Jake Howard (insert) and the new Surfer Magazine.
Jake Howard (insert) and the new Surfer Magazine.

Surfer Magazine editor promises to create “positive uplifting place for women and people of color” in bold direction shift

“It feels a little bit like we’re running down the beach to get to the surf while trying to put our boardshorts on at the same time.”

Now, the last thing any surfer wanted or needed was the exhumation of Surfer Magazine’s rotting corpse. Once proud and true, Surfer had fallen into various odd hands before David Pecker stuck it in the heart with a gilded knife and buried it in a shallow unmarked grave.

A short handful of years later, the Arena Group, a “tech powered media company,” marched into the wood with shovels, found it and shocked it back to life. Being “tech powered,” the easy go was to plug artificial intelligence into Surfer’s brain hole et voila.

Emily Morgan.

Except investors weren’t happy with non-humans writing, editing etc. and so the powers that remained tapped one Jake Howard. A dominant figure in surf editorship, having held positions at the World Surf League, Red Bull, etc., Howard wasting no time, in changing directions entirely from Surfer’s old cloistered and mean, often racist generally misogynistic reputation to… well, to a bold progressive future.

Howard was, officially, finally introduced via a Shop-Eat-Surf interview moments ago and let us read his words without spin.

“It feels a little bit like we’re running down the beach to get to the surf while trying to put our boardshorts on at the same time.”

“Surfers today are seeing the sport differently. They’re coming at it from different perspectives. There are more women and people of color in the water than ever before. And, for many surfers, surfing is just part of their outdoor interests.”

“We want to invite them all into the big tent. We all started surfing because it’s so fun. The world is seeing challenging times and surfing can be a beacon of hope. Let’s build on that.”

“Evergreen stories that will be meaningful and hold their value — that’s our guideline.”

Clearly a brutal slam on BeachGrit at the end.

But bright skies ahead

Mark Zuckerberg surfing, July 4 Instagram post.
Mark Zuckerberg, controlling a wake surfboard while drinking a Coors OG and raising the ol stars and stripes.

Mark Zuckerberg reveals worrying medical issue in July 4 post as he pivots away from MMA and back to surfing roots!

Facebook founder Zuck chugs Coors while surfing in a tux and hoisting stars and stripes!

Almost one year after Mark Zuckerberg completed a shock sweep of medals at a jiujitsu contest, the billionaire founder of Facebook and co-owner of Instagram, has returned to his surfing roots with a July 4 post showing him in a tux chugging a beer while surfing and hoisting the stars and stripes.

And, quick to dive into the tech maestro’s comments was a who’s who of the surfing world including Jamie O’Brien, Kolohe Andino, Italo Ferreira and Big Wave World Tour champion and four-time Jaws winner Billy Kemper, whom we last saw on these pages rebuking Hawaiian Airlines in the most savage of takedowns.

“Legendary,” writes the carrot-topped king of Pipeline Jamie O’Brien.

“Good ol Yellow Bellys,” writes legendary surf-hater Kolohe Andino, referring to Mark Zuckerberg’s choice of YellowBelly beer, the famous anti-racist creation by Sweden’s Omnipollo and United Kingdom’s Buxton Brewery. The beer’s white paper packaging, complete with eye holes, was designed to lampoon the KKK.

(Editor’s note: Eagle-eyed readers have since pointed out the beer held and enjoyed by Mark Zuckerberg is actually a Coors, its aluminium can earning the sobriquet “yellow belly” for its sunshine yellow appearance, and not the anti-racist Yellow Belly beer with eye holes etc.)

A worrying response to Billy Kemper, however, who writes, “next one in the barrel, I’ll tow you in!”

Zuckerberg replies, “Let’s do it when I’m fully recovered.”

Fight fans will know, of course, that Mark Zuckerberg blew his knee out late last year while prepping for an MMA fight.

Almost eight months since he got kneecapped and still getting those hot poker stabs of pain?

Worrying, thoughts, prayers, gofundme etc.


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Stephanie Gilmore, sad, Make or Break.
Stephanie Gilmore, sad. | Photo: Make or Break

Nightmare comes true as World Surf League almost admits “Make or Break” officially cancelled

"Some gnarly news for those who love to hang 10."

“Some gnarly news for those who love to hang 10” dropped this morning as the World Surf League has officially admitted that the much-loved Apple TV+ program Make or Break has been cancelled after just two seasons. Surf fans have been logging into smart televisions for weeks, now, terrified that they might miss the premier. Alas, that terror now transformed into run-of-the-mill depression.

The “newly minted” (i.e. demoted) WSL Commissioner Jessi Miley-Dyer was forced to almost admit to the failure at the recent “Winning: Women & Sports” conference, declaring, “Make or Break‘s on hold. Obviously, it’s been a great show for us. It’s been really valuable. But the most important thing we’ve had are the relationships through Make or Break, and we still have that exclusive relationship with Box to Box [Films], the production company.”

“On hold” a common euphemism for “shit canned.”

Miley-Dyer continued attempting to apply lipstick to a canceled series, hinting that “other things are in development” including “Pipe Dreams” and “Inside Pro Surfing” but “This one’s on hold, obviously.”

One surf fan, preferring to remain unnamed, responded, “Obviously? It wasn’t obvious to me. I’ve been waiting to see the behind-the-scenes around champion Filipe Toledo’s shock withdrawal at the start of the season for months. I guess I’ll never get to know the reason now. Gnarly news.”

Pipe Dreams, though. Do you imagine its a film adaptation of the culturally important Kelly Slater biography which takes us:

From Beach Blanket Bingo to Baywatch to Blue Crush, surfing has fascinated people for years, and Kelly Slater is the sport’s hottest star. He has won more world championships than any other competitor, and he continues to change peoples’ minds about what can and can’t be done on a surfboard. His wild ride has included fame, fortune, a stint on Baywatch, and a high-profile relationship with Pamela Anderson. Not bad for a skinny kid from a broken home in Cocoa Beach, Florida.

Not bad at all.

More as the story develops.

Online sleuths reveal Aussie surf Olympian to be spitting image of Hawk Tuah girl Hailey Welch!

Separated at birth?

For lovers of surfing, of which at least a few of you still are although that may be withering, you’ll be well aware of the women’s tour vet Sally Fitzgibbons. 

The thirty-two-year-old Australian is a former world number one whose electric smile, dark and enormous eyes, rippled stomach and with skin agleam like a seal fresh out of the sea, has long made her a favourite with sports fans of all pronouns.

Two years ago, Fitzgibbons, who was one of the first women to consistently land aerials, was sensationally dumped from the tour after fourteen years and one hundred and eight consecutive events only to be shovelled a wildcard for the following year’s events following an enormous outcry. 

Fitzgibbons is currently rated thirteenth on the  Championship Tour, not very good, but is third on the Challenger Series, which means she’ll get another shot at a world title in 2025. 

Anyway, online sleuths have revealed Fitzgibbons to be the doppelgänger of the “Hawk Tuah” girl, also known as Hailey Welch, who became an overnight sensation thanks to her charming response in a viral video interview. 

The video, which was posted by creator duo Tim and Dee TV, shows Welch and a friend being asked questions during a night out in Nashville, Tennessee.

When asked about a move in bed that makes a man go crazy every time, Welch, who has a sloe-eyed loveliness punctuated by these amorous soft-brown eyes, replied, “You gotta give ’em that ‘hawk TUAH’ and spit on that thang!”, the ‘hawk TUAH’ mimicking the sound of spitting on what might be presumed as a gorgeous column standing stiffly in the rainstorm.


Welch, who is a 21-year-old from Belfast, Tennessee, was on vacation in Nashville when the video was shot. She dropped out of college a year or two ago and has been working at a spring factory. 

Lately, Welch has appeared on stage with country singer Zach Bryan and hung out with basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal.

Sally Fitzgibbons, meanwhile, is preparing for the US Open of Surfing which begins August 6 and which has been poetically described, here, as a “yearly bacchanal wherein professional surfers bounce up and down upon their boards.”

Filipe Toledo (pictured) somehow omitted.
Filipe Toledo (pictured) somehow omitted.

Shock and confusion amongst core surf fans as the Olympics reveals its official “six surfers to watch”

Did the current world champ make the list?

I am currently in Paris, France and Olympic joyeux is everywhere. The Games will, of course, kick off on July 26 with what is certain to be a very progressive opening ceremony. I just so happened to be at a symposium, a few days ago, wherein Bernie Arnault’s son Antoine discussed how the family company LVMH was in charge of the show and hinted at some spectacular spectacular.

He did not, unfortunately, mention surfing at all though I did catch him in the hall, afterward, and gave him a thumbs up for Dior’s Carissa Moore collaboration. He nodded knowingly though should maybe go have stern words with the International Olympic Committee in papa’s pocket as it omitted the universally adored Hawaiian in its just-dropped “six surfers to watch.”

But, and before you read, which six surfers do you imagine made the list? Filipe Toledo? I don’t know how the sitting world champion with historic performances at Head Place is not number one followed by Vahine Fierro, Ramzi Boukhaim and Rio Waida but let us now look.

1. Gabriel Medina

2. Johanne Defay

3. John John Florence

4. Brisa Hennessy

5. Jack Robinson

6. Tatiana Weston-Webb

Gabriel at number one makes sense as his performance at the just-wrapped Tahiti Pro was otherworldly. Johanne Defay at two utterly odd. John at three a safe pick but feels uninspired. Hennessy at four might be fair except the exclusion of the aforementioned Fierro makes it not. Robinson at five not a good call unless there is a thought that the model-surfer is filled with rage over his loss to Yago Dora in May and Tati Weston-Webb at six is fine enough except certain to frustrate Keala Kennelly.

So there we have it. I suppose “shock and confusion” a bit much but, still. As a core surf fan, what does your list look like?