Hey All,

My environmentalist game is middling, and looking to step it up we decided last year to price out a home solar rig (steep but not ridiculous), and trade our Mazda 6 for something electric (tested a Chevy Bolt, which felt like driving a huge slot-car; I liked it, Jodi not so much). Meanwhile, we also had to get the exterior of our house painted—and that’s where our green plans blew apart like a ripe Granny Smith dropped from the Space Needle. Not only were the bids double what we expected, but the nicks and divots and whatnot that I figured the painters would fill were in fact dry rot, and let’s bring in a contractor and etc., etc., there goes 60K. Goodbye Bolt. Goodbye solar panels.

The point being . . . what the fuck, WSL?

Dry rot forced me to slow my environmental roll. The WSL last week not only went back to Surf Ranch for another droning low-ratings wavepool contest, they ran that huge energy-sucking iron-foil-dragging beast of a power train back and forth and back and forth the same day Greta Thunberg and few million other Climate Strike kids marched in the streets worldwide in hopes of staving off our environmental End Days.

Encyclopedia of Surfing

Maybe Surf Ranch is still buying energy offsets. I seem to recall they had some kind of deal with PG&E. If so, I didn’t catch anything about it on the webcast. And even if Surf Ranch is buying offsets, is it not morally, optically, psychologically, and spiritually wrong to be putting all that energy into producing something we get for free? I’d feel more righteous about this if I was driving a new Bolt, but still.

Shawn Briley is remembered for being heavyset and reckless and an absolute monster at Pipeline, which is all true. But after making this clip, think we’ve shorted Briley his due credit as the best Waimea surfer of his generation. The wave at 2:06 (repeated at 2:15) is astounding, and just to prove it’s not a fluke he pulls the same drop on the one that follows. Briley’s weight here, I think, is an advantage. He does the thing all great big-wave surfers do, which is to not clench up when the going gets heavy. But it’s gotta help to have that extra poundage anchoring you to the board. All other things being equal, a person with Shawn’s heft has a better shot on those drops than somebody the size of, say, Derek Ho. Finally, that shot of Briley pulling into a frothy section at 2:27—yep, that’s Waimea too, and I could be wrong but I think Shawn’s the only surfer to pull in going left at the Bay.

Encyclopedia of Surfing

Wave-riding talent aside, Briley, nephew of OG North Shore goblin Owl Chapman, is a fascinating study in long odds overcome. Read this interview he did with Ben Marcus, and here’s a bit I did on Shawn a few years back.

Arrggghh! Forgot to slot these two items up above, re wavepools:

My SURFER Mag reporting from the 1985 Allentown fiasco, which if nothing else proves that my wavepool animosity has legs.

Hot German wavepool action from the International Hygiene Exposition of 1911, as reported by Scientific American, which is weird and tech-heavy and archaic but ends on a charming note: “All persons may derive benefit from the massage effected by the moving water.” And amen to that.

Encyclopedia of Surfing

Thanks for reading, everybody, and see you next week!