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.”


Surfers for Trump rejoice after Republican presidential candidate bans beach chairs and selfie sticks from oceanfront rally

Hudson Valley go home.

United States presidential candidate Donald J. Trump hits the New Jersey shoreline, today, in order to host one of his signature rallies wherein the faithful and faithful-curious are regaled with various oral histories. The Trump rally has become ubiquitous during the last eight years what with much panache and vitriol. They usually occur in the middle parts of America but hours ago, surfers were treated to the show.

Huzzah.

Though those intent on attending were met with a hefty list of “do nots.”

Do not bring:

Aerosols, ammunition, animals, backpacks and bags, balloons, bicycles, coolers, drones, explosives, firearms, glass, thermal or metal containers, laser pointers, mace, packages, selfie sticks, signs, structures, supports for signs, toy guns, weapons, any other item determined to be a potential safety hazard.

Surfboards miraculously spared unless our pointy thrusters fall into the weapons/structures/any other item determined to be a potential safety hazard categories.

Another huzzah.

Though I curiously wonder why firearms are banned what with second amendment protections and all. If they are good enough for Tennessee classrooms, shouldn’t they be good enough for rallies?

Also, no Yeti cups?

Still, the banning of beach chairs and selfie sticks enough to cheer even the most libtarded of wave sliders.

A third huzzah in one story?

Unprecedented times.


More Lexus in 2025.
More Lexus in 2025.

World Surf League quietly transitions from Rip Curl to Lexus amid longboarding’s transgender furor

“It’s fantastic to see professional surfing attract strong, global brands to this amazing sport.”

Regional professional longboarding is, once again, ground zero of the culture wars though who would have seen this coming a decade, or such, ago? That cross-stepping would be so… fraught? Likely not the World Surf League. Dirk Ziff, who purchased for free all of professional surfing nine-ish years ago, including high performance shortboarding, high performance longboarding, traditional longboarding and Guinness Book of World Records big wave attempts, merely thought that he was taking hold of a nascent sport with some upside.

Little did he know.

Well, amidst the current furor, the “global home of surfing” has quietly undergone a major transition itself. Rip Curl, a surf brand that has, itself, stumbled through the minefields of identity, used to be the title sponsor for the much-ballyhooed WSL Finals Day as well as the riot-prone US Open of Surfing. Shop-Eat-Surf is reporting, “The World Surf League said this week Lexus signed on to be title sponsor of what will now be the Lexus U.S. Open of Surfing and the Lexus WSL Finals in a move that will ensure the automaker’s presence in competitive surfing into the 2025 season.”

The industry website focuses, however, not on Lexus’s bold entry into the waters but, rather, Rip Curl’s fleeing. Company CEO Brooke Farris, trying to put a nice face on it all, said “We are very proud to have partnered with the WSL on the first three years of the WSL Finals. Together, we achieved record-breaking viewership, reach, and history-making moments for our sport.” Later adding, “It’s fantastic to see professional surfing attract strong, global brands to this amazing sport.”

Hmmmmm.

I suppose the World Surf League with is “record-breaking viewership, reach and history-making” is irresistible but questions remain. Will the transition cause rage?

Well?

Will it?


Transgender surfer Sasha Jane Lowerson and American Longboarding's Todd Messick.
Sasha Jane Lowerson, left, pictured in Cordoba, Argentina after Facial Feminisation Surgery, and, right, American Longboarding's Todd Messick.

Following contest ban transgender surfer Sasha Jane Lowerson asks, “Why do people hate me for existing?”

“Sasha Jane Lowerson just wanted to surf.”

A “battle” is raging in Huntington Beach, California, reports the LA Times after the transgender surfer Sasha Jane Lowerson was, first, banned from surfing in the women’s div of a longboard contest, before the decision was overturned by the California Coastal Commission.

Last month, the founder of American Longboarder Todd Messick got wind that the celebrated transgender surfer Sasha Jane Lowerson, who was one of Australia’s leading male longboarders, even winning the men’s longboard div as Ryan Egan before transitioning four years ago and joining the women’s side of the draw, had entered the HB Longboarding Pro.

Messick didn’t fuck around.

“Right now, we’re going to support biological males and biological females in their divisions respectively,” he said in a video posted online, which quickly earned four thousand likes.

“If you were born a female, you enter in the women’s. If you’re born a male, you enter in the men’s.”

He added, nothing personal to T-Girls but,

“I want to offer an equal playing field for all athletes and that’s the stand we’re taking so I hope that everybody respects that and allows us to just do our thing. This whole thing is about traditional longboard surfing and supporting that so that’s what we’re here to do.”

Anyway, Messick’s dream of bio-gals only in the women’s div was overturned by the California Coastal Commission, with the LA Times’ Hanna Fry writing:

“Sasha Jane Lowerson just wanted to surf.”

And, now, Sasha Jane Lowerson, fresh from facial feminisation surgery in Cordoba, Argentina, has posted a lengthy screed on Instagram calling Messick’s decision “shameful and shady”.

As I walk my journey through the turmoil and the implications of people that want to spread misinformation, I’ve found myself wondering why? Just why to people hate me for existing!

I decided to enter a surfing event here in California that is due to run in a few weeks and unfortunately they have decided to cherry pick the ISA rule book. The organisers made a public announcement saying I wasn’t allowed to participate in the women’s division after I had already payed my entry fee a month earlier and even though Surfing America and ISA rule book states my inclusion in the women’s division is valid!

On March 9 2023 the international surfing Association released a formal and legal statement concerning the ruling of inclusion of people of diverse gender and mainly around transgender women to legally update the rule book. They had formally and legally declared the inclusion of people of diverse gender within surfing at an elite level prior in October 2022.

In this legal article in section 3.1 and .2 its states the requirements for a transgender woman to compete in the women’s division and I have met all those provisions for the last 3 & 1/2 years.

it really saddens me and actually sickens me when an organisation or a so-called league starts up and promotes events under the premise of for the better of the sport stating they will use the ISA rulebook and then they decide to just cherry pick what rules they want and don’t want to use.

It leaves me to believe that they would not stop at anything to let any rules slip or slide or adding anything they want to add in at any point of time if that’s the behaviour that they’re going to demonstrate from the beginning.

It’s pretty shameful and shady really!


VALs in Venice.
VALs in Venice.

Surf beginners experiencing toxic shock after massive sewage spill shuts down Venice Beach

"I was having so much fun going straight but then I saw it..."

One of the worst places to surf in all of Southern California is, without doubt, Venice Beach. The iconic strip, just south of Santa Monica and north of LAX, has much to do including rollerblading, breakdancing, purchasing marijuana accessories, observing men painted like robots acting like robots, eating hot dogs wrapped in bacon etc. but riding waves is not one of them. Venice is a magnet for waist-high straight-handers but that has not stopped the hordes of VAL whom have begun their soft-top journey in these the Covid and post-Covid days of our lives.

Alas, it appears their springtime zoom zoom is being strangled by gross. Per the LA Daily News:

According to the county Department of Public Health, roughly 14,400 gallons of untreated sewage spilled into the creek between Wednesday and midday Thursday, discharging into the ocean. The source of the spill was not immediately released.

Health officials issued a closure order directing people to avoid the ocean water and any wet sand on the beach one mile north and south of Ballona Creek. That encompasses an area stretching from the southern end of Venice Beach, through the Marina del Rey area and south through Dockweiler State Beach.

“The Department of Public Health will conduct water sampling beginning (Friday), and the closures will remain in effect until Public Health receives two sampling results indicating that bacteria levels meet health standards,” according to the agency.

Come for the hemp bracelets, stay for the cholera.

Baby yuck yucks.