Ricky Basnett and Shaun Tomson's response
Ricky Basnett, main photo, and Shaun Tomson's response to Rick's Instagram posts.

WSL surfer Ricky Basnett doubles down on “Genocide in Gaza” claims in new interview!

"It’s not fair to call what Hamas is doing as waging a war on Jews."

Earlier this week, a blizzard of support for the South African surfer Ricky Basnett after he claimed Israel’s response to a medieval slaughter of its civilians by the Iranian-backed forces of its neighbour was genocide.

Ricky Basnett, a seven-time South African champion surfer and Championship Tour surfer in 2007 and 2008, followed a well-worn path of progressive surfers towing the line that every damn Israeli citizen got what they deserved.

Shortly after Hamas gunmen put bullets into hundreds of unarmed civilians in the Israeli towns bordering Gaza, including kids and their pets, and raped the hell out of the cute festival gals before executing ‘em, our own surf feminist and trans-in-sports-activist Lucy Small posted a series of stories about the conflict.

These included a reel  from Al Jazeera showing Hamas terrorists landing in Israel in their paragliders and about to murder hundreds with the caption, “Palestinians in Gaza made history as they escaped the world’s largest prison”. 

Yay!

Hamas terrorists use paragliders to enter Israel, and Lucy Small.
Hamas terrorists use paragliders to enter Israel, and Lucy Small.

Small explained the apparent contradiction of a feminist and trans-activist supporting a religious fascist group notorious for killing gays and subjugating women with, “The end of occupation may allow for healing. It is common in communities affected by armed violence, rates of domestic violence and violence against women are higher – it’s a tragic part of war.”

In another salvo, Small described Israel as being “at the nexus of colonisation, white supremacy, capitalism and (the) military industrial complex…”

Anyway, here’s Ricky Basnett!

“I want to make you all fucking very aware of something. I will never fucking stand for oppression, hatred, discrimination,” said Ricky Basnett, the cords on his forehead protruding threateningly. “I will never fucking back down from my beliefs. I don’t give a fuck who you are, I will never stand for hate…I want you to know that this is about eradicating hate…I do not stand for genocide.”

Ricky Basnett also posted the old From the River to the Sea slogan on Instagram, the inference that the indigenous people of the region, the Jews, must hand their brave little state over to the colonist Arab.

In response, his employer Shaun Tomson, a Jew and the most famous South African surfer of all time, wrote Ricky Basnett a letter.

Ricky

You can support Hamas and the kidnapping murder rape and dismemberment of babies all you want. You are parroting the same old anti semitic tropes I have heard all may life. The same old Jew hatred that has been around before you and will be around after.

Support Hamas and be proud of your choice. Initially I thought you were simply ignorant but now I know that is not the case. I will not be aligned and support an anti semite, someone who calls for the destruction of Israel. Certain things in life like values and human decency are more important than business.

Genocide – do you even know what the word means. 6 million Jews died in the 1940s. That was genocide.

Your anti semitism is disgusting to me.

Don’t surprise me.

But I like Ricky. Feisty lil man.

So I asked a few questions. He wanted to do it via DM. I promised I’d run ’em full, no matter how much I disagreed with ’em. Free speech etc.

Tell me, what is the breadth of your knowledge of the region. Have you studied the history and so on?

Ricky Basnett: I’m definitely no expert or analyst but having lived in South Africa for the end of apartheid and the last few decades of post apartheid, especially in KZN* which has a massive Muslim population, it’s impossible not to have heard about Palestine.

(*KwaZulu-Natal is a South African province that borders Mozambique, Eswatini and Lesotho and includes surf city Durban. It has a small but prominent Muslim population.)

In the last six weeks, I’ve been deepening my education on the area through watching and reading political and geopolitical discourse from the last century, and then of course, much like everyone at the moment, the accounts from the ground in Palestine over the last six weeks; journalists and independent human rights watch committees.

Do you believe Hamas hit a legitimate target in their war against the Jews on October 7?

I don’t think it’s fair to call what Hamas is doing as waging a war on Jews, but rather it is resistance to the brutal occupation regime of the Israeli government.

When you say Free Palestine, what do you regard as Palestine?

Palestine geographically is: From the River Jordan to the med sea, the historic borders that existed before Israeli occupation.

And what does a Free Palestine look like?

Self determination: Right to travel, right to vote, right to self-govern, open borders, no occupation, to live with freedom equality and dignity

What should happen to Israel, y’think?

The government must face prosecution for the countless war crimes committed thus far. Beyond that, the state of occupation has to end.

Do you really believe Israel is committing genocide against the people of Gaza?

It’s not a matter of personal belief, it’s evidenced every day. Add to that, the video footage of both Israeli military and Israeli politicians stating clearly that genocide is their plan. Phrases like: wipe them off the planet, all gazaan children are terrorists, burn Gaza to the ground, using a nuke on Gaza is an option etc. All these are blatant intents of genocide and this is long past up for debate.

What is your definition of genocide?

I mean there is a global definition of genocide but for me, I’d say: The systematic process of dehumanization of a group and stripping of culture and rights, followed by the wide spread extermination and displacement of a people, based on their ethnicity. The goal of said genocide is to eradicate said ethnic group.

(The Palestinian population has grown from half a mill in 1922 to five-and-a-half mill in 2023.)

What is taking them so long?

This question makes me sick to be honest. How quickly do you think a population of 2.2 million people can be eradicated? Each genocide in our recent history has unique components. The genocide lasted 100 days in ruwanda, and one million people were killed. In Bosnias genocide, which lasted over 3 years, 8000 people died and 30 000 were displaced. The genocide in Darfur, in two years 200 000 people were killed.

In five weeks, Israel has killed over 12 000 people and displaced over 1.5 million people. This has been building for 75 years and I would say the international backlash to this genocide is the only reason right now the place and entire population hasn’t been wiped off the planet.

I fired off two more questions in response for clarification.

What would happen in your opinion if Israel opened the borders, tore down the checkpoints?

And,

Does Israel have a right to exist?

Answers forthcoming, I think.


Golden Bachelor with speed, power, flow.
Golden Bachelor with speed, power, flow.

Core surfer-snowboarder becomes odds-on favorite to win heart of “Golden Bachelor!”

Hint: Filipe Toledo

If you are not on absolute pins and needles leading up to the final rose ceremony of the Golden Bachelor then you, likely, do not have a heartbeat. ABC re-spun its much loved Bachelor and Bachelorette franchises for geriatrics. Older folk finding love… again. This year’s single star, Gerry Turner, is a retired restauranteur from Indiana lookin’ for love in all the old places. I don’t actually know how he’s going, as I’ve never trusted men named “Gerry,” though am happy to report that a core surfer-snowboarder is currently the odds-on favorite to win his withered hand.

But let us meet Leslie Fhima, a 64-year-old personal trainer with a need for speed. The two will head into the “Fantasy Suite” this evening but, it is important to know, Fhima shreds.

Look here.

And here.

Now that’s how you get an old man with a Felipe Toledo tattoo into the hot tub.

Meow.

I mean ROAAAAR!


Osama bin Laden's back yard. Photo: Cole Estrada
Osama bin Laden's back yard. Photo: Cole Estrada

World Surf League paralyzed as massive TikTok audience embraces slain Osama bin Laden

He's baaaack.

The World Surf League has not had many wins during its eight year run as the “global home of surfing” (circa 1976). The then-Association of Surfing Professionals was purchased, for free, by billionaire Dirk Ziff back in 2015. Then, a wild bullishness filled the air. Surfing, the first CEO Paul Speaker declared, would soon be bigger than football.

Alas, one series of goofy mistakes followed another all leading to a silly unicorn named Erik Logan taking the reins. The Oklahoman with a magical wetsuit of armor gutted both credibility and viewership. Surfers revolted, the audience was revolted and everything turned into a pile of wet mush.

Save the World Surf League’s TikTok account.

Somehow, in some way, the League grew its Chinese group dance application to a massive 2.1 million followers. Millions upon millions of “likes” and “shares” followed. World Surf League Chiefs of This and World Surf League Chiefs of That sat back in animal blood-stained chairs and felt good.

Except.

The Global War on Terror Home of Surfing

That one bit of success is turning very problematic for them now. TikTokers, you see, are embracing a letter the slain leader of Al-Qaeda wrote to the American people some twenty-odd years ago in the thick of the “global war on terror.”

In his note, Bin Laden writes about how jihad is a form of worship for Muslims, how the West keeps meddling in Middle Eastern affairs and how it will continue to be problematic moving forward. The message is resonating with TikTokers and it is being widely shared amongst them. The Guardian newspaper, where the letter first appeared, has even disappeared it off their website, noting, “The transcript published on our website 20 years ago has been widely shared on social media without the full context.”

The Guardian became accused of censorship. Others, then, became aghast, shocked that young surf group dance enthusiasts are rehabilitating the mastermind behind 9/11.

While the ideological battle rages, the World Surf League simply worries its TikTok will be lost, taken away by governmental forces, and that will be that.

No more Joe Turpel doing hand jives to camera.

No more “trends.”

Sad.

Well, I went to Yemen, post-9/11 to surf those Al-Qaeda waves and, must say, the World Surf League should have shored up that audience sooner. Oh not the TikTok one, they are fickle, but the radical Islamic one. Imagine Finals Day in al-Mukullah instead of boring ol’ San Clemente.

Fireworks.

Enjoy a taste here.


Era-defining surfing photographer Mike Moir, dead at 77

Without Mike Moir, the Echo Beach era may never have even happened.

Mike Moir is gone.

We lost a good one.

If you haven’t heard, legendary Southern California-based surf photographer Mike Moir has passed on. Apparently Mike had been struggling with some health issues of late, but this still came as a surprise to the local surf community.

Before anything, Moir was a surfer.

He grew up surfing during the longboard era of the late fifties and early sixties before starting to mess around with a camera pointed seaward, primarily in and around the Huntington/Newport wave zones.

Moir’s understanding of surfing made for an easy jump to surf photographer and he was soon being published regularly, primarily in Surfer Magazine where he later became one of the publications hardest working “Staff” photographers.

By the time the mid 1970’s rolled around Mike Moir was conveniently positioned in Orange County just as things began to dramatically change in surfing.

From the HB pier, down through Newport and even occasionally posting up at Salt Creek, Moir began to take notice of these changes and sensed the obvious movement at hand.

The black wetsuit/white surfboard hangover was giving way to bright colors, shorter boards and different lines, some of which would eventually grow into what became known as Echo Beach, which was not only an actual physical location (54th street, Newport Beach) but also a bona fide cultural influence that reached well beyond Southern California.

Mike Moir cover of The Eighties at Echo Beach
Mike Moir’s iconic cover shot of Danny Kwock at Newport on The Eighties at Echo Beach.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say without Mike Moir, none of that may have even happened.

Mike Moir was old school in the sense that much of his best work came during a period of time when photographers were hand winding and hand focusing within the every limiting confines of 24 or 36 exposure rolls of Kodak.

Digital was a long way away so every click was money ether coming in or going out and Mike was one of the best at maximizing his time and effort. It’s easy to assume that when one of Mike envelopes showed up his photo editors knew that they had some very usable photos included.

More recently, Mike Moir had discovered social media and to the delight of most of us he regularly posted some familiar work but also many of the b-roll stuff that may not have made the cut. Which usually including some unseen gems.

Up until just a few weeks ago, Mike Moir could still be seen at local events with a camera around his neck. From an Alex Knost art show to a book signing to a HB Walk of Fame presentation, he was omnipresent.

Unfortunately, the platforms which at one time supported him are no longer around to publish his work as print surf media disappeared a few years ago. Mike Moir didn’t care he just loved pointing his camera at something he saw as compelling.

Which really brings to light the very real compassion Mike Moir had for his craft.

Up until the day he left us, he did it for the love of the art, not the money.

You will be missed Mike Moir, especially by a bunch of young groms from Newport, but your impact on surf culture will never be forgotten.

Safe travels Mike Moir.


It's Nathan FLORENCE, idiots.
It's Nathan FLORENCE, idiots.

New Surfer Magazine spits on only rule of surf journalism; misidentifies Nathan Florence as Nathan Fletcher

Shocking.

There are not many rules in surf journalism. It is, generally speaking, a literary Wild West where there can be spelled their, roll can be spelled role and Selema Masekela can. Now that I think upon it their are no rules, save one.

Thou shalt not misidentify professional surfers.

A photo of Ace Buchan marked as a photo of Jodie Cooper, for example, would have required the head of the caption writer. Him being paraded out into the parking lot, stripped of Billabong shirt and guillotined in front of cheering editors, associate editors and editors-at-large.

While print publications have all but died, along with their editors, associate editors and editors-at-large, fidelity to knowing a Conner Coffin from a Parker Coffin has remained.

Or remained until the re-animated corpse of once-proud Surfer Magazine was jumped to life by The Arena Group and turned into an Inertia-inspired house of horrors. The “Bible of the Sport” might have been forgiven for hiring a Tennessee resident who enjoyed “strong coffee” to cover surfing from the shadow of the Smoky Mountains.

It cannot be forgiven for calling Nathan Florence Nathan Fletcher.

Literally.

Nathan Florence Nathan Fletcher.

OMG Surfer. Pull it together.