Joel Parkinson loses to Josh Kerr, round five, at unrecognisable Bells.
Joel Parkinson loses to Josh Kerr, round five, at unrecognisable Bells.

Parko: “That was hideous!”

Watch the unparalleled adventure, competitive drama and athleticism of professional surfing, day seven, Rip Curl Pro!

Now that the heavy door of the Rip Curl Pro has closed behind us for the day, let’s attempt to compose a picture. No, wait, let’s employ the exuberant eloquence of the three-time Bells winner, three-times world champion, Mick Fanning.

“It was horrible, all the waves are six different waves in one. I was trying to figure out where to go. I was losing my mind.”

Kelly Slater, losing to Gabriel Medina said, “The ceiling was pretty low out there.”

Joel Parkinson, 2012’s world champion and also a multiple Bells winner, snapped at the shaper Maurice Cole mid-stairs, “That was hideous.” His 20-minute round elimination round five heat against Josh Kerr was half done and there hadn’t been a wave scored over 0.87.

Josh Kerr volunteered this observation, “It turned into the windsurfing league not the world surfing league.”

Ross Williams, meanwhile, was no victim of bashfulness. “Jadson nearly squeezed a ton of lemonade out of that lemon”

I should fancy that many criticisms will be made today of the Rip Curl Pro, yet today produced a wonderfully dramatic effect. Perhaps a little too fascinating. Earlier today, the WSL released a press release declaring it the “most exciting time in the history of surfing!” (Click here!). 

The press release came despite Snapper being run in two-foot waves and, now, unrecognisable Bells. There’s the possibility that the first four events will be held in the crummiest waves ever seen in pro surfing since 1985 or thereabouts.

But I understand the condition of the world. Slicing the tour back to a manageable 12 surfers and separating men’s and women’s events is too radical. And so we have these unwieldy events, these determined but ultimately doomed spectacles that require one week of waves to cut through the 34 men and 17 women, both with multiple losers rounds.

It’s a bloody muddle. But I like the bitter and I like the sweets.

Tell me you won’t be tuned in tomorrow in the drum-throbbing darkness, fidgeting, waiting for the call.

Mens quarter-final heats: (Editor’s note: Likely winners have been italicised.)

1. Adriano v Gabriel (Brazil v Brazil) 2. Owen v Josh (Australia v Australia) 3. Jordy v Mick (South Africa v Australia) 4. Filipe v Nat (Brazil v USA)

Women’s quarter-final heats: 
1. Sally Fitz v Lakey Peterson (Australia v USA) 2. Carissa v Johanne Defay (Hawaii v France)
3. Stephanie v Tyler (Australia v Australia) 4. Coco Ho v Courtney Conlogue (Hawaii v USA)

I just solved the WSL’s problem!

And all it took was three vodkas.

Three vodka and ginger beers in, I just solved professional surfing’s problem. Ok. Watch Bells, like right now. It looks kind of fun, right? But watch how many kind of fun waves go unridden. Tons! When the surf is ok, professional surfers become pickier than attractive women. They wait for juuuuuuust the right wave to pow all over. But what about all those pretty good looking waves? They go unridden. All of them.

What if the WSL allowed surfers in the water during these sorts of days to ride the pretty good looking waves? It would be amazing. Those sitting at home on webcast could watch and either laugh at the shit show or maybe ooooh and ahhh at the undiscovered talent. A WSL surfer knows the wave he wants miles out to sea. He waves everyone off and takes. And if anyone gets in his way? Pointed to the beach and jiu jitsu in the sand. It will be like MMA and surfing combined. Ratings through the roof! No more made up numbers that embarrass!

You’re welcome Dirk fucking Ziff.

Is the owner of WSL an ecological terrorist?

Even more frightening, is professional surfing becoming Scientology?

A new and disturbing article appeared yesterday in the FreeRide Voice. You can and should read it here, but seeing that you are a BeachGrit man, I will sum up. Dirk Ziff, the Floridian who effectively owns the World Surf League, also owns a shale oil concession in Queensland that will do massive damage to the Great Barrier Reef.

Shale oil extraction, as you already know because you are a BeachGrit Man, has a four times bigger carbon footprint than traditional drilling. Dioxins, silt, etc. all flow from the extraction site, down rivers and settle on the reef, killing corals and sea life.

It is a very big bummer and the FreeRide Voice points out the absurdity of owning a business that does such great damage to the ocean and one that requires the relative health of the ocean. Most surfers, be they far left or far right, understand the delicate nature of the sea and our connection to it. Apparently Mr. Ziff does not?

With such troublesome news circling, it would seem that either Ziff or WSL CEO Paul Speaker would address the media, dismissing the story as absurd or explaining how shale oil will free western democracies from the tyranny of the Middle East or that extra measures are being taken to insure the health of the reef because surfers love reefs or something. But there is only ever silence from the WSL.

You know who else there is only silence from? Scientology’s leader David Miscavige. Is professional surfing the new Scientology? Is Graham Stapelberg busily penning a follow up to Dianetics? Should all surfers be on the Bridge to Total Freedom?

What an even bigger bummer!

Kelly Slater and bird
So much of surfing is filled with flamboyant crooks and racketeers, many of whom are also drunks and sex maniacs. And then there is Kelly Slater, a man you want to tell at least a hundred times how beautiful he is and how much surfing needs him… | Photo: Steve Sherman/@tsherms

Kelly Slater Don’t Give A Fuck

A new clothing label, new boards, movies, cruel jokes. Kelly Slater circa 2015 is a bird set free… 

Two days ago, on April 1st, Kelly Slater announced his retirement (“The #RipCurlPro was the first event I surfed on tour and it’s fitting that this will be my last ) and baited his one million followers into a melee of pustulating and sad say-it-aint-so’s.

Most of them debated whether it was an April Fool’s joke, or if in fact the 11x World Champ was retiring (last year he announced his departure from Quiksilver on April Fool’s eve).

The post turned out to be, of course, a joke, the record corrected, first, by BeachGrit. (Click here!)

Slater will continue to win or not win contests, will continue to age effortlessly and beautifully.

Because here’s the thing: Kelly Slater doesn’t seem to give a fuck anymore. His behavior over the last year, since parting ways with Quik, has been something like an elite athlete’s version of Tom Hanks’s life in Big. Let me lay it all out for you:

In the 12 months since Slates announced the split, he founded Purps, a canned energy drink that purports to provide unparalleled natural liquid nutrition and energy, and which you couldn’t keep out of his hands during the middle-half of last year’s tour, each of his on-camera appearances marked by that white can with eep-purple graphics.

He founded his own company, Outerknown. Backing him? The Keiring Group an international clothing firm alongside upscale brands like Alexander McQueen, Gucci, Saint Laurent and, more closely related, Volcom. Then he spent the year wearing Veeco boardies and Electric sunglasses which was, in our little corner of the world, newsworthy.

Then in a year marked with barely-post-pubescent competitive domination by a crop of youngster half Slates’ age, the Old Man threw down one of the more absurd moves of 2014, a massive helicopter-like 540 air in windy, messy Portuguese beachbreak and basically broke the internet.

This year, after a disappointing finish to the 2014 season, Slates began ’15 out with a bizarre mid-heat board change (switching to a Daniel Thomson-designed Firewire hydrodynamic planing hull with just a few minutes left in a heat) and proceeded to get swatted by a rookie Brazilian.

Then he bought 70% of Firewire. (The decision announced to the world on BeachGrit! Click!) Because, well, why not?

Even in the last week he’s purchased the movie rights to a book that chronicles surfing’s lurid affair with drug smuggling, released a line of teenage home furnishings with Pottery Barn/William Sonoma’s kid sibling company, PBTeen (which you just have to go fucking see, as some of the champ’s collabo pieces are wretchedly great); and then, as mentioned above, punked his loyal followers with an April Fool’s retirement.

Kelly Slater PBTeen
Kelly Slater and his Shoreline task table lamp ($US149) for PBTeen.

Which is to say, good for you, Kelly, you beautiful motherfucker.

If this is the twilight of your career, as so many seem so certain is the case, then fuck it. You do you, brother. Have the fun you so deserve. We’ll be watching until the last curtain closes. And probably long after that, disbelieving til the end.

As seen tomorrow on Stab!

Kelly Slater predicts his own death!

OuterKnown is finally real because it is finally in the New York Times. Kelly Talks about his influences, brilliantly weaving Pete Townend into a conversation of surf substance and style. I love Pete Townend and Kelly’s including that brilliant little man is perfect. He also predicts his own death, claiming that he will drown when towed into an 80 foot wave. Why not 100 feet? Because Kelly is an enigma. He never does what you think he will do. The piece is well written, beautifully photographed by Morgan Maassen and totally worth a read (here).

Or, if you are overly tired, wait until tomorrow and read it on Stab.