Derek Hynd on finless board
"Modern surfing is a cop-out of how we’ve made things easy, easier, easier still. It did not need to be dumbed down. Hybrids, particularly Fish hybrids, disgust me."

Surfing’s greatest influencer Derek Hynd launches stinging attack on modern VAL culture!

"The only thing repetitive contests has done is strip the magic and create the most conservative government funded sport on earth."

A few years back, I wrote a story touting the launch of Derek Hynd’s new shaping project, Hyndline.

HyndLine was to be a series of thirty hand-shaped board models – or codes – representing 30 years of Hynd’s surfing progression from 1973-2003. Ten boards being shaped per code. Designs from the Campbell brothers, Terry Fitz, Tom Parrish, Skip Frye, to name but a few.

All re-shaped by Hynd himself and made available to the surfing public.

The story ran, and was well enough received by you lot. Derek Hynd, as always, was articulate and insightful. The ultimate surf provocateur.

But I only included a handful of the 2500 + words from our full interview transcript. Two-and-a-half-thousand words of Hynd on board design, the WSL, why he went finless, when he might go back. Why he hates hybrid fish. The feeling of Impossibles at J-Bay doubling up from six-to-eight-feet with a Parrish 8’2 of 1975 vintage under your feet.

It was all in there. Too many pull quotes to count. I noted at the time how it could have easily been a standalone piece. But I never did anything about it.

Enter Black Hole Transmissions. BHT is a project running under Andrew Kidman’s Big Sky Ltd umbrella: a digital platform to house Kidman and his coterie’s inscrutable wealth of surf culture and knowledge.

There’s films. Photography. Music. Stretching decades back into the archives. Exclusive digital screenings of Kidman classics like Litmus, Glass Love, Spirit of Akasha, and the eponymous Big Sky Limited.

There’s new stuff, too.

Mainly writing for the time being, Kidman’s BHT editor is Dave Parmenter, a man who needs no introduction here.

Contributions from the likes of Kidman, Parmenter, Hynd, and yours truly. Plus, many more.

We’ve just put the Hynd interview up, in full, with a further li’l intro from me.

No matter your take on the subject matter, Derek Hynd in full flight is always an interesting read.

And nah, it’s not free. It’s never going to be a competitor to the hamster wheel of inspired dissent here on the Grit.

But, it’s grounded in a similar ethos. One of straight talking. Of death to bullshit. Of that brutal, honest integrity that keeps the dilettantes and cronies awake in the small hours of the night. That gnawing sense that things ain’t right in the world of surf.

Plus there’s some hell reads. Something definitely worth chucking a few dollarydoos at, if you can spare it.

Thanks to DR for the opportunity to promote.

BHT: How has your time surfing finless influenced your outlook on board design?

Derek Hynd: This is my 17th year of riding nothing but free friction (editor’s note: this was in 2021). I still feel the speed, still get a thrill.

It has a bearing on Hyndline. The reason for getting into it in the first place had a lot to do with getting as far away from predictable board design so I’m going the other way to tap what I knew so well before the easier toys took hold. Give me errors any day and sketchy moments going with it but give me something to work out.

Post-Litmus with the retro boom of hybrid boards designed like modern boards not to stuff up, to make it easy, I wanted to and did run a mile far. Been in the back of my mind all the while though, every board that I ever considered a gem was flawed enough to need working out. But once worked out, whoa.

Modern day “performance” fish seemed to have moved further and further away from their original intended design. What’s your take on them?

Modern surfing is a cop-out of how we’ve made things easy, easier, easier still. Hybrids do this. They ruin the soul of the art form. Moves to soft rails to legropes to grip pad to tail blocks to easy rider rockers likewise. To this day a great surf at Supers is sullied by the legrope around my ankle. My cop-out. These Hyndline boards are true to form and mostly require learning and acceptance because most of these boards aren’t dead easy pieces of sponge cake to jump on, which is the way I’ve always appreciated it and the way most modern surfers do not like it. It’s a bugbear, but Tom Blake’s first skeg was pure surfing’s loss, advent of surfing’s Americana, how to make things easier despite the nuances of difficulty and challenges of mastery, leaving Surfing for a few thousand years justifiably unique to human pursuits. It did not need to be dumbed down. Hybrids, particularly Fish hybrids, disgust me.

These boards represent the bulk of your competitive career (and then some). What’s your perspective on board design on the current tour, and how it has progressed in the intervening period? You’ve said in the past how man-on-man elimination format stifles design innovation, does that still hold true?

Board design goes the way of the harsh past and current contest system, narrowed to the completeness of Dave Parmenter’s dancing bear analogy of over 30 years back. It is phenomenally skillful, and the designs are no less tailored to this skill level. This, though, has left the top of the pyramid with nowhere to go.

It’s like America’s Cup yacht racing. Ex-pros generally fail to evolve their surfing post-career, said with the greatest respect. Maybe shapers should condition these athletes to design shifts after linear knockout contests have knocked the freeform thinking out of them. It isn’t as much an act of smashing a wave anymore as it should be expanding young hopeful minds in an environment where more than one person gets to win riding more than one design.

(On the WSL and competitive surfing in general)

Sorry mate, the way surfing has gone the past 40 years the only thing rote coaching and repetitive contests has done is strip the magic, create the most conservative government funded sport on earth, leave aspiring and top-level pros at risk of social corruption through too much surfing and not enough education, and fail to offer routes of redemption to way too many amateurs and pros who deserve better systems. It comes down to lateral thinking all round — the lack thereof. But aside from the above, everything’s great, ha-ha.

Check out the full interview with Derek Hynd at

Filipe Toledo, ISA Games, Puerto Rico.
Filipe Toledo, bested by poisoned local hero Brian Toth, inset, at ISA Games in Puerto Rico.

Irony strikes Olympic surfing qualifier after local hero downs world champ Filipe Toledo despite food poisoning

“I was weak and just puking my brains out all morning,” just like Filipe Toledo wasn’t at Pipe a few weeks ago.

Yesterday, in round three of the World Surf Games held in Puerto Rico, the almost forty-year-old hometown hero Brian Toth matched up against two-time champion John John Florence and the once-defending champ Filipe Toledo.

As the clock ran out, Florence won and Toth held the number two spot, pushing Filipe Toledo into the repechage.

A defeat by a former QS journeyman might have been easier to swallow Filipe Toledo had it not that Toth barely made his heat due to an acute case of – you guessed it – food poisoning.

Post heat Toth said,

“I was weak and just puking my brains out all morning,” just like Filipe Toledo wasn’t at Pipe a few weeks ago.

You undoubtedly recall two-time WSL champion Filipe Toledo bowed out of the season opener at Pipeline after bobbing in the water for thirty minutes without committing to a single adult-sized wave in his round one heat.

His score? 1.77

His reason? Food poisoning.

As online doctors diagnosed after his admission, one typically cannot much detach from the tile of the bathroom floor than jog across the sand then slide out to eight-foot Pipe.

Common food poisoning symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and fever, each of these lasting from six to thirty-six hours.

Yet, Filipe Toledo the lion-chested brushed aside his torment to fulfill his responsibility as a worthy world champion and pretend to surf his heat. After, the lion-chested warrior exited the water to take proper medical care with a cheeseburger and bottle of beer.

Three days later, the Brazilian announced his withdraw from the tour to focus on his mental health.

Pundits sniffed blood and claimed Toledo spineless. Naturally, he returned fire, playing the part of protester at a Selma food counter.

After three weeks, the cruel whisperings and taunting had started to quiet.

But karma runs quick and bites hard.

Post heat Toth said, “I’m going to go probably get an IV right now because I can’t keep anything down at the moment. Rest up and eat well and try to get the food back into me.”

Likely a burger and Modelo.

The whole thing is stinging, isn’t it.

Cairns (left) and Tomson (right) feat. A. Goggans.
Cairns (left) and Tomson (right) feat. A. Goggans.

World surf champs Ian Cairns vs. Shaun Tomson criminal “kook case” takes sordid turn!

A landmark ruling continues to reverberate.

California’s most powerful legal minds have been riveted, this past week, and not by proceedings in Washington D.C. or the fine state of Alabama but rather by drama up near Montecito where Oprah Winfrey and Princess Meghan rub Ozempic. Yes, a case has been ruled on there definitively declaring that kooks are free to drop in and maim wherever and whenever they please.

You certainly read about it one month ago, here, but as quick refresher….

The precedent centered around one Mark Olson who decided to go for a surf, one morning, at Miramar Beach. He paddled out with a pal and, as it happens, a wave came steaming in. Mr. Olson paddled for it, dropped in on the surfer behind him though “believed they were a safe distance from each other.”

In an instant flash of karma, though, a longboarder named Patrick Saville dropped in on Mr. Olson and bingo bango WIPEOUT!

Mr. Olson popped up and felt his back. “I immediately stood up in pain,” he recalled. “I put my hand in through my wetsuit that was sliced open and inside the flesh of my torso that had been cut wide open.”

He started crying like an itty bitty baby then saw Mr. Saville’s longboard floating all by itself.


Mr. Olson’s pal had heard his public weeping and paddled over, examining his back and saying, “It was a very deep, long, open wound that looked like he had been cut open by a filet knife. It made me nauseous and feel like throwing up. The cut was through his wetsuit. It looked like his guts were hanging out.”

An ambulance finally came and took the two tender li’l things to a hospital.

The story does not stop there, however. Mr. Olson was infuriated by the leashless business and sued Mr. Saville for damages. Each rallied a bonafide surf star for to make surf etiquette explanations to the judge. Mr. Olson rolled out none other than Shaun Tomson who shared the rules of surfing are 1) don’t drop in on surfers already riding a wave, and 2) don’t lose control of your board. Also, “Wear a surf leash to control your surfboard in the event you lose control of it.”

Mr. Saville countered with the testosterone-spitting father of professional surfing, Ian Cairns who mocked the lily-livers before him and stated, “Etiquette is fluid depending on a variety of factors” while defending the God given right of longboarders to lose the leash.

In the end, the judge sided with Ian Cairns.

I really don’t have more to add other than the mainstream media has now picked up the story and is aghast that Mr. Saville didn’t lose. Also, continually let down by the system is Ashton Goggans who once called the police in order to file an assault charge after becoming pushed during a podcast.

The law laughed directly into his portly face.

And there is your sordid turn.

Dear Bailey Ladders... you are hella fine. Love, Kaipo Guerrero.
Dear Bailey Ladders... you are hella fine. Love, Kaipo Guerrero.

Run on perfumed stationary feared as World Surf League launches “Why I love my Bailey ladder” promotion!

How do I love thee, Bailey Ladders? Let me count the ways.

One of the more endearing partnerships, of the past year plus, is, undoubtedly, that between the World Surf League and regional Australian company Bailey Ladders. Soft launched near the beginning of the 2022 or 2023 Championship Tour Season, the romance picked up heat, last year, and became Instagram official after WSL APAC President Andrew Stark declared, “The WSL is happy to have Bailey Ladders increase their involvement to include the CT events in Australia for the next two years. We had incredible feedback from fans onsite and watching from home on the Bailey Ladders Leaderboard. We look forward to continuing this activation across four events in 2023 and 24, both onsite and online. We’d like to thank them for their ongoing support and for seeing the value in professional surfing.”

The surf fan delighted in the love story, from a distance, but never imagined he, or she, would be invited to actively participate.

But here we are.

In a stunning overnight move, the “Global Home of Surfing” announced a campaign that would invite the aforementioned surf fan directly into the boudoir, as it were.

The “Why you Love your Bailey Ladder” promotion.

Per the directions, amorous dreamers are instructed to “simply spend $700 or more on Baily Ladders product(s) and fill out your details on the website entry page then write in 25 words or less ‘Why you Love your Bailey Ladder.'”

Though what does the winner receive?

The “trip of a lifetime” to Margaret River, of course, for herself and “3 mates” which includes:

-$4000 Flight Centre Travel Voucher.

-4 person accommodation from April 10th to 22nd (4 bed, self contained small house).

-4 VIP tickets to watch every da of the event from the official WSL VIP Tend (Food and drinks included).

-$4,400 spending money in the form of a Visa gift card.

Spring has sprung (in the northern hemisphere and almost).

Connor O'Leary, number one Japanese surfer, toppling Kanoa Igarashi.
Connor O'Leary, Cronulla-born, Irish name, but with impeccable Japanese bona fides! Topples Kanoa Igarashi as number one Japanese surfer.

Boilover at Olympic surf qualifier after Aussie Connor O’Leary topples Kanoa Igarashi to become Japan’s #1 surfer!

Kanoa Igarashi no longer face of Japanese surfing as boy from Cronulla steals coveted crown!

As predicted on these pages four days ago in The Wild Blood Feud No One Saw Coming, Aussie surfer Conner O’Leary has stolen the number one Japanese surfer title from Huntington Beach’s Kanoa Igarashi. 

Kanoa Igarashi, a boy with a high forehead and plucked eyebrows, may have already qualified for Paris 2024, but tears were swimming in his eyes earlier today after he was bundled out of the Olympic qualifier in Puerto Rico in what looked like a walk-through heat. 

Igarashi failed to muster double digits in a shock performance against Chilean Roberto Araki, German Dylan Green and Italian Papa Edoardo, minnows whom Igarashi should’ve had squalling with fright. 

Cronulla-born Conner O’Leary, meanwhile, dominated a high-scoring repechage heat, pressing his jackboot on the necks of Venezuelan Keoni Lasa, Jamaica’s Elishama Beckford and Chilean Guillermo Satt. 

He will now move into repechage heat four, not real sure what happens after that. Readers, hit your buzzers when you know the answer and write in the space below. 

O’Leary has previously said, “I want to see some Japanese surfers on the tour in the next couple of years – there’s so much talent. To be that face on the tour for them, and help the Australian kids as well, what more can you ask for?”

In another boilover, Filipe Toledo, who came out of retirement for the qualifier and who was regarded as an easy favourite to win the event due to small waves that would struggle to knock awry the spectacles of a child, came last in his round three heat against John John Florence, Puerto Rican Brian Toth and Chilean Manuel Selman. 

Toledo, unlike Kanoa Igarashi, can still muscle his way back into the event, but must do so from the loser rounds. 

Again, readers, explain the byzantine workings of the ISA Games in the discussion pane below.