Kanoa Igarashi (left) and red head Arab bro. Balance of opposites.
Kanoa Igarashi (left) and red head Arab bro. Balance of opposites.

Kanoa Igarashi identified as brave Teahupo’o local throwing salt in Olympics Tahiti surf game!

Kanoa Igarashi: A Man For All Seasons

If there has been one story capturing public attention in this pre-Olympic cycle, it is surely that of Teahupo’o and its fight to not become bulldozed by the international forces of greed. Anyone who has ever been to the tiny little village in France’s Polynesia knows what a gem it is. Quiet, friendly, unspoiled by tacky resorts or beach clubs. The wave breaking off the reef, a natural wonder, just icing on the cake. And so it is entirely understandable that the locals have been protesting Olympic organizer plans to erect a massive new aluminum structure where the current wooden judging tower exists.

Teahupo’o was, of course, chosen as the venue to host the surfing portion of the 2024 Paris games and initial celebration has since turned  into calls for the powers that be to move somewhere else over the structure issue and incompetence.

Infobae, one of the world’s leading Spanish language publications, surmises the fight thusly:

Far from calm waters, the prelude to the second Olympic experience of the boards is damaged by a wave of noise surrounding the organization’s controversial project to remove the historic wooden control tower for the judges -used for the World Surf League- and install another aluminum one, larger (14 meters) and valued at 4.3 million euros, which the community of 1,500 inhabitants, surfers such as Matahi Drollet, Kanoa Igarashi, associations and various environmental NGOs point out as highly harmful to the coral reef and the marine wildlife and pressure to stop the execution.

Kanoa Igarashi Everything Everywhere All at Once

And did you catch that? Kanoa Igarashi a Teahupo’o local? And, I suppose, it should not surprise at all. Igarashi’s Man for All Seasons status now fully set. Surf fans know that the sitting Olympic silver medalist was born in Huntington Beach but surfs for Japan and lives in Portugal, where he is fluent in Brazil’s native tongue. Being a Teahupo’o local, though, the crowning jewel as only a small handful can actually claim that status.

My goodness gracious.

Though do you remember the once acclaimed director M. Night Shyamalan’s film Unbreakable starring Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson? In it, if I recall, Bruce Willis survived a train crash and realized he could not be hurt. Watching on TV was Samuel L. Jackson who got hurt all the time, bones made of glass. He had been looking for Willis, you see, knowing that the universe balances itself out. That if he existed all weak and fragile, the opposite must too.

Well, when my bros and I were regularly traveling around Yemen, Syria, Lebanon etc. during the early 2000s to the 2010s we would regularly stumble upon an Arab man with light skin and red hair. He existed in Damascus, in Aleppo, deep up the wadis of the Hawdramawt and looked more Scottish than anything. We would marvel at him, wondering what his life must be like this man without a country.

I was not smart, like M. Night Shyamalan, and did not consider looking for his opposite. Thankfully the universe brought him to me.

Kanoa Igarashi.

Wow.


(Trigger warning for World Surf League execs) Actor drinking from straw. Photo: Stranger Things
(Trigger warning for World Surf League execs) Actor drinking from straw. Photo: Stranger Things

World Surf League nobly rejects $10,000 environmental gift from noted comedian over use of straws in club

Record of ethical perfection remains unblemished.

The “Global Home of Surfing” is, as anyone and everyone knows, a beacon of environmentalist. Preaching how the ocean is not only our home but also their office. Practicing planting a bush in Western Australia. Its greenwashing so professionally thorough that it is almost impossible to find fault. Power hungry wave pools in deserts run completely carbon neutral. Joe Turpel’s aloha shirts stitched from… I don’t know but something anti-toxic.

And when one is so pure, so righteous, it is only right that others should be shamed for dirty filth. That gifts should be rejected if they are not hand pumped from the wells of ultra-sustainability.

Such, I am told, happened to the noted comedian Eddie Ifft. The very funny man regularly packs clubs around the nation and is, himself, a keen surfer. Putting the two together, one day, he thought he might make a difference by hosting a show wherein all proceeds would go to the World Surf League’s PURE initiative. The show was organized and held in Hollywood’s famous Comedy Store with other comedians lending their talents to the cause.

At the end of the night, $10,000 was raised and presented to the World Surf League. According to Ifft, it was rejected, World Surf League holding its pristine nose high, because the Comedy Store serves some drinks that include straws.

The horror.

The money was given to Save the Waves instead. An organization that clearly has no scruples.

Thank you, in any case, World Surf League for operating without hypocrisy.

Huzzah.

Truly an inspiration for young environmentalists, everywhere, who would one day like to sell bulldozing wetlands to create even more power hungry wave pools as earth friendly.


Proposed Kelly Slater pool for Coolum, Queensland, officially dead.
Plans for the Slater pool and real estate play in Coolumn, Queensland, now officially dead.

Billion-dollar Kelly Slater wavepool and resort officially dead as developer sells land for $6 million

"I feel sad that surfers will be the ones behind the bulldozers, erasing this wildlife, this bush from history."

Two years ago, the pro-environment and wildlife advocate Kelly Slater “urged” the Queensland government to approve a one-billion dollar wavepool, eco-resort and real real estate development.

“This wave would become somewhat of a mecca and put the Sunshine Coast back on the (surfing) map,” Kelly Slater said. “It will bring a lot of interest to the area and it will be a place that I know a lot of people are going to want to surf and have an ongoing impact on the local area.”

The proposal included a Surf Ranch wrapped in a 20,000-person stadium, a six-star eco-resort, restaurants, bars, a retail village and “an environmental education centre based on the site’s wetlands and nearby waterways.”

Unfortunately, the proposed site was on some of the most flood-affected land on the Sunshine Coast and “was a natural storage area providing downstream protection during major flood events” according to a local councillor. 

When there was pushback from locals, the developer said unless government red tape was slashed and the project bathed in green light they’d move the development to the Gold Coast, a couple hundred clicks south.

Consolidated Properties’ Don O’Rorke, who “donated the land and a half-a-million dollars for the Hurley HPC in Casuarina and was subsequently made a life member of Surfing Australia said concerns the joint was on a flood-plain were unfounded and pointed out that heavy rains didn’t affect the site. 

Anyway, much back and forthing and the high point of the whole thing, I think, was the late Steve Shearer’s terrific reporting.

Read: Longtom investigates WSL’s billion-dollar wavepool development, parts one and two, here and here.

An excerpt, 

I put boots on the ground at the site. I know this country very well. It’s in my blood. My people come from the Queensland cane swamps. They are Danes, Swedes, Sicilians.

Practical people.

They would understand the necessity of bulldozing the bush to make way for jobs. But I do not. The developer’s eye eludes me. I see trees and bush. Birds, insects, frogs. I feel sad that surfers will be the ones behind the bulldozers, erasing this wildlife, this bush from history.

From what I can see though, although there is ambivalence, distrust and even hostility to the Coolum wave pool development, that is unlikely to stop the bulldozers.

The greenwashing on the project will be immense. Next level.

But I wonder, when Kelly thinks about what is being done in his name and looks in the mirror, does he still see an environmentalist looking back at him?

Anyway, the Kelly Slater wavepool has come to naught, as they say, Consolidated Properties’ Don O’Rorke selling the 300 acres of cursed dirt for six million dollars to the Queensland government.

It’s part of the gov’s plan to protect natural flood plains with the land now used for rural or agriculture, for the generation of renewable energy and for public open space.

O’Rorke said he was “obviously disappointed” with shelving of the Kelly Slater pool and real estate play but “we do understand Sunshine Coast Council’s strong desire to protect flood plain capacity and maintain these lands in public hands in perpetuity.”


Billy Kemper in Tenōre. Photo: Instagram
Billy Kemper in Tenōre. Photo: Instagram

Surf fans widen eyes as mysterious “Tenōre” clothing appears on ex-RVCA team riders!

Christmas lists currently being edited.

It’s Christmas season with surf fans busily making lists of what they wish and hope and aspire to see under the tree. A bar of BeachGrit co-branded Sticky Bumps surf wax? A pair of Klly Sltr turtle moon sandals wrapped in micro-plastic paper? One of the recently excused Vans employees?

But how about t-shirts and trunks, hoodies and beanies?

Alas, a surf industry implosion has rendered once joyous staples like Billabong and Quiksilver, Volcom and Hurely entirely embarrassing. No one but no one wants Mountain and Wave beard oil in a stocking.

Or Stone paper clips.

Though what’s this? What’s this? Is there possibly magic in the air?

Days ago, you certainly know, the Eddie held its annual opening ceremony drawing a who’s who of big wave men and women. There they stand, like demigods and goddesses, giant boards behind them. Icons of cool. Surf fans, however, widened eyes at one particular invitee. Maui’s Billy Kemper sporting a pair of trunks reading “Tenōre.”

As you recall, Kemper and a handful of professional surfer friends, recently turned down contracts from disgraced RVCA. The brand, absorbed by Authentic Brands alongside the aforementioned Billabong and Quiksilver, icky like them too.

Rumors instantly percolated that RVCA founder Pat M. Tenōre was up to something and is this it?

Tenōre beneath the bows?

Please mama?

More as the story develops.


Surf world in meltdown after TMZ forgets name of Lupita Nyong’o’s surfer-ex Sal Masekela and says he was “not a super public figure”

"So, Lupita Nyong’o was dating this guy…I forget his name…Sal…Mas…Mas…this dude…"

While war rages hither and yon and pro surfing stubbornly refuses to climb out of its WSL-dug grave and the Pipe Masters runs as a B-grade exhibition event, you should be pleased your reporters at at BeachGrit are here to cover the important and profound, in this case the love games of broadcaster Sal Masekela and Black Panther star Lupita Nyong’o.

Selema, who is fifty-two, is the sort of person who would put anyone under his spell, as he did, for a time, with Academy Award-winning actor Lupita Nyong’o.

As I may’ve mentioned four or five times in the past few months, and which I’ll cut and paste for your enjoyment below, I met the extreme sports identity at Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch in 2017.

This was before Lupita Nyong’o and therefore Sal Masekela was, ostensibly, single.

Occupying one of the bench seats in the Surf Ranch’s heated jacuzzi aprés our allotted waves was Sal, he was Sal back then, and just as I was about to enter the swirling maelstrom, heated to one hundred degrees and offering needed respite from the winter cold and a possible cure for a dreadful hangover, his telephone rang.

Sal asked me to rummage through his colourful outfit which was bundled on a barrel, enough clothes to suggest, or was I hoping, he was nude in the tank, and to pick it up.

It was Kelly Slater.

“Answer it,” he commanded, which I did.

Kelly Slater remained silent when he heard my voice, an early portent of the blood feud that would simmer for the following six years.

After a howl of laughter and some chortling Sal hung up. 

Despite an expanded adiposity, he gobbled protein bar after protein bar, informing me of the health-giving properties of the foil-wrapped chocolate chip treats. Privately, I questioned the wisdom of these calorie-dense treats and made a mental note to avoid once they arrived in Australia.

Stories flowed like a river of honey, however, and I left, like everyone who spun in his orbit that day, a fan for life.

I didn’t heard from Sal again and only knew in passing that he’d transitioned to Selema.

In January this year, Chas wrote that Selema and Lupita Nyong’o, who is forty, had not only made public their declaration of love but had spent four million dollars on a a sprawling Los Angeles home together.

Nine months later, the relationship was in ruins, with Lupita Nyong’o publishing an unflattering picture of their affair on Instagram.

“At this moment, it is necessary for me to share a personal truth and publicly dissociate myself from someone I can no longer trust,” writes Lupita Nyong’o, who won an Oscar for her performance in 12 Years a Slave. “I find myself in a season of heartbreak because of a love suddenly and devastatingly extinguished by deception… I am reminded that the magnitude of the pain I am feeling is equal to the measure of my capacity for love. And so, I am choosing to face the pain, cultivating the courage to meet my life exactly as it is, and trusting that this too shall pass.”

Lupita Nyong’o subsequently erased all mention of Sal Masekela from her Instagram, ghosted as they say, following her suddenly high profile affair with Dawson’s Creek star Joshua Jackson.

Worse, for Sal Masekela, however, after TMZ, the BeachGrit of important celebrity news, called surfing’s beloved broadcaster and star a nobody, while discussing Lupita Nyong’o annihilation of any mention of Sal on socials as she pivoted to the, let’s be frank, wildly inferior Josh Jackson.

“So, Lupita Nyong’o was dating this guy…I forget his name…Sal…Mas…Mas…this dude…he was not a super public figure … she went on her Instagram and deleted all, like, records of her history with her ex-boyfriend. He was just wiped.”

Thoughts, prayers, so on.