preparedness, has often been criticized as a quick way to convince investors that all is well and appears prevalent in WSL’s strategy. Logan’s optimistic portrayal of viewership figures, often without substantial evidence, mirrors the inflated claims that led to the downfalls of many tech startups. Prodan’s feigned excitement of the mid-year cut seemed to put lipstick on a pig and signal the same, even when rebuked by Connor Coffin to his face and while actively rebutted by tour surfers.

These Silicon Valley startups also have a history of self-dealing. A prime example is WeWork’s Adam Neumann, who had questionable real estate dealings with his company that ultimately didn’t pass the smell test. These dealings find a counterpart in Logan’s endeavors with Apple TV. Logan’s dual role as a WSL CEO and the executive producer for Apple TV’s “Make or Break” rings alarm bells about potential conflicts of interest, reminiscent of many a Silicon Valley scandal.

When it comes to pushing narratives, Holmes’ unwavering faith in Theranos’ flawed Edison machine is paralleled by WSL’s insistence on wave pools, mid year cut, and the unpopular finals day format, even in the face of clear community opposition across all levels of leadership.

At its core, the WSL, by seemingly adopting a Silicon Valley playbook marred with controversies, is setting itself up for an inevitable downfall. Silicon Valley’s history is littered with companies that were driven by ego, suppressed criticism, misrepresented success, and lost touch with their user base, eventually leading to their implosion. The WSL’s current trajectory appears ominously familiar.

As the surfing community watches, the hope remains that the WSL will recalibrate its compass, but it’s unlikely and I fear that the coffin nails are being hammered for competitive surfing. For a sport so deeply connected with nature’s rhythms, its governing body’s alignment with flawed corporate strategies seems stupid and disingenuous. We are a community that yearns for WSL leadership that resonates with the sport’s core values, but its seeming more and more that the League will crash against the very waves it seeks to champion and, well, die like Theranos and FyreFest or even worse, rust like a WeWork.

We deserve better.

Maldives surfers call for ban on Israelis

Maldivian surfers call for ban on Israelis following Hamas butchery of 1300 Jewish civilians

“Thank you for this noble humanitarian stance!”

Following the October 7 butchering of over one thousand civilians, including old women, babies, kids and leftist hippies at a music festival celebrating peace and the subsequent retaliation by Israel, surfers in the Maldives have called for an immediate ban on visiting Israeli surfers.

I mean, of course!

The Maldives, is one of the few Muslim countries that let the Jew in, Israel being one of the first countries in the world to recognise the little state when it shucked British rule in 1965.

That don’t mean it isn’t hardline.

The Maldives bans any public practice of any religion other than Islam and if you ain’t Muslim, you can’t be a citizen.

When ISIS was still big news, the Maldives gained “prominence as a haven for jihadist recruitment” as locals streamed into Iraq and Syria to join the big boys of the Jihadist game.

(Read, Losing a Paradise to Terrorism.)

A few years back the New York Times reported, 

This island paradise made news recently for a reason other than its pristine beaches and high-end resorts: the gruesome killing of a liberal blogger, stabbed to death by multiple assailants.

“The killing in April of Yameen Rasheed, 29, a strong voice against growing Islamic radicalization, has amplified safety concerns — particularly for foreign tourists, a highly vulnerable group and one that the islands’ economy depends on. It is no idle threat, in a country that by some accounts supplies the world’s highest per-capita number of foreign fighters to extremist outfits in Syria and Iraq.

“Security experts say many resorts are ill equipped to fend off an attack on par with those that have occurred in places like Tunisia and Bali, Indonesia.”

So when Hamas busted down the Gaza wall and entered those pretty little kibbutzes on the border and murdered whomever they could find, throwing in a little beheadings here and there for colour, why wouldn’t you join in the conga line of Jew hate and use it as an excuse to ban Israeli surfers.

“Maldives Bodyboarding Association and the entire surf community strongly condemn and demand an end to the inhumane and unjust actions carried out by Israel against Palestinians.

“Visiting Israeli surfers in the Maldives have displayed a disturbing lack of respect towards local and international board riders in the lineup. They have posed threats to the safety of locals and others, resorting to both verbal and physical aggression. Furthermore, it is crucial to shed light on the fact that Israelis have been involved in the tourism sector, albeit discreetly, at various levels. We implore resort owners, guesthouse proprietors, safari operators, and tour operators to cease their affiliations with these Israeli involvements.

“We request that the Maldivian government enforce a ban on the entry of Israelis to the Maldives. We also ask the government to continue any efforts aimed at stopping the inhumane actions of Israel and showing solidarity with the Palestinians. We call on the Maldivian government to assist the Palestinians in any way they can.”

Israeli surfers do have an image problem. Great on land, feisty as hell in the water. Most surfs over there in the Holy Land, and I love the joint, I’d swing in with a headache from all the hassling.

I ain’t sure whether its that genetic thing of having to fight for everything they’ve got and, who knows, a katyusha might land on their heads any second so y’might as well grab every wave that comes, or that they’re at that same point on the surf culture evolution table Brazilians were ten years ago, Australians thirty.

Naturally, Muslim surfers were thrilled by the suggestion.,

“We don’t need to confuse Israel with anything to understand it has being terrorizing the people of Palestine with the help of daddy Biden. Not only the on going conflict but the history of violence that was inflicted on Palestinians during ground invasions to steal their lands from them speaks for itself. So please, we will stay relaxed In our sandy beaches and you can relax in the land of Palestine while waving your white flag with a blue star whatever the fuck that is.”

“Thanks for the good news. Stay homeless. Land thieves. Surf in jahannam.”

“Maldives has always been a favorite destination to us Arabs, now even more. Thank you for this noble, humanitarian stance.”

“Solid stance against a Zionist fictional wanna be country. Funnest waves and it will be more fun with well mannered people now.”

“The life you stole and land you annexed from Palestinians ILLEGALLY.Live what’s left of your stolen land and life because the Palestinian cause only grows stronger, and you will be held accountable.”

Meanwhile, the softening on the western mind continues as cities from Sydney to Paris to New York to Paris to London to Toronto to etc etc light up in support of Israel’s annihilation.

Lebanese Evolutionary Behavioral Scientist Gad Saad sums it up real well,

“You are not going to like this tweet so turn away if you are likely to be triggered: I am a very optimistic person; I am a fighter for Western values and liberties; I am a dogged defender of science, reason, and common sense. I must say though that I am unsure that the West can recover from its multifront civilizational suicide. Yes, I’ve talked about these issues for decades and wrote a book about it but the past few weeks have crystallized the extent to which the problem has become intractable. It will be a long and ultimately bloody demise and the West will be the first society in recorded history to fully self-implode due to its parasitic ideological rapture. It is a gargantuan Greek tragedy that will shape the future of humanity. This is not hyperbole. Your grandchildren will pay a very high price for your “progressive” arrogance rooted in the pursuit of Unicornia that only exists in the recesses of deeply flawed parasitized minds.”

Canadians (pictured) unaccepting. Photo: Strange Brew
Canadians (pictured) unaccepting. Photo: Strange Brew

Olympic surf hopeful Erin Brooks savagely denied citizenship by Canada which cruelly cites her “lack of experiencing hardship” as reason

Take off, hoser.

Surfing’s grand entry into the Olympics has been a wonderful study in unity. A glorious reflection of John Lennon’s most pure ideals. “Imagine there’s no countries, it isn’t hard to do…” Yes, thanks to the Olympics, Australian surfers instantly transform into Japanese surfers, Brazilian surfers transform into Irish surfers  and American surfers transform into…

…but wait, what jingoistic light through yonder window breaks? It is the north, and Canada is displaying wild, unfettered nationalism.

In a cruel and sadistic slam, the country’s federal government just rejected sweet 16-year-old Erin Brooks‘ attempt to fly the maple leaf over Teahupo’o. The surf prodigy who was born in Texas but raised in Hawaii has a father who holds dual American-Canadian citizenship and a grandfather who was born in Montreal.

Avoir le feu au cul!

Alas, that fine heritage was not enough for the powers that be. In a letter explaining the decision not to grant a “discretionary grant of citizenship,” to Brooks, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada says she did not meet the requirements to go full Canuck.

“The application is refused on the basis that the applicant is not stateless, has not experienced special or unusual hardship or provided services of an exceptional value to Canada which warrants a discretionary grant of Canadian citizenship,” it said.

Three kinds of rude, right there.

Jeff Brooks, Erin’s papa, was frustrated but not bent, signaling he will appeal the decision.

“She wants to surf [for Canada] because she wants to represent her family and her heritage,” Jeff said in an interview with the CBC. “And it’s just been an uphill battle … But I’m proud that she’s sticking to her guns and she wants to go through the complete process and give it everything she has. We’ve talked about it. If it doesn’t work out and she does have to walk away one day from Canada, she can do it with her head held high knowing she gave it everything she had and she tried her best to represent the country she feels the most tied to.”

Will Canada care or will red and white hearts remain frozen like the tundra?

More as the story develops.

Crazy surfers gambling
"I got 800 bucks on Ewing to beat Toledo in two straight heats!"

“Flattest winter since records began” blamed for mental health epidemic among Australian surfers!

"Surfers whinge if it's not good for three days, let alone a couple of months. This year they had a legitimate reason to complain."

Who don’t go nuts when the strong, well-muscled waves of winter fail to show and surfers are left to fiddle and burn, often more fiddling than  burning? 

Surfers on NSW’s South Coast, a couple hundred mile strip that runs from Wollongong in the north to Eden in the south, are being driven crazy, literally, claims a prominent news source ‘cause there ain’t been no winter swells. 

According to coastal researcher Dr Mitch Harley from the University of NSW, the waves have been “exceedingly flat. Usually, winter waves are about 1.6 metres in height on average,” he told ABC. “They were about 25 per cent lower at 1.3 metres, and we haven’t seen any really large wave events over the entire winter.”

Australian surf champ Matt Hoar told the ABC he’d never seen it this bad. 

“Surfers tend to whinge if it’s not good for three days, let alone a couple of months. This year in particular they had a legitimate reason to complain.”

Bega Valley counsellor Prem Kranti said surfers were hit two-fold, the flat spell and memories of the Black Summer bushfires from a few years back after a few early season fires took hold.

“There are physical, mental, emotional and also spiritual benefits of being in the ocean and out in nature,” she told ABC. “For people on the south coast, the ocean also provides a strong counterpoint to what has been damaged by bushfire.”

Another surfer, Alice Mood, echoed Kranti. 

“You’re hearing on the radio about fires. When you’re in the water you’re forgetting about it, you’re just having a good time so it’s that time out. I was always cranky. I tried other avenues like running, the gym and even gardening, but none of it cuts it.” 

I  presume I’m an oddity when it comes to flat spells. I wake, examine the listless ocean, and am overjoyed I’ve  been gifted another day without the interference of surfing. Free from guilt, I can improve my sauna game (four hits of twenty minutes in a crowded hot box with quick dips in the ocean pool), wrestle without limit, wallow in medieval literature and extend midday naps til dark and so on. 

Where do you fall? A lover of flat spells or does your mind tend to the crazy?

Sam George (insert) instructing. Photo: Wavestorm
Sam George (insert) instructing. Photo: Wavestorm

Preeminent surf guru Sam George delights adult learners with a treatise on the “surfboard size” issue eight years too late

"How big’s your board?" I asked, after watching another vain attempt to kick into a little swell.

There is one thing gloriously certain in this our modern day and age. Sam George, preeminent surf guru, a Buddha by any other name, has rediscovered his vast mojo thanks to “the definitive voice of surfing and the outdoors” The Inertia. The silver-haired 67-year-old, “still very active in surfing, continuing to compete in standup paddle races and tandem events,” went more quiet than he should have a decade, or such, ago on the surf writing end, focusing on film and celebrity wife swapping instead.

Now, though, he is back, outing secret San Francisco spots for adult learners, murdering them too.

It is all wonderful, The Inertia’s soft-topped enthusiasts losing sleep waiting for his latest drips of pure wisdom.

George always delivers.

Most recently, Nia Peeples’ ex-husband shared with them that they are all riding boards that are “too short.”

“So I recently enjoyed a fine session at a remote California point break, sharing modest, three-to four-foot right walls with a small crew, all who could generously be described as ‘middle-aged.'” he began, before continuing:

One of our number, a very experienced surfer on the far side of 50, sat in the pack, sunk up to his clavicles on a tiny Sharp Eye thruster, patiently waiting his turn, when he would paddle for, and miss, virtually every wave that came his way.

“How big’s your board?” I asked, after watching another vain attempt to kick into a little swell.

“Five-seven,” he said, and proudly, too.

“Wow,” I said. “I bet it would work great in a hollow reef break.”

The devastating takedown led to a discussion on how too many surfers are on the wrong board, i.e. not long enough, and how they would do well to lengthen up in order to make Phil Edwards smile.

Though the word “volume” never comes up, it is a similar conversation that embroiled the surf world eight, or so, years ago.

Should the perpetual intermediate be on more foam.

It must be assumed that “thinking surfer” on an 8-foot Wavestorm Classic in rasta red, yellow, green will add the 9-foot Wavestorm Classic, Barbie edition, to quiver.

The thought piece echoed what the master told the BeachGrit community three years ago.

Always ahead of the curve, here.

David Lee Scales and I, anyhow, discussed George genius along with a robust debate on if adult males should dress for Halloween in tandem with wife and child.

What do you think about that?

Listen here.