Tom Lowe’s Mixtape…

Tom Lowe’s Mixtape…

“A few waves from my travels over the southern and northern hemispheres.” — Tom Lowe

Edit by Mickey Smith, music by one of Mick’s old bands: Gilded Lily.

Scottish Sanitarium…

Scottish Sanitarium…

Ian Battrick has spent a decent chunk of winter hanging around surfing’s most famous farmyard. The clip above is the result.

Deep winter in Thurso is hard, what’s the hardest part?
The hardest part is the wait. You have to put your time into score. Even charts ‘set in gold’ don’t do what they say swell wise or weather wise.

How windy was that stormy day?
Extremely, it was difficult to stay on your feet.

What’s the key to good GoPro footage … apart from getting bazzed obvs?
Just knowing your angles of what you are trying to capture/portray. Plus you always need to be deeper than you think to score good clips. I shot with MyGo Mounts which worked well.

When it comes to tubes what’s your favoured board and fin set up these days?
I have been working on my own fin template for a while now, and it has just been released this week and produced by Futures fins. it is a tri-quad with a unique ‘Luna Knubster‘. I’ve been riding them from 6″ slop in Jersey on my fish to the high performance shortboard, all the way up to my semi-gun in draining barrels. We’ve got crew like the Ash brothers, Cain Kilcullen, Timmy Turner, Chris Noble, Amy Kotch and more riding them.
For the tubes in this video Lee Bartlett of Fourth Surfboards had just shaped me up a tweaked version of their Shiv model in 5’10” that went amazingly. I also had a a couple from Jeff ‘Doc’ Lausch at Surf Prescriptions. For the tube I’ve always loved speed and freedom of the quad and the lines it can take the thruster has difficulty with.

Getting soft in your old age actually being in a building?
Haha! I still lived in the van, which was the softer version, it was actually colder inside that building (especially the upstairs) than outside, you would walk out the front door and hot air would hit you. I was just going in there to stretch my legs, leave some boards out the way, cook, get the coffees on and hang out.

When are they going to renovate the farmhouse?!
I’m not sure… its in the process now.

Can’t Beater Sandy Hole

Can’t Beater Sandy Hole


Getting sand stuffed in every available orifice is a giggle. Not sure what the plural is? Orifices? Orifii? I’m out the office at the moment and away from the big book of words on me desk. One thing is for sure I’m terrified to even think about Googling it.

Anyhoose. There’s something delightful in surfing waves that really don’t want to be surfed. So please enjoy this Catch Surf comp madness.

WSL CEO Bails

WSL CEO Bails

It’s holiday time for the World Tour guys and gals. Traditionally a welcome break for a bit of downtime and once the batteries are recharged some pre-season training. The off season is now a bit more tense as the new fad is hunting for sponsors who dig the idea of putting their sticker on the beak of your board. It’s tough times for a lot of pros unless they’re talented enough to reside in the gilded John John/Jordy/Medina/Tyler stratosphere.

Folks with massive profiles like Josh Kerr have come down on the wrong side of the balance sheet and for the mid-level pros it’s even harder. Budgets aren’t what they were, there’s lots of newer, smaller brands without the clout to afford a large team so the short version: tough times in pro land. Unless you’re actually hitting the finals and getting those oversized cheques on a regular basis.

Sure being paid to surf is a dream job, available to a few charmed souls, and if you’re not bringing huge exposure and value to your brand then why should you get a lavish free lunch? If you’re not in the top 16 on tour or get Dane/Ando/JOB/Dion video views then a six figure salary is unlikely.

Managing a surf team is tricky biz for any brand, ideally you’d want a marquee freesurfer or two, a top CT guy and girl and a big wave dude. Then a top level domestic guy/girl in the countries you operate in to support the local market and media; that and a few promising groms on product/travel deals to help the next gen. Anything past that is going to be frowned at by the accountants department. Every pro needs a niche now, and to be a one man production team, giving the brand a return on their investment is more essential than ever. Seeking out sponsors outside of surfing is also vital.

So is the news that the WSL boss Paul Speaker is kicking out of the WSL a harbinger of doom or just innocent boardroom restructuring? The temporary CEO taking over the reins is Dirk Ziff, the benefactor and co-owner of the WSL with pockets so deep you need caving gear to reach the bottom, it’s his families ample funds and interest that keeps the wheels turning at the WSL. So thanks DZ!

There’s no question the WSL is going in the right direction, sure we were all suspicious of the motives and ‘sports!’ branding when it changed from the ASP to the WSL. The webcasts are now consistent and polished, way ahead of the game when it comes to live streaming even if we headbutt our phones occasionally with the mangled English that sometimes emits from the commentators. The flip side: commentating on a live event is ridiculously hard. Just think about the reality of trying to bring colour, commentary and insight all day when sat in a metal box out the back of the event site watching the same feed as everyone else. It’s a hard job. The whole production team delivers, whatever the locale.

The structure of the WSL is strong, the events are delivering, as to viewing figures, who knows. No surfer watches them all but most of us will tune in for events and surfers that pique our interest. The mainstream will, of course, never tune in. It’s like expecting someone that has no interest in tennis watching every Grand Slam. When personally I might watch Murray in the Wimbledon final.

Read the release below, draw your own conclusion. One key paragraph:
I am incredibly excited for our future. The Kelly Slater Wave Company offers a tremendous and unprecedented opportunity for the League to dramatically shift the landscape of high-performance surfing around the world with guaranteed conditions, total fairness for the competitors, greatly enhanced live viewing, and major television coverage at a scheduled time. Our sport’s inclusion in the 2020 Olympics is a testament to the continuing rise of surfing as a global participatory and spectator sport, and will allow WSL athletes to represent and compete for their countries for the first time ever on arguably the greatest sporting stage in the world.

Interesting times lay ahead for professional surfing. We’re not so sure contests in pools are the answer…

WSL RELEASE

To the WSL community:

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday with family and friends, and is looking forward to 2017. For many of us, the turning of the calendar is a time for reflection, and sometimes, a time for decisions.

Holding co-ownership and CEO positions at the World Surf League over the last five years has been an incredible honor for me. It has also been an awesome task that has required long hours, heavy travel and family sacrifice. It has always been my intention to pass the baton to someone at the right time to lead the next phase of what we have all created. I believe that time is now. With the acquisition of the Kelly Slater Wave Company, we are at a remarkable inflection point in the League’s history and we are ready for a new leader who can guide the organization to even greater accomplishments.

It is with this in mind that I have decided to step down as the CEO of the WSL at the end of January. I will continue to be a co-owner of the League and will work with the ownership group and Board of Directors to ensure a smooth transition until a new CEO is in place. As many of you are aware, Dirk Ziff has been a deeply committed and passionate co-owner of our League and he has agreed to bring that commitment to the role of interim CEO until a new chief executive is brought on board. Dirk and I have a close and collaborative partnership and will work together on a seamless transition.

Nearly five years ago, I journeyed to Australia to meet with the Board of Directors of what was then called the Association of Surfing Professionals to raise the audacious idea of an acquisition. Since the transaction was completed some months later, I have done my best to build an organization with a best-in-class product and culture. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to oversee the transformation of professional surfing into the globally-recognized sport it is today. I have been privileged to share this journey with a great and committed group of people, and I owe so much to all of you who have worked tirelessly to elevate this sport to new heights. Your passion and dedication brought us to where we are today, and will be the driving force of our future success.

Among our many accomplishments together are: the remarkable increase in fan engagement; the highly professional quality of the broadcast; our stellar event production; the various athlete development programs, and the introduction of the sport to a new group of non-endemic corporate partners.

The commitment to our athletes in and out of the water has led us to many firsts for surfing, including: a pension plan for our athletes; the creation of the commissioner’s office to secure the integrity of the sport; prize-purse parity between the men and the women of our championship tour, and the first multi-year surfers’ agreement.

The WSL has pioneered new technologies and digital strategies that have been ahead of the curve, and have led to recognition throughout the sports industry as a first-mover in many areas. With a focus on the fan, surfing is now enjoyed on multiple media platforms around the globe, through traditional broadcast, but most frequently on our mobile app, website, and social media channels. We have also acknowledged the global nature of our sport by delivering our live event broadcast in English, French, Portuguese and Japanese.

I am incredibly excited for our future. The Kelly Slater Wave Company offers a tremendous and unprecedented opportunity for the League to dramatically shift the landscape of high-performance surfing around the world with guaranteed conditions, total fairness for the competitors, greatly enhanced live viewing, and major television coverage at a scheduled time. Our sport’s inclusion in the 2020 Olympics is a testament to the continuing rise of surfing as a global participatory and spectator sport, and will allow WSL athletes to represent and compete for their countries for the first time ever on arguably the greatest sporting stage in the world.

I have enjoyed working with all of you more than you could ever imagine and now I am going to enjoy being a co-owner and a fan and spending time with my family who have been incredibly supportive over the last five years. I will miss you all dearly. You are a dynamic, committed and fun group that in many ways have become an extended family. Please keep up the incredible work.

See you at the beach.

Paul

Leon Glatzer: Portugal

Leon Glatzer: Portugal

Portugal is definitely the go to spot in Europe right now. Good weather, consistent swell and a huge coastline littered with empty beaches will do that. This is Leon Glatzer making the most of the Iberian peninsula.