Candid: I was too lazy to not watch the Quik Pro

Would I do it again? Probably… 

The first day of the Quik Pro and I was nowhere to be seen for it. I left the comfortable confines of my house littered with banana-box bookshelves, banana-box furniture and my fiancée still asleep to chase waves two hours from home.

What a leisurely drive: a sunny day, beautiful scenery, a stint herding middle-aged women down a gravel road like they were sheep, and what smutty and condescending conversations were had along the way! The waves? I, along with my two companions scored a three-foot righthand reef break to ourselves before the wind ruined it (Don’t come to New Zealand, the wind ruins everything, particularly if you’re a fly fisherman).

Returning home, I was reminded that the Quik Pro was on and out of curiosity checked it out to see what the conditions were like… disappointing to say the least.

I perused through the previous results and confirmed my initial thoughts that I hadn’t missed much: Joel won, Kelly hadn’t, Ric tanked (as a New Zealander, you expect as much from your sports people) and Dane obviously didn’t really care.

Nonetheless, I continued watching, I was too tired to do anything else. The new girl bored and annoyed me, I got stoked that Ronny was finally in the commentary booth and there were moments of brilliance, but on the whole, the conditions made it boring.

And that was the men’s. By this point, the conditions looked sad. Sad enough, that even I with my lightweight frame and perpetual hunger for surf would not have wanted to paddle out in that.

So out went the girls. I went to close the window, “Ah no!!! I want to watch the girls!” declared my fiancée. So I left her to it while I skated on the road outside and was nearly hit by a car.

I grew bored, though, and returned to watch it with her. The waves looked better and the girls made it look fun. I took great delight in Silvana Lima trouncing Steph. As a former Slater-hater and someone who distrusts the establishment, such scenarios fill me with glee.

Then came Carissa’s heat. My fiancée is a huge Carissa Moore fan, she only occasionally surfs, but thinks Carissa is the shit (justified I guess). She got in to that heat way too much. An avowed feminist (Rory, your analysis?), at one point she yelled at the screen, calling Tatiana Weston-Webb a stupid bitch (before quickly retracting her statement), after Tatiana got a smoker to take the lead from Moore.

Then Moore got her last wave. Was it, or wasn’t it enough? My fair lady wanted to know. I thought not and said as much, not a popular call, so I tried to soften it by saying that I wasn’t a judge. It was enough and there was much fist pumping and yelling in our small place. The last heat went by and I was sure there was some dubious calls made, but oh well.

This morning, I reviewed the previous day and thought about whether I would have paid for the privilege of that afternoon/evening. The answer is no. Mostly, it is because I don’t care enough about it. It is not worth the money I earn giving “free and frank” advice when I only watch it because there is no surf.

Likewise, this idea of bonus content being included does not interest me. I don’t care where Medina lives and I don’t care about what Sally does in her down time. I might bite if Pam was in the commentary booth (hey, I like French Bulldogs). I’ve given back to the industry enough (giving the companies hordes of newby tourists hooked on surfing in my past life as an instructor), I’m not paying any more for it, nor will my conscience allow it.

All that fetid content between waves? I’d rather endure the 15 minute lulls and associated boredom. Yet, given yesterday’s spectacle, I may not have a choice. Will I watch it today? If it is on, yes, as I am a contrary creature.

Dane Reynolds, Quiksilver Pro
Dane Reynolds? A little rust on the edges, or is it disinterest, although this isn't apparent in the photo here. | Photo: WSL

“That was straight-up gangsta!”

New words and new faces and even a new energy embroider day one of the Quikilsver Pro… 

The central myth of professional surfing is that people who don’t surf care. That if it was somehow jammed into a dada-esqure package of flashing lights and three-dimensional logos and multiple camera angles, hemstitched with lace, and festooned with chiffon, pro surfing would become as big as America’s NFL.

Wait, it has already! Read here! It ain’t a myth at all! 

Let me tell you about day one at the… suddenly… biggest sport on earth! Come revel in the colour and noise and rhythm!

A handful of two-to-three footers promenaded down an acceptable sandbank and while round one is generally a garbage can of B and C-listers being trampled by the A-game, today it wrought its fullest energy as spectacle.

Joel Parkinson beat the comedian and part-time surfer Brett Simpson and the Brazilian Mugel Pupo, and he beat them so well, he was inclined to remind Rosy Hodge in his post-heat interview of his “questionable” second placing to Gabriel in 2014.

The gazelle-like Rosy had the temerity to ask Joel if he’s like to do better than the seconds he’s gotten in the past two Snapper events.

“I grew up surfing here and know what I want to see,” he growled.


Now into his third-year on tour, Sebastian Zeitz came and raised hell. A club sandwich thrown where most would delicately slice the rim scored a five though the debutant Ricardo Christie was easily despatched. Michel Bourez swayed to the languid rhythm of the waves though not with the same jazz as Zeitz.

What else?

Kelly lost to Fred Pattachia despite a carving 360 that the commentator Martin Potter rated as the “most difficult manoeuvre in the planet.” Potter added, “Not many humans on the planet can do that!” Who knew!

A John John Florence jam teased the term “layback dagger!” out of the ever-sublime Joey Turpel.

But the two moments of the day came when Ross Williams (whom BeachGrit regards as the best in the game, just click here for proof) described a turn of Mick Fanning’s as “straight gangsta!” and a Matt Banting turn as a “buttercup manoeuvre.”

The wildcard Dane Reynolds surfed in a heat with the Brazilians Gabriel Medina and Wiggoly Dantas but appeared vaguely disinterested and perhaps two kilograms over his best fighting weight. The tour has never fitted Reynolds well, despite his remarkable fourth place finish a few years ago, and he must stipulate in future contract negotiations that he doesn’t feel much like dancing in events anymore.

Jordy, Dusty, Bede (a surfer whom I’d take to bed) and Julian all surfed as if they’d spent the morning drinking fizz-water. Such energy! Each took the wave and deformed it as brutally as he could.

As I write, the women are tracing their own intimate journeys upon the little waves.

More tomorrow,  I think! Dine before the pay-wall goes up! 

Kelly Slater and John John Florence
Kelly Slater holds his trophy for wave of the year in 2014; John John Florence, for breakthrough performer of the year. Y'ready to pay to watch these game changers? | Photo: WSL

Revealed: Get ready to pay for WSL webcasts!

Are you ready to pay to watch professional surfing?

Considering how much attention the recent New York Times article on the WSL paid to the organization’s assocaition with YoutTube I was surprised to notice, after the feed went down during Slater’s first sound heat, that the contest was actually being streamed via something called NeuLion.

What is Neulion?  It’s the web player used by the NFL, NBA, NHL and UFC. It is, “the premier solution for delivering live and on-demand sports in an unrivaled interactive digital video experience that gives fans an action packed experience anytime, anywhere.”

(Click here) 

Why the switch?  ZoSea made a big deal about their “partnership” with YouTube last year, part of an announcement that was disingenuously touted as big news prior to the lackluster reveal. Sure, every moron teen on earth can stream via YouTube, but like they demonstrate time and again when they release their laughable viewership numbers, ZoSea doesn’t shy away from polishing a turd ’til it gleams.

Why was the switch made silently? Wouldn’t a move to a broadcast platform used by mainstream sports be something to crow about, a reason to make one more completely manufactured and largely imaginary claim of legitimacy? The unlisted nature of the YouTube stream combined with the fact that Neulion is flash-based only served to create headaches for viewers on mobile devices, including those owned by the WSL’s own Samsung-ian overlords.

Two minutes on Neulion’s website turns up a pretty likely answer. Monetization is the name of the game, and Neulion provides a platform that excels at locking content behind a paywall. Call it a pay-per-view, season pass, or subscription, the move to Neulion is a ZoSea dipping its toes in the water before making another grab at some cash.

This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.  The WSL has plans to start making actual content to fill the broadcast gaps currently filled by mindless blather and their 6000-square foot studio in Santa Monica ain’t gonna pay for itself. The big question isn’t if, but when the WSL will go full retard and lock everything down.

I expect we’ll see slow rollout.  Low effort bonus content sometime around the end of this season; take a look at Medina’s house, watch the Roxy B-team frolic in paradise with nary a surfboard in sight. Next season will see a VIP subscription, higher quality bonus content hidden from free views until it’s ripped and reposted elsewhere.  2017 will bring the season pass, and I’ll be watching an illegal stream on firstrow, or just not watching at all.

Chelsea Cannell
Meet the World Surf League's new announcer, Ms Chelsea Cannell. Her late dad Stevie created 21 Jump Street, can y'believe! She's TV royalty!

Revealed: The WSL’s New Commentator! (She’s cute!)

Meet the World Surf League's highly credentialed new announcer, Chelsea Cannell… 

There’s a new face on the beach at Snapper Rocks but totally unfamiliar! At least to the non-American.

In brief, Chelsea Cannell is an almost-six-foot tall, 33-year-old television reporter from Los Angeles.

Among her many achievements, she has “hosted Dick Clarks New Years Rockin’ Eve backstage interviews with the performers, covered the BCS National Championship game for, appeared in a skit for ‘attack of the show’ and Host of a LIVE nationally syndicated morning Program geared at a younger Demo on E!”

And she comes from television royalty! Her pops Stephen J. Cannell was an Emmy award winning producer of dozens of television series including The A-Team and 21 Jump Street.


Read Chelsea’s full bio here! 

Jeremy Flores
"I never saw any sharks growing up over there and there were never any attacks because there's a lot of fishermen so the sharks were staying away, fearing the fishermen." Shit has changed.

Jez Flores: “There’s nothing left to eat but surfers!”

Sharks cost Reunion Island $36 million, says new report… 

Tourists getting their legs bitten off and subsequently dying on the beach is ruining tourism on that Indian Ocean-Franco paradise, Reunion Island. Y’ain’t seen anything like this Creole version of Tahiti, with its volcano and reef passes and exceptional boulangeries.

And the people! Some dark, some light, most possessing some beguiling physical characterstic, blue eyes popping out of choco skin, for instance.

But ever since a marine sanctuary was created in 2007, the bull sharks have taken hold of the ocean.

“From generation to generation there were always fishermen and then people from overseas, environmentalists, came and they stopped fishing in a 10-kilometre area where all the shark attacks are now happening,” explains the Reunion-born surfer Jeremy Flores. “That was eight years ago. By the time they stopped fishing the sharks didn’t have anything to fear anymore so they started coming and now it’s dead territory. They ate everything. There is no more life. There is no more turtles. There is no more fish. No more nothing. No more reef sharks. Because the bull sharks have eaten everything. And now, because there’s nothing left to eat, it’s the surfers”

And according to a report submitted to the Department for the Environment, Physical Planning and Housing (IEB), the island has lost $US36 million in tourism over the past three years.

Money? Yeah, you can wear it if it starts to improve.

It isn’t improving and it it won’t.

I mean, who wants to go to Reunion Island when swimmers, surfers and divers are being killed metres from the shore?

Does there come a point when sharks, in this case the bouldogue, are recognised as fish and not some mystical super creature? And are treated accordingly? ie. served as delicious steaks in beachfront restaurants.

(Can you read French? Here’s the source for BeachGrit’s story.)