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Texas Pool: “God gave me a beach!”

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

Come taste divine fruits on opening day at Austin's new Wavegarden… 

Did you hear? Yesterday was opening day at NLand surf park, North America’s first Wavegarden, and only the second of its kind in the world.

The pool, which is twenty minutes drive from downtown Austin, promises “steep performance waves” for ninety dollars an hour, “Playful whitewater waves” at sixty an hour or you can ride alongside pals on “Party waves”, also at sixty dollars an hour.

The prices figure about the same as Surf Snowdonia, Wavegarden’s first commercial pool in north Wales (35-to-45 pounds an hour for “advanced surfers”) although the water in Austin is a bath-like 80 degrees fahrenheit (26 celsius) and ain’t no need for wetsuits when the air’s hitting 87 or 30 degrees. A thoroughly pleasant equation.

A sharp-eyed BeachGrit reader, Mr Bill Kemble, was curious to see how many videos were made by happy pool users after opening day.

Woke up this am, hoping to see the glory of NLand’s opening day ripping across YouTube. But only one (ONE!) video popped up. 

My observations:
– the quality of the “surf” looks like crap, no better than the gulf (which is only a few hours south of Austin)
– I see more lifegaurds on soft-tops out there than customers
–  a beautiful TX quote at 5:51 “God gave me a beach” followed by a few tears.”
Freed from the strictures of professional production and PR spin, the video gives a punter’s view of proceedings, complete with a breathy Jesus-y commentary.
“You know, I’m ready to surf too. I’m so ready. I’m going to. I’m going to do it, just like I started walking. I’m gonna surf.”
Watch here.

 

Quik Pro: Watch Filipe’s Divine Ten!

Rory Parker

by Rory Parker

Oh it really is something… 

For the first time in over a month my house is empty. No guests, no dog sitting. Just peace and quiet.

Still managed to get upset. Bordering on full-blown rage explosion. So I self medicated with beer and pills and fell face first into blissful emptiness while the ladies event ran.

Woke up to a storm of hyperbole.

“Heat of the Year?” asks the WSL.

Was it? Better take a look.

Busy day in baguette land, yesterday. A shitload of heats ran. High scores abound. Too much to go through point by point. I don’t feel like typing three thousand words. You don’t feel like reading them.

Instead we’ll begin by skipping ahead. Heat two of round four. John John and Filipe and Stu Kennedy. It’s what everyone’s talking about!

Stu’s been having a very good year. Bede Durbidge’s bad luck has only spelled good things for the young man. Playing spoiler against the top dogs. A semifinal finish on the Gold Coast, quarters at Trestles. Currently sitting above the cutoff at nineteenth, he has every right to be proud of himself.

But he had nothing against the on fire pair of blonde headed local boy and skinny South American camelid. Who would?

Was it the heat of the year? I guess, 2016 hasn’t been the best year for pro surfing. But if you put it up against true magic heats it falls a little flat.

John John started things off with a nice little tube ride. Of course he found it, that’s what he does. I’ve seen the kid get a four second barrel at one foot Ehukai. He’s a sorcerer when it comes to finding cover.

7.33 for that one. 7.67 for a grab rail left green room shortly after. Solid lead, great position. Given the fact that it’s been hard for the boys to find gems all event you’d’ expect that to be an easy win. When he dropped the low score with a 9.07 slash to frontside grab rev to flats.

I feel sorry for John John’s joints. Better start stocking up on Glucosamine. Which I don’t think really works. But I once read that Danny Way swears by it. Way’s got the most fucked up knees on Earth, I figure he must know a thing or two. Placebo effect or not.

But you’ve gotta hand it to Filipe, he doesn’t roll over. Stu Kennedy was looking like a baby bunny caught between two ravenous pitbulls, but the Llama found a great backside pit, whacked it on the way out, dug his way out of the combo situation.

John John answered back with a very good backside reverse followed by two more backside taps. Judges gave him a 9.4. Don’t get me wrong, it was a very good wave. But it once again demonstrated the problem with repeated high scores. John John can do better. Much better. Only leaving .6 for improvement puts the other competitors in a bad spot.

Filipe’s heat winner being a case in point. So high, so long. Lofted that full rotation into the breeze, stomped it perfectly. Skaters’d call it bolts.

Filipe couldn’t resist the urge to claim it. Hands of his head. Yippee! Totally totally totally understandable. If I landed something like that I’d follow up by exposing myself to the entire beach, burning the board, then never surf again. All downhill from there.

But he landed in the perfect spot, perfectly centered, and there was another section coming his way. Filipe remembered to drop his arms and hit it at the last moment, but in a perfect world he’d’ve bent his knees and used the section for another soaring trip above the lip.

And if he’d done it? No where to go.

I’m not saying it was the wrong score. It was not. But they need to find a way to deal with situations like this, should they rear their ugly heads. A ten needs to be surfed perfectly. Quitting before the wave is done is not perfect.

I favor docking points for claims. They’re out of control. Justified or not, premature celebration is a bad habit in sports. If I were his coach, or father, or whatever, I’d read him the riot act, even though he won. It ain’t over ’til the hooter sounds. Shouldn’t stop trying for even a second, no matter how pleased you are with your performance.

Dialing it back to round three…

It was nice to see Asing beat Buchan. I like the little Hawaiian. Seems like a nice guy. Always an underdog, can’t help but rooting for him. Fun way to say it, I’m aware of the differing definitions.

Surfing’s Rodney Dangerfield did his usual thing, sent Connor Coffin packing.

Filipe’s third round heat showed he’s on point to win this fucker. Huge alley oop for an 8.6, top to bottom combo number for a 7.33. Cathel was surfing well, hardly handed Toledo the win. But there’s only a few guys who can touch Filipe when he’s on his game.

Igarashi is out in round three. Saw that coming. Poor kid.

Freestone flailed. Kolohe paired an overscored 8 with a nice boost frontside rotation to take the win easily.

Wilko’s out. And his early season dreams of a title are more or less dead. Very common curse. The dude’s who come out firing in the early events rarely manage to maintain that momentum through the course of the year.

Perrow called the day at the end of round four. Cited tide change as the reason. Off ’til tomorrow. Hopefully more fun surf on tap.

Not so stoked to see John John’s facing ADS in round five. The former is the better surfer, the latter the better competitor. Might be a great match up. Might be a tactical battle the blonde kind can’t overcome. I sure hope that’s not the case. We all want Florence to take the title this year. If for no reason other than that it’ll be fun to watch the Brazilian internet contingent lose their collective mind.

QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Keanu Asing (HAW) 14.50 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.40
Heat 2: Adriano De Souza (BRA) 14.50 def. Conner Coffin (USA) 12.80
Heat 3: Matt Banting (AUS) 9.16 def. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 8.80
Heat 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 15.93 def. Davey Cathels (AUS) 14.53
Heat 5: Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 11.06 def. Nat Young (USA) 10.76
Heat 6: John John Florence (HAW) 16.80 def. Ryan Callinan (AUS) 15.50
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.34 vs. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 12.90
Heat 8: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 12.23 vs. Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 10.90
Heat 9: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.93 vs. Jack Freestone (AUS) 8.83
Heat 10: Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.43 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 10.93
Heat 11: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 15.67 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 12.66
Heat 12: Kai Otton (AUS) 12.60 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 10.43

QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE ROUND 4 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Matt Banting (AUS) 14.43, Keanu Asing (HAW) 13.76, Adriano De Souza (BRA) 13.53
Heat 2: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 18.50, John John Florence (HAW) 18.47, Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 12.03
Heat 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.17, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 9.13, Kolohe Andino (USA) 8.74
Heat 4: Kai Otton (AUS) 15.50, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 6.30, Julian Wilson (AUS) 2.33

QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE ROUND 5 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Keanu Asing (HAW) vs. Stuart Kennedy (AUS)
Heat 2: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Adriano de Souza (BRA)
Heat 3: Caio Ibelli (BRA) vs. Julian Wilson (AUS)
Heat 4: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)

Revealed: Birthplace of modern surfing!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Did you think it was Waikiki? Malibu? Maybe Santa Cruz? Wrong! Welcome to Cronulla, Australia!

The fight over surfing’s ownership is a fun-ish one don’t you think? Hawaii is, of course, our beloved tap root… or is it? Peru lays claim also saying that pre-Incan peoples rode waves on their boats for fun. But that sounds more like the birthplace of SUPing to me.

Three Hawaiian princes surfed in Santa Cruz in 1885 and the famous George Freeth surfed the Huntington Pier in 1907 in order to advertise a new rail line. The Huntington Pier? Oh bummer!

The Duke is regarded as the father of modern surfing and shredded Waikiki, California and New Jersey in style in the early part of the 20th century but it has just been revealed, today, that Australia’s Cronulla is the actual birthplace of our favorite wastetime! Let’s read Who Knew? Cronulla is the Birthplace of Modern Surfing in the Illarrawa Mercury!

“Mike Bright and I paddled out, started catching waves. Then people starting running across the car park to the beach. There were hundreds of them. I thought, ‘sheesh, someone’s had a heart attack’.”

The speaker is Greg Noll. Eighty years old. Conqueror of Waimea Bay. That photograph at Pipeline. Those trademark black and white board shorts. “Da Bull”. And the man who introduced the malibu board to Australia.

Sunday, November 18, 1956, Noll and a couple of mates with a US lifesavers’ team in Australia to compete in a surf life saving carnival staged for the Melbourne Olympic Games, were taken to a Sydney beach with their paddleboards to train in some waves after the long voyage across the Pacific.

“Mike [Bright a fellow Californian] and I also brought balsa boards along and I remember small waves breaking off these rocks to the left. And all these people just staring at us, kinda quiet.”

Many beaches claim to be the birthplace of modern surfing but – Bondi, Manly, Freshwater and Avalon, eat your hearts out – it turns out to be the home of the NRL champions and the race riot, Cronulla.

Until Noll and his mate paddled out, the only surfboards most Australians were familiar with were the old hollow “Toothpick” style of surf craft but after Cronulla – and subsequent exhibitions by the Americans at Avalon and Torquay in Victoria – malibus ruled Australia’s beach culture.

I think, from context, the writer maybe means birthplace of modern surfing in Australia but it’s fun to have that chest puffed out so proud for a moment, ain’t it Cronulla? The whole wide surfing world bowing to you. Thanking you for your wonderful gift.

And for the Cronulla Sharks.

Quik Pro: “Slater sinks! Filipe soars!”

Rory Parker

by Rory Parker

France is real good when it's good. But it sure ain't when it ain't.

Day three, round two, of the Quiksilver Pro France started on a sour note. Event went mobile, the site moved to La Graviere. Which I fully support. Massive logistical feat, great to see the WSL is willing to put in the effort to find superior surf.

But it was the wrong call. La Graviere was lined-up shit. Event on hold, mad dash back to des Cul Nus.

Not gonna throw stones. I’m sure certain people were feeling sick to their stomachs. Super bummed to roll the dice and lose. But everyone makes mistakes. Can’t fault someone for trying their best. I appreciate the attempt. Truly.

The day was decent. A few nice moments. Some interesting drama.

Wilko/Duru was a great way to start the day. Bit of a slow start. Some morning sickness to deal with. But it cleaned up, and the pair was ripping.

Duru had the heat in the bag. Solid surfing, good wave selection. His only fault was his second scoring wave. Could’ve dropped a big score, but surfed slightly off balance. Timing was a bit off. Cost him the few tenths of a points he needed to win.

Wilko scraped through by the skin of his teeth. But not because he surfed poorly. His second scoring ride, a lipslide float to cutty to layback finner slash, was a thing of beauty. Dropped the contest robot facade for a moment. I honestly thought it was a little underscored. The layback was challenging as all hell, real risky maneuver.

Judges dropped the ball towards the end. Took an eternity to drop a score for Wilko. Turned the exchange into a gut wrenching nail biter. Unfair for the guys in the water. Momentum is a real thing.

But they got the score right, gave Wilko enough to get through. Keep his title campaign alive. And that’s all that really matters.

A second round loss definitely sucks, no matter who you are. But Duru should be feeling pretty good about himself. Guy’s got some real potential. I can see a ‘CT career in his future.

Callinan/Jordy was a back and forth battle. Smith surfing well, Callinan on point. Hard to tell who’d get the nod. A lot on the line for Jordy.

With 2:45 left the South African had the win clinched. Callinan stroked into a shitty closeout, opened up with a standard backside top turn. No way was he getting the score.

Then he flowed off the bottom into a hideous backside fin drift reo. Came down fins first, spun it around, tossed the Medina Urkel claim. Grabbed Jordy’s title campaign by the dick, then kicked it square in the teeth.

Up next was Slater v Leo Fio. Turpel called it a super heat. Hyperbolic designation. A legend against a rookie ain’t hardly that.

But in the end he was right. It was super. Super fucking boring.

Uncooperative ocean. Slater and the WOP struggling to manufacture scores.

It got a little interesting toward the end. Fio snagged two solid waves and did his work. Ended one with an acid drop onto dry sand. That was a cool way to potentially kill a board during a heat. Kelly butt bombed onto the ground himself. Looked like it hurt.

The high point was Jordy’s post heat interview. He was upset. Understandable. He was also absolutely dripping sour grapes.

Ryan’s a great surfer. I think he just kinda tried his luck on that last move. And, um, nine times out of ten he probably wouldn’t’ve made it.

Ouch. Proof is in the pudding, Jordy. Looked like a clean make to me.

Leo Fio beat Slater again. Crazy. Slates closed the show with an I-give-up chop hop.

I nodded off while Parko and Banting faced off. The waves weren’t great. Both guys struggled to force something.

The legend led until the last five minutes when Banting managed to grab two of the better ones and link together a few turns. Made it to round three, something he’s only managed in half the events this year. Might have something to do with how he throws his hands over his head almost every time he does a turn. Whack-ass style. I don’t like it.

Julian knocked out Flores. Then the frenchman stormed the judges tower and set it aflame.

Not really. But here’s a serious question.

How the fuck was Flores’s second wave a 4.1? He did a cutback, hit the whitewater, bogged out the back. That makes no sense at all. Seriously. Am I confused? Did I miss something? Can someone enlighten me? Is it a fucked up prank? Are the judges just trying to mind fuck Jeremy?

Flores is funny. He really comes across like a prick, but I can’t help but love the guy. Probably because I once watched him surf scary Pipe one time from the safety of the channel. He put on a clinic I’ve never seen the likes of before or since. And he speaks his mind. Gotta love that.

If so, it worked. Flores went meltdown. Flailed on his next nine waves. Except for a 3.43 that was miles better than his 4.1.

He kept it calm, relatively, during his post heat interview. Flores is funny. He really comes across like a prick, but I can’t help but love the guy. Probably because I once watched him surf scary Pipe one time from the safety of the channel. He put on a clinic I’ve never seen the likes of before or since. And he speaks his mind. Gotta love that.

Filipe Toledo shook off whatever was bugging him yesterday. Surfed as well as we all expect him to. Best of the day. Aggressive turns. Sliding fins. Big spray. Total commitment. He ran down Alex Ribeiro like my old neighbor’s shitty chihuahua. That bitch would open her gate and let the little fucker out to shit in my yard every single fucking day. Damn thing would bark and snap at us. Bit my own idiot pooch on multiple occasions. He didn’t mind because he’s a total moron.

Didn’t stop until I told her I was gonna kill the fucking thing and bury it behind my house, then deny it when she called the cops.

I wouldn’t have, really. I love dogs. Even shitty ones. You can only blame the owner.

Bourez/ Muniz saw more sub par surf. The Spartan did an admirable job of applying power to weakness, but Muniz milked his last two waves all the way to the beach. Good heat strategy on a day like today. Mid-five and a mid-six. Nothing flashy, but Alejo deserved the win.

It’s been a shitty year for Freestone. Missed two events because of injury. Second at Rio, but nothing substantial other than that.

Luck was on his side today, he got the winning end of a total robbery. Both of Kerr’s scoring rides, a 4.5 and 4.8, were light years better than Freestone’s first 5.93. Jack tapped it twice, then fell. Makes no sense. The judges must be drunk. Or blind. Or busy sucking each other off. Or some combination of the three.

Seabass/Melling was boring. No choice but to make the best of what they had. Best turn of the heat took place at the beginning of Zietz second scoring ride. Big sexy gouge. I liked it very much. He fell on his next turn, but it was enough to get through.

At one point Ross Williams and that other dude were discussing Fanning’s “semi-hiatus” year. Alluded, once again, to the fact that the WSL had promised him on of the two injury wildcards, despite the fact that Bede broke his pelvis and Wright crushed his brain. Those are real injuries. Fanning’s situation is special treatment. I do not like it. That’s not how sports work. Everyone has personal struggles. Everyone.

But not everyone has been bumped by a shark during a heat. Bigger draw equals better treatment. They need to add that shit to the rule book.

During heat ten the judges took a break from watching, drove to Uncle Wiggly’s hotel room, then robbed him blind. Conner Coffin surfed well, sure. Definitely won the heat. But he got a nine for a line of identical backside whacks, Dantas only got a 6.93 for an honest to gosh fast runner tube ride. Stupid stupid stupid. If Coffin’s was a 9, Wiggoly’s was a 10. Which wasn’t enough to win, but it sure would be nice if the scoring made a lick of sense.

Same old song, I guess.

Kennedy outpointed Payne without doing anything great. Highlight was Rosie towering over Coffin during his interview.

Igarashi made it into round three again, sent Jadson packing by surfing the way Kanoa does. Which is safely. Which is why he’s only made it to round four once this year.

Pottz said it himself, unintentionally damning with faint praise.

That’s Huntington beach surfing, right there. The ability to surf a closeout well. That’s what Kanoa can do.

You know, maybe they need to stop applying ‘QS results to ‘CT ranking.

And that was it for the day. I haven’t checked the swell forecast, but I hope there’s something coming down the pipe. ‘Cuz France is real good when it’s good. But it sure ain’t when it ain’t.

QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 14.56 def. Joan Duru (FRA) 14.33
Heat 2: Ryan Callinan (AUS) 12.26 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11.83
Heat 3: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 13.26 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 10.16
Heat 4: Matt Banting (AUS) 11.50 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 10.74
Heat 5: Julian Wilson (AUS) 12.00 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 9.43
Heat 6: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 15.67 def. Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 7.60
Heat 7: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 12.00 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 11.33
Heat 8: Jack Freestone (AUS) 12.36 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 9.30
Heat 9: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 12.60 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 11.34
Heat 10: Conner Coffin (USA) 16.33 def. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 12.60
Heat 11: Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 12.00 def. Dusty Payne (HAW) 10.50
Heat 12: Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 12.43 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 9.17

QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE ROUND 3 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Keanu Asing (HAW)
Heat 2: Adriano De Souza (BRA) vs. Conner Coffin (USA)
Heat 3: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Matt Banting (AUS)
Heat 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Davey Cathels (AUS)
Heat 5: Stuart Kennedy (AUS) vs. Nat Young (USA)
Heat 6: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Ryan Callinan (AUS)
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
Heat 8: Caio Ibelli (BRA) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (USA)
Heat 9: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Jack Freestone (AUS)
Heat 10: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 11: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 12: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) vs. Kai Otton (AUS)

Armageddon update: Shark invasion!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

"We used to stack fucks like you five feet high in Korea and use you for sandbags!"

Today’s armageddon news just keeps getting more fabulous! First Florida’s Hurricane Matthew brought nuggety little barrels to usually flat South Beach and now it is bringing deadly sharks to people’s doorsteps in Jacksonville!

I was wondering, earlier, about the schizophrenic nature of Floridians which gulf coast surfer Travis Bible summed up well. He wrote:

We’re not getting anything from this storm, but we live for hurricane swells. It puts one in a strange predicament: rooting for a storm to grow and linger and then hit the right spot, while the entire time saying “i hope no one gets hurt.” Then, on top of that, you know one day it will come for you. When it does you go to the clean side and hope you have a home to come back to.

And it must be difficult to maintaining a healthy worldview. No? But what happens when the sharks start invading?

If you lived in Jacksonville and saw a shark swimming around your front yard, sliding on Junior’s little plastic slide, nibbling the roses etc. would you go onto your porch with a leash and try to capture it? Maybe bring it inside to the couch and find something on television and make some popcorn? Or would you go onto your porch with a shotgun and say:

“What the hell is this? Get off my lawn.”

But then the shark would say, “Listen old man, you don’t want to fuck with me.”

And then you would say, “Did you hear me? I said get off my lawn NOW.”

Then the shark would say, “Are you fucking crazy go back in the house.”

Then you would say, “I blow a hole in your face then I go back in the house and sleep like a baby. You can count on that. We used to stack fucks like you five feet high in Korea and use you for sandbags…”

And do yo think the shark would leave after that? I wonder.