Maya Gabeira April Fools Day Prank
"BREAKING NEWS - Did Maya Gabeira just ride the biggest wave in history today? XXL Judges are working to determine if this late ride is eligible for the 2015 Biggest Wave Award and possibly the 100-foot wave bonus worth up to one million dollars. Stand by for more details about this potentially record-shattering day at Dungeons, South Africa." | Photo: WSL

Did Maya Gabeira Just Ride a 100-foot Wave?

Who knew the WSL was endowed with such a fine humour?

The WSL proved it isn’t averse to an April Fools prank either, and by proxy of it’s XXL arm, posted this photoshopped picture of Maya Gaberia earlier today.

The intrigue thickened with the cryptic caption: “BREAKING NEWS – Did Maya Gabeira just ride the biggest wave in history today? XXL Judges are working to determine if this late ride is eligible for the 2015 Biggest Wave Award and possibly the 100-foot wave bonus worth up to one million dollars. Stand by for more details about this potentially record-shattering day at Dungeons, South Africa.”

The gag proved a hit on Facebook, with Scott Burke keen to play along: “Guys, if this is a ‘joke’ it’s in particularly poor taste. Is it funnier because she’s a woman? Thought you’d be supporting that, rather than making jokes. (111 likes and counting)

From Gabriela: “This joke is tasteless, and disrespectful to Maya and shows that unfortunately surfing can be a sexist sport still now. Sad.”
From Juan: “If this is an April Fools joke you guys are a bunch of assholes for using Maya in it. Why use a woman that is truly breaking barriers in our sport? It truly shows the sexist bullshit that continues to plague a sport that should be pure and open to whomever can ride a wave with whatever means…”

The comments drew this response from WSL: “Don’t take it wrong people, we love Maya. She is the FIVE TIME XXL Women’s Best Overall Performance Award winner…. (And who else even has a division for women’s big wave surfing?) Happy April Fools to all (60 likes and counting).”

Oh, April Fools Day. How we love thee.

Confirmed! Kelly Slater ain’t retiring!

Gullible? Yes we are. April Fools, baby.

Kelly Slater has a surprisingly kooky sense of humour. I remember once, live, overdubbing a camp commentary, to the movie No Destination that was playing on a big-screen at Quiksilver’s head-office in France. The gag was a hit. Some party-goers were outraged (you mock homosexuals?) while others laughed at the absurdity.

Soon, another voice joined me, endowing the game with in-character banter for ten minutes.

“Oh Ross! Great turn! Who knew you had such spunk!”

“O0hh Shane, great… bottom… turn…”

Who knew Kelly had humour!

And, today, on Instagram, as April Fool’s Day fell in America, Kelly Slater announced his retirement.

“Big decisions in life don’t come easy and it’s taken a lot of quiet time and personal introspection to come this conclusion,” wrote the 43-year-old from Torquay, Victoria.

Twenty-two thousand fans double-tapped “like”; nearly two thousand were moved enough to write some kind of message, a litany of disbelief and wailing sadness.

Cruel enough for you? (Click here!)

But it ain’t true.

In a brisk email exchange, I wrote, “Yeah or non? Are you really done?”

“Non. Fucking gullible people, haha,” Kelly replied.

Mason Ho Made Me Look Stupid on the Internet

…and by beating Mick Fanning with one huck, he saved the WSL from a day of reckoning… 

If you are one of the few who didn’t happen to call me to let me know, yes, I am aware. Mason Ho won his heat at the Rip Curl Pro Bells and made me look terribly stupid on the internet.

But hate all you please, because I couldn’t be more thrilled! I may have egg on my face but we, and more importantly the WSL, have more live Mason time. Find me a contemporary shredder who ain’t glued to their screen for more action of the diminutive Hawaiian!

When Brett Simpo toppled Adriano De Souza I should have figured something was up. But at two-foot high-tide Rincon, with Mick Fanning, the three-time Bell ringer and defending champ in the red jersey, the kid never stood a chance.

But he did. And he nailed it! I was 0.03 from saying I told you so and couldn’t be more psyched! And you know what the best part was? He surfed fun!

Well, initially.

He sniffed at sections. I willed him on. He hunted closeouts. I wanted him to go. He found the sweetest little ramp of the morning and full-roted his way to an eight and the highlight reel like a young Reynolds circa 2005. He surfed exactly how he wanted to and we applauded.

And then he went into comp mode, and it got weird.

That 5.13? Sheesh. Ross Williams called it “funky” and “bordering on awkward” and it sure was. He found the lead, but it wasn’t over. If I know one thing about professional surfing it’s don’t count out the three-time world champion against the wildcard in his first ever dance on the main stage. On the beach Mike Ho was damn entertaining, tripping on every moment.

But it was enough, and Mason Ho defeated Mick Fanning and Freddy Patacchia and you all told me I was an idiot. And I was. He proved me wrong, and in doing so, Mason Ho saved the WSL from a day of reckoning.

WSL Commissioner Kieren Perrow is rubbing his hands together. Could you feel the vibe around Mason today? On a day of fat, weak Bells where only seven heats were run, the second event of the year running in sub-par waves, Mason is all anyone can talk about. You know Kelly and John John both surfed, right?

Mason is hot property. He’s the guy who you tune in to see. Even Bobby Martinez probably watched him surf! He’s different and we love it. He flared in the water and giggled at Todd Kline in his post-heat interview without mentioning three-to-the-beach or building a house or some other surf garbage. When Todd asked Mason if he’d ever dreamed he could beat Mick Fanning at Bells, Mason said, “Yes!”

The kid brings traffic, and traffic to a WSL webcast is Paul Speaker’s dream. You think the WSL is missing Alana Blanchard on the girl’s roster this season?

Mason wants to be on tour. Is very public about wanting to be on tour. And the tour wants Mason to be a part of it.

But does the tour fit Mason? Or was this an entertaining, and one-off, curio?

Exclusive: Surf Brands to pull out of Tour!

Nothing recedes like success… 

According to a WSL insider who spoke with BeachGrit on condition of anonymity, there are some big shakeups on the way.

It’s long been an open secret that the new tour is operating heavily in the red, and the non-endemic sponsor dollars that ZoSea has been courting are proving increasingly gun shy when it comes time to sign on the dotted line.

According to our source, WSL brass have been “in talks with a global sportswear company,” the ultimate goal (from ZoSea’s perspective) being their name on all events.

While our source declined to name a specific brand, available information indicates an Oregon-based footwear manufacturer that has repeatedly dipped its toes into the surf market before eventually retreating to more lucrative shores.

Most unfortunately for Speaker et al., concerns regarding reportedly lackluster numbers from the Gold Coast webcast, exacerbated by growing doubt that ZoSea can properly administrate and monetize the tour, have thrown the proverbial monkey wrench into ongoing negotiations.

“The GC event looked really bad, and there’s been pressure to move more events into the mainland US. They want to dump Fiji in favor of the US Open as a late addition this year and add another event in CA for 2016…  [It] will most likely be an existing QS event to save money using existing infrastructure.”

This should come as no real surprise. The Fiji contest has long been a logistical nightmare and the remote nature of the break makes it impossible to recoup expenses with on the ground advertising and permitting.

“There’s a large contingent who feel quality of surf should be a secondary concern, compared to getting people to events. These guys come from mainstream media and don’t understand how bad it looks. In their minds it’s all about attendance numbers.”

Unfortunately, that’s not all. In response, all surf brands will pull out of their existing events, using various loopholes to escape contractual commitments.

Details are vague, but our source believes it is likely that Quiksilver will exercise a “mismanagement” provision in their contract, employing the Gold Coast event as a pretense in order to withdraw from the tour without penalty.

This marks the second time in two years that bad news for Quiksilver has been released on April 1st , no doubt lending doubt to its veracity. But, as with Slater abandoning ship in 2014, it is, sadly, deadly serious.

You can expect to see any mention of surf brands be quickly and quietly scrubbed from the WSL’s website, with litigation to follow.

Candid: Mason Ho Won’t Win a Heat At Bells

But his post-heat interviews will be uproarious! The spirit will soar!

Now before we get into this, let me make one thing clear, I love Mason to death. My favourite surfer? Yeah, he’s close. Head-checks, backside alley-oops, backside tweaked-out method grabs, disco floaters plus the general not-giving-a-fuck-what-anyone-else-in-the-world is doing, especially on a piece of foam and fibreglass. Mason Ho is fan-fucking-tastic, if I’m going to be honest.

The newly signed Rip Curl Hawaiian has the wildcard entry into the Bells Beach World Tour event and this will mark his first ever appearance in a World Tour event.

And he won’t make a single heat.

You see, Mason ain’t known for grinding out turns in creaky little waves. Against the three-times Bells winner Mick Fanning? Fred Pattachia? Those old horses who’ve thrown their lives at the Tour? Who understand, implicitly, what World Tour judges want?

Mason is the antithesis of Mick, and this is why Rip Curl signed the 26 year old. He makes surfing look like more of a hoot than anyone out there, hunting his closeouts on dry reef while riding those colourful beefed-out Mayhems.

Epic right? Well, not really. When was the last time you saw a chop-hop in a heat? A switchfoot? Or when someone got naked mid-wave? Mason is famous for fun surfing. But fun surfing is not World Tour surfing. Mason will have to change his entire wave outlook to stand a chance against any one of the world’s best.

Remember we’re talking about Bells here, the fattest wave on tour, where tubes are seldom seen and air sections are few and far between (unless you’re Kelly whose Bells huck-to-the-flats is surely implanted in your memory bank). The rail game has always reigned supreme out here and Mason’s rail game while solid is not the focus of his repertoire.

Bells also has a habit of eating rookies alive. The supernatural cauldron of eyes beaming down on you has played on everyone from Kolohe to Kerrzy and Mason is up against the wall. Having not shown the form to qualify through the WQS and a lack of winning experience at a wonky ole wave like Bells will leave Mason with his hands full from the get-go.

Oh yeah, and it’s cold. Like real cold. Hawaiian surfers don’t get a lot of full-suit time and have struggled here as a result. The last Hawaiian to make a final appearance out here was the late great Andy Irons with the new breed struggling to make an impact in recent years. Mason has the froth with his collection of brand new Curl steamers but that shiver sure is hard to shake.

Mason, I hope you read this and go out and prove me wrong. I want nothing more than for you to combo Fred and Mick in the first round. I want you to cheater-five all the way to the final and out-boogie the whole damn tour, come in, and then show ’em how to nail a post-heat interview.

Bring it on Mason, bring it on.