Baby Take it Off!: Lance Armstrong Don’t Surf

posted by / Blogs / January 18, 2013

Lance Armstrong
Lance Armstrong. Photo: K16 Surf School, Tenerife, Canary Islands


Baby Take It Off!

Last night Lance Armstrong, wearing a poor fitting black coat over a totally wrong choice of lavender shirt, told Oprah that he had doped and doped and diggity-diggity doped. For years! He mostly blamed his cancer. “My diagnosis … turned me into a person who was resolved to win at all costs, since cancer compels you to do anything I have to do to survive. …And I took that attitude, that ruthless and relentless and win-at-all costs attitude, and I took it right into cycling.” And what an awesome defense. Cancer is the worst! It makes people do horrible things like lose hair. But really, we all know in our hearts that Lance Armstrong, himself, is uglier than cancer. He is completely gross.

And what are we, as surfers, supposed to do with the specter of Lance Armstrong? What are we to learn? I think it is simple. Drugs are bad. Lying about drugs is worse. Bullying and destroying others to keep our lies hidden is completely gross. Yes, whatever we do, as a culture, whatever party party we get on, or don’t get on, we may as well wear it on our wetsuit sleeves. We should, each of us, own our actions because if something is worth doing, it is worth doing well. Or as Rihanna says, “I may be bad, but I’m perfectly good at it.” This is not a defense of drugs, of either performance enhancing or party enhancing drugs. It is a repudiation of lying and destroying others. It is a burning example that we should forever and always stand tall in whatever it is we may be doing. Or as Rihanna says, “Shine bright like a diamond.”


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  • G

    Road cyclists are known among mountain bikers as “road weenies” for a reason. On another note all sports have drug problems. Baseball is loaded with them. (pun ha ha) That being said Lance is really taking a beating for his actions. Look at major league baseball’s biggest hitters and it becomes obvious there is an imbalance. On yet another note I really have never liked bullies and surfing has its share. I hold in less regard those, that are willing participants in any matter of secrecy, that at any point “tell on” each other. Yet possibly the most disturbing and growth prohibiting is when we as individuals or as a group try to make ourselves feel better by citing other’s shortcomings.

  • FL

    I feel like Kelly is the only super pro athlete that has not f-up everything. ei: tiger, jordon, lance….mmm to many baseball players. Maybe Doping can make you paddle faster and land big air 360 in a heat. Maybe test the big wave guys before Sunday in cal.

  • Mik

    Noble comments. I’ll ponder them. But let’s be fair. Nobody made Lance’s team-mates dope. They decided to do it. They bought in. So, no, I’m not throwing any tears their way… And having bought in and gotten caught, I’m not surprised they are “tattling” on Lance. The big deal isn’t much of a big deal to me.

    What’s a big deal?

    How about President GW Bush lying to Congress, the Senate, the UN, and the public that Iraq had WMDs, and was a threat to America (as if), and used those lies to invade a foreign country, and murder what some believe to be as many as 400,000 innocent people.

    That’s a big deal.

    That’s why something like 20,000 American Vets have committed suicide, in the aftermath.

    I know, I know, I’m off topic. But actually, I’m not.

    Sports are fun, and winning is not life or death. Except at Mav’s or Teahopuu.

    The US government should go investigate itself, before wasting our money investigating some crazy athletes.


    Noble thoughts tho’, Chas. Admirable.

  • Lemmy caution

    If performance enhancing drugs helped professional surfers, professional surfers would take perfoamce enhancing drugs. It is that simple. Surfing is just one of those sports like ice skating where the drugs don’t help.

  • pop

    Hey Mik, it wasn’t the “government” investigating or busting poor Lance. It was the sport he willingly joined. the governing bodies of the races who he signed off on, officiating his chosen sport. he agreed to the rules. if there is no drug testing, no one gets busted. do they drug test pro surfers? i think roids could make anyone paddle stronger. Speed can make a surfer dig harder. Is it right?, fair and square?

  • Max

    Lemmy caution are u kidding? Surfers do benefit from performance enhancing drugs, cocaine for big waves and extra energy towards the end of an event, steroids to recover from injuries, crack helped Andy Irons to pump himself up for heavy waves and got him pumped up and aggressive. Plenty of big wave surfers have done rehab like Tom Carrol who had treatment for his amphetamine addiction.

  • 420

    smoke weed everyday

  • mike

    Personally never having give a chit about cycling or Lance Armstrong, I don’t care that he doped but I sure am getting tired of the thousands of journalists and total strangers who rip him for being a HORRIBLE person when they don’t personally know the guy or have a clue what personally HAVING CANCER might do to your life. And quoting Rihanna? Gimme a break, Rihanna and all the other garbage artists that idiots think are good right now will NOT stand the test of time. That shine like a diamond song could easily be in the category of top 100 worst songs ever. Lavender shirt? What are you the fashion police now, is this the E! website? Uglier than Cancer? that’s such a poor choice of words and a pretty ignorant statement IMO. Just an unfortunate article considering I’ve liked several others from you.

  • tony (ty) carson big island

    Hey chas, just can’t help bringing it up again, how nike,(your princess darling), dumped you and everybody else foolish enough to bow at her feet, after she,(nike), saw how the tribe spurned her and wouldn’t buy into her lies. Chas, do you lie awake at night dreaming about her,
    (nike, a track and field shoe company), and what might have been. You did seem to have fallen under her spell.
    Hurley is owned by nike, and every dollar given to hurley goes directly into nikes pocket. What real surfer, (worth his salt), would want to wear anything from nike, or hurley. Bob hurley was a half baked shaper from H.B., who had the ego to name the company after himself and then sold it to nike. Seems like a good time to boycott nike and hurley. Peace.


    Lance is a beast of a human being, and his story is (or at least was) a very inspiring one. I don’t know if using performance-enhancing drugs should ruin that, although it does cheapen it, if only slightly. He beat cancer and came back to win the highest achievement in his sport…7 times?? That is incredible. Andy was the only person to really have a go at the champ, and he was so much more than that. He had some demons and some problems with dependence, that doesn’t take away from his ability as an athlete or a human being. It makes them human.
    And Ty from the big island is right about a couple things. The biggest voice we have in this capitalistic world is through our consumer dollars. By purchasing things from companies who don’t care about or view the world as we do, we empower them to change it for their benefit, often at our expense. It’s sad that they have most of the best surfers on their super-team, but if you don’t like Nike don’t buy into any of their shit, including Hurley. Or do, that’s the beauty of living in a country like ours. But at least look into where your money is going and be as informed as possible about what you are supporting. Which, no surfer worth their salt would do.

  • eric

    Get off your high horse Chas, this is the lamest thing you’ve ever written. You’ve never lied? Not even to get laid? Never bird-dogged a friends lady? So Lance was a bully, unfortunately that’s not uncommon among people with that level of success. He doped, but it doesn’t take anything away from his 7 consecutive tour championships because that was part of level playing field with all the top riders. They all denied until proven otherwise. Doesn’t make doping right, but if the entire tour is a mess why crucify one guy for being better at it?

  • fair game

    Lets be fair . Lets strip all the following drug addicts from their titles and money, that under the influence of enhancing drugs like cocaine, crystal meth, have won :world titles, big wave contest, money , endorsments, A.I. . “Flea@mavericks”, Bruce I.@Eddie, etc etc the list goes on and on. Or we surfers we are bias towards our idols and point the fingers only at Lance fiasco; as pure hypocrites ???

  • Carlos

    Really? Really, Chas?? That’s your big “guru”, Rihanna?? Come on, you can do better than that! … Yes, doping when compiting in any contest is wrong; but almost everybody uses it! (if you surf and never smoked weed, congratulations!) Yes, Lance never told the truth and NOW he’ll have to face ALL of the consequences, am I right? So… stop moping and get over it! Who named any of us THE judge of it? Get the best, drop the worst, learn and live.

  • Jimmy the Saint

    If Lance was a surfer he would be a cheating surfer, using an SUP or a Wavejet! Having said that his charity did raise over $470m

  • Ben

    Random commentary: Your writing as Charlie Smith for the Surfer’s Journal is good, an order of magnitude better than this column.