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.


Kaz Sawyer doing Vivek Ramaswamy extra dirty. Photo: Instagram
Kaz Sawyer doing Vivek Ramaswamy extra dirty. Photo: Instagram

Influencer Kaz Sawyer plays dirty surf prank on presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy

"To teach a man poo stance is rude no matter how much one opposes his politics."

Now, we all know that wake surfing is not surfing, though the mainstream media does not know that. I suppose various non-surf journalists must not be blamed. Kelly Slater, the world’s greatest surfer, made one giant wake surfing pond and called it Surf Ranch. He made another one in Abu Dhabi and called it Surf Mazraea.

In any case, Orange County influencer Kaz Sawyer just played the dirtiest of surf pranks on Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy.

Sawyer, who can often be seen on his social media channels surf checking with a Slater Designs board, took the tech entrepreneur-cum-politician out in Miami.

Ramaswamy, though trailing in the polls by a wide margin, has made a name for himself by being a plucky li’l fella on stage. He happened to be in Miami, in fact, for the third Republican debate. Pundits called his performance “unhinged.

Sawyer, maybe wanting to rub dirt in the open wound, decided to take Ramaswamy out on the waters. “Teaching the future President how to surf,” he wrote.

The gag, on the surface, was to have Vivek Ramaswamy “surf” in a business suit. The dirtiest of surf pranks, though, more subtle.

“First I taught him some of the basics,” Sawyer voices over.

Those “basics” a tutorial on poo stance.

Vivek Ramaswamy’s stance is so poo that it has been rated PG-13.

It is so poo that the World Surf League is considering naming him honorary 2015 World Champion.

To teach a man poo stance is rude no matter how much one opposes his politics.

Shame on you, Kaz Sawyer.


Erik Logan (pictured) still missing.
Erik Logan (pictured) still missing.

Surf world in mourning as former World Surf League CEO Erik Logan remains off social media even after disgraced Selema Masekela returns

Time for a digital wellness check.

The surf world has fallen into a deep funk and there doesn’t appear to be any end in sight. On June 26, 2023 then-World Surf League CEO was in Brazil, “reflecting on an incredibly rewarding journey with the WSL Academy,” taking his many social media fans for quirky behind the scenes tours. Shortly thereafter, fired. The World Surf League announced the move in the most terse press release ever, simply stating, “Erik Logan is no longer with the company.”

He flew back from Brazil, at some point, and launched a third, or fourth, act as a motivational speaker after cursing at a John John Florence meet and greet.

Topics he is willing to discuss for a fee are:

-Riding the Waves of Passion and Profession: An unforeseen journey through Discovery, Loss, and Rediscovery

-Beyond the Degree: Life’s Unexpected Teaching on Success and Leadership

-The Art of the Turnaround: Lessons in Resurrecting Businesses and Cultures

An absolutely thrilling return to public life and yet his one-time portal to the wider world, the Instagram account @elo_eriklogan has remained dark.

The aforementioned surf world had hope, ten days ago, when extreme sport personality Selema (formerly Sal) Masekela made a stunning return to the platform. The 52-year-old was recently thrust into the spotlight when his beloved movie star girlfriend Lupita Nyong’o declared he had done her dirty, deleting every picture of the two of them dressing alike. Masekela quickly switched his Instagram comments off and went into hiding.

Thankfully, self love is abundant in his heart, and, days ago, the man who only uses superlatives to describe surfing, snowboarding, mountain biking came roaring back.

Single and Ready to Mingle

Again.

Ready to crush the back nine without any baggage save massive ego and humiliation.

The surf world immediately went to check on Erik Logan’s account, assuming his would be live too as Masekela had been publicly embarrassed by actual media instead of just surf media.

Still nothing.

Crickets.

How is he supposed to promote his speaking career? How is he supposed to get those endorphin spikes that Masekela is currently bathing in?

Is it time for a digital wellness check?

Someone?

Anyone?