Russell Bierke “sanctioned by god and law” in surf edit being called best of 2023!

Russell Bierke's new film delivers a pleasure usually reserved for cats who sleep on velvet cushions and are fed chicken breasts.

Russell Bierke, twenty-six years old, is the deceptively fragile looking son of noted Californian-born shaper Kirk Bierke whose boards are sold under the label KB Surf and made in Ulladulla, three hours south of Sydney.

Russell Bierke commands such a reputation he needs very little introduction, although a little background never hurts, does it?

Russell Bierke is diminutive and old world, with a tight mouth and very plain-face that have the ferocity of an angry cuckold, a cranky Italian denied his lunchtime siesta.

Russel Bierke’s earliest memories are of watching his dad run out the door whenever the surf was big, going to the beach and seeing him ride these big, blue-water reef waves, and wanting to be part of the game.

In 2017, he was “blue as a Smurf” and “on all fours spewing” after a wipeout in fifteen waves in Victoria, an injury that put him in intensive care.

You’ll have seen period edits of Russell Bierke over the years, of course.

His latest, Outer Edge of Leisure, which was made with the cooperation of the ever fabulous O’Neill company (hello Rob Bain, still one of the best in the biz) and by the hand of Andrew Kaineder, delivers the sort of pleasure usually reserved for plump cats who sleep on velvet cushions and are fed chicken breasts.

The presser reads,

Amidst a boundless expanse of turbulent waves and remote seascapes, Russ emerges as a silhouette on the horizon, the tempestuous waters his canvas. Each wave is not a battleground to conquer, but an opportunity to be in tune with the rhythm of the ocean’s pulse.

Contrasting B&W 16mm and Hi-Res cinematography, set to a unique solo drum scape ‘Outer Edge of Leisure’ takes you on a visual journey as Russ Bierke redefines his own idea of surfing as a leisure activity.



Levinsohn (pictured) fired from Surfer et. al.
Levinsohn (pictured) fired from Surfer et. al.

Media landscape quakes as Surfer magazine parent company fires CEO Ross Levinsohn in wake of AI scandal!

Naughty CEO with eye for kinky robots gone.

The media landscape is, currently, quaking as Surfer Magazine’s parent company, The Arena Group, has just fired its CEO Ross Levinsohn in wake of the vast artificial intelligence cheating scandal that became public not two weeks ago. Futurism published the initial report, uncovering one “Drew Ortiz” who “wrote” for other Arena Group title Sports Illustrated and “has spent much of his life outdoors, and is excited to guide you through his never-ending list of the best products to keep you from falling to the perils of nature. Nowadays, there is rarely a weekend that goes by where Drew isn’t out camping, hiking, or just back on his parents’ farm.”

Ortiz, as it turns out, was computer generated.

Surf fans were not surprised in the least, having been introduced to Surfer’s Emily Morgan right after its purchase. (Previously “purse” due AI spellcheck). She  resided “in a small town nestled at the foothills of the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee. She’s also a proud owner of a Pyrnesse-mix, her hiking partner, every time she hits a trail. Emily enjoys strong coffee, spicy food, and live music.”

Perfect for surf coverage.

In any case, the lid blew off, C-Suite executives were fired and now the biggest fish of all, CEO Ross Levinsohn, is gone.

Per statement, the company declared:

“Today, the board of directors of The Arena Group Holdings, Inc. (NYSE American: AREN) met and took actions to improve the operational efficiency and revenue of the company. The board terminated the employment of CEO Ross Levinsohn, and named Manoj Bhargava as interim Chief Executive Officer, both effective today.”

Levinsohn, taking to Linkedin responded, “After 4 1/2 years, today is my last day at The Arena Group.” And “the company is positioned well for the future.”

Erik Logan-esque if Logan and said anything at all after he was scandalously disappeared.

So far, it doesn’t appear the naughty has touched Surfer directly, or at least not yet.

Possible robot Jake Howard still appears to be generating stories.

But for how long?

More as the story develops.

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.


(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.


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.”