Kanoa Igarashi (pictured) basking in the warm glow of transcendent knowledge.
Kanoa Igarashi (pictured) basking in the warm glow of transcendent knowledge.

Olympian Kanoa Igarashi delivers must-read message on unity in these increasingly surf rage-filled days

This one goes out to the internet technicians...

One of the greater transitions, in an era increasingly fuller of them, is that of Kanoa Igarashi. Born in Huntington Beach to Japanese parents, Igarashi burst on the scene as a sort of child surf prodigy alongside Quiksilver stablemates Jack Robinson and Leo Fioravanti. As he grew, the young man’s spontaneous “tourettes-like” celebrations and gold chains seemed to grate easily offended surf fans and he was written off as “cloying.”

Over the years, though, Igarashi has quietly endeared himself to those selfsame internet technicians by developing an enviable style, demonstrating a willingness to charge and, by all accounts, rising above the fray. Letting his “surfing do the talking” as the old chestnut goes.

Well, in a revealing new interview with the Olympics’ official website, Igarashi also lets his talking do the talking, sharing about how it felt to grow up Japanese in Huntington Beach (“When I was outside of my house, I had a very American culture because of my American friends. And then I would go back home and it would just be a complete Japanese culture. The balance for me was very unique.”) and how it allowed him to soar to a silver medal in surfing’s Olympic introduction at the Tokyo Games (“I guess that kind of controlled chaos, it’s made me into who I am today.”).

Most importantly, though, the model-handsome 26-year-old drops a pearl of wisdom that might just might heal this vitriolic and polarizing age. Speaking of his different worlds, Igarashi explained that none of it mattered when he went surfing with his father. “The ocean was what kind of blended me into society,” he said “and I’ll be forever thankful for that. What the ocean taught me was that it really is a place where everyone is a human being. Everyone’s training one passion. Everyone’s in the water, everyone’s surfing. No matter what race you are, no matter where you’re from, no matter what you do, when you’re in the water, you’re just one.”

And look at that.

Peace for our time.


Taylor Swift and Andrew Kidman
Taylor Smith with Andrew Kidman laminate from Swift surfboards as visage. Digital manipulation by Pauly_Matt_War_Shore

Aussie surf film icon reveals eerie connection to billionaire chanteuse Taylor Swift

Litmus creator Andrew Kidman and his supernatural brush with global phenomenon Taylor Swift.

Taylor Swift would have been nine when I first began drawing this surfboard decal in 1998.

Swift was the name of a sailing boat that my father’s best friend Stewart Morris won an Olympic Gold Medal sailing in the Swallow Class in 1948. There was a black and white photo of Stewart sailing it hanging on the wall of my home growing up. It looked fast.

I don’t know why I drew the girl’s face as the graphic. I worked on it for a couple of years, different versions, trying get a late 60s – early 70s feel into the graphic. I was attempting to reflect the era of surfboard that I liked to ride in the artwork. I was going after that feeling of the rock poster art Bill Graham and Chet Helms commissioned to promote their music shows around San Francisco in the 70s.

I felt I’d got it close, so I showed it to my girlfriend, Mish, who looked at it and said, “The eyes and mouth need fixing.”

Trusting Mish, I let her fix the eyes and mouth. It was like watching her put on eyeliner and fix her lippy.

So, I had the laminates printed in Brookvale, and over the years I’ve used them on some of the surfboards I have shaped. The past couple of years, since the Taylor Swift phenom, and the global surfboard glut, custom surfboard orders have been pretty lean.

Taylor Swift surfboard stickers
Andrew Kidman’s eerie Taylor Swift-esque decals for his Swift board label.

Currently there’s no order cards to fill. The shaping bay is just a storage room of stale foam off cuts, yellowed foam dust and tools scattered around the floor. Occasionally I open the door and look in there and think about shaping, there’s a blank in the corner with an outline on it of something I was thinking about, but I don’t have the coin to glass it.

So that’s all it is, an outline and I think, “Maybe that would work?” and I close the door.

The other day I was moving shit around, looking for something in the shed when I saw the Swift laminate on the deck of one of my boards. Taylor Swift is omnipresent in all our lives now. I’d never thought about it before, the girl in the decal was looking back at me, I started laughing.

Mish walked in, and I said to her,

“Look at this, it kind of looks like Taylor Swift.”

Mish started laughing, “It kind of does.”

“That’s weird right?” I said.

“Yeah that is weird,” Mish replied, “You probably wouldn’t draw that today.”

“I dunno, I kind of like her, Taylor Swift might be able to save the world.”

Mish laughed. I went on, “She might even be able to save the Swift Parrot’s habitat in Tasmania.”

“Fat chance,” Mish said as she walked out the door, unconvinced.

Hey Taylor, could you bring the plight of the Swift Parrot to the attention of the nation? All you need to do is talk about it, your audience is attentive.

I’ll even build you a board. 

(Editor’s note: Andrew Kidman is the creator of game-changing surf film Litmus (1996), its 2019 sequel Beyond Litmus and the surfboard design documentary On the Edge of a Dream where an impossible to ride board was filmed ruining the live of myriad surfers. His newspaper magazine Acetone, made with PHD student Sam Rhodes, acted, briefly, as a cultural bulwark to the great WSL/VAL replacement.)


Joe Carr, not new head of WSL
Joe Carr, is…not… the long-awaited replacement for Flim-Flam man Erik Logan.

Bombshell twist in appointment of ex-UFC exec Joe Carr as CEO of WSL

“One for ya, if you don’t already know – no one has stories yet anyway. Joe Carr – new CEO of Wozzle.”

This story might be called a mea culpa, an acknowledgement of a wrong or, better, a gilded post-modernist bomb, an expression of the post-truth era, a world where if you believe it to be true, it can be.

Just want it, say it, jerk it into being etc.

Last night, and twenty minutes before a dinner run by the city’s most elite hostess and marked by crimson faces and heaving sun-beaten bosoms, a usually impeccable source texted me:

“One for ya, if you don’t already know – no one has stories yet anyway. Joe Carr – new CEO of Wozzle.”

Instead of the usual rigours applied to such a big story, I found a press release with Joe Carr’s name, garlanded it with Lillies and a couple of lurid details and sent the story live, confident of a little kick in traffic through the night.

As the sun rose on America’s west coast, Chas Smith then sent an open invite to Joe Carr to appear on his hit YouTube show Chas Smith Hates Surfing.

Why should Joe Carr choose BeachGrit, asked Chas?

The facts show The Inertia is as irrelevant as it is embarrassing, Stab is openly collaborationist, hoping to be included in the Saudi buy, Surfer is robots and Surflineis already “an official partner” plus gripped by toxic monopolistic greed.

Today, and after a polite email from WSL co-founder Terry Hardy, it was revealed I got two small details of the story wrong.

One, Joe Carr hadn’t been appointed CEO of the WSL.

Two, the press release came from 2017 when Joe Carr became CSO of the WSL.

Obvs, a shame.

Joe Carr is a man ripe for the job, handsome with his earth face and marvellous eyes. Very alert by all accounts.

A subsequent call and text to source yielded this message,

“OS mate in the US. I hit him and he said that Joe (Carr) is working for Dirk directly. Overseeing all his surf biz stuff. So in one way it’s correct but it sounds like there will also be a direct CEO too. Too funny u ran a seven-year-old press release tho hahahahaha.”

As the expression goes, this is a developing story.


Former World Surf League CEO Erik Logan (left) holding Joe Carr's place.
Former World Surf League CEO Erik Logan (left) holding Joe Carr's place.

Noxious surf journalist extends olive branch to incoming World Surf League CEO Joe Carr

Hello Joe Carr, I'm Chas Smith...

(Update: this is a fast-moving story. Read Bombshell Twist in appointment of ex-UFC exec as CEO of World Surf League.)

Yesterday, in the midst of putting off the Hurley Sunset Beach Pro again and losing money, the World Surf League announced the hiring of a new CEO who, officially, replaced the acting “clean up crew” that was holding the office since Erik Logan’s still unexplained, but brutal and lightning quick, departure.

Joe Carr, Derek Rielly wrote, “has got a few miles under the belt. He helped steer Dana and co into a four-billon dollar buyout for the UFC and, lately, was the founder and CEO of Nitro Circus parent company Thrill One.”

While the hiring certainly looks like a move to shore up loose ends, re-engage the pool model and dump the shootin’ match on our dear friends in Saudi Arabia, history has taught us one thing.

There’s no surviving without the grumbly indifference of surf fans. Paul Speaker grossly big footed with dumb claims and was gone quick. Sophie Goldschmidt followed, felt extremely nervous around, and was gone quicker. Erik Logan felt his years in shock radio had more than prepared him for the Nerf darts that surf fans could fling.

He was gone the most spectacularly of all.

Carr can, if he wishes, believe that all former CEOs and whatever Backward Fin Beth’s title was, disappeared of their own volition instead of being pushed out by The People™ for grossly demeaning behavior toward the only audience professional surfing has.

Or, he is welcome to engage with BeachGrit and not just because it is my favorite. The facts show The Inertia is as irrelevant as it is embarrassing, Stab is openly collaborationist, hoping to be included in the Saudi buy, Surfer is robots and Surfline is already “an official partner” plus gripped by toxic monopolistic greed.

So BeachGrit is it and I would imagine Carr to be lightly scared looking out over the World Surf League executive graveyard which just so happens to be next to the pet cemetery. He, in fact, should be but we all know what not conquering fear looks like.

Filipe Toledo.

Joe Carr, I’ll be reaching out soon.

Until then, congratulations!

David Lee Scales and I discussed the hiring, anyhow, during our weekly chat but spent the lion’s share of the time on the aforementioned Toledo. Scales had seemed to pivot into an apologist. Don’t worry. I stood firm. The episode also includes a hit song on Erik Logan’s poo poo touch by our own DJ Seaweed. Worth a listen for that alone.


Kelly Slater in Abu Dhabi at Dirk ZIff/WSL-owned wave pool.
The WSL’s dubious happy talk about wave pools, an ever expanding audience, and Olympics are carefully curated to create the illusion of success in order to dump the league at a much higher price than it is worth. Given the WSL’s failure to meet any of their benchmarks in terms or viewers or sponsors, who would be so stupid as to fall for this? Was the opening of a WSL owned wave pool in Abu Dhabi, with the opening ribbon cut by Kelly Slater himself, a mere coincidence? Is the massive $750,000,000 wave park opening in October in Saudi Arabia, the new global home of surfing?

The hiring of UFC exec Joe Carr has made it clear Dirk Ziff has a WSL exit strategy

The WSL’s happy talk about wave pools, ever expanding audience, and Olympics are curated to create the illusion of success in order to dump the league at a much higher price than it is worth.

Irrespective of WSL owner Dirk Ziff’s “Waterman of the Year Award” when it comes to surfing, he is a complete and utter kook.

When it comes to money, however, Dirk stands on much firmer ground.

Irrespective of the WSL’s greenwashing and virtue signaling about gender, at the end of the day they are a company owned by a New York City billionaire who had no roots or relationship to surfing until he acquired it in 2015. It looks likely that Ziff is preparing to sell his failed professional surfing experiment with the same ruthlessness he fired WSL president Eric Logan.

Dirk Ziff’s decision to hire Ultimate Fight Championship executive Joe Carr is a double-down on the WSL’s failed attempt to globalize and digitize surfing.

(Update: this is a fast-moving story. Read Bombshell Twist in appointment of ex-UFC exec as CEO of World Surf League.)

This winter in Hawaii, the WSL’s credibility hit an all time low.

Not only did their (Trestles) world champ fail to take off on a wave of significance during the Pipeline contest, they refused to hold the Pipe contest because the waves were “too big” for the beach break specialists they anoint as “champions” in order to “globalize” surfing. Most telling was the WSL treatment of surfing’s true female champion, Carrissa Moore. The WSL’s actions spoke volumes about their disrespect and disinterest in professional surfing.

The appointment of Joe Carr and the WSL’s failed “globalization of surfing” strategy has made it increasingly clear that Dirk Ziff has a WSL exit strategy.

While Dirk Ziff may be a kook when it comes to surfing, he is not when it comes to money.

The WSL’s dubious happy talk about wave pools, an ever expanding audience, and Olympics are carefully curated to create the illusion of success in order to dump the league at a much higher price than it is worth.

Given the WSL’s failure to meet any of their benchmarks in terms or viewers or sponsors, who would be so stupid as to fall for this?

Was the opening of a WSL owned wave pool in Abu Dhabi, with the opening ribbon cut by Kelly Slater himself, a mere coincidence?

Is the massive $750,000,000 wave park opening in October in Saudi Arabia, the new global home of surfing?

In 2023, Reuters reported,

“Saudi Sovereign Wealth Fund Splashes Cash in 2023.”

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund spent $31.5 billion in 2023 and moved aggressively into the sports of soccer and golf so why not surfing?

Although slavery was legal in Saudi Arabia until 1962 although, unofficially it still exists, and women were only allowed to drive in 2017, this will pose no ethical problems to the former member of the Weinstein Company.

This is capitalism, after all.