“Symbol of colonial impression” aluminum surf judging tower rises above waters at Teahupo’o

Extremely provocative.

One of the more inspiring bits of this still-young 2024 was the valiant effort of Teahupo’o locals attempting to stop construction of a needless aluminum judging tower proposed to replace the perfectly fine, though quaint, wooden one. Long an iconic part of the “End of the Road,” the “Ndhawu leyi ti yeti coolers ti tshamaka eka yona” or “Place Where Yeti Coolers Dwell,” has witnessed decades of famous performances from the likes of Andy Irons, Nathan Hedge and infamous performances from the likes of Filipe Toledo.

Olympic organizers, however, deemed it too rickety with not enough bidets and, thus, proposed a giant new metal structure. Locals fought, marched, protested against and won a re-imagined tower, still metal, but smaller and without bidets.

The compromise, a lightly less provocative symbol of colonial oppression, is now, officially, poking out of the South Pacific.

Barbara Martins Nio, head of the Tahiti site for the Paris Olympics told the press, “Supervision of the construction site by the teams who have used the tower for 20 years, the opening of the information kiosk, and local consultation on ‘environmental and heritage’ issues have favored a return to calm.”

The brightest linguistic minds from around the world have been gathered and are currently working to decipher what she meant.

“We’ve thrown in the towel,” Cindy Otcenasek, president of Vai Ara o Teahupoo, one of the associations opposed to the work, also told the press, adding they had done “everything that was possible within the limits of the law.”

Where do you stand on the whole situation? Team “Big Aluminum” or “Team Burn It To The Reef?”

World Surf League sheds twelve staffers
Tears as a dozen staff shown door at World Surf League.

Bloodbath at World Surf League as surfing’s brightest creative talents shown door!

Including creative director who created iconic line, “It takes a tour to make a title!”

Five months ago, surf fans woke to the shock news the World Surf League had shuttered its famed Santa Monica headquarters and moved to a shared rental space in El Segundo alongside an animal urgent care facility and a pet cemetery. 

The old joint was originally listed for sale for $14.5 mill although that price has since been shaved by two mill. The selling realtor describes the owner as “motivated” and asks buyers to “submit all offers.” The office is also available for lease at “a special introductory rate.”

After an annus horribilis where the World Surf League mysteriously disappeared its CEO Erik Logan and a world champ was again crowned in weak two-foot waves, bad has apparently hit worse with the sacking of some of the League’s pivotal staff including the creative brain behind the iconic line,“It takes a tour to make a title.” 

(Yeah, I know, redundant after the switch to a Finals  Day. But, still…)

Twelve staffers were iced in the blood-letting, executive assistants, the aforementioned creative director and some creative team members, along with members of the ad op team, as well as the VP of Events. 

No one left empty handed, the WSL generously giving each employee two months severance pay.

Observers suggest the WSL is “likely trimming the fat, could be to make the profit and loss look a little better ahead of a potential buyer looking into the books.” 

As Chas Smith reported around the time of the World Surf League’s move to El Segundo, the likely buyer will be a Saudi awash with petro-dollars and a yearning to own the sport of kings and queens.

Rumors have been boiling for months, now, that the reclusive billionaire and owner of the World Surf League has been shopping his failed asset. Even though former CEO Erik Logan promised growth and “momentum being real” he got fired after telling a boy to “take his shirt off” and those pronouncements were flat out lies.

It is neither growing nor having momentum, exciting ladder sponsorships being the best it can do, and you must imagine that Ziff is chartering the family jet and punching in coordinates as “middle” and “east.”

Wave tanks in Jeddah.

Final’s Day in Haql.

I’ll put all my agurot that Ziff will, anyhow, sell to, if not Saudi then Bahrain sometime next year, using the Olympics as leverage.

Sky Brown (pictured) belting.
Sky Brown (pictured) belting.

Chaos at World Surfing Games as darlings Erin Brooks and Sky Brown fail to qualify for Olympics!

Reality bites.

Absolute chaos has descended upon the United States protectorate of Puerto Rico, hours ago, as media darlings Erin Brooks and Sky Brown have been bumped out of the International Surfing Association’s World Surfing Games thereby losing Olympic qualification.

I think.

The byzantine rules around punching a ticket to the big Games has stifled even adroitest of minds. This much, however, is currently known. Erin Brooks secured her Canadian citizenship weeks ago in hopes of representing the maple leaf at the Cave of Skulls. Brown, who rides for England, was attempting to become history’s first to compete in surfing and skateboarding. Both lost in one of the 40 repechage rounds thereby derailing momentum.


Canada still has Sanoa Olin alive in the draw who might qualify due to ranking ahead of Brooks. England has Glen “Micro” Hall.

Who actually knows.

Things will certainly be made clear once the dust settles but, for now, let’s choose to be sad for Brooks and Brown.

Thanks, Kelly.
Thanks, Kelly.

Question: Is Gen X or Millennials history’s most hamstrung surfing generation?

Your consideration required.

David Lee Scales and I connected this morning for our weekly chat and dove straight in to the topic currently dominating the surf conversation. Is surfing easy or is it difficult? Two competing polls were released this week. One, from ESPN, declaring surfing to b decidedly not hard. Somewhere between squash and badminton. One, from Puberty, firmly stated the opposite, sliding surfing very near the “top of tough.”

Kelly Slater, of course, weighed in as he is wont to do. So did I on the increasingly popular YouTube program Chas Smith Hates Surfing.

Slater and my knee jerk early reactions may well stand the test of time but as Scales and I kicked the issue back and forth further nuance flowered.

We, each of us, have a different experience with the “Sport of Kings” depending on when and where we began. I first started sliding around in the middle 1980s but didn’t acquire my first custom handshaped board until the middle 1990s. A razor thin, rockered out potato chip. It was the only acceptable way to go and I thought nothing of it, paddling out in Huntington Beach’s soft slop and attempting radical progression.

Certainly not alone.

Those who came of real surfing age as Gen Xers all, likely, had a portion, if not entirety, of early-ish learning done on craft only fit for the likes of prime Kelly Slater.

A …Lost generation, no doubt.

Which made me wonder. Is Gen X the most hamstrung generation in surfing’s proud history? Leaving the early “carve your own board from a tree” years, the 50s offered long stable things, the 60s same but better, the 70s better still with lots of floaty foam, the 80s wide and fat and chill, the 90s a tiny little wafer, the 00s tiny wafers but a return to more foam everywhere, the 10s a smorgasbord of lengths, widths plus the discovery of “volume” and the 20s with its pure unadulterated user friendliness.

Gen X retarded by what was en vogue.

The only generation that may be more hamstrung is the Millennials who had a wide variety of craft but unformed spines and spongy wills.

Filipe Toledo-style.

So, what do you think? If you had come of surfing age today would you rip? David Lee Scales and I also discussed the importance of eating with flatware that fell on the floor.

Lily-livers need not apply.

Dom Purcell with surfboards and Noah Cyrus (top right) and Tish Cyrus (bottom right).
Dom Purcell with surfboards and Noah Cyrus (top right) and Tish Cyrus (bottom right).

Surfing center stage in scurvy Noah Cyrus x mother Tish Cyrus love swamp!

The sport of kings delivers another hammer.

Let’s all sit back, for a moment, and reflect on what surfing has given us. Moments of solitary joy. An excuse to adventure. Friendships. Vitamin D. A respite, sanctuary, lifelong windmill at which to tilt. A window for us to encounter things we never otherwise would have encountered thus giving us elevated conversation games at office parties and/or family gatherings and/or app-based dates.

Enter Tish Cyrus and her daughter Noah who are part of the very famous, though currently broken, family that also includes Billy Ray and Miley (not to be confused with Miley-Dyer). Even the most “I-don’t-care-about-anything-I-just-surf-and-nothing-else” amongst us knows Billy Ray’s 1992 country smash Achy-Breaky Heart and daughter Miley’s turn as Hannah Montana.

Well, Miley, of course, went on to even greater fame as a pop sensation. Sister Noah was following in her footsteps though seemed to get lightly derailed somewhere along the way and now whispers are flickering that matriarch Tish swooped on Noah’s then-boyfriend, Australian actor Dom Purcell, and married him.

Billy Ray and Tish became divorced last April after 30+ years of matrimony.

Miley is not speaking with her father.

Noah is not speaking with her mother.

Dom is rinsing it all off with a “bleak and choppy” surf at Malibu.

Per TMZ:

Dominic Purcell — the former ‘Prison Break’ star, who’s now married to Tish — went surfing Thursday out in Malibu, CA … where it was just him and his board as he caught some waves and enjoyed a little solo time out in the ocean during a gloomy day.

The pics are pretty cool … Dom seems to know what he’s doing out there, looking like a fairly seasoned surfer and not a kook (beginner) — at least that’s what we can glean.

(Examine evidence for yourself here)

In any case, the relationship timeline is all murky as to when Tish and Dom actually began their amorous dalliance, all evidence pointing to when Noah and Dom were itemized, and what a scurvy love swamp.

While you may think “who cares,” you won’t be thinking that after dropping the goss to your Hinge date, her batting her eyelashes in return at what a worldly and broadly intelligent fella you are.

Thanks, once again, surfing.