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Dirk Ziff Saves Margaret River Pro!

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

"It didn't have a pulse!"

I’m not sure what your feelings are about the Margaret River Pro, one of the few events on tour underwritten by a major sponsor.

I thought it was insane to drag the best surfers in the world across Australia to surf a B-grade peak, even with the promise of North Point or The Box if the gods were to gift an agreeable confluence of wind and swell.

From the pale turquoise fluff of Snapper to the wiggles and whorls of Margarets to the garbage of Bells. It wasn’t much of a way to start a tour.

But then John John got to it, snowboarding the imperfect faces on one of his Pyzel Ghosts and…yeah… maybe Margaret River was worth something. Filipe Toledo, too, impatient, salacious, beautiful to watch.

New approaches, new angles. Right surfers, right boards.

Best event on the Australian slice? Yeah it is, was.

Did you know that it was going to be axed, the Australian tour reduced to two events, Snapper and Bells? And that it was Paul Speaker leaving the WSL and the intervention of the WSL’s owner Dirk Ziff that saved the event?

From PerthNow,

THE organisers of WA’s premier surfing event have admitted the contest was to be axed from next year until a last-minute intervention from the owner of the sport’s global governing body.

Surfing WA chief executive Mark Lane revealed on Friday that the Margaret River Pro “didn’t have a pulse” last year when the event’s place on the elite world tour from 2018 came up for negotiation with the World Surf League.

But it has emerged that a change of management at the top of the WSL – billionaire owner Dirk Ziff replaced former boss Paul Speaker – spared Margaret River from the chop.

Mr Lane joined by Tourism Minister Paul Papalia on Friday to confirm the Margaret River Pro would stay on the World Championship Tour until at least 2019 after the WSL agreed to renew its contract for another two years.

Under the multimillion-dollar deal, which is being largely funded by Tourism WA, the contract for the Pro will be extended at least two years, with the option of a further extension.
Mr Lane said the agreement almost never happened after the WSL earmarked Margaret River as the event to be axed from Australia rather than the Gold Coast of Bells Beach in Victoria – both longstanding events.

“It didn’t actually have a pulse at all,” Mr Lane said.

I’m thrilled, and florid faced over the news.

Et toi?

Haute: Taj Burrow’s new career!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Where do surfers go when the lights turn out?

Do you wonder what happens to your favorite pro surfers when the lights turn out on their professional competitive careers? Like, what is Brett Simpson doing right now? Or Ethan Ewing? How are they spending their salad years? Or Taj Burrow? Everyone’s one-time second favorite surfer has been out of the public eye for some time but just re-emerged in North Carolina and in a surprising role. Let’s read about him in the local news!

Youth surfers got a chance to meet several top pro surfers last week when they visited Wrightsville Beach as part of the Gnarly Charley Surf Series on Thursday, July 27.

Pro surfer Taj Burrow, who retired from the ASP World Tour in 2016 after a 17-year career on the tour that saw him win 12 tournaments, came to the tournament, as did other pro surfers, including Peter Mendia, Bo Raynor and Knox Harris.

After the surfers arrived at the event, a line of kids eager to get the signatures of their favorite surfers. Most had the surfers sign hats, t-shirts and posters, but one young surfer, Mako Musilunas, who hoisted a trophy at the event, even got a signature on his forehead.

But a few of the young surfers wanted an even closer experience with the pros. Talan Groseclose, a young surfer from Carolina Beach, let Burrow shave part of his head to mimic the familiar “mohawk” style haircut Burrow would wear on the tour.

“It’s pretty sick,” Groseclose said of the haircut.

Groseclose said the event helped him learn about how to compete in a surf tournament.

“I learned how to wait on waves instead of just going for everything,” Groseclose said.

Now, I spend most of my days reading surf news but this whole story had me scratching my head from the very beginning. I will detail my questions below.

1) Can surf contests be accurately described as “tournaments?” I thought “contest” and “tournament” were distinct but maybe I’m wrong here.

2) The familiar “mohawk” style haircut Burrow would wear on the tour? Did I miss Taj’s mohawk years? Like, I remember all his WSL buddies got drunk and shaved the sides of their heads before he retired but… Yeah, I can’t remember more than that.

3) What in the world were a pair of hair clippers doing at the autograph signing table?

4) “I learned to wait on waves…” Do you think the boy with the Taj Burrow Signature Mohawk™ meant he learned how to surf at the acceptable 75% tour effort level or do you think he meant actually wait for set waves?

I will be spend the next six hours pondering these and encourage you to do the same.

Unsettling! Body disrupts fun day at the beach!

Steve Van Rees

by Steve Van Rees

What's the oddest thing you've encountered on the way to a surf?

Unsettling is a term that best fits when you ding your new Cordell.

Unsettling is when your dad tries to get on the undercard for Mayweather-McGregor fight (Sorry, Mr. Medina).

But finding a dead body en route to your session?

Apparently, a lady from Texas took a moonlit stroll down at Ocean City, Maryland, right there at the front of my house, at 2:30 am, and fell into a hole for the rest of her life.

Here’s the scoop from CBS News:

The death of a 30-year-old Texas woman found buried on a Maryland beach has been ruled accidental.

Citing a ruling from the state’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Ocean City police said in a statement Wednesday that Ashley O’Connor of Plano, Texas, who was found buried in the sand, had suffocated.

Beachgoers discovered the body Monday morning. Police spokeswoman Lindsay Richard says only O’Connor’s arm was visible above the sand.

Richard says O’Connor got separated from her family about 2 a.m. Monday and walked onto the beach alone. She was later found in a hole covered by sand.

Police say it’s not clear whether she fell into the hole or climbed in on her own. Richard didn’t know the exact depth of the hole, but said it was significant.

While crews worked the scene Monday, people were sunbathing right next to it, CBS Salisbury affiliate WBOC-TV reports.

“I guess it was shocking just seeing all these people just kind of moving around and vacationing when there’s someone that’s deceased right behind us,” said beachgoer Kim Dugam.

“It’s a little unsettling.”

Now, I’ve surfed in Ocean City before.

Winter brings solid swell, for sure. And I suppose I could endure hooking my leash – however off-putting – on a dead arm as I walked to the shoreline.

But what makes me curious is “beachgoer” Kim Dugam’s remark that a dead body buried in the sand nearby is “a little unsettling.”

How selfish of the deceased. Sorry the whole ex-person-in-the-hole bit interrupted your Pennsylvania sunburn.

To review:

Unsettling: Derek’s intimate description of the contours of a bullfighter.

More than unsettling: lady in hole.

Tell me: what’s the oddest thing you’ve encountered in the sand on the way to a surf?

Kelly Slater: “How to stay forever young!”

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

Click to snatch Kelly's anti-ageing secrets!

Never, not even in my kinkiest night thoughts, would I have imagined that one day Kelly Slater, forty-six next birthday, would be a spruiker for Volcom, young folks against the establishment etc.

But, here we are, a brave new world where anything seems possible, probable even.

And, below, is a short piece with Kelly Slater made by Volcom, where Kelly, with his usual transparency, treats the interview as if it’s a therapy session, bringing up the trouble father-son relationship, how he felt compelled to show his mother he wouldn’t bring his own world down with drink, gals that might not have been the right choice and, there, right at the end, his secret to eternal youth.

“You learn to the day you die,” says Kelly. “People ask me about longevity and keeping up with these young guys now and, ultimately, if your mind is not switched on and excited about things you grow old real fast. That’s when you age. Your body starts to go. You stop being excited about some goal to use that ability you have. I think life is over at that point.”

It ain’t bad advice.

Watch: Axel Irons at Texas Wave Pool!

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

The son Andy Irons never got to meet is almost seven! Watch him surf!

Little Ax Irons, the kid his daddy never got to meet, is almost seven can y’believe.

And, if you’ve been following Lyndie Irons’ Instagram since the kid was born you would’ve seen the little man grow into a fabulous facsimile of his Dad. Same golden hair, same wide smile, same dazzling electro-vibration, adored by a hundred uncles and aunties.

Shakes the hell out of me everytime I see the kid.

Andy is really gone?

Anyway, Axel is in Texas and just lit up the NLand Surf Park in Austin and, ooowee, watch the kid nail a wave from out back and into the shore break.

And, yeah, early days, but you like the way he threatens the little tube on the takeoff and then hangs in the pocket for the whole ride?

Does the dynasty continue beyond Uncle Bruce?

https://www.instagram.com/p/BXYsd3GgOau/?hl=en&taken-by=axelirons