The WSL Has a New CEO, the Volcom Pipe Pro Gets Upgraded, and Russell Bierke Is a South Coast Tube Star

17 Jan 2020 4 Share

Mike Jennings

Senior Writer

COASTALWATCH | THIS WEEK IN SURFING

Ten Things from Surfing & the Internet on the Week That Was January 17, 2020

1. WSL Changes Its Top Dawgs

Woah, the WSL comes off the top rope with the big news that their CEO Sophie Goldschmidt is stepping down from the role and will now be replaced by Erik Logan – the dude who was hired last year as their head of "Content, Media, and Studios". Who will be taking his role of head of "Content, Media, and Studios", or what that even means/if that's even a thing, has yet to be announced. This means that the WSL will have it's third CEO in its short lifetime, giving it an Australian Prime Minister like level of turnover. 

Goldschmidt will be remembered for being at the helm when the WSL brought equal prizemoney across all levels of competition – which is a legacy that should never be underplayed.

And while the language is "stepped down", it seems pretty clear this was the WSL's decision and not her own – check this quote from Dirk Ziff, WSL Owner, in the press release that brought us this news:

“With the converging trends in sports, media and entertainment, we mutually agreed it was time to make a change."

It's going to be weird to see how this plays out. A lot of people have pointed out, now and during her tenure, that Goldscmidt wasn't a surfer, but what I thought was interesting about that is that she never pretended to be, and rather seemed to respect the sport and culture of surfing without trying to sell herself as a an old school core part of it, instead bringing her experience as a successful sports boss whatever person in the NBA and the Women's Tennis Association. And in a culture that values authenticity and detests phonyness, I thought that should have been appreciated a little more.

Erik Logan is a surfer, or stand up paddleboarder, or something – but, does that matter? How many guys who can stand up on a surfboard, or stand up paddle board do you know that, like, don't get the culture? (Hey there Tony Abbott!) Where he takes the sport and culture of surfing as the head of our largest official body is more interesting to me... and the language used in the press release I find a little bit... I dunno... yucky? Check this part, from Sophie Goldschmidt's farewell statement, that maybe hints where the WSL will be going without her:

"With the WSL now ready to become a more focused content and media company, the Board and I have mutually agreed it is the right time to make a change,” Goldschmidt said. “Having worked closely with Erik, he is the right person to lead the WSL into its next era. I am excited about what lies ahead for the organization.”

A content and media company? Oof. Is "content and media" what we want out of the WSL? I don't know about you, but I just want a really well run and presented surfing competition for the world's best surfers that fairly decides its world champions. But, sure, give me another podcast I suppose, we don't have enough of them.

It's a weird new world, but I'll try reserve my judgement on where the WSL goes till it actually... goes, so to speak. Good luck, Erik Logan.

2. Russ Bierke is a South Coast Icon

How's this for some rad content and media, Russ Bierke and Darcy Piper get their shred on around the incredble waves and coastline of the Aussie desert. As you well know, the beautiful part of the world Bierke hails from is doing it tough after a terrible bushfire crisis. We're pretty into the Tees that one of Russ's sponsors, Ocean and Earth, are doing in their efforts to raise $100k for the NSW South Coast. Check them out here.

3. Steph Gilmore Was On 60 Minutes

"If Australian Surfing has a headquarters, it's here at Snapper Rocks on Australia's Gold Coast..." Pack it in everyone, all that time and effort put into the state of the art HQ at Casuarina, casually dismissed in the first three seconds of Australia's number one Current Affairs show. It's over. Apart from that, there isn't really anything in this profile clip that you don't already know about our legendary sixseven-time World Champ, but it's always fun when surfing gets some mainstream coverage and a bit of Karl Stefanovic action. Plus, Karl asks Steph about seven World Titles while standing next to Layne... and god, that awkard energy could power a small island nation!

4. The Volcom Pipe Pro Has Been Upgraded

The best WSL surf comp that isn't a CT would have to be the Volcom Pipe Pro, and the good news that came out this week is that it has been upgraded from a QS 3000 to a QS 5000, which just seems right. That comp gets underway in just under two weeks on January 29. Hopefully Jack Robbo can defend his title.

5. Dylan Graves and Dane Gudang Go to Nigeria

Is this show good because it's about fun waves and interesting surfing, or is it good just because Dylan Graves is such a natural presence on the narration and in front of the camera? I feel like I could gladly watch him host any kind of travel show. Either way, it's great, and episode 2 of season 2 of his Weird Waves series takes him to a fun wedge in Nigeria. Alright!

6. Nate Florence Explains When to Duckdive or Bail

Given this guy has arguably the best wave ever paddled at Teahupo'o on his resume, and he spends more time than any of us surfing heavy-ish water around his local spots on the North Shore of Oahu, he's probably a the best kind of person to be sharing knowledge about bailing and duckdiving. This kind of content owns, and with 98K views in just three days, I reckon we'll start seeing a whole lot more of it from our surfer/YouTubers.

7. Sound Waves With Kyuss King

The WSL's excellent fly on the wall series mics up Aussie Kyuss King as he takes on the Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa last November. The insight into the downtimes and lead ups to surfing heats, from not just CT guys, but aspiring QS dudes is really unlike anything we've seen before, and it's wonderful.

8. Matt Meola Shouldn't Have Knees Anymore

My friend Lincoln Eather said of this clip, "It'll make ya knees sore just watching." And it did! My knee is so cooked, and I don't even know how to do aerials. I'm genuinely seeing an Osteo today, maybe they'll know how to do aerials.

9. Go See A Corner of the Earth

Our friend Spener Frost is touring his brilliant travel surf feature, A Corner of the Eath, and you can go see it. It really is the kind of surf film you should see on a big screen.

It hits Coffs Harbour at the Jetty Theatre on Jan 18, saturday night. And next saturday night in Sydney at The Newport, January 25. 

Find more info over here.

10. Ethan Ewing and Dimity Stoyle Won the Burleigh Single Fin Comp

Riding a single fin with power and aggression is an iconic part of Australian competitive surfing history! And so, the Burleigh Boardriders annual Single Fin Festival is perhaps the sickest comp and tradition still going in surfing. Despite not getting a heap of swell this year, the likes of Ethan Ewing, Parko, Occy, Margo, Laura Enever, Dimity Stoyle and so many more shredded. Let's enjoy the highlights!

And that was this week in surfing. Have a good weekend everyone.

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