The Teahupoo judging tower business is a story that refuses to die. In case you need a brief refresher, Paris Olympic organizers decided that the surfing portion of the Games would be held at Teahupo’o, halfway around the world. Surfers immediately cheered save one (Filipe Toledo) though smiles soon turned upside down as the committee declared it would build a massive new aluminum judging tower on the reef.
Capitulating, organizers said they would build an aluminum tower in the same footprint of the existing one.
Now, the International Surfing Association, governing body for Olympic surfing, has shouted “Non!”
A wildly oppositional position by any stretch.
In a press release titled “The ISA will not support the construction of the new aluminum judges’ tower at Teahupo’o (Tahiti)” the ISA made clear that it does not support the construction of a new aluminum judges’ tower at Teahupo’o, which just so happens to be in Tahiti.
Wonderful, but how do you think the French powers that be will take this very public knock from a minor Olympic player not even two cycles in?
More importantly, how many times has the word “aluminum” been used over the past few months as it relates to the imbroglio?
Is this a Big Aluminum conspiracy?
More as the story develops.
World Surf League gifts most ardent fans a stunningly average “Challenger Series” ahead of Christmas!
For the five hardcore surf fans awaiting the release of the World Surf League’s “Challenger Series” schedule, Christmas came early. The “Global Home of Surfing,” dropped the lightly anticipated B-league calendar that was instantly dubbed “stunningly average” by students of the game.
Per the press release:
The 2024 Challenger Series will start in April in Australia after CT Stop No. 5 with an event at Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast and another in Sydney at North Narrabeen. Next up, the tour heads to Ballito, South Africa, followed by the US Open of Surfing in early August and a stop in Portugal at the end of September. The Challenger Series concludes in October in Brazil, where the top 10 ranked men and top five ranked women will be decided and qualify to join the world’s best surfers on the 2025 Championship Tour. Competitors will count their four best results out of the six events.
“We’re three years into the Challenger Series format, and it feels really good to see this Series build and solidify its place in the competition pathway,” said Jessi Miley-Dyer, WSL Chief of Sport, adding a little more oatmeal to the serving of plain oatmeal. “48 surfers have earned their place in the Championship Tour via their performances in the Challenger Series since 2021, and the 2024 season will see 15 more join them.”
Each of the six stops will be broadcast, though even the aforementioned five hardcore surf fans were unsure if they’d tune in to anything except Snapper and only then to see the tears of recently shamed Championship Tour surfers who had not made the cut in higher definition.
Fine enough entertainment.
In case you actually care, and aside from the 12 men and seven women from the CT who did not make the Mid-season Cut, the rest of the Challenger Series is made up of:
-10 men and five women from the previous year’s Challenger Series rankings,
-Three men and two women who were CT surfers in the prior season that did not requalify for either the CT or the Challenger Series,
-49 men and 30 women as allocated by the seven WSL regions (Australia/Oceania, Asia, Africa, Europe, Hawaii/Tahiti Nui, North America, and South America), and
-The men’s 2023 World Junior Champion,
-The women’s 2023 World Junior Champion, and
-Five men’s and three women’s wildcards per event.
Miki Dora-esque Malibu icon Lyon Herron, dead at 31
“Your love for humans and your passion for life is so inspiring and is spreading into so many of us. Thank you for sharing your journey and your love. You’re a miracle,” wrote Griffin Colapinto.
Mama to John John, Ivan and Nathan, Alex Florence, wrote: “Thank you Lyon for letting us get to know you a little and showing us true bravery…my heart is so sad reading this.. I don’t have the right words to express.. just want you to know our family is truly grateful to have witnessed such courage and love. A Hui Hou.”
A GoFundMe page set up to help ease the cost of his myriad treatments (35k of a needed 75k was raised) detailed his long trial.
It read in part:
FRIDAY JULY 22nd, 2022 UPDATE
Since November 1st, 2019, Lyon has spent 485 days at Cedars Sinai hospital dealing with an intestinal fistula (hole in his intestine), inter-abdominal abscesses, very aggressive fast growing desmoid tumors wrapped around his small intestine and mesenteric artery, sepsis, edema, low hemoglobin and so much more. Since this is the height of the pandemic, he spends most of his admissions in the hospital alone, with no visitors allowed.
In January of 2022 during a procedure to put a new clamp on the fistula, he aspirated in post-op recovery, so his lungs filled up to 80% with vomit and acidic fluid. He was placed into a medically induced coma and put on life support because his lungs started to fail. The doctors gave him a 20% chance of waking up, and miraculously with the prayers of a strong community behind him, within 3 days he started to make a remarkable come back, and within a week after being placed in a coma, he woke up.
Since then, it’s been a long and difficult road to recovery, and although he takes a couple steps forward, if feels like he always takes 3 steps back. He’s been approved for disability, and although he gets a small, subsidized amount to help with living and medical expenses, it’s still not enough to make sure he’s living with no monetary fear. We hope that we can take away any fear of getting by monetarily while he focuses on healing and recovering his body.
“Surfing has taught me to not be greedy with my expectations, to take opportunities as they present themselves, to fight and hunt, and the capacity to dine out on those very few peak moments for weeks and months – and that’s just what I need now to get me through this medieval ordeal. I might be dying, but I’m not quitting,” wrote Sean, who died of colon cancer aged thirty-six, three years ago.
Four days ago, Barbie, Lyon Herron’s mama, posted.
Last night I woke up from a dream that I did not want to forget so I wrote it down immediately.
I was waiting for lyon to get out of the shower and I suddenly became weightless like there was an energy that took over me. For a split second I had this fear but then I knew my brothers had something to do with it so I surrendered and became weightless. I danced around the room floating from floor to ceiling with the most beautiful blue light energy trailing me and within me. There was one person sitting on the floor in the room and I danced too close to her and felt the gravity free energy dissipate. I had this smile of warmth in my soul and calm in my body. It was heavenly.
I knew then as Lyon was exiting the shower – but it was as if he was coming out of the ocean instead of the shower- that I was suppose to guide him to that blue light I just embodied. I saw it swirling around us. I caught him as he fell into my arms and I told him to let the light find him and that it was safe and ok and right then he closed his eyes and smiled with a sense of calm and peace then I heard the angels. It was the most beautiful celestial orchestra I’ve ever heard. I can’t even put it into words. As he lay in my arms, I felt his energy shift into the blue light and leave his body as the smile remained.
I just woke up and was still hearing the angels sing.
I needed to write this down so I don’t forget but I know this was heaven giving me a glimpse of what’s to come so that I can help guide him through this portal. This was the full circle moment of my mama journey with him.
Just checked on him… he’s still breathing 🙏🏼
Written at 1:05am
I shared this with him this morning. We are ready for the beautiful blue light.
"Before, there was a general consensus that surf stories were at least written by real human beings. No more!"
Revelations that Surfer magazine and its parent company The Arena group are employing AI bots to both curate and write content have rocked the tight-knit surf journalist community to its core.
What was once a proud, well-respected profession of learned scholars and literary giants has been infiltrated by insentient, ethically-blind copy farmers.
While the last decade or so has seen a rise in Nick Carroll’s “new sarcasm” generation, many hiding behind anonymous handles and pseudonyms to produce morally spurious content, there was a general consensus that the articles they were producing were at least written by real human beings.
But now, devastatingly realistic AI-generated avatars walk among us. Some borrow accredited human bylines to produce their work. Others are seemingly concocted from scratch; their entire online existence only a facsimile of a shadow of a soul’s echo.
This is to say there is now an existential crises among the international surf journalist scene. No longer do writers congregate in small editorial offices where they can smell, taste, touch their comrades. The world is now so dispersed, that many writers may go their entire career yet never even meet each other in the flesh.
Furtive glances shoot back and forth the digital divide amongst even well-established scribes as to who is real, who is not.
Indeed, some are so contorted, so self-consumed, they may even be questioning their own existence.
To answer this fundamental question, a new approach is required.
You may remember the Voight-Kampff test from the science fiction classic Bladerunner. It is set in a near-future dystopia where androids live amongst humans, indistinguishable only to the most discerning of eyes. In it, the The Voigt-Kampff Empathy Test is designed to determine androids from humans by articulating the subject’s ability to empathize; something still impossible for the artificial mind.
I propose here a similar test, designed to specifically target the surf journalist community, and determine once and for all which were born kicking and screaming into this world and which were created on a desktop somewhere in Silicon Valley.
A sample of questions below. Do you dream of electric sheep?
Question: You are offered a full-time writing position with a well-known surfing publication. It is secure, cushy, and handsomely remunerated. However, it does require you to forego certain editorial liberties when it comes to particular sponsors and surfers.
A. Refuse the offer and tell the bastards they’ll prise your independence from your cold, dead, amyl-nitrate stained hands; before reneging and re-accepting soon after receiving your next child support bill.
B. Accept the offer as long as you’re allowed to do key bumps before zoom meetings.
C. Accept the offer as long as you’re allowed to meet Gerry Lopez.
D. All of the above
Question: you receive an anonymous tip-off that the parent company of the publication you write for is bankrolling the development of a major hotel-marina in a developing country that will result in the destruction of a once-secret heaving reef slab. Keeping silent will mean you have to betray various moral and ethical boundaries you had committed to when you first became a surf journalist, but reporting the story will mean you lose your job.
A. Write the story, only to have it withheld at the last minute by a former friend who is now the COO of the mooted project. You have a fist fight at the hotel bar in front a group of bewildered tourists, blood flying across the room like a sprinkler under the summertime sun, before he finally forces you to sign an NDA feat. a handsome hush payment. You walk back to your hotel room, spitting crimson shaded teeth onto the tastefully-tiled walkway, wondering what your life has become, before immediately booking a four week trip to the Ments and three new Arakawas.
B. Withhold the story, accept shares in the new development, and marry one of the local women because at least they know how to treat a man right. Also, what’s an ethical boundary?
C. Not even consider doing the story, and instead write an article promoting the development titled ‘Top 5 outdoor sports for when the ocean waves are flat.’ Also, what’s a heaving reef slab?
D. All of the above
Question: You’re offered an opportunity to surf in Kelly Slater’s new Dubai Wave Pool as an official guest of the UAE government.
A. Tell that shiny-headed dilettante that he can take his environment-destroying, civil-liberty-depriving wavepool and shove it up his arse; without admitting you’re actually just scared of bogging a rail on your first turn.
B. Accept and wonder if this means you can now take on a harem.
C. Accept, as long as he can keep it on the intermediate setting.
D. All of the above.
If you answered:
Mostly A) You are indeed a living, breathing, grizzled surf journalist. You are free to continue raging against the machine while turning a blind eye where needed; your life a booze and pill-festooned monument to compromise. Hey, at least you still have that novel to work on.
Mostly B) You’re the best kind of surf journalist: an industry-embracing, grammar-eschewing advertorial hack who either doesn’t know or doesn’t care about journalistic integrity. And why should you? It’s just fucken surfing after all. Ignorance is bliss.
Mostly C) You are an insentient, asinine, malignant copy-bot. Artificial unintelligence. The harbinger of humanity’s downfall. Or you might just work for The Inertia. Please report to me for further testing to determine where there’s a difference between the two.
Mostly D) You are Matt George. Keep shining bright, you crazy animal.
Climate change science thrown on head as surf-blessed Hawaii receives more snow than New York, Boston combined!
"Hey everyone! I'm currently visiting the islands, and I've noticed an abundance of ridiculously lifted pickup trucks."
It times back, the weather was a solidly safe holiday dinnertime conversation. Unlike politics or religion, the sun shining, or not, clouds raining, or not was a simple matter of observance. Easy. Clean. No longer. Any mention of the elements, these days, will ignite the table into full civil war. Daughter yelling at mother that the government is seeding the skies with chemicals. Son yelling at uncle to shut his gross polluting mouth.
The two broad camps, of course, are those who believe man is changing the environment through his consumption of fossil fuels and those who believe earth gonna earth and our smoking cigarettes etc. doesn’t make a dent.
The polite society thing to profess is, of course, the former except new details from Hawaii are baffling the most ardent climate change activists.
Hawaii, currently, has more snow than Boston and New York combined.
Meteorologists described Hawaii as a “winter wonderland” earlier this season after a late November snowstorm dumped approximately half a foot of snow at the Mauna Kea Weather Center on Hawaii Island. The weather center is based on the Mauna Kea volcano. The peaks at Mauna Loa also saw snowfall. Meanwhile, Boston has only received a fraction of its average snowfall, with .2 inches falling on December 6. Snow has yet to fall this season in New York City.
While this should prop up theories that mans’ gas guzzling has irrevocably altered “normal,” Hawaii is home to this:
Peak gas guzzle.
Lifted V-6s and V-8s are a national treasure on the archipelago, praised and honored. A plume of holy smoke puff puff puffing out of polished exhaust pipes.
Glorious things but back to the snow issue, what to make of it?
This is the sort of vehicle popular in bone dry New York: