Andy Irons (pictured) in Filipe Toledo's nightmare.
Andy Irons (pictured) in Filipe Toledo's nightmare.

Surfer Magazine bot short circuits, compares Filipe Toledo to Andy Irons in wild diatribe against “dark recesses of surf world”

Truly bizarre.

Artificial intelligence, as you certainly know, is an evolving tool. It sits there, “learning” etc. Sorting out what this “human experience” is then regurgitating its version back into the public space to be sampled by real boys and girls. Its takes are often very weird as wires get crossed or short circuit altogether in an attempt to understand the complexity and absurdity and fifty shades of grey.

And the poor beleaguered Surfer Magazine robot. It was quietly introduced to us as soon as the once-proud title was acquired by The Arena Group and rolled out Emily Morgan. Those bits and bytes were lightly charming, “penning” stories on our saltwater lifestyle from the shadows of Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains. When it tried “writing” for The Arena Group’s other title Sports Illustrated, though, all hell broke loose. The company’s stock tanked, the CEO lost his job and tears were shed.

Well, the Surfer bot limped back to this backwater and, today, unleashed a wildly misguided comparison between Filipe Toledo and his public fear with Andy Irons.

A sampling:

Filipe Toledo’s decision to withdraw from the Pipe Pro has been met by a storm of negative press around the surfing world. Seemingly before the Championship Tour season even started, the knives were out for the back-to-back world champion. Unsubstantiated claims that he was scared of Pipe have been volleyed at him without any real understanding of either the man’s physical or mental health status.

It’s unfair, but sadly, for whatever reason, dark recesses of the surf world often speak without knowing and act without empathy. It’s very reminiscent to what three-time world champion Andy Irons experienced, especially when he was at the height of his power. While today Andy is hailed as a lost legend, an icon of the sport gone too soon, that was hardly the case when he was with us.

The bot goes on to share long stories about how it “hung out” with Irons in Mexico and witnessed fans demanding impossible demands before pivoting back to its “time spent” with Toledo ending with, “Filipe finished the Championship Tour ranked first in the world, he would have been the world champion if the season had ended at Pipe or Lowers because he’s a freakishly talented surfer and a competitive animal. Filipe’s not just a pro surfer or world champ. He’s a father. He’s a husband. He’s a son. He’s a friend. He’s a surfer just like you and me. He should be given the respect he deserves for those things alone. We all should be.”

“We” all should be?

A bald-faced attempt at non-sentient inclusion in the growing identity tree. Also, patently false. Humans aren’t owed respect. Kindness, consideration, forgiveness? Yes. Respect? That is earned.

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.

Strange days.

Fisherman reels in 1200 pound Great White from popular beach!

“That’s a monster, dude, that’s not just any White shark.”

It’s sure as hell been one-way traffic between Great Whites and humans these past couple of decades, ever since the gloves came on and the fish became a protected species in most of its habitats. 

The protection, as y’know, has led to a stratospheric rise in Great White attacks, mostly surfers.

Last Wednesday morning at Navarre Beach, just east of Pensacola there, and using a 150-pound swordfish head and a head of an 80-pound yellowfin tuna head, Blaine Kenny and his biz partner Dylan Weir went hunting “the biggest sharks possible.” 

Kenny on the rod, Weir the spotter. 

“There’s only a few things it can be, a Mako, a giant Tiger, a White shark or the biggest Dusky we’ve ever seen in our lives,” Weir says when Kenny hooks a shark. “We’re just going to play it out, not jump to assumptions, and really does it matter what’s on the other end of that line right now? We have one task at hand and the task is Blaine has to stay locked in. I have to stay locked in.”

Using a drone, Weir identifies the shark as a Great White. 

“That’s a monster, dude, that’s not just any White shark.”

Kenny gets the Great White to shore and, here, we see the most dramatic moment of the event when the hook is deftly removed from the Great White’s mouth and the creature is set free.

“I’ve said it so many times before,” he says. “But truly, truly words cannot describe the feeling of this fish right here.”


Zuckerberg (pictured) laughing in the face of food poisoning.
Zuckerberg (pictured) laughing in the face of food poisoning.

World holds breath as Meta investors warned Mark Zuckerberg’s love of surfing, cage fighting, could kill him

Danger dog.

Days ago, the two-time** world surfing champ Filipe Toledo shocked even his biggest detractors by failing, yet again, to give an effort in scary waves breaking over shallow reef. The “Pipeline Poltroon” demonstrated a sort of fear, of cowardice, not seen since Mr. Pink in 1992’s Reservoir Dogs. The sort, likely, Meta’s board wished its leader, one Mark Zuckerberg, would harness.

The social media juggernaut previously known as Facebook is, currently, riding high after a rough few years. Profits well up, minds, both young and old, poisoned with even greater effectiveness. The only potential problem on the horizon, though, is the aforementioned Zuckerberg’s “participation in high-risk activities” which very much includes his brave and bold big wave surfing.

And you certainly recall when the world’s fifth richest man sat down across from Lex Friedman and declared, “I, uh, train hard. So if I’m gonna go out in a 15-foot wave then I’ll make sure we have the right safety gear, make sure I’m used to that spot and all that stuff.”

Well, in its latest Security and Exchange Commission filing, Meta declared Zuckerberg’s big ol’ balls to be troublesome.

“We currently depend on the continued services and performance of our key personnel, including Mark Zuckerberg,” it read. “Mr. Zuckerberg and certain other members of management participate in various high-risk activities, such as combat sports, extreme sports, and recreational aviation, which carry the risk of serious injury and death.”


Now, Zuckerberg is widely known to pal up with various “extreme” bros. You know of his affair with Kai Lenny who described the 5’6″ 39 year-old as “super cool, super into water sport, really active. Super fit. Like … strong, strong strong. Physically strong.” Lenny was soon dumped for mixed-martial artist Khai “The Shadow” Wu and others but do you think Meta’s board will attempt to insert Filipe Toledo into Zuckerberg’s friend group?

A little overabundance of caution inoculation?

It would be wise.

Read the entire filing here.

Makua Rothman says surfing at its weakest point in history.
Makua Rothman says surfing in terrible place. Asks fans, what to do?

Big-wave champ Makua Rothman delivers bombshell message to fans, “Surfing is at the weakest point it has ever been!”

"Get non-surfers out of the game, they ruin it every time."

It ain’t a secret to anyone, let alone the Hawaiian-born big-wave world champ Makua Rothman, that the surf industry is on its knees force fed the transparent viscous goo of hedge fund money, faces buried in corporate America’s moist thicket.

The season began with Carissa Moore and Stephanie Gilmore, thirteen world titles between ‘em and more star power than the men’s and women’s tour combined, quitting the tour within days of each other.

A men’s world champ that refuses to surf, in any meaningful way, the two most iconic waves in the world.

Commentators, CEOs, all disappeared without a trace as if it was Stalin’s Great Terror.

And, so, Makua Rothman, the thirty-nine-year-old son of North shore strongman Fast Eddie Rothman and winner of the Billabong XXL award for riding a sixty-six footer at Jaws when he was eighteen, has asked his myriad fans a real simple question.

What do we do?

“I want to reach out and see if I can challenge you folks,” says Makua Rothman. “See what you think, what solutions you might have.”

Makua Rothman adds:

“Surfing is at its weakest point it’s ever been, huge fun money, loss of control over the companies and the real culture, the people that started the brands. It’s a real turning point in surfing and I think there’s some really great minds out there and we can definitely change the way the surf world is forever and for the better.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Makua Rothman (@makuarothman)

Given Makua Rothman’s status, let’s say, the comments came thick and fast and from the best in the game.

From John John’s mama Alex, “A league that supports the actual athletes and an updated judging system..👍🤷‍♀️ not a tv show! And well ya know no men in the girls etc…”

Shane Dorian: “We need to protect women’s sports.”

Pipe legend Liam McNamara: “How can we have a world champion decided in head-high little cobblestone, California beach break.”

Jeremy Flores: “100% the weakest it’s ever been. It’s sad. Being part of it all since many years. It definitely feels like it’s our responsibility to care about the future & next generations!”

Dustin Barca: “No mid season cut off . End with the triple crown . Without it ending in Hawaii , it’s dead.”

Master surfboard sprayer Drew Brophy, “Go back to the basics, support real surf companies, shapers craftsman, designers, artists, shop owners, surf community, etc. Take care of the waves and places where they are, get non-surfers out of the game, they ruin it every time. Surfers should have to compete in all conditions biggest to smallest, everyone gets to shine doing what they do best. Always remember the waves are the star every time.”

Makua Rothman finishes his piece to camera with a throat-slashing motion. Very theatrical!

Do you think surfing is at its weakest point or do you see a juggernaut of competitive sport and fashion storming the runways and television sets?

I, Filipe "Poltroon" Toledo
I, Filipe "Poltroon" Toledo

Surfer Magazine robot makes bizarre counter-factual defense of shameful Filipe Toledo Pipe performance!

"Internet armchair quarterbacks" thoroughly chastised.

Now, anybody who has actually had real food poisoning knows the torture, the abject pain of foreign bugs in tummy. There, of course, can be many causes with varying degrees of yuck. I once caught amoebic dysentery in Cairo, Egypt, for instance, and spent seven whole days hooked up to an IV in a Jordanian hospital. I’ve also had the classic vomit fits lasting all night.

And yet, no form of food poisoning has the bearer drinking a beer minutes after claiming.

Filipe Toledo is a special guy, though.

Days ago, the globe watched as the aforementioned surf champion cowered at Pipeline during the very first day of the World Surf League’s very first day of 2024. He managed a 1.77 that was generous, sitting on priority without paddling then pretending to get himself out of position. A shameful performance no doubt followed by and even more shameful one.

Pulling out and citing food poisoning.

While condemnation for his spinelessness came quick, and from all corners, Surfer Magazine’s artificial intelligence software had a different take. Shall we read Filipe Toledo is Going to Make his Critics Look Like Fools together?

On the opening day of the Pipe Pro, after an anemic showing in his first heat, Toledo withdrew from the contest citing food poisoning. The darkest recesses of the Internet cried foul, claiming he was scared of the conditions at Pipe or some such nonsense. It’s a farcical assumption for a number of reasons.

For starters, Pipe wasn’t that gnarly by the time the Elimination Round rolled around. Toledo got fifth in the event last year. And while he’s never won at Pipe, over the course of his career, his results there have been respectable with a number of quarterfinal appearances. In our conversation he expressed that he was excited to get the season started at Pipe, as well as noted his comfort level at Teahupo’o going into the Olympic year.

This brings up a second point. For anyone that’s spent any significant amount of time on the North Shore, the dirty, little secret is that it’s almost impossible not to get sick there at one point or another. Surfers from around the world show up, stay in houses together, share germs and eat suspect food. When it comes to one’s health, danger lurks around every corner. Day old Spam musubi can be lethal.

The silliness of the various strands of this argument shows that AI still needs much tuning in order to actually make human appeals, but the most egregious bit is at the end. Day old Spam musubi can be lethal? As any North Shore traveler knows, Spam musubi is one of the greatest culinary treats. A thick slice of extremely processed ham affixed to a bed of rice by a seaweed belt all smeared in teriyaki.

Yum with the keywords being EXTREMELY PROCESSED. A year-old Spam musubi would only taste lightly funky. The robot, in any case, makes multiple appeals to the “conversations” it had with Toledo ending with “My take on it, give Toledo a break. He’s human, he’s on the North Shore, shit happens. Literally. You don’t see any of his rivals discounting him, just a bunch of Internet armchair quarterbacks that have never even had a conversation with him.”


Is that’s what’s happening here?

Internet armchair quarterbacks getting it all wrong?

David Lee Scales and I, anyhow, discussed the “Pipeline Poltroon” at great length during today’s weekly chat. How good a word is “poltroon?”

Poltroon Toledo.

Enjoy here.