Smith (left) and Erik Logan. Better times.
Smith (left) and Erik Logan. Better times.

Disgraced former World Surf League CEO Erik Logan picks up job writing for Forbes

"I have had the privilege over my three-decade career to work alongside some of the biggest brands and monumental pioneers of our time,"

I just so happen to be in Oklahoma City, again, and am hopping mad. Last time I was here, driving my daughter’s Volkswagen from Cardiff by the Sea, California to Nashville, Tennessee, I was in the throes of thrill. I had limped into town, if you recall, searching for the mythical non-surfing professional surfing fan when none other than World Surf League CEO Erik Logan texted me, “Okc?!” He then proceeded to dangle a Barry Switzer meeting and I could not believe my fortune.

It turns out that Logan was boozed, or something, as he put me on a text chain with a random person and Barry Switzer’s wife who proclaimed to know nothing about surfing, or Logan, and stated she would reach out to the authorities if bothered again.

Months later, E-Lo, as he enjoyed being called, was ruthlessly fired in the most terse press release ever.

Though he had put himself front and center of everything surf, even going so far as to wear timid champion Filipe Toledo’s skin, Logan did not feel his vicious dismissal was worth sharing and kept hidden. Kept hidden, that is, until he considered it the right time to pop back up as a motivational speaker and, now, a Forbes writer.

“I have had the privilege over my three-decade career to work alongside some of the biggest brands and monumental pioneers of our time,” he began his biography. “As president of The Oprah Winfrey Network & Harpo, I reported directly to Oprah Winfrey for a decade and oversaw the strategic shift that catapulted OWN to a top cable network. Prior to that, I served as president of Harpo Inc. & Harpo Studios, representing Oprah and Harpo on the Board of Directors for OWN. Most recently, I was CEO of World Surf League, the professional arm of surfing, and I held senior leadership positions at XM Satellite Radio and CBS Radio. Today, I am a founding partner of multiple companies, including the record company, Nashville Harbor, and I am a partner in the e-commerce company, OTD, and The Big Machine Music City Grand Prix. As an award-winning executive producer, the intersection of leadership, content, and culture is my passion.”

His first offering is 3 ways to Improve your Productivity as a Leader and is teased with “Doing the next right thing could be something mundane, such as taking out the trash or returning a call; the most minor completed tasks count!”

Is leaving surf fans bereft, without a goodbye, the right thing, Erik Logan?

Are we lower than trash?

Well?

You have my number and also Barry Switzer’s wife’s number.


Robert Kennedy Jr, Kelly Slater and, inset, Kelly and Barack Obama in happier days.
Kelly Slater and Robert F Kennedy and, inset, Kelly and Barack Obama in happier days.

Kelly Slater throws shade at former BFF Barack Obama in wild Bobby Kennedy interview!

“I’ve never voted and to be honest there's never been a person that I felt like I would vote for."

In the course of the Hawaiian winter just gone and shortly before the Lexus Pipe Pro, Kelly Slater and prez hopeful Robert F Kennedy Jr went public with their friendship, sharing a couple of waves together for the cameras.

Bobby, of course, is the jacked-to-hell seventy-year-old former junkie son of attorney general Robert Kennedy, who was murdered by Palestinian terrorist Sirhan Sirhan (Yay! Palestine!), and the nephew of president John Fitz Kennedy, murdered by Commo sniper Lee Harvey Oswald.

(A little side note: Sirhan Sirhan is currently enjoying his 55th year behind bars at the Richard J Donovan prison near San Diego. Oswald got plugged by patriot Jack Ruby shortly after his arrest.)

Kennedy and Slater met at a Surf Industry Manufacturers Awards in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico twenty years ago. Kennedy described Slater as “one of my heroes.”

The pair’s relationship has deepened over the past four year after what both regarded as government overreach during the COVID-19 epidemic.

Slater, rightly as it turned out, refused the hastily rolled-out vaccine and spoke eloquently about the insanity of closing beaches for public health reasons.

“I had seen what was happening at J-Bay. They had arrested numerous surfers. They hadn’t had swell in months, and the first good swell that came, the beaches were padlocked and guys got arrested and charged 5,000 Rand,” said Slater in an excellent interview with Surfer magazine.

“I told my friend, what I’d do is paddle out about an hour and a half before dark, surf well into dark, and catch a wave all the way to Albatross. Then I’d run into a friend’s house, and they’d never catch me. I mean, I might get recognized, but they wouldn’t catch him. Really, you’re not hurting anyone. And during that time, you’d see all these people running on sidewalks and working out outside, and it would be crowded, but the ocean would be empty. Surfers were being arrested in Peru, Costa Rica. I told my friend in San Diego to just surf well into dark. The boats can’t come get you in the whitewater. So, he actually did it. And he texted me after and said he had to hide in the bushes for about 45 minutes. He didn’t commit a crime or hurt anyone. Pointing out the hypocrisy is what we were trying to do. Of course, no wanted anyone to infect anyone or hurt anyone, but some of the rules didn’t seem to make sense.”

Anyway, Kelly Slater delivered a bombshell on Robert F Kennedy’s Instagram yesterday throwing shade on his former BFF and celebrated two-term president Barack Obama.

“I’ve never voted and to be honest there’s never been a person who has a chance that I felt like I would vote for. Essentially I felt like my vote wouldn’t matter and people always say no your vote matters and everyone needs to vote. It feels to me like everyone is always out there saying you need to vote you need to vote. Well they want you to vote the way they want you to vote.”

Kelly Slater also warned listeners about listening to their state masters.

“Maybe we’re not always being told the truth and you need to look into things, talk to people who are there, listen to alternative theories about things, you know? I don’t know, I guess at the end of the day I want to be in control of my health and the direction of my life and I don’t want to impede on anyone else and that’s what’s important to me.”

Wise words.

Bobby Kennedy, I’m not so sure about, howevs, and admit a preference for Obama.

 

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Minnie Driver (pictured) on board.
Minnie Driver (pictured) on board.

Mothers’ Day Miracle as dog saves ultimate surf local Minnie Driver from drowning

Mother of the Year.

Today is Mothers’ Day in the United States and possibly Europe. A time to reflect on our dear givers of life. Did you do something nice for the ones in your life? Chocolates, flowers, hand-written notes or something even finer like a Hermes scarf? Well done but not as well done as Minnie Driver’s neighbor’s dog who saved the ultimate surf local from drowning after she busted her ribs on her surfboard.

Driver, who burst back onto our scene last week with a savage dismantling of DJ Diplo recounted the story when the Alsatian-Labrador mix sprang into action off the coast of bucolic Malibu. “I’d bust my rib, and the only thing about that is you can’t get a breath in,” the starlet, a stunning 54 and mother of one told the Table Manners podcast hosts. “And my neighbour’s amazing dog  . . .  basically came and started trying to get me out. The dog alerted him (the neighbour) that I was in trouble, because I was out by myself.”

Heroic but not quite as heroic as Driver shattering Diplo. Let’s remember once more.

“Diplo dropped in on me last summer so many times on his stupid foam board. He was out with a mate of mine so I wasn’t allowed to say, ‘Would you stop it and have some respect? Also, you can’t surf.’ I was so annoyed. It’s also like, if you’re gonna come to Malibu and like, buy your big house, and suddenly consider yourself a surfer, and paddle out, and piss off the people that have lived there for years, you’re gonna get outed on a podcast. I’d rather shame him than go and do what he did.”

Mother of the Year?

Quite possibly yes.


Erica Maximo White interferes with Willow Hardy at ISA World Juniors.

Teenage surfer delivers teary mea culpa after unsportsmanlike act described by surf icon as “The worst behaviour I have ever seen in an event!”

"I want to make this video as an example for young athletes that these situations can’t happen.”

A rare frisson of excitement at the ISA world juniors in El Salvador after a Portuguese surfer attempted to ruin the dreams of an Aussie kid by deliberating dropping in.

Here’s the play.

Four gal heat.

Costa Rican Rachel Aguero is in the lead, Portugal’s Maria Salgado Green is in second with teammate Erica Máximo White in third and Aussie Willow Hardy in fourth.

With fifty seconds left in the heat, Hardy, who’s the kid of West Australian shredder Gene Hardy, needs a 2.4 to progress.

She’s third priority so she gotta go hunt something, anything, that’ll get the little score.

The Portuguese gal, Erica Máximo White, is fourth priority but decides to sacrifice herself to the gods so teammate Aguero will get through.

And she don’t just drop in, oo-wee-oo, she go crazy.

She pushes Hardy, screams at her and, when that don’t work, pulls the kid’s leash. A futile venture as it turns out as Hardy scores a 2.7.

 

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Surf icon Pauline Menczer described it as “the worst behavior I have ever seen in a event.”

Maximo was subsequently disqualified and her team was fined.

And in a missive from the ISA,

“Maximo was seen to physically impede and verbally harass the surfer from Australian in a deliberate attempt to block her competitor from advancing in the heat. Maximo’s actions were intentional and reacted and in clear view of the judges, webcast and general public.”

ISA disqualifies Portuguese surfer Erica Maximo White.
ISA disqualifies Portuguese surfer Erica Maximo White.

Shortly after, in a teary mea culpa, Maximo described it as not “my brightest moment. I committed an interference on the Australian surfer’s wave in an unsportsmanlike manner. That was not my goal, I just wanted to help my team but I recognize my mistake, and I am here to apologize to that surfer, the Australian team and the ISA. I want to make this video as an example for young athletes that these situations can’t happen.”


Barton Lynch, WSL
Barton Lynch, pivotal to the story.

Surf-fiction (part four), “The rise of the WSL resistance!”

"A figure appears at the door, cast in shadow. I think I can make out the profile. Tall. lithe, crazy hair. Heavily bearded. It looks just like… But surely it couldn’t be."

(Editor’s note: To catch up on this story, read parts one, two and three.)

My wrist vibrates as we enter the airspace over Mullumbimby International Airport. I’d been lulled into a deep, dreamless sleep by the hum of the WSL’s hypersonic jet and its eco-friendly engines flying over the Pacific. The sharp buzz brings me back to reality. It’s my standard-issue WSL Apple Watch sending me an alert.

“New WSL Chief Announced” it reads in green-lit text.

Huh?

I scroll the article on my watch. Some cunt named Ryan Crosby has been named as the new WSL boss. TV executive. LA-based. Perfect teeth. To begin immediately.

This doesn’t make any sense.

Joe Turpel has sent Kaipo Guerrero and I to the other side of the world to sound out a potential chief exec for the World Surf League. 

But if the new boss has already been announced, who are we about to meet?

I nudge Kaipo awake. He’d also fallen asleep on the three hour trans-continental flight, snug in his ergonomic faux-leather Yeti recliner.

“Kaips, what do you make of this?”

Kaipo straightens the recliner. Rubs his eyes. Squints to read the screen.

“What the…” He lets out a big yawn. “I dunno brah. This day just keeps getting weirder.I need a Bonsoy Brew.”

**********

We’re met at the airport by a two person security detail. Black suits. Black sunglasses. Coiled ear pieces. One of the suits holds up a sign that says ‘Mr Bailey Ladder.’

Kaipo points it out as we are waved through security. “That’s us.”

The security guards usher us into a waiting black SUV. We leave through a service exit, heading towards the mountain range beyond. Local police escort us through the steep, winding roads, their sirens blazing.

It’s early afternoon, local time. We drive for what seems like hours. Snaking up through the foothills of the Great Dividing Range and into the mountains proper. Lush green bush dotted with old farm houses that grow sparser the higher we climb. Passing rain showers splash across our tinted windows.

It’s hard to believe we were in the sunny Santa Monica plains only hours before. Sent off on this transcontinental trip by a slightly psychotic Joe Turpel; all the while trying to figure out who is part of this so-called resistance against the WSL.

Did it even exist in the first place? Or was Chris Cote just having me on?

Maybe this is all some giant prank they’re playing on me?

I watch the greenery fly past outside. We’d only be a short drive away from my family and friends on the Gold Coast now. But I’ve never felt further from home.

Finally we arrive at our destination. A rambling old property hidden from the main road by a line of gnarled gum trees. It’s a big block. Must be a few acres. There’s dilapidated sheds. What look like surfboard shaping tools are scattered in the long grass, along with hunting gear. Some old windsurfers. The husk of a burnt out car.

The police cars peel off and leave our SUV to pull up in a clearing next to the main house. If you could call it that. It’s more a glorified barn or shed. Two stories tall. Rusting, leering, as the afternoon sun peaks through the clouds. Kaipo and I get out of the car, but the rest of our detail stay seated. Looks like we’re doing this part of the trip ourselves.

We approach the house cautiously. Wet leaves and grass squish under our feet. From far away I hear the distant call of a sulphur crested cockatoo. It’s otherwise silent.

A figure appears at the door, cast in shadow. I think I can make out the profile. Tall. lithe, crazy hair. Heavily bearded. It looks just like… But surely it couldn’t be.

“G’day cunts.”

The unmistakable face of Barton Lynch steps into the lights. It is him. The ‘88 world champ. Expert commentator. Eternal bon vivant. The bearded one. With his flowing grey linen outfit and serene eyes he looks like some Hindu version of a garden gnome.

But what the fuck is he doing here?

“Mr Lynch, it’s a pleasure to meet you.” I put out my hand. “But I uh, I don’t understand.”

“That’s all good, mate! We’ve got a lot to talk about. Please, come inside.”

I glance at Kaipo. He looks as confused as I do. We don’t move from the door.

“Now come on,” says Barton. “I really appreciate you fellas flying all the way across the world to meet me. I know it’s been a long day. Please, do come in. I’m not gonna hurt ya.”

I take a deep breath and motion Kaipo into the shed, and follow behind. Inside it’s a different world. The open space is littered with communal lounges, beanbags, antique furniture. No real living quarters I can see. It’s more like a community hall.

Surfboards of all eras are scattered all over the place. Trophies too. A giant flat screen TV sits in the middle of the room, facing no one. I smell a heady mix of wax and neoprene, mixed in with incense.

Van Morrison’s TB Sheets plays in the background, coming from some unseen speaker system.

“Let me guess. Turpel wanted you both to sound me out?” says Barton as we look around. “See if I cut the mustard as the new WSL boss? How is Turps anyway? Still a mad bastard?”

Barton motions for us to sit in one of the collection of beanbags, strewn across a cow hide rug.

“Ah, yes Mr Lynch he is,” I say as I settle into one of the beanbag. “But the thing is, the new boss has just been announced. I just had the notification come up on my WSL Apple Watch.”

I point to my wrist. Barton lets out his deep belly laugh.

“Has he, mate? I must’ve missed that memo.”

He takes a seat next to me and produces a mug from a small table, hidden behind one of the other beanbags.

“Now, let’s have a cuppa.”

“Say, could I use your bathroom?” asks Kaipo. “I haven’t had a tinkle since Santa Monica. These Bonsoys are going right through me.”

“Sure thing mate, out the front, to your left.”

It’s just me and Barton now.

“I’m sorry Mr Lynch. I’m confused. We were told we were coming to sound you out as the new chief exec. But it seems that’s not the case. Plus, I thought you weren’t even working for the WSL anymore anyway?”

Barton lets out another deep chuckle.

“Mate, these are all good questions. And the answers will come in time. But please first, just have a sip of my tea. I reckon it might help you with a few of your… shall we say, concerns.”

I’m in no mood to argue. I’ve come this far. From the airport. From Santa Monica. From this whole goddamn WSL shit show. I may as well finish the ride.

I drink Barton’s brew, and rest into the beanbag. It tastes like normal tea, but with an earthy aftertaste. I let out a yawn, almost involuntarily, and excuse myself. Try to remember the task at hand. I need to figure out what the hell is going on. Plus, I don’t want to let Joe Turpel down. That cunt still scares me.

“So, BL. I hope you don’t mind me calling you that, we’d really like to talk to you about your vision for the World…”

Another big yawn.

“Excuse me, again. Your vision for the World… Surf…”

It’s been such a whirlwind. My eyes feel heavy, even though I’d only just slept on the plane. My thoughts feel all… fuzzy. Mixed up.

I can see Barton starting to answer my question, though I don’t recall finishing it. Did I say it, or just think it? My hands begin to tingle. I can tell that Barton is talking. But the words coming out of his mouth are reverberating. Echoing on themselves, in some weird wah wah distortion.

I shake my head but the feeling only intensifies. My whole body begins to shiver.

Barton senses my unease. He stops talking. That serene smile spreads back across his face. It feels like he’s falling away from me. Or I’m falling away from him.

Something’s happening to me. The tingling is deep, all encompassing. “Just relax mate. You’re in a safe space,” whispers Barton.

Barton, the room, the bean bag, Van Morrison. It all washes out into a drone. I close my eyes and disappear.

**********

I awake at a deserted tropical island. A perfect left and right peeling down either side. Gin clear water. I’m on the beach, then I’m in the barrel, weaving and ducking. It’s the most perfect tube you’ve ever seen. An unending cerulean lip flows over my head.

The barrel begins to chandelier. But the chandeliers are heads. Human heads. I see Joe, Chris, Kaipo, Flick, Ronnie, Barton, DJ Paul Fisher. I’m pushing through and pushing through. Dodging the giant heads as I go. But then comes the final section. It’s Hippy, the famous commenter from industry rag BeachGrit.

“This is a lazy and unrealistic depiction of a barrel,” he’s saying as he leers up in front of me. “Do better!”

I try to change my line but it’s too late. I run into Hippy and go over the falls. I see lightness. Then dark.

There’s brilliant flashes of blue and white and yellow. Concentric geometrical shapes cascade and collide into more and more intricate patterns. An image of Tyler Wright doing a mid-face layback is flipped and mirrored and flipped and mirrored a thousand times over, so that it forms a solid pulsating mandala. It fills my field of vision. All I can see. All I can hear.
Then I’m sitting on a chair in a white, dimensionless space. Still dripping wet from the barrel.

I see Kelly Slater, dressed as a meso-American shaman, holding a wooden bowl of muddy brown water.

“Hey buddy, take a sip of this,” he says.

He holds out the bowl to me, a brown loin cloth only just covering his modesty. I look down at my hands. I’m holding a Yeti keep cup in one and a can of VB in the other. He pours half of it into the VB and half into the Yeti.

“How’s it taste? Me and my friends thought you might, you know, like it.”

I look back up and I see Kelly now has three heads. He is Kelly, Barton, and Chris Cote. All in one. The heads look to each other and smile. Then all three lock eyes with me. The three-headed being guides first the VB can and then the Yeti keep cup into my mouth. It’s that same earthy taste, again.

“Now your true journey can begin,” it says.

Slowly I feel the tingling re-enter my body. My real, physical body.

Van Morrison begins to wail again in the background.

The sunlight, shining through the crack in the windowpane, it numbs my brain.

The world implodes on itself again. I see darkness. Then light.

The sunlight, it numbs my brain.

**********

I come back to reality. Back to the Tweed hinterland. Back to Barton’s beanbag. He’s still sitting there looking at me with that serene face.

“You alright there mate? You were out for a little while.”

“What just happened?” I ask. Waves of euphoria wash over my body, and then slowly ease away.

“Nothing too much matey. You just went on a little trip. But you’re back now.”

“How long was I gone for?”

I can see that we are no longer alone. Next to Barton is the movie star face of Ronnie Blakey. He’s sitting next to his brother Vaughan. Richie Lovett is there too in his bowler’s cap. There’s Stace. Flick. Rabbit. Waxhead. Laura. All of the Australian commentary crew fill the beanbags around me, smiling expectantly.

“Are you all… real?” I ask slowly.

The group breaks into laughter.

“As real as a jam donut, motherfucker!” yells Richie.

More laughter, and high fives.

There’s a creaking noise behind me. I turn to see a bookcase on the far wall spin. Out from behind walk the two security guards from our SUV. They simultaneously tug at their ear pieces and pull off what I can now see are flimsy plastic masks. It’s Joe Turpel and Chris Cote.

They stand next to Kaipo, who has reappeared from his Bonsoy Break.

It’s the whole crew. They were with me this whole time? What the fuck is going on? Surely I’m still dreaming.

“It’s nice to have you back,” says Joe Turpel in his nasal Californian twang, as he walks to Ronnie and pats him gently on his mane.

“Welcome to the WSL resistance. We have a lot to talk about.”