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Exclusive: WSL unveils new sponsor!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

The WSL and Airbnb ink a monster deal!

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Or maybe not $$$$. Maybe just a unique travel experience at a market driven price point. That’s right the World Surf League is proud to announce its partnership with Airbnb! Of course, the partnership was never announced anywhere except on the step-and-repeat behind the Bells winners but still. $$$$! I mean Zzzz!

And what do you think WSL CEO Paul Speaker received from this new union? Do you think Ronnie, Joe, Ross, Pottz, Raspberry and The Condor joined the millions of guests in Airbnb’s trusted community? Do you think they shared the bed in a hippie home?

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Or maybe did some twilight glamping along the Great Ocean Road?

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What about a beautiful room in oceanside Jan Juc just a few minutes drive from the event site? The host asks for only two but the boys work in shifts so maybe they sleep in shifts as well?

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Whatever the situation do you think they got their deposit back? Do you think they were given a five star rating and do you think they gave one in return?

It’ll be exciting to see if Airbnb is only a one event sponsor or if they are so thrilled by the partnership that the boys will also rent in Margaret River? If yes, this zen yoga house looks very cute and the masseuse/yogi looks cute too!

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It’s only $189 a night and those are savings the WSL can put straight back into jersey manufacturing. Wins all around!

Holy Hell: FCS is now 13/13!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

FCS, the greatest story in sporting history, rolls on!

Can you believe it? Can you really believe it? Can you believe that a removable fin company is on such a heater? Stop what you are doing right now, please, and dig into your memory bank. Have you ever even heard of such complete and utter domination in modern sporting history? 13/13! Thirteen victories in a row!

Remember when Stab (2004-2016) reported:

Here’s a thing you probably didn’t know: In 2015, every Men’s WSL World Tour event was won by a surfer riding a set of FCS fins. Eleven events, 11 wins on FCS rudders, starting with Filipe Toledo on the Gold Coast almost a year ago, and ending with Adriano De Souza at the Pipe Masters (a fact that wouldn’t have changed even if Gabs had won Pipe, since he rides FCS too).

And then Matt Wilkinson won on the Gold Coast to make an almost unheard of 12/12. And then he won again just yesterday, slashing and carving and hacking his way to victory in thick Bells to make a truly unprecedented 13/13. It must be assumed that the fins he used are in a titanium briefcase right now, handcuffed to a burly man in a dark suit, being flown to the Smithsonian museum in Washington D.C. for display. It must be assumed that lines will stretch around the block when the public is finally allowed to gaze upon them.

I mean, can you fully appreciate the weight of this moment? That we are witnessing something our children’s children’s children will someday read about? It came close to ending yesterday, you know. Jordy Smith rides Futures and there he was in the final so close. I found myself weeping in the middle of that last heat even though Wilko had Jordy in a combination situation. The stress overwhelmed me completely.

My heart soars today, though, like yours. FCS! 13/13! Let’s watch Kolohe take them out of his board! Let’s watch it all day long!

Interview: How to save a life!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Joel Trist, the man who saved Brett Connellan's life, is a true hero!

You have read about the very talented young surfer, Brett Connellan, who was bitten on the thigh by a shark at Bombo Beach on Australia’s east coast three days ago. The news reported:

A young surfer was lucky to survive a horrific shark ­attack last night after his left thigh was ripped off at Bombo Beach near Kiama on the south coast.

It was only the heroic and quick-thinking actions of a fellow boardrider — who dragged his mate to shore and stemmed the gushing blood flow — that saved the 22-year-old’s life.

That heroic, quick-thinking boardrider is high school teacher Joel Trist and I caught up with him while he waits for his friend to go in for surgery.

Chas: How are you?

Joel: It’s been a tough couple days for sure but everything’s pretty positive so far. Brett’s going in for fairly extensive surgery, eight or nine hours. The main goal is to try and save his leg, try and rebuild it.

C: Walk me through the attack.

J: So we were out at Bombo beach maybe ten minutes to seven in the afternoon. I was going to go for a bit of a paddle with my girlfriend, Agie. Brett called though so we decided to go with him. It was the first time she ever watched us surf. I was down the beach a bit from him when all of a sudden I heard this screaming. I paddled up to him as fast as I could.

C: Was it a bad scene when you arrived? Did you know?

J: Yeah, it was pretty horrific. I asked him, “How is it?” and he said, “Not good.” He was still quite conscious at that point, obviously in a massive state of shock but all there. I put him on my board and started paddling. There is sort of a left and a right and we got stuck in the rip for a minute. Luckily a big set wave came through, though, and washed us up to shore. When we finally got to the beach I was really freaking out. The shark had cut his leg rope so I grabbed it and wrapped it around his leg as tightly as I could. He was slipping in and out of consciousness and I was screaming at him, “Stay with me, mate!” Agie was sitting on the sand and she ran halfway toward us then realized what was happening and called the lifesavers. A helicopter came maybe 15-20 minutes later and lifted him out.

C: Did you know first aid or was it all instinct?

J: I’m a high school teacher so luckily have been trained in a bit of first aid but it was mostly instinct.

C: Did the leg rope tourniquet work? Did it stop all the blood flow right away?

J: Amazingly yeah. Four other guys came running down and we had maybe four leg ropes on him and a vest and we stopped it.

C: What now?

J: So we are starting a trust account to help Brett out. He could have a long road back. It is mostly through Instagram @surfersforbretto and the hashtag #surfersforbretto and you can find all the info there.

If you are inclined to give, it is Brett Connellan Trust BSB: 012709 Account number: 298964661

And Joel is an amazing friend indeed.

P.S. It is also Brett’s birthday so…..

Hibbits from JTrist on Vimeo.

Passion: Matt Wilko rings the Bell!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Matt "Wilko" Wilkinson is the first goofy to win since Occy '98. Glory years!

How must it feel to be Matt Wilkinson right now? Oh sure he is no competitive slouch but who would have predicted his coming out of the gate and winning the first two events? Who could have guessed that, after a 45 day waiting period, he would stand on the podium, face done Aboriginal, ringing the Bell? If you were watching the webcast, and of course you were, you know that he is the first goofyfooter to win since Occy in 1998. Let that sink in for a moment. An almost 200 year drought.

It is an amazing story and for sure they will be selling Glenn Hall feet in Ireland as good luck charms. Do you like Wilko as a champion? Part of me misses his journeyman aura of fun. Of drink and goof. Part of me wonders what will happen to the WSL if Wilko chases ADS as champ at year’s end. Part of likes the ride.

The rebirth of Jordy is a good thing for professional surfing. He disposed of Mick in his semi final heat with such poise, such boom. Mick was surfing very well on what Joe Turpel called those big hunks of south Australian ocean. Or maybe it was Ross Williams. Pete Mel said, for sure, that Jordy weighs 200 lbs. He looked completely spent in the final. Exhausted. Maybe it is tiring lugging a man’s weight through the water. Maybe he had the tougher draw. Maybe surfing in semi final two when there is lots of thick whitewash to paddle is a recipe for guaranteed failure. Whatever the case, Jordy failed at the end but maybe staked his claim in the rest of the year.

What do you think is happening in Brazil right now? Southern California was supposed to get lots of rain this year, you know. An El Niño cycle. Except the storms didn’t line up the way it was planned. There would be a few days of rain and then nothing. A few days weeks later than nothing. Could the Brazilian Storm be like Southern California El Niño? A Brazilian champ then Wilko, Jordy, Conner Coffin?

How wonderful, speaking of, is the world number two right now? He has a face built to squeeze and a rail game made for gilded Las Vegas bathrooms. Could professional surfing’s savior come from Santa Barbara? Would Bobby Martinez stand and applaud? Let’s keep our eye on that boy. Let’s watch him good.

Are you excited for Marg River? It happens in only a few days time. And will you dress as a Bells winner for Halloween? It would be a fine idea.

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Live: It’s Bells Finals Day!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

The Bog Rail Pro brought to you by Slavery!

Saturday afternoon, on the west coast of the United States. Early sunday morning in Australia. Bells is on the computer, big and strange. Strider Wasilewski says there are, “Four foot boulders in the middle of the wave.” Let’s sit together and watch, shall we? Mix a cocktail (US) or pour a coffee (Australia). Who will win?

Mick? He is taking down Dave Cathels right now. Jordy and Ciao are on the way. Pete Mell says Jordy weighs 200 pounds. He could smash four foot boulders between his thighs. Who is your favorite? Will you maybe get a tattoo to commemorate this fine day? Mix another cocktail and think about it.

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WATCH HERE!

UPDATE: Jordy Smith beats Caio. And what is worse, BeachGrit’s pop-up ads or the WSL’s Samsung Galaxy spot?

UPDATE: The fun part of being a goofyfooter is options. And do you think the announcers re-watch their heats and think, “Why were we so excited? Why did we use so many superlatives?”

UPDATE: If Nat Young falls in a heat but no one is watching does he make a sound?

UPDATE: What if your next phone could take photos like a pro?