Carissa Moore wins Rip Curl Pro! But…Steph!

And under such a wet sun and dishevelled sky!

Under a wet sun and dishevelled skies, and to the violin sob of a sturdy onshore wind, Carissa Moore won this year’s Rip Curl Pro. It was her third Bells win in as many years (the first time for a woman) and is her second win in a row this season, come to think of it, her third win in a row since last year’s event in Maui.

Oh, Carissa was highly polished. Forget the hiccups between moves and jump-y half turns that sting the viewer’s eyes.

Stephanie Gilmore was even more of a thrill to watch than Carissa, each turn as beautiful as the opening of a rare flower. When will the Gold Coast shaper Darren Handley swing back into vogue? Yesterday Mick Fanning appeared to swish along the raggy waves with a destructive and ravenous ease.

Highlights? Yeah, there were some. Here, take this from the WSL press release about the final.

“Gilmore opened up strong in the Final, posting an excellent 8.77 for typically smooth and concise surfing, linking together a series of turns and backing it up with a 4.50 for the initial lead. The Hawaiian fought back with an 8.00 of her own to turn the heat and claim the lead, holding priority through the closing minutes and taking the win with just two waves ridden.Gilmore, the reigning WSL Champion, has rung the Bell three times. First she went back-to-back in 2007 and 2008, facing Sofia Mulanovich on both occasions. The pair matched up again in the Final in 2010 and Gilmore took the win. The runner-up finish for Gilmore today, her second of the year, sees her remain in second place on the rankings.“Every single year it gets harder and harder to win these events,” Gilmore said. “It’s a real testament to all the girls on tour and just how much work and time they put out in the surf. I’m really proud to make it to the Final.”

 

“Carissa is always a tough one to beat,” continued Gilmore. “We have had a great battle for the world title the last few years and every single heat with her is hard. Thanks everyone for coming to watch. I love this event, I love coming down here, rugging up and trying to ring the bell.”

Can you feel the drama?

But what do you make of it, this contest, with its two-week waiting period, that turned into such a melancholy waltz. Is it further proof  that the tour must be cleaved in two again, between women and men, and that the numbers must be radically sharpened? A dozen or 16 men; six or eight women?

And is it right that Kelly Slater is forced to defend his great legacy in the worst waves the tour has since he first joined it 24 years ago? It ain’t right to watch the Champ jerking back and forth, moving his weight from one foot to the other, to try and gas a little speed on two-foot waves.

That kinda shit doesn’t do any of us any good.


Huff Post says: Date a surfer!

Or how I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb.

Huffington Post writers love to think about surfing when they are not thinking about founder and inspiration Arianna’s accent and/or changing political position. They write about Laird, Ron Jon, the spirituality of surfing and the deliciously healthy pancakes that surfers eat for breakfast. Quite basically, the Huffington Post is The Inertia. Their most recent, thought stirring pieces are “Yogis and Surfers Are Most Attractive On Online Dating Sites – Here’s Why” followed closely by “15 Reasons You Should Never Date A Surfer.”

The seven reasons you should date a surfer are:

-driven but non-competitive

-live/travel to beautiful places

-great bods

-attack their days

-patient

-embrace nature

-mellow

 

The fifteen reasons you should not are:

-you come in second

-their idea of dressing up is shirt and pants

-you become a surf widow

-no quality time at the beach

-they are shit bags

-act like forever 16

-dumb

-incessant talk about Kelly Slater and the WSL (?)

etc.

etc.

etc.

-but at the end you really should date one because they are mellow

Aside from the cliched writing, it is silliness because if you really and truly surf, then you know “surfers” is far too broad a category. For every dreamy Cyrus Sutton there are the way way too many 40+ men who surfs next to me on aged shit surfboards, rotund bellies pushing neoprene to its max, drooling, loudly, about whatever else fills their meaningless lives. And for every 40+ there is the Insta kid standing on Ponce Inlet beach, WaveStorm under arm going on a #hangloose #surfer #surferdude #soultraining #ripping #instagood #instashred #like4like #follow4follow frenzy.

Nothing makes a surfer except surfing. Anyone can do it and its democratic nature makes me happy sometimes (when I’m surfing alone/with Derek Rielly) and angry sometimes (when I can’t paddle fast enough to beat the 40+ for waves). We are a tribe of 1.6 billion and if you want to date one, who knows what’s going to show up at your door!

P.S. The other day a Cadillac honked at me because it thought I was in the way. I was not. I got out of my car and charged up to his window. It was a 75 year old Indian man. I said, “Why the fuck did you honk?” He said, “I did not see what you were trying to do.” I said, “Never honk at me again. Ever.” And then turned and walked away. He tried to mumble something and I charged back up to his window and said, “Do you want me to pull you out of this car and kick your ass?” He was a 75 year old Indian man. He had his 8 year old grandson in the passenger seat. He looked horrified, said, “No” and drove away.

Mellow my motherfucking ass.


Ain't that angle from the cartilaginous remote-control bird something else? Chip, mid-way through air-rev #1. | Photo: Alex Bowden

Wow! Chippa Wilson’s Double Air-Reverse!

From the angle of the remote-control bird… 

Alex Bowden is a 23-year-old filmmaker, atelier and drone operator from Cabarita in New South Wales. Using two of these skills, he snatched from the wind this double air-reverse of his friend, Chris “Chippa” Wilson.

Chippa had sent Alex a message telling him the surf was better than average and that he might like to film with his cartilaginous remote control bird. Alex’s bird of choice is the Drone Phantom, which cost $1200 one year ago and which he has affixed a high-end GoPro ($600) and a viewing screen which he uses to see what the camera is filming, cost $300.

On this day, Alex had made three trips back to his little caravan that he keeps on the property of his parent’s farm to fish for various pieces that were missing from his drone set-up, batteries etc. When he eventually came back and sent his bird into the sky, just two minutes later, this is what occurred.

“There was another photographer on the beach and we looked at each other and went, ‘What?'”

Alex has form on a number of levels. He had a clothing label called Bammf which he only recently shut down, makes short films, snatches the occasional wedding and shoots surfing here and there, mostly on the drone.

“It’s pretty cheap for what it does,” he says. “That’s why I got into it.”

Once, he even flew his drone into the backyard of the Big Brother house in Queensland and dropped one of his Bammf tees there. He used a technique he’d seen a fisherman employ to drop bait a kilometre offshore where a coat hanger is affixed to the bird’s undercarriage and the pilot, back on land, gyrates the drone back and forth to shake loose its cargo. (Click here to watch.)

On the t-shirt was a skull and the words, “Fuck your mum.”

“I hate the show,” says Alex. “It’s degrading to put all those people in a little room and then monitor their behaviour.”

Alex also has concerns with the drone.

“I feel like drones are pushing the barrier of giving civilians too much fucking control,” he says. “I flew a shirt into the Big Brother house, flew around the CBD of Melbourne. Man, you could strap a bomb to those things.”

Wait, relax! He ain’t!

He’s got movies to make (Alex has a degree in filmmaking), music videos (Click here)  and (Click here) and he’s going to stretch that remote-control bird angle to its distant limit.


Jeremy Flores not-wins at the Rip Curl Pro, Bells Beach. The Madagascan lion tries hard, but conditions too difficult! | Photo: WSL

Just in: What Happened to Surfing’s Great Rebel Tour?

You're looking at it!

How well do you remember 2010? If you’re like me the answer is, due to a probably too heavy indulgence in various illicit substances, “vaguely.”

You may, however, have a dim recollection of something called the “Rebel Tour.”

For a minute it was all anyone was talking about. Slater, the biggest swinging dick around, was on board and singing its praises to anyone who would listen. Lurking in the long grass were Terry Hardy, Slater’s manager, and Mat Tinley, a former boxing promoter and nephew of cable television billionaire, Bill Daniels.

The ASP was blowing it, they said, splitting the broadcast rights among event sponsors was killing its chances at scoring lucrative non endemic sponsors. The tour needed an umbrella owner and a slimmed down schedule. Sixteen surfers over eight events. Only the best riders, only the best waves.

The prize money would increase, exposure would explode. ESPN was going to partner with them and display surfing to the world. Or so the rumors went. For all the interest and attention there was never anything concrete laid out.

Back room discussions were had while public statements were largely sound and fury, signifying nothing. Except for the idea that the Rebel Tour, itself, would own broadcast rights. That was repeatedly made very clear.

It was a perfect time to shake things up. The ASP was hemorrhaging money and the introduction, quickly rescinded, of the mid-tour cutoff had the surfers approaching revolt. Event streams were a hit-or-miss proposition, with feeds constantly failing as sponsors struggled to figure out how to broadcast from remote locations. There was a feeling that pro surfing was on the verge of something big, finally gaining the mainstream stage that the money-makers had been chasing for decades, but that it was being held back by the widespread incompetence of the endemic old guard.

So what happened to the Rebel Tour? The short answer is: you’re looking at it.

Tinley was replaced in his role as media mogul by Paul Speaker and Dirk Ziff was tapped to play the billionaire financier. But Hardy got his wish, and now surfing has a sole proprietor. One which can, at least theoretically, use its position as sole owner of surfing’s competitive imagery to reap a colossal financial windfall.

Of course, there’s always a difference between talking and doing.

Those big TV deals have, as yet, eluded the new bosses, excepting the new arrangement with Globosat, a Brazilian broadcaster. Which could pay off. If any country is possessed of enough patriotic fervor to tune in en masse to its country’s finest being reduced to three-to-the-beaching-it in onshore wind slop it’s those brown-skinned South American dance machines.

As for the rest of it?

If you’re of a cynical bent, like this journalist (and I can finally call myself that since The Australian recently called me one in print, despite my never having actually taken a journalism class) you might say the rhetoric about restructuring the tour was nothing but a bunch of empty politician’s promises, meant only to weaken the resolve of a struggling industry so they could swoop in and take over.


Revealed: Ross Williams made me a cuckold!

Or why I won't be downloading the WSL app… 

“Did you know there is a WSL app?” my girl mockingly said to me as we walked home from work in the pouring rain. Then, mimicking the ad, “Get live updates to your phone.”

I replied somewhat defensively, “Yes, and don’t think that I’m going to get it.”

She just laughed and we walked on stoically in the pouring rain.

I know she wasn’t insinuating that I would get it, but I meant what I said. I won’t be getting the app. I’m sure it is great. It seems to offer me a one-stop-shop for professional surfing at my fingertips… just like the WSL website! It even looks like I can stalk the world’s best… bonus!

But no, not for me.

I admit that I’m slow to embrace new technology. It’s not because I mistrust it. I don’t think that the Government is slyly using it to monitor me (after all, I am the Government), or that it’s the Devil’s work. I’m lazy, and just that if it ain’t going to dramatically improve my life, or it doesn’t interest me or involve my job, then I am not going to engage with it. I like not being chained to a device and I like disappearing. That isn’t why I won’t be getting the app though.

Nor is it my current disdain for the state of the WT that means I won’t be getting the app. Snapper was disappointing and Bells is just Bells: a shitty, fat, cold right. True as that may be, it’s not influencing my decision.

The real reason is that my girl is unemployed, and with her new found enthusiasm for the WT, I get regular updates.

I don’t need an app when I get blow by blow accounts of the action with her own dark, comical analysis thrown in to the reports. I get all the vital information I need: the claim size to quality of wave ratio, the prayer-rate, and how many mentions that chief match-fixer God gets, and what dumb things were said by who. She even does a brilliant Ross Williams impersonation. It is remarkably creepy. Subsequently, it’s banned from the bedroom.

So that is why I won’t be getting the new WSL app. And even though it means that I won’t be able to get any new boards made for some time, I hope that she stays unemployed… at least until after Teahupoo.

But do tell me if the app is worthy as I suspect I won’t be able to successfully sabotage her career chances for much longer.