Kelly Slater Lexus Pipe Pro
Kelly Slater, two weeks from turning fifty-two, will attempt to win the lightly prestigious Lexus Pipe Pro.

Last chance to join world’s richest surf fantasy league as Lexus Pipe Pro roars to life!

Turn a twenty into $7k and 3 PANDA surfboards…

What are we, thirty-six hours from the start of the wildly reliable and aesthetically invisible Lexus car-sponsored Lexus Pipe Pro and the beginning of what may be the last ever season of professional surfing as we know it?

(You really think old man Ziff will shovel twenty-five mill into a 2025 tour?)

Which means, if you want to have a swing at seven gees and a fleet of three PANDA surfboards, for maybe the last time ever, you gotta get in now before the hooter starts the Lexus Pipe Pro.

Things to consider: what’s the surf gonna be like? If it’s game of finding a corner at three-foot Backdoor, maybe Slater, who turns fifty-two in two weeks, ain’t the best choice. If it’s six-foot, ain’t nobody better.

Miss the cut-off for the Lexus Pipe Pro, this Monday 7 am PST, and you miss the season.

Rules:

Twenty bucks to join.

It’s not a game of chance. It’s simple but it requires a deft hand. All you gotta do is pick one surfer to make it past the Round of 32.

If they advance, you advance.

You can’t pick the same surfer twice.

If you can do this better than everyone else over the course of the season, you’ll win seven thousand American dollars and three PANDA surfboards.

Compare that to what Lakey Peterson’s man Thomas Allen won when he smashed a field of 115,00 competitors (how many of ’em were active no one knows) in the WSL’s fantasy league. When I asked Allen about the prize he said he’d heard that someone, some year, won a trip to Indonesia although “I might have to buy myself a trophy”.

Five years ago, the staggering lack of any prizes was brought into the spotlight when Berlin-based Australian surfer Shane Starling aka Zmonde, picked ten of the eleven event winners, although his victory came and went unacknowledged by the owners of the game. 

Throw your twenty into the mix here. 


Surf fan (pictured) watching clips of Jaden Smith.
Surf fan (pictured) watching clips of Jaden Smith.

Surf industry insider reveals pay “down 75% for elite, 100% for everyone else”

Sad surfing.

There was once a time, and not long ago, when parents who observed a flash of water talent in their young charges could easily imagine a gilded future just over the horizon. Watching, say, their little seven or eight year snag a pocket barrel, maybe even little air revo, and boom. A straight path to sponsorship riches. Incentives. Film and travel budgets.

Alas, that time not long ago but, also, an entirely different era. The surf fan has observed top-level World Surf League Championship Tour talent showing up to events with sticker-less noses. She has watched as the last remaining mega-brand, Authentic Brands Group x Bluestar Alliance, flexed its monopoly muscles and shredded contracts.

Things are, indeed, as bleak as they appear for our heroes and heroines. An industry insider with direct working knowledge of such matters informed me, yesterday, “I am seeing good money is now 25% of what it was for the elite of elite. Everyone else it’s zero.”

A whopping nothing.

How, then, can a World Surf League survive? It takes years of an expensive Qualifying Series campaign for any hopeful to reach the top. Will parents open up wallets for a hobby that maybe with extreme luck and talent and connections earns their budding surf star 75% less than Bede Durbidge once earned?

How will professional surfing, in general, endure? It is, also, costly to chase swell around the globe in order to produce fine YouTube shorts.

Will this sport of kings, thus, revert to just that? Only royalty being gifted the luxury of surfing for a “living?”

Will we, the long-suffering surf fan, only have footage of Will Smith’s surfing son Jaden to enjoy?

Can the exploding trans-women swimwear market save us all?

Thoughts?

Sad surfing, indeed.


Shane Stedman and daughter Bonnie Stedman celebrate his OAM
The enduring legend of Shane Stedman, ugg boot inventor, cocksmith of world renown and best-selling surfboard shaper, celebrates his OAM with daughter Bonnie.

Mastermind behind ugg boot empire Shane Stedman awarded Order of Australia medal for services to surfing!

"My dad’s got enough fibre glass in his lungs to make a couple of boards but every day he blows me away with his positive energy and will to live."

The eighty-three-year-old inventor of the sheepskin Ugg boot and surfboard entrepreneur, Shane Stedman, has been awarded the Order of Australia medal for his services to the sport he’s devoted his life to.

In the Australian honours system, appointments to the Order of Australia confer the highest recognition for outstanding achievement and service.

His son and former world #11 turned jiujitsu expert Luke Stedman posted:

“I’m so proud of my Dad. Today he has been awarded the OAM or the The Medal of the Order of Australia award for his contribution to the surf industry. The old man was the biggest manufacture of surfboards in the southern hemisphere in the late 1960’s and into the early 70’s. I can’t even explain what im feeling right now. My dad’s got enough fibre glass in his lungs to make a couple of boards ( his words ) but every day he blows me away with his positive energy and will to live. I’m your biggest supporter and fan Dad.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Luke Stedman (@luke.stedman)

Two years ago, Shane Stedman, who had just turned eighty but was still squirting testosterone like a fifteen year old, had surgery to remove “balloons” in his chest. These growths squashed his lungs, reducing his ability to breathe by eighty-five percent. 

Couple the fibrous growths with emphysema from sixty years of shaping and the Shane Stedman could barely walk to the end of the street without stopping to suck in gutfuls of air, as if he’d just run a marathon. 

The “extroverted surf-world entrepreneur” and creator of Shane Surfboards is best known, writes Matt Warshaw, for “the short, stubby, Shane Surfboard ‘popout’, a mass-produced board designed for beginners and offered at discount rates in sporting goods and department stores. The brightly-colored boards earned Stedman a lot of money in the early ’70s (an Aussie magazine nicknamed him “the summer millionaire), but pushed him out of favor with Australia’s surfing tastemakers.”

“I’m in the fun industry, the surf industry is fun,” said Shane Stedman. “We certainly do live in the lucky country, no doubt about that.”

 

 


Bethany Hamilton and Sasha Jane Lowerson
Bethany Hamilton, former marquee Rip Curl surfer, now dumped, and new face of Rip Curl, Sasha Jane Lowerson.

Call to boycott Rip Curl becomes roar as skateboarder Taylor Silverman joins Riley Gaines in slamming iconic surfing company

"Rip Curl could not have made their contempt for women clearer."

Yesterday’s story about Rip Curl and its celebration of the wildly inspirational and aspirational Sasha Jane Lowerson quickly exploded into Bud Light-esque flames after anti-trans-women-in-sport activist Riley Gaines slammed Rip Curl as “crazzzyyyy”.

“You mean to tell me that Rip Curl dropped Bethany Hamilton for opposing men surfing in the women’s league then picked up male surfer who surfs in the women’s league as a women’s ambassador?”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Rip Curl | Women (@ripcurl_women)

Rip Curl joined two other Australian swimsuit brands in a pivot to the queer market describing their ambassador as, “West Australian waterwoman who loves the freedom found in surfing, disconnecting from the mainstream, and the feeling of dancing on constantly changing waves… It’s a state of mind, always being ready to try something new, curious to seek out knowledge and learn the rules – and break them.⁠”

Comments were quickly disabled on the post (although it was liked almost two thousand times) following calls from surf fans to boycott Rip Curl, which was bought by camping giant Kathmandu for 350 mill four years ago. 

A small sample of the 2200 replies to Riley Gaines’ post on X.

6 months from now: Rip Curl announces that it is laying off half of its staff..

How are the advertising team not getting fired for this , how many companies have been damaged and they still use the larping blokes in their campaigns. I thought they had to know trends , not watching hard enough

They could not have made their contempt for women clearer.

Now, the pro skateboarder Taylor Silverman has joined the chorus calling for a boycott of Rip Curl.

Silverman hit the headlines when she lost a skateboarding contest to a transgender woman. She argued that allowing transgender women to compete against biological females in sports is unfair due to potential physical advantages. Silverman’s stance has been met with both support and opposition, with some people applauding her for standing up for women’s rights and others criticizing her for being transphobic.

Taylor Silverman was unsparing in her criticism writing,

“According to Rip Curl this man is a ‘waterwoman’…reality is he’s just a mentally ill man making a complete mockery of actual women and “The “community” is so supportive that Rip Curl had to disable the comments!”

All pretty interesting from a biz point of view.

Rip Curl knows, or it should, that it’s going to piss off a significant percentage of your market but you do it anyway because, and I’m guessing the logic here, the wrong of not including trans gals, is greater than any fiscal loss down the track.

The question is, I suppose, how much is Kathmandu willing to lose to push the trans agenda?

And do you think that same agenda would be getting pushed if the company was still owned by Doug Warbrick and Brian Singer and Neil Ridgeway was at the tiller?


Mick Fanning (insert) upset about the low score. Photo: TikTok

Legendary Australian surf patriarch brutally slams Mick Fanning beer as “a five out of ten… it’s not Heineken”

"Bitter."

It is Australia Day, in Australia. That magical time of year when our brothers, sisters, both chemical and natural, toast each other’s oi oi oi-ness and watch The Man from Snowy River marathons. As the geographically aware know, the Lucky Country floats south of the equator meaning it is, currently, summer there and so Australians also celebrate Australia Day by sitting outside in the warm sunshine, drinking the national drink.

Bee-ah.

Enter Jessie Sunset. The TikTok sensation who looks like this…

… smartly decided to take different bee-ahs to the legendary surfing Roberts family and have them taste test.

Around the table they went, professional surfing sisters and brother, sipping and ranking on a scale of one to ten, one obviously being undrinkable, ten a revelation, until coming to patriarch Pete Roberts who, I think, wrote Church of the Open Sky.

Now, Pete selected a Balter to sample and you certainly recall the bee-ah launched by Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Josh Kerr and Bede Durbidge in 2016 at the height of the extreme-sport-stars-pivoting-to-booze craze. St. Archer, founded in 2013 with investments from surfers, skaters, snowboarders, had just sold to Molson for tens of millions and alcohol seemed like a can’t lose bet.

Back to the taste test, though. Pete took one sip through very pursed lips and described the taste as “bitter” and not nearly as good as a Heineken, giving Balter a terrible “five out of ten.”

Ouch.

I wish former World Surf League CEO Erik Logan would form up a spirits company. I feel cachaça could gain real marketshare in the United States, Australia too, with a proper narrative. Like, an Oklahoman with a wetsuit of armor who travels south to the magical federative republic of Brazil, sips the magic sugar juice and loses it all.

Sharp.

David Lee Scales and I did not discuss cachaça nor did we reference the Family Roberts during our weekly chat, but we did spend time on David Lee Scales’ namesake David Lee Roth ripping Eddie Van Halen’s son Wolfgang in a recent social media rant.

Do you have opinions?

Listen here.