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.

Cool Mom Fab Matt Biolos, a man who ain't gonna take the ravages of ageing lightly, and, inset, median age surfer. | Photo: Screen grab of Matt Biolos by Stab

World’s best surfboard shaper Matt Biolos laments greying of formerly rebellious youth sport

“We failed to inspire the next generation.”

It was only seven months ago that a landmark study from Bond University revealed what anyone who spent any time in the water knew, that surfing ain’t the plaything of kids anymore. 

Craig Sims, a former South African pro surfer turned magazine publisher and university academic, said the peak participation age for men is 45-to-49 and 35-to-44 for gals. 

A few weeks before Sim’s report, I went to the premiere of The Greatest Surf Movie in the Universe, the most significant thing to happen culturally in Australian surfing since Kai Neville’s films, and the cinema was a sea of polished skulls and silver manes, paunches harnessed by Quiksilver tees, overblown hams in Billabong denim.

So many wizened winter apples. The median age would’ve been sixty.

In lineups, there’s a few kids here and there, mostly tweenies getting pushed into waves by their daddies, but the absence of teens marauding the surf is stark. 

In a new post from Matt Biolos, who is currently at some sorta trade show, he writes about the dramatic ageing of a sport that was once hailed as rebellious and something a decent parent must fear. 

There’s not much youth to take the torch and run with it. It’s rare to see someone under 40 walking the aisles. When we got going, in the early ‘90’s, it seemed like every brand was a start-up, run by guys in their 20’s. Brands like ours, Volcom, Counter Culture, World Jungle, Ezekiel…and so on. Just to name a few. Making it up as we went along. No white beards.
The old guard legacy brands, like Quik and Billabong, Reef, etc, were run by “old” guys in their 30’s…maybe ‘40’s.

Today’s “new” brands are headed up by guys in their 50’s n 60’s! It’s like we’ve failed to inspire another generation. No wonder there’s no rambunctious groms, young pros or pretty bikini girls, running throughthe aisles anymore. No loud music. No skate ramps, no bricks of firecrackers or surf pool parties with punk rock bands and girls gone wild.

Matt Biolos’ fans, all of ‘em over thirty-five, most over fifty, and with a few middle-aged former pro’s including Taj Burrow and Jake Paterson thrown in, supported the premise.

A culture of comfort and conformity. The far left and far right are so repulsive that the intelligent middle ground is too frightened. Groomed by AYSO participation merit mentality, our feeder group has become enamored by the safety of mediocrity…

Here’s to the pursuit of inspiring! You have this 60 year old Grom’s attention!

Absolutely right Matt, some of us started when we were 20 years old with a lot of passion for skateboarding or surfing, hunger to achieve and grow and travel, meet and many crazy parties! But now the world or the youth is asleep, only phones and social networks, without words, I don’t want to say what I think! Lucky to lived!

Ay Mayhem don’t feel bad, skateboardin is in the shitter too!!!! When the people who are in charge DONT SHReD. That’s all that’s happening. People who don’t shred are in charge. Everywhere. It’s a world problem right now

Where do you stand on this demographic shift?Do you like the lack of urgency in the lineup and the sedate conversations with hat-wearing Gen Xers?

Or did the fighting and fury and sting of trying to muscle a wave off a kid keep you young etc?


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A post shared by Matt Biolos (@matt_biolos)

Bethany Hamilton (pictured) causing feelings.
Bethany Hamilton (pictured) causing feelings.

Small Wisconsin town ignites after lightning rod surfer Bethany Hamilton tapped as keynote speaker for women’s event!

"Bethany Hamilton simply does not personally want to accept transgender women as women."

But who would have ever guessed that the most controversial, the most polarizing surf figure in 2024 would be Bethany Hamilton? Certainly not me. I might have selected Zeke Lau, maybe even Zeke Lay but certainly not the inspirational shark attack survivor Bethany Hamilton.

Though here we are in 2024 and it’s true.

The latest bit of contention comes from the most unlikely of places, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where the local women’s group tapped Hamilton as its keynote speaker only to ignite the simmering culture war.

The Oshkosh Women’s Fund’s annual Power of the Purse announced, “T’S TIME! We have exciting news to share! Our 2024 POWER OF THE PURSE keynote speaker is, Bethany Hamilton. Bethany’s story of overcoming obstacles and living with resilience, perseverance, and heart has helped her live an Unstoppable life. We’re thrilled for the community to hear her message – in hopes that it will inspire others to live unstoppable.”

What should have been a moment of joy for the town best known for making children’s overalls was, instead, twisted into a five-page online letter excoriating the choice, declaring that Hamilton is transphobic and not fit to stand at the lectern.

“We, the undersigned, are members and allies of Oshkosh’s LGBTQ+ community,” it began. “We are your neighbors, supporters, volunteers, and friends. We appreciate the positive work the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation and Discover Oshkosh does to uplift our entire community. We also sincerely hope we share an understanding of the importance of supporting and including the LGBTQ+ community in all facets of daily life.”

Also, “Hamilton’s boycott (against the World Surf League) is not motivated by concerns about athlete safety or maintaining the integrity of a professional sport. Bethany Hamilton simply does not personally want to accept transgender women as women.”

And, “It undermines their community partnership initiatives toward ending isolation and loneliness, promoting youth mental and physical health, and supporting parents. It also creates and enhances a direct platform for amplifying anti-transgender bigotry in our own backyard.”

So far, the Women’s Fund has not bent to pressure and Wisconsin State Representative Ron Tusler is even swinging in with support, declaring, “Cancel culture is just going way too far in this state. This poor girl who lost her arm to a shark at age 13 is now being attacked because she doesn’t want to compete against men in sports?”

Importantly, where do you stand? Should Hamilton be allowed to inspire or will her inclusion be a metaphorical lynching of the LGBTQ+ community?

Peter King, are you there? Please weigh in.

Eimeo Czermak, cropped at Pipe Masters and, inset, Filipe Toledo.
Eimeo Czermak, crippled by wave and medical bills and, inset, two-time world champ Filipe Toledo, generous.

Filipe Toledo makes astonishing cash gift to surfer crippled in wipeout at Vans Pipe Masters

Two-time world champ Filipe Toledo drags Eimeo Czermak out of financial purgatory!

The two-time world champion surfer Filipe Toledo has bolstered the crowdfunding account of Tahitian Eimeo Czermak, the surfer sent to ICU after a wipeout at the Vans Pipe Masters.

The financial woes of Eimeo, who is twenty and a stand-out in heavy water waves, have been well documented.

To recap, every so briefly, Eimeo suffered spine and head injuries after being pitched head-first into the reef during his heat with the three Florence bros during the aforementioned Vans Pipe Masters.

Eimeo revealed he was 55k in the hole ‘cause he didn’t have travel insurance, wrongly thinking he’d be covered by the Vans-sponsored contest and was asking for a little help to get him through.

In his GoFundMe message Eimeo wrote,

I was taken by an ambulance to the ICU at a local hospital where they performed various procedures and, although I told them I did not have health insurance, they required me to stay overnight which cost me $37,000.

After that, I couldn’t feel or move my legs for a week and a half, and still to this day am dealing with the effects of the injury and concussion, which has resulted in depression. I’ve never been one to ask people for money or help, but this situation unfolded without my control and has put me and my surfing career in a very difficult position.

The combination of the ambulance ride, hospital stay, MRI and other tests, ended up costing me $55,000.

If I’m unable to pay back the hospital bills, I won’t be allowed to return to the United States or surf in Hawaii again since I am from Tahiti (French Polynesia).

This is heartbreaking for me because Hawaii is like a second home to me and has played a huge role in growing my career because of the major contests’ I’ve been able to compete in there. If I’m unable to return to Hawaii, it’ll have a huge negative impact on my surfing career.

Fans were furious about two things. His lack of insurance coverage, for one, but mostly the revelation that Vans, who recently made news by sacking most of their surf team, appear to’ve ignored the kid after he left in the event all trussed up in an ambo.

Whatever the case, and wherever you stand on the issue, Filipe Toledo has swung into town and gifted Eimeo five thousand dollars, almost ten percent of the fifty-fifty k he was chasing.

Filipe Toledo donates five thousand dollars to Eimeo Czermak.
Filipe Toledo donates five gees to Eimeo.

Eimeo is now only twelve gees short of his goal and an escape from his financial purgatory.

Also a notable donor was the co-founder of Stab magazine Sam McIntosh who pledged one thousand dollars.

Less notable is the shoe giant Vans, who are yet to contribute even one shekel.