I’m back. And the first thing I’ve been asked to do is to weigh on the recent “debate” between Chas Smith of BeachGrit and Ashton Goggans of Stab.
God, was the whole thing awful. It felt set-up, or like two caricatures coming to life to almost fight each other. There were parts, though. There were parts.
To start, I want to say that I wish Chas had socked Goggans. I also wished Goggans had socked him back prompting a savage, full-scale brawl. Doubtful that wish has anything to do with the actual debate or Chas or Goggans themselves, but more of a personal thing. Worry not, for I’m trying to work through it.
Chas is a dick. Plainly. Goggans is a blowhard industry feeder (he has the perfect voice for it). Obviously.
In discussing surf media/journalism as a whole I side with Chas. They cater to sponsors, protect their own, and refuse to do any sort of hard-hitting reporting that might make one of them look bad.
“Surf journalism is not a noble pursuit,” said Chas, and I agree. It is not.
Chas, however, aside from being a dick believes he is gasoline and his pen is a match. His goal, which he has made clear, is to burn the whole place down with hope that, in its stead, something much more pure and true grow back. For that, I cannot fault him.
On his way in Goggans, I’m assuming with a tilted head and puppy dog eyes, said to David Lee Scales, “On the way down I listened to your podcast with Jamie…sooo sick.” In my estimation of Goggans, I believe he uses that phrase perpetually. I imagine that that grows tiresome, and I was glad to hear him spit some venom during the interview, albeit droplets.
As long as the world of surf journalism is run by people like Goggans who claim that cupcake interviews with Kelly Slater and obscure WQS trivia are entertaining as hell, then it will stay in its current jerking state.
The Inertias (not quite yet STAB) need to die, and quickly, painlessly, if surf journalism ever wants to be held in any regard. Think about the constant debate and scathing attacks that go on every single day in every other sporting arena by every other reputable sports media outlet and you begin to realize why surf journalism is essentially (as verified by Goggans) a bunch of stylish edits and “cool” art pieces and fluff pieces meant to do nothing more than cast a friendly breeze. There’s no “Fuck Medina and his Stupid Antics” or any “Kelly Slater thinks he’s a God” or “Whatever happen to all the good ol’ drunks in surfing?” or “The Fucking True Story on Anything”.
Instead, it all gets swept under the big soaking wet rug. And so be it. I’m not here to change it.
I will tell you who won, though. The podcast won. Knockout.
-Strange Ben Willoughby