Surfing once again safe from terror. Photo: Cole Estrada
Surfing once again safe from terror. Photo: Cole Estrada

World Surf League relieved as massive TikTok audience now shielded from slain Osama bin Laden

A close shave with history.

It was a close one, there, for the World Surf League. Days ago, the “global home of surfing’s” biggest engaged audience, which enjoys the “viral” application TikTok, was under threat. The World Surf League has deftly used various silly goose to-camera behaviors to win the hearts and minds of today’s youth.

Like this.

Pete Mel acting like a teenage girl for the win.

All was almost lost, though, as mentioned. For in the vacuum created by a lack of Championship Tour surfing events, that same audience discovered Osama bin Laden. A letter he wrote to the American people some twenty-odd years ago began “trending” though “without context.”

That meaning the letter was all by itself without commentary telling the youngsters that it was wrong and bad and, maybe, that bin Laden was the mastermind of 9/11 which was, also, wrong and bad.

American congresspeople, always on the cutting edge of boldness and reason, threatened to ban TikTok from the land of the brave and free entirely. Various World Surf League chiefs only able to wring their hands and meditate.

TikTok to the World Surf League Rescue

Overnight, though, TikTok has come swinging in, assuaging fears, comforting the weary by declaring, “Content promoting this letter clearly violates our rules on supporting any form of terrorism. We are proactively and aggressively removing this content and investigating how it got onto our platform.”

“There is never a justification for spreading the repugnant, evil, and antisemitic lies that the leader of al Qaeda issued just after committing the worst terrorist attack in American history,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates told CNN, smh.


In any case, it appears, for now, the World Surf League’s TikTok-heavy audience will have to go “off platform” do discover more illegal things about Osama bin Laden.

I met one of his cousins, once. Bro like to keep it on the DL.

Smart, probably.

Joel Tudor (pictured) in shock while reading Snoop Dogg's announcement. Photo: instagram
Joel Tudor (pictured) in shock while reading Snoop Dogg's announcement. Photo: instagram

Champion surfer Joel Tudor in shock after Snoop Dogg announces he’s “giving up smoke”

A stunningly sad day. But a flicker of hope?

Joel Tudor is many things, of course, but first and foremost San Diego’s own is a surf champion. The longboarder, currently 47-years-young, was the youngest ever to win a contest, at fifteen, and also the oldest to ever win a tour season at forty-five. He won the fabled U.S. Open of Longboarding eight times and even founded his whole own league, the Duct Tape Invitational, in 2010, which he has won.

Joel Tudor’s two other passions, jiu-jitsu and smoking marijuana, are tied for second and so you can imagine the black belt’s stun when famous marijuana ambassador, Snoop Dogg, announced yesterday that he was saying goodbye to the weeds.

The Long Beach rapper took to Instagram posting a moving photograph signaling the move.

“After much consideration & conversation with my family,” the multi-platinum artist penned, “I’ve decided to give up smoke. Please respect my privacy at this time.”

Tudor, clearly in shock, trying to will away the horror, commented, “April fools is a few months away.”

Now, imaging the nimble-footed cross-stepper alone in his darkened room, tears streaming down cheeks, is more than I can think. Thankfully, and for the first time in my life, I can provide relief.

Yesterday, you see, my wife, an important agent regularly smeared by the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing, was attending a Paris Olympic event at Universal Studios with her client Jagger Eaton. Snoop, who deftly called action for the Tokyo Games, was also there. The two got to talking, then took a picture together. As she got close to the Huggy Bear, she smelled the unmistakable fragrance of cannabis.

“You did not give up smoke,” she said.

He just smiled his Buddha-like smile and whispered, “For a day.”

And so, Joel Tudor, spark one up and rest easy.


Chas Smith

Open Thread: Comment Live on Day Three of the Cold Water Classic!

You asked for this... for some reason.

Keala Kennelly (pictured) going all in.
Keala Kennelly (pictured) going all in.

Big-wave world champion Keala Kennelly takes sledgehammer to World Surf League over fraud, stinginess, deception!

Another nail in the World Surf League coffin.

Keala Kennelly is a multi-hyphenate trailblazer. The Kauai-born 45-year-old is an actor, a professional surfer, a big wave world champion, a DJ, an LGBTQ+ icon just to name but a very few of her talents and accomplishments. She is wildly respected in the surf world and, thus, the sledgehammer she took to the “global home of surfing,” yesterday, is significant.

In a four-part to-camera Instagram series, the platinum blonde declared she would not be participating in the Jaws event this year. Part due chronic pain, most due the “stupid” idea of the World Surf League transitioning the yearly XXL Big Wave Awards to the Big Wave Records Chase as a way to get out of paying big wave surfers. “The WSL calls themselves a ‘sports league.’ They are a medium company and what does a media company need? Attention.”

Keala Kennelly Goes Ham

Kennelly digs into that attention-seeking by bringing up Laura Enever’s recent controversial Guinness record, covered only and dutifully here. She goes on to compare a monster wave she caught at Jaws with Andrea Moller’s Jaws wave, also at Jaws, with Enever’s outer reef Oahu bear, noting how similar they appear.

She then brings universally beloved Carissa Moore into the conversation, sharing how far the Olympic gold medalist was ahead in the rankings before the World Surf League magically introduced “Finals Day” for “clickbait.”

As a proud and honest click farmer, I felt anger at Kennelly tarnishing the noble profession with what the World Surf League produces but carried on nevertheless.

In the last blow she details how the World Surf League keeps its proprietary wave measuring sauce secret. How the surfers asked for transparency and were denied.

Math not mathing for her.

I’d imagine much consternation in El Segundo today, the cries of dying animals drowning out a sinking feeling that the end is nigh.

But only momentarily.

John John Florence talks about quitting world professional surfing tour
"I think about (quitting) all the time," says John John Florence. "It’s hard for me sometimes because my personality doesn’t fit (competing) so well. And especially the new tour over the last couple of years, the environment of it has changed a lot. It doesn’t fit my personality even more so."

Pro surfing in turmoil as John John Florence openly talks about leaving WSL tour

“The atmosphere has changed a lot. It doesn’t suit my personality anymore.”

The past year has been a game of picking up clues from John John Florence, scattered hither and yon, about the imminence of his retirement. 

A little except from Surf Ads’ thought piece back in July after John John Florence, who won world titles in 2016 and 2017, posted his now-legendary “devastating throat punch to the WSL” on Instagram. 

Why bother with the WSL?

John John Florence has done it all. Two time world champion. Greatest surfer in the world from two to twenty feet. Unmatched admiration from the surfing universe. Why stay chained to the tour when it delivers so little to him?

There’s nothing left on the tour for John John Florence. And with every underscore, every mistimed comp window, every title decided at 4 foot Trestles, with his little brother and the world slab tour beckoning, with the carrot of Olympic qualification dangling for a only a couple more months… the question must be asked again and again. Why bother with the WSL?

Last month, Chas Smith wrote that “Conventional wisdom has John John Florence sailing into the sunset after the 2024 Paris Olympics which will be held at Teahupo’o.”

Now, in a bombshell interview with “scandal-prone surf-adjacent” website The Inertia, John John Florence has spoken openly of quitting the tour.

“I think about (quitting) all the time,” says John John Florence. “It’s hard for me sometimes because my personality doesn’t fit (competing) so well. And especially the new tour over the last couple of years, the environment of it has changed a lot. It doesn’t fit my personality even more so.”

Ominously, given the WSL’s intent to spoon-feed small-wave wizard Filipe Toledo world titles in two-foot waves via its Trestles Finals Day, Florence said,

“I definitely won’t go do it if I don’t think I can win a world title. I’ll continue to do it as long as I can win a world title and as long as I’m having fun.”