World Surf League co-interim CEOs kick PR intern in seat of pants, force them to release “Welcome to 2024 Championship Tour” presser days ahead of launch!

It's baaaaack.

The World Surf League is alive! Surf fans, everywhere, have spent the last two months nervously biting their fingernails whilst vigorously refreshing email inboxes, wondering when the “global home of surfing” would release something, anything, about the 2024 Championship Tour season. Alas, those tentacles were chewed down to nubs with inboxes remaining empty.

Was professional surfing going to fold like its sister professional bodyboarding?

But no!

Minutes ago, and hours ahead of the Lexus Pro Pipe, the “Welcome to the 2024 WSL Championship Tour” was unleashed. Twin WSL co-interim CEOs clearly deciding to march past the Parvo room in order to kick the PR intern in they/them’s pants and release the following.

The Banzai Pipeline, located on the North Shore of Oahu, is one of the most powerful and challenging waves in the world. Widely known as surfing’s proving ground, surfers have been making the journey here every season to test their skills at the world-renowned break. The wave itself is a hollow, fast, barrel that breaks over a treacherous reef.

Over the past two seasons, the women have showcased their talents at Pipeline and raised the bar for what is possible, inspiring a new generation of surfers. Defending event winner and five-time World Champion Carissa Moore (HAW) put on a brilliant display of barrel riding last season, making her the one to beat. But, she will face a stacked field including a new rookie class hoping to make a name for themselves.

The competition will also see three event wildcards joining the world’s best surfers: 2022 Pipe Pro winner Moana Jones Wong (HAW), 2023 SAMBAZON World Junior Championships runner-up Jackson Bunch (HAW), and 2023/2024 Hawaii/Tahiti Regional Qualifying Series winner Shion Crawford (HAW).

Rejoice and savor this, let’s be honest, final World Surf League offering before the reins are handed to Abu Dhabi and the show is rebranded Kelly Slater’s Pro Surfer.

Here’s to the Cosmos stop.

Billy Kemper (pictured) glowing.
Billy Kemper (pictured) glowing.

World’s most beloved surfer Billy Kemper wins Da Hui Backdoor Shootout!

"The weight of winning the Shootout is so much heavier than a WSL event or any other contest.”

It is impossible not to adore Maui’s Billy Kemper. The big wave, small wave and everything in between charger has inspired surf fans for years. But who, here, was not moved by the eponymous six-part series Billy that tracked the star as he recovered from a life-threatening injury and returned to the very heights of surfing power.

Essential, to quote the great Derek Rielly. And pivoting to modern times, just yesterday, or maybe the day before, Kemper won the prestigious Da Hui Backdoor Shootout as part of Team Peru. The waves for the final day were not what would be considered “good,” though they certainly highlighted our hero’s ability to shine in any and all conditions.

“Some of these events in surfing never really register as surf contests,” Kemper declared at the end. “To me, only two events in the entire world hold that power: The Shootout and The Eddie. They’re more like celebrations of surfing, culture and community rather than rankings, ratings or competition. At the end of the day, the weight of winning the Shootout is so much heavier than a WSL event or any other contest.”


And, please, discuss what the win means for you as you navigate various ups and downs in your own life.

Kelly Slater (pictured) gazing into a bleak future.

Surf champion Kelly Slater looks over wizened shoulder and sees mob closing in on post-surf career

Inspirational speaking circuit rapidly shutting.

The World Surf League kicks off its 2024 Championship Tour in mere days, though not that you’d know it. The sounds emanating from the “global home of surfing’s” El Segundo veterinarian office can only be described as “radio silent” with a dash of “dying cat.”

Well, no matter and it’s true. Filipe Toledo is certainly gearing up for his third crown in a row but it is unlikely that he will ever catch one Kelly Slater. Surfing’s greatest of all-time has amassed an eye-watering eleven championships over the course of his decades-long career.

Very neat.

All things come to an end, however, and now fifty-six, and only on tour thanks to a “special” season-long wildcard, Slater must be planning on what life looks like outside of the singlet.

One avenue, that of inspirational circuit speaker, likely blocked by an angry mob. For you have certainly seen the trouble shark attack survivor and icon Bethany Hamilton has faced in recent days. A woman’s group in Oshkosh, Wisconsin invited the Kauai native to address its members. All very innocent… except. A gaggle became enraged and collaborated on a five-page open letter seeking to have Hamilton removed.

“For those who may not be aware, Bethany Hamilton announced in February 2023 that she refuses to compete in World Surf League events in response to their decision to adopt the International Surfing Association (ISA) policy on transgender participation,” the framers declared. “Bethany Hamilton wants transgender surfers to be segregated into a separate athletic division. Currently, there are no transgender athletes competing in the World Surf League, and only one transgender athlete, Australian longboard surfer Sasha Jane Lowerson, has ever won a professional surfing competition.”

Bravo for our Sasha Jane to make news in Oshkosh, B’gosh, but ominous for Slater who has gone on record to state that there should be a specific transgender division in professional surfing.

Absolute fighting words in this day and age.

Fighting words or worse.

It must be assumed that five, or even six, page letters will be written to any board that dares invite Slater to the lectern. Must be assumed that protesters will gather outside Ramada Inn conference rooms, pitchforks held high.

Slater’s indelible voice drowned out by rage-filled shouts for justice and rights.

So no inspirational speaking but then what?



World Surf League (pictured) in happier times.
World Surf League (pictured) in happier times.

Troubling omen for World Surf League as International Bodyboarding Corporation appears near collapse!

Unpaid bills, cancelled events.

As mentioned exclusively on BeachGrit, and nowhere else, the World Surf League’s 2024 Championship Tour theoretically kicks off in less than two weeks at the Lexus Pro Pipe. A fresh start for each and every professional at the top of their game. Hope springing eternal and for surf fans, too, what with fresh Surfival League picks ready to ride (sign up here).

But there has been absolutely no advertising campaign reminding the public of the WSL’s grand return. No new slogans or fonts even in this Olympic year where the mainstream might actually become invested.


Is it because ultra flimflam man Erik Logan has left the building only to be replaced by two interim CEOs who seem not to understand the role?

Something more insidious like total collapse?

Well, if our bodyboarding brothers and sisters are canaries down that coal mine, the end might very well be nigh. According to a Facebook post, the very important International Bodyboarding Corporation has not paid its winning athletes, is cancelling events and is being very hush hush about matters.

Bodyboard journalist Sam Morretino writes:

What adds to the concern is the IBC’s recent decision to remove Arica from the 2024 schedule. This move comes as a surprise, given that it was anticipated the organization would prioritize resolving the outstanding payment issue before making such decisions. The removal of Arica from the schedule further undermines the credibility of the IBC, leaving athletes uncertain about the organization’s commitment to honoring its financial obligations.

Compounding the issue, the IBC continues to promote Tanner McDaniel and Pierre le Costes, despite the unresolved payment matter. This contradictory behavior prompts questions about the organization’s ethical stance and its responsibility to the athletes it represents.

The IBC’s choice to remain silent appears as an attempt to let the issue fade away, leaving fans wondering if the organization is grappling with financial instability.


And real talk. How sad will you be when the WSL collapses? Like, on a scale of 1 – 10 (10 being suicidal). Will professional surfing’s billionaire owner Mr. Ziff pull a full Nixon out the door and exclaim, “You don’t have Dirk to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference.”?

Likely not because he stopped giving press conferences after publicly pooping upon his fanbase.

Jeff Spicoli and Eimeo Czermak
Happy Jeff Spicoli with checkerboard slip-ons and crippled surfer from Vans Pipe Masters, Eimeo Czermak.

Calls to boycott Vans grow after surfer left destitute following spinal injury at Vans Pipe Masters

"I just sent him the $100 I would have spent on Vans and then will burn another $100 every year instead of spending it on a new pair."

Surfers are calling for Vans shoes to be piled atop a wild ol’ pyre of canvas and rubber and burned after the Tahitian surfer Eimeo Czermak was left destitute following his wipeout at the Vans Pipe Masters. 

You know the story, no need to rake that pile of ashes over again, click here if you’ve come in late. Bottom line, surfers weren’t covered for injury at the event.

And, if it wasn’t for the two-time world champion Filipe Toledo and a few other notables, including Stab owner Sam McIntosh, French citizen Eimeo Czermak would be faced with the very real prospect of never being let into the US ever again after he was hit with medical  bills totalling fifty-five gees.

Below the line commenters here were quick to call for the obliteration of the once-iconic brand. 

Rocks local: Vans looking more pathetic by the minute. I came into this whole discussion kind of lukewarm about whether they had any obligation but getting more irritated by the minute.

Boycott them. Clearly their new CEO doesn’t know shit, if he can’t figure out that reconnecting with your “core” includes not hanging out to dry the surfers who make your flagship contest interesting by throwing themselves over insane ledges in 3 feet of water with a concrete, jagged reef underneath when they impact said reef.

WTF Vans. Get it together.

AI (for ever): I’m be burning a pair of vans shortly and posting the pictures.

Rocks local: I just sent him the $100 USD I would have spent on Vans and then will burn another $100 every year instead of spending it on a new pair.

Rocks local: VF Corp, the parent co of Vans, had $11.6 billion USD in revenue last year. Just the “active” segment of their business, which is where Vans resides and is the main driver, had $4.9 billion USD in revenue (and these numbers include their foreign currency losses).…

Their executives at the very least have received millions of US dollars worth of stocks/stock options (check out the SEC report filings at the above link), and who knows what base comp because I ran out of time to spend digging through this shit. Bottom line is they can absolutely do better.

Fingerbanger: Van’s compensation is still going through legal channels. They are trying to figure out if giving shoes to someone potentially unable to walk is going to be a PR issue. Otherwise he would have his shoes and a nice discount voucher already. Pesky PC problems and all.