WSL judges issue mea culpa.
WSL judges censured over poor judging performance.

Racism furore engulfs World Surf League after body issues mea culpa following judging controversy

"Brazilian surfers when we complain we get letters with threats of punishment. The others get public apologies."

Yesterday, the WSL issued a rare mea culpa over what was deemed a poor judging decision at the surf major at Snapper Rocks, begging forgiveness from the sporting body’s dozens of fans. 

“The Head Judge and Nat met for a heat review and watched all of the waves from Nat, Mikey and Charly. It was recognized and acknowledged that Nat’s 4.03 was in fact underscored and the wave should have been in the 5 or 6-point-range,” wrote the WSL. “Even though it was not the 7.21 that Nat needed to get into an advancing position, we still wanted to acknowledge the error.”

The sport’s judging has long been an issue, as it always will, although the noise made by Brazilian world champs Gabriel Medina, Filipe Toledo and Italo Ferreira, and various death threats from Brazilian surf fans, has brought the issue into relief. 

After a controversial loss at Bells in May Gabriel Medina described it as “the worst judging I’ve ever seen.” 

His outburst followed a long proud line of Brazilians complaining about losing, notably in El Salvador and at Surf Ranch.

Still, despite the apparent bias, Filipe Toledo’s two world titles were gifted in two-foot waves tailor-made for his small-wave hijinks and Brazilians have won every world title since 2018.

What is interesting is why the WSL has now made a point of examining a largely pointless moment in a reasonably pointless heat, at least in comparison to a CT event, instead of, say, reviewing Bells, El Salvador and Surf Ranch. 

Which is, for the Brazilian surf fan, further proof the WSL exists only to advance the cause of the two-percenters, white Californians etc. 


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Cue cries of an anti-Brazil bias.

“Amazing how WSL chatted to the surfer and posed publicly, in a CS battery. And with the countless controversial batteries with Medina, Italy, Toledo, among other Brazilians? Does Nat Young’s being from the United States weigh any weight? Will it be????”

“I’m sorry but it’s not a mistake it’s bad influence and @wsl only did it because the athlete is American. This kind os “mistakes“ have been happening over the years with the Brazilian athletes in a large scale and @wsl never review a heat or came up with apologies. This institution don’t have my respect and clearly don’t have respect from the athletes neither. @wsl needs to be reformed with better professionalism.”

“Brazillians Surfers when we complain we get letters with threats of punishment. The others get public apologies.”

And, then, Gabriel Medina swings into the spotlight.

“I’m here for the comments,” he writes, prompting 2000 likes and 100 replies.

The highlight of the latest imbroglio, howevs, has been memes from @pauly_matt_war_shore.

Heady days.

Michael Dunphy making art.
Michael Dunphy making art.

Surf journeyman Michael Dunphy topples longboarder in what is being called “best leash pull ever”

"He's a savage. Classy, bougie, ratchet."

Now, there are many ways to savage kooks including, but not limited to, lowering double barrels on a podcast and firing grosse pointe blank. Then, of course, there are more traditional ways such as slapping the water, barking like a dog, mumbling under breath, staring, thinking bad thoughts or, the greatest, pulling a leash.

World Qualifying Series journeyman, and Floridian, Michael Dunphy put on an absolute clinic with regards to the latter. The perpetually young fellow happens to be on Australia’s Gold Coast with the Deivid Silva etc. when the masterwork occurred. Dunphy can be seen speeding up in order to grab the leash of a lightly overweight longboarder, tugging hard and sending the portly man tumbling.

Praise was near universal.

Scion of positivity Chris Cote declared, “Hey Burkhart, wanna buy some photos?”

Surf photography legend Jimmy “Cane” Wilson added, “This might be my favorite clip ever on instagram.”

Style master Devon Howard found the tow technique “on point.”

And Joel Tudor brought it all home with, “That’s what ya get for wearing a dork strap on longboard / 2 ft wave.”


Minnie Driver (insert) letting it fly at "giant kook" Diplo.
Minnie Driver (insert) letting it fly at "giant kook" Diplo.

Minnie Driver savages Diplo for being giant kook in wild surf slam

“Diplo dropped in on me last summer so many times on his stupid foam board..."

Minnie Driver, the actress famous for playing Debbi Newberry in Grosse Pointe Blank, firmly established herself as no. 1 grumpy local after publicly destroying famed DJ Diplo in a wide-ranging interview on the well-loved Table Manners podcast. Driver, 54 and a surfer of some note, pulled zero punches whatsoever, “naming and shaming” Kelly Slater’s friend for being a massive kook.

“First of all, I need to tell you what dropping in on someone is,” Driver opened her salvo. “In the water, there is an etiquette when you surf that people follow, and it is largely for safety, and it’s also because of respect. It’s just how (expletive deleted) works.”

Just warming up, the sprightly brunette continued, “What happens when you paddle out, first of all, you don’t take the first wave that comes because you’ve just paddled out, you let it cycle through the people that are already there. So here’s the deal.” And if you don’t? Well, “it’s a really (expletive deleted) thing to do as bad things happen in the water when people do that.”

Stage set, it was go time.

“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.”


Just wow.

Congratulations to Minnie Driver for establishing herself as our queen. To be honest, I did not see that coming this morning.

All hail, etc.

Teahupoo judging tower
"I am neither pro nor anti-tower. But if people want to have a professional surfing event at Teahupoo in the future a judging tower is needed to properly assess the tube riding performances."

Paris 2024 organisers reveal state-of-the-art collapsible $5 million judging tower at Teahupoo, Tahiti

"If Teahupoo does not want the Olympic Games we will have flat surf with heavy rain and maramuu winds for the event."

You’ll remember a year or so back the vaguely humorous story of Olympic organisers tearing down the old WSL wooden judging tower at Teahupoo and replacing it with a magnificent aluminium structure for the three-day event at a cost of five mill US.

A little rich, given Paris 2024 has positioned itself as the “sustainable” Games. 

Protests followed and the tower was subsequently toned down, less shitters, less room for for various officials and so on. 

And, now, the Tahiti-based French photographer Tim McKenna has delivered a marvellously balanced explanation of the build complete with photos.

“After my last post on the Teahupoo Tower I realised there was a lot of misinformation in the comments,” writes McKenna. “Here’s some info that might give people a better understanding of the situation.”

Thanks to the pressure of the local population, nature conservation association and all the people around the world who signed the SaveTeahupoo petition, the tower project was reduced to the bare minimum in order to have the least impact possible on the environment.

As you can see on Photo 1 ,2,3 the area where the tower is built has very little coral. It’s a flat shelf with small spread out corals heads and a few bigger rocks covered with coral. Over the years corals has even covered the previous concrete tower base structure as you can see on the video.

– The new tower was never only for the Olympic Games. It’s a collapsable tower that will be assembled every year for the duration of the event. The aluminum structure designed and built exclusively in Tahiti can finally be certified for insurance and safety reasons. It ’s an investment the Tahitian government has made for the the next 20 years of surfing events at Teahupoo.

– I am neither pro nor anti-tower. But if people want to have a professional surfing event at Teahupoo in the future a judging tower is needed to properly assess the tube riding performances.
I personally don’t make a living shooting contest and prefer shooting free surf. I couldn’t care less if there are no more pro events at Teahupoo. However I am pretty sure a large majority of the locals welcome the exposure and business WSL events and the Olympic Games bring. Surf events are also a great way to spark the passion within the new generation of Tahitian surfers and are an opportunity for them to shine and try and make a living out of their passion.

Interestingly, McKenna says the Gods will choose whether or not the tower lives or dies.

No need for all this #olympicbashing. Teahupoo will protect itself. Teahupoo is the birth place of Mana. If Teahupoo does not want the Olympic Games we will have flat surf with heavy rain and maramuu winds for the event. If Teahupoo does not want the tower an XXL swell will take it down.

If Teahupoo wants the Olympics it will put on the greatest show on earth.

Tom Curren (pictured) enjoying some no. 1 surf destination in the world.
Tom Curren (pictured) enjoying some no. 1 surf destination in the world.

Weeping in Hawaii as unexpected interloper nabs coveted “no. 1 surf destination in the world” title

"Nobody saw it coming..."

There is a glum pall in Hawaii today. Huntington Beach too and also Australia’s Gold Coast, its west coast, as well, plus Brazil, South Africa, New Zealand, Indonesia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Fiji, Tahiti and Lemoore. The respected travel insurance experts at, you see, has just dropped its much-anticipated list of “best surf spots in the world” based on “wave quality and surfer satisfaction via data from Surf-Forecast, and overall search interest via Google search data.”

After a lengthy drum roll, and crunching of numbers, Hossegor, located along the southwest coast of France, was pronounced number one.

Not San Clemente and its Lower Trestles.

Nor Bondi and its beach.

Per Travel + Leisure:

“Hossegor ranks as the best destination for surfing in the world, with an overall score of 8.16/10. Hossegor offers reliable, excellent conditions for surfing and is known for its hollow and fast-breaking waves favored by experienced surfers. It has an average surfer rating of 4.25, and 48 percent of the recorded waves are clean and surfable.” The team also noted in the results that the best time to visit is during the region’s fall shoulder season in October when flights and hotels are at their cheapest.

Who saw this coming?

Not those who sold the everything in order to live in a small camper van Byron Bay adjacent.

Nor those who call Sayulita home.

Mavericks, near San Francisco, was somehow no. 2 followed by Tofino in Canada.

Travel + Leisure must have felt some doubt as to the validity of 1) Hossegor 2) Mavs 3) Tofino so called “our friends at The Inertia” to fully demean itself. Zach Weisberg and crew provided 1) Waikiki 2) Nosara, Costa Rica 3) Cocoa Beach, Florida.

What complete nerds.

Like, all the way embarrassing.

Do better, The Inertia.