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KS and spontaneous passive-aggression!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

The (ex) world's greatest surfer is also the world's greatest (worst) loser!

Kelly Slater is the funniest ever. He’s the best ever, of course, but also the funniest. Who could forget last year when Adriano de Souza won a hard-earned national championship and Kelly pulled his rug out hours later by releasing footage of his inland barrel?

Or a handful of hours ago when John John Florence, the world’s favorite surfer, won and Kelly Slater took to Instagram directly with a photo of him and Jordy Smith and the words:

Good fight for the title, Jordz. Great surfing all year. Nobody combines all technical and power surfing elements better. #BestVideoParts on earth, IMO.

All technical and power surfing combination? Wouldn’t that basically define John John? Kelly twists the knife a little too by shitting on John John’s Blake Vincent Kueny masterpiece View From a Blue Moon.

Kelly’s spontaneous passive-aggression could maybe be seen as poor form but I love it! His heart can only stand being champion and the aggression seeps out, passively, when he is not. There ain’t no grace in his losing but therein lies the delicate truth. “Show me a good loser…” as they say “…and I’ll show you a loser.”

Here’s to our Ke11y! The best there ever was!

(Until John John wins a few more)

Warshaw: “John John the blankest slate!”

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

Nobody has to talk themselves into feeling good about a John Florence world title…

When John John won the world title in Portugal yesterday, was your immediate thought, what does Matt Warshaw think? Oh, mine too!

Afterall, the New Yorker did describe Warshaw in their October 3 issue as “the world’s leading surfing scholar, the Linnaeus of the lineup.”

Therefore, what is the significance of a John John world title? Was it inevitable? And how does it stack among the other forty world titles? This exchange just took place between Bondi, Australia, and Seattle, Washington.

BeachGrit: When did Flo first swing onto your radar?
Warshaw: He had a bit in Dana Brown’s excellent movie Step Into Liquid, which was I think 2003. Then some other vid parts when Jon was just a tiny blond novelty, and all the filmmakers wanted to jump his mom.

You kind of had to maneuver yourself to a place where you could cheer Adriano’s achievement. All the hard work, and all the tactical precision. At some level it felt great. Victory for the Everyman. But I think it just rests easier, and seems more natural, when the title-holder is also one of the consensus best surfers in the world. Nobody has to talk themselves into feeling good about a John Florence world title.

Did you believe the hype?
No. No point in really taking interest til the kid makes it through puberty. That shit is a talent killer. I remember a couple really hot seventh grade surfers who went back to the middle of the pack in high school. So many ways to lose the gift. Never, ever, back a 10-year-old.

Did you really think this little kid could…succeed? Did you believe there were the elements of destruction all around him? That he would be led into some kind of destruction? 
John Florence, to me, is the blankest of all slates. I don’t say that to be cruel. But it’s like the way people talk about Ronald Reagan, where you try and look inside him and just get… nothing. I do get the sense that he was raised right, and is incredibly well-adjusted given the level of fame and adulation he’s been dealing with since, whatever it is, fourth grade. But there is something about him that just seems simple. Not simple-minded, but just uncomplicated and edge-free. There is nothing in him that would snag on an addiction, and nothing that would snag on politics or film or whatever. He is the purest of surfers.

What does Flo have that, say, his brothers, raised in identical circumstances, don’t?
Kelly Slater-level fast-twitch muscles, and a static-free mind.

How will history record Flo’s world title as opposed to, say, Adriano?
You kind of had to maneuver yourself to a place where you could cheer Adriano’s achievement. All the hard work, and all the tactical precision. At some level it felt great. Victory for the Everyman. But I think it just rests easier, and seems more natural, when the title-holder is also one of the consensus best surfers in the world. Nobody has to talk themselves into feeling good about a John Florence world title.

Compared to Joel and Mick?
Joel and Mick occupy that middle ground between Adriano and John.

Immediately after Flo’s win, Kelly Slater posted on Instagram a photo of he and Jordy. He wrote: “Great fight for the title, Jordz. Great surfing all year. Nobody combines all technical and power surfing elements better #bestvideoparts on earth, IMO.”

Does this strike you as an odd thing to do, in the fever of Flo’s world title saying another surfer makes better video parts and combines technique and power better? How do you imagine Kelly is feeling?
Less creative than the Gene Wilder Photoshop episode, and not as mean as dropping the wavepool on Adriano’s world title, but still, yeah, add that your listicle of weird Slater media moves for 2016. Looking forward to a Taylor Swift mic grab at the Grammys in 2017. Oh, and now that John’s the Champ, maybe he’ll get to date Taylor Swift for real!

Pro surfing: This year was dull junk!*

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

*Compared to what next year will bring!

And hoooooooo-eee! We’ve got a champion! Not the one we deserve either but… but… a gift from heaven! Grace dripping down to us from the gods! The world’s best surfer doing it in the world’s okayest waves!

Hoooooooo-eee!

I’ll admit that I had massive doubts re. John John Florence’s competitive fire. Oh his skill is beyond any sort of questioning but his fire. His caliber. I’ll admit I had massive doubts.

But he has proven himself and now and is a champion! Young too with how many more in the barrel? Four? Six? Twelve?

Zero if Gabriel Medina has anything to say about it and this is what excites me so. Gabi proved his fire years ago and reminds us of it each and every tear that runs down his still fresh cheeks.

So now we have a true rivalry! John John Florence vs. Gabriel Medina! Continent vs. continent! Blonde vs. brownish-black! Hurley vs. Rip Curl! Talent vs. talent!

Could anything be more delicious? Next year will be the greatest since Andy vs. Kelly! Gird your loins…or to quote the wonderful World Surf League “You Can Script This!™”

Portugal: John John Wins World Title!

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

It's true! The barely 24-year-old John John Florence swipes crown! And contest!

Do dreams come true? Well, yes, sometimes they do. In front of some fisherman and peasants on a Portuguese beach, with mom Alex in Hawaii, daddy who knows where, the barely twenty-four-year-old John John Florence won the WSL world title with an event to spare.

It’s  long way from the North Shore, this Portuguese fishing city, Peniche, the morning sun soaking the beach in a flat, subtly modulated red light. But, there, John John, swiping off the aggression and urgency of his semi-final opponent, Kolohe Andino, with stately measure.

In another semi-final, Conner Coffin used tube skills and what the commentator Ross Williams beautifully described as a Gene Hackman to slay the almost-thirty-year-old South African, Jordy Smith, the only hurdle between John John and the title.

Oh, there was quite the back and forthing. Until, with five minutes left, Conner swooped on a six-footer, stood through its length, came out with arms behind back, and going into a second closeout tube, threw a shaka. Unanimous nines from the five judges.

On the beach, John John’s shaper Jon Pyzel whooped at Conner’s tubes, at Conner’s Gene’s.

“Conner is the best surfer in the world!” hooted John John.

There is something of a  physical ecstasy in John John Florence winning a world title.

Did you feel the same when Adriano De Souza won the title last year?

John John Florence, best surfer in the world. World champion.

It’s got a nice ring, don’t it.

And the final? John whipped airs and oops to win in the most dazzling manner you can imagine.

The soul, some Arabs believe, can only travel at the pace of  trotting camel.

They’ve never seen John John Florence surf.

FLORENCE 2016 WSL CT RESULTS 
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast: 5th
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach: 13th
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro: 13th
Oi Rio Pro: WINNER
Fiji Pro: 5th
J-Bay Open: 2nd
Billabong Pro Tahiti: 2nd
Hurley Pro at Trestles: 13th
Quiksilver Pro France: 3rd
Meo Rip Curl Pro Portugal: WINNER
Billabong Pipe Masters: TBD

FLORENCE CAREER WSL CT FINISHES:
2011: 34th
2012: 4th
2013: 10th
2014: 3rd
2015: 14th
2016: WSL CHAMPION

MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Final Results:
1 – John John Florence (HAW) 16.67
2 – Conner Coffin (USA) 9.93

MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Semifinal Results:
SF 1: John John Florence (HAW) 13.84 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 8.47
SF 2: Conner Coffin (USA) 15.00 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.37

WSL Jeep Leaderboard Top 5 (after MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal):

John John Florence (HAW) 56,400 pts
Gabriel Medina (BRA) 45,450 pts
Jordy Smith (ZAF) 41,700 pts
Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 38,250 pts
Kolohe Andino (USA) 38,150

Rumor: Quiksilver to pull out of The Eddie?

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

Is the newly solvent clothing giant on the verge of pulling out of the famous big-wave event?

Do you remember the rumor, just two months ago, that Red Bull was flying back and forth to Oahu to court the famous Aikau family? That it was pushing to win the broadcast rights for the event from the WSL?

Red Bull didn’t want naming rights, necessarily, although cans of the company’s popular stimulant soda would, naturally, be suddenly apparent in broadcasts, but wanted to turn The Eddie into “a proper show.” Like this year’s Cape Fear event. 

Of course, if Red Bull, who famously fell out with the WSL over co-sponsorship rights, had got their way, it was likely it’d become a non-WSL event. Which meant, no John John, no Kelly etc.

As to that rumour, it appears that after meeting the Aikau family Red Bull decided to quit chasing the broadcast rights.

Now, the coconut wireless is “humming” according to a very good source with the rumor that  Quiksilver could not reach an agreement with the Aikau family to hold the annual namesake event. A big merchandise deadline was supposedly missed (t-shirt production from China) as well as subsequent extensions.

Has Quiksilver, perhaps wisely, decided that the chances of The Eddie ever being as good as 2016 are so slim any subsequent money poured into it would be wasted?

Would you, if gifted the keys to the clothing giant that was once famously six hundred million dollars in debt, continue to run with The Eddie?

Or would you pour the surplus money into your number one team rider Matt Banting?