New York, Bells, Portugal and… Trestles! All on one inexpressibly exhilarating reel!
Isn’t it an odd turn of events that a middle-aged man who, until recently, would dress is in shapeless sacks, is the most exciting surfer of 2015. As he was the year before and the year before that.
Yeah, it’s inevitable, I suppose, that John John, or maybe Jack Robinson, will steal our attention, but, for now, it’s Kelly Slater, who’ll turn 44, in February.
I mean, thirty seconds to go, needing a ten, who else can smile faintly, kick start their bike and jump the Caesar Park fountain like Kelly? Always jerky, but always with a tenuous strength, and with landings on cushions.
So how about we celebrate his vigour just a little?
Here are his four greatest Hail Marys, New York, Bells, Portugal and Trestles, all wrapped up in one little pile, complete with the best song from the expansive oeuvre of Brigitte Bardot.
It's blue (or maybe black, who knows!) belts at ten paces!
One day ago, the self-described “jiujitsu nerd” Vince “Bear” Quitugua posted a photograph of Kelly Slater and pal on his Instagram account (@bearsyr). The caption read: “Kelly Slater and Zach in a session with Mendes Bros , Shaun and PM. The world is a better place with Jiu-Jitsu.”
The longboarder-turned-jiujitsu-black-belt Joel Tudor (@joeljitsu) was enraged by the photo. “Crock of shit – the guy has been wearing a blue belt for years in pics and always made excuses when I would call him on it!” he wrote in the comments pane. “If he wants his belt , tell him to go sign up and put in the work like everybody else who starts at white and goes through hell to graduate to blue – anybody on here talking shit to me more than likely doesn’t train and has zero clue about Jiu Jitsu.”
Pat Tenore (@pmtenore), founder, along with Conan Hayes of RVCA, hit back: “love this || joel is officially the commissioner of the jiu jitsu police cry baby club || listen grumpy smurf when you call out kelly like this you are basically calling out the mendes brothers and their integrity on who can wear a blue belt or not in their academy || as far as I can see it wasn’t a rainbow belt and blue belts do exist at AoJ and kelly is deemed worthy to represent || go do yoga calm down || love you joel || we all do but chill || don’t be a hater ||”
The other man in the photo, @zachnminskey replied: “Why are you even jumping in to this conversation? It’s completely irrelevant to you in every way, shape and form. You are missing message of Jiu Jitsu which should be to try and build the sport worldwide. Bear posted this photo to celebrate the cross over of different communities, not to judge one person by the stripe on their waist. It’s not like it’s a fake black belt like we’ve seen recently. I’m pretty sure, being that I’m the other person in the photo, that Kelly wants to simply understand the sport and has been training for long enough to do so. I trained with him first hand and I can say, he is most definitely a blue belt, formal promotion or not.”
There’s a ton of back and frothing that’s worth a scroll for laughs. And the feud continued on other accounts.
Over at @PMTenore and from pmtenore: “this is what jiu jitsu is all about || not belts || what did mr miyagi say “belt is to hold pants up” he got his at Sears || don’t be a cobra kai’r and hater || all good”
From haydengerson “Kelly stop being a poser. Earn your belt and wear it with pride. You shouldn’t be proud of wearing a belt that you have not earned.”
“I didn’t have a belt and that’s all they had handy. Chill out.”
It's sexy as hell, and maybe just a little melodramatic…
Michael Oblowitiz is a director I met several years ago at a surf film festival in San Sebastian. He is a man of the most theatrical looks (brooding pouts, dinner plate sunglasses) and Hollywood tastes (we danced all night!) and he once made a movie in Bulgaria, I think it was, with a very over-the-hill Val Kilmer.
Olowitz won that year’s festival with the never-released, but maybe soon, or never, Sea of Darkness, a documentary on drug trafficking within surfing that contained some references to Quiksilver.
Sea of Darkness was the best thing I’d ever seen about surfing, even if it had this weird spin at the end about Quiksilver’s global circumference on the Indies Trader called The Crossing. I figured the little PR hit at the end was to repair the damage to the (then) clothing giant from some of the earlier scenes.
I always wanted to watch Sea of Darkness again (I saw it twice during the festival) and, as fate’s hand would play it, a download of it fell into my computer last year. It was every bit as good as I remembered, although the end felt even more incongruous.
After Sea of Darkness, Oblowitz chased Sunny Garcia hither and yon for a documentary. That, too, as far as I know, has never hit a screen.
Did anything he make ever hit a screen for public viewing?
Heavy Water, a film about Nathan Fletcher, once the cutest little blond boy in the whole world now a taciturn 40-something, and his predilection for big waves, is premiering in San Sebastian on September 25 (#savagecinema), with general release shortly after. Lets examine the press release:
“From his first sorties at big Waimea at 11 years of age, Nathan Fletcher showed a prodigious aptitude to big wave surfing. He grew into a professional surfer following in his father and grandfather footsetps, trying to conquer the giant surf of the Hawaiin Outer reefs. In Sion Milosky, Nathan found an equally driven peer. Together they reignited the “big gun” style of paddle in surfing. Our story follows our modern day Big Wave adventures as they live out the drama in an
arena that encounters life and death.”
Mix Michael Oblowitz and big waves and you do get melodrama.
Willing to pay the ultimate price.
Gnarliest big-wave charger anyone had ever seen.
But who doesn’t love a little blood in their phallus?
Watch the trailer here!
(Please forgive an early posting of this piece with Sion Milosky’s name misspelled.)
It comes to California in a few hours (I think. I'm in Rome.)
A massive 8.3 earthquake rattled the Chilean coast last night, forcing Santiago’s skyscrapers to dance and sending over a million people out of their homes. Thankfully the death toll has been relatively low and a tsunami is on the way to Hawaii and Orange County, California. The first waves are supposed to arrive at 4:46 am west coast time. Dawn patrol!
The Huntington Beach Police Dept. issued a tsunami advisory saying:
• The impact of this tsunami will be stronger than normal currents and possible higher than normal tidal surges along the beaches. Stay out of the water.
• There will be a strong outgoing tidal current at the same time the tsunami arrives. The combined effect could produce very strong currents in harbors and bays.
• A Tsunami event is a series of waves that can last for several hours. The first wave is usually not the strongest.
Local Coastal Officials are monitoring the situation and directing all persons to be advised:
• Beaches, harbor and marina will be closed starting at 4 AM.
• Local officials will determine when areas are safe to open.
• Contact your local jurisdiction for more specific information.
Of course it’s a horrible idea but would you like to surf a tsunami? Would it be fun or a let down? Like visiting the Sphinx in Egypt? (It is real small, fyi.)
As I might've mentioned, Filipe Toledo will win the Hurley Pro either tomoz or the day after. He will gesture and bellow and people will say, "Look at him! Isn't he happy!"