Bitter antipathy between the World Surf League and its fans at record highs!

"I wonder if some of you get up every day and stir the milk into your coffee, thinking about what you can write that day that might humiliate the WSL."

A worse start to the 2024 World Surf League Championship Tour could not be imagined. Balky messaging beforehand led directly to a much-anticipated day one of the Lexus Pipe Pro. It was a moment that should have been applauded by those who toil on either side of the Wall of Positive Noise. Fine waves greeted the morning, crossed up and weird but crackling with the possibility of superlative.

As the sun set, though, only one storyline would dominate. The World Surf League’s twice, and sitting, champion, crowned at Lower Trestles both times due the introduction of “Finals Day,” was too afraid to paddle and got bumped out citing “food poisoning.”

The Filipe Toledo drama metastasized in the days that followed, called off thanks to unfavorable conditions, with the world’s best small wave surfer becoming extremely defensive and surly, his surrogates more defensive and more surly, the World Surf League maintaining its patented head-in-the-sand silence.

After days upon days of “Toledo Wouldn’t Go” headlines, nature gifted a swell large enough, exciting enough, to bury the Brazilian lede.


While surf fans sat at home watching bombs on Surfline, reeling as Italo Ferreira, Ethan Ewing and more threaded the glories, the World Surf League hemmed, hawed, delayed then finally called the day off with the narrative of it being “too big” baking in.

Surf fans lit fire to the World Surf League’s social medias while its twin acting, though non-surfing, CEOs kept hush hush alongside lower downs.

The World Surf League’s owner, billionaire Dirk Ziff, has only been forward-facing once in his stewardship of professional surfing. Back in 2018, when being crowned co-Waterperson of the Year alongside his wife, Ziff took to the stage and delivered a memorable speech including the passage:

Some of you are here in this canyon. Journalists, and other influential voices who unload on social media. I wonder if some of you get up every day and stir the milk into your coffee, thinking about what you can write that day that might humiliate the WSL. It goes way beyond constructive criticism, which we all need and which the WSL frequently deserves, and into the realm of foul spirited attack, which I think we can all agree we have enough of right now in this country.

I have a message to the haters, and it is simple. Be tough. Call us out. Keep us honest. Tell us what we need to improve.

But don’t pretend you don’t know that when you go beyond constructive criticism and cynically try to rally negative sentiment towards the WSL, when you try to take us down, you are not just going after us. You are going after Kelly Slater. You are trying to take down Lakey Peterson. You are going after the dreams of Caroline Marks and Griffin Colapinto. You are undermining the hopes of every kid who lives with salt in their hair, dreaming of being a world champion one day.

And I ask you: Why? It seems pretty obvious that if the WSL keeps growing in popularity, and surfing takes its rightful place among the great and elite competitive sports, everyone connected with our sport, and certainly all the members of SIMA, will prosper, except maybe a few grumpy locals who have to deal with some new faces in the lineup. So…why not work together?

Imagine how he feels now.

Foul-spirited attacks to the moon.

I think we also must assume the “why not work together?” is officially off the table.

What a complete tool.

Italo Ferreira on Lexus Pipe Pro lay day
Italo Ferreira on Lexus Pipe Pro lay day

Pipe Master Johnny Boy Gomes and baffled surf fans eviscerate WSL for not running Lexus Pipe Pro despite epic waves

“Who’s the contest director, Filipe Toledo?”

The legendary Hawaiian strongman Johnny Boy Gomes, winner of the 1997 Pipeline Masters, has reacted angrily to the WSL’s decision this morning not to run the Lexus Pipe Pro despite eight-to-twelve-foot waves.

As Italo Ferreira rode an epic ten-foot barrel on a seven-two (“That’s how a world champ tackles Pipe”) and various underground shredders took advantage of a peaking swell, the beleaguered organisation made the decision not to run any heats of the Lexus Pipe Pro.


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“You gotta be kidding me, cancel today‼️ WTF happened to pro surfing now days 🤪 It’s a circus 🎪 run by clowns,” wrote Johnny Boy Gomes, the comment getting 353 likes and ten replies.


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Surf fans were equally dismissive of the call not to run  the Lexus Pipe Pro.

“Felipe must be the athlete representative helping to make the calls.”

“Who’s the contest director, Filipe Toledo?”

“Seriously is the WSL trying to lose all fans? I’ve never been more embarrassed about a sport I love.”

“Just seen Italo get spat out of a monster barrel!! Who actually made the decision to call it off??”

“Just watched 6 epic waves in 5 mins. What gives?”

“Surfline: It’s 10-15 and good! WSL: Off for the day! Next call when it’s 4-6 and poor!”

“You are gonna be running the finals of the Lexus Pipe Pro in conditions the groms surf pipe in. Bobby was right. This is a tennis tour.”

“What an absolute joke. Bring back the days when Keiran Perrow was running the tour, he’d go out and get a bomb then send everyone out there, WSL is a complete clown show.”

For reference, this was Pipe at a little before eight this morn.

Pipeline (pictured) un-contestable.
Pipeline (pictured) un-contestable.

Surf fans broil after World Surf League calls Pipe Pro off while waves pump!

"WTF happened to pro surfing now days? It’s a circus run by clowns."

Surf fans are, currently, melting down after the World Surf League called off the second day of the Lexus Pipe Pro even though massive tubes could be seen, threaded, on Surfline. The theoretical day, which kicked off at 7:45 am, Hawaii time, was directly put on a thirty minute pause, followed by a fifty minute pause, followed by a two-hour pause, forty-five minute pause, thirty minute pause then called off entirely.

The World Surf League went straight-faced with the announcement, simply stating on Instagram, “The @lexususa #PipePro is OFF for the day. Next call: February 6 at 7:45 am HST.”

The aforementioned surf fans were not so… bland.

Johnny Boy Gomes kicked in the door with… “You gotta be kidding me, cancel today‼️ WTF happened to pro surfing now days 🤪 It’s a circus 🎪 run by clowns.”

…and was followed by an assortment of rage.

A sampling.

“What an absolute joke. Bring back the days when Keiran Perrow was running the tour, he’d go out and get a bomb then send everyone out there, WSL is a complete clown show.”

“Seriously is the WSL trying to lose all fans? I’ve never been more embarrassed about a sport I love.”

“Just seen Italo get spat out of a monster barrel!! Who actually made the decision to call it off??”

“Need another professional surf league to compete against the WSL! Too soft and a men’s karen champion from last season!”

“Completely unfair to the guys that charge on days like today. Simple fact.”

There were many clown GIFs and middle finger emojis included.

Ariel Mann was the lone voice of support, for the “global home of surfing,” penning, “Good call. Doesn’t look great at all.”

Do you have thoughts? Were you sitting on the Open Thread all day, waiting patiently?

Father of embattled world surfing champ Filipe Toledo pleads for empathy in stirring online monologue

"I'm sorry, but they're not machines, it's a tiring hour, and Filipe is really tired of all that!"

The father of world champ Filipe Toledo has delivered a stinging attack at “the haters on duty” after Toledo’s embarrassing fail and withdrawal from the Lexus Pipe Pro prompted an unprecedented backlash from fans and media alike.

Australia’s most credible news source, The Sydney Morning Herald, was unsparing in its criticism.

Fearsome winter swells have already injured five pro surfers in a variety of incidents since December, with big-wave specialists John John Florence and Australian Jack Robinson starring on day one.

Toledo, though, was barely sighted in his round one heat, waiting almost 25 minutes for his first wave – which did not barrel and was scored 0.50.

A follow-up of 1.27 saw the Brazilian champion relegated to the elimination round, from which he withdrew due to illness.
Toledo’s no-show continued a theme of several notable misfires in heaving conditions, most infamously registering a 0.0 score at Teahupo’o in 2015 and then opting not to paddle for waves in a 2022 heat at the Tahitian break.

…repeated questions have been asked over his big-wave approach upon his two world titles and the WSL format that decides the championship in a winner-takes-all shoot-out at Trestles in California, typically a smaller, high-performance break.

Shortly after, Filipe Toledo wrote with a ferocity sadly absent from his approach to Pipeline.

“To the critics on duty, and the world champions who comment on social media, believe what you want, I’m not here to prove anything to you! My health is my priority! To those cheering me on, thank you very much! We are together haha we will be back better and stronger!’”

Now, instead of choking the matter of oxygen, Filipe’s daddy Ricardo has given the story another day or two of traction with a lengthy to-camera piece.

Father of Filipe Toledo, Ricardo Toledo
Daddy of Filipe Toledo, Ricardo, attacks “haters on duty.”

“Hey guys good afternoon. Passing by here to leave a rant, and to thank everyone who sent us messages of support, during these days, in which Filipe has been severely attacked, as if no athlete had the right to have a bad day, and was forced to always be fine, and surf to win.

“Sometimes we forget that they are human beings, who suffer, get tired, get exhausted, have pain, longing, bad days, and that will not always meet the expectations of the haters on duty, and that will cause so much hate, for simply not meeting the expectations of some. I’m sorry, but they’re not machines, it’s a tiring hour, and Filipe is really tired of all that!

“My affection and love to you my son, you have every right to be tired and to have your bad days, and NOBODY can charge you for that, NOBODY!!! If you are not happy, or you don’t like him, unfollow him, delete your followers, but don’t talk about something you don’t know and have never lived in your life, besides, it will not change anything in our history, nothing in what was conquered, but in The truth only speaks more about you, than about who you are trying to attack! MORE EMPATHY, PLEASE!!!”

Richard Toledo has long been a fixture on BeachGrit, starring in such classics as Filipe Toledo’s “huge scuffle at Lowers” takes unforeseen twist as Daddy Ricardo comes swinging in; Blood Feud: Alex Gray vs Filipe Toledo (‘s Dad), Blood Feud II: Ricardo Toledo vs all-comers, and most recently a few months back when he spoke, a little candidly in hindsight, of the terrors Teahupoo gives his kid.

“The truth is that he is afraid of hitting the coral bottom. That is the fear he has, of hitting himself there and really hurting himself and suffering an irreversible injury. It’s something that stays in his head,” said Toledo Sr. 

Surfer Mag bot (left) slings ex-wife barbs. Photo: Lost in Space
Surfer Mag bot (left) slings ex-wife barbs. Photo: Lost in Space

Surfer Magazine bot generates hurt feelings, lashes offending surf journalist with ex-wife!

"A typical 20-something, amoral, douchebag bachelor..."

Mankind was put on warning, hours ago, when an artificially intelligent robot generating surf and surf-adjacent content for the once-proud Surfer Magazine developed hurt feelings and brutally lashed out at the source of its duress. Jake Howard, as it’s called, took to surf journalist Chas Smith’s social media in the wee hours of the night to bitterly complain about being “slandered.”

The charge revolved around Smith opining on Howard’s defense of Brazil’s Filipe Toledo for giving no effort/looking terrified during the opening round of the Lexus Pipe Pro, comparing the timid champion to Andy Irons and citing “hanging out” with both of them at different times as evidence.

Smith wrote, “At the end, and this should go without writing, Andy Irons and Filipe Toledo’s situations are so disparate that it boggles how the robot wove them together.” A charge that remains as true today as it was 24 hours ago. In case it does need to go with writing, though, Toledo has all the talent, training, equipment and then some, and yet has repeatedly shown that he doesn’t have the heart to throw himself over scary ledges, going further and excoriating his critics for daring challenge him. Mere mortals like you and me have varying degrees of limited skill, no training, middling equipment. All we have, at the end, is our guts. We, each, fail often to live up to our own ideals as it relates to being bold but still pick ourselves up and try, or else get leveled by our peers, and that is why this whole Toledo business irks.

The lack of struggle and the lack of accountability.

Howard, anyhow and as mentioned, swung into Smith’s lightly trafficked Instagram account with, “So weird how you have my phone number, and one of your minions has been texting me for the last 48 hours, and yet here we are, coping and pasting my words for clicks and to slander me. You’re quite the man.” Adding, “Ask homie’s ex wife about is literary output: ‘It was almost as if my attractive, fun, sweet and loving husband had morphed into your typical 20-something, amoral, douchebag bachelor. At least that’s how he portrayed himself in his writing, and his readers lapped it up.’”

Ex-wife a brutal and painful cudgel.

In truth, and exiting the third person, I have no beef with Howard, just as I have no beef with my calculator or AirPod Pros. I do have beef with thin-skinned, defensive access journalism, in general, and Surfer Magazine, specifically. A dug-up corpse being fed upon by Wall Street suits and no different than Hurley, Quiksilver, Billabong, RVCA, Volcom or any of the brands that used to represent something real.

But here we stand, Howard clearly piqued, and might we finally have an opportunity for a great and public debate on the point, or pointlessness, of surf journalism? What it should be and where it should go? An expansion into what surf culture should mean in the era of its Costco-ification?

I’ve been waiting a decade plus for a Gore Vidal to my William Buckley Jr.

Howard? Are you man enough?