Courtney Conlogue

Just in: WSL doubles women’s prizemoney?

For the first time in history, the ladies will be earning the same as the gents…

In an interview with National Public Radio this past Wednesday, Courtney Conlogue dropped a bomb that I really want to believe.

(Click here)

The WSL has doubled the prize money for the women’s WSL, effective immediately. For the first time in history the ladies will be earning on an equal level with the men, with both genders competing for a respective $525,000 prize purse.

Which is just great. But is it true?

Not a word from the WSL, not a single “legitimate” surf publication covering it, nothing beyond a short radio interview from a source which I love, and which is typically factual, but isn’t exactly keyed in to the surf world.

I don’t know what’s going on. I know that my google-fu only turned up evidence, somewhat dated, that the prize money remains the same.

(Click here)

I know that, if I were involved with WSL promotion, I’d be shouting the news from the roof tops. I know that the WSL’s struggle to attract sponsorship dollars makes the notion of increasing expenses on the least popular half of the tour seem unrealistic.

I also know the ladies have been fucking killing it this event and that more revenue can only be a good thing for athletes who, even if they lack the killer instinct of Adam, can put on a damn good show when they aren’t relegated to onshore garbage.

(Watch this lil fin ditch…)

Hurley Pro: “This is not beautiful surfing!”

More real talk at Trestles and tears as Brother is evaporated… 

The torture of the sports commentator is his fallback on the cliche, If you’ve got nothing good to say about someone, don’t say anything.

But sports ain’t buddhism! Who cares how nice a surfer is to disabled kids or if his own child is stuck up there in the VIP area watching daddy choke? Charity is the sister of death!

At Trestles, today, and yesterday as already noted, a new level of comfort and experience has filled the WSL’s commentary team.

Earlier today, Pete Mel took the unfancied Miguel Pupo and gave him heat-winning advice.

(Read here).

And, in a round three heat between Nat Young and Kai Otton, Ross Williams and Chris Cote, loosed bold new tongues.

“I wouldn’t say we’re watching beautiful surfing,” said Cote. “This is not Gerry Loepz versus Gerry Lopez. These guys are … workers.

Ross Williams added, “They know where their bread and butter comes from. A lot of guys are artists and they paint a picture on a wave. Not these guys!”

Real talk!

Watch and listen here.

Now let’s examine the highlights!

Gabriel’s hammer against Bede Durbidge. The Champ writes his turns on pages of gold.

Mick Fanning scraped Kolohe Andino off the floor as if he was a piece of dirt.

And Filipe’s poisoned arrows are back!

Remaining Hurley Pro Round 2 Results:
Heat 11: Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.10 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 8.33
Heat 12: Adam Melling (AUS) 14.43 def. Keanu Asing (HAW) 13.77

Hurley Pro Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 12.84 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 4.80
Heat 2: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 15.30 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 15.27
Heat 3: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 17.27 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 14.83
Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 18.63 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.90
Heat 5: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 15.27 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 12.53
Heat 6: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.83 def. Glenn Hall (IRL) 11.97
Heat 7: Mick Fanning (AUS) 14.83 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 11.57
Heat 8: Nat Young (USA) 18.10 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 12.26
Heat 9: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 15.77 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.26
Heat 10: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.50 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 10.83
Heat 11: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 16.50 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 15.10
Heat 12: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) – Heat did not surf

Hurley Pro Round 4 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Miguel Pupo (BRA), Italo Ferreira (BRA), Filipe Toledo (BRA)
Heat 2: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Adriano de Souza (BRA)
Heat 3: Mick Fanning (AUS), Nat Young (USA), Adrian Buchan (AUS)
Heat 4: Kelly Slater (USA), Gabriel Medina (BRA), Owen Wright (BRA)

Pete Mel: “Pupo’s success is mine!”

What surprises the Lowers Pro holds!

Miguel Pupo just handed Julian Wilson what must have surely been a devastating loss. Miggy surfed ok, nothing spectacular, but did what he needed to do. Julian, on the other hand, got skunked which deals a blow to his world title race (though I still think he will win).

The real story, though, of a resurgent Pupo is that he owes all to Pete Mel! Mid-heat, Joe Turpel sat in the booth talking about how Miguel had dropped 4 25ths in a row but had looked like a different surfer at this event. So wonderful! So confident! And then Turpel threw it down to Mel who was sitting in the lineup asking, “How did you see him breaking this streak?”

Pete Mel smoothly answered, “Well I think Trestles is one of those places where he rises to the occasion. He’s good on the lefts and the rights….” And then paused, pregnantly, before continuing with eyes mischievous “…I did give him a little tip after talking to (head judge) Richie Porta about the combination of major moves… kinda put a little bug in his ear aaaaand….. I’m not taking any credit for what he is doing. It’s all him…”

But oh Pete Mel did take credit! And what did he tell him? What was the bug? What was the tip? We may never know because a set swung wide forcing him to duck-dive a wave with microphone in mouth. Have you ever seen anyone do that?

Peter Mel is the best sideline reporter in all of sports and by far the most beautiful. The playfulness in his eyes, set off by a jaw made from stone, hair that ages perfectly, broad shoulders and big wave credentials that make any man standing next to him appear as a little baby girl. Knowledgable, witty and actively helping one surfer defeat another. He is almost perfect. I dare you to disagree.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 9.26.16 AM

Gabriel Medina Trestles 2015

Hurley Pro: “Gabriel’s bow-legged approach!” 

Real talk at WSL #8 and tears as John John sinks like stone… 

One of the great pleasures in watching the reigning world champ is in the admiration of his stance. Strength, brute power, muscle, even the beauty of the brute body. It all comes from the steel in Gabriel’s stance.

Like an 18th century Brazilian slaver squaring up to, let’s say, an African loosed from his chains (lest we forget the Brazilian’s zeal for enslaving the African, four million all up compared to the USA’s relatively puny 388,000) Gabriel looks as if nothing could sweep him off his feet. Not wind, nor chop nor any uncooperative lip.

The commentator Chris Cote noticed and admitted to being thrilled by “Gabriel’s bow-legged approach.”

“He’s no Joel Parkinson,” said Ross Williams, the WSL’s #1 commentator, praising Gabriel’s decision to choose function over form.

Gabriel’s approach was vindicated when he greased a perfect four-foot high rote at heat’s conclusion, easily winning his round two heat against tour sub Tomas Hermes.

Meanwhile, the real Joel Parkinson progressively modified the shapes of the set waves he caught and disintegrated the slowly retiring CJ Hobgood.

Wiggolly Dantas looked fabulous, achieving power with a soulful volatility.

Miguel? Jadson? Each successive sortie was more expansive than the last!

And little Glenn Hall! Look! He pulled the rug straight from under John John Florence. What raw guts he has.

(Watch the heat just by clicking here)

Hurley Pro Round 2 Results:

Heat 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 16.50 def. Ian Crane (USA) 16.43

Heat 2: Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.50 def. Hiroto Ohhara (JPN) 12.77

Heat 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.50 def. Tomas Hermes (BRA) 9.60

Heat 4: Nat Young (USA) 16.60 def. Artiz Aranburu (ESP) 13.66

Heat 5: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 16.73 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 12.60

Heat 6: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 13.27 def. Dusty Payne (HAW) 10.00

Heat 7: Glenn Hall (IRL) 13.64 def. John John Florence (HAW) 9.90

Heat 8: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 15.60 def. Ricardo Christie (NZL) 14.83

Heat 9: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 18.74 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 13.73

Heat 10: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 17.20 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 14.43

Upcoming Hurley Pro Round 2 Match-Ups:

Heat 11: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Michel Bourez (PYF)

Heat 12: Keanu Asing (HAW) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)

Filipe Toledo
Passion! Like Christ!

Filipe Toledo’s Passion of the Christ!

And his epic biblical drama with Ian Crane, Hurley Pro, Trestles!

Poor Ian Crane. So close to being a giant killer, so close to glory.

And, man, what if he’d caught that last wave? Would that have done it? Could he have busted a switch-stance-kickflip-misty-twist and re-taken the lead? Maybe, maybe not, but if he’s anywhere near as competitive as I assume aspiring pros to be he’s gotta be crying in the shower and second guessing himself to death. I know would be.

But the best part of the heat was watching Filipe, my favourite high-flying llama look-a-like, hovering on the verge of a melt down in the dying minute.

Did he get the score? It was close, could have gone either way, and he knew it. Beating on his board, praying to his non-existent lord and savior, so much passion, full of fervor, exciting and nail biting and what I want to watch! This is sport, and winning matters.

Which is where the women go wrong. It was great to see what they can do when not forced to play three to the beach in onshore slop. Sage Erickson was killing it, backing up beauty with ability and proving her place as an elite level athlete. If only it could be like this every time. Quality surf, an opportunity to shine, to prove they don’t deserve to lay perpetual second banana.

But they’re missing the blood lust.

Every time I see a chirpy post heat interview, a “we’re all friends, it’s just an honor to be here, losing is no big thing” mentality, it eats me alive. Because I want to love the women’s tour, I want to feel invested.

But if they don’t care who wins, why should I?